With the surface world buried in feet of mountain snow around Ilgrind’s workshop, Hilbrent’s Loyal Opposition descends again into the broad network of deep caves. They are:
- Doane Six (ByW): Level 7 Nekolyn Monk
- Lamila (BiW): Level 7 Half-Orc, Half-Elf Fighter
- Benquil: Level 2 Spider Monkey Animal Companion
- Lucifer “Lucy” Underfoot (RiH): Level 7 Halfling Bard
- Gelda Roughsole: Level 4 Halfling Thief Follower
- Eymen Hunyadi: Level 3 Drow Padfoot Follower
- Rav Lugulu: Level 3 Goblin Chemist Follower
- Hilderek Ferlwinkle: Level 3 Gnome Tinker Follower
- Alfred (JaH): Level 7 Human Thief
Their destination is first the deposits of Puid, Sagi, and Myta crystals they know to be guarded by ancient stone guardians and separately controlled by Vardor government and pantheon forces. From there, they hope to delve deeper and find access to the “heart of magic” and “god blood” spoken of in the mine records they recovered.
With hundreds of miles to travel underground, they use Ilgrind’s maps stay near the surface most of the way, thus avoiding the dangers of the underdark. After weeks of travel in conditions unnatural to most of them, they believe they are near the crystals and find an opportunity to descend into the deeper dark. After a day of steep descent, the cave opens up on an unexpected sight. The river they have been following down empties into a vast lake before them, beside which are the lights of a building probably 20 or so stories tall reaching all the way to the ceiling of the soaring cavern. Its warm lights are a strikingly welcome sight after their long and weary journey in the dark and, though cautious, they feel compelled to approach.
They round the lake toward the enticing lights and approach the door, reading on the sign over the door the name of the institution: Sweetly Singular. A well-dressed drow steps out and invites them in, assuring them that a room, including all the food and spa services, will be free for them for the first day of their stay. Lamila has major misgivings, but they decide to accept the free hospitality.
They are quickly shown (by a seemingly sentient zombie) to a suite capable of housing all eight of them and leave their equipment to head to the dining room for a good meal. They take an elevator to the rooftop dining hall where long tables overlook the lake, each with a massive, live eel staked to it in multiple places. In the cavern ceiling overhead, crystals glisten like green, blue, and white stars. They sit down to partake of the living eels. Zombie waiters answer Doane’s request for drink with pink champagne (on ice), but when he asks for whisky tell him they haven’t had that since 469.
After dinner, they split up. Doane and Lucy’s four followers go down to the spa for baths, massages, manicures, and a sit in the sauna. Alfred and Lucy go following Alfred’s death sense to find the greatest source of the death aura. Lamila, meanwhile, waits to hear back from an undead waiter who went to speak to the hotel manager regarding her request to have some of the crystals from the ceiling.
Down in the public baths, Doane and the others are quickly separated as they are taken I’ve by one for massages. Doane quite enjoys his massage, but cuts the manicure short when he senses some weirdness in attempts to recruit him.
Meanwhile, Alfred and Lucy make their way deep into employee only areas and make it past a four armed skeleton guard into the boiler room, where numerous undead are operating. After some commotion, they get back to public areas without a formal record of their foray being made.
In the dining hall, Lamila receives an invitation to bring her request before her ladyship herself and goes up to a secret floor in the elevator where she meets a drow, Zeynep Jagdiellon, who attempts to steal her name. Lamila rolls straight sixes on her will check for a very rare critical success, rebuffing the attempt and flustering Zeynep considerably. She quickly offers for Lamila to have some of the crystals on the condition that she bring some for her as well. With the help of Benquil, her monkey (who she tells Zeynep is named Steve), Lamila is able to retrieve three of each crystal.
Leaving Ben in the room with Eymen and Hilderic, she goes back up to Zeynep’s office to give her her crystals and Zeynep attempts to con her into signing a contract she can’t read. Lamila asks for a minute to get a translator, rolls an exquisite prayer check (99 if I recall correctly), and has Benquil (the original) appear to translate for her. Again greatly flustered, Zeynep hides the original contract and quickly writes another that Lamila signs to keep the crystals.
After their various escapades, they return to the room. Alfred and Lucy arrive shortly after Lamila dropped off Ben and Hilderic and Eymen (wearing the hotel robes) inform them that there’s an option to pay in kind and they could stay in this wonderful place by doing adventuring in the area. While Alfred and Lucy prepare for bed, Rav and Gelda arrive and all four followers converse, praising the hotel and calling each other by different names. When Lamila returns, she tells them about the attempt to steal her name and the weird contract situation. She wants to leave immediately. When Doane arrives, she accosts him up to make sure he hasn’t been compromised like the other four.
With all of them gathered again, the four PCs decide to leave immediately. Lucy convinces his followers that they have been given a mission already to earn an extended stay, to handle a stone man in the area. They are excited by this and go with the party to the lobby.
The doorman stops them, having no record of their mission. He tells them to “relax, we are programmed to receive.” It is at this point that ByW realized they were in the Hotel California and all the references made sense.
They are now even more determined to escape and Alfred calls undead, bringing a flood of them into the lobby, allowing the party to escape in the commotion. They hurry out of the large cavern in the direction of the crystals, going another hour or so before stopping for a night’s rest. Lucy’s followers are perplexed, but still convinced they have a mission.
This first brush of the Hotel California dungeon went well. Please comment below if you would be interested in me writing it as a module. I am considering it.
The Tyranny of Mundanity campaign is coming toward what I intend to be the climax. Then I hope to wind it down, maybe before the end of the year, though holidays are likely to interfere.