7a. After an uneventful night's rest in the Good Room, the party headed out again. Returning to the Bones room, they ascended the stairs to the north-east, on the principle that there might be another Good Room at the top.
7b. Sure enough, the layout mirrored that of the consecrated tomb of the High Priest of Hightower. A similar sarcophagus lay in the centre with eight niches surrounding it filled with shrivelled corpses of long-dead lizardman priests.
Somehow, though, the spirit of the room didn't have quite the holy feel of the other room. All three were on edge as Caitlin passed through the arch into the tomb proper and began checking for traps, and when the priestesses began to stir and emerge from their resting places, all three were ready for it.
The eight lesser priestesses around the edge lurched forward, hideous zombies, their dead forms animated by the arcane backwash from the evil enchantment of the Font of Lolth. The centuries of decay had taken their toll, however, and five of the eight promptly crumbled into dust.
The lid of the coffin in the centre slid off to crash onto the floor, and a shrivelled, withered form bound in rotting funeral cerements sat jerkily up and began to climb over the side.
The horror of its' appearance owerwhelmed Caitlin's mind, and for precious seconds all she could do was stand and stare at it in terror. More accustomed to the horrific perhaps, Yoshin brought up his magic and cast a Flaming Sphere, sending the ball of flame rolling at one of the zombies as they fanned out, one clawing at Caitlin's helpless form. Fortunately, her armour protected her from the first attack and she shook off her fear, stepping back and raising her rapier to the guard.
Krizzen found himself face to face with the mummified priestess and struck out with Soothslayer. The axe thumped home, but the thick resin saturating the mummy's bandages reduced the effects from what he'd expected, and the undead creature lunged at him, heavy fists battering.
|DM Note: Terie mangaged to roll 1 two rounds in a row on her attacks here!|
The zombie struck by Yoshin's Flaming Sphere turned, mindlessly attacking its "opponent" as the ball rolled smartly past under Yoshin's control and bounced at the mummy beyond. This dodged under Soothslayer's massive blade and attacked again, forcing the lizardman to parry desperately to avoid being hit. To his right, Caitlin, recovered from the horror of the mummy's appearance, drove her rapier into the zombie attacking her, discovering to her delight that zombies - unlike skeletons - have enough flesh to be troubled by stabbing weapons.
When the Flaming Sphere had hit the zombie, it had blackened slightly and suffered burns rather as a human might have. When it struck the mummy, though, her bandages caught and blazed up, forcing a thin shriek from her withered lips. Distracted, she was an easier target and Krizzen sank the great axe into her side once more, sending her flaming form staggering sideways. Behind, Caitlin lunged again with her rapier, sliding it neatly into a dry eye socket, and the zombie she fought collapsed as the animating magic broke.
Krizzen narrowed his eyes against the flames and swung once more, the blade of Soothslayer carving through the mummy's dry flesh, and the monster collapsed into a heap of burning pieces. Continuing his swing, Krizzen slashed the blade across the unharmed zombie, removing an arm. The Flaming Sphere vanished with a pop as the spell ended, freeing Yoshin to spread two Magic Missiles across the remaining zombies. The one Krizzen had just wounded went down, and the lizardman shifted to the last remaining undead. Rolling his shoulders he delivered a devastating strike - and the corpse of the zombie hurtled across the tomb to smash to bits on the far wall!
Krizzen gazed at the axe in his hands in some surprise. He was strong, all right, but not that strong. Something in the axe had enormously increased the kinetic impact of the blow. He shrugged - all the better to batter you with, my dear - and went up the room to start prying the silver blazon of Shushkrah's symbol from the wall. He'd been unwilling to loot the other tomb, as that still had a sanctified air, but this one was corrupted and he felt the blazon should be removed for its' own protection. Secular up to this point in his life, Krizzen was beginning to feel a bond growing with the god of his people.
6. Returning to the Bear Bones room, the party began searching the side tombs (ABCD). While this was happening, Caitlin took a piece of burned stick and scrawled "Please do not bang this gong again!" next to the gong which had caused so much trouble.
6c. All the side tombs had been ransacked; each had a stone coffin surrounded by murals depicting the worthy deeds of the priest in his life, but his corpse had been dragged from its' rest and taken to feed the evil of the Font of Lolth. Each room was searched, and in one Krizzen noticed that the bottom of the coffin was significantly above floor level, unlike the others. Yoshin bent forwards eagerly. "Let's see what's inside," he said. Krizzen shot him a look. "Are you saying we should open the coffin, Mister Careful?" he asked dryly, then carefully bashed through the thin layer of stone covering the hidden compartment in the bottom of the coffin. Inside they found some beautiful golden jewelry and a small vial marked antitoxin in Krultac. Krizzen tucked that into his pouch thoughtfully.
9b. Moving on and back to the room where the Font had been, they examined the two passages heading out of it northwards. Both were catacombs, long, narrow hallways extending more than 50’ into the rock. At regular intervals, small niches opened to the left and right, almost certainly once burial places for minor priests, but all now empty except for dust and small bits of bone. The passage on the left had a shadow towards its' end, and Caitlin's keen eyes picked out the pattern of spider webs at the far end. Not liking the implications of that, they elected to explore the right-hand passage first, and worked their way down the length of it, searching carefully. Near the end, Caitlin noticed something sticking up from the sad pile of its' previous occupant, and carefully pulled it free; it looked like a scroll-case.
