Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Report for session #16

Game report for session #16

{Game clock resumes at 9:45am 02/19/3200}

A number of things happen all at once…  As he crosses the threshold into the sanctuary, Grubb falls over dead… again.  Thingerlun is not amused; Hearn feels the sanctuary spell drop, and Gruftus starts screaming at them.  Thingerlun stands over Grubb, lamenting the loss and notices two things:

 1) there are the tattered remains of a spell book in Grubbs hand that looks as if some ‘trap’ spell destroyed it and Grubb in the process; there were two pages left intact.

2) That there was something shiny glinting at him from deep inside Grubb’s cranium.

James: “You’re gonna make me dig that out?!”
DM: “You could have someone else do it…”

He finds a thick platinum ring with a signet carved into a ruby, and showing it to the rest prompts Dwight to divulge that he too had a vision.  It told him to find the signet, but that’s all he would say and they gave it to him to carry.  Hearn pushes some food and water to the prisoners, which actually shuts them up for a bit.  In the strained silence as they are trying to digest everything that had happened since they woke up this morning; a strange melody chirps out.  The strangely melodic tone is muffled from within Dwight’s back pack.  He is honestly confused, but digs through to find whatever is making the noise; he pulls out the strange device that Archie had sent with them.  Its gem was flickering kaleidoscopically through the spectrum while it continued to make that noise… which was actually rather grating now that it was out of the bag.   He taps the gem the way Archie had shown them rather reluctantly, but was only somewhat relieved when his spectral head hovered above them all. 

Archie, scowling; “What in the 13 kingdoms of hell is going on in there!!  By the Gods!  There is smoke pouring out of both sides of the ridgeline!!!  When the first column appeared I was a bit nervous, but thought that you all were making progress, but then all the rats in town turned into people!  Are they wear-rats?!  Should I be slaying them? Some of them are quite crazy you know!  Aand if that wasn’t enough, there are now refugees coming out of the mines.  I demand some answers, you are Guild road marshals after all!”

Dwight and the rest synopsize the events and answer his questions.  Archie, less angry; “Well that explains a few things; I’ll get set up helping these folks out.  I sent Hank into the mines yesterday, has he arrived yet?”

Everyone; “Ummm, no…” but before they could get all worried about it they spot Hank shuffling around the corner and then enters the room; announcing himself with a little dance and a wave of his hand.  The bundles of ropes from which it was made were set to creaking and rustling inside its leather coverings by its motions; a smile on its blue porcelain face.  It was covered in filth and the gore of several battles.

Bob; “Scratch that, he’s here now.”

Archie; “Good, keep me informed. Now go get the rest of those townsfolk and then we’ll deal with the rest.”

At this point Milo has an epiphany concerning the vision he was given.  He suddenly realizes that he is on the front lines of a great battle.  There are minions of Ahriman the lord of shadow and his daughter Lasheeva, the Queen of the dead making evil mischief somewhere down there and that this was the first of many battles to come.  Like any protracted conflict, who wins the first battle has a keen effect on morale for both sides; and is often the most influential battle of any conflict.  What has him greatly concerned is that his God was telling him he has until the end of the day to deal with the problem, or they would likely lose this first battle.

He relates this to them and then looks a Dwight and Bob expectantly, “We need to get back down there and deal with whatever unholy creature is down there and fast!”

Bob, indignant; “Why are you looking at me?!”

Milo Shrugs; “You’re good at getting into things… and we need to get back to that hole you found.”

Bob and Dwight both mutter something about not knowing how to navigate in a mine, then one of them pops in with; “Milo could always use his Godly insights to find our way…”

Milo, nervously: “You know that I can’t always glean anything useful from those interactions, right?”

Hearn pipes in with; “From what you’ve described to me, I don’t think they could make it up that rope, tunnel thing you spoke of.” 

Pat, thinking of all the things she learned from talking with Balinor; “Well I think I can track our way back…” {rolls a 1}

They were all so intently focused on following their expert tracker that they all walked right passed the doorway to the “poop” room and stop when they come to a rock fall that they don’t remember.  There are no other ways out, so they back track and eventually find their way back to the hallway just outside the room with the hole to the lower level.  Milo: “Now would probably be a good place to invoke second sight.” {Fail’s with an 8. }

Pat tries repeatedly over the neck half hour to figure out which way they need to go, but eventually notices that there is only one direction for them to go.  They know it isn’t behind them, and the hole is not an option.  The set off again, this time with the Ditch Digger out in front and twenty feet down the corridor his paranoid eyes spot a second secret door.  He goes up and gently checks for traps, and finding none he carefully listens at the secret door.  {DM: it’s a stone wall…} Then Bob tries to quietly push the door open.  {DM: you can push the button you found.}  Closing his eyes and gingerly pushing the button, straining to leap at a moment’s notice.  The door rumbles loudly up into the ceiling.  {DM secretly rolls for the integrity of the room’s structure: 18}  Milo steps forward to shed some light on things, and reveals a large room covered in old debris.  Apparently this part of the mine isn’t very stable. 

