Sunday, May 24, 2015

Session 38 Synopsis

Previously, on Phoenix Rising...
... Now the heroes believed that this area had something to do with the sundial they found across the river, but what exactly they weren't sure. So after some debate, Blackwell moved in between the burning staff and the numbers on the wall and let his shadow be cast upon the brass twelve. As he stood still, they noticed that black shadowy tendrils came pouring out of the walls and coalesced into wraiths! Eight in all, they attacked the party as soon as they could...

The wraiths came in hard and heavy against our heroes. These were not just ordinary wraiths but seemed more power full in their damage dealing capabilities. Blackwell was attacked by the two closest to him with near disastrous results. His constitution was sapped away at an alarming rate, making him feel more weak and vulnerable than he had in a long time. Apshodel, Zerak, Jobi and Kel all experienced attacks that connected from the wraiths, all sustaining ability damage, but not to the extent that Blackwell had. Kel on the other hand had several equally disastrous rounds of battle that resulted in her constitution being drained completely, killing her on the spot! The only hope for her now was that the party defeated the rest of the wraiths quickly enough so that they might be able to stop her from rising up as a wraith herself and be lost forever.

Fortunately, Zola and her mace of disruption was proving to be very effective against the wraiths and she was able to dispatch a few of them with only a single hit of her mace, watching them disintegrate when the magic of the mace proved too much for the undead abominations. Asphodel also was able to take out a couple of the creatures by sheer brute force while Zerak and Jobi helped out with supporting magical attacks. Soon, the last of the wraiths fell to Asphodel and Blackwell (who used his ghost-touched weapon to great effect) and as soon as the last one "died," the two noticed a small panel on the eastern wall of the room with the staff and numbers flop open. They quickly went to investigate and found 4 golden scroll tubes inside a small cubby. They detected magic and found no traps and soon Asphodel had opened the scroll cases to find the following magic scrolls: Raise Dead, Greater Restoration, Heal, Restoration.

The Raise Dead scroll they quickly handed to Jobi so she could cast it on Kel, hoping they weren't too late. As luck would have it, they were just in the nick of time and she was able to raise Kel from the dead. They then used the Greater Restoration scroll on her to bring her back to full power. The Restoration scroll was used on Blackwell and the rest of the ability damage and wounds were cured using the heroes' spells in memory.

Zerak brought out his mask of a thousand tomes and Pricilla again and sat down and concentrated on the poem, the sundial and the staff and numbers, racking his brain trying to figure out what the heck was going on here. Finally he thought that the correlation must be in synchronizing the sundial and the casting of a shadow on a number. But which number he asked of Pricilla - who answered (!) in a hushed, gravelly voice in his mind, "Match the numbers and all will be revealed." He wasn't sure if he was happy or scared that "she" answered him, but decided not to dwell on it too long.

So he and Zola went back to the sundial room and fixed the orbiting lantern so it shown on the sundial casting a shadow on the number 20 - which stood for 8 pm, and was the number of wraiths that attacked them. Then they went back to the tapestry room where the others were and everyone got ready for another battle when Asphodel walked in front of the flaming staff and cast her shadow on the wrought iron 8. As her shadow settled on the number, they heard a loud click noise from somewhere to the west. So they began searching the room, looking at all the tapestries and behind them as well.

The three tapestries on the south wall all depicted giants using dwarves in some sorts of games - dwarf catch, dwarf bowling and dwarf shot put. The northern wall had one depicting n elven man crying over the corpse of an elven female in a thunderstorm. Another had several pixies dancing around a boulder with an overcast sky. Asphodel took a second look at the large tapestry showing the door and the thief being hit by a trap. The lock on the door was oversized compared to the door and the key she had was the same key as in the tapestry. So she decided to touch her key to the keyhole on the tapestry and they heard another booming click noise coming from somewhere distant. At this time, Zerak found a secret door that was slightly ajar behind the tapestry of the man and dead woman and told the rest of the party about it.

Blackwell led the way down a narrow corridor that turned right and left before opening out into a larger area. All the way he searched for traps but didn't find any. Even still, the party followed him staying back twenty feet or so, just in case. When they rounded the corner they saw that the area opened up into a larger room with very strange curved wall and the runes were even more swirling and curving than the other they saw. They also saw another short corridor doubling back the way they came and opening into another dimly lit room. They also heard the muffled sounds of people talking, glasses clinking and laughter like some kind of social gathering or party was going on in the room beyond.

Asphodel decided to advance a bit into the intersection of the corridors and curving room and cast Detect Magic. She experienced something quite different than she expected to ...

You're no longer standing in the chamber-perhaps even the world-where you were. The passages around you are now made of rough-hewn rock, apparently dug directly through the earth. The floor is worn smooth. Along the walls farther ahead of you, a series of images was once painted, but they have largely worn away; you can make out, at most, a few vaguely humanoid figures. There's a sense of emptiness around you - the peculiar feeling that whatever life and magic once flowed through this place are long gone. Then, in the blink of an eye, you find yourself once more back in the Feywild with your companions around you.

