Not much to report today: grocery shopping, four ethics classes, made pasta for dinner, baked sourdough, played online board games with friends for our weekly games night. But I thought I’d take the opportunity to report on this:
Last Friday we played the third session of the Tomb of the Serpent Lords adventure that I’ve been running, using old school Basic Dungeons & Dragons rules. If you need a recap, the first two sessions are here:
Back in the village, Notgandalf used Detect Magic to determine that the stone eggs, snake carving, and wavy dagger were magical. The group traded away the other valuable items for 390gp, sharing 65gp to each participating adventurer.
Ratter slowly recovered from his encounter with the monster-girl, regaining his lost constitution. But it took several days and he took the opportunity to hone his thievery skills by hanging out with the village thugs. Volrak was still not done with his atonement, so also would miss the next expedition the the tomb.
The group rested for three days. Notgandalf suffered the effect of a curse on his magical ring, taking poison damage on one of the rest days. With Volrak still doing penance in the church, another young cleric stepped up to join the party:
Brother Leonardo – cleric, 4 Strength, 15 Wisdom, 5 Charisma. Mace and sling.
Trying to kill the basilisk
Convinced that the giant lizard chained in the pillared hall was a basilisk, Notgandalf was determined to retrieve the silver disc from the lightning trap room. He avoided the floor plate trigger and tried to remove the silver plate from the wall. It seemed harmless, so he pried it loose with a dagger and took it. The party returned to the eastern end of the lizard chamber via the chasm walkway. There, Notgandalf taunted the beast with a torch and waved the shiny reflective disc in an attempt to get it to see its own reflection. Unfortunately this failed.
They decided to explore down the stairs to the south-east, finding a square room with similar stone tiles to the ones covering the pit trap they’d pushed the jelly-skeleton into. Poking the tiles with a 10-foot pole revealed the pit trap. Avoiding it by walking around the edge, they proceeded to another room, containing a sloped pit full of fire, with some charred bones and streaks of molten gold at the bottom. They skirted this and entered a room to the south, a domed chamber with four doors. The southern door was heavy iron and locked.
Fungus goblin lair
The western door was smashed open. Beyond was a passage and room with more natural, less worked stone walls, and an angry small humanoid trying to push them back with a broom while chittering in an unknown language. The party tried to push their way past, but the creature yelled loudly and two reinforcements arrived, brandishing pointed sticks. Others were ready to fall back, but Brother Leonardo loosed a sling stone, hitting one right between the eyes and dropping it to the filthy floor! The other reinforcement fled back the way it had come. The party forced the creature with the broom to come with them at swordpoint as they pushed deeper into the natural caverns.
They came across a stinking chamber carpeted in muck and filth, with horrible fungoid growths, sickly plants, and other weird things apparently planted in the mulch: fingers, hands, sheep legs, sword hilts, etc. The stench was incredible. The party were reluctant to step into this mess. While hesitating, a group of six of the goblins charged to repel the invaders! Entering combat, the party took a few hits with pointy sticks and pitchforks. Garamond took a hit and retreated to avoid more damage. Notgandalf charged in and poked a goblin with the fang-like nail of his cursed finger, causing the goblin to clutch its throat and die horribly, foaming at the mouth. The group vanquished the six attackers, leaving their hostage gibbering. Leonardo healed Garamond.
Notgandalf cast Detect Magic to scry the room for any magical items. He located buried beneath the filth a silver ring, set with a semi-precious stone patterned like an eye. They found the north passage connected to the second entrance that Garamond had found on the previous expedition.
The south passage took them through an empty room—a filthy sort of bed chamber—and then into a throne room, where more of the goblins were paying respects to an effigy made of mud and sticks, sitting atop a crude chair, crowned by a headpiece made of sticks and bent cutlery. Edging around the room with their hostage, the party exited to the west. A passage led south to a room that stank even worse than the previous mulch room. They avoided this and proceeded through a room carpeted with live beetles and cockroaches. North from here they found the passage blocked by a huge vertical cylinder of stone.
The dwarves suggested the stone cylinder might rotate around a vertical axis and pulled it clockwise, revealing an opening in the stone large enough for a person to stand in. Nogge volunteered to step in while the others rotated the cylinder around a full rotation anti-clockwise, so Nogge could report back. Nogge returned, having been stabbed and wounded by a spear trap on the western side, saying that the way around on the eastern side was safe, and led to a passage that continued north. Leonardo tried to heal Nogge, but beseeching his god for an extra spell failed!
One at a time the party used the cylinder door to proceed into the north passage. They noticed a stone idol carved into an alcove as the cylinder rotated to the east.
