Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Westmist Session #77 - Destined to Delve Depths for Duncal 'til Doomsday

Kern, Bjorn, Erijay and Darnorth prepared to leave town. Loading up on luxuries for Duncal, their plan was to first check in on he and Janus, before then proceeding north along the Black Spine Mountains in search of the Cerebral Shield of the Gann. Before leaving, Erijay sold Synthini some of the alchemical goo she recovered from Chateau d'Amberville. Darnorth paid a visit to Slate to see how the reverse engineering of his 'fire sticks'  was going. Not well, as the prototype the dwarven inventor offered exploded in Darnorth's face.

An uneventful two day ride found the party descending the pass towards the abandoned dwarf-hold where Janus and his men were holed up with Duncal. In the valley below they could see a great deal of commotion just outside crumbling ruin walls, as well as a large tented pavilion that wasn't there last time they visited. A band of Janus' men milled about, as as the party approached, Hafus emerged from the press. He had been just about to ride out in search of the party, for Duncal and Janus had gone missing. After the party had left Duncal in the care of the loyal Janus, Duncal had first insisted that they prepare a pavilion to suit his baronial stature (which would be the flag bedecked and palatial tent complex they could see) As a result, they were not able to start excavating the ruins, as the party suggested, until a few days ago. They quickly broke through the rubble and forced open a pair of rusted iron doors that lead into the depths of the mountain. Janus gathered a handful of men, and dragging the reluctant Duncal along, headed into the gloom to search for treasure with which to finance the coup d'etat against Lord Merdwyn. Before the day was out, one of the men stumbled out of the darkness to say Janus and Duncal were trapped in the dungeon by some sort of hideous and monstrous slime things.

With much eye rolling and cursing, Kern, Bjorn, Erijay and Darnorth left their horses with Janus' men and prepared once more to recover Duncal from a dungeon. They managed to convince a pair of Janus' men to join them (Bill and Ted), and into the hole they marched. Passing through a narrow dug tunnel, they came to the massive rusted iron doors, each with a black war hammer inscribed upon it.. These had obvious been chiseled and chipped open by Janus, and lead into a wide and high hall. In the centre rose a 15' tall step pyramid, and along the sides of the hall itself were 6 alcoves. In each alcove stood the statue of a dwarf, and the alcoves themselves were painted with battle scenes. Darnorth studied these closely, and proclaimed this to be the abandoned home of the Blackhammer clan. Unfortunately, the dwarf could recall little more except the Blackhammer's were renowned for their ironwork. Meanwhile, Eirjay climbed to the top of the step pyramid, but found nothing of note. After closely examining each statue and battle scene, the party moved on.

The north end of the chamber intersected with a 20' wide corridor with a most unusual feature.  Down the centre ran a trench filled with a thick viscous oil. On top of this oil floated a series of stone blocks, about 8' wide and 10' long. Gingerly, Darnorth tested one and found that it wobbled but held his weight. The dwarf crossed to the other side of the corridor, followed by the rest of the party. They first investigated a connecting 20' wide corridor, which soon ended in a pile of rubble. Darnorth sized it up but could not determine if the collapse had been deliberate or accidental. Backtracking, they came to a locked iron door. Kern tried picking the lock, but the rusty old mechanism defeated his lock picks. Darnorth then applied the time honored dwarven locked door technique, kicking it open with a resounding boom that echoed throughout the silent corridors.

Inside was a trapezoidal room, the floors of which were covered in dwarven skeletons. At the far end a raised platform held a large iron bowl. Close examination of the skeletons showed no signs of violent death. Investigation of the bowl was interrupted when a dark dusty cloud drifted through the open door of the room. It coalesced into a 10'  tall cloud of ash with two faintly glowing eyes, which proceeded to pummel, suffocate and blind  Darnorth and Erijay. A flurry of magic missiles from Erijay and Bjorn, plus missile fire from Kern and hammer blows from Darnorth soon dissipated the cloud, sending the remaining ash to drift over the skeletons on the floor. Battle done, Darnorth walked over to the iron bowl. Inside he found a pile of fine ash, which he stirred around uncovering a fist-sized opal.

Done exploring this room, the party proceed to a second door in the room, heading north. This also proved locked and resistant to Kern's skills. This time Erijay tried the dwarf opening technique, but it apparently didn't work for elves. So Darnorth once more busted open the door in a spray of rust and noise. On the other side was a small room. A corridor lead directly north opposite the door. To the right a line of 4 dwarven statues stood with backs a against an angled wall. Darnroth approved to examine them from the front, while Erijay tired to poke around behind. With a stomp of stone boots, the statues came to life and turned to attack the intruders. The part formed ranks to fight them, and Bjorn cast web to lock them in place. The statues were resilient though, taking little damage from the swords and spears of the party. Only Darnorth with his hammer seemed to be doing much damage, so Kern pulled back to summon the chest of holding, in which he was keeping a magical mace and war hammer. These he and Erijay used to help chip away at the statues, while Bill and ted did what they could from the back rank with their spears. The statues meanwhile had almost broken out of the web, so Erijay cast another so they could be battered into dust safely. Which soon they had been. Sweeping rubble aside, the elf starting looking for a secret door behind the statues, but to no avail. Meanwhile, Darnorth was examining the weird angular cuneiform like carvings on the wall. He found one area where the carvings could be rearranged to form dwarven runes. They eventually formed the word "Drazak", dwarven for "honor". At this point , the wall Erijay had checked for secret doors swung open, revealing a small room. Inside was a stone bench, on which lay a silver and mithril chain surrounding mithril hand axe. Darnporth scooped up both, and the party then proceeded north.

