Friday, May 11, 2012

Session #19 - The End?

Session #19
{Game clock resumes at 8:01am 02/20/ 3200}
Somewhat remorsefully they examined their handy work and decided to leave; Bob listens at the western door and opens it to find a hallway travelling north and south.  He does the same with the southern door, and sees that the there is a tunnel heading south, and another heading east.  The eastern tunnel dead-ends.  He closes and bolts the southern door and they head down the southern passage which meanders west for a bit and then turns south again.  After a few moments they see a door on the west side of the hall, careful examination by Bob tells them that it is not trapped and it is unlocked… there is only silence.  They hesitantly open the door only to discover that it is devoid of anything but a flea infested straw cot.  Bob brings back a few fleas and flicks them in Milo’s direction just for fun.

They follow the tunnel southward until it turns east and then north again and they find themselves staring at the door to the ‘infirmary’ that they locked.  Full circle… they turn around retrace their steps back to the infirmary then follow the northern tunnel that seems to run parallel to the one the other half of the party is waiting in, They are cautious in their movements, but eventually the tunnel turns to the west.  They continue on for about 15 minutes getting down the hall, but eventually they come to an intersection.  There is a hall heading to the south, but the west hall continues onward for another 10ft before turning north.  They choose the southern tunnel and follow it for a while; as it turns to the west for a short distance, they see a doorway.  The tunnel they are in turns south at that point, so the door is on the western wall of the tunnel and directly opposite from them.

This room is similar to the last, a dirty straw cot, this time there is a chest, it is not trapped and unlocked, but before Bob can open it Milo throws open the lid.  There is nothing but dirty cloths and more fleas.  Bob nabs some and tosses them at Milo as they leave the room.  They continue south down the tunnel until it dead-ends at a door.  This one is locked, but opening it reveals another private room that differs only in the fact that Bob finds some gold coins under the straw on the cot.  And there is a steel breastplate in here on a stand. 

Consternated, they retrace their steps back to where they left the rest of the party and check in with them.  They offer the steel breast plate to Aerin who scoff’s; “Real men don’t wear armor.” They leave it aside, and set off northward into what sounds like a long tunnel that eventually turns west and they realize that they are retracing their steps again, this time they continue to the point where they turned south last time, and then continued to follow the tunnel west and then north.  Shortly they come across another door, and Bob goes through his normal routine and notices a chemical smell coming from the other side of the door.  It takes him a while to determine that the door isn’t locked, but tells Milo that it is; then lets them know about the odor.  Milo casts detect evil and then fails the fortitude save when he looks and sees the power emanating from the curse in the silver content of the walls; he’s out for about a minute.  He wakes to find that he wishes he had the equivalent of ethereal sunglasses.  They open the door and see what is inside.

The room is nearly as large as the infirmary, and there is a large table with a bulky humanoid on top off to their left (south) but on the other side of the room, the right, the walls are lined with work-benches and shelves.  The shelves have all manner of jars, boxes, and bags full of strange ingredients like eyeballs, and picked critters.  Milo’s enhances sight confirms that many of them are indeed evil; as are many of the books that sit on the other shelves that occupy the eastern wall through which they entered.  They debate whether they should bring any of it back for Thingerlun… they choose a useless book on botany.  Bob has other plans.

He gets close enough to the body to see that it is split from chest to groin, and where its organs should be there are baskets of strange herbs, and bags full of unknowable things.  He spots the fact that where its heart should be there is a lace-knit bag full of gems of some kind.  Reaching in to take it, Bob is horrified to see something segmented and with many legs slither out from where the cadaver’s guts are still waiting to be replaced.  It bites his hand, and he instinctively pulls it out; grabbing the bag of gems in spite of the burning that is now coursing through his hand and radiating out from the wound.  He manages to shrug off the worst of its effects, but still ends up with ‘tracers’ and mild hallucinations.  The others see him wobbling and unsteady as he pulls something out of the corpse and end up having to carry him back to see Hearn.  She uses some of the Siva Salve and applies it while she is invoking the power of Elyr, she dismisses the poison and heals him up fairly well.

Thingerlun is suitably unimpressed with botany, and Pat and Thingerlun trade places within the exploration committee.

