Chapter 13: Eeeeew, Covered in Worms

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Session Number: 213
Date: Sunday 20 July 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 evil wasp swarm)

XP Awarded: TBA

Lionel and Violet cover the rear, looking down the corridor.

"Need a hand up?" Violet asks Rowaine.

"I got it."

"Let's bug out!" Breg cries.

Hur hur hur.

He plants his feet, judges his grip then carefully moves just outside the doorway beside Rowaine, avoiding the two prone creatures' claw rakes. He then Cures some of Troll's wounds. Troll defensively casts Dimension Jaunt but is distracted and the spell fails. He then flies away: the swarm buzzes around his retreating form, stinging his face and arms. He lands on his feet fifteen feet away.

Rowaine gets up. "What are we doing?" she asks.

"I say we get out of here and close the door," Breg replies. "Come, Calico!"

Rowaine readies an attack should any hostile approach the door. One of the humanoids lumbers to the doorway, maintaining its feet. Rowaine's axe rises. "Don't hit it, Rowaine!" Breg warns. "You'll release its swarm!" Rowaine checks her swing and instead deflects the creature's clumsy blow. A prone humanoid gets up and moves closer to Calico but slips on Grease. [Another humanoid moves through Grease and ends up on the floor. Calico Blinks outside the chamber behind Rowaine.

"Troll," Breg says, "can you seal up the door? Make some sort of barrier? The door has holes in it that the swarm will get out through."

"Aye man. Everyone keep away from the door."

Calico readies a spell should Rowaine leave her position and an enemy enter it. The swarm flies through the doorway towards him. Breg swipes at the creatures with his mace. His weapon crushes one or two of the hundreds of creatures, but does not slow down the others.

Rowaine concentrates. "They're evil!" she says, chopping into the swarm as ineffectually as Breg. Calico holds his spell, wary of hurting Rowaine. He snaps at the swarm with his muzzle as it passes. It continues, unperturbed, until it envelops Lionel and Troll. Angry insects envelop Troll - in the wrong place! His Cloak of Displacement confuses the creatures and thwarts their attack.

Lionel moves through the swarm to the rear, shielding his face and neck with his free arm, but there are simply too many and he is stung more than a dozen times. He then swaps his bow for his sword. Violet evaluates a number of options, then settles on casting Baleful Polymorph. She transforms the swarm of wasps into a swarm of… worms.

NB: It turns out this should not have happened. The swarm should have been immune to the effect. But I love it for the story value alone!

Suddenly unable to fly, thousands of worms fall to the floor, all over Troll. The worms, being worms both in mind and body, immediately seek any refuge they can find: in cracks in the stonework, inside Troll's clothes. Violet moves behind Troll. Breg manages to stay upright on the Grease and moves out of the slippery area.

"I'm sealing off the doorway!" Troll yells, still covered in worms. "Keep back!" Rowaine leans back. Troll casts Wall of Iron, fixing a three-inch plate of iron into the passageway's sides, floor and ceiling - completely sealing off the chamber beyond. Everyone collects themselves.

"I've been thinking about the bit of sword that might be in the globe Troll has," says Breg. "I have a couple of questions for the folk at Arovarel. Why didn't they reforge the sword when they had it after they used it to kill Chalychia?"

"Because it wouldn't be as strong as it originally was," Troll replies.

"And also, why did they put the pieces down here? Why did they seal it away with Chalychia?"

"Can we talk about this outside?" Calico asks, looking at the steel barrier with trepidation. There is now a buzzing sound coming from the other side.

"Done," Troll says.

Everyone starts heading out. Troll looks at the white globe he took from the bone pedestal. It is about 10 inches across, quite heavy and pearly white. He casts Detect Magic: there is an essence of magic emanating from it, but not from what he can see. Eerily, he gets the feeling that as he is looking at it, it is looking at him. He stops, believing he is being Scried. He takes off his cloak and wraps the orb in it, but the feeling does not diminish. Whatever he is holding is possibly a focus of some sort: an antenna for the scrier. Even placing the orb in Rowaine's Handy Haversack would probably not be proof against the effect. Destroy the focus and it is possible that whomever is looking in on has nothing to target.

