They then ventured further into the mausoleum, opting to follow the moaning sounds first and took the door to the east. Becoming ever-wary of the possibilities of real danger ahead, Blackwell decided that now was a good time to morph into his hybrid wolf form, since it gave him some extra damage resistance that could come in handy. Past the next door, they found a room made out of many intersecting corridors and decided to proceed carefully using several means; Blackwell using his skills of perception and disabling to detect and disable the pit traps they were finding, and Asphodel by tapping the ground in front of her as she slowly moved through the maze-like corridors.
When nearly all the corridors were searched, Blackwell ran into a bit of bad luck and stepped on an undetected pit trap, fell through and landed 15 ft down on top of the corpse of some unlucky soul that found the trap long ago, thereby avoiding the foot long spikes sticking up from the bottom of the pit. This did turn into a bit of good luck however, for he was able to salvage several things from the corpse; a masterwork chain shirt, a masterwork shortsword, 5 platinum pieces, and a scroll case.
Asphodel examined the scroll case and finally opened it to reveal a cryptic message on a piece of blood stained parchment, "Three to open, but be quick," was all that was legible. Coincidentally, during their search for traps, the party had found three levers on the walls in various locations and a sturdy, locked door. So taking a chance, they pull all three levers at the same time. And the door opened smoothly for them.
Following the passage beyond lead them to a dead-end, and two doors. One of the doors had the moaning sounds emanating fairly loudly, so this is the door they set out to open. Kel muscled the door open just a little bit only to see a crossbow bolt come flying out of the room and someone screaming for them to go away and leave him alone. It took a little bit of doing but they were able to finally calm down the obviously very disturbed person behind the door enough so they could open the door, and talk with him face to face. His name was Roldare, and he had a tale of being kidnapped with several others including his sister, Dimira. He also spoke about the skeleton with the voice of death coming up from below to drag them away. Dimira was dragged away to save him. Now Roldare sits in this room unwilling to leave until you find Dimira and bring her back to him. Not wanting to drive the poor man even crazier, you secured the door behind you and left him there, vowing to return with Dimira.
The other door led into a chamber inhabited by a couple of bombadier beetles feasting on a corpse, and the party made light work of them. This room led to another short passage ending in a medium chamber with no other exits. Inside the chamber there was a smoldering fire with two dead bodies still smoking from being burned in the fire. Asphodel drug the bodies out of the fire and Zola used her create water ability to douse the bodies and fire to stop the rancid smoke from being produced any longer. The two also found a charred key and a magic dagger in perfect condition in the fire pit.
Before anyone had time to look around, a shadow rose out of the fire pit and began attacking the party. The party's normal weapons didn't do any damage to the undead creature, and the ones that had magical weapons were only able to partial damage to it, even spells were not as effective as they should have been. Zerak had an excellent idea and spent one of the charges from their healing wand, directing the flow of positive energy right at the creature. The tactic decimated the shadow, returning it the grave, or the negative plane, either was a welcome outcome.
Our intrepid adventurers then back-tracked to the first room of the crypt and started exploring through the door to the west. This opened into a large chamber with a clear, rectangular pool of water with a fountain of a weeping maiden holding a dead soldier whose statue head was broken off and missing. Her tears are constanting pouring water into the pool. As the group enetered the room, a booming, disembodied voice called out, "Magic is the Key". Peering into the water of the pool, they could just make out a large pile of something at the bottom, nearly 40 feet down. Asphodel used a grappling hook and some rope and attempted to fish out what was down there. She had some luck and snagged one item, which turned out to be a key. That's when detect magic was cast and something at the bottom of the pool gave off a magical glow. As Zola was taking off her breatplate to take a swim, Asphodel basically jumped into the pool straight-away, still holding onto the rope she was using with the grappling hook, and dove fo rthe bottom to find the magical item in the chilly water. Brushing through the pile of keys, she located the magical one and gave the rope a couple of tugs. Fortunately for her, Zola was on the ball and actually grabbed hold of the rope, along with Kel and pulled her up quickly.
They also saw two doors on the southern wall of this chamber, both closed, and locked, and decided that it was time to try the keys. Blackwell was now in the habit of checking doors and suspicious areas for traps and other hazards, but these two doors were safe. The magic key did not open either door. However, the charred key they retrieved from the shadow's lair did unlock the eastern door. Following the short passage this door led to another small chamber with a small basin of clear water, a stone bench, and had old, painted frescoes across all the walls. The scenes were all of battle and the subject was one main soldier always in the center of the action. A hallway left this room on the opposite wall they entered which ended in another door.
Opening this door revealed a large circular room with a large floor to ceiling pillar surrounded by a two foot tall stone wall and two other doors leading out - one on the opposite wall, the other on the south wall. So they party entered the room and began exploring. It revealed that around the center pillar there was a pit surrounding it with a narrow walkway out to the pillar from the south. Al the outer stone walls of the chamber were chipped with lots of stone chips on the ground. Kel was the first to figure out that the chips looked like arrows had been fired at the walls, and then saw the hundreds of holes in the pillar - perfectly sized for arrows. The realization of a massively trapped room dawned on them just as the pillar began to spin and fire hundreds of arrows simultaneously out of it! Zola and Asphodel were closest to the eastern door and opened and ran ouot of the room. When they looked back, they didn't see the room but a blank stone wall. The same dead end they found just before finding Roldare. It waa a magical one way door and they were cut off from the rest of the party. So the two starting running back they way they had traveled trying to get back to the rest of them as fast as possible.
