Saturday, June 16, 2012

Westmist / Stonehell Session #5

After a few days rest, Turrick and Ranthor returned to explore Stonehell once more, this time without the elf Erijay who was too deep in study of arcane lore to be disturbed at this time. Warrick, however, choose to again join the band. Ranthor, meanwhile, put some of his recently plundered gold to use by hiring a pair of men at arms, Ulog and Rothus. Thus fully assembled, the group trekked to the dungeon entrance and headed below.

First stop was the pair of carved stone doors noted during their last visit. They were locked, and several attempts by Turrick and Ranthor to break them down proved unsuccessful. The group then headed  to the west to search beyond the room in which they fought the centipedes and orcs last time. To nobody's surprise, the orc's bodies were no longer  to be seen. Turning left, they first encountered a room with the statue of a large bipedal lizard with 4 arms and a horn on his snout. In front sat a large bowl holding hundreds of silver coins.  Sensing a trap, Ranthor carefully scouted around the statute. Turrick instead choose to boldly begin scooping the coins into a sack. This brought on a loud rumble and part of the roof caved in on the unfortunate halfling, who none the less emerged, battered and dusty, but several hundred silver pieces richer.

Leaving the lizard statue behind, they quickly checked out a room with a small cistern, and then headed back through the centipede room and along the long corridor that lead in the opposite direction.  Finding a small storeroom, they rifled around for a bit and uncovered a usable 10' ladder and a hammer with spikes. While the other searched, Ulog (who had been left on guard at the door) whispered a warning that footsteps were approaching. The band quietly prepared an ambush in the room. Crossbows were at the ready, and only a timely call of "Warrick, my brother in Habuu!" saved the newcomers from the bolts. They proved to be another band exploring the dungeon, lead by a pair of clerics from the Temple in town, who had been spurred to explore by the tales told by Warrick.  Comparing notes, our band learned that the area to the far east was a vast collection of crypts with more than a few undead.

After the newcomers had left, the band decided to try the locked doors again. Calling on the power of his god (and using  a good crowbar), Warrick this time broke the lock and pushed the door open. On the other side was a short corridor with doors every ten feet. Checking the first door uncovered a burial crypt with tiers of bodies wrapped in grave clothes. Feeling brave,  Ranthor kept checking doors until his luck ran out. Opening a door, several of the corpses came to life and attacked.  A flurry of crossbow bolts from Ranthor and Ulog, and Warrick channeling the power of Habuu to turn the vile zombies, and in short order the dead fell dead again. In other rooms,  skeletons and then a ghoul were dealt with in the same manner, with assistance from Turrick and his spears,  and a small amount of treasure recovered (a potion vial and a gold armband). A particular surprise was the performance of Ulog, who proved a deadly shot with the crossbow and accounted for a large proportion of the kills. However, the last room checked contained a much larger group of skeletons, and the band choose to not stand toe to toe with them. While Warrick used the power of Habuu to hold the skeletons back, the rest used their newly acquired hammer and spikes to wedge the door shut and bar the skeletons back in this tomb.

Speaking of Turrick, while Ranthor and the others had started exploring the crypts, he had headed straight for the door at the end of the hall. Opening it, he uncovered a room with an alter made of human bones on which sat a huge grinning stone skull. Even the impetuous halfling knew better than to disturb this, and hearing his fellow explorers locked in combat, he wisely turned and left the room after only a rudimentary examination.

Finished with the crypts, the band backtracked past the storage room again, following a long straight corridor. As they stared to wonder where they were headed, disaster struck. The floor gave way below Ulog, and the man-at-arms plunged to his death below. The party briefly grieved for their lost comrade, and then Turrick was quickly lowered on a rope to recover Ulog's deadly crossbow to see how it worked in the hands of Rothus.

Finally reaching the end of the corridor, the group encountered a room carved with large human heads with gaping mouths around the walls. Ranthor, once more cautious, dropped to the floor and crawled over to one mouth to make sure it was not a trap. Finding nothing but carved stone, he stood and motioned the rest into the room. They then noted a pool of muddy water and a corridor to the south. The water proved shallow, and following the corridor the band found themselves back in the "Dragons Den" which they had explored on their last trip. However, no one recalled this corridor being here before.  Encountering a band of kobolds in the room , they questioned the creatures about the corridor. The kobolds could say only that strange things can happen in Stonehell, that corridors and rooms sometimes appear and disappear for no reason.

Still puzzled, they retraced their steps and continued exploring, entering another room with stone faces. Boldly striding in this time, Ranthor stepped on a pressure plate in the floor, which released a hail of darts from the carved mouths. Ranthor luckily escaped injury, so the group moved on and found themselves back in  an area of the dungeon already explored, near the corpse room. Deciding to visit that room, it was again noted a new corridor had appear, this time connecting the corpse room  with the room holding the talking stone head. Turrick and Ranthor, having heard Erijay's story of the talking head, but having never seen it, entered and proceeded converse with the strange cranium. Once again, three questions were asked and answered. Turrick first asked the head why it spoke, and it replied it had been enchanted by "The Plated Mage". Ranthor then took over questioning, and in answer to his inquiries was told the potion he had found was poison and the Fickle Beaker was nowhere to be found in Stonehell. At that, the head settled back into silence.

The day now getting late, the band recovered Ulog's body and headed back to Westmist. First leaving the man-at-arms remains with his grieving fiancĂ©,  Ranthor then visited Sythini the Alchemist to have her identify his potion, which proved to be a Potion of Mammal Control.  Turrick meanwhile cashed in the armband and updated his kit, then got rid of some excess gear he couldn't sell by giving a backpack and miners pick to a beggar.

One last item of note. While relaxing at the inn after their expedition, Ranthor and Turrick heard stories from the town watchmen about boats slipping under the bridge over the Valen River at night. These boats have not been responding to the hailing of the guards, all of which seemed very strange to the men on watch.

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