The party spends some time cross-correlating what they have seen of the tunnels and rooms with the old map that they found and check off several of the rooms that they are sure about.  They eventually decide to head north along the original tunnel leading from the elevator; it seems to run parallel to the other long tunnel they followed.  Judging from the map, they are fairly sure that there is at least one more room in this direction.  Their assessment is confirmed after a few minutes of cautious walking, they spot the slight east-north jog in the tunnel that ends in a door as they expected.  It isn’t locked, but the Ditch Digger swears that he hears music, very faint; but definitely music.  He decides that he needs to volunteer to go get Thingerlun and the rest of the party.  Everyone else is slightly confused about his rushed explanation of needing to have everyone present, but agree to heed his advice to wait there.

Thingerlun wanders down the hall after them explaining that something will need to be done to guard the hall, and he thinks he might be able to do something to remedy the situation.  He waits for Bob, Hearn, Pat, and Aeirn to pass by and then brings out the necromancer’s spell book that he’s been studying.  He casts one of the lowest level spells in the book… something that will summon the dead from beyond the grave for a short time.  He discovers that he has a knack for this sort of magic {now rolls 1d24 when casting this spell} and summons up 4 skeletons and tells them to: “attack anything non-living that passes through here.”  Then he wanders back to see what sort of trouble the others have discovered back at the door.  He tells them that he thought he saw a type of exploding mushroom that he wanted to study.

They get the door open to discover a room that was about the size of the lab, but decorated with filthy silk curtains and pillows of indeterminate colors.  All of the pillows were surrounding the rather large central hookah.  There are two doors leading out of the room, one on the wall directly opposite to their position, the other was off to their right.  There was definitely music originating from the door to their right.  Everyone could faintly hear it now.  They go through their usual door routine and discover that it isn’t locked.  Dwight and Milo were up front, with Thingerlun and Bob bringing up the rear.

Hearn; “Um, shouldn’t the Ditch Digger be looking for traps?”

Bob, laughing: “Hells!  The whole place is one big trap!”

They continue on cautiously and as they come around the corner Milo and Dwight both get sliced by blades sliding horizontally out of both sides of the hallway.  Bob; “See!  Told you so,” getting closer to the trap zone and inspecting it, “That there is your basic one shot trap.”  Hearn patches them up.
They press on, this time with the Ditch Digger in front, and after a few minutes, they come to a dead end; strangely, they can now quite distinctly hear music.  Muffled yes, but still emanating through the walls from somewhere.  Bob searches for a while and eventually finds the switch to operate the secret door that he knows must be somewhere nearby. 

“Ah HA! Found it…” The Ditch Digger cried in triumph, and his search revealed that there were no traps.  <click>

The door slides up into the ceiling.

Pat, Dwight, Bob, and Milo all feel a wave of dizziness as the full force of the odd, squealing flute music washes over them.  The room is the largest and the grandest that they have been in so far and there are tapestries on the walls and in the southwest corner there is a raised dais and throne carves entirely from silver; riddled with black streaks of corruption.  The room is totally empty otherwise, but there is a door opposite to the one through which they entered.  Bob finds it to be locked and guarded with a poison needle trap; which the Ditch Digger barely disarms.  The door opens into the room, so he hides behind the door as he opens it for others to see… another short hallway with another door.

This time the door is locked but not trapped, and proves to be moderately difficult for him to deal with, and it takes a couple tries.  The door opens away from him, so he nervously pushes it open a bit. To see what he can in Milos aura.  Books; everywhere, stuffed onto shelves which run floor to ceiling in the part of the room he can see.  Pushing the door all the way open, they see that this room is square, and about the size of the lab that they found; a little smaller than the throne room.  It is part library and part bedroom.  There is a central platform that elevates a grand four post bead with blue curtains well above the floor, and every wall is dedicated to book shelves save for the door that they entered through.  There are free standing bookshelves which stand waist high scattered about the room as well; all of them stuffed to overflowing with books and scrolls.

Thingerlun doesn’t wait for the all clear, he just wanders into the room and starts running his finger along the titles at shoulder height; “Read it, read it, read it, need it (into his bag), read it, read it, Seems to be mostly history, and music in this library, Oh LOOK… Nemverhakel’s Compilation of true names…”

Bob and Pat slowly make his way over to the bed and start searching,  Bob finds a nook with an ornate chest.  There is a poison needle trap on the lock, but the Ditch Digger is so adroit with his dismantling of the trap, that he ‘harvests’ the vital components. {maximum possible roll, and well over the DC 18}  Bob finds 7 walnut sized rubies that make him drool, Pat failed to notice the nook, but rolled high enough to notice Bob had found something.  To keep her quiet he offers her 4 of them, but she only takes 3. 