With a confused look on her face, she asked if anyone else had seen something strange, but no one had. So Zerak stepped up and also cast Detect Magic and experienced the following ...

The world shimmers and changes around you. Walls that were constructed of bits of stone now have evenly carved brickwork, which appears to be mortared with oozing black goo. It drips slowly down the face of the stone. Moans echo from afar, and feelings of despair assail you. And then it's over. You find yourself back in the Feywild, with your companions watching you as though nothing untoward had happened at all.

He too was very perplexed and asked what Asphodel had "seen." Of course this did not match what he had seen and this prompted Zola to cast Detect Magic as well. And she saw ...

Suddenly, you find yourself within a desolate wasteland. Dust blows around your feet and swirls about a number of broken statues made of chipped and pitted marble. The sky above is black and empty of stars, and the air brushes your skin with a chill that is as much emotional as physical, bringing you a sense of unrelenting loss. Even as you quickly take this scene in it is gone, replaced by the familiar faces of your companions and the sounds of the Feywild.

So none of them had experienced the same thing but all concurred that this was a very strange thing to be happening. Jobi slowly advanced to just at the edge of the room and the sounds stopped, but they could now see into the room and saw ...

If it weren't for the fact that some of the walls have eldritch runes scattered here and there. you'd be certain that you had been teleported somewhere else. The chamber before you is luxurious, sporting a rich carpet, a gleaming chandelier in the center of the ceiling, and five small gaming tables around the outer edge, each with a haphazard collection of dice, cards and game pieces. There's no trace now of the voices you heard on the way in, and the only other visible exit is a wooden door along the south wall.

Zola detected for evil and found that the whole area was radiating an evil aura but it was not concentrated in any one spot and seemed to emanate from the entire area. So Blackwell advanced into the room to check out the closest gaming table to get a better look at the games on the table. But when he got near, he felt a sudden urge to start playing a game. Once he stepped up and began to interact with the table, everyone could see a translucent humanoid figure behind the table acting as a dealer or moderator of the game. Apparently Blackwell won the first hand for five platinum pieces appeared before him. But the next hand instead of more coins showing up he visibly winched and shook like something had hit or poked him hard. But he kept playing even when Jobi told him to come out of there - he just ignored her. So she tried to pull him out but he brushed her off without so much as turning around to acknowledge her. So Zerak came up with an idea on how to help break Blackwell out of the strange trance he was in. He first cast Evil Eye on him to lower his defenses and then cast his Sleep Hex on him. Blackwell dropped to the ground asleep. But then after a few seconds of inactivity, he lurched again like someone had kicked him and woke up. Then he stood up, momentarily confused as to what was going on but then began gambling again. He was winning five platinum pieces each time but when he lost he was taking damage though no noticeable cuts or wounds outwardly appeared on his body.

Zola walked up to the table and felt the table's magical influence for just a moment before shaking it off. Zola then tried to cast her spell Cast Out on the table and it seemed to have broken the hold it had on Blackwell for he came out of his obsessed trance but then saw the ten platinum pieces on the table and grabbed them. As soon as he had them in his hand he was once again under the table's spell and continued to gamble - once again under the table's influence. It was at this time that the rest of the party gave up on Blackwell and let him continue to gamble. Zerak then decided he was going to walk through the room and examine the wooden door on the south wall, but when he passed the table next to the door, he too decided to stop what he was doing and go and gamble. Now the party was becoming alarmed with two of its members stuck gambling and getting damaged as they lost. Soon though Blackwell won four hands and twenty platinum pieces and the hold on his mind was broken. He again grabbed the coins but this time he was not again compelled to gamble so he high-tailed it [pun intended :)] out of the room and told the party that he had taken a lot of damage when he lost. Just about this time, Zerak had won his fourth hand and twenty platinum and the table let go of his mind. He pocketed the coins and made his way out of the room but got caught by a third table and began gambling again. Jobi immediately started to move towards Zerak with the intention of healing him while he was gambling but she got sucked into the same ensorcellment and began gambling at the same table. So Zola came over, withstood the compulsion and began healing both of them as they gambled. Soon they too had won four hand and twenty platinum and were released by the table. Everyone got out of that room as quickly as they could.

Since they had used so much healing and some other spells trying to keep their friends alive while trapped by the evil tables (huh, evil tables - now there's a new phrase - one I don't think we'll hear too often), they decided they better rest before continuing on and so they went back into the tapestry room and holed up there for eight hours. Fortunately nothing bothered them while they were resting and soon they were ready to continue their journey.

Our intrepid band made their way back to the room that intersected with the strange gaming room - giving that corridor a wide berth. The next chamber was equally puzzling ...

Twisted runes cover the uneven walls, even parts of the floor and ceiling. Two of the walls jut out and curve oddly and end in narrow columns, as though to continue patterns begun by the runes around them. A few of these runes glow, providing weak light throughout this area.

