Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Chamber of Eyes (06/20/2010)

Joette missed this week because her father was ill, so we all pass along our best wishes to her and her family. Vacation time is upon us also (Dave and Scott will miss next week), but generally as long as we have a DM and five of the seven players we will carry on.

Last week the party took out a handful of hobgoblins that turned out to be members of the Bloodreavers gang and rescued a grateful Halfling named Rendil Halfmoon. The party started the night by inspecting the room and questioning Rendil, who was very forthcoming with information about the Seven Pillared Hall and the labyrinth. After the questioning Rendil agreed to lead the party the rest of the way to the hall and off they went.

Rendil Halfmoon soon said “It’s straight ahead from here” as he lead the party through the last segment of the Road of Lanterns and then, there it was, the Seven Pillared Hall. A huge natural cavern that spanned maybe as much as 700-800 feet in length and with a width of 300-400 feet. The uneven ceiling was as low as 20 feet in some places, but as high as 50 feet in others. It was also quite obvious where the hall got its name – there were seven huge natural pillars spread throughout the hall.

There was a certain quiet hush to the place, allowing the party to hear the occasional braying of mules and the gurgle of the mountain stream that ran through the middle of the hall. There were no natural light sources, but the many buildings that were scattered throughout the hall had torches lit that gave the cavern a kind of gloomy affect. The hazy light revealed several buildings as well as a handful of the halls inhabitants making their way around the city. Those that wandered about in the hall took pains to never look directly at members of the party, but each of you had no doubt that all eyes were on you.

A door to the building directly in front of you flew open and out strode a huge ogre, wearing hide armor and carrying a huge club. Behind him slinked a human dressed in black robes, keeping his distance from the huge creature. A pair of human guards wearing leather armor and wielding short swords stood in the doorway as if to just watch the fun.

“Rendil Halfmoon,” the voice of the ogre roared. “We pay scum to take out our trash every night and hear you are bringing it back in,” causing the ogre to laugh loudly and coarsely at his own joke.

“Now Brugg,” Rendil interrupted, “These fine people got me out a small jam with some Bloodreavers. Offering to buy them a drink was the least I could do.”

“Adventurers, huh. Here, let me see.” Brugg wandered closely and overlooked the group, the smell of the beast offending the nose of most of the party members. “I suppose you’re here to find all of that missing minotaur gold are you. Well good luck. There ain’t no gold out there, just trouble. Most adventurers that wander the labyrinth never come back. I suspect we’ll see some of these fancy weapons come back through the market once your dead carcasses are picked over,” again causing Brugg to laugh out loud.

But in a second Brugg got serious. “Adventurers or not, we got rules. The wizards don’t want no trouble. You start trouble, they put and end to it,” as he gestured toward one of the huge bronze minotaur constructs that stood motionless against the wall. “If you gotta fight someone, take it outside. I don’t wanna know.”

“If you’re dealing with our merchants, well, they know the rules about taxes. You don’t wanna pay your taxes, that’s trouble, and the wizards don’t want no trouble,” he said with a foul grin.

“Now get outta here and get your free drink from Rendil,” and with that he turned and strode back to the customs house, pausing to speak briefly with the robed figure behind him who peered around the large ogre to take one last look at the group before following the ogre back into the building.

As Brugg turned away Rendil, with a wave of his hand, said to the party “Go ahead and wander around the hall a bit. It’s not much, but we call it home. Come visit me at the Inn later this afternoon and the first round is on me.”

The Seven Pillared Hall

Item numbers:
1) The Road of Lanterns
2) The Customhouse
3) The Deepgem Company
4) Bersk the Wainwright
5) Temple of Hidden Light
6) Residences
7) House Azaer
8) Pigeonholes
9) The Deep Stair
10) Halfmoon Inn
11-13) River, bridges, and pool
14) Minotaur Statue
15) Gendar’s Curios and Relics
16) Dreskin the Provisioner
17) Rothrar’s Taproom
18) The Road of Shadows
19) Grimmerzhul Trading Post
20) The Dragon Door
21) The Tower of Saruun
22) The Shining Road

DM Note: The DM and the players spent about twenty minutes going through the different locations in the hall. Several of the party members had private business they wished to conduct while in the hall, so time was also allotted for private discussions with the DM.

The Seven Pillared Hal may indeed be safe, but it was also a rather grim place. This was to be expected to some degree, given the hall was essentially black market that served any and all customers, with order enforced in the extreme. The residents of the hall were made up of a mix of merchants, thugs, and undesirables that had been otherwise kicked out of polite society.

The players also discovered that the residents of the hall actually relatively ignorant of what lay in the labyrinth beneath them. It took awhile but the party members soon figured out that most visitors to the hall went directly in, and then directly back out. The residents lived in the hall because it was safe, and didn't venture deep into the labyrinth because it wasn't safe.

