Death by Houseplant: The Annals of Stonehell Dungeon – Season 2 – Seventh 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.

July 20, 2017

The following murderhobos were present and murderhoboin’ around:

  • “Hot Pot” Sullivan (halfling thief) and her henchman, Bob Agamemnon (fighter)
  • Unknown Zorick (magic-user)
  • Reader Stedda (cleric) and his henchman, Bootblack (thief)
  • Fast Fist Forbinn (fighter) and his henchman, Conchobar (fighter)
  • Brother Criam from Qualer (cleric) and his henchman, Burt Slime (fighter)
  • Thepp the Squinter (thief) and his henchman, Big Ol’ Roy (fighter)

This week the Cobalt Cobras began where they left off last time, trapped in a web and facing down a cluster of spellspiders.  But, as it turns out, the answer was to just try talking to them.

A terrible price, a macabre bargain, and a careful withdrawal!  The spellspiders were more willing to parley than the party had initially thought, so the Cobalt Cobras were at least able to stave off immediate and certain death.  Instead, they just had to give up Unknown Zorick’s spellbook—an insanely steep price for a magic user, but better than being the spiders’ snacks.  Also, you may recall that Unknown Zorick had a battered spellbook he had taken off of the body burned in the rubble.  So he crossed his fingers and hoped the new book had better stuff in it.  Also, the spellspiders fessed up to having a copy of the comprehend languages spell, and said they’d be willing to trade it for a warm body.

Bad lettuce!  Bad berries!  The party then tangled with one of the aggressive heads of lettuce from before: a carnivorous plant monster with tentacle roots.  As a result of trying to grab some of the plant’s luscious, golden berries, Reader Stedda found himself dangling in the air and nearly eaten.  The party ultimately triumphed (that’s the most Marxist-sounding phrase ever to be entered into the annals of Stonehell), found a cool set of thorny bark armor, and went on their way.  Also, the berries turned out to be an emetic, which Reader Stedda found out the hard way.

Fern ambush!  Mushroom men!  Phosphorescence!  Ululations! A pitched battle!  And… death!  After a brief and cordial encounter with a cluster of passing spellspiders, the Cobalt Cobras hung a right down a wide hallway.  Ahead of them they saw a strange phosphorescence and heard an eerie ululating sound.  The party came to a room where weird mushroom people were digging in piles of mulch, and that’s when the ferns attacked.  Giant, razor-sharp ferns had been stalking the Cobalt Cobras, and they began slashing away at the player characters with their sword-like fronds.  The battle pulled in the mushroom men (who didn’t seem friendly), and everything seemed basically under control until a dozen more angry, grunting mushroom men came running down the hall (from the room with the glow and the ululation).  Totally surrounded, the Cobalt Cobras gave the fight their all, but they began to take casualties: Big Ol’ Roy was brutally slain, and Bob Agamemnon was skewered by a mushroom man’s spear.  The Cobalt Cobras fought their way out and ran for their lives, throwing flaming oil to cover their retreat.

Splitting the party!  Disappointment!  And death by ambulatory houseplant!  Fleeing the conflagration, half of the party took Bob Agamemnon’s body with them in the hopes that the spellspiders would accept it (they didn’t).  The other half headed to the peaceful shrine with the other bodies to set up a base and a place to sleep, but ran into another cluster of the hostile ferns on the way.  Both halves of the party re-united to fight the plants, and they were victorious, but at a cost: Burt Slime was hacked to ribbons by the ferns’ sword-like fronds.

A terrible smell unleashed!  And resting in peace!  In both senses!  Back at the peaceful shrine, the player characters were reminded that it had no door, so they went and stole the door from the room with the huge rotten fish, unleashing an incredibly putrid smell throughout the Hothouse.  It was worth it, though—after an uninterrupted memorial service, the party buried Big Ol’ Roy, Bob Agamemnon and Burt Slime in the rubble of a collapsed wall and then barricaded themselves in the shrine and slept a peaceful night, disturbed only by nervous thoughts of their contractual obligations to the henchmen’s families.

A new battle standard!  And desperate measures!  In the morning, Thepp the Squinter took Big Ol’ Roy’s torn blue jerkin ant affixed it to the blue spear that Big Ol’ Roy carried, and, with a tear in his eye for the fallen,  held it aloft as the Cobalt Cobras’ new standard.  Unknown Zorick checked out the looted spellbook and found that in fact, his gamble had paid off—it had considerably better spells than the one he had sacrificed to the spellspiders.  Still no comprehend languages, though.  And the spiders were apparently serious about wanting a live victim in trade.  After an extended debate on the merits and morality of assisted suicide, someone remembered that the hobgoblins on level two post sentries, so the party hustled up to where they last encountered a hobgoblin picket.  Sure enough, there were two of them.  Unknown Zorick cast a sleep spell, putting them deeply out, and they snatched one of them and bound and gagged him.  “Hey, you know, I think we might actually be the bad guys” said Fast Fist Forbinn.

Skeletal baboons!  The party wrestled with the moral dilemma as they drug their captive down to the Hothouse, but they were stopped in their tracks by a clutch of skeletal baboons, baring their teeth in a territorial display (well, they’re skeletal, so they can’t not bare their teeth, but they sure didn’t look friendly).

And that’s where we left things!  On to the next session!

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