After a short debate, our heroes decided that they would go investigate what was behind the door in the tower section that they left alone instead of going down this hole to the next lower level. SO they made the trek back up the spiral staircase, over the table covering the hole, and off to grandma's house ... no wait... that's a different story... and over to the room in the tower where they had fought the first of the large groups of skeleton guards in this complex. Blackwell did another fine job of ensuring everyones safety by making sure no traps would spring out and harm any of them. He did this not only at the door but also checked the stairs leading down to the next level of the tower. The stairs ended at a small landing that had a reinforced door and another set of stairs leading down to the next level. The landing was barely large enough to fit all six of our heroes and still allow the door to be opened. Blackwell examined this door, which was much sturdier than the other doors in the complex; having steel reinforcement bands across the heavy wooden planks, but wasn't too sure if there were any traps or not. So Asphodel cast detect magic on the area, and a glyph trap was revealed on the door right at chest height. Now knowing the trap existed, Blackwell commenced to attempting to disable it, while the rest of the party backed onto the stairwells in an attempt to stay clear just in case he was having a bad day. With only a couple of tries, he managed to disable the trap and commence work on unlocking the door, which proved to be a rather complex lock, requiring him to make several attempts before achieving success and unlocking the heavy door.
When the door was opened, a wizard's laboratory was revealed. There were a couple of long work tables, a couple of shelves on the walls, a couple of cabinets along the walls, and a couple of closed doors here as well. A thick layer of dust and cobwebs coated the room and many of the glass containers, beakers, vials, etc. were broken or had whatever contents were in them evaporated or solidified, making most of the items useless to anyone now. Another casting of detect magic revealed that the two cabinets on the middle walls both contained magic, and that was all the inticement the party needed to enter the room. They started to enter and Kel went in to where the cabinets were because he wanted to see what was behind the walls where the cabinets were located. Just as he arrived there, he was greeted by two ice golem guards! Since the party was now becoming more and more battle hardened, no one was really surprised that there were guards in a wizard's laboratory in a wizard's tower, and the battle was on.
Kel closed with one of the golems, trying to pin it down and prevent it from advancing on the rest of the party. He found that even his magic weapon wasn't doing the kind of damage that he thought it should do, but at least it was damaging the construct. As before, the ice golem used its breath weapon on Kel, delivering significant damage to him in the form of a frosty deep freeze cloud. The physically stronger members of the party rushed into battle to help keep the creatures away from the less robust members. Kel was left entertaining the first golem, with the help of Jobi and her summoned eagles, while Blackwell, Asphodel, and Zola went toe to toe with the second golem, and Zerak helped with some of his spells. The party endured a couple more breath weapon attacks and even saw the first one heal the second one by aiming his breath weapon to include it. The first golem managed to knock Kel out of the fight which prompted Blackwell to attempt to run over and pour a healing potion down his throat.
While he was doing that, the second one used its breath weapon again and laid Jobi low as well, and Zola rushed her out of the room to heal her. Asphodel then bull rushed the first golem and tried to pin it against the wall to make sure it didn't get in the fray with its companion. Zerak then got an idea to use the table as a flaming battering ram against it and called to Zola and Jobi to help him push the table. Kel was now up and rushing over to attack the first golem again, when he saw Asphodel go down hard, losing her eidolon and landing in a heap on the ground, obviously dying, if not dead already. So he rushed over, grabbed her up in his arms and threw her over to Blackwell to catch her and help her out. His pass of the 29 poound halfling was perfect - as good or better than you'd see in professional midget bowling. But Blackwell's catch left a lot to be desired for he misjudged her speed and missed catching her in his arms and used his chest instead, which caused him to lose his balance, fall backwards, hit his head, bite his tongue, and knocked himself out. By this time, Zerak, Zola, and Jobi rammed the second golem with the flaming table and were able to kill it. Unfortunately, when ice golems "die" they explode, and shrapnel along with icy waves of cold emanated outwards and hit nearly everyone.
