Saturday, 9 August 2014

Doggerland Session 8:41 (Dungeon Level 3)

The Fourth Amulet (30th July 2014)

The Adventurers
Bow – Ranger
Cormac – Fighter
Johan – Cleric
Maximillian – Thief
Tarquin - Fighter
Theoderic – Fighter
Vox – Magic User

Roper - Tirsday 23rd Hextember (day 84) – late evening

Dungeon Level 3 (part) - amended from the module map copyright TSR/WotC 

The exhausted party of adventurers began to find comfortable places to settle down to rest for the night when a scream rent the air. A large grey-green shape began to flow from below one of the wardrobes and formed up in front of Vox’s eyes. The plucky mage pulled back and began to prepare for battle whilst Johan jumped forward to aid him.

Unfortunately for the cleric of Balder he was struck unconscious by a long sticky pseudopod that had shot out from the now quite large mass of grey-green goo and was slowly drawn towards the beast’s slavering maw.

The rest of the party closed in rapidly and began to fight the noisome creature. They released the sorely injured cleric from the clutches of the unshapen mass from the Abyss, but as his limp form was removed Tarquin too was struck and injured and drawn towards the beast.

Bow removed one of the small jars of Keoghtom’s Ointment from his pack and applied its contents to the welts that had rapidly formed on the cleric’s flesh where the tentacles had grabbed hold of him. Johan’s eyelids flickered as he regained consciousness, but the beast was now dead; dispatched quickly by the remainder of the fighters in the group of hardy explorers.

Just as the party began to clean their weapons of whatever the beast used for vital fluids there came a heavy pounding upon the door and an order to open up or face the consequences. The adventurers decided not to comply and jeered back through the door that whoever was outside would have to come in to take them.

Moments later the door was rent asunder by the second of two almighty blows. An ogre stepped through the debris and then leapt at the party, swiftly followed by several bugbears. In the midst of the bugbears the party spotted a human but before they could do anything to harm him, he cast a Silence spell that rendered the party’s spell-casters dumb within its confines.

The fighters met the ogre’s challenge and took the melee to the enemy whilst Maximillian hid beyond one of the corners of the separating wall ready to back-stab any enemy unfortunate enough to pass his way. Vox, oblivious to all of this used the time to search the benches, tables and cupboards for any more useful items.

The ogre was rapidly felled by Bow and his fellow fighters whilst Johan searched for and found a spot where the Silence spell no longer affected him. Unfortunately, by the time he got there, the enemy cleric had escaped; a blow from Cormac through the ranks of the bugbears had put him to flight. As the pressure of the fight was borne by Bow, Cormac and Theoderic, the fourth warrior, Tarquin, took to looting the fallen bodies. The narrow confines of the doorway precluded his presence, but the rest of the fighters cut a swathe of destruction through the ranks of the bugbears, which showed that the party was more than a match for almost anything that the Temple could throw at them.

After just a few moments of searching, Tarquin’s strength began to fail him. He dropped his guard and found that he could no longer wield his weapons effectively. He leaned against the nearest wall, his strength sapped by the roper’s poison coursing through his veins. Luckily Johan spotted his injured comrade’s dilemma, so he approached him and applied the contents of one of his jars of Keoghtom’s Ointment to replenish him and cure him of the poisons. Tarquin’s strength slowly flowed back into his limbs and he breathed his thanks to the cleric.

The Cleric and the Altar

Bow quickly managed to cut his way through the final few bugbears between him and the rapidly retreating cleric and gave chase.

Vox, his curiosity at last piqued by the lack of noise around him, finally decided to investigate the silence. He turned the corner of the interior wall and spotted the scene of carnage just inside the doorway. He could see no combat nearby, so he motioned for Max to join him from the shadows.

Everyone except for Cormac had followed the ranger down the side corridor. Maximillian decided that he wanted to be a part of the action now, so he followed on their tail rapidly. Vox shrugged his shoulders at his companions’ impetuosity and returned to the laboratory to carry on reading the parchments and vellum lying around. He lit a small fire and began to brew some tea. Cormac decided that the rest of the party could look after themselves, so he hung back to guard the door to the laboratory in which the magic user was working.

Bow, meanwhile, had raced along a couple of short corridors and around a final corner into a small oddly shaped room, but his grin of triumph turned to a howl of pain as he set off a Glyph of Warding. The lightning strike caused him to duck swiftly back to avoid further harm. In the oddly-shaped room beyond he could hear the mumbling of a cleric in prayer.

The ranger returned to the room, correctly thinking that the ward would only fire once. The black-granite floored odd-shaped room was decorated with floor to ceiling white banners with the symbol of Sol Invictus proudly displayed upon them. The rear of the room contained a large altar with another white cloth draped over it, again with the holy symbol of Sol Invictus proudly displayed. The holy items on the altar were ignored by Bow as his attention was firmly fixed upon the cleric behind it.

