MERP: Into the Caves

After fighting off the wolves, the party slept the rest of the night and then continued to the cleft. There they cached 31 weeks of rations and 2 kegs of water, and after another night, entered the fissure in the dell. Three hours later, they found a small cavern with a 5×30′ dry spot. They climbed the next falls (8′ high) after Araluth fumbled and fell into the water, and after another three hours came to a great underground lake. The rest of the party waded along one side to the tunnel opposite, and then Araluth cast “Walk on Water” and explored the distant side of the lake. His bullseye lantern fell upon a dark ropy mass, that slipped into the water heavily as the light touched upon it. Araluth immediately retreated, weaving through the stalagmites at the water’s edge in hopes of slowing the creature. He made it to the tunnel just in time, pushing Elentari in front of him and pulling Jor after. A huge wave swamped the tunnel briefly, and Elentari caught a glance of a multitude of black snake-like things reaching after them down the tunnel. The party fled from the Watcher in the Water.

An hour later, the party rested for the night on a relatively dry part of the tunnel. At daybreak, they went two hours more, and came to another small caver, this time with a black sand beach. The falls to climb were only 3′ above the water this time, but Leosil managed to fumble and fall into the water nonetheless. The party then went on another three hours. By now, Elentari had used up her two torches, and Hammrammr had used up his as well. Leosil had brought none, which left only Araluth’s lantern (which he was conserving) and Jor’s lantern (which he also had not used). The party relied on Jor’s Light spell.

The next cavern they entered was 500×250′, with an 80′ ceiling. When Araluth lit his lantern, the entire roof lit up with fluorescent lichen, revealing two exits to the right (one of which had water flowing from it) and two exits to the left, both of which had mineshafts and mining carts on rails running into them. Along both the back and front wall was a 10′ wide ramp that led up to a series of small mine shafts, all of which were 10×10′ but which only went back 5-20′. Jor picked up a goblin skull. The floor was covered with crushed and destroyed skulls and bones of goblins, humans, and the rare dwarf. Araluth pulled Bregor up one of the ramps to the high ground 40′ above the cavern, and Hammrammr went up the opposing ramp. Jor investigated one mine cart, and Leosil the other. Araluth was horrified to see Elentari investigating the tunnels at the other end of the tunnel. Scattered and demolished bones indicated predation, and Araluth suspected a troll or worse.

Jor continued to make a lot of noise dropping things, and a six-legged flesh-eating lizard the size of a horse emerged from the tunnel near Elentari, who ran the other direction. The lizard proved twice as fast as a human, which would have been bad enough if Elentari had not tripped and fallen like every woman in a bad B movie, stunning herself for two rounds. Araluth and Bregor shot arrows, doing little damage to its scale mail skin, but Hammrammr ran to her defense, sprinting across the floor and attracting its attention. While Hammrammr fought a desperate battle against the beast, Araluth dropped a rope and pulled Elentari up. Bregor took up a position at the top of the ramp and shot at the two other lizards now entering the cavern in answer to the hoots of the first beast. Hammrammr began to back up towards the rope himself, but took several rounds to do so. Eventually he climbed up, during which time Elentari severely wounded one of the creatures. Meanwhile, Leosil climbed into one of the carts and released the brake. Jor ran after him and was able to climb in when Leosil momentarily hit the brake. The two then accelerated down the tunnel, pursued by one of the lizards.

And thus ended the night. Next week, I anticipate that Leosil and Jor will either do the roller-coaster scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, or the Goblin Chase from The Hobbit, or some combination of the two. At any rate, they’re headed down to Goblintown. Should the rest of us survive, we will only have one lantern left. The only reasonable course of action will be to retrace our way and flee. If we are sure we killed all the killer lizards, perhaps we can wait a day in the dark, hoping that the two will return. That seems all we can do at this point.

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About lostdelights

An old gamer flying his freak flag, I've been playing table-top role-playing games since 1978. I've been building my own system (Journeyman) since 1981.
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