FalsKrag Session 15 – Secret doors and constructs

The players are very happy to have reached level four and be developing class abilities and having a reasonable amount of hp’s now. The three main encounters in this session were all against constructs. The first fight went from something average to amusing when Winter’s critical on an attack disarmed the animated armour, and another player’s quick thinking claimed the dropped sword. A mailed fist wasn’t very effective. This was the first time these characters have met golems and the fights could have been quite nasty. Using fire against ice was an obvious choice, but strategy made a big difference against the flesh golem.

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3rd Brewfest: Making their way to the mountain, they descend to the Hall of the Gods. They activate the statue of Obad-Hai (Flan God of Nature) and receive a wand of Bears Endurance. After some discussion they go back up, and then down to the other side of the level where the dark folk were camped. The chambers here are empty – they have been gone about a week. A message recently scratched on wall to Seldrel says “Look side you first time free one me – G” which he assumes is from Genas. Lanliss, with Bacon assisting, works through the spell trapped statue hall disarming all and recovering two wands. A message warns them to “Beware the child of light.” Returning to the Hall of Gods, they search the cells where a dark folk was freed a month ago. There is a scroll with a message from Genas. He states that he is sorry the dark folk were ordered to attack the group. He was alerted by two who refused to obey. He offers a phrase to be used if they meet dark folk in future. Seldrel is concerned that there may be more hidden rooms off from the fungi caves and the group goes downstairs to do a thorough search of the cavern walls. They locate a secret door close to one of those previously found. A animated suit of armour guards a locked door. The fight goes downhill for the construct after Winter shoots the sword out of its hands and Boris grabs the weapon. The second room has strong magical wards all over the walls, floor and ceiling that are only active while the door is closed. It takes some time to learn that while the door is open, there is a rift to another plane. Seldrel cannot determine which plane. Considering the chambers defences, they do not want to risk entry. Continuing to search the walls of the main caverns brings an attack by giant rats, but finds no more hidden doors.

They take the stairs down to level five and disarm the magic traps. An old message found with the chain devil mentioned a well with treasure and making a wish. They go to where the kobolds were defeated (and many coins were brought up from the well) and Hardaz drops a gold coin down. He wishes for his morning star to be magical, and Seldrel casts detect magic. He observes nothing new, but convinces Hardaz that his weapon is now magical. Most of the group also believe him, but he signals to the others that he is bluffing.

They decide to take the northern stairs and through the secret door, looking again at the animal panels on the walls. They feel better able to face the challenges here, than the last time they were here. Heading east, they encounter two small odd beast-like demons that create foul clouds of putrid gas. Most resist the poisonous vapours and move out as fast as possible. The creatures take less damage from the parties weapons than expected, but are still destroyed before they harm anyone seriously. The combat attracts two ogre zombies, who are fought one after the other in a passageway. Beyond them there are two secret doors. Behind one is a small room with a fourth black gate. Seldrel holds out different gem keys and sees into the shrine to Iuz, and also two rooms they haven’t been to. The second hidden door (partway up the wall) has a narrow tunnel that leads to a trapped chest. Lanliss recovers some treasure with the help of Boris, and they follow the tunnel to another secret door and peer into a large room with a central pillar and a door. Rather than drop down into the room, they return to the main group and take a wide passage northward and the door to the other side of the same room. As they enter a pale statue moves towards them; a female human figure carved from ice attacks, breathing a cone of frost. The fight is tough, with Merxif inflicting considerable damage from his searing wand. The Ice Golem explodes when killed. The central column is carved with snakes and it rotates revealing a cavity with a scroll. A message carved on the wall refers to a “winter raven” that can be bent or broken.

A hidden door reveals a number of narrow winding passages. Each ends at a strong, locked, iron bound door that Lanliss unlocks but cannot open. They appear to be fastened to the stone of a dead end. Another secret door has two dead ends – one buried in rock fallen long ago, and the other ending in a fifty foot high shaft. Lanliss climbs and finds a trapdoor. It opens into a wide hall, with some fallen rock to the west and a lit chamber to the east. Lanliss drops a rope, Winter and Boris climb up and help pull up those without the skill to climb. Boris learns that the hall has more hidden trap-doors, and falls down a deep spiked pit. Lanliss tells everyone not to move while he searches the hall and finds two more pit traps! Boris climbs out, slightly wounded, and Bacon comes up the shaft last.

