Saturday, May 21, 2011

Averlorn Campaign: Be careful what you wish for...

Recap from 5/13/2011

The session began as the group awoke in the Temple of Hecate after resting, healing and recovering from the wounds suffered from the cruel and malicious Bone Devils the session before.  As we awoke and prepared spells, we heard someone or something banging on the magically wizard locked double doors to the temple as if trying to open them through brute force.  We also heard a voice on the other side cursing in Dwarvish as he tried in vain to force his way through the magical ward, so we opened the doors from the inside to see who or what awaited us on the portico of the temple beyond.  It was a lone Bahkshani Dwarven adventurer seeking shelter within the safety of the Temple from the wild and dangerous creatures dwelling in the hilly forests nearby.

We greeted him and he told us that his name was Beorn and that he had recently been dropped off by a boat on the Lady’s Finger River off of the Dormant Lady Lake with a group of Adventurers that were seeking the famed wizard’s tower of Zingalis.  He went on to tell us how his adventuring group had been ambushed by a group of monsters as they slept in their camp and had all been killed a few days before.  He was the lone survivor and being a determined and capable Bahkshani warrior, he decided to press on to try and find the tower.  He wandered for a few days in the general direction of the supposed location of the structure and eventually stumbled upon the tower and the temple which was a very lucky coincidence since the place was not easy to find.  He was even luckier to find a group of adventurers camped out within the shrine to join up with - a single dwarf in these woods probably stood little chance of surviving the trip back to Medea’s Gate through the monster infested woods surrounding the place.

So once spells were prepared and we broke our fast, we returned to the southern gate to see if we could find more treasure in the Labyrinth of Zingalis.  Once again, we passed through the illusory gate to the hallway beyond and were confronted by the large double doors at the end.  We had opened the doors with the Chime of Opening the session before and they had slid up into the ceiling above.  Previously, Gradwin had set off the magic missile trap after pulling on one of the levers on either side of the door.  So Lucias tried to push the doors up since they slid into the ceiling above through brute force.  The wizard eye device in the corner above the doors that had been following our movements, suddenly turned towards the fighter and fired a salvo of five magic missiles which hurt him badly.  He turned to Kaira the cleric and said “medic”!  Kaira then cast a few healing spells on him so that he could recover somewhat but he was still hurt so he let the ranger and the Bahkshani dwarf take the lead.  Since attempting to open the doors this way and with the levers was clearly not working, Taleth used the chime of opening to open up the doors once again as we had done before.

During the previous session, we had found a large sum of gold coins behind an invisible wall on the left end of the room beyond the doors after the fight with the Bone Devils but that was all we found.  We surmised that they may have had more loot hidden away somewhere beyond the room in the complex.  There was a door on the opposite side of the 10’x10’ niche behind the false wall so we opened it up and walked down a short hallway to another door.  We opened this door and went into a 30’x30’ room with a statue in the left corner that appeared to be completely made of amber.  There was also a door on the opposite wall and a pile of rubble in the far right corner of the room.

As we approached the amber statue to investigate it, we started discussing the value of amber.  As we were discussing this, as is often the case with statues hidden in dungeons underground, it magically sprang to life and attacked the group.  A brief melee commenced during which the animated statue was dispatched into a pile of broken amber pieces including severed limbs and appendages from its body.  It was now clearly quite worthless so we searched the room and found that there was a hidden compartment below the base where the statue once stood.  Within we found several magical elvish arrows and a small sum of valuable gems. 

The group opened the door on the opposite side of this room and proceeded through another short hallway with a door on the opposite end.  We opened this door and were confronted by an unexpected creature – it appeared to be a dog of some type, like a lab or something, sitting at the opposite end of a narrow but long room.  It sat there wagging its tail with its tongue hanging out as if it was happy to see us and wanted our attention.  The group was immediately suspicious since we had fought so many devious devils in this labyrinth before, some of which had used their polymorph spell like abilities to change their form.  We prepared ourselves for combat in anticipation of the expected fight – weapons were drawn and arrows were knocked.  As the “dog” saw that we were girding for combat, it slowly transformed into a giant 12’ tall devilish creature with an insectoid body, multifaceted eyes, and powerful mandibles on a mantis-like head.  In its devilish talons it held a huge evil looking spear.  The eeriest thing that happened as it polymorphed itself back from a dog to a devil, was that the whole time, its barbed thorny tail continued to wag and its wicked forked tongue still hung out as if it was anticipating some sort of twisted play session.

