Week Nine – Stalkers and Creepers and Slayers (and Abominations), Oh My!

The party is in the chapel, fighting a mad Dwarf who is doing a lot of damage with his two axes. The Dwarf has just “appeared” on the ground in the midst of the group, and began laying about him. Ban remains airborn. It is the 40th of Narlos, a Fieldday.

Zef casts haste on the group and Seles follows up with a shield other on Waller. Everyone digs in on the Dwarf, but he’s harder to hit than he looks. Nobody lands a blow. The Dwarf picks Waller for this retort and hits the young ranger with a solid blow.

Zef then casts displacement on Grimnar, knowing that the barbarian is easy to hit and in need of an advantage. A voice speaks in everyone’s mind, “Okey doke, I’ll kill him last.” Seles Channels twice. Waller swings and hits, but does little damage. Grimnar lands two blows, but his usually devastating blows are truncated by some hidden resistance. The Dwarf wheels on Domi, but only manages a single, moderate hit on the rogue.

Zef finishes his defensive spells by casting blur on Waller. Seles casts moment of greatness on the party. Waller lands three blows this time, but only one actually gets through the resistance. Domi finally hits, causing a solid wound with significant bleeding. The Dwarf disappears.

Zef uses his want to cast magic weapon on Grim’s cold iron great sword. Domi throws a lightcoin skyward, but instead of a Dwarf, there is a large, bloated, spider-like creature hovering near the domed ceiling of the chapel. Waller grabs his bow and shoots at it, but the arrow bounces off. Grimnar shoots with his crystal gun and misses. A wave of energy seems to wash over the monster, healing its wounds. Ban, having just arrived at the floor, flight back up to engage it.

Zef casts magic weapon on Waller’s bow. Domi shoots twice with his gun but doesn’t hit. Grimnar shoots his gun and hits. The monster’s resistance doesn’t deflect the energy. The spider-monster bites Ban and injects a poison into the hobbit, weakening him. Ban turns the wrath of Ainna on it, hitting it once, soundly.

Zef casts gravity bow on his own weapon. A copious amount of ammunition flies at the monster, but none finds its mark. Grimnar gives Waller his gun in disgust and wields the other’s bow. The spider-monster hits Ban once with the claw, and the Paladin hits back with his smite.

Zef, blessed with the luxury of time, casts magic weapon on his bow. More ammunition is sent impotently skyward. The monster bites Ban again, poisoning him again. The hobbit is quickly losing strength. He manages to hit it back, however.

Zef finally shoots his bow at the enemy and hits, but does little damage. Waller, now wielding Grimnar’s gun, puts a nice shot into the monster. Ban rallies and manages to smite his foe three time, injuring it so grievously that Zef is able to finish it with a single arrow. The large spider monster slowly floats to the ground below.

Seles tends to Ban’s poision and other wounds. One of the long-dead corpses lying on the ground – it’s delicate features suggest it may have been an elf or drow – is equipped with surprisingly beautiful armor. The plate armor is lacquered in an ivory-like off-white and the pieces are trimmed in gold. Not so much as the slightest dent, scratch or speck of dust seems to mar its perfection. The armor radiates abjuration magic strongly. Zef examines it closely and recognizes it from a dusty old tome that once read at the Academy as a suite called “Fey’s Vanity” that was created by the dwarves for an elven king who had allied with them at a critical time. The King was a strategic thinker, but he was also quite taken with the finer things in life and strove to always look good. The armor begins to glow softly each morning at dawn, and increases the wearer’s charm each morning. This bonus fades at nightfall.

Ban has overcome the poison, but must rest and receive restoration from the Sphinx before he is fit for action. so the party returns to their refuge. The Dwarves are delighted by the taking of the chapel, and immediately set off to haul off the remains of the monster and restore the holy shrine to its proper condition. Surprisingly, the Dwarves are eager to sieze upon their newly-rediscovered religion, in spite of their former embrace of the secularism of their times. They say nobody is an atheist on the front lines, and this seems to bear that out.

