Friday's Session had a party of 6 adventurers heading back into the catacombs of the upper part of the Maw. They have despoiled a lot of graves previously, but these were only of common folk. It was a special find to come away with a shield or weapon. Thinking they might find the burial location of richer folk, they pushed into some of the unexplored tunnels.
They didn't have any luck on that account. At the end of one tunnel they did find a curiously floating pyramid. Hugelina poked it and several of the party went blind. Then someone touched the sphere that was in its place and several people went deaf. And it was chaos for a bit as a Man of Wounds appeared moaning and approaching the party's dead end chamber.
Athydas cast a sleep spell on the creature which worked. They then spiked its limbs to the floor. And forgot it for a while as they tried to get their senses back. Most of the party left the area of, what was now, a floating cube. The cube was hit by a blind G, pinata style. Nothing noticeable occured, except a ring was left floating in the cube's place. Hugelina stepped up to the ring and thrust her arm through it, in an attempt to captured it. The ring was now a pyramid again and Hugelina had a perfectly cauterized stump where her arm used to be.
Athydas became interested in the wounded humanoid again. He was successful in pulling out some of the weapons sunk in the creature. He wanted to test whether it would be friendly, but on freeing one of its spiked hands, it struck him a blow that put him on death's door. (Marcos the shaman later healed him).
And with that, the party had had quite enough of the Maw. They gather the few meager weapons they'd liberated from graves and headed back in Nidus. They did some shopping and then, on finding the animal arena won a ton of money betting. The first fight was a Tasmanian wolf versus scorpions, then scorpions versus cobras, then a panda versus a zebra.
I didn't pretty lousy job as DM; wasn't prepared well enough and was tired from work. Thank goodness I had the geometric shape, it kept the party quite occupied. The pickings in the Maw have been so lousy compared to the risk, I think I'm going to have to start giving the players hooks if I want them to explore it further.
The skills being a DM requires of you seem limitless! I was still getting the odds for animal arena wrong ( I'd forgotten about 3d4 monsters as opposed to 1d4 monsters in making my table of odds.) and felt like a bookie, wipping a little dry erase board updating odds for each round.
I had some interesting experiences with player vs. DM creativity. I videotaped one guy amusingly BSing the culture and religion of his shaman (might put that online later) and after asking one player to describe the animal fights had a result worthy of the Thousand Drunken Tongues, with scorpions flying through the air and sound effects and everything.
Probably the most significant thing I noticed was the death of the Man of Wounds as a monster (I probably shouldn't have had it re-appear as soon as it did, made it rarer on encounter tables) or the "Shuffler" as my players named it. What I mean is, in a matter of three sessions, it went from creepy and terrifying to no-big-thang. Sort of respected as dangerous, but not mysterious anymore. I might write a post about that.