Thursday, 17 January 2013

The Carrion Crown - Session IX

Session 9: The Dungeon of Harrowstone II (16th January 2013)

The Pathfinders
Arsok – Half-Orc Conjurer
Moebius – Elf Conjurer
Nicolai Alamrys – Human Rogue
Zef – Human Ranger
Zirul – Half-Elf Cleric

From the Diary of Nicolai Alamrys (Day 12 – morning)

Just as we started to make our way into the corridor, we were brought to a halt by another “Hallo” from above. An enormous Half-Orc with a great axe slung across his back joined us in the chamber and introduced himself. At first, we were taken aback by his appearance but his reassurance that he knew the professor and had rushed to join us put our minds at ease. Another companion is always of great comfort at times like this.

The Plaque Room

Zef and I scouted ahead of the rest of the party and very soon we emerged into a largish room with a door in each wall located at each of the cardinal points. In the middle of the room was a pile of rubble surrounding a staircase going up to the level above, and several skeletons were scattered around the room. The rest of the party entered the room and we started to search about for anything of value. As soon as the last of us entered the room, the piles of bones began to move. Zef quickly put a couple of arrows into one of them and I stabbed one with the point of my rapier before Zirul, our cleric, called upon the power of Iomedae. All the skeletons crumbled to dust in the shower of golden light that appeared all around us.

We now had the time to read the brass plaques above each door; North read Oubliette, East read Reaver’s Hold, South (from where we entered) read Nevermore, and West read Hell’s basement. We decided to carry on in a straight line and passed through the door marked Oubliette. Beyond the door we entered through was a short corridor with further doors at the far end and half way along the corridor on the left. Whilst I scouted forward towards the door at the far end of the corridor, Zef entered the room on the left. He pushed the door aside and entered the room. The room I found myself in was guarded by a drop down portcullis (still up) and inside was a circular grille over what looked like a deep pit in the centre of the room. A rope led from out of the pit and through the grille. The walls of the room were lined with metal cell doors. I checked the portcullis over for traps, and finding none proceeded to tap a spike into the door frame to stop the portcullis from dropping and trapping us within the room.

The Pit and the Lopper

Whilst banging in the spike with my hammer, I heard the sounds of combat come from the room Zef had entered. A blazing orange glow also came from the room. I got on with my job whilst my companions resolved the difficulties they came across in the side room. A sudden flash of golden light accompanied by prayers to Iomedae told me that their foe had been overcome. I had secured the portcullis by now and ventured into the room towards the pit in the floor; the oubliette named on the plaque above the door. As soon as I reached the grille, I dropped a stone over the side. It landed a short while later (indicating about a twenty foot drop) on something soft. I peered over the rim of the pit with torch in hand, but two massively long arms reached up, grabbed me, and pulled me through the grille. I wasn’t squeezed between the bars but was somehow transported through them without touching them. I was now face-to-face with a huge assailant with an enormous axe; the third of our evil prisoner ring leaders. I screamed out what I saw to my colleagues above and threw a vial of Holy Water at the apparition. This didn’t seem to have any effect and I was severely wounded by a blow from his axe.

Arsok suddenly appeared next to me in the pit with the silver axe we had found amongst the tools that should aid us in killing the five deadly prisoners. With great horror I saw some of my life’s blood leave my wounds and make its way towards the ghoul who had struck me. The surprise at seeing my blood leaving my wound allowed the ghoul to hit me again with his axe and I passed out with the pain and loss of blood.

I think some magic was cast by our cleric as I awoke again some moments later, only to see the Lopper spring up through the grate and into the room above. I found that my more serious wounds had closed with the application of the magic spell and I was able to participate more in the combat. Arsok, beside me, began casting a spell.

A few moments later, one of my wounds reopened and more blood flew towards the ghoul – he must have been healing himself on my life blood. The sounds of physical and magical combat continued on in the room above, with several magical beings being summoned by our mages. I could hear the priest of Iomedae constantly calling upon aid from his god and the room filled with the flashes and bangs of arcane and divine magic.

