Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Inner Sanctum (09/12/2010)

The Sunday Night group was all present this week and was eager to learn how their adventurers would fare as they continued to advance through the Horned Hold. The adventurers had closed out last week with the death of the four Orc Raiders, but before that the party had taken out several duergar, a pair of Arbalesters, and an ogre before crushing the orcs. This allowed the party to be able to secure a foothold in the main section of the Horned Hold, but with the knowledge that the opposition wasn't getting any easier. 

A sense of quiet returned to the room with the final death. The party listened intently to see if something else might be coming their way. With nothing apparently on the move the party took the opportunity to investigate another bedroom that was just off the hallway that led to the orc's room. It was then decided to take a five minute respite before continuing. The party members spread out through across several viewing points to ensure no one would be able to sneak up on them and then took their deserved rest.

Next - the discussion of where to go and what to do. According to the crude map the rescued slaves had provided the path to the still captured slaves was through the door in the orc's room, and then the door to the left. The debate was if the party freed the slaves first they might have to tote the slaves around while the rest of the hold was cleaned out. But if the party delayed in rescuing the slaves it might put them at further risk as well - the party had been told there were "devils" in there.

It was decided that the party would rescue the slaves first (the DM got out the appropriate monster sheets and miniatures and made sure he had the correct page from the adventure book ready to go) and then the party opened the door and stepped into a small hallway. Just as the crude map showed there was a door to the left and another door straight ahead. After listening and hearing someone or something from behind both doors the party decided to not go after the slaves just yet and instead moved into position to storm through the other door to face the duergar thought to be inside (The DM scrambled to get the other set of monster sheets and miniatures ready and to switch pages) but before attacking the door was yanked open.

This inner room was large, contained not one but two large fireplaces with a crackling fire. A table and chairs and two large statues of leering gargoyles also resided in the lower portion of the room. Up a small set of steps there appeared to be what was someone's living quarters. Of more immediate concern to the party was the Duergar Shock Trooper that stood right in the doorway, with two more just like him right behind him. From the back of the room stood a Duergar Theurge and a large muscular duergar wielding a maul. This other duergar strode down a small set of steps toward the front of the room and snarled, "So, you think to challenge Murkelmor Grimmerzuhl? It's your last mistake you fools. I think I'll sell the lot of you to the mind flayers and count my gold while they feast on your brains!"
Almost immediately the theurge made its presence known as he dropped a Brimstone Hail attack that included three critical hits along with big damage to two other of the party members. Despite two of the party members bloodied right off the bat the adventurers charged ahead and the battle was underway. Several quick blows bloodied the shock trooper at the door when he suddenly enlarged, filling the entire doorway with his bulk.

DM Note: Because of the crowded situation it was obvious the normal "push" rules really couldn't be fulfilled. The DM decided that the creature was going to take the four spaces and the affected character in those spaces could take an immediate shift to any adjacent open space. This happened again later during the encounter as well.

Being huge effectively prevented ranged attacks toward creatures at the back of the room, which just meant they were instead centered on the duergar in the doorway. As soon as he fell the party flowed into the room and the battle continued. Miave and Akta focused on the theurge, although its attacks after its initial burst fizzled. Murkelmor and the shock troopers swung with gusto but even with several of the characters bloodied couldn't put anyone down. The theurge and the second shock trooper soon fell and Murkelmor stepped into the burning fireplace.

But it was too little too late. One more round of attacks was too much and Murkelmor fell down dead in front of the fire place. While the last of the shock troopers was finally finished it was Oester who spied that a secret door in the back of the fireplace had been opened. Further investigation showed that a ten foot hallway sat behind the fireplace, with another west-facing door at the other end.

But with Murkelmor and his coterie all dead the party decided to take another five minute rest. As the party looked around they saw:

3 Duergar Shock Troopers, each wearing chain mail and wielding a maul

A Duergar Theurge, wearing robes and wielding a war hammer

Murkelmor Grimmerzuhl, wearing plate mail and wielding a +2 Flaming Maul

A quick inspection of the room found an iron lock box below the bed at the back of the room. Once opened it was found to contain 420 GP, an onyx demon idol with ruby eyes worth 350 GP, and a +2 Amulet of Health. Each member of the party earned 195 XP for the encounter and accrued an Action Point.

The slaves were reported to be in the room adjacent to the Murkelmor's quarters. Did the secret passage through the fireplace lead to the same room? What kind of creatures were these devils?
The players will find out in two weeks as we will not meet next Sunday (09/19/2010). We will resume the following week (09/26/2010) at R and J's

Score Card: With the completion of this encounter the party had accumulated an additional 875 GP, 578 SP, and 900 GP in gems. A pair of Dwarven Greaves had been claimed by Bogar, but the +2 Flaming Maul and the +2 Amulet of Health have not been claimed as of yet. With the 195 XP earned during this encounter the party had accumulated 6650 XP (7500 needed to reach Level 6). Including this encounter Renny was sitting at 3670 XP (3750 needed to reach Level 4).

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