Monday, May 11, 2015

Session 3 Synopsis

The shiny object in the fountain that captured Asphodel's attention turned out to be a ring of swimming. After a short debate, and a few wet dog jokes, the party gave the ring to Blackwell. Meanwhile, now that Zola had regained her wits about her after her latest bout with being wounded (and searing pain, that alien concept becoming all too familiar), the group decided on their next path.

The adventurers decided to heat westward in the crypt and soon came upon the first proper tomb chamber housing a dozen sarcophagi. Unfortunately, the first noticeable feature of this chamber was the absolutely horrid, rotten stench that came wafting out of the room when the door was first opened. One step in and Blackwell got a real good snoot full of that wondrous odor and promptly retched out his last meal, adding his own distinctive scent to the already present olfactory collage. But that was only the beginning of their problems in this room, for it was inhabited by 4 disgusting zombies, and they were moving in for the kill.

As the party engaged the enemy, several others including Kel, Jobi, and Zerak, succumbed to the rancid stench and emptied their bellies, but fortunately none were so incapacitated that they weren't able to defend themselves and soon the zombies were dispatched. Blackwell was hit by one of the zombies, but his damage reduction took care of the physical damage. However, he wasn't so sure that contracting some kind of disease from the rotting, filth encrusted zombies wasn't possible, especially after the last one killed exploded and coated four of them with rotten gore. Zola came up with a great use of the create water spell and gave the four instant showers (and a couple more jokes about wet dog commenced). A search of the already defiled and broken sarcophagi revealed a Cure Moderate Wounds potion that Asphodel held on for safe keeping.

The door out of this rank room, after being inspected by Blackwell, was found to be locked and he wasn't able to pick it open, so Kel and Asphodel both took some swings at it and, at first, broke it enough to get a look inside the room. They discovered a long room with another pool of water in it. When the remainder of the door was removed, the party cautiously entered the room and looked into the pool. The pool was some sort of magical trap that only Blackwell has the misfortune of being affected by. He later claimed to see a reflection of himself morph into a rotting corpse crazed homicidal maniac that murdered the reflections of Kel and Asphodel. So frightened of this illusion was he that he ran all the way back to where they left Roldare before he came to his senses (which at this point he morphed into wolf form and started to run back to the rest of the group). Other than the magical illusion trap in the water, the party found defaced murals on the wall - apparently someone did not like the heroic deeds of Kassam as depicted in this room, and a portcullis blocking the further into the dungeon.

By the time Blackwell had returned from his short side bar, Kel, Jobi, and Asphodel had made several attempts to raise and/or break through the still sturdy bars of the portcullis to no avail. So the intrepid band did the only thing that was left to them and backtracked past the room with the angry frogs to see what was located down that passageway. Here they found a chamber. This chamber had black mold growing all along the walls and parts of the floor and had two pools of brackish, black water on either side of a five foot walkway leading to the other side of the room where a large captain's wheel was mounted to the back wall. After studying the water and seeing it move a bit without any noticeable source of disturbance and seeing that the walkway was a bit slippery, Kel advanced slowly on the walkway. But when he reached the center of it, eight skeletal arms erupted from the pool and tried to latch on to him to drag him into the foul waters. Only one was able to grasp his leg but lacked the power needed to pull him in. Four other skeletons jumped out of the pools and attacked the rest of the group with only the vicious single-mindedness that the unintelligent undead can achieve. The party once again proved too strong and well organized to allow a group of mere skeletons to bring low any one member of their band and quickly dispatched with this menace before anyone could be drug into the pools.

Once the battle was finished, Kel made his way to the wheel and found it too much to turn by himself, so Asphodel and Zola helped out to get it turning. But it wasn't until Asphodel used her enlarge person spell to make her and her eidolon even larger than normal were they able to turn the wheel. As they turned the wheel, they could hear the sounds of chains moving so they kept turning it till it stopped and clicked in place. Then they made their way back to the room with the pool of illusion and saw that the wheel did indeed raise the iron gate and they way ahead was open. The room beyond was another internment room with 8 more sarcophagi - all were closed but not sealed - and again the murals and carvings on the walls were all defaced here as well. Asphodel decided she was going to look into one of the unsealed stone coffins, only to discover that the stone lid was far lighter than she expected and practically threw it off, only to have it clatter and bang on the floor with a loud crash. As the sound's echoes died off, they started to hear faint chittering noises that slowly grew louder. Everyone was having a difficult time identifying where and what the sounds were when two large swarms of bats erupted from the fissures and cracks in the ceilings and walls of the chamber.

