Tuesday, February 14, 2012

session 13

Game report for session #13

Game clock resumes at 02/18/3200; 11:00:01am.

As they were coming to grips with the fact that Thingerlun was not himself, they realized that he was also blocking a door.  Tym managed to go first, and went up and looked over the wizard’s shoulder into the room and reports skeletons rising up from the floor.  Pat panicked when she heard the word skeletons and decided to close the door.  Thingerlun was too stupid at the moment to realize that he was in danger; fortunately he still has all his survival instincts.  He managed to jump out of the way only to find himself in the dark… the dead creeping up on him.  The rest of the first round was pandemonium as everyone else tried to figure out what had happened.  Thingerlun did the only thing he could: the +1 staff was still in his hand and it made a rather useful club as he started to spin in circles.  He had destroyed 2 of them before the door opened again. 

Tym had won the highest initiative he was the first one through the door when it opened and he decided to lead the charge with a mighty deed: he wanted to use the momentum of his charge to help him chop through two opponents.  He failed to hit entirely, but was undaunted none the less.  Milo was next, but rather than resort to turn unholy, he waded into the melee and crushed a third.  After Dwight got far enough into the room, he tried to fling his shield Frisbee-style to take out multiple targets, but failed to connect and had to hastily pick up his shield in the next round.  Everyone else stayed in the hall for a while, but the skeletons landed several good hits on Dwight and Tym in the next round, so Hearn ran into the room and doled out some of the magic healing ointment she’s been hoarding.  Pat and Tym each destroyed one, but Thingerlun was unable to distinguish friend from foe, so he attacked Tym…

This could have gone badly, but Tym did move to the other side of the room to get out of range.  At the Dwight and Thingerlun managed to put down a skeleton each and Herarn finally decided enough was enough and turned away the unholy wretches.  Tym decided to end the combat the same way he started, by attempting to take out both of the remaining skeletons with a mighty cleave, but only dropped one.  Dwight managed to smash the other one. 

When it was all over they saw that there was still one skeleton on the floor that never rose up; a quick search reveals both the amulet of Soleth {God of Death} and the hastily scrawled note clutched in his dead hand. 

I fear that my time grows as short as the candle stub by which I write this, my final act in this world is to impart a warning.   Even as I write this I can feel the hand of Soleth upon me.  Soleth be praised… and may he forgive me my sins.  I was one of the first miners to break through into the old and forgotten tomb that held the terrible undead monster.  Do not make the same mistake as we made when we reached the deepest level of the mine.  Do not be as greedy as we were. Now we are going to pay for our greed in death.  For this beast can raise us from the dead to serve on in undeath, as my fellows discovered too late.  I can hear the death rattles of my companions as their unholy wounds take their final toll.  Soon they will arise as more than the untended dead, they will be her creatures… her will shall fire them.  I take solace only in the fact that we found this forgotten hole and we shall be sealed in here and unable to roam freely.  Now I shall partake of Soleth’s Mercy, and trust that he shall grant me peace.  Pray for us.

They couldn’t get out of there fast enough… and shut the door behind them.

They remembered from last session that they needed to head south and east, so off they went.  After about ten minutes they come to a point where there are two southern tunnels.  Milo’s divination spell had come to an end…

Thingerlun: “Hey Grub, which way to where they’re keeping the townfolk?”

Grub: “Fresh food’s that way boss.” Pointing to the tunnel on their left.

Hearn: “What are you talking about, fresh food?  Those are people!”

Grub: “So?  They still taste good whatever you call’em.”

They head out and quickly see that at there is a door in the southern wall as the tunnel continues east again.  Grub tells them that that is the door they need to open.  Bob moves forward checking for traps, finding none he examines the door more closely and sees that it has a poison needle trap:  2 points of luck burn later he managed to avoid the needle.  Showing his resolve, he stays there and listens at the door and hears some shuffling and moaning and the general sounds of people in misery.  Then faintly he hears someone singing weakly; it is weak but otherwise flawless.

Bob: “Oh man, that’s way too creepy!  I’m outa here…”  And made his way back to the rear of the party, telling them what he heard.