The party eventually met up at the Halfmoon Inn and Rendil bought he first round, and a few more. Rendil made sure you were introduced to all the members of the Halfmoon family, and with each retelling of the story his rescue became more spectacular. Dinner was served and it was quite good, and as long as the party was still intending to go after the Bloodreavers Rendil insisted you stay at the inn on his dime.

During a lull in the evenings activities Rendil informed the adventurers that his sources told him the Bloodreavers hideout was located in the Chamber of Eyes which lay somewhere beyond the Dragon Door. Or at least when those suspected of being in league with the Bloodreavers were seen entering or leaving the hall that was the path they chose. Rendil also warned that while the Road of Lantern was a real road, what lay beyond the Dragon Door was less so. The path was clear in some places, partially obstructed in others, and there were always hiding places for those who might wish to do them harm.

After a god nights sleep at the Halfmoon Inn the party made its way toward the Dragon Door and the passage that led east out of the Hall of Seven Pillars. The massive door creaked as it opened slowly, the weight of the stone door preventing otherwise. ”If ya’ find those stinkin’ Bloodreavers give’em a good wallop for me,” said Rendil. “Come back and tell me all about it,” he added, and with a resounding thud Rendil closed the door behind you.

As the party members brought out their light sources it was immediately obvious that Rendil was correct – this path was not at all like the Road of Lanterns. There were no lanterns lighting the way for you for one thing, and the eerie darkness seemed even darker and more cloying. The floor was smooth in many places, but in some it was wildly uneven. The path twisted and tuned in many places, and sometimes up and down as well. Crosspaths were occasionally encountered, and sometimes a crevice–like opening would intersect the path as well. The drip of water from somewhere could be heard in different places, and you hoped the occasional moan or howl in the distance was caused by the wind.

Maive occasionally picked up a set of tracks that looked like they were hobgoblin in nature, so you felt you were on the right path. There were occasionally runes scratched into the wall – Bogar recognized them as miner’s runes – but they didn’t otherwise translate to a language he knew. There were certainly other travelers on this path - strips of cloth, discarded waterskins, and the occasional pile of ashes from an old fire were encountered.

As the party proceeded eastward the damp musky scent in the air suddenly changed to one of death. While nothing could be seen around the corner ahead, Jenneth still opted to lob a  ball of flame down the hall. While it was not obvious if the flame had any immediate affect, four Rotwing Zombies flew (floated? wafted?) from around the corner in your direction. As the party moved up to prepare to battle a Deathlock Wight appeared behind the zombies, and the battle was on.

A few of the zombies went down easily, others not so much, and a few reanimated unexpectedly. Bogar and Krstic provided the wall to hold back the zombies, and Akta took advantage of his teleport abilities to leap past the zombies to confront the wight directly. Other party members provided ranged support, and while it was not easy, the undead were soon defeated. Oester slipped ahead to ensure nothing else was advancing and found a fifth Rotwing Zombie dead on the floor, but the hall was otherwise empty. As the party looked around they saw:

5 Rotwing Zombies

1 Deathlock Wight

The undead wore no armor, carried no weapons, and had no gold. Each party member earned 150 XP for the encounter.

With calm restored, the party took a short rest and proceeded on through the twisted path. At one point the party moved around a corner in the road and came across this view:

A pair of burning torches illuminated a large wooden double door. A statue of a gargoyle and a griffon in front of a small set of steps that led up to the door, a door that featured what appeared to have a large eye engraved into it as part of its decor. Taking a guess that this was the Chamber of Eyes the adventurers moved up to the door to prepare for a fight.

When the large door opened that party saw a long room illuminated by two torches on the east wall. There weren't any obvious monsters immediately noticeable, so the party crept in carefully, expecting an attack from any direction. Once an initial level of safety is determined, the party notes the elements of the room.

The main floor of the chamber was paved, but may floor segments were covered with rubble. On the north wall sat a balcony, about ten feet off the ground. On the east wall of the balcony was a door. Eldred offered that this was likely a location where the priest or cult leader would stand on the balcony to address his followers below.

Sitting between the two burning torches on the east wall were two statues of winged demons. Between the two statues was a set of stairs that lead up to a set of double doors. The doors were inscribed with a great eye on them, as well as a symbol of circle with a crossbar rising out of it.

Akta wanted to try the door up on the balcony, and Oester wanted to advance to the side door carefully, but Krstic walked right up to it and found it locked. When nothing bounded from the other direction, Oester began to fiddle with the lock and soon it was unlocked. The other party members gathered around, just in case, and the doors were pushed open. There stood two smallish Goblins each wearing chain armor and wielding a battle axe and a hand crossbow.

Until next week ...

Scoreboard: The party found no magic items, earned 0 GP, but added an additional 150 XP, 4650 total (850 additional required to reach Level 5).

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