Thanks to some scheduling snafus, we only had two players for this session: Ed and Eric. We went forward with the full party anyway.
Fireday, 19th of Sunstrong, 4433 (continued)
The party approached the building that Ekeria, Bugbear Pirate Queen of the Undercity, told them was the last known location of Charlgar, leader of the Riftcrawlers. As the approached, they noticed that the stench of the Undercity grew stronger, the closer they got to the designated building. The party studied the stains on the floor and determined they were remnants of dead and rotting flesh, but they could not identify what creature, or creatures, had made them. Anmor cast the spell Energy Immunity: Acid upon Kullen before they continued.
The party moved cautiously up the human sized steps, checking for traps as they moved upward. Though covered in rust, the iron door leading into the building appeared to be functional. Kullen tested the door but found that it barred from the other side. The party debated briefly about what to do, but ultimately they called upon Chresin to use the spell Dimension Hop to transport them into the building immediately beyond the door opening.
The party arrived in a foyer area just inside the Rift Crawler’s dwelling. The party was immediately assaulted by the acrid stench of an open cesspool. The entryway, however, was in complete darkness, so only, Kullen and Anmor were able to see anything. Before the party had time to react, they heard the clanking sounds of a mechanical device while unseen portcullises separate members of the party as they descended across every opening in the room.
Kullen and Granuel were caught in the trap while the rest of the party was trapped between a portcullis and the iron entry door. As the last portcullis fell into place, a thick goo shot out of holes in the ceiling, hitting Kullen and Granuel directly and splashing on Ulm, though the iron bars. Kullen resisted the effects of the liquid, but both Granuel and Ulm were immediately paralyzed. As the splashing ended, dozens of troglodytes carrying long spears swarmed towards the portcullises.
Anmor cast the spell Grace, providing light by which the rest of party could see. Chresin cast Dimension Hop again and moved the party out of the trap and into the corridor to the left of the entry door. The troglodyte leader ordered the gates raised. As the doors cleared, the foot soldiers filled the room vacated by the party. As they began swarming forward, Anmor cast Flame Strike, killing instantly all ten troglodytes who had entered into the trapped foyer.
Chresin shouted: “Halt or Die” at the remaining troglodytes! Meanwhile, Anmor determined that the paralyzing fluid was derived from Carrion Crawler poison and its effects would end in a few rounds. The party deciding to stall until the Ulm and Granuel recovered. Attempting to intimidate them, Chresin cast the spell Dancing Lights and shouted “Valignat” (the draconic word for Fire) at the troglodytes. The creatures cowered in fear and looked to their leader for guidance.
Once freed, Ulm began speaking to the troglodytes (in draconic). At the same time, Anmor cast the spell Comprehend Languages and touched Ulm while he spoke, thus allowing them both to communicate with the troglodytes. Ulm ask the leader, “Who are your leaders and where can they be found?”
The Troglodyte leader responded: “You go away. Our masters do not want you here. Please go away terrible, terrible fire mages.”
Ulm replied, “We are the ‘Dragon Slayers’. We have killed fifteen of the filthy worms that have darkened your skies. We are here to protect Kongin-Thulnir and we have urgent business with Charlgar, King of the Rift Crawlers!” (OOC: Diplomacy: 32).
The leader of the Troglodytes said, “Charlgar told us not to let anyone in … so we’re going to go downstairs if it pleases the Dragon Slayers. Please do not kill us with your fire magic.”
Anmor said, “We will not kill you, but we must know where we can find Charlgar. We must speak with him immediately!”
The troglodyte leader directed the party down to walk down the nearest corridor. He then motioned to his guards and they all trotted down the staircase to the lower levels of the building. The party allowed them to leave before moving down the hallway to indicated hallway. Listening at the door, they heard nothing, so Kullen opened the door.
Charlgar’s Sleeping Quarters
What may have once been a fairly well organized bedchamber has been crudely redecorated. All of the furniture has been swept aside and piled at one end of the room. In another corner lays a huge pile of furs that looks to have been used as bedding. And the remains of several vile meals are strewn about the room.
Having heard some commotion in the foyer, the party did not surprise Charlgar. As the doors flew open, a hill giant with a bedsheet tied around his face (i.e., Charlgar) flung an object at the party, striking Kullen. Upon impact, the object burst open and a purplish ooze coated Kullen. This ooze was similar to the fluid that feel upon the party from the foyer, but once again, Kullen shook off the ill effects.
Granuel cast the Spell Light on Ulm’s weapon. Then speaking in the Common tongue, Chresin says, “Charlgar, we come to speak with you. Put away your weapons.” Anmor repeated the same in the Terran language. Hearing that Anmor and Chresin were attempting to parley with the giant, Kullen stood fast. Anmor then uses Dark Knowledge to utter a “Dread Secret” at Charlgar (OOC: Charlgar was dazed for one round).