Bob goes off to search the rest of the room, Pat goes straight to Hearn and asks her if she knows what they are, or if they are ‘special.’  Hearn cast a spell and then informs Pat that they have some kind of enchantment… possible storing some kind of spell.  Bob freezes in his tracks, then turns and hustles over to the wizard and dumps his rubies unceremoniously into Thingerlun’s keeping as if they were a basket of rabid cats.  Pat does the same.  He examines them and thinks that they might be able to store arcane energy; he pockets them for later study.

Another 10 to 15 minutes go by and after more searching Thingerlun pulls out a book only to see that there is an indentation in the wall behind it.  Looking closer he sees that it is an intricate carving similar to the one they found on another heavily trapped door a few days earlier.  He calls Dwight over and sure enough, it matches the Gannu family signet ring; so he twists it to activate the secret door on the east side of the library.  There is a short tunnel with an open archway all the way at the end, and on the north side of the hallway.

Following this they find the single largest room they have encountered within the entire mine.  It dwarfs all the others and truly deserves the label of vault.  It has more chests than they can readily count, and of all shapes and sizes; some as small as a ring box, others as large as a carriage and equipped with their own wheels (removed for storage) and yokes for oxen.  The Ditch digger begins to openly weep; and seems to have a feral gleam in his eyes as he skips of into the vault and starts searching for traps on the nearest chest.  It is about the size of the last one he opened, and he is most disappointed to see that the box contains a potion of some kind.  The next one contained artwork of a rare and valuable sort; he sniffs contemptuously and moves on.

Hearn stays in the library and is diligently searching through the tomes, and her efforts are rewarded by finding a book that seems to be an inventory of the treasure vault.  She wanders into the other room and follows behind Bob, trying to be inconspicuous while she cross references the chests he has already opened.  When he notices, she begins to taunt him with the descriptions of the various containers; “…and container 221 is loaded up with platinum coins, container 222a is the first of 3 containers of magic items…”

Pat, excited; “Hey!” Turns to Dwight, “Didn’t we find some keys?” He just stares ate her incredulously. {Having collected so many by now…} After he doesn’t answer immediately, she continues, “Back in the Guard house, before we entered the mines?”

Dwight; “You’re right!” and starts digging through his stuff and brings out the two keys.  One has an inscribed symbol that matches the locks on the chests; the other seems to be just as well made, but doesn’t look like it will fit in these locks.

Bob immediately begins to search for container 221; and as luck would have it, that container and 222a were accessible, though he had to climb to the top of a precarious stack of boxes to get to the chest containing the magic items.  Once he defeated the summoning trap {roll plus the benefits for a 3rd level thief and his agility total of 20, which was the DC that I’d chosen, hoping that it assure me of a cool fight with them and something interesting….}  Inside he finds that the items have been tagged and cataloged as if they were part of someone’s collection.  Hearn sees that the dates in the inventory correspond to the civil war period (2894-99DC).  Thingerlun confirms that some of these are legendary items, with names and histories of their own; “Yes, I suspect several of these items are smarter than any of you.” Pointing vaguely at the rest of the party, and is then startled when one of them giggles quietly as he closes the lid.

While further checking the inventory they discover another secret door farther along the same wall through which they entered, it too is activated via signet ring.  Dwight, wanders over and activates it without thinking anything of it and he sees a short stretch of hallway heading south; and then stairs that descend into darkness. Milo is determined to see things through and heads out with Dwight and Aerin to see what is at the bottom of the stairs.  Bob, drawing upon his vast knowledge of ditch digging spots the rigged step and grabs the collar of Milo’s armor; preventing him from stepping upon the trigger.  After ordering everyone back, he examines the trap more closely and figures that these stairs are rigged to act like a slide.  He informs them of this and follows with; “… the triggers will likely be randomly placed and quite difficult to detect.

Bob; “We have 3 lengths of rope left; we could trigger it and then let ourselves down easy.”

Dwight, dead-pan; “My kingdom for a chicken or goat right about now.”

Hearn, confused; “What?” And then it dawns on her what he means, “Hrumph!”

Aerin, in a small voice; “I’ll do it.”

