Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Sir Keegan and the Floor Runes (03/07/2010)

The group is back at full strength this week as Joette has returned from her world tour. After getting her caught up on the progress the party made in her absence the night's festivities commenced. The characters had ended last week's session standing in front of a large pair of doors on the west wall of the Altar Room. After just having fought zombies and skeletons the party nervously awaited its next action.

Maive and Krstic investigated the altar in the south of the room while the rest of the party paused at the door. The door was then opened and the bright light from the Altar Room revealed a medium size room with a set of small stairs leading up to a raised dais in the back part of the room. An ornate coffin sat in the middle of the raised dais, a soldier in plate armor and wielding a long sword etched upon the coffin lid. With no immediate attack forthcoming, the five party members edged forward towards the coffin.

Back outside in the Altar Room Maive had found a small door on the altar, and after pointing it out to Krstic he immediately opened it. The contents of the hidden compartment were seven small silver and platinum dragons, looking similar to the platinum dragon painted on the ceiling above them. The two decided that they were certainly representations of the platinum god, but found no more secrets on the southern altar or the northern altar.

Back inside the Crypt Room the five party members decided to approach the coffin and as Akta stepped on the stairs leading up to the dais the coffin suddenly exploded with a loud boom and a rush of dust and debris, revealing a skeleton wearing plate armor and wielding a rather nasty looking long sword standing in the coffin rubble. With an unearthly roar his voice rang out, saying, "The rift must never be re-opened! State your intention, or prepare to die!"

Partly out of being stunned at the sudden appearance of the Skeleton Knight in front of them, partly because the Skeleton Knight appeared to have the same cause as the party members, but mostly because the party was aware that this character might be too tough to tangle with, several party members managed to stammer out loud they too were looking to close the rift.

As Maive and Krstic joined the rest of the party in the crypt the Skeleton Knight raised his sword and pointed it directly at Eldred. "I am sworn to defend this keep. What brings you here?"  Eldred managed to reply that the party was here to defeat the evil that inhabited the keep.

The Knight then kept his sword pointed directly at Eldred and asked, "What deity do you serve? Can I trust that you are true to this service?"  Eldred gulped and answered that he was a follower of Pelor and that he was indeed was true to his service, and that he intended to prove that by completing this quest of ensuring the rift was not opened.

The sword swung from Eldred until it pointed directly at Oester. "If you trust your senses not to betray you, tell me what you see before you."  It was Oester's turn to gulp and answer that he saw a great knight with a great cause.

Again the sword moved, this time coming to bear on Akta. "You wear a fearsome demeanor. Are you really as formidable as you look?" Akta bravely answered in the affirmative, but the sword moved back to Eldred. "A convincing answer, or at least one convincingly given. Can you attest to the truth of your comrade's claim." Braver this time, Eldred quickly replied to the positive.

The massive sword moved yet again, this time coming to point at Jenneth. "Unnatural forces abound in this place. Are you equipped to overcome them?"  It was Jenneth's turn answer in the affirmative, and as she did the Skeleton Knight's long sword was lowered until it was pointing at the ground.

Eldred took advantage of the temporary silence to begin to ask questions, and soon the whole story was revealed. This was indeed the infamous Sir Keegan that the party had heard about back in Winterhaven. He was the first commander of Shadowfell Keep and his charge was to ensure the rift stayed sealed so that Orcus's unholy powers would not return. Unfortunately the evil of the rift managed to corrupt Sir Keegan's thoughts and drove him mad. Sir Keegan became possessed and killed his family and several of his key captains, and as he realized the evilness of his actions he had fled to the crypts to live out his days in anguish.

When asked if there was anything the party could do, Sir Keegan replied that while he was beyond hope, the party could make use his long sword named Aecris to help fight the evil within the Keep. He also stated, "Seek Bahamut's Boon on the altars outside and perhaps he too will grant you aid."  The party took this to be the small dragon statues that Maive and Krstic had found and had distributed to each party member.

With this last statement Sir Keegan lay down in the remnants of his coffin, resuming his quiet repose. Jenneth stepped forward to claim Aecris, which the slumbering corpse freely gave up. The party then chose to rest for five minutes in the Crypt Room and the Altar Room. No more secrets were found in either room, but each party member earned 125 XP.

Now rested, and with an additional Action Point, the party moved out of the Altar Room, past the line of sarcophagi, into the room where the Zombie's corpses lay, and started to investigate the rest of the large darkened room. As before there was no noise, no light, but the smell of death lingered strongly throughout the room.

There were different hallways in the large room, so the party initially decided to move as a group up the middle hall until they came to an intersection where a large rune in the floor effectively blocked further movement. The party was able to determine the rune would likely give off some sort of warning ... some of the party members thought they could jump over the runed area, but Krstic and Bogar decided to have the rest of the party stand back so they could toss an available zombie corpse onto the floor rune.

The tossed zombie idea worked as planned, at least until the zombie corpse actually landed on the floor rune and an inhuman and ghastly scream filled the room. Several party members took minor damage and in their fear ran back into the zombie room from whence they had just came. Those that were not affected adversely and were still standing near the rune heard, off in the blackness of the area that hasn't been explored yet the shuffling footsteps of something that had started to move in their direction.

As the panicked party members regained their composure they rejoined the other party members as the shuffling footsteps drew ever closer, and likely from two different directions. Oester was the first to see the zombies, and Jenneth used a spell to take out several of the Zombie Rotters in the middle of the room. Oester was able to jump over the rune, only to be greeted by more zombies shuffling toward him, including some of the tougher Zombies.

Eldred, Maive and Akta saw several zombies moving up the east hall and quickly moved to seal off their attack, dealing quick damage and taking out the Zombie Rotters. Back in the middle of the room Bogar attempted to jump over the floor rune only to fail, and it was then that the party found out that once the floor rune was expended it was effectively dead (at least as far as the party knew anyway). This allowed Krstic and Jenneth to move forward as well and the two different parts of the party soon eliminated the remaining zombie horde.

Once the combat was completed the eerie silence resumed and no more shuffling footsteps could be heard. It was the same dark silence that had greeted the party initially, so the party decided to quickly inspect the remainder of this large room. The first order of business was to inspect what appeared to be a medium-sized room in the southwest corner. Before moving on, as the party looked around and saw:

7 Zombie Rotters and 3 Zombies. The zombies had no possessions, weapons, or gold, but each party member earned 100 XP.

The room to the southwest was empty and no secrets or magic were found. The inspection of the remainder of the as-of-yet unexplored northern end of the large room quickly ground to a halt as more of the floor runes were found, seeming deployed at every critical intersection in the room (apparently a "live zombie" didn't set off a floor rune, but the "dead zombie" that Krstic and Bogar threw on a floor rune did ... feel free to ruminate on the whole "live zombie" versus "dead zombie" conundrum). Akta and Oester were able to jump over a rune and move ahead, somebody (Bogar?) accidentally set off another rune and as before several party members took minor damage and temporarily fled in panic.

As the evenings session drew to a close Akta and Oester had reached the northern end of the room, with Akta standing at the top of a large staircase that headed down and Oester standing in front of a set of secret doors he had just discovered. The remainder of the party is still separated from these two by a few remaining floor runes.

Scoreboard: 225 XP tonight, 1795 total, 455 needed to get to 2250/Level 3. Another ~30 minutes of dungeon time has past, so the party is up to ~110 total dungeon minutes.

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