"What's going on?" Breg says to Troll, noticing that he has stopped walking.

"Nothing," Troll says, rewrapping the orb in his cloak and moving on.

"Why don't we leave it down here while we talk to the folk in Arovarel?"

"Because they won't have any information that will be any use to us."

"I want to find out why they didn't keep True Death."

Troll swoons, more poison interfering with his coordination.

"What's wrong?" Breg says.

"The wasps."

Breg casts Delay Poison on Troll.

"You are wounded." Rowaine says, moving next to Troll.

"Don't worry about it," Troll says, holding up the hand that wears the Ring of Regeneration. Calico casts Lesser Restoration on Troll, mitigating some of the poison's effect.

The party exit the lair. Evening closes in; the sun is low in the sky. Troll immediately heads into the forest, digs a hole and buries the orb. He heads back to the others and notes that he no longer has the sense of being watched.

Violet heads out in search of food. Calico enters the forest too, more to commune with nature than to trap and kill it.

"I'd like to go back to Arovarel," Breg says. "Can anyone help me with that?"

"It's a good seven or eight hours away on foot," Troll says.

"I can Teleport there, and take some of you with you, but not all - and I couldn't return until tomorrow."

"Same for me. But I'd rather just have a rest and continue on."

"What about just a few of us go?" Breg asks.

"I don't mind, if that's what the party wants to do."

"I would rather not split the party," Rowaine interjects. "Especially with some of us not here."

The question is deferred. Violet returns an hour later with four rabbits and a couple of pounds of blackberries: enough food to easily sustain the entire party for a day or two. Calico also returns, smiling wistfully.

"So what are we doing?" Troll asks. The majority vote to stay. They pitch camp; Violet prepares the rabbits and begins cooking. After a nourishing dinner (with dessert!) the party set watch and retire.

The night passes; the party are undisturbed and wake refreshed. Lionel and Troll are on the mend. After the morning's usual activities, Breg casts Status, nominating Troll, Rowaine and Lionel as the recipients: the wizard and the ranger have not completely recovered from the wasp's poison but will not get any worse.

Troll wanders off and unearths the orb. He casts Identify on it, noting again the sense of being watched. Rowaine notices his absence and finds him.

"What are you doing?"

Troll, in between weaving the spell together, says, "Trying to figure out what this is."
"Alright, then."

Troll completes the spell. The orb itself is nonmagical. He looks at its surface, trying to see inside, but cannot - the orb is opaque.

"Is it evil, Ro?"

Rowaine peers at the orb. "No."

"Either it's a magical item for scrying, or it's an egg. One of those two things." He listens to it, but hears nothing. "I think there's something inside it, something magical." He lifts the orb over his head.

"Whoa whoa whoa, what are you doing?" cries Rowaine.

"There's something on the inside."

"And do we want to let it out?"

"Yeeeah, that was the idea of breaking it."

"What's inside?"

"I don't know!"

"What do you know about it?"

"Nothing, except it's magical. Can I borrow your axe for a sec? The little one, not the big one."

"Bring it back to the camp. You're explaining this to everybody."

"What if it's dangerous?"

"Are you saying there's a chance it's dangerous?"

"Of course there's a chance it's dangerous."

"Well then why are you breaking it?"

"BECAUSE IT'S MAGICAL! I THOUGHT I ALREADY SAID THAT!! Ohhhhh…" Troll stomps to the campsite with the orb. "Guys, I'm just going to break open this egg. Could be dangerous. Back in a minute… Or not." He then starts stomping back to the hole.

"Encased in a crystal prison with no door, but only the first, there are five more?" Breg says. "Calico, beware the sundered sword!"

Troll stops, fixing his gaze on Breg. "You've lost it completely."

"This is what I think," Breg says. "They had the sword and they buried it down here for a reason, broken into parts. It wasn't Chalychia that stored it down here broken into parts, it was the people that wanted to keep her down here. And that message Calico got from that poor woman inside there was to beware the sundered sword. I do not think that it will be our ally or our useful tool."

