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Saturday, May 31, 2008

This Is Getting Complicated...I Like It!

Bruce, Katy, and Cathy, in response to an off-hand comment Ken made: Don't be goofy? We're never goofy! - Yeah, we're usually Pluto, sometimes Donald Duck. - I'm always Minnie Mouse.
Ken and Cathy, about an attack: I use the full-round action to coup his gras. - Cup of grease, that's all it is.
Ken, about his laptop acting up: That's it, the keyboard is full of Fairy Dust. No wonder it doesn't work!
Ken, asking for a clarification on Bruce's description of a room: What did you say? The yogurt eternal?
Bruce, when Katy took out the adversary in one barrage of arrows: Poor guy! We even had the appropriate miniature!
Ken, singing about something Katy said: Quiver, quiver, our archer quiver!
Katy and Ken, about the Male Medusa the party faced: What would that be? Meduso? - Medusod!
Cathy, commenting on gameplay: Cool, this is getting complicated. I like it!
Bruce and Ken, discussing party members' alignments: Cayce's good. - Cayce's great!
Bruce and Cathy, about the painting in the room and its potential effect on Hagbarde because of his phobia: Well, it's only a picture of a beautiful woman. - That's true. It will only be a picture of a penalty.
Cathy, coming up a a verse for Maeve after she took out an adversary: Maeve the brave, Maeve the terrible, Maeve the archer maid of....three's the name of the town? Waterdeep! Maeve the archer maid of Waterdeep.

After looking about, the adventurers discovered two sets of stairs, one leading up and, in the small room beyond, one leading down. They decided to go down. The circular room had all the trappings of a torture chamber: a rack, an iron maiden, and numerous smaller implements of pain. Stretched out on a table, hands and feet bound in iron manacles, was a body that had been stripped of its skin. It looked a lot like the Undead creatures in the Drow outpost. There was a trapdoor in the center of the floor.

"Why are you chained up like that?" Hagbarde asked the captive. As if in reply, the Quth-Maren spit blood at the cleric, hitting him and his companions. Fnord drew his Undead Bane sword and attacked the prisoner, hitting and performing the coup de gras.

They turned their attention to the trap door in the floor. Maeve checked it for traps and found none. Hagbarde opened it. The odor of a charnel house filled the air. A rusty iron ladder descended down into the floor, leading to a small, bare circular room. A furry hide of indeterminate nature was piled to one side of the ladder. An 8-foot tall creature with inky black skin and a knotted mane of yellowish-white hair stood in the room. Her face had a bestial cast and a mouth full of viciously sharp teeth. She had four arms -- two tipped with powerful claws, the other two more normal hands which she was already using to cast a spell.

The Draegloth cast Blade Barrier at the opening of the trap door, everyone Dodged it successfully, but Hagbarde was caught outside of it; Hagbarde's spell resistance protected him and he stepped through the barrier, and then Dispelled it; Maeve Greater Slaying Outsider Evil and took out the Draegloth with her third attack.

A Drow hand was nailed to the wall with a large spike. The hand wore a silver ring on each of its fingers. A quick study of the hand showed it to be an item of religious significance as a symbol of Kiaransalee. After gathering the things in the room, Fnord pocketing the hand everyone else disliked, the group determined that this was the lowest level of the basement and there was nowhere else to go but up. The cleric sprinkled Holy Water and prayed over the room before they headed back up the ladder to the room above. Then they climbed the stairs back to the main floor and returned to the Room of Pillars where there was a staircase heading up. They climbed the stairs.

A short wall separated the stairs down from the rest of the room. A single door to the left was just barely visible around the edge of the wall. Hagbarde's and Fnord's True Sight showed them that there was an ethereal room within this room, but all he could see were its exterior walls. The cleric went into the room and described what he saw to his friends.

The room was somewhat disorienting. The ceiling was smooth and level, but the floor sloped sharply up from a point at the bottom until it met the ceiling only 8 feet away. No gravity pulled down to the floor so it was easy to walk -- either up the slope or simply through the air -- to a hole in the ceiling which lead to a room above. On the wall opposite the hole in the ceiling an image of an archway was carved into the stone, but a solid wall filled the arch. The air was foggy but not damp, though the stone of the room seemed clear and solid enough.

Maeve walked around the half wall and heard a sound off to her right, a sort of hissing. Looking around, she saw a male Medusa, fortunately, she Saved against turning to stone. "Guys, there's a male Medusa over here!"

