Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Rise and Fall of Hakken Aksa-Dak

I died on Monday in my friend Carter's Labyrinth Lord campaign.  Not the usual haul-the-body-out-and-get-raised kind either.  I got the wrong end of the old school Teleport spell and materialized some undisclosed number of feet straight down into solid rock.  I have been thinking about it a little and I don't think there would be any body to speak of or recoverable remains even if an attempt was made to excavate for it.  Just little specks of blood and flesh and bone embedded in solid stone.

In many ways this was a very fitting way for Hakken Aksa-Dak (a.k.a. Dak), the Steve Buscemi of dwarves, to meet his end.  I tried to roleplay Dak's low wisdom (6) and decent intelligence by constantly coming up with risky harebrained schemes and throwing myself into any possible trap head first.

 Way back in Stonehell in our earlier adventures this resulted in Dak being blinded by poison gas from a trap.  Not deterred, I removed the container of poison gas from the trap and used it and the fact that I was already blind as a weapon.  Dak spent several sessions blind in Stonehell; when the party encountered monsters they would point me toward them and I would charge ahead, screaming bloody murder and releasing blinding gas.  It turned out to be a remarkably effective tactic.

More recently the party has been exploring a vampire's lair in the deepest dungeons underneath the free city of Kaladar.  Confronted with a glowing red magical archway, I had my dwarven compatriot Yor (Yor for a better tomorrow!) tie a rope around me and I went through.  I was expecting deadly poison gas at the minimum because I had tried this tactic in an earlier section of this lair when confronted with an archway of glowing green mist and it turned out to be a save vs. death gas (luckily I saved).  Instead what happened is all my gear right down to my beard ring of protection was sucked from my body and I had some hazy sense of a misty cavern that I was being tugged to, and then Yor pulled me back out of the archway (naked).

I did fight an encounter completely naked and wielding a borrowed hand ax that session.

Losing all my gear rankled a bit, but we could not figure out a couple puzzle rooms in the dungeon and were stuck... unless we wanted to go through that damned archway and end up naked on the other side with no gear.

Last session I had the bright idea of bringing a high enough level wizard to have the Teleport spell memorized down to the arch to send him through (naked).  The idea was he would quickly examine the area that the arch led to, trying to mark it for a future Teleport destination, then Teleport out to safety.  We persuaded/conned NPC Tim the Enchanter into this duty; he was eager to make up for the fact that his master in the wizard's council had recently been revealed by the party to be a balrog!  Poor Tim walked through the gate, ended up in a misty cavern, and was attacked by something he didn't see which drained a level before he could Teleport out!

Once back at the wizard's tower Tim and four other high level wizards scried the misty cavern with a crystal ball for an hour until they had a reasonably good lock on it to Teleport the party down there.  There was a 10% chance of a missed destination "Low" result, which basically meant instant death in this situation, and we knew that.  The "High" result wasn't as big of a risk as the misty cavern was quite large; in fact, two party members did arrive 10' in the air and dropped to the ground.  While 10% chance of unraisable death is pretty iffy odds to be putting the whole party through, for once everyone else seemed ready to join in Dak's foolish plan.

 Remarkably, three out of the eight total party members that the wizards Teleported down arrived too low and instantly died.  Dak, Arthurius (follower of Innominus the cleric), and Muckley (dwarf henchman of Dak) all met their ends in this unceremonious manner.  A vampire attacked the remaining party members and was promptly destroyed in one round by Yor (thanks to his nightly d30 roll, his girdle of giant strength and his ancient Noffellian blade Mellion).  The vampire turned out to be a lacky, not the vampire master we had been seeking.

Dak is Dead.  Long live Flipwayter, Dak's trusty follower, who shall pick up the mantle.  Hopefully the party finds the real frickin' vampire and all Dak's old gear so Flipwayter can really keep the name of Dak alive.  In particular, Dak's family heirloom refilling flask of dwarven whiskey will not go unused... as Dak would have wanted.

I am looking forward to next session, a quick turnaround (for us) as we are meeting up again next Monday.  Dak may have died, but his hairbrained scheme did get the party down to the lowest section of the dungeon which we had not been able to access before. As long as we kill the vampire, get the loot and find a way out it will not have been for vain!  If we happen to save Ara from demonic invasion (another story) in the process, so much the better.

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