FalsKrag Session 19 – Puzzles and Monsters

Lots of exploring, checking for traps and some entertaining events and conversation. Two areas in this session required thought and planning to work through, most of which required the players to think in addition to making relevant skill rolls. I enjoy puzzles that can’t simply be solved with a dice roll, and a lot of the information that can be obtained in the adventure (whether written text in different languages, pictures, statues, or rumours) gives hints to some of the puzzles or areas. The group now have a large collection of handouts, maps and notes from our gaming.

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6th Patchwall: The group hopes that the branching tunnels will reconnect and so head north. A tunnel leading west then joins up with where they were before. Returning east, a rounded cave has four identical statues of an armoured dwarf with glowing eyes, holding a warhammer. Each is engraved in dwarven – “Honour to Khaban”. Lanliss notes the hammer pommel can be depressed and Bacon observes a variation of one hammer decoration. He walks around pressing each, starting with the different one. Each statue calls out (in dwarven) “the might of Khaban endures”. Hardaz wants to push all at the same time, so four of the group each choose a statue – the resulting roar of voices deafens Lanliss, Seldrel and Summer for minutes. Bacon notes the eyes of his statue glow slightly dimmer than the others, and puts his fingers in the eye holes. The statue pivots revealing a gem and a magical beetle amulet. A gray ooze is attracted by the noise and attacks Lanliss and Bacon. Most are hesitant to attack with their weapons – fearing corrosion – but Winter shoots it and Bacon pummels without fear. He takes minor acid damage, but kills the ooze.

The next caves have puddles, an occasional feather and marks in the dirt. As they enter another cave, their light dims, and two squid like creatures drop from the ceiling, striking at Bacon and Lanliss. They try to grapple but fail and are soon defeated. Merxif is attacked by a small dirty bird with six legs emerging from a side tunnel. After killing it, a search of the cave reveals some silver coins. Continuing west then south, they pass a quiet cave with many holes high in the walls. Further on, the cave start getting larger, and a bad smell can be scented. One cave seems full of rubbish – mud, cloth, decaying vegetation, and some dead rats and beetles – all decorated with bones. A laugh rings out, and a voice calls to them “Visitors, welcome… I haven’t seen anyone for a while.” A tentacle of some sort with eyes sticks out of some of the rubbish, and when the group enter and respond the creature attached hauls itself up out of the muck. The huge body has three tentacles and a wide toothed maw. It introduces itself as Rotharm. Seldrel identifies it as an Otyugh, a potentially dangerous beast that eats anything. Rotharm is proud of the smell of the cave, and collects bones. He offers to trade a scroll case for food, so the group head back to retrieve the corpses of bird, bear and dragon. On their return, more of the six-legged birds attack. They take those corpses as well. Roth is happy and hands over the scroll case… he also tells them that Galin lives in the cave to the south and she also collects gems and shiny stones. The group begin talking about Xorn and what they look like and have an interest in – Roth agrees with them that Galin must be a Xorn. (Three legs, three eyes, solid, likes gems) It turns out she is also a Otyugh, who is happy to trade coins for gems. Lanliss tries to steal some of the gems in the box she offers while removing pouches of coins, but she notices his action and gets quite annoyed. They are asked to leave.

Heading west, they enter a large cave and note a waving thread hanging in the cave. It sticks to Lanliss and starts to pull him into the air. He breaks the thread and lands smoothly on the ground. Seldrel casts Fly on Bacon and Hardaz – they fly up to attack the insectoid on a ledge high above. A second is spotted on another ledge. Lanliss breaks any thread it tries “fishing” with, while Winter shoots at it. Both are killed and some treasure recovered amid the bones and debris on the floor. They head north and find some dead bats, some live bats (that shriek and bump into the group before flying away from their lights) and a spiral staircase going down. On the walls are holy symbols for three good Oeridean deities – Heironeous (Justice, honour, war & valour), Delleb (Reason, intellect & study) and Pholtus (Light, order, sun & moons). Some of the party feel uneasy, and Merxif states the chamber is holy and radiates good. Lanliss heads down the stairs and finds a large room with three altars and carved text that he can’t read. He brings everyone down. Lanliss and Bacon search the room. Seldrel translates the text. It mentions a fiend, Ormarr that came to FalsKrag and was imprisoned, and that patience, talent, might, devotion and knowledge will be required to release and defeat it. Each altar is dedicated to one of the deities and text on the wall describes some of their philosophy.

