Chapter 14: Descent into the Depths of the Dam

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Session Number: 67
Date: Sunday 19 September 2010
Venue: Fergus'
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr8 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Emily Ftr3/Rog6 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Feren Rog9 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal9 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz9 (Densial) (kills: 4 trolls)

XP Awarded: TBC

The unconscious troll's wounds continue disappearing before Rowaine's eyes. She steps forward on top of the creature to get closer to its companion. Her waraxe opens a vicious diagonal slash down the troll's chest; it backs off a step ruining her return stroke. Emily moves so as to better see the northern doors, then sights them down an arrowshaft.

Boom! The doors burst open and slam against the building's stonework. In the doorframe stands another troll, with a fourth behind it! Jakardros and Emily release their readied arrows, both scoring hits. The troll ignores the puncture wounds and lopes forwards in an ungainly but fast gait. It cackles as it surrounds itself with enemies - Jakardros, Vale and Emily! Vale's raised battle axe descends and parts rubbery flesh. The troll swipes back with a claw but Vale steps close in and avoids the limb. The troll behind trots past the other, closing on Emily.

Rowaine's quarry steps back, but not out of reach of its lethal natural attacks. A claw clangs off armour, another slaps her shoulder and wrenches it sideways. Troll (the elf) glides his Disc closer and targets a Fiery Burst to engulf both creatures but not Rowaine. Whoomp! The instantaneous blaze fells the remaining troll facing Rowaine. The air reeks of scorched flesh.

"Rowaine!" yells Troll. "Can you keep these two down?"

"Aye!" she replies, eyeing the unconscious slabs of meat and looking to alternate her chops.

Feren paces towards the latest threat. Just as he enters its reach he tumbles to the stone and rolls beneath its widespread legs, too quick for it to react. He alters his momentum with an outstretched leg and rolls to his feet beside the confused creature, rapier at the ready. Now… If Vale were only a step or two to the left, this guy's attention would be really divided!

Shalélu sights the troll before Vale and quickly looses an arrow. A good shot, were Vale not in the way - it buries itself in the ranger's shoulder! She aims and releases again, lower this time. Vale steps right, straight into the arrow's trajectory and it lodges in his thigh! Vale grimaces and looks around for this new threat, glaring at Shalélu. His eyes widen as the elf fires a third arrow right at him! The missile flies past his ear and sinks into the troll's abdomen. Shalélu mouths "Sorry!" Arrian paces over to the wounded Black Arrow, keeps a wary eye on the troll and Cures some of Vale's injuries.

"I've got these two!" yells Rowaine, chopping at one prone troll, then the other. Harley looks through the door, figures that her master has the situation under control and bounds over to the troll hungrily eyeing Emily. The troll's gaze shifts upwards as it sees a snarling, horse-sized winged wolf bear down upon it. The troll swipes a claw at Harley, ineffectually. Harley bites down on the arm and Emily hears bones crunch. Jakardros steps backwards and looses one arrow after another at the troll as it tries to shake Harley loose. His two arrows fly fast and true, both sinking deep into the troll's chest. He flicks a glance at Shalélu as if to say "That's how it's done!"

Emily rolls into a ball and backflips away from the beleaguered troll. As she regains her feet she looses twin arrows at the creature. They miss.

What happens to Blink when Emily does her acrobatics? Is it like a cat in a tumble dryer?

Vale ignores the arrow wounds and swings his axes, right-left-right. He projects his first battle axe stroke, designed to make the troll overbalance or lose its head. It takes the bait and is positioned perfectly for his followup strokes. Battle axe and hand axe part rubbery skin. He then spots Feren and steps forward so the troll lies directly between them.

The first two trolls remain unconscious, their regeneration unable to keep up with the punishment Rowaine is dealing. The troll in front of Vale eyes him suspiciously as it swipes at him with one oversized claw, then another. It follows up with a savage bite. Vale is prepared, however, and his steps and weaves foil all of the troll's attacks. The other troll attacks Harley, who is not as swift on her feet as Vale. The troll lands a heavy swatting claw on the stone flyer's shoulder.

Troll carefully centres a Fiery Burst that billows about the two conscious creatures, yet leaves his party unscathed. There has been enough friendly fire for one day! The trolls recognise the threat and dodge some of the blast. Nevertheless, the troll facing Vale reels, very unsteady on its feet but still upright. Feren sees his chance and buries his rapier near to the hilt in the troll's back, hunting for its heart. It misses the organ he supposed was there, making Feren wonder about troll anatomy, but is severe enough to drop the creature. Feren tumbles back.

"Anyone need healing?" asks Arrian. No one replies so he again follows Vale and magically heals his wounds.

Rowaine keeps chopping away at the trolls at her feet. On an ordinary foe her axe would be separating limbs from body, however these creatures' rubbery hide seems to absorb her weapon's lethal power. Jakardros moves clear and fires two simultaneous arrows at the troll before Harley. He grunts as the arrows ricochet without penetrating. Emily sends off Blink towards the two unconscious trolls near Rowaine. The pseudodragon stabs one in the face with its barbed tail, turning back towards his master for approval. Emily smiles, then sights the remaining troll, ready to loose an arrow should Harley move clear.

Vale uses another favourite combination on the remaining troll; only the hand axe connects with any force, but it is enough to blast the air from the troll's lungs. It recovers and retaliates, one of its claws raking across Vale's face. That one might leave a scar, he thinks. Troll floats closer and drops another Fiery Burst on the remaining troll. Boooom! The troll's skin blackens and it falls to the ground.

