Thursday, 21 June 2012

Khorvaire Session 10 - 20/06/12

Session 10: The Chalice (20th June 2012)

The cast of heroes

Arken (Half-Elf Cleric) – leader of the party
Bardan (Human Fighter) – the muscle
Knil (Elf Ranger) – the tracker
Korum Proudfoot (Halfling Thief) – the scout
Rioja Hyrule (Human Mage) – the wizard
Kima (Black Domestic Cat) – his familiar
Davon (Human Paladin) - the Warrior of Din

Rioja Returns (day 42 - continued)

Upon completion of his training, Rioja had returned to the tower in the Blasted Forest. He noticed quite quickly that the rest of the party had moved out, so decided to make the most of the peace and quiet by practicing a few of his new found spells. He poured himself a brew and sat down at his desk to study the newly acquired knowledge. A strange sight caught his eye as a portal suddenly appeared directly in front of him. He was sure that it was not there a few moments ago so got up to investigate. Being the cautious type, he decided not to touch it. After a short while he decided he would have nothing to do with it so started to move away. A voice in his head urged him to walk through to join his companions. Not convinced he asked for proof that the voice in his head was in fact an agent of Din. The portal disappeared.

Meanwhile, in the glade in the marshes, the party were trying to figure out how to gain access to the large diamond within the box without setting off the storm alert. A portal, similar to the one they passed through to get to this dreadful marsh, appeared before them. Not sure what to make of it Korum poked his ten foot pole through it. He encountered no resistance and it came back whole, thus rendering itself safe in his mind.

Rioja was just returning to his studies with a shake of his head when another portal appeared before him with the end of a pole sticking out of it. Curiosity got the better of him so he advanced just as the pole disappeared and was replaced by the head of Korum.

Not sure whether this was some magical trick he asked Korum to identify himself. Nothing would convince him this was the true Halfling Thief, so he asked the question, “What would Bardan most like to do to a bunch of merchants in the local town?” The response was that he would most likely round them all up and burn the town with them in it convinced him of the genuine nature of Korum, so he followed him through the portal.

He was greeted warmly on the other side by all of his companions and brought up to speed with what had been happening. He then identified the magical items each member of the party was carrying and worked out how they could at least take the gem with them. The metal chest was firmly attached to the altar, but with Bardan tugging and the others levering it up with a crowbar in Korum’s pack, the chest came off with a screech of metal on stone. They tied it to the back of one of the horses and headed on out. The good weather followed them at the same fixed radius of the grove all around.

The Mausoleum (day 42 – late afternoon)

The journey to the final destination was uneventful, and the party were glad of the good, dry weather that accompanied them although the going under foot was still boggy. When they got to within half a mile of the mausoleum, Knil and Korum scouted ahead to find a way in, investigate the local environs and check out the weather for comparison’s sake. It had begun to rain quite heavily outside the influence of the magical boundary provided by the chest and gem, and the wind had started to pick up. The mausoleum was only a very short distance from the cliff faces at the end of the valley, so there was nowhere else the party could go other than into the stone building.

Knil signalled for the party to join them, so they all made their way to the door of the sepulchre. They hobbled the horses and took down the chest – they were not going to leave it outside for any random passer-by to take! The great iron-bound oak doors (the only entrance into the building they could discern) proved simple for Korum to open, so he ventured inside. He was surprised to see two large skeletons bearing down on him; they must have been activated by the very act of opening the doors as he had not trod on any tripping devices or pressure plates. Quick as a flash he threw one of Bardan’s fire-bombs, that went off next to one of the skeletons, setting its dry, decaying rags on fire. Seeing Korum in trouble, Knil let loose a couple of arrows that hit true and Rioja launched one of his newly acquired Fireball spells into the room. The explosion and resultant heat made everyone take a step back. The first skeleton went up in flames and crumpled to the floor but the second skeleton was now able to attack Korum and hit him soundly. Knil’s next shots missed due to the after-image left on his retinas so, pushing the mage out of the way, Bardan and Davon piled into the room to protect their fellow adventurers. Shaking his head to clear his vision, Knil’s next shots flew true which caused the skeleton to slow its advance giving Bardan and Davon time to engage in combat. Korum, meantime, had managed to recover himself and get round behind the animated cadaver. The fighters managed to hit a few more times and Knil’s arrows again flew true leaving the skeleton confused. It missed its attack on the warriors in front of it but opened itself up to a sneak attack from the thief. The damage caused was just enough to slow it so that Bardan could execute the coup de grace.

