Paul, today, picked up DM chores with an old homebrew dungeon of his called The Well of Despair.
Here's a little backstory on the Well...shortly after I started playing under Paul, he whipped out a dungeon that he had been working on and sent us down into the thing. Nobody made it out alive. Skip through the years to the present day and I'm playing in the dungeon for the 8th time.
Normally, I would think people might get a little bored with this, but not me. You see....I've never had a character survive a Well campaign, and neither have any of my friends. This leaves so many questions unanswered as to what is really happening down there in that death trap, and I love it. I was way eager for this.
With our freshly minted 3rd level characters, the usual Sunday subjects (minus Dusty) rode into a sleepy little town on the fringes of our nation's lands. There, we find that they are hosting a great celebration and though we are looking for employment (having just been knighted, my character is eager to prove himself worthy of his status as knight-errant), we happily join in the festivities.
All this was soured, however, when we learned that this celebration wasn't just to give thanks for harvest...it was announced, to our horror, that one of the first people we met, a comely lass by the name of Marlynn, was sacrificing herself to honor a pact the village had made with would-be coquerors 2 centuries ago that promised them peace if they would simply give one virginal maid a year at a place called the Well, which is a 2 day ride from town.
It quickly became apparent that the council had grown tired of this agreement and have been seeking adventurers who have no formal ties to the city government to delve into the Well and gather information on who or what controls it and how to remove the town from the pact they had made. Since we were the "new guys" in town, we were quickly sought out and given many a gift (quite similar to bribes, really) to "help us on the way" if we were to go. Being mostly Lawful and Good, the party was appalled at the truth behind the apparent sacrifices and were more than willing to go, leaving our second day in town with much haste.
On the road during the day-long trip there, we were ambushed by a small group of goblins, whom we dispatched with no great trouble, though Kenny dropped. After finishing that fight and getting everyone back on their feet, we made our way to the location of the Well to discover that a sizable settlement had grown up around it. We all said short curses to the council of our departure point when a short recon showed us that the whole place was inhabited by nothing but goblins. Fearing the worst, but unwavering, Ricky Joe and I rode down into the village to speak with them, if we could, because we HAD to make it to the Well.
To our surprise, these goblins were not only helpful and kind, they were also grateful that we had rid the road of the goblin bandits plaguing the trade road between their town and the one from whence we had ridden. After acquiring some good from these good souls and waiting out a night or two in rest and preparation, we lowered into the Well...
...and our worst fears were soon to be realized. Ricky Joe's halfling was the first down and as he tread the water at the bottom of the area we descended into, a crocodile roughly the size of a horse bobbed up from under the water and attacked our small friend. I rushed down to help, followed quickly by Kenny and Josh M's characters, but also found myself facing another of the beasts. Things did not go well. Within moments, Ricky's character had died to drowning when his body finally shut down from being croco-chew-toy. Another couple of breaths and I was on the brink of suffering the same fate, but Josh jumped in and was able to save me right in the nick of time by killing the one that had begun to try drowning me. Kenny got me to safety while Josh tried, in vain, to save our poor halfling comrade.
Once the fight was done, Paul called the session and we discussed how much fun we had. Me, especially. This makes only the 3rd time I have made it past this encounter. Crocodiles in water are tough! I can't wait to move further in and (hopefully) discover things within that I have never seen before.
It's interesting to note that this version of the Well is the "official" version. Before, the site was sometimes in the town itself or otherwise protected in extreme ways that, themselves, caused death or maiming. I hope the game keeps up so that I can report more as I encounter it.
?? (? Warlock 3) - Kenny
?? (Halfling Rogue 3|Deceased) - Ricky Joe
?? (Dwarf Fighter 3) - Josh M.
Sir Jaden Ambrosius, Knight-Errant of the Order of the Wing (Human Fighter 2/Knight 1) - [Yeah, reused name. I was upset that Paul called Red Hand after just one session, so I reconcepted the character without the dragon slaying stuff]
Next week: The Drow War continues! Also coming soon, I'll be discussing my homebrew setting, Khardtha, and my preparations for its 4E makeover.