17. Dungeon of the Vampire Lord, Part Three

While his friends braved the perils of the dungeon beneath the merman prison, Jarmangle was tending to his goblin, Hanoonk. Jarmangle found himself unable to cure Hanoonk of his mummy rot. Leesa, the young woman they rescued from the clutches of the Cult of Cloth-- who had been deflowered by Jarmangle's sister Tyne-- urged Jarmangle to join his friends and bring Tyne and Leesa's still-captive sister safely back, promising to look after Hanoonk in his stead. Reluctantly, Jarmangle agreed.

He soon found himself reunited with the group, and together they soon found the vampire, Romlyn. From a hidden vantage point, they set up a magical crossbow, aimed for the vampire's heart, that they had found in one of the dungeon's many trap-filled rooms. They sent Tyne back upstairs to step on the pressure plate in said room. Unfortunately, the trap misfired, and the arrow struck Jarmangle.

The group went into the vampire's room. A long conversation ensued, during which time the vampire revealed that Jarmangle's cursed moustache was likely eating him from the inside out. The vampire also insulted Tralamin's sense of style. A battle was joined between the group, the vampire, and the vampire's faithful owlbear. The skirmish was interrupted by the arrival of a monstrous bulette, which Robyn managed to drive off with a bit of beastbane. The owlbear was pushed into a chasm, the vampire slain, and Leesa's sister rescued.

Beaten and exhausted, the group found their way back up to Tyne barred by stones the bulette had overturned. They found another passageway back up, and, as they made their way back to Tyne through other means, they stumbled upon a secret room filled with treasure and magical apparel. One hat in particular proved potentially useful, as it allowed its wearer to assume the appearance of another.

Tralamin put on the hat, assuming the guise of his own fictional twin sister, unconvincingly named Tralamina. They now planned to pretend that Tralamin had died inside the dungeon, hopefully thus ending the eladrin hunt for him.

At long last the group found Tyne and exited the dungeon.

Loose Ends

In the day that followed, they managed to all recover from their various cases of mummy rot. Having lifted the Rings of Fire Immunity and Acid Immunity from the body of the vampire, they now wondered if they should keep their promise to give them to Ugblar, the troll Goblin Boss. They decided against it and hatched a contingency plan should Ugblar come looking for them.

Returning to Hodam, they introduced Melany to Tralamina, who they said had been left Tralamin's share in the brewery, pubs, and bawdyhouses. Melany at first gave some resistance-- claiming that without a legal will that said otherwise, Tralamin's holdings should pass to her-- but upon the revelation that Tralamina was in fact Tralamin, Melany was more cooperative. She agreed to keep Tralamin's secret, and helped the group to organize a public funeral for Brewmaster Tralamin.

And into all this, there flew a drunken young dragon. Sheriff Feer put on the Ring of Fire Immunity and arrested the dragon, forcing it to repair the damage it had done. It was suggested that the dragon could be given to the denizens of Kobold Pocket, thus smoothing over any remaining ruffled feathers with Hodam's trade partner.

Tralamin(a) and Melany put the Goblin Beer recipe that Tralamin had obtained from Ugblar into production, and it seemed to be a success.

Irving holed himself up with the necromantic books they had lifted from the vampire's library, hoping to find a cure for Jarmangle's cursed moustache.

Robyn went into business with Melany to start a cabaret/entertainment establishment. Leesa, still pining after Tyne despite repeated post-coital jilting, expressed an interest in working at the cabaret so that she might remain in Hodam.

Leesa's sister, however, longed to return home to the Bell of Harvest, and the group agreed to escort her home.


16. Dungeon of the Vampire Lord, Part Two

Having been severely injured in their latest attempt to probe the depths of the dungeon beneath the merman prison, the group had returned to the surface to lick their wounds. The goblin Hanoonk was alone in being unable to shake off his mummy rot, and Jarmangle felt responsible. And so, when the group went off to retrieve Tralamin from the troll "goblin boss" Ugblar, Jarmangle announced he was staying behind to watch over the goblin. Tyne went with the group, but only after deflowering the rescued virgin Leesa.

