After another Real-Life inspired haitus (“inspired” isn’t really the word — real life interfered, darn it!), we return to our intrepid adventurers marooned on the Isle of Dread.
As our heroes approached the lake-side village, primitively-dressed men came out and began shouting at them. As the adventurers approached, the villagers made a half-hearted attempt to deter them by chucking spears at them. The spears landed far short; it was obviously not meant as a serious attack. Upon seeing the adventurers were not driven away by their aggressive posturing, one of the men separated from the other and approached them. He introduced himself and offered them greetings.
They explained to him why they were there and hoped the villagers could help them find this black pearl they were looking for. The villagers knew nothing about a black pearl, nor did they care for the rumors of treasures in the ruins. They explained the island in the middle of the lake was taboo–it was forbidden for them. They explained the only thing they knew about the island was that some former tribesman now lived in the ruins, going against the laws of their ancestors, and occasionally raided them, stealing men, woman, and children for gods’ know what purpose. Our heroes offered to travel to the ruins and search for the missing tribe members in exchange for the use of a couple of canoes. The villagers agreed, loaning them two canoes to cross the lake and threw them a feast that evening.
The next morning, they set off for Taboo Island. The dwarf, Pat, overindulged the night before (food, drink, etc.) and they were forced to leave him/her behind*. They crossed the lake uneventfully, though they lamented the fact that they only had two canoes for the 5 of them, believe it would hamper their ability to loot the ruins. They docked their canoes at the entrance to a temple. A few other canoes were already there, no doubt, belonging to the renegade tribesmen.
Inside the ruined temple were the remains of a once-mighty statue, and lit braziers. They proceeded deeper into the complex, passing into a narrow hallway choked with rubble. As they reached the end a section through which they were forced to pass single-file, they were attacked by a small group of tribesmen. Though Lorelei and Finias were stabbed a few times, they made short work of their enemies. They entered a great chamber…filled with the other men, women, and children of the tribe. A large bonfire blazed in the center of the room, the smoke escaping through a hole in the ceiling. Behind the fire was an enormous, grotesque face, with what appeared to be a doorway in its mouth. A balcony level surrounded the room and they could make out doors on that level.
Undeterred by the tribesmens’ superior numbers Finias began making demands, demands which were met with laughter of derision from the tribals. The battle began! A sleep and a hold person spell later, and the superior numbers were gone, replaced by odds that were more than even. It didn’t take them long to dispatch the remain four tribals, after which our heroes immediately dispatched all the sleeping/held tribals while the children cried and watched. Finias attempted to interrogate the children, but was answered only with howls of fear and crying.
Our heroes search the room and found a secret door that lead to a chamber overlooking the grand chamber in which the melee occurred. While the rest of the group searched the dark, dusty room, Wikki and Lorelei investigated a set of stairs within the room that lead to a platform with two peepholes through which they could view the chamber. A level protruded from the wall between the peepholes. Naturally, they pulled the lever. This caused a fine powder to be expelled from the groteque face/door in the grand chamber which then ignited, incinerating the captive children and other tribals that were hiding in nearby, unexplored rooms.
After shrugging off the loss of many innocents, they continued to explore the room, finding a trap door to a lower level when Wikki fell through the floor. The room into which he fell was filled with statues, and appeared to be partially flooded. Wikki heard the unmistakable hissing of snakes and noticed four snakes coiled around the statues in the corner of the room. He called for someone to throw a rope down to him and climbed back up.
Instead of continuing to explore the lower level, the group decided to check out the rooms off the balcony level of the great chamber, the rooms in which they heard screaming during the conflagration. They found more men and women, along with what appeared to be the tribe’s valuables. After identifying which newly acquired weapons seemed to be of the highest quality (or most likely magical, considering how they weathered the fire), they prepared to enter the lower level….
*Yes, at this point, the group still doesn’t know the gender of Pat the Dwarf, and his/her player isn’t talking.
This session really seemed to highlight a huge difference in the power levels between Basic D&D and other editions. The confrontation in the great chamber had the PCs outnumbered at least 4-to-1, yet the combat lasted all of 2-3 rounds. There is no saving throw for Sleep in Basic D&D. Hold Person has a saving throw, but I didn’t roll very well for the NPCs, so by the end of the first round, more than 75% of the opponents were rendered helpless.
It also marks the first session in which we accomplished more play than B.S. That’s not to say we haven’t been enjoying ourselves, but honestly, we’ve been spending more time talking about everything OTHER than playing D&D during most of these sessions. Maybe we’re finally getting into the groove as a group.
The next Doctor StrangeRoll game is scheduled for July 13th. I’m not sure if it’ll be D&D or Star Wars at this point; it will depend on attendance.