Friday, February 4, 2011

Averlorn Campaign: The Halls of the Blind

Recap from 1/28/2011

The group made its way from Limus Town to Medea’s Gate through the pass at Hell’s peak with no problem.  While in Medea’s Gate the Elves set about attempting to identify some of the magic items we had recently acquired.  This was exhausting work and took several days but they managed to identify the magical chainmail and Two Handed Sword from Dirklok, the ring, the evil wand and evil mace from the encounter with the flesh golem and evil satyr priest and a warhammer and longsword we found in the Wyvern’s roost of Mysterica’s Tower.  Most items were relatively straightforward and were either traded or sold at the Dominion’s store in Medea’s Gate but we kept the longsword, the two handed sword and the Ring of Acid Plumes.  Teth-en-Aire originally said the longsword was a +3 Fire Brand and then Cyrcla asked if he meant it was either a Flame Tongue or a Frost Brand because there was no such thing as a Fire Brand sword that she was aware of.  He quickly corrected himself and said yes, he meant to say it was a frost brand.  So after some discussion, the Frost Brand was given to Lucias and Lucias gave Hope Blighter to Arceus and Teth-en-Aire kept his recently purchased giant killing sword.

During our trading we acquired a very powerful magical shield which we decided might be useful or could be used for a possible future trade.  When we were at the Dominion, we met another group of adventurers that were there trading magic items as well.  Since Arceus had lost his Cloak of Elvenkind at Mysterica’s Tower, he asked the Oracle in Herrari where he might find a ring of invisibility to replace it and the answer he received was “you must destroy the Priestess (sorceress) Zorphena and you will find what you seek.”  He also found out that this sorceress was located in a small kingdom in the Gorgon’s Trench.  So when one of the adventurer’s from the other party brought out a tube of Dust of Appearance to trade, he became very interested and we traded the magical shield for the magical dust thinking it would be helpful if we ever encountered this Zorphena and she was using her ring.

So we started talking with some of these adventurers over ale at the Chessman Tavern and soon became fast friends.  They introduced themselves – there was Rekk the hill dwarf fighter, Ascelepius the Elf, Kaira the human cleric and Sicarius the thief.  We decided to join forces since their goals were pretty much the same as ours – to find as much treasure as possible through adventuring in the many ruins in the Anvil and elsewhere.  So our conversations turned to where we might adventure next and they revealed to us that they had a map of an old abandoned wizard’s tower off of the headwaters of the North Fork of the Kouros River.

We did a little research and found that the former occupant, one Thord Mirion, was supposed to be dead so we didn’t have to worry about running into him at the place if we went there.  We also found out that the Wizard’s Keep at the Lady’s Finger headwaters near Medea’s Gate was built by a powerful wizard named Zingalis but we couldn’t determine whether he was still alive or not.  We also couldn’t ascertain much info about Mysterica and his tower to the south.  We discussed other possibilities and decided that since they had told us about one of their delves we should reveal one of ours.  We mentioned the ruins near Hell’s Peak pass to them and how we had actually been there and returned with a pretty good haul of loot not too long ago.  So we decided to take them there to search for treasure since it wasn’t too far away and we had ventured there before.

So the newly formed group set out the next day for the Maw of Torment.  We made it through the pass without any interruptions and set out from the small hamlet of Slagford near the giant statue of Hephaestus shortly after arriving.  The ruins are located right below the giant statue in its shadow which surprised those who hadn’t been there before.  As the others saw the lifelike statues all around from the ancient battle, they seemed concerned that they were going to spring to life and attack.  Lucias told them not to worry about them and that they were long dead but then he stopped in his tracks.  One area which used to have three gargoyle statues now had five and something didn’t look right.  Arceus put on his Eyes of the Eagle and took a closer look and noticed that they were in fact some kind of eerie bird like creatures covered in grey rock dust.  They were trying to stand still so that they would be mistaken for the gargoyle statues but weren’t doing a very good job of it.

They didn’t attack or anything and were perhaps planning on attempting to surprise us later on our return trip.  They had the combined features of the face of an evil and malign woman and the body of a hideous vulture – they were harpies!   The group decided that this was a threat they would not allow to stand and unleashed a hail of arrows in their direction.  A few of them were hit by the missiles and then they sprang to life and flew towards the group to attack.  A few of them swooped at the group and attacked the heroes on the ground who swung at them with their swords while a few of the others remained flying above and let out an awful piercing and hypnotic song like shriek “CAAAAAWWWW!!!”.  Their song had a mesmerizing affect and several of the characters including Arceus, Sicarius and Teth-En-Aire were hypnotized by its affect and began stripping off their armor and walking towards their nest.  The remaining heroes continued firing arrows at them and fighting them with their swords and managed to land a few good strikes taking one or two of them down.  Then the cleric cast silence on one of the hideous vulture like creatures who failed its save and their shrieking ceased.  The mesmerized characters came to their senses and the group finally managed to kill the remaining harpies.

