Bridge Over Troubled Waters
By Dwip September 18, 2011, 4:41 pm Comments (5) RSS Feed for this post

One of the ways to add a little variety to combats is through creative use of terrain – a river here, a hill there, the odd tree or bush for cover, and what have you.

As with everything else in the Underdark, things are dangerous. The monsters? Dangerous. The lack of light? Dangerous. The rocks? Dangerous. The bees? Dangerous. Bridges? Well, we should talk about bridges.

Our party remains:

Aukan, a 7+ foot tall goliath barbarian and ower of a life debt to Cujo the riding dog;
Davoren, human farmer priest/wizard of Helm the Watcher;
Gar Rotte, human thief;
Lord X, human paladin of Helm on a religious mission to protect Davoren;
Oscar the Magnicifent, halfling wizard, follower of Talos the Stormlord, and legend in his own mind;
Sancho, elven bard currently following Lord X and taking note of his crazy and somewhat unwise actions.

With NPC accompaniment by:

Yvette Tanislove, cousin of Lady Gilda and unwitting concubine of Lord X;
Glory, Lord X’s warhorse and 3 other assorted warhorses;
Cujo, Oscar’s riding dog;
Aukan’s 3 goats.

The previous day, the party had a very exciting encounter with some bulettes, wherein it was discovered that Aukan blocking the tunnel had a detrimental effect on general party health and well-being.

Now freshly rested, though still somewhat traumatized by the narrowly averted landsharking, the party continues through the tunnel until they hear the sound of rushing water and a lot of it. Veterans of several Underdark river crossings, another river is considered not perhaps a big deal, in any case less problematic than the forementioned devouring by landsharks.

What they find is a very narrow (less than 5 feet) stone bridge with no sides crossing a very wide (100 feet) canyon, at the bottom of which (80 feet) is a rather wide and quite loud river they cannot see.

Scouting would seem to be the order of the day, and so Gar begins making his way across the bridge.

What he doesn’t realize is that on the other side are several drow, who rise and begin firing at him with crossbows. What the drow don’t realize is that Gar is wearing armor of arrow deflection, and so weathers the storm of bolts with ease.

Aukan, the next one to react, begins charging across the bridge. He leaps over Gar, narrowly avoiding a collision with the rogue’s head, and keeps going. Sensing this new threat, the drow begin firing on Aukan, and one drow gets a lucky shot in, hitting the goliath for a minimal sum of damage.

Damage, however, is not what drow hand crossbows are for. Drow hand crossbows are for delivering bolts coated with drow sleep poison. Improbably, Aukan is poisoned by the bolt and falls unconcious mid-charge, veering to the right and straight off the bridge, where he begins falling.

(How improbable was this? Well, the drow rolled a 20 to hit Aukan, and Aukan needed a 4 or better to make his save versus the poison. I believe he rolled a 1.)

Oscar, thinking very quickly, casts a wall of ice spell at an angle to the canyon wall, creating a V-shaped depression for the goliath to fall into, saving an unconcious Aukan from sinking like a stone to the bottom of the river and drowning. Instead, Aukan hits the wall of ice hard, which not only hurts Aukan and the wall, but ruptures several large sacks he was carrying, sending a spray of over 8,000 gold coins flying all over the ice sheet and the river. Luckily, he does not smash up his lantern, which illuminates the ice and the gold, creating a sort of strobe light effect. Smashed up and freezing, Aukan lies unconcious on the ice sheet, narrowly saved from a watery grave.

Having witnessed this beautiful but deadly display, Lord X decides that now is the time to ride his warhorse out onto the bridge, which is possible solely because Glory is a supernatural minion of the god Helm. Nevertheless, the going is treacherous, and Lord X takes some time to cross over while under ineffectual fire from the drow.

A brief mage duel of sorts happens, where Oscar melts most of the gathered drow, and the opposing drow wizard spider climbs up to the cavern roof and fires a lightning bolt at the bridge crossers. As Lord X finally reaches the other side, the drow retreat back into rooms on either side of the tunnel, but not before the wizard creates a large area of sticky webbing that trap Lord X and Gar.

