S&W B-Team Strikes Back: Castle of the Mad Archmage

We started out, after the usual banter, buying healing potions (4 at 130gp each) and +Peter V. Dell’Orto hired two hirelings and a 14-year old torchbearer. We called them Red 1 and Red 2 to start, and decided that the torchbearer was an exchange student, and we’d be giving him two gp and one credit.

We enter the gates of the theoretically long-dead archmage. We actually find a tent, and the guards ask for our group name. We are so screwed. We decide on the Ogre-Heads. “No. H-E-D-S.” “F**k.”

Apparently we have to pay to adventure here. So we pay. 12gp for a licence for the group. We’re now the Licensed, Official, Ogre-Heads Ogre-HEDS adventuring group. Mirado’s Ogre-HEDS.

Valid for a year. I ask if we get a map, Fast-Pass, and a monorail ticket? Nope.

Mirado thinks fast, and bribes the guards to give us a hint of what we might find below.

Kobolds, dwarves (licenced), and elves (also licenced). None have returned. The last time a group of adventurers went in? Three days. So line not quite as long as Pirates of the Caribbean.

We decide to bring our own food, because you never eat in the park.

We descend a spiral staircase, and the 2nd level fighter recommends we stay on the first level for a bit. The stairs are surprisingly clean, and the staircase is open to the air.

We enter into a room that is at least 50′ x 50′. Lots of art, details, King Triton, and . . . the last few images have our own faces on it.

Creeeeeeeppyyyy.


Peter (in Eddie Murphy voice): “Too bad we can’t stay.”

The faces in mosaic look like us, aged, and covered in enough graffiti that it looks like it’s been there forever.

Minister: “It’s neither killing us, nor getting us money, we should move on.”

We establish a marching order, and head left at the first intersection. We head left. The GM will make us pay for that, I’m sure.

We head down the corridor, find out it’s an alcove, and after brief embarrassment,we head left down the next hall.

We hear skittering and chittering coming from the south of the intersection. We’re in an area with an unadorned alcove, but as we approach, a Rat Pack comes after us.

There are six, they’re not counting coppers, and the GM “accidentally” rolls 1d10 for initiative. We call him on it, and he rolls a fricking 6 anyway. The rats attack first, one on each of us.

the Roll20 random number generator is in fine form, And when we roll our Luck (a reroll), the Minister’s reroll goes from 20 . . . to 20. One rat eats the torchbearer for 1 HP, enough to put him in Mortal Peril. The Minister gets eaten for 3 HP.

My own first attack produces two hits, rolling 21 and 22, for 10 and 10 damage. Killing two. Peter nails three more.

The Minister kills the last rat. He heals himself full up, and we climb up, leave the unconscious and bandaged, gnawed on. “Does he need a cleric,” the guards say. “Nope. Nope. Nuh-uh. Why, looking at the gore and torn flesh, would you think we need a cleric?”

We head back down, giving the torch to Red 1.

We come to an intersection, and have fun teasing Roll20 about the shape you can reveal the maps in – rectangles only, apparently.

Lots of parallel construction

We come to a basically trapezoidal intersection, and level one is a giant double corridor? Who knows.

We keep going, looking for a fight.

We come to a giant “42” on the ground. No, really, we don’t. Rul is asked to roll a d4, gets the wrong answer, and Red 2 and Rul both have to make Saving Throws. Rul dodges a spear, while Red 2 takes 1 point.

Rul looks at Red 2 and says “walk more carefully next time.”

We decide to use spears to probe ahead, continuing on. We come to a room, and inside there’s a frackin’ rhinoceros.


Mirado disbelieves, saying “no way there’s a frickin’ rhino in here.” It starts to shimmer, and is clearly bogus. Good thing Peter’s used to megadungeon play, because that never occurred to me at all.

Room Full of Crap. Really.

We look around and one of the Red Shirts . . . and he finds a secret door. The torchbearer and Mirado open the door, because Mirado has the most HP and we have no thief.

