Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Session #2 - Griffin Island - "Frozen Thracians to the King's Crypts”

The adventure begins with the party entering the frost vault.  Twenty inches of caked ice and snow pack the room’s surfaces.  Two Thracian bodies lay on the floor: a female armored seductively and a male in monkish-type robes.  Xan fearing they might be frozen demons or zombies loses an arrow into the unarmored male.  Still motionless, the party drags the frozen bodies back toward the chute.  Careful for any sign of evil or violence, they debate what to do.  Andres confirms the clothing and armor appears genuine Thracian.  Before long, the bodies miraculously begin thawing more rapidly than expected.  Perhaps the cold in the frost vault is of magical nature.
Surprisingly, the robed male stirs as if awaking from a long sleep.  He immediately animates, speaking in ancient Thracian about a Beastmen revolt.  He must find the Beastmen base to save good King Agamemnos.  While Andres interprets, Xan readies his weapon for the kill, as he did not trust this awakened Thracian.  The monk says his name is Daneus, and begins speaking in a more understandable Ancient common tongue that is still odd sounding.  His female counterpart, Epicaste, thaws as well, but does not awaken.  She is dead.  Daneus covers her body while Andres and Xan inventory her possessions for later collection.  Over the next hour or so, the party convinces Daneus that he has been frozen for over millennia, the King is long dead, and that the Beastmen have already taken over.  Daneus cautiously joins the group.
Xan uses the flame tongue sword to thaw ice from the vault walls.  Eldwin the Elven Ranger stands beside, looking for doors, traps or other secrets.  After about 30 minutes, half of the Eastern wall ice is a puddle on the floor.  Xan touches the wall and a supernatural door with glaring eyes manifests.  The door attacks the party with elemental cold and charm magic.  The party attacks back.  Some of them become charmed and subsequently try touching the door only to suffer severe frostbite.  Cad the Cleric identifies this living door as chaotic and evil.  The others hack it down.
Beyond is a forgotten dusty hallway that leads north and south. To the north, up about thirty feet, they find a stairway leading east.  At the landing thirty-feet up, they spy the back of a secret door on the north wall.  Beyond they hear Beastmen converse and the growling of what sounds like bears.  After some debate, the party agrees to leave the Beastmen and return to the secret sub-level.  
At either side of the dust-filled north/south hallway, they find secret doors.  Carefully, behind the northern secret door they discover another dusty hallway turning 90 degrees to the east.  On the opposite side of the north door, it is not secret.  In fact, there is a Thracian warning written on it: “It is not given that man should interrupt the sleep of his ancestors. Do not transgress beyond this point.”  Knowing they have already “transgressed”, they close the door leaving the hallway beyond for another time.
The southern hallway secret doors opens down the middle, each side sliding into wall recesses.  Beyond is a massive room of flickering lights and mythical statues.  Ten columns support the ceiling twenty-five feet up, they flicker a strange ambient torch-like light throughout the room.  Eerie sounds dart here and there making the statues all the creepier.    On the far eastern end, entry stairs rise ten feet to a pair of double doors.  
Without warning, every couple of minutes, the columns begin flashing brilliantly in unison, temporarily blinding anyone looking directly at them.  After a few moments, the lights stop strobing and become like torches again.  After a while most of the party realizes there is a pattern and knows when to shield their eyes or look away.
The statuary with estimates of gem values includes: (A) a sphinx carved of porphyry with huge quartz sphere eyes (200 gp each); (B) an eight-headed hydra carved of black marble with amber eyes (25 gp each); (C) a minotaur carved from soapstone with jade eyes (400 gp each); (D) a dryad carved of black basalt with small citrine eyes (50 gp each); (E) a griffon carved of glistening white marble with fire opal eyes (350 gp each); (F) a manticore carved from black marble with red tourmaline eyes (200 gp each); (G) a harpy made of green marble with brilliant cut green emeralds (400 gp each); (H) a black lava hippogriff with small peridot pupils (50 gp each); (I) a satyr carved from pink granite with eyes made of rubies set on diamonds (1,000 gp each); and a white marble centaur with aquamarine eyes (300 gp each).
Xan carefully pries one of the eyes from the satyr.  After removing, a loud crashing sound comes from below to the west.  Everyone looks in that direction.  A sound comes again, seemingly as loud as to shake the dungeon.  Edwin notices plaster falling from the middle part of the western wall; He can see the outline of a door secreted behind.  BOOM!  Another thunderous crash that could wake the dead and closer this time.  Something big slowly approaches from behind the western wall.  Some of the party positions themselves behind the columns or to either side of the western secret door.  Others find the eye baubles too irresistible to leave alone, and continue prying more out.  The crashing becomes angrier.  Instead of waiting for it to crash through the wall, Barbara opens the secret door and they see it.  Behind the door, there is a flight of stairs leading down.  Coming up is the Stone King!  
The eight foot tall, Stone King appears to be a regal man wearing a black crown whose eyes and mouth burn with orange flame. The crown has three, large violet gems.  The Ranger shoots arrow after arrow into it as it methodically moves forward.  The King emerges from the hall.  It attacks by breathing fire and pounding its massive fists.  The internal magics that give it life magically slow some of those close enough.  Near the back of the room, Bam and Harkness continue pulling gems from statue’s eyes!    With each gem removed, the Stone King’s countenance darkens and bits of broken and chipped stone heal.  About halfway through the battle the room’s pillars begin flashing blindingly again.  By this time, most of the party knows better to look directly at the pillars.  Still, the king smashes Adam into crippled unconsciousness. Saving the day, the elf’s magic arrows strike the monster’s head in succession felling it.  It collapses to the floor.  