They all head back to the top of the stairs and Bob ties the rope about his waist and then splices the rest of the ropes together; it takes him a few tries, but eventually he is satisfied with the knots.  Aerin heads back down the steps, avoiding the known trigger and continuing on with the rest of the group hanging onto the other end.  Milo had been nominated as the anchor and has the rope wrapped about his waist a few times, securing the rope, but allowing it to still play out.  A few moments later the see the stairs shift into a ramp; they manage to hold on as the rope goes taunt.  It takes them a while, but Aerin eventually gets to the bottom and yells back to the rest to tie off the rope and head down.  Pat ties of the rope securely to one of the crates.

They decide to take their time and be real careful about this so as to minimize the chances of touching the cursed silver; so about an hour and a half later, everyone is down the 130ft of so of slide and sees the array of silver scythe blades sticking out of the floor waiting at the bottom of the slide to shred the unwary.   Milo tells them that at the bottom of the slide, they’re facing west; the tunnel levels off and heads south into a dead end that they can see from where they are standing.

Bob wanders forward looking for the secret door that he suspects must be there; he reasons that no one would go to that trouble just to kill folks if they weren’t hiding something.  With time and help, he finds the switch and sees that it requires the signet again.  Dwight activates the door and it slides back to reveal a mausoleum.  There light reveals a room that is the same size as the ‘throne room’ they passed through, but this room was full of stone coffins, at least half a dozen that they can see.  They notice that there is dust on the ground, but they also see that there is a rather large pentagram inscribed upon the floor.  The star, the circle containing it and the incised runes and other symbols are all inlaid with silver; now tainted by the Rat-lord’s curse.  It is too large to avoid if they are to explore the room, and they decide to enter and look into who is buried here while Thingerlun and 

Bob spend time examining the tomb.

A second, newer set of runs is inscribed in blood and appears to overlay the silver runes… occasionally coopting one of them.  The blood runes do not appear to be finished, and have their own layer of dust, but no one can figure out how long either of the sets of arcane circles has been in place.  Right about the time that Thingerlun determines that the silver runes invoke a teleportation spell and the blood runes seem to be some sort of unfinished summoning ritual of dark origin… the rest of the party discovers that all of the coffins are members of the Gannu family, and Dwight finds that there is another indentation for the signet ring at the center of both circles.  Without thought, Dwight just activates it…


{There are spaces within the room that are not within the silver circle.  Luck rolls for everyone against a DC of 15.}  Noticing an odd series of popping noises, Hearn looks up from desecrating the blood runes on the floor; lifting up the lantern she has been carrying for a while now.  She is all alone.  Everyone else finds themselves within a 15ft wide by 30ft long oubliette, cramped down into a 15ft circle of tainted silver and pentagram matching the one in the mausoleum.

Dwight does a head count and realizes who is missing and where she must still be standing.  He grabs Bob and shoves him towards the other end of the hall and says, “Find a way out!” and then dives into his pack to find the ‘Archie-phone’ as he calls it, and frantically activates the device.

Archie; “Ye-“

Dwight, panicked; “Hey!  Can you send Hank to go get Hearn?”

Archie; “What happened this time?”

Dwight, deep breath; “Well, it happened like this…”

While he was explaining the state of affairs, everyone else was franticly looking for traps and any possibility of exit.  Bob and Pat find that the opposite end of the ‘room’ rotates, as if it were a spinning closet, but 15ft square.  It was clear that this place hadn’t been used in quite some time, but eventually they managed to find the activator for the spinner.  With little choice, and time pressing down upon them they pile in and hit the switch.  The closet is trapped, and spins with brutal force in a clockwise motion, knocking down everyone except for Dwight and Aerin.  However, this trap was designed a long time ago to be an escape route and those who would be fleeing would know to jump down to the floor while it spins.  When it comes to an abrupt stop, there is an array of 4 cross-bows that fire at chest height that will take out or at least wound the lucky or (presumably) the most dangerous of pursuers.  Dwight and Aeirn each are significantly damaged by the two bolts that each of them gets hit with. 

As everyone gathers their equipment and gets up from the floor, Milo pulls out the arrows and heals them as best he can.  Bob is the first to notice that they are now confronted with an old, abandoned cellar full of dusty boxes and equipment broken by time.  After Bob gives the all clear, they venture forward a little bit farther into the room and see stairs leading upward in the golden shadows at the edge of Milo’s aura.  The stairs were not trapped as far as Bob could tell, but they appeared rather weak with age.  Bob and Milo head up and manage to pry open the angled cellar door, having to shove aside a small layer of sod and sickly looking grass.  It is the middle of the afternoon when they emerge to see that they were within an outdoor enclosure created by an enclosing hedge of thorny briars.   Pat tells them that the enclosure is maybe 5 acres and that there has been a substantial storm while they were in the mines.  Dwight Is concerned only with getting back to Hearn and demands that everyone start looking for a way out.

