DATE: August 1, 2021
ALT TITLE: Sack of Fries
PLAYERS: HA, EB, AB, EC, LC, AJ
Lane Weaver (AB) was drugged by a faun in a tweed jacket. Patrick Weaver (HA) shape-shifted into a fruit fly and is stuck in a very quiet room. Myra (LC) and Veleris (EB), was retconned into going with Myra to find Lane. Emma Frog (EC) and Aranna Weaver (AJ) went down a hallway to the North.
Yes, The Snack Club have split into not two, not three... but four different groups inside a dungeon.
Spoilers ahead for Gavin Norman's "The Hole in the Oak" (OSE)
There's not going to be a huge recap this week as The Snack Club were mostly dungeon crawling through this module, but let's jump in. As Emma Frog, Aranna and four Knives walk towards a river, a few frogs hop North. Emma throws a pebble at one to see if it's a hallucination (like Lane's gnome from last session). It's not (but the gnome wasn't either), and the injured frog leaps away.
Meanwhile, Veleris and Myra follow a winding hallway to where Lane had gone. They see the same table with the same dainty bell, ring it, and a very polite faun comes out to greet them. The faun invites them in and offers them tea and crumpets in the study room. Veleris and Myra both refuse to consume it (because they're meta-gaming), but don't do anything about it either. They make some lame excuse about having eaten already and leave. As they leave, they decide to burn down the evil roots that steal items. The entire dungeon rumbles ominously.
Meanwhile, Patrick the fruit-fly sneaks under the door and into another. Sees giant fire beetles feeding on a lizard corpse. Flies out, flies into another room, it's stalactites, then a hallway with a bunch of small holes in the wall. Does nothing. Flies back.
Meanwhile, Lane Weaver wakes up. He's tied up on a bed, naked. The faun, Ramius, comes in and is delighted he's up. He starts feeding him food. Lane refuses the food. The faun calls in two female fauns. One holds his head, another pinches his nose so his mouth will open. Ramius feeds a spoonful of cake, and sweetmeats into his mouth. Lane refuses to swallow. Ramius punches him in the ribs. "Swallow, or I'll keep punching you!" Lane is being fattened up.
Back to Emma and Aranna, there are dead bodies tangled in old rotten vines on the wall. They walk past. And suddenly, they hear the Knives behind them screaming. "Help! We're being attacked!". The corpses are ghouls and they are hungry for human flesh. They slash at and kill three Knives. It's Emma and Aranna left. They fight the best they can, but it's no use. Aranna is clawed and chewed on by a ghoul. Emma the same, but the ghoul's bite causes paralysis. They start dragging Emma away to feast on. Aranna shoots futile arrows at the ghouls.
Meanwhile, Veleris and Myra backtracks to where Emma and Aranna had gone. They pick Aust up from the entrance and they hurry to where the ghouls are. They quickly cut down the ghouls and save Emma from being lunch for the ghouls. Emma transfers her cure wounds spell to Myra with the weird blood. He cures Aranna, Emma and himself.
Meanwhile, Lane is still being force-fed by the three fauns.
Meanwhile, Patrick has realized that the tunnel behind him was completely unexplored. He turns back. As he flies down the tunnel, he sees several figures approaching. It's the rest of the Snack Club! Patrick has found his friends. Turns back into a human.
Aranna, Emma, Veleris, Myra, Patrick and Aust walks up into the faun's home. They tell Patrick to turn back into a fruit fly to go ahead and explore. They ring the bell. Ramius appears.
Saving Private Weaver
Aranna (again, metagaming), accuses the faun of kidnapping his brother to be eaten. The faun (who's never met Aranna), asks who her brother is. Aranna screams, "don't play dumb with me!" This entire conversation is silly, of course, because even if the faun knew who Aranna's brother is, he'd deny kidnapping him. So after some more pointless words, Aranna nocks her bow and fires at the faun. At this, the faun bleats for help and runs. Four floating sheep skulls come rushing into the foyer and butts their bony head into Aranna, causing severe damage.
Lane and Myra bash two of the floating skulls out of the air, shattering them. Emma Frog attempts magic bulwark, fails. Aust knocks one down, Aranna fires an arrow at it. It crumples into dust. They continue down the spiraling hallway to the study room. Meanwhile, Patrick the Fruit Fly had flown ahead and found a kitchen where two female fauns are cooking. He sees Ramius rush in, rummages through the cupboard, throwing items onto the floor, finds a potions, chugs it and turns invisible. Back in the bedroom, a bound Lane struggles and rolls off the bed. Ouch.