I managed to climb up the rope that was hanging into the pit through the grille, and luckily was able to just squeeze through the bars of the grille to get back into the room above. I noticed that the room was in complete turmoil as my head popped above the rim; flashes and bangs of magic reverberated around the room, arrows flew from Zef’s bow and summoned creatures howled their rage at the undead fiend. The ghoul had fought his way through my companions and had begun to retreat down the far corridor we had entered the room by, screaming in agony – something our priest threw his way had obviously caused him grief. It was then that I lost more blood to the Lopper. I looked down at my hand to see what I was carrying and noticed that I had somehow taken possession of the hand axe; Arsok must have passed it to me before the Lopper had leapt out of the oubliette. Angry that the fiend was using me and now some of my companions, who had also now been injured, to heal himself I threw the hand axe at him. My aim was off and I struck our cleric in the shoulder – luckily it had not been thrown too well and caused little damage through his armour.

All around me was chaos and magic, but my focus was only on getting the axe back. It felt so good to have in my hands. Whilst my companions carried on with their attacks on the Lopper, I managed to reclaim it from the other side of the room. During this time, the ghoul had spotted the last of us not injured at his hand and teleported back into the melee to attack our Elven mage. Moebius saw the fiend appear, but was able to create more images of himself to confuse it. This diversion of the fiend’s attention allowed me to sneak up behind him and strike with the axe. My first blow went wide due to the crush of bodies around me, but my second strike hit true, separating the fiend’s head from his body.

Return to Ravengro

We all sighed with relief now that the Lopper was finally vanquished. The conjurers dissipated their summoned creatures and we all checked over our wounds. We were sorely beaten and bruised, but otherwise OK. Zef quickly ran off to inspect the cells within the oubliette room but found they were all empty. He then went off to inspect the side room where they now told me they had fought a headless flaming skeleton. I slipped back through the grille and climbed back into the oubliette to check out the contents of the pile of rubbish on the floor at the bottom. I managed to find the Lopper’s bones and a skull, presumably that of the flaming skeleton, which I stuffed into a sack to take back to Father Grimburrow to dispose of. I also managed to pick up from the detritus a small amount of gold, a masterwork Heavy Crossbow, a masterwork Long Sword which I passed to our cleric, a magical mace which I gave to Zef, a Stone of Alarm which I passed to Moebius, and a bunch of keys.

After a brief discussion, we realised that we could not continue on in our current state; we all carried injuries and our spell casters were exhausted of all magicks, so we decided to return to the town for some rest and recuperation. However, that safe in the warden’s office called out to me once more, so we made a quick detour to the office and I tried the keys on the safe – no luck again. They must be on the warden’s body still, and none of the bodies we have found so far could have been the warden.

On our way back to Kendra’s house we called in on Father Grimburrow. I handed over the bones for him to dispose of and he in return healed our wounds. Zirul decided not to take him up on the offer, relying on his own deity to heal him instead. We mentioned all that we had achieved, and he seemed pleased. However, he said that the temple grounds required a bit of work doing on them (hinting that we needed to start paying for some of our post-combat treatment), so I passed him the small sack of gold much to my companions’ chagrin.

After we had bathed our wounds, repaired the rents in our armour, and replaced any missing weapons, we all headed out to the taverns to celebrate our latest escapades and introduce our two new companions to the townsfolk. My magic-using companions returned home early though and spent the rest of the evening studying their books; Moebius worked out the command word for the Stone of Alarm (Canis). Zef hadn’t joined us in the Laughing Demon, preferring the quieter pub he usually frequented. I stayed in the Demon and didn’t have to buy a drink all night! On our way home from the taverns (we both left our respective haunts at the same time; closing time!) we met up at the common, and noticed one of the trees was full of small black birds – whipper whorls or something Zef called them.

I mentioned this to our companions back at our hostel and was told that they were servants of Pharasma. They linger around the dead and dying. It was bad luck to kill one as you would be next to replace it! I wasn’t sure if this was an omen of good or ill fortune. Were they lingering around awaiting our deaths or were they back due to the release of souls we had been facilitating with our work in the prison?

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