Chapter 18: Egress


Session Number: 218
Date: Sunday 19 October 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: none)

XP Awarded: TBA

"I think we need more people on it," Troll says. "Everybody on the bear!"

"Just before you do that," says Breg, "Violet, could you get off it again and back on again while I watch? I want to examine the mechanism of this thing while it's moving."

Lionel moves to the archway at the end and with Troll keeps a close eye on it. Violet steps off the dais, which Breg notes rises about an inch. Nothing seems to happen to the archway at the other end. Troll places a finger on the brickwork and pushes while Violet gets back on the dais. Again, the circle of stone depresses about an inch. Lionel notices nothing; Troll's finger presses against resolute stone.

Breg crosses over to where the remains of the statue lie. He picks up the smallest piece of stone, easily 150 pounds in weight. He eyes the remainder of the rubble and estimates that the statue weighed in excess of 10,000 pounds: more than Violet-Bear.

"I think you may just not be heavy enough," he says. Violet's tongue lolls out in a happy way.

"Alternatively, we could just drag the bits of the statue and pile them back onto the dais," Breg says.

"I could put an Iron Wall on it," Troll offers.

"But then we couldn't get it off."

"I'm all for not wasting resources if we don't have to," Rowaine says. "If we can just move the pieces of stone and that does the same thing, why don't we do that?"

"There's probably meant to not be weight on there," Lionel calls from the corridor's other end. "There was weight on there originally."

Violet bounces up and down on the plinth. The stone rises and is smashed down again each time, noisily and violently. It survives the assault.

"Let's pile the stone on," Troll says.

"Violet, I'll need your help," Breg says, lugging a huge forearm. "Most of this stuff is way too heavy for one." He deposits the piece onto the dais (which does not move), then helps Violet move the larger pieces. As soon as one of the larger pieces is manoeuvred onto the plinth, it drops. They continue piling on the other pieces. Once complete, Violet climbs atop the pile of rubble. The plinth descends no further.

"We've moved the pieces of statue onto the plinth," Breg says. "Is there anything different down there?" Troll again pushes against the wall, which continues to push back with equal and opposite force.

"I wonder if the shard of metal needs to be near the plinth," Breg ponders.

"I don't think so," Troll says.

Lionel stays leaning on the archway, in case it changes. Violet performs a thorough search of the plinth end of the corridor, joined by Breg. They don't find anything noteworthy. The walls and ceiling still weep the oily black substance.

"What's going on over there?" Rowaine inquires.

"Searching the walls," Breg says.

"Found anything?"

"Not really."

Violet turns back into a gnome. "I could change into a small creature and look in the roof space, where it caved in," she says.

"There seems to be no harm," Breg says.

"I'm all for that," Rowaine agrees. "Because right now, we don't have a way out of here."

Violet turns into a rat, casts Spider Climb upon herself and takes to the walls. She passes through Troll's Acided hole and disappears into the cavernous ceiling. She is gone for many minutes, eventually reappearing. Rowaine offers her hand; Violet climbs on and the paladin lowers her to the floor. Violet turns back into a gnome.

"There is a big space up there, but no way out that I can see. There's no light or air currents up there. There are these weird little metal bars jutting out from both sides, about every three feet or so… Look, see that one there?"

"I see it." It is about three inches wide, and nearly an inch thick.

"Metal bars?" Breg repeats. "Like they receded back into the stone? I bet they supported ceiling until something made them withdraw."

Calico travels to the other side of the iron wall by becoming a blink dog. He locates the pressure plate towards the end of the corridor, that sits about a half inch below the rest of the floor. He stands on it. Nothing further happens. He places a paw on the trapdoor and pushes with increasing force. It gives a little. He pushes a little harder and it continues to sag. A little harder and the door gives way, hinged on the wall side to reveal a forty-foot deep pit with spikes at the bottom. Calico avoids falling in. Amongst the spikes are skeletons and shiny stuff. Calico Detects Magic from below.

"Woof woof! Woof woof woof woof! Woof Woof Wooff!"

Violet Spider Climbs down the pit wall, looking for any other openings. She sees none, but does see glinting metal: armour, some weapons, a backpack. The skeletons are medium size. One skeleton has lost one of its arm, which lies nearby on the ground amongst the spikes. Just beyond its fleshless fingers lies a red gem.

Calico senses magic from a sword, a suit of chain armour that one of the skeletons wears, a shield and a stick.

"There's heaps of stuff down here," Violet says.

"Bring it up," says Troll.

Violet unfurls her Magic Carpet, collects everything and brings it up: a backpack, a shield (transmutation magic), a helmet, two chain shirts (one radiating transmutation magic), decrepit leather armour, a short sword (transmutation and evocation), an axehead, a wand (transmutation) and four rubies (sparkly).

