Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Aldelle Group – Session 45 – The Pyramid, Top to Bottom

Session 45 happened Monday, September 19, 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)
Harkaitz of the Red Soul (male human cleric of Ra)

Aziz of the Light (male human paladin, cohort of Harkaitz)
Sarisvati the Sun-touched (female Ifrit oracle, cohort of Aziz)
Estrela (female Aasimar druid, cohort of Tre-Ba)
Macha (female human fighter, cohort of Elspeth)
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)

Late Afternoon, July 29, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra.

As the legend we are following is unclear (or rather, vague), we had Elspeth scout the top of the pyramid before attempting an entrance. Carnish cast fly upon her and she flew to the top. There she found only the eroded tip of the pyramid – no place for the “Chosen of Ra” to sit or stand.

While there is an unknown amount of the stairs to the entry buried under the sands, the exposed part is still 30 to 40 ft and ends at a platform flanked by columns. Elspeth checked the area for traps and cleared it for the rest of us to proceed. The entry hall ended about 30 ft in at a T-intersection and a mural of Sylar fighting the Nightshade. Sylar’s sword is shown in detail and it is identical to the one Aziz carries now.

Following our standard procedure, Elspeth moved down the left passage, checking for traps. The narrow passage formed a large square with small shrines at each corner. There were four traps (two lightning bolt and two stonewall/poison gas) and Elspeth disabled three of them (she set off the first lightning trap and needed healing as a result).

Suspecting, almost knowing, there was more to this pyramid, we searched again, this time looking for hidden passages. Our diligence paid off and we found the (trapped) entrance to a large square chamber that fit within the boundaries of the passage. There were many stone coffins and the room appeared to have been searched and looted long ago. This is a common piece of misdirection used long ago and often still to discourage tomb robbers, so I knew to look closer.

The tops of the coffins were carved to appear in the likeness of the one ensconced inside and only three of these were paladins, the rest priests of Ra. Only one of the paladin coffins was trapped. After Elspeth disabled the trap, Aziz and I opened the coffin. The remains of a paladin in the service of Ra were inside, clasping his (or her) sword. I noticed the index finger of the left hand was straightened, not curved around the pommel. It was pointing at the next coffin!

We checked the next coffin (a priest) and found its index finger also pointed. Moving down the line, we had Elspeth check each for traps and skipped to the coffin on the end of the row, the only one trapped. After Elspeth disarmed the trap, Aziz and I opened the coffin. The priest interred here had his index fingers crossed in an “X”. Tre-ba observed that there were scratches on the floor, suggesting the coffin could be moved to the side. Aziz and I pushed and exposed an opening in the floor to a lower chamber. Cut into the wall were hand and foot holds, forming a ladder down.

Elspeth descended down the ladder (after receiving darkvision from one of the wands). The chamber below was about the size of the one we were in, but occupied by five giant undead crawling hands that dropped from the ceiling and moved to surround the base of the ladder. She immediately returned.

We formulated a plan of attack, with our combatants (Macha, Aziz , and myself) descending the ladder in rapid succession to draw the attention of the hands while Carnish used dimension door to bring in (Elspeth, Asmo, and Tre-ba) in a flanking maneuver.

This did not work out like we hoped.

The hands were quicker than we anticipated and surrounded Macha the moment she set foot on the floor, blocking me from descending and further. I did surround myself with a nimbus of light, which helped, but Macha took a pounding from the hands. I eventually just dropped on one of the hands, using it to break my fall. When it shrugged me off, I was able to land on my feet and press the attack. Carnish used a very powerful necromantic spell [undeath to death] to destroy many of the hands, finally tipping the balance in our favor. Carnish is more powerful than he lets on. Luckily, his heart seems to be in the right place.

We are almost done taking a break after the fight with the hands. Many of us were injured, some, like Macha, were heavily injured. I have healed everyone back to full health. The room seems to be a dead end, but we all suspect there is a hidden passage in at least one of the walls.

There was a hidden passage and Aziz was the one to locate it. He also swears he found a second one, but after careful investigation, it turned out to just be his eyes playing tricks. The first (actual) passage led to a wide corridor that encircles the chamber of the hands. While searching the hallway for traps, Elspeth found an illusory floor – by falling through it. One of the walls in the pit was also illusory and Elspeth stuck her head through to see what was on the other side. On the other side were two scorching ray traps, both of which hit her.

Once Sarisvati healed Elspeth, Elspeth set to disabling the traps so we could move forward. I will admit that my faith in Elspeth’s ability to locate traps was slipping at this point, but she later redeemed herself.

The illusory wall led to another ring corridor, this one slightly lower than the one we entered it through. A thorough search of this hallway resulted in the location of a summon monster trap (by stepping on it and which did not summon a monster but put us on maximum alert, leading to some very tense moments) and a concealed alcove in the far wall. Aziz opened the alcove door and was promptly dropped into a short pit with poisoned spikes. Luckily, Aziz missed the brunt of the spikes by landing on a dead body. The body was of an adventurer of some sort who succumbed to the spikes and the poison. He was carrying a rapier that detected as magical [+4] and a bag full of jewelry and coins [8000 gp worth of loot]. The coins mostly dated from 300 years ago, when the worship of Ra first spread across the Uskar Desert.

Inside the alcove was a small box, which was heavily trapped. Elspeth found and removed all three traps on (or near) the box, losing a set of lockpicks in the process. Inside the box was a golden amulet in the shape of a sunburst, an early symbol of Ra. Tre-ba has taken the time to identify its workings, during which time I have updated my log. The amulet empowers divine spellcasters, particularly those who serve Ra, enabling them to cast additional blessings [+1 spell slot for 4th and 5th level spells]. In the meantime, it is time to resume our explorations.

*End of Session*


  1. I certainly hope Elspeth didn't actually just stick her head through the illusory wall!! Surely that was from some bad rolls!

    If anyone in our group did something that dumb our DM would decide on the spot that something bad happened.

    (How do I know? ... Yeah, I stuck my head through a random portal to see what was on the other side. Nothing was going to be other there, but a bonehead decision like that deserved a set of explosive runes facing the portal on the other side. :-) )

  2. A little from Column A and a little from Column B. I'll let Elspeth's player explain her actions if she chooses to do so.

  3. Elspeth checked that illusory wall for traps, and found none. Yes, it was thanks to a bad roll. Sure enough, there was a trap. Ah well, I'd rather Elspeth (with a high dodge) trip traps than others in the group. Her chance of being missed is good.

  4. Oh, and Patrick, my memory says that Elspeth dodged that lightning trap. Could be wrong, I suppose, but I don't think I am.