Chapter 04: Liatch, Open the Door!

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Session Number: 204
Date: Sunday 23 March 2014
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Breg Rog3/Clr10 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Calico Drd13 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Lionel Rgr6/Wiz1/ArcA6 (Ash) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal13 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz13 (Densial) (kills: none)
Violet Drd13 (Tammi) (kills: 1 gaunt, feral humanoid monk evil undead bad guy - for real this time)

XP Awarded: TBA

The creature is grappled and blind. "I think this was one of the monks of the monastery," Breg says, "made into this creature before us by a greater undead. I think it is time to release it into death." The creature grunts and hisses.

"Why should we do this?" Lionel asks.

"For the sake of the monk he once was."

"Haargh!" the creature hisses through its fangs. "I can't be bargained with. I can't be reasoned with. I don't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And I absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until you are dead!"

Breg "Cures" the creature, the positive energy searing the creature's undead flesh. "Haaargh! Curse you! CURSE you!" It bites fruitlessly at the ghostly jaws that entrap it. Violet-bear growls menacingly and casts Sunbeam, spearing the creature with a ray of pure radiant light. The creature screams, then bursts into flame, utterly destroyed. All that remains is a necklace, a cloak and a ring. All radiate magic. Violet turns back into a gnome, calls "Dibs!" and bends over to pick them up. Breg interjects. "I believe these things should be returned to his order."

"Shall we vote?" Troll asks. "No!"

"There doesn't appear to be an order any more," Rowaine says, "but these things could help to restore it. I vote yes."

"Who's voting?" Troll says again.

"So your party, lady, is a democracy," Breg states.

"These are my friends, not my vassals," Rowaine says. "I do not command them."

Calico continues to investigate the items. The periapt has an aura of faint conjuration, the ring has faint abjuration, and the cloak faint illusion.

Breg says, "It seems likely that a creature like this, and perhaps a greater one, attacked the monks, or at least turned this monk into the abomination it became. All of which is to say, there is another." He borrows a vial from Violet and collects the ashen remains of the monk. "I would like to give this monk burial with his brothers. I am going to the monastery. I shall return shortly."

"Sir dwarf, I will accompany you," Rowaine says. "It will be faster on Harley."

"You are welcome, lady," Breg replies. The pair depart.

Calico looks for any change in the magical emanations on the door but finds none. Lionel says the words written in blood on the wall: 'Chalychia's bane is True Death.' Nothing happens. He says aloud, 'The Portal of the Damned.' Again, nothing. Before Violet's Sunbeam spell expires, she looses a beam of light at the door. It strikes the metal door and scatters in multiple directions. As the afterimage on their retinas fades, the party see a scorch mark on the door.

Troll revisits his destruction of one of the left door hinges. He extends the depth of the hole to around eighteen inches with the same result: more stone.

Calico approaches the door, bends down to the skull at its centre and says, "Chalychia couldn't open this door if she wanted to anyway." Nothing happens.

Violet and Lionel each coordinate pulling on the door rings. Nothing happens. They then knock the ring against the door in unison. They hear a dull, resonating 'dong' that quickly fades, but nothing further happens.

Violet places the ring and the periapt in one of her magical pouches. She wraps the cloak around her shoulders. Troll notices, pulls out two wands and aims at the gnome - who seems to shift about two feet to the right. It is a Cloak of Displacement. She experiments with sitting on her Flying Carpet. No matter where she actually sits, the Cloak makes her look as if she is sitting comfortably somewhere else.

Violet removes the cloak, takes off one of her magical rings and tries on the creature's ring. Nothing happens. She flicks her finger at Calico, who flinches instintively. "Watch it!" he scolds. Thankfully, nothing happens.

"Shall I try the periapt while I have the ring on?" Violet asks. "No!" Troll replies. "Take the ring off in case something happens and we don't know which one did it."

Violet replaces the ring with her own, then puts the periapt chain around her neck. She notices that the pendant is a beautiful moonstone. She looks around and feels like she knows where she is in a different way, like her intuition is just that bit sharper. She can feel the lack of life in the cavern, but distinctly senses the abundance of life outside. She feels like if she put her mind to it, that she might be able to prepare more spells than usual.

"Um, just a moment, guys," Violet says, then starts heading outside. Troll grabs her as she floats past but she slips free. "What are you doing?" she says.

"I don't know what you mean. Take my hand."

"Hang on," Calico interjects. "What did the periapt do?"

"It made me more aware of my surroundings, heightened my senses."

"Take my hand!"

Violet offers her hand. She senses a surge of arcane energy building in Troll's form and pulls away. Troll hangs on and casts Teleport. He translocates ten feet away next to Calico; Violet stays firmly on her carpet. "What are you guys doing?" she says.

"Violet," Lionel says, "Troll will kill you if you do not stop. Stop moving!"

"OK." Violet removes the necklace, places it in her pouch then gets off her carpet.

"Why did you do that?" Calico asks Troll.

"Because she put on a magical device and tried to leave. How thick are you?"

"I just wanted to see what it felt like when I was outside," Violet says.

"How do we know you weren't possessed? You just had this feeling that you needed to leave."

"I didn't have a feeling that I wanted to leave, I just wanted to see what it was like."

"That's what having a feeling means!"

"I see the wizard's point," Calico says. "He was just exercising caution."

"Exercising caution by waiting for people to explain things!" Troll adds.

"I did not feel like I had an urge to go outside…" Violet says.

"That's what happens!" Troll says, exasperated. "Oh! Man! Why is everybody so stupid?"

