Week three brought a more traditional dungeon crawl feel to the campaign; but it was one marked with more than the odd but of laughter.
Investigating the newly unsealed tunnel brought an immediate encounter with a swarm of bats that were as confused and in need of escape as the adventurers were of ingress.
Surprised and battered by the flurry of flying rodents, torches were lit to try and ward them away. The panicked addition of a vial of alchemist’s fire soon filled the air with burning bats, adding a whole new level of terror before they escaped out into the wider sewer complex.
A brief rest in the aftermath allowed a new player to join the group, and then they ventured forth into the deeper tunnels. Knowing that they were venturing into a long abandoned research forge owned by House Cannith, you might have expected a few surprises along the way.
In this instance the surprise came in the form of steam-powered prototype half golem zombies that had been set to guard the final entrance.
It was a hard fight against very tough foes. It probably didn’t help that the party’s cleric completely overlooked the zombie part of the equation and so made no attempt to Turn them.
The gargoyle that had been creeping up behind the party at the same time fortunately made some terrible attack rolls, allowing the raging half orc barbarian to make a devastating critical attack that stopped the threat in it’s tracks.
We ended the session there. If the session did anything, it served to highlight how even the brightest and most clued up players will sometimes just lose the plot. I had expected the cleric to easily Turn the mechazombies, neutralising them but putting the party in a position to make the gargoyle attack the primary set piece of the session. I instead did a little surreptitious rebalancing on the fly to lower the lethality of the encounter.
The players all know that I generally let characters doom themselves rather than setting out to get them, but at the same time I do try to get them involved in telling a story and don’t like making people feel railroaded. That’s why I don’t have any hesitation about giving extra reasonable chances for the group to dig themselves back out of trouble from time to time.
Of course next week they get to the forge itself, so all bets are off 😉