With an exasperated sigh, Hearn went over and carefully opened the door.  The room was about 20ft wide and maybe twice that in length with eight cells carved into the walls.  The ones alone the long walls were about 7ft by 7ft and stuffed with 4-6 people; the one on the opposite wall was 15ft long and covered with a couple of stretched ox hides.  They were closed off by rusty bars, and at the far end of the room there was a console with nine levers on it; the type where you have to squeeze the clutch lever to make them move.  There was suffering to be dealt with, but Hearn knew better than to just walk in there.  “Hey Bob? Is it safe to go in there?”

Bob: “Ya, the door’s safe.  I checked it.”

Hearn: “I know that, but what about the room on the other side?”

Bob (sighs): “Fine.”  He walks over and starts to go through his routine.  20 minutes later he declares the room clear of traps.  Some of the cells are full of townfolk that have died and reanimated, the rest were full of weak and starving townfolk; too weary to rejoice at their deliverance.  She then positions herself near the door but between the first two cells and invokes the power of her Goddess to turn the unholy.  The 4 in the first cell stampeded each other to get to the back of their cell and 2 of the undead in the 8th cell turned to dust.
From there, she goes to where she thought the singing was coming from only to find a cell with only one occupant who appeared to be unconscious.  This cell has a single occupant he is naked and on his stomach, face turned away.  The man has a birthmark on his butt that looks just like the one on Ffwylldyr.  She knows this from the very first time they met the bard, when the checked him for injuries after they found him in the closet.

Bob goes over to the hides on the wall and after checking twice for traps manages to work up the courage to look behind the hides, but  as he gets close enough to try, he is aware of the smell of thistles and open fields.  Three tries later he called Dwight over to try and free the hides.  Two more tries later, and Thingerlun finally goes over and yanks them down.  That is when the meet Thistle the Thorne.  The Thorne are a race of sentient plants that none of the party have ever seen or heard of before.  It is withered, brown, and most of the color has faded from his purple crest.  They thought it was dead until it responds to the light of Ormazd as Milo gets closer.

“Ormazd be praised!!” it cries out feebly {Because all plants worship the sun… naturally. }

It seems to lose consciousness after that and Hearn hasn’t got a clue how to heal it; so she hoses it down with her oversized water-skin through the bars and keeps Milo standing close.  They question the inmates, a bit to find out that they’ve been kept alive as playthings for the Inquisitor.  They only know one thing about the levers: the one farthest from the door opens the first cell on the right as they enter the room. The players designate that lever and cell as #1.  Bob pulls it and the door opens, allowing Milo to destroy those 4 skeletons with the power of the Sun God to burn away the unclean dead.  Then Bob confidently pulls levers 2 & 3 releasing those captives: total of 8.  This normally paranoid wall flower then skips to #5; which he figures will open the large cell, but it was the one right behind him instead.  This let 4 zombies out of their cell.  Dwight and Tym had drifted into the room by then and sprang into action.  Tym won the initiative again and charged into the action, leading with his attempt to hack through two at once.  Still no dice, but he did manage to hit it for some damage.  Dwight destroys one, Bob got a ‘1’ on his initiative, so I figured he was so engrossed in the ‘lever problem’ that he didn’t even notice what was going on behind him.  Hearn was next up and got a ‘20’ when she invoked Elyr to lay the dead to rest.  The beam of light she generated hit Dwight, so I gave him 1 die of healing, but she managed to obliterate the remaining dead from the rest of the room.

Bob blithely pulls Lever #4 and lets four more people out of their cell; now there are Four levers left for three cells.  Bob is starting to hesitate a bit with the levers, but still doesn’t think to check for traps as he pulls #7 and it goes nowhere.  Fortunately for him he still had a few points of luck to spare, otherwise he’d have lost his hand as a blade scythed passed the lever from somewhere inside the console.  Figuring the trap was sprung, he went to #8 and pulled it, but they were all puzzled when the cell to the left of the entrance opened.  Still unwilling to admit fear, he pulls lever #9 and it stick in place as a clamping device springs out of the console and tries to grab his hand.  A couple of luck points later and he managed to avoid this one as well.  Then he figures the two trapped levers needed to be pulled at the same time; and he was correct.  There are two doors for this cell and the rumbling of their mechanism rouses the plant from its torpor.