"I can Identify three of the items," Troll offers. "If we have three hours to spare."

"Is now the time?" Rowaine asks. "I think our priority is finding a way out."

Calico blinks over to Breg's side of the iron wall and starts sniffing around.

"I'll try a Teleport," Troll says. "I'll take everybody out except you Rowaine, then come back and we'll get out together on Harley."

Breg Dimension Doors back to Troll's side, as does Calico. Troll casts Teleport, nominating everyone but Rowaine. He sees a green flash and the spell fails.

"Well that's that," Breg says. "Try somewhere inside the complex."

Troll retries, thinking of the circular room. There is another green flash and the spell fails.

Breg gets out his tools and tries to pry the pressure plate back up. He can get tools in between the floor and the plate, but cannot lift it up. Troll gets out the Pigments and starts drawing a handle on the pressure plate. He completes it, then Rowaine and Breg take up positions and lift it. The pressure plate rises to floor level. The archway behind remains solid.

"Let's let it go and see if it stays or falls," Breg says. They do it on three; the plate sinks back down.

"So what have we got?" Breg asks. "We have an archway that's bricked up… Could we just knock in a couple of bricks?"

"That could break it and we'd be trapped forever," Lionel says.

"That's possible. It's not magical, is it?" Calico confirms that it does not radiate magic.

"There aren't many things in this little dungeon," Breg continues. "There's this plinth, and the statue… The doorway…"

Troll searches the archway but finds nothing else. Violet casts Master Earth. The floor becomes translucent to her and she sinks into it, but finds herself unable to progress any way but the way she came. She exits back into the corridor.

"Plinth… Trapdoor… Pressure plate… Arch… Words on the floor… Are there any other significant things we've found?"

Before anyone can answer, there is a scraping noise from behind Breg. The trapdoor rises back into place. The pressure plate remains depressed. Violet climbs up and notes that the metal bars have not moved.

"Does anyone have any magical means to read this word?" Breg asks.

"I do," Troll replies. He casts Comprehend Languages; the glyphs suddenly make sense. The word is 'ternur', which loosely means 'pass'.

"Say it out loud," Breg says. Troll does so. There is a flash of light from the archway, whose surface turns inky dark. Lionel, who has been leaning on the surface, falls through and disappears. One by one, the others pass through the magical surface; Troll is last. When he steps through, he immediately notices three things: the wailing of hundreds of voices, many beings shackled to an immense floor, and his companions scattered around.

Breg notes the hourglass to his left has just turned over. "What do the other words above the doorways say, Troll?" he asks.

Troll paces to the right, Rowaine following behind. After a dozen doorways he returns. "They all say the same thing: 'fate'."

"Shall we go through again, using a different door?" Breg suggests.

"Which one?" Rowaine asks.

"That one?" Breg suggests, pointing to the adjacent door where the boy was chained.

"I think we should rest first," Troll says.

The party head to the surface. While Rowaine and Lionel prepare camp, Breg starts sorting the items Violet retrieved. He opens the backpack, finding an old bedroll, tinder and steel, a length of rope and some gnawed-on and very inedible rations. Violet shows the others the rubies; Breg believes they are each worth hundreds of gold. Troll gets Calico to point out the magical items. He Identifies three of them:

  • Wand of Owl's Wisdom (17 charges)
  • Short Sword +2 of Brilliant Energy
  • Small Metal Shield +2

Breg claims the sword while Troll pushes the shield Rowaine's way.

Camp preparations are completed and the group settle into rest and watches. The night passes without significant incident.

In the morning, Troll casts a further Identify on the last magical item:

  • Chain Shirt +1

Rowaine stows it in her magical backpack to gift to the SpiderKillers, then the party re-enter the crypt. They take the same doorway in the hall of tortured prophets, and appear in the hallway with the collapsed roof. Troll's Iron Wall still stands.

"What next?" Rowaine asks.

"Maybe there's something else down that pit," Violet wonders. She walks to its edge and stamps on the cover with one foot. It gives way, slamming into the left wall with a loud bang. She casts Spider Climb upon herself and climbs down.

"Breg," Rowaine says, "I'd feel more comfortable if you went with her."

"Aye, I think I would at that," the dwarf replies. He ties a hemp rope to one of his pitons in the wall and climbs down.

The pair move carefully around the closely-spaced spikes on the pit's floor. Violet's top catches on the point of one; she backs up and unhooks herself. She looks more closely at the spike, then runs her finger carefully up its length near the tip. She sniffs her finger, then takes a tentative lick. Her brow furrows and she spits. "Poisoned!" she states.

