The stars shone differently over the party, winking like delicate eyes. The artistic sky inspired all who beheld it, beauty never before seen. (Read: we played at Bruce’s house).
This session saw a lot of combat. The party started when Rah sent Thrakridian (Thrak) down a dark, dank hallway to knock down a barricade that hid enemy archers. This he did with ease as none of the seventy odd arrows shot at him caused any damage, merely bounced off his scaly hide. Then the archers drew swords and attacked Thrak, approaching the party in the process.
They looked like black-eyed zombies except that they had some level of dexterity. They used blades that glowed with blue light. Thrak destroyed them, one at a time, with small damage added from the party. Swords and bows were kept as treasure.
Descending the hallway the party came upon a strange room, filled with 16, 20-foot deep pits. A one-foot wide walkway separated the pits, the only way to the room’s exit. Flurescent green goo resided in the bottom of each pit. More noticeable to the party, however, were the twenty bat-like horrors (undead stirges) that flew above, threatening to attack any that entered the room.
These were dealt with piecemeal, with fighters standing in the front, hacking away. Ardell became heavily drained, with many stirges successfully attacking him. He went down completely after K’em sliced him good, in a poor effort to kill an offending Stirge. Alara also suffered damage from the critters before the last were slain. Some healing occurred.
The party then carefully made its way through the room and continued on to meet a devil-face, stuck on a door. Approaching the devil-face caused it to speak a riddle:
“Al-Hazred, Bahamut, and Circe live in different houses in Abracadabra Avenue, which has houses numbered from 1-80. Their numbers ascend in the order Al-Hazred’s, Bahamut’s, and Circe’s, but none of them know this; nor do any of them know the numbers of the houses of the other two.
They are having a conversation about it:
Al-Hazred thinks that Bahamut always tells the truth, and that Circe always lies.
Bahamut thinks that Circe always tells the truth, and that Al-Hazred always lies.
Circe thinks that Al-Hazred always tells the truth, and that Bahamut always lies.
Each one announces, not necessarily correctly, whether his or her number is:
(1) A multiple of 4.
(2) A perfect square.
(3) Above 23.
Al-Hazred then says to Bahamut and Circe, “I can tell you the numbers of your two houses, but I don’t know which one is which.”
Bahamut says to Al-Hazred, “I can tell you the number of your house.”
Circe says to Bahamut, “I can tell you the number of your house.”
They all do so, but they are all wrong: and in fact, of the numbers announced, not one is the number of any of the three houses, though one guess is exactly eight times the number of one of the houses. Which houses do Al-Hazred, Bahamut, and Circe live?”
The party put their best and brightest minds to the task, but couldn’t come up with an answer, claiming that there were multiple possible answers. In the end Maka picked the lock and they opened the door. The rumbling sound didn’t encourage them. Turned out the long passage at the beginning of the dungeon had collapsed, surely just a coincidence.
Now the focus turned toward finding an exit to the caverns. They were also down two fighters as Jethro and Roban stole the opportunity to get to know each other better, leaving prior to the cave-in. Alara took it upon herself to explore ahead, whilst invisible.
She entered a small room with a tall iron pillar in its center. Engraved on the floor was an arcane symbol. Delal recognized it later as a binding enchantment of some sort. Also on the floor lay an unconscious woman in a tattered red dress. Her back and scalp were horribly scarred, as if by a whip. She was chained to the pillar at the wrists.
Alara tried to help by giving the woman a healing salve, but it didn’t seem to help, but actually had the opposite effect. The woman woke enough to ask for help, but caused damage by laying her hand upon Alara. The woman, named Flavia, said that this was how she healed herself, and that normal healing methods actually cause her harm. She introduced herself to the party wearing a new face and outfit, seems that she can naturally cause an illusion, making her appear beautiful and unblemished.
She had no answers for the party on what she was or personal information, nor did she know anything about the dungeon. Flavia is apparently a spellcaster but doesn’t have any spells memorized, needing rest. Scruffy found no evil in her and she walked with the party as they proceeded.
They passed through a series of passages laden with traps. Alara triggered some of threes traps, causing arrows to shoot into her flesh. Maka took over the trap finding duties, taking some damage herself, a pittance for what was coming.
After the traps, the party found two doors. The first door entered into a large, brightly lit chamber. In the center of the room was a terrible monster:
“It is a bubbling, semi-amorphous mass of tentacles, pseudopods and other unguessable parts, maws and limbs. It appears to float a few inches above the ground, boiling with movement. Occasionally parts of it turn transparent.”
They retreated from this room, the next one must be easier.
The next door revealed a short passage with a curtain at the far side, blocking entry to a room. The party dropped a coin, waiting for a reaction, then approached the curtain to peek through. BOOM! A fireball went off in their presence, dropping both Flavia and Ardell. With the curtain burnt to cinders, the party saw what awaited them, a large mass of undead. Skeletons and zombies were the first attackers, ghoulish folks behind them, and finally a dark-skinned, pointy-eared sorceress, the caster of the fireball. K’em, Delal and Scruffy stepped forward to engage their enemies, cutting into boney foes. Delal tried to paralyze the sorceress to no avail, catching three magic missiles for her trouble, dropping to unconsciousness.
Alara used her actions to rescue fallen comrades, pulling them to another room. Maka prepared to flee but instead, stood by her companions in the fight. Rah withdrew and summoned Thrakridian.
Trak emerged in the tight passage and sparkled with shocking life. This discharge fried the already unconscious Ardell and would have taken down Maka if not for her protections. At the same time that Thrak was killing people, some strange things were happening to K’em.
His shield seemed to be the center-piece of a collection of strange occurrences. There was a fountain of bubbles, a rain of highly flammable oil, and a hailstorm. The shield also produced a functioning mouth, which started verbally telling all of K’em’s deepest secrets. It told of his love and aspirations for companionship for the Lady Martina, but also of his love for Sherry, the barkeep. There was much more, going all the way back to his childhood trouble-making, but this was largely drowned out by the sounds of Thrak in combat. K’em screamed furiously at his shield to shut up.
Thrak followed his orders to the letter, killing his undead foes, one by one. Again the Paladin fought at his side. Then Rah commanded Thrak to engage the second line of undead while he and the fighters destroyed the skeleton and zombie leftovers.
Seeing that the tide had turned, the sorceress fled to the back of the room where a subterranean river flowed, and dived in. Thrak killed the remaining monstrosities taking no more damage from them. An invisible Alara and Maka managed to save Delal but Flavia had vanished, having been turned invisible. Victory was had but at a large cost, a total party kill was a word, or a roll away…