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Campaign Notes (part 2)

Real Time Date: May 22, 1999

Game Time Date: Dec 14, 556

[Chris, and Jim attending; Leaha arrived about 1 hour into the
session]

– Carik performs a test of the anti-gravity section of floor near the temple, this time holding a symbol of Surma taken from the temple. Tied to a rope secured to Moe, he steps onto the suspect section of floor. The results are the same as previously experienced. Carik is getting pretty good at bouncing off the ceiling

– Still secured to Moe by a lengthy piece of Vito’s rope, Carik investigates the two stream-filled tunnels exiting the chamber to the north. He confirms that the grates blocking the two tunnel entrances are both quite solid, and reach the floor of waterways perhaps 20-30 feet (eastern tunnel is deeper) below the surface. The western grate has a 2′ space near the ceiling that appears to allow enough room to crawl over. The bent bars in the eastern grate permit enough space for a normal human without equipment (backpacks, etc) to squeeze through.

– Carik calls Vito over to the eastern grate and, tying another rope to him, sends Vito through. Vito calls back regular status reports as he makes his way, dog-paddling north-northeastward up the passage. After 100′ or so of such travel, Vito calls back that he is no longer okay and needs help. Carik quickly reels in the rope, with Vito battling several large beetle-like insects in the water. Vito is extracted from the passage and through the grate, with at least two beetles clattering at the grate behind him

– While Ceril tends Vito’s injuries, two of the beetles become industrious and attempt teamwork to get through the grate. Kennard magic missiles one of them, sending the pair splashing back into the water

– after some dissentious discussion, Ceril agrees to contact Aaryk with his ring and request a boat. During the discussion, Carik gives a brief status report (“cleared out temple of Surma, battled beetles, need a boat”). Aaryk indicates it will take four or five days for him to get a boat delivered

– Carik, inspired by Vito’s bravery, convinces Rydia to help him inspect the tunnel beyond the western grate. Rydia secures herself to the temple side of the grate, and Carik ties off one end of the rope attached to his waist to Rydia: he then climbs over the grate. Carik swims slowly up tunnel to the north, finding two eddy chambers on the east side of the tunnel before being attacked by two large (>5′ long) but beautiful yellow and silver coloured fish. Their sleek, teeth-filled mouths take several large chunks out of his hide while they buffet him with their bodies. Rydia reels Carik in once his distress becomes evident: she drags his unconscious body over the top of the grating, the yellow and silver fish slamming themselves against the grate behind him

– Once back on the island, Ceril determines that Carik’s injuries are grim. It will be several days before he is conscious again, and the injuries to Carik’s left thigh will mean that he will forever walk with a slight limp (barring extraordinary magical healing)

– the party camps at the south end of the temple island, with Kennard keeping a watch on the northern grates and regular checks being made on gate “bridge” to the South

– Dec. 15: Carik is conscious the next day, but unable to do much more than rest for several days thereafter

– Dec. 20: boat arrives. Aaryk has provided a fairly large (15′ long, 6′ at widest point wide [beam], 1′ draft, approx 250 cubic feet capacity), stoutly crafted wooden row boat. It weighs seven or eight hundred pounds, and takes the strength of Moe and Rydia to move it to water. Inspection determines that is either new or recently refurbished and includes two sets of oars as well as a 50 lb anchor. The boat can hold the entire party plus easily half of their gear and supplies (over a ton and a half of contents if carefully/densely packed)

– Dec 23: Carik is “fully” recovered; party loads up the boat and rigs up ropes to haul the leaking canoe and their floatation devices. Thus arrayed, the party travels up the river, taking the large north-eastern waterway. Several hundred feet up stream, just after a curve in the underground river alters their direction of travel to the south-east, they notice an opening in the northern tunnel wall. Closer inspection reveals that the opening is a man-made landing and passage. A canoe is pulled up on the stone landing and secured to an eyelet set in the stone. The canoe appears to be relatively unweathered, perhaps partly as a result of being kept out of the water while “docked”

– the party secures their boat and “trades” their leaky canoe for the apparently sound one, and then explore the passage leading north-eastward from the landing . The short tunnel opens into a larger, finished (tiled) room. Graven on the stone of the entrance is a warning in Elvish about the dangers of the place, and identifying someone named Halaster as the ruler here. The room beyond is unoccupied, but deep scratch marks in the surface of the wall attest to some sort of conflict

– past the entrance chamber, the party discovers a strangely spotless room with a strong and unnatural wind. Near the north and western exits from this chamber, the party’s magical lights fail. One or two attempts are made to use torches to identify the rooms beyond the portals with limited success. No natural source can be found for the wind

