Chapter Twenty Nine –"Never Interrupt a Wizards Picnic"

Another day dawns, another attempt to unlock the fiendish trap protecting the book fails. Trixie is not helping when she asks is it a book of gay positions, and I cannot be bothered to reply ‘no’ to her as I know that her retort would be something along the lines of ‘Ah, so you already know enough then and so do not need to learn more’.

I could spend all day here, but I suspect the person in the trap, Stumpy, has other ideas as he emerges again and again with acid sweat dripping from his freshly steamed face. Well at least his pores are clean. We soon begin to talk about what happened yesterday after we left, and it’s decided to return to the stream caves and hunt the large beast. We are told how good it is at grappling [1] and so we devise some cunning plans - well we don’t really as our basic plan is to not get caught and hope it all goes ok, which is pretty much how we approach all fights to be fair.

And so off we trot - well I say we, but Trixie is being carried as she is super slow and taking advantage of the Domination spell in effect on Chunk for all its worth. We head through the cold corridors until we get back to the stream filled caverns where the big lizard and toads were yesterday. It all seems to be deserted, with nothing in any of the rooms, and so I explore a deeper section of the corridors of water transformed as a Kua-toa, to find nothing at all down there either. The large rocky pool had devoid of anything bar minimal vegetation, with no submerged exits that I found. Leaving the pool and that section of the caverns, we continue exploring the other corridors, to find a small bell fixed on a wall.

Chunk moves up to check the bell so that no noise is made, but as he touches it to check if the clapper is present, the whole wall collapses on him, setting off his rage. Thankfully Trixie's spell is still in effect and his rage is directed at the rocks instead of us.

We move on and find a room full of discarded tools, and random bits of metal. Trixie with her excellent skills searches around the walls for ages, while we loiter around the corridors entrance looking for ...well something.

As Trixie moves up to check a large scattering of metal parts, suddenly the whole ceiling collapses on her and the floating Chunk nearby. Chunk kicks off again, but again has nothing but rocks to rage against.

We continue to explore [2] and find a small alcove with a door and a golden doorknob. I try and pull it but I am a little weak little frog and cannot pull the door open. Stumpy offers, so I stand aside and watch as he pulls hard on the door knob, which pops off in his grasp. As he staggers and falls back, a pit opens behind him and he bounces from the sides a few times before hitting the spikes in the bottom of the pit. We don’t even have time to laugh at his misfortune before a section of the ceiling above the pit then falls on him. The dust clears and a weak and annoyed voice floats from the bottom of the pit calling for help and so Chunk flies down to grab and rescue him.

We continue mapping out the rest of the area, thankfully with no more traps and are soon heading to the place where we saw the ant creatures. The corridor begins to slope and we can hear water, while the walls become rougher and progressively more and more covered in guano. It opens up into a large room with a high ceiling full of hundreds of bats with a few ants looking skittish.

After our friendly greeting is ignored, we back off, especially as the bats look annoyed, and check out the rest of the ant area finding nothing. Checking the other area, we find more ants and as they are ignoring us and carrying on with their business, we leave them alone. The last unexplored place in this area that we know of is through the small crawlway I spotted the other day. I fly through as an eagle, while Chunk carries Stumpy upwards.

We get to the bottom of the stars and there are glowing stones and stone pots laid out. I am now a Harssaf and walk into the room first, where 10 pots are arranged around the room. Four pots have mushrooms and strange fungus in which I completely fail [3] to identify on all four accounts, and so my expert knowledge is conveyed thusly to the party:

"I do believe that this is what is known as...."

- failed roll -

" the lesser spotted crusted variety of... [waffle for a few minutes] anyway I won't trouble you with it's exact name as it’s quite hard to pronounce..."

..and quickly move on to the next one to repeat. One side of the room is covered in grass and mushrooms, with a small thin pathway, but we leave that for the moment.

The next room is massive with what looks to be a massive cage and rope attached, ‘perhaps a lift’ says Chunk. Too clever by half from this supposed Barbarian is what I say.

Trixie and Chunk fly up to check the end of rope and suddenly Trixie is struck by an Enervation spell, losing some of her spells and strength. She is attacked again, and Chunk flies up and above the empty lift near the ceiling, landing next to the little muddy coloured winged dwarf. I become an eagle and fly up, while stumpy casts Dispel Magic on him, catching one or two spells protecting or buffing our enemy.

Trixie activates her boots and casts Hold Person, which fails and the dwarf retaliates by shooting an Enervation at Chunk, and then is gone. With both Chunk and Trixie at the top, and Stumpy on the floor above as I fly upwards, Orges suddenly come round the corner, followed by dirty dwarves running into the room. What they did not expect was Chunk falling from the sky to pummel one in the face with his club.

