Continuing from where we left off last time…
Our intrepid adventurers head down into the depths of the Snake Cult's lair after dispatching a few guards on the surface. Being excavated from the swampy ground of the Rushmoor swamp, the walls and ceiling of the tunnel are little more than mud held up with rotting timbers every five feet or so. The wooden steps are slick, caked with muck and slightly rotted, making descent treacherous. I had each character make a Defy Danger Move with Dexterity, the danger being them slipping and falling down the 60' long staircase. Both Bjorn (the Dwarf Fighter) leading the party and Galadiir (the Elf Wizard) bringing up the rear slipped on the mud, plunging headlong down the steps. (Both players got a miss on their Defy Danger Moves.) Cadeus (the Elf Fighter) in the middle maintained his footing, but was hit in the back by the falling Galadiir. He could either catch Galadiir and have both of them tumble a short way down the steps, or leap out of the way allowing the Wizard to tumble all the way to the bottom. (The player got a weak hit on his Defy Danger, meaning I had to give him an ugly bargain. In this case it was take no damage but ignore Galadiir or take some damage as he helped his friend.) Again being the hero that he was, Cadeus grabbed Galadiir, taking some of the damage the clumsy Wizard would have otherwise taken. At the bottom of the steps, Bjorn spit mud from his mouth and checked the bruises the rapid descent of the steps had just given him. (Falling down the steps was d6 damage, ignoring armor. But I didn't roll that high, luckily for the player.)
Once the party regrouped, they examined their surroundings thanks to Bjorn's magically glowing stone. They were in the center of a roughly square, 30' by 30' room with an opening in the center of each wall and the staircase behind them. To the left, the corridor took a sharp turn, but had a faint ambient glow from somewhere further on. Directly ahead was a long corridor that opened into what appeared to be a large room with a few pillars and a pool of water. To the right, another long hallway that ended in a wooden door. Not liking the looks of the slightly lit hallway, they headed right to the wooden door. Galadiir lead the way with Bjorn right behind him and Cadeus standing farther back to protect the rear on lookout. The Ef Wizard pressed his ear to the door and listened for signs of occupation. All he could discern through the slightly rotted wood was the sound of gently lapping water, as if from a large but gentle body of water. (The player made a Discern Realities Move and got a miss. Not really knowing what GM Move to make, I decided to "bank" my response, saving a hard move for a later time. Describing the lapping water was what just what honestly demanded.) Fearing a trap, Bjorn and Galadiir pushed on the door with the Wizard's staff attempting to open it from afar. The door refused to budge. It took Cadeus walking over to the door and pointing out the pull ring on the door before the other two realized their mistake. (I had described the door with a pull ring when the players first looked at the door, they just didn't put 2 and 2 together until Cadeus' player said "Hey, dummies. It's a PULL ring!") Upon opening the door, the group was met with a vast expanse of brown, muddy water in a roughly circular 60' diameter room. In the center of the left wall they could just make out the dim shape of another passageway.
"Fuck that!" said Bjorn emphatically as he turned to head back down the hallway, followed closely by his companions. As they turned, there was a splash, a wet gurgling sound, and a whistle as is something was flying through the air at a very high speed. (I used my banked hard move to ambush the players with the Otyugh who lived in the lake. I had planned to have the monster remain quiet if and until they disturbed it, but them turning their backs on the doorway was a golden opportunity.) Unfortunately, Bjorn's player and I had a bit of a misunderstanding. He thought he'd said the party closed the door before turning around, while I had assumed they left the door open. So I had the player make a Defy Danger Move with either Strength or Dexterity to get the door shut in time. He got a weak hit, and had to choose between slamming the door shut causing a lot of noise, or having a few tentacles slip through the door before he got it shut. With a mighty heave, Bjorn slammed the door shut with a loud crack, which was quickly followed by several muffled, wet slaps and scratching sounds from the other side.