Ugblar was disappointed that they had not been successful in defeating the vampire and stealing her rings, but let Tralamin ago-- he still felt bad about taking such a, well, trollish and uncivilized approach.

And so, the five adventurers-- Tyne, Feer, Tralamin, Irving, and Robyn-- returned to the dungeon once more, hoping to retrieve both the rings and Leesa's sister, Oola. They often found themselves retracing their steps and second-guessing themselves. "We didn't go down here, did we?" they asked, only to get lost in a maze of caverns and find themselves in previously-tackled territory.

The Cult of Cloth and their mummies were on high-alert after their previous excursion, resulting in several skirmishes. As they ventured further into the dungeon's depths, they confronted new horrors and traps. Tyne nearly found herself impaled in a bed of spikes-- Irving, at the last moment, conjured up a spectral ram and pushed the tiefling to safety.

Our heroes discovered the secrets of the Cult of Cloth-- they were men who worshiped vampires and projected their consciousness into rag-man bodies-- and found the room where their bodies were kept. The room was filled with bodily waste and guarded by mummies. Irving, perhaps unwisely, summoned a fireball in the room, causing the high quantities of methane gas to ignite. The adventurers barely made it to safety, and the Cult of Cloth was extinguished.

However, that still left the vampire itself. The magical compass Bradbury indicated that the kidnapped girl was nearby, but they could not find a passageway that led to her. Hoping to find access to her from another floor, they followed some stairs leading to unexplored areas on the previous floors. There, they found the library of Romlyn-- at last, a name to the vampire. Getting past the sentient door with a little bit of the ol' fey step, they raided the library for necromantic texts.

Leaving the library, they found themselves in a room they had inadvertently returned to many times before-- emblematic, they supposed, of the adventure as a whole, which still lacks a conclusion.


A Tale of Two Torches

So, to set the scene: our heroes have returned to a mummy-infested dungeon beneath a merman prison, intent on slaying the vampire that lies within. After a particularly tense battle with some peskily-regenerating mummies-- resulting in several infections of mummy rot-- two of the PCs, sherriff Feer and her deputy Jarmangle, decide to arm themselves with a couple of torches that they can throw at the flammable mummies.

Soon thereafter, they come to a doorway. Said doorway is blocked by a mass of foilage with little, closed-up flowers. Their usual modus operandi when faced with a suspicious-looking plant is to stand back and set it on fire. This I'm kinda counting on: the flowers, which of course unleash a poison gas when they open, are heat-sensitive, and the door through which they entered this room will not stay open. Bwahahaha, et cetera.

But my players don't set it on fire; instead, they begin investigating the plant. Feer and Jarmangle notice when they come near it that the petals start to open slightly (though not enough to unleash the poison); the others, however, don't set it off.

"Huh," said Jarmangle and Feer at about the same time. "Why does it just do it around us specifically? What do we have in common?"

The answer, of course, are the flaming torches, but they don't think of that. Instead, they each begin looking through their loot. We're both wearing hide armour, maybe it's the hide? Jarmangle takes his armour off. Nope, he still sets it off. They have swords? Jarmangle puts down his sword. Nope, still setting it off.

Repeatedly, they flip through the 3x5 cards on which are written their various possessions. Briefly, the possibility that they are both law enforcement is considered. They go through the cards again; they pass them around the table. "What is it that we have in common?"

And by this point I'm laughing hysterically.

"Maybe it's something you acquired recently," I said, trying to be helpful.

They mentally retrace their steps, but they forget about the torches.

Jarmangle finally says, "Okay, I'm taking off everything. Putting everything down. Completely nekkid."

"Everything?" I said. "Including the torch?"


What was so amusing to me about this was the image of these two inteprid adventurers, each holding identical torches, scratching their heads: But what do we have in common?

It's the sort of experience that could only happen at the gaming table; you'll never see the scene replayed in a fantasy novel. For me, that makes it special-- one of my favourite moments of my DMing career.