Mesa Old School Gaming

Fool Me Once, Shame On You, Fool Me Twice Shame on Me
Never Pull the Lever

The one where the party does not learn its lesson the first time it pulls a strange lever.

The party continued into the crystal caves and discovered a large room with a huge drider-like crystal statue in the middle in front of a giant double door. The party tried to side-step the area by sneaking up some stairs near the entrance, but things went wrong. A new party fighter was first, and he found a lever in a strange room with lots of machinery. He pulled the lever, but it was trapped, and the intrepid adventurer was fried into bacon by electrical discharge. (What was his name?).

Anyway, the party trundled through the room and the statue only emitted a minor dweomer. The statue held a large staff with a very large very valuable gem mounted on the end. It was determined that if the thief had let the switch down, a tsunami of magma would have come through the door. The door beyond let up into a tower-like structure. The entire tower was empty and devoid of water.

There were a few interesting areas: one had a large crystal dome in it. It could be perceived through the crystal that the cave was immersed in lava as it fell from the dome onto a great statue of a giant that the party refused to go investigate.

Yet another area had a large platform in the center of it. The party senselessly assumed the platform was an elevator, and the lever on the side of the platform activated it. Unfortunately the lever released a large stone stairway from the ceiling which swung down on to the platform, and smashed the huddled party. Clanger was reduced to negative hit points, but was healed immediately. Another room of interest was a large feast hall with two swords mounted on a fireplace with an imaginary fire burning within it. Roger snatched up the swords, and a lever was found in the fireplace which controlled the continual light spell in the room. Harlech grabbed a bag of tin cups and plates for good measure.

The session ended after the party climbed up through 6 empty tower floors which appeared to be barracks and arrived on a floor lined with bookshelves of what appeared to be spell books. A single skeleton creature sat behind a desk. He looked up at the party with two pinpoints of lights from black eye sockets and said, “Come in I have been waiting for you…”

Getting Buzzed
one reason to split loot evenly

The Party started the session still short on water and in a huge cavern dominated by a 15 foot river of molten lava.

The party used Clanger’s grappling hook to attach to the iron stairs on the other side of the lava channel. As Roger crossed the lava a hornet crawled from the far side of the lava channel. The Hornet was about 3 feet long and made of what look like smoldering charcoal with wings of fire and a foot and a half long stinger. The strange fire hornet ignored Roger and flew to the opening 80 feet above the party on the side of the room opposite the lava channel.
The rest of the party was unsure how to cross the channel without an anchor but after much debate decided they could more one of the large anvils from the forge room they had found. The Paladin and the two clerics were able to slowly move the anvil and this provided an anchor for the rope.

The party then began to cross, but disaster soon struck. Breckland the cleric recklessly decided not to remove his plate mail as he crossed the rope, and between his great girth and weight of his gear (and a very unlucky roll) the rope did not hold and he was plunged into the channel of lava sinking and burning into the molten rock before the party could save him. Even more unlucky Breckland had his half of the ancient silver coins (in total 3,000 gps worth of loot).
The rest of the party wisely removed their armor and made it across safely.

At the top of the large iron stair case the party discovered a hall way that connected the stairs to the large room with the opening overlooking the Lava channel. This room was huge and dominated by a 60 foot wide “hive” of cooled magma hanging more than 40 feet from the ceiling. This stone hive was swarming with the giant fire hornets. The room also held a large metal crane near the opening to the lava room.

Hiding in the hallway the party sent Roger across the room the try and scout out the opening on the far side. The hornets seemed to ignore Roger and Clanger decided she would have a go at crossing the room. Clanger was not as quite as Roger, and a hornet came to investigate. The Paladin stepped up to help distract the Hornets but this made them angrier. Like a hot coal being blown on the hornets flared bright red with anger and attacked.

The party attempted a running battle across the room fighting the growing number of hornets that swarmed from the hive. Sanctuary spells, protection from fire, and slow poison were all used to help keep the party alive as they slowly lumbered across. Eventually they reached the doorway and fled in side far enough that the hornets no longer sensing them as a threat returned to the hive.

The party made camp in an empty room immediately after the exhausting battle with the hornets.