They enter a large magically lit chamber and confront a large humanoid that seems to be sewn together from many other creatures. After it batters Hardaz, Seldrel realises they face a Flesh Golem. Lanliss orders the group to adjust their positions in the room so they can flank it. The fight is over soon after Seldrel casts grease and Boris trips the golem. A boar image is carved on the wall with a message about a lion and a holy man. An open pit in the room has a hidden compartment holding a healing scroll and some adamantine sling bullets. A secret door hides a long, dusty tiled passage leading to a door.

FalsKrag Session 14 – Betrayal

Discussion, planning and an assortment of fights. Discovery of a great staircase, and a few interesting bits of treasure. This was all enough for the group to reach 4th level when they headed back to town. The group keep encountering creatures that their players either have not encountered or know little about. I do occasionally remind the players that while they may know something about certain monsters or the way things might happen, their characters do not. It can be difficult not to mention/utilise that sort of knowledge, so being able to put creatures they don’t know into play is good for both me and them. (They still don’t truly know what the dark folk are, and while some of them knew what a kyton is, none knew of the augers – the flying armoured eyes.)

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20th Harvester: Bacon notices a secret door in the small chamber while they wait. One of the dark folk returns and leads them along a narrow hall and then off to a large room with small tables, chairs and even a rug on the floor. A slimmer, taller figure in similar clothing (but much cleaner) and leather armour is waiting for them. He introduces himself as Kael, the leader of the group of dark folk here and above. Kael thanks them for helping the earlier folk and seems happy to meet them. He mentions rooms on both sides of a wide hall on this level, and states that demonic creatures have taken over the other side of the level. The dark folk outnumber them, but they take little damage from non-magical weapons and are faster, so both groups are at a stalemate, with an occasional skirmish at the central hall. Both sides have low barricades protecting their position. Kael offers gems and coins if the group will destroy the bloodthirsty group, led by a chain wrapped humanoid. Seldrel thinks from descriptions, that the other leader is a Kyton, or Chain Devil. As such they would need silver weapons to defeat them. They accept the proposal and decide to rest here and prepare spells. They also locate three bottles of silversheen in their equipment and decide that Bacon, Hardaz and Winter should use these.

21st: With Hardaz’ axe, Bacon’s fists, and a quiver of Winter’s arrows silvered, the group moves up for quick look down the long wide hall. All is quiet, and two damaged doors close by lead to small empty rooms. They cross a low barricade and move into a narrow passage. Many alcoves are spaced along it and as Lanliss move forward a small metal clad object darts at him. A large flying eye is mostly wrapped in metal and covered in barbs and blades. He has trouble damaging it, and while its attacks cause minimal damage, they bleed. It takes a few blows from Bacon to take it down. At the end of the hall is a small chamber with bloodstains. An engraving (of a star in a circle in a square) is carved into the floor with reddish stones embedded into it. Seldrel reads a faint magical aura. Lanliss finds a secret door – beyond it a second small room has rubbish. Amid the broken weapons, scraps of armour and clothing, they locate a wand and a small magical shield. Moving forward through some more rooms, they sight the Kyton and when they move in to attack, two more of the armoured eyes fly in and attack. Both sides trade blows and then both the kyton and its allies retreat. Lanliss suggests closing doors to stop the eyes moving around and they carefully check the rooms around them as they move forward. They find a badly wounded dark folk whom they heal. The Kyton opens a door behind them and makes a brief attack before retreating again. The group splits two ways, with Bacon chasing the chain devil and nearly everyone else heading around to the narrow passage. The eyes attack, retreat, and soon it’s a general melee in the passage with the kyton backed into a niche and the eyes on the edge of the fight. This time they are all destroyed. The group heals, has a final check that there are no other rooms and heads back to Kael.

