Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Session #4 - Griffin Island - "Up the Shaft and the Room of Holes"

Unaware that Andres, Adam, and the frozen Thracian perished while Bam and Hark are alive but trapped in the tomb, Xan and Barbara return to the ship for additional resources.

Eldwin, Cad, and first-timer lock pick extraordinaire Cory return to the ruins without Barbara or Xan.  On the way, they spot a four-armed white ape deep in the jungle but not far from camp.  The creature avoids them.

The three take the usual route through the ruins.  They find the Gnoll and Minotaur guard posts empty and the trap door leading to the frozen hallway held open by a rock from a nearby crumbling wall.

Upon reaching the tomb area, they see the cut rope and Eldwin immediately spots Bam looking down at them.  

They throw a new rope up and tie it to the gargoyle statue as before.  The three climb it pulling the rope up behind them.  Then they hear the tragic water trap story and see the evidence of the frantic digging into the two-foot thick stone doors.

The group quadruples their efforts finally breaking through.  A river of water torrents out the hole creating a river of water that waterfalls into the statue room below.  Eventually, the torrent subsides into a small but continual flow as the vault empties.  Eldwin spots Andres’ ring float by and scoops it up.

The hole is now big enough for Eldwin to enter.  He sees the grisly twisted and melted bars formally blocking the ceiling chute and the three corpses of his fellow explorers.  The group works the hole so it is big enough for all to pass.  The thief deactivates the original trap mechanism and then they investigate the chute.

Cory climbs up and hammers in pitons to reach the landing where the Thracian met his fate.  The elf follows in support.  They take out the adamantine snake construct and begin inventorying the treasure it guarded.  They leave the chest with the king’s dinner set, copper coins and demonic-looking ring, but remove all the other Thracian coins, a golden magical bowl, and an awesome-looking golden glaive.

Thinking the shaft up might lead to the surface, the thief scales it to a forgotten secret trap door.  Opening it, he emerges into a circular room of decadent Thracian design.  Standing guard in a Deathwalker wearing a skull painted facemask and exorbitant Thracian plate mail.  Cory sneaks up from behind and slits his throat killing him in seconds.  He then peers behind the mauve curtains and witnesses a tall black statue of the god Thanatos.  He closes the curtains and returns to the others.  As he closes the trap door, he slips almost falling seventy feet, but a piton provides stopping power as it gashes his chest.  Saved and bleeding, Cory climbs down and joins the others.

About this time, they decide to avoid the minotaur, gnoll, and dog brother war band waiting in the rivulet-divided statue room below.  The group avoids the beastmen then investigates the unexplored web-clogged stairwell leading north.  They use torches to burn the web and quietly make their way to the top of the stairs.  Who knows when or if the Beastmen will follow.

From the top, they open an ancient door closed for millennia into a hallway lit ghastly green from the glowing eyes of skulls mounted every five feet down either side of the hall.

They turn left to an empty chamber with a 40’ ceiling.  Once they step inside the room, everything changes. A near blinding column of golden light shines down directly on a pedestal on the rooms opposite side.  None of the light touches anything but the pedestal, but illuminates the room.  They see the walls decorated with ornate fresco paintings showing activities of unknown gods and heroes.

Basking in the light lounging on the pedestal is Ontussa (a gynosphinx) as she introduces herself.  She riddles them about what knowledge they seek.  The immediate answer is not to her liking so she requests gold for their naivety.  She wants all the Thracian coins she detects they carry. The group, not immediately forthcoming and somewhat taken aback by her rudeness, hesitates.  She symbols a sign of sleep; Cory, Harkness, and Bam drop to the floor snoring.   Eldwin and Cad remain awake.

Cad bows in fake sincerity then swings a sneaky mace uppercut surprising the gynosphinx.  Battle ensues.  The two heroes finish the haughty sphinx then wake the others.

At this time, the door behind the sphinx’s pedestal opens revealing a glowing blood red hall beyond.

