Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Tower of Mysteries (3, Pt 1) (01/30/2011)

Having cleaned out the second level of the Tower of Mysteries left our adventurers bloodied and beaten. This had been their toughest and most brutal encounter to date. But worse, one of the Enigma's of Vecna had escaped via the teleportation circle. The party could only assume he had gone ahead to warn Paldemar of their presence, but of more immediate concern was the need to get in a short rest, get some healing, and explore the rest of level 2 before moving on.

Following the short rest the party discussed what do do first. There were three doors that were still unopened as-of-yet, but they decided to further inspect the rooms they had already been in. Two of the rooms had the magical teleportation circles, and further inspection revealed nothing new there. The bodies of the norkers and the enigma revealed no magic as well, except for an amulet around the neck of the remaining enigma. It was decided that the amulet was how the destroyed Bronze Warder was controlled.

The other room included three tables that were covered with various bottles and beakers, and the odd looking machine - a glass covered box that contained tubes, wires, a bubbling acrid liquid, and the floating head of a Bronze Warder. The party also noticed an acrid smell that emanated from the machine and the beakers on the table. There was discussion about knocking over the tables and smashing the bottles and beakers, and there was also some discussion about destroying the machine, but it was decided the party could also do that on the way out, so the room and its items were left alone for now.

The next step was to inspect the room to the south. The party assiduously avoided the teleportation circle while Oester opened the lock. The room turned out to be what appeared to be some sort of holding cell. It was empty, and no further magic or secrets were found.

The next step was to inspect the area in the southwest corner of the room. The door opened to reveal a library. Three long sets of shelves contained many mundane books and perhaps a dozen book that gave the appearance of being magical. Jenneth took one and immediately felt a sense of evil emanating from it, but when he opened the book there was no writing on any of the pages. No other secrets or magic were found, and after some discussion it was decided the magical books would be left behind.

A door led north out of the library and appeared to lead into the same room as a door from back out in the hallway. The party coordinated entering the room from both doors simultaneously, but the only thing in the room was a magic circle that was inscribed on the floor. Krstic attempted to see if he could rub out a portion of the circle, but to no avail. Jenneth determined the magic circle was likely some kind of summoning circle, and the party soon decided that perhaps it really was time to use the teleportation circle to advance to the next level.

With a quiet breath the first half of the party members stepped up to the teleportation circle and disappeared. As they disappeared the party members temporarily left behind heard a crack of lightning from the room with the summoning circle. The adventurers quickly stepped up to the magic circle, and as they disappeared they saw the door from the summoning room blown off its hinges.

The full party found themselves surrounding a teleportation circle with four pillars standing around it, similar to the architecture found in the other levels. They stood squeezed into a small foyer with doors to the north, east, and west. The doors were each adorned with an engraving of a single eye. The only monster in sight was the body of the Enigma of Vecna that had escaped the party from the second level - its corpse included a throat that had been slit from ear to ear. Was this his punishment for failure, or a reward for his success?

As the party pondered their next step the doors to the north flew open, revealing a norker and a human dressed in robes that awaited them. The human spoke, his voice filling the room. "Greetings, and welcome to the Tower of Mysteries. You've interfered with my research for far too long. Prepare too die." 

From the vantage point of the foyer looking north the party could what could only be described as a temple to Vecna. A statue of a skeletal character missing one hand and one eye stood inside the doors, and directly in front of the statue stood a Norker Berserker wearing leather armor and wielding a flail. Behind the statue stood a human dressed in a mantle and wielding a staff, and behind the human stood a huge metallic skull, complete with a missing eye. Not all of the temple was visible, but the sound of scurrying feet could be heard from the unseen corners of the room.

Renny was the first to react, dashing forward to strike the Berserker. Renny's blow dazed the norker, which, as it tuned out, happened to be the most important blow delivered all evening. The norker was temporarily unable to deliver opportunity attacks and several other party members were able to sneak past the norker and were able to engage Paldemar directly. Unfortunately for Renny he was knocked unconscious by the end of the first round, but the stage for the evening had been set.

As the first batch of party members entered the room they saw four Norker Slingers deployed around the side of the rooms and their sling bullets provided effective artillery. Another Enigma of Vecna moved up to support Paldemar, and the party also found that the statue toward the front of the room was essentially a trap, repeatedly nailing nearby party members with a daze spell.

The remaining party members opted to stay back and to used their ranged attacks, but that option quickly changed as a Bronze Warder busted down the door on the east side of the foyer. The last set of adventurers scrambled out of the foyer, only to find themselves now ensnared in the statue's daze trap.

Meanwhile Paldemar found himself surrounded by Krstic and Akta, with Bogar and Oester engaging and quickly eliminating the Enigma of Vecna. Paldemar was able to deal a good amount of damage on his own but soon found himself overwhelmed and defeated when Jenneth finally broke away from the daze area and was able to administer the coup-de-grace.

With the huge Bronze Warder still squeezing his way through the foyer and into the temple the party members soon eliminated the Norker Slingers. The Norker Berserker in front of the statue, proved to be more difficult to kill. Renny had been revived, Eldred was fighting and healing to his best, and Miave finally slipped past the daze area to continue her arrow attacks unimpeded.

Then the Bronze Warder entered the room. Krstic found the controller amulet on Paldemar, but simply wearing the amulet and yelling at the warder seemed to have no affect. Jenneth tried the same with the same result.

DM Note: The Bronze Warder did his bit by flushing party members out of the foyer and into the daze trap, but I had originally anticipated more of the party members being stuck there with Paldemar free to do his damage. Renny's blow at the beginning of combat inadvertently upended all that. Having said that, I should have been more aggressive in bringing the Bronze Warder into the combat.

The evening drew to a close when the Norker Berserker finally took his last breath. With only the Bronze Warder remaining - in the daze area - the party members stepped forward cautiously and began their final assault. And we'll pick it up there next week.

DM Note: Time was running late so the DM considered cutting off the combat expeditiously, but then the Warder delivered a Sweeping Axe blow that delivered ~15 points of damage to four different party members. Given this had a way to go yet, and that we would have to finish next week anyway, I decided to let it play out.

Next week: We will be at Leo's and Dave is bringing snacks.

No comments:

Post a Comment