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 ...

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