Friday, May 27, 2011

Averlorn Campaign: The Forests of the Anvil Come Alive and a Surprise Revelation…

Recap from 5/20/2011

We began the session with a quandary – we now had far more coinage than we could carry once we gathered up all of the loot from the Bone Devils, the Ice Devil, the animated amber statue and the hidden compartment in the fountain.  So we formulated a plan and set about transporting it to the temple some distance away from the labyrinth where we began the session.  One potential problem was that there was a magically trapped area of the hallway with the black and white floor tiles.  We didn’t know exactly what the trap was or where it was since both characters that set it off during the previous session made there saves and we didn’t’ see the affect actually go off.  So Kaira cast her Detect Traps spell on the area and we could clearly see a 3’ wide portion of the hallway extending from the wall on the left to the wall on the right that glowed with a blue light indicating it was trapped.  So once we found out where the trapped floor was and only had to step over it as we began hauling the coinage out of the room with the wishing well, into the bone devil's lair and then out the gate and into the temple beyond.

Things went fairly smoothly for the first three loads but as we were bringing the third load to the temple, Taleth the ranger noticed a few very large creatures nearby that had not yet seen us.  They were huge bull like monsters with red scales that stood over six feet tall at the shoulder and appeared to measure more than eight feet from snout to tail – they were Gorgons!  We quickly made our way to the temple without attracting their attention and closed the doors.  We debated what to do – we were safe in the temple for the time being but the creatures were keeping us from hauling our last load of loot from the labyrinth to the temple and if we tried to wait for them to leave, we risked our loot being stolen by something else within the labyrinth.

So after some debate and the formulation of a plan, we decided to go out and try to take them out.  Our plan was to cast slow on them and try and keep our distance so we could pelt them with arrows and ranged spells.  This had worked for us in the past outside, but the last time we tried it against the three Chimera in this very temple, it turned into a disaster since all three of those creatures made their saves and Teth-en-Aire had been killed afterwards though he was later raised.  So of course, our plan went awry when both Gorgons made their saves and they came charging at us full steam ahead!  We tried to spread out as best we could so they couldn’t unleash their petrifying breath weapon on a large group of us and let loose with our first barrage.  Teth-en-Aire hit two with a fireball (but one made its save) and Gradwin hit one with a lightning bolt but failed to kill it.  Asclepius cast mirror image as well and the other characters fired missiles but failed to bring either of the huge charging beasts down before they could reach the adventurers.

Taleth broke off in the direction of Beorn the Dwarven fighter and Lucias and Cyrcla were spread out to the right.  This left Kalaneikos, Asclepius and Kaira in the center closest to the temple and Teth-en-Aire spread out a bit to their left.  Of course the one on the left unleashed its stony breath weapon on both Beorn and Taleth, but both characters managed to make their saving throws to avoid being turned into stone.  The second Gorgon charged straight ahead at the lightly armored Asclepius as it charged past Kalaneikos and attempted to gore the elf with its horns.  Luckily for him, his mirror image spell saved him from a potentially deadly wound and the image disappeared as the beast tore through it and was clearly surprised that its savage attack met with no resistance and the elf still stood there off to one side - it was like he used his red cape in an expertly timed bull fighting maneuver or something.

The dwarf and the ranger quickly jumped on the heavily wounded Gorgon on the left and dispatched it with their swords and Kalaneikos attacked the other one with his spear while Asclepius hit it with a triple magic missile blast wounding it further.  The rest of the group then came to their aid with more spells and arrows and Taleth and Beorn charged the beast bringing it down with their swords.  The ranger then managed to track the bullish beasts back to their lair where we found a considerable sum of silver, more gold coins and several magic items including two rings, a battle axe, a potion, and a scroll.

With that crisis averted, we stashed the new loot in the temple and headed back to the labyrinth to attempt to retrieve the last load of loot which consisted of silver and copper coins at this point since we had removed the gold first.  By the time we returned to the chamber where the wishing well was located, the remaining coinage was gone – obviously, some creature in the complex had made off with our loot!  We resolved to get it back later when we could and headed back to the temple.  On the way back we ran into a giant grisly bear which we quickly slew.  Gradwin eyed it as a potential zombie to be created using his animate dead spell while we joked about how “evil” our dwarven "necromancer" friend had turned out to be.  He countered by arguing that creating an “evil” creature and using it for “good” purposes was not necessarily an evil act.  Kaira and the others shrugged it off with comments like “yeah, right…”

We debated how best to transport the loot to Medea’s Gate since we had about 3-4 times more treasure than we could carry without seriously slowing us down.  We decided to put as much as we could in the bag of holding and load up the newly animated grisly bear with a litter that was rigged up for the purpose and to make our way back to town through the woods as best as we could.  The rest of the treasure was stored in the lower catacombs below the temple in the permanently darkened room and the secret door above was newly wizard locked as an added precaution.  The main doors to the temple were already wizard locked from a previous foray so our treasure was theoretically safe behind two wizard locked doors and hidden in a permanently darkened chamber.

