Week Ten – Drakes, Bugbears, Ogres and Varghoul

It is early on Narl 41, and the heroes have just ventured into the stone-sculpting studio. A huge rock troll, posing as a statue, attacks Grimnar as soon as he comes within range.

Through liberal use of detect evil, you are aware of the danger and have cast spells to prepare. What you are not prepared for is the sheer volume of damage the troll can produce. Round one goes to the troll, with Grimnar tottering on the edge.

Domi attacks the troll and hits. Grimnar attempts to intimidate the troll while calling on his inner barbarian to recover some of he damage. The intimidation fails, as one would expect. Ban casts a spell on himself that is designed to focus the enemy’s attack upon him. The paladin is so comprehensively armored, that it is difficult for anyone to hit him. Then Zef casts displacement upon the hobbit. Seles, unable to make his way to Grimnar’s side, channels positive energy twice. The troll lands one clean blow on Domi.

Domi backs out and fires his gun at the troll, but misses. Grimnar, somewhat restored, jumps back in and hits the troll once. Ban strolls up to the troll, drawing an attack of opportunity which misses. He hits the troll once. Zef casts a ray of enfeeblement on the troll. Seles casts a cure serious wounds spell on Grimnar, just in time to save the Dwarf’s life as the creature chomps on Grimnar, then claws twice and rends him. Grimnar falls unconscious.

Domi move to behind the troll and draws a successful attack of opportunity. Ban swings and misses. Zef hits the troll with a scorching ray, and is surprised that the flame isn’t more effective than normal against this troll. Seles again casts cure serious wounds on Grimnar, reviving him, while the Dwarf uses a special ability to allow him to continue. The troll fumbles himself and hits nobody.

Ban smites the troll twice. Domi, now with flank, sneak-attacks the troll twice to devastating effect. Zef casts invisibility upon himself. Seles casts cure serious on Grimnar again. The troll attacks Ban and misses every time.

Ban smites twice again, bringing the mighty troll down. The fighters keep the troll down while Zef figures out that acid will prevent the troll from healing. He proceeds to use his acid splash repeatedly on the troll. After about fifteen minutes of this, the troll is a bubbling, gooey mess and is no longer regenerating.

You return to the Sphinx’s lair to lick your wounds and read your books. Met’anRa is intrigued by the book of Riddle and asks to see it. He makes some characteristically vague statements about how amazing the book is, then presses it against his breast, then returns it to Zef. Zef passes the book, which radiates divine magic, to Seles. The cleric casually and repeatedly insults the sphinx, meanwhile forgetting all about the book. Met’anRa writes two recipes for cleric of Thane into his journal. The Dwarves are super-excited by stories of the fight with the rock troll, with some of them boasting about how they wish they could have been there.

The next morning, you return to the sculpting room and take a right into the brewery, where you are promptly fireballed by two fire drakes. Seles casts bless while ban smites the second drake. Seles casts prayer and Domi moves in to hit the first. Zef casts haste on the party. The first drake counterattacks Domi and hits with tooth and tail. Grim rages and charges the second and is bit as he comes in, but lays a nice shot on the beast. It tries to bite him again but fails.

Ban smites the second drake again. Seles casts sanctuary onhimself. Domi hits the first drake again while Zef casts gravity bow on his weapon. The first drake hits Domi again. Grimnar delivery two massive blows to the second drake, slaying him outright.

Ban attacks and hits the first drake. Seles heals the Dwarven rogue. Domi attacks his drake one final time, putting the creature down.

The party searches and finds a bag of holding with considerable loot in it.

Grimnar leads you down another passage that is collapsed. Then, another, this time around a corner and north down a set of stairs. The passage terminate in a room with many exits. A brutish bugbear snarls at you as you enter, then runs east down a set of stairs. The room itself is not large, and scattered about with filthy piles of bedding. Assuming that the bugbear is trying to lead you into a trap, you wait a good fifteen minutes before following him.

A wide stairway leads you down thirty feet into an enormous room. The magnificent vaulted ceiling of this room radiates a soft, white light that bathes the entire place in illumination without being harsh to the eye.

A collection of great machines, replete with numerous pipes, gears, belts and wheels is arranged carefully about the hall, as if to present them to a viewing audience. Once these massive machines probably gleamed in the light, but they are layered in dust and pitted with corrosion. They really don’t look very safe to be near.

Domi leads you to the right, once down the stairs, and then follows the wall, then left and toward three sets of stairs that lead up to an overlooking balcony decorated by magnificent chandeliers. At this point, a large troop of bugbears comes up from behind.