"What's that got to do with my crystal?"

"I think part of the sword is inside it. We dinnae know what it'll do."

"I think… That we should find out. Who votes that he's a bit nuts?"

"He's nuts," Calico agrees, "but I agree with his point. I don't think we should open the orb."

"I wasn't asking about that," Troll says. "I was going to open it anyway."

"We're not looking for the sword. We're looking for Chalychia."

"Yes. And there could be something inside this orb that will help us."

"Or something inside that will free her," Breg says.

"There is much more possibility that that is true, but if that happens, we just kill it."

"That is a good point," Calico says.

"We have stories from Arovarel that talk about a paladin that used the sword…" Rowaine says.

"True Death," Breg adds.

"…to defeat Chalychia. And then we have the words from a mad vampire and a tortured seer. How much weight do we give each tale?"

"We give weight to the fact that the sword was not reforged and left down there," Breg says. "I would like to ask the people of Arovarel why. If this sword was so powerful that it defeated Chalychia once, why did they not take the pieces and reforge it?"

"Because it was broken," Troll says. "It was just a piece of metal."

"In which case, why do we want it?"

"I wasn't going after the sword, I was just going to fireball it until she died. Sword's no good to me."

"I would like to ask them if the sundering of the sword had anything to do with the mechanism to keep Chalychia entombed."

"You're taking us off track. I'm trying to open the orb here."

"That's true, it's taking you off your track. I'm sorry about that. I can see that you are a determined… tall dwarf."

Rowaine looks at all gathered. "What say you, Calico?"
"Both options have merit. Gathering information may be the best next step. Minimising delay may be the best next step." While Calico is speaking, Troll raises the orb over his head… then smashes it down onto a stone. It hits with a crack! but does not break; its surface is unmarred. There is stunned silence from the others. Troll takes advantage and repeats the move. Crunch! The orb's surface now shows fine cracks, but is still intact. Troll fetches a dagger and starts chipping away at the damaged area.

"Troll," Rowaine says, arm outstretched, "I think we were deciding as a group what to do with that thing."

"No you weren't! You were deciding whether to go after the sword, or head somewhere else and do some other crap. Isn't that what everyone was talking about? I've already cracked it. Now we really have to find out what's inside."

"I advise against it!" Breg says, exhaling for the first time in a while.

"People started quoting things, and then debated whether it was a good idea to go somewhere else… Nobody mentioned anything about the globe so I figured it didn't matter any more. Isn't that what happened?"

"That's a very strange interpretation of what happened," Breg says.

"That's exactly what happened! You started quoting stuff and then started talking about going back to find out why they buried the sword here."

"Which is about the possibility that part of the sword is in that globe, and it could be dangerous to break it open and let it out."

"How about we don't break the orb until we know what we want to do next?" Calico suggests.

"Why?" Troll asks. "That makes no sense to me whatsoever."

"If something's in there, we need to know," says Lionel.

"The decision should be do we ever want to, or //ever/ not want to. Not 'let's see what they say and decide what to do'."

"You're against finding more information before acting?" Breg asks.

"I'm against pissing about all day. We've got a job to do."

"I fear that we are being manipulated and will end up aiding the creature that we wish to defeat."

"So, Breg," says Rowaine, "can I take from your words that you are against breaking the orb?"

"At this point! I believe that we may be able to find more information which will guide our decision."

"Troll, you are obviously in favour of breaking the orb. Lionel?"

"I am for."



"Violet? What say you?"

The gnome looks from Rowaine to Troll. "Let's crack this shit open. Do it!"

"That is three for and two against, with Rowaine's vote outstanding," Calico says. All eyes fall on the paladin and the group's leader. "I vote no," Rowaine says. "I vote we wait."

"Tie!" Calico says.

"Why?" Troll says to Rowaine.

"I want more of an idea of whether this is dangerous or not. It could be something that explodes, taking us with it."