Oscar, undeterred, dispels this web, only to have the wizard cast another web spell to the same effect, though this time Lord X is able to free himself and Gar, riding through to the other side, where the drow have dropped a large iron portcullis to block the tunnel.

Under fire from arrow slits in the walls, Lord X dismounts and begins firing drow crossbows through one slit while jamming a melted body into another. Meanwhile, Gar ties a rope to Glory’s saddle and begins climbing down to Aukan, only to become trapped in the web again. Sancho, who has been crossing the bridge, throws an alchemist’s fire, burning part of the web, then becomes stuck in the web himself and gets shot by a bevy of drow bolts, becoming unconcious from the poison.

While Oscar makes the crossing, Davoren and Yvette begin blindfolding the horses, and Lord X picks up a drow sword and begins trying to stab through the arrow slits and Gar manages to free himself and climb down to Aukan, who shortly awakens, and they begin gathering up the fallen gold while their comrades assault the drow.

“Davoren begins blindfolding the horses so he can lead them across without getting spooked by the bridge.”

“Good idea. Yvette will help. She starts herding up the goats.”

“Oh, don’t worry about the goats. They auto-herd.”

“Auto-herd? What, did you like, hit the auto-herd button in the menu or something?”

“Yeah!”

As Davoren begins crossing the bridge at epic speed (10 feet per round), Oscar crosses to the other side. Confronted with the portcullis, he conjures a pair of acidic whips and begins carving up the portcullis as the drow continue to shoot ineffectually. Lord X attempts to help by ramming into the damaged portcullis, but bounces off. Soon after, Oscar demolishes the portcullis, then moves over to the nearest door and demolishes it, too. Lord X attempts to help by charging the other door, but bounces off ineffectually.

Cujo the dog, sensing an opportunity, runs through the door, ripping the throat out of the drow wizard. As Oscar moves to obliterate the other door, the other drow react by creating a sphere of darkness around Cujo, then moving in to fight in the darkness, wounding Cujo near to death. From here, things quickly go south for the drow as Lord X wipes out one side (after attempting to get the drow to surrender ineffectually) and Oscar the other.

The party stands triumphant, albeit many of them do so while on a very slick wall of ice or passed out while stuck in a web.

“Cujo really needs more levels in something to be good.”

“Maybe you could take leadership and make him a cohort.”

“Maybe if he had levels in paladin, that would be good.”

“A palidog!”

“He could cast Power Woof: Stun!”

“He could lay on paws!”

“Lay on snout!”

“Yeah, the cold snout of justice!”

“And once he got his special mount, he could have it be an elephant! With a howdah! And he could drive the elephant around!”

“With his head hanging out the window at 5 mph?”

“Yeah!”

A vote is held, and over Davoren’s strenuous objects about the utter lack of any remaining party healing, it is decided to continue on down the tunnel instead of resting in the cleared out drow outpost. After a full day and a half of trekking, the party reaches a large cavern on the shores of a lake, with several exits. They spread out to examine the cavern, Lord X taking care to watch for the fearsome Underdark bees that he has been told of.

No bees are found, Underdark or otherwise, but several sword spiders descend from the ceiling, impaling several with their chitinous legs. Though initially menacing, they are quickly killed, and the party stands triumphant.

Multiple players: *synchronously break into the Zelda combat victory music*


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Comments on Bridge Over Troubled Waters
avatar Comment by Mael #1
September 18, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Lord X the Ineffectual, blazing a trail of failed attempts across the Underdark.

avatar Pingback by Bridge Over Troubled Waters | Campaign Headquarters #2
September 18, 2011 at 5:00 pm

[…] Bridge Over Troubled Waters […]

avatar Comment by Gordzilla #3
September 18, 2011 at 6:04 pm

“Multiple players: *synchronously break into the Zelda combat victory music”

It was Final Fantasy victory music!

And I’m starting to think Aukan is too resilient for his own good.

avatar Comment by Dwip #4
September 18, 2011 at 6:10 pm

I fail video gaming.

avatar Comment by Gormican #5
September 19, 2011 at 10:00 pm

I’ll have you know that X takes his duties very seriously not a single party member was plagued by Underdark Bees

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