After just 20', a room joined the corridor from the east. Triangular, the interior walls were surrounded by a series of 1' round iron bars. After the party first searched for secret doors (and found none), Darnorth started picking at one of the poles. With a loud rumble, the ceiling started to collapse. Kern and Danrorth dove out the door, but Erijay and Bjorn were pummeled by the falling rock At this moment, Bill and Ted (left to guard the aprty's rear) shouted a warning. A large gelatinous slime thing approached from the north! Pulling the elf and mage from the rubble, the party formed ranks. The corridor was blocked by a gelatinous goo thing, from which two pseudopods shot out. These morphed into the shape of a man and a dwarf and proceeded to pound Erijay and Darnorth in the front ranks. The party landed blow after blow, included Bill and Ted with spears form the back back rank, and Kern with crossbow bolts. But the thing still fought on. Erijay tried her wand of cold, but to no effect. She then cast haste to increased the flurry of attacks, and the thing was eventually beaten down. But not before it landed a killing blow on Ted, which led Bill to grab his friends body and flee.

Examining the 'body', the party found it had mostly collapsed into a couple of inches of slime on the floor. There was also the squished corpses of a dwarf and a man, more or less intact except that the bones had somehow been pulled from their bodies ...

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Westmist Session # 76 - The Heist

Before leaving New Breven, Erijay and Kern decided they needed to take care of Zana and Rathgold. A sentiment with which Rylee and Gurruk, now back from their own business, agreed. Waiting for dusk, Bjorn and Erijay each cast invisibility and fly, then proceeded to scout out the keep and locate Rathgold and Zana. They found Rathgold in his rooms, toiling away at his desk. They did not see Zana, there being no windows on the third floor of the keep where they suspected her room was located. Erijay decided to cast locate object to look for the bag of platinum Kern had given their blackmailer. She did locate platinum coins in the NE corner of the third floor, confirming their suspicions.

Although they weren't able to figure exactly where Zana was, the party decided to take they chance they could find her when needed and put their plan to deal with her and kidnap Rathgold into action. First, they took their leave of Lord Merdwyn and left town with the Company of the Four Brothers. They parted way with the mercenaries near the end of the day, when the road turned east towards Westmist. The party instead headed west, ostentatiously to go see Zoleran, but actually to loop back around back to New Breven. They set up camp for a few days to allow enough time to cast invisibility on everyone, a task interrupted just once by a giant bee attack (quickly dispatched by Bjorn's sleep spell). Once everyone was invisible, the party headed back overland to New Breven arriving at the edge of the river opposite town late in the afternoon. And then realized they'd forgotten there was a river to be crossed. Flummoxed, they decided that in the morning Erijay would fly over to the castle and hopefully pin down Zana's location and maybe capture her. With that in mind, Kern gave her the magic chest to stuff Zana in, having already confirmed it could hold a living person for at least a few hours.

Next morning , the still invisible  Erijay flew across the river and made for the keep. First stop was the balcony and doors on the third floor, and to her surprise the door was open! Inside the room she could see Silco and Ikar (of the Company of Good Cheer) just rising from bed. They spend a few minutes getting dressed, and then headed out of the room. At this point, Erijay noted an opening in the north wall, covered with a sheet. The opening looked newly made. Knowing this is where Zana was likely to be, Erijay floated over to the sheet and flicked it aside as if it were blown by the wind. Inside she found Zana and Quid together in bed. After some time, they both got up, made some small talk, and dressed. Quid then left the room, followed shortly by Zana. Erijay now flew out the balcony door and climbed above the keep to watch for Zana. She spied the spy leaving the front door of the keep alone, but rather than head out the front gates, Zana turned to the west and headed for the rear wall of the castle. There she disappeared into the wall, only to emerge outside an the edge of the road leading down to the town. Obviously a hidden postern gate.

At this moment, Erijay saw her chance. The road was deserted at this early hour. She cast hold person on Zana, who was suddenly paralyzed and froze in mid step. Erijay then landed, summoned the chest, and stuffed Zana inside. She sent the chest away, and finding her fly spell had ended, walked down to ferry crossing hoping to sneak on board  invisibly. The ferry was just arriving when she got there, and with just a few passengers to cross, she was able to get on board without anyone knowing, and crossed to the north side of the river unharmed and unmolested. Making rendezvous with the rest of the party, they opened the chest to find Zana still paralyzed. There was some discussion of keeping her alive for questioning for now. Rylee, however, ended the debate with a mace to the back of her head. Now all they had to do was get rid of the body ...