The Land Beyond the Magic Mirror
Don't play with Fire

With Abby’s arm stuck in the mirror the party had little choice but to enter the magical portal. They were immediately struck by nausea but when they recovered found themselves in a large cave made of semitransparent glowing red/pink crystal. The mirror stood straight out of the crystal and had a small keyhole in the falcon shape on this side. The party was unable to travel back through the mirror summarizing they needed the Key they had given to the The Horned One

Exploring caverns they soon found a series of small rooms that looked like living quarters but all were empty except one with a strange large metal chest. Unable to pick the lock the newest member of the party Breckland, a fat elven cleric, smashed it open with his mace. The sound of which attracted a metal ant about three feet tall and five feet long. The party made short work of the ant but discovered in the course of the fight that they could not use summoning magic to summon a dust devil as the spell fizzled.

The chest was eventually opened, but only Rodger and Breckland were still in the room. They split up 6,000 ancient silver coins without telling the other party members about them, but shared a magical shield , a magic wand and several magic potions with the rest of the party.
Exploring the rest of the glowing crystal caverns (in a left turn only pattern) the party discovered mostly large empty rooms, but did find one room with stacks of the metallic ant constructs like the one they had fought earlier. Unsure if the ant constructs were in sleep mode, or no longer working they chose not to disturb them and risk a fight.

After more exploring of empty rooms Falca was bravely leading the way down one of the crystal corridors and ran smack into a large clear gelatinous cube shaped creature. The party entered the battle and Abby cast his flaming sphere spell. The Sphere materialized at double the normal size, catching some of the party in its radius, but also made short work of the strange gooey cube. The party destroyed the cube with the help of the giant flaming sphere and Falca’s sword, but no sooner was it destroyed did they realize the flaming sphere was out of control.

As it rolled over towards the party, the sphere morphed into the shape of a bipedal form of pure fire, with two large axe like appendages for arms. The Party also discovered that only magical attacks had any effect on the creature. Only Roger had a magical weapon but he fled as fast as his Halfling legs could carry him.

Desperate Abby used his new wand of magic missiles and was doing considerable damage but also drew the creatures ere. It made short work of Abby, but was drawn off by Gabe and Brecklands casting of spiritual hammer. Roger applied a healing potion and brought Abby back. Abby then tried to flee up a rope trick only to discover that spell would not work either. The clerics also attempted to cast Create Water to douse the homicidal fire creature created from Abby’s spell, but that too failed. Eventually judicious use of magic missile and spiritual hammers killed the beast.

After the battle was over the party realized they had a big problem. They had limited water resources and could not create more through clerical magic as they had thought.
The arty they explored further discovering a room that held a forge and numerous work stations and crafting tools. They discovered a large room with a 15 foot channel of lava flowing through the center. The room also had a metal stairway on the far side of the lava, and short on water the party knew they must find a way across and hope they could find a way out of the strange crystal caverns.

Going Down ?
Ice Ice Baby

The party returned to the large underground cavern and defeated the remaining metallic flying insect looking constructs with ease.

After this they carefully crossed the bridge and Rodger volunteered to climb across and open the doors to the tower. Once inside the tower they discovered it was empty except for a rail less stone staircase winding down the outside wall. They dropped a rock down the center shaft only to discover it was much deeper than the 80 or so foot drop into the water on the outside.

Cautiously the party descended the stair case and as they did it gradually got colder and colder. About midway down they were attacked by a flying shape shifting guardian demon made of ice. This battle took place on several levels as the party scattered down the stairs.

Abby being the fastest member of the party reached the bottom of the stairs first as the slower party members fought the demon as they descended. Abby found a large mirror that did not reflect him on one wall of the otherwise empty bottom floor of the tower. Abby touched the mirror only to find his hand sunk into its surface and he could not retract it.

Meanwhile the party was having a very tough time of things and several were brought down by the demon that was resistant to magic and regenerated quickly. Judicious use of healing magic and potions kept the party moving slowly down the stairs, but eventually the Demon was getting the best of them and sensing real trouble Mr. Green held Abby’s scrolls for him and a lucky strike with a flame arrow spell caused serious damage to the Demon. Two rounds later the demon was caught in the Wyvern Watch spell and failed both its magic resistance and saving throw. This plummeted the demon to the stone floor where it was damaged even more and still paralyzed. The party made short work of it.

Quote of the Game: “I’ll go third” Clanger when the DM asked the party who is going first down the stairs.

The Last Grasp
We broke the dungeon.

