Friday, May 22, 2009
Last Man Standing (Night of a Thousand 20's)
My last S&W Wilderlands session saw the PCs dragging themselves into Oathcoomb to recover from an untimely night ambush by giant predatory bats. Oathcoomb is a small town on the Seithor Bay (Sea of Five Winds region of the Wilderlands) filled with shops of all description. After some tense negotiations with the local money changer (trying to unload the cache of ancient silver coins they carried out of the Smokevelt) they hied themselves to a comfortable Inn and settled in for a nice long week of drinking and recovering hps.
Towards the end of the week, the dubious dwarf Odis became bored (of course) and went out one night to look for some trouble, or something fun to steal. A light rain had been falling for the last several days, making the streets around the shops unusually deserted (and therefore bland to Odis), so he wandered down to the wharves.
Here he found a pair of scruffy guys furtively unloading crates from a small Antillian cog onto a nearby wagon. A reddish glow emanated through the slats from within the crates, and Odis' natural greed set in, and he followed the wagon discreetly once the loading was finished. The wagon clattered dully through the rainy cobbled streets until arriving at a squat stone building at the edge of town. The scruffy guys steered the wagon through a large wooden door that swung open as they neared the building, and the door closed behind them. Odis crept forward after a couple of minutes to see if he could find a way to peek inside. As he did, the door suddenly opened, and the wagon came clattering out again, empty, the door beginning to close behind it.
Never one to pass up an opportunity, Odis rolled through the entrance just in time, to find himself in a large, warehouse-like area filled with an assortment of open crates, and a pungent stench. Creeping towards the back of the chamber, Odis discovered the source of the light: four giant beetles with glowing carapaces, apparently lit from within by some sort of bio luminous bladder. The beetles clacked around in a circle, as if in a trance, and only then did Odis notice a female in brown, voluminous robes humming softly. She looked up at Odis and raised one hand. "Just in time for dinner", she said, sweetly, as sand drifted down from between her fingers.
Odis cursed and grabbed for his dagger, but too late, as the sleeping spell took affect.
When he awoke, he was trussed up, lying on the bottom of a cage in the darkened warehouse. His daggers were gone, but she had not found the small knife or lockpicks he kept hidden in his sleeves. As quietly as he could manage, he escaped his confinement, triggered the door, and was away, running as fast as he could back to the inn, imagining the clacking beetles hot on his heels.
His companions were mildly amused at his escapade, but agreed the effrontery could not go unpunished, and so all three of them headed out to have a word with the bug sorceress. Loathe to enter through the warehouse door again, they scouted around the outside of the building for another means of entry, finding one in a barred window on the side of the building. After a brief display of strength from the mighty-thewed Avalonian Zurka, they were climbing into a kitchen of some sort.
Even adventurers as hardened as these three were sickened by what they found there. A pair of discarded collars told the tale clearly enough: the enchantress was purchasing slaves to feed to her "pets". Doubtless this would have been Odis' fate as well, had he not escaped in a timely fashion.
Navigating a maze of corridors filled with creepy, but mostly harmless insects of the mundane variety, they arrive at last to a heavy wooden that opens into a wide gallery. At the far end the sorceress, sans robes now, reclines upon a rippling, spiky "throne": a giant centipede. Her pretty face contorts with rage and she shouts out some kind of buzzing whirring exclamation, summoning forth two giant furry spiders lurking unseen to either side of the doorway, and siccing them on our heroes.
With his readied crossbow, Odis got the first shot, and rolls a nat 20! On top of that, he rolls max damage, which is then doubled. The bolt affixes the evil enchantress, and pins her now lifeless corpse to her living centipedal throne. Sadly, the spiders get first bite in the melee and Odis slumps to the ground, hopelessly paralyzed. Tesmir is also bitten, but the elf manages to resist the poison. He spits one of the spiders on his blade (another 20! I'm starting to think the players are messing with me at this point...). Zurka flails about with his zweihander to no effect. The surviving spider gets revenge on Tesmer, hitting him with a nat20! (this is getting silly now), and the elf drops to floor, senseless from the poison.
Zurka is now the last man standing, and manages to take down the last spider, in time to turn and face the rampaging giant centipede, which has been furiously dragging its lifeless mistress along with it. It bites deeply into Zurka with, you guessed it, another 20. Zurka resists this creature's deadly poison, but is nearly dead from its scissoring bite. Despite the odds, Zurka at last stands victorious over the centipede and its dead adornment.
After some time has passed, the paralyzed companions recover, and weakly search the manor for treasure, coming up with some nice jewelry, a small coffer of gold coins, and (much to Odis' delight) a fancy crossbow, which Tesmir informs him is magical in nature. They also stumble across several pens and cages containing various monstrous insects. Scattering around a few pints of oil, they set the place afire, and flee before the guard can show up.