Feren turns around and looks through the open door, wary of any more approaching enemies. The pitons that held the doors have been scattered over the dam flagstones. Seeing no further threat, Feren returns his attention to the unconscious troll at his feet, stabbing his rapier into its neck. The fine point pierces the troll's skin, yet leaves no visible wound. "Die, already!" he thinks to himself. Vale joins him. Arrian steps up to the other troll, sword hacking away. Rowaine continues assaulting the first creatures until Troll comes over.

"Rowaine - shall I do this?" asks Troll.

"Yes!" the paladin replies. "They're just going to get back up again and terrorise people. They need to die."

"Stand back," Troll says. Once Rowaine is clear, he looses a Fiery Burst.

Meanwhile, Feren enters through the northern doors and follows the corridor as it turns left. He opens the angled double doors into the large room where he sees Troll's Fiery Bursts doing their work. Feren listens at the door to his left before opening it, showing the inside view of the circular-walled eastern room. Grey-green ropey fungus hangs everywhere. The room's two corners are covered in piles of the stuff, looking like something has torn it down and stamped on it.

The first two trolls die under Troll's Fiery Bursts. He then moves to the second pair and dispatches them. Feren realises he is alone in the building and rejoins the group outside.

"Troll, what do you make of these vines?" asks Arrian.

"I'm not the nature person!" retorts Troll. He casts Detect Magic and propels his Disc towards the northern doors. Arrian follows.

Troll is like Baron Harkonnen on a hoverdisc - he's gonna get fat!

Troll inspects the eastern and southern chambers but finds no magical emanations. The trio look at the vines. Shalélu believes they are normal, although strangely localised. Perhaps conditions are just right in this area? The ripped-down piles look like litters or cots that have been stood on and squashed by big creatures using them for bedding. Noting that the corridor is thick with vines but absent of bodies, they consider the possibility that the vines are eating any corpses. Maybe they didn't much bother the regenerating trolls - could they have some strange, symbiotic relationship with them?

The party regroup outside then start a room-by-room search that Arrian leads. After entering every room they return to the heavyset stone doors smeared with blood. The hinges indicate the door opens away from them. Arrian pushes against the doors but they do not budge. He thinks they will take a lot of pressure to move. Feren inspects and agrees. Emily centres herself in front of the door while Rowaine and Arrian flank her, helping. The door groans open on their second attempt, its rusty hinges cracking and protesting. It is dark beyond, with a ten foot wide set of stone stairs leading down. Arrian lights a sunrod. The staircase descends for thirty feet or so, then turns to the right.

dam_building_03.jpg

The party take the staircase down, with Rowaine and Arrian in the lead. Arrian sets a slow pace, inspecting the stairs for anything untoward. He notices distinct patterns: large feet have passed here, travelling in both directions. Feren looks over his shoulder at the other side of the doors, seeing unremarkable blank stone with two iron pullrings. The stairs double back on themselves and continue to descend. The party continue downwards. Fully twelve flights of stairs zigzag down. The last descends north then ends in a short landing terminating at a large stone double door, embellished with relief skulls. Two skulls towards the centre of the doors are more recessed than the others, perhaps indicating where they are to be pushed. The hinges are rusty. Arrian casts Magic Circle on Rowaine, then the two push on the doors in unison.

Unlike above, the doors open relatively easily. Inside is a large semiopen room with a pool in the middle of its floor, full of stagnant, foul-looking water. Ornate double doors stand opposite, half-obscured by a huge pile of assorted skulls. There must be hundreds, if not thousands.

They're empties :-)

Arrian heads in and turns right. He sees a single door and approaches it. Rowaine follows.

"Rowaine, do you detect any evil?" he asks, checking the door.

Rowaine starts looking around. "There's something in the pool. Something very evil." Everyone turns their attention towards the pool. The entire surface of the water is rippling, the algae dancing around. Troll sends a Fiery Burst above the nearest water's edge. Boom! The area is briefly engulfed in flame, otherwise nothing else seems to happen. The algae atop the water prevents seeing anything below the surface.

Rowaine continues to concentrate on the water. "It's there, it's in the pool, there's one of them and it bears a strong aura of evil. I guess it likes skulls." Troll continues to point at the water's edge, the words of his Fiery Burst spell not far from his lips. Arrian opens the door. The space beyond is long, extending off to the left with curved corners. Another pools runs along the centre of the floor. Arrian considers a tactical Holy Smite. He notes that this new pool is considerably cleaner than the other, and it too is rippling.

"Rowaine," whispers Arrian, "anything evil in here?"

"Hang on," Moradin's paladin replies. "Stand back." She first looks behind her, then moves in and peers at the water of the new pool.

"Yes. And it's gone from there," she says, nodding behind her. "It's moved. Either that, or it's gone deep and there's another one in here. I don't know how deep these pools are."

"Can you see how deep it is?" Arrian asks. "Try to keep your 'eye' on it and try to see where it is."

Rowaine moves forwards and peers down at the water's surface. A large, scaly and spiny humanoid bursts out of the water right in front of Rowaine, showering her in freezing water. In its right hand it carries a military fork; it grabs at Rowaine with its free hand. Rowaine slaps the huge hand aside with her waraxe. It hisses at her in fury!

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