The party had a moment to make preparations and ready themselves. Chresin cast Swift Haste on himself, moved beside Charlgar and attempted, unsuccessfully, to disarm him. Kullen flanked Charlgar and struck him with the flat of his axe (OOC: non-lethal) while demanded that he drop his weapon, “You drop weapon and listen to what these mighty clerics have to say!” Granuel withdrew the Rope of Climbing from his pack and moved adjacent to the hill giant. Ulm and Anmor moved into the room and prepared to cast spells if Charlgar took any aggressive action.
Despite being outnumbers and complete surrounded, Charlgar prepared to swing his great axe. However, the party’s actions stopped him before he could finish his backswing. Anmor cast Sound Lance, Chresin and Kullen struck him with their weapons, before Ulm successfully cast Hold Monster on Charlgar. Over the course of the next few rounds, the party tied him up and stripped him of his bedsheet and all of his magical possessions.
Anmor and Ulm searched the room but found nothing of interest. However, as the moved to the southern corner they saw an opening into a vast cave.
Carrion Crawler Cavern
A great stench wafts in from the enormous cavern just beyond the opening. Extending outward, into the cavern is a great cage consisting of iron grillwork. The cage measures forty feet in height, length and width and the grillwork makes for uneven footing along its surface. Through the gaps in the floor, only darkness is visible. The cage, suspended against the side of the massive cavern, is secured to the near wall by iron support studs below and heavy anchoring chains above. A burning bundle of small tree trunks are strapped together to make a massive torch in the corner of the cage. The dimensions of the cavern cannot be determined from this vantage point, but is descends for many feet into darkness below the cage. The most startling aspect of this strange tableau is the seething hordes of writhing green worm-like creatures. These fat, tentacle covered monsters swarm along the cavern walls for as far as the eye can see and along the exterior of the cage. Anyone close by can hear the nauseating, slithering sounds of these shuffling creatures.
OOC: Everyone in the party contributed to the following conversation, however, only Ulm could speak giantish, so he translated the various questions and comments to Charlgar.
Charlgar: “Masters, I wish nothing to do with you. It is true that I stole the key with the help of my friend from the Tiamikal Nul-Shada, but I have thrown it into the cavern, so I cannot really retrieve it.”
Ulm: “You threw it into the cavern? Why?”
Charlgar: “Yes I did. It was all part of the plan, you see. I just didn’t expect dragons to attack.”
Ulm: “Who was your partner?”
Charlgar: “My partner’s name is
Vercinabex Tor. He aided me…”
Ulm: “And he is one of the Fire Giants?”
Charlgar: “No! He is a Frost Giant. Please let me go and I will never bother you again. I will go far, far away…as soon as it is safe from the dragons.”
Ulm: “Who is this Vercinabex Tor and where is he now?”
Charlgar: “He is the wizard that lives in the Tiamikal Nul-Shada castle. I can only assume that he is there now. He is very interested in the treasure inside the Tiamikal Nul-Shada stronghold and that is why he agreed to help me.”
Ulm: “He told you to throw the key in the chasm?”
Charlgar: “Well, no. He told me not to let anyone take it, so I thought that would be the best place to hide it. You certainly cannot steal it from me, now can you?”
Ulm: “What exactly was your agreement with Vercinabex?”
Charlgar: “He told me to keep the key safe until we had control of the castle. Once we had control, we would use the key to unlock the doors to the treasure.”
Ulm: “So how did plan to retrieve the key after you threw it in the cavern?”
Charlgar: “Well, I didn’t care that much about the plan to retrieve the treasure. I planned to rule the city. You could help me rule the city. You are very powerful…”
Ulm: “Where is the rest of your Rift Crawler clansmen? Are there more who are ready to take over or are you planning to do this alone?”
Charlgar: “Oh, there are many, many Rift Crawlers. They are all in the tower right now, fending off the dragon hordes.”
Ulm: “Have you heard from the recently?”
Charlgar: “Well, no, it’s been several days. But I have not heard any reports of trouble. I could rally many forces to your aid, mighty lords. And I would be happy to do so if you will spare my life.”
Ulm: “When did you first meet Vercinabex and when did he share his plan with you? How did you know that you could trust him?”
Charlgar: “Vercinabex and I have negotiated for ages because he had tired of the giants who were in charge of the Tiamikal Nul-Shada. Vercinabex Tor is a Rift Crawler! He has magical powers. He told me that together we would unlock the treasure. Of course, my idea was that I would listen to him as long as it suited my goals.”
Ulm: “When did you first meet this frost giant?”
Charlgar: “Vercinabex has been the second in command at the citadel for quite some time. I heard of him around 30 years ago, but I first met him about 2 years ago. It was then that we began our discussions about how we could overthrow the status quo.”
Ulm: “Was there a mention of the key 2 years ago?”
Ulm: “When did that occur?”
Charlgar: “Well, not too long after we started talking. He talked about the keys and how if I could take over the Rift Lords, then together we could take over the citadel and then we could work on getting the vault open. I don’t know…he’s very obsessed with the vault.”
Ulm: “Where is he now?”
Charlgar: “He still lives in the citadel.”
Ulm: “When did you last see him?”
Charlgar: