Small Men and Steampunk Monkeys: The Annals of Stonehell Dungeon – Season 2 – Tenth 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.

August 17, 2017

The following hard-assed dungeon gangsters were down in the depths and getting medieval:

  • Pralum the Coffiner (cleric) and his hefty henchman, Brother Bulbous (cleric)
  • Fast Fist Forbinn (fighter) and his henchman, Conchobar (fighter)
  • Thepp the Squinter (thief)
  • “Hot Pot” Sullivan (halfling thief)

This week, the Cobalt Cobras started out staring down the group of strange little men placing extremely precise rows of stones for no obvious reason.  The player characters tried to speak to them in all of the languages they know, but the small men just stared blankly and kept on with their unintelligible task.  So, the party decided to return the favor and just ignore the little weirdos, and press on down the hallway, following Lachesis’s instructions for how to get to the Black Library, where they hoped to find the tome that could tell them about the artifacts they looted from the Blue Tomb.  Here’s the trouble they caused along the way:

A broken mosaic!  A hidden treasure!  A trap avoided!  The party followed the line of stones into a room with an elaborate mosaic on the floor.  The mosaic was in pretty bad shape, but it looked like it was originally a map of the continent, crisscrossed with some kind of ley lines.  Too many pieces were missing to tell for sure, but it looked like a large number of the lines converged on the location of Stonehell dungeon.  Also in the room was a lectern—the player characters searched it and found a ring of invisibility on an elaborate silver chain.  While the party was deciding which passageway to explore next, a kobold work detail came into the room, picking up the stones that the small men had laid down.  The Cobalt Cobras chatted with the kobolds for a bit, and the kobolds were kind enough to let the party know that one of the passageways from this room was an illusion, and was in fact a short alcove with a pit trap.  After some climbing around to confirm the kobolds’ warning, the party proceeded down the other passageway (from which the kobolds, and apparently the small men, had come).

A tight squeeze!  Steampunk baboons!  A fighting retreat and an inferno of flame and smoke!  After picking through a room with a large planter (and planting a few of the gemstone seeds they found in the Hothouse, but not after thoroughly searching the planter for buried treasure), the party squeezed through a long, narrow hallway.  After hearing noise through a door, the party decided to investigate.  They found a storeroom full of agitated baboons (live, not skeletal), each with large parts of their bodies replaced with mechanical parts and with metal armor plates bolted on.  The baboons screamed and acted territorial, so the player characters moved further down the hallway, assumed a fighting formation, and threw a baker’s dozen flasks of flaming oil to create a barrier of flame.  The steampunk baboons were definitely deterred, but the player characters realized that they had also cut themselves off from the way they came (at least until the fires burned out).  With very little choice in the matter, they pressed on.

Arcane formulae!  Gargoyles!  Conchobar is ripped in half!  And the baboons come back!  Worried about the steampunk baboons behind them, the Cobalt Cobras hastily headed around the next corner (Lachesis had said to head right) and came to an octagonal room with strange arcane formulae inlaid into the floor (specifically, the Pythagorean theorem) and four pillars, each topped with a stone gargoyle.  The party headed around the edge of the room, trying to avoid the ominous  a2+b2=c2 in the center of the room, but, of course that put them in easy reach of the gargoyles, who sprang to life in the least surprising surprise ever.  The Cobalt Cobras fought valiantly, but the gargoyles had caught them spread out around the room so our heroes were at an extreme disadvantage.  Conchobar met a grisly end, ripped in half by a gargoyle.  After defeating the gargoyles, Fast Fist Forbinn barely had a moment to grieve (mostly because now he would have to pay out the funeral and death benefit to Conchobar’s family) before the steampunk baboons came howling into the room.  The Cobalt Cobras re-grouped, laid down a carpet of flaming oil again, and pressed on.

White robes and steel mesh gloves!  And loose change in the cushions!  After the gargoyle room, the party was thrown off by some unanticipated twists and turns in the dungeon hallway and was not sure where to go next, so they poked their heads in a few random rooms.  In one room, they found a set of wardrobes (no passages to other worlds—Hot Pot definitely checked them all) containing white robes and rusty steel mesh gloves (why?).  Fast Fist and Brother Bulbous took some of the gloves, because you never know.  The party then turned around and headed another direction, where they found a sumptuous salon filled with divans and chairs and bookshelves filled with crumbling texts.  The player characters thoroughly checked the cushions for loose change and found a few gold pieces.  (Awesome, because free treasure and XP!)

The small men’s dormitory!  Nails in the wall!  A satchel full of gold!  A wooden bowling set!  The party went around another corner, hoping to find the Hall of Lenses, but instead found a common room with a passage leading off to a set of dormitory rooms  The common room was furnished with small, dusty furniture, a set of mugs, and a strange device that looked like a weird old espresso machine with brass gears.  The first of three dormitories had a recently-slain body of one of the small men, and an array of nails pounded into the wall in some sort of precise geometric pattern.  The second room had a satchel stuffed with gold and a bunch of the small men’s clothes.  The third room had a little wooden bowling set, which the player characters looted.  Their investigation of the dormitories complete, the party decided to head back to the robing room (with the wardrobes, where they had gotten the steel mesh gloves), and try one of the other doors in that room.

A screaming door!  The hall of lenses!  Bugbears!  And Fulkth!  Whoever that is!  The door, upon being opened, immediately began screaming.  The through the screaming door was a large hall containing big lenses mounted on poles set in the ground (the Hall of Lenses!  Probably!), as well as a half-dozen hulking bugbears and a magic-user with a skullcap and an oily goatee.  One of the bugbears sauntered over to the Cobalt Cobras, looked them over, and gruffly said, “Oh.  It’s you guys.”

What will happen next?  On to the next session!

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