Saturday, 26 April 2014

Doggerland Session 4:28 (Pool of the Standing Stones III)

Pool of the Standing Stones III (23rd April 2014)

The Adventurers
Bow – Ranger
Cormac – Fighter
Gull – Thief (NPC)
Johan – Cleric
Theoderic - Fighter
Vox – Magic User

Adjusted map courtesy of White Dwarf 12 - copyright Games Workshop

A New Arrival - Sunday 28th Quinquember (Day 61) – early evening

The sun had set and the dark fingers of the encroaching night obscured the path through the woods that the stout warrior Theoderic was taking. He knew from his talks with the denizens of the Gryphon Inn n Steeplfell that a party of adventurers had headed out in the direction of the standing stones at the top of the hill earlier that day and he did not want to miss out on any treasure that was going. His mission was to aid in the rescue of the missing village girls if he could, but he was given free rein to do as he pleased with anyone he came across within the glade.

The doughty fighter brushed aside the undergrowth with the uneasy feeling that he was being watched but no attack came. He was certain that he should come across the approach path to the ring soon but he must have gone astray because the positions of the stars he could occasionally glimpse through the woodland canopy showed that his path was not true. He was on the point of stopping for the night when he entered a small clearing and noticed something unusual with a patch of ground besides an old elm.

He searched about to work out what had caught his attention when he found a large iron ring bolted to a stout wooden door buried beneath a false turf. He grabbed hold of the ring and pulled. A loud creak erupted from the rusted hinges and the wooden portal slammed back on the turf to reveal a deep, dark hole.

The fighter lit his torch and thrust it into the Stygian darkness to reveal a solid stone spiral stairwell that led into the gloom. He drew his trusty blade and followed his nose towards adventure.

After he had descended twenty or so steps he began to hear the muffled sounds of fighting and the bark of a manic dog. He hurried his descent in anticipation of glory and treasures beyond counting.

Temple Guards Defeated

Three of the Temple guards at the rear of the skirmish fought to release their companions from their binding within the Rope of Entanglement whilst their fourth companion ducked beyond the curtain that separated the guard room from the chamber beyond from which emanated the enraged snarls and barks of a rabid dog. Cormac and Vox hacked at the bound guardsmen in frenzy whilst Gull covered the corridor outside both the guard room and the room which contained Johan and Bow who battled the ticks.

The leader and one of the bound guards fell to the blows of the two companions but their comrades had some luck with cutting partially through the rope that bound them. Vox feared for the magical item and called for Gull to help but no sooner had the words left his lips when a heretofore hidden door burst open.

Two of the guards turned at the entry of another interloper within their demesne and challenged Theoderic as to his actions. The fighter just snarled back that he was here to rid the world of the likes of those who challenged him and leapt into action.

The missing guard now returned with a rabid dog in tow and he commanded it to attack the party at the door. The dog leaped towards the entrance where Gull had just arrived. The thief swiftly gulped down his Potion of Animal Control and commanded the dog to stop. Unfortunately he could not fully control the dog in its rabid state but he did manage to confuse it enough to make it stand still.

The lull in the fight gave Cormac just enough time to slay his final opponent and leap to the aid of Theoderic who was being tightly pressed, whilst Vox controlled the last remaining guard still bound by the rope. The fight between the two fighters and the two guards was over swiftly as the far superior skills at arms of the adventurers shone through.

The two fighters nodded to each other in recognition of a kindred spirit and introduced themselves before they put down the dog and looted the bodies of their purses. They then darted into the chamber separated by the curtain to investigate what was beyond. They espied a bunk room beyond and set about searching it for valuables. They found a small gold plated casket filled with gems and jewellery at the end of a rope that was immersed within the latrine. Vox robbed the leader’s corpse of a fine looking scimitar and began to question the sole survivor of the guard troop.

None of the adventurers got anywhere with their questioning of the guard so Cormac, who had lost his patience, allowed him to see if his promise of a demonic afterlife was true.

Giant Ticks Defeated

Meanwhile, Bow and Johan had got the better of the ticks in the bed chamber of the plate armoured cleric. After the fight had gone agonizingly wrong to start with and had led to the retreat of their other three companions, the cleric and ranger fought on. They dispatched the noisome invertebrates within a few minutes without further injury and then proceeded to examine the room for the hidden entrance that they assumed the evil cleric had escaped through. However, try as they might they could not find any secret exits from the room, but Bow did manage to procure two magical scrolls from under the bed which he handed to Vox when they met up again a few minutes later after both fights had concluded.

Once the guard room had been searched from top to bottom, and Theoderic had been questioned as to who he was and what his mission entailed, the four new companions joined Bow and Johan in the boudoir. The darkness still reigned supreme, but they were able to navigate their way through it to the light beyond.

After everybody was introduced to their latest companion, they all set about searching the chamber for a hidden door. Even with Gull’s superior skills at finding this kind of thing they were unable to find such an exit.

Bow in the meantime had become bored and had sauntered off on his own in pursuit of further adventure. He kicked open the next door down the corridor and lit his lantern to combat the gloom beyond.

Monks from the Temple of Zuggtmoy

He advanced along the downward sloping narrow corridor and turned left (southwards) when it led that way. He could just make out a light that glowed at the end, so he doused his own lantern and advanced to within a few dozen yards to listen. He could hear the sound of heavy blows, as if sacks of corn were being dropped or sides of beef were being hacked. He decided to await the arrival of his companions before he went any further.

He only had to wait a few minutes before he could hear the approach of his fellow adventurers. He managed to motion for them to douse their lights and draw their weapons, before he charged into the room.

