Sunday, 27 January 2013

Minotaur smack-down and a choice - Drow or Dragon?

 Just like the party but with more powers

Players are right to fear the Drow. AD&D traditionally starts hard. You have a handful of hit points and have to scramble for your wins. Then you hit mid level and a buffer of hit points protect you from mistakes. The beasts of the monster manual fall before your might, particularly creatures that are sacks of hit points with no powers. Things seem easy. Which is why Gygax introduced Drow. Drow, like players, don’t play fair. They cast spells, use poison, have magic resistance and allow the DM to indulge in mean underhanded tactics. The kicker is their sweet loot, like Drow cloaks and adamantium chainmail, decay in the sunlight. The pay-off for battling them isn’t always great. Drow were Gygax’s leveler, they make things tough again.

Which is why I was a disappointed when the group decided to avoid drow territory preferring to take their chances dragon hunting. The group love killing dragons and rightly so, they tend to be rich!

Things that happened last game were:

  • Milgos the mage thief, Betty the swordswoman, Chuck the priest and Ratnik the barbaric tribesman ventured into the silent halls of the Mountain Trolls. The signs of the Troll purge obvious to all. Great piles of burnt bones lay where the heroes had stacked them in pyres and the walls remained scarred from the assault of both magical fire and ice. Nothing was foolish enough to assault the band in this place.
  • A Minotaur outpost was discovered with the beasts seizing the initiative, charging into the narrow confines of the tunnels to do battle. This made casting area effect spells a risky proposition. Milgos fled and was head butted twice by great bull headed men who pursued. Betty barely withstood the barrage of axe blows and Ratnik fell. Chuck kept folk alive by channeling Dunethain’s power into healing spells. Soon Ratnik was back in the fight, three Minotaurs were caught in a web and the tide turned. The party had been horribly mauled by their first encounter and retreated to the city of Khare to lick their wounds.
  • In Khare Chuck scrounged some healing scrolls from the curators of the library which served as Dunethain's temple.
  • The second venture saw Milgo’s scouting and as soon as he heard the lowing of Minotaurs he let fly with a devastating fireball into the darkness. The burning Minotaurs fled in panic, setting off a crossbow trap. Those not killed by the trap had their throats slit.
  • The parties own dark elf assessed the trap and determined it was of Drow manufacture. He retrieved a number of bolts from the device then decided to leave what lay beyond the traps protection alone. As far as he knew the trap marked the beginning of Drow territory.
  • The group turned north as Milgos recalled a tale of a dragon lairing in that direction. The northern tunnels where part of an abandoned mine. Many of the tunnels looked dangerously unstable with one collapsing before their eyes.
  • Shrieking fungus sounded the alarm in a fungus covered chamber. Lizard like rooster creatures raced in to investigate. Chuck hurled a mine cart into the chamber disrupting a patch of yellow mold at a critical moment slaying two of the monsters.
  • Past the abandoned mines and fungus the group found a snake temple. In a pillared hall a huge constrictor attacked them and at one point swallowed Ratnik. The henchman was spared the indignity of dying in a snake’s stomach as the party eviscerated the creature. Chuck was so incensed at the snakes audacity for swallowing one of the Dunethain's favoured that he hacked off the head of the beast, Conan style!
  • An ominous pair of double doors was discovered beyond which the party suspect lairs the dragon. The dragon they hunt had defeated the party very early on in their careers, though Ugh is the only character to have survived that initial encounter. The band retreated to plan their next move.
Snakes often get chopped in the head

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