Friday, July 24, 2015

The Quiet Halls

Thowin Four Fingers, a fighter, and his torchbearer, Boarface
Imorfin the elf
Durik the cleric
Fretta the Dark, a thief
Balork the Medium, a magic-user and Bursus, his man-at-arms

We rejoin our brave adventurers making their way towards the Quiet Halls, having just left the kobold party…

Boarface lit a torch and passed it to Balork before lighting his lantern. With an apprehensive Fretta bringing up the rear, the party retraced their steps towards the entrance.

(After a couple fruitless random encounter rolls…) The party soon reached the entry chamber. This time they took the north exit and soon entered the refuse chamber. All were on guard for any sign of the snakes from before, and Thowin gave the order that none of the trash was to be disturbed.  With Fretta practically pushing the party along, they passed quickly through and entered another chamber.

The new chamber was empty of contents but the walls were covered with sooty, man-shaped silhouettes. In addition they saw a number of old inscriptions carved into the stone walls. Balork handed his torch to Bursus and then turned his attention to the carvings.

Art by Ed Heil

Q: Can Balork decipher the ancient inscriptions? (Unlikely)
Mythic: (90); Big Failure which I interpreted as leaving no chance for anyone in the party to understand the meaning behind the inscriptions.

Balork eventually gave up, claiming the inscriptions to be indecipherable and the party moved on. They headed down a passage to the east and through another empty chamber before finally reaching the entrance to the Quiet Halls, exactly as the kobolds had described.

They encountered a large, stone double-door with etchings of the dead, dancing and cavorting. After steeling themselves Thowin and Imorfin put shoulders to the door, and after a bit of a struggle, it opened with a deep groan.

The adventurers moved through the open doors and into the chamber beyond. A cold chill was in the air and the place smelled of old death. The light from Bursus' lantern revealed a large, rectangular hall. Two rows of columns stretched from the floor to the ceiling above. The place was dusty and fallen masonry covered with lichen littered the floor.

Something moved at the edge of the light and a reddish glow appeared. A number of large beetles could be seen munching on the lichen. They turned their attention to the intruders and hissed menacingly. (Reaction roll: Territorial, hostile)

Q: Does the party fight? (Unlikely)
Mythic: 75, No

Not wanting to tussle with the angry beetles, the party looked about for exits from the chamber. Open passages left the chamber in all directions, but the party headed north to the closest.

They followed the passage until it turned to the east. There they found a closed door on the west wall and to the north, a man-sized hole in the wall. Numerous pieces of stone and brick were scattered about the floor as if someone or something had broken through from the other side. At Thowin's direction, Bursus poked the lantern into the opening, his arm shaking all the while. The light revealed a small space where the smell of death and decay was strong, but otherwise appeared empty. The thought of something breaking out from the inside was unsettling.

The door nearby was opened and beyond lay another, larger chamber. Therein they found rotted wooden tables and names and dates etched on the walls, obviously from a time long forgotten. Thowin led them to another empty room down the hall and after a fruitless check for hidden doors, they turned back to the entry chamber and the beetles.

Q: Are the beetles still there? (Very Likely)
Mythic: 51, Yes

What does the party do? D4: 1-3 try and pass cautiously by, 4 attack
Result: 4, attack

(I decide that Balork will use his Nuke Sleep spell while the others will be ready with ranged weapons to try and pick off any survivors. All but two of the beetles fall asleep, and the remaining pair are dispatched without ever having a chance to attack.)

Satisfied at having handled the beetles so efficiently Thowin and Imorfin waved the party on, heading out of the room via the eastern passage. The passage soon reached an intersection and Thowin chose the way to the north. The light from the torch and lantern revealed a dusty, cobweb-filled passage. The entered cautiously. After a short distance the hall turned to the east and the party saw a long hall running east as far as the light shone. They saw at least four doors, two on each side of the passage until the hall disappeared into darkness.

Q: Does party try one of the first doors? (Likely)
Mythic: 89, No……hmmm, I guess something wasn't quite right about the first doors

After a short, whispered conversation Thowin and Imorfin signal for the party to move on past the first set of doors. Just as they reach the next set, the second door on the south wall explodes into a mass of wooden splinters and the door fragments begin to swirl violently about, picking up small stones and bone fragments from the passage floor. A roughly human-shaped figure forms from the swirling mass of wood, stone, bone and dust.

The party is not surprised. Given the confines of the passage I rule that only Thowin and Imorfin in the front rank can attack this round. The party loses initiative and the swirling mass strikes Thowin and the fighter is pierced by numerous wooden shards and splinters. He takes 8 points of damage, leaving him with just  1 hp!

Art by Dave Kendall
Imorfin swung his battle-axe at the shade and was relieved to feel his weapon bite into….something. Bone and wood splinters exited the swirling mass and the form diminished. The heavily wounded Thowin raised his great sword and brought the blade slicing down through the mass. Suddenly the shade dissipated, the wind stopped and a low wail trailed off until all was silent.

Durik stepped up and placed a healing hand on Thowin (3 hp). "I cannot heal you further today and I'm afraid your wounds are still quite serious."

Q: Does the party  investigate the crypt? (Near sure thing)
Mythic: 20, Yes

While the cleric tended to the fighter, Fretta and Balork peered into the room beyond the shattered door. They found piles of dusty bones in the small chamber along with a small, rotting sack. The albino thief sliced open the rotting burlap and platinum coins spilled out. Her eyes lit up at the princely sum and she hurriedly picked them up. After she was done transferring the coins to her pouch, she had counted 400 - a fortune!

Q: Does the party consider leaving Stonehell? (I rule 'Very Likely' given Thowin's injury, the fact that the Sleep and CLW spells had been used, and the recent find of 400 pp)
Mythic: 30, Yes

So after two failed random encounter checks the party exits Stonehell and heads back to Enharza.

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