D&D Chronicles: Tunnels and tons of rubble

Another long break between D&D sessions — wah! — but we finally got together again this weekend past for more adventures. We picked up where we left off, hanging out in a dark mountain chamber after killing a wraith…

Our next move is to get out of there. We ascend the stairs leading up from the chamber and emerge onto the eyrie on the side of the mountain, overlooking a picturesque river valley. In the distance shimmers something, perhaps another body of water. This could be our ultimate destination, the place where the Eye of Varrien is located, but our immediate plan is to check out the second of two tunnels leading from the eyrie. (The first being the one we used to arrive here last session.)

A cave-in and a rescue operation

Our rogue informs us the tunnel is unstable and soon we reach a cave-in with a boot (attached to a leg) sticking out of it. Most of us begin to retreat, but our cavalier paladin has other ideas. He starts excavating and causes a further cave-in, trapping himself.

Hmm . . . This is kind of serious. Saffir (our rogue) refuses to have anything to do with the fool, who ignored all her warnings, but Cal senses Intan might still be alive and Ash — with GREAT trepidation — starts digging him out.

The rescue operation takes 5 Bennies (re-rolls), causes another partial cave-in that nearly strands Cal instead of Intan, requires Ash to run and grab Alix (the cleric) to heal Intan who gets stuck trying to wriggle out, costs Intan his pack and cavalier-making enchanted armour (the latter is a good thing, we’ve decided), but gains him a magic short sword (+2).

We return to the original tunnel and descend the steps into the valley we came from. The next adventure — in which Ash goes hunting with Saffir, gets bitten by snakes, ends up with a temporary Constitution of just 1, yet SOMEHOW manages to survive this — seems almost tame by comparison.

Almighty thunder and snow storm

For the next few days we hole up to weather an almighty thunderstorm, which turns to snow. We manage to slay some wild boar that stumble across us (Cal puts them to sleep, making it easy) and Ash gets to use her ranger skills to smoke and preserve the meat — we first haul the raw meat back up to the eyrie, where there’s shelter and fuel. Thus provisioned, we are now ready to continue on down the valley when the weather clears.

The staircase we’ve just descended into the original valley (for the umpteenth time) has a twin, also cut into the mountain side, on the other side of a lake lapping the cliff face. Rather than clamber across the rock face in the wet weather — a death trap, surely — we circumnavigate the lake to reach the foot of the second staircase.

On the way, we camp in the forest without incident, but then battle some wargs and orcs which decide to hunt us down the next morning. We come through relatively unscathed and ascend the second staircase to investigate where it might lead.

Up the second staircase

Although we assume this staircase leads to the second tunnel we attempted to explore when up at the eyrie, it seems too unfathomable for the ancients to build two tunnels so close together with the exact same destination . . .

We are rewarded when we discover another tunnel branching off the main one. Ooooh! Maybe it goes somewhere interesting! There’s little if no hesitation and we’re heading along it.

Soon we arrive at the site of what can only have been a massive cataclysm of sorts in the middle of the mountain. The side of the tunnel falls away d o w n d o w n d o w n . . . And upwards too — as though there’s been an explosion or landslide or eruption inside the mountain. The sides are black and glassy.

A narrow (and fragile) ledge

A sliver of the rocky path remains, a mere ledge, but we figure we can negotiate it so long as we tie ourselves to ropes . . . Alix our cleric has the most difficulty and swings from her ropes for a while, but eventually we all manage to make it to the other side, having mostly destroyed the ledge, which crumbles away — meaning it will be tricky to retrace our steps.

Ah well, onwards and upwards!

We proceed down the tunnel, until we see in the distance an opening into what looks like a large chamber inside the mountain . . . And that is where we lay down our dice and give our heart-rates time to return to normal. (Mine was thudding and scudding all over the place.)

Once again, I really thought Ash was going to die during this session. Every time we play, it seems inevitable. And yet she keeps pulling though somehow. She also regained her lost constitution points, thanks to Alix’s Restoration Spell, but has now got damaged armour, which is not ideal.

I’m really looking forward to the next session — hopefully in about four weeks — and I haven’t a clue what will happen next!

Trick question for canny readers — how many separate staircases did we use in  yesterday’s session?

14 comments

  1. I’m always struck by the eloquent storytelling that takes place during your games. I never understood the draw to the game until I read your posts on it. I can see now why people find it so intriguing and fun, especially those who really enjoy a thrilling fantasy tale.

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    1. Tami makes a good point. It’s the JOINT storytelling that makes it so attractive and so rewarding. A bit of problem solving, some acting, some capricious dice rolling … a lot of mental exercise. Good stuff! (Even if ‘relatively unscathed’ seems somewhat relative, says the guy knocked out!)

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      1. heh – well, I need to skip over some of the detail for the sake of a good story. (Note how I left out the latest evil chicken thing all together?) Mind you, if it had been Ash who got knocked out, I daresay I would have mentioned it…

        But what are you complaining about?! You’re up and about now, aren’t you? 🙂

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    2. Yeah, I daresay it needs to be experienced for the full effect, but it’s kind of like living a “choose your own adventure” fantasy movie in your head. The variables are the decisions of your companions and that fickle dice roll!

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    3. Oh, and I’m glad you’re enjoying the D&D posts and getting a small feel for the game, Tami — It’s one of the reasons I’m doing the series. So thank you!

      (The other reason is so we players remember what the hell happened last time before we play again – hehe.)

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  2. Did we go up and down 7 staircases? Oh, c’mon! And, are you sure it’s not spelt ‘eyrie’? just saying…and sorry it took me so long to see the flaming Restoration Spell.
    Alix

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    1. Hey – not sure you’re allowed to answer! Besides, I mean the number of actual staircases used, not how many times we used them…
      And, yes, Jason already pointed out it should be eyrie (in private – thanks, Lita!) and I’ve fixed it…

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    1. Yes, it’s very easy to get hooked. We only play about once a month, so it’s not too much time, and I consider it a healthy alternative to sitting at a computer – for once in a while. 🙂

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  3. Stairs? Stairs — who’s worried about stairs? It’s the claustrophobic tunnels that are killing me — almost literally. Can you imagine the weight of all that rubble? The choking dust. Scrabbling backwards to get yourself free and finding yourself trapped, in an air-pocket, in absolute darkness. No clues as to whether your friends have survived — whether, in fact, you’ve caused their demise. No clues as to whether anyone is mounting any kind of rescue mission for you — for any of them. And so you light your lantern and begin the slow task of digging yourself out, but the air becomes stale and warm, and dizziness claims you. You snuff out your lantern, praying to almighty Phanator that rescue is at hand. Darkness presses in. You imagine there are bugs scratching at your skin. Your head swims with stars, perhaps the last sky you’ll ever see. And then a rush of cold air. Sweet air. Sweeter air than you’ve ever tasted. A fleck of light. A welcome voice and hand. And so I stand in the debt of my brave companions: our fearless ranger, our noble wizard, our wise cleric and our rakish rogue. For each of them, I shall say a thousand prayers of thanks to Phanator and let them know I shall repay the debt I owe them in kind.

    Intan
    Paladin
    in the service of almighty Phanator

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    1. Oi, Intan! Not sure the rogue had much to do with your rescue — I distinctly recall her lurking at a VERY safe distance.

      But, for my part, you’re most welcome. It turned out all right in the end… Although I really thought we were all destined to meet our maker that day.

      Ash
      Ranger

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