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OD&D IN THE CAVERNS OF THRACIA
PART 7: THE TWIN TRAVAILS OF THALMAIN
FIRST TRAVAIL: FUN WITH PIT TRAPS
The pit trap in this section of the dungeon also led to some hilarity: After detecting its presence, Thalmain spent the better part of 15 minutes working out massively elaborate and overwrought work-arounds for trying to get across it... having missed the fact that there were 1-foot wide walkways to either side of the pit that could be easily walked across.
The funny part was that the other players had heard that information just fine. They, like me, just waited for Thalmain to finish his various exertions with ropes and acrobatics. When he was finished, Herbert calmly walked around the pit trap and patted him on the shoulder. "Can we go now?"
INTERLUDE: SLEEP AND SLEEP ALIKE
Following their first forays into the dungeon, the Thanatos death cultists had retreated to this chamber. This was going to be a tough encounter in any case and the PCs, unfortunately, alerted the cultists by talking loudly as they approached the heavy wooden doors.
This allowed the cultists to entrench their positions. When the PCs finally battered their way through the doors they found 8 well-accoutered guards in full plate; 2 cultist priests; and a trained black bear awaiting them.
Which is when I was forcibly reminded of just how powerful the sleep spell used to be:
At low levels it is, effectively, an encounter-ending ability. It was significantly neutered in 2nd Edition and then further neutered in 3.5 to the point where I almost never see it cast any more. But it quickly became apparent why it used to be a staple of the Magic-User class (along with magic missile and fireball):
Trust cast his first spell... and the entire room (except for the black bear) fell asleep. The bear was quickly taken down and a mass throat-slitting ensued.
There was much cheering and general approbation.
I had poetic justice a few minutes later, however, when the party triggered the sleep gas trap on one of the chests in the room. Everyone except for Thalmain was knocked out.
SECOND TRAVAIL: FUN WITH FLAMING OIL
Here we had another fun twist: Earlier in the session, several characters had been afflicted by a paralytic effect. Thalmain had been among those who had tried (unsuccessfully) to wake them. They had been forced to wait for the better part of an hour before the effect wore off. Left all alone, Thalmain now assumed that the sleep gas was, in fact, another paralytic effect.
When Thalmain decided to move their unconscious forms to the far side of the room, I was initially going to declare that the disturbance of being moved was sufficient to wake them up. But then Thalmain's player specified, out of the blue, that he was moving them very carefully -- and I decided that such careful ministrations would not be sufficient to wake them.
This nearly proved their undoing when, a few minutes later, a patrol of lizardmen showed up hoping to parlay with the cultists. Thalmain had spiked the door shut and even tried to bluff them into going away, but the lizardmen weren't having it. They managed to batter the door open, although Thalmain's cleverly placed iron spikes manage to wedge it in a position where they could only come through single-file.
But, nevertheless, it was still Thalmain the Halfling against an entire squad of lizardmen.
This would have probably ended badly if it wasn't for Thalmain's pyromania: He had, with great forethought, doused the floor in front of the doors with oil. As the lizardmen started to pour through the gap between the doors, he fired a flaming arrow into the middle of it and turned the entrance into a pyre.
A few lizardmen managed to leap through the flames largely unharmed... only to be struck by a second flask of oil that Thalmain had kept in reserve, spreading the inferno even further. The remaining lizardmen tried to pull back... only to be taken down by Thalmain's archery.
It was a complete rout.
Shortly thereafter, Thalmain realized he could wake the others up by simply slapping them on the cheeks.
On this triumphant note, the characters retreated from the dungeon and the players retired for the evening.
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