Sunday, July 10, 2011

Averlorn Campaign: Return to the Surface World

Recap from 6/24/2011

So after the big battle with the lizardmen in their lair, we moved into the adjacent caverns to search for loot.  We didn’t encounter any more of the creatures, but every now and then we saw one or two swimming around in the water and watching us.  Our assumption was that the lizardmen that we saw moving on the opposite bank were actually their women, children and elderly and that they escaped through a hidden door or perhaps jumped into the safety of the pool to hide underwater until we went away.  So after we gathered up the loot we found in the leader’s lair, we decided that it was time to return to the surface world since we had been down here for a while, and were fully loaded with treasure at this point and moving quite slowly.

The challenge of course was getting out of the caverns alive – the limited form of access (the Levitating Disc platform) meant that we would have to leave people behind while we moved the others up three at a time.  So we decided to leave the strongest characters in the cavern until the last lift came down to retrieve them, including Taleth and Lucias with Teth-en-Aire or Gradwin acting as the lift coordinator (the one controlling the magically levitating disc).  The first problem we had though was that there was no way to summon the disc from the bottom of the cavern, despite what appeared to be a similar glyph covered circle on the cavern floor where the disc eventually ended up.  So Gradwin, who still had his fly spell going, flew up to the hole at the top and through to the control cavern far above to summon the disc back so we could get out.

Shortly after he took off, the Stone Giants attacked.  We were standing on the peninsula waiting for him to return when suddenly, very large rocks started landing amongst us.  Nobody was hit at first so we ran for cover which consisted of many very large boulders ringing the perimeter of the peninsula sort of like Stonehenge or something.  We couldn’t see what was throwing boulders at us but we suspected they were giants of some sort.  They were out of range of our infravision but their eyes were accustomed to the darkness and they could see us just fine using their “monster vision”.  We were between a rock and a hard place (quite literally) and it was just a matter of time before we started taking casualties.

Evelyn hid amongst the darkness of the boulders and Asclepius the elf cast invisibility along with Teth-en-Aire, and then cast fly on himself and flew out in the direction of where the missiles were coming from to see what was hurling boulders at us.  He confirmed that there were six stone giants standing way out in the river away from shore about eighty feet away, and that they were actively bombarding us.  He didn’t attack them with magic missiles or anything because he would have become visible if he had done so, and returned to the group at the boulders to report his discovery.  Meanwhile, the protection of the boulders proved to be inadequate to keep the lightly armored and visible members of the group from harms way.  Both Cyrcla and Bellinorn were hit with boulders and hurt but not too badly at this point.

The quandary that we had was that we were only moving 10’ per round because we were fully laden with treasure and would be exposed if we made a run for it towards the cover of the waterfall and tunnels beyond.  Then both Bellinorn and Cyrcla were hit again and hurt badly at this point and determined that in order to survive the encounter, they would have to drop their packs and the loot contained therein and make for the safety of the cliff face and waterfall as fast as they could.  Cyrcla removed her spell book from her backpack and her and Bellinorn left their burdens behind and made it to the tunnels behind the waterfall without any problems.

The others were still on the peninsula huddled behind the rocks and the boulder missiles kept coming in but nobody got hit.  We couldn’t charge the giants to engage them because they were chest deep in the water, though it only came up to their shins.  The cliff face along the river bank was also too steep to move towards them along the bank to engage them with spells or missile weapons, so we had no other option but to fall back and join the other two elves at the cliff face.  The rest of the group, except for Evelyn who was hiding, moved as fast as they could while carrying their loads to the safety of the waterfall and managed to make it without getting hit by boulders.

As we were there taking cover, two of the giants moved onto the peninsula towards the two backpacks.  Our ranger Taleth who spoke giant, heard one of them say “We take offering and go away” as the giant waved towards us.  Cyrcla was still angry about being smashed by boulders and forced to abandon her pack containing treasure and even a Potion of Levitation, and started casting a spell before the giants left the rocky peninsula and returned to the river.  Teth-en-Aire did likewise and both elves hit them with a fireball and a lightning bolt and burned them badly but they managed to survive.  Evelyn, who was still hiding nearby and crouching by a rock waiting for her opportunity to strike, was fortunate to have been out of the way of the spell’s area of effect and was unharmed.  After Teth-en-Aire became visible to cast his lightning bolt and Cyrcla cast her spell, Taleth heard one of the giants say “Elves – run!” and they high tailed it back into the river and disappeared into the cavern along with the other four.

So after our close encounter with the Stone Giants, Gradwin finally re-appeared with the disc after what seemed like an eternity.  We managed to load everyone up and get them out of there two at a time, plus the lift operator until everyone had safely returned to the surface world so very far above.  We knew once we arrived in this underdark like area that the most dangerous part of getting in and out would be that we would be vulnerable when using the lift since some would have to remain behind.  This encounter made that perfectly clear – Gradwin was our primary wizard and one of our healers (he’s a cleric/wizard) and was completely unable to assist us in that encounter.  The other thing we realized is that while waiting for the lift, we would have been better off waiting within the shelter of the tunnels behind the waterfall because the peninsula was far too exposed to attacks from the river.

The giants kept looking over their shoulders behind them towards the river as did the other lizardmen we encountered previously.  One member of our group spoke with a captive lizardmen that was captured after we first arrived, and it told us that there was a very large lizard or even a dragon of some sort living nearby in or on the other side of the river.  That just makes the entry and exit to these caverns all the more dangerous but this is the subject of a future tale...


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