the lost caverns of tsojcanth

"I. Use. Stunning. Fist."

Years ago when i still played with my group of high school friends, we were running through The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, and somehow managed to lure a very large, very pissed off, Blue Dragon into a field in the valley near the caves.

The dragon swoops out of the sky and lands in a clearing to engage our party of seventh level characters. (Myself an Elf Rogue, Half-Elf Wizard, two Human Monks, and an Elf Druid.

We loose a handful arrows at the dragon, our monks jump into action, and our wizard grumbles because he had taken several lightning bolts for the day and was effectively useless. After a few futile rounds of combat, one of our monks has a “brilliant” idea.

Monk (George): “I jump onto the dragon’s snout.”

DM: “Ok roll. And both monks and the rogue roll an agility save against the incoming lightning bolt”

Monk: *rolls successfully for both* “Sweeeeet”

Other monk: *Critical failure*

Me: *natural 20*

DM: “Alright, you soar through the air towards this thing. You can feel your skin tingle as the lightning bolt courses over your body, but does no damage. Rogue, you do a very fancy backhand spring out of the way of the bolt. Other monk, your hair is really frizzy now, and you take 17 points of damage. George, what are you doing?”

Monk: “I start punching the dragon.”

DM: “Alright, roll a balance check.”

Monk: *rolls sucessfully* “Alright, now I’m gonna hit it!” *proceeds to fail all his punches*

DM: *laughs* “Alright, well now the dragon is seriously pissed. It starts to flap its wings to try and take off.”

Monk: “…………Shit. I hang on to one of its horns and try and keep kicking it.” *rolls successfully to hang on*

DM: “The dragon manages to get off the ground, he’s still trying to shake you off though, but you just barely managed to cling onto its face. Whats your next course of action?”

Monk: “Umm…..OH! I use stunning fist!”

DM: *bursts out laughing hysterically* “You, -hahaha- you can’t -haha-  its a  -haha-  its a fucking dragon, George. You can’t stun a dragon!”

Monk. *slightly taken aback, and now very serious* “I. Use. Stunning. Fist.”

DM: *rolls eyes* “Fine.” *checks Monster Manual for a very long time* “Fuck…..Fine. Roll your attacks.”

Monk: *promptly fails all three attack rolls.*

DM: “Aaaand how many stunning fists do you have left today?”

Monk: “Two.”

DM: “Alright, roll again.”

Monk: *rolls and fails for the first attack.* “I’m gonna kick it for this last one.” Rolls a natural 20*

Everyone else: “YEESSSSSS!”

DM: “Goddamnit George. You SOMEHOW manage to kick this dragon in the teeth so hard, you knock it out cold. Also, you’re now 250 feet in the air, riding an unconscious dragon, that is quickly plummeting towards the earth.”

Our druid pipes up: “I turn into a bird and fly up to cast feather fall on him.”

DM: *glares, rolls a massive handful of D6’s for the dragon’s damage.* “The dragon hits the ground with a boom and I’ll assume you guys managed to steer clear of its trajectory.”

Me: “Well, since my magic talking sword is in fact a sword of Dragon killing, I’m going to assume it says ‘Let me at ‘em, LET ME AT EM! I roll to coup-de-grace the dragon.“  *I roll high enough* "So, that’s 1d8+6 (+2 bonus, +4 more vs dragons) from my sword, +4d6 on the coup-de-grace from my sneak attack, another +2 from my strength….” *rolls 37 damage*

DM: “……Its dead. You took its head clean off.” *closes DM’s guide.* "Well. That’s all I had planned for today.“

Myself & Monk fist bump over the table.

A Prison of Zagig resembles a brass bird cage but can trap one creature of any size.  Only 5 are known to exist, and each requires 4 command words to operate fully (activation word, trigger word, command spell, freedom word) plus the true name or detailed history of the target.  (Jeff Easley, AD&D module S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, TSR, 1982)

A gorgimera is the sterile cross between a chimera and a gorgon, with the hindquarters and head of a gorgon, the forequarters and head of a lion, and the mid-body, wings, and head of a red dragon.  (Jim Holloway, AD&D module S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth by Gary Gygax, TSR, 1982)  It is further proof that chimerae can have a variety of monster parts with functional breath weapons and special abilities.  It would be unfortunate to encounter a chimera, a gorgon, and their gorgimera offspring hunting together as a pack.

Binding, 8th level M-U spell (Jim Holloway, AD&D module S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth by Gary Gygax, TSR, 1982)  One of my favorite ways to start a campaign is to let the PCs be apprentices and hirelings of a high level magic-user, fetching spell components, tracking down escaped extra-planar beings, and generally cleaning up the messes.

Ensnarement, 6th level magic-user spell, opens a gate to trap a creature and force it perform a service.  The creature will do everything in its power to defy the summoner’s commands, escape, and return with its associates to seek revenge. (Jim Holloway,  AD&D module S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth by Gary Gygax, TSR, 1982)

Bilbo … saw that across the valley the stone-giants were out, and were hurling rocks at one another for a game, and catching them, and tossing them down into the darkness where they smashed among the trees far below, or splintered into little bits with a bang …

–JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit

This pair of stone giants has made a playground of an area where a minor rockslide once obstructed the pathway.  They have cleared the area to make a broad ground to run around on, and there they play catch with boulders.

–Gary Gygax, AD&D module S4: The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth, TSR, 1982