9a. With the immediate threat of Crakanth removed, the party looked over their wounds and considered the need to rest and heal. Bizarrely, being walled into a giant spider's lair by a rooffall was about the safest place available to do this. Yoshin took the lantern and wandered around, watching the flame, and discovered that there was a slight airflow from somewhere - they wouldn't smother in their sleep.
This decided, the healing staff was wielded as required and the party settled down to sleep.
The next morning, Krizzen struggled to his feet, still weakened by the effects of Crakanth's dreadful venom. It was clear that he couldn't carry all his gear until he recovered, and with Soothslayer he no longer needed his plain greataxe. He propped it in a corner, and shouldered his pack again. Yes, he could manage, though it was an effort.
Caitlin and Yoshin had been tentatively poking around the webs at the far end of the lair, and had unearthed the remains of several other unfortunate treasure-hunters and other victims. From these some useful items had be recovered, including a quiver full of superior arrows, a shirt of enchanted mail and a handful of bottles of alchemists' fire. Yoshin had also located a hidden panel, tucked away behind rubble in one of the niches. Cautiously exploring it, he found it led east across and into the corresponding passage they'd explored the day before. Shortly after, the whole party was free and ready for another go at the parts of the dungeon they'd not yet explored.
4. Returning to the short corridor where the cold trap had been, they cautiously re-entered it, but withdrew again on discovering that the effect was still in place; it seemed much worse for the armoured warriors than for Yoshin. Caitlin thought about this, and then shrugged out of her new armour, piling it with all her metal weapons, before spanning Thengorn's crossbow and heading back into the passage. Yoshin, understanding her thinking, swapped his rapier for his quarterstaff and went along, casting Mage Armour on them both as they went.
The cold was bitter and numbing, but endurable, as the pair rounded the corner and saw the source of the effect. A globe of what looked like glass, two feet across, faintly glowing and slicked with ice, hung from a short chain attached to the ceiling. Caitlin readied the crossbow, and Yoshin cast a Rope Trick, retreating to a safe place in case Caitlin needed rescue afterwards. The Tellaran sighted down the weapon and squeezed the lever, and the bolt leaped across the distance to strike the globe squarely. It shattered in a shower of glass and ice fragments, and the temperature began to climb almost immediately.
Krizzen appeared around the corner. He'd bundled Caitlin's armour and and weapons but been unable to lift them, so was dragging them along the floor. "Wha' hoppn?" he enquired muzzily. Caitlin seized the pile and donned her armour with relief, strapping her weapons back into place.
Yoshin meanwhile was standing, head cocked, listening to something. "There's something moving ahead," he said, "something small scuttling." Caitlin looked around. "More spiders?" she asked nervously. "No...." said Yoshin thoughtfully. "Don't recognize it." They advanced around the next corner, to discover a doorless room, half-filled with piles and heaps of shredded and tattered cloth, wood and small trash, from the depths of which hints of gold and silver twinkled in the lantern light. Loud scuttlings came from within, and a memory came to Caitlin. "Rats..." she said.
Yoshin's familiar Ratbag squirmed around the sorcerer's neck, terrified. Yoshin rolled his eyes and lifted the animal down by his scruff and placed him on the floor ahead of him. Ratbag eyed the rats' nest ahead of them, put his ears down, and stalked to the back of the group before sitting firmly down. Krizzen glanced down and licked his lips hungrily; Yoshin grabbed the cat and hurriedly returned him to his normal shoulder perch as Caitlin finished examining the doorway and announced an absence of traps.
Shrugging, Krizzen unhooked a javelin and hurled it into the nest. It crunched slightly as it speared into the trash but otherwise vanished without trace. Yoshin dug in a belt pouch and brought out a piece of salted meat, which he flicked into the room to land on the floor mid-way between the party and the nest.
With a rush and slither, half a dozen rats - big rats - very big rats! - exploded from the nest and hurtled towards the morsel. Krizzen, now given an actual target, flung another javelin, but the rats' extraordinary speed spoiled his aim and he missed. Two of the rats reached the piece of meat at the same time, and one changed his path enough to rip the throat out of the other before seizing the prize and wolfing it down. The others devoured their unfortunate comrade, after which all five retreated to the nest.
