On Monday, February 17th, though most of the Citadel House adventurers are taking a break toward the end of a long winter, one of them heads to Timberford to investigate reports of a mysterious opening or pipe:
- Verdis the Prickly (HuS): Level 7 Human Fighter
- Pet Rock Phineas
In Timberford, he is put in contact with Silas, who saw the pipe and requested it be reported to the Citadel House. He goes with Silas to the river side where Silas points out the top of the pipe. After feeling out the pipe, Verdis uses his Direction Sense to follow it and dig to the pipe with Silas’ help (Verdis’ Charisma is terrible, but he rolled well) a few times over the next 3 miles or so. It gets dark and their return to Timberford amid a light drizzle.
On Tuesday, the 18th, Verdis wakes up to rain, knowing it will last at least 6 more hours. As the rain continues all day, he goes out again to continue following the pipe on Wednesday. This time, Silas does not accompany him. Not wanting to dig alone, he approximates a straight line following his holes to the woods on the edge of the Vale, 7 miles from Timberford. A mile or so into the woods, he comes across the path of the tornado from December 22nd. In the swath it cleared, he can see a crumbling fortress to his left, near enough that he could understandably have deviated by as much.
He spends much of the rest of the day exploring the fortress, slaying 8 bile drakes and finding a variety of questionable loot in their nest and the ransacked rooms. It was apparently an elven fortress, but some lizard bodies are there. In his search, he hears flowing water near at least one fire place.
After breaking down a door and crawling through a rubble filled room, he finds a buried passage with stairs to the basement. Water is puddling in the basement and he finds a faucet running, which he manages to close after soaking himself with flailing efforts. The basement seems to contain food store, kitchen, garrison, and servant quarters. The two stairs continuing further down are flooded deeply enough Verdis would have to dive to continue, so he refrains.
Verdis returns to Citadel late that night and on Thursday sells some of what he found, but finds no one willing to buy most of it.
I feel bad about how this session went. It felt like a grind with little to mix things up (but that does tend to happen with a single player). Since, I’ve wondered if I should have dropped in a magical mirror to trap Verdis, forcing others to mount a rescue mission next week. On the one hand, it would have mixed the session up and let the player’s second string character (Agon) get an outing, but on the other, it feels like doing so would have disrespected the player’s choice. I didn’t think of it at the time, but if I had, should I have done it? What would you have done to insert more choice and suspense in this exploration?