I fly in and strike one at the rear with a passing claw, which is not as effective obviously as Chunks attack and Trixie swoops in and casts Confusion on them all. I am surrounded and take a slight wound to my little wing, while Chunk is smashed in the face by an Ogre. I am attacked by fiery chains and fall to the floor, a ready cooked meal for the dwarves. Then ice shards smash into me followed by a barrage of Magic Missile.

Trixie wonders whether we have disturbed a Wizard’s picnic, as multiple spells whizz in from the darkness behind me. I change to a Harssaf to regenerate, but the chains still wrap me up, and then get helpfully stabbed by Trixie’s troop of confused dwarves. The only good thing is one of them stabs the one that attacked me, killing him.

More magic missile fly in, three barrages smashing in to me as I roll around on the floor, immobilized by the fire chains. I suppose I am not burning anymore is one way to look at it. Chunk smashes the last ogre, then Trixie gets confused and blasts Chunk and another dwarf. The fiery chains wrap round stumpy, and then Chunk, before more people join the fray.

"Now they come", Chunk says, "now the Chunk is chained."

All the chained lads are then hit by an electrical blast, and we are take a good electrical beating, and then another one is thrown in. Luckily, both Stumpy and Chunk are still nimble enough to avoid most of the damage despite their predicament, while I shrug off the blast due to spell immunity. I whisper to the other prone lads "I take it that now is not the time to stand up free of my chains shouting ta-da!"

Chunk stands up first spoiling my surprise by breaking free, shouting "chicken shit" at the bladed metal man who has appeared. However rather than run at him, he instead runs off, grabbing a potion from his pack. I stand up, now free of my chains thanks to Stumpy’s Freedom of Movement cast upon me, and call out "attack them from the flank!" while casting obscuring mist to cover our escape. Trixie moves in grabs Stumpy and Dimension Doors, while I am off on my toes stopping when I get to Chunk. He drinks another potion, and then we make our way up the stairs and then fly to the top. We continue fleeing back to the secret we go to lick our wounds.

Night time comes and along with the setting sun, plans are formulated. Fly in and ruin the picnic are the gist of the plans and come the morning, that’s what we do. As we make our way towards the hidden corridor, we are as usual surprised by the little bitch flying dwarf who blasts Stumpy with Enervation, while a Derro caster accompanying the little Dwarf blasts stumpy with the chains spell, which drops him to the floor.

I also have chains cast on me but I am ok, and so does Chunk, who manages to shrug it off. I move in to the side corridor and fire off a Languor at the small muddy dwarf to no effect.

Chunk runs in to attack but misses and Stumpy is Enervated again, this time very badly. Trixie is also hit with one as the spells from the dirty looking winged Dwarf and the Derro are bursting all around us. Despite the well-established dance of the fight avoidance, the metal man smashes me to the floor with ease, hitting me quite a few times and then more for good measure. Trixie is whipped with chains of fire and all I can do is to stand up and dance some more. Chunk fails to hit the caster as they seem to have masses of protective spells on them, and with Trixie and Stumpy down and Enervated, things are looking not good.

Chunk is touched and Enervated, and the little one is now charged with glowing blue charge surrounding him. My stupid dancing has angered the metal man and diverted him enough from attacking the others, but I can’t seem to hit him at all, so just continue prancing around but when Chunk is blasted with Magic Missile I can see that I will soon be the next target once the others drop.

I circus tumble to get behind the Derro and pop up to hit him and then when Chunk steps up, he smashes the caster down in two chops. The tide turns now and Chunk’s furious cleave sadly misses the winged Dwarf. Rather than stick around, the winged Dwarf shouts out "kill them and I will report to the Thane" before winking out. [4]

[1] The DM said it is not a proper grappler, it just does it. This caused a 20 minute discussion regarding professional grapplers and little Mexicans, and exactly what quantifies its lack of professional grappling status, i.e. does it only do it on weekends, or bank holidays.

[2] "We go down the corridor that’s trapped"

"Which one?"

"Wait, what? There’s more than one then?"

.........the DM tries to trick us with more stupidly trapped areas that we stupidly blunder into.

[3] I will never forget to bring my dice again, as all my nature based skill and most of my combat rolls and saves ranged from 1 to 6 on d20. This then led to talk of cheating dice rolls, and we ask if we can ring the DM’s missus to see if he has ever said "lawks, I cheated well large today!" after we have all gone home. Remember your own dice kids!

[4] We point out that this is a victory, but the DM says its tactical withdrawal - tactically changing his pants we say!


Played 2nd October 2011
Word Count at start: 1505
Draft Started: 4th December 2013
Draft Finished: 11th May 2016
Chapter Published: 11th May 2016
End Word Count: 2068