Cautiously advancing into the room, Asphodel first explored a small alcove that was found to contain a large lever adorned with the same strange curving runes all over it. It was in the up position. Blackwell examined it for traps and when he declared there were none, Asphodel pulled the lever down. It moved very slowly and when it reached the bottom the party heard the echoing click of something off in the distance. They could not pinpoint where this sound came from but it did sound similar to the secret door when it clicked open. Next she advanced into the rest of the chamber and found it was empty of anything except the strange runes carved into the walls. They continued on to find a narrow curving hallway that led to another very strangely shaped chamber - it had two sections that jutted out from a central location and seemed to dead end. It was at this time that everyone felt a powerful magical force wash down upon them. Zola, Jobi and Asphodel shook off the effect as quickly as it had descended upon them, but Zerak, Kel and Blackwell were not so fortunate.

The rest of the party saw expressions of horror grow across their faces and then the three dropped to the ground, apparently dead! Blackwell's resiliency was put to use as he regained consciousness with just a few hit points remaining, but also was stunned. Immediately after that, half a dozen goblin-type creatures materialized among the standing party members and attacked. Asphodel and Zola thought they resembled spriggans, only they were as tall as humans, not the traditional halfling sized versions. Zerak and Kel were able to stabilize and keep from bleeding out but remained unconscious for most of the fight. The spriggans were very adept at swordplay and caused some sever damage to the standing members (not really Asphodel, though). One landed such a great hit that it had severed Jobi's right hand sending her straight into shock and spewing blood out of the stump at an incredible rate. It was good that just before that happened she was able to heal Kel to the point where she regained consciousness. So Kel was able to cast healing on her to staunch the flow of blood and keep the beautiful tiefling from bleeding out. Blackwell was able to regain his wits enough to take a healing potion and join the fight using his pistols. And soon the party had killed all the spriggans and healed Zerak. And as soon as Zerak was up, he grabbed up Jobi's right hand, held it to her arm and cast his Regenerate spell to make Jobi whole again - well physically anyway. She was still suffering from the shock of losing a limb and Zerak and Asphodel tried to comfort and reassure her she was alright now.

After completely healing everyone of their wounds, Asphodel began to search the dead ends for anything that might be hidden. In the eastern area she found a secret trap door in the floor. Blackwell examined it and found it to be safe, then unlocked it. She opened it to find an old wooden ladder leading down a tunnel some forty feet. After that nothing much was discernible. In the western end she found another secret trap door. And once again Blackwell check for traps and then went ot unlock it. But this time he failed at his search and received the full force of a lightning trap. This caused him so much damage that all his fur immediately stood on end and tendrils of smoke wafted off of him, smelling of burned hair and skin. He kind of looked like a full grown Chia Pet, but I digress once again. Of course he needed some more healing after this. Asphodel then opened the trap door and saw that this one too had an old wooden ladder leading down some forty feet into the cold, hard ground.

We leave our heroes looking at the trap doors and wondering which way they will head next. Will they rest again first, or take off into more adventure right away? Until next week ...

1 comment:

  1. The battle had ended. The small creatures resembling spriggans were dead. Asphodel and Blackwell searched the cooridors as Jobi sat slumped against the wall. She stared at her wrist where her hand had just been re-attched. She blinked away the tears from corners of her eyes.

    “I can’t do this anymore,” she said quietly.

    Zerak turned from his spot next her against the wall.

    “Come again?” he replied.

    “I never wanted to be an adventurer,” she spoke in a rushed, hurry tone, “I turned to the art for defense. It was just to stay alive. I never planned on doing this. Facing monsters. Crawling through dungeons. Facing dragons.”

    She turned and looked up at her companion.

    “I never wanted to have my hand cut off!” she cried. She folded her arms around her knees and started to rock softly.

    “I want to leave. I want to get back to Neverwinter. I don’t think I can do this anymore.”

    Zerak blinked, then slowly put his arm around her. Jobi softly leaned into him. He rubbed her back softly as he sighed and stared out into space.

    After a moment Zerak spoke, “Ever since we met, you’ve always placed your faith in Sarenrae. Have you asked her?”

    Zerak felt her stiffen. He glanced down and saw her staring into space.

    “I… I hadn’t thought of that,” she said softly. She quickly stood up, “I have some thinking to do…”

    Zerak slumped against the wall and sighed softly as she stook a few steps away. He then noticed a shadow being cast over him.

    “Oh, and Zerak?”

    He looked up to see Jobi in front him, just before she leaned down to him. She clapsed his cheeks in her hands and kissed him deeply. Zerak’s eyes shot open in shock as he felt an explosion ring throughout his body.

    Jobi broke the kiss and leaned in closer to his ear, “Thank you.” She pulled away, smiling down at him sweetly, and walked away again.

    Zerak stared into space, unable to move. Finally he shook his head.

    “Wow. That was… wow. Felt that one.”

    He took in a deep breath, then stopped suddenly. He sniffed the air.

    “Wait…” he took another few sniffs, then bounced his head against the wall, “Yeah, that was just Blackwell finding a trap.”