Looking around the room, Korum noticed that there was nothing else but a door in the opposite wall. A quick mental calculation confirmed that the door was probably a few feet before the back of the building true, so was most likely not a door to the outside that they may have missed on their earlier reconnaissance. Korum surveyed the door but accidentally set the trap off that caused the door to fall inwards. He just managed to jump out of the way in time before it crashed to the floor where he had been stood but a moment earlier. The fallen door revealed a second door behind it. Obviously shaken, Korum was unable to pick the lock so asked Bardan to try to kick it down. The door budged a little but the lock held. Bardan hacked out the lock with his axe. Once the lock had dropped to the floor, he again kicked the door open but it sprang back as if on a very tightly coiled spring. Bardan managed to stop the door before it closed and, with Davon’s help, Korum spiked it open.

Korum quickly investigated what lay beyond and called back that there was a spiralling staircase that led down and back beneath the room they were in. As things were getting late, Arken called for the party to rest up for the night and set three watches. Korum and Bardan took first watch. Nothing seemed to happen, so curiosity got the better of Korum’s inquisitive nature. Bardan warned him not to go down the stairs, but too late, the thief had sprung over the resting fighter and onto the top of the stairs. The stairs led down beneath the room the party were camped in and along a short corridor before stopping at a cylindrical pit. There was a metal walkway around the lip of the pit that led down into the darkness. Korum tentatively tried the stairs; they would hold his weight but made an awful screeching noise as the metal twisted in its holdings. He quickly applied oil to some of the worst places but the task to quieten all of the joins would have been Herculean, so he made his way back to the top of the pit. He looked down, but could not quite see the bottom, so spat over the edge and listened. The resulting splat timed the fall to about 40-50 feet, with a stone floor at the bottom. Korum decided that cautiousness would be the better form of valour for this task, so returned to get some rest. The rest of the night passed uneventfully, except for the scolding Bardan gave him on his return.

Into the Depths (day 43)

The party awoke fully refreshed, with all spells learned and wounds healed. They broke their fast and started on their way down the spiral staircase around the pit. Metal squealed at every step, but they all made it to the bottom safely. Set into the wall opposite was another door. Korum was able to open this door easily, which revealed a long corridor with another door at the far end. The corridor was full of rubble on the floor and was lit somehow by dim natural light; possibly filtering down from the marshes above? Proceeding cautiously, prodding the floor ahead of him with his pole, Korum slowly made his way along the corridor.

About halfway down, he must have hit a pressure pad as a large blade swung from one wall across to the other, taking the end of his pole with it. How had he missed that trap? He decided to look closer and espied another two sets of opposing slits in the wall further ahead, about five feet apart. He prodded around to find the nearest pressure pad and set the trap off again. This time he was able to work out which particular stone set the trap, so he marked it with chalk. He stepped over the pad and crawled beneath the lowest height of the blade as it had swung (about 2 feet) and stood on the other side of the trap. He then advanced on the next trap cautiously.

After a little searching he found the next pressure pad. He set it off, but this time the blade at the next set of slits swung across the corridor. He marked the trigger off with chalk again and cautiously advanced to the next pair of slits in the wall. Again, he found the trigger stone but this time it set off the trap five feet back; so these two sets of traps worked in opposition. He motioned the party to come forward and told them to avoid stepping on the stones marked with chalk. The party followed through but also made sure they crawled under the arc of the blades just in case. The party reached the door at the far end without injury.

The Antechamber

The door was opened easily by Korum and he took a peak through the small gap he cracked it open to. Inside he saw that it was dimly lit with a door in the opposite wall only 20-30 feet away. Just as he was about to open the door fully, a skeleton walked into view. Korum let loose a shaft from his crossbow but the shock of being discovered caused him to miss. He pulled himself back behind the door and closed it. He was in the middle of explaining that there was a skeleton in the room when a large rusty sword was thrust through the door’s timbers. Upon Arken’s command, the party carefully retreated behind the traps in the corridor to await the approach of the animated bones. It did not take the armoured skeleton long to hack through the door and enter the corridor, but it is also swiftly followed by two more of the same! The first skeleton swiftly closed the gap only to be smashed asunder by the swinging blade of the first trap triggered by Korum. This turn of events caused the second skeleton to falter, but the third one advanced none-the-less only to meet the same fate at the second trap, also sprung by Korum. This time, the blade became trapped in the wall slit, entangled in the arms and armour of the decimated skeleton. The remaining skeleton, eyes burning blue fire, advanced again upon the party, not setting off any traps as they were now sprung. Combat was engaged and the cleric tried to turn the undead being. His attempt failed so the skeleton picked him out as the main target. After several feints by both the party and the skeleton, Arken was hit a couple of times causing him to stumble back out of the fight. Bardan fumbled with his axe as he saw his companion stumble back, but Davon swung his mighty two-handed sword and cleaved the skeleton in two with just the one blow.

The party advanced over the smashed skeletons and back through the door into the chamber beyond. There was nothing else to be found within the room, only another large door opposite the one they had just entered from.

