Our first players and crowd for 2013 blew us away with one of the best Dungeon Crawl adventures ever! Where do we begin? Gathered in a tavern were our four heroes:
- Elmareliel the elf (Sean Fabri), whose arrow fired invisible arrows composed of pure hope, whose mysterious allergy to moonlight didn’t stop him from lording it over the “lesser races”;
- Gast the Tan (Kevin Turner), a beastmaster with one cursed hand accompanied by his animal companions Theodore the puppy, Gerald the (angry) bird, and Foxman, a half man, half fox imprisoned in a T-shirt;
- Elrond Hubbard (Nadia Collins), elven sage and master of mad beatz and concealed weaponry, seeking to escape a dark past; and
- Aeric Calciarm (Matt Elsbury), an eight-year-old sword fighting prodigy not yet allowed to run with his chosen weapon, whose father died of disappointment.
Our adventurers had been on many quests together, but today they would meet their destiny in the form of the “well mysterious” wizard Gandolf, who anounced that he had discovered a vast treasure once owned by our heroes’ ancestors, and now hoarded by the mighty dragon Cumberbatch in the secret caverns underneath Greg, the Upside-Down Mountain. For obscure reasons, Gandolf could not accompany them to retrieve it, but told them to go West. (Life is peaceful there.)
And go West they did, through the peaceful lands and on to the mountain range that stood between them and the object of their quest. Along the way Gast managed to acquire a new animal companion, another bird named Clive Sparkles. One night the Moon shone brightly, so in order to protect Elmareliel the party sheltered in a massive cave – where they were attacked by a massive giant! He was eventually mollified by Elrond, whose street slang struck fear into the giant’s prejudiced heart, but during the following awkward conversation Aeric misjudged a sword stroke meant to even up the giant’s beard and cut his throat, sending the monster off in search of a band-aid. Gast tried to have Theodore the puppy heal Elmareliel’s injuries from the fight, but this revealed a strange secret: Theodore, being magical, was composed partially of moonlight!
The descent down the other side of the mountains was uneventful, and the group came to the vast plain that stretched all the way to the forbidding western forest, beyond which lay Greg, the Upside-Down Mountain. They travelled for days along the road without incident until they were interrupted by the horrible (and shirtless) barbarian “Flagh!”, who forced them to choose “the toll or the axe”. The toll was to entertain Flagh! Elmareliel stepped forward, sure that only an elf would be cultured enough for the job, and he was right – except that it was Elrond who stepped up to challenge! Revealing her past life as Baby Spice, she performed a stirring rendition of “Stop” – so stirring, in fact, that her previous identity took over! She could only be stopped by Gast hitting her with the club he’d taken from the giant. The barbarian left, satisfied, but Elrond lay dying on the ground. Gast, aghast, cast aside the giant’s club, then instructed Theodore to heal her – which he did, though the power of cute puppy poses. Inspired by the lyrics of “Stop”, Elmareliel revealed that being touched by moonlight makes him become more…human. Young Calciarm, meanwhile, had decided to try some of Elrond’s “wizzard fizz”, with…stupefying results.
The party set off across the plain and entered the forboding darkness of the forest, the last obstacle before reaching Greg. There they encountered a horrifying giant insect: Gast’s old “friend”, Steve the giant magical butterfly! Steve was the one who previously cursed Gast’s hand, though on this occasion he responded to Gast’s questioning by asking for the rest of Elrond’s wizzard fizz. In exchange he told them that while staying on the path was definitely safe, it led to the front entrance to the mountain, where the dragon would see them; if they strayed from the path, they could sneak round to a secret entrance in the back. His talk of murdering parents however drove Calciarm into a wild frenzy, and Steve lost a wing before retreating into the forest.
After some debate, the party decided to seek the secret entrance into Greg, and succeeded; they came upon the dragon’s treasure hoard without being seen, buying precious time with which to arm themselves with weapons from the pile. Calciarm claimed a magic mirror which might show him his lost parents; Elmareliel a heavy, pearl-like orb; Gast added a mechanical golden owl to his menagerie, and Elrond collected some “magic bling”, including a golden knuckle duster and a diamond grill.
Cumberbatch emerged and threatened our heroes, and the battle was joined! Elmareliel fired an arrow at the dragon, but the foul beast, full of pride, was immune to hope! Gast sacrificed Clive Sparkles to the dragon, who was distracted by his snack, allowing the others to attack – but the decisive moment was when Calciarm held his mirror such that Theodore the partially moonlight puppy could shine his beam into it, reflecting its power onto the dragon. Calciarm’s despairing father appeared in the mirror, turning the moonbeam into the ultimate light of disappointment, the opposite of hope, and the beam severely weakened the beast! Elmareliel hurled his orb, which turned out to be very heavy, Elrond bites the dragon’s face with her +3 diamond grill, and finally Aeric strikes the killing blow with his sword.
And so our heroes won back their ancestral treasures. Below you can check out photos of the event from our always amazing photographer, Rob Young.