The dark folk seemed happy and Kael thanks them for what they have done – then the dark folk attack. The surprise attack inflicts wounds on most of the group – some of which are poisoned. Bacon throws off the effects, but Lanliss is not so lucky. Kael draws two short swords and focuses on the rogue. The first dark folk struck down with a solid blow creates a burst of bright light blinding Winter. The group is careful to glance away each time another falls. Then all their lights go out – mundane and magical – and only the dwarves can still see. They focus on Kael and dark folk around Lanliss, who is knocked unconscious. Soon the dark folk leader is struck down and the magical darkness is lifted. Merxif heals whomever he can, while the rest trade blows. Winter can see again and resumes taking down targets. Two dark folk retreat and someone takes a moment to make sure Kael won’t rise again – the traitorous humanoid explodes in a ball of flame, setting off fallen dark folk like firecrackers. Only clothes and knives remain of those killed. The group scout through more rooms and into some caves full of fungi and vegetables. A giant scorpion attacks Hardaz but is quickly killed. Searching the rest of the chambers produces a wand of magic missiles, food, silver and gold coins, gems and some potions.

The group head back to the central wide passage and check two more empty but battered rooms. Beyond them is a thirty foot wide shaft with a stairway going both up and down. The stairs appear to make only a few downward revolutions being stopping, but the shaft extends down as far as anyone can see. They head back upstairs, stopping in the Hall of Gods to activate the statue of St. Cuthbert. Heading up through the hold is uneventful, but as they head out to the main road and voice speaks from the long grass “I’m watching you!” and something moves speedily away. Lanliss and Winter find paw prints, likely a large canine like a wolf. They are back in Falsford around midday.

22nd Harvester – 2nd Brewfest. Seldrel begins crafting magical enhancements for the group. Hardaz seeks out the town wizard to make his axe Impervious. The group enjoys the celebration of Brewfest. <Level Four>

FalsKrag Session 13 – The undead and the living.

This was a more relaxed and interesting session. A lot of exploration to chase up odd notes on maps and ways left unexplored. Encounters this time involved conversation instead of combat, and the kobold fight was quite fun for me. The imp used his invisibility power to keep going in and out of the combat. I was back to rolling 1’s and 20’s as normal, but my wife had an incredible streak of rolling five natural 1’s in the same fight. We only allow one fumble per combat (the rest are misses), and the first was a pretty minor disadvantage, so it was more frustrating than anything problematic. The group recovered considerable weapons and magical items from this session and we all had a good time.

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20th Harvester: On returning to Fals Hold, the group notes noise and movement in the graveyard. Three young men are trying to batter open the vault door. It doesn’t look like they will be successful, but Lanliss observes that the door appears to have been opened recently. The young men are happy to have assistance getting in, but when they ask for equal shares of treasure the party isn’t so interested. They decide to return later. They head down to the Hall of the Gods, and with blood taken from the orcs killed earlier in the week, activate the statue if Gruumsh. They receive a wand of boiling blood. While they are here there is a dimming of the light in the main hall and a voice calls out to them asking about a sword. Seldrel and Hardaz go out to the hall and sight a man with glowing orange eyes in mithril full plate armour. As they draw close, Hardaz is suddenly full of fear and runs off down the hall. The figure describes a sword with silver hilt, a blue gem and runes on the blade – “Dealan Hallac”. He also asks about a “window into otherspace”. Merxif observes that the man is undead. They state they know nothing of either, and the figure strides off and heads downstairs to the fungi caves. The group finds Hardaz and heads back outside to the graveyard. There is no-one else around, and Lanliss picks the door lock fairly easily. A ramp leads down into a long hall where two bodies lie at the foot a one of five stone doors. Lanliss triggers a trap as he approaches the bodies – a stone block falls from the ceiling severely wounding him. He locates and disarms a trap on one of the doors, and the rest of the group enter the vault. Most of the doors are engraved with names and dates, beginning with the founder of Fals Hold and ending with the last lord of the castle. Each small room holds a pillar with urns holding the ashes of the Falshandren family and some rooms also have a shelf with jewellery or magical weapons. As Lanliss lifts a jade urn to take with them a voice commands “Put that down!” The slightly translucent figure of an older well dressed man has appeared in the hallway. Lanliss replaces the urn and the figure tells them to leave the ashes of his family alone. They can have the other items in the vault if they agree to destroy his grandson’s remains. They learn that they are speaking with the ghost of Robann Falshadren, and that Gregern Falshadren (the black sheep of the family) still lives in some form under the Hold. Robann doesn’t know where he is, or how to get rid of him – just that he should be dead and isn’t. The party agree to his terms and the shade thanks them and fades away. They are delighted to recover four magical items – a ring, javelin of lightning, rod and a fine bastard sword with flan runes down the blade – Dealan Hallac! (air bane) Hardaz takes the sword, even though not fully trained in its use. They debate giving it over to the undead warrior should they see him again, or keeping it.