The Chalice

Korum, his nerves now calmed somewhat, set to work on looking for traps on the door. He discovered that this door employed the door-fall trap that was encountered earlier in the dungeon. There was no way of circumventing the trap, so he made sure the rest of the party were clear before setting it off safely. The door boomed to the floor, thus snuffing out any form of surprise the party may have had, even if the previous fight had not been heard.

Unfortunately, luck was no longer with Korum as the door behind the false trapdoor had a very difficult lock on it; so difficult in fact that he broke his favourite lock picking tool in it. This meant that Bardan had to hack the lock off.

Kicking the remnants of the door down, Bardan strode into the torch lit room. He could see the room was empty except for a raised dais in the centre which could be approached by a set of steps at each cardinal point, a cylindrical column upon the raised dais, and upon that column was a golden, jewel encrusted chalice. Unfortunately, behind the column and chalice there stood a robed figure, face hidden by a deep cowl, bony skeletal hands held aloft mumbling an arcane incantation.

The rest of the party quickly made their way into the chamber and loosed a barrage of arrows, bolts and vials of Greek Fire at the figure. These missiles all bounced harmlessly off of an invisible barrier at the edge of the raised dais.

This shocked the party into inaction, but Arken approached the cowled figure and requested the return of the chalice on behalf of his goddess. The robed necromancer laughed at the cleric and put his hands into two deep pockets, removing them and flinging an item to either side of the dais, intoning “If you can defeat them, you can have it.”

The robed being cackled as two heavily armoured skeletons erupted from the ground. The scouts of the party had their bows ready and loosed their shafts at the skeleton on the right hand side, Arken and Barden advanced upon the second skeleton to engage it in combat and Davon made a bee-line for the figure upon the dais.

The fighter and cleric engaged the right hand skeleton in combat whilst the ranger and thief loosed more arrows at the left hand one. Korum had used one of the bolts with a slender rope attached to it this time. Davon, meanwhile, tried to push his sword through the invisible barrier protecting the robed figure. The sword began to glow and smoke but did not get anywhere, so he decided to drop the sword and try to step through the barrier.

Arken saw what Davon was trying to do and pulled himself from the combat to go after him. The barrier had stopped Davon getting through, so he started to doff his armour. Meanwhile the other combats carried on around the chamber with Bardan holding his own and the archers piling in more shafts.

By now, the left hand skeleton had reached the archers so they would have to drop their bows and draw their side-arms soon. Korum, drew his magical short-sword and grabbed the rope trailing from the skeleton, but Knil kept a hold of his bow seeing what his companion was now up to. Bardan was beginning to overpower his opponent and Arken had now reached Davon’s side, but Davon thrust his fellow worshipper aside and advanced upon the robed figure.

The rope that Korum had plucked up he now wound around the skeleton advancing against him and Knil, which reduced its combat effectiveness and made it an easier target for Knil, who promptly put two shafts into it. Bardan traded blows with the other skeleton whilst Davon was struck a massive magical blow emanating from the hands of the necromancer. Arken went to his aid, casting various Cure spells upon his friend, but all to no avail.

The bound skeleton could no longer advance due to the rope binding it, so stopped in its tracks allowing Korum time to sever the spinal column causing it to collapse in a shower of dust and bone. Knil switched his aim to the skeleton fighting Bardan. The two shafts and great axe struck the skeleton down.

The necromancer, upon seeing its comrades’ fall, raised its arms, chanted a short spell and collapsed into a cloud of dust leaving the party as the victors in the fight.

Arken, although saddened by the loss of the paladin, left his body on the floor of the chamber and tentatively advanced up the steps to the cylindrical altar. He was able to pass through the place where the invisible barrier caused so much anguish to his compatriot. He grasped the chalice from its place atop the altar and went to put it into his sack. The Dragon Orb began to glow; perhaps this was the third item they were after on their quest?

The party searched the room for any further items or exits but found none so, picking up Davon’s body and armour with due reverence, they made their way solemnly back to the mausoleum at the surface. They found the metal chest containing the diamond where they had stashed it, so picked it up to strap back onto the horses outside. When they emerged into the sunlight, their horses snickered to greet them. At the edge of the area of calm the party saw another of the portals of Din. Without hesitation, Korum strode through.


The party emerged from the portal back at the wizard’s tower in the Blasted Forest. Beside the tower was their cart that had been abandoned at the swamp’s edge. Din had fulfilled her promise and brought them back to their point of origin.

Arken immediately set down Davon’s body and cast Talk with the Dead, asking his shade what he would like the party to do for him. He responded that he would like to be returned to the Temple of Din in the small town nearby. Arken began to make the arrangements whilst the party took another look at the magic involved with the chest and the diamond. Bardan removed the gem from its metal box, but no change occurred with the weather. He quickly hid the gem amongst the folds of his tunic giving a warning look to Korum that he should keep his hands off.

The party arranged Davon’s body on the cart and set off with heavy hearts to the Temple of Din to carry out Davon’s final wishes.

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