Conquering the Barbarian Altanis: Session 81
|Dwarf level 3
|A dwarf hailing from Western Wastes.
|Elf level 3
|Thin and balding elf whom also happens to be Rashomon's friend.
|Tarkus the Promising
|Cleric level 2
|Follower of Bachontoi, God of Red Wisdom.
|Fighter level 3
|A tall, supple hunter adorned with bones and horns of his prey.
|Dwarf level 2
|Portly, bald, red bearded, with an epic nose. On a mission to have a drink in every settlement in Wilderlands.
Thawmist 16th, Airday
“Would you like to play with us?” a dwarven child-like voice asked Derennan.
“Yes, yes of course.” he answered.
The party of five has spent days carving their way out of a stone tomb they've willingly teleported in. Tarkus was coming down with fever, so Oberon stayed in the background to help him move about.
Now it was on Llyfed, Nolmbork, and Derennan to lead them out to safety.
But first, playing with ghosts of long dead children.
Derennan took dwarven and dragon toy, sat in the center of the room, and played out few scenarios. Audible gasps and cheers could be heard from the child.
Nolmbork and Llyfed used the opportunity to scan the square room. It was. They found closed stone doors to the north and west.
“Wooow, how long beard you have!” two more child-like voices, this time in Common, approached Nolmbork “Can we play with it?”
And so Nolmbork got many little braids on his beard.
Through mix of play and tender questioning, Derennan found out very little from the dead children except they were brought here long time ago and that they came from “deep deep” down below. Oh, and that horrible scream could be heard from north doors.
“We are looking for a way out. Would you like to come with us?” Derennan asked.
“Yes! Yes! But we must take our toys with us!”
And so Oberon carried a sack of silver toys in one hand, and stumbling Tarkus in the other.
Forcing west doors revealed another square chamber. Floor was lined with near-invisible grooves. They were few millimetres wide and criss-crossed the full width of their vision. The chamber smelt of burnt oil.
Llyfed stepped in first, followed by Nolmbork. Nothing happened. Torch was passed to the elf, revealing an archway to the north.
Llyfed stepped north, followed by Nolmbork. The whole chamber was sprayed with oil from above, setting them both on fire. Derennan's quick reaction saved Nolmbork from certain death. Llyfed endured, but was badly, badly burnt.
The party quickly moved on, hoping that the trap hadn't had the time to reset. They were right.
Long corridor led them into a massive square chamber. They bolted to the doors as soon as they could see them. This led them to a junction. Moving straight ahead down the winding corridor led them to doors opening into a circular chamber.
The chamber was well lit with six torches in sconces alongside west side. Stone doors were flanked with two banners sporting yellowish hyena-like head. Portcullis blocked exit to southeast.
“Come, look at this...”
Thick blueish mist rolled behind the portcullis. Shooting a lit arrow into it resulted with a gone arrow.
“Erm, kids, would you mind to take a look into the mist and let us know what is inside?”
Dwarven voice went first. It was gone for solid ten minutes. Then it suddenly erupted “This is so much fun! Wooooo!” other two voices joined it, and soon all three could be heard coming from within the mist. They were having the time of their unlife.
“What if they are playing with skeletons or something? That wouldn't be fun for us.”
“I think they are just finding the mist fun.”
The demihuman trio lifted the portcullis in unison, and the party moved forward. Portcullis slammed shut behind them. They huddled, as not to lose touch with any of them.
Mist had sweet cinnamony smell. It was so thick one couldn't see their own hand right in front of the eyes. Llyfed took the lead, keeping his hand on the wall.
Eventually they found the way out.
“Kids, are you coming?”
“Noooo! Can we stay here?”
“Yay! Just our toys!”
Party pressed on, entering a sizeable circular chamber. This one was not lit at all. Sconces were empty. Five skeletons dressed in rotted garments and decayed armour were clustered along the east wall. Although their weapons rusted long time ago, the great number of silver coins in their sacks and backpacks was still intact.
An audible grunt followed by metal hitting the stone floor came from south.
Adventurers jumped to the sides, bracing themselves for whatever it is that was making noise. More grunts could be heard, and then south portcullis lifted as well.
Two bulky, ten feet tall beastmen came in. Each carried a large club, as well as a coin sack with a symbol of yellowish hyena-head. The bigger of the looked at this funny assortment of characters, laughed, and then demanded to know who they are. His request came out in broken Gnoll.
“We are mercenaries looking for a way out.”
“You? Mercenaries? Hahahah!” the beastmen laughed. “You are trespassing.” the laughter stopped. “Six hundred gold coins or your life!”
