Thursday, July 28, 2011

Averlorn Campaign: Return to the Halls of the Blind - Part One

Recap from 7/7/2011

During a previous session, while the rest of the group was busy carousing in Medea’s Gate, Kaira and Asclepius instead sought out the Oracle in Herarii run by the Confessors Guild in that sleepy mountain town near the pass at Hell’s Peak.   They traveled here to seek the advice of the Oracle prior to the events that took place when the group traveled to the Vault and Caverns of the Dweomerblade.  The question that Asclepius asked of the Oracle was where he could go to find a way to magically increase his intelligence.  He had failed to learn several key spells and having his intelligence raised through some magical means was the only way he could attempt to learn them again short of attaining named level.  So the mortal mouthpiece of the gods, also known as the Oracle of Herarii, told him to seek the magical fountain within the Halls of the Blind to find that which he sought.  We knew a little bit about the fountain having seen it once on a previous trip to the Halls of the Blind that almost ended in disaster:  The Halls of the Blind
Kaira also asked the oracle where she could go to find a similar way to increase her wisdom and the Oracle told her to seek the Chasm of Nightstone.

Since we had previously journeyed to the Halls of the Blind and knew where it was, we decided to go there since a magical fountain that could raise the intelligence of those who drank from it would benefit the elves and our newly met friend the human Wizard Ferris as well.  So we purchased provisions and set out towards the Halls of the Blind within the complex known as the Maw of Torment near the small village of Slagford.  Slagford is a small Hamlet which sits in the shadow of the giant statue of Hephaestus on the Limus Town side of Hell’s Peak pass in the mountains southeast of Medea’s Gate.  It is only a few hours hike from the village to the ruins below the giant statue.  The Deer’s Perch Inn is the only Inn in this small farming community and we supped there the night before our departure before we left the following morning. 

The first snows had already fallen in the lands far below the heights of the pass, but up here the snows had been falling for some time and it made for slow going.  As we neared the giant statue of Hephaestus, we were attacked by a pair of Frost Giants traversing the snowy terrain with their giant pet polar bear at their side.  The great icy brutes sicced their pet polar bear on us, then threw their boulders at us from a distance and withdrew to the edge of the woods.  Taleth, Bellinorn and Beorn were in the front so they skirted the bear and gave chase, while the archers and spellcasters attacked the giants with magic missiles and arrows.  We were withholding our heavier magical firepower in an effort to save it for what was awaiting us in the Halls of the Blind but it became apparent that without magical assistance, the giants would take a heavy toll on the group.  Taleth was gravely wounded by a couple of boulders and had to withdraw and the other fighters were taking a pounding too as they tried to close with them.

Meanwhile, Lucias moved up to engage in combat with the Polar bear with the aid of the mighty spear of Kalaneikos and a few of the others.  This group eventually overcame the polar bear staining the snow and its great white fur coat red and then started moving towards the Frost Giants that were still some distance away at this point.  Finally, Cyrcla and the Wizard Ferris grew tired of watching the giants get the better of our fighters with the boulders before they could even close with them and hit them both with a fireball and a lightning bolt and wounded the giants badly.  When Bellinorn, Beorn and the others finally did close with them they had little trouble in slaying the two evil giants with their swords.  So after Taleth was healed up and we recovered the giant’s loot, we continued on to the Halls of the Blind.  We had no trouble making our way through the numerous snow and ice covered petrified stone monsters leftover from some previous battle fought long ago.  This scene was even more eerie in the quiet of the icy snow covered pass.  It was obvious that some wizard long ago sitting atop the now destroyed tower where we were going was responsible for the strange scene.  Numerous orcs, trolls, ogres, giants and even a dragon were turned into stone as they attempted to retreat from the savage magical onslaught of the wizard’s tower and the statues were all that was left to tell the tale.

We walked through the forest of spooky denizens of the pass to the hill overlooking the area that was our destination.  The tower was mostly destroyed and all that remained were a few walls and piles of rubble, a stone floor and the foundations of the once mighty tower that had been reduced to a meaningless pile of rocks.  We searched through the snow covered floor of the ruin until we located the secret trap door that we knew was there and opened it up in order to descend the winding spiral staircase that led to the Halls of the Blind below.  Our plan was fairly simple but designed to make the most of our knowledge from the previous foray.  When we went in before, once we engaged the numerous Goat Men and Minotaurs from the front in the larger hall, we were waylaid by a flanking force that hit us from the rear and nearly killed Asclepius and Kaira with arrows.  We decided to have Gradwin cast invisibility 10’ radius on the main group that would wait before the entrance to the large hall of the fountain.  They would not enter or attack though until they received a signal from the other group that was tasked with taking out the flanking force.

Both groups carried an object with the cleric spell Silence cast on it (a dagger carried by Evelyn in the group on the left and a coin carried by Gradwin in the other group) so as to not give away our presence too early.  The group on the left that was to take out the flanking force was led by the Ranger Taleth and the Assassin Kaira with the rest of the group a short distance behind them so that they had the best chance of surprising the flanking force.  They went into the first room on the left and found it mostly empty except for some kind of a summoning circle on the floor and all manner of offal and filthy excrement – they had no doubt found the latrine of the Beast Men.  The next door they opened was occupied however, and a pitched but strangely quiet battle ensued.  They fought about twelve or so of the demonic beast like Goat Men in the guard room and eventually slew them all.  They went through the next door and Taleth was stung by a poison needle trap mounted in the door jamb but luckily made his savings throw against poison and was unaffected.  This room also contained a summoning circle inscribed on the floor which they skirted before opening the door on the other side of the room. 

The two stealthy scouts crept to the door with the rest of the group still some distance behind and opened it up.  Milling about in the large fountain hall were some thirty of the goat like Beast Men and Minotaurs who hadn’t noticed them open up the door.  The plan had succeeded far better than we could have hoped – we had taken no casualties thus far, eliminated the flanking guards and achieved total surprise against our foes! Unfortunately, it was getting late at this point and we had to call the session.  With the group poised to engage in a massive melee from two directions, we had to wait another week to resolve the tense cliffhanger in the Halls of the Blind.  There were thirteen of us, counting the henchmen and at least thirty opponents that we could see and some that we couldn’t see such as the evil Maenad that we knew was there somewhere.


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