AttendeesHugo Underwood – Wood Elf shaman
Felix Lutsk – Human “acquisitioner”
Albrecht Artyom – Human Grey Wizard
Fritz Schmidt – Human scout
Zoglug Ironhide – “civilized” Orc warrior
Quetzal – Lizardfolk scout
Alset Alokin – High Elf mage
After some discussion, the group decided to return to the Hollow Tower and finish investigating the caves under it. The took the familiar path of the Estini Road and then along the northern edge of the Wedge Wood to arrive at the Hollow Tower shortly after mid-day. There was some discussion about whether or not to descend and explore for a few hours before camping or possibly exploring some of the nearby plains. It was decided to descend and explore.
Hugo had an idea for bypassing the Black Chandelier and getting to the areas beyond it. He cast his Cloud of Moths spell, pouring huge clouds of blue moths into the room. The chandelier immediately started burning them away, but Hugo’s spell poured enough into the room to temporarily completely obscure the chandelier. He was able to successfully run from the door to the passage out the far corner without getting burned by the chandelier’s magics. Impressed with the success, the group had Hugo cast the spell twice more so the rest of the group could safely make the transit (except Albrecht, who teleported himself and Alset across – wizards).
The passage beyond descended down a flight of stairs and curved to the left slightly before opening to a small chamber with an ornate door. The door was made of stone and carved with undulating waves across its surface. Layered onto the surface were metal triangles about the size of a child’s hand. They triangles were tinted various shades of metallic grey, creating a sense of flowing colors across the door. Albrecht checked the doors for traps and declared it safe, so Alset turned the (triangular-shaped) handle. This set off the trap that Albrecht missed. The metal triangles on the door surface stood up on one edge and then flew off, filling the room with spinning, flying metal!
Luckily, the edges were dulled by time and while some received scratches from triangles, no one was seriously hurt. [I rolled near minimum damage on the original barrage.] While the rest of the group scooped up the metal disks, Albrecht took another look at the door. He determined that the metal triangles on the door were replaced by a new layer, this one looking much sharper than the original disks [because, frankly, I had to roll better damage if the trap went off again] and that there was indeed a trap on the door. He took his time to disable the trap without breaking it, thinking they might want to take the door with them at a later time.
Beyond the door was a larger chamber: half cavern, half finished stone. The right wall of the chamber was finished stone and decorated depicting the flows of the winds of magic, with a door in the center surrounded by symbols. The left wall was cavern wall and had a passage leading out. Albrecht and Hugo identify the symbols as warning symbols, symbols usually placed to remind apprentices to leave a summoned creature alone. Alset activated his See Magic spell and saw purple light leaking around the door.
As purple is the color of magic associated with Death Lore, the group decided to hold off on investigating beyond the door. Heading down the passage on the opposite wall, they run right into two wraiths lurking in a side alcove. The wraiths grab Felix and Alset, withering them both. [It is possible that at this point, Felix screamed like a little girl, but it may have been the elf. Hard to say.] Fritz recognized the wraiths for what they were and called out that only magical attacks would harm them. Few in the group of adventurers had magical attacks.
The following fight was touch-and-go at the first. Albrecht cast his protective spell upon as many as he could. This benefited the group two ways: it provided a [minor] measure of defense against the withering touch of the wraiths and made their fists slightly magical. The tide was turned when Fritz and Quetzal individually called upon their respective faiths and were able to imbue their weapons with a measure of holy power.* With these weapons they were able to harm and drive off the wraiths [but not destroy them].
Once the wraiths had fled into the walls, the group stayed where they were to re-gather their strength and decide what they wanted to do next. Those touched by the wraiths slowly recovered from the withering touches, but patches of their skin remained devoid of all color where the wraiths had touched them. Zoglug dug around in the alcove the wraiths attacked from and found two dented golden crowns. Alset declared the crowns still had wisps of necromantic energies attached to them. Zoglug did not care and put them on to wear. While the debate of whether to advance or retreat continued, one of the wraiths returned and attempted to grab Albrecht. It failed to grab him, but this motivated the adventurers to return to the surface to camp for the night.
Alset used his long range teleportation to make several teleportation jumps to return to town that night to get the crowns blessed (or at least cleansed). He went to the Temple of Sigmar and cheerfully explained what he wanted. The High Priest of Sigmar was not very impressed by this vagabond elf and his wants. The priest suggested the elf try at the Temple of Manann [god of the sea] if he wanted anything unclean bathed. The priest did agree to bless the elf’s weapon to fight the undead. He was even less impressed with the elf when the elf admitted to not having a weapon. A loaner hammer was secured. A small one. And he had to sign for it. Alset then donated a single gold piece for the temple’s assistance.
Alset then went over to the Temple of Manann and talked with the priest there. The High Priest of Manann was a bit gruff, but much more helpful. At first he suggested Alset throw the crowns into the sea for purification and Manann would return them when they were purified. Alset wasn’t quite ready for that level of deific intervention and asked if there was something that could be done without throwing the golden crowns into the sea. The high priest then invites Alset in and has him stand in a large pool of salt water. The high priest then starts invoking the name of Manann and the water in the pool reared up as a wave and then broke over Alset. Alset checked the crowns and they were now clear of any necromantic energies. Surprisingly, Alset was not drenched with sea water. He thanked the high priest and gave a 10 gold piece donation to the temple.
Alset then cast his teleportation spell several times to get back to camp. When he returned, he related what he had done in town. There may have been some forehead slapping at this. Fritz was very interested in the blessed weapon…until he learned it was a hammer from the Temple of Sigmar, whom he and his sect consider heretics (though well meaning heretics). Felix took control of the small hammer at that point. Watches were set and the group rested.
The next morning the group descended back down into the caverns. Working their way back to the location of the wraith ambush, they quickly stepped past the area (ran, actually) and down the passage beyond. That passage started curving to the left. At the base of a set of steps leading up, they found a small side room with cloaks hanging from pegs on the wall. The robes were black with symbols stitched on them. No one could identify the symbols, but some of them seemed similar to those on the wall of the wizard’s laboratory they found previously. Quetzal quickly took one of the robes and, determining it was not covered in mold, rolled it up and packed it away. The other four robes were quickly packed away by other members of the group.
Going up the stairs, the group found a nexus of passageways. One passage led back to the cavern with the wizard statue and altar. Another led to a dormitory, long abandoned. Searching the remains of furniture, the group finds two lengths of gold chain and two skeletons stuffed in two chests. Zoglug quickly packed away one of the skulls. Hugo was able to examine the skull of the other skeleton and determines it was human. Felix carefully packed that skull away.
Having come full circle in the caverns, the group decided to go back and check door with the warning. Albrecht took his time to check the door and verified it was not trapped. He then opened the door. The room beyond was large and square with worked stone. In the center was a very large and intricate ritual circle with a skeleton lying in the center. There were three pillars in the room, each in a corner (one to the immediate right from the door and the other two in the corners on the opposite side of the room) and covered in symbols and glyphs. To the left was a wide passage out of the area.
Alset activated his magic sight and was nearly blinded by the purple energies contained inside the ritual circle. After a few moments adjusting to the intensities, he was able to determine that three beams of power emanate from the circle, each striking one of the pillars. The pillars crackled with energy and then each emitted a line of force into the corner behind them. The lines went through the walls without damaging them and looked very much like the lines of force he had seen emanating from the hill the Hollow Tower sits upon.
Hugo heard a quiet female voice asking him to free here. He did not mention this.
The group broke up into sub-groups at this point, each investigating a different part of the room. The three wizards and Felix checked the side passage, finding it ends in a set of double doors. Albrecht checks the doors and declares them safe. Meanwhile, Zoglug is poking at different areas in the room with his crowbar and Quetzal is contemplating the skeleton in the circle, which she identifies as Lizardfolk.
Over at the door, Albrecht opens them and the wizards and Felix are hit with a mind blank spell, draining away their minds and memories while they are affected.** This renders all four of them into drooling idiots for several minutes. Once they have their minds back and are told what happened, Albrecht re-checks the door and says the door is safe – the trap must have disused itself. The rest retreat out the original door and tell him to go ahead and open it. He does so, getting mind blanked again, but opening the door. While his mind is gone, the rest of the group enters the room beyond the double doors. This room appears to be a workshop for the final casting of the ritual circle – there are mostly empty bottles of reagents and paints and some test drawings of the trickier bits of the circle. There is also a small door on the far wall. Zoglug starts collecting the glass bottles and beakers, emptying them by the simple expedient of drinking the contents. He regrets the taste of some of them and his tongue ends up plaid at one point, but none of it kills him [immediately].
The group starts discussing what to do at this point. It comes up that Hugo and Hugo only is hearing a female voice asking to be freed. Quetzal is also interested in breaking the ritual circle as she is convinced that any mammal ritual that puts a Lizardfolk in a circle to die is inherently bad. Most of the group moved back into the ritual room to discuss the merits and possible dangers of breaking the ritual circle. The “Don’t Break It” group eventually convinced Quetzal that the potential dangers of breaking the circle and releasing unknown amounts of energies are too high to be safe right now and more knowledge is needed first.
While this debate was raging, Zoglug got bored and attempted to kick open the small door back in the workshop. This detonates a large fireball that filled the workshop and flooded back into the ritual room. Only those furthest from the explosion were still conscious and standing afterwards. When the wizards awakened, the first thing they checked was the ritual circle – it was still intact. They all breathed a sigh of relief at that.
Once the entire group was again awake and Albrecht had regained his mind (and been brought up to speed), the next room was checked. It was a treasure store with several crates of gold coins and other valuables. The destruction of the lab glass by Zoglug setting off the explosion was instantly forgiven and the group immediately set to looting the treasure room.
Seeing no reason to stay and not wanting to break the ritual circle yet, the group hauled their loot back out of the caverns and camped for the night. The next morning they rode back to New Zwicke.
End of Session
* Both PCs have faith-based skills: Fritz a Knowledge Skill in his faith and Quetzal has a Professional Skill as a shaman. Fritz’s player made his roll by a lot and I allowed he remembered enough of the appropriate ritual to make his bow able to smite the undead. Quetzal made her roll by less, but has practical skill in being a shaman, so she too was able to bless her weapon enough to deal serious damage to the wraiths.
** This was a big INT drain and knocked all but Albrecht down to 0 INT. I ruled that this wiped their memories of the events just prior to the drain and during the drain. If the trap had gotten everyone, no one would have remembered the trap going off, just a sort of blink and then they were just standing there wondering what they were up to. This could have kept them occupied for quite some time in that case.