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.