Fnord used Synesthete to see without using his eyes, thus protecting himself from Gaze Attacks; Cayce followed suit; Male Medusa attacked Maeve, shooting off a Meteor Storm at her, which she reflected back at him, everyone Saved against the damage and the Medusa was immune to fire damage, but he still took blunt damage from the meteor impact; Hagbarde stepped around the wall, Saved versus the Medusa's gaze, and cast Implosion, but Male Medusa Saved; Maeve activated Synesthete.

Fnord, as an Adamantine Golem, ran into the room and charged the Male Medusa - provoking an attack of opportunity, which hit for 6 plus 5 points to any creature with the Shape Changing subtype, but Fnord Saved versus turning to his natural form - meanwhile, Fnord smacked the Male Medusa for 92 points; Cayce entered the room and attacked, hitting for 40; Male Medusa retaliated against Fnord, but missed with all his attacks, then his familiar - a tiny viper - jumped out of his pocket and attacked, but missed; Hagbarde cast Holy Word, succeeding in blinding and deafening Male Medusa; Maeve made her arrows Slay Aberrations and took out the Male Medusa, with her remaining arrows she killed the viper familiar.

The party searched the room. They found a portal which looked like an open archway filled with ghostly, swirling mist. While they suspected that this was the entry into the ethereal portion of the tower, Hagbarde and Fnord remembered that the portal on the other side was covered in stone. Hesitation ensued as the adventurers worried about getting stuck on the other side. They decided to at least check out the rest of this level before revisiting the issue of crossing planes.

Cayce went to the door perpendicular to the half wall and checked it for traps. He found none, so Hagbarde opened it. A thick fur on the floor of the room served as a bed. An assortment of small stone sculptures stood around the room in very natural poses -- apparently a Medusa's idea of art. Another door lead out to the south.

Returning to the main room, he checked the other door. When he found no traps, Hagbarde again opened it. Three chairs surrounded a small table on one side of the long room. On the other side was a small kitchen -- including cabinets and a countertop -- but no cookfire.

They headed back to the main room and ascended the stairs. A short landing marked the next floor of the tower. The stairs continued up and a door lead off to the left. Cayce checked the door, found a trap, and tripped it. Darts flew through the room. Maeve dodged, but still took 11 points. Fnord was missed by all the darts. Hagbarde was hit twice, taking 8 points. Cayce was hit twice, taking 8 points also. Cayce returned his attention to the door and picked the lock. The cleric opened it.

The warm room was full of pleasant smells, comfortable furnishings, and attractive decorations. A small bed was in the far corner, a finely-crafted wooden dresser stood beside it. A full-length silver mirror in an ornate frame stood on the other side of the bed. A bronze brazier full of smoldering coals and delicately scented incense was in the center of the room, next too a low divan. Opposite the divan was a large wooden box -- it was open. Two panels folded out from the lid forming a triptych. The center pane depicted a cruelly beautiful Drow woman seated on a throne of bones, her face painted to resemble a skull, each of her fingers wearing a ring. The left panel showed another Drow woman, standing facing the center panel. This woman wore a simple black robe and held a skull in her hands. The right panel showed the ghostly form of a heavily-armored warrior -- her armor forged to resemble demonic features -- she held a serrated greatsword in her hands and stood upon a pile of bodies. Below this three-part scene, the box was arrayed as an altar with candles and other devotional objects. The supplicant at that altar turned at the sound of the party's approach, her weapons at the ready.

Cayce attacked and took out the adversary.

They searched the room and then headed back out and up the stairs. They reached another small landing with stairs continuing in both directions and a door on one side. Cayce checked the door - it was not locked and did not appear to be trapped. Hagbarde tried the door. Opening it to reveal a wall rising about halfway to the ceiling. A mosaic in the floor depicted a skull, its mouth open wide to hold a small, black circle comprised of one single circular tile fully 5 feet in diameter. The eyes of the skull glowed blue.

Cayce stepped into the room and attacked, hitting for 35; Fnord backed away into the hallway, muttering something about tile under his breath; Kumar stood menacingly on the tile skull mosaic, taunting the adventurers; Maeve made her arrows Greater Slay Undead and took out Kumar.

Hagbarde studied the skull mosaic. Cayce and Maeve searched the rest of the room, avoiding the mosaic. They wanted to search the body of their adversary, but were afraid to step on the evilly glowing tile skull.

"Try using psionic telekinesis," called Fnord from the hallway, "then you can get the body off the damn tile!"

"OK," replied Maeve, using her psi-crystal and moving the body to a clear space on the floor.