Retreating from whatever was in that underground pool, the party headed towards the passageway with a bit of light leaking from around the corner. (The players didn't know it, but they were headed into the part of the dungeon that housed the low ranking human cultists. The slamming door and loud descent Bjorn made upon first entering the dungeon had alerted everyone to the party's presence. Otherwise I would have required another Defy Danger Move, with the danger being not moving quietly enough and the cultists being ready for them. But the cultists were already prepared.) Galadiir and Bjorn quickly glanced around one of the turnings the passage took and saw a hallway ending in a T-junction with several doors on either side, and a group of cultists waiting for them. The cultists fell quickly to the combined onslaught of Bjorn's hammer, Cadeus' sword, and Galadiir's offensive magic, though the heroes did not escape the encounter entirely unscathed. After catching their breathes, they decided to check some of the doors in the hallway. Galadiir again pushed gingerly on a door with his staff, while Bjorn roared "That's not 'ow ya dooit, laddie!" and proceeded to the door in front of him a stout kick. Unfortunately the rotted wood gave way, and the dwarf's leg disappeared through the door up to his hip. (This was an on the fly custom Move I made up. All the doors in the dungeon were stuck closed due to the moist conditions, and I had the player roll+ STR to see if he got the door open. The player rolled double ones, resulting in the mishap.) At the same time, Galadiir listened at his door, heard what appeared to be female voices and realized something would be coming through within the next few seconds. (The player made a Discern Realities Move, got a weak hit, and asked his one question of "What is about to happen?") Taking up position just next to the door, Galadiir gripped his staff in both hands and prepared to smash the first thing that emerged.
The door opened, something moved, Galadiir swung and connected with a loud, wet crunch. Blood and brains sprayed the wall as a cultist dropped, her head reduced to a mass of red jelly. (Galadiir's player got a strong hit on his Hack and Slash Move, resulting in 4 points of damage. Again, cultists have 3 HP and 0 Armor. Head shot. Dead.) Cadeus, further down the tunnel than Bjorn or Galadiir, was again forced to rush forward, ignoring the roaring dwarf stuck halfway in the door. Galadiir swung again as another cultist emerged, this time hearing a wet thwack as his staff buried itself in the soft mud of the tunnel where it stuck fast. (The player got a miss on his Hack and Slash move, and I decided to Take away his stuff as my hard move.) Three female cultists emerged from the room, hoping to use their numbers to overwhelm on of the adventurers. Bjorn finally freed himself from the door while Cadeus slew another cultist, but not before feeling her dagger grate across his armor. (Again, Cadeus' player got a weak hit on his Hack and Slash move meaning he suffered damage, but I didn't roll high enough to get past his armor.) Of the two surviving cultists, one was slowly backing fearfully down the corridor (the way the party had originally come) while the other brandished her dagger and glared. Bjorn stepped forward, pointing his hammer at them. "Tell us who ya werk fer, and we'll leyagoo." he declared. The player got a weak hit on his Parley Move, meaning that the NPCs would want some concrete assurance of the promise right now. "Drop your weapons and we'll tell you." the woman at the back answered hesitantly. "I canna do tha." replied Bjorn "But I swear by tha Beard of Norris, no 'arm will com to you."
"Norris?" the other cultist spat. "His beard is thin and scrawny, like the beard of an old grandmother." With a roar of contempt, the insulted Cleric smashed the cultist into the wall with his hammer, silencing her forever. (A strong hit on his Hack and Slash Move with an ungodly amount of damage.) Terrified, the last surviving cultist fled back into the dungeon. "Le 'er go." Bjorn said. "We should check these rooms, first". The rooms were merely small 20' by 20' living cells with only moldy straw mattresses, though Galadiir did find a small snake's head pendant underneath the piles of dirty bedding. (The player made a Discern Realities Move, got a weak hit and asked "What here is valuable to me?") The group pushed on to explore the T-junction at the end of the hall, turning left into the squalid kitchen. Nothing was of interest, though Bjorn took a bottle of wine for later. The heroes then examined a rather curious passage leading off of the kitchen that appeared to go nowhere and simply dead ended after 40' or so. Galadiir started to walk down the tunnel, completely oblivious to the pulsing mass of greenish gunk clinging to the ceiling. (The player got a miss on his Discern Realities roll, meaning something bad needed to happen. Bingo! The old "Green Slime on the Ceiling" trick, a staple of the Gygaxian Era dungeon.) Bjorn noticed something wrong with the ceiling but didn't realize what he was looking at until it was too late. (His player got one question from the Discern Realities Move and asked "What here is not what it appears to be?" My response was that the ceiling looked "wrong".) Cadeus instantly realized the danger Galadiir had walked into and called out a warning. (His player got three questions from the Discern Realities Move and asked "What should I be on the lookout for?" and "What is about to happen?" I told him that he should be on the lookout for the Green Slime that was about to engulf Galadiir. A cheap answer I know, but when all three players ask about the same situation, there's only so much new information you can give them.)
