Aelaran the Resilient (male cleric), played by Bret
Cadie Stone-Spar (female dwarf), played by Jaime
Fingers (male thief), played by Thomas
Garen-Gen (male halfling), played by Dan
Magda the Witch (female magic-user), played by Chris H.
The Purloiner (male thief), played by Chris V.
plus their retainer, Ralan the elf
This week's session of The Demon Verge picked up where we left off, inside of a dungeon. I initially planned on enforcing a "you must leave the dungeon at the end of each session" rule. That rule minimizes confusion when the players that show up change from session to session, but it so happens that I've been able to pull together an extremely reliable group.
In contrast to the previous one, this session was heavily oriented towards exploration, with a bit of interaction with the dungeon's denizens. The Company of the Closed Fist had been considering resting in a galley kitchen they found, but after some careful experimentation with the yellow mold growing in its basin, they elected to camp elsewhere. They ended up having something of an extended stay in a ransacked storeroom, as Aelaran set about healing his compatriots, and Magda concentrated her efforts on attempting to ascertain the nature of various minor items the party had found earlier. At several points, entities unknown scratched and scrabbled against the spiked door, but were unable to gain entry.
A group of orcs, however, was rather more insistent. The orcs were apparently expecting the arrival of "witches" -- possibly the enigmatic Brotherhood of the Broken Crescent --and were at first convinced by Magda's assertion that the Company was the group in question. However, after getting a look at the party, the orcs immediately launched an attack with flaming oil. Things looked grim for a moment, as the Company had no means of escape, but the orcs' inexpert use of the incendiaries was their downfall, as several mishaps befell them in quick succession, leading to the immolation of two of their number. The orcs soon fled into the upper reaches of the dungeon.
The Company then examined a strange room containing a metal desk covered in raised circular buttons, as well as nine magical "windows", five of which appeared to show in real time different sections of the dungeon they were exploring. Magda secured here possession of a hefty tome called The Lineage of Eastern Dukes, a genealogy from the Demonlord provinces. Around this time, the captive mage's apprentice, Galtin Vauk, professed his confusion over the contents of the ruins, and the sole surviving retainer, the elf Ralan, began to display distinctively insubordinate behavior, insisting that the Company pay him before he would take further risky action.
Finally, the group happened upon a chamber overgrown with gnarled tree roots, from which descended a bevy of green-haired, mahogany-skinned women of vaguely elfin aspect, who informed the Company that their tree had been "befouled" by something called "the Poisoner", and repeatedly begged that the Company aid them. When Garen-Gen agreed, he was presented with a hefty sack of gold coin, after which point the strange women retreated into the oaken roots. A bit of experimentation with a ten-foot pole raided from the storeroom activated a secret door that led further into the dungeon...
Between the magical "windows" and the sudden appearance of the dryads, there was a good deal of weirdness in this session. I've shied away from "funhouse" dungeons in the past, but I'm starting to learn that in terms of raw enjoyment, there's a lot to recommend them, especially in the somewhat awkward medium of Google+ Hangouts. I'm learning a lot with this campaign, that's for sure.