Sunday, January 9, 2011

Into the Inner Sanctum (01/02/2011)

When the group ended our 2010 sessions we left off in a face-to-face battle with a young green dragon. As 2011 started all the players were present and anticipated defeating the dragon and hopefully having the secrets of the Well of Demons revealed.

After getting the map laid out and getting all the players placed combat resumed. Miave shot her arrows and hit the dragon, causing six, no wait, seven points of damage.

DM Note: This left the dragon with 1 HP. If this had been the end of the night I might have just declared him dead, but it wasn't. Plus I had hope the dragon might be able to hold out for one more attack, so we played it out.

Then Krstic threw his hand axe and gave the dragon a paper cut, but it was enough. The dragon suddenly turned into a green whirlwind that flattened most of the party members. The green whirlwind then spun up towards the ceiling and then quickly dove down into the pit from whence it came.

The statues could still be heard to be screaming, the party assumed the vat and crossbow traps were still active as well, plus the ball of energy continued its trek around it's worn track. Several party members peered into the pit but it was just as empty as it had been the first time they found it.

Suddenly a metal screech filled the air - the metal bars that allowed passage into the room where the remaining door was had raised up into the ceiling. The ball of energy shot through the opening and crashed into the locked door. Bolts of magical light, similar to what the party had seen when they originally placed the four artifacts into the magical circles, shot through all the Well of Demons. The ball of energy was gone, the screaming died down, the skeletons no longer attacked, and further investigation revealed the vat and crossbow traps were now negated as well.

Investigation also revealed that the door into the inner sanctum that had been magically locked previously was no longer locked, but was in fact opened, albeit slightly. The party crept forward to open the door the rest of the way and found a ten foot hallway that led to another door. Oester inspected the second door - it wasn't locked, but small tendrils of smoke or mist curled out from around its edges.

At this point the party decided a five minute rest was in order. Much healing was done and plans were made, but without any knowledge of what lay beyond the door not much real planning could be done. Finally the party assumed its marching order and Krstic and Bogar opened the second door.

A thick wall of hot, humid mist greeted them. It completely filled the hallway in front of them, so with some trepidation Krstic and Bogar stepped into the wall of mist. The mist provided no ill effects, but it did obscure any vision of more than a foot or two away. Krstic and Bogar took another step, only to find more of the same. With still no ill effects a third step was taken, putting the two face-to-face with yet another door.

Krstic and Bogar communicated to the rest of the party as to what they had found, and as several of the party members entered the smoky hallway they opened the door, revealing another scene out of the depths of the abyss. Four large iron cauldrons bubbled out the hot, humid mist that partially obscured the cauldrons themselves and it was the excess mist that filled the hallway. An altar with a large leering idol depicting a minotaur resided on the southern wall. To the north a small carved stairway led to a raised area where three of the four iron cauldrons spewed forth their obscuring mist.

Also atop the raised area stood a huge skeleton wielding a great club and an apelike demon, a barlgura, a monster the party had encountered several times recently. Three evistros, or carnage demons, also stood guard. Behind them stood a bat winged gnoll with curved horns that wielded a rod in one hand and a sheaf of parchment in the other. The gnoll, irate at having been interrupted at whatever magical rite he was attempting, turned and spit out a string of crude curses and with a command the monsters moved to attack the two party members in the doorway.

Before the battle started the party also spied two humans laying in a runed circle next to where the gnoll was standing. They seemed to be in some sort of trance, as if the gnoll's magical incantation was using them for its own purposes. The party quickly assumed these were the two slaves the gnolls had acquired and taken from the duergar back in the Horned Hold. That would therefore mean that this gnoll was none other than Maldrick Scarmaker, the one the party hoped would lead them to finding Paldemar, the missing Mage of Sauron.

The huge skeleton and the barlgura stepped forward to hold battle Krstic and Bogar, and as the remainder of the party streamed in the evistro stepped up to attack as well. Maldrick provided direction to his cohorts and threw in his ranged effects as well. The mist surrounding the cauldrons provided cover to both monsters and party members and several have attempted to take advantage of this.

We'll pick up from here next week.

Scoreboard: I'll catch this up at the completion of this battle.

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