So, with our loot safe for the time being or loaded up and ready to carry, we set off once again through the wild and wooly forests between the tower of Zingalis and the city of Medea’s Gate.  On a few similar trips in the past this had been a harrowing journey fraught with peril as we had to fight for our lives against the many vicious creatures of the forest.  On other trips, it had been a breeze and largely uneventful aside from the occasional random encounter.  This trip turned out to be both perilous and eventful for the group of bold adventurers.

The first night as we were looking for a suitable camp site, we started hearing loud noises off in the distance like the sound of trees falling and a slow “boom..... boom..... boom.....” at a slow but steady measured pace.  We assumed it was a very large giant of some sort (or maybe King Kong) and our assumption turned out to be correct.  Off in the distance we could see a huge giant knocking down trees and stomping through the woods accompanied by several very large dire wolves.  It was even larger than the Cyclops we had encountered previously and the ranger identified it as a cloud giant – the largest of their kind.  The giant paused for a few moments and appeared to notice the group and then said something in its own tongue as if speaking to his wolves.  A few members of the group could speak giant and told us that he said “these little ones are not worth our time” and it resumed its steady and destructive march through the forest.

With yet another crisis averted, we resumed our march through the woods the next day with our burden and undead beast of burden.  During the first watch of the second night spent in the forest, the group was accosted by a very large dragon like creature that had a whitish appearance, a lizard like body and tail and six legs - a frost salamander was attacking the group!  Taleth, Asclepius and Gradwin sounded the alarm and the two spellcasters hit it with a salvo of magic missiles while Taleth engaged it in melee.  It answered the attack with an attack on the ranger and managed to rend him and tear at him with a few of its four claws as it emanated the hoarfrost of the north around itself.  The rest of the group scrambled to arm themselves with what armor and weapons they could as they awoke while those on guard duty attacked the creature again.  This time, it turned its attention to Lucias and tore and rent him with all four claws and bit him as well ripping him savagely with tooth and claw!  He was badly hurt and withdrew from combat as the others closed in and finally slew the icy creature with their swords.

We healed up as best we could and continued our sleep after our rude awakening.  The following day, we resumed our march towards Medea’s Gate and once again ran into more members of the giant race.  This time it was a pair of stone giants and the arcane spellcasters and archers managed to finish them off before we could even close with them to engage in melee combat.  The group burned them badly and brought the giants down using a fireball, a lightning bolt and a barrage of magic missiles and arrows.  Fortunately, the fireball didn’t melt the gold that they were carrying and we added it to our loot haul.  Taleth tracked them to their lair and we actually stumbled across a ruined tower that we had never seen before.  Amongst the ruins, we found signs of their lair and an additional haul of loot including a copper ring with garnets that detected as magical!

So we searched the ruined tower for secret doors and actually found a hidden trap door on the floor that led down a set of steps into an apparent dungeon below!  This was an unexpected find since we had traversed these woods several times in the past and had missed this place on every previous trip.  We briefly scouted ahead down to the bottom of the stairs.  The ancient complex appeared to have not been disturbed in quite some time due to the large amount of dust present.  At the bottom of the steps was a large room with three statues in it that was otherwise empty.  So we went back up and stashed the new loot at the top of the stairs behind the secret trap door to be retrieved on our return trip.  We were within a day of Medea’s Gate at this point and made it back to town uneventfully.  Once we arrived, we took our loot to a money changer to have it converted to gems and then went back to the giant’s lair to retrieve the other loot that was still stashed there.

At this point we had managed to retrieve a good portion of our earnings but there was still a considerable sum of gold and silver stashed away in the temple at the tower of Zingalis.  Teth-en-Aire wanted to take a break and go on a carousing binge for a week or so in Medea’s Gate to celebrate our earnings.  Fortunately, Lucias talked him out of it because we had pressing business ahead of us – to retrieve the loot stashed in the temple before some other wizard could come along to open the doors and make off with our hard earned treasure.  The funny thing is, he is the young elf who is always so concerned about pinching a copper piece and garnering wealth whenever possible, but his foolish youth had him convinced that it was safely hidden in the dark behind two wizard locked doors – Lucias knew better and the group prepared to depart as soon as we were ready…


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.


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.


