A Path to Victory

Posted on February 15, 2017

A DM new to me (but familiar to the other players) was running an Underdark-themed campaign. Our party was a mix of Deep Dwarves and Humans—two of us were Dwarven Warriors, one was a Human Mage, another was a Human Rogue.

We did some adventuring and the characters worked up through about third level. Along the way we picked up a few random unidentified bits of loot (including a nice necklace I had acquired). Then we got in over our heads.

We happened into an Underdark city that was renowned for slave trading. We came across temples of dark gods, some nasty NPCs, and all sorts of uglies—monsters, abominations, etc. One of us (the Mage) managed to lose a hand while mucking about in some dark god's temple. Not a bright idea. After that, we were captured and ended up all chained together. Then we were taken to a galley, where we would be slaves plying the Undersea until we expired (prematurely) of hard work and poor treatment. It was grim fare.

While on board, the Drow Captain decided to launch into a soliloquy to stroke his ego. He chose to do this when his crew were detaching our manacles in preparation to take us below deck, where they would chain us up for the long (and final) haul. My Dwarven Fighter had an 18 STR and a 20 CON (his two good stats) and a bit of a temper. And he didn't like chains. And he definitely didn't like Drow.

When the Captain finished degrading and abusing us for his amusement, he turned to walk away. That's when my Dwarf snapped. He broke loose from the two minions holding him and leapt at the Captain, taking him unawares.

With a good initiative, surprise, and a great to-hit roll, I wrapped my manacle chain around his neck. I knew we'd probably die, but I was bound and determined to take the Drow with me, and figured his at-will powers or spells might not work while being garroted with a large chain. And they'd work even less well underwater.

The ship was at anchor, so I just used my mass and strength to leap overboard with him in my lethal embrace. The particular version of the drowning rules we were using gave him a small number of rounds before he'd succumb, and I figured I'd last one round longer than he would. I didn't plan to survive.

Meanwhile, my compadres, inspired by my mad bravado (as they saw it), also burst into action—grappling, kicking, throat biting, you name it. It was like a cage match in the Underdark.

Meanwhile, underwater, Captain Smuggy McSmugDrow realized his predicament, but knew the grappling rules allowed him to use a one-handed weapon. So he was busy perforating me with his dagger while I chain-choked him as we sank.

In the end, I had more HP than his dagger wounds inflicted (no crits, thankfully). I had more CON than he did and thus more time before I drowned. So he went to a watery grave. I expected to go right after.

I then mentioned to the DM I was still carrying a number of unidentified items of clothing and jewelry. He seemed startled, checked his notes, and started laughing. He didn't immediately say why.

After a couple of rounds went by beyond my time of appointed drowning, I became quite suspicious. The DM could no longer contain himself. He said, “I know you had no idea your necklace was even magical and I'd forgotten about it. But when I looked back at the notes, I found it is a Necklace of Adaptation and it lets you adapt to different environments... such as to survive underwater."

Well, after that, the rest of the battle was a cake-walk.

With me having taken out the principal enemy, my comrades having beaten down the main hench-goon, all that were left were some minions. I rejoined the fight (using more surprise grapple-and-submerge moves), and it was only a matter of time before we had zero enemies and a galley full of slaves we could free. They all figured we were pretty bad news, given we took out the Drow Captain and his crew. Our new reputation preceded us, which definitely helped get us out of that city. Although the Mage had to learn to cast one-handed...

Moral: Ignorance leads to Victory! Also, never turn your back on captives with nothing to lose.

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