No near deaths recently, but still some tough situations. We have been able to play each weekend this month, which helps everyone remember what’s been happening. It’s been a good mix of exploration and combat.
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6th Patchwall: Most of the group squeezes though a narrow gap in the wall and search the cave from which the mouther emerged. A flat section of rock in the wall is inscribed with four strange symbols. Bacon and Lanliss are certain the rock is a secret door and that the symbols are the key to opening it. – they look alchemical in nature. They turn to Seldrel, who laments having no skill in alchemy. Merxif records them. The group head northward to find the rats reported. The three dire rats that attack are slightly larger and much tougher than those typically encountered. A side chamber is carved with many small holes – nearly all have some trinket within. Copper and silver coins, rusted chain links, small bones and sticks, bits of cloth and pottery, and worthless shiny stones! As Lanliss removes a small pouch, it tears and scatters a fine dust that makes him feel light-headed. He suspects poison, but its lasting effects seem minor. Movement and dead rats are sighted in a chamber further west – Winter and Lanliss enter and see a big animated skeleton. It throws bones at Lanliss that form a cage around him. He cannot move, and neither can anyone else enter the cave. The Bone Golem severely wounds Winter before the cage is broken and the dwarves can enter the cave to fight and Winter retreat for healing. Summer entangles the golem, and Seldrel casts grease – it falls and this makes it easy enough for all to hit that it is destroyed before it can do much more than stand up again.
Lanliss finds an illusionary wall hiding a locked chest (a ring of protection, some gems and many silver coins) and words in an unknown language. Seldrel only partially translates – they refer to a scorpion liking the light but not the dark.
Returning back towards the entry, Bacon notes a secret door. Beyond it are some narrow passageways, locked rooms and corpses. Two of the corpses rise and attack, but are quickly defeated. As the group moves in, a third undead attacks. Seldrel fumbles a spell and turns it invisible for a short time. It retreats towards a flickering purple light rather than press the attack. The two presumed zombies rise up behind the group – not destroyed as thought. This time after being beaten down, the party continues to hack at the corpses and then burns them. The last undead hides in a chamber with a stone block and a black sphere. The sphere gives off the purple light – negative energy that heals the undead and harms the party. Seldrel targets the sphere and is able to temporarily dispel the magic. While Lanliss and the dwarves fight the smarter undead, which they suspect is a wight, the others attempt to destroy the sphere with missile fire.
One locked chamber holds the skeletons of long dead prisoners, another bowls, candle sticks and silk robes worth a reasonable sum of gold. An adjacent room contains a black gate – one that Seldrel realises he has looked out of before. It has a red glowing capstone, and Seldrel is now convinced that a particular colour gem key allows access to a gate with the same colour stone. This will allow them faster travel around the levels under the mountain.
Back to the west they enter a large cave with large rocks scattered about the floor and a few natural stone columns. As they explore they are attacked by four giant spiders, that leap to attack. Thankfully no one is poisoned during the fighting. Along the southern wall are old orcish runes – names, prayers, hope for battle, etc. Towards the west many are damaged or gone – fallen stone from a collapse long ago has wiped the visible surface clean. The next smaller cave has a steep and uneven floor. Past this a tunnel curves north then slowly around to the east. They pause at a cave with muddy water flowing out of it in a small stream towards the east. The cave itself seems full of mud which Seldrel determines is faintly magical, with a stronger source of magic within. Lanliss wades into the mud and is attacked by a humanoid form that strikes at him. The figure seems composed of mud and flails at Lanliss and the dwarves before being defeated. A wand of burning hands, a gold chain and some coins are found in a hole under the mud. Following the trickle along the passage the group is charged by two large pale toads with huge tusks. One overruns Lanliss, entangling him in sticky slime. They bite the dwarves before being killed. Seldrel decides they are Slurks – magically transformed toads. They clean up and continue, stopping as movement is noted ahead of them. As they spread out, a huge snail with a multi-coloured shell coming around the curve of the passage ahead. Seldrel identifies it as a flail snail. The creature can attack with bludgeoning protuberances, and it’s highly valuable shell warps magic. It begins to slide up the cave wall, retreating into its shell as Bacon approaches. When the dwarf tries to pry it off the wall, it swiftly emerges and hits him multiple times. The rest of the group begin to fight, with many blows bouncing off the hard shell. Eventually, they kill the snail and spend time burning out the flesh and cleaning the shell. The swiftly retrace their steps and lock the shell in one of the rooms in the hidden shrine to Nerull, near the black gate.
Continuing back through the cave tunnels they reach a small chamber with thirteen faces carved in the walls. Most are of easily identified humanoids, such as an elf, dwarf, goblin, kobold, etc. They are carved with great detail, but hide no compartments or magic. The group notes which creatures are portrayed. The tunnel now begins to branch and they head southward, hearing a roaring or snarling noise ahead. Entering a larger cave they sight the star/circle/square symbol encountered before, a a big bear that seems to have cornered some other creature. Bacon moves swiftly in to look around, sighting a small dragon in the corner of the cave. He flanks the bear and strikes it. Hardaz, Lanliss and Winter move closer to be able to attack and the dragon breathes fire – causing minor burns to the bear, Hardaz and Winter. The combat is fierce, but both opponents are brought down speedily. There are multiple exits and continuing east they check some dead ends.