... but only after getting Rathgold out. Waiting for nightfall, the still invisible Bjorn flew over and broke into Rathgolds room. He carried the chest (sans Zana) and a note from Kern, telling the scribe to get in the chest to escape. Rathgold, awoken by a shake from the invisible Bjorn, instead cowered in fear when the chest appeared. With a sigh, Bjorn cast sleep on him, stuffed him in the chest, and flew back to the party. Which now headed out in the darkness, to put as much distance between them and the scene of the crime(s) before daybreak. No pursuit appeared though, and after a simple matter of bribing the guards at the Citadel of Amrath to take them across the river, they were back in Westmist after a few days travel (having dumped Zana in the Great River along the way).

Once in Westmist, they quickly rounded up Rathgold wife, disguised the two and sent them east by riverboat to Kingsford, carrying enough gold to start  new, comfortable life there. They also found Booh, still waiting for them around Gurruk√®s hovel north of town. Questioning the giant, they learned that he wasn't responsible for the raids on the farms, which made them wonder who or what was. They also questioned Riker about what had happened around town in the month they were gone. Apart from a noticeable crackdown on petty crime by Jax and his men, there was little to report. There was also no work from Sir Janus and Duncal, apart from a cryptic note saying they were working to make His Lordship (i.e. Duncal ) comfortable in his new surroundings.Things were quiet ... too quiet ...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Westmist Session #75 - Spy vs Spy

Back in New Breven, the party split to deal with individual business. Sloth, Dai-sen, and  Sheriff Ironbritches took their leave of the party to make their way in this new (to them) world.  Rylee, Gurruk and Darnorth likewise disappeared on private matters, leaving Erijay, Kern and the still recovering Bjorn. First order of business was to move from the common room of the Rusted Sword to better private lodgings at The Wasp, so Bjorn could fully recover his health without drunken troopers stumbling over him. With the magic user settled in bed, Kern and Erijay sent word to Lord Breven that they had returned from exploring the mysterious manor. It was not long after that one of the Count Palatines knights, Sir Kelso, arrived to escort and present them to His Lordship to give their report. They found him once again in the map/war room, along with the Lord Marshal, several other knights, and the Company of Good Cheer (less Zana). Kern laid out the story of their trials and tribulations in Chateau d'Amberville, ending the the final collapse and complete destruction of the place. Lord Merdwyn seemed indifferent to their near final death experience, and while somewhat disappointed in the loss of the chateau, did thank the party for their efforts. He then asked their plans, and Kern indicated that once the party had recovered from their wounds, they would head back to Westmist to prepare for further adventure. At this, Lord Merdwyn requested that they report back to him before departing, in case he had dispatches to send back to his seneschal, Jax.

That business done, the two headed back to the Wasp. Where to their surprise, found Zana waiting for them, sitting on the edge of Bjorn's bed. She was there with a proposal, or more correctly, a threat.  Telling Kern that she knew what he'd been up to, spying on Lord Merdwyn, the leering lady handed him a wooden box. Inside which was a finger, recently removed from Rathgold's left hand. It would seem that Zana had tailed Kern and Rathgold when they met after Lord Merdwyn's feast, and then tortured the details of Kern's spying out of the frightened scribe. In return for silence, she demanded payment. Otherwise, she threatened to go the Lord Merdwyn with the story and then no doubt there would be hell to pay.

Zana gave Kern 48 hours to consider her 'offer', and then left. And then the planning began. Various options, including a knife in the back for Zana and/or smuggling Rathgold out of New Breven keep were weighed. In the end, Kern and Erijay decided to play along with Zana's game for now, and Erijay would make use of her ESP to dig into their blackmailers brain. When the appointed day arrived, Erijay made a show of storming out of The Wasp after arguing with Kern, then slipped on the elven cloak and circled back to hide invisibly in her room. Some time later Zana arrived to get Kern's answer. The merchant stalled her some more, questioning whether they could trust a blackmailer to keep her work. Who knows who else she had betrayed, and who else was in on the gig that could likewise betray any or all of them? While Zana was elusive in her answer to Kern., Erijay read flashes of thoughts. Zana was working alone on this side business; the rest of the Company of Good Cheer was not involved or informed. She was also shaking down a couple of members of Lord Merdwyn's household. Fineous the Squire apparently had a weakness for women, and was paying Zana to keep quiet about all the jilted lovers, pregnant maids, and late night sneaking of the ladies in and out of the keep.  On the other hand, she was also blackmailing Thorious the Lower Bailiff, who was a secret member of the Cult of Yg, information he probably didn't want to get back to the Count Palatine.  In the end, Kern offered Zana 100pp to keep quiet, which she accepted as a 'down-payment", with the understanding that more would be forthcoming.