Galadiir flung himself forward just as the slime dropped from the ceiling with a loud splat. Unfortunately, the acidic green goo was now between the Wizard and his companions. (The player got a weak hit on his Defy Danger Move, and his choice was throw himself backwards towards his friends but take damage from the slime, or completely avoid the slime but be trapped in the dead end. He chose the latter.) Bjorn recalled that fire would deal with the slime in short order, while the rattled Galadiir could only remember that slimes were asexual molds that reproduced by budding. (Bjorn's player got a strong hit on a Spout Lore Move, meaning I had to give him useful information about the situation. Galadiir's player got a weak hit on the same Move, meaning all I had to provide was "interesting" information. It was on him to make it useful.) Bjorn grabbed the bottle of wine he'd stolen from the kitchen and prepared to heave it at a support pillar, hopefully dousing the slime in alcohol. I told him this would be difficult, as the slime had sent out pseudo-pods in search of prey. They came dangerously close to the Cleric causing him to drop the bottle, which thankfully didn't break. (The player got a weak hit on a Defy Danger Move, and his tough choice was drop the bottle or hold onto it but take damage.) Meanwhile Galadiir backed himself as far as he could into the corner and prepared to Cast a Spell. I told him the same thing, that it was incredibly dangerous with tendrils of green slime actively seeking for him, and asked for a Defy Danger Move. Alas poor Galadiir couldn't get away from the slime fast enough, and felt the ooze engulf his outstretched arm. The Wizard spiraled down into darkness and heard the Black Gates of Death’s Kingdom begin to creak open to allow him passage. (The player totally Storked his Defy Danger roll, and I had the slime do damage as my hard move. I got the maximum result; a full 10 points of damage, which dropped the Elf to 0 HP as he wasn’t wearing any armor.)
Cadeus, who had been furthest back and avoided the tendrils of slime, rushed forward to grab the bottle from the floor and heave it against a support pillar. The bottle broke, showering the slime with alcohol, while Bjorn put tinder to flint, ending its existence with a whoosh and a hungry crackle of flame. (Cadeus' player nailed his Volley Move, chucking the bottle right where he wanted it. As a strong hit on a Volley Move would normally have done damage without any ill effects or hard choices, I just said that Bjorn's sparks would catch and kill the slime outright.) Meanwhile Galadiir stepped forward towards the Gates of Death but paused, remembering his mortal life and his unfinished business with the Snake Cult. With a shuddering gasp, he forced breath back into his body and returned to life. (The player got lucky and rolled a natural 12 on his Last Breath Move, to which everyone at the table exclaimed “Holy shit!” When you get a strong hit in the Last Breath Move, the character essentially flips Death the bird and doesn’t die, but is left at 0 HP and unconscious.) With the Green Slime now just a sizzling puddle on the ground, Cadeus and Bjorn were able to reach Galadiir, force the Cleric’s healing potion down his throat and bandage up his arm. Thanks to the potion, the Wizard was almost back to normal, though the slime had left one of his arms covered with some rather nasty looking acid burns. (The character now has the Scarred Debility, giving him a -1 to all Charisma rolls until the scars heal.) Burned and bruised, but as of yet unbeaten, the trio headed off further into the dungeon of the Snake Cult.
Unfortunately that’s where we ended the session as it was 10:30pm and people (me) needed to catch trains home. I don’t know if we’ll ever find out what happens to Bjorn, Galadiir, and Cadeus, since some of the players enjoyed the session overall but had some problems with the Dungeon World mechanics and rules. Hopefully I can convince them to at least finish exploring the dungeon. ;)