Kel turned around to go back through the door they entered only to discover to his surprise that it was not there anymore! Another one way magical door. So he instinctively used his military training and his shield to help cover himself from the brunt of the arrow attacks and ran toward the southern door, opened it and rushed out, holding it open for the rest of the party. Blackwell, Jobi, and Zerak followed his lead into the darkness beyond the door. Then he slammed the door shut. They fond themselves in a very dark room, so dark that only Jobi with her infernal darkvision could see anything. And what she saw was a large chamber with carvings on the east and west walls of mourners all walking to the back of the chamber, a couple large statues of a soldier in full battle armor, several pillars, and possibly some stairs.
Zerak, in the meantime was cntemplating on getting the wand out and casting some healing spells on everyone, but decided that he wanted to see what the room was like first and so he used a spark spell on his club to get some light in the room.
That's when everyone saw the four slowly advancing skeletons, blood and gore dripping from their vile frames. As panic started to creep into Zerak, he wondered why he hadn't gone for the healing wand first. Wishing he had just another few seconds to act, he made an incredible feat of magic and was able to use the wand to heal both Jobi and Blackwell from some of their wounds inflicted by that insidious pillar of a thousand arrows contraption before the first of the skeltons attacked.
These skeletons weren't like the others. These were more feral, more dangerous, with only murderous intentions reflected in their blood red pinpoint lights in their other wise empty eye sockets. They used their long, bloak soaked claws to attack, not even bothering to extend their reach with a weapon, like their undead cousins. Zerak tried to hold his own against these assailants, but was nearly brought down, with only luck between his surviving and becoming a grisly feast. Blackwell was struggling to bring any of his attacks to bear, and if not for the extra hardiness of his hybrid form, would also have gone down. Kel, wounded as he was, kept swinging and contacting with the beasts trying to pulverize their bony forms like a baker grinds flour for his breads. Just as it seemed that the four of them were on the brink of another one falling to these creatures, Asphodel and Zola burst into the room, and Jobi had managed to deliver a couple blows with her sling.
With the bloody skeletons dispatched, our heroes needed a well deserved rest. So they spiked the door shut and kept watch on the stairs so nothing would surprise them and rested as much as one can trying to sleep in a house of death.
Instead of back tracking and exploring the locked door they left behind them, they opted to press on, descending the stairs to the second level of this very large mausoleum.
At the bottom of the stairs, they entered a circular intersection where the learned that this crypt is for someone named Kassam, an ancient soldier important to the founding of Neverwinter ages ago. Directions for this level of the crypt were inscribed in the floor indicating that the "wheel was to the east", "rest is to the south", and "the tomb is to the west". Dripping water could be heard to the east and a faint rot smell detected to the west. So they went south.
The southern passage ended in a chamber with a fountain and basin filled with clear water with an inscription above the fountain that read, "Kassam's legacy lives with his people. Drink and be refreshed." After a little experimentation and a detect magic, they figured that the liquid had healing properties and when Blackwell took a drink, his lingering damage from the previous day was healed instantly. Asphodel also determined that the healing properties probably didn't last if the liquid was removed from this chamber. And Kel added that he thought it should be used sparingly because things like these may only work for a particular individual only peroidically and there is no way to know what the waiting time in between uses could be.
THe group then advanced to the east. The passage split and went two ways - the northern passage ended in a swollen looking door. The southern passage opened up into a chamber with wispy blue fungus growing along the walls and ceiling and the four pillars in the room. There was about a foot of water covering the floor and three large dead rats and a large dead frog with strange burned marks over their rotting bodies. Then they saw it. Electricity suddenly errupted from the blue fungus and arced all along the room and onto the water and dead bodies.
Kel remembered from his studies, that this type of fungus is called Azure Fungus but didn't recall any other specifics about it. So, since Zola has some resistance to their type of energies, she decided to walk through the room to the other side to see where the passages lead. Midway throught the room, another discharge of electricity happened which only gave her minor wounds. Once through the room, she saw that the passage going north ended at another swollen looking door and could possibly lead to the same area as the other door they foound.
At this time, the decided to open that first door, and behind it they saw a room with the floor covered in water, two pedestals, and a large frog. Zerak advanced into the room only to find that the floor was actually covered in 3 feet of water, and went fully under the surface. Kel jumped the five feet onto one of the pedestals and shot at the frog. The frog lashed out its tongue and grabbed a hold of Kel. Meanwhile Zola was working on breaking down the door and Jobi was careffully trying to cross the azure fungus covered room without getting electrocuted.
Suddenly two more frogs appears and soon the entire party was gripped in combat with the overly large amphibians. Zola broke through the door, jumped onto the pedestal that the frog holding onto Kel was perched and managed to bull rush the frog off the pedestal and break the grip it had on Kel, freeing him to dispatch the frog that had jumped next to him. That frog and the other one near the door were finally overcome by a combination of efforts from Kel, Blackwell, Asphodel, and Zerak. While the one that Zola bull rushed, jumped back up and bit her critically, bringing her within seconds of death. Jobi, Kell, and Asphodel closed in on this nemesis and finally ended its life, while Zerak scrambled to get within reach to help heal the fallen assimar before it was too late. His efforts were successful in stabilizing and healing the bulk of the damage to her.
Immediately after the last giant frog was slain, Asphodel hoisted the unconscious Zola upon her eidolon's shoulders and hastily returned to the chamber with the healing fountain. Laying her down, she scooped out a cup of the clear water and carefully poured the liquid in Zola's mouth and down her throat. With a faint wash of light radiating from Zola's skin from the top of her head and traveling to her feet, her grave wounds were healed completely in mere seconds.
And at that moment, Asphodel caght a glimpse of something small and shiny lying in the bottom of the fountain.
To be continued...