Arceus once again peered through the Eyes of the Eagle and located what he thought was their nest.  He and Sicarius climbed a nearby wall and found some gold coins and a rune covered broad sword which appeared to be magical and the loot went into the bag of holding.  While this was going on, Lucias noticed something peculiar.   He was carrying Teth-En-Aire’s giant killing sword and not the Frost Brand!  He pointed this out to Teth-En-Aire who pulled out his sword and said “what are you talking about this is my sword” while looking at the Frost Brand in his hand.  Lucias then lit a torch and attempted to extinguish it with the sword in his hand but nothing happened (Frost Brands have the ability to extinguish normal flames).  He then asked Teth-En-Aire to try and do the same with his sword and again nothing happened.  He pulled Arceus aside and explained the situation and asked for Hope Blighter back and Arceus belted on his old rapier again.  The cleric was appraised of the situation and said she could remove the curse from the obviously cursed sword on the following day but there was nothing she could do about it now.  Teth-en-Aire didn’t seem to think anything was wrong and was totally oblivious to the fact that he still had the cursed sword which he had possessed while trying to identify it several days before.  Fire Brand indeed…

So after this little fiasco was resolved at least for the time being, the group decided to head up the stairs towards the direction of the Harpy’s nest.  We had never gone this way before because it was the direction that the petrified creatures appeared to be walking in before they were turned to stone.  We passed more stone creatures including a group of trolls, more orcs and ogres and a few others and came upon the ruins of a great tower at the top of the hill.  We passed an old pit trap that was sprung long ago in the great battle and the thieves searched it but found nothing of value.  The cleric decided it would be prudent to cast her detect traps spell while we searched the ruins of the tower.  One of the elves found a trap door hidden amongst the ruins and we opened it up to find a set of spiral stairs leading down.

We descend into the ruins below the tower and came into a hallway with some cut stone and some rough stone walls that went both left and right.  We went left initially and the hallway ended with two doors opposite each other and then decided to turn around and explore the hallway in the other direction while we still had the detect traps spell working.  The group entered into a large chamber where an eerie spectacle awaited us.  There were several doors and passages leading off of the irregularly shaped hall with a large statue of Athena standing over an ornate fountain of bubbling fresh water.  There were two goat like humanoids that had been turned into stone while sipping water from the fountain right in front of it.  They were similar to the Beast Men we had encountered before but were a little larger and their features were a little different.  They stood upright like men but had the legs and cloven hoofs of goats and goat faces with horns atop their grotesque heads.

That’s when we heard the sound of hoofs and lots of them.  The scene changed when the group was surprised and the room began filling up with ten of the same kinds of goat creatures and a charging Minotaur!  The two fighters held the front line while the Minotaur and seven of the creatures attacked them and four of the beast men stayed back to fire bows at the rest of the group behind the fighters.  What was odd was that several of the goat like creatures were wearing blind folds – it was obvious that we had found the Halls of the Blind!  A fierce battle ensued with the two fighters holding their ground against their opponents and the rest of the group staying behind them to shoot back with their bows.  Several of the goat men went down under the savage blows of Rekk's enchanted broadsword and Lucias eventually managed to land a severe blow on the Minotaur with Hope Blighter finally slaying the giant bull like creature.

Eventually, the fighters managed to slay all of the front line creatures with the help of Arceus and Sicarius and then they started going after the archers in the back.  Meanwhile, the goat men archers were reaping a terrible toll on the characters in the back and both Ascelepius and Kaira were pelted with a hail of arrows and had to fall back behind one of the rock walls.  They fired at the cleric any time she tried to cast a spell which broke her concentration.  As the fighters pursued the goat men archers, a new group of seven of the creatures attacked us in the rear from the passageway to the left.  Rekk managed to knock one of the goat men archers into the fountain and it exploded with a blinding flash which was surprising to everyone – obviously the fountain had some sort of magical properties or perhaps flowed with holy water.  Meanwhile, things were looking desperate in our rear lines as four of the new goat creatures attacked Teth-en-Aire, Ascelepius and Kaira while the two thieves fell back to help them.  To make matters worse, three of the goat men held back and started firing arrows into the group’s flanks. That’s when Ascelepius cast his haste spell which doubled the movement speed and number of attacks of the entire group!

Seeing the disarray in the rear of the group’s lines, Lucias told Rekk that we should fall back to aid the others and disengaged from the goat man archer he was fighting at the time.  Rekk pulled back as well, sheathed his sword and rearmed himself with his shortbow and managed to kill two of the archers with arrows while he was moving back to the group.  Teth-en-Aire, sensing the urgency of the situation threw a fireball at the three new goat men archers and obliterated them.  Lucias pulled back to where Ascelepius and Kaira were still fighting the last of the goat creatures there and slew the last evil beast.  So our way out had been secured and we started moving in the direction of the spiral staircase.  That’s when another one of the doors opened up and Arceus said “oh no – it’s a Maenad!”  Teth-en-Aire told the group in the heat of the battle that those creatures are incredibly dangerous and that we should probably fall back if we could.  So we retreated in haste back up through the spiral stair case just as the dreaded Maenad began her terrible song…

The great wizard Ornascar the Intrepid told us something about the Halls of the Blind the last time we spoke with him at his wizard’s tower near Demeteros.  He told us that “There is said to be more than one delve, more than one way in and more than one complex of halls within. One of the towers at the Maw of Torment is more recent than the rest having been built by the founders of the Confessors Guild long ago who at that point in time were known to deal in wizardry. This tower complex was built to take advantage of the rich mineral resources in the area but the gods were not pleased by this. It is whispered that this part of the complex is not necessarily all vile and evil and holds surprising secrets. The legend says that in the Halls of the Blind one will find only madness and death and that only the bold or those chosen by the gods can survive there.”

After our recent experience we found that last statement to be especially telling about the place…


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