On the late morning of the 25th of The Bloom, a few short days after the stalwart members of the Society of Plane-Walkers departed Blackpool to confront and defeat the hobgoblin menace, a party of would-be adventurers arrived at the end of the Last Hard Road and entered the frontier town. This cadre of fortune hunters had journeyed to the Kinan-M’Nath from the quiet horse town of Shy Kimoor, some few days’ travel to the east. Drawn by the legends of Stonehell, the party was a most unusual mix of men and not-men.
Amongst the unnamed group’s ranks were Clausius Clapeyron, a dwarf and former brewer’s assistant renowned for his constant state of intoxication; Lordarain Brigmore, a cleric of Father Moon and former merchant; Sir Octo Puss III, a disowned octopus noble fallen on hard times; Ronald Crump, entrepreneur and magic-user; Tarfuhl, a Hurg and former military officer; and Trevor, outlaw magic-user. Having heard of the fantastic wealth that lay inside the former prison for the taking, the six had come in search of their own share of treasure. But first, they decided that stout men-at-arms were needed to help ensure their survival in the dungeon’s depths.
Directions from the local constabulary led them to the Dead Dragon Inn, the sole traveler’s rest house in town. Inside the common room, the group encountered a quartet of idle caravan guards and a much-maimed and cantankerous former dungeon delver. The latter was an abusive, if not completely unhelpful advisor and the former became hired hands in the party’s first foray into the dungeon. With little time to waste and plans to come back rich by sundown, the group, now assisted by Ivan, Merk, Chogah, and Lou (the men-at-arms), set off for the famous death trap.
The group arrived without incident, pausing to decipher some of the faded graffiti scrawled on the crumbling gatehouse wall. One phrase spoke of gold nuggets the size of apples beyond the Living Caves, and it was upon this obscure clue that the band set their sights. The party, throwing caution to the wind, strode brazenly through the gatehouse’s underpass, but Ronald Crump halted the back two ranks of the company in mid-stride to see if fatalities befell the rest of the group as they passed the murder holes and arrow slits. This action was noticed and unappreciated by those put in harm’s way. Apologies were made and the group continued into the box canyon.
Ignoring the ruins and caves of the canyon, the party followed the largest grouping of tracks directly to the dungeon’s entrance. Lighting torches and assembling with men-at-arms at front and rear, they descended down the long, winding stairs to arrive in the dungeon’s “H Room.” The eastern door proved stubborn to open, so the band made their way through the ogre arch and down the northern passage (after taking the map away from the perpetually drunk and Wisdom of 3 dwarf fighter).
A stout door stood past the archway and the band gathered about it in preparation for their first big score. Pulling the door open, they discovered a sunken floor and an atmosphere stinking of sulfur. In the center of the depression stood an intricately wrought brazier from which a score of 4” long frogs were leaping forth to cavort about the floor. This odd enough phenomenon was made odder still by the fact that each frog (and the brazier itself) burned with purple flames!
Clausius and Sir Octo entered the room. Clausius, without a beat, whirled his flail down on the closet frog, causing it to explode in a blast of fire, killing the animal and setting his own clothes afire. Sir Octo watched as four of the closest frogs turned their attentions on the burning dwarf and launched themselves at the drunken warrior. In seconds, Clausius was dead and burning brightly on the dungeon floor. The campaign had a new record for shortest-lived PC, a title former held by Pip Haggleham. Attempts were made to draw the frogs away from the burning dwarf (so that his gear might be scavenged) with a torch, but the fiery frogs had no interest in normal orange-red flames. The party closed the door and continued north.
Passing a wide corridor with bridge-like overpasses and avoiding a door that sounded of rats, the party reached a T-intersection and proceeded left. They swiftly came across a square chamber adorned with carvings of human faces, their mouths open wide. Attempts to cross the room revealed that the floor was pressure sensitive, firing darts at those who mis-stepped on its cracked surface. After half the party had made it across (and killed a spitting cobra attracted by their hot torches), the rest of the band learned that they could cross unscathed by climbing the carved faces and the room was safely bypassed.
Only a short distance beyond was another square room—this one adorned with large eyes carved in the walls. Sir Octo, using his natural climbing skills, hauled his body up one wall and across the ceiling to scout ahead. The rest of the group crossed with caution and were either extremely lucky or the room was untrapped—there were no injuries this time.
Beyond the eye room, the corridor turned south and was marked by eight small niches, each large enough to hold a decorative bust. The sixth niche seemed to hold one such carving: the head of a human male with oddly-upswept hair and wearing a cape some two-hundred years out of fashion. The party attempted to collect this piece and discovered that it was a hologram. No other signs of secret doors, hidden mirrors, or out of place details could be found. A mystery, indeed. Perhaps it points to other secrets waiting to be found.
The party continued on, forgetting to probe their way with 10’ pole. This meant that both Ivan and Sir Octo blundered into the trap waiting for them. With an explosion of white, glaring light, the duo found themselves adorned with thousands of pieces of glowing glitter, each of which provided ample illumination to nullify any chance of them sneaking about in the dark dungeon. To complicate matters, as the two walked, unearthly music arose from no visible source to accompany their movements:
The two had become walking dinner bells.
Attempts to wash the glitter off with water proved futile, but the band discovered a small storage room not far from the site of the trap. This chamber held the accumulated detritus of a hundred failed adventuring bands, most of which had deteriorated in the dank dungeon environment. The party decided to hole up, search the room, and see if the dinner bell trap would wear off.
The party passed the time digging through the ruined equipment, finding several useful items—bolts and arrows, torches, a ladder, iron spikes, a shovel, a crowbar, and vials of oil. Amongst this mundane gear were two small glass vials holding red and green liquids. The party paused to experiment and learned two things: 1) the glowing glitter was oil-solvable and the two afflicted members were cleansed of their musical decorations, and 2) the red and green liquids were both deadly poisons. Alas, this lesson was learned when Ronald Crump and Sir Octo Pus III sampled from the bottles. Both died in agony.
With half the party dead (and the referee’s sore back causing him much pain), the party exited the dungeon—weighted down with the wealth of their slain comrades—to try their luck another day.