They head down through the halls and fungus caves to “level 5” with magical traps (which Lanliss disarms) and reach “Avarath’s Folly” with its waterfall. They want to climb up to the ledge behind it and explore that area. Some of the group look in the magical pool but see no more coins. Seldrel recalls an odd shape in the middle of the waterfall itself when he used the scrying pool to look through these chambers. Lanliss removes some of his gear and climbs into the pool. He finds a 6” metal rod stuck in the rock amid the falling water. He cannot pull it out. Hardaz tries to assist him, then gets a pick and chips at the rock for a time with little effect. Seldrel suddenly recalls one of the wands he carries that they have previously debated selling – stone shape! He reshapes the rocks under the water, freeing the rod. They dry off and examine their find – a magical cold iron spear head with a foot long mithril shaft. If the shaft is properly reforged it would be an impressive spear. Lanliss, Hardaz and Seldrel all feel a little odd, and Seldrel discerns an enchantment on each of them, which he believes comes from all of them being in the pool. The ledge leads to low passages and some chambers carved out of the stone. They realise that the stone here is softer, mostly limestone and has been powdered and scattered – likely to keep out the oozes the group destroyed here previously. Lanliss finds and removes a tripwire, then is ambushed by two kobolds.

As the group move in to fight, Hardaz is shot by a crossbow set-up at a side passage. The adjacent chamber holds many more kobolds, and an Imp – which stings the group then disappears multiple times before it is cornered and killed. No-one succumbs to its poison. The kobolds appear to have been looting anything left behind by the oozes, and have a stash of weapons and armour that includes a magical longsword with flan runes along the blade. “Talam hallac” (earth bane) has the same silver crossbar and gem in the hilt as the previous sword. Winter claims it, and Hardaz cleans up some magical breastplate that fits him well. A well in one of the chamber has a deep shaft. They anchor a rope and Lanliss climbs down into a small cave (tunnels leading off) with three feet of running water and reports many coins on the bottom. Hardaz comes down to help collect them. As they climb back up, Lanliss hears laughter below him.

After drying off, the return to the fungus cave and head down the hole to the west. Amid much rubbish and debris that has fallen down the hole they encounter two carrion crawlers – giant caterpillars with paralysing tentacles. Both are killed quickly with Merxif’s searing wand. Strangely rounded tunnels lead off from the naturally formed caves at the base of the hole. The dwarves remark on their smoothness and the absence of tool marks. As they explore the tunnels, they occasionally find gems and odd spirally designs at the end of some tunnels. As they continue, going both up and down at times, the tunnel walls are occasionally warm to the touch. They emerge into a larger chamber with a reddish black worm, about fifteen feet long, faintly glowing with heat and steam rises from between plates on its back. It lunges forward at Lanliss, battering and burning him. Hardaz strikes it with his axe, which glows from the heat. Bacon fires his crossbow, unwilling to strike the creature with his hands. Winter inflicts considerable damage with her bow, even though the arrows stuck in the beast burn to a crisp. Merxif dumps magically created water on it, producing a damp cloud of steam, but not seeming to bother it. They eventually kill it, and the body fades away. Seldrel believes the worm to be a creature from the border of the elemental planes of earth and fire. It has likely been digging the tunnels to eat ore and minerals from the stone. They find some valuable gems and head back up to the main fungus cave.

Behind a secret door, and carved panels along a wall is a secret stair – discovered some time ago, but not explored. The group head down it now. Their lights suddenly dim as they approach a small room and two short figures. One of the dwarf-like shapes moves away and the other calls and gestures to them to stop – Dark Folk.