Our Cast of Players:
- Achmed (Dave): Human Thief, level 6.
- Albrecht (Rick): Human Priest, level 6.
- Kaji (Ian): Human Wizard, level 5.
- Pioden (Craig): Elf Warrior/Wizard/Thief, level 4/4/5.
- Randall (Alan): Halfling Bard, level 6.
- William (Max): Human Warrior, level 6.
Total XPs awarded from the previous session: 5,544
While you rest and regroup, Pioden casts a levitation spell on William who floats slowly down into the drain in the centre of the room. He quickly finds the source of the faint glowing, a ring, as well as a pair of discarded scalpels and a small handful of red gems. Returning quickly, he keeps one of the scalpels for himself and hands the other to William. Achmed offers to try on the ring and finds to his delight that it is a ring of feather falling. Pioden lays claim to the ring but is firmly rebuffed by Achmed, much to the former’s disgruntlement.
You prepare to leave the strange laboratory and Albrect once more consults the gods on the location of your missing items. The indication is the same as before – above and to the south-east. Pioden removes his locking spell from the only door and Achmed listens carefully, reporting all is quiet beyond. He opens the door and sees a long corridor stretching out before him, nearly sixty feet in length. The ever present handholds line floor, walls and ceiling, but those on the walls are occasionally obscured by stretched and tanned leather hides and intricate abstract tapestries woven from a variety of animal hairs, punctuated from time to time with singularly impressive teeth, bones, feathers, scales and other oddities. These trophies span the entire length of the hallway, until the very end. It looks as though the last twenty feet of the hall on the left is a wide aperture.
Achmed leads the way carefully down the corridor, Randall close behind him, hairy feet padding silently on the polished surface of the floor. At the far end of the corridor the left hand wall does indeed open out into what looks like the entrance to a vast room beyond. He listens and hears a gentle clinking sound and then risks a quick peek around the corner of the opening. He gets an impression of a very large room in the shape of an elongated octagon and the floor nearby is marked with scratches and dark stains. Randall then looks around Achmed at waist height and is sent tumbling backwards into the centre of the corridor with a squeak and an arrow protruding from his shoulder.
With a little more circumspection this time, Achmed takes a small mirror and fixes it to the end of a dagger with a piece of gum arabic, using the mirror held at arms length to examine the enormous room beyond. The walls flare to forty feet wide, and the room stretches 60 feet long. He sees chains gently clinking together as they swing from the ceiling twenty feet overhead. The dominant feature, however, is a large metal panel on the wall at the far end. Standing twenty feet wide and ten feet tall, the panel features four large metal buttons each a yard in diameter, bearing some of the same strange symbols you saw on the trapped doors above.
Standing next to the panel is a short, insect-like humanoid. It is barely five feet tall, and four segmented arms protrude from the figure’s chitinous chest. A pair of silvery shortswords weave menacingly in its right arms, while an arrow is nocked in a bow held in its left arms. Its segmented eyes seem to look directly at Achmed reflected in his mirror as the figure’s mandibles click out a staccato tongue. It pulls and releases an arrow that hisses with great accuracy directly at Achmed’s hand, and he hurriedly snatches it back even as the arrow clatters into the wall opposite.
Achmed quickly relays the news to the rest of you and Kaji tries, and fails, to cast a spell that would protect against missile fire. William is the first to enter the room, sword drawn, but as he does so the insect creature presses a button next to it and a portcullis slams down behind him, trapping him in the large room with his unwelcome host. Even as it does this, it fires two arrows at William, fortunately both missing.
Pioden and Achmed rush up to the steel bars blocking the way into the room and commence firing at the creature, to no avail. It is incredibly dextrous and one of Pioden’s arrows even bounces off the thick plates of chitin protecting its body. Randall attempts to strike up one of his most rousing songs but is overcome by a fit of coughing. Clearly it has been far too long since the hobbit lubricated his throat with ale.
William angles across the room heading towards the left hand wall and zig-zagging as he goes. Tomas’ sword pulses hungrily with a golden light in his hand, thirsty for combat with a worthy opponent. The insectoid moves across the room with uncanny speed to intercept William, firing an arrow as it moves and then slicing him with the twin shortswords before darting away and firing another arrow, leaving William’s counter-strike connecting only with thin air.
Pioden directs his fire away from the creature and attempts to shoot one of the buttons on the rear wall, but misses. Albrecht grasps two of the bars on the portcullis and with sweat popping out on his brows and muscles straining, manages to move them enough that he can squeeze through. With a route in now open, Albrecht rushes to William’s side and Achmed and Randall enter, Achmed heading left and Randall right. Pioden and Kaji hang back, Pioden firing more arrows and missing, Kaji conjuring bolts of arcane energy that strike home with their usual unerring accuracy.
The creature retreats back to the far end of the room, firing two more arrows at William who is now in a bad way. Randall heads for the right hand wall of the room, spinning his sling as he goes and landing a couple of bullets on target. Unfortunately, as Randall reaches the wall, the creature presses another of the buttons and multiple darts shoot forth, several hitting the plucky hobbit and leaving him grievously wounded. To make matters worse, the darts have been poisoned and Randall starts to shake as the poison courses through his veins.
Achmed attempts to close the range and fires another crossbow bolt, but misses. Kaji now enters the room but his previous lethal accuracy with a sling lets him down. Pioden tries to summon a lightning bolt but fails.
Deciding he has nothing to lose, William move in close and is rewarded with two more arrows, leaving him on the verge of consciousness. With the remains of his flagging stamina, Randall starts up a peculiar keening song. The effect on the creature is marked though; it seems riveted by the performance and is held stock still. William backs off allowing Pioden to fire more arrows, but he misses once more. It is well that he did so, as arcs of electricity lance across the room from Kaji’s staff, striking home.
Even as they do so, the creature begins to fade and become transparent. Achmed and Albrecht charge across, blade and morning star in hand. Albrecht lands a good blow but Achmed’s shortsword passes straight through the creature, which seems to be becoming more insubstantial by the second. Pioden races across the room, but it is too late – his sword swing connects with empty space as the creature fades from view completely and he emits a cry of frustration.
To be continued…