In a barely audible voice, he says; “I’m Thistle Thorneblood, keeper of the community of Fariweather and I failed to protect them.  The reapers came in the night and murdered everyone they could find.  I ran away to my shame, but I am its guardian and must keep it safe.  He must not get hold of it.” It pauses for a moment then continues, “I have run my course for many months, striving hard to reach the Temple of the lasting Sun.  Where the Silver is mined; but autumn is short in the mountains and winters bite debilitated me so greatly that I was easy prey for these loathsome creatures.”  In a burst of energy, it tears open its chest and grabs a large topaz roughly the diameter of a large hand.

Thrusting it out to Milo, and in a pleading voice he says, “Take the Eye of Night.  I am its keeper, but I cannot bear its weight any longer.  It will be the doom of us all should Skullshank find it.”

Things that happen as he takes hold of the gem:
  1. Thistle dies as the last of his life is expended to deliver his final words.
  2. Milo’s aura brightens to the point that everyone must look away and floats into the air.
  3. The voice of Ormazd issues from Milo, full of the warmth of a fresh spring afternoon with the following Prophesy.
In the time of madness, when Dread Moon and Silver burn the mind,
Then our brightest hope shall we find.

The suns bright orb along winding course it runs,
Scrabbling through the muck until darkness comes.

Wilted flower in vile darkness the suns fruit shall bear,
To the ones who for the world still care.
Only then dream of hope, shall we dare.

If all is lost, and hope doth not the bright future make,
The Great Enemy shall the Rod of Heaven take,
To slay the Great Lovers and the world unmake.
Love is lost and Void’s rage unbound;
Darkness covers all, and tears abound,
When Daenthar’s beard is shorn.
The gears will turn ‘round,
As new hope is found,
When the Golden Child is reborn.


The parts in bold are taught to all clerics of Ormazd, as they are from the only known fragment of the great book of prophesy set down by -Al Hajduk the mad, in -644DC.  They are concerned with finding another copy in order to hear the entire piece.  They know that the line ‘Great lovers’ refers to Ormazd and Lady Shul, the Moon Dragon.  Anything that concerns the slaying of their deity and his greatest love is terrifying to them.  Not knowing how or why is equally vexing, and their Lord refuses to speak to them on the matter; charging them with the task of wandering until they find their answers in the proper course of time.  As to the rest of the snippets of information that they do have, they have had no luck in deciphering anything else.

When things return to normal, they set about eagerly discussing it for a moment or two and then they realize that they haven’t released the last prisoner, so they correct that oversight.  As they resume pondering how all of this could be interpreted, they realize that Daenthar is the God of the Dwarves, and no one really wants to think about trying to separate him from his whiskers.  They also realize that Skullshank must be that same wizard they saw in their vision, and that the first part of the prophesy must be referring to them.  As they struggle with the deeper meanings of this new information, Hearn is tending to the last person who is gaining consciousness again.

Dwight; “Hey! Why are we struggling to work this out?  Where’s Ffwylldyr gone off to?”  As he starts to head back for the hallway.

The rest of the party was still clustered loosely near the console with the last guy they let out.  From the floor at their feet they hear a croaking, much strained voice say, “I’m hear.”

DM: “Everybody rolls initiative.”

Thingerlun is the one who won the initiative and decided to Invoke the name of Aristimis the Battle Maiden.  He wanted it to be a general call for aid, rather than looking for a specific result on the table I wrote.  {he got a 15, and in Her eyes Thingerlun is much improved of late; so She decides to make a tactical move, and invigorates the true Ffwylldyr.  The other thing that casting this spell does for him, is that for the next 4 rounds he has a +4 bonus to casting from his intense psychic focus}

Throwing all his remaining strength into it, Ffwylldyr pulls himself up using the bars of the cell and with a trembling hand points to the bard out in the hallway and in a cracked and parched voice says; “Stelithex, defend thyself!” Then he collapses to the floor again.  The other bard, who is even now starting to strum the opening chords of Sydar’s Square Dance, suddenly finds himself dealing with an angry instrument.  The neck and tuning head of the mandolin have transformed themselves into the likeness of a serpent; with drops of varnish dripping from its fangs.  He disappears around the corner wrestling with the instrument and trying to avoid being struck.