The great stone statue of Zuggtmoy that faced him as he entered the obvious prison cell block made him miss a step as he charged into the room and he was quickly accosted by two strangely garbed fellows who carried out the orders of their similarly garbed master beyond. He managed to parry the blows from their great swords before the rest of his companions entered the fray. Johan’s magical Hold Person did the trick by rooting the master and one of his acolytes to the spot but the third fought on bravely, if foolhardily, without their support.
Unfortunately for him, the three warriors in the invading band were more than a match for him and he went down under a flurry of blows.

The party wasted no time in cutting down the other two monks (the party reasoned they were monks due to their similar look and garb as Turuko whom they encountered in Staneford only a month or two earlier) and looked for a key to the cell doors.

They found a bunch of keys hidden within a pile of rags close to the door at the other end of the room and proceeded to open each of the three cells in turn to find that they only contained the sleeping pallets of the three monks. A swift slitting open of the mattresses revealed an amulet in what looked like the chief monk’s cell. This was quickly pocketed and the door at the far end of the room was kicked open.

Captives Rescued

Beyond the wooden door they heard the sounds of weeping and pleading coming from beyond the doors within the chamber. The cell doors were unlocked and opened in quick succession and each revealed a few of what the party presumed were the village girls. They all sported the signs of being mistreated except for one, Gilnet, the sister of the young lad back in Steeplefell.

They were all comforted and then asked what had happened. They replied by telling the story of their kidnap by Ash and then their subsequent release into the custody of Braken who kept them here for his own amusement. They could not tell the party much else, but after a few more minutes of questioning they enquired about their friend Leonora. The party assumed she was the maid who was slain by accident in Braken’s boudoir, so they told the girls that they were sad to inform them that Braken had killed her earlier.

The girls needed to be returned to their village, so Theoderic, being the newest arrival suggested that he would take them back to their loved ones and get right back into the action when he could. Bow led the way to Braken’s chamber where Cormac retrieved the body of Leonora and handed it over to Theoderic to carry back to Steeplefell.

The party said their goodbyes and escorted Theoderic back to the way he had come into the dungeon. He bid them farewell and left them to carry on with their investigation into finding the magical sword that would destroy the Golden Orb.

Rest and Recuperation – late night

The party realised that the druid Ash had not been telling tales about the two entrances to the subterranean complex, but he had been economical with the truth as to the strength of the guards at each entrance.

They decided that as they had been quite beaten about and their new comrade may not make it back before they continued further the party decided to rest up whilst the spell casters got their magical powers back and the party healed.

Bow led the party back to the teleportation wall. As he thought, it returned then to the first corridor that they had entered the complex through. He quickly paced back to the gnoll guard chamber in which they had rested previously and set about securing the room against attack.

The party either slept in shifts or learned spells for the next four hours. On the last watch, Bow returned to the main entrance hall and peered up through the illusory pool at the night sky. His ranger skills came in handy as he realised that time had passed rapidly and that it fast approached midnight. Only a couple of hours separated the party from the next day; the day of the new Moon.

The Bedchamber and the Shadow Guards

Vox recovered the spells that he had used, and Johan emerged from his prayer trance fully restored with his god’s divine powers. The other members of the party were then subsequently healed to full fitness before they donned armour and readied their weapons for further adventure in the dungeon.

The party turned left out of their safe room and headed down the other corridor towards another dead end. The adventurers were not fooled this time by the teleportation trick and, after Gull had checked the way for potential traps, walked towards the end wall. They were again transported to another corridor but this one was laid out slightly differently to the previous one.

Whilst Cormac headed towards the first door, Bow made his way to another further along the corridor. The rest of the party lined up and prepared themselves for combat behind the fighter at the first door. He kicked the door open and stared in on another bed chamber; this one most likely inhabited by a woman judging by the d├ęcor and items of make-up strewn around the room.

The floor was covered in a plush carpet and the huge four-poster bed against the far wall spoke of comfort. The two plate mail adorned statues spoke of wealth.

Bow’s conscience got the better of him this time and he decided not to go it alone just in case the party got themselves into difficulty and could not come to his aid if he required it. He returned to the first door and followed the rest of the party into the boudoir. He spotted the doorway beside the right hand statue by the bed and he headed straight for it.

When he got to within a few feet of it, the statue came to life and swung its sword at the ranger. Johan quickly cast a Bless spell to aid his companions and combat was joined. Even though the plate armoured opponents looked deadly, it did not take long for the party to reduce them to scrap metal; only their black capes survived as they crumbled to dust after each being struck once or twice.

Waking the Dead

Bow was in a hurry to get to grips with the leader of this complex now. He knew that there was a well-armed cleric around, as well as a female companion and the bone devil Dando to deal with. He also wondered what had happened to the other four gnolls that had escaped their clutches.

The ranger made his way to the door that was alongside the bed and popped it open to reveal a small empty chamber beyond, with another door opposite. He took a brief listen at the second door and forced it open to reveal a strange vista.

In the centre of the room stood two very large stone plinths, upon which lay two very large bodies. The bodies had been stitched together from the largest parts of the largest of men and looked menacing even whilst immobile upon their stone tableaus. To the far side of the room was a strange contraption that was covered in levers and handles. Several ropes of metal snaked their way up to the ceiling and down to the stone tables upon which lay the two bodies.

Bow and Cormac headed straight towards the device and began to push and pull the various levers. Every now and again a few sparks were emitted from the device, but on one particular turn of a dial a loud humming noise was emitted from the device and a blue snake of electricity arced along one set of metal cables to create a halo of energy around the head of one of the corpses.

A long, slow breath was drawn into the dead lungs of the being upon the slab. Its eyes opened and a long moan escaped its lips as it spotted the intruders standing beside it. The creature sat up with a menacing slowness and cast its gaze upon the party.

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