I’ve returned to a Ruins of the Undercity campaign that I’ve been playing using the Labyrinth Lord rules. Having previously generated 11 parties of adventurers that were all wiped out before any of the characters reached second level, I’ve decided to use the optional advanced Hit Dice rules from the Advanced Edition Companion for Labyrinth Lord to boost the survivability of my new characters. This is a condensed version of my latest session.
Six adventurers have gathered in Cryptopolis.
Formerly a scribe in the Temple of the Red Goddess, Arav has discovered his hidden talent for sorcery. He understands the languages of kobolds and flinds.
Nameera is an 18 year old belly dancer from the khiva shops. She has heard stories of the Undercity and now wants to explore its depths herself.
Othnos worked as an undertaker but had to flee the funeral parlour after he was caught plundering a corpse. He is now a professional thief.
Senrion is a 151 year old elf who became dissatisfied with his occupation as a shoemaker. He understands the language of flinds.
An elderly dwarven woman of 269 years, Somteva worked as a mule teamster before becoming a cleric of the Red Goddess.
Formerly an actor in a performing troupe, Zareef left the troupe to explore the Undercity.
Nameera and Zareef are fighters and Senrion is an elf of the basic class of Labyrinth Lord.
Arav knows of an abandoned building not far from the Temple of the Red Goddess, where there is a stairway leading down into the Undercity. Evening is falling and the inhabitants of Cryptopolis are hurrying back to their homes when the party reach the building. It is a stone house of two storeys, evidently the former residence of a prosperous merchant or some such wealthy person.
The party enter the building. In the entry hall the stirring of a dark figure startles them, but it is only an old beggar getting up from a bed of rags. He scowls at the adventurers for disturbing his rest and wishes doom upon them in the Undercity below.
Deep within the house the party come to a small, dank room with no windows, where there is a flight of narrow steps leading down into darkness. The party form their narrow marching order and descend into the Undercity.
81: Giant toad’s lair
The party explore the corridors of the Undercity and come to a large, dark chamber, damp and moldy, where the ceiling is supported by eight pillars. There is a door of rusted copper in the right-hand wall.
The giant toad has 14 hit points. It surprises the party.
A toad the size of a large dog lunges out of the darkness at Zareef, but fails to bite him. The party manage to kill the toad, with Senrion dealing the fatal blow, but not before Somteva has been badly wounded. She heals herself with Cure Light Wounds. The party rest in the chamber.
Check for wandering monsters: eight giant rat skeletons (1, 3, 5, 1, 7, 7, 1 and 3 hit points).
Giant rat skeletons
The party hear the sound of clicking bones and see eight animated giant rat skeletons enter the chamber from the corridor. Somteva turns five of the skeletal rats and the remaining three are destroyed, but not before Arav has been killed. The party divide his coins, rations and most useful items between them. Nameera takes his quill, ink and papyrus sheets and now has the job of mapper for the party.
36: Empty room
The party enter a small rectangular room which is dark, moldy and empty. Senrion discovers a secret door in the left-hand wall, a stone panel that pivots to reveal a dark cave beyond.
The secret door is trapped with a pit 10′ deep with spikes. Senrion fails to detect the trap.
Opening the panel also opens a pit which Senrion falls into. He is impaled on the iron spikes at the bottom of the pit and killed.
The cave beyond the secret door is inhabited by a vampire named Telki, a previous adventurer who was bitten by a vampire bat. I consult the Answer Oracle found at the back of The Covetous Poet’s Adventure Creator and Solo GM Guidebook to determine if he has been destroyed or is in the cave at the moment.
Has Telki been destroyed by other adventurers? Yes.
Somteva performs the rites of the Red Goddess over Senrion’s corpse and then the surviving members of the party make their way around the pit and into the cave.
The cave is dark, damp and empty. The party rest for a while.
Check for wandering monsters: none.
The party cross the cave to a passage opening in the right-hand wall.
66: Marble corridor
The party come to a single lantern of fragile glass that hangs on the wall opposite a door of moldy wood. Ahead the corridor comes to a dead end.
Has the covered pit trap 10′ deep with spikes in this corridor been covered again? Yes.
Othnos fails to detect the trap.
Othnos plunges into a covered pit trap between the lantern and the door. He is impaled on the iron spikes at the bottom of the pit and killed. The party lament the loss of yet another adventurer and they have now been halved in number. Somteva will now check for traps at the front of the party. The party rest in the corridor.
Check for wandering monsters: none.
The party retrace their steps to the junction and take the other corridor, which ends at a door of moldy wood. A side passage on the right also leads to another door. This door is locked but Zareef easily breaks down the rotten wood.
