Our group got together for lunch and and an earlier start than usual for a long productive session. It was a really good time – puzzles solved, treasure obtained and an unexpected ambush. I took a photo during the troglodyte fight – I really should try to take a few each session. I usually don’t think about it unless we hit the end of the night and where PC’s are standing on the battle-map is important. This second encounter with “Monarth”, who is believed to be a grave-knight was also important, because the group had considered that he might be Gregern Falshandren. It seems they were mistaken. (Unless he lied…)
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13th Moving onward, the group note a room with many skulls lined up on the floor, mostly humanoid. A passage leads to a room with discarded material, and a hole in the wall to a cave. Lanliss leads the way into the cave and sights reptilian humanoids. A foul smell precedes the Troglodytes and the group all move in to fight, though some feel ill. Noise attracts more trogs from the north and Seldrel webs them. Bacon and Lanliss back up to the hole as a few more trogs appear there. Once the cave is clear, they burn the webs back and attack any trogs remaining in the web. This leads into a larger cave with a fountain and one foot of water across the floor… and the remaining trogs. A big crab advances on Hardaz, and across the chamber a trog druid begins casting spells. Merxif activates one of his crystal skulls, summoning a dire tiger to split the druid off from the other trogs. The fight is suddenly very one sided and the party quickly defeats the smelly saurians. A third cave has some collected equipment, treasure and a large iron gate. They don’t find any way to open the gate.
Wading through water they head easterly back toward where they entered and find chamber that appear to have been part of a shrine or temple. Broken rock piles (former altars?) have signs of fires on top, while urns hold bone and ash. The walls did have images and writing, but have all been damaged and scratched. A short flight of stairs lead out of the water and into a room carved with people walking around towards an altar. These images have also been defaced and some mold growing here is identified by Winter as Melandar – it can be brewed to aid against poison and disease. Many of the rooms on the level have a two regular doors and a third that is false – some trapped, some hinged onto to a blank wall, one with brown mold (that drains heat until Seldrel freezes it with a scroll), another painted on the wall. One door appears to open on a fire and released a great cloud of smoke, but they soon realise it is all an illusion and that the door goes nowhere. Four of these rooms have a well carved magical statue of a young human male, each in the same clothes but representing different emotions – happiness, sadness, anger and fear. Lanliss and Bacon realise that the statues rotate and Lanliss’ turning of the happy statue leaves him smiling for minutes afterwards, as well as occasionally breaking into song, dance, or hugging other party members. Continued searching locates a hall with many urns – some filled with water, one with bones and coins, and one a mimic. Again, Lanliss finds himself stuck and battered, but the group are faster to respond with missile weapons and spells than their first encounter with such a creature. Another hall has three monkey statues, and a dead end has both a very solid stone secret door and a poem about the change of seasons. They suspect that the poem is a clue to open this door, and while a considerable distance is between both locations, believe that the levers on a different level may be relevant.
They suspect the statues here open the iron gate, and as they finish exploring the level, see that the happy statue has returned to its original position. Bacon is chosen as the most resistant to emotion, and has the task of turning each statue to face the false door in each room. He becomes quite happy, soon cancelled out by the sadness of the second statue, and resist both fear and anger. They are very pleased to find that the iron gate has lifted and a room with three locked chests, a magical set of breastplate and a fine battleaxe and trident. Seldrel detects magic within some of the chests, and after opening them the group has a large quantity of copper, silver and gold coins, in addition to magical bandages, some potions, a wand and a scroll. They then have to make a decision about the levers and the other secret door. Based on the last door of this type they opened, the levers will reset and the door close after a number of minutes – quite likely not enough time to get back here. Lanliss and bacon decide to wait near the secret door. Hardaz, Seldrel, Merxif and Winter head up the stair, through the fungi caves, and down through the other halls to get to the levers. They note that the ogre corpse is gone from the moon room, and while blood and fluid stained, the circular platform is at floor level again. The levers are triggered – spring, summer, autumn, winter.
The secret door slides up – revealing a small room with a locked and trapped chest, and an ornate bronze casket. A lever can be used to keep the door open from within. While Bacon keeps watch, Lanliss disarms the fire trap, unlocks the chest and starts to appraise the treasure –silver and gold coins and a red crystal skull. Above and far to the north, the rest of the group hurries back through passages and secret doors. They are stopped in the fungi caves as a figure is blackened mithril armour, wielding a bastard sword blocks their way. The undead knight they first met four weeks ago asks if they have found the sword he asked about. When they state ‘no’, the warrior points at Hardaz. “What’s strapped to your back then?” Hardaz’ attempt at bluffing is terrible and the knight steps forward swinging his sword about in such fashion that all are intimidated. Combat breaks out with Winter missing with her first volley of arrows, and Hardaz also having trouble hitting. “I have found allies”, calls the knight, having hit the Dwarf solidly. Suddenly Winter turns and shoots at Seldrel, badly wounding him. Seldrel casts invisibility on himself, and disappears. Merxif runs back the way they had come, while Seldrel sights the human they though vampire a week ago hiding amid tall mushrooms. They suspect the vampire is controlling Winter, who now turns to aim at Hardaz. She speaks – her voice odd “You are vermin in the halls… as one of the Lord’s favoured it is my duty to remove your infestation from the Krag. You may discomfort me, but I will return.” There are a few quick comments between Seldrel and Hardaz. The knight pauses, “I am Monarth. Give me the sword and I will leave you be.” Hardaz drops the runed Flan blade at his feet and steps back. The knight picks up the sword and walks off towards the stairs up to the Hall of The Gods. Winter shakes of her domination and Seldrel runs to find Merxif. They all continue down to meet the others, Merxif healing them on the way. Once all are together again, they head across the halls to the room with a trapdoor and passage. They set themselves up in the room and hall to rest. Seldrel determines that the red skull can produce a fire shield each day.
14th: The group heads down through the trapdoor and proceed along the tunnel for quite a way. It stops at another short shaft and another trapdoor. Lanliss climbs up and eventually forces the door open. They emerge in the area of caves previously explored, close to the false tomb lid chamber and the ‘NEWS’ secret door. They trek the long way round to the fungi caves, and back down the great stair. Bacon and Hardaz play out a rope and Lanliss swings down to the ledge and doors about twenty feet under the level explored. Opening a door rings a bell on the back of the door. A long passage extends, but he sees and hears no-one. He anchors the rope and everyone climbs of slides down.
A narrow northern passage has closed doors, while the wide easterly hall has something partly blocking it near two side halls. Lanliss moves up to the partial blockade of wire and broken chairs and finds (and disarms) two magical rope snares. The group move into the southern branching and find seven rooms connected by short passages in a rough loop. Many have blood and old corpses or skeletons, one a magic mouth that proclaims “Death to those who wait” , a dart trap, and a patch of green slime that falls on Lanliss. Seldrel burns it off him with magical fire. A secret door with a deep pit has stone blocks with candlesticks in three corners. Lanliss notices three slight depression of the same size in the floor, and he and bacon drag the blocks into them. A hidden compartment slides open in one wall and they recover silver, gold and some gems.