Posted by : David Guyll August 11, 2014

Cast
  • Augustine (5th-level human paladin)
  • Jaya (6th-level human bard)
  • Mouse (6th-level gnome thief)

With Mark and Shorna finally vanquished, it was time to pick through their belongings and see what was worth keeping.

Mark's sword was obviously magical, capable of slicing through and absorbing magical energy. The wielder could expend the stored energy, allowing it to perform feats like slicing someone open from a distance. There was also a chest filled with coins, gems, and a black cloak that seemed to absorb light. Finally, the circlet Shorna had been wearing allowed the wearer to perceive any location that they had previously seen before.

Jaya donned the circlet and thought of Hell's Arch. Her vision started at the city walls before sweeping down to the land below. It revealed the vast host of the Autumn Monarch: elves, duskies, pegasus stables, and a number of swamp and canyon trolls. One of the canyon trolls was hefting Mardral's hammer, which meant that either they had taken it from Madra, or she had thrown her lot in with them. Either way that was bad news for the city's fortifications.

The vision eventually settled upon the Autumn Monarch himself, seated upon an ornate wooden throne within a grand pavilion. A very familiar elven woman approached him, and when he prompted her for a report she responded that Fiona's "little pets" had gone into the Deeps to rescue the prisoners, but as of yet had not returned. He mused about how difficult it would be to further justify an attack if the prisoners survived the rescue, and instructed her to tell the spy to at the least ensure the dusky king's death.

Apparently they were intending to wage war regardless, and unfortunately the specific prisoner he wanted dead had already been taken care of. Jaya told them what she had seen and heard, but as they prepared to leave there was a loud clunk, followed by both of the glowing orbs winking out. Before anyone could light a torch, rumbling grunts and footsteps thundering beneath and—thankfully—past them, towards the general direction of the exit.

Trolls, and by the sounds of it there were a lot of them.

To make matters worse Mouse recalled that only the outermost gate to the Deeps was still closed. They were not sure how many trolls were on their way or how long the gate would hold, but if they hurried it was possible that they could beat them to the balcony, seal the gates, and make it outside to warn the soldiers before they were able to smash their way through.

They used a rope to descend into the basin—lowering the dire wolf using a makeshift harness—and a wide ramp provided both an easy and more dignified way out. The dire wolf could smell the path the trolls had taken: they were fortunately too large to take the upper corridors, but unfortunately so was the pegasus. Since Jaya did not want to abandon the pegasus, Augustine and Mouse would try and beat the trolls to the gate controls, while she followed from a safe distance with everyone else.

It did not take long for Augustine and Mouse to catch up to the trolls. Sure, their legs were much longer, but they were very stupid and by the time they caught up they were more than a little amused that trolls were trapped in the highly flammable slime room. Augustine picked up his pace, gaining a considerable lead on Mouse, which was why he did not notice when someone snatched Mouse up and hurled him over the balcony.

With Augustine long gone Mouse had no light by which he could see anything. Since he was able to easily get to his feet and stay on them, he could only assume that unlike the trolls he was standing in a spot without any slime.

Highly flammable slime.

He lit a torch and gave it a toss.

The room was engulfed in a fiery inferno, allowing Mouse to see the trolls and—more immediately relevant—a way out. He dashed between, under, and even over some of them, tossing food as he went in case they had a keen sense of smell, hoping that the burning meat would mask his presence. With all of the slime destroyed by the fire and the trolls—unaccustomed to injury that they could not easily recover from—momentarily writhing in agony, he was easily able to out distance them and catch up with Augustine at the lever balcony.

Augustine sealed the gate, but was a bit dismayed when the trolls arrived and pushed the button: he had not planned on trolls being smart enough to figure that bit out.

As the door began to rise Mouse stabbed the lead troll in the foot, driving his sword through the troll's heart when it stopped down to investigate whoever it was that had stabbed it. It crumbled into a pile of rock, and Augustine again pulled the lever to seal the gate. Before it could slam closed one of the trolls caught it, and with the help of a few other trolls they were able to lift it and jam it in place with rubble-formerly-known-as-troll.

A pair of trolls lumbered across the room in an attempt to activate the other gate. Augustine was too large to fit through the murder holes without first doffing his armor, so Mouse hopped down and planted his sword in it's skull. As it crumbled apart the other one turned its attention towards him and gave chase. Hoping to destroy the door mechanism, Mouse taunted it in front of the button, diving out of the way as the troll struck. Unfortunately, while the button was certainly pulverized, it was also stuck in the "open" state.

Since several other trolls were trying to barge their way in, Mouse nicked the troll with a dagger he had poisoned with goldenroot. With the troll now on their side and Augustine striking from above using his halberd, they were able to force the others back through the door and seal it. Augustine noticed that there were four levers, but only two doors: he tried one of the others and heard the grinding of stone on stone. It was not until he heard the frustrated roars of the trolls that he realized what it did.

He had locked it, keeping the trolls at bay for now.

They were considering their options when the outer gate opened and a squad of soldiers filed in. Augustine explained everything: the troll invasion, the Autumn Monarch's treachery, and the inexplicably friendly troll. He further elaborated that Jaya and the prisoners were trapped inside the Deeps: the pegasus—one of the fey prisoners—was too large to squeeze through the upper passages, so they would have to clear a path through the trolls if they were to escape.

Given that Mouse had wounded all of them already, they decided to try a pincer movement. Augustine and Mouse backtracked into the Deeps with roughly half the soldiers, found Jaya and the others, and returned to the gate. The trolls were still busy hammering at it, which made it easy to sneak up on them. They sent one of the soldiers around to alert the rest, and as the gate opened both sides attacked.

By the time the last troll had fallen there were only a handful of wounded—Augustine, Jaya, and Mouse among them—and a few deaths. As they tended to the wounded and gathered the dead a messenger arrived: Fiona had been summoned to the valley below to confer with the Autumn Monarch and other fey ambassadors.

What will happen next? Will the Autumn Monarch assassinate Fiona? Will Jaya try to concoct a plan to fool everyone into thinking that the dusky king is still alive, using a plan unknowingly based on a dark comedy from the late 80's? Will Mouse finally learn to hold his tongue, or will he end up with someone else's?

Stay tuned for the grand finale of Dan's totally fucking awesome Dungeon World campaign!

Behind the Scenes
It was nice that Dan allowed Ben to just outright kill the troll that was not paying attention to him at all. This was something that I wished I had done way back when I ran Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, instead of forcing the party to hack down every. Single. Goddamned. Zombie. Frankly I would love to run that adventure again: I think I am a lot wiser now, and that it would go sooo much more smoothly.

Similarly, we didn't play through the entire fight against the trolls at the end. We simply explained the plan, rolled, and were allowed to choose whether us or the NPCs took the brunt of the attack. Of course we agreed to it: we're adventurers, we can totally take that shit.

He also started tallying up hard moves, spending them down the road if he could not think of something to do right away. I forgot who he said also did this, or with what system, but it's an interesting idea and I might give it a shot in the future.

A Sundered World Announcement
I've been posting weekly document updates both here and on the community. I feel that this kind of transparency is very useful in gathering feedback before trying to charge money for something, as well as ensuring that you know what you are paying for (and whether you think it is even worth it).

Something else I have been asking for is what you would want to see in the next packet release. It is nearing completion, though there are still blanks to fill, but if there is something I have overlooked, needs clarification, or whatnot lemme know in the comments here, in the community, or even a private post on G+.

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