Thursday, 19 July 2012

Khorvaire Session 14 - 18/07/2012

Session 14: The Hawk (18th July 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

An Audience with Laerus (Day 242-243)

Rioja revisited Laerus to work through the more difficult parts of the plan to ensnare the Hawk. Between them they were able to analyse what was required to achieve their goal in imprisoning the liche within the orb. Laerus would create a one-use rod of power to cast the spell and be its major power source, although as it had never been practiced before, it may encounter some difficulties when used. Rioja was happy to accept this state of affairs as he trusted the judgement of the venerable mage. Rioja returned to his tower to prepare his spells for the next day and rested up.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party formulated their plans to combat the liche; to keep it busy whilst Rioja cast his spells and performed the ritual of entrapment. Re-reading the Gesta, they realised they would need to somehow trap it to the material plane and stop it from teleporting out. After thrashing about several ideas, it was deemed best if Korum hid under his Invisibility potion’s effects and back-stabbed the liche with a magical spear (attached to a strong rope and then a chain attached to a solid pillar or spiked to the floor) to impale it and prevent it from escaping; their notion being that if it was a Teleport spell that it used, it could not teleport with any heavy mass attached to itself.

Korum and Bardan headed into town to visit the merchant and managed to procure a basic magical spear, for a reasonable price. They returned to their village with Rioja when he was also on his homebound journey.

The entire party rested up, went over their plans again and allowed the two magic users to learn their spells.

Return to the Mausoleum (Day 244)

The following morning, the party awaited the cleric of Din to confirm that he had secured a portal to the marshy valley that contained the mausoleum. Arken finished his prayers, and a few moments later a portal opened within the ground floor of the tower. Korum stepped straight through, followed by Bardan who was weighed down with two large barrels of flaming lamp oil. Knil quickly stepped through, bow at the ready, and finally the two magic wielding adventurers. They had been transported directly outside the mausoleum, so would not have to traverse the marshlands again. Bardan and Korum made for the doors, to find them still open, and nothing could be seen within the chamber except the fallen trap-door opposite the entrance. The party advanced to the door, stepped through and followed the stairs down to the next level. The metal spiral staircase still creaked and squealed under their weight, but all members of the party made it down safely. The door at the bottom of the stairwell was still open, and the corridor of swinging blade traps was also just as they had left it – one blade was still stuck in the groove due to the large skeleton obstructing it, and the chalk marks on the floor demarcating the pressure pads were still there.

The party cautiously approached the antechamber, but it too was empty. Upon carefully entering the final chamber with the dais and altar, they found it too was left in the same way as before. The party thought that maybe it was too much too ask that the Hawk would be there, so decided to see if they could lure it to the chamber. Arken started to carve holy symbols of Din around the walls, set the chalice back onto the altar and began Blessing everything he could touch. In the meantime, Rioja cast a Strength spell onto Arken, Bardan and Korum, began to draw his magical circle upon the floor of the dais, and started to prepare himself for the coming ritual. Knil took up a flanking position as the last line of defence, and Bardan started to prepare himself for the forthcoming combat. Korum spiked the chain to the floor and uncoiled the rope attached to his new spear. He hid behind the dais, opposite the entrance, so he could be hidden from view if anything entered through that way. He put aside his invisibility potion in readiness.

Return of the Undead

After a short while, Arken’s blessings and prayers were answered. From along the trapped corridor, the party could hear the tramp of feet and the clink of mail. Bardan pushed one of his barrels of oil to just within the antechamber and laid a short trail of oil towards it as a fuse. He happened to glance up the corridor through the door opposite and noticed that the heavily armed skeletons were not setting off the traps. Arken Blessed the party and then cast one of his Dust Devil spells to slow them down, but it only survived long enough to slow the approaching cadavers a short while. However, this was long enough for the party to get into position for combat.

The skeleton warriors entered the antechamber just as Bardan lit the oil trail. After a short delay, the barrel ignited. A small whoomph sound was heard as the barrel split and spilt its contents. Bardan thought his ploy had failed, when suddenly the scattered oil ignited in a huge ball of flame. Two of the skeletons were incinerated instantaneously, one caught fire but the last one was undamaged. Bardan whooped for joy and prepared for combat. Arken rushed to the door, held aloft his holy symbol and rained holy words down upon the remaining skeletons. The skeletons were hurled off their feet and crumbled to dust upon impact with the floor. Arken yelled down the corridor, “Is that all you’ve got, Hawk?”

His shout was met with no response, so he returned to blessing the chamber. Bardan lined up his second barrel of oil, just in case. It wasn’t long before he espied another troop of skeletons approaching down the corridor. This time there were twice as many. In the same way, Bardan waited until the last second before lighting the fuse and the resulting explosion took out five of the skeletons. The remaining three continued their advance on the door of the ritual chamber. Arken returned to the door, holy symbol aloft, and two of the cadavers were reduced to piles of dust. The final skeleton managed to reach the door, but a trading of blows destroyed the skeleton. Arken was quickly healed by casting a few Cure spells upon himself.

Apart from the ringing in their ears, the dungeon went quiet again. Bardan had no more explosive oil available, so he prepared his magical axe and took another look down the corridor. It was empty. Suddenly there was a loud roar.

Within the ritual chamber, at four points on the floor equidistant between the altar and the corners of the room, showers of stone started to erupt. Rioja took this as his cue to complete the ritual up to the final power word. Korum swallowed his invisibility potion and the rest of the party prepared themselves for battle. Screams of pain and hisses of smoke boiled from the four points within the room but nothing seemed to enter.