Fuming over this latest roadblock, Kern and Erijay waited out the week while Bjorn recovered, and then prepared to return to Westmist. As promised, they reported to Lord Merdwyn before leaving.  He had no messages to go back per se. But he did brandish a recent dispatch from his man in Westmist, reporting recent issues with marauding giants north of town, attacking farms and leaving them devoid of families and livestock.  Jax requested that some seasoned troops be sent to help with the issue, so Lord Merdwyn was dispatching a half company of his mercenaries ,The Company of the Four Brothers, back to Westmist. He asked that the party travel back with them, just to be on the safe side. Kern protested that the party may have other business on the way, and Lord Merdwyn was understanding yet insistent that they travel together as far as possible. To which, in the end, Kern and Erijay agreed.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Westmist Session #74 - Free at Last

Dai-sen stood still for a moment, unsure whether he should advance into the room or retreat. Behind him came a muttered "we've got to deal with it sometime to get to the gate; might as well be now". So the warrior stepped forward, Sheriff Ironbritches joined him in the front rank, and battle was joined. Sheriff Ironbritches quaffed a potion of growth to make him human sized, and Erijay cast haste. The lion leap from it's crouching potions, striking Dai-sen with one paw, but missing with it's massive jaws. The hasted party now rained blows on the thing, and chunks of amber flew left and right. The beast made one one leap, this time at Sheriff Ironbritches, before the combined blows of the party shattered it into a thousand pieces. Erijay and Ironbritches each scooped up a few bits of the gemstone, while Dai-sen scooped up the silver key which lay amidst the rubble. Looking now at the gate, the party could see it had three locks, so they had just enough of the keys to get it open!

Ironbritches, Erijay and Dai-sen inserted their keys into the locks simultaneously, and the silver gate  swung open into the room. Where once there was just a blank stone wall, there was now the view of a weird, infinite, flat plain.  A greenish grass like substance covered the ground and the sky was an odd blue-purple colour. Nothing else could be seen. Sheriff Ironbritches shoved the other three aside and boldly stepped through the gate. Turning around, he could now see a square, featureless, amber coloured stone building some distance away. The rest of the party joined him, and they began to move towards the stone edifice, a journey that took much longer than it seemed it should have. But they were soon standing in front of a set of double doors, on which was painted a black shield with a gold phoenix. Over the door was carved "Stephan d'Amberville. It would appear they had reached their goal.

Although the plucky, still growth-ed, Sherriff wanted to barge in boldly, the others persuaded him to hold back while Erijay began the ritual to summon Mr Windy with the censor, just in case a nasty surprise waited for them on the other side.  That done, the elf donned the elven cloak she carried and then the party cautiously entered the tomb. They found themselves in a large room containing signs of past battle. The west wall was scorched with fire, and two human skeletons lay there. To the east was the massive skeleton of a dragon, in front of which lay a third human skeleton. Once they were sure the dragon skeleton was not about to move, and the party spread out to search. Dai-sen found that the skeleton in front of the dragon held an obsidian sword in its outstretched hand, a sword he carefully picked up. The mighty warrior felt a strange feeling in his sword arm as if the blade was drawing on his life force. Finding no other ill effects, Dai-sen slipped the blade into his scabbard. Erijay meanwhile had found that one of the other skeletons held a white wand (with the word 'boreas' carved on the end) , while Sherrif recovered a burned leather bag of gems from the other.
Looting complete, thoughts now turned to which door to try; east or west. Deciding the dragon must have been guarding something, Sheriff Ironbritches headed for the east door.  On the other side, the surprised halfling found open sky. Although there were walls, where the ceiling should be was open blue sky, while thousands of feet below could be seen earth. Stretching out in front was a 10' wide conveyer belt of cloud, which turned a corner some 50' ahead and disappeared out of sight. Ironbritches was about to step on the cloud when Erijay grabbed his shoulder and held him back. She dropped a coin onto the cloud, and it sank a few inches, but otherwise did not fall through. Dai-sen then pulled a massive leg-bone off the dragon skeleton, and dropped it on the next cloud to appear. Again, the cloud held it's weight, and the bone was carried off around the corner. Satisfied that it would hold his weight, Erijay let Ironbritches go, and the halfling stepped on a cloud and let it carry him along. The other three followed some distance behind.