Tym rushed forward in time to see him fading into the dark ranting about not letting them interfere with the ritual.  The last thing he sees is the fleeing bard stepping on something on the floor.  In the distance there is the sound of something large rolling their way.  He lets them know what he saw, but then turns to the peasants and has them scoot back to avoid getting hurt.  Pat and Dwight hastily start chattering out some kind of plan with each other, then she takes off running and tries to follow the imposter, hoping to dodge past the boulder.  She failed, and was unwilling to burn that much luck.  Pat got 10 points of damage and a crushed leg when the boulder hit the wall and caused a minor cave-in that separated her from the rest of the party.  She sees the mandolin, still frozen mid-strike, and grabs it with the intent to smash it to pieces, but it begins to writhe as soon as she touches it so she backs off.

Everyone else rushes forward to investigate the blockage and finds that it is still passable, but only one person at a time may scrabble over the debris pile.  Bob is intent on chasing the villain down, convincing everyone that they had to find out what this ritual is all about, but Hearn reminds him that they now have the 13 refugees to look after.  {She was tending to their wounds and distributing food as she reminded him} before any real resolution on what to do could be worked out, Thingerlun strode forward and attempts to invert the casting of his Enlarge Spell.  {with a +9 to casting, the need to use a D16  wasn’t an issue}  He surmised that since there was room to clamber over the top, the roof must be fairly stable, so he “reduced” the size of the pile of rubble.  {fortunately for them the tunnel made its save}  Bob goes running down the hall trying to figure out which way the imposter had fled, but it had been too long, and he doesn’t know how to track.  Hearn went swooping in to check on Pat and seeing how grave the situation was, she opted to experiment. 

Hearn was able to restore Pat to full health.

Bob: “Hey Pat, do you think you could track him down?”

Pat: “Sure, he went that way.” The two of them set off running.  Neither of them were too concerned with traps, and Pat made her next two tracking rolls.  They figured they could follow in his footsteps… literally, and be reasonably safe.  They still stopped at one point to check for traps anyway, just because they were getting too nervous about the growing distance between them and the rest of the party.  The direction that they had gone was leading them closer to the temple of the Rat Gods, because the shrill sounds of their ceremony were too loud to ignore.  Neither could they ignore the ever increasing stench being brought to them on the strongest current of air they had felt since they climbed the spiral staircase.

Bob: “We should go back and get the others, that sound’s big and nasty.”

Pat: “But… Outside…” stomping her foot petulantly.

Bob: “Later! We need to get everyone over here and see if we can stop that ritual.”

Pat: “Fine.”

There was some quick debate over what to do with the refugees.  Hearn decides to try her best with sanctuary, hoping for a grand result, but only succeeded in affecting herself.  Unduaunted, she then called upon Elyr for aid.  Hearn informs everyone that so long as they abide by the peace of Elyr, they will come to no harm so long as they remain in the room with her; if they leave the room, they are no longer affected.  She knows that the spell is solid for the next 7 days, but Dwight stays with her as everyone else sets off to crash a church social…

30 minutes later the party find themselves facing a decision… Pat fails her tracking roll, so she can’t tell them where the imposter bard went, there is a great stench down one tunnel which they figure could be the place of the ritual: these Gods being so into filth and such.  Or, the noisy corridor could be the ritual they need to interrupt; but in the end, the air flow, plus the smell leads them to the conclusion that this is probably just an open air sewer for the tribe.  They follow the noisy tunnel until they find the source of the sound behind a stout door on the west side of the north-south hallway.  Bob just checks it for traps and tests it lightly to see if it has been locked or bared.  To everyone’s surprise, it is neither and opens inward.  Thingerlun decides to try the sleep spell trick again, he signals Bob to slam the door open real fast.  The sight of what was on the other side of the door was not something they expected. 

