Sunday, April 21, 2013

Westmist Session #42 - More Monkeys

Back to Stonehell to scout routes to levels below, Erijay (with Fin the War Dog), Darnorth, and Riley (with Gurrruk and 2 wolves) ran into trouble once again while passing through the old hobgoblin fortress. A small band of crazed berserkers tried to block their way, but were swiftly defeated by the party. Wiping blades clean, they continued on a now familiar route to the third level, making their way without further incident to the octagonal chamber and elevator room. Expecting no problems here, they were surprised by a bugbear ambush which took the place of the gargoyles. A bloody fight ensued, from which the party emerged triumphant. Finding that the elevator was not currently on this floor, and not knowing any way to call it, they decided to loot the bugbears and then head to the south. After poking around a room with wardrobes holding white robes and pairs of rusty, steel mesh gloves, they continued south. There they found a room filled with empty cages, in the centre of which stood a pair of metal tables, fitted with leather restraints. Suspended above each was a metal bowl connected to each other by wires. The faintly monkey smell convinced Darnorth this setup has something to do with the dreaded cybernetic monkeys, so the dwarf proceeded to cut all the wires and generally trash the apparatus.

Feeling better now, the dwarf led the party through the west door and out of the room. Only to find waiting on the other side a half dozen of the dreaded monkeys. Erijay was able to shut down half with a well placed sleep spell, but enough remained to link up and fry the dwarf with a zap of lightning. However, the rest of the party rushed in behind Darnorth and soon the monkeys lay on the floor oozing green ichor and mechanical bits. With time now for a breather, the party looked around, and found themselves in another room of large cages. The few nearby seemed empty with the doors hanging open. However, when Darnorth poked in a pile of bones in one, two skeletal baboons emerged and attacked with their raking claws. Once again the party drew arms to fight simian nightmares, and once more succeeded. Working their way around the room, they noted another with bones, which Riley quickly slammed shut just as another skeleton arose. This one they dealt with through the bars of the cages with no harm to themselves. As they completed the circuit of the cages, however, they ran into a band of the skeletons emerging from their cages before the party got too close, Another fight ensured, and while half of the skeletons attacked the front ranks of the party, the other moved around to their rear and attacked there. Caught between the two, the party found itself in desperate straits. First one of Gurruk's wolves fell, then the redoubtable Erijay. It was only with hard fighting, and some especially lucky hits by Riley, that things didn't end even worse. But they were bad enough, and the party elected to carry Erijay back to the temple to take advantage of their new discount raising rate. They very nearly didn't make it though, as they were intercepted by another band of bugbears before getting too far along. These were not too interested in tangling with the party though, having seen their recent handiwork with their friends in the elevator room. After some quick back and forth threats, the two parties decided for now to part ways in opposite directions.

Back in Westmist, Erijay was trotted off to the Temple of Three Virtues, raised, and then dropped in bed for a couple weeks recovery. While the elf was fed a steady stream of chicken soup by the loyal Riker, Darnorth and Riley poked round town for information and rumors.  The most obvious change was the number of troops now in town; it was starting to look like it did the previous fall when the March Baron was preparing for the hobgoblin invasion. Apparently Lord Merdwyn was taking no chances even though "He Who Walks in Metal" was dead.

Going to see Afflain the Fence, they discovered a response to their counter offer to Zoloran for the mirror of aging. The archmage now offered 1500gp and information on where they could find a ring of wishes, so they couple bring back Darnorth's lost vitality. Now that was an offer Kern might be interested in when he returned. Hafus also returned to Westmist during Erijay's recovery. He brought word from Sir Janus that the knight was underwhelmed by the party's progress in fulfilling their part of the coup d'├ętat plan. He was recalling Hafus permanently, and considered their deal on hold until such a time as the party could show something that upheld their end i.e. Duncal. In the meantime, Sir Janus would continue with his own plans.

When Erijay finally recovered, all were bored with town, so a quick jaunt was made to Stonehell. Passing to the third level without incident, they headed further west this time, down the corridor branching off the narrow 5' passage. At the first door encountered, Darnorth listened and heard bugbears. Choosing not to fight the big hairy goblins again, they continued west, encountering a corridor blocked by a 10' boulder. Although small gaps could be seen in the corners, there was no easy way for any of the party to get through. But it certainly made them think of wererats. Turning south to complete the map connection to the garden area, they explored several more rooms. In one, a mass of brown vines covered the floor, and under a table on the far side a stongbox could be seen. No one liked the look of those vines, especially since a skeleton could already be seen on the floor under them.  Darnorth floated up on his boots of levitation, and hauled himself over along the wall. Once over the table, he managed to hit a bulls-eye with a grappling hook, catching one of the handles. Lifting it, he was not surprised to find the vines trying to climb towards him, but the floating dwarf made it out of the room and back among friends with no trouble.  Carefully opening the box (away from himself), Darnorth found a pile of silver coin.

