Session 6: The Dungeon Complex – Part 2 (
23rd May 2012)
The cast of heroes
Arken (Half-Elf Cleric) – leader of the party
Bardan (Human Fighter) – the muscle
Knil (Elf Ranger) – the tracker
Rioja Hyrule (Human Mage) – the wizard
Korum Proudfoot (Halfling Thief) – the scout
Damien (Human Fighter) - the extra muscle (absent from this session)
The Darkness (day 21)
The party decided to rest up and take stock of their adventures so far. At a quick estimate, they realised that they had spent the best part of two days in the magical complex and dark dungeon; alternately testing their skills to the highest degree and resting up. After another good rest, the party considered their next moves. They decided to retrace their steps to the T-junction at the foot of the stairs they entered the dark dungeon by. Once past the doorway, they slowly approached a room the mirror image of the first one in which they encountered the first skeletons. This room was empty. Expecting the worst, Korum scouted ahead again with trepidation in his steps. The next room also turned out to be empty. The exit from this room, however, led straight onto a T-junction. They decided to head to the left as that seemed to be an area that could be quickly covered as it would fill in a gap on their map.
Approaching the room slowly, Korum heard the sound of bones rubbing together. He readied himself with two vials of Holy Water and stepped over the threshold. His presence was immediately felt by the two skeletons within and they advanced on him with wicked grins on their maws. Korum let loose the vials of water but these didn’t seem to have much effect. He retreated to the safety of the rest of the party declaring what he had encountered. Arken, the cleric, stepped forward and called upon his god, Din, to rid this world of such abominations. The skeletons crumbled to dust. The party cautiously entered the room and discovered a chest in the corner. The lock was no challenge to Korum, and soon the treasure within was revealed; a suit of plate armour and two vials of red liquid. Rioja got to work on appraising the latest haul, revealing that the armour was magical and the vials contained Potions of Extra Healing. The vials disappeared into the cleric’s pack and the armour was handed to Bardan.
The party retraced their steps to the T-Junction and carried on along the other branch. The corridor ended at another T-junction. Again the party decided to turn left. Korum, creeping ahead of the party as usual was able to report back that at the end of the corridor was a large room with two other exits further down the wall from which he entered. Unfortunately there were also two large skeletons armed with rusted blades. These were of a similar size to the ones encountered in the fountain room, and were deemed to be of great danger. Arken Blessed the party and cast Sanctuary upon himself and the party readied themselves for combat. As they advanced into the chamber, the skeletons locked their gazes upon the cleric. The ranger and thief let loose with their shafts but Knil was again unlucky in that his bowstring snapped again! Korum’s bolt flew true though and hit one of the skeletons. Bardan, arriving slightly late (obviously fitting into his new armour), charged into the combat with the cleric, who didn’t have time to turn the undead due to casting protective spells upon his fellow travellers. After a brief melee, one of the skeletons crumbled to dust at the hands of the party, but the other was slightly trickier. Bardan enveloped the second skeleton in a great bear hug preventing it from using its rusted weapon. Korum lined up a massive blow to its neck but this failed to dispel the creature. Bardan carried on squeezing ever more tightly, feeling bones snap and grind under the pressure. The blue fire in the eye sockets dimmed as its magical life was snuffed out. It too crumbled to dust.
There was nothing else in the room, so the party quickly decided to vacate it. They unanimously decided to take the first exit along the wall. Cautiously moving forward, the party advanced through a short twisting corridor, past a side turning and upon turning right came across a small niche in the wall. This turned out to be nothing more than an aborted attempt to construct another smaller corridor. The party left this area quickly and carried on tracing their path around more twisting corridors until they arrived back at the skeleton room they had just recently left. Realising they had walked a circuit, they decided to check out the second exit from the room, in the knowledge that they still had one more side turning to explore behind them.
The Key to the Door
The second exit led down a very long, dark corridor. Cautiously they rounded a corner and shortly after another, doubling-back, then the corridor opened out into a large, high-ceilinged room. On the same wall they entered the room was a very large door complete with two ornate handles, a key hole and runes upon the surface. Korum, the chattiest of the party started to ask Rioja what he thought the runes might mean but all everyone heard was a load of gibberish. He tried talking in every language he knew but still nobody was any wiser. Rioja tried to get the Halfling to talk sense, but it seemed he was the only one who could make himself understood. Korum, writing down what he thought was a perfectly legible script, handed it to Rioja, but the sentence turned out to be gibberish. The party, confused by this lack of being able to understand each other, slowly backed out of the room until they could find a place where they could talk to one another again in the Common tongue. Finding a spot just around the first corner, they discussed this new conundrum. Above the chatter of the party, Korum caught the approaching sound of many boned feet clacking on the floor. Coming down the corridor were a great number of skeletons with three of their larger compatriots in tow.
