The last Dwimmermount session reminded me once again why I shouldn't overplan things. After the events of Session 45, I'd assumed the PCs would undertake one of several actions they didn't ultimately take. You see, I imagined that they'd seek out the bandits they found to the south to hire them as mercenaries, so I gave some more thought to who these bandits were -- I originally had no idea -- and how they'd react to the characters. I also considered the possibility that the PCs would seek out one or more of the other locations their map told them were sitting on a ley line nexus, so I gave some consideration to just what these locations were and what they might be like. In the process, I also gave some thought to the world beyond the small area the PCs have seen thus far, as it made sense to do so.
In the end, though, the players decided that their characters would instead head right back into the dungeon and try to find the entrance to the House of Portals level that Cyrus had told them about. That action made perfect sense. After all, they knew that, to get passed the Termaxian cultists holed up on Level 5, they'd either have to fight them head-on or they'd have to find a way around them. Seeking out a level filled with magical portals, one of which just might circumvent both their enemies and the magic barrier blocking their descent, was thus perfectly reasonable. But it wasn't what I'd anticipated and thus I spent a lot more time between sessions thinking about contingencies that never came about. Now,those thoughts and ideas won't go to waste; they're still there waiting to be used when/if they're needed. However, I've been trying very hard to avoid overplanning the campaign and, in my excitement at the way the campaign seemed to be reaching a crossroads, I let my enthusiasm get the better of me.
That said, the session was nevertheless a fun one. The party, now beefed up with the additions of Murn the Dwarf and Brother Marius of Tyche, proceeded to explore an area of Level 3 they'd never before visited. According to Cyrus, to get where they wanted to go in one quadrant of the level, they'd need to visit another first -- a perfect example of why having a somewhat convoluted map ensures that levels remain fresh and interesting even after initial forays into them. In doing so, they encountered yet more necromantic apes, which proved much less dangerous this time around. They also activated a trap that unleashed demonic gargoyles and had to fight off an invisible stalker, which proved easier than expected thanks to Dordagdonar's wand of enemy detection.
Pressing onward, the characters eventually discovered another alchemical-necromantic laboratory, this one filled with cages that suggested there had recently been animals held here to serve as test subjects for experiments. From what the characters have seen thus far, it's pretty clear that Dwimmermount was the site of quite a few unpleasant activities in the latter days of Thulian rule and that at least some of those activities are again being begun anew. Needless to say, the PCs aren't happy to see this. Moving to adjacent rooms, they ran into opposition from some bugbears and an evil wizard who, so far as the characters could determine, was not a Termaxian. However, they haven't yet had a chance to find out who he is, as the session ended shortly after the bugbears were slain and the wizard had fallen victim to a hold person spell (I was rolling very badly this session).
As often happens after a momentous session, the next one is pretty sedate and "workmanlike." That's how I'd describe last week's session. The characters are now somewhat closer to finding the House of Portals level and they also have a new prisoner to interrogate, who might reveal more about the current goings-on within Dwimmermount. All in all, not bad for an evening's adventuring.