All their metal armor and weapons sitting in a pile after traversing the Heat Metal hallway, the party was suddenly attacked by a pack of ghouls.
These ravenous undead would have been little challenge for the party in normal circumstances. But the party’s front-liners were all in their street clothes. Some hadn’t even had a chance to grab their weapons. As we started the session, I told them to recalculate their ACs.
It was a tough fight. The ravenous ghouls not only got Surprise, but won Initiative as well. The party took a lot of damage, and had to make Save roll after Save roll.
Sir Valler the paladin used the Dodge action (no attack, only defense); first time I’ve seen that used in our D&D 5e games. Even that didn’t work, and he was paralyzed for a time.
The dwarf cleric Gimlet used his fight-ending Turn ability on the undead…
Module notes: “These ghouls wear amulets that make them immune to the Turn Undead ability.”
The ghoul room in this module is notoriously brutal
As it happened, I had the Wight that Gimlet Turned in the last session, join the fight right at this moment. It was Turned, fleeing again down the hallway, howling.
When the wizard Quarion cast Wall of Fire, the tables turned on the ghouls. Four burned up immediately, and the players hooted and hollered.
It was a mop-up job after that.
Sir Valler, still unarmed, fist-punched the ghoul tormenting him, blasting him out of existence with Divine Smite. First time I’d ever seen that done with a punch. We were joking how it was like the old Batman TV show. POW!!
When this adventure started, I gave the party a gift: A one-use magic mat that could be laid on a flat surface, leading down some steps into an extra-dimensional space: Gringle’s Pawnshop. It was a way for these one-shot characters to spend some of their loot during the adventure, and make gold worthwhile to collect.
Once they healed and patched up their wounds as best as they could, they decided to use their mat.
Gringle wasn’t present, but had a sign on the counter: “Honor System* – leave gold for purchases in the chest on the counter”. The party wondered what the * meant, and chose to pay for their purchases. They stocked up on potions and scrolls, and a couple picked up minor magic gear.
All finished, the party returned to the dungeon and the magic mat disappeared.
“The path to the west is broken by a sizable gap, and you can see the glint of metal at the bottom of the opening. The floor beyond this area has a silvery sheen.
In the distance you can see another hole, beyond which is a patch of floor that adjoins the western wall.”
Tossing objects out onto the central floor – including one very charred ghoul corpse – the party quickly deduced the floor was frictionless, and the pits filled with razor-sharp metal.
They made pretty short work of this room. Orgrush had a rope tied to his waist, with the other end held by Sir Valler, releasing out rope as needed. Orgrush skittered all the way to the far side, stopped short by Sir Valler as he reached the far pit, and Orgrush prevented ping-ponging back by hooking his legs over the pit side. Then Valler lowered him down into the pit, Orgrush made a Dex check to gingerly make his way through the jagged metal, and climb out the other side.
The rope secured on the far side – briefly held up by the illusionary wall masking the real wall – the rest of the party made their way across the treacherous room. Gimlet chose to use a gaseous form potion to cross the room.
Gimlet realized his gaseous form effect would last an hour.
So he went exploring.
Heading north up the hallway, he vapored his way through the crack under the door, and found a room with kayaks… and a stream flowing through the air!
Gimlet wafted his way back out of the room, and went south.
He found another room, very large and terraced with monsters on each level.
Unable to speak to his comrades, Gassy Gimlet blew in circles around them, then headed north back to the floating stream room. The party followed.
Orgrush and Sir Valler once again had troubles forcing the stout dungeon door [they’re all 8′ x 8′ square, which is a little odd, but maybe Keraptis got them all on special], but it finally came unstuck and opened.
“Water not only flows through this room, it floats.
Entering a hole in the western wall, two feet off the floor, is a stream seemingly suspended in mid-air. It flows out of another hole near the northeast corner. The water is about three feet deep. You can see a few blind cave fish being carried along in the brisk current.
On either side of the door are a total of six kayaks, each able to carry two riders, but there are no paddles to be found.”
Gassy Gimlet found he could make his way upstream, in the space between the water and the top of the tunnel.
He emerged into another room with 9 knights standing by the floating stream in their room. They were intensely focused on the stream as it entered the room, weapons drawn. They didn’t notice the puff of vapor in the other direction.
Gassy Gimlet returned to his party and the magic effect ended. He informed them of the ambush awaiting if they used the kayaks.
I hope y’all enjoyed the session recaps. Here’s what I used for this adventure.
White Plume Mountain (S2). The original 1979 AD&D adventure by Lawrence Schick, long out of print but available in the used market or PDF / Paperback reprint at DriveThruRPG (currently $6.50 at this writing). Great art by old school RPG artists.
Tales From the Yawning Portal (2017). The White Plume Mountain adventure is included in this D&D 5e hardcover – unabridged and essentially unchanged from the original. One of several classic modules converted to 5e tabletop play. New art, which is also quite good. The map looks great for VTT play.
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