Ottokar's Test Dungeon, lvl 1 - getting certified as Heroes
After their failed attempt att rescuing Hergemacher Nurensachs' cousin they rest for two days in Merna to recuperate from their collective near death experience at the hands of the Blackscale Antorgs. Then they travel to Trade Town to gear up for another attempt.
In trade town they get a credit letter from Hergemacher Nurensachs as thanks for rescuing him, but it will take some time to cash in. In the mean time they spend lots of hard earned gold to invest in better weapons and armour, as well as lend cash to Hergemacher to invest in an inexpensive armour and a couple of good swords.
While they wait for manufactury and delivery of their new items they live the good life in the city and gossip a bit about what is going on in the rest of the world. One group of Heroes is very interested in finding out who killed a Wizard named Honorbliz Wize, and where their broken Banor's Gate might be at the moment. Maras and Datarian explains that it was Sam Slick who killed the wizard, but that they didn't see any Banor's Gate (and they manage to pull off the lie with Datarian's impressive charisma). Another resting Hero has heard that Sam Slick is in the east somewhere, with The Army, fighting in The War. Most interesting of the circulating gossip however is that the Sinderel Gang is looking for Certified Heroes who are willing to take on side quests for gold.
They go talk to Georg, an old scarred veteran, who is the local recruiter for the Sinderel Gang. Georg says they must be certified for Sinderel to hire them. Certified? Well, a level one diploma from Ottokar's Emporium of Testing should be good enough, and Sinderel are willing to pay the testing fee if the Heroes agree in good faith to take on some future jobs...
Since they are still waiting for some of the customized equipment to be delivered they set off for the Ottokar's Dungeon of Testing, close by the city. They are met by a short goblin, dressed in long robes, with a writing pad, and glasses no less. He explains the specifics of the Level 1 Test Dungeon:
Get teleported in. Gather as many crystal spheres as possible. Find the exit rune. And that they will be scored based on spheres collected, time duration, kills, and how many make it back alive. The Heroes are either taken by hubris, or short on gold, because they decline the reasonably priced "resurrection insurance".
Then off they go, and get teleported into the Ottokar Level 1 Test Dungeon.Datarian Blood
, the mobile multitalanted melee paladin.Maras BlackHammer
, the heavy hitting hammer wielding artillery wizard.Farsalos
, the nimble and accurate archer.
And Hergemacher Nurensachs
, the ambidextrious dwarf, who is along for the ride until they have managed to free his cousin held prisoner by the Blackscale Antorgs.
They are teleported into the dungeon, and are immediately set upon by a group of goblin fighters, who die fairly quickly. A group of lizardmen scouts immediately start bombarding them with arrows however, so there is no time to waste. Datarian is offline in the early rounds but the Heroes manage quite well without him.
They Heroically pursue the lizardmen scouts into an ambush by heavier lizardfolk, but the fighting is short lived, even as more goblins attack from the rear.
Meanwhile, Farsalos has taken another corridor south, and inadvertently been noticed by an orc warband. He flees towards his friends, dragging a string of vicious orc warriors behind him, with an orch champion in the lead. The orcs slam into the general melee and Datarian is hard pressed to defend himself, and the situation is critical.
However, with the aid of Maras and Hergemacher they hack their way through the orc ranks quite quickly as soon as the champion has been defeted. After a short break to heal some wounds they split into two groups and search parallel corridors. They find a rune circle, but stay far away just to be safe.
Soon however they disturb an ongoing ritual, lead by a dark priest and guarded by two knights and a group of swordsmen and archers. The Heroes retreat to the corridors to make their stand in a more strategic position
It takes them quite a while to defeat the priest's retinue and slay the priest himself. It would have been a little easier if Farsalos hadn't opened the door to a large guardian beast wielding an enormous sword. However, a series of magically charged arrows and very fast feet saves Farsalos and the others and brings down the huge beast.
Behind the next two doors wait another gang of sword fighters and a group of archers. The fighting is a drawn out slow business as the fighters slowly die off while the archers whittle away at the Heroes' HPs. Repeated retreats and regroup actions give the Heroes the upper hand in the drawn out combat.
Next in line, in the eastern section of the map, the Heroes continue their search for the crystal balls and disturb a very large tentacle horror.
The slimy monster pushes its way through the narrow doors and corridors in pursuit of the invaders, sending the deadly tentacles forth in repeated attacks. A successful strategy where Maras, Hergemacher and Farsalos surround the monster chasing through the corridors finally brings it down.
During this time Datarian has advanced on his own and is almost killed by a group of archers before Farsalos and Hergemacher manage to get into position to support him.
Then, returning to the south east section of the dungeon, the Heroes gather close to the orange rune circle to pick up one crystal ball they had left behind earlier. The magical trap triggers and swarms of goblins appear round after round in the circle. A few goblins are not much of a danger to the Heroes, but the swarm never ends, and their magic reserves start to dwindle. A push from Farsalos using a large fire storm finally clears out all the goblins and the rune circle deactivates, bringing a stop to the influx of enemies.
After the goblins the Heroes search the north west section of the dungeon and quickly massacres a Black Bug nest.
The final test is an incorporeal wraith guarding the exit rune in a locked room behind some pit traps. A couple of high damage black bolts from Maras quickly kill off the life draining horror, and the Heroes can escape.
They get a decent score on the Ottokar lvl1 test dungeon. They have found seven crystal balls, finished off most critters, exited in 180 rounds, and managed without taking any losses.
Ooops the Dark Guardian Beast raises a beer to salute Farsalos after a good match, although he is somewhat irritated for not getting to cleave any Heroes in this trial. Well, well, just another day's work for a hired monster.
Georg is waiting for them in Trade Town and gives them some healing draughts to get into shape quickly. He has a job for them now that are Certified Heroes.