Welcome Back to the Labyrinth

"We have been away far too long, my friends," Ashoka declared, his face lit by the eldritch green glow of his staff. "But we have finally returned to the labyrinth whence our adventures first began."

"Just imagine the treasures that lie within," said Yun Tai, flexing his mighty muscles. "Wealth enough to live in luxury the rest of our days."

"And arcane artifacts of great power," added Ashoka his words dripping with avarice. "All ours for the taking!"

"Umm...guys?" Nysa interrupted. "Do you hear something dripping?"

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Session Five: The Dungeon of Xenopus

 Feted as heroes by the townsfolk for having put an end to the menace of the draugr, Hafrgim Bloodslakir, who had for generations haunted the Barrow Hills north of town, the adventurers enjoyed a night of revelry. Kragar the rogue was able to leverage his celebrity status to successfully seduce the mayor's daughter, Elise, after having suffered a critical fail on his attempt after first arriving in town.  Sometimes persistence pays off.

Flushed with success from their previous caper, the crew turned their eyes toward the intriguing tower ruins north of the old graveyard west of town.  Chatting up patrons at the Dragonfire Inn, they heard a number of often conflicting rumours regarding the tower ruins, but were able to determine that fifty years ago the wizard Xenopus disappeared and has not been heard from since, and that soon after his disappearance twisted, misshapen silhouettes could be seen capering on the tower's parapet, highlighted by an eerie green glow emanating from within.  They heard, also of the reclusive Whateley clan who dwell across the bay and shun the company of the townsfolk, and whose patriarch, old Algernon Whateley, was none other than Xenopus's apprentice.  A trip out to the Whateley homestead proved fruitless, as Algernon's daughter, Lavinia, set her sons, Yog, and Soth to drive off the interlopers, pitchforks in hand.  Giving up on interrogating the Whateleys, the adventurers decided to just dive into the tower ruins and see what's what.  

The dungeon is, of course, the iconic Tower of Zenopus sample dungeon featured in the Holmes Basic D&D set.  This is probably the best sample dungeon ever created, as there is a great deal of story potential and threads that can be fleshed out for further use, and which suited my existing campaign perfectly.

Over the course of exploring the dungeon beneath the ruins the pcs came upon a smuggler looking for his two missing mates, and learned that his crew is using the dungeon to stash smuggled goods for overland transport to Avarice.  They also encountered old man Whateley, himself, who has, with the assistance of goblin minions has taken over the dungeon and remaining effects of his old master to bolster his arcane power.  Whateley is an irascible sort who takes poorly to intrusion upon his domain, and had just finished creating statues of the two missing smugglers by way of a Medusa spell.  Leaving his goblin servants to deal with this new band of intruders, Whateley fled to his laboratory on the level below where he prepared a special welcome for anyone who followed.

After quickly dispatching the goblins, the pcs did, indeed pursue Whateley to his lair only to find him surrounded by the glowing nimbus of a protective spell, and a number of cages full of cockatiels.  These birds, which he dubbed Molotov Cockatiels were creatures of his own making, and he opened their cages, then detonated a thunder clap to panic them.  They flew madly about the the laboratory, burning the adventures while Whately remained safe behind his Protective Pentagram.  Hrothgar unwisely swung his axe at one of the birds, easily killing it, but its destruction caused it to explode causing even more damage to everyone around it.  Realizing that killing these birds could trigger a cascade of explosions that would kill them all, the wizard, Fenix grabbed book of arcane lore off a nearby table and threatened to let the birds burn it.  Enraged that someone would dare to touch his things, Whateley charged out of his pentagram, swinging his black iron staff.  This proved the end of him as Hrothgar buried his axe in Whateley's spine, killing him.

Thus ended the session with Whateley dead, and Fenix in possession of the old man's demon-bound staff deluxe, which he fears is more magic item than he can handle.  It also ended with all the characters getting enough XP to gain 2nd level.

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