I think that the general consensus is that we got more accomplished in a single game session than ever before, despite the party being divided between several characters in prison and three of us still free and mobile. Kudos to DaveS for keeping it fun and lively while bouncing continually between action in and out of the prison area. There may have been some stretches of boredom for individuals as the action and focus bounced from one area to another, but I think everything went as well or better than could be expected AND I was also impressed with how well we players did (patting myself on the back along with everyone else) in keeping IC and OOC information sorted and straight.
Reuben found a cool way to play with spiders, using his little arachnid friends to surf the web and google up Winterlion's missing gear. Returned: his bastard sword and the magic shield. Shu-weet!
Matt the Knife found a way to scrimshaw up a lockpick set out of the bones in his cage, went walkabout, and thanks to his still severe muscle strain couldn't climb the walls of the prison room and fell to the webs. Unharmed, except for pride, but his fear of spiders is still just as strong as ever. But Reuben's spiders didn't bother him. Much. Often.
Aside from Reuben playing with spiders and meeting the Boss Orc Shaman Dude, the majority of the "action" centered around Elise (Forest), Demilo (Joe) and Malasion (me). We intially split up, after doing all we could to heal up Elise. Elise took off after the orcs who had our companions prisoner, trying to track them to whereever they were being taken. She wasn't very successful, being rather unable to sneak alone through well-lit and well-guarded inhabited areas. But she had the right idea. Turning back to hook up with Demilo and myself, she was overtaken by a Goblin Tracker leading several Orc Warriors after us. Bad scene. She cloaked up and stalked them as they stalked us. Spy-vs-Spy style.
Meanwhile, I'd burned a few of my rapidly diminishing powerpoints to allow Demilo to fly up the chain of the waterwheel. The chain: a big mechanical drive-chain with buckets. Turns out the purpose of the wheel is to drive this chain, which carries buckets of water up above and dumps said water into a pipe or culvert approx 100' above the waterwheel. The water then flows through a series of pipes or tubes or innertubes to a variety of locations. Including a big fountain. Except that the clutch of the waterwheel is broken or siezed, the wheel freewheels and the chain doesn't turn. Why? I'm a Wizard, not an Engineer, Jim. Lets sic Chief Engineer Gerry on the problem some other time. Not now. Anyways, Demilo came back to report that he'd found this dry fountain (remember, no water flowing through this system right now) in an area we later came to call the "apartment level", and it was a good safe rest area.
Long about that time, Elise's tracker group showed up and we gave them fight: three vs six. It was a close thing, near-fought, bloody, and would have been worse except that one-arm Elise is still a dead-eye in the dark with a sling: three shots, three broken necks or exploded skulls. One "Shock Cloud" to control how many Orcs could safely get to melee with Demilo and one of them blasted fatally into the water. Glub, glub, so-long bub. Demilo skewered one with an arrow and another with his sword. Snicker-snack, don't come back. Then up the chain with a little magic fairy dust and a few happy thoughts. I can fly! I can fly! I can fly!
At that point I was tapped with 1/49 powerpoints remaining, so we napped for 6 hrs and proceeded to explore. The apartment level has scores of dwarf-size apartments, all one-room efficiencies, in two different sizes. We didn't bother to search them. From the apartment complex, we came to the main hall. Off the main hall, the smelting room and smithy, actively worked and in use by Orcs. Off the main hall, we found barracks rooms with evidence of Orc use but no Orcs present. We didn't inventory, search, or loot them. We bypassed and pushed on to the REALLY main hall, the central boulevard, which Demilo named "the cafeteria" because it looked like it would be ideally furnished with heaps of big tables like a Great Lord's Hall. Off the "cafeteria", a great kitchen. Back door of the kitchen: caved in hallway. Our theory: this connects to our food storage room.
Continuing to explore off of the cafeteria hall we found indoor auditoriums, and stumbled across another residence area. Inhabited. With Trolls.
We backed off and left them alone.
Huge underground Dwarf city, 80% or more with absolutely ZERO evidence that Orcs have ever been into it. Plus we've already found some cash-like loot.
We eventually came across a hot-spring bathhouse, a turkish bath, with a water inlet tunnel that could be crawled. We crawled. It led us back to ... drumroll ... the great hotspring room that we first found when entering this underground nightmare.
From there it was a hop and a skip, with a pit stop for lunch, to get back to the prison and spring our pals from prison.
Not so fast!
We also had to rescue their junk and devise an airlift of everyone back upstairs, fight the Boss Orc Shaman, flee like little girls attack in a retrograde fashion from the Boss Orc Shaman, and recover as much of our gear as we could carry. Bippity, boppity, back to the food room for a little R&R.
The plan at this point is that we're going to hole up here until spring and then make a move back to civilization. But spring is months and months and months away. So in the meantime, the plan is to establish a cache in the turkish bath and explore the city. The Orcs clearly only make use of a fraction of it. Also on our list of places to go and things to do is back to the mines, again accessing them from the water side. We passed an intermediate room before stumbling into the room being actively mined, and saw less than 25% (my guesstimate) of each. What else to see and find? Lets find out.