We ran the third session o the Tomb of the Serpent Kings by Skerples in late September, and a new one is coming up. The first session is here , and the second one is here.
2 of the 7(!) players were missing, making for a more manageable session. They are:
The original crew:
Elrond, a Low Elf knight and historian. I informed the player that low elves are still much better than humans, and he proceeded to roll better stats than anyone else
Smartas, the human Illusionist. Has a fear of cheese. The new player, sarcastic but momentarily out of inspiration, came up with this fetching name. We grabbed random miniatures and hers was much bigger than the others so it was agreed that this was an unfortunate residual illusion that had never left her, and she appeared to be 7 feet tall. Also has the most HP in the party.
Twitch the human thief. Rolled 10 in every stats except 12 in con and 8 in charisma. The perfect "this is a playable character". An ex brigand, a bit dubious about the whole affair.
The new PCs - an arcane heavy group.
Gildorf the dwarven Summoner. The leader of the newcomers. Here to kill goblin. (player used to be Argus). Not the best entities but good hp at least.
Trogdor the human fighter: World weary. Had ok-ish stats but chose human to reroll strength and got 10 instead of 5. Playable character! The muscle of the group. (missing this session)
Min the gnome. A garden mage with mediocre stats. Player was enamored with the invisibility power, also plays a druid in the main game so... a bit of a match. Got magic missile as a spell! (missing this session)
Sabriel the Elven Necromancer. A new player, very excited to explode corpses.
Dwane: a rock. This collection soon grew...
The party returned to the surface after their foray below, feeling they needed to refresh before attempting the basilisk room. They heard strange voices in the dark, but no clear source could be found. Elrond thinks that the party is imagining things - see it's just a rabbit. Trogdor shoots at it and misses badly.
As they are preparing to go, skipping breakfast - rations are low - the gnome Min starts sneezing badly and vanishes. Trogdor decided to go look for him, and Greg the priest follows. The party is sad to be lacking Trogdor's and Min's assistance but... Greg the priest, not so much.
(in my notes it is said that Min may actually be Milo. I have no idea what this means...)
More rocks are acquired, to replace Chuck lost to the chasm: The third rock from the sun, Rock and Roll the fourth, and Skip the Fifth. There aren't many torches left either but at least the party has a few extra spears and shields, so in they go!
Upon reaching the room with the murky pool and the multiple doors, the party decided to explore the doors they hadn't examined yet - easier money than facing a basilisk perhaps?
One door had angry banging behind it - the party decided to leave that one alone. Behind another stood what seemed like a promising tomb. Alas, the trap finding efforts had gotten a bit too cursory, and Sabriel got blasted in the face by a powerful bolt of lighting... but survived (0 HP!). She decided to "take a breather" while the rest examined the tomb. Twitch, despite his modest stature, opened the heavy stone lid easily, despite Gildorf "helping" by pressing *down* on the lid.
Inside the coffin, they find an ivory tube (worth 5 gp!) with a spell of acid arrow inscribed inside, which Smartas decides to promptly learn. There is also a golden plate on the wall, twisted from heat damage - it contained the now free lighting bolt - but still worth 10 gp from the gold content. Twitch eagerly pried it from the wall.
Sabriel, feeling better after lunch (7hp!) , is delighted to learn that the coffin also contains a well preserved snakeman mummy - a corpse! No need to pretend with Greg the priest not around! And because it's desiccated, it's not very heavy and can be dragged around. It's also pleasant smelling - Xizor is definitely one of the better corpse of her career.
The next tomb has no magical trap... but the mummy inside is a mess - the job was botched, and a *black pudding* rises from the coffin, to the party's terror. Elrond faces it bravely, and proceeds to miss it several time with his sword. The pudding fiercely... returns the favor, and can't connect with the elven knight. It then turns its furry on Gildorf, melting the dwarve's shield. The rest of the party doesn't stand by and pelts the monster with with thrown exploding corpses (Oh Xizor the Mummy, we hardly knew ye!), spears and an acid arrow spells which finally finishes it off. Gildorf also summoned his strange stone arrow... but the shot missed.