A huge metallic crash sounded from up the corridor, and a massive cloud of dust billowed into the antechamber – the spiral staircase had been forced to collapse. Bardan closed the door to stop the bulk of the dust choking the party. All went quiet again for a short while before another huge roar erupted from up the corridor. Bardan opened the door to take a look, and Arken cast a Light spell to see through the dust and darkness. Within the dust he could make out a humanoid shape – another skeleton had arrived. This time it had no weapons or armour to speak of.

The skeleton advanced towards the antechamber but before it got to the door Knil fired his bow. His fear was evident as the bowstring slipped from its notch. Cursing his ill luck, he ducked back into the chamber to reseat it. Bardan stepped between his comrade and the skeleton and was hit by its powerful fist. Bardan returned the compliment, dealing out a blow that would have felled an ox, but the cadaver just ignored it. The powerful skeleton hit the fighter again with its fist and took him to within an inch of his life. Arken pulled his compatriot aside and administered a regenerative spell on him. Bardan again rejoined the fray but was severely injured again. Arken stepped into the breach and tried to dispel the evil, whilst Bardan took one of his Extra Healing potions. The skeleton just ignored the holy words and symbol and proceeded to pound the cleric with its fists. Arken was unable to retaliate so powerful were the blows. Bardan tried to re-enter the fray, but in his weakened state he was unable to swing his axe properly. Arken was hit once more by the skeleton and as its attention turned towards the exposed fighter, Arken dealt it a sore blow. Sick of taking such a pounding, and seeing his comrade in a bad way, Bardan dropped his axe, and relying on his Giant Strength bear hugged the undead being. This gave Arken the opportunity to smash off one of its arms and then a leg. Bardan let go of the damaged skeleton, picked up his axe, and together with Arken smashed it to pieces with a final blow each.

The Hawk Swoops in 

Just as Arken completed healing both himself and Bardan, a voice boomed out, “What are you doing here?” Arken responded “Converting this evil place to a temple of Din.” The voice continued, “Come out and fight me. Bardan, you have ruined my home, I will ruin yours”. To which Bardan replied “Go ahead, I was going to burn it down anyway.”

This conversation went on for a short while before Korum crept up to Bardan and whispered to him to play on the liche’s pride. Arken and Bardan started to taunt the liche when suddenly a surge of magical power was felt. The Hawk seemed to stagger backwards. It righted itself and approached the door again. Arken and Bardan were perplexed by this so asked the Hawk what had happened. It replied that it was going to enter the chamber and destroy the party but something had prevented it from doing so. Perhaps knowing that it could not enter the chamber to get at the party, the Hawk turned its back and made to leave. Korum was ready for this and, still invisible, thrust his spear at the liche’s back. The weapon passed straight through. Korum dropped the spear and tried again with his magical sword only to encounter the same effect. The Hawk laughed and told the Halfling only magical weapons may harm him. This confused Korum as both of the weapons were magical. He decided to punch the liche instead, but again his blow passed straight through it. The Hawk had had enough of the little pest, so returned a blow, sending the small thief flying backwards through the air to land half way across the ritual chamber floor.

The Hawk seemed annoyed now, and drew its sword stating that it would take on the fighter on his own to settle this once and for all. Arken said that he could do so only if he entered the chamber to fight, to which the Hawk agreed, but only if he was allowed to enter. Arken prayed to Din to ask her to let the liche in. The Hawk entered the chamber without encountering a barrier.

Korum, recovered from his blow, said that the fight should take place on the dais, and if either fighter left that arena, then the other would be free to execute him without fear of reprisal. The Hawk agreed to this, and so did Bardan, with a further proviso that no magical weapons were to be used. The two combatants approached the dais but Rioja refused to move (if he left the circle of power, the ritual would fail). Korum ran up the steps and pretended to remonstrate with Rioja, slowly forcing him towards the back of the dais. The Hawk seeing that the mage was being ushered away strode up the stairs and set a foot upon the dais where he was met with a wall of pain from the ritual circle of power. Rather than step back and risk default on the combat (combatants could not step off the dais as agreed), it carried on and Rioja waved his rod of power and unleashed the power of the ritual. Magical essence was drawn towards the circle, and all light within the chamber began to extinguish. The power built and a sphere of magic formed around the Hawk. Korum jumped for his life and Rioja uttered the final word of power and the sphere was slowly drawn into the orb that was set upon the dais. The orb began to glow a dark, menacing red but Rioja negated the glow by placing the orb within the magical urn that had once contained the troll’s heart. Normal light returned to the chamber slowly.

Arken conversed with his goddess and she confirmed that the Hawk was safely captured by the ritual. He then continued to complete the blessing of the chamber and the party made ready to leave. Just as they were about to step through the newly summoned portal, Rioja’s ancible began to flash; Laerus wanted to speak to him. Arken made a final sweep around the chamber, recovering the party’s possessions and followed the rest of his comrades through the glowing doorway.

The party arrived back in their tower. Arken made straight for his temple to replace the relics and the rest of the party headed into town to meet up with Laerus to see what he wanted. He seemed surprised at some of the things they described about the battle they had just fought and the Hawk’s abilities. He said that he would think on the implications and contact them with his findings. He handed Rioja another small marble mentioning that this one allowed them to actually communicate verbally over the link that was formed.

The party returned to their village for some well earned rest.

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