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}

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