They investigate and a werelion statue at hallway’s end animates transmuting through the stone floor as it attacks them.  

After destroying the living statue, Cory peers behind the set of curtains to see what the werelion guarded.  He finds a circular room with two remarkable and large holes: one a central pit possibly leading to the abyss and the other a strange black shallow darkness containing a chest.  It is at this moment Cory realizes his hands are affixed to the curtains!

They burn off the gluey curtains terribly scarring Cory’s hands.  They now look ghastly but remain functional.

The session ends after they detect chest’s contents and hole it sits in are both magic.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Session #3 - Griffin Island - “Waking King and Queen E’Head to the Wily Water Trap”

Session note: The only players for the session were James, Brad, and Scott.  We also were missing some character sheets specifically Xan (Rogue), Cad (Cleric), and Barbara (Barbarian).  We played it this way: Xan, Cad, Eldwin the Ranger, and Barbara returned to the ship for supplies. They met up with Harkness and Bam on way.  Hark and Bam learned the route to the crypt and met today's characters there.  Xan left his magic rope so the party had a way in and out of the elevated crypts.  
Harkness and Bamard rejoin while Eldwin, Cad, Xan, and Barbara return to the ship.  After solid rest and some reorganization, they renew their explorations.  
Andres casts a light spell and someone has a torch burning as well.  Harkness the Fighter, Bam the Dwarf, Daneus the ‘ancient’ Thracian Monk, Adam the Bard, and Andres Zaris, mission leader and Wizard gather to decide what to do about the gladius that lay beneath the crystal lid.  They note it has a well-preserved leather-wrapped handle suggesting magic.  Determined to explore on without aid of the holy man or lock pick, they ask Hark to pry the lid off with his two-handed sword.  He tries, and of course, the worst happens, he stumbles and loudly smashes the lid to pieces.  An instant later, the sound of undead awakening surrounds them.   There feel smashing and crashing. They hear maniacal crying and homicidal screaming.  There is a wall of sounds deriving from the known secret vault doors.  However, they hear the loudest and angriest noises coming from the opposite side near the northeast corner.  All around them, there are undead things filled with rage and hate coming for them.  
They move into a defensive circle.  One by one, undead emerge from the vaults.  First a Barrow Wight, then armed skeletons, and then from the furthest western vault behind the locked iron bars, a skeleton queen emerges donning a golden crown not unlike the design of the throne.  The banging from the north though is different.  They now see past what must have been an illusion.  They clearly see heavy stone doors where there once was a solid wall before.  Furthermore, there is a huge oaken beam and a Thracian King’s wax seal across a door lock blocking any exit of the entombed.  Someone is not supposed to get out apparently.
Daneus, Hark, and Adam immediately engage the Barrow Wight while Bam guards the northern door.  The oak beam splintering from the force of whatever it is trying to breakout.  With battle raging, the queen sits upon the throne, casts some sort of magic circle, and then silences Andres who had just cast lightning bolt at her.  Adam then disengages leaving Daneus and Hark to finish the wight and skeletons.  
They see a mummy behind the sealed doors carrying a black sword.  He occasionally swipes at the beam and punishingly smashes his body into the door.  This beam will not hold for long.  Meanwhile Andres runs toward the queen.  She is behind the bars and locked door so this prevents a direct attack with anything but long weapons.  Andres stands up to the queen at the locked gate so she lies in the radius of her own silence spell.  Rendered mute, she angrily goes for Andres’ throat who does his best to stand just out of her reach.  This is when the mummy, King E’Head, breaks out.  Bam stands his ground while Hark closes in.  The two of them cut down the mummy at about the same time Adam severs the queen’s neck.
