It was a productive session and a lot was accomplished. Not, no surprise here, without a lot of risk to everyone.
The core of hearty adventurers still present: Joe, Sean, Matt, Forest, Gene, and Dave. Still absent: Gerry & Steve. We're hoping for their return soon. Perhaps for May's session.
At the end of March's game, we left our little band deep in an underground cavern in a battle with Orcs and Trolls. We had whittled the opposition down to a single Troll and less than a dozen Orcs. No problem for Steve, but a challenge for everyone else. We'd consolidated our position on the platform on "our" side of the cavern with only Winterloin (Sean) battling on the wooden bridges.
In a pickle between the Troll and several Orcs, Winterloin attempted to cut the ropes of the bridge while standing in the middle of it. Each line cut destabilized the bridge further, with more enemies falling to their doom below. Finally, he managed to hack enough bridge supports that the Troll fell off also, but that big beasty managed to catch himself on the side of a cage and started swinging. Not so lucky for Winterloin, as his attempt to tie himself off to the bridge for safety failed and he fell screaming into the black abyss. Goodbye, Winterloin. We'll miss you. Got your other character ready?
That left us with a raging battle on the platform, Demilo (Joe) partly surrounded by Orcs and with Reuben (Gene) slapping him with heal spells. Matt the Halfling had jumped down and was whipping daggers into other Orcs while Elise (Forest) was going all Jackie Chan on them with her puissant skill in unarmed combat. Who knew she had such skill? Into that mess, a well-timed and accurate fireball (zero friendly fire casualties) scorched 5 Orcs, much to Reuben's delight (I think he likes barbeque pork) and the return of the swinging Troll all helped encourage the few surviving Orcs to attempt to flee back to the other side of the cavern. Wounded, some bleeding, most scorched, many stunned, all of them failed to safely navigate the damaged and wobbling bridges. All fell ungloriously to their dooms below. Goodbye, Orcs. We won't miss you.
The Troll was missing his club when he climbed back onto the ledge with us, and Demilo was still dueling an Orc. The Troll took him by surprise and sent him flying into the black abyss below. Goodbye, Demilo. We'll miss you. Too bad your other character got left at home.
A little Shock Bolt, some sling stones and daggers, the Troll was previously wounded by Winterloin. It didn't take much to convince him to leave back to his cave, and it didn't take much to convince us to leave him alone.
I set off down below, still flying, to attempt to see how deep the chasm went and if the bodies of Winterloin and Demilo could be recovered. Or looted. Both fell with magic items that we'd surely need later on. Or for their new characters. Flying around with a torch I found that 100' down from the platforms where we fought was a solid layer of heavy hawser-grade spider webbing with some curious holes in it. Wrapped in the webbing were bodies, Dwarf sized, and from one body I found an interesting ring. I pocketed it for later examination, and then much to my surprise heard screaming from below me. Winterloin! Calling my name! Miraculously alive!
Turns out he and Demilo had fallen through the layer of webbing I'd been exploring (the curious holes) and into the space below. Below this web was about 50' of light webbing and then another layer of heavy hawser-grade webs. There they stopped. They managed to regroup with each other down below, light was dropped to them, and we began a rescue attempt. I would descend again with a bunch of rope and by rope or levitation get them safely out of the webs before they were attacked by spiders. Some monsterously HUUUUUGE spider must be responsible for hawser-grade web lines.
That would have worked well, except that they didn't want to wait to be rescued. Instead they set off wandering around the web looking for trouble. Or a way out. Or Winterloin's dropped gear. I think they were hunting for a clue. But they definately found trouble in the form of 2-foot diameter giant spiders (just little babies compared with what must have made the main cables of the web) that they managed to defeat. So when I came back with rope and all to rescue them, they were nowhere to be found. In searching for them with the narrow beam of Projected Light I was ambushed by another spider, which felled me instantly with a paralytic poison. Fortunately, Freddie the Sable was able to get ferocious like a rabid caged animal and convinced the spider through some rather aggressive diplomacy to leave me alone. Shortly afterwards, I was rescued by Reuben and Elise who had jumped off the into the black abyss to escape the return of the Troll.
Eventually all were happy and together again on the web; Matt overcame his psychosis against spiders for long enough to climb down and we dropped a rope so the boys could climb back up to us. At which point the spiders attacked in mass and Matt ran screaming and crying like a little girl off blind into the black just running to escape the spiders. I guess he really does have a psychosis. For once, we flee sanely from certain death. All followed Matt, our new Leader. Steve and Gerry floated along behind us tethered like balloons labelled "Press Start to Join Game".
This led us to a narrow tunnel full of webs, more spider fights, Demilo dropping like a fly, a vain attempt to rest interrupted by spiders, and everyone fleeing deeper into the tunnel-maze where we found, eventually, The Caverns of Mushrooms.
Deep in the Caverns of Mushrooms, filled with gigantanormous mushrooms the size of a Hutt, we found an underground river (cold water!), and had to make a serious choice. This time, unlike every time before, it was a serious discussion instead of a blind leap of faith without a parachute. Do we go on, or do we go back?
Option #1: I offered that we could go back to the spider web, and I would be willing to fly (alone or with Matt) back to the ledge where we entered the enormous cavern and from there walk the half-mile or so back to the Room Of Unlimited Food. We could resupply indefinately and fight like guerillas against the spiders. Matt supported the idea of finding, cataloging, indexing, and looting all of the bodies trapped in the spider webs. I still hadn't told anyone about the ring I'd found.
Option #2: Everyone gets wet. We make coracles or rafts out of giant mushroom caps and take a dip in the 55deg brisk moving underground river and let it take us somewhere else. A little aerial scouting showed that the river tunnel was safe for at least 1200-1500 feet, so maybe we could assume that it would be safe indefinately. Whats the worst we'd find? Waterfall, maybe some carniverous fish, maybe a giant ichtheosaurus, maybe Nessie?
Spiders or Water. Nobody has an irrational fear of water? We chose the water route.