Heading back towards the boulder hallway, the party checked out a couple of doors. At one, Darnorth discovered what appeared to be a trap, a fine wire running from the handle and up into the ceiling. Wishing he'd paid more attention to Kern, the dwarf decided to not tempt fate by trying to disarm it. Instead, it was noted on the map for the merchant to deal with later. Checking the next room, they burst into an old torture chamber, where four gnolls were trying to remove an iron maiden from the wall.  Thinking the party was there to deprive them of their treasure, the hyena headed creatures attacked. Alas, they made little impression on the party, who then finished the job of ripping the coffin-like object off the wall. But they found nothing of interest behind it or elsewhere in the room, and do decided to head back to town while still in good shape.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Westmist #41 - Do You Get the Feeling No One in this Dungeon Likes Us?

Gathering forces, the party returned once more to the depths of the dungeon, to scout out possible routes down to the halls of the mountain trolls.  Darnorth, Erijay (with Fin the Wardog), Kern (with Bjorn and Sweet Jenny) and Riley (with Gurruk and his wolves) headed for the depths following their usual route through the old hobgoblin fortress. This time, however, they met trouble.  As they passed through the narrow passage l to the iron turnstile, the front ranks of the party suddenly found themselves under attack through the loopholes in the east and west walls. Flasks of oil rained in and torches followed into the confined space. Trapped by the portcullis in front, they scrambled to get back out through the door. But not before several received terrible burns, and Sweet Jenny the mule and Bjorn the magic user succumbed to the flames. Erijay, gallantly assisting the fallen mage, tried to force a healing berry down his throat, but the magic user just retched. Instead, she poured a healing potion in his mouth and then dragged him to safety.  Darnorth provided covering fire with his crossbow, while Riley and Gurruk tried to bust down the doors leading to their assailants. The doors proved to be locked, and it took some time before one was broken open and the other unlocked by the crafty Kern. Behind the doors the party found empty rooms. Puzzled, Gurruk had the wolves sniff out their attackers, with the response of ‘rats’. Putting two and two together, the party figured their ambushers was the wererats who had transformed to rat form and escaped though the loopholes.
After Riley tore off the doors in a fit of vengeance, the party returned to Westmist to leave Bjorn at the house with Rikar so the mage could recover. They then turned back to the dungeon (after Kern purchased another mule), at first thinking about finding and dealing with the wererats. They decided instead to head down to level four to try making friendly contact with the gentleman ghouls, and perhaps learn more about the lower levels. Making it back to the scorpion room, this time they headed east with Kern scouting invisibly ahead. Facing the first door, Darnorth decided to be gentlemanly and knocked. In response came the gruff shout “Who’s there? What do you want?” After some persuasion, the occupants of the room opened the door, and the party saw a burly human fighter and an elf with an arrow notched on his bow. These two said they were survivors of an adventuring party, hiding out here after losing their comrades to the gentleman ghouls. Unwilling the brave the dungeon alone, even to make it to an exit, the two asked to join the party long enough to get out of Stonehell. While no one was really sure the two (Ban and Tal by name) could be trusted, they were allowed to join the party, firmly ensconced in the middle of the matching order where Gurruk and Riley could keep an eye on them.

Considering their new companions might not want to deal with the ghouls again, the party headed instead back to the weird temple to the west. A series of old barracks, storage rooms and martial training rooms were explored at first. While checking out one, the party was surprised by a pair of translucent spirits, features racked in pain. These drifted towards the party who ended their never ending pain at the end of their swords. But not before Darnorth was touched by one, bringing the dwarf to the edge of agony, an ordeal now etched on his previously carefree visage.  In another room, a large strongbox was found under a bed. Erijay found a key in the mattress, but before trying it Kern discovered a lethal blade trap which he disarmed. Now safe, they opened it up to find a massive pile of silver and gold coin. They loaded strongbox and all (‘never know, that trap might come in handy’ noted Kern) onto the new Sweet Jenny.

Several more rooms were explored, and another strange suit of animated moaning plate mail was dispatched. Then in a room at the end of a corridor, the party encountered a challenge. A small room, with a black iron alter and a wide selection of torture devices. And two more ghostly features, these looking more like the life draining apparition they cleared out of their house oh so many months ago. Bravely, Darnorth and Kern charged into the small space to fight toe to ghost with the two. Erijay tried a web spell, and learned that it didn’t help much against the incorporeal undead. Riley then drew on Habuu’s blessing to drive one of the fiends into a corner. The other, meanwhile, reached out and grasped Darnorth, draining away some of his vital life force.