With no casualties, they search the various tombs.  They find much magical treasure and precious ancient Thracian coin.  After resting and consuming healing potions brought back by Hark and Bam, Andres identifies some of the collected load.  They find that the gladius below the crystal is cursed.  The mummy’s black sword is magic and absolutely evil and he has a ring that resists fire.  Hidden away in the Barrow Wight’s tomb they find a mithril set of Gauntlets of Ogre Power and a six magical golden shurikens in an ancient urn.  The queen’s golden crown is magic, but pure evil.  From her vault, among a treasure of brass, coin and a ruby, they discover a magic dagger of Mage Bane with a matching sheath that permits one to see invisible things once a day.
Later during their investigation, a noise comes from the tomb’s forty-foot tall echoing entrance hall alerting them.  The dwarf investigates since he does not need light.  Instinctively looking behind as he approaches the upper ledge, completely on the other side of the room, he glimpses a faint bluish light creeping below the mauve draperies on the far west wall.  Then, he turns his attention back toward the sounds from the east.  He looks down when he reaches the ledge between the gargoyle statues and sees what look like a group of sneaky little dogmen conversing covertly and about to point upward.  Bam pulls his head back and relays all this information to the group.  Then they all hear the unmistakable sound of a snipped rope, followed by a second of silence, followed by the sound of something crashing to the floor.  
They move toward the dog brothers as Daneus calls them. Twenty-five feet down they only see a litter of bones. Attached to the southern gargoyle, they find remnants of a severed rope!  Without a way safely down, they turn their attention to the faint blue light
They take down the mauve curtains wary in case another Ochre Jelly hides.  Behind the curtains, a magnificent pair of stone doors carved to resemble the face of a beneficent man stand before them.  The face glows with a very subtle blue light.  Without a thief at hand, Bam reviews the doors to be wary of any oddities.  He does not detect a lock or even a door handle.  The group carefully pushes the double doors inward.
This opens into a ten foot wide, thirty foot long stone walled hallway.  The walls maintain the same dim blue light as the face on the doors.  The ceiling is also stone some fifteen feet up.  On the far western side is a pair of unmarked massive stone doors with exquisite brass-wrought door handles.  Bam and Hark stay back whilst Andres, Adam, and Daneus investigate.  After looking around and carefully examining the handle, Adam attempts to open the door.
The doors open upon touching them. A river of water torrents from behind. The force of the water makes them nearly impossible to close.  Simultaneously, the eastern doors slam shut and lock.  Immediately the hall begins to flood.
Adam, Daneus, and Andres attempt to close the western doors but do not have enough strength.  Outside the trap, Bam and Hark, smash at the outer doors.  They knock off the beneficent man's nose, but this amounts to nothing.  Inside the three nervously look for a way out.
The water rises quickly, they estimate about a minute before it reaches the ceiling.  Daneus has no trouble staying afloat but the others are not so skilled.  Daneus does what he can to keep them afloat but Adam struggles as his chain shirt weighs him down. Then as the ceiling closes in, they all spot a shimmering three foot circle area above that changes appearance to an iron grate as if a mirage.  The grate blocks a chimney leading up.  Daneus leaps out of the water, grabs the bars, swings his feet to the ceiling and pulls with all his might.  When close enough, Adam pulls as well, but they are unable to do more than bend the bars a few inches.  Andres calls them off and unleashes a massive lightning bolt directly at the bars.  Andres’ spell unblocks the chimney by destroying the bars but electrifies everything else.  Andres and Adam do not survive the blast; Adam gulps water as his last breath. Still alive, but now in complete darkness, Daneus floats up the chimney with the rising water.  
After about twenty feet the water stops rising and Daneus makes out a golden light from a shimmering Glaive thrust into a pile of treasure.  The treasure room is in a cave accessible through a small tunnel leading south just above the water level.  The chimney continues up far beyond the monk’s vision.  Eyes back to the treasure, the glaive is magnificent, possibly a holy weapon.  Also upon the pile of gold and silver coins is a massive bejeweled chest.  Then, from behind the chest an adamantine mechanical snake, coils and springs across the chamber into Daneus’ head.  The construct rips Daneus’ carotid artery killing him instantly.
Not knowing any of this, the lone survivors - Bam and Hark, pound and smash on the outer doors.