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Welcome to Friday Fight Night! For once, it’s on time – but, alas, it will also be a little shorter than normal. This session was cut short due to people arriving late and having to leave early, and we didn’t get much done. We also didn’t get to any combat, and so there won’t be a map this week, either.
I was tempted to roll this update and next week’s update into one, truth be told. In the end, though, I decided against it; I’ve always intended this site to be a resource for DMs both new and old, and I think it’s valuable for new DMs (and players, too) to see that games don’t always go according to plan. It would be very easy to write this journal in a way that makes it look like I run the most well-organised, effortlessly run, problem-free game of D&D the world has ever seen, but that would be disingenuous of me – and I don’t think it would be anywhere near as useful as a journal that points out the times when things went wrong as well as when awesome stuff happened.
So, with that said…
After fighting off the quaggoths on the cable car far above the copper army filling the cavern far below them, the party came to a pair of intricately carved doors deep below the earth. There they were asked to identify themselves, and they did.
They discovered that this place was called Vomturum, and they guessed that it was the dwarven mine that the mage they had helped back in the tunnels had told them about. Why he hadn’t mentioned the cable car. or the bears, or the cavern full of copper statues, they didn’t know – maybe he had come a different way? – but this certainly seemed that it might be a place of relative safety. And if it proved to hold a way back to the surface, then that was even better.
After being asked to hand over their weapons – which they did with some trepidation, placing them in large stone drawers that were pushed out of the bottom of the doors and closed again before the party were allowed access to the settlement – they made their way into Vomturum.
They had expected a mine, but what they got was a city. A city they saw very little of – the area immediately beyond the gates looked to be something of a staging area, a small circular chamber holding a few smithies, a small pub, another pair of gates leading to the city proper, and a stone hut just beside the gates that they were immediately funneled towards.
The hut held nothing but a desk and innumerable filing cabinets, along with a female dwarf who introduced herself as Grysvahill without bothering to look up from the papers that she was reading. She explained that the city would be happy to welcome them but, given they had shown up armed and covered in blood that clearly wasn’t theirs, they would first have to prove that they could be trusted. And the way to do that would be to do a favour for the city.
The party were happy to take on a job, but they wanted to know what they would be paid. And Grys, unfortunately, was not in the habit of paying people when she didn’t have to. As far as she saw it, their payment for a job well done was admittance to the city – plus anything they might come across in the execution of the job.
The party haggled – of course they haggled, how could they not? – but Grys wasn’t to be moved, and eventually they came around to her way of thinking (especially once they confirmed that she could have somebody lead them to the surface via the tunnels of the mines).
With that settled, the group learned about the job they were being asked to undertake. Grys told them about a powerful wizard who had recently moved into the area, constructing a tower a few miles away and beginning to exert his influence on the area. His name was Wendrake Shadowmend, and while the rulers of Vomturum had initially been happy to leave him be, he had recently begun to encroach on their affairds. Some f their miners had turned up dead, and others had returned with reports of the wizard stealing away with their companions in the night, taking them to his tower where they were never heard from again.
That sounded like just the kind of thing the party could deal with, and so they accepted the job. Grys handed them a map of the area showing the route of tunnels that they would have to take to reach Shadowmend’s tower, and warned them that they would have to pass through something of a no-man’s-land between two tribes of warring troglodytes. They should be fine as long as they didn’t cause any trouble, she told them – and then the gates slammed shut behind them, and their weapons were pushed back out from the drawers in the doors.
The map was good, the path seemed clear, and so the party set off – and that, unfortunately, was where we had to end the session.
Writing this up makes it all seem much shorter than it actually was. This was about 3 hours of game time, most of it taken up with speaking to – and haggling/arguing with – Grysvahill and the rest spent debating amongst themselves as to wehtehr they could simply kill Grys, fight off the guards, force their way through the rest of the city and make it to the surface without having to go and hunt down a mage. The consensus, eventually, was that that would be a poor idea.
So unfortunately, that’s it for this week. The next few sesions ran longer, though, and had more interesting things going on, so you can rest assured that we’ll be back to the good stuff next week.