When Sheriff Ironbritches turned the corner, he saw a wall of black fog blocking his viewed about 50' away. Just before that, the cloud path split into four, two above and two below. Ironbritches chose the upper left path, and after passing through the fog bank, ran right into a swirling elemental whirlwind that rose above him, then dropped to attack.  The halfling screamed the danger back to the rest of the party, and Erijay quickly completed the ritual to summon Mr Windy. Dai-sen and Sloth rushed forward to help the halfling, who was now being buffeted by the elemental, but at the same time rained mighty blows on the summoned thing. Just as Dai-sen and Sloth arrive the join the fight, the halfling was hit hard and lost his footing, dropping off the cloud conveyer and plummeted towards the distant earth below.  Erijay quickly sent Mr Windy in pursuit, and by shear luck the elemental caught up with the halfling and buffeted him back up to the cloud path. By this time, Dai-sen had finished off the other elemental, and the party stopped to take stock around them. Of the other three paths, they could see one continued on, a second ended right past the fog bank they'd passed through, and the third was lashed by a massive lighting storm. Ahead lay another fog bank, so the party let the clouds carry them that way. Breaking through it, they found that the paths all rejoined into one, then turned back to the west and ended in a door. Since they had him there, the party decided to send Mr Windy to bust open the door, which he did with ease. While Erijay held back with the elemental, the other three moved thorugh the door to see what lay beyond.

Essentially nothing. Another 50' cubed room, but this one featureless, and with doors to the east, west and south. Dismissing Mr Windy, Erijay joined her companions, and they decided to check out the southern door. Sheriff Ironbritches opened the door, and beyond was another 50' cubed room, this one with a slightly slopped floor and a 10' diameter pit in the center. Suspicious, Sheriff gently lay a coin on the floor, and it slipped off towards the pit at high speed. He then touched it with his finger tips, and the halfling's hand slipped away just as quickly. The floor was completely frictionless. Dai-sen tried to scrap it with his dagger, thinking it might be some sort of coating, but he nearly lost his dagger as it slipped away as well. Obviously unable to touch the floor, the party used rope and grappling hook to grab onto the pull-ring on the east door, and Sheriff Ironbritches was sent across. A serious of complicated moves later, the halfling had the door open. On the other side was a room filled to the level of the open door with water. Deep by the look of it, and stretching off into the distance some ways. Since that didn't look promising, Sheriff detached the   grappling hook while  Dai-sen and Sloth pulled him quickly back through their door before the halfling could slide into the pit. Which, sliding close to the edge, he could see was filled with upright spikes.

Back on safe ground, the decision was made to set camp for the night and tackle the other door on the morrow. Erijay took advantage of the rest to relearn spells, including read magic so she could read the spell scroll she'd recovered earlier.  The rope/hook/halfling maneuver was then repeated with the west door. Beyond this door was a room full of bubbling mud, scattered throughout which were a number of 10' square stone platforms.  While this way didn't seem much more inviting than the water room, they had to move forward somehow, so a plan was hatched. Erijay and Dai-sen shimmied over the rope.  Erijay cast levitate on herself , and then helped Dai-sen hop over to the first platform. Which began to sink into the boiling mud.  The elf quickly helped the warrior bounce from platform to platform to a door at the far end of the room.This Dai-sen opened, and on the other side saw another dragon skeleton. This one, however, sat on a huge pile of treasure, and it rose on it's haunches to face the warrior. The undead thing opened it's jaws, and a blast of small bone shards hit the warrior, who nearly tumbled back into the mud. Erijay, still levitating above, helped Dai-sen bounce back to the other door. And the party started to discuss what to do next.

They first checked the west door in the previous room, in case it led to an easier path. It opened into a room full of fire, so it looked like the mud room was the best way to go. Erijay then revealed that the scroll she'd found included (among others) a dimension door spell. So the following plan was hatched: the elf would once more levitate to the skeletal dragon's room, and try to dimension door the creature into the fire room.  Taking advantage of her elven cloaked invisibility, Erijay got close to the dragon-thing and cast her spell. Which worked! The dragon disappeared, and the rest of the party could hear something thrashing about and cackling in the fire room. The trio then quickly but carefully shimmied over the rope and hopped to the now empty dragon's room with the help of the levitating elf.
Well, empty except for the pile of treasure, which with great force of will they ignored for now, and instead headed through the door beyond it so they could find their final escape. Through the last door they found another 50' cube room. This one, however, had a dais in the center, on which sat a mahogany casket. A silver candelabra and iron brazier, both burning, stood at the the head and foot of the casket. The walls were covered with a tapestry, which based on what the party now knew, depicted the assassination of Stephan d'Amberville.

'Right, to the casket' said Ironbritches. Lifting the lid, inside they found a skeleton wearing a golden crown and dressed in the remains of rich, amber colored velvet robes. Carved into the lid were the words "Burn the tapestry to break my curse". That seemed easy, so up in flames they went (but not until after Erijay had checked out behind them, to make sure there were no surprises).