Then Bob spots something shiny glittering in the dirt on the opposite side of the room; one of his eyes twitches as he sees that it is a diamond encrusted map case held in a skeletal hand.  He cautiously enters the room and makes it to the other side and examines it more closely, hoping the dead hand won’t start hitting him with the case.  Then he remembers that so far, every time they have managed to do enough damage to something; it has failed to come back.  He searches for any kind of traps and sees that while no one has built one, the natural precariousness of the rock fall and debris will collapse the instant he pulls out the case.

Hearn and Milo both express impatience with Bob’s greed, but he counters with; “Ya, but I think we may need what’s in there… it seems to be a map case.”

Hearn casts a rather powerful detect magic spell and starts scanning the room and sees that while the case is not magical, there are quite a few items buried within the rubble.  She heads back into the hall to gather some things she needs and is momentarily blinded by all of the magic radiating from Hank, when she recovers she starts to use strips of her endless supply of bandages to make little flags and setting them out to mark the locations.  Bob is visibly twitching by now, as she lists off what is there: “That’s sword shaped, that’s a big blobby thing, there’s a few sets of armor…  So what do we do know?”

Bob is developing quite a facial tremor and glazed eyes; “Well as soon as I pull that,” points to the case, “all of this comes crashing down.  Everyone out!”  He lightly grabs the map case and then pulls for all he is worth. {makes the strength check} then gets most of the way to the door before the room falls in on him.  Hearn was closest to the door and dives back in to grab for Bob in an attempt to save him.  She managed to grab onto him, but failed to pull him out.  When the dust settled all they saw were Hearn’s boots and the hem of her robes poking out from the rubble.  They both get clobbered pretty hard, but manage to survive the collapse, and they get pulled out after Hank digs them out.  Hearn manages to heal herself first, and then works on Bob while he and Pat are puzzling out the map case.  Bob sees that it has a complex lock, but no traps.  He opens it with a deft touch of his fingers. Out pops a couple of sheets of parchment. 


One is a map, with scribbling on the back.  The other is an accounting of the one attempt that was made to “cleanse” the mine of evil.  A party of soldiers accompanied by a cleric of Thormyr, a cleric of Soleth, and a Cleric of Ormazd were sent into the mine, none came out again.  Scrawled on the back of this (in human blood) is and accounting of what the second group of clerics found, and what they did. 

A second group was sent in by Jasper to deal with things, and to keep the clergies of the various temples from causing problems. 

I, Brother Corvis, do transcribe and witness the last words of Jandar Harbrin, the dead garrison wizard of Aristemis.  His restless spirit is now at peace.

“We found the lowest level; it is not entirely a mine, several parts having been previously constructed from blocks of pure silver.  The debris from the break through must have been the “nuggets” the miners spoke of.  The attempts to recover the silver were apparently interrupted by some unholy demon.  We encountered a silver gate blocking our path to the fourth level, we thought we’d have to turn back, but Brother Corvis recognized the warding spell which had been used to guard the portal as having been cast by another Priest of Thormyr.  His holy symbol and a simple prayer let us pass.  Upon our discovery of the grizzly remains of the first expedition, I ordered Brother Corvis and a small detachment back through the gate, ordered it sealed and for him to create another blocking the way down from the first level.  He left us with a silver key, apparently received from on high.  I expressed concern and refused the key, but he assured me that evil will not abide its touch any more than they could touch the blessed gate.

What little we saw seems to confirm the accuracy of the miner’s map, but we lost everyone but myself and the cleric of Ormazed trying to put that foul she demon back into her crypt.”

Pat manages to notice that there are cryptic mine notations on the map and that it is very old and cobbled together by several folks.  It tells her that it covers the fourth level of the mines.  When they get to the next intersection Milo tells them that they are traveling west and the branching tunnel headed off to the south.  Milo fails to invoke his second sight ability again; apparently Ormazd is tired of being pestered.  Pat eventually notices that the tracks are shinier in the southern tunnel and they all follow her that way.  Right up to the point where she failed her search check to notice the two goblin murder holes. She did not fail to notice the arrow piercing her side.  I have everyone roll initiative.