The group of adventurers were not in a playful mood however, after having suffered from the talons and devilish special abilities of numerous other devils in Zingalis’ lair – we said “here Fido” and let him have it.  The elves and Gradwin bombarded the giant ice devil with a powerful barrage of magic missiles while the two fighters and the ranger charged the giant insect looking devil creature to send it back to the icy demi plane within the plane of Hades, Tarteras or Hell from whence it came.  Despite its size and power, it could not withstand this fierce onslaught and disappeared in a chilling puff of freezing mist as it was bombarded and hacked to pieces thus returning it to its place of origin.  Had the creature been able to act first, the outcome could have been much worse for the group based on past experiences.  So we searched the room for loot and found a small sum of gold and copper coins and some gems hidden under a loose stone in a small niche at the far right end of the narrow chamber.  It wasn’t much loot for a greater devil of such power, so we continued to search for its main treasure hoard.

We opened the door at the end of the room and proceeded down a hallway that kept going straight but also turned sharply to the right shortly past the door.  We went down the right hand branch and after a little ways the hall ended in a door.  We opened the door and were greeted by three more of Zingalis’ crazy creations – these chaos spawned creatures were things of madness and horror.  They had segmented limbs, some of which had crab like claws in odd places, an oddly shaped head with rows of sharp nasty teeth, eyes appearing on its grotesque contorted body in seemingly random places and all manner of tails, extra limbs and appendages protruding from their nightmarish bodies giving them a very chaotic appearance.  The group set aside its initial shock of seeing these abominations of nature and quickly dispatched them in a brief but fierce combat.  Such things were never meant to live and we made sure that they didn’t in short order.

The room was otherwise empty after a brief search so we went back out into the previous hallway in search of the Ice Devil’s treasure.  We turned right and went down the other hallway that hadn't been explored yet and found that it ended in a dead end.  The group made the assumption that there was more than likely a secret door at the end of the hallway somewhere and searched for one.  Unfortunately, no secret door was found so Taleth expended a charge from the Chime of Opening which made a singing metallic chiming sound as it rang out.  Low and behold, a secret door opened up at the end of the hallway that we had missed in our search.  Within the small chamber beyond were several empty sacks and an apparently empty treasure chest – it appeared that our loot had already been taken by others!  This would not do at all so we searched the room thoroughly for other secret doors or secret compartments and found that the “empty” chest had a hidden compartment in the bottom which contained a large amount of silver and gold coins!  So we set forth with the task of removing the contents of the chest to the room where we had encountered the Bone Devils and continued our search of the place.

There were two more doors in another niche in that room that were opposite the invisible wall where we had just come from.  We went into the niche and opened the door on the left.  Beyond was a short hallway with another door at the end.  The hallway had rubble on the floor and rat tunnels carved into the walls.  At the end of the hallway was a smallish room where we encountered a very large Otyugh.  After a fierce but brief combat with the filthy and vicious creature, we searched the room and, after finding nothing of interest, went through a portal on the right hand wall into a hallway with a checkerboard pattern on the floor.  The odd thing is that when the characters in front stepped on the floor, the tiles started lighting up in a seemingly random pattern.  We assumed there was some sort of trap there so the Bahkshani dwarf and ranger strode forward only stepping on the black tiles.

As they got towards the end, they felt some sort of magical affect go off but they both made their saves and were not affected by whatever it was.  They warned the others to jump over the trapped portion of the floor there and we did so without being affected by the unknown magical affect on the floor.  In the room beyond was another fountain with the water coming out of a carven statuesque face on the left hand wall of the small room.  Asclepius stuck his pinky in the water and in his head he heard the voice of Zingalis say “chose the language that you wish to learn”.  He chose a language (giant) and instantly, he knew how to speak, read and write giant!  He told the others what had happened and Gradwin, Taleth and Beorn also put their fingers in the fountain and similarly, learned new languages instantaneously.

After hearing about this, the rest of the group put their fingers in the fountain but this time they had a different message in their heads.  The voice of Zingalis boomed in their thoughts and said “What is it that you wish?”  We started contemplating what this meant – could it be that Zingalis had just granted four party members wishes after having given them new languages as well?  The message in the shrine said “The true path to enlightenment lay beyond the southern gate” which was consistent with learning new languages for the “supplicants” enduring his mad and deadly “wizard’s challenge”.  But would such rewards actually include granting wishes?  We contemplated this and then Teth-en-Aire said “I don’t trust this – he has killed two of our number in the past with his deception and cruelty.  Surely, this can’t be what it appears”.  He pulled his finger out of the fountain and wished for nothing and slowly but reluctantly, the others did likewise sharing the Elf’s fears about treachery and deviltry at the hands of the mad wizard.

Then we turned our attention to the fountain as we searched it and the rest of the room.  We found a hidden compartment behind the fountain containing an absurd amount of silver and gold coins – far more than we could carry.  Jackpot!  Now we had the task of figuring out how to transport our recent finds of wealth from the Bone Devils, the Ice Devil and the Amber Statue out of the labyrinth of Zingalis and back to the safety of Medea’s Gate.  All in all though, it was not a bad problem to have.


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