This room, used to be a secondary smelting room, and there was a 15ft diameter crucible in the floor at least 20ft from them on the opposite side of this rather large room.  Its fires are stoked and the evil clerics have co-opted it to brew a large quantity of some malevolent potion.  In either corner of the room and flanking the crucible were matching statues in granite, each positioned so its ruby eyes set in a lidless glare at the door.  At the base of each statue is an altar stained with vile ichor and a wear-rat in hybrid form chittering and squealing to some kind of odd rhythm.  The party has opened the door just in time to see one of them turn and with a triumphant exuberance tosses Balinor’s head into the bubbling brew.  An instant later potion starts to froth and boil.  There is a double row of wear-rats in armor facing the door, and they have orders to kill anyone or anything that comes through that door: nothing is to be allowed to interfere with the ritual. {total of 7 wear-rats, one has 3HD, the rest have 2HD; clerics are 3HD each} 

Thingerlun only managed to affect one target, so he chose the cleric on the left, but it made its willpower save.  Milo tries to understand the nature of the ritual, but all she can determine is that they are 99% complete; based on the nature of the reaction.  Bob was next up and he managed to bury his magic dagger into the same cleric an instant later.  Tym is next up and his PC is at the back of the group, but he has enough movement to enter the room and engage with one of the wear-rats.  He switched to just trying to hit one target, but failed to kill it.  Pat was next into the room, her attack managed to drop one of the wear-rats.  Then it was the Rats turn to do some damage.  Thingerlun had backed out of the doorway after casting the spell, so that left Tym, Bob, and Pat clustered around the door to take the brunt of the assault.  Only minor damage for Pat, and the clerics are still screaming at a frenzied pace tying to complete their ritual.

Thingerlun: “Milo, do you have any holy water?

Milo (after furiously searching through the inventory, manages to find 1 flask) hands it over.

Thingerlun: “Grub, I have a job for you.”

Grub (cowering and drooping his ears a bit): “Um… whats youse wan me to do?”

Thingerlun: “I need you to take this,” hands him the flask, “and dump this into that cauldron in there; think you can do it?”

Grub reveals himself as a wear-rat by shifting into hybrid form. “Sure,” grabs the flask, “I much faster now.” Then he takes off running into the room, dodging behind Tym and trying to circle clockwise around the room.

Bob holds his hand up and his dagger appears, clean and fresh for another throw; but he decides to try and take advantage of the fact that the clerics still seem to be casting.  He sneaks passed Pat and into the room, but his attack fails to hit as the gyrations of the ritual movements carry the evil cleric out of harm’s way.  Tym managed to drop his injured wear-rat, he has abandoned finesse and is hacking away for his survival, and Pat drops another one, clearing more room for others to enter.

The rats hit Grub with a couple of attacks; but their weapons are neither silver, nor magic, so they do little to slow him down.  Tym avoids getting hit, but Pat gets hit for a fair bit of damage and the remaining wear-rats move in closer to the door.  The clerics continue their chanting.  Thingerlun tries his sleep spell again, but it fails so he backs out into the hallway.  The only spell he has left for the day is Enlarge, the rest are spent & Invoke Patron is a 1/week deal.  So he fades into the background, but Grub manages to squeeze behind the statue and get to the make-shift cauldron and successfully tossed the holy water into the mixture…    The brew simply turned a horrible shade of pink. 

Milo calls upon the power of Ormazd to heal Pat for a few hit points. Bob manages to wound the second cleric, but not nearly as badly as he could have…  The ritual was over, and the rat had turned to face him.  Tym guts another wear-rat and turns to see Pat miss her attack.  The two wear-rats that had been after Grub turned on Tym and scoring terrible wounds upon him.  {I rolled a 20 for each attack…  fortunately for Tym, I’ve just been using ‘x2’ damage for monster critical hits, but it still cost him 20hp between the two hits.  By the end of the round he only had 2 HP left} The cleric that was subjected to Bob’s first attack heals himself, the other one summons up 2 rat swarms. 

Thingerlun continues to hang back, but Grub (lacking any further instructions) gives in to his inner nature and just scurries to the space behind the statue to hide.  Milo invokes the power of the Sun God again and manages to heal Tym significantly, but he still bares grave wounds from this battle.  Bob attacks again, but misses his foe.  Pat seriously wounds another wear-rat, but then the tide of battle turns in favor of the rats.  Pat is swarmed by rats and fails her fortitude save against disease.  The other, larger swarm heads towards Tym.  The rest of the wear-rat attacks missed, but the second cleric summons up another rat swarm.

{Game clock suspended at 2:10pm; 02/18/3200:  We only had a few minutes left before closing.}

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