You're probably wondering what happened at last week's session. Well... nothing, 'cos we cancelled from not enough players showing up. (Work stuff, mostly. I was game, but the night off was nice too.)
Anyway, lets talk about what happened this week.
When last we left the party, we'd just killed us up some apes in the third level of a dungeon complex under the mountain shrine of the ancient Ilmorian sun god Kor. Not having any real taste for bush meat we shoved 'em into a corner and kept exploring the complex.
The next room we visited was a storage room of sorts, with several large barrels and shelves full of what must have been foodstuffs, before the contents met with the pointy end of several rodents of unusual size that were hiding in a large pile of debris in one corner. The giant, terrier sized rats came bounding out of the nest and were slaughtered in short order on the blades of our fighters.
Klint and Kashim then proceeded to rummage through the garbage pile, each finding a gemstone squirreled away, and klonking their heads with a satisfying coconut sound when they simultaneously found a third.
The Deacon busied himself using the crowbar to pry open the five barrels and examining their contents. He found, in turn, a barrel of water, a barrel of pitch, a barrel of vinegar, a barrel of oil, and a barrel of wine. All of which, for different reasons, were 100 gallons of mischief just waiting to be unleashed. I stopped up the oil, pitch, and wine barrels and marked 'em with a knife borrowed from Elef.
Finishing up there, we moved down the hall and came to a large room that looked to be another barracks, with several randomly scattered bunks, some overturned, and a large oak table in front of a fireplace.
As the party made a thorough search of the room, turning over bedding and searching inside the fireplace for more levers, a bunch of frikkin' ghouls came shambling in the door lookin' to rumble.
The size of the room and the scattered bunks as obstacles made it tough for either side to just rush across and engage, although our undead assailants were much less weighted down than we were.
The Deacon tried to start off with a Turn Undead attempt, since frikkin' ghouls are pretty easy for a cleric of my level, but dang if I didn't roll a lousy 3 and totally fail to impress the slavering wads of corpse jerky. Yøgund tried to turn 'em too, but he wasn't high enough level for it to take either. We were in for a straight up fight, which when you're facing frikkin' ghouls with claw/claw/bite plus paralysis can end very unhappily.
Almost right away, Kashim got hit, failed his save, and went down, as Gentleman Jack Getz tried to work his way around the flank for a backstab on the pair that menaced our brave, foolhardy foreign fighter.
The Deacon pulled out his Mojo Stick and charged the center group of frikkin' ghouls. I think I managed to land a hit and blow one of 'em to flinders, which was good, but we still had two hanging on. The fifth frikkin' ghoul charged Elef, who popped under the table and hid while our hireling (and heavy veapons guy) Fedyeka charged forward swinging his two handed sword.
The magnificent bastard got a fantastic hit in and bisected his target. (He is credit to team!) and ran to support the center grouping, as Yøgund and Klint held off the pair we were facing.
The Deacon got tagged by a frikkin' ghoul and went down stiff as a board, much to his personal and professional embarrassment.
Young Amos, our half elf hireling, put away his bow and ran up with his sword to help Gentleman Jack, which is a darn good thing 'cos being half-elven he was immune to frikkin' ghoul paralysis.
Things were looking kind of rough after Gentleman Jack got tagged and went down all non-bendy, but we started gaining on the frikkin' ghouls, with Yøgund polishing off the final one in the center and rushing to aid Kashim. Finally, they killed the last one, and the party was saved from being gnawed to death.
After catching their breath from the fight, the non-paralyzed members of the group nailed all the doors in the room shut and settled down to wait for the rest of us to limber up a bit.
While they waited, they searched the room more thoroughly, and found that one of the bed's mattress' held a chache of copper pieces (which are about as valuable as silver pieces in the current game rate of exchange) and some more gems. Once the Deacon revived, they gave them to him to put in the party kitty, and divvied up the rest of the loot.
From there, we made our way back to the large, open room with the fountain and the smashed in doors leading outside. We decided to check out the double doors facing the exit, and so our thieves busied themselves checking for traps.
They found that while untrapped, the door contained a complex lock mechanism, that eventually proved resistant to both their skills at picking. So Klint took up an iron spike and used it with the hammer to break thru the hinges on one side. With the application of a little brute force from Yøgund and Kashim, we shoved the door over, ripping the lock out of its socket and gaining entry to the hall beyond.
In the light of our lantern and the sunlight streaming in from the outer door, we saw the hall was large and vaulted, with tapestries of seagoing scenes and suits of archaic armor standing at intervals between the pillars.
We made our way up the hallway, yanking the halberds out of the gauntlets of the armor suits, until we got to about half of the hall's length. That was when four of the suits stepped down from their little pedestals and took up a guard position in front of the double doors at the far end, pointing their pole arms at us in silent menace.
Faced with this new threat, the party withdrew to make plans. After some deliberation, we decided to get the barrel of pitch from the store room and use it as a makeshift fire bomb/bowling ball to try to take some of these animated suits of armor out. We rigged one end up with an iron spike attached to a rope, so that we could pop the lid off in case it didn't break open upon hitting the armor suits. We also dipped some arrows in the pitch to make into flaming arrows.
As we rolled the barrel in through the fountain room, we were breifly menaced by a cougar who'd come in thru the doors to the outside, but the beast was quickly chased off with some yelling and an arrow. (Now that I think on it, the cougar was maybe an omen of what was to happen later, sent to us by the ghost of our dear departed elf friend Liam. More on this in a bit...)
So we set up our barrel, rigged it with the rope, and set it trundling down the hall at its mute guardians. And here is where the plan suffered the usual fate of all plans. Some things go good, some things go bad, and some things happen that you don't expect.