Small holes in the corners and rodent droppings over the floor suggest that rats occasionally visit, although not for many years. The floor is covered in coarse dust, bones and the remnants of very old possessions - nothing further of any worth.

"I can't see anything more down here," Breg says.

"I'll try the walls," Violet replies. She scuttles up the wall she descended and looks closely at the stonework. Breg aids from below. He calls the gnome's attention to the right wall. "Those stones have a different pattern over there," he says.

Violet crawls along the sides of the pit and finds the outline Breg has spotted. "It looks like a doorway!" she says. She prods at the stones either side of the vertical crease in the stone. There is a click… but the door does not open. Everything is silent for two seconds of silence, then a grinding noise begins emanating from within the walls.

"What did you just do?" Troll says, looking around. His eyes widen as he sees the left and right walls slowly move towards each other: the walls of the pit as well as the corridor.

Violet looks up. "Um…"

Troll's Wall of Iron groans as it is compressed, then the tortured metal buckles and folds. "Press it again!" Troll yells.

Violet pounds on the pit's stone wall, but the walls continue to advance.

"Let's get out of here!" Rowaine says.

Violet scampers up the wall; Breg climbs back up his rope. Several of his pitons work loose and clatter to the pit floor as the walls rumble inexorably closer.

"Read the word, Troll" Lionel shouts. Troll runs to the end of the corridor and shouts the word inscribed on the floor - "Ternur!" Nothing happens - the archway remains solid!

"Hurry up!" Calico says.

"I can't say it any quicker!" Troll casts Read Languages as Violet transforms in to a dire bear. She braces against the walls, but does not stop them.

"Ternur!" Troll says again after carefully reading the inscription again. The adjacent wall remains obstinately solid.

"Teleport!" Troll barks. "Gather round! I can't take you all, but…"

"I know," Rowaine says. "Leave me. Don't argue."

Troll touches the others and casts his spell, but it fails and they remain inside the corridor. "Harley?" Troll asks.

"I'll try…" Rowaine summons her faithful mount. Harley coalesces from celestial mist and immediately starts growling.

"Harley!" Rowaine says in gravelly terran. "Take my friends to the surface, to safety." She turns to Violet and Troll. "Go!"

Violet reassumes gnome form and joins Troll on Harley's saddle. The stone flyer turns around a full circle, pawing at the stone floor. "I cannot, mistress!" she says in a deep voice tinged with panic.

Violet and Troll look at Rowaine, who returns their stare and shakes her head.

"What else we got?" Troll says, jumping down.

"Stand back…" Calico says. His outline shimmers, grows and becomes reflective. Moments later, a bronze dragon stands in the narrowing corridor. Eyes widen.

"Go to the other end!" Calico growls in a deep, draconic voice. As the others move past the wreckage of Troll's Wall of Iron, Calico inhales and blasts the stone wall with lightning which ricochets off the facing walls, leaving blackened scorch marks. The walls survive, growing ever-closer. Calico now finds it difficult to turn around. His hind feet lock against one wall and he braces his powerful forelegs against the other. He turns his scaly head towards Violet. "Help me!"

Violet resumes dire bear form and the two druids pit their immense strength against the walls. Yet they cannot halt their advance! Their bulk now working against them, Violet, then Calico resume their true forms.

"Moradin! Help us!" cries Rowaine, pummelling the stone walls.

"Aye, and Marthammor Duin!" Breg adds, mouthing the remainder of a prayer to his god.

"To me!" Troll yells. The others quickly gather around. Troll then erects a further Wall of Iron on one side, followed immediately by another on the opposite side. Enclosed in a box made of two stone and two iron walls, the party wait anxiously.

The stone walls slow and halt as the grinding noise beyond hits a resonant crescendo.

"Yes!" Lionel yells. "Troll, you're a genius!"

"Well, I wouldn't go…" Troll's words are cut off as his magical creations shriek under tens of thousands of pounds of force. Their centre portions buckle outwards and the stone walls fold them in half. The corridor is now barely four feet wide.

"Eeeek!" Violet screams, then transforms into a rat. She scurries up the walls and into the ruined roof, out of sight.

Rowaine looks at Harley. "You have served me well, dear friend. Go, find a mate and have beautiful pups. Live your life. Begone!" With that, Harley disappears and returns to the celestial realms. "Gather round," Rowaine says to those remaining, tears in her eyes. "I have failed you, my friends and allies! Strength and courage, dear ones. Strength and courage!" She begins singing a dwarven battle hymn as she braces the walls with her beloved dweomered dwarven waraxe. Its blade scores the rock, then shatters.

Rowaine sings her hymn to the end. The grinding mechanism conceals the screams, with no space to echo, then abruptly ceases. A ghastly cackle is the last sound, with no one left to hear it.

Here ends the Kharag Monastery campaign.


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