At this point, there was a ruckus in the corridor, where Gurruk stood waiting with the two newcomers. Riley spun around and saw Ban and Tal had turned their swords on the beastmaster and the wildlife. With an orison of rage to Habuu on his lips, the cleric drove into the two turncoats. He was soon joined by Erijay, Kern, and the drained Darnorth, who by now had eliminated the one unturned wraith. Fighting in tight quarters, the two newcomers were slain. As a shocked party looked on, the bodies morphed into tall, grey humanoids with vague rubbery features. Doppelgangers!

That taken care of, Kern, Darnorth, Erijau and Riley returned to deal with the last wraith. While Erijay used the wand of magic missiles to snipe at the undead threat, the other three drove in with sword and hammer. The short but vicious combat ended with the creature destroyed and no one else worst for wear as a result. Now looking around the room, little new of interest was noted. Until Erijay tapped the altar with her sword pommel, and discovered that it was hollow. A careful search revealed no way to actually get inside the altar, so Darnorth decided to trust the magic of his sword to hack the top open. With much clatter and clanging (and after dealing with another agonizing figure attracted by the noise), the top was pealed back enough to reveal treasures inside. Four jeweled icons showing the Sorcha the Witch Bitch and Mistress of Pain, a scroll case, a mace, and an ebony rod. Gathering up their find, the party decided to now retreat back to Westmist.

Back in town, Darnroth tired to find magical healing for his pains and drains, but to no avail. A little detect magic and experimentation revealed they now owned a mace +1 (claimed by Riley), and a clerical scroll of heal and remove curse. Riley then took the strange ebony rod to the Temple, hoping that Liphanes of the Highest Virtue might be able to identify it. Alas for Riley, the high cleric was not available, and he instead had to meet with the decidedly unhelpful Lanthan the Under Virtue. The bitter churchman offered no help, and instead directed Riley to one of the magic users in town. With unusual grace, Riley left the temple to do just that, leaving the rod and a bag of gold with Synthini for her to identify.  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Westmist Session #40 - Down the Garden Path

Kern, disappointed that he missed the latest delve into the dungeon, convinced Eirjay (with Fin the War Dog) to accompany he and Bjorn back into Stonehell. No one else was not interested in going back so soon. First, however, the two decided to try and find out what was up with the Baron and his plans, since they didn’t think the hobgoblins now presented much of a threat. Still unable to get an audience with Lord Merdwyn, they instead hit the taverns to question some of the mercenaries now arriving back in town in large numbers. They found one, a trooper with Lakser’s Horse, a young fellow fresh off the farm. He wasn’t much help, knowing only that they were being paid by the King to march in support of the March Baron. Exactly what the plan was, he didn’t know.

Leaving the whiff of intrigue behind, the trio (Erijay, Kern and Bjorn) plus livestock (Fin and Sweet Jenny) headed down the dark halls once more. An uneventful journey through their secret entrance soon brought them back outside the double doors on the third level. After a short discussion, the decision was made to explore to the north and east. Here they hoped to find the wererats Lachesis had mentioned, or additional ways down to the lower levels as indicated by the kobolds. They soon found themselves in the strange greenhouse section, with loam and plants on the floor, and that strange glow and leaking pipes all around. Heading south, they soon found their way blocked by a collapsed ceiling. Checking out the one room remaining, a trio of strange frogs with dazzling eyes were encountered. Right away, Erijay, the dog and the mule were mesmerized from staring into the creatures swirling eyes.  It took two a pair of sleep spells from Bjorn and some cut and thrust by Kern to end the threat. After which they slapped the elf and animals out of their stupor and headed deeper into the wild. Passing their old wine cellar, they found in the next room a path cut though a thick growth of giant ferns and mushrooms. Their ears were also suddenly split by a piercing wail from the far corner of the room. Kern donned Erijay’s ring of invisibility and silently crept towards the noise to investigate. As he entered the thick growth, the noise stopped. He searched the area but found nothing beyond the plant growth. Puzzled, he rejoined the rest and they continued on the path west. Passing through the next room, Kern scouted ahead while the rest waited. While Kern methodically worked across the room, Erijay and Bjorn both noticed movement out of the corner of their eyes. One of the giant ferns was moving, walking in circles, its fronds waving up and down. Intrigued, Erijay approached and spoke to the plant, which retreated into a corner with fronds drooping low. Unable to communicate with the fern and unwilling to disturb it further, the party moved on.
It wasn’t long before they encountered a door on the north side of the corridor. Opposite it was an alcove containing a pile of rusted chain and pulleys. Looking up, they could see a shaft going up. Lacking Darnorth’s pink boots, they decided to try out the door first. When Kern tried to open it, the door wouldn’t budge, even though the merchant could see no locking mechanism. Putting shoulder and brute strength to work, he was able to break the door open. On the other side, he could see a mass of vines, some of which had wedged the door shut. There were also a series of old crates and barrels lining the walls, some of which were grown over with a vine studded with large white flowers. While Kern carefully examined the bare crates, Erijay went over to a flower and touched it. The blossom immediately expelled a cloud of pollen which engulfed the elf maid. Coughing and sputtering, Erijay stumbled away. And stumble she did, finding she now seemed to be walking as if she had two left clown feet. The whole party now cleared the room to decide what, if anything, they should do about checking out the rest of the crates and barrels. A plan was hatched shortly. Erijay cut open a sack and laid it gently below a flower. She then left the room, and Bjorn used a slight breeze cantrip to trigger a pollen explosion, which was collected on the sack. This was repeated for each of the remaining blossoms. Bjorn then used another cantrip to gently place the collected pollen in a vial, which Erijay hoped she could give to Synthini back in town to brew up an antidote. Kern meanwhile rifled through the rest of the room, finding a sack of coin and gems in one of the crates.