She gave it a good shake, feeling the weight of what felt like cloth or paper shifting inside, and cautiously unplugged one end, allowing several sheets of parchment to slide out. Unrolling one, she glanced at the script, expecting it to appear as gibberish the way magical writings did to the untrained. To her shock, she discovered she could understand it perfectly, and realized that the Translator's Ring had granted her the ability to read the language of magic! Looking up, she discovered Yoshin almost dancing with eagerness to get his hands on the scrolls. Caitlin hedged and teased for a bit, but finally handed the sorcerer the scrolls with a laugh.
9a. Returning, they eyed the left-hand passage. "I don't fancy the looks of that," said Caitlin. Krizzen pointed. "Are you sure?" he said, "I'm sure I can see the glint of gold up there." Caitlin snorted. "Yeah," she said, "sunk into those webs..." Yoshin cast another spell, conjuring a bright Light onto the top of his quarterstaff. Reassured by this, the three moved off down the catacomb, searching for more goodies. As they approached the webs at the end, they could see quite clearly that there was gold embedded in them, along with other less discernible lumps. Coming to a halt, they eyed the webs, considering what to do - but considering wasn't Caitlin's long suit. She fell back on one of her standard tests for the unknown; she shouted at it. Aghast, Krizzen grabbed her and lugged her away from the webs. As Caitlin's feet struck the flags, they seemed to make a vast sound, almost like tons of earth and rubble crashing out of the ceiling to block the passage behind them. As the wave of dust and small particles reached and enveloped them, setting them coughing, they realized that this was exactly what had happened... Behind them, un-noticed in their renewed arguing, the webs had convulsed and tightened a single strong strand running along the ceiling and back to the entrance to the catacomb.
Slowly the dust cleared to reveal a huge shape between them and the presumably now-blocked exit. They had seen giant spiders before, but this one was beyond belief – the size of a horse and crusted and pitted with centuries of evil. Worse – it spoke! “You shall go no further, surface fools,” it rustled in a dry voice steeped in wickedness as it closed. Then - worst of all - it lifted its front legs and began to cast a spell!
Yoshin's eyes widened in horror. He was certain that he had to hit this thing, and hit it hard, and he pulled out one of his three new scrolls and began to read. A moment later, he had the spell visualized in his mind, and he recited the invocation, the magical energies gathered by the words blazing through him as the script vanished from the scroll. As he finished, a bolt of magial lightning erupted from his hand and earthed itself through the giant spider, blasting it backwards and disrupting its' own spellcasting. Yoshin staggered slightly, small wisps of steam trailing up from his hand, giggling gently at the rush from casting a spell so far beyond his power.
Lightning seemed to be the way forward, so Krizzen unslung the Blitzspear and hurled it. It lashed across the distance in another ear-splitting levinbolt but glanced off the spider's crusted hide to slam into the corridor wall. A moment later Caitlin threw a more ordinary javelin, which struck at a better angle and drove into the spider's body with a thud.
Yoshin cast his Flaming Sphere once more, sending it rolling towards the spider, but it deftly avoided the ball of flame, tilting itself on its' many knobby, twisted legs to avoid the attack as Krizzen charged in with Soothslayer. He slashed at the spider, loosing a flow of hideous, viscous black blood from a wound in its' body, and the spider whirled with blinding speed, reared up to reveal its' spinnerets - and webbed Krizzen to the wall, pinning him helplessly.
Suddenly, there was no comfortingly large, muscular lizardman between Yoshin and the spider, and he began to panic. Dropping his concentration on the Flaming Sphere, he cast a Sleep spell, hoping to incapacitate the creature, but it barely seemed to notice, stalking forward as another of Caitlin's javelins glanced harmlessly off it. It cast another spell as it came, healing some of its' injuries just to make matters worse. Yoshin backed a step, casting Mage Armour though he didn't much fancy his chances fighting this thing with or without it. Caitlin got another javelin home as the spider worked another spell, a summoning, and two distorted subhuman forms - lemures - faded into being.
Caitlin changed targets and hurled her last javelin at one of the summoned fiends, skewering it fatally. Its' body dissolved as it fell, its' summoned form "killed" and its' spirit banished back to its' real body somewhere in the Nine Hells. As the spider passed Krizzen, the struggling lizardman felt the webs holding him tear, but concealed the fact until the spider was well past and bearing down on the quailing Yoshin. Then he surged free, shedding the last of the webs, and drove Soothslayer down with savage force into the body of the spider from behind. Hissing in fury, the spider turned again, vast mandibles opening as it turned on Krizzen, and sank its' fangs into his shoulder. Groaning in agony, the lizardman felt the poison racing through his veins, his body suddenly hot and his limbs weak.
Yoshin recast Flaming Sphere, planning to eliminate the second lemure, but the creature turned out to be immune to fire (unsurprising in a devil!) and the sphere hit the spider instead, with minimal effect. This only seemed to aggravate it , and it sank its fangs even deeper into Krizzen, whose arms began to droop under the weight of his enormous axe. All was looking pretty dark for the party.
Leaning around, Caitlin struck home with her rapier and almost casually slew the second lemure. She let the weapon drop with its' victim, swinging Thengorn's crossbow off her back as she did, and loosed almost point-blank at the huge spider. The bolt struck right in the centre of the cluster of evil eyes, vanishing point shaft and vanes into the cephelothorax and the spider dropped, twitching and spasming horribly.
Krizzen staggered away, clawing at his pouch until he recovered the vial of antitoxin, and uncorked it with shaking hands before downing the contents in one gulp.
Session Date: 6th July 2013