Averlorn Campaign: The Hounds of Hell

Recap from 4/30/2011

The group returned to Medea’s Gate through the forest from their last foray to the wizard’s tower of Zingalis without meeting any resistance.  Once back, Naas and Gradwin took some time to get their heads together and gather their marbles and Lucias took it easy so his hand could heal back up from putting it in the cursed fountain in the labyrinth of Zingalis.  We sold and distributed loot and went to the Dominion’s local guild house to see what magic items we might be able to acquire.  Asclepius bought a magical sword for his faithful fighter henchman Kalaneikos, and Teth-en-Aire managed to acquire a Girdle of Giant Strength for a very reasonable sum of money.  This had the ability to turn him into an engine of destruction when he engaged in melee (it grants the wearer double damage with a melee weapon and the THAC0 of a 9 hit die monster).  Once we were rested and healed up we purchased provisions and once again set out for Tower of Zingalis through the forests near the Lady’s Finger River northeast of the city of Medea’s Gate.

On the way there, we encountered a pair of hill giants that were quickly dispatched and we gathered up there traveling loot sacks although we were unable to locate their lair to find the rest of their loot.  After that encounter we made it to the tower without any further issues.  Once there, we returned to the southern gate that we had explored before and started making our way back to the pool room with the secret doors and cursed fountain to try and unravel the mystery of the pulsating wall beyond the second secret door.  Before we could make it to the pool room, we were surprised in the steamy room by a large group of Hell Hounds!  The seven devil dogs breathed their fiery breath upon the group and many were singed by the very fires of hell.  We fought back though and slowly managed to whittle them down.  Teth-en-Aire and Cyrcla threw caution to the wind and engaged the hounds without casting mirror image and a pitched battle commenced.  Teth-en-Aire was particularly impressive against them and slew many of their number because his sword cold cleaver (a +3 frost brand) was glowing more than usual (+6 vs. fire using/dwelling creatures) and he was doing double damage because of the girdle of giant strength as well.

We once again, entered the secret door where the pool was located and heard the voice of Zingalis coming from one of the wizard eye devices say “Only the bold may pass through this portal”.   We once again tried to open the secret door without the chime of opening and it wouldn’t yield.  We looked briefly for other clues in the room that might help us to open it but found nothing that hadn’t already been revealed in the previous session.  We took another look at the fountain and Gradwin managed to pull out some coins from it with his ring of telekinesis.  Lucias tried to discern where the water was coming from to look for an opening or hidden compartment but it was just coming out of a low hole in the wall and nothing new was revealed that we hadn't seen the session before.

Then we focused our attention to the second secret door and Asclepius cast knock to see if that would open it and it didn’t do anything.  He then tried just walking through it believing it to be an illusion and bumped his face on the door.  We discussed other options for opening it (other spells revealed in the shrine and so forth) but finally determined that our best option was to just use the Chime of Opening since we couldn’t figure out its secret.  And that’s where we ended the session, discussing our options for opening the second secret door in the fountain room.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Averlorn Campaign: Mind Bending Cosmic Truths Best Left Alone

Recap from 4/15/2011

The group of adventurers decided to explore the one area of the Labyrinth of Zingalis that we hadn’t previously checked out.  There was a hallway leading out of the room where we fought the giant dragon headed snake that was as yet unexplored.  So we set out to explore that area in the hopes of finding more treasure or perhaps a way into the tower.  After about twenty feet, the tunnel ended in a caved in area straight ahead and a door on the left.  We opened the door that lead into another longer hallway which then turned to the left.  At the corner stood two formless statues that appeared to be made out of clay or some other earthy material.  As the group tried to walk past them, they started moving and attacked!

After a brief combat, the creatures melted into a pile of muck on the floor after they were destroyed.  They didn’t really put up much of a fight and the GM told us afterwards that they were Muck Golems.  We turned left and went down a long hallway with a checkerboard tile pattern on the floor that ended at a doorway.  We opened that door and entered a room which was full of steam.  As we walked into the room we were attacked and charged by a Nightmare which attempted to push Lucias into a pool of boiling water (a hot tub) on the other side of the room.  Lucias managed to move deftly out of the way and avoid being pushed in and the melee commenced.  It breathed its devilish fiery choking breath towards the group and some of the characters were covered with and inhaled the noxious vapors and were temporarily blinded but were otherwise able to fight on.  After a fierce combat, the group managed to slay the Devil Horse.  We found no treasure in the room and only briefly looked at the tub and decided to leave it alone.  Since the Nightmare was trying to push us into it we assumed it was trapped or something.