Now Kel was back fighting the first golem again, trying to hack it into little bits. Zerak decided that he wanted to repeat the flaming table trick on this one too and so got it ready for the attack. The table pinned the golem between the wall of the tower and the alcove wall. The fire damage was significant but did not destroy the beast. In fact, it decided that it wasn't going to be trapped so it smashed through the alcove wall, destroying one of the cabinets that radiated magic. Glass, wood, and debris went flying everywhere.
Meanwhile, Blackwell woke up and revived Asphodel with one of her potions of healing. She immediately got up and cast a summoning spell to conjure up a fire elemental and placed it on the burning table right next to the ice golem. The fire elemental made short work of the heavily wounded ice golem, and it too exploded just like the first one, giving all nearby a party gift of more damage. This was, by far, the most difficult combat our heroes had experienced in their short careers. Three members went down during the fight and were nearly lost. And they certainly hoped that they wouldn't see another battle of this magnitude anytime soon.
After the couple day rest that the party required before continuing on, they then explored the last two doors in the room as well as the locked cabinet and the destroyed cabinet. In the locked cabinet they found half a dozen potion vials that were still full and potent. The cabinet destroyed by the one ice golem still had a couple of magic items, even though all the potions and glassware was destroyed. One was a much coveted bag of holding and the other was an amulet of natural armor. The one door revealed just a closet, but the other door waS much more sinister. Blackwell discovered that it was trapped but could not disarm it. So he relied on removing the hinges but the door was pretty stuck and wasn't easily removed from the doorjam. Kel used his crowbar to pry the door loose from the jam and when he did, a most insidious trap was revealed. When the door popped out of the jam and fell to the wayside, a javelin with a large barbed head rocketed out of the doorway. The javelin had a chain attached to its back end so when the javelin made it out of the doorway about 20 feet, it was jerked back into the door and then disappeared down through the floor. When the group looked a little closer, they saw that the javelin jerked back the way it did because the chain was attached to a stone block rigged to fall down a hole and had 1 foot spikes on its backside. So if someone would have been skewered and held by the javelin, they would have been dragged and fell down the hole to land on a bunch of spikes. Fortunately for the party, no one was hurt by this thief-killer trap. And of course, there was nothing else behind this door.
Then they traveled down the the stairs to the next lower level of the tower. These stairs ended in a very small landing that had two closed doors. With the memory of the thief-killer door trap fresh in their minds, opening these doors gave the party a bit of pause, but they finally opened the north door, while leaving the east door closed. The north door revealed an office of sorts - a desk, a few chairs, and another door out of the room. Nothing of importance was found in the room so their attention turned to the door. After the routine checking of the door, opening it revealed another, larger room beyond. It appeared to be a prison, complete with 3 barred cells and skeletal occupants. The center of the room held what must have been the jailer fo rit was a skeleton of very large proprtions carrying a very big club with spikes and it started to move towards the door the party just opened. In addition all the cells' occupants got up when their cell doors automatically swung open. So our heroes used their tactical knowledge to try and hold these creatures at bay. The large skeleton couldn't fit through the door so they tried to keep it pinned down here. Blackwell decided to move towards the other unopened door and sneak through it to flank all these skeletons.
The large skeleton just busted out the door and the wall it needed to in order to get better access to the party and the other skeletons were swarming in behind it and going for the other door, so when Blackwell opened it, he saw many skeletons right in front of him. Fortunately he was stealthy enough not to be noticed right away and was able to destroy one before they noticed him. Then they started attacking him relentlessly, even though there was only a very small chance they could actually hurt him. The rest of the party battled the giant and other skeletons as they tried to swarm the party. Slowly the party chipped away at their foes and nearly destroyed all of them with minimal damage except for Blackwell. One skeleton got in a very lucky strike against him, thrusting deep into his flesh and managed to sever his spine!. He dropped to the ground in a heap with excrutiating pain. Moments later, the last of the skeletons were dispatched and Zola rushed to Blackwell's side to administer as much healing as was needed to repair his broken form and ensure no permanent damage was done.
Stay tuned for next week's adventurous antics...