Present were Nikole, human fighter; Albert Finkle, human mountebank; Kanick, dwarf thief and Rannos, human Cleric. The game took place in a mysterious underground 'sporting' dungeon hall that a mad tyrant once maintained in the Flinty Hills to torture and abuse his enemies and random victims. The mad tyrant in question? Duke Monty. Yes, they were taking a trip to Monty's Halls. I think that really set the tone for the evening.
Venturing down, the sorted a marching order and at first began with some exploration of passageways and an empty room manned only by an robed and cheerful figure. Welcoming them to "his home", he invited them to "make themselves..." before the enchantment binding it failed, leaving them none the wiser of his intent. Undeterred, the brave
Onward, through yet more exploration (and mapping, which would prove costly to their sanity soon enough!) the bold party discovered a room with a series of chalk marks, laid out in a pentagram. Bad news, they thought, particularly as the reek of sulphur hung heavily in the air. Still, the mad little Dwarf thought to break the circle, to which responded an almighty BOOOOM! Oh dear they thought, there goes another innocent town. Out again, and soon the party began to become confused.
Mapping broke down at this point, or at least the mapper broke down after a trip through an endless passageway led them to traveling in impossible circles for a good while. Finally, they twigged the problem, found the track back and chose another path. In the next chamber, the party had an amusing conversation with a talking statue, who kindly assisted them in reclaiming a large cache of silver pieces, added to a nice find of jewelry, though not until after a nasty scuffle with a pair of Displacer Beasts, both of which were ultimately dispatched by consummate ease by the fighter's mighty longsword.
Their searching led them to discovering a lair of Ogres... At least after they rigged a clever system to open the latched doorway that tragically backfired, resulting in the cunning mountebank's face suffering a nasty encounter with a rapidly opening door. The battle, however, was brought quickly under the party's control, and all the beasts were dispatched. A thorough search (other than the offal pile, at least) brought forth more monetary rewards in the form of several hundred gold pieces hoarded away in a crate.
Bolstered by the find (though not by the heat of the AC-less game store) they took off again only to stumble into a chute that seemingly led them deeper into the bowels of the lair. Following their brave cleric's lead, the party all took the trip. It wasn't until more mapping and the clue provided by the dwarf thief's 'fixing' of the chalk pentagram with added flower designs that they discovered the chute had deposited them on the very same level! Many colourful curses later and they found their last encounter of note - another talking statue.
The statue began with a seemingly random barrage of nonsense words.
"Friends! Ventured most frobulently forth,
scoobus nikto in my largest bloo!
Flip tickle mook nobby!
Tick tock, tick tock!"
Bewildered, the smart-mouth dwarf retorted "when the walls fell." Sadly for the party, the statue was much less amused by the reply than the players were, and spewed forth an unpleasant burst of acid.
At this point, it was late and were all somewhat fatigued, so we called it a night. It wasn't a terribly intricate setup on my part, but a good old fashioned (if somewhat bizarre and twisted) stroll into silliness served to provide everyone with a great time and earned several very kindly received compliments from the players. Including our new to tabletop gaming fighter, who wanted to know how we could play remotely just so she could come back. For those words, guys, thank you! I realise I was worried about how it'd run, particularly so given the massively high bar our regular DM (Joe) sets, so it meant a lot to get that.
The game was a pleasure to run, and seemingly a pleasure to play in too... Still, I'm looking forward to getting back to digging through the Mad Archmage's cellars some more. :)