Picking up where we left off last week, the party high-tailed it out of the iron worm chamber. After resting and healing, the remaining five characters decided to go back in and finish off the iron worm. The PCs charged into the room and fanned out between the columns to search for the creature. The still-damaged worm leapt from column to column but only caught two characters in its lightning bolt weapon, but a barrage of Abeneer’s Burning Bolts and a sword thrust from Harlech finally killed it. In the process of searching the room, the party found Gabriel lying on the floor who was miraculously still alive.

The only exit from the room was through a set of metal falcon doors. The passage beyond had a high ceiling, a wooden floor, and a lever set into the wall at the far end. The end of the corridor terminated at a ledge 80 feet above the floor of an immense cavern, which was large enough to contain a standing tower inside of it. Notably, two falcon doors were set in the tower side high enough to be at eye level to the characters standing at the end of the passage.

After much deliberation, it was decided that “Nothing bad could happen” when the lever was pulled. Roger then flipped the lever down and the wooden floor started to mechanically move forward through the air between the passage and the doors on the near side of the tower. Brecon thought throwing the lever back up may stop the floor from moving, which it did-but not in the intended way. Due to the abrupt changing of gears the chain holding the counterweight snapped and the floor careened forward, launching the characters toward certain death. The floor would have fallen over the edge but it also tilted forward and to the right becoming wedged in the opening. Brecon and Falca lost their footing, and dropped their weapons (including the magic maul) but were able to hang on to the edge.

To make matters worse, four flying metal constructs began to attack the vulnerable characters on the platform. Roger, Abeneer, and Brecon were able to shimmy along the platform and squirm through an opening between the wooden planks and the passage. Harlech dropped a rope for Falca to grab onto and hoist himself up. Under the cover of a Darkness spell cast by Brecon, Harlech and Falca were then able to make their way back toward the passage. Although Falca had to kill one monster that was blocking his progress first. The session then ended due to time constraints.

The Chamber of the Iron Worm
To live to fight another day…

After the wolf attack during the night the party doubled the watches and made it through the night with no more incidents. A new party member, Ed the cleric joined the group. The party then traveled from the forest over the low rolling grassy hills between the north lake shore and the mountains. Now exposed, the party camped in a small creek. The sounds of hoof beats and questionable bird calls during the night revealed to the party that their progress was being monitored.

The next day the party heard the sounds of someone digging in stone with a pick, and after some invisible investigating by the intrepid Abaneer and his flying familiar Ember, it was determined that the sound was coming from a ruined villa on a low cliff overlooking the lake. Deciding that posing as slavers would get the party close, they approached the villa. A few orc archers noted the parties’ approach, and their leader, an armor-clad orc invited the heroes into the building to talk slave business. Cautiously entering the obvious trap, the party nevertheless took arrow fire, to which the party responded with two hold spells and a stinking cloud spell with great effect. Even more effective was a Charm spell cast by Mr. Brown on the orc leader who was taken alive.

The orc leader, named “Oatmeal” by the party (which was the parties’ password, but the orc was told that it meant “brave warrior”), revealed the orcs were digging to a vault under the command of the horned one. A boat docked in a lakeshore cave below the villa held a caged undead bat that the orcs were to release as a signal to the horned one when they reached the vault.

After searching the lakeshore cave, a secret door was found which lead down a hall, through a metal door embossed with a falcon design (similar to a certain key), into a large chamber with rows of columns. In this room, the party was surprised by a monstrous metal centipede. The creature appeared to have been constructed by magic, like a golem, and was able to emit bursts of electricity from its eyes every other round.

The centipede was a terrible foe, and would have killed Oatmeal, Abeneer, and Gabe if not for the healing abilities of Ed and Clanger. The adventurers found it difficult to pierce the creatures iron hide, and the party withdrew. In a final act of bravery and self sacrifice, Gabriel drew the attention of the iron worm, distracting it away from Ed, who then fled to safety. Sadly, Gabriel was killed by the thing, but the party escaped through the metal falcon door, and whether by instructions or by magic, the iron worm did not pass through the closed door.

Towers and Keeps
Discretion is the better part of valor

After deliberating what to do with the newly-freed slaves, which included Mr. White’s wish that “It would have been better for all parties involved if they died during the battle,” it was decided that the freed slaves would be armed and accompany the party.