The next day, as Ban’s new armor begins to glow, you rise from your slumber, receives the blessing of the Sphinx and ready yourselves to clear more of the mines. The Dwarves are making good progress, with over half of the weapons and armor hauled out to the wagons, but are slowed by the ever-increasing number of helpers who are begging off to work on this or that restoration project.

You set off on their morning adventure, and head back to the smoking hall to check out the remaining door.

Double doors lead to a short stair that opens into a room so large that you barely see the walls to the right and the left. The far end is shrouded in shadow. The walls are lined with tall bookshelves, most of which are stuffed full of books. Dozens of small, stone tables are situated about the room. A few are toppled over. Before you can advance further, darkness settles over you.

Zef immediately casts haste on the the party. Domi, Ban and Waller move in, though only Domi can see in the darkness. Grimnar can also see, but hangs back to use his hammer on his sword, while Seles casts bless.

A small squad of five black-hooded and short-statured humanoids move in. One stabs Waller with a dagger while two taller ones materialize and cast cause moderate wounds on Seles. Zef flies upward to avoid all of the stabbing. Domi hits the two taller ones and Grimnar manages to take one of them down. The figure slumps to the ground, then explodes, damaging those around it. Two more small ones hit waller and another two hit Seles. The poison on one of the daggers gets to the cleric, draining his strength. Deeper darkness settles over the battle, and even the Dwarves are blinded.

Ban, finding the circumstances intolerable, yells up to Zef to drop a fireball on the the lot of them, realizing that the fire will do little real damage to the party as everyone is protected by the sphinx’s blessing. Zef does exactly that, and those humanoids that are not killed outright by the blast of the fireball, are slain by the death explosion of their fellows. Waller takes quite a beating from the explosions of so many around him, but he is still standing at the finish.

You retreat to the smoking room to wait out the darkness. The Dwarves are very excited about all of the noise, and offer you a pipe in exchange for your recounting of the fight. This works out perfectly as the spheres of darkness below begin winking out, one-by-one, just as your pipe winds down.

You caution the Dwarves to stay behind until the room is truly cleared, but you can tell they are anxious as the loss of the library was perhaps one of the most terrible blows the the Dwarven race when the mines fell. Still, they have come to understand the nature of the dangers present and remain attentive to your directions.

You return to the room and quickly find a sack of loot behind an overturned table. It is filled with coin and jewelry. Zef uses detect magic to scan the room and quickly locates a series of books on top of the shelves, shoved to the back and therefore not visible from below. Whoever put them there knew what they were and wanted to keep them away from prying eyes. The books are in common tongue, and expound upon the importance of the abilities (strength, dexterity, constitution, wisdom, intelligence and charisma). Each of these heavy, leather tomes has a silk ribbon folded into the pages as a book-mark. These ribbons, tied around the forehead, imbue the wearer with a sacred bonus to that specific ability, but only after the wearer reads the book. This takes two days. There is also a book called “On Riddles: An Exposition on the History, Science and Art of Riddling” that emanates strong divination magic.

The end of the library is a rounded area that was used as a stage. In the center of the rounded north wall is a narrow door. This leads to a narrow corridor that soon dead-ends in a collapse.

Not ready to rest, you return to the sphinx room and then take the other exit and make your way back to the room where you saw what looked like a statue of a large bear. You advance into the room and see a statue of a dragon in the southwest corner, almost finished, and a statue of a huge rock troll battling a dwarf in the southeast corner. There is a powdering of stone shards and dust about the floor.

As you get within fifteen feet of the statue of the rock troll, it comes to life and attacks. Zef casts haste. Grimnar goes into a rage and takes an attack of opportunity as he closes with the troll, taking a harder blow than he delivers for the effort. The others move up as well, and Waller manages to land a blow.

The troll roars in rage and tears into Grimnar with a fury, nearly taking him down.

At this point, we must pause the story and resume it in the summary of week ten.


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