One wall of the room was angled and next to it was a door that led into a short hallway that ended in another door.  On the floor of the hallway were a bunch of small river rocks.  We opened the second door and it led into another room with an angled wall and semi circular niche on the left side and three Caryatids depicting Eryines in the other corners.  There was another door on the same wall as the one we entered the room on, so we opened it and went into what looked to be a looted treasure room.  There were empty sacks on the floor and an empty chest as well inside of the small room.  We searched it for secret doors and found one in the left rear corner.  As we opened it up we heard a mysterious voice say “You have come far.  Are you sure you don’t want to leave?  Only the bold may pass through this portal”.

So being a group of bold adventurers, we opened the secret door and entered the room of course.  In this large room was a round fountain with a small stream course feeding it from the far wall and several semi circular niches on three of the walls.  The room was otherwise empty so we searched it and found a secret door in one of the niches.  We were curious about the fountain as it appeared to be clear and sparkling clean water so Lucias put a few of his fingers in it to see if it was indeed fresh water.  He recoiled in pain as some sort of poison, curse or spell afflicted his hand with a palsy – he couldn’t open the fingers of his right hand!  Fortunately, he made his saving throw so apparently it could have been much worse.  Brummbar bound the hand with a poultice of herbs to reduce the inflammation and he was forced to use his sword in his left hand and sling his shield on his back for a while.  We heard the same eerie voice as before say “You chose poorly and are not worthy of the wizard’s challenge”.  We also noticed another one of the wizard eye camera things in one corner following our movements around in the room.

So we turned our attention to the secret door but it would not open using normal means.  So Taleth used his chime of opening on it and we heard the sounds of tumblers and locks moving and it opened right up.  We heard the voice that we presumed was that of Zingalis say “Curses”.  Beyond the door was a long narrow 5’ wide corridor that went for as long as we could see.  We entered the tunnel single file and followed it for about sixty feet until it entered into a small room with three more of the Eryines caryatids in it – one on each wall.  As we entered the room they started moving and attacked.  They appeared to be some sort of animated statues because as we hit them with our weapons, chunks of stone flew off of them and what appeared to be molten steaming rock started pouring out of the wounds.  After a brief but savage melee, the group managed to destroy all three statues.

We searched the room and found three arrows pointing to a spot on the wall of the room.  There was no secret door there or anything that we could find but when Naas cast detect magic on it, he could see some sort of pulsating area on the wall.  The GM described it as pulsating as if it was a heart but he was the only one who could see it and it was some sort of magical effect.  We debated this for a little bit and decided that since it was a magical affect, maybe casting one of the spells indicated above the green demon mouths in the Shrine would open this portal and perhaps grant access to the tower.  We guessed that the spell might be Dimension Door since it was conceivable that that spell could be powerful enough to open the magical portal if it was indeed a dimensional gate of some sort.  Gradwin cast Augury using a ritual and asked his god the question “Will it be good or bad if we cast Dimension Door on this spot of the wall” and the answer that Hecate gave him was “Weal”.  We debated this for a bit but decided that since we only one copy of Dimension Door on a scroll and it was above our ability to cast normally (it’s a fourth level spell) and Augury is unreliable, that we would go back to the Shrine to try and determine more info about the secrets contained therein that might give us clues to solving this puzzle.

So we went back to the shrine to investigate some of the spells written on the walls in the catacombs below it.  Both Gradwin and Naas went to the room below the temple to Hecate that contained the Magic of the Elder Gods written on the murals and the walls.  This was the same room that gave Asclepius nightmares when he copied the creepy familiar spell off of one of the murals in the room.  The other mural contained scenes of non-Euclidean geometry and architecture and the grinning green portal opposite the entrance had Arcane Lock written above it in the alien and cruel tongue of the Elder Gods.  Naas attempted to learn the Bind Familiar spell (from RoCC) off of the other mural but failed and got a little crazy – he was all twitchy and babbling incoherently about ancient secrets and truths that mortals were never meant to know. 

Gradwin attempted to learn the spell on the other mural which he discerned was Spatial Travel a fifth level spell from Realms of Crawling Chaos.  He successfully read it and then cast his scribe spell on it to copy it into his spell book but failed and took a certain amount of damage.  Then he just sat there as if contemplating something.  We waited because we assumed he was working – and we waited, and waited and still he stood there.  We decided that something was wrong and removed him from the room.  That’s when he started talking to his animated skeleton as if it was talking back to him and carrying on a conversation.  He kept saying “I was so close” and things like “only one more phrase”.  So with our two mentally disturbed spellcasters in tow, we decided to return to Medea’s Gate since we had been at the tower for almost a week and were starting to run low on food.  That’s where we ended the session.