A Fight in the Dark
We spent some time at the beginning of the session finishing up from last session, then we picked up right at the beginning of what appears to be two boss fights in one.
In the hallway, Talisa, an elven ranger and Tsafnur the bard have been separated from their friends by a deep, spike-filled pit. Their only light comes from Chameleon the Druid, who has shapeshifted into the form of a giant firefly. The light from Chameleon pulses on and off, from pitch darkness to dim light and with each pulse of light they can see giant poisonous centipedes climbing up the walls of the pit at them, with each pulse, the vile creatures get closer.
Meanwhile, across the pit, down the hall, and in what appears to be the bedchamber of Hurbekt, the dark summoner they defeated last session are Clovis the barbarian and Enkirash the wizard. Piles of loot lie tantalizingly close, but between them and the treasure, a giant six-armed gargoyle has risen up from the floor to block their way. It makes a horrific grinding sound, which may be its form of a war-cry, but Clovis doesn’t way for it to strike. The dwarven barbarian swings her axe at the monster’s knee, but it glances off the stone and the gargoyle places one on her chest and shoves her out of the room and sends her sliding down the hallway towards the pit of spikes.
On the other side of the pit, Talisa leaned over the pit to shoot an arrow into one of the oncoming centipedes, skewering it, but fails to see another coming up in the shadow, which bites her ankle, sending poison burning into her leg. Tsafnur stabs at one of the beasts with his rapier, hurting it and knocking its front feet off the wall, so it’s body is twisting and turning, trying to get all its feet back on the wall. While they are in the thick of it, they see Clovis slide into the pool of light cast by Chameleon, and just barely miss grabbing the edge of the pit, sliding down into the darkness.
Clovis slides close to the edge of the pit, missing the spikes. At the bottom she wastes no time, grabbing two of the spear-like spike, ripping them out of their sockets, and stabbing one centipede to a pulp with them. Talisa shoots the centipede that bit her, and focussing through the pain of the poison spreading up her leg, manages to pick off one more.
Back in the bedchamber, Enkirash doused her glowing staff and cowered in the corner, trying to hide from the giant stone creature. It continues to make the grinding sounds, like tortured stones squealing in pain. She piles some rocks on her unseen servant, which whisks them over to the gargoyle and the sound abates for a little while, replaced by an ominous crunching.
During the respite, Enkirash summons a spirit and asks it three questions. [What where the questions?]
As the grinding resumes, the wizard has collected herself enough to recognize that the beast is trying to use human speech, and that the horrid grinding sound is it begging, “free me!” She lights her staff again, and sees the gargoyle was feeling around in the dark trying to find her. In the renewed light, it straightens back up (it has to duck a little, being taller than the ceiling), but makes no move to harm her. It repeats the grinding words, “free me!”
Having dispatched the centipedes, and with the poison in Talisa’s leg having run its course, leaving her leg swollen and painful, but not life threatening, they use Clovis dwarven rope, woven from the fine silken hairs of maiden dwarves first beards, to swing across the pit and hurry to help Enkirash. She explains to them that the gargoyle means them no harm, but it is bound here to protect the treasure and if they want to get to the loot they will first have to free the gargoyle.
She cuts her hair and sends it, via unseen servant, to the gargoyle to eat, binding them together for the ritual. Sadly, her ritual was too rushed and fails to free the gargoyle from it’s slavery. Tsafnur steps up, unable to play his fiddle since the loss of his hand, but still able to sing. He sings a song of unbinding and the enchantment holding the gargoyle is broken, with the snap of a bracelet. Unfortunately, with so many sources of magic in the room, the unbinding worked too well, and several other items were made unstable as a result.
The giant gargoyle wasted no time on thanks, but left the room at speed, passing Mija, Talisa’s water sphinx, in the hall and getting hissed at in passing.
This is the player’s reward for saving the world (potentially) from the dracolich that Hurbekt had been summoning. In addition to the players being able to stuff their pockets with coins, finding the idol of the mushroom people that they were seeking, and a few set pieces I put in for later tie-ins, I let them each describe three things that they took from the piles of Hurbekt’s loot, and we will determine as we play what powers, if any, each of the items holds. They also chose to make camp in the bedchamber, and Clovis levelled up.
Loot I described before the players began describing what they would take: A large and heavy candelabra (6’ tall) of black metal, radiates a strong sense of evil, A large (5’ x 4’) painting of a chained woman in an ornate frame. Painting and frame look very old in style, but are completely new looking and unmarred. A gold and platinum ring, as the only thing in a drawer of the bedside table. A large, heavy spear with a broad blade and runes worked into the shaft and blade. The idol of the mushroom people, extremely heavy. A bag of assorted mushrooms (20 uses).
The party spends what they guess is a night in the chamber and before they leave, each chose what they wanted to carry back from the loot. Enkirash chose a bow and arrows, some potions, and the ring from the side table. Tsafnur chose a songbook in a forgotten tongue (the language was forgotten because it was invented for these songs, but there is a key to pronunciation. the book is made of parchment of human skin), and a small drum he can attach to his belt and play one-handed. Chameleon took a golden torch, a golden compass, a jewelled silver dagger, and the spear. Clovis chose a sparkly bracelet and a shiny helmet. Talisa found her father’s belt buckle that Hurbekt had taken when she was first captured, a bow and arrows, and a crude ceramic pig.
Rather than try to climb (while lugging the heavy idol and the large framed painting) up to the tunnel they entered the sacrifice room from, they decide to try the unexplored tunnel leading off from that room and try to find an easier way back to the mushroom village. The passage starts off well enough and leads roughly in the right direction, but they know they need to go down at some point, since they climbed quite a bit while chasing after the gargoyles (or being carried by them in some cases).
The path comes to a small chamber and forks. There is a smooth, almost polished way leading down and to the left, going further than Enkirash’s light can reach. Ahead, after a slight jog to the right, there is a rough, uneven and treacherous looking passage bending and curving out of sight. Chameleon tries her golden compass, trying to get it to point the best way, but it does not appear to do anything, the needle doesn’t move at all.
Looking more closely, the smooth passageway is not only polished, but actually greased. Chameleon resumes her bat form and explores the darkness below, finding a large chamber at the bottom, a pit full of some viscous liquid, and about six turkey-headed humanoids with spears waiting at the bottom of the slide. So the obvious trap is indeed a trap. She returns to the others and they decide to take the uneven passage.
I was slightly disappointed that no-one went down the slide and encountered the turkey avengers, but only because it was Canadian Thanksgiving.
They come to stream flowing from right to left. There is a rowboat here, but it is submerged and they decide not to try to raise it. The passage continues across the stream, but while it isn’t a large stream, it looks deep and the water is fast moving. There is also a path going along the stream in both directions. They decide to follow the path downstream, hoping that this is the stream which flows past the mushroom village.
As they walk, they hear before they can see, a large group coming upstream towards them. It is the entire population of the mushroom village, carrying all their worldly possessions (some have carts). They greet the party and are happy to have their idol returned. They have very little of value, but give each of the party a few coins. For Enkirash they have a pouch with more assorted medicinal mushrooms. They also give two scrolls to Tsafnur.
The Myconids are fleeing a horrible monster which apparently (as far as they know) slew their necromancer who was protecting the village. Tsafnur volunteered the party to slay the monster. They all make camp together for the night, enjoy some mushroom beer/soup (mmm, parsley!), and prepare to go their separate ways in the morning.