[Day 20, and exploration, continues.]
[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game. Game sessions happen once a week. This session happened May 18, 2020.]
[SPOILERS! If you are likely to adventure through the Shattered Star Adventure Path from Paizo, this campaign will be spoilers all the way down.]
Marativy – female ratfolk 4th level Ninja
Roscuro – male ratfolk 4th level Monk
Zitch Grimreaper – male 4th level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar
Winston – male ratfolk 4th level Gunslinger
Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 4th level Summoner (Synthesist)
Auto – a clockwork servant fixated on Winston
Day 20, Morning
Zitch identified the creatures the ratfolk were facing as failed sinspawn, but the rest of the group referred to them as “fleshbags” due to the way their flesh hung from them. Winston had Auto participate in the fight and it was surprisingly effective. [At one point I commented that “the machine servant is attacking the meatbag” for those who remember AK-47 in KOTOR.] The failed sinspawn were still tough and there were five of them. Midway through the fight Roscuro took a huge hit [nearly half his hit points], and Zitch had to use his healing hex or the next hit might have killed Roscuro [the failed sinspawn were doing between 9 and 12 points of damage a hit]. Near the end of the fight Auto had to stop attacking and initial self-repairs from the multiple hits it took despite Roscuro and Templeton repeatedly using their bodyguard feats to boost his armor class. Eventually Winston killed the last one and the fight ended.
After some healing was done, the Ratpack searched the room, the tables, and the cages, finding nothing of value. The door at the end of this area opened on a short southeast passage with a door at the far end. That door opened to a 20x30-foot room with a passage out in the far, southeastern corner. The passage had a portcullis blocking it, but the windlass for the portcullis was in the room, to the passage's left, on the east wall. A [non-animated] skeleton in burned half-plate armor was slumped on the windlass. The body was examined and the victim appeared to have died from being on fire sometime in the past. Looking beyond the portcullis the passage was short and almost immediately turned north. Was this a shortcut or back entrance to the center of the labyrinth?
The half-plate armor was a broken masterwork that could be repaired, so it was removed from the victim and placed in the loot sack. Roscuro pulled out some oil and oiled the portcullis and the windlass to reduce the noise they would make when opened and Zitch placed a ward on Marativy to protect her. Roscuro then turned the windlass, opening the portcullis to let Marativy explore ahead.
Marativy advanced to the corner as quietly as she could [which was extremely quiet]. Peering around the corner, she saw that the passage went another ten feet before turning east and connecting to the circular labyrinth. The arc of the walls and the inscribed metal plates on the floor, ceiling, and walls being confirmation. She returned to the waiting group and explained what she saw. Keen on neither hellhounds nor labyrinths in general, the ratfolk decided that a back entrance would be the best way to explore the labyrinth. But rather than everyone go, the quietest and the fastest would go – Marativy and Templeton.
As a precaution, the portcullis was lowered to a height of four feet [ratfolk height] so that it could be closed faster if something chased Marativy and Templeton out of the labyrinth. Marativy and Templeton advanced around the corner and entered the labyrinth. The path they followed went 30 feet and then turned back. Marativy and Templeton paused. Templeton cast whisper to report back and ask if they should proceed. Before he could get a response, a hell hound rounded the far corner of the passage and saw them. Marativy and Templeton immediately ran back to the rest of the group. When they cleared the portcullis, Marativy told Roscuro to close the portcullis immediately. He did so, and it closed just as the hell hound turned the corner!
The Ratpack retreated out of the room to the preceding corridor to discuss their options. After a short conversation, the group decided to use the portcullis to enable attacking the hell hound with ranged weapons, hopefully beyond the range of its breath weapon.
The ratfolk re-entered the room with the portcullis and windlass, where the hell hound was snuffling on the other side of the portcullis. Unfortunately for the ratfolk, the hell hound was ready for them [prepared action]. With a howl and a whoosh, the hell hound released a cone of flame from its maw that burned several of the ratfolk [my notes don’t specify who exactly, but I think Roscuro was hit]. Marativy and Winston returned the attack, both hitting, Marativy significantly. Recovering the initiative [now that the hell hound's prepared action was used], the ratfolk continued the attack. Winston hit with a duo of rapid shots from his musket. [That sentence only makes sense in terms of D&D. In real life there is no way he could have fires a single musket twice inside of a 6-second combat round.] Bloodied, the hell hound yelped and fled back into the labyrinth.
The Ratpack exchanged glances and quickly agreed to pursue the wounded hell hound. Roscuro opened the portcullis and the others pushed through. The group followed the hell hound three layers into the labyrinth before finding the first intersection. Off to the left appeared to be an entrance to the center of the labyrinth and Marativy snuck over to the corner to peer inside. For her troubles, the hell hound breathed its fiery breath weapon on her. [Luckily, for minimum damage.] Knowing where their target was, the rest of the Ratpack advanced to attack!
The fight was short, thanks to Auto’s use of a netgun function on the hell hound and Zitch placing a hex on it that reduced the hell hound's armor class. These efforts allowed multiple quick attacks to succeed, killing the hell hound, which popped out of existence. It was summoned, not trapped.
The relatively small center of the labyrinth was a circular room 20 feet in diameter. In the center was a portal to the Nine Hells and nothing else. This was very ominous. Not knowing how to seal the portal or even disrupt it, the ratfolk decided to use the abjuration salt found elsewhere in The Crow to put a barrier around the portal. The magical salt was carefully poured in a circle around the portal. Once satisfied the circle was complete, the Ratpack retraced their steps and left the labyrinth. The portcullis was closed once everyone was back on the other side.
End of Session
[A couple of fights and some disappointment that the center of the labyrinth was not also the room containing the shard we were looking for. Using meta-knowledge and looking at our map, we were running out of room on the page to fit a room like Marativy was seeing in her visions as the location of the next shard and I had hoped we had finally found it. I mean, we were on Sub-level 3 – we had to be close. Right? Right?]