Party: Lunk, Thudknuckle, Ingsay, Aughest, Cornankle
The party approaches the rubble-strewn hill. “Yep, the stairs are right where the innkeeper said they would be,” says Lunk in a confident voice. Despite his lack of experience, confidence is in ample supply with the burly fighter. “Better get a torch lit, it looks dark down there, he continues.” “Speak for y’self Laddie,” is the retort from the armored dwarf at his left. The rest of the group remains anxiously quiet; none have been in a dungeon before.
With the two stout fighters showing the way the rest of the fellowship descends the dark stone steps. Lunk’s torch sputters and pops in the damp air. The shadows of Ingsay’s pointy elvish ears and hat dance on the wall, amusing the halfling thief in tow. Another human bringing up the rear coughs at trailing smoke.
Twenty feet beyond the stairs the party is confronted with its first decision point, a four-way intersection. “If you go right, you’ll never be wrong,” says the cheerful halfling. Without any argument the party takes the right corridor then another side passage on the right.
Shouldering a swollen door open two slouching forms look up and charge the intruders. Recognizing them as undead, Aughest barks commands at the ghouls, shouting in the name of Saint Carmichael. Nothing happens, the battle begins. The ferocity of the creatures catches Lunk off guard; a well placed claw freezes his limbs locking the panic in his eyes. Thudknuckle swings his dwarven battle axe in deadly arcs, wounding the creatures at every turn. Two misplaced splashes of holy water and Aughest takes up the fight with his mace. Fierce frustration and imploring prayers to his patron guide the cleric’s aim. Soon the battle is won. The party secures the doors while the cleric chants soothing prayers over the burly fighter. Slowly life returns to Lunk’s limbs; after the numbness subsides sufficiently they proceed to the south.
Beyond an empty room and two long corridors the party enters a gloomy room. The dwarf calls out the alarm as rats the size of large dogs charge from the scattered rubble. Without a proper formation, the party is attacked from all sides. Thudknuckle’s eyes and axe are equally keen as he fells three of the beasts. A smile cracks his lips when he discovers Lunk only killed one. The flicker torch light reveals the gleam of a silver dagger discarded among the rubbish.
Nursing minor wounds they decide to continue south. Another long corridor and an empty room, but wait there are sounds and light in the room beyond. Bursting into the room with weapons at the ready, the party catches two men unawares. The robed man shouts the order ‘kill them’ to the fighting man who immediately charges. In his haste to escape the robed man fumbles with a scroll that falls from his pocket. Ingsay quickly incants a spell, a sudden slumber takes the mage before swords are clashed. Lunk and Thudknuckle fell the fighting man without receiving a scratch and bind the sleeping man. As a reward for delivering the killing blow, Lunk takes the fighting man’s magic sword. The robed man awakes and curses his bad luck at being bested by a lesser magician. The robed man is Zoc, a Thaumaturgist. The captive provides little information beyond his name and claims that he will soon control the creatures in this dungeon. With a chuckle Lunk tosses Zoc over his shoulder and the party heads west.
They reach of round basement of a tower. A giant snake strikes suddenly from the darkness. Lunk reels from the pain and backs away into a defensive stance. The fight is dizzying as the snake weaves in and around the combatants. A sword hack here and an axe chop there precede the killing blow of a well placed dagger strike. Ingsay seems unfazed by his maneuver, but the dwarf stands in utter shock, “Wouldya look’a that,” is all he Thudknuckle can muster. They argue over who will claim the snake skin.
Up they go. Through the open door on the ground floor they see the rubble filled lane that leads up to old Zenopus’ Tower where they stand. Onward and upward they find Zoc’s study. A caged ape goes bananas upon seeing the Thaumaturgist. Ignoring the ape’s shrieks a search of the study turns up Zoc’s book of spells and a scroll of flesh to stone. Uplifted by the easy treasure they decide to release their prisoner. With his hands bound the humbled Thaumaturgist scurries off through the ruins disappearing into Portown’s streets.
Back in the tower basement they turn north and find a room with a statue at its center pointing at them. Unable to any other door they are puzzled, but when they discover that the statue can be rotated the solution is understood. Continuing north they reach a huge room with beds and other debris. Five goblins rally and charge the adventurers. The battle is drawn out while the goblins put up a good show, but cannot pierce the armored front of the party. Cornankle opens a clinking chest releasing a cloud of gas. He succumbs to its effects and falls unconscious for a good twenty minutes. The party bars the doors in preparation for more goblins that never come.
Further bolstered by their success the party presses on. In the very next room their fortunes change. Heavy webs conceal the ceiling and its deadly surprise. Just as Lunk lifts his torch to burn the webs a giant spider, bigger than the Halfling, drops onto the dwarf. The spider’s stinger withdraws from Thudknuckles arm leaving a nasty wound, but thankfully his dwarf constitution staves off any further effect. With its attention squarely on the dwarf, Cornankle sneaks up for a devastating blow they would fell any normal creature. The strike does get the spider’s attention. The eight-legged creature leaps, plunging its stinger deep into the halfling’s chest. Cornankle squeals in pain before turning a sickly green color and collapsing to the floor. Frantically the party swipes at the deadly creature. In time enough our heroes find their mark and the spider does not. In retaliation for his fallen friend, Thudknuckle continues to crush the lifeless arachnid with his boot until nothing but a gooey mess is left. Amongst the gore he finds a pristine dagger with runes along its blade. The find does not ease the pain caused by the death of their fellow. Rest in peace Cornankle, the best burglar of Buttonwillow!
With heavy hearts they press on to the north. While moving cautiously they turn a corner standing face to face with a trio of orcs in the corridor. Thudknuckle launches into a vicious act of bloody vengeance. He singlehandedly drops the orcs crying out, “for Cornankle!” all the way. The orcs were transporting significant treasure. Inside two heavy chests the party finds a many gold pieces, a staff, a magic ring and a potion.
With the loot in hand it is decided to recuperate in the tower. Back in Zoc’s study Aughest uses the newly acquired Staff of Healing to cure their many wounds. Now that the ape has grown accustomed to their presence they rest peacefully for the evening.