Post battle, the group revives Adam and explores down the stairs from where the Stone King came.  About forty feet down there is a huge circular room lit with a bright violet light. The walls of the room appear to be on fire with cold violet energy. Flanking the base of the stairs is a pair of placid pools of water. Every so often, the water ripples and moves as if something lurks below.  They leave the room alone.  After the Rogue and Ranger return to the rest of the group, Daneus removes the golem’s head with an amazing series of punches.  The jeweled head rolls down the stairs and falls into an undiscovered pit right between the pools of violet water.  Not wanting to explore the pit, they save the head for later.  It is at this time, Bam and Hark leave the group to report to B.T. back at the ship.  
Next, they remove what gems remain in the statues and turn their attention to the entrance doors on the far eastern side of the room.  The doors open into a 30’ square room that is very tall - almost forty feet.  To the north, a ten-foot wide stairwell choked with spider webs leads up.  Lining the room’s blank stone walls are human skeletons, a total of sixteen.  Each skeleton’s eyes glow with an eerie orange light.  Directly above the entrance appears a landing or ledge that is just out of line of sight.
Cad raises his Lords of Orhan holy symbol and seven skeletons immediately cower.  The party engages the rest and in moments destroys all sixteen.  Directing their attention to the ledge twenty-feet up, they see statues of green gargoyles on either side.  Between them is a passage leading west that is directly above the flashing pillars room.
Xan scales the wall to the ledge and investigates.  The gargoyle stone is harder than any he has ever seen.  He lets down his magical rope so the others may climb and they do.  They make their way into the unlit room past the green gargoyles.  They discover the upper works to be a crypt.  With Andres and Daneus decrypting clues, they reason this to be tombs of dark kings and nobles that were worthy of burial.  They think it has been over a thousand years in this place since the last visitor. On the south wall fallen bits of the decorated plaster walls reveals numerous hidden burial vaults and crypts. Andres explains that the darker Thracians interred here were the vilest Thracian society had to offer.  
At the west end, they find a green drapery blocking the rest of the room ceiling to floor.  Xan carefully peers inside, waves his flaming sword up and ahead and sees something astonishing.  Beyond the drapery is a wall of thick iron bars with a 10-foot wide locked cage door in the center.  Beyond the bars is a crudely constructed gold plated throne.  Monster faces and undecipherable runic symbols decorate it. The throne radiates moderate magic, chaos, and evil.
With everyone ready for anything, Xan picks the gate door lock and steps aside for others to enter.  Barbara makes for the throne as if to challenge the power of the place.  He sits and waits for something to happen.  Nothing, however, happens, at least anything noticeable.  Meanwhile, a monstrous ochre jelly engulfs Adam after he examines what is not a maroon tapestry behind the throne. The bard, once again, begins taking catastrophic damage.  His clothes burns, his papers and notes become worthless, and his skin scars.  Andres and the Ranger pelt the blob with missiles while the warriors try not to split it into too many pieces with their swords.  The Thracian Monk makes killing blows on each of the remaining entities with his quarterstaff ending the battle.
They leave the caged throne area and investigate the secret vault doors beginning with the easternmost door.  The first door pushes in easily revealing an empty stone vault.  On the far wall Andres reads the Thracian script to the others that says, “I have been waiting for you.”  Carefully Xan and Eldwin enter.  Shortly after entering, each hears a voice (fully understandable) that says, “Ahhh…it’s been a long time! I have been waiting for you to come! Ha ha ha.”  With that, the vault door begins closing on its own.  The Rogue and Ranger attempt a hasty retreat back to the main room, Barbara and Daneus hold the door just enough so they are successful.  The vault door slams closed.  Ok, moving onto the next door…
They open the door and enter the next room.  Against the far wall, there is a chest of stone with a transparent crystal top. Apparently carved out of the bedrock, the chest appears immovable.  The next instant, a spectre materializes above the chest.  It begins some incantation, but before finishing, Edwin manages to pierce it with a magic arrow, while Daneus, the Monk, steps up and hammer strikes the energy-sucking creature in the face annihilating it in one blow.  No one here has ever seen a man do this to an undead with bare hands…

End of session #2.  

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