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Campaign journalby RPGPundit
Not much to report this time, as there was little development in the overall storyline in this session. Only three days of game time went by (from Nuwmont 23-26, 1006ac), but that isn't to say that it wasn't a fascinating session.
In fact it was a highly fascinating session. Why? Because the PCs, all in the high companion-range of power, went on a dungeon crawl. Deep under Specularum they had found a bunch of ancient Traladari ruins, and in today's session, after meeting with Seneschal Alexius Korrigan, they spent a couple of days cleaning out the dungeon.
The players absolutely loved it. One thing that amazed us was that, while Companion-level games were clearly meant to focus on the kind of bigger political issues (the war, etc) that the campaign has been all about lately, the OD&D system is in fact EXTREMELY well balanced for high-level dungeon crawling. The players, all of whom have extensive experience with 3.x edition D&D, were astounded by how in OD&D its possible to have this kind of high-level dungeon crawling in a way that D&D 3.x just wouldn't be enjoyable to do.
The PCs met with Korrigan, they still didn't figure out the guy is a vampire (they just think he's a "weird guy"), but on the whole the meeting was very productive. Thanks to skilful diplomacy on Corwyn's part, and family connections with Sir Firearm, they got Korrigan to virtually admit that Duke Stephan is in secret negotiations with Alphatia, and on the verge of declaring independence from Thyatis. They negotiated a top-secret treaty between Darokin and Karameikos by which Darokin will immediately recognise a declaration of Karameikan independence, in exchange for Karameikos sending troops to help Darokin's war effort against the Master of Hule. At the same time, Galafilo worked out a treaty between Karameikos and the Five Shires whereby Korrigan agreed that Karameikos would enact tighter control on the illegal raids of the Black Baron against the Shires, so that the Shirefolk could feel secure about sending its armies to also help the Darokinian war effort.
The important business done, what followed was a five-hour session of high level dungeon crawling in the deep ruins under Specularum. They fought two Purple Worms, overpowered Ogres, avoided some nasty traps, dispelled a Spectral Hound, destroyed an entropic shrine, and Sir Firearm even managed to get four Minotaur followers (he's an avenger, you know).
The dungeon crawl was a welcome change of pace, and ended up being fairly fruitful. Galafilo and Alendalan's attack ranks went up, Sir Firearm is now level 20, and Corwyn has now become the first Master in the group, at level 26.
By the end of the night one level of the dungeon remained unexplored, the PCs figuring that they'll probably finish off the dungeon before getting back to the business at hand of saving Darokin from the Master of Hule. Ah, the tough responsibilities of high-level D&D heroes.