“Oh, we have prepared all this coin just for you!” Derennan pointed to assortment of sacks next to the skeletons. Then the demihuman trio quickly ran to bring them all to the feet of the two ogres.
“And all the coin you are carrying!”
“We gave you everything we have!”
“Elf, if I shake your dwarf friend and a single coin falls out of his pockets then I'll turn you into a steak tartare!”
“Look, all my pockets are empty!” Derennan demonstrated.
Satisfied with the tribute, the monsters left, heading into the chamber with mist.
“Hey, can you tell us what way is out?!” Llyfed yelled after them.
“Sure, just follow us!” the smaller of the two replied.
The party decided not to follow them, but instead head south through double set of portcullises.
Working their way through another square chamber, and two sets of doors, led them into a pentagonal chamber. The floor was caked with splatters of dried blood. All walls were lined with a clearly visible groove running the whole circumference of the chamber.
Stone slab “doors” were to the west and an archway to the south. There was a narrow blood-less path going through the middle of the chamber.
“Let's go, one by one.”
The party crossed the chamber without triggering whatever was the source of all the bloodshed. Now they found themselves in a hexagonal chamber dominated by a large, dark pit in the center of it.
There were four exits from this chamber: the north archway they came through, the west portcullis, the east doors, and south doors.
Adventurers choose west. This led them to a T-shaped junction splitting west and east. The former terminated with an iron gate preventing further advance. The latter led them down a winding corridor which turned out to be trapped. Derennan and Llyfed were hit with a hail of darts.
Enduring this trap too, the party pressed on until they ran into another stone slab “doors” without any handle or obvious opening mechanism. The followed the corridor opposite of it.
At the end of the sixty feet corridor they found a wide stone tablet with four square protrusions on it. Each square had a different set of symbols on it. From left to right square:
⃤ ⛛ ⃤
◯ ⛛ ⃤
◯ ⛛ ◯
⃞ ◯ ◯
Going back to the doors revealed a set of three symbols above it:
⃤ ⛛ ⃤
Nolmbork went back to the tablet and pressed the square with matching symbols.
The stone slab slid open!
“You stay back, I'll check it first.” Derennan moved in.
It was a rectangular chamber some thirty by fifty feet. It was as plain as all they been through so far—with one small distinction. There was a writing desk with a matching chair in northwest corner.
The stone slab fell down, cutting him off from the rest of the party. Quick scan of the room revealed two skeleton in rotted bedroll in southeast corner and stone doors to the north.
Party outside ran to the stone table, only to find a completely different assortment of symbols:
◯ ⛛ ⃤
⃞ ◯ ◯
⃤ ⛛ ⃤
⃞ ⛛ ◯
“Check above the doors!”
Indeed, a different set of symbols were now above the stone slab:
⃞ ◯ ◯
Hitting the matching square opened the doors. Rest of the party ran into the chamber to join up with Derennan.
Searching the skeletons produced a locked spellbook and a ream of parchments.
Stone slab fell behind the party.
“Can you read the parchments?”
“Yes, they are in elven.”
The writings could be best described as diary entries which get increasingly desperate. They mention “ghastly undead crawling from the pit” preventing the author from leaving the chamber. There also mentions of “effective, pressure activated trap” in front of the doors preventing the monsters from getting in.
“We have to get out. Let's move.”
With Llyfed and Nolmbork badly wounded, Derennan took the lead. He opened the doors and then jumped as far as he could. No trap was activated. Then he strolled into the hexagonal chamber and was promptly surprised by two ghastly undead.
They dropped him in a single round. Rest of the party focused their missile attack on one of the undead, killing it in the process. The other fled through east doors.
“Quick, let's get Tarkus over the trap! He needs help!”
“Check on Derennan! Quick!”
Indeed, the dwarf was not dead but merely paralysed.
Llyfed and Nolmbork picked up stiff Derennan while Oberon helped Tarkus move quickly.
“North or east?!”
“Let a die decide!”
The party burst into a dank corridor filled with ghastly undead.
Wounded and heavily encumbered they barely made it through the doors before undead horde caught up. Llyfed stepped in to protect his allies. Nolmbork was caught by one and nearly killed in the process. It was solely his dwarven constitution that kept him alive.
“Let me go...”
Tarkus gripped his improvised holy symbol and called on the God of Red Wisdom.
Bright crimson light flashed the chamber, forcing the undead to flee in terror.
Illustration by kickmaniac
Tarkus collapsed to his knees, completely expired.
Derennan still laid stiff.
Nolmbork was half-dead.
Only Llyfed and Oberon stood tall.
How the hell will they get out of here?
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