Friday, September 5, 2014

Westmist Session #78 - The Cold! It Burns!

A little perturbed by the boneless corpses (and considering it was nightfall), the party retreated from the dwarf hold to rest and regroup with Janus' men. Who were anxiously awaiting word of their leader Janus,  and their (new) liege, Duncal. There was some grumbling and grousing when the party emerged empty handed, and only Darnorth's rousing speech, and promise of a share of found treasure, kept the band together. Thankfully, reinforcements had arrived in the from of Riley and Gurrak, so the much strengthened band hefted weapons at first light to make another delve for Duncal. As they were preparing to enter, there stumbled from the ruins a bedraggled man, armed and armored much like themselves, but with one arm hanging limp. Challenged, the man replied he was Lomar, an adventuring cleric of Salue. Lomar could offer little more immediate details, as he was much traumatized from encountering the slime-monsters, showing off his be-jelloed arm as proof of his previous encounters. After some discussion, the cleric agreed to join the party in their search.

Heading into the dungeon, the party cut left at the end of the entry hall, and explored a narrow corridor that ended in another pile of rubble. Along the way were a series of stone pillars in 10'x10' alcoves, on one of which was a rusty iron dinner plate. With whispers of 'mind the tetanus' from the nervous Lomar, Darnorth and Kern investigated. Scattered on top of each was some bits of old organic matter of uncertain, but probably food related, origin. While curious, it didn't help in their search for Duncal, so the party headed back to the hallway where they'd fought the gelatinous slime-thing. Turning the corner and advancing slowly, they soon observed another 20' corridor in a T-intersection with the narrow one they were in. A floating stone/oil trench could be seen here as well. Before advancing further, Kern crept forward under the protection of his elven cloak, and listened at the intersection. To his horror, he heard loud squishing sounds to both left and right. Peering around the corner, he saw two of the slime-things, one to each side of him and about 30' feet away. Backing away, he conferred with the party. Erijay decided a well placed fireball should take care of things. A burst of flame filled the corridor ahead of them, and the sound of something wet being burned and broiled could be heard. Once the crackle of flames died out, Kern once more listened. And noe heard the slime things approaching! He gave Bjorn a poke, and the magic user flicked his own fireball down the corridor. Again the flames subsided, and again the sounds of squishing could be heard. But this time moving away. Well, that couldn't be, so the party rushed forward to finish their gelatinous foes. While Kern fired his crossbow, Erijay and Bjorn flicked magic missiles, and Darnorth and Riley rushed up to lay axe and hammer on the closest one. (Lomar and Gurruk held the rear) The slime thing lashed out at the dwarf and cleric via two dwarf shaped pseudopods, striking both and paralyzing them. It began to slowly engulf the two, but Gurrurk rushed up to pull his master free, while a final magic missile from Bjorn slew the creature and freed Darnorth. The two, however, remained paralyzed, until Lomar used a pair of cure light wounds to bring them back to full fighting form. There was no fighting to be done however, as the second creature had retreated out of sight and reach, despite Erijay and Gurruk's best efforts.
 After a short discussion, the party decided to head to the right, to see if the corridor they were now in connected with the other 20' corridor. It did, and they also discovered the long deceased skeleton of a dwarf lying on the floor. On the wall above was a  red sandstone block, which Kern investigated and deemed trap free, but obviously some sort of mechanical device. Darnorth, assuming that as the dwarf hew knew what he was doing, pushed on the block. There was a a few second pause, then a awful rumble of falling rock was heard coming from the end of the corridor they'd just vacated. When the last sounds of falling ruble and wisp of dust settled, new sounds could be heard coming from behind. obviously something attracted by the ruckus. Taking up a defensive position at the 'T-intersection' of the two 20' corridors, the party confronted a pack of 3' long centipedes, heavily armored with stone like plates growing along their backs. They scrambled across the oil/stones (and one fell in and disappeared from sight in the viscous liquid), and were met by a sleep spell from Erijay and a web from Bjorn. This took out most of the beasts, and only one was left for Darnorth to to clobber and the others to pelt with bolts and sling stones. It stony carapace make this harder than it looked though, and Darnorth received a nasty bite on the ankle (as well as a bone chilling stone cold feeling) before it was destroyed. The others were dispatched likewise, and to everyone's surprise Gurruk started piling the bodies in a neet stack to one side of the corridor. "Gurruk make good strong armor from insect things" grunted the wild man. 

Collection done, the party headed east down the new corridor, finding more intersections as well as a pair of rusty iron doors. Once certified 'safe' by Kern, Darnorth opened the first. On the other side was a room with several odd 45 degree angle walls. All the walls, plus one down the middle, were covered in stone tablets engraved with dwarven runes. After a little study, Darnorth declared it to be the history and lore of the Blackhammer clan. He was able to discover one passage that explained one of the battle scenes in the entrance, a battle between dwarven clans (one of which on the side opposite the Blackhammer were Darnorth's own Longbeards. Who lost the battle apparently). Kern meanwhile, using Darnorth's helm read the last few tablets, which descibed in part the opening on new deeper mines that intruded on some sort of alien structures. Humm, guess that tunnel collapse took care of that. While all this study was going on, Erijay was checking the angled walls for secret doors, but to no avail. .

Exiting through another door, they part found themselves in an elongated hexagonal chamber. On one wall was a series of angled shelves, each with what appeared to be a 1" cube of metal on it. On the opposite wall were three words in 1' tall bas relief letters: Errukiz, Ezdrubal, Elomcwe. Treachery, Sloth and Foolishness according to Darnorth's translation. Curiously, the letters of the bottom word (Elomcewe) could be pressed into the wall. After some thought, the letters were pressed to spell the word "Welcome", at which point the wall pivoted open revealing another small alcove like the one in which they'd found the axe. Here, piled in the corner, was a stash of jewelry and gems. "I'll handle this" said Kern, and the thief reached towards the treasure. At this point, the ghostly figure of a dwarf appeared, and demanded to know by what right they claimed the treasure. The figure deemed it foolish that any would take the treasure were they not deserving of it. At which point Darnorth started the mock the long dead Blackhammer, enraging the spirit thing. It surged forward, but Lomar and Riley raised their holy symbols and the thing was kept at bay. Kern took this opportunity to reach for the treasure, but that was enough to interrupt the power of Salue and Habuu. The dwarf spirit reached out and touched the thief, who screamed as the cold chill of lost vitality seeped into his body.
With treasure in hand, they all retreated and slammed the secret door shut. The spirit passed through the stone however, so Riley held it off with the power of Habuu as everyone fled and retreated out of the dungeon. Back in daylight, Janus' men again grumbled that the party hadn't brought back their leaders, although little of this could be heard over the sound of Kern weeping ...

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