The cleric stopped his chanting and then calmly walked past the ranger who found himself unable to strike at him due to the magical Sanctuary the evil cleric had cast upon.

The rest of the party arrived just as the cleric waltzed past the ranger and they all gave chase. They were mostly prevented from striking the cleric by the dweomer but eventually their persistence paid off and they managed to get a few sword strokes through his defences and struck him down in the corridor just past a bewildered looking Cormac who was still standing guard.

The Secret Tomb

Max was the first to return to the odd-shaped altar room and he began to search all over for secret doors and traps. The rest of the party eventually joined him and helped in the search but eventually it is the thief who found the secret door in the wall.

Max popped open the door and it squealed on its unused hinges. The dark, dusty, cobweb strewn hexagonal room beyond contained the dried husk of a corpse lying beside the door, a dark iron sarcophagus with its lid lying beside it and a small scroll case next to that.

Bow made a bee-line for the sarcophagus and its lid. The silver Sol Invictus symbol inscribed upon the lid caught his eye whilst he picked up the scroll case beside it. He handed the scroll case to Johan who was directly behind him and then peeked inside the coffin. Inside he spotted a withered, dusty corpse with a stake through its chest.

Despite the fervent warnings of Johan, Bow wrenched the stake from the corpse’s heart and discarded it upon the floor. Johan shrieked in disbelief at such an act but before he could react, a cadaverous hand grabbed hold of the edge of the sarcophagus and a long, heavy dry breath was heard from within.

The dry corpse raised itself and asked through shrunken lips who had awoken him – he was blind and could not see who was in the room. The years of decay then seemed to fall away from the corpse as the moments passed and a person who was the total opposite to the withered corpse they had disturbed stood up; the thickly muscled, handsome warrior wore a white tabard with a Sol Invictus emblem upon it over a suit of mail, a thick gold chain hung round his neck with an amulet of some kind hidden beneath the tabard, an empty scabbard and a dagger in its sheath on the hip opposite the sword sheath hung from a thick gold belt.

He introduced himself as Prince Thrommel, and asked who his rescuers were. Bow responded with his name and said that he had removed the stake from his heart and was at his service. Thrommel removed the gold chain from around his neck and offered it to Bow for saving him. From the end of the chain hung the fourth amulet!

The party then questioned the newly risen warrior and managed to piece together some of his background story which corroborated with what they knew of him – he went missing about 12 years ago, he was a Prince of Veluna, a Thuringian by birth, a well-renowned swordsman and defender of the Faith. He had fought the Temple before in the past but had been defeated by powerful magic and imprisoned.

Meanwhile, back in the laboratory, Vox had finally cottoned onto the fact that his comrades were no longer around and decided to bring the tea he had brewed and some sweetmeats into the tomb. He offered the drinks and refreshments all round and, upon seeing the mail-clad warrior, greeted the prince in a friendly manner. He is treated with a ring from Prince Thrommel’s hand for his efforts.

The Sword

After a little further discussion, both sides realised that the prince must be returned to Castleford if they were to gain a promised large reward. The prince then discovered that his sword was missing from its scabbard and was concerned by its loss.

Whilst these discussions were happening Johan, not able to read the arcane script on the scrolls, handed them to Vox, who realised instantly what they were; two spells he already knew how to use – Dispel Magic and Strength.

As the discussion went on, the fighters thought that the sword might be hidden beneath the heavy black stone altar in the odd-shaped room outside, so Vox used the Strength spell on Theoderic to see if he could lift it out of the way of a possible hidey-hole beneath. Unfortunately, even his magically enhanced Strength was not enough to shift the heavy stone.

Not to be defeated, Bow put his observation skills to the test and remembered that the lid of the sarcophagus bore an image, albeit a Sol Invictus one, that showed a slight resemblance to a sword.

Vox thought quickly and then ushered everyone out of the tomb. He then cast the remaining spell on the scroll to dispel any magic within the chamber. The sword clattered from the lid as Bow suspected.

Rest and Recuperation

Thrommel’s sight had slowly returned whilst the party had been talking and he said that they had no time to waste in getting out of the Temple and back to his realm.

The party retraced their steps out of the dungeon back to the surface and then through the thick of the night out of the Temple grounds to the stable where they had hobbled their horses. All had been eerily quiet on the way back, but thinking of the carnage that they had wrought on the way in, that was probably why.

They decided to hole up for the night in the stable to recover their spells and cleanse their wounds. Vox swiftly fell asleep whilst the rest of the adventurers set up a watch. Johan and Thrommel began to pray to their appropriate gods when all had settled down and everyone had eaten.

The snores from those who were not on watch or praying were loud in the dark of the night. Johan’s suspicions were still aroused and he watched the lord knight closely in his preparations. He bore a sword yet prayed for divine aid. He could not shake the lingering suspicion that Thrommel was not who he said he was.

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