On Fifteen Foot Wide Tunnels
By Dwip September 4, 2011, 3:54 am Comments (4) RSS Feed for this post

From time to time, adventuring parties make choices. Sometimes these choices happen during combat. Always, these choices have consequences, and maybe not the consequences you expected them to have. So let’s talk for a time about consequences.

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;
30-odd docile slaves;
Glory, Lord X’s warhorse and 3 other assorted warhorses;
Cujo, Oscar’s riding dog;
Aukan’s 3 goats.

Previously on Highlander, the party killed somewhere between “many” and “a whole lot” of goblins, bugbears, advanced minotaurs, psychotic deranged elven women, and the odd other assorted beastie. With a bodycount that high, you can’t really be expected to keep track, can you?

Having passed their titanic battle, the party rests for a day, then pauses to consider: Did we kill everybody? Probably. Do they have a lot of loot? Almost certainly. Is there anybody guarding this loot? Almost certainly not. I think you see where this is going. In the end, they only explore a small part of the overall complex (a few barracks rooms and Markessa’s laboratory), wherein they encounter and scare the wits out of some assorted slaver hangers-on, kill a deranged human experiment, and stab a couple of caged owlbears to death, in the process finding a map of the slaver trails to the slaver town of Suderham.

They also happen to stumble upon the slavers’ treasure room, which lies beyond a greased halfling-sized tunnel. A freshly larded up Oscar magnificently scurries through the tunnel into the treasure room, which is filled with somewhere in the realm of 30,000 coins of various types (15,000 or so when you strip it down to electrum, gold, and platinum), a moderately unreasonable number of gems, some magic items, scrolls, and the like, and also a few traps, which Oscar manages not to die from (DC 12 and 15 poison Fort saves, sigh).

“We’re RICH!”

“How much of a town could we buy with this?”

“I can’t carry this much. I don’t think the horse can either. Time to load up the goats.”

(My timeline entry for this bit reads “Hella looting”)

Having previously found a map describing in detail the route to Suderham, the party decides that Gorbin Stalworth, their captured guide who was killed running away, was correct, and the best way to Suderham was probably through the Underdark. So they go back to the tunnel leading into the Underdark, pausing briefly to find, feed, arm, and coin a large group of slaves rescued from the slave pens.

The party travels through a tunnel into the Underdark, which eventually comes to a fork marked with drow glyphs. Fortunately for them, their guide, before he was killed while running away during the second ambush he led them into, told them which glyphs to follow, so they follow them. They follow this tunnel to a very large and somewhat deep river with a swift current, which poses something of an obstacle until they realize that one of the treasures from the slavers’ base was a ring of water walking. Aukan, being superhumanly strong, simply picks up everyone and ferries them across, then guides the horses over. This is repeated at the next river, which is even larger and even deeper than the horses.

“Well, I COULD just pick up the horses and carry them over.”

“Dude, warhorses are like 1,500 pounds!”

“I could 5 foot step across in like, 24 rounds. Might hurt my back though.”

“What if the horse doesn’t go along with it?”

“That might be a problem.”

In the end, the horses are dumped into the river and drug across, which more or less works. They continue down the tunnel, always following the faint scent of water, until the tunnel finally dead-ends in a lake that nobody can come close to seeing across.

“Well, Oscar does have that swan boat thing.”

“Do you have any idea how to navigate this thing? Because I don’t.”

“This probably isn’t the right way.”

With that, they backtrack all the way back to the fork, with a brief pause when some ogres come up behind them, only to encounter a grease spell, darkness spell, and an earthlock spell that blocks the tunnel. A beastial scream tells them that this plan may have been successful. Some days later they return to the river, where a party of slaves is encountered, rather lost in the depths. After pointing the slaves back to the dungeon, the other route in the fork is taken, which leads to a very long and very unexciting tunnel.

And then…

*rumble, rumble*


Bulette: *bursts out of the wall* GRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Party: Oshi-

People: *attempt to wheel about to face the threat*

Aukan: *rages, moves to attack the bulette*

Now, the thing to understand here is that this is a 15 foot wide tunnel with 5 feet of bulette sticking into it.. Aukan, when raging, takes up 10 feet, and in fact, shoved Gar and Oscar out of the way to charge.

Lord X/Aukan: *fight the bulette*

Entire Rest of Party: *Busts out the pom-poms* Rah X! Yay X! Gooooooooo X!

Players: Seriously, was that whole blocking the tunnel thing necessary? We can’t even get to this thing to fight it. Now what are we supposed to do?

Second Bulette: *bursts out of wall* GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

Players: Oshi-

First Bulette: *Attempts to eat Lord X*

Second Bulette: *Eats Davoren, who is very unprotected and very suddenly at -5 hp*

Lord X/Aukan: *kill the first bulette*

Everyone Else: *valiently attempts to kill the second bulette*

DM: Hrm. *rolls some dice* Huh. *rolls more dice* Ruh-roh, guys.

Second Bulette: GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR *eats Gar, who gets a max damage critical and suddenly goes to -34 hp*


Everyone: *manages to kill off the second bulette before more casualties are sustained*

Oscar/Sancho: *run up to Gar and dump massive healing into him, stabilizing him*

Davoren: *stabilizes on his own*

Everyone: Nap time!

Players: *hold intense discussion on the lack of tactical brilliance involved in raging large barbarians blocking most of the party from getting into the fight with the very large creatures who almost ate everyone’s faces off*

“Say, how tasty do you think bulette is? Getting on about dinner time anyway.”

Dungeons and Dragons Comments (4) Trackback URL for this post RSS Feed for this post
Comments on On Fifteen Foot Wide Tunnels
avatar Comment by Gordzilla #1
September 4, 2011 at 2:17 pm

It should be noted Aukan only took 8 damage that whole battle. The bulettes did not attack the biggest threat.

avatar Comment by Gormican #2
September 10, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Gorm missed 1 session…..

avatar Pingback by The Ravings of Demented Rabbits » Bridge Over Troubled Waters #3
September 18, 2011 at 4:42 pm

[…] previous day, the party had a very exciting encounter with some bulettes, wherein it was discovered that Aukan […]

avatar Pingback by The Ravings of Demented Rabbits » Long Time Passing #4
March 12, 2013 at 8:25 pm

[…] Forest Fires (7/10/11), “There’s No Rule Against Poisoning Minotaurs!” (8/7/11), On Fifteen Foot Wide Tunnels (9/4/11), Quoth Admiral Ackbar (10/2/11), Tired DM Is Tired (10/21/11), Averted Loinclothing […]

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