Pat finds an old hedgehog hole in the briars that she is able to quickly expand upon, and discovers that they are on the opposite side of the valley and a fair distance south-west of the mine head that she can faintly see from this vantage.  While everyone is working their way through one at a time Pat tells Dwight that all this rain means there will likely be more water in the upper levels of the mine.  This doesn’t help lessen his level of panic…  She then goes on to explain:

“If we can find someone to brew up enough of that cure we found then we can put into the ground water using that stream we found; especially if we dam it up.  That should take care of most of the silver in this end of the valley at least.”  Dwight, Milo, and Thingerlun look at her as if a squirrel had just given them a cogent lecture on arcane theory.

Pat, prancing about and breathing in the clean air deeply and prancing about a bit; “What? You guys know fighting and ditch digging’n stuff… well I know a few things about how the world takes care of itself.  Y’know, Ranger stuff.”

Thingerlun just grins at the simplicity of it, “Great idea.”

Milo, “Except that Hearn has the recipe at the bottom of a mine that Pat now tells us is likely going to be filling with water soon.”

Dwight is near catatonic at this point and propelled forward only by his fear. “Enough talk, more running!”  It takes them until sunset to get to the mine entrance and they are tired, but they press on knowing that Hank and Hearn will be heading up to meet them.  Pat proved to be correct about the water levels rising in the mine; the second level is nearly ankle deep already.  She forces everyone to wait while she works her way out to the creek head/ spring that they had found earlier to see that the storm has in fact caused a mud slide to block off the creek.  They work their way back to the elevator room and see that the filthy water is raining down into the lower levels with disturbing haste.  They ride down to greet Hearn is unpleasant, but otherwise uneventful and they are soon reunited.  With grim determination, they make their way back up to the second level, and Dwight remembers that the God Thormyr wishes him to find something in the upper vault they had discovered a couple of days ago.

He and Bob attempt to climb up the narrow shaft to the upper vault, but the extra water washes Bob out of the tunnel before he gets 10ft; Dwight muscles his way to the top and uses the dim light filtering in through the end of the hall to open the vault.  There is a dull blue light filling this small room.  It is maybe 4 paces wide and 5 paces long and there is a shallow pit in the floor just large enough to hold a medium sized humanoid.  There is an ornate iron grate locking off the depression, turning it into a cell and the entirety of the inner surfaces of the pit and the grating are lined with needle-spikes.  The walls are carved in ornate frescos that depict battles, particularly a battle for Archbridge.  Dwight thinks it probably has something to do with the story that the bones of Huerin Oralese told them.  This must have been the prison in which he was tormented.

Inside the cell there is a long, leather wrapped item a little longer than a human leg.  Regretting the fact that Bob never made it passed the water during the climb up here, and prepares to use his sword as a lever to try and open the cell.  Then he remembers that there was a second key, the one that had to be used with the signet in order to open the door to this chamber.  On a whim, Dwight tries that key and finds that it works.  Retrieving the bundle he unwraps one end of the package and finds the embossed steel and gem inlaid hilt of a bastard sword.  The leather grip was probably white, but under the current lighting it was pale blue; the gems sparked with a glowing blue menace.  “Great… what the hell am I supposed to do with this?!”


The insane laughter is muffled and fades as he wraps it up again and briefly considers putting it right back where he found it… but figures that Thormyr was watching him anyway.  He secures it to his back and on the way out notices that the glass spheres in the sconces are just setting within holders; he swips them and carefully sows them in his bag wrapped in his blanket.  He manages to get back down to the rest of the party without getting himself killed.  They are near to collapsing when they get back to Silverton, but they decide to head straight for the Temple of Ormazd so that they can be set up to dispose of the vampire in the morning light.

They rest for a while at the top of the steps while Milo releases the wards that are preventing entry, he gives the all clear and everyone makes their way inside; everyone except Thingerlun, who erupts in a column of fire.  Some wards cannot be dropped, and Thingerlun has been carrying a demon around in his pocket. It was living in the crystal ball that he swiped from the treasure vault of the barrow mound in Grenvec.  He had apparently forgotten that he had the device, or had never intended to use it; either way, not knowing about the demon was his downfall.  The temple wards will permit many things to enter; curses, foul magical items, etc., because Ormazd is often sought out for disposal of such items.  Demons however, are not tolerated within the temple.