We head south, because the half-elf minister “smells something.” We follow our noses, obeying not at all Gandalf’s advice to follow your nose to the nice smelling passages. Yes, it smells of sewage and feces. Yum.

We come to a door, and Mirado, designated door opener, does his thing. It’s a 20×30 room, covered in crap, perhaps 1-2 feet deep. A literal dung disposal area. We decide one day we’ll tell the torchbearer that there’s 2,000cp hidden in a pile of crap in room 67.

We move on. From the west, we hear individuals moving in armor. We back up to set an ambush. We hear muttering in an odd language; it’s Dwarven. Probably one of the adventuring parties; they can see our torch, despite trying to hide it, and we send the Minister to tell them that we’re not at all peaceful, but not interested in fighting them.


They’re apparently Cockney Dwarves. They claim a party of fifteen. I note that traditionally dwarves travel in packs of Seven. Or thirteen.

“How’d you know there were seven of us?!!” They come around the corner. Seven of them, and a bear. We chat to try and figure out what threats are where. We’re apparently in kobold country, and there are zvarts or xvarts or something. Zvarts in the rafters.

The dwarves pay a bounty on kobold ears. We can take heads, though. Heads make the best ear-holders, notes +Tim Shorts.

We introduce ourselves as we part, and Kalizhun (the dwarf) is the guy to whom we’re supposed to give ears. We compare maps. We’re nervous about traps, so we double back and avoid the dwarves, who go back through the secret door.

We check out the alcove, but find nothing. We press forward, and find a door, and find three zombies. They are kitted out with two sweaters, a ukulele, and . . . I can’t bear to go on.

Rul pulls out his magic sword, +3 vs undead, and totally whiffs. Mirado hits with his weapon, and hits the one with the ukulele, while Minister hits him as well. He absorbs 11 HP of damage and is still up.

Zombies attack, and roll 14, 6, and Minister Magnet gets hit with a ukulele for 2 HP and a bad tune.

Rul finally hits one, and kills the wielder of the mini stringed instruments. Mirado nails one of the cheerleaders for 8 HP. Minister tries to turn undead, rolls a 1, and we joke he turns himself. Or just invites them to stay, and entertain us with their chanting.

We actually win initiative by rolling 1, beating the zombies’ 0. Woo. Rul rolls another sucky roll, as does Mirado, while the Minister nails one, taking one day. He too gets his cleave, rolling another hit, and with 7 HP into that one, he took nice chunks out of him. He’s rolling 1d6+2 for damage, and we discover he’s tied for Mirado for ST. Yow.

The zombie goes first again, and hits for 2 HP, bringing him down to 2 HP. Rul finishes the last zombie off. We recover a beaver coat worth 400gp. The Red Shirt puts it on, and looks absolutely fabulous.


We track back, find a giant number on the floor and bypass it. We open a door at the end of a corridor, and find a sunlight-bright room 20×30′. We find five flowerpots, each with a rosebush in it. On general principal, I shoot the middle pot with an arrow, and broke

Every rose has it’s, oh, never mind.

We examine the rosebush. It looks . . . rosy. We decide to continue our vandalism, and break and search all the pots. Underneath is a map. To treasure, no less. Not exactly a precise map. There’s tiny script in the corner saying “not all objects drawn to scale.” Or there should be.

We track back, and as we continue down the corridor, and we hear a buzzing sound. It gets closer. Two giant blue butterflies are coming after us. Rul feathers one with an arrow for 8 HP, Mirado kills and cleaves for 10 HP more, killing one.

One attacks Mirado, and misses vs AC 17. Minister attacks from the side, but can’t score a bonus for flanking or nothing. He rolls a 1. Again. The dices hates us, they do. Rul hits for 6 HP more, then Mirado hits for 5 HP.

Minister rolls another 1. Really? We decide that Minister has inspired the wounded creature to greater ferocity, as surely someone that incompetent is no threat.

The butterfly misses Rul, and we roll for initiative again, kill the thing, and then look for obviously valuable stuff in the butterfly poop.

Poop. Why did it have to be poop?