Back in the study, The Snack Club don't notice anything until a few of the Knives get knocked down by the invisible faun. Aranna decides the best way to locate the invisible faun is to spin around blindly with her quiver. She accidentally trips over one of the upholstered chairs and suddenly, it's alive and it's gnawing at her. The books too, come to life and falls on the Snack Club. It's raining words! Lane, Veleris and Myra cut up the chairs. There's fabric and cotton and jute burlap all over the floor now. And books.
Meanwhile, Patrick the Fruit Fly go past the kitchen and into a bedroom to find a bound and naked Lane Weaver squirming on the ground. Patrick reverts to human form, unties him and looks around. Lane gets up, sees a chest and tries to open it. It's locked. He picks it up in an attempt to smash it. It's too heavy. But he got a good deadlift in.
The rest of the Snack Club go into the kitchen. The two female fauns are cowering in a corner. Aranna aims an arrow at them and tells them to run before she changes her mind. They run, bleating as goat-people do. They head into the bedroom and see Lane doing a deadlift on a chest. Nobody is impressed. Veleris picks the lock. It's got chunks of human flesh, neatly butchered. Ropes. Treasure (gems). And all of Lane's stuff. Myra tries to be helpful and casts cure wounds. It misfires. And a fog floods the room and nobody can see now.
Emma Frog and Veleris stick their arms out like Blind Man's Bluff to find their way out of the room and back into the kitchen. Emma finds some herbs for tea, it appears to be a sedative. Makes you sleepy. Veleris finds a recipe book for cooking man-flesh. Patrick raises his arm in victory and shouts, "cannabilism!" And takes the book, sticks it in his rucksack.
They head out back to the wall of faces. Emma and Veleris donate 5gp each to get another clue for the dungeon. Myra punches one of the faces. They all vanish. No more hints for The Snack Club.
A River Runs Through Aust
More backtracking now. All the way back up to where the ghouls almost killed Emma Frog and Aranna. They find a pile of treasure and a row boat. It can fit three of them. I tell them that people with heavy armor can easily slip and drown in the river. That means Lane and Aust are not interested in getting on that boat. Patrick turns into a dolphin again and Myra gets on him, swims down. Emma, Veleris and Aranna get in the boat, row downstream, see a bank, a bridge, another bank and they keep going, except the rush of water is getting louder and louder. Veleris screams, "waterfall!!!"
They roll hard upstream. Fail. Again... fail again... now they're about to fall into who-knows-where. Emma Frog casts dimension door. A door opens in the boat. It's just enough for her to take one other person with her. It's Sophie's Choice. Aranna or Veleris? Her partner-in-crime, or the pickpocket. The kids argue. I rush them. I tell them they better decide fast or I'm throwing all three of them down the waterfall. Emma suggests rock-paper-scissors, then an odds-or-evens die roll. Veleris wins. Emma and Veleris jump into the dimension door and reappear on the nearest bank. Aranna is about to fall into the waterfall. She has to make two strength checks to get out. She succeeds once. She's not out of the fire yet. She rolls again. And she rolls... exactly 13... her strength... which is a success. Aranna has managed to roll upstream to shore.
Meanwhile, Aust and Lane are doing... nothing? Their messenger stone vibrates? rings? Starts speaking? I'm not sure what the mechanics of magic cell phones are. But Emma tells Lane where they're at and what happened. The Snack Club discuss how to get reunited. Again. Emma attempts dimension door again to get to them. It fails. It's lost for the day. Lane then pulls out his basket of tentacle suckers from the Pit. He's going to climb on the cave walls by the river to reach them. He, surprisingly, makes it. Then he calls to Aust to do the same. Remember. Both these guys are tanks with full plate armor. If they fall in, they have a good chance of drowning. And Aust? He fails his check. He falls into the river. He's got a one-in-six chance of drowning. AB rolls for absent OR. This could be it. OR's character could die in his absence. AB rolls... it's a 5. Aust has managed to swim to the next bank without drowning!
But now, The Snack Club are separated again.
Gnomes, Troglodytes, and Sweet, Sweet Vengeance
Emma's party finds the part of the cave where gnomes live. They wander around. EC is drawing the only map in the game and is getting frustrated nobody else is. Veleris and Aranna offer to draw a map as well.
Meanwhile, Aust and Lane find a room with fishbones littered all over the ground, fish heads on hooks hanging from the ceiling, and a putrid rotting smell. They walk into the room, and are attacked by three troglodytes. With two tanks the battle isn't even fair. They slice up the foul beasts in spite of the stench. They leave the room and head into giant hall of six large statues of kings. Lane smacks one with the broadside of his sword.
