It's never a good idea to leave the person who plays the thief alone with the DM. I'm just throwing that out there as a general RPG rule. Never leave the thief alone. With the GM. Things will occur that most of the rest of the party probably don't want to occur.
As de-facto party leader, I suppose Fingolfin should have been surprised when we loaded up the cart for "Operation Get the Lazy Bitch Elves Their Magical Thingy Back" and found 2 large, unplanned barrels of wine in the back.
"I bought them", proudly announced Hanz, the resident thief (and ex-Black Eagle staffer). "Why?" I responded. Then decided that I didn't really want to know, but figured we could work with it, and rolled.
Now, I'm not going to say that the decision for Alexi to pretend to be a prisoner was totally motivated by desire for revenge for his getting us involved in this merry cluster-frack, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a consideration. So with a certain degree of relish, we had him strip down, inflicted a few cosmetic bruises, tied him up in the bottom of the cart, and headed south from Luln for Black Eagle Barony and sunny, friendly Fort Doom!
A travel video about Fort Doom would go something like this:
"Set like a festering sore in the reeking western marshes of Karameikos, the main industries of Fort Doom are fishing, slavery and incompetent plotting. Tourist attractions include slums, hovels, and wretched masses cowering from their master's boot. The friendly local inhabitants are mostly fisherfolk, who are kept roughly in line by hostages, held by the jackbooted thugs who make up the rest of the population. If you're lucky, you'll see some of the exotic orcs, goblins or other horrendous monsters that the friendly and hospitable Baron uses to terrorize his subjects. Truly, the holiday destination of the Duchy!"
So yeah - nice place. We got into the city with no problems (guards at gate drunk, also apparently developmentally disabled), and approached the eponymous fort. True to form, the sergeant of the guard proved to be fat and obnoxious, challenging us upon approaching the gates. Some judicious display of the captured Iron Ring badge (a ring, made of... wait for it... iron.) and a properly arrogant attitude saw us through the gates.
Then operations really started. We generously "donated" one of the wine barrels to the gate guards, which went over about how you'd expect - no drinking on duty issues here. I informed the sergeant that we had magic items to put in the tower, and was told I needed a pass. Apparently those are given out by a lieutenant Garand or somewhat. So off we went, prisoner in tow, to see the Lt.
We'd also acquired a neat magic item, a Horn of Plenty - which makes... food. Awesome. But it looks magical, so into a sack it went. Informing the Lt that we had a magical horn which "blows holes in walls" - which is what I wish we'd gotten, I expedited the pass process by offering to test it in his office. Pass acquired, we headed to the tower. Once inside the tower, we put the main evil cleric-guy (who lounges around in his boxers while on guard duty) to sleep, looted his stuff, then headed upstairs, where we encountered a complaining old man.
It quickly became apparent that the old fellow was an alchemist, and no fan of team Black Eagle, so we promised Nicholai that we'd help him escape, if he helped us find the magic whoosis. He agreed fairly quickly and said that Lt. Demetrios (or something roman anyway, I wasn't taking notes) might have it in his office. We burst into the Lt's office on the second floor, and discovered a bit of a scene. The Lt and a fellow in tight black leather were sitting very close to each other - "discussing" something or other. Whoops.
So we cast sleep on them. Heheh. I don't know how anyone makes any headway against the elves - that spell is pure murder in OD&D - 2d8 hd, area effect, no save. Love it. So they went to sleep, and we killed them, and discovered that the gem was already being moved - the mage Aurelius was planning on taking it out to the Baron, who is enroute here from someplace, and he's just waiting for an escort from the main keep. This is just the gatehouse to the main keep - apparently. Which explains that negligence, drunkeness and general slothful attitude.
There are 2 places this Aurelius might be - either the dungeon or the inner barbican, the entrance into the keep proper. I figure it's easier to do a quick check of the barbican before we go to the dungeon, so we head off in that direction. The barbican is closed, but there are guards up top on the wall, so I ask them if Aurelius is still waiting there for his escort. They say "Yes, but it's a secret, so keep it quiet." Smooth boys, smooth. So I tell them to open up, as I have Aurelius' things.
They do - whoohoo! Then we see that there are a lot of guards in here. So we cast sleep on them. Whoohoo! Snoozing. One of the other things that we found in the tower was an elven cloak, which Hanz the thief is now wearing. This is an OD&D magic item, so none of this sissy, +5 to sneak rolls 3e crap. This makes you totally invisible unless you roll a 1 on a d6. So Hanz uses it to sneak into the barbican and finds Aurelius, some thief, the watch-commander and a bunch more mooks. At this point, we're out of sleep spells, so we do it the old-fashioned way.
By backstabbing the wizard. Who dies. And then we burst into the room. Didn't quite manage surprise, although I'd be pretty fucking surprised if the person I was having an argument with sprouted a spear point in mid-shout. We carve down the guards, and after a few rounds of pretty rough rolling, get into the spirit of the thing and take out the watch-captain and the thief-guy. We also find the gem, some magic rings and a few other nice things.
Then, downstairs and out the front. At this point, we discover that an orc patrol has come in from the city, and is milling around the front gate. We turn it into a party with the other barrel of wine, and I discover one of the reasons for the thief/dm rule. Hanz poisoned the wine. Not "keel over after drinking" poison. No, giant ant venom apparently blisters the interior of the stomach/bowels, incapacitating the victims in a few hours.
Leaving everyone to their "party", we hurry out the gate. But Hanz stays behind. Once again, we log off and leave the thief alone with the DM...
I find out the next day that Hanz snuck into the dungeon, backstabbed the jailor, stole the keys, released and armed the prisoners, met a friendly ogre and gathered a handful of "followers", who all meet us just outside the city walls.
So, for our next session, I'll be figuring out how to get out the Black Eagle Barony with an ogre in tow. Oh, and the magical geegaw lets us cast charm person, ESP and some other spells a few times a DAY. That shouldn't be a game-breaker.