Hearts of Stone 27: It’s a Trap!

Posted: 11 October 2017 in Hearts of Stone
Tags: ,

Anvil Road, 8th June 216. The Fox, Hug-Hug, Pascal, Soreth, X7-09.

Party members shimmer in and out of existence on the far side of the dwarf-faced door, and when this has finished we find the party consists of The Fox, Hug-Hug, Pascal, Soreth and X7-09. Shrugging, they move on and find themselves on a stairway, which they ascend, noting with interest the hammer in a glass-fronted niche with a notice in dwarven: “In case of berserk golem, break glass.” Pursuing the stairs leads them to a door, beyond which lies a corridor.

Pascal sends X7-09 forward to investigate the mouldering bodies at the corridor’s midpoint, finding a dead elf with a bow and arrows, and a dead dwarf in scale mail with a battleaxe. Pascal joins his robot servant, as does the Fox, and on reading the elf’s diary they discern hints of a trap. When they try to leave, they discover the corridor magically extends, so that whatever they try they never get any closer to the doors at either end. Soreth and Hug-Hug have stayed on the stairs, with Soreth musing out loud about eating the goblin, and on learning of the trap, Soreth asks how much it’s worth to help the others escape. The Fox offers 40 gold pieces, and despite X7-09 refusing to admit to having any treasure, Soreth agrees and claws the door at her end to pieces.

Hug-Hug senses this is a good time to leave and sneaks away. At length, Soreth notices he is gone, and shouts into the darkness that she will track him down and kill him if he doesn’t come back. Given that this is what he expects to happen if he does come back, he keeps on sneaking.

Destroying the door doesn’t help, but X7-09 hits on the idea of walking backwards to the other door, and thus escapes. The secret of the trap now revealed, everyone tramps out through the second door, to find themselves in the large square chamber where they previously fought skeletons. A spirited debate ensues as to whether Soreth is owed any money, as X7-09 figured out the trap, but in the end the Fox pays her 28 gold, having noticed during negotiations that counting is not her strong suit.

They leave by the one door in this room that they haven’t tried, and after avoiding falling into two mineshafts bridged by decrepit planks, they replace the planks and march on, shortly reaching a corridor spiralling upwards with evidence that something large and heavy has rolled down it. Regardless, they press on, and in due course trigger the obligatory rolling boulder trap. A round boulder in a square passage must necessarily leave gaps at the corners, and Pascal and the Fox have the agility and the presence of mind to use these to get behind it. Soreth shows a commendable turn of speed and outruns the boulder, as it is still picking up speed – at least until it slams into X7-09 and tries to smear him along the floor. Now, X7-09 is too big to squeeze into the corners, but also too tough for the boulder to do him any real damage. Guessing from the screeching noise what has happened, Pascal invokes his patron icon, and succeeds in getting the boulder turned into strawberry jelly.

Shortly, the party reforms at the boulder’s launching point. X7-09 is entirely covered in strawberry jelly, which Pascal is licking off him slowly. Soreth has trudged through about 30 feet of knee-deep jelly and is partially covered.

Realising where they must be, X7-09 breaks through a wall (this turns out to be some sort of amoebic ooze disguised as a wall, which he kills with a single punch) and recovers Hug-Hug’s mine cart, which they load up with their gear and loot to save carrying it. The Fox climbs in to save walking, explaining that as a nobleman he clearly cannot push it, as requested.

Their route takes them past two aged mineshafts with potentially workable lifts, and thence to a spiral staircase with a statue of a jolly dwarf at the top, which they get to reveal three pieces of information: A gargoyle has the command word, watch out for the green dragon, and don’t go near the golem unless you have the hammer or the pickaxe.

The party decides to rest up for a while, and retreats to camp near the mineshafts. X7-09 begins repairing one of the lifts, intent on descending once he is convinced it is safe.

GM NOTES

Again the party membership got mixed up, and again I offered a benny for the best explanation, which was (and I quote): “This is the mines of madness, who says they are actually here, it could all be in our minds.” True dat.

It was clever of them to work out that a spherical boulder rolling down a square corridor must leave gaps at the corners, and use those to dodge it; next time I must make the boulder cylindrical.

They have pretty much cleaned out the first level now, and partially explored the second; I reckon they are about halfway through the adventure after three sessions. I think this is too big, and I should aim for something they can complete in a single session; based on their progress to date, a five-room dungeon would be about right. Party membership is also very fluid at the moment, suggesting a shift to smaller one-shot adventures is in order. I shall consider options and propose a change.

Meanwhile, a typo in between-session chat has resulted in the term Deep Tigers, which sound so cool they have to be used…

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