Emma's party continues to explore and wander, hoping to reunite The Snack Club. At one point, they find their way through two gnome homes back to the wide tunnel Patrick had gotten lost in previously. They backtrack, walk down another hallway... and find themselves in the hall of king statues!
The Snack Club are reunited once again. And as they're exploring the Hall of Kings... an absent-minded Ramius is carrying laundry to the river. He sees them. They see him. He starts running. Aust and Lane chase him down and mow him down. Aranna gets a kill shot. Sweet vengeance. They killed Mr. Tumnus, er, I mean Ramius.
We're back to dungeon crawl mode: They explore another hall. Get attacked by a giant crab spider. Look inside a magic mirror and activate a spectral hunter and his two ghost dogs. Get cut by a blade trap. It's getting to the point where they're just tired and beat up. There's an absurd segment of the party that wants to keep dungeon crawling despite being low on health, low on spells, and weapons chipped and dulled. The party finally decides that they've done all they can in this dungeon and need to leave, rest up and come back. Emma Frog wanders alone for a bit more, and sees a ghostly Lizardman and Knight fighting. She too, realizes, there's not much she can do without spells and health.
We Should Take a Break
The Snack Club leave the dungeon with Emma's grappling hook and head back to Gnamph Nar to rest up. They upgrade some weapons. Upgrade some armor. They deposit their treasure in the Wyrmskull network of banks. It's getting late IRL. Veleris suggests heading back to the dungeon before the next session. But on their way back... they are ambushed by six Dolmenwood Drunes!
Green magic missiles are firing off everywhere. They do some serious damage to the entire party. The Drunes don't let up and rush forward to attack. They smash skulls. Everyone's getting hurt. And one drune brings his staff down on Veleris. Hard. He was already suffering from third degree burns from the magic missiles, and this one hit, this one critical hit... ends his life. Veleris, the pickpocket, the master thief who survived the Masks of Lankhmar, the People of the Pit, the Ganglords of Lankhmar... who saved many of The Snack Club's lives from deadly traps was beaten to death.
There was no churro, Dorito or donut formation when they were attacked. It was an all out brawl. And Veleris paid with his life. Aust, Lane and Myra manage to kill four of the Drunes, Aranna with another kill shot. Emma with return magic missile fire. But it was not enough to save Veleris's life. The last two drunes retreat and yelled, "We'll come back for you, Weavers! We know your names now!"
Rest in peace, Veleris.
The Snack Club's Portfolio
Stored in Wyrmskull Vault
(Deposited Year of the Worm, Month of the Eagle, Day of the Fox)
- 19 Ice Necklaces x 200gp = 3,800gp
- 12 Ice Jewels x 150gp = 1,800gp
- 9 Chests of Gold = 8,756gp
- 5 Opal x 200gp =1,000gp
- 1 Ruby x 800gp = 800 gp
Hidden Cache in Great Forest b/w Mlurg Nar & Gnamph Nar: 610gp
Chekhov's Ticking Time Bombs
- There's not much new stuff here. The Snack Club activated a spectral hunter and two ghost dogs. Emma Frog has lost magic missile again. And they're about to head back into the hole in the oak.
- Thork may be dead, but his wife Aranna isn't. Her inheritance? 800gp of debt to the cult of Loki.
- Emma Frog, Aust Booker, and Patrick Weaver are all fugitives?? How many prisoners did Emma free?
DM Notes to Myself
Many of our adventurers nearly died today. Emma was almost eaten by ghouls. Aranna the same. Lane was almost eaten by a faun. Patrick almost got crushed as a fruit fly. Lane and Aust fought troglodytes on their own, but I can't imagine them living longer by wandering alone. It boggles my mind why this party continues to split-up in dangerous situations. And worse... into four different groups. It makes no sense.
It also doesn't make sense to me when the tanks go off on their own instead of staying with and defending the party.
And mapping. Mapping is an essential part of dungeon crawling. And if The Snack Club is to survive a large dungeon like this one, it's imperative they track where they've been so they can backtrack and explore correctly. Otherwise, they'll get lost and I'll keep sending random encounters at them.
Finally, I am very, very confused by The Snack Club's actions in the fight with the Dolmenwood Drunes. Why didn't Veleris run back when he had so little health left? Why did he keep fighting? Why didn't his crew protect him? Why didn't Myra step in to cast cure wounds? Why was everyone just bashing the drunes as if they're all tanks? Why didn't they use a formation and regroup?