I've been terribly remiss in posting session summaries of my Dwimmermount campaign. That's partially due to being rather busy in December, but it's also a function of the fact that many of the recent sessions have provided a lot less obvious fodder for discussion. After dealing with the "zombie horde" at the end of session 24, the player characters -- who, at the suggestion of Brother Candor, had taken to calling their party "Fortune's Fools" -- left Adamas, intending to stay away from the city-state for a long period of time. Having now twice been at the center of Termaxian-related disturbances, they thought it wiser to return to Dwimmermount where any trouble they caused might stay within the ancient Thulian fortress rather than affect the wider world.
Taking stock of Dordagdonar's maps, the party noticed several sets of stairs that they had no yet explored and decided to descend one set of them, which led to an unusual area of the dungeon. This area showed evidence of rather different architecture, still Thulian in general appearance but of a more "primitive" sort, suggesting that it was older than the levels they'd already explored. The level also demonstrated a vaguely "religious" character to it, as if it had been used as a temple, monastery, or something similar. This notion was confirmed by the fact that the party found a metal statue of an armor clad figure, holding a sword and a set of scales, whose head had been replaced by that of Turms Termax. Whoever the figure was, he was likely a god, since the replacement of his head by that of Turms was a practice they'd seen in other temple areas within the dungeon. Brother Candor's religious knowledge proved insufficient in guessing the original identity of the statue, as its iconography was not that of any god he knew.
Exploring the level resulted in the discovery of many rooms, most of them empty or filled with supplies formerly used by the inhabitants of this place. A number of Ranine were encountered, along with some goblins, neither of which were a huge surprise, given the presence of both races on nearby levels. The party also found a cat, whom Iriadessa befriended and urged her comrades to take out of the dungeon. This they did and Brother Candor used his speak with animals spell to talk with the feline, who revealed she was part of several families of cats who'd lived in Dwimmermount for generations. The cat would not reveal her true name but accepted the name "Dusty" given to her by Iriadessa and promised to assist the party in navigating the dungeon in exchange for food and protection.
The party continued exploring the strange monastery, where they discovered a number of extraordinarily lifelike iron statues of Termaxian cultists, often with expressions of surprise and horror on their faces. (Yes, it's true: I swiped some ideas from Matt Finch's Tomb of the Iron God -- I am shameless). This led to some concern on the part of the PCs, who feared that some sort of magical catastrophe or curse had overtaken the Termaxians, one that they feared invoking accidentally. Further investigation revealed that the original inhabitants of this area served a deity called simply "the Iron God," who seemed to be some sort of guardian of the dead. This confused Brother Candor, as he was only familiar with Donn as the god of the dead, never having heard of the Iron God.
Explorations continued, providing some more details of what may have happened in the monastery: the clerics of the Iron God resisted the Termaxians, who sought to impose their cult on them. Tortured and eventually killed, the clerics resisted valiantly against the Termaxians, who were in turn punished by being turned to iron -- the wrath of the Iron God. Needless to say, these discoveries only solidified the party's dislike for the Termaxians like the Argent Twilight cult they'd tangled with in the past. And Brother Candor felt a personal obligation to continue exploring this area of Dwimmermount to see what damage the Termaxians might have wrought so that he could set it right.
Much time was spent meticulously exploring the rooms and chambers of the Iron God's servants. Along the way, the characters accumulated a number of items associated with his worship, including some vestments worn by his clerics. These the characters donned before descending in the crypts and catacombs over which the clerics had kept watch. The party found evidence that the Termaxians had attempted to despoil them and had likewise engaged in necromancy within their hallowed precincts. It's these acts, along with the torture and murder of the clerics, that likely brought punishment down upon their heads. Brother Candor warned his companions not to take anything from any of the crypts, no matter how seemingly valuable, lest they suffer the same fate as the Termaxians.
Now that things have calmed down a little bit, I hope to give more regular (and detailed) updates of the various sessions of the campaign, which is now nearly a year old. I continue to be surprised at the longevity of the campaign, both because of its strong focus on dungeon-crawling and because no character has yet reached higher than 5th level -- and several are below that. I think the low-key, evolving nature of the campaign has been a great boon. It's certainly made it easier for me to run things. I don't worry too much about extensive preparations beforehand and neither do I have to "plot out" where things will go in advance of the players' decisions in-game. Sometimes this results in the campaign's being a little more "rough" than I'd like, but it's also enabled me to make course corrections with ease, so that the actions of the characters drive the action, which is how it should be in my opinion.