Meanwhile, the cleric attempted to dispel the magic on the skull mosaic. His efforts were not successful. "I don't have any more spells to use," he said when he was done. Rejoining Fnord, the group headed further up the stairs. They passed through a few empty rooms and eventually reached a tiny room at the very top of the tower's spiral. Floating in the center of the room was a ghostly insubstantial Drow woman with dusky gray skin, gray-white hair, and amber eyes. Her face was contorted into a mask of grief as she moaned, wailed, and sobbed continually.

Cayce held his action; Maeve made her arrows Ghost Touch, and hit with all 5 rounds; Hagbarde cast Greater Turn Undead, and destroyed it. There was nothing else in the room except for a portal, which looked like it should be a doorway, but was filled with stone. The party realized that they had reached the top of the tower. They quickly discussed their options and realized that they would have to go back down to the one portal they knew to be active.

After retracing their steps to that room, the group easily maneuvered up and through the hole. The small room had three solid walls, floor, and ceiling, but the fourth wall seemed hazy. It blocked vision, but they couldn't be sure whether it would block movement. Looking through the hazy wall, they saw the hole accessing the next room. They continued through it into a long, narrow room with a hole in the floor leading down and another in the ceiling just a few feet away. Going up, the entered a room wherein the right half of the wall was open; there were also the expected holes for egress. Proceeding, they reached a small landing with two more holes, and a door on one side.

Cayce checked the door. It was trapped, he disabled it and picked the lock. Hagbarde opened the door. Beyond it was a room seemly created entirely of bone lattice work. A bone throne stood in one corner of the room. A motionless Drow woman, her face painted like the skull she held, sat upon the throne. It was a permanent image created by a Lich inhabiting the image, which both Fnord and Hagbarde could easily see.

Cayce attacked, hitting with all six rounds, but not appearing to do damage; Maeve, alerted by Hagbarde to the Lich, made her arrows Greater Slay Undead and took him out.

They returned to the outer chamber and floated up through the hole in the ceiling. Opposite the hole in the floor, through which they'd entered, was a straight wall with a door in its center. Another wall curved alongside the hole, and a third wall joined the two, but seemed only half substantial. Where it met the curving wall the shorter wall was blurry, as if made of smoke. No hole leading upward was visible.

Guard-1 attacked Hagbarde, hitting three times with his spear for a total of 33 points and 8 negative energy levels; Guard-2 attacked Maeve, hitting for a total of 26 points and 11 negative levels; Fnord began casting Psionic Restoration on Hagbarde; Maeve stuffed several magical arrows into her quiver to recharge it, then attacked Guard-2.

Cayce attacked Guard-2, hitting with 5 of his 6 attacks; Hagbarde attacked Guard-2 with his Thundering Mace, hitting once for 7 points; Guard-1 continued his combat with Hagbarde, hitting twice for a total of 22 points and 9 negative levels; Guard-2 continued his combat with Maeve, but missed with all three rounds; Fnord continued casting his spell; Maeve took out Guard-2 with three rounds, and turned her remaining two attacks on Guard-1.

Cayce attacked Guard-1, hitting with 5 of his 6 attacks, once critically; Hagbarde cast a Maximized Flamestrike at Guard-1, but the guard's spell resistance protected him; Guard-1 continued his combat with Hagbarde, hitting for 14 points of damage and 6 negative levels, killing the cleric, then turned his attention to Maeve, hitting once for 14 points and 3 negative levels; Fnord stopped casting his spell and turned his sword on Guard-1, hitting once for 16, knocking Guard-1 to the floor, and then struck him again for a 14 point coup de gras.

Fnord attempted to call the Tower, but was unable to do so. Instead he used his Amulet of the Planes to transport the party out of the ethereal plane. Somehow, they wound up in the Grey Wastes of Hades, Pluton specifically. "Well, I think I should try that again," said Fnord, when he realized they had not ended up in the right place.

This time they ended up somewhere on the material plane, but with no idea exactly where. Using Psionic Know Direction/Location, the War Shifter attempted to figure out where they were. They were in Thay, in Eltabbar. Using Greater Teleport, he then took the party to Manifest.

Once there, they immediately approached the nearest temple. Again, Hagbarde's Magister status got them immediate access and the priests went to work. Maeve, Fnord, and Cayce gladly contributed 500gp to the temple in return for their service. Maeve also took the opportunity to ask one of the priests for a Restoration for herself and contributed and additional 250gp to the temple. Afterwards, they returned to Fnord's Tower to rest.

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