A decision was quickly reached that the tougher party members would hold off this approaching horde to give the mage more time to decipher the runes and work out what the runes meant. Korum would accompany him in case his skills were needed. The mage and thief returned to the room with a few pre-agreed signals arranged to ease communication and left their compatriots to face the oncoming skeletons.
Dem Dry Bones
Arken started the combat by summoning a Dust devil. Meanwhile, Knil knocked and let fly a couple of arrows that flew true and hit their target. Arken then commanded his Dust Devil to take out the oncoming horde of bones and attempted to turn as many as he could before the melee was joined. His god, Din, answered his prayer and a skeleton crumbled to dust. Bardan stepped to the front just as the skeletons were drawing close to the Dust Devil. Lighting a rag stuffed into a bottle of blessed alcohol, Bardan threw the concoction at the oncoming skeletons. The resulting explosion rocked the corridor and five of the approaching horde crumbled to dust. When the flames died down, the party saw to their horror that even more skeletons were bearing down on the party; things were not looking good as six of these were now of the larger type.
Writing down the runes at a feverish pace, Rioja’s fear was getting the better of him. The sounds of battle just around the corner had unnerved him and his concentration wavered. This puzzle would need more thought in a quieter and less stressful environment. Korum, his days as a burglar coming back to him, looked around for somewhere a key may be kept. The only place available was above the door on the wide lintel. He motioned for Rioja to give him a boost but between them they didn’t have the height or strength to get up there. They knew that time was running out for their companions, so they decided that they would need to support them in order to present a united front rather than a split force that could be taken apart in two separate skirmishes.
Korum and Rioja raced back to the fight to be confronted by another loud explosion and the sight of two of the larger skeletons staggering under the impact of the flames. The extra crossbow bolts and Magic Missiles fired into the fight gave the party breathing space to reform their ranks, but at this point the Dust Devil dissipated. Slowly but surely, the party ground down the opposition, but not before Arken and Bardan took many serious wounds. As the battle progressed, the party realised that without any more reinforcements arriving for the undead, they stood a good chance of getting through the melee. Arken, battered and bloodied, started a little song and dance, taunting the skeletons and drawing their wrath from the rest of the party. This gave Bardan, Knil and Korum time to redress their battle lines in order to take down the last remaining large skeletons. Just as the party thought victory was in their grasp, Bardan fumbled and struck Arken with his great axe, dropping it in the process. The remaining two skeletons saw their chance and redoubled their efforts, but the unarmed Bardan was now their target. Sensing victory, the foremost skeleton attacked with more vigour, but fumbled his attack and smashed his sword arm on the wall, losing both the sword and the limb! The following attack saw it do the same again to its other arm in its rage! Bardan and Knil stepped away from this now (h)armless skeleton and concentrated their attacks on the remaining one to keep it away from the injured cleric and weapon less fighter. The longsword of Knil hacked into it, but Korum missed his chance of dispatching it from the rear by dropping his short sword. Bardan, meanwhile, tried to grapple the armless skeleton but failed to get to grips with it. Knil and Arken distracted the last able-bodied skeleton, giving Korum enough time to draw his second short sword and dispatch it with the deftest of blows. The final, armless skeleton crumbled to dust under the hammer of Arken.
Inspecting their wounds and recovering their dropped weapons the party set about trying to heal up, but a shout from Korum halted any more magic being prepared. The sound of more bony footsteps and the chink of chain mail approaching had them clutching for their weapons and preparing the last of their offensive spells.
The last of the skeletons was rapidly traversing the length of the corridor. This one seemed far more deadly than any of the others they had encountered so far. A volley of arrows sped down the corridor and found their mark, but the skeleton just shrugged them off. Korum’s crossbow string snapped; the curse of missile fire in this dungeon struck again – perhaps the dungeon builders had designed it thus as the calamities with bows had so far been many. Another bloody conflict was joined, but the numbers in the party would be more telling this time. Many blows and counter-blows were struck, and fumbles on either side led to weapons becoming embedded in the walls or floor, which led to the combat going on longer than it ordinarily would. Bardan’s axe had again flung from his grasp, so Knil threw him his longsword. This pleased the fighter no end and his combat prowess improved greatly in the confines of the corridor. Maybe his axe was just too big to swing in these smaller confines? The smaller form of Korum allowed him to get behind the skeleton whilst its attention was on the burly warriors ahead of it. Two well placed strikes severed its spine and neck and it crumbled to the ground. The armour and weaponry crumbled to a rusty stain just as the bones turned to dust.
This fight had sorely tested the party. Many wounds needed to be healed and spells retaken, so the party decided to find a safe place to hole up to accomplish this. They decided to head back to the crossroads by the little niche as that gave them the best of all vantage points. Whilst the magic users regained their spells and the warrior and cleric were healed of their many wounds, Korum and Knil, who were mostly uninjured, decided to explore the last of the complex. They headed straight into the room on the opposite side of the crossroads in the hope of negating any further threats. All that greeted them was disturbed earth; most likely the ground from which the skeletons were summoned forth. However, there were not enough holes to account for the amount of skeletons they had encountered. Korum poked through a few of the disturbed areas in the hope of finding some gold coins but all he was rewarded with was dirt. The two scouts backed out of the room and headed right at the crossroads, signalling the room was all clear to the rest of the party as they passed them.
After a sharp right the corridor headed on to a very large room. This room also had lots of disturbed earth. This must have been where the rest of the skeletons had come from. Again, searching for a few coppers in the graves, Korum poked around in the dirt. This time luck was with him and he called for the ranger to help him haul a large chest out of the earth. Korum popped the lock very easily to find the chest full of gold coins. Plunging his fingers into the hoard, Korum realised there were a few other things in there too. He pulled out a ring and an urn which he handed to the ranger, and finally a small bag of gems that disappeared straight into one of his many pockets without being seen by Knil. These were taken back to the rest of the party. By now, Rioja was able to use his magic to work out that the ring was for a light descent from heights and the urn was able to dispel magic within its confines. Rioja took the urn and Korum was thought to be the best recipient of the ring as he did most of the climbing.
The Key to the Door II
As there was still a bit of time required to fully recover all of their spells, the magic users decided it was best if Knil stood guard over them whilst Bardan and Korum went to investigate the door again. A plan was devised before entering the realms of gibberish. When they got to the door, Bardan boosted Korum up onto the door lintel so he could search for a key. It seemed likely that the dungeon makers didn’t leave their keys under doormats or on door lintels, but they did leave another set of runes. Korum took a rubbing of them and the pair returned to the rest of the party.
Unfortunately, any language, whether written or spoken, in this room wound up as gibberish unless it was a mage who attempted it. The rubbing turned out to be next to useless. Rioja decided he needed to see the carvings for himself, so the whole party returned to the door. Rioja approached the large double portal; cast Spider Climb upon himself and climbed to the top of the door. He saw the runes and instantly realised they were the key to the similar runes carved upon the door. The code when cracked read “The key is in my hand”. He returned to stand in front of the door and spoke the magical words. A large golden key appeared in his hands. He tried the key in the door, which proved to open easily. The valves swung open effortlessly, letting in the bright afternoon sun, which temporarily blinded the party members.
Waiting a few minutes for their eyes to adjust, the party took stock of their surroundings – they were just a short distance still from the wizard’s tower. Rioja closed the dungeon doors and locked them. As the adventurers moved away from the huge double doors, they realised that they were very well hidden by the designers, and they would only be found if specifically looked for.
The party returned to the tower to collect their horse and wagon and continue their journey. They decided it would be most prudent to stay in the tower over night, during which time Korum made a final sweep of the upper rooms. Unfortunately, he found nothing new to help them on their quest. Exiting the tower next morning, they locked the door behind them and started away from the stronghold to the dolorous tones of “Who goes there?”
Another day, another Town (day 22)
Consulting their maps of the area, the party looked for a town within easy distance. There was a town marked on the map not a day’s travel from the tower. They decided to set off in that direction for a bit of carousing and trading.
An uneventful journey saw the party reach the walled town by late afternoon. Approaching the main gate they were stopped by the town guard; four heavily armed and armoured men, who looked like they would brook no trouble. Asking the party’s purposes in coming to town, and being happy with what they heard, they let the party through the gates and gave them directions to the nearest inn, under duress of heavy punishment for any trouble caused.
The party entered the courtyard of the unimaginatively named “The Large Tavern” and handed over their transport into the care of the ostler. They entered the common room and approached the bar. The landlord greeted them in a jovial manner and asked them if they would like a room. The adventurers requested a room each with a hot bath and meals for the next three days. Once booked, the party cleaned themselves up and headed back to the common room with the exception of Arken who headed out in search of his local temple. Whilst he was out praying to his god, Din, and making a large donation to the temple’s coffers, the fighter and thief drank and ate themselves into a stupor and were helped up to their rooms by the more sober mage and ranger. Arken returned to find the other two were now also drunk, so they retired to their beds thankful that the doors and walls were thick enough to stop the loud snoring coming from their companions’ rooms.
After a large breakfast the adventurers headed out to the town’s markets in search of magical weapons and trinkets. Several merchants were visited but no good deals were forthcoming. Still, they had a couple more days in which to pick up some new equipment.