Loading the treasure onto Sweet Jenny, the party headed west once more, and soon came to a four way intersection. To the west stairs were seen going down, while to the south a loud buzzing could be heard. Kern slipped the ring of invisibility on again to go investigate, and found a room with a huge bee hive and half a dozen giant bees. Slipping back to tell the others, he was shortly followed by three strange mushroom men who had entered the corridor from the east. With weird whistling whoops, these charged forward swinging clubs, but were soon sliced and diced into oblivion.

Party consensus was to ignore the bees for now. Checking the room from which the mushroom men emerged, the party found nothing but a mass of nettles and thorns. Seeing a door to the south and another passage on the opposite side of the room, the party decided to loop back the way they came and approach from the east side. Doing so, they found themselves in a wide corroder with a line of planters down the centre and a half dozen doors to the north and south.  In one planter grew a strange tree, half pine and half palm. As the party passed it, the tree whipped around and flung several large coconut sized fruit at them. These exploded on contact, badly burning Bjorn and singeing his feather cloak. Not about to take that kind of attitude from a tree, the party hacked into in and soon turned it into firewood. Free now to check out the doors, the party found a series of out dormitory rooms. In several they encountered large slugs, one of which Kern skewered. In another room, careful inspection of the ceiling saved them from a green slime, which Erijay proceeded to burn using a torch tied to the end of a 10 foot pole. In several rooms, small pieces of jewelry were found hidden away in the old furniture. Erijay also recovered a volume of lore on poisonous plants, which she hoped might provide some information on curing her dexterity affliction.

At the far end of the corridor they found another door. This one, on examination by the cautious Kern, was found to be trapped. The wily merchant took care of that, and the party entered a richly appointed bedchamber with the statue of a thin man in a hooded robe on the wall opposite the door. Approaching the statue, Kern proceeded to check it for traps. He was surprised when the statue raised its fists and took at swing at him! Stumbling backwards, her drew his sword, and joined by Erijay and Fin, fought back. The statue was cut to pieces in short order, allowing the party to search the room. In the broken remains of the statue was found a small chest, which Kern was unable to open, so they loaded it onto Sweet Jenny instead. Bjorn meanwhile found a large spellbook which the strange mage agreed to share with Eirjay once they got back to town.

Now heading back to the thorn and nettle room, the party was surprised to see three of the nettle bushes walk across the room and bar their passage. Having had just about enough of cheeky plants, Kern and Erijay attacked. A short fight found the bushes trimmed down with only a few scratches to Erijay and Fin in return. Now able to reach the door in the south wall, the party found a ruined kitchen on the other side. Of note was the strange bush growing out of the kitchen sink, adored with a dozen blue waxy fruit the size of a small plum. Uncertain if she should dare any further plant touching this day, Erijay first consulted her new book. Finding no mention of such a bush, the elf maid carefully picked a fruit, with no ill effects. Emboldened she picked the rest, but didn’t test fate by actually eating any right now.  While Erijay picked berries, Kern checked out the door to the south. Opening it, he was immediately hit with a revolting rotting smell that almost turned his stomach. Slamming the door close, he wisely directed everyone out the way they came. Having tested their luck enough, the party decided to head back to town with their loot.

Back in Westmist, Erijay first paid a visit to Synthini to look for a cure for here pollen poisoning. The alchemist couldn’t help immediately, but did say she could probably brew up an antitoxin if given the collected pollen, a week, and 2000gp. Erijay considered it, but decided instead to visit the Temple of the Three Virtues. There she paid the same amount for a neutralize poison, but was back to her old nimble self immediately. Kern meanwhile was able to now open the recovered chest. In addition to some coin, it contained three potions (2 extra healing and 1 invisibility) and a wand of magic missiles which was turned over to Bjorn. And finally, Erijay tested one of the fruit and found it restored some of her hurts from the adventure. And so ended the session.