The bat swarms did expose a definite weakness the party has as a whole, they were not equipped with any area effecting spells or powers, so most everything they attempted against the bats was pretty ineffectual. Zerak has some success with a burning club he created using his spark ability. Zola was able to give the bats a shower which helped to disorient them a bit. Kel and Asphodel found weapons to be useless in this situation. And Jobi, well, she tried. She thought that maybe a poisonous frog could at least help to damage the swarm a bit by either eating or poisoning a few bats, so she summoned one up. Unfortunately she summoned the clumsiest frog in all the land for when it went to attack the bats, it instead hit and attempted to poison Asphodel (who was still in her enlarged form). After that, she huddled low in the corner (and pretended she was in a water closet) to avoid any contact with the bats. The bats, however, had a different idea and weren't sticking around. They flew off in the direction leading out of the mausoleum in search of tastier (and smaller) prey. A couple of heal checks later and the party had stopped bleeding from the small incidental wounds created by being in the middle of a bat swarm and were ready to venture on. Asphodel did go back and double check that coffin she opened to find another rotted back pack with a potion of healing in it; always a welcome find to a party without any true clerics in its midst.

The next chamber they found was fairly large, but no less deadly than the monsters they had already encountered. This room had a couple of large statues of soldiers in front of two large brass doors at the far end. A ten foot walkway flanked by two fifty foot pits led to the other side of the room. The western pit had spikes sticking up from the bottom as well. Blackwell did not initially find any traps in the room. So Zola decided that to tap at the ground as she slowly advanced down the walkway only to find that she triggered a floor plate in the middle which caused the two statues to come rushing at them! The statues pushed Zola all the way to the back wall doing some damage to her. Fortunately Zerak was able to get out of the way before he too would have been pinned by Zola. Kel wasn't so lucky. He was standing next to Zola when the trap was triggered and was knocked off the walkway and into the eastern pit. unable to balance himself, he fell to the bottom. Somehow the fall didn't kill him, but only nearly so. it was fortunate that this pit didn't have any spikes like the other one. Lowering a rope into the pit, Asphodel descended to check on their fallen (or should I say falling) comrade, finding him barely hanging on to life. Kel was able to climb out of the pit once he was given the healing potion they had found earlier in the crypt while Asphodel looked around in the pit to see if she could find anything. She did find the remains of a long dead victim of the trap - the skeleton's legs were broken and its leather armor and backpack were all but disintegrated. Ironically, a healing potion vial was still intact in the backpack remnants, revealing that the fall must have been fatal for this victim, whoever he or she was.

So the party went about trying to figure a way around this pressure plate which took up almost the entire walkway. After several unsuccessful attempts at disabling the pressure plate (but not triggering the statues' bull rush attack luckily), Blackwell turned into a wolf and got a running jump over it, morphed back into hybrid form, and proceeded to attempt to figure out how to disable the statues' movement. He was able to figure a way to jam up the wheels which left him pretty confidant that he had thwarted the trap. But just to make sure, Asphodel went and grabbed the stone coffin lid from the other room and threw it directly on the trap's pressure plate and... the statues did not move! Now it was time to turn their attention to the brass doors.

Blackwell once again did not find any traps or locks on the doors and the doors swung open with little effort and no squeaks or groans - either well maintained or very well made. The chamber beyond was very large, with the doors opening onto a ten foot square landing with stairs leading down ten feet to the rest of the chamber. A gravelly voice, which definitely fit Roldare's description of the skeleton with the voice of death, spoke, "So reinforcements have come to me to join my undead army. Enter and die." With those words a skeleton wearing shining chainmail and wielding a shining longsword and shield came into view along with 4 more of those blood and gore dripping skeletons. The chamber itself was large and had all the trappings of an important final resting place. Near the large sarcophagus on the raised dais at the back of the room, was a human female lying on the cold stone, alive or dead was hard to tell from this vantage point.

The battle started by the heroes holding their ground at the top of the stairs, hoping to use the height as an advantage over these foul creatures, and while the lesser intelligent bloody skeletons took the bait and came up the stairs to meet them, the one who spoke wasn't easily tricked. The first couple of skeletons were bull rushed by Asphodel and Kel and were knocked back down the stairs causing them significant damage. But since there was only room for two at the top of the stairs, Zerak decided to jump down and start attacking on the ground floor. He got himself into position to use burning hands against two skeletons and the 'big guy' which successfully burned one of the bloody skeletons into oblivion. Jobi had started summoning eagles to help flank their opponents and to help whittle them down with the small damage that they could possibly inflict, and alternately using her sling to attempt to bean them with the rocks she had scavenged several days before.

After Zeraks, burning hands, the speaking skeleton turn his full attention to him and strode up and for two rounds attacked him twice with four efficient strikes of his longsword, laying Zerak low. Kel attempted a bull rush on the 'big guy' only to find him firmly planted and unmoved by his attack. Trading blows with him, though the creature took damage, Kel suffered between the blows received from him and from some of the zombies that had entered the fray, coming from the side chambers.

Zola had also jumped down and gave Zerak some healing so he was now at least able to withstand another attack if the big guy decided to attempt a coup-de-grace on him. She then began beating on the creatures closest to her.

Zerak was able to crawl away and stand up without and unfortunate incident preventing him to do so. By this time, the efforts of the rest of the party had brought the speaking skeleton low and Zola made sure that this skeleton was not getting back up. kel was on the verge of falling in combat so Zerak selflessly jumped back up onto the stairs and used their wand of healing on him even though he became the target of some opportunity attacks in the process. But the stars were luckily today and no attacks hit their marks.

