LIGHTING THE WEREWOLF POPE ON FIRE: The Annals of Stonehell Dungeon – Season 1 – Eleventh Session

The Annals of Stonehell are the weekly record of the semi-seasonal game of D&D that I run using the brilliant Michael Curtis’s Stonehell dungeon.  (Go and buy it now; it’s worth every dang penny.)  All installments are indexed here.

September 1, 2016

Back to the Quiet Halls!  But only for a few minutes, because snake men are downstairs!  After the previous week’s slaughter, the party (consisting of a mix of new player characters and old player characters who hadn’t been present the previous week) decided to keep exploring the Quiet Halls, hoping to find that big gem.  So they headed off in a different direction from the teleport glyph and found a spiral stairway down to the Reptile House, a region of Stonehell known to have once been the territory of a terrible cult of snake men.

Glory Holes!  After wending their way through a few corridors and chambers with ruined reptilian statuary, the party found an octagonal room with an unusual stone pedestal, topped with a statue of a four-headed cobra, rearing to strike in every direction.  On each side of the pedestal was a hole of disturbing size and elevation.  (“I thought this was a God-fearing house!” exclaimed one player.)  Eventually, someone stuck an iron spike (an actual iron spike; that’s not a bold euphemism) into one of the holes, which freed the statue to be able to  turn.  Pretty sure this was a trap, most of the party left the room and the thief wrangled a rope around one of the cobra heads and got out of the way to pull the statue around.  Unsurprisingly, this caused each of the cobra heads to spray green, poisonous gas into the room.  Also unsurprisingly, the player characters decided that this was not worth messing with.

The teleportation hub!  It was the last session of the summer, so the party decided, screw it, they were going to go back to the teleport glyph hub from the previous session (you know, the one that led to the total party kill)to see what they would find, for better or worse.  The party spent some time exploring the different teleport glyphs, mostly a matter of popping somewhere, taking a quick look-see, and popping back, and always worried that the Vrilya were going to find them and wipe them out again.  But then, one of the glyphs led completely out of the dungeon…

…to the stables?  Indeed!  The sixth teleportation glyph actually les to a little-used storage cellar underneath the stables of St. Nenno’s Abbey, miles away from Stonehell dungeon and the home base of an order of clerics in the service of Pope Borian Wolfric I, a regional pope whose lycanthropy is a well-known secret.  The party, appearing as if from nowhere, was quickly taken into a kind of “friendly” custody, and brought to a cell (the kind that monks pray in, not the kind prisoners are left to rot in… although it turns out it was able to serve either purpose admirably) to await questioning.

Questioned by the Reeve!  And then the werewolf pope himself!  The pope’s reeve came and tried to wrench the player characters’ story from them, but the player characters sensed a hidden agenda and kept their mouths shut.  A secret backdoor entrance to multiple locations in the dungeon could be of immense tactical value.  Eventually Pope Wolfric himself came to try to force the player characters to talk.  Of course, players being players…

THEY LIT THE WEREWOLF POPE ON FIRE!  AND THEN THEY ALL DIED!  Seeing where the situation was headed, and given that it was the last session of the summer, the party decided to go all in, and laid into Pope Wolfric with an alpha strike—bringing every possible weapon, resource and magical spell to bear directly on him, and the room, as possible.  And for first level characters, that means mostly vial after vial of flaming oil.  You heard that right, they doused the werewolf pope and his abbey in like a thousand Molotov cocktails, until he died.  It was a conflagration of apocalyptic proportions.  The death toll was incredible.  Wolfric’s men didn’t stand idly by, either, and as they burned to death in the greasy flames, they took all of the player characters out with them.  All, that is, except one: a kobold, played by Chris, who squeezed through the tiny window and scampered back to the stables, the teleport glyph, and the (relative) safety of Stonehell…

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