For all this trouble, the party finds a few rings worth a total of 2 gp, and feels a bit disappointed. Still treasure is starting to build up.
Now having explored every door (or at least considered them) and unwilling to dive into the murky pool, the party returns to the basilisk's lair. Their contraction - blankets held up by saplings to hide themselves from the basilisk's eye - works, although there is a fair amount of terror as two of said blankets are turned to stone and shatter! The party dives into the room that Twitch had found in the dark, not sure what would be there but hoping it would be safe.
Keeping out of sight of the basilisk, the group assesses it option. A corridor sloping down is deemed best left for later... it smells of goblins. A side room contains three magical stone eggs. The party determine that if they are covered in mammalian blood, they will generate heat for a day (repeated uses needs new blood). They aren't quite sure what they are worth, but they must be worth *something*. Another hallway leads further away from the basilisk's lair ... but Twitch doesn't like how it looks. What's up with the raised tiles?
Dwayne the Rock is chucked down the hallway. Click! Blades stars swinging down from the ceiling, going back and forth. Do they have to go through *that*? .... but this is followed by a few alarming creaks and twangs... and with an infernal racket the entire things collapses, sending springs, gears and rubble all over. Twitch proudly announced that the trap is disarmed!
The party presses on. The next room is guarded by two *extremely* life-like statues of snakemen warriors. The party passes them warily, and the statues do not animate. A hallway leads on, sloping downward, and the party decides to ignore it for now and decides to explore the side rooms instead.
One is clearly a shrine, and has the statue of a cobra god. The statue has two holes at the base, and can be rotated. The party rotates counter clockwise... and with a glass breaking sound, poison gas is released, flooding the area. The party coughs and hacks and curses, but everyone survives. The party backs off and selects a volunteer (Twitch) to try the other way... and a *shower of gold* is released! 144 gold coins spill forth, to the delight of the party. Elrond is particularly ecstatic - *now* we're talking! Perhaps he can finally pay his debts.
Which much more enthusiasm, the party tries a door across the shrine. Piled in front of the door is a big pile of junk (broken shields, bent swords, candlesticks, branches). Clearing it makes a lot of noise. (but no random encounter was triggered!) Smartas finds a a single shoe... how peculiar. She determines that unfortunately, it is NOT magical, besides perhaps being the most awful tasking thing she has ever encountered.
Having finally removed the obstacle, the room beyond proves much interesting. It is separated in two branches. In one, the party finds a captive chained to the floor! Gildorf realizes that something is wrong... is that a summoning circle under the dust? Why is lovely young lady here? What have they been eating? He announces that it must be a fiend!
Negociation with the succubus - who's demeanor changed markedly when revealed - began. Gildorf traded the Succubus's freedom for a secret - the name of a creature he could summon, Postidon-Pru! - and "safety" - meaning the succubus wouldn't prey on them. She claimed that the junk was put over the door by fearful goblins. The succubus also said that she would offer them information about treasure in this place if they brought her a suitable victim (some fool, or even a goblin), it had been long since she fed. Sabriel offered the Succubus a dead rat, and the fiend answered that Sabriel should stick to Necromancy.
The party entered the other branch of the summoning room. They found altar, 2 gold bowls worth 15gp each, a +1 magic dagger, and a wavy stone snake that detects as magical - although its function was unknown.
And so we stopped, with the party laden with loot. Shall they return to the surface to resupply (and dare run by the basilisk?) Shall they press on? Will Min re-appear! Read on!
Impressions: This was an *excellent* session and everyone had fun. I wasn't ill and the number of player was a bit more manageable. They have been very lucky, so we'll see if this holds.
I note that Skerples has released a 4.0 version of the dungeon, with a better map of the bassilik's lair - this might come in very handy. I have to admire his devotion to perfecting what is already a pretty good dungeon!