The surprise came after the tapestry had finished burning. Once the smoke cleared, they found themselves standing back in front of the chateau. Lying the the grass was Bjorn, and standing around him were Kern, Darnorth, Gurruk and Rylee. All of whom looked a little dumfounded. There also stood a tall distinguished man, dressed in fine amber velvet and wearing a crown. He bowed low to Erijay, Sloth, Dai-sen and Ironbritches, and said graciously "I am Stephan d'Amberville. My most sincere thanks for freeing me from my curse.  In than ks, allow me to present your lost companions. And please accept these further gifts as a token of my gratitude". Seemingly from thin air, Prince Stephan presented 4 identical, heavily jeweled crowns, one each to  Erijay, Sloth, Dai-sen and Ironbritches. He then proceeded present a magical item to each: a wand of detect metals for Erijay, potion of climbing for Sloth, Plate Mail +2 for Sheriff Ironbritches, and Plate Mail +2 and Shield +1 for Dai-sen. He then bowed once more, and with a wave of his hand was gone.
Meanwhile, the chateau behind them had, now released from it's own curse, crumbled into ruin. Kern muttered something about "all that treasure!!" There was nothing to do but to head back to New Breven (on foot as their horses had disappeared), filling in Darnorth, Kern, Rylee and Gurruk on all that had happened since their unfortunate demises.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Westmist Session #73 - To the Gate!

  • Dai-sen opens the door to the cold room with the ice lizard thing, while the rest of the party lingers behind holding Meat/Princess Catherine. The ice lizard thing starts to snort and paw at the ground, obviously aggressive. It charges Dai-sen, who grabs Meat/Princess Catherine, hamstrings him/her, and pushed him/her into the room.
  • The ice lizard is distracted by Meat/Princess Catherine, so the party rushes past it and out the door on the other side of the room. Close door behind them to the sound of rending flesh.
  • Find themselves in a green room, with a green man holding a two handed sword standing in the center. He challenges the party and tells them they may not pass until a champion chops off the green mans head using the two handed sword. Dia-sen accepts, and takes the sword. The green man draws a longsword and stands ready for the duel. Dai-sen raises the two handed sword, and with a single swipe chops off his challengers head.
  • Party loots body as it hits the floor. Find a green leather bag around his neck, containing another silver key.
  • Party continues to next room, which has a black motif. Searching around , Gort pulls back the carpet and finds a trap door in the floor. Opening it reveals a shaft that drops at least 30' down. A torch is dropped, which reveals the shaft turns to a 45degree slope after about 40'. 100' of rope is lowered, and Dai-sen and Gort shimmy down. Once they reach the end of their rope, they find themselves in a 30' dungeon corridor. Call up to Erijay and Sloth, who follow them down.
  • Enter a room with a pattern of letters on the floor. Much discussion over how best to thwart this obvious trap. In the end Dai-sen walks boldly straight across one line of letters (NEHOG). Sloth follows by another straight route (GOHEN). Both feel measurably more competent when they reach the other side. Gort and Erijay try to be smart and cross diagonally; both begin to grow hair on cheeks and feel the urge to howl at the moon. 
  • Next room contain a number of prison cells. In one is a minotaur, which Gort tries to engage in conversation. The man-beast throws itself at the bars, trying to reach the dwarf and tear him limb from limb. Gort then explores an empty cell, only to be attacked from behind by an invisible form. Two blows later and the dwarf is dead before anyone can help. Help now comes in the form of the remaining three party members locking to dwarfs corpse in the cell with the unseen assailant, so they can avoid a similar fate.
  • In a third cell is a man with a bucket of paint and a brush, staring at a realistic painting of the moon on the wall. He barely responds to the party's presence, just muttering "the moon, the moon, beautiful moon" over and over.
  • http://www.palms4u2.com/i/Tiles/Painting_-_Midnight_Moon.jpg
  •  Leaving the lunatic behind, they party enters a huge room, with four 10' high vats, engraved with magical writing and  filled with frothing liquid. Sloth wanders around, and suddenly sights 4 naked men at the end of the room.
  • Sloth runs back to the Erijay and Dai-sen, who have been joined by a newcomer, a short round halfling named Sheriff Ironbritches. The strange men follow, and a fight ensues. 
  • The men have the same weird skin tone as the boxer and valet encountered in the chateau. One throws a lighting bolt at Erijay and Sloth, another tries to charm Dai-sen. Another stretches his arms to 20' long and tries to wrap Sloth in them. All four fall relatively quickly to the swords and arrows of the party, and their bodies disappears in a puff of oily smoke.
  • Erijay is boosted up to one of the vats for a look, and finds a pinkish frothy goo. Takes samples for later analysis. 
  • Heading out, the next room is a huge alchemical lab full of tables, benches, and alchemical glassware. When everyone is in, the door lock clicks shut, and a fine black powder begins to enter the room from hidden overhead vents. 
  • All four fall into a deep sleep and dream strange dreams:
    • Sloth dreams of falling for infinity.
    • Erijay dreams she is captured by strange lizard creatures who cage her and put her on display. She is saved by a passing wise man with one and a half heads and three eyes, who teleports her back to the dungeon. 
    • Sheriff dreams of saving an important courtier of the king, and of being make a Lord of the realm in reward. 
    • Dai-sen dreams of performing a heroic quest, something about saving a dragon from a fair maid or something. 
  • All four awake with no ill effects, although Dai-sen feels much mightier than before.
  • The room doors are now unlocked, so the party leaves by a new door and finds themselves in a series of corridors leading to various rooms. 
  • First room contains a pit filled with some sort of liquid, in the snetre of which bobs a glass sphere containing another silver key. Sloth dreams up a Rube Golbergish plan using ropes to lift out the sphere. Unfortunately the liquid turns out to be acid and the ropes dissolve. Dai-sen flicks a pebble at the sphere, which immediately shatters and drops the key into the pool. Where it dissolves. 
  • With a few grumbles, the party moves onto the the next room. It is an old storage room full of shelves thickly coated in cobwebs. Sloth pokes around and finds a box containing a scroll of magic user spells. Erijay claims the scroll.
  • Next room containing a pile of coins, 10' high and 40' long. Once shock wears off, Dai-sen suspiciously pokes the treasure pile with his sword.  At which point the pile rears up, exposing itself as a huge slime worm which then tries to swallow the noble fighter. Who dodges, and then joins with his companions to slay the the slimy slither-er.
  • They find the worm is covered in uncountable thousands of coins, mostly copper and silver, and some gold. They do scrap off as much gold as can be carried, and have to leave the rest.
  • In the next room they find three dog houses and a smell of brimstone. Figuring there must be hellhounds, the party flees the room and bars the door. 
  • Opening the next door, the party sees the object of their quest! A 10' silver gate! Unfortunately, their way is barred by a large amber coloured lion ...

