I have to admit that, lately, I've been finding it a little bit harder to get into the right frame of mind for my weekly Dwimmermount sessions. A big part of it is that my mind has shifted into sci-fi overdrive as I work on the revision to the Thousand Suns rulebook. I've been spending a lot of time doing that, staying up late on some nights, and I've been more tired than usual and that too makes it hard to shift my thoughts back to fantasy. Now, as you probably know by now, I'm a big believer in barreling through lulls in enthusiasm for a particular campaign. In my opinion, a successful campaign is founded greatly on perseverance in the face of gamer ADD, which I consider a scourge on the hobby that's greatly warped our sense of what a campaign is and ought to be.
This week's session also had an internal issue that kept me from getting right back into the swing of things. At the end of the last session, the party holed up in a room hidden behind a secret door in order to make camp and sleep so as to recover spells, etc. That makes good sense and I applaud my players for their decision to do this. Otherwise, their characters were likely to wind up as dead as Dordagdonar's henchmen, Angrboda, whose preserved body Murn the dwarf crossbowman is still lugging around. Brother Candor has nine more days in which to use his scroll of raise dead on her if he ever intends to do so (He hasn't so far because of the weakened state in which that would leave her).
Anyway, resting means that the players get to spend a lot of time deciding which spells to memorize for the next day and, because they were doing so from inside a dungeon level without any obvious means of escape, they decided to take even more time than usual determining their spell selections. Given this, I decided to use this as an opportunity to correct the spellcasting characters' spell slot charts. Since the campaign began using Swords & Wizardry, shifted to OD&D, then shifted a hybrid of OD&D plus Labyrinth Lord, there was some confusion as to how many spells per level each PC received. I decided now was the time to firmly establish that and I did so by going back to the LBB figures (which, I should add again, are faithfully reproduced in Original Edition Characters for Labyrinth Lord -- it's the only clone product I know of that does this for OD&D).
Once that was done, actual play started, but sufficient time had been spent in dealing with spell selection and the new spell slot numbers that some momentum was lost and I never really got focused on the game. Still, some exploration was achieved -- a fair bit, actually -- but most of it will probably only seem valuable in retrospect. The PCs encountered a wandering gelatinous cube, which they quickly dispatched, inside of which were some largely worthless gems, though, as Gaztea remarked ruefully, these gems were the most treasure they'd found in a long time. The party then decided to move in a different direction on the level than they'd gone previously, in hopes of further expanding their map of the House of Portals. This led to the discovery of yet another room whose contents had been obviously removed, judging by the marks on the floor and walls. Dordagdonar began to wonder why so much furniture had been removed and why.
Further into the dungeon, the characters found a circular room, with a set of circular stairs leading up. Inside the room were two statues, one of a man clad in armor -- very similar in appearance to the one they encountered in the sanctuary earlier -- and a beautiful woman wearing a nondescript robe. The stairs led into another circular room about 40 feet above, but egress from that room was blocked by two closed portcullises. Brother Candor wasn't bothered by this, as he noted that Dordagdonar had knock memorized and could thus open one of the gates if needed. In OD&D, this is a plausible interpretation of the spell's description, but in AD&D, it's explicitly forbidden. I can't fathom why this might be the case, but I wonder if it had anything to do with lifting gates being the role of the high Strength fighter.
Beyond the circular room was a long hallway filled with alcoves that held frighteningly lifelike statues of four-armed ape-like creatures, each of which held a nasty weapon. The floor of the room was covered by the tattered remains of a fancy carpet and there was a set of very large double doors at the end of the hallway. The characters chose not to move forward, fearing that the statues would come to life -- this seems to be a commonplace in Dwimmermount -- and decided it'd be best to scout in different directions to see what they could find. This scouting led to a different circular room in which the characters at first thought they saw someone (or something) but that was shown to be empty when they cautiously entered. The characters continued to see shapes out of the corners of their eyes, but, when they turned, they saw nothing and the wand of enemy detection revealed no immediate dangers. They also heard low, whispered voices whose words they could not make out, but, again, there was no evidence that anyone was in the room with them.
The room also held a large, semi-transparent black globe that floated in the center of the room without any obvious means of support. In the center of the globe they could see a faint white light. The globe moved ever so slightly up and down, as if it were bouncing but it was nevertheless quite well secured to its place in the room and nothing the characters did in its vicinity caused it to move more vigorously or to stop slowly bouncing. The party took pains not to touch it, since they hadn't yet decided whether it was dangerous or not.
And that's where things sort of petered out for the evening. As I said, it was a less productive session than I'd have liked and I take a good part of the blame for that, but, as much as I believe in pushing through rough patches in enthusiasm, it's not as if one can simply manufacture it by doing so. In the grand scheme of things, a few mediocre sessions are inevitable, so I'm not too worried about another one. Still, after the fun we had in the previous week, it was a little disappointing that the most recent session didn't carry that momentum forward.