64: Octagonal chamber
Have the mites that live beneath this chamber covered their pit trap again? Yes. Somteva detects the trap.
The octagonal chamber beyond is dark, damp and moldy, with moldy wooden doors in the left-hand, right-hand and opposite walls. Somteva alerts the others to the covered pit trap next to the left-hand door. The door in the opposite wall is unlocked and the party go through.
82: Chamber of ancient frescoes
The party enter a rectangular room with no other visible exits. By the light of Zareef’s torch they see that the walls are covered with fading frescoes that depict the civilisation of the necromancers, over whose ruined city Cryptopolis was built. The colossal statue of the Red Goddess is shown towering over houses and shops. The inhabitants of the city are shown being entertained by musicians and dancers, and fighting monsters such as flinds and lizard men.
While the adventurers are studying the frescoes two snyads emerge undetected from a hole in the wall. The snyads approach Nameera and Somteva to pick their belt pouches. Somteva notices her belt pouch being picked but Nameera does not. The snyad steals d10 gold pieces from Nameera; one gold piece.
Somteva notices that a small, tan-skinned humanoid, a snyad, is about to pick her belt pouch. She swipes at it with her mace, intending to drive it away rather than kill it. The snyad flees into a hole in the wall. A moment later Nameera sees another snyad darting into the hole and finds that one gold piece is missing from her belt pouch.
Somteva finds a secret door in the left-hand wall, which can be opened by pressing on the door of a fresco of a house.
83: Half-flooded chamber
The large, square chamber beyond has no other exit and is half-flooded with water. The party enter and close the secret door behind them. The chamber is hardly welcoming, but at least the party can rest here knowing that they will not be discovered by wandering inhabitants of the Undercity. The adventurers lay out their bedrolls on the dry half of the floor and enjoy a meal of rations and wine before settling down to sleep.
No checking for wandering monsters as the party are in a secure place.
The party sleep for eight hours and wake up refreshed. A new day has begun in Cryptopolis above them.
The party retrace their steps to chamber 35.
Returning to the cave the party rest for a while.
Check for wandering monsters: none.
35: Empty chamber
Returning to this chamber the party find that the second door in the left-hand wall is locked. Zareef breaks it down.
84: Room of ancient frescoes
The party enter a small, rectangular room. The walls are decorated with fading frescoes of the ancient necromancers’ civilisation, but the floor is strewn with refuse and a putrid smell fills the room. The frescoes are more sinister than those of the previous frescoed chamber; they depict ghouls, mummies, a hideous frog-like demon with grey skin and fangs, and a bearded, grey-skinned man wearing grey robes and a white turban. He wields two scimitars and confronts cowering humans. Not finding any secret doors in the room, the party leave and retrace their steps to the entry corridor leading from the stairway in the abandoned building.
The party return to the entry corridor and take the corridor numbered 12.
34: Corridor of lanterns
Going through a door the party enter a corridor which is well-constructed of standard masonry, and illuminated by a row of fragile glass lanterns hanging on the right-hand wall.
Has the covered pit trap 20′ deep in this corridor been covered again? No.
The party come to pit in the corridor about 20 feet deep. They make their way carefully around it. Beyond the pit they find the site of a past battle; there are bones, shields and scimitars and other weapons strewn over the floor.
This was where a previous party were wiped out by gibberlings.
Wandering monster: 13 kobolds 40 feet from the party.
The kobolds are indifferent to the party.
A group of 13 kobolds are coming down the corridor towards the party. Their scaly hides are a dark rusty brown and they are wearing ragged red tunics. They are armed with axes, javelins and morning stars but these weapons are lowered and the kobolds do not appear to want a fight. When they reach the party they pass them in single file and ignore them, apparently preoccupied with some warlike mission that requires all of their numbers.
90: Chamber of broken furniture
The corridor ends at a door of reinforced wood. It is locked but Zareef kicks at it until it gives way. At first glance the chamber beyond appears to contain nothing of interest; it is dank and moldy and constructed of rough masonry with a dirt floor, and strewn with broken and decaying items of plain furniture such as tables and chairs. But in the north-east corner there is a rectangular stone container carved with images of skeletons, nagas and other monsters. Zareef heaves off the lid and the party find a hoard of gold coins inside. There are 250 coins in total; Zareef takes 84 and Nameera and Somteva each take 83. Pleased with this find, the party decide to leave the Undercity.
The party return to the abandoned building and to daylight without incident, and go to a khiva shop to celebrate their find of gold.