Friday, May 30, 2014

Westmist Session #72 - Meat the Archmage, Sloth the Pig

  • Erijay, Gort, Sir Thomas Chap and Jason decide to leave Bjorn under the protective amber force field to recover. They load him up with food and water, leave Jason's dog to guard him, and then head off to search for the Gate of the Silver Keys. Jason takes the brazier from Bjorn; just in case they need a 20' air elemental.
  • Having searched the west wing of the chateau, they decide to head through the indoor forest to the east wing. Thankfully(?) no one is left alive from the previous encounter with the Wild Hunt, who had warned them against ever returning. 
  • Passing into the garden, they party is attacked by a group of killer trees. Tentacle/vines lash out and entangle them, drawing the helpless adventurers to great toothed maws to be chomped.  
  • There is much (attempted) hacking and slashing of vines, but Sir Thomas and Jason are both slain. 
  • At about this time, another trio of adventurers (Meat the Fighter, Sloth the illiterate cleric  and Dai-sen the Lawful warrior) appeared, and charge into the fray to help Erijay and Gort. Their combined effort destroys the woody menace. The two groups decide to join forces and search for a way out together. 
  • The party treks across the forest, then realizes they forgot to search around the trees for loot. They backtract, find nothing (but recover the brazier from Jason's half eaten body) , and retrace their steps. As they reach the bridge over the stream, they find their way barred by a woman in green and amber robes. They try to talk their way past the woman (obviously another looney d'Amberville) and it works! She steps to one side and allows the party to pass unmolested.
  •  Shortly after a quartet of badgers amble out of the woods and starts nipping at their heels. Meat punts his into the trees, a move copied by Sloth. Erijay and Gort get bitten and irritated,  and choose to pummel theirs to death. Jason, wearing his elven cloak, it not bothered by the badgers.
  • Come to the door to the east wing. A trio of massive stones forms an archway around the door, and a continuous line of blood drips from the lintel. Gort, Jason and Sloth get through with no problem. Meat and Erijay get dripped on by blood, causing an odd magical tingling to them both.
  • They open the door into a massive room with white marble floors. A throne sits back-on before them. Tapestries line the walls, and a skeletal honor guard stands along the north and south walls. Carefully walking to the front of the thrones, they see two regal skeletal figures sitting there. A line of skeletal coutiers line a red carpet, all frozen in various poses. 
  • Meat approaches the throne, and is suddenly overtaken by some sort of mental possession. He twitches for a few minutes, then to his companions surprise ans horror, starts chanting words of magic. Sloth is turned into a pig, and before anyone else can react, Erijay is enchanted to attack her fellow adventurers. 
  • Not sure what is going on, the rest of the party does the only thing they can; pummel Meat into unconsciousness and tie him up. Erijay regains control of herself; Sloth is still a pig. Dai-sen rips a jeweled mace from one of the skeletons on the thrones.
  • They drag Meat into a side room, furnished and decorated in blue. When he regains consciousness they try to reason with him. Meat begins to again cast a spell, so they knock him out again and gag him this time.
  • Erijay casts ESP when Meat wakes up. Finds out he has been possessed by the spirit of Princess Catherine (one of the skeletons on the throne). She was wife of Prince Stephen d'Amberville, but betrayed and murdered him, then married his brother Henri and claimed the throne. In his dying breath however, Prince Stephan cast a curse on his family. Catherine and Henri were utterly destroyed, but she was able to magic jar herself into the throne. When the party entered the room, she took possession of Meat so she could be free.
  • Erijay also learns the Gate of the Silver Keys is in the dungeon below, and the two entrances to the dungeon are in the east wing and the chapel to the north of the indoor forest.
  • They try to convince Meat/Catherine to break the spell on Sloth and bring him back to human form. She/he resists, so they cut off a finger. She/he then complies; Sloth returns as a cleric dumber than the pig he was. 
  • Not sure what to do with Meat/Catherine, the party tries the next door. Beyond it is a white room, very cold, and with a giant 6-legged lizard thing staring at them. Door is slammed shut, and discussion ensues about what to do next. Suggestion made that Meat/Catherine be pushed into the room, then bar the door shut. Hopefully that will take care of at least one of their problems ...
To be continued ...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Westmist Session #71 - More d'Amberville's

