The party made their way up the Khar River, camping out in caves as the first snows of winter blanketed the river valley. In one cave, they found a tomb secreted beyond a narrow crawl. A skeleton wearing a copper crown sat upon a throne carved from the living granite. One hand clasped a tankard on the arm of the throne, and copper disks with gems to represent the sun and moons hung from either side of the headrest. Its other arm hung across the arm, with several bones scattered round a thick but dry-rotted spear. After negotiating a cunning pit trap, they looted the tomb, even taking the iron spearhead.
Not willing to leave well enough alone, one of the rogues moved the skeleton to examine the throne. Suddenly a creature of nightmare arose from the throne. Pallid grey skin on a bulbous body, it swung one massive clawed arm at the rogue, flinging him backwards into the pit. The rest of the party struggled back into this back section as the beast jumped down and felled the rogue. The other rogue flung his torch at the beast, and another sent a dagger spinning toward it. The torch guttered, sending the party into blackness. Kwadyr intoned several strange words, and his dagger began to glow softly, lighting the cave. The monster leaped from the pit, sinking its claws into the second rogue. They struggled, and then the rogue followed his companion to the bottom of the pit.
The sounds of Ettien’s banjo came from the back of the cave, enlivening the party and bolstering their spirits against this fell beast of the netherworld. Ridonaer stabbed the beast in the side with his dagger, but the wound healed almost immediately. Jake and Arushetaur joined the fray, and Jake drove his mining pick into its chest, releasing a spray of reeking black ichor. Between the three of them, they wore the monster down, and finally it dropped, lifeless to the ground. Before they could do anything, though, the body collapsed, seeming to melt into the very rock, leaving but a noxious vapor where it had once been.
After several more days, the party reached Khar Falls Hold, where they have been granted one night of rest and recuperation as friends of Nyles. Along the way they made staves at one of the rare copses of trees, and Jake bound the spearhead to one as a spear for Ettiene.
The party managed to escape prison yesterday. They even avoided a prolonged underground slog.
Two sessions ago I decided to pull out the original opening, and give the party some old-fashioned combat. A section of tunnel in the back of the mines collapsed, and monstrous centipedes poured in. One of the miners was apparently wearing a red shirt, and died immediately. The party's heavy fighters were all working that section, and waded in to fight off the bugs. The rest of the party came running to investigate the sound of collapse and check on their friends. They arrived in time to lend some support and chase the last of the centipedes back into the hole with fire.
The internal guards used stone to seal up the tunnel. Since it was an exploratory shaft and not an active mine, it was no loss for them, and prevented further incursion of bugs. They sent the party to the infirmary to get checked out. While there, the smuggler managed to pocket several small items, including a vial of poison. The very next day, he talked his way into the kitchens and dumped the vial into dinner.
With the guards (who eat first) doubled over in pain from the poison, the party slipped off into the mines to unblock the hole and escape. As they rounded the corner to the shaft entrance, they found a contingent of guards waiting for them. The slick smuggler again came to the rescue, and actually talked the guards into joining them. They helped clear the plug, and were getting ready to escape when the internal warden showed up to (at least in theory) trap the party between his squad and the first one. That is where I left the party for a month.
The next session opened with the battle. The warden stood back and used his own power of persuasion to turn the turncloak guards back to his side, which was a slight problem for the party since half were in the back. The heavies dealt with the new guards while the rogues fought off the double traitors. Finally the warden stopped the fight, allowing the party to leave through the cavern.
A shallow stream at one end of the cavern flowed through a worn tunnel. The party scented fresh air, and headed upstream, past a few rat and dire rat nests, and up a series of slick cliffs to a fissure crack. After much effort and several tumbles, they made their way up the dripping cracks and out to the top of the mountain ridge overlooking town. In the dark of night they scrambled down the slope, past the temple, and a few slipped into town to "liberate" some non-convict clothing from a shop. Then they stole north out of town, following the river upstream to the Khar River Gorge and dwarven territory.
I may need to give them the opportunity to liberate some better gear from somewhere. Perhaps orcs.
Today was the second session of my new monthly game. The players wanted to start out in prison, so I obliged. I just so happen to be working on the first Campaign Starter for the World of Rhallen, and it includes one for incarcerated party. I started them out at 1st level, partly because tow players are 6 and partly to introduce my world to other new players. Thus they started out as new convicts being processed in and thus, completely unequipped.
Before the first session I laid everything out, along with some means of introducing monsters into the prison. After the first hour I mentally removed those from the plan. I have run many, many games, and the party always seems drawn to dungeon-crawl style adventures and short visits into cities to re-supply. Suddenly I find that one character is fomenting revolution within the prison, another is trying to carve out a gig for himself as a bookie, and a third has blundered his way into a prime position to smuggle mine produce and become a funding source for the party and other gangs.
This session the funding source took a job stealing a shovel from the mines, and pulled in the rest of the party (which is mostly rogues, rangers, and bards). Then commenced a comedy of errors that started with some badly timed bad Move Silently rolls. The plan was for the smuggler and the revolutionary to sneak past the guards into the mines to steal a shovel, while the bookie sneaked (I thought it was 'snuck' but spellcheck disagrees) into and scoped out the guard section. Meanwhile an NPC sneaked into the kitchens to scope out that area.
The bookie waited for the smuggler and the revolutionary to get through. Unfortunately, just as the smuggler got close, he stumbled into a scattering of rubble. He froze, and escaped detection. Then, to distract the guards, he threw a large rock past them outside the light cast by their torches. One went to investigate, but the smuggler stood there and waited until he got back to report that it looked like someone threw a rock. While he was being apprehended, the bookie used that as a distraction to dart across and into the hallway leading to the guard section. He ducked around a pair coming to check out the commotion, and then picked the lock (with a wooden spoon) and was in. Meanwhile, the revolutionary took the opportunity to sprint into the unguarded mines. It all worked out in the end, except that the smuggler is now working in the goat pens.