Domi springs out from behind a machine, catching one of the bugbears flatfooted, and stoves his skull. Zef casts haste. Seles walks ahead and notices a troop of small ogres coming in from behind. he quickly casts murderous command on the leading ogre and takes a step back. Ban rushes to help with the bugbears. The bugbears in the rear move around to attack from the flank, as do the rear ogres.

There is one well-armored bugbear who appears to be in charge. Even the ogres are following his orders. Zef, who speaks Goblinoid, hears the others refer to him as “Chak”.

Domi focuses on this lead and hits him with a hard blow. Zef flies up and out of the combat, but gets hit in the process. Seles uses his mace of peace on an ogre and hits. Ban continues hitting a bugbear, but isn’t doing much damage. Grimnar suffers through an embarrassing round of misses and fumbles. One of the ogres with a large, misshapen arm hits Seles with a massive great sword, while another strikes him with a more-normal weapon.

Domi kills a bugbear, but misses Chak. Zef uses a slow spell to great effect, severely hampering six of the enemy. Seles, trapped in battle, swings and misses. Ban, now focusing on Chak, misses as well. Grimnar, furious with his impotency, overcomes and kills a bugbear and an ogre. Domi takes a hard blow from Chak.

Domi finishes a bugbear, then Zef casts scorching ray on Chak, burning him badly. Seles sneaks another hit on an ogre and kills it. Ban smites Chat and hits him twice, killing him. Grimnar uses his greatsowrd on a bugbear and chops him in half at the waist. An ogre with an oversize great sword hits Grimnar hard, but the Dwarf seems not to care.

The ogre that Seles cast murderous command upon immediately picked a fight with his nearest companion. At this point,t he two have nearly killed each other. Domi sneak-attacks a bugbear and kills him. Zef acid splashes another and finishes him. Ban takes out his gun and shoots an ogre. Grimnar, entertained by his new killing style, slices another ogre in half at the waist. The first ogre, having finally vanquished his ally, hits Grimnar. The Dwarf is unimpressed.

Domi kills yet another bugbear while Zef shoots another from on high. Seles, the taste of peace blood in his mouth, bashes the ogre that bashed Grimnar and finishes him. Ban continues to shoot, but to little effect. Grimnar chooses another ogre and betorso’s him.

Suddenly, the room is quiet except for the heavy breathing of the party. Together, sixteen bodies of ogres and bugbears litter the ground of the once-gleaming Hall of Wonders. You check the bodies and come away with a nice sack of gold, but nothing else.

Seles takes his time tending to everyone’s wounds. When all are ready to proceed, you go up the stairs to the balcony. There are countless thick cobwebs among the chandeliers, and the floor is thick with small bones and the husks of many small spiders. You decide that you’d rather deal with anything living in the webs jumping out at you than ruin the chandeliers which must be worth many thousands of gold pieces each. At the back of the balcony are two massive and gloriously decorated doors.

Inside is a thirty-by-thirty-foot entryway. The floor is a rich marble, though cracked in places, and the arches and wall treatments gleam with gold and pearl inlay. Then, from dark places among the ceiling arches, a flight of disembodied heads fly toward you, screaming. Your knees attempt to go weak as your mind tries to disbelieve this horrific sight.

Zef succumbs to the wailing and is stunned. Domi pulls out his gun and Grimnar throws a small axe at one, striking it. Ban uses his gun to kill the one Grimnar hit. Seles hits another with his gun. One of the monstrosities bites Grimnar and attempts to poison him, but the Grimnar don’t care.

Domi shoots again and misses. Grimnar lays about him with his great sword, killing two of the remaining abominations. Ban shoots one of the two that are left. Seles shoots and misses. Both of the things swoop down on Zef and thrust their tongues in his mouth, in an attack that looks perversely like kissing.

Domi and Ban kill the filthy creatures. Zef looks terrible and mumbles something about non-symbiotic parasites. Seles takes one look at the Elf and starts talking about infection. Meanwhile, Ban takes off his gauntlets, then lays his hands on either side of the Elf’s head. A soft, white glow springs up around Zef’s body. He shudders, then stands up straight. “It is done,” Seles says, though his face doesn’t really reflect the statement.

Zef explains that the “seed” the Varghouls implanted into him would have caused him to become one of them within a day. Tired and depleted, you return to the sphinx for rest. Everyone spends the day reading their book, then dons their headband.

You sense that your time in the mines is drawing to a close, with so few unexplored areas remaining. Your thoughts begin to focus on Gammeldine, and all of the civilization you will enjoy once you get there. Most of the rooms that you’ve cleared have been thoroughly cleaned, and many of them have begun to be restored. There is no question that the Dwarves will hold tightly to their rediscovered mines.

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