"Would you like to try it on?" Violet says to the others. "See if you want to go outside?"

"I'm good, Lionel says."

"Let's Identify it first," Calico adds. He looks at the skull on the door, with the periapt in mind. It doesn't look as if it was specifically made to interface with the door. "What about if we put the necklace around the skull?" He asks.

"Um, I'm not keen on doing that," Violet replies.

Calico uses Read Magic to investigate the runes on the door while Lionel conducts a thorough search of the door's skull. Calico's spell reveals that the runes are divine in nature that cast an enlarged Mass Inflict Serious Wounds spell, but it does not reveal the trigger. The spell would encompass the entire cavern, wounding all living creatures and healing any undead therein. Lionel comments that Breg already discovered the trigger: channelling divine magic at the door.

After an hour of investigation, Lionel finds very little. The skull does not appear to have any moving parts. He searches the cavern for wire and finds some wrapped around a decaying shield; he uses it to prod the crack in the centre where the doors meet:

1-1_door_cross-section.jpg

"There's stone behind there," Troll posits. "This isn't a normal door, it's a magical portal."

Calico begins reading aloud the runes on the door. Lionel runs for the entrance. The words are horrible to hear; it sounds like things that should not be said. There is an unease in the air after Calico finishes.

Calico tries something else: "Encased in a crystal prison with no door, but only the first, there are five more." Nothing happens. Troll joins Lionel outside, a frown on his face. Violet joins them.

"Chalychia, open the door," Calico continues. Again, nothing.

"So we don't have the healer and we don't have the paladin, and you want to try and open the door?" Troll says.

"We have to open it at some point," Calico says.

"Yes we do. When Rowaine and Breg get back!"

"What would happen if I shot an arrow with Light on it at the door?" Lionel asks from the entrance.

"Do it," Calico says, heading outside. Lionel lights up an arrow, takes aim and shoots at the door. The arrow strikes the cavern wall above the doors and shatters. The remains of the arrow illuminate the door.

"Were you aiming for that?" Calico quips. Lionel rolls his eyes and nocks another arrow. This one flies true, lodging in the skull's nose cavity. He inspects his work. The door remains resolutely closed. He searches the bodies littered around the cavern floor for any clues. He thinks that the fallen did not get any farther into the cavern than half way: they came, they died.

"I still think the braziers had something to do with it," Calico says.

"Too late now," Lionel says. "If only there were a keyhole."

After some time, Rowaine and Breg return. "Have you made you way through the door?" Breg asks.

"We decided to wait for you," Lionel lies. He then comes clean, telling them everything he has tried.

"Troll attacked me," Violet says in a small voice.

"What??" Rowaine blurts.

"Oh yeah," Calico says. "Troll attacked Violet."

Rowaine fixes Troll with an icy stare. "Why?"

"It seemed like a good idea at the time. She tried on the periapt and then tried to leave the cavern. I assumed that she was bewitched."

"Is Troll's description of your actions true, Violet?"

"Yes."

Rowaine eyes both. "I can see why Troll did what he did. Did you do anything with the other items?"

"Yep," Calico says. "She tried them all on."

"He told me to!" Violet cries.

Rowaine lets it go.

"Do you see any change in the gnome's aura, lady?" Breg asks Rowaine.

Rowaine concentrates on Violet. "She is not evil."

"Show me this crack in the door," Breg asks Lionel.

Breg confirms Lionel's hypothesis concerning the overlapping doors being in front of something solid. He also determines that the skull seems to be attached to the left door and not to the right. He pushes the skull; it does not budge. Nothing about this door besides the ringpulls seems able to move. He discovers the spent arrowhead in the nose cavity; Lionel explains. Breg gets out his heavy mace and whacks the skull right on the forehead. Sparks and a slight indentation are the only result.

"We could get a Knock spell," Breg suggests.

"Let's go!" Troll says.

"I don't want to leave this door unopposed…"

"It's locked!"

"Things might be able to come through from the other side. We know that something came and turned that monk into an undead."

"So we just wait until somebody comes and opens the door?"

"Good point," Breg says. "We haven't seen this door at different times of the day."

"Has anyone tried channelling divine magic against the door?" Rowaine asks.

"I believe that will trigger a trap," Breg replies.

"I think that one of you should try it," Troll says. "I can't do it. I mean, I would…"

Rowaine and Breg both volunteer, but who should make the attempt? Rowaine suggests it should be the person with the greatest chance of success: Breg. Everyone clears the area while Breg positions himself in front of the door. Rowaine prepares to Lay on Hands should Breg be harmed. The druids assume avian shape. Troll casts Expeditious Retreat upon himself.

"Back, in the name of Marthammor Duin, I abjure all evil!" says Breg. A mystical warhammer shoots forth from his outstretched holy symbol and hits the door with a clang! At once, a multitude of like hammers bounce back in a horizontal arc, covering the cavern. One hits Breg square in the chest, winding him and forcing him back a step. Rowaine runs inside. "Are you alright?"

"I've seen worse."

Calico and Violet fly in and assess Breg's wounds. He does not look significantly hurt.

"For your bravery, sir dwarf," Rowaine says as she Lays on Hands and heals Breg's wounds.

"Glory and gratitude to the All-Father." Breg looks at the door. "That did not seem to help."

"I just don't think you did a good enough job," Troll says. "Try again."

"I say we make camp and return after dusk," Breg says, ignoring Troll. "See if anything changes with nightfall. If we have no luck, let's use this Knock spell the wizard talks about."

The party pitch camp and wait for nightfall.

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