Saturday, May 14, 2011

Averlorn Campaign: Of Devils, Dragons and the Keys to Zingalis’ Castle

Recap from 5/6/2011

We started off the session facing the secret door in the fountain room of the Labyrinth of Zingalis.  Taleth used the Chime of Opening to open the door and we proceeded down the long narrow hallway to the chamber beyond.  There we found the remains of the animated statues that were destroyed the session before lying on the ground and the room was pretty much the way we left it.  We once again cast the spell detect magic on the wall and it once again revealed the arrows and the pulsating magical force.  We debated whether or not we wanted to use our one Dimension Door scroll to cast on the wall here to see if it opened up a door or a gate of some sort.

Lucias had made a realization about the shrine which was relevant to the discussion.  He made the observation that there were four inscriptions on the frieze above the walls inside of the Temple to Hecate.  There were also four spells inscribed above the green demon mouth sculptures in the four rooms below the shrine.  There were also four gates that appeared to have some sort of magical key required to open them, perhaps by casting one of the spells written on the wall of the shrine below the temple.  He deduced that maybe if we were to determine which cardinal compass points the litanies in the temple and the spells in the shrine were facing, that either reciting those litanies in the appropriate language (Promethean, Brimbahri or Ellise – a.k.a. Angelic, Demonic or Elven) or casting those spells on the gates or secret doors found at the same compass points in the labyrinth would open them up.

So we decided to hold off on using our only copy of Dimension Door on the wall here for now at least until we knew if it was the appropriate spell to cast there for this part of the labyrinth based on the clues found in the Temple and Shrine.  So we back tracked out of the labyrinth and made our way to the shrine.  As we were traversing the clearing between the two, two distant flying figures starting getting closer as they flew towards the group – they were young blue dragons!  One of the two swooped down upon the group and the other veered off and headed back towards the tower.  As it passed over the group, the characters spread out as best they could and braced for the impending breath weapon attack.  The arc of lightning came down with a boom and hit both Cyrcla and Lucias.  Since they were now wounded, they figured that this was as good a place as any to fight and pulled out healing potions and quaffed them down.

The others continued to run and tried to make it to the cover of the temple when the giant beast swooped down and attempted to land on Taleth the Ranger with all of its weight and claws to crush and rend him into with the full force of the landing.  Taleth was faster though and deftly stepped out of the way.  One or two of the elves then cast their triple magic missiles on the dragon hurting it badly and Taleth pulled out his longsword and with one savage blow slew the fell creature where it stood before it could attack him.

With that crisis averted, the group continued making its way to the shrine and entered through the wizard locked door.  Once inside, Naas climbed up the wall over the front door and attempted to learn the secret inscription carved into the stone there.  Despite the fact that it was invisible, he was able to slowly feel the carving with his fingers and discern the letters there.  Using his thieves’ ability to read languages, he was able to discern that it was written in Promethean and said:

“The wise supplicant will shun the jade demon in the catacombs below.  Only those who master the southern key will achieve true enlightenment”.

This was a revelation indeed if it was to be believed.  The jade demon mouths had previously been responsible for the deaths of two of our number (both thieves) and we decided to avoid messing with them from this point on.  We then turned our attention to locating the cardinal points in the catacombs below.  We kept a few characters above in the temple that could read the litany to Hecate in Promethean, so that they could open the secret door on the foot of the statue to let us out later.  Then the spell casters descended into the shrine below to try and figure out which way was which and unravel the secret to the keys to Zingalis’ labyrinth.

The stair hall was on an angle and the central room between the four individual shrines had continual darkness cast on it which made it exceedingly difficult for Gradwin the dwarf to determine the cardinal direction of each shrine underground.  So we determined that in order to figure this out we would need to somehow turn off the continual darkness affect in the central room.  None of the living group members had explored the central sphere and disk that one of our dead comrades had told us about before walking to his death through one of the green demon mouths.  So Gradwin decided to explore it for himself.  He went to the center of the room in the dark and felt around with his hands looking for the device that was described to him.

