A little later in the week than expected, but I’ve been rushing to beat some self-imposed deadlines so that I’ve articles scheduled to come out for clients while I’m away on honeymoon – now that I’ve managed that, I can do some writing on my own time..!
This week we managed to avoid most of the previous technical sound issues – although we found that those of us using the built-in microphones in our laptops could suddenly create an awful lot of noise if we started typing rapidly all at the same time. I think I’ll switch my settings next time to use the mic in the webcam, and see if that works any better. Our otherwise stripped down approach to using the system continues to work, although I think it’s safe to say we’re all starting to appreciate the value of macros and actually doing the work required to plug values in for statistics and critical skills and abilities. Even running a 1st Edition AD&D game, there are plenty of things that could run more smoothly if we did some setup (and I’m mostly talking about myself and my own convenience here – nothing like trying to suddenly remember the number of dice needed to roll for a flame strike spell at a certain level cast by a magic item to focus your attention).
In terms of what happened this week – our intrepid explorers have picked up the next part of their mission – to infiltrate another overrun temple – this time by making their way through abandoned mines and warrens beneath the complex to avoid the massed armies that have taken over the area. The reason for taking this route is that it is apparently the route that the lone survivor of the assault took to flee the invaders. He got lost on the way out, stumbled through the cave network and away to freedom.
Aiming to follow the trail left through the caves as best we could (cue a ranger looking moderately horrified), we took down a number of goblins guarding the entrance and hid the bodies, realising this meant that the invaders had likely fortified this approach to some degree. A slow exploration of the caves led us to a choice – head west towards signs of kobold activity (highlighted by graffiti, tracks and noise) or north, which while still having graffiti on the walls was a lot quieter.
Opting to try and sneak around signs of activity, we duly headed north – and straight into the lair of a monstrous hydra that had eaten the kobolds in the stretch of caves we’d headed into. With over half the party surprised by its sudden assault, the monks deployed magic items (hence the sudden need to work out the damage for a flame strike), and tried to pummel it into submission.
Being somewhat tougher than opponents battled to date, the hydra recoiled from the flame strike, more or less ignored the pummelling, trampled a few people and then spat poisonous venom at some hapless soldiers, melting them rather rapidly. With the whole party able to join the fray, an epic struggle began, with spells fizzling out in contact with the creature more often than not, and its armoured hide deflecting most of the attacks aimed at it.
The tide turned when the rather erratic priest accompanying the group changed tactics. Rather than directing attacks at the beast itself, he instead summoned creatures to fight on the party’s behalf – hoping that they would be more than a match. Four owl bears duly appeared from a rift in reality – or possibly elsewhere in the caves, it was hard to tell at this point – and… well they basically ate the hydra, and the wizard burned the remains to make sure they couldn’t regenerate and come back to haunt us. I’m reminded of how the Hulk defeats the Big Bad in The Ultimates…
A search of the area revealed a treasure trove that was quickly divided up for ease of carrying – including a protective amulet claimed by the wizard, and an enchanted scimitar. Gathering ourselves, we began to check for any way forward, only to find a number of dead ends. It looked like we would have to go towards the sounds of activity after all.
The evening ended with our scout turning a corner and running straight into a kobold.
cue freeze frame, ready for mayhem next week…