Sunday, March 29, 2015

Westmist Session #93- Vamprie Hunt Part#1

The deal with Lord Merdwyn made, the party (Kern and Bjorn, Lomar and Guy, Erijay and Jasper) prepared to delve below Westmist Keep to hunt down Jax and Alia. Lomar started off at the Church of the the Virtues, asking to meet with Liphanes of the Highest Virtues. He was granted an audience with the multi-chinned churchman, and eloquently enlisted the aid of the church in their hunt for the vampires. Cheap healing and holy water for all! Unfortunately, Kern  arrived shortly thereafter and ended any amicable relationship by requesting a fresh body from the church, so he could use the brain in the cerebral shield. Liphanes was not willing to besmirch the church's reputation by giving away the dead left in its care. Kern, however, pulled out his old book with scandalous tales of the old cults of Salue, and threatened to go public with the stories if the churchman didn't cooperate. Liphanes did eventually relent and provide a body, but made it clear neither Kern nor any of his companions could ever expect assistance from the church again.Another enemy made!

While Lomar and Kern were making and breaking friendships at the church, Jasper and Erijay were stocking up on vampire hunting supplies for all; wooden stakes, wooden crossbow bolts, garlic, essence of garlic from Synthini, holy symbols, oil and more holy water. Kern also picked up a guard of Ram barbarians to cover their backs;  the merchant for one was not convinced Lord Merdwyn wouldn't stab them in the back given the opportunity. That done, they met Lord Merdwyn and the Company of Good Cheer at the keep, and he guided them down to the cellars and dungeons below the fortress. The party was brought to a rough tunnel, ending in a small roughly excavated room. There they found a trapdoor in the floor, which Lord Merdwyn indicted was the 'secret' location pointed out by Jax's guard captain. With a bit of a smirk and a wish of good luck, the March Baron left the party to do their delve. Kern instructed the barbarians to guard the room while they were below, then picked the lock on the door. Opening it up, Kern peered inside. Even with the light of his continual light coin, he could see little. Ahead was only darkness, while behind and below was a curved wall, and well as the tops of two huge statues. These Kern recognized as two of the aspects of the foul snake-god Yg; The Great Serpent and The Snake Who Walks. Great, more snakes. Assuming they were at the top of some huge domed or circular structure, they party clipped a grappling hook on the edge of the hatch and dropped 100' of rope into the darkness. Kern started to shimmy down, and at about the 60' mark noted and archway leading out of the dome behind him. At the same time, he encountered a mass of bats fluttering around. Head spinning in near confusion, he hauled himself back up and ordered Bjorn to clear the area with a fireball. That done, they replaced the burned rope and Kern shimmied down again. Only to reach the end of the rope and find himself still dangling in mid-air. Eyeballing one of the Yg statues, he guessed he had another 50' or so to go. So up he went, and another rope was attached, and finally the party was able to descend to the bottom.
There, they found themselves standing on a layer of bone, which on close examination proved to be all snakes. Nearby was a fresher, human body, dead probably a few months. Kern did a circuit of the room, finding three 30' arched exits and another giant statue, that of the third aspect of Yg (the Man-Serpent). Back at the rope, the rest of the party had noticed a 30' diameter circle of smooth black stone. This extended a few inches above the floor level and seemed to mark the center of the room. When Kern approached, something very strange happened. He was carrying Erijay's snake sword, as he got close to the black stone, the sword began to vibrate and hum, it getting more intense as he got closer. Tempted to touch the sword to the stone to see what would happen, he resisted the urge to tinker and instead the whole party focused on their goal; get the vampires. They were also distracted by the appearance of a dozen giant rats coming from the north archway, whom they dispatched with flaming oil, swinging swords, and a partially decayed medusa head.

The vermin taken care of and with Kern in the lead, the party headed out through the north archway, finding beyond it a 30' corridor which circled the domed room. Along the walls were snake shaped arrow slits, filled in with dirt which likewise spilled on the floor. It appeared that this place once stood above ground but was somehow and for some reason buried in the distant past. This outer corridor had collapsed at the west end. Exploring to the east the party found, in addition to the archway leading from the inner dome, a second archway that led from the outer ring and into a 30' corridor. Ignoring this for now, they continued around the ring, reaching a point where the dome had collapsed again, leaving only a narrow 2-3' wide passage along the inner wall.
 Immediately recognizing a potential ambush site, Erijay cast clairvoyance and sent one of her mini-meerkats through the passage. Viewing through the  animal's eyes, the elf was lucky to glance a huge bat perched on the wall, just beyond the narrow passage. Assuming this must be one of the vampires, the party prepared for action. A flurry of spell casting (haste, bless, protection from evil, mirror image, and detect invisibility) ensued. While the party discussed how to best tackle their foe, Bjorn used his detect invisibility to check behind them. And good thing too, because perched just inside the archway leading out of the  circular passage was another, invisible, giant bat. Both vampires lay in ambush! Everyone immediately turned to face this closer threat. Bjorn, as the only one who could actually see the bat, fired magic missiles at it. Erijay, aiming in approximately the right direction, fired twice from her wand of cold, while everyone else blindly lobbed flasks of holy water in the general direction. Bjorn shouted the bat was flying away, but before they could pursue, Erijay saw through the meerkats eyes that the second bat was coming at their backs. Turning to face the new threat, they saw the bat approach, hesitate for a few moments, then fly toward Bjorn and Guy. When it got close, the bat transformed into Jax, who hauled out a dagger and stabbed at Bjorn. Missing the first time, he connected with the second blow. Bjorn staggered, started frothing green at the mouth, and dropped stone dead. Meanwhile, Erijay stared to pour magic missiles at Jax, Kern fired bolts from his magic crossbow, and Lomar fired a web spell from his spider bracelet. That pinned Jax in place, and everyone turned to finish him off with a series of blows. Suddenly, Jax transformed into a cloud of mist, escaping the web and drifting off towards the corridor down which Alia disappeared ...

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