Our regular monthly D&D session for March happened this week, and my players took some highly entertaining actions. I’m running Dungeon of the Mad Mage with six players. Each month, we get together for a short evening session after work, targeting a minimum of four players.
(Warning: The following will include mild descriptions of RPG violence.)
Setting the Stage
In a recent session, the party faced some rough encounters leaving them low on resources and considering a long rest to recover. Unfortunately, as they lay down to sleep, none of them were tired…at all. It would be many hours before they could settle enough. After an hour’s recuperation time, they instead returned to level 1 to send a message to their associates in Waterdeep requesting supplies.
Once negotiations with the Fampires for a tentative support alliance are complete, their new hallway base established for the donkeys, and the message sent, the group sets out to explore more of the first level. Their goal is to eliminate Xanathar’s Guild’s (XG) influence from the early levels of Undermountain. They have a strong suspicion more XG outposts remain up here on level one.
Thinking the mirrored hall safe, they elect to take the direct route to the west, where a few hallways remain un-scouted. As Urg and Valorik pass between one pair of mirrors, replicas flow out and attack the group. Before all of the duplicates disappear, one latches onto Rose, draining her of strength before she eliminates it. Urg breaks the mirrors, smashing them to pieces, hoping the act will eliminate the threat for good.
An XG Infestation
Crouched in front of the door to the final unexplored area to the west, Ashe listens intently to the indistinguishable sounds coming from the other side.
Are those voices? he wonders.
The group prepares. They open the door.
Javelin and arrows fly out! Most ping off Valorik’s armor, but a couple find their mark, drawing blood.
Melee fighters charge forward. Others linger behind, using the doorway for cover, but leaving their monk to get mobbed. She eventually goes down—knocked unconscious from a morningstar to the head—but not before most of the enemy falls.
Using more of their quickly dwindling resources, the group patches everyone up before slogging to the east.
Another hall opens up into a room where two bugbears stand watch. Seeing the party, they bolt down a curving hallway, but not before receiving slices from thrown axes across the back before they are out of sight. Rather than pursuing the bugbears into a possible ambush, Ashe points out a hidden door to the north. They enter cautiously, hoping XG doesn’t know about this area.
Careful exploration reveals an entire hidden section of additional rooms. Behind one door is a howling sound, as the blowing of a gale. Hudson sends in his trusty feline familiar to scope out the noise.
Archimedes: Hudson’s familiar in animal form.
Archimedes paws forward silently, but the wind grows into a billowing scream of rage. The last image he sends to Hudson before being dispelled back into his realm is a tornado barreling down the hall with what appears to be a distorted face in the wall of wind.
The door rattles as the elemental pounds against it, but the latch and hinges hold. As the party debates facing the air elemental now—despite limited health and healing—or exploring another section of the secret rooms, one of the two lanterns sputters, then dies. Standing in the dark hall, huddled around the dim light of their remaining lantern, the party reconsiders their options.
Valorik has little interest in continuing to walk around when their last remaining source of light could go out at any moment. Based on scientifically tapping on the can and swishing it around a bit, Hudson thinks there is probably a couple of hours of oil left.
“We’ll be fine for a while,” he assures Valorik. “Besides, Urg can always guide us in the dark.”
Not at all comforted, Valorik begrudgingly agrees to check out the other rooms. They find giant rats, seemingly uninterested in the group, and leave them alone. There are also a few statues with a handful of tiny gems missed by previous adventurers. Once again, Valorik campaigns for a strategic retreat back to their new base, but Ashe has an idea.
“Guys!” he calls out. “I have an idea!”
Rose raises a skeptical eyebrow.
Hudson tilts his head in curiosity.
Urg grins in anticipation.
“You all hide around the corner there,” he points, “while I open the elemental door to get its attention. Then I run south, bringing the air elemental straight to the XG camp that’s there!”
“The door seems warded,” Hudson comments, scratching his chin. “I think I can take care of that, though.”
“Presumably,” Valorik emphasizes. “The XG camp might be there. We don’t know what is on the other side of that door.”
Ashe waves him off. “I will run until I find them.”
Rose puts her face in her hands, slowly shaking her head. Eventually, she shrugs at their antics. “Sure,” she says. “Why not? Let’s give it a go.”
Urg bounces with glee as Valorik throws up his hands, groaning, “You are all insane.”
They get in position, and the light fades from around Ashe, who doesn’t seem to notice in his state of adrenaline-fueled anticipation, as they depart. It is not until he runs blindly into the door with the air elemental on his heels that he recognizes there is no light and finally remembers his charm of darkvision.
The elemental gets one good slam in on Ashe in the moment of confusion, but the rogue shakes it off and runs out into another room, past goblins and bugbears, searching for any path leading west. A javelin flies past his head as he runs, but the group behind is soon distracted. A berserk air elemental wreaks destruction, and goblins scream while violently blown about.
“Okay,” Valorik says as they regroup. “Now can we go rest?”
Four people exchange glances around him, then Urg looks him straight in the eye, grinning once more.
“Now we go take out whoever is left!”