Hearts of Stone Episode 6: The Living Dungeon, Part 1

On the late afternoon of March 31st, Year 216 of the 13th Age, the group arrives at Concord. Dave is now wearing Calisa’s cloak, while she is in more practical drow leathers and Ssh’ta’s heavy cloak. Kowalski’s beard has been shaved off in the night by an unknown assailant. As they approach the gates, there is a minor earthquake in the hills to the northeast, which they quickly realise is a living dungeon breaching the surface.

While this is going on, the halfling shepherds who have been following the caravan driving a small flock of sheep approach X7-09 and demand payment. When he claims ignorance, they explain that their master was paid half up front for two dozen sheep to be delivered to Concord, on the understanding that X7-09 would pay the rest on delivery. The construct offers a ludicrously small amount of money, which in fairness is all he has. The halflings consider remonstrating with him, but baulk at the thought of engaging the party in fisticuffs on the basis that they will get beaten to death, and instead stomp off muttering, intending to get the best price they can for the sheep locally.

Entering the city, the party pauses on the outskirts and considers their next move. They decide that if they move quickly, they can loot the living dungeon before anyone else gets there. Ssh’ta is in one of his melancholy moods again, and he and Casila opt to find an inn and procure lodgings for the night. Dave dashes briefly into another pub, and then the main group departs.

A mile and a half outside town, they observe a stone head about forty feet across shaking itself in the air, then lying flat. Behind it, a proportionately large stony body wriggles itself into the ground, seeking comfort no doubt, much like a large reptile. Moving closer, they discover a fanged, open mouth about 15 feet across, and enter. Most move in cautiously, but the Fox has a flair for the dramatic, and throwing away his hat and cloak, leaps onto X7-09’s shoulders and declaims: “The Fox has arrived!”

Unimpressed, Hayes stuffs a turnip in Dave’s mouth, which Dave munches. Soreth calls out something in draconic. They gather in the entrance chamber, flanked by flaming braziers. X7-09 runs forward along the main corridor, and is mobbed by goblins leaping from chambers on either side of the corridor, all of whom miss him. Soreth toasts most of them, but a couple dodge out of the blast. One larger one gets away; the Fox jumps on him and stabs him with two rapiers. Briefly shaken, he reacts by impaling the Fox on his short spear from below, causing prodigious amounts of damage.

After briefly contemplating attacking the goblin in melee with the Fox, Dave shoots another one with her bow and the Fox kills his opponent with a mighty thrust, while Kowalski drops another opponent with his battleaxe. So perish all enemies of the party. Hayes now enters a side chamber from which some of the goblins came and finds it to be a crypt. While he is looting this, the skeleton inside comes to life and stabs him, but is quickly despatched. X7-09 moves among the fallen, collecting their weapons and becoming increasingly disappointed at the lack of other loot.

Kowalski moves deeper into the dungeon and, at the limit of his vision, observes a lone goblin making offensive gestures. He steps back and casts deflect on himself, going blurry as a result. Meanwhile, the others are arguing fiercely about the division of the loot from the goblins, while Soreth wades through the roasted goblins towards the chamber opposite Hayes looking for loot. She pauses to pick some bits of goblin off her feet and nibble on them.

Meanwhile, pausing only to glare at his stabber’s corpse, the Fox runs forward along the corridor to engage the lone goblin, and notes another mob of goblins hiding in side chambers on either side of the corridor, clearly intent on ambushing anyone who attacks their colleague. The Fox changes direction towards the chamber with fewer goblins; they all mob him regardless, but neither side is able to injure the other.

Kowalski calls: “Soreth, target rich environment, and they have quite a bit of loot with them!” This attracts her attention, and since it worked so well last time, Soreth runs up and uses her breath weapon again, burning seven of the nine goblins and very nearly the Fox as well. The two survivors step back, awestruck…

GM’s Notes

This session marked my first use of the Roll20 Fog of War feature, and contrary to my expectations it is easier and faster than my previous method of flipping things between layers, so it can stay. I’ve also noticed that I have to repopulate the turn order each time we move to a new map. For further study: How can I set up a cone template?

We’re now up to 44 hours total logged in Roll20, of which 13 have been actual play, so the ratio is dipping slightly below 2.5 hours prep per hour of play. I hope to see it get to 1:1 eventually. The group continues to run slowly, mostly due to unusual amounts of whisper chat (and now they have worked out how to whisper to each other that amount is more than it was), but so long as they’re all enjoying it that’s fine.

One thing I did not expect is that they use most of their icon dice to prank each other…

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2 thoughts on “Hearts of Stone Episode 6: The Living Dungeon, Part 1

  1. <>

    Now you can’t leave us hanging with just this comment – we want to know more – who did what to whom? 😉

    • Umm, I think I may have to, sorry, at least for a while – I know several of the players read this, and their secrets are not mine to reveal as yet. Once the players concerned figure out who pranked them, I’ll tell, I promise.

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