"That's what we're here for - because it's dangerous!" Troll says. "We can't get more information by burying our heads in the sand… 'I don't want to open that door because there might be danger behind it…' If you don't want to be anywhere near danger, why don't you all just go to Arovarel for your information and I'll sit here and I won't open the egg and I'll just wait for you. Because at the moment, you just don't want to do anything!"

"We need information," Lionel says. "This orb has information inside it. If you are afraid of being close to it when it is opened, I can shoot it from afar."

"It's not just that," Troll says. "This is what we're here for, right? We're here to go into a tomb with vampires and traps and things trying to kill us, and we're saying this could be dangerous?"

"I'm saying that this could be exactly what Chalychia wants us to do," Breg says.

"Going down there could be exactly what Chalychia wants us to do! Or not! Either way, we're taking a chance and we're guessing. Saying that it might be doesn't count - unless you are saying that it is more likely that this creatures wants us to open this."

"What I am saying is that there are indications that the sword could be useful to Chalychia and I think that there is information that may help us decide. I do not want to be used by evil to further its purposes."

"Are you saying that there are more indications that the sword is useful to Chalychia than not?"

"My intuition says…"

"No no, that's subjective."

"It is! Do you believe that you are not being subjective?"

"No! But I think there is less indication that the sword is useful to Chalychia."

"Then you will have to live with the fact that we disagree."

"What indications do you have?"

"One: I have the fact that the people that entrapped Chalychia left the sword down there and did not reforge it. Two: that an evil creature gave us the idea to find something encased in a crystal prison, and five more after that. Three: we have a creature that seemed to know Calico that warned him to beware of the sundered sword. Those three things seem to me to at least possibly indicate that this sundered sword is not something we want to free or reassemble."

"And you believe that a piece of this sundered sword is inside this globe?"

"It is possible."

"Is it likely? More likely than not?"

"I think that it is sufficient risk that more information is the best course of action."

"More likely?"

"I don't think that the answer to that question should guide our actions."

"Well if you are going to say all these indications, you have to weigh them."

"What percentage would you be happy with to free a devil lich?"

"That just an emotive statement."

"I'm saying the same thing as you. You want me to say that I think it 51% likely that a piece of the sword is in there.You want some sort of indication of how much risk there is before we go on. I'm saying there is enough risk to warrant gathering more information before we proceed."
"OK, I give in," Troll says.

"You can differ," Breg continues. "You have voted: you want to open it. I just want to make my argument."

"I give in. We won't open it."

"So what do we do now?" Rowaine asks.

"I would like to speak to the people of Arovarel," Breg says. "Inquire why the sword was left in the crypt, and see what more we can find out about it."

"I would like to go back in," Troll says.

"I would like to as well, but I would not want to do that with the purpose of finding or reforging the sword before learning what we can."

"We now have to weight he benefits of gaining knowledge with the risks of delaying," Rowaine says.

"I also understand that there's time pressure. I can go alone to Arovarel."

"Do you have a fast way to get there?" Calico asks.

"I can Teleport there."

"And you can Teleport back?"

"Not in the same day."

"Troll, are you willing to take Breg there and back? I could do it."

Breg interrupts. "I am willing to be away for a day while you lot head back down and find what you can. I am concerned about those people chained below… How can we leave them? But I also do not want to go into this blind and possibly be used for some evil purpose."

"So then is not the best course of action to leave the orb buried, and simply go back into the crypt?" Rowaine asks. "We are then not being used for evil purposes, and we are making progress without delay towards our goal."

"We can just wait here and stop anything coming out," Calico offers.

"Of those two options," Breg says, "I'd rather just leave the orb buried and go back in - if you're against me going back to Arovarel."

"It seems that we can avoid the bad and continue with the good," Rowaine says.

"Potential bad," Troll corrects.

"Potential bad… But we shouldn't make the situation any worse."

"There could be something good in there."

"I do think that it should be safeguarded," Breg says, "because it is true that it could be something useful and good."

"I say it stays with us," Lionel says. "Something could come out and try to get it. Perhaps the same something that was looking at Troll."

"Whatever," Troll says. "I just don't want to spend the whole day here. We came out so we could get a fresh start at it. That's what we said we were going to do."

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