Saturday, January 25, 2014

Westmist Session #64 - To the Mines!

Next morning, the Jarl's housecarls roused the party to prepare them for their foray into the old troll mines. When the Jarl and pair of Virlya joined them, Kern posed a few questions to the troll leader. Specifically looking for more information on the layout of the mines (was there a map?) and where the mysterious stele was located. Unfortunately Jarl Sveg could tell them little, as the discovery of the stele and summoning of the malign spirit occurred many years ago, and he could not recall details of the mine. Besides, undoubted many areas had become unstable and collapsed over the years so any map would likely be useless. He could tell them at least that the stele was discovered at the far western end of the mine. Kern also talked the Jarl out of a pair of the troll's sheep, to use as food on the hoof and/or bait when battling in the mines.

That done, the Jarl and his housecarls lead the party to the only mine entrance still unblocked (stopping at the infravision statue to get all the humans some night sight on the way). The entrance was right next to the elevator the party had been using, so they has to pass through the minotaur lair to get there. Which they were able to do without incident thanks to the two Vrilya who accompanied the Jarl. Once in the mine tunnels, the Jarl took his leave of the party and returned to his halls. The party, forming a marching order and hefting weapons, headed out. After just a few steps, the walls around them started to fade away. The next thing everyone knew, they were waking up in a large mined out chamber. Most notably, all their equipment and supplies were gone, and they were dressed just in old rags and equip with mining tools and lanterns. They were also not alone.  A half dozen skeletons, equip much like themselves, approached. The party prepared to do battle, and Riley began to call on the power of Habuu to drive away the undead fiends. Only to realize he had no holy symbol with which to channel the wrath of his god. And was unable to see in the dark anyway, as his infravision lens were likewise gone. So all raised shovels and picks and dealt with them the old fashioned way; smashing them. But these skeletons were tougher than normal, with bones encrusted in mineral deposits. One of the skeletons killed a sheep, and Darnorth vaulted over the other wooly creature to aid his embattled comrades. Lacking their usual armor and weapons, the skeletons hurt the party badly before the last one fell.
After first aid and healing, the party looked around the room. A well stood in one corner, and everyone went to look, hoping their equipment might be in there. Alas it contained only scummy water. Erijay examined the skeletons, and noticed one was encrusted in minerals shot through with flecks of gold. She took one of the broken femurs to use as a backup weapon. But nothing else of use or interest was found, so the party prepared to head west, still hoping  to find the stele and deal with it. Having first dealt with a band of (thankfully) regular skeletons that wandered into the room, they passed out into the mine tunnels. These were all roughly dug and propped up with timbers. As the Jarl warned, they were also quite unstable, and the sounds of creaking wood and small rockfalls echoed around them. Following the winding tunnels, they entered another mine chamber. Darnorth saw immediately that the load here was not mined out, and veins of gold still snaked through the walls. For once though, the dwarf was uninterested in the shiny metal. He instead led the party out of the room down a slating corridor. And next thing everyone knew, they were back in the well room, with no idea of how they got there or how much time had passed.

So back down the tunnels they marched, heading west out of the gold-chamber this time. They immediately entered another open area, this one occupied by another group of skeletons. These undead were picking up rocks and placing them in a trio of mining carts, a task they stopped at once when the party appeared. Several picked up tools and prepared to attack, while the rest of the skeletons grabbed a mine cart and rolled it down the slope towards the intruders.  The cart slammed into Darnorth, throwing him to the ground. Rather than risk a knock down fight in their under-equip state, Bjorn cast a web spell to trap the ore carts and as many of the undead as possible. The rest were taken down by mining tools and thrown rocks.

Burning away the web that now blocked their progress west, they headed out again and once more broke into a mined out chamber. This one contained a small alter carved out of stone. Riley, wracking his brain to remember his clerical training, identified it as a shrine to Lughrin, the old god of miners. And behind it hung a silver warhammer, which the cleric recalled was the holy symbol of the mining god. Darnorth snatched the weapon from it's hook, while Kern examined the altar for traps. He found no traps, but did notice what appeared to be a hollow or hole under the stone. Gurruk bent down and started digging it out, and uncovered a trove containing flasks of holy water, 3 potions of extra healing, and a clerical scroll (bless, resist cold x3, continual light, striking x2). This fortunate find was shared among the group, and then Darnorth and hammer led them once more to the west.
And right into trouble. Breaking into the chamber, the party encounter a large space occupied by dozens of the undead. Knowing better than to provoke a fight, they tried to retreat. But the evil creatures had seen them, and a group of the mineral encrusted skeletons turned to pursue. Kern and Darnorth bravely blocked to passage to allow the rest of the party to escape and look for a way to get around the undead filled room. On the way, Gurruk staked their last sheep at the far of the tunnel where the dwarf and merchant were fighting, then whistled to the pair to retreat. Which they did, passing the sheep and following the rest of the p[arty down a northward running tunnel. Thankfully, their pursuers were distracted by the easily reached living flesh, and the party escaped to the sounds of a bleating sheep being rendered to bits by the skeletons.!/image/159634990.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_476/159634990.jpg
Fleeing, they ran into a trio of zombie like undead. Like the mineral skeletons, these proved tougher to deal with than originally thought. One hit Darnorth with a swing of it's shovel, and a cold chill crept through the dwarf, who was slowed for the next while. But they were able to defeat the three, and head further to the northeast. They entered another chamber, this one showing signs of an old battle. To the west a strange purple glow was seen, so Kern crept down that way to have a look. There, a huge chamber was lit by a massive blast furnace that glowed with an odd purple flame. Outlined by the flame was a reptilian creature, 15 feet tall and with four arms and a horn on it's nose. And out of the room came a voice with a sound beyond space and time: "I hear you, but do not see you. Who are you?" That raised the hair on the back of Kern's neck, so he scuttled back to the party, who were getting ready to leave by the northern exit.
Before they could move though, a strange knocking was heard in the walls. Listening carefully, Darnorth suddenly recognized it as a form of miner's code, used to communicate underground. The knocking told them "danger north, go south and follow instructions". Not sure if they should trust the message, but equally unsure if they could afford not to trust it at this point, they obeyed. They were led south and then back north, past the room in which they first awoke. Passing through another couple of chambers without incident, they now found themselves in one with signs of an old cave-in. And waiting  for them there was a ghostly spirit. The figure was dressed in miners gear and introduced himself as Mass Rapert. He had been one of the trolls human slaves, captured when the occupants of the Stonehell prison broke into the troll mines those many years before. He was in the mine when the stele was discovered, and saw the destruction caused by the evil spirit. He died in the chaotic infighting caused by  the twisted malevolent presence of the beast, but neither became undead nor was able to move on to the afterlife until the spirit is destroyed. He offered to help the party however he could. Asked first about all their stuff, Maas told them they were no longer in the same time and place as their gear. The presence of the spirit had ripped the mines free of Stonehell into a temporal distortion. All their worldly goods were back in their own reality, back in the dungeon. He told them to escape back to their own place and time, they had to use the blessed hammer of Lughrin to smash the stele that houses the evil spirits essence, and then slay the thing. Otherwise, it would be invulnerable to physical destruction. The hammer however, would only work in the hands of a righteous soul. Peering into each set of eyes, Maas finally settled on Erijay, saying "here is the righteous soul who may wield the hammer". So Darnorth dutifully listened to the ghost, and handed his treasure to the elf. Asking now about other weapons, Maas told them the old mine guardroom was located just to the north, and they could find some weapons and armor there. But they would have to fight more undead to get there ...

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