The passage led up stairs to connect to the area Garamond had explored west of the basilisk chamber. Notgandalf used the opportunity to try to deal with the monster again, hiding around a corner, taunting it with a torch, and holding the silver disc to try to reflect its gaze. The monster noisily approached with hisses and the slithering clank of chain… and then silence fell.
Notgandalf: “Did it work?”
Brigette: “So… who wants to look?”
Brigette used the silver disc to look around the corner and see if the basilisk was still alive.
Brigette: Actually, it’s okay whether or not the mirror reflects the gaze attack. If it does reflect the attack, then it’s probably turned itself to stone so you’re safe. On the other hand, if the mirror doesn’t reflect the attack, and it’s alive, its reflection shouldn’t turn you to stone.
It turned out the basilisk had indeed been turned to stone. They noted the head harness and blinders, and a thick leather collar, as well as the heavy chains leading up to the ceiling, invisible in the darkness above, with the odd chittering of bats. Having a good look around the chamber for any treasure, they noted nothing but broken pieces of “statues”, as well as extremely realistic stone bats, huge spiders, and a few of the fungus goblins.
Exploring the passage west revealed two doors, one intricately carved with multiple snakes, and a gap matching the shape and size of the stone snake found in the monster-girl room. Brigette replaced the snake and the party watched as the stone snakes animated and slithered into the door frame, revealing a portal to a magnificent throne room, lined with red stone, dusty tapestries, and eight palm-sized mirrors mounted on wooden frames, surrounding a heavy stone, wood, and gold throne. Notgandalf sat on the throne and was overcome with feelings of powerlust and ambition. Refusing to get off the throne, Brigette, Drashi, and Leonardo lifted the rear and tipped him out. They determined the throne would take three people to carry, and decided to come back to retrieve it before leaving the tomb for the day.
The northern door opened to reveal a chamber lit with eerie purple light, the stone ceiling and walls carved to look like the inside of a snake’s ribcage. A thousand various smells assaulted their noses: herbs, spices, acids, yeasts, flowers, etc. Standing before them was Xiximanter, a shrivelled, desiccated human torso and head with snake fangs, atop a skeletal snake tail. His sunken eye sockets glowed with red pinpricks of light. He greeted the party, asking which was to be his new apprentice.
Notgandalf: “Seems like a reasonable gentleman.”
The party conversed with Xiximanter, determining that he was seeking a new apprentice, as well as ingredients such as elf ears (looking at Garamond) and dwarf beards (looking at Drashi and Brigette) for his potions. The party asked if Xiximanter had any potion that could reverse magical ageing of 9 years, and he replied that he did not, but he did have something else that might be of use. Xiximanter ushered them into the adjoining room, full of equipment and storage jars full of weird ingredients. Another door led to what Xiximanter said was his laboratory. Xiximanter often referred to “the priests above”, making the party suspect he had no idea that all of the serpent people in the complex were long dead. They even suspected that Xiximanter might not know himself that he was undead. They debated telling him, but decided better of it.
Notgandalf asked if Xiximanter could remove his cursed ring. Xiximanter exclaimed, “Where did you get that?!” and cast a spell and removed the ring, returning Notgandalf’s finger to normal. Xiximanter kept the ring…
Nogge: “You have fewer snake parts than when you came in.”
Eventually the party decided that getting away without angering Xiximanter was the best course of action, and they made excuses, saying they would return later. Their persuasiveness convinced Xiximanter to let them leave. They immediately jammed the door shut with iron spikes, grabbed the throne, and fled the dungeon back to Neensford.
The party returned a few days alter after healing and resting, to check a final location: the locked iron door south of the domed chamber. Not having found any key, they used tools brought with them to laboriously pry the door open, revealing a room full of treasure! Piles of coins, rolled silk tapestries, a small chest full of jewels, and two fine swords – one sword detected as magical. They also quickly checked the walkway in the cavern, finding it blocked to the north and south. They grabbed all the treasure and raced back to town.
At Neensford, Notgandalf decided to try on the magical ring with the eye-gem. When he put it on his left hand, his left eyeball fell out! But he could still see through it! It also turned hard as stone. Putting the eyeball back into the socket, it reattached and he could remove the ring.
Significant character moments
- Brigette – Arguing it was safe to look at the basilisk in the mirror and then trying it.
- Brother Leonardo – Deciding to lead the attack against the fungus goblins and killing one outright with his first sling stone.
- Drashi – Getting offended at Xiximanter wanting to use his beard in a potion.
- Garamond – Getting hit, retreating from combat to use bow.
- Nogge – Going first through the rotating cylinder door and getting stabbed by the spear trap.
- Notgandalf – Stoning the basilisk with its reflection. Getting cursed ring removed by Xiximanter.
New content today: