Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Aldelle Group – Session 47 – Light and Darkness

Session 47 happened Wednesday, October 5, 2011.

This campaign used the Dyson’s Delve dungeon pages on A Character for Every Game as a starting point, but has now moved on to new material from the DM-in-training.  I heartily recommend Dyson's Delve as a beginning adventure.

Adventuring Group:
Tre-ba Bel a sheer (female elf alchemist)
Elspeth (female half-elf rogue)
Frankie Hu, Master of the Distracting Fist (male dwarf monk)
Harkaitz of the Red Soul (male human cleric of Ra)

NPCs:Aziz of the Light (male human paladin, cohort of Harkaitz)
Sarisvati the Sun-touched (female Ifrit oracle, cohort of Aziz)
Midnight (female half-elf witch, cohort of Frankie Hu)
Macha (female human fighter, cohort of Elspeth)
Estrela (female Aasimar druid, cohort of Tre-Ba)
Short John Copper (male halfling expert, hireling)
The Red Keffiyehs (human warriors, followers of Harkaitz)
Carnish (male gnoll spellcaster of some sort)
Professor Walsh (male human expert)

Evening, July 29, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who guides my path.

So that went about as well as expected.  OK – it was worse than expected, but no one actually died, praise Ra.

So when I placed the stone head, the statue animated, but not as an animated statue.  It animated as a stone golem, which we now know are much worse than animated statues.  But I get ahead of myself.

It looked down at Aziz and I and asked “Who thinks they are worthy?”  This was not entirely unexpected – it is why I volunteered to place the head on the statue.  After it asked its question, I raised my hand and stated “Hail Ra.”  It immediately attacked me with the stone scimitar we had placed in its hands.  And it hit hard.  Twice.  I quickly stepped back, but could not get outside its reach.  [Harkaitz rolled the highest initiative for this combat.  It was the first time ever in nearly a year of regular play.  It threw us off balance the entire combat.]

Aziz and Macha stepped up and blocked for the rest of us while Frankie slid around and started throwing fists harder than stone.  The golem breathed out a cloud of gas that slowed Macha, but Aziz, Frankie, and I were able to avoid the effect.  The fight was slowly turning to favor us (even though Macha required regular healing to stay on her feet) when a bright light filled the room and the entire room reset.  Except our wounds.  While we panted, the golem stood aside and said we could pass.  I'm not certain what changed, but we were not going to pass up the opportunity to NOT fight a stone golem.

We took some time to heal up.  I then stepped past the golem and went to push open the double doors in the back of the room, but everyone wanted Elspeth to check the doors for traps first, so I waited.  Once she cleared the doors, we discussed taking a short break to use nap stack to recover, but decided there was no place secure enough we would feel safe and the pass from the golem might be timed. 

I pushed the doors open.  They opened noiselessly with little effort.  The chamber beyond was octagonal in shape.  The 50-foot tall walls were covered in great murals showing legends from the worship of Ra.  The mural on the left showed Sylar defeating The Nightshade.  The mural on the back wall showed scenes from the First Pilgrimage while the wall on the right told the story of the spread of the worship of Ra across the Uskar.

We tried several things and looked around for a way to proceed.  I eventually cast find the path, which directed me to stand in the center of the room.  Professor Walsh, having read the various inscriptions on the walls, asked if there were any other interpretations of “the Light of Ra”.  I said, “Well, there’s this,” and activated my nimbus of light.  This triggered the opening of the ceiling.  The wedges that made up the ceiling arches slid down into the walls and exposed another area above them with a passage into the back wall.

Fifty feet is a long way to climb up and I do not climb well.  Luckily Carnish knows the fly spell and is willing to share.  I flew up to the top of this chamber and through the entrance into another chamber now exposed.  This chamber held an altar to Ra.  I prayed at the altar and received a vision.

In the vision I flew back out of the pyramid and then across the sands of the Uskar to another pyramid, one not on our map.  The vision settled on the entrance to the pyramid, and then I was back in my body.  [The DM-in-Training swears he's never seen The Mummy 2 and was puzzled about why we might want to make sand sculptures.  Really.]  I then left the altar chamber and flew back down to the octagon room to tell my friends what I had seen.  I will admit that I took a moment to float a small distance above the floor of the altar room before descending just to check that the fly spell was still active.  I was not certain how long the vision had lasted and was nervous about just stepping off into a 50 drop.

After explaining what I had seen, we quickly made our way out of the pyramid and back to our camp.  The Red Keffiyeh were pleased to see us again as most of the day has passed and they had no word from us.  Short John is cooking what smells like a very tasty dinner.  Aziz and I mulled over our options while we assisted in the preparation of the meal.  [Most of the party leveled at this point.  We’d made the XP necessary a couple of sessions earlier, but could not level until we rested back at camp.]

Morning, July 30, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose light inspires.

I have had an idea on how to get to the new pyramid quickly.  It will take us four days to march there, but Ra now grants me the ability to cast wind walk twice.  This will allow me to move myself and eight others all the way there in half a day.  Those taken can establish a forward camp and I can return to our current camp.  The following morning, I will move the rest of our party the same way, getting us all there in a day and a half.

I have shared this plan with the others and we have decided to go with it.  This will be new and I look forward to it.

Evening, July 30, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose light fills the world.

I’m back at our original camp after moving Aziz, Sarisvati, Tre-ba, Estrela, Frankie, Midnight, Elspeth, and Macha to the new pyramid.  The stone has a slightly green tint to it, so I am going to refer to it as the Green Pyramid, although it is not actually green.

Mid-Afternoon, July 31, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose Eye protects us.

This morning I ferried over the rest of the group to the Green Pyramid.  Once the camp was re-established to Short John’s liking, the rest of us moved up to the pyramid.  The stairs up ended at a platform lined with columns, like the first pyramid, but unlike that one, this one had dead bodies wearing the clothes of servants of Ra!  We suspect they were defenders of this site and we moved their bodies aside and I asked the Red Keffiyeh to give them proper burials.

We then turned our attention to the entrance.  After trying several ways to open the door, Elspeth determined it was barred from inside.  Suspecting that whoever killed the others may still be inside, we were eager to enter the pyramid.  Carnish and Midnight can cast dimension door, so we readied two strike teams.  Carnish moved in himself and Aziz, Macha, Elspeth, and Estrela (in bat form), to be followed by Midnight with Frankie, Tre-ba, and myself.  The plan was for the second group to wait to see if the first group would be able to easily open the door.  This was not the case.

I found out later that the first group in was surrounded by scruffy-looking humans.  Aziz asked them to explain themselves and when they declined, Aziz asked them to leave.  They attacked, thinking they had the numbers.  When we heard the sound of fighting, the second group moved in and appeared in the middle of two groups, one group in the front, the other group in the back surrounding Estrela, slicing her with their weapons.  The fight immediately became chaotic.

Carnish evened the odds by mesmerizing two of the bandits and Midnight vomited a swarm of wasps on the group in the back.  This was terrifying to see and I am on her side.  We eventually turned the tide, but Estrela came near to death several times, which sort of explains what happened at the end.

I englobed the last living bandit from the back group in a wall of stone.  Once the rest were down and Frankie had knocked out the final combatant, I called the warriors among us to surround the stone globe so the final bandit would understand the situation.  I then used stone shape to turn the wall to pebbles, which dropped down around him, and demanded he surrender.

I could see him doing the math in his eyes and realizing he had no other choice.  He started to drop his sword and state his surrender when Estrela cast a ball lightning spell and murdered him.  I was aghast.  He was about to surrender and she killed him.  I am still angry and upset about it.  I turned to her and demanded to know why she had done that.  She stared at me blankly with no answer at first.  She eventually said he had nearly killed her and that I had not stated we were taking his surrender.  That was more of an excuse (and a weak one at that) as I had clearly told him to surrender and Macha, Aziz, and Frankie had not attacked the bandit.

I knew I needed time and wanted to walk away, but everyone was still wounded, so I healed everyone.  Including Estrela.  I am still angry with her, but Ra teaches to heal those who need it, not just those we like.

We have returned to the camp with our unconscious prisoner.  Thankfully Frankie knows how NOT to kill our only sources of information here.  I need to pray to Ra for guidance.  I will let Sarisvati question the prisoner in the meantime.

*End of Session*

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