Not without some trepidation, Caitlin and Krizzen advanced towards the nest, Krizzen still holding his next javelin. Yoshin lurked at the doorway, a primed flask of Alchemist's Fire in one hand and a Flaming Sphere coming into being at his feet ready for the inevitable. Sure enough, as the pair passed where the meat had landed, a wave of rats erupted from the nest and leaped at them.
Caitlin lifted her rapier towards the rat flying towards her at face height. It skewered itself on the slender blade, twitched once, and died. It then slithered very slowly down until its' ratty corpse rested on the hilts of the weapon. With a shake, she flicked it off as another bonged off her shield and teeth grated on her new mail. Next to her, Krizzen jabbed at a rat with his javelin and cursed as it dodged, biting at his heavy boots without effect. Rats were all around, slashing and biting, and he and Caitlin began to back up towards Yoshin. The lizardman glanced back at Yoshin. "Throw me the flask!" he yelled, and the wizard lobbed it gently to him. Turning, he dumped it onto the floor ahead of him, incinerating several rats. His eyes widened as another rat, slightly scorched, leaped straight at his face. Frantically he tried to dodge, but the creature's jaws closed on his carotids and it tore out his throat. Gurgling, he collapsed straight backwards in a shower of arterial blood, his attacker riding the corpse down with a look of ratty smugness on his whiskery face.
Caitlin continued to back up, blessing the Mage Armour Yoshin had cast for her as rats continued to bounce off her defences. Her jaw dropped as Krizzen toppled over, and she reversed her path, forging through the rats to grab at Krizzen's healing staff where it stuck out of his backpack. The lizardman had fallen across it, and it took Caitlin a few tense moments to drag it out one-handed, frantically batting off snapping rats with her shield.
Behind, Yoshin's urgent thought drove the Flaming Sphere into a neat bounce over Krizzen's prone form. He'd wanted to try and clip the rat off his friend's neck, but he couldn't get close enough without also taking Krizzen's face off and merely toasted it a little. Once past the lizardman, the Sphere dropped back to the floor and rolled across the other rats that had been attacking him, leaving crisped corpses in its' wake. He winced as a rat's teeth sank into his leg, and kicked the animal off. It rolled, came up snarling, and raced back towards the elf.
Touching the end of the staff on Krizzen's shoulder, Caitlin tried to invoke the healing magic, but her experience with this kind of magical item was negligible and nothing happened. Furious, she booted a rat across the room, only to see it shake its' head and return to the fray. To her horror, she realized that the rat which had felled Krizzen was already eating her friend, tearing chunks of flesh from his neck and gobbling them down. "Yoshin!" she screamed, "help!"
|DM Note: A rotten throw from Yoshin and a fabulous Dex check to catch it from Caitlin. Saved Krizzen on his last round of dyingness!|
Letting his spell drop, the sorcerer clawed a healing potion from his belt pouch and lobbed it towards Caitlin. It was a wretchedly poor throw, but Caitlin dropped the staff, stretched her arm out, and felt the bottle slap into her palm as if it was meant to be there. Spinning, she ripped the cork out and dumped the contents down the remains of Krizzen's throat - fortunately the lizardman was on his back, otherwise the potion would simply have leaked out again. Krizzen coughed and spluttered as his ripped neck reformed itself and he began to breathe again. His eyes opened and the first thing he saw was a pair of beady black rat eyes looking down at him, with a rather taken-aback expression. Snarling, Krizzen lunged forward with his head, opening his mouth and bearing down with his heavy jaws. The meat-tearing teeth of his kind closed around the rat and tore it in two. Krizzen swallowed, grimacing at the taste. There's always a bigger predator, he thought to himself as his hand closed around the shaft of his javelin once more.
The tide of battle was turning, as Yoshin sent three Magic Missiles lancing at two more rats, blasting both to bloody shreds. Caitlin ducked to the ground to scoop up her rapier, grinning as a rat sailed over her suddenly lowered head, and looked for her next target. Krizzen lashed out again at another rat with his jaws, but the beasts had developed a healthy respect for his bite and avoided getting within its' range. Gripping his javelin, he struck at a rat, the point taking the animal right on the end of its' pointy nose and drilling straight down its' body, exploding it into fragments. This proved too much for the couple of surviving rats, and they retreated into the trash.
After some fairly serious usage of the staff of healing, Caitlin searched the heaps of rubble, recovering some coins and a strange dagger, a kukri, that bore the signs of being a magical weapon.
Session Date: 17th Aug 2013