Once the battle was over, Kel went to the female lying on the ground and found her to be alive. He administered some healing to her and she regained consciousness. They had found Dimira! She was very grateful for them saving her and her brother, and kel wanted to get them reunited and out of the crypt as fast as possible.

During this the party did search only a little bit in this final area of the crypt but only found several sealed coffins, several opened and empty coffins, and the magical gear on the skeleton who spoke. He was using a +1 light steel shield, +1 chainmail, and a +1 longsword. A rather lengthy debate erupted between the party members about whether they should take the items or put them back into the main sarcophagus. Some members were worried about possible curses mentioned by Telliann if they stole items from the dead, or possibly that the speaking skeleton may have actually been the tomb's main resident, Kassam, and that these were his things, but others saw no identifying marks and believed it would be OK to take the items.
Kel, who firmly believed that the items should stay within the tomb began to escort Dimira back to her brother, Roldare. And as the party was leaving the room, Asphodel and Zola grabbed the magical items to take.

A short tearful reunion with Dimira and Roldare ensued and Roldare now agreed that they would leave this place immediately. Kel and a couple of party members escorted the two outside the crypt to find the nearest city guard patrol and hand them over to them, giving instructions that they should be taken to Telliann for a debriefing. Then they returned to the crypt, rejoined the rest of the party and made camp in the entrance chamber of the crypt.

Once fully rested, well as fully rested as one can be while sleeping in a crypt anyway, our intrepid band of heroes made their way back to the one locked door they had passed up a couple days before. The door was locked but today Blackwell was in better form and unlocked it without too much difficulty. A long hallway with niches populated with life-sized statues of soldiers holding halberds at present arms position lined both sides of the hallway - 8 statues in all. Sensing that things were not as they seemed, Blackwell cautiously made his way down the hall, checking for traps the entire distance. And his strategy paid off. He found a pressure plate in the floor and promptly disabled it. At the end of the hallway another door intervened, blocking their progress further.

Blackwell opened this door and went into the room beyond. And upon seeing what was there, made an instant effort to hide in the shadows of the corner, hoping not to disturb the massive form inside. What he saw was a fairly large room with stairs going up ten feet on the east and west sides of the room, up to a platform that had a very large crude wooden humanoid statue holding two tower shields. Kel and Asphodel walked into the room, and at that moment, the door slammed shut and the creature came alive, jumping down the 10 feet with a mighty thud and began attacking the two heroes the construct had noticed. Kel had an amazing first round of combat against the creature - he managed to sever his right arm thereby cutting the creatures attacks in half. Asphodel was also able to help in the fray.

Meanwhile, on the other side if the door, a brief moment of panic coursed through the rest of the party when Zola tried to break down the door with her morningstar, having little effect on it. Then Zerak asked her to try the door knob and Zola found she was able to open the door without problem. So the rest of the group races into the room to help out  the other three. The battle was amazingly short for one against such a brutish creature. Now that they had a nice pile of fire wood for later use (and a couple of beaten up tower shields), they turned their attention to the door on the southern wall atop the platform.

This door didn't appear to have any traps on it but it was locked and Blackwell wasn't able to pick this one. The party tried both keys they had recovered in hopes that one of them would work, and the faintly magical key did work. When it was inserted into the keyhole, the door sort of sucked in the key, then the keyhole melted away and then the door just vanished, revealing the room beyond. This room had several tables with all manner of alchemical tools, containers, etc - none of which were anything more than mundane and none containing any reagents. But there was two cabinets with glass doors in the room. The cabinets had a large number of vials and potion bottles, a couple scrolls, a wand(!), and a small lock-box. Magic was detected not only inside the cabinets but on the cabinets themselves. So Blackwell went to work attempting to find and disable any traps that might be on the cabinets.

The first cabinet did indeed have a magical trap on it, most likely a glyph of warding. But luck ran out for Blackwell and he triggered the blast (thank the gods for damage resistance, he thought). Once the glyph was out of the way he worked on the lock and triggered another trap! A poisoned needle sprang out at him and poke him. He did not suffer any damage from the nuisance pin prick, but the poison did affect him quickly, noticing his overall health and robustness start to fade a bit. Fortunately it wasn't a highly potent poison for he was able to recover from it fairly soon. But the locks proved to be too difficult for him. So then he had an idea, why not take off the doors from the hinges, and this proved a successful tactic for both cabinets.

Soon the party was reveling in the joy of finding a substantial treasure. The lock-box they found had 50 platinum pieces in it! A small fortune for nearly everyone in the party. After identifying the many magical items found, they were ready to leave this cursed place for they had explored every inch of this mausoleum. They had stopped the imminent threat to Neverwinter's people, but they were not sure that they had stopped the true mastermind behind this creation of an undead army.

The party reported back to Telliann to let her know what happened and to collect their reward. She was greatly pleased with their efforts and gave them 150 gold pieces each for their efforts. She asked them to stay in touch since she always ends up having more issues to deal with than she has people to help her.

But that will have to wait for another day. For now its time for a bath and a drink...

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