Or, "You go twenty feet and the corridor ends in a T" x 100
Present tonight were Ehrendar Dawngreeter, elf mountebank; Kabliska, human mystic; Abo Thistlestrike, human mage; Ardo, human cleric of Pelor; and Sir Faust Ensign, human Cavalier. This was a bit of an odd session as we started a bit late and the FLGS was closing earlier than usual. There was less banter than usual, and we were in a different part of the store whose acoustics are really terrible, making it hard for folks to hear one another. Nonetheless, we pressed on.
Tonight was another delve into the same area of the Castle, with another suitable gift to keep on the good side of the Flesh Render hobgoblins; this time a brace of pigeons and a fancy hat for their chief. The party continued their explorations of the level, still searching out the hobgoblins' enemies, the Bloody Axe orcs. While last time they lamented that they had only managed to explore 50' of corridor the entire evening, they were certainly able to smash through that particular record!
But what started the evening was an encounter with the fabled Greyhawk Construction Company itself.
Exploring a few featureless corridors, they found a smallish hallway with a stair leading down. Blocking the entrance was a large yellow sign with a black humanoid figure bearing a shovel. Of course, they knew what that meant, and discussed various options, including moving the sign itself. Settling on moving past the sign, they soon encountered a bored-looking orc with an orange vest, yellow helmet, and an octagonal red sign reading (in common) "STOP". He wasn't hostile, but it was plain that they weren't going to be going past him, at least during this jaunt. A quick kiss from the mountebank later, and the party returned to their explorations.
The party had wandered into an area that was mostly corridors. Twenty feet of corridor, and then it ends in a T. And so on, and so on. In several instances, the mapping was messed up, and in other cases the party was clearly getting frustrated, finding nothing but hallways. So they'd turn around, go off in a previously-unexplored direction and find... more hallways. This went on for some time, but they did manage to find a finely-wrought crossbow concealed in a pile of rotting wood, and one room filled with hot pipes, some of which had large wheels. They experimented with the wheels, and sure enough got scalded with hot steam.
More explorations discovered a pit trap in front of a door (near the place where they had battled ghouls one or two sessions ago), which they attempted to spike open so it could not reset itself. While that was going on, however, they were attacked from behind by a minotaur. They pasted it with daggers and magic missiles, quickly driving it off (but not killing it), as it had done almost no damage, but taken quite a bit. Still, the melee seemed to loosen things up, breaking the tedium of corridors and T-shaped intersections...
More explorations brought them to a well-appointed room with two scholars, Frederick and Jasmine. The party presented themselves as officials from the Greyhawk city council undertaking a survey of the waterworks beneath the castle. The two seemed puzzled, but were gracious, and offered to join forces with the party, should they come back to the ruins "when you're off duty, of course."
Time was running short, but they decided to press on a little more, and encountered a band of orcs guarding a stairway leading up. This time, the mountebank used the excuse of working for the Greyhawk Construction Company itself, doing a survey, and managed to defuse the situation before it came to blows. But one of the orcs was dispatched up the stairs (presumably to warn or summon their fellows) and the party left quickly, after finding out the tribe to which the orcs belonged; the Grinning Skulls.
Returning through the territory of the Flesh Render hobgoblins, they informed them of the presence of the orcs, which came as a surprise to the hobgoblins. Apparently the Grinning Skulls were from an upper level, and had previously made incursions on this level, and the hobgoblins were grateful for the information that they had returned.
As I said, this felt a little rushed because of the time constraint, plus the party just happened to be in a section of the dungeon that was lots of passages and a mapping challenge. But still, fun as usual.
Happy 50th, Star Trek - I was just a bit too young to remember watching Trek when it was in first-run on television (but I was alive then, and it's certainly possible that I was ...