Sunday, September 28, 2014

Westmist Session #81 - Stonehell Revisited

With the sudden change in circumstances and location, there was much to keep everyone busy. Kern dove deep into his plan for a Stonehell based insurrection; Bjorn worked furiously copying spells; Gurruk took it upon himself to fill their hosts larder with fresh game; Rylee ministered to their spiritual needs; and Darnorth took the chance to study the mixed stonework through the dungeon.  This left Erijay and Lomar with little to do, as the expedition to recover the "Cerebral Shield" wasn't leaving real soon. So the elf proposed taking Lomar on a little tour of the party's previous haunts in the dungeon, and may find a little treasure and excitement.They were also able to convince a couple of the Stonehell Resistance to join them; Yar the over enthusiastic cleric of Saule, and Guy the moody man-at-arms.  And Fin the dog.

They decided first to visit Lachesis, for both Lomar and Erijay hoped she could direct them to some magical assistance within the dungeon. In particular, Lomar wanted to have his gelatinous arm healed, and Erijay was wondering what could be done about her somewhat surly and standoffish manner. So pilfering some gold from the party chest, off the expedition went. They easily and quickly found Lachesis in her rooms, and after some pleasantries (and disappointment on the spy-mistresses part that Kern was not present), they got down to business. Lachesis could unfortunately offer little direct help. For Erijay, she suggested trying the 'Wheel of Fortune" on the first level and trust to her luck. For Lomar, she directed him to the fifth level, down around the Vrilya, to a protoplasmic "Pool of Wisdom" that may have information on dealing with his affliction. Interview over, Rufus and Tusk directed the party out of the rooms to decide what to do next.
Erijay recalled the gifts she had purchased for the Gentlemen Ghouls, so she dragged Lomar and the others along to recover them from their hiding spot, and then off to the back door of the ghouls home.  Unfortunately, she had misinterpreted a note on her old map, and they ran into a pair of hellhounds, newly spawned  from the eternal fire that guarded the back door. They party tried to retreat, but the hounds chased them down. In the ensuing fight, Yar was crisped by one hellhounds breath, and once more died in the party's service. They carried his body back to a nearby dwarven funeral room, and Lomar carefully scrunched up the body on one brier and said a few words over his fallen comrade. Looping around the eternal fire this time, they came to the ghouls back door and knocked. After a few minutes, the door was opened by a ghoul Erijay did not recognize. He was very haughty and very upset, as they were interrupting a dinner party. Erijay presented here gifts of fine glassware and new clothes, and tried to sweet talk her way into the dinner party, hoping to pump the ghouls for information. Alas, it did no good, as they were all turned away and told not to come again without first  sending a calling card ahead of their arrival. And please dress more appropriately.

Having hit another information dead end, they decided to head down one level and look for the "Pool of Wisdom". Taking first the main stairs, Erijay slipped on the elven cloak borrowed from Kern,and scouted ahead. At the bottom of the stairs she found the large portcullis shut, and could see with her infravision, figures moving about in the room beyond. Where once the hydras laired, there were now a pair of 10' lizards, and several Vrilya stood on the overlooking balconies. Going back to meet Lomar and Guy, Erijay studies the map again, and they headed north and descended via the elevator located there instead of taking a chance with the Vrilya. From there, they explored new ground, apparently more old mining tunnels like those encountered in the extra-dimensional mine. Cautious Lomar cast detect traps as they explored tunnels and chambers, but found nothing. They did find a small alcove filled with rusty bird cages though, and in each lay the dry mummified remains of a canary. Lomar, filled with the pity of Saule, stepped in the midst of the cages to bless the dead birds. When he did, he noticed one cage which contained a curious clockwork canary. Try as they might, they couldn't get it to activate or do anything, but Lomar was mighty pleased with his find and perched the the cage on top of his pack.
 Further exploration uncovered rooms filled with old mining equipment and debris. In one direction came a strong animal and urine smell, so they avoided that room and headed the opposite direction. They soon encounter a dead end corridor. There lay a 10' cube, with perfectly smooth sides and no sign tool marks. Curious, the elf and cleric poured over the cube, looking for clues as to it's origin and purpose. Luckily, they weren't too intent, for Lomar noticed that animal/urine smell wafting down the hallway towards them. Turning around, they saw two fierce creatures, with the body of a cave bear and the head of an owl, approaching them. Fin rushed ahead to bite one on the leg, only to be crushed and torn to pieces by the fearsome beak. Lomar blinded one with his light spell, then cast sticks to snakes from his scroll. Meanwhile, Erijay fired a few crossbow bolts, then followed up with magic missiles, while Guy stood his ground with his sword. But Lomar's snakes delivered the coup de grĂ¢ce, poisoning the last of the owl bears.
Finding nothing of interest on the bodies, Lomar deduced that these might have come from the similarly foul smelling room encountered earlier. Which meant it might now be unguarded, so off they went to investigate. Sneaking in carefully, they surprised two owl bears caught in a moment of animal lust. Which Erijay rudely interrupted with a lightning bolt, and Lomar finished up when he turned his poison snakes on the survivor. Pushing aside the smouldering and frothing corpses, they rooted through the nest. They found 5000ep (of which 1500ep they could carry out), a vial with a bubblegum smelling liquid, and a scroll case clutched in a skeletal hand. In the case was a note:

         `Fredrick, the box with the items we found is buried in the alcove behind the stone cube`

Well, they knew where that was. So they headed back to the cube posthaste, stopping just long enough to grab a couple of old shovels from the mining detritus. Once there, a few minutes of digging uncovered a small metal box, latched but unlocked. Thinking this was a job for Kern, they popped the box in a pack and headed back for their HQ on the second level. 

Guy, impressed by the reward offered by Lomar, offered his services as a henchman to the cleric, grumbling that at least this employer hadn't`t gotten him killed ...

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