– Carik, Rydia, and Vito enter the room to the west. Kennard stays behind in the windy room, unsure of the impact of the magic nullification zones on his own spells. Gigantic pieces of furniture occupy the western chamber, and the adventurers spread out to investigate. With Vito’s help, Rydia discovers some decayed scraps of paper amongst vermin-shredded bedding and other material in an old chest in the room. Carik inspects the drainage system for a huge ceramic tub moments before the party is surprised by the attack of several Minotaurs. Battle is enjoined, with Moe entering the conflict. Several minutes later, two of the Minotaurs have been slain and the remaining two escape through the same concealed doors that they entered by. Carik pursues. Rydia returns to examining the scraps of paper

– Chasing the minotaurs into the next chamber, Carik finds a jumble of decayed furnishings, rugs, blankets, and other goods that appear to form “nests” or beds for the minotaurs. The minotaurs themselves escape down a sloping tunnel, slamming a door closed between them and their pursuer. Carik opens the door, and finds a long tunnel sloping steeply (>30 degrees) downward to the north. The minotaurs are not visible, although he can hear sounds down the passageway. Carik closes the door and further inspects the room, finding a large lever on the wall nearby. Carik pulls the lever, and hears the sound of stone grinding on stone and heavy machinery from the north. After a few moments, the sound stops and Carik re-opens the northern door to
discover that the sloping passage now seems level. Two small passage ways have appeared to the east and west, several feet north of the door

– Carik returns to inspecting the Minotaur’s apparent sleeping chamber. He discovers little that interests him, other than a gnarled stick or staff and a piece of red ribbon that seem to be less decayed than the other materials in the room. He rejects several dozen (hundred?) silver pieces. Carik rejoins Rydia and the others, telling Vito of what he found in the other room. Vito goes to investigate, returning and uncharacteristically reporting on what he found: 200 silver pieces (which he also rejected) and several gems. With encouragement from Carik, Vito appraises the gems

– meanwhile, Rydia has reassembled several pages, apparently the remnents of a journal, from the scraps she found. The party spends several minutes pondering these writings, which seem to have been the thoughts and experiences of the former occupant of the room. Kennard finally overcomes his uncertainty about the null magic area and enters the room. He discovers that his memorized spells seem to remain memorized, although he doesn’t attempt casting anything to confirm whether he can

– after digesting the contents of the journal pages, the party heads north from the minotaur room and immediately turns east and follows that passageway. They explore the area to the east and south, inspecting several near-empty chambers that suggest decades-old relocation by the former occupants. On several occasions, the party catches sight of small, beady eyes and the sounds of furtive skittering

– a brief combat with several giant spiders upon opening the door to one room. Rydia and Kennard demonstrate why torches are rarely used as thrown weapons. The party continues to explore, now finding it harder and harder to ignore the dozens of large (5-6 lb) rats that hang back near the edges of their torch-light. The rooms through which the party progresses from that point seem to have ever increasing numbers of rats, until the rats start becoming bolder and less furtive

– the party finds a room wherein the floor is covered with a thick layer of dirt. Other than the dirt, the only visible item in the room is a large chest.
Rydia, prompted by Carik, sticks her sword into the dirt to measure depth: she discovers that the dirt is an inch or so deep. She continues to poke around and sets off what seems to be a trap: a huge “pendulum” blade swings from the ceiling, and would have disected anyone standing on the trapped floor. Vito is subsequently sent into the room, and he shortly discovers a second trap by falling into it. After extracting himself from the 20′ deep hole with assistance from Rydia’s rope, Vito continues to search for traps. He finds at least two more without setting them off, culminating in one within the chest itself. He finds the chest empty except for a scrap of crumpled paper and a copper coin. The scrap of paper tauntingly reminds the person who finds it of the dangers of messing with Halaster (whoever he is)

– the party continues through several more rooms, not interfering with the rats. The rats, for their part, do nothing to severely impede the party. Finally, in a large chamber with several hundred (?) rats, the rodents clear a space around the party, turn…and stare at them. Moments later, a path appears amongst the rats and an unusually large piebald rat accompanied by four larger rats makes its way towards them. A brief exchange of squeaks takes place, and Carik attempts to communicate with the black and white rat. . A moment later, seemingly in response to some squeaky instruction, another rat arrives with a piece of chalk. The piebald begins to write on the floor in common, the chalk grasped somewhat clumsily in his front paws. From time to time, in response to a cue from the black and white rat, another one of the rodents skitters about, rubbing its belly on the writings to clear space for more words

– the piebald rat confirms in writing that it can understand common. Over the next few minutes, an accord is reached: the rat will exchange knowledge for preserved rations and healing potions. The party receives a page of parchment, apparently from the same journal from which they had earlier re-assembled several pages. This page is more completely preserved, and provides clues to a possible exit from the dungeon

– after completing their exchange, the party is “guided” by the rats back to the main hallways

[session complete at 11:45 PM]

Real Time Date: June , 1999

Game Time Date: Dec 23, 556

[Chris, Gary, Jim, Travis (!!) and Leaha attending]