We find bones, and a poop-covered dagger. After wiping off the poop, we find it to be a silvered dagger.

We backtrack hugely, zig-zagging to avoid areas that we’ve not traversed before, fearing traps. We go left again, of course, and then see a door and a corridor that ends in a T.

We set up with the Redshirts to guard the rear. This room is very mildewy, with lots of mildew guarding the walls and floor. Rul guards, and Minister and Mirado look for secret doors, and discover they can’t find their own feet. We head on down to the T, and of course go left, looking right for traffic.

Lots of looking, lots of doors. We enter an opportune one. A 30×30 room awaits us. A trio of fire beetles. They win initiative and all miss. Our turn comes and Minister . . . rolls another 1.

Rul rolls a 20, kills one with 17 HP damage, and cleaves doing 10 HP to the next. Mirado kills the second and hits the third . . . and Minister actually rolls a 20. He chooses to double his die roll, and kills the last.

Fire beetles are valuable in and of themselves. We cut them up, and score a gold ring with a ruby worth 75gp. The redshirt now looks extra absolutely fabulous.


There’s another door. The elf says, with his elf-senses, that it’s a door. He opens it, feeling cocky. A short passageway leads to a T, and we check it out. We head south. We find that we’ve looped a bit, and we come across a door we bypassed earlier. We enter it, Mirado going first this time, and we open the door, charge in, and find three skeletons wielding battleaxes.

They attack, and I take 6 HP of damage. This angers me. Rul kills all three in one giant cleave attack. The only thing of value are the three battle axes. We leave them behind. We find a big red X painted on a door. We chuck a battle-axe at it. It embeds in the door, and the door (the Gazebo!) has a battleaxe sticking out of it.

We continue on. to another door. Mirado forces open the door. No one is surprised, and we see 3 humans, one wearing robes, two wearing chain and shield. The man in robes casts two magic missiles, hitting Mirado. We do some hand-to-hand damage, and Minister casts Sleep. Go figure. He’s a magic user too. All the foes fall asleep.

We loot them, gag them, tie them, and question them. The mage has a very nice dagger, which glows when unsheathed. We give it to Minister, who can use it. It’s a +1 dagger, +2 vs. humanoids. Cool.

Mirado examines the chest, which we assume is trapped. We lift the chest carefully. We hear the shifting of coins. It doesn’t look locked; we get bored and open it, finding 200gp.

One of the fighters says he was hired by the magic user, Doorkar the magnificent or something. They were four, lost two to dwarves, then they fled and big beetles, and they kept running. They did not have a successful delve. It ended badly.

We offer to hire them on to our side. They would rather not continue adventuring. We kill the magic user, fearing spells that are voice activated. Wound-licker restores a HP to Peter. It feels . . . yummy.

Tim looks through the wizard’s spellbook. Five or six first and second level spells go into Minister’s spellbook.

We escort the fighters back, give them their swords back, and let them go.

We want to do one more room, looking for cooler treasure. We find a door, and open it up. Three more doors. Woot. We force open the north door, find yet another. The archmage was truly mad. We find lots of freaking doors. We decide to spike them open, because they seem to close magically. In the distance we hear light laughter.

We forget that crap, and go searching for trouble We find it in the form of 10 giant rats. Our turn, and we kill five rats.

The other five attack, and hit Red1 for 1 HP of damage. Next round comes. Lots of hits by rats; only Mirado is missed. One red shirt is KO’d. Damage all around. Rul kills three more. Minister hits twice, finishing them all off.

We loot the room . . . and Rul (finds 92% of 2,000 cp. Kidding.)

In the ratscat we find a broken gold chain, 80gp.

We head back to the surface.

****

Loot summary:

  • Beaver coat worth 400gp
  • A map, notionally to 3,000gp (yeah, right)
  • A silvered dagger, value unknown
  • A gold ring with a ruby in it, valued at 75gp
  • A +1 dagger, +2 vs. humanoids (claimed by Minister most Sinister)
  • The Wizard’s spellbook (copied by Minister)
  • Coinage: total 280gp

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