He found that there was a 3’ tall central stone pillar, almost like a table, with a smaller round sphere set into the center of the table top area.  When he spun the sphere with his fingers, it spun freely but didn’t really do anything else.  Our previous associate had told us that if you pushed it down it closed the secret door above.  Rather than doing that, he continued feeling around the cylinder to see if there were any other hidden devices or compartments to be found.  He found under the “table top” like upper surface, that there were two hand holds below the top.  He gripped them firmly and rotated the table top in the direction that it yielded and managed to spin it one quarter of a turn or ninety degrees.  Once he did this, the continual light spell went off and the magical torches came on – he had found the light switch!

The other thing that happened was that a magical inscription appeared on the floor in glowing runic letters and the voice of Zingalis suddenly boomed into the chamber “Congratulations – now you may have your reward”.  Gradwin cast read magic to try and read the magical writing but couldn’t make it out.  Since that was the only ritual that anyone had for that day for a first level spell, we had to rest overnight to re-learn spells to try again the following day.  The next day, two of the arcane casters cast read magic and tried again but failed to read the inscription.  Cyrcla finally cast her read magic and was able to make out enough of it to determine that it contained a spell of the deep magics (a 9th level spell of some sort) but couldn’t discern any more than that aside from the partial phrase:

“For the worthy supplicant…”

but the rest was unintelligible.

Gradwin was however, able to now determine the cardinal points of the shrines to help us unlock the magically locked gates and doors in the labyrinth of Zingalis.  He determined that the gate that we had previously explored faced West and the appropriate spell in that direction was in fact Dimension Door (we only guessed this spell by a lucky coincidence).  He also determined that the Hold Portal/Brimbahri shrine faced north, the Arcane Lock/Elder God/Creepy room shrine faced east, and the Knock/Elisse/Elven shrine faced South.  We also had the clue about south being the “path to true enlightenment” so we decided to test our newfound knowledge on that gate.

We left the temple and locked the door behind us with the Wizard Lock and headed to the southern gate.  One of the arcane casters cast Knock at the gate and the bars suddenly vaporized and disappeared.  The spell casters determined that the bars weren’t real all along and were merely illusions – we could have stepped through them at any time!  So we went into the 20’ wide hallway beyond that was very similar to the one in the western entrance.  At the end was another one of the wizard eye devices and a large double door with two levers on the left hand wall and one on the right.  Gradwin pulled one of the levers down to see if he could open the door with it and was hit with a powerful series of five magic missiles that came from the wizard eye device!  He was hurt badly and required some healing magic.

Taleth decided to use the Chime of opening to avoid the traps and the door opened right up but it went up into the wall above, instead of opening in or out like a normal door.  There beyond the door was a 20’ wide by 30’ deep room with a hallway branching off to the right at the end and another lever on the left of the recently opened door.  As we were observing the room, five Bone Devils that were previously invisible decided to spring their ambush.  Unfortunately, we were surprised and to top it off a few of us were still slightly wounded and had learned spells for exploring the shrine rather than for combat.  So a savage melee commenced in which the group of adventurers was very hard pressed.

The Bone Devils started off with two of their number managing to use their hooks to catch both Taleth and Teth-en-Aire so that they could then drain their strength with their scorpion like tails.  We managed to hurt one of their number badly but another one managed to gate in a sixth bone devil and things were not looking good for the group.  Despite our best efforts, two of our number were trapped and our opponents were barely hurt.  Lucias managed to hurt the injured one further and Cyrcla managed to cast her web spell on the one holding Teth-en-Aire with its cruel hook.  Naas then managed to cast continual light on one of the devil’s eyes which blinded the other devil that was attacking Teth-en-Aire.  The group was still sorely pressed however, and the ranger was close to death after having been stung by the scorpion tail which drained some of his strength as he was held with the hook.  So after a gut wrenching few rounds of combat, Gradwin finally pulled out his scroll of Dispel Evil given to him by Brummbar the session before, and read the fifth level spell intoning the evil devil creatures in the room to return to hell. 

Four of the six devils exploded in a blinding flash of bright white light and the only two that remained were the webbed one and the blinded one which the rest of the group quickly finished off.  So with our foes dispatched and a crisis averted, we turned our attention to searching for loot.  We found a large amount of gold coins hidden behind an illusory wall in the left rear corner of the room and then fell back to the safety of the shrine.  We considered ourselves lucky to have made it out of that scrape against yet more Devils in the labyrinth of Zingalis with our lives.  Fortunately though, we now perhaps had the keys to the Castle so to speak.


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