Pat goes fist and manages to crawl under the first one, but gets hit again from the other side of the hall.  Milo rushes over to block one of the holes with his shield, and Hank walks over to the first and takes an arrow to the chest, which barely scratches him and then extends a bunch of rope from his hand into the dark… a few seconds later there was the audible crunch of something’s neck.  Everyone else holds back, and a couple seconds later the same thing on the other side; and they continue to follow the tracks to the south.  The hallway continues southward, and the tracks are kind of shiny, but the tracks to the west are a little shinier.  It takes Pat about 20 minutes to figure this out, but off they go, ignoring the secondary northward tunnel ten feet along this new corridor.  Nearly one hundred paces further along, they see that while the tracks continue on to the west, the shinier tracks turn north down a short tunnel that spirals around to the east.  They can see that 15ft or so down on the west side of the corridor is a door, and directly opposite from where they are standing is an open arch that leads into a chamber of some kind.

The area is fastidiously clean, and Bob smells oiled metal and the ever so faint rustle of chains.  They volunteer Hank who looks concerned, but moves forward with Pat on his left. As soon as they set foot into the tunnel, a dozen skeletons appear out of swirling purple smoke.  {Initiative}

Hank kills the first one, Thingerlun kills one with his wand {1 HD skeletons, and bad rolls by the DM} and Bob steps back into the shadows to let everyone else deal with things.  Milo fails to turn undead then the skeletons miss their attack on Hank, but one skewers Pat for max damage.  It is at this point that Hearn realizes that in her horror over what Hank did to the goblins; that she forgot to heal Pat.  Dwight sees how bad off she is and in a mighty deed of strength manages to lift and move and trade places with Pat fast enough that the skeleton misses its free attack on both of them.  They all spot something new; it is a loathsome mass of nothing but arms flop-rolling into view through the archway. 

Hank kills another one, Thingerlun manages to do the same again  with the wand… and then the ‘spell cannon’ goes off again.

Screaming ethereal eagles fly forth from his hand and destroy everything in their path… including the new horror that had the misfortune to show itself at the wrong time.  After the goo stops dripping from the walls and ceiling they explore the area a bit.  The room beyond the arch way houses a massive spool of chain attached to a winch with a long wooden handle.  They ignore the closed door, but are happy to see the elevator that leads down into the next level.  They discuss what to do next.

Pat; “What about this door over here?”

Dwight; “Leave it, we need to get to the townsfolk and we can check it out on the way back.”

They assume that since it’s been hauling ore much heavier than themselves, there isn’t a problem other than the fact that not everyone will fit.  They divide themselves and Pat suggests that a fighter go down in the first trip, but no one listens.  They load up with Bob, Thingerlun, and Hearn with Balinor’s lantern.  Hank was told to operate the winch.  The elevator clanks loudly as it slowly descends: it will take them 5 minutes to travel the 50ft to the next level.

While that was happening Pat decides that she absolutely must see what is behind the door.  Examining it the way she has seen the ditch digger do things, she determines that they door is locked but not trapped.  She informs Milo and Dwight, but they tell her to leave off they were too vulnerable.  She tries to pick the lock, but fails utterly.  Frustrated she kicks in the door to find that the large room is empty except for boxes along the back wall, and a desk covered with books.  She walks back to everyone else and says; “Hey, I found a bunch of books in there.”

Dwight; “What did they say?”

Pat, shrugs; “Don’t know, I can’t read.”

Milo, indignant; “What do you mean you can’t read?”

Pat, getting indignant as well; “I never saw the point.  I grew up in the forest, and I can hunt and track and commune with the trees.  I can dig through a pile of scat and tell you when it dropped and what they ate for breakfast.  But reading… nah.   That’s for wizards.”

Dwight just shakes his head.  That’s when the screaming started echoing up the elevator shaft at them.  It was the rest of the party panicked and begging for them to lift the elevator again. 

Milo; “Maybe we should read the books?”

Hank has to throw the break and reset the gears before he can lift the elevator.  This is how things happened from the perspective of the folks in the elevator; the ones who have no hope in hell of sneaking up on whatever might be down there waiting for them.  Between the light and the noise, they were an easy target for the wear-rat ogre and his undead cohorts.  The wear-rat ogre leaps for the elevator platform, it is made of steal and rather durable, but the chain is protesting with painful shrieks and creaks.  Everyone in the elevator fails their save and is knocked prone, but the chain holds. {initiative}

Thingerlun casts magic missile again but only does 1 point of damage.  Bob manages to get a good throw with his dagger and does enough damage for the critter to get mad. The cart starts to lift slowly, but the wear-rat ogre is successful at snapping the chain this time and he flings the cart and everyone in it to the ground.  Fortunately they were not that high up so I gave them a reflex save to avoid any damage from the fall.  Thingerlun failed and took 2d6 damage, but he made his luck roll to avoid contacting any of the contaminated silver that is lying about the room.  He also ended up with the remnants of the elevator platform on top of him forming an 800+ pound cage.  Bob and Hearn end up on opposite sides of the room, and the lantern in a third corner by itself.  Being a dwarven mining lantern, it lands both safely and in an upright position.  He takes advantage of the relative safety to try and hastily read and cast the new spell he has.  If he understands it correctly, it will let him lift heavy things and move them around with magical force.  The spell fails and his face breaks out in horrible and incurable pustules {His mercurial magic result was 1, and so he only gets 1d14 for casing.  He rolled a 1 on the casting and now suffers from pustules and lowers his PER stat by 1, I’ve decided they express their contents at random intervals.}