{Player: “You’re gonna kill him now! At the end?”

DM: “I’ve been trying to kill him off for months.  There were two gruesome ends waiting for Thingerlun, attempting to use the crystal ball, or accidentally bringing it into the Temple of the Sun God.”

Player: “I like Thing!  Take Dwight he’s nowhere near as much fun.”

DM: “This would be a good time to point out that there is a rule for recovering the body?” And proceeded to explain the rule.

Player: “You’re kidding!!”  Falls off the sofa laughing.  He then rolls a 17 on the luck check, but I destroyed most of the items in his backpack.  He lost the necromancers spell book, and the tome of true-names, as well as the crystal ball.  He lost all of his mundane equipment, and most of his hair won’t grow back either; he is still afflicted with boils.  His spell book did survive, as did the staff to which he had bonded himself.}

Hearn tends to the wizard and they rest the night in the temple, using the same rooms as the wandering monks would be allowed to use while resting upon their travels.  They have a cot, a stool, and a desk for writing.  Feeling secure for the first time in days, they clean themselves up and go to sleep.  In the morning they place the jar with the vampire in the center of the tower-like temple and wait.  The mirrors and lenses of the sun tower upon the western ridge had already begun to gather the first faint rays of dawn and channeled them into the Silver Vale long before any of the other valleys within the Fang Mountains.  Most of that light spreads out over the valley, but some is sent specifically to be focused upon the lenses atop the Main temple in the valley creating a shaft of light that pierces down from the collector and into the temple, causing it to shine and twinkle even by day.  When the beam of light reached sufficient strength, they opened the jar.  The vampire comes rushing out as a cloud of smoking cinders and takes shape just long enough to scream before flash-frying in the morning sun.

The next order of business after a good breakfast was to see if there were any alchemists around to brew up this cure for the tainted silver.  As luck would have it, one of the refugees is the town alchemist and after reviewing the recipe he tells them it will take three weeks.  The adventurers are upset, they were hoping it wouldn’t take that long, but the alchemist points out that they are trying to make enough to affect an entire mine system.  Ffwylldyr manages convince the Elven sage to help out, and the sages advice manages to take that time down to 1 week.  Ffwylldyr also points out that they can leave this in the hands of the locals, but Thingerlun and Milo insist upon seeing this all the way through, lest anyone of the townsfolk muddle things up and cause more problems.

Ffwylldyr also examines the new sword closely and they all see that the gems are actually sapphires and he spots the runes on the hilt that confirms it as the Sword of  Conviction; the legendary weapon of Arden Brightheart, cleric of Thormyr.

{player: "so it's a well endowed sword?"  and winning the pun of the night award....}

{Game clock suspended at 10am 02/21/ 3200}

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Vampires, Goblins, and a Jar - Session #18

Session #18: {Game clock resumes at 5:00:30pm, 03/19/3200}

Just as they are starting to get their thoughts around all this new information, they hear the skitter and scratch of toe-nails upon the stone floor.  It is something relatively large, and it is moving in their direction  at great speed.  Milo and Dwight are near the front of the party, so they brace for conflict while Thingerlun bemoans the fact that he has no powerful spells left for the day.  There is a rawring squealing noise as a rat the size of a small pony comes into view as it passes into Milo’s aura of light.  It is galloping at them and they are surprised to see fear in its eyes, a fear that crystalizes into hate as the rat sees something to vent its fear upon.  It leaps at them using its momentum to carry it into the group of humans; but halfway through the leap, it shifts form into something that isn’t quite rat… but it isn’t an ogre either.  This thing has spikes running down its spine, and huge claws and barrels into Dwight, knocking him over.

Dwight ignites the spirit of fire within his sword as he attacks the thing from a prone position.  The fire causes the rat-thing to back off and Dwight slices the creature as he stands. Milo and Aerin fail to hit the thing, and Thingerlun (still riding high on the extra spell energy from summoning his patron) manages to cast his enlarge spell backwards; causing the rat-thing to drop to the size of a normal human.  Pat tries to hit it with both of her swords, but misses and hits the wall hard enough to send sparks from her blade… a normal blade would have shattered.

Hearn manages to command the creature to “Calm!” While Bob sneaks off to investigate the tomb.

