Searching through the room they not only found about a dozen old books about the local flora, fauna, and history that appear to be worth a couple hundred gold pieces to the right collector or sage, but a secret door in one of the bookshelves. Once again Blackwell's services found no traps on the door and was able to open the door with difficulty. Behind it was a small room with four chests against the back wall. Before anyone entered the room, Zola noticed that there were many small holes from floor to ceiling on both walls about a foot into the room. Asphodel took an old chair and first waved it in the door opening past the holes, but nthing happened. Then she tapped the chair to the floor and suddenly jets of flames errupted out of those holes and covered the area from wall to wall with flames! Blackwell was able to disable this trap and make it safe for him to go into the room and investigate the chests.
The first chest contained 10 potion vials - 4 of a healing nature and the rest holy water. The second chest had five blue quartz stones and an empty scroll case made of ivory with gold end caps. The third chest had a gold quill-pen case monogrammed with HM, a gold handled comb and brush set, a polished silver mirror, and two sets of gold earrings (heart shaped). And the fourth chest had 100 gold pieces in it.
The next door investigated was the one nearest them on the south wall. The room revealed beyond had rotting tapestries hanging on the walls and some broken up furniture plus there was a large iron chest in the back of the room. Kel made sure there was nothing behind the tapestries and Zola detected evocation magic on the chest. So everyone backed out of the room to let Blackwell do his stuff. His attempt at disarming this glyph trap, however, was spectacularly unsucessful and actually triggered the glyph, causing fire to erupt out of the front of the chest and completely engulfing him in flames. Fortunately for him, he was a stronger and more experienced person since that barroom fight, so he was able to survive the blast. He opened the chest and found a magical mace, a scroll tube with four spells and two rubies, which he pocketed (and later gave one to Zola). Now Zerak and Zola were watching Blackwell carefully and didn't believe him when he failed to mention the rubies existence. Zerak was quite upset with Blackwell, telling him again that it wasn't the fact that he wanted to have some extra for 'hazard pay' to help pay for his (Blackwell's) parents' settling in to a new home, but rather the fact that he (Blackwell) kept on trying to hide what he was doing by not being up front with the party. And Zerak was becoming disinclined to help Blackwell with healing if he kept up these nefarious actions.
Kel, becoming disinterested in the inter-party bickering, went and opened up the next door on the south wall, which revealed a room with lots of broken furniture, old and rotten storage crates, etc. But on the far wall there hung a tapestry in pristine shape. It was a scene of some large town or city with a strange looking tower in the middle. The tower was sort of conical, but instead of ending at a point at the top, it had a large sphere on the top of it. The tapestry did detect of faint abjuration magic, so Zola used her mage hand to carefully unhook it from the wall and bring it out into the hallway. After studying it a bit, they had determined that it may be depicting the Tower of the Arcane Brotherhood located in Luskan - or at least it was located in Luskan before the Spellpalgue wiped out Luskan.
The last door on the south wall led into a room that had a more powerful skeleton wearing a breastplate and using a heavy shield and flail who was sitting in a chair. When the door was opened, the skeleton turned to see what was coming in the door and stood up prepared for battle. In addition, the statue at the end of the hall, which the party was now at, got off it's pedestal and started to move in for the attack. This battle proved to be a bit difficult because the skeleton was very well versed in the use of the flail and used it to trip several party members including Asphodel and Jobi. And Jobi was brought down quickly by the skeleton who, if not for Zerak's healing interference, would have killed her. When the battle was over, they discovered that both the skeleton and the "statue" had magical weapons, magical sheilds, and magical armor.
Kel took magical armor and shield, while Zola took a magical greatsword, and Asphodel took a magical shield, with the rest going to party treasure to be sold off later.
There was a short north hallway ending in another door, revealing a room in another tower which was used as a weapons training room. There were many old, rusty weapons on the walls, rotted mats on the floor, and a weapons rack. The rack had a very clean and new looking quarterstaff on it that radiated as magical. So Blackwell went up to it to check for any type of trap and was surprised when the weapons rack actually lunged at him with an attack and stuck fast to him! It was a mimic and it could hit hard enough and constrict enough to get through his damage reduction! The rest of the party closed in on the strange beast and tried to attack it with varying degrees of success. A couple more weapons became stuck fast to the creature as the weapons' owners weren't quite able to hit the beast without it grabbing the weapons. But with some luck and arrows, bolts, and magic missiles, they were able to defeat the creature. Fortunately it only took a short time for the beast's adhesive qualities to wear off once it was dead. And Jobi was the proud owner of a new magical quarterstaff.
Also in this room there was a lowered portcullis leading to another door out of this tower room. Once Blackwell determined there were no traps on the gate, Kel and Asphodel raised it up with brute force, actually jamming it into the ceiling. Then Blackwell went to the door, but as soon as he started down the short hall, the floor gave way from old age and rot, dumping him 20 feet below in a mud and water filled (3 feet of water) room. His reflexes kept him from sustaining much damage from the fall, but the danger wasn't over. There were 3 ghouls in this room and they rushed up on him to feed! Kel was the first to drop down the hole to lend a hand to Blackwell. He landed hard, but was able to keep his feet and start dishing out damage to these ghouls. Zerak also decided to drop down the hole but was less fortunate on the amount of damage he sustained and had to take a moment to recoup before fighting on. Jobi just leaned over the hole to deliver magic missiles from her wand. And in the end the party won out although Blackwell was bitten and seemed to think that he may have contracted ghoul fever. Zerak stepped up to monitor Blackwell and would administer some healing expertise to help him break the disease if in fact, he had contracted it. Only time will tell.
Since there was no readily seen door out of this tower level, they all ascended a rope back to the training room. Using one of the old library tables to help ford the hole in the floor, everyone now had access to the door, which revealed a sprial staircase descending lower into the castle area proper. Weighing their options, the party decided to rest and then descend these stairs instead of going back to the stairs in the tower they originally entered.
The stairs opened into the next level of the castle proper, with another long hallway like upstairs, and having just as many doors. Blackwell searched these doors and did not find any traps on them as well. Plus, no magic detected throughout the hallway either. On the far end of the hall opposite of where the stairs were, the passage turned to the south and ended in a 10 foot wide stair case going down to the next level, but it was collapsed at the end of it. Our heroes were able to spot a hole in the rubble that would allow someone to climb down to the next level using a rope. Instead of doing that right away, they went to check out the doors and discover what secrets they may reveal.
They checked out the only door on the north wall first and found it leading to a barracks, complete with rotting bunk beds and 8 guards that didn't know when to quit. The party quickly dispatched these skeletons but it wasn't without some issues. Jobi once again showed her prowess with the sling by managing to stun herself again while hitting Kel with her sling bullet. And Blackwell managed to drop his mace in the middle of battle too. But none of these instances caused the group any extra harm.
Kel next opened the door closest to the spiral stairs and saw two corpses that immediately began to get up as soon as he opened the door. So, he closed it. And then everyone got ready for when the door would open by the monsters' hands. They didn't have to wait long at all and when the door did open, they party saw three corpses trying to get at them. Kel and Zola were able to hold the monsters at bay through the doorway, allowing the rest of the party to attack with ranged weapons and spells. But as they attacked they began to notice that their weapons weren't as effective as they should have been and Zerak's burning hands spell was completely ineffective against them. Based on these facts, they were able to discern that these creatures may be ju-ju zombies, something the party had never faced before. Fortunately keeping them pinned in the doorway kept most of the party safe while maximizing their offensive capabilities against the creatures.
Stay tuned for next week's exciting adventures...