Trigger Warning: Spoilers, Mortal Kombat emulation, bad one-liners producing mass damage.
I finally got the gang in my Hero’s Hideout table well into the Sacred Stone Monastery. After being lead inside by one of the cannon fodder monks (thanks to a Nat 20), complete with the requisite “Heh heh heh,” after closing the door behind them. They managed to find their way over to Quarbo at the Shrine of Stone (M9 in the books), but not after taking out the blind ubermonk Hellenrae. There was a funny scene to that battle as well: Hellenrae was about to parry an attack a barbarian was charging her with, saying “I’m ready for you.” The barbarian managed to behead her in a Brutality move.
Barbarian: You were not ready!
Me: Everybody in the room, enemies and allies alike, take 2 Nonlethal Points of bad joke damage!
I might be lax in the encounters, but I’m brutal when it comes to humor-based damage. If I can TPK a party while they’re rolling on the ground laughing like a unleashed the Smilex, I’m a happy DM.
I’m also a happy DM when the party does something awesome. Quarbo decided that the party must meet his prophet Marlos, but not before they run into the Umber Hulks, which were waiting for them in the trap door opening from the stairs. Fortunately for the party, one of my party had enough danger sense to know that somethings going to meet them at the bottom of the Slide of Death they were on.
I had to get them to roll initiative just to see who’s prepared attack will go off first. It was awesome, and offensive, and just plain wrong, and since it had to be done in the last 20 minutes of the session, I didn’t even use the confusion beam that Umber Hulks usually have.
Note to self: Have Easy and Hard versions of the big monsters, just for the time constraints.
So right now, they’re well into their first Haunted Hall, en route to the Temple of Black Earth. I thought that they might run into some trouble this deep in the dungeon, so I gave them a free Scroll of Town Portal, which operates similar to the ones in Diablo, only they cost an arm and a leg to replace, and they’re only one way. (Give them the Sun, make them fight for the Moon.) And they’ll be some surprises (although no random encounters) if they retrace their steps back to where they were to resume their progress. Quarbo might not be as cordial this second time around. A reprisal is also in the works.
And then there’s the lich in the Sacred Stone Monastery. Don’t ask.