The Ditch Digger sneaks up on the Wear-rat ogre and back stabs it for normal damage, but got a second strike.  Bob runs up the critters back and slices the critter for more damage and removes an ear for a trophy; he then uses the rest of his movement to get back to his side of the room.  {the folks up top get to roll there initiative to see when the can join the fight, assuming they can figure a way down}  The wear-rat ogre decides to go for Hearn, as she looks like a much easier target than whatever just did all that damage to him. His claws rip through Hearn and nearly kill her {Down to 3hp, and I must confess to a DM faux pas:   I was so excited by the fact that one of the monsters lived to the second round that I completely forgot about the other undead in the room.  We also keep forgetting about the extra arcs of electricity from each of Thingerlun’s casting of magic missile.}

Hearn tries to heal herself and fails.  Pat, hearing the desperate screams of Hearn, runs to the edge of the elevator shaft and looks down; she can’t see anything but the over turned lift platform. 
{Mikki; “Can I get down there in one round and still attack? 

DM: “Well its 50 feet, you can make a climb check and if you succeed then you can have a luck check versus a DC of 15, sure.”  15 on the climb check and 19 on the luck check.}

She draws a bead on the wear-rat ogre and let’s an arrow fly… just in time for the wear-rat ogre to step out of the way and let the arrow impale Hearn.  She drops to her knees, near mortally wounded.  Thingerlun the spell cannon goes off again {spell check 24} and the wear-rat ogre evaporates in a fine pink mist and arcane sparks.  The remaining missiles manage to take out 1 of the 3 skeletons, they were much burlier than any of the others they have fought so far.  Then he lets out with a maniacal laugh when he realized that he had actually ended up inside of an impromptu bunker.  Dwight then decides to be mighty.  He looks down and sees Pat standing on top of the ‘bunker’ looking horrified.

Taking his magic sword and magic shield Dwight attempts to use them to break line and repel his way down the shaft.  The sparks flying from the grinding metal get in his face and he is forced to let go of the chain and his over hot weapons.  Pat made her listen check and managed to dive out of the way as Dwight lands face first on top of the ‘bunker’ taking a fair bit of damage, but surviving with no broken bones. 

Milo looking over the chaos of the last few moments sighs warily at the idea of climbing down, as he gets ready to try, Hank comes over and taps him on the shoulder.  Pointing to Milo’s armor, and then pantomiming the act of climbing; Hank then makes the motion of dragging his thumb over his throat.  Milo understands the translation well enough as; “It’s suicide!”  Hank then extends rope from one hand and lashes it to the chain and securing the other about Milo’s waist; lowers him gently to the room below.

Milo then charges forward and smashes one of the skeletons, and Bob creeps forward and manages to destroy the other.  Hearn manages to heal some of her injuries, but not all of them.  Everyone else helps to extricate Thingerlun from under the lift platform.  Hearn examines him and says there is nothing she can do for him other than give him some bandages; something foul has corrupted him.

Hearn weakly asks; “How are we going to help the townsfolk out of here now?”

No one has any magic to fix this mundane problem.  Then Pat pipes in sheepishly; “Maybe Archie can help?”

Everyone agrees that is probably the best solution, so they dial him up.  A few seconds later his head is floating above them; “That was fast.  What’s up now?”

They explain the problem and he is surprised by their tale, but he says he knows the spell they need and starts barking instructions to Hank.  Before Hank is willing to follow his instructions he goes over to Hearn and points at her over large water skin emphatically.  It takes a few seconds for her to understand what he needs, but hands it to him with a confused look… an homunculus doesn’t need food or water.  She gets her answer soon enough when Hank up-ends the container and pours half of it over his head, chest and arms, getting everything all sopping wet.  He extends his rope to grab the dangling chain and then pulls himself and the chain fallen chain back up close to each other and waits for Archie.  Archie mutters a few words of power and then a flash of light pops out of the air near his head and streaks to the chain.  A few moments later there is a spectral arc welder patching up the chain good as new.

{Game clock suspended at 12:45pm: 02/19/3200}

We meet again in two weeks

I forgot my camera, so when I get the pics that my players took, I'll update later with those and some more mug shots.  Here is the first of the player progress maps:

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