The next room has a convincing illusion of Heironeous sitting in one of three large stone chairs. It greets Lanliss, and then Bacon as they enter, saying they can pay their respects, rest then move on; they are not sufficient. Once a third person enters the greeting is different – stating that good hearted, skilled people are required to defeat the demon beast of the Rift, a great wyrm. Lanliss locates a secret door but can’t open it. The group decide to rest here for the night, healing and eating. After some time, Heironeous stands and walks around the chamber. Later he does this again. An hour into their rest, he makes a third walk, but pauses to touch the wall before returning to his seat. The group immediately examine the wall at that point and find a slight depression. Lanliss pushes it and the secret door opens.

As Lanliss walks along the slim passage a shadowy figure rises out of the ground ahead and says “go back”. He feels there is a trap here and Seldrel recognises the figure as an illusion which he dispels. Lanliss disarms the magic trap. They all reach a small room with a large iron-plated door with multiple locks and a pit trap. Lanliss is able to overcome all the hazards and open the door. The next large room has two large iron wheels with handles and chains leading from the wheels to holes high in the wall. Lanliss realises that a large stone slab forms a door of sorts and the chains will pull the slab up. The group organises themselves three to a wheel and eventually manage to pull the chains in at the same time to raise the slab. A lever on the other side locks the slab in position. The next circular chamber is brightly lit by magic. A altar (inscribed “Sanctify, make holy this altar”) to Pholtus is in the centre of the room and Merxif notes an aura of good in the room. He casts bless on the altar making it glow for a few minutes. Bacon prays at the altar. Seldrel feels the magic is divine, and Winter identifies the existence of a Hallow spell on the altar. She and Merxif decide they need to cast a hallow spell themselves to open the next door. Comments are made regarding the fact that the party wizard knows more about religion, and the hunter more about divine magic, than does their priest. They retreat to the original shrine and Bacon prays at the altar to Heironeous and receives a blessing. The others choose a altar to give their respects and also receive a blessing. It wears off as they rest for the night.

7th Patchwall: Before leaving, each prays and receives a new blessing. From the cave fishers lair, they take the corpses to Rotharm, who rewards them with a bag of silver coins he has found. Back west they find an odd haze floating high in one cave, and Lanliss loses his voice. A little further is a large cave with hinged tomb lids lining the floor and a plaque of verse. Each of the tomb lids radiates magic, and most are trapped. Lanliss carefully disarms all the traps, and Bacon helps him open each tomb. All but one are shallow and empty hollows. One has a ladder down a shaft. Below is a door, then a pressure plate that seems to do nothing and a deep crevasse with a door in the cliff on the opposite wall. Lanliss flies over to check the door and eventually forces it open. There is nothing behind but the cliff wall. He tries to fly down to the base of the crevasse, but can’t reach it. Bacon thinks of climbing down, and realises the crevasse is an illusion. A second chamber is directly under the first and the crevasse is little more than a spiked pit, with a corpse, which he loots. Bacon and Lanliss set up a rope, lowering or flying everyone down to the second room and passing through the door. A narrow hall surrounds a large room with a plain block of stone. Lanliss finds a hole in the block, even though he can’t see one and manipulates a lever. The block slides back, revealing another shaft and ladder. They descend into a larger room with circular pools of water, fed by a pipe and draining down a shaft in the centre. There are sun, moon and star markings and Bacon works out that the rings surrounding the pools can be turned to block the water flow and leave the central shaft clear. Partway down is a grill and a door. Lanliss climbs down and opens the door and they all move through, while the rings above start to revolve back into their original position.

The new level has many maze-like narrow passages and odd phrases or words – “Where”, “Who”, “Why”, “Not here”. After a thorough search of all the passages, Lanliss finds a trapdoor right where they entered. This has another ladder down to a fifth level with five passages leading off.

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