I must first apologize for the tardiness of this post. Session 4 went off weeks ago and it has been over a week since session 5.
Our last report left Kral, the party's cleric, downed and close to death. The party chose to bar the door and to rest. Luckily the combined abilities of the party were enough to stabilize Kral. After an extended rest, one full night, the party was back in fighting shape. The two dwarf warriors, Hrothgar and Thaddeus, led the party to the East down two parallel tunnels. The dividing wall between them had collapsed centuries before, so the party moved easily back and fourth between them. As the party moved through the dungeon, the walls started becoming wet, water dripping down the walls. Roots and vines began spidering their way up and down the tunnel's walls. The vines began to thicken as they moved further down the tunnel. The party reached a point at which they could not continue without making a major effort; dark green, maroon plants clogged the tunnel, making it impassable. The party decided the best way to continue would be to incinerate the plants and then to continue on down the tunnel.
Skavinsky Hymes moved to the fore and blasted the plants with magical flames after mumbling the formula required to cast Burning Hands. The party expected that the plants would burn and that the tunnel would then be clear enough for them to pass. They were surprised to hear a loud screech as the plants sprung into action. The plants were attacking the party! A seed pod fell to the ground in front of the group. A slime covered, dwarf corpse poured out of the cracked pod (probably one of Coppernight's former comrades). The party went to work. They charged into the plants, hacking with their blades and blasting them with magical attacks. As the plants began to die, Thaddeus noticed that the stone ceiling was beginning to loosen and to crack; small pieces of stone began sprinkling to the stone floor. The plants' trunks and branches had provided the static tension required to keep the tunnel's shape over the centuries while their roots were undermining the engineering principles which had originally maintained the tunnel's form. He yelled to his comrades waring them of the impending danger. As more plants began falling to the floor, the ceiling began crumbling and started to cave in. Borgon chose to run for an open space of tunnel even before the plants had been dispatched. Luckily for the party, the ceiling held just long enough for them to defeat the last foe and then run to a safer location further down the tunnel before the tunnel's ceiling and walls crashed in behind them. The party was pretty badly bruised during the fight. Two PCs had been bloodied and were close to unconsciousness. A short rest put the party back in fighting shape and they continued to explore the dungeon.
After choosing to explore a series of smaller chambers that cut off to the right of the main tunnel, the party came to a heavy, wooden door with rounded, metal studs. A serpentine pattern crawled around the door's frame. Borgon checked the door, and discovered that the door was trapped. After a few minutes of work, Borgon not only failed to disarm the trap, but he set it off! Metal studs shot out toward him! Borgon, somehow, managed to dive to the ground just in time and avoided being peppered. Unbelievable. The party entered the room. The rounded chamber was an ancient tomb. Four armored skeletons stood guard over a sarcophagus in the center of the room. But much more interesting to the party were the two small worm eaten, gold banded wooden chests next to the sarcophagus. Fearing that the room was magically trapped, Skavinsky used his knowledge of the arcane to detect magic. The sarcophagus, the skeletons, and the chests all radiated magical energy. He shared this information with his friends. The party removed the weapons from the skeletal guardians. Next, Borgon reached out to the chests with his mind and began to psychokinetically levitate the chests, bringing them toward the entrance of the chamber where the party waited. His hope was to move the loot out of the room without setting of any magical traps. The chests floated across the room. The lid groaned and slid from the sarcophagus, a heavily armored skeleton with a rusted blade sprung forth. The guardian skeletons jumped to life. But the party was ready for them. After a quick battle the party defeated the undead monsters. Smartly they had taken the swords from the guardian skeletons, reducing the damage the monsters did. Though bloodied a bit, the party looted the chamber, and took another short rest. The chests were packed with silver groats: 200 hundred of them. The party moved on.
The exploration of the dungeon continued with the party entering another small tomb. The door-less chamber glowed with a faint green light; the smoke that wafted from the braziers atop the rounded sarcophagus had a sweet, rich scent. On top of the sarcophagus was a small stone seat. A skeleton in rusted mail sat on the seat. Though its armor and other possessions were obviously suffering from years of age, a shining mace was held in its hand. The party entered the room cautiously, expecting the skeleton to spring to life at any minute. It did not. The party looted the mace, a chest of coins (150 schillings), and a small bag of gems. The mace, which turned out to be a Vicious Mace +1, went to Kral. Fear of encountering another undead monster kept the party from further disturbing the corpse and opening the sarcophagus.
The party explored the rest of the crypt's level before moving on. The map which had been looted from the dwarf, Coppernight, showed a large chamber at the center of the complex. This, they believe, is the party's only method of egress. They moved into the chamber, which proved to be a large shaft, or well, which plunged 50 feet downward. The roof or top of the shaft was out of sight. At the bottom of the well-like shaft was a shining pool of water. The party dug into their packs, drew out ropes and climbing gear, and began to investigate the best method of descending into the shaft. The party noticed that in addition to the shaft bottoming out 50 feet below them, 25 feet below their position they could see two round tunnels which had been dug into the side of the shaft's wall. The party decided to make for the closest round tunnel. After a bit of discussion about the best method to scale the wall, the party began climbing. A flawed plan combined with a bit of bad luck plunged both Borgon and Thaddeus to the floor of the shaft. At least Borgon's fall was cushioned by the water in the pool. Thaddeus landed just outside of the pool, crashing onto the stone floor. This was where we left off for the evening.
The encouner with the plants went quite well for both me and the party. Their damage dealing potential did not fail them. They cut through the plants, but did take some pretty serious damage. Two PCs were nearly downed during the fight. The party just made it out of the cave in area in time. They had only one round to spare. I asked the party how they felt about the fight. They thought it went well. They knew that they needed to move, and move fast. Borgon got going early just to be sure. But on the flip side of this encounter, it was completely possible for the party to avoid the fight. I had devised two possible methods for the party to navigate the "forest" without alarming the carnivorous plants. But then again, I do know my players. I was almost sure that they would choose to clear the tunnel with either fire or blades, and, as a result, alarm the plants. The encounter with the skeletons went quite well. The PCs decision to disarm the skeletons proved to be a great move. Even though the skeletons were rolling quite well, the party took care of them with little trouble. I suspect that the battle could have gone quite poorly for the party if they had not disarmed the guardian skeletons before trying to grab the chests. That was some smart playing. The climb on the other hand did not go so well. Borgon's relatively low strength (8) puts him at risk any time a test of athletic prowess is involved. On the other hand, Thaddeus, who is quite strong, just had some horrible rolls. Unfortunately the party's plan for climbing down the shaft's wall was not really so great. As a result party members were provided little help when it came to making checks for the climb. I think we ended on a high note with a bit of a cliffhanger. I am interested to see what happens next time. With the party split, it will be interesting to see how they choose to overcome their next encounter.
I would like to note that as things are now, I am IDing items for PCs after the decision about who will get the items is made. I am doing this mostly to avoid record keeping hassles. I do plan on changing this once the party moves into Saedom and its massive dungeon. If anybody has any suggestions about how to handle keeping item properties on the down low without introducing record keeping and, more importantly, challenges to my memory, please let me know.