The slave tall John informed his rescuers that he and his companions were held in a keep down the road a few miles and that they were going to be sold. The party decided to investigate and see if the slaves could be freed. On the way, Tall John reported that a bridge was crossed, and his captors had paid a toll at a tower to pass.

The party decided to pose as slavers and pay the toll instead of fighting through the tower. This proved a wise strategy because the tower was heavily fortified and garrisoned by goblins. After negotiating with the goblin’s chief negotiator and the “River King”, a giant of some sort, the party payed a severe fee. The giant first wanted Roger for passage, but after brief (but serious) consideration the party said no. Finally a few hundred gold and Abeneer’s horse was the final price; the River King thought the horse was extra because Abeneer was riding it invisibly.

After the drawbridge was crossed the party drew near the keep. Reconnaissance determined that the keep was very large and manned by a combination of 50 or so men and orcs. Roger stealthily and invisibly climbed over the walls and crept about, but the keep was too heavily guarded to safely enter the interior rooms.

That night the party rested by a small creek, and during the first watch wolves set upon the camp. The wolves killed a horse and severely wounded the party until they were called off by the whistle of an unseen handler. The session ended with the party reluctantly deciding to stay put for the night crossing their fingers that enough wolves were killed by spells and arrows to deter another attack.

On to Lakehaven
The expedition restarts.

The party returned to Arden after the Horned One escaped from their grasp. After resupplying and securing new fine horses, the party resumed their journey north of the river escorted by a large Grey Legion patrol. The following few days were uneventful due to travel with a few dozen archers surrounding the party and the pass that marked the boundary between the forest north of the river and the Lakehaven area beyond was reached safely.

Continuing on, the adventurers discovered that the lake and the low-lying areas are perpetually shrouded in mist. After a short journey sounds could be heard off in the distance. Endowed with courage that could only be heaven-sent, the paladin charged forward to meet the maker of the sounds. What he discovered was a small orc war party with a troll and an orc spell caster. A battle ensured, and when the dust settled the party discovered it was victorious, but now it had three newly-freed human slaves to contend with.

Water and Shadows
Withdraw and Regroup

After defeating the manicore and ghouls early in the day, the party divided-up the spoils. One item discovered was a book that revealed that the Horned One was imprisoned with the dungeon and the party inadvertently freed him when they freed Harlech and Clanger. The party rushed to find two NPCs rescued from the dungeon: Peter the high level cleric; and Heath the cobbler from town, but the NPCs were missing. Their trail was swiftly picked up by the skilled ranger Clanger and it was followed back to the hill complex entrance. Inside it was discovered that poor Heath had been maimed as a tactic to slow the party down by Peter who was in fact the Horned One after all. Some in-party paranoia ensued which was directed at the characters who were once prisoners with the NPCs, especially Gabriel, and an attempt was made to resolve any questions with a Know Alignment spell.

In-party dissention and heated squabbling ensued, no doubt a result of the evil inherent in the hill fortress, and the party could not agree on whether to return to Arden and deliver Heath to safety, or to find some way to press on after Peter/the Horned One (and our undead former party members). After it was obvious that the Horned One could not be caught on foot (he had taken the horses), the party decided to make sure “Ogre Jima” was secured and every room was revisited to assure that the place was empty.

The next day was a tragic one. After an uneventful night, the party tried to determine the nature of the danger of the pool and the statue in the lower level. After much deliberation, Hadron of all people decided to swim to the statue with a rope. As he was swimming across the water, he passed from an area illuminated by a Continual Light spell cast by Abaneer, to an area illuminated by the green light of a beacon held by the statue on the far shore. At that point the far wall shimmered with a weird green light, and Hadron was beset upon by particularly powerful shadow creatures. He died in the icy water trying to return to his friends on the pier, and the party in turn fled after it was apparent that the enemy was beyond their power to defeat.

The party made its way back to the road in the rain, and decided in favor of speed and shed their armor and stuck to the road. They soon encountered the Grey Legion patrol led by Captain Hightower, who they had encountered only days before, and was able to entice the patrol with gems to escort them back to town.

Malik's just hangin' around

Today we learned that we can defeat an ogre ghoul, a manticore and three human ghouls but a chest trap has the potential to kill us dead dead dead. But, we were lucky and didn’t lose anyone (though we did come close).

Oh yeah and Malik makes a lovely pendant.


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