Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Discovery of the Lake of Fire

This session happened Friday, November 5, 2010, and was one of two sessions I ran this past weekend. We had a new player join the group this session. He will only be available every other week due to Real Life, but he has played in many of my games so it’s nice to see him at the table again.

Adventuring Group:
Su Bel (human cleric)
Thomin (elf bard)
Tycho von Helmont (elf alchemist)
Agnes Sunbeard (dwarf rogue)
Sal Ty (elf wizard)
Thorngrim (half-orc sorcerer)

Note: the list of player characters is in player sitting order, from my left and then clockwise around the table.

[Happening off-stage, Tycho was cured of his insanity by the arch-bishop who arrived at the Iron Keep before the spring equinox to bless the iron mines. The group also picked up an elven bard, seeking fame and fortune as an adventurer. After being cooped up at Drop-off Tower for two months, a new face was a definite plus and the group invited the bard to join them. Plus, they got to show off the improvements they had made to the Tower to someone new.]

After a lengthy discussion about where they wanted to adventure, the group of adventurers headed to the Eastern Edgewood, seeking to return to the ruined tower where they found the adamantine door. Approaching Owlbear Crossing, they found a patch of five assassin vines laying in ambuscade for creatures crossing the river. After the quick application of acid bombs and fireballs, the adventurers cleared the path and crossed the river.

They arrived at the ruined tower inside a ring of hills near the end of the day. They decided to spend a little more time exploring before making camp and tracked down the exposed stairs leading down under the pile of ruins. The three traps the group had encountered on their previous exploration had not been reset, which the adventurers took as a good sign.

Returning to the hallway intersection where the adamantine door once was, the adventurers found a dead morlock, huddled against a wall. Examining the body, they found claw marks, burns, and a large crushed area over the rib cage. Tycho opined that the claw marks could be those of an immense bat, but no one was certain what caused the ham-sized crushing blow to the morlocks chest. Looking around for tracks, it appeared that the morlock had gone up the stairs the adamantine door had blocked, received its wounds, and then crawled back down here, where it died.

Wary of what might be up the stairs, the group decided to investigate the other hallways and doors they could see first. Through one stone door they found what appeared to be a storage room for old dwarven furniture, stacked tall and covered with sheets. After searching the room, they discovered another door in a side wall. Agnes checked the door and discovered that, while it was unlocked, is was definitely trapped. She took some time (and received a guidance spell from Su Bel) and disabled the trap. Expecting some sort of treasure or items of importance behind the door, the adventures found instead a blank wall. After spending some time “shopping the room” for furniture they might want to take back to Drop-off Tower, the group moved on.

The next stone door they opened revealed a large room with a raised dais in one corner, a shallow pool of water on the opposite side of the room, and another door. Additionally, the floor was subtly sloped towards the pool. Having mapped the hallway on the opposite side (which did NOT contain a matching door), the adventurers were suspicious of the door. Mog went to throw a coin into the pool of water, but was stopped and advised to wait until Agnes had checked out the door. Sure enough, it was trapped with a cone of cold trap. After Agnes removed the trap (and packed it away for later use), the door was opened and revealed another blank wall.

Satisfied that the door was secure, Mog was allowed to throw a coin into the shallow pool. Nothing happened. Further investigation of the pool led to the finding of Mog’s coin and nothing else. The adventurers scratched their heads and moved on.

At an intersection they had a choice of paths to follow. The north passage ended with a side passage visible part way down, the west passage ended in a rough area of stone with a pulley anchored to the ceiling, and the south passage was interrupted by a portcullis. The group chose to go north first. The side passage led to a large set of stone spiral stairs heading down. Suspecting it led to the morlock tunnels, the adventurers chose to avoid the stairs at this time. As the corridor continued past the stairs another ten feet before dead-ending, Agnes decided to search the area. The end of the corridor was a large geometric sculpture carved into the wall. Agnes discovered that some of the components of the sculpture moved a bit and, after trying several combinations of movement, was able to open a secret door concealed in the sculpture. The door opened into a 20-foot square room with bunk-beds, a writing desk, some empty shelves, and a couple barrels. One of the barrels was empty while the other was half full of vinegar. The sheets on the beds were fragile from age and everything had a layer of dust on it. With no other exits, the party exited the concealed room and closed the secret door again.

The group next took the west passage and found it ended at a rough area that was the very top of some immense cavern. The heavy chain going over the pulley was taut, indicating a great weight rested on one end of the chain. The cavern was very tall and they could not see the bottom or what the chain was attached to. Shrugging, they turned back and investigated the southern passage. Beyond the portcullis they could see a shrine to a dwarven deity and side passages. The lifting mechanism for the portcullis was nowhere to be seen and the portcullis looked quite heavy. Tired now from their travels and exploration, the group returned to the concealed room and camped there for the night.

The next morning, with no other options (other than the morlock tunnels and they were not ready for that yet) and Mog and Su Bel actively suggesting the stairs up, the group returned the once secured stairs and started climbing them. They quickly determined that they should have risen above the level of the ruins and yet they were still inside with no sunlight visible. Turning a bend in the stairs, they could see light from what seemed to be a very large number of torches coming from the end of the stairs. Thorngrim cast invisibility on Agnes and she stealthily moved forward.

When she crossed onto the last ten feet of the stairs, the air temperature spiked suddenly upwards and she started sweating from the heat. When she reached the lip of the stairs she could see that the stairs opened onto a platform in the center of a lake of fire. The air was roiled by the heat and she could not tell how far away the walls were, but she could see two other platforms linked to this one by narrow pathways above the surface of the fire. On each platform was a giant with burning hair and beard standing in front of what appeared to be a spiral stair leading up. Where the stairs led was unclear due to the heat waves, but it seemed clear that there was something above this chamber. Agnes fell back to the rest of the adventurers to report what she had seen. When she was ten feet down the stairs, she passed the boundary of hot air and steped back into the cool air of the ruins (which now felt chilly). Wanting more magical support before attempting to take on the fire giants (read: they wanted Sal backing them up), the adventurers left the ruined tower and returned to Drop-off Tower.

*End of Session*

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