The barrel smashed into the animated armor suits and doused three of them with pitch, slowing them down considerably. This was good. Then everybody charged up and started fighting. This was bad. We'd neglected to prepare any easy sources of flame, by the time we were ready to ignite the pitch everybody was in a... dare I say... pitched battle with the armor, which is what I thought we were trying to avoid, but c'est la guerre...
A round of furious fighting ensued, and we all scrummed up. The Deacon got in a whallop with his Mojo Stick and blew one of the suits to flinders. Fedyeka took a mighty whack at one, but then got his arm chopped something fierce by one of the things' halberds and had to back out, since with a two handed weapon he was now ineffectual.
Klint slipped around behind the melee and lit a torch, which he then used to light up one of the pitch covered ones, which caused it to heat up to red hot before a blow from one of the warriors' swords smashed it to bits. Our veteran thief then drew his ornate, recently acquired blade and obliterated another armored suit, leaving it's breastplate skewered on the blade.
The big downer/tragedy of the evening/fight, however, was when young Amos decided to come forward and join in the hand to hand combat. Sadly, the young archer suffered a career ending arm reduction, losing it at the shoulder to a halberd strike. So we had another one armed elf (or half-elf, in this case) archer on our hands (er... hand). Dammit. The critical hit chart strikes again, and seems to rhyme...
We finished off the last of the armor suits (Yøgund struck it down, I think) and gathered our wits. Fedyeka and Amos were both down to walking wounded via critical hits, so the Deacon pulled out a potion that we'd picked up someplace that had two doses of healing draught in it, and used it to stabilize the poor schnooks.
We offered to try to preserve Amos' arm, but he cast it aside, saying that to keep it was morbid. Now that I think on it, he probably was going off of what we did with the last severed elf arm we had to deal with, which was to give it to his dad Almox the druid and get it taxidermied...
Yeah, I guess I don't blame him. Although if we DO need a replacement arm for the young lad (this is heavily dependent on finding some kind of magic that would do the trick.) Liam's old arm is hanging proudly on the wall of the Palinthor House in Restonford, with a small bowl in its upraised palm and a sign proclaiming "Donations Welcome". Classy...
Anyway, we figured we ought to beat feet back to Restenford in light of all the mishaps, but we decided to explore the room beyond that the armor suits were guarding to wrap up.
Beyond, we found a throne room flanked by two large statues of Kor holding up glowing spheres and tridents, over a pair of thrones on a dias. Before the thrones, a low, white marble seat was in the center of the room, flanked by two long benches. As we searched , we found a slot in the floor next to the throne on the right, just big enough to fit a sword into.
Now, I don't totally recall the sequence of events here, but at some point, the Deacon sat down on the white marble chair, just as Yøgund slid a sword down into the slot. The chair started to glow with a bright light, and in the blink of an eye, the Deacon vanished.
Yeah... A collective "oh crap" went up from the party at that time. However, and I think this is a tribute to party cohesion, the group decided to follow their faithful cleric to whatever fate had befallen him. They took Klint's spare sword, now that he'd claimed a fancy new one, and slid it down into the slot, causing the chair to start glowing again, and then each in turn took a seat and vanished.
And thus we had our first TPK. I guess I'll start blogging about the Vampire the Masquerade game using 4th. Edition D&D rules and set in the Star Wars universe that Paul's gonna run next...
Actually, I kid. As expected, it was a teleporter, and it blunked us down into the prison area with the whiny, disembodied voice. Thankfully, we'd busted down all the doors and busted up the animated skeletons that occupied that space already. So plugging our ears to block out the obnoxious cries of "FREE ME! FREEEE MEEEE!" we took off.
Since by then we were pretty bunged up, we decided to head over to the small shrine to Kor with the healing water fountain/chalice deal and hole up like we did before, this time with stern warnings to certain evil detecting members of the party to leave the frikkin' door closed while we were trying to sleep.
We split into four watches, and the night mostly went quietly, except for one point where something large and squishy kind of schlorped past the door on one of the late watches. And the time that Elef's shadow came alive and tried to kill him.
Our magical henchman halfling was sitting up with Gentleman Jack, when he noticed his shadow moving funny. (Not funny "Gilligan's Island" but funny "Twilight Zone".) He started shrieking when it grabbed his wrist in a chilling grasp and started draining the strength from the core of his bones.
Roused, the party leapt up and started swinging. Kashim and The Deacon both had the same idea and scooped up a chalice full of holy water, trying to splash the thing, but it didn't work. (I knew that Shadows in this edition of the rules aren't vulnerable to a cleric's Turning.) I think it was Klint and his newly acquired, ornate sword that finished the monster, slicing it in half with the keen blade and causing the shadowy menace to dissipate.
Everybody went back to bed, after the Deacon used his last Cure Light Wounds to stabilize Elef's little existential crisis. Klint took over on the halfling wizard's watch with Gentleman Jack, so I suppose we all ought to take a count of our valuables...
Anyway, in the wee hours the next morning we were rested and replenished, and decided to head back up to the throne room before we took off back to civilization. We wended our way back up there, and retrieved Klint's sword, causing the teleport chair to shut off.
From there, we checked out a door in the back corner of the throne room, which we found led to a short hallway with a set of stairs leading up. Sprawled on the stairs was a skeleton with sword and sheild, wearing decent looking chainmail.
As we approached, it sprung into motion and attacked. The Deacon pulled his mandolin and probably turned it, but we'll never know since Kashim and Yøgund sprang forward and busted a move, busting it so it stopped moving.
It was here that we ended the session.
All told, a good 'un, but I'm bummed that we've got another un-armed elf on our hands. His folks are gonna be pissed. Dangit.
Thanks again to Paul, and the rest of the 10d gamers for a good session.
Vault of the Shadow Lich
2 hours ago