The rat, unaccustomed to both its new size and general state of tranquility failed to strike anyone, and Dwight nearly cleaves the beast in twain with his next strike, and it falls dead at his feet.  No one has noticed that the Ditch Digger has gone missing, and they begin to debate what to do next…

Meanwhile… in a tomb near you…

Bob finds that there is a short stretch of hallway with an ornate archway carved with ribbons and runes, many of which have been blotted out by vile substances and unguents, or in one case scratched into a new and darker rune of some kind.  Bob uses his torch to see what is beyond the ornate archway.  He sees that the door has been shattered and beyond that is a medium sized room, maybe 50ft long and a little more than half of that in width.  Most of the floor is missing and reveals that all but a small ledge and dais on the far side was actually a deep pit filled with needle sharp spikes.  Each of the spikes was more than chest height; everything seems to be made of one colossal brick of silver, seamlessly constructed or carved into shape.  Everything except for the clay urn sitting upon the pedestal 30ft away.  He digs out his rope and grappling-hook, but looking over the situation he figures that he’d knock the thing over… and it might be important.  As luck would have it, there was a decorative feature on the wall behind and off to his left that would work just as well.  He nails it on the first try, but seems to have forgotten every knot he ever learned.

Out in the hall…

The discussion is centered on how little time Milo has left until sunset, and how best to search that much area.  They decide to press further into the tunnels hoping to find whatever creature killed the necromancer; hoping this is the dark/evil/nasty thing that Milo is supposed to kill.  That is when they notice two things: 1- that their Ditch Digger isn’t there to check the tunnel for traps, and 2- that the mines have become silent except for the sounds they are making.  That is when they hear the cackling laughter from somewhere in the dark in front of them.  They are torn about what to do next, they don’t want to abandon the Ditch Digger, but cackling is never a good sign, and they remain fixed to the spot by their indecision. 

…While cakling in the dark is bad enough, you know things have gone from bad to worse when the voice in the darkness starts talking to you …

“Well, well… what do we have here?  A stalwart group of nascent heroes perchance?”  Cooed a female voice; “I could use a few new henchmen.  Some new blood in the echelon, maybe?”  Giggling insanely at her joke.  “Together we could terrorize the mortals and rule them like sheep!”

Hearn left the monolog to go looking for Bob, but finds nothing.  It is about this same time when Bob figured out his knot problem and secured the rope to what was left of the door, and was going across the rope.  Choosing to hang beneath the rope and use hands and legs to keep hold on the rope, he managed to make it over to the dais in one piece, though his pack got snagged a couple of times when the rope stretched a bit in the middle.  He discovers that there is a plank on this side that can be set up as a bridge, and that there are quite a few runes etched into the urn and the dais.  He decides to set up the bridge and go get the wizard.  It is Bob’s calling out to the rest of the group that allows Thingerlun to find the passage into the tomb.

Dwight turns to Milo; “You’re the undead hunter, what are these things.”

Milo; “Vampires.  Sunshine is the best remedy for them, but I’ve got some holy water that’ll act like acid. Hacking them to pieces, or a wooden stake in the heart are the best options we’ve got.”

Dwight, bitterly; “I don’t suppose you could pull some sunshine out of your arse?”

Milo, remembering what Hearn had told him of the topaz gem the thorne had given to them; “Well, now that you mention it...  Maybe I can…”

Aerin, “And what would you give to us?  What is it you want of us?”

Laughing, the female voice continues; “You could be my general or my next meal; that is after you tell me all that I wish to know.  My bold little boy.”  There was a new sound, the clicking sound of high heeled boots on stone moving slowly towards them.

Pat shoots an arrow blindly down the hall, but fails to hit anything.

Meanwhile an impromptu archeology conference has broken out between Bob and Thingerlun as they examine the urn.  Thingerlun inspects the runes on the dais and the general construction of the room, and then brings the urn back to the antechamber of the tomb.

Out in the hall…

A slender woman in a shiny silver robe steps boldly into the light and sweeps her gaze across the party of adventurers.  Aerin falls under the sway of the woman’s charming visage, and Pat nearly does so as well but manages to shrug off the effect.  {Burned a point of luck to make the save.}  the robed woman smiles and to Aerin she says: “Kill them.”  Milo and Dwight are undaunted by this attack and

Thingerlun and Bob are arriving at their grand conclusion when Hearn sticks her head into the tomb and tells them to get out her and help.

Bob, “But I think this might actually be important!”

