Guest Blog by Max Bryans
Our Cast of Players:
- Aaron (Dave Marasco): Human Priest, level 10.
- Albrecht (Alan Bates): Human Priest, level 10.
- Artan (Dave Marasco): Dwarf Warrior/Thief, level 6/9.
- Edward Nevar (Ricky Paginton): Human Paladin, level 10.
- Elfire (Max Bryans): Human Warrior, level 10.
- Kaji (Ian Andrews): Human Wizard, level 10.
- Patroclus (Jason Paginton): Human Warrior, level 10.
- Pioden (Craig Baynham-Evans): Elf Warrior/Wizard/Thief, level 4/8/8.
- Nogri: Human Warrior, level 2.
- Tal: Human Warrior, level 2.
- Uthilian: Elf Warrior, level 2.
- Vermox: Human Warrior, level 2.
Total XPs awarded from the previous session: 186,562
When Pioden awakens he takes the necessary 10 minutes to check his inventory in fine detail. The missing Boots of Teleportation he spots straight away, and eventually he catalogues that a spare Ring of Protection and the Ring of Sustenance have also gone “missing”.
“Ok, arseholes. Where are they, and what the FUCK do you think your doing?”, he cries. Its clear the pressure of the fight and the disconcerting nature of this chamber (with it’s whispering half voices) have removed what little civility he ever had.
It takes a further half an hour to calm him down, and eventually he sees (and agrees with) the reasoning for Albrecht to wear the Boots of Teleportation, and for Artan to have the Ring of Protection. Elfire shrugs as he admits he has no immediate use for the Ring of Sustenance, and returns it to the indignant elf. Pioden snatches the ring from mid air as it is tossed towards him, and then puts on the Boots of Elvenkind. They fit so well, he wonders why he ever took them off.
All, except Edward, then don one of the platinum dragon clawed necklaces and after a short while learn the knack of willing themselves to a particular pillar as they approach another. Edward will have nothing to do with such witchcraft and instead tries approaching them in ever desperate turn. No matter which combination he tries, he can’t get himself to the door which sits tantalisingly on the far wall of the chamber.
As Edward bounces aimlessly around the room, the rest do a more thorough search of the Goat like Ogres which so nearly were the death of them. All this reveals is a further surplus of Platinum amulets, giant sized X-bow bolts (of which Elfire snaffles a few) and a medium sized key around the neck of one. This key is presented to Pioden, who due to the demise of the heroic Rashid, is the party’s only non-armoured thief.
With the search complete, and Edward still bouncing around the room, Pioden approaches and inspects the far door. Unlike the previous stone doors, this seems like a normal door. Albeit, Ogre sized. It is wooden, stands 20 foot tall and 10 foot wide and is at last 6 inches thick. Despite his best efforts, Pioden cannot find any sign of traps, a key hole, or any way of opening the door. Not a good start to his new role as party thief !
With a sigh of resignation, he calls to Kaji.
“Kaji, can you do the honours, please ?”
“Of course … I just need to touch it with my rod.”, this gets a wry chuckle from Elfire, which in turn earns him the fearsome Kaji Care-Bear Stare (tm pat pending) and raised eyebrow.
With any attempts at levity suitably broken asunder, Kaji goes towards the door and after clearing his mind recalls the words to his “Knock” spell. With a “snik” and a groan, the door trembles and swings slightly ajar.
Just after the spell resolves, Edward tries another jump care of the teleporting pillars. To his relief he finds himself exactly where he was. With the teleport effect seemingly switched off when the door is open, he hastens across the chamber and joins the rest who are huddled by the door.
Pioden levers the door open enough to squeeze himself through, and scouts the passage revealed behind it.
The 30 foot corridor is lined by the now typical trans-dimensional granite. The end of it opens into a 100 foot octagonal chamber, on the north wall (remembering that “north” is really a meaningless direction in this realm) is another of the solid stone doors. But as he ventures a look at this door from the end of the corridor his elven senses scream at him and his attention is drawn to the wall directly infront of him.
With an ominous sense of forboding and menace, the floor rises into a wave which fills the chamber from floor to ceiling. It looks like a dark crimson treacle, and it is with horror Pioden realises it is a wave of blood. Similar to that he and Albrecht encountered when last in this fell place.
With no further ado, Pioden retreats back to the pillared chamber and rejoins the party. With haste he puts his shoulder to the door and pushes it shut. With a “snik”, it relocks itself.
“That bad, eh?”, asks Albrecht as he inspects the elf for wounds.
“Yes …. that bad.”, replies Pioden and then explains the situation. After a bit of to’ing and fro’ing a plan is developed.
After a few more “knocks” from Kaji (after each one of which he reminds them is playing odds with the fickle mistress that is magic) Pioden establishes the wave, although terrifying, is actually only moving at about 10 feet a minute. And once it reaches their side of the chamber, it disappears, only to rematerialise at the far end of the chamber and begin it’s horrible progress again.
He estimates this gives them 5 minutes to enter the chamber, get to and then through the door on the north side. It should be plenty of time, but to assist, Kaji offers a helping hand. He manages to bestow the power of flight to Pioden, Albrecht, Patroclus and himself. As he tries to cast it on Edward, the fickleness of magic manifests and drives the spell, unfulfilled, from his mind. He curse his luck and the rest of the party have to make do with a levitate spell cast by Pioden instead.
But beggars cannot be choosers, and after a signal from Pioden, a motley crew of fliers towing nervous looking levitators follow him and scud across the chamber towards the door. Pioden is the first to arrive at the door, but before he can do anything (let alone congratulate himself) he is forced to take evasive action as from through the wave of blood a flurry of ballista bolts comes his way !
With lithe elven reflexes he twists first one way and then the other as the bolts whistle past him. It seems impossible, but he manages to avoid them all and they smash into so much matchwood on the wall behind him.
With one eye towards the bloody wall, the plucky elf pushes the stone door and wills it to open. And it does ! With the usual ponderous slowness of these doors, it slots itself further into the wall, and then pivots open. Nothing Pioden can do will make the monster 10 ton door open any faster, and as he vainly tries, he keeps a ready eye out to the wall of blood.
After what seems like and age (but is really only a minute) the door is open enough for hms to squeeze through and into the awaiting corridor, he is followed by the rest of the party, the last of which is Patroclus dragging Elfire behind him. As soon as he is through the door, Elfire cancels the levitation effect of his boots and puts a shoulder to the door to push it closed.
And just in time, as he does there is a second flurry of ballista bolts. But Elfire’s warrior reflexes are easily on par with Pioden’s. With instinct guiding him he manages to dodge the attacks.
The party wait, draw breath, and quietly consider their next move.
Pioden, with the silence of flight and stealth of his race decides to scout ahead.
The long corridor eventually turns left, and presents another stone door. After a quick check behind his shoulder, he presses it in the centre to open it. As it goes through it’s ponderous opening sequence, Pioden melds to the wall.
The chamber that is revealed takes his breath away.
It is absolutely massive. At least 150 foot across, and in the middle of it is a pentagram, seemingly painted in blood, which is easily 80 foot in diameter. In the middle of the pentagram is an alter the top of which Pioden cannot see, and on far wall is a series of shelves, which his keen sight can make out as vials of some sort.
He shudders as he considers what vile substances they might contain.
To be continued…