The evening's session got off to a delayed start because the daughter and 2-1/2 year old granddaughter of Grandpa Scott came by to pay a visit to the Sunday Night D&D crew, plus we got to find out that a grandson will be arriving in May. Once we got the video connection working Mark and Deb in North Carolina were able to join in as well. Given that Scott's daughters are the oldest of the group's kids and members of this group started playing together before they were born ... well, it just made us all feel old. Regardless, a child's smile is always a blessing.
The party had received Sir Keegan's blessing last week, had finished off the last of the Zombies, and were intending to finish scouting out the Floor Rune Room. Akta and Oester had already advanced to the north end of the room and had found a large stair case heading down and a secret and still unopened door. The remainder of the party was still trapped behind strategically placed floor runes that when touched gave of a horrendous damage and fear inducing scream.
The floor runes could be jumped over, so Eldred went first and proceeded to fall flat on his face - scream/pain/panic - for many of the party members. Once the floor runes had been expended they were determined to be safe to cross over, so once the panicked party members were rounded up Krstic then proceeded down the wrong hallway and tripped another floor rune - scream/pain/panic yet again.
While the floor rune shenanigans were going on Akta had heard goblinoid voices from down the stairs, including laughter as the voices made comments about "some fool stumbling into the zombie room." As the rest of the party moved up the conversation downstairs became a "You should go up there. No, I'm not going up there, you go up there" argument. It took several turns to get the entire party rounded up again, but finally everyone made it to the north end of the room.
Once the party was at the top of the stairs there was a brief conversation as to what to do next. The decision was to keep going on, and Akta proceeded to throw a lit sunrod down the stairs in an attempt to draw the attention of the goblins(?) at the bottom of the stairs with the intention of ambushing whoever or whatever as they came up the stairs.
At the same time the sunrod was thrown Maive, convinced the party really wasn't going down the stairs, opened the secret door. A small 10x15 room sat behind the door, completely empty. Maive stepped into the room to give it a closer inspection, and upon detecting something odd about the back wall of the room was successfully able to stick her hand directly through the illusionary wall. The illusion remained, and a wall was all she could see, so Maive then opted to stick her head through the illusion to see what she could see. As she did she saw four Zombies animating to life and staring back at her.
Back at the top of stairs the party could hear a panic below at the bottom of the stairs. Feet scurrying, orders (in goblin tongue) being given - "Tell the chief", "Move up", "Move back", "Release the Spider" - just the kind of thing you might expect to hear from a surprised group of guards. The party continued to wait but no attack came, as whoever or whatever was downstairs stayed away from the bottom the stairs and out of sight from any ranged weapons.
Meanwhile Maive found herself under attack from four freshly awakened Zombies. Eldred was near and was able to step in with a very successful Turn which broke contact and pushed them all back behind the illusionary wall. Eldred yelled for help, and Akta, Krstic, and Oester left the top of the stairs to provide support. The Zombies were eventually defeated, and the party members stepped through the wall to see what was behind the illusion.
On the north and south walls were racks of weapons, but the wooden racks were a shambles and the weapons were rusted and broken. Ahead of the party members on the east wall sat a set of rusty armor and a plaque. As the characters approached a deep, booming voice from the plaque rang out: "A wondrous treasure, valued by all, sought by many, found in both victory and defeat, yet never at the bottom of a treasure chest. It marches before you like a herald, and lives long after you are gone. Of what do I speak?"
After taking a second to digest the contents of the riddle Krstic blurted out an answer: "Reputation," and the set of armor next to the plaque had its rust seemingly fall away and leave behind a gleaming set of magical scale armor. Knowing there was still trouble behind them, Krstic grabbed the armor and the party members moved back toward the area at the top of the stairs where Bogar and Jenneth had remained behind to stand guard. As the party left the secret armory they saw four Zombies. The zombies had no possessions, weapons, or gold, but each party member earned 75 XP.
DM Notes: This led to some discussion about the nature of the Zombie attacks and it was determined that as the DM I was playing them wrong. The way I read them was that they had to Grab an opponent before they could Slam them, but the characters kept breaking out of the Grab, so I was never able to Slam them. We determined that both the Grab and the Slam were separate and distinct attacks on their own and didn't need to be connected.
Down below the the creatures at the bottom of the stairs were starting to get organized. "You go first", "Get over there", and of course, "Don't let the spider out." Eventually some hobgoblins moved to the base of the stairs, only to be quickly mowed done by arrows and magic.
The clamor below then restarted. More scurrying. "Tell the chief," but no hobgoblins stepped back into line of sight. With the first set of hobgoblins mowed done relatively easily, Akta and Bogar moved down the stairs ...