Hearn, exasperated and stepping into the antechamber with them; “There is something nasty heading our way; I think it would be best if we were all together.”  And they all head back into the hallway to see Milo praying over the dead rat-thing, just to make sure it was going to stay dead… Pat and Dwight leaping over the body and swinging their weapons fiercely; Pat hitting the woman and slicing deeply.

Just for a moment, the woman in silver looked confused, as if such impudence from her victims was unthinkable.  Then she swept her gaze across the party again, while Aerin worked himself up into a powerful frenzy.  This time Pat wasn’t so lucky and she fell under the sway of the vampires charm ability.

Bob leaves the jar with the wizard and goes to the corps, and moves it out of the way and Hearn steps forward and shouting in a commanding voice: “OBEY!” and invoked enough power to emphasize the fact that she was the one to be obeyed by pointing to herself… and the vampire failed her save. {It doesn’t matter how many bonuses the vampire wizard has… a 2 on the die just won’t get the job done.  Especially when the player rolls a natural 20, totaling to 23, on the spell check for the word of command spell.}

Without a command, Pat stands there dumbfounded.

Thingerlun opens the jar and tells Hearn to command the vampire into the jar as Aerin screams and charges towards Milo.  Milo whips out the Eye of Night and invokes it’s once per day power to radiate true sunlight, it will only last for 20 seconds, but it should be enough to do some serious damage.  The vampire stands there like a mannequin waiting for a command, with its flesh and hair starting to char and puff into ashes.

Dwight takes advantage of the situation and starts hacking away at the vampire while it burns, the purple flames of his sword adding to the crisping doom for the vampire.  In a flash of insight, Milo connects the topaz gem to one of the lines in the prophecy: now he knows that it is the capstone to the Rod of Heaven.

Bob distracts Aerin while Hearn commands the vampire back into the jar, and the vampire poofs into a smoldering smoky cloud and streams into the jar.  Thingerlun closes the lid and the seals begin to glow.  Milo is visited be an immediate sense of approval from his God, as does Hearn, for finding a way to even show mercy to the dead.

The light fades back to just the lantern and the light from Milo’s aura.  The charms and compulsions they were under fade away.

{Game clock advances to 6pm}

They “Dial-a-Gnome” as they call it, and ask if he has heard from Hank yet, and find out that Hank and the rest are still in transit out of the dungeon, but that he’ll head back as soon as he is done.  Bob manages to find the hidden control panel that will let them bring the elevator down, and they head up into the control room where they decide to set a double watch and camp for the next 12 hours.  During the wee hours of morning while Milo and Dwight are taking the last 4hour shift, they hear scrabbling and scratching coming from the elevator shaft.  Milo leans over and sees that there appear to be a half dozen goblin-vampires crawling their way up to attack.  He leans back and tells Dwight casually, and then brings out the topaz again and flash-fries them.  Then he casually puts the gem back into his belt pouch and lets everyone sleep.

When the rest wake up, they find that Hank has arrived and he takes possession of the jar while the rest of them debate about how to proceed, and it is eventually decided that they should do a sweep of the last level of the mine, just to make sure they won’t be letting anything escape.

They head back down into the 4th level of the mine, conscious of the fact that they might need to split the party in order to keep a guard on the only exit out.  They decide that Bob, Milo, Dwight, and Pat should be the explorers, but when they get to the illusory entrance to the tomb Bob insists on checking it out again.  That is when they discover that there is another secret door that would let folks into the tomb from another direction and that both doors are not illusions: they are one-way secret passages.  The only reason they have been able to move in and out freely is that somehow the necromancer bypassed this effect, but when the necromancer died, his toes were still in the way… keeping the passage open.  They pull the body out and hope that nothing else can get out or through from the other side of the tomb.

They continue down the only passage they have available to the north, until they come to a junction that heads west, and quickly branches north again while the tunnel continues on to the west.  They split the group here, and as they are heading west they notice a door on the southern side of the hall.  There inspection reveals that it is unlocked, and not trapped, but there are no sounds on the other side.  With stealth, Pat and Bob open the door and see a large room with bunk-beds in that have about 30 sleeping and sickly goblins.  There are two more doors out of this room; one on the south wall and on their right hand side, near the other door on the east wall.  They decide to start stealthily killing the goblins in their sleep.  Milo joins in and there is a general slaughter, and they are all thankful that they won’t have to explain it to Hearn. {Game clock suspended at 8am; 02/20/3200}