– the party spends a few minutes reviewing the Journal entries they had bargained with the rats for. They decide to go in search of the dragon described therein, which seemingly lives near a magical gate that exits the dungeon

– the party ventures back to the area north of the windy room. They are attacked by two large creatures resembling rubber sacks full of concrete. The party is ultimately victorious, but appear to have damaged a finely-detailed carpet in the battle

– after reboarding their boat, the company returns to the river travelling East-South-East (with the current). After a hundred feet or so, cries for help alert them to several travellers apparently stranded in the water. After some uncertainty, the party gives the strangers (two women, one in armour) access to their third best boat (the leaky canoe). As the strangers board the canoe, they seemingly transform into horrendous, frighteningly ugly creatures with the apparent features of the worst of the fairy tale witches. In the ensuing battle, Moe is injured and loses much of his great strength to the foul power of the witch-creatures. The party finally slays the two, dumping them back into the river. Moe discovers that he is so weak that he can no longer wield his massive hammer

– the party finds what appears to be a breakwater on the “north” side of the passage a few hundred feet further on. On the west end of the break is a
raised marble platform that jutus out from the cavern wall. On the platform are four lit braziers, the two central ones shaped like lions with their mouths open in ferocious roars. In the distance to the north, a thick, multi-layered forest seems to be growing. The sun shines from a seemingly real blue mid-day sky

– exploring the raised platform, the party discovers a message in elvish carved into the wall between the two central braziers.

“We will die here, this we know. It is only a matter of time. Our treasure has fallen to the wizards. We paid for our greed with our lives. If only we had something to feed the lions. Alas, all of our magic is exhausted. We wish you well, those of good heart who follow us. Pray tha tyou do not share our fate.”

– Carik places his expended ear ring of feather fall on the brazier; this action appears to have no result

– on a second platform immediately east of the braziers, the party observes several pillars of differing heights; Carik climbs one pillar and is suddenly gifted with the ability to read and write halfling; encouraged by his good fortune, Rydia climbs another pillar and seemingly goes mad, attacking other party members, babbling, and generally acting uncharacteristically strange. Kennard climbs the same pillar Carik climbed and learns spoken Gnomish. During these explorations, Moe’s strength returns

– Vito tries another pillar, upon which a metal crown rests. He puts the crown on his head and nothing seems to happen. VIto then attempts to take the crown, but it dissappears from his posession and reappears on the pillar

– Rydia continues to rant and act strange, so the party ties her up and places her on top of one of the pillars while they eat lunch. Later, as the
strangely-visible sun sets night falls, Vito climbs the same pillar Carik and Kennard climbed earlier and learns spoken Goblinish. Rydia seemingly recovers her sanity, then cilmbs and falls several times off of the same pillar. Vito helps Rydia climb to the top of the “language” pillar but, for some reason, Rydia is given no new knowledge

– at dawn (the sun can be observed rising into the sky over the forest to the north), during Vito’s watch, a seemingly huge and dragon-like shape is observed to the east launching itself into the air and heading North.

– later in the morning, what is more obviously a dragon (gold over most of the body, verging to a dark, blood red on the belly) can be seen landing to the east. It seems to look briefly in the direction of the party. Ceril and Rydia stay by the boat, while Moe and Vito go north-ne through the forest; Carik and Kennard simultaneously go eastward along the breakwater

– Carik and Kennard encounter the dragon first, followed shortly thereafter by Vito and Moe. The huge carnivore is resident in a clearing amongst the trees, and seems possessive of a small pool around which it curls its bulk. The dragon demands that all weapons and magic items be dropped, identifying them in case party members forget what they are carrying. The conversation that follows is tense, but the dragon (who identifies itself as Shalaramar) and the party reach an accomodation. Shalaramar indicates that she will give access to the pool and its portal in return for a written (scroll or spellbook) version of a full shape-change spell. She indicates that there is a sage who might know of the location of such a spell. To further simplify things, Shalaramar even points out the location of the sage on a map (almost due west, across what appears to be a lake). She does warn that he is mad.

– Kennard offers Shalaramar access to his spell book as a further show of good faith. Shalaramar seems pleased by this gift, and asks for the night to read and transcribe from the book

– returns the book the next day with thanks. However, she points out that this in no way alters the deal.

– Dec 26: party returns to Shalaramar, and she gives back Kennard’s spell book. She again warns the party that the sage is quite mad. The party sets out to the west of the forest chamber, following the wall on that side until they find a passage heading west-NW. They then follow the shoreline of what appears to be a lake for several hundred feet northwards

– After several hundred feet of walking, the party hears what sounds like bar music coming from the North, probably muffled/distorted through some distance of rock

[session complete at 12:05 AM]

Next Session: After Chris’ campaign, eight weeks or so

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