·         Waking after night’s sleep, Bjorn and Erijay see amber writing appear on the wall. It tells them that if they wish to escape from the chateau, they need to release Stephan d’Amberville from his tomb beyond space and time. The writing directs them to find the Gate of the Silver Keys.
·         Leaving the corpses of Riley and Guruuk behind, they break camp and head out to explore more of the mansion and seek the Gate. They meet a trio of adventurers (Sir Thomas Chap [cleric], Jason [magic user] and his dog, and Gort [dwarf]) who are likewise trapped within the mansion. They decide to join forces to force their way out.
·         Party goes to the room where purring was heard last time. Enter room, and find a dozen cat headed humanoids. The cat-things do not speak common, but one has a smattering of orc which allows Bjorn to communicate. The mage makes a great impression, and weird cat licking greetings are shared. Creatures agree to take the party to meet their leader, Richard Coeur de Lion.
·         Half of the cat-things lead party across hall, through a bedroom and then through a secret door into another bedroom. There they see an 8’ tall man with the head of a lion, dressed in golden armor and wearing golden crown.   The cat-things speak to him in their language, and he seems upset they have brought strangers to his secret room. He roars at the party, and all flee in abject fear. Except Jason, who beats a hasty retreat and arcane locks the secret door as he leaves. This traps the creatures inside.

·         A ruckus of hissing and yowling rises from behind the trapped door, which attracts the rest of the cat creatures. They rush over to help their trapped comrades. When the fear wears off the rest of the party, they sneak back into the cat-thing lair and pilfer a chest of gold. They transfer the contents to the secret safe in the room with Riley and Gurruk’s bodies, and then put the chest back in place so the cat-things don’t know they've been robbed.
·         Figuring it best to get away before the fur hits the fan, the party head west. They enter a room with the furniture all pushed aside and a boxing ring in the centre. Standing in the ring is a vaguely unnatural-looking man in boxing trunks. Sitting in a chair next to the ring is a man dressed in rich lace, silk and velvets, and wearing a hat flaunting a giant peacock feather. He is flanked by two armored guards, and hovering over a couple of chairs is a pair of unblinking red eyeballs.
·         The man, Jean Louis d’Amberville, challenges the party to select a champion to fight his boxer. And offers to match whatever wager they choose. After some discussion, Erijay takes the challenge and the party puts up a 1000gp bet. And hedge their bets by having Sir Thomas cast bless and Erijay, haste. They also try to bargain their way out of the chateau, something Jean-Louis cannot do. But he does promise to answer 2 questions about the chateau if they win.

·        The elf easily knocks down her opponent after only two rounds. The strange man falls to the floor of the ring, and then dissolves in a burst of flame and smoke.
·         Jean-Louis honors the bet, and answers their questions:  Can Kern/Darnorth be brought back? (Yes, but it would require a power well beyond their own). Where is the Gate of the Silver Keys? (In the dungeon below).
·         They leave through a different door, and find themselves in a richly appointed entry hall. Outside, they can see the grey mist still encircles the mansion. As they prepare to leave, they are confronted by a man dressed in amber livery. A butler or footman of some sort. He challenges them, demanding to know who they are. He doesn’t seem to like their answers, as he raises his hands and fires a lightning bolt at the party. Melee and magic follow, and in the ensuring fight, Bjorn falls to another lightning bolt. Finally, their opponent is slain, and he too disappears in a burst of flame and smoke.
·         Bjorn is not quite dead yet, just lying mortally injured on deaths door (saved by Erijay jamming a potion of healing down the magic user’s throat). They carry him back to the room with Rylee and Gurruk’s mortal remains, carefully avoiding cat-things and boxing matches along the way.  
·         They discover that, when they lay the magic user out to recover, the protective amber dome appears and covers Bjorn. And heated discussion ensures. Do they stay with Bjorn for a few weeks until he recovers, trusting that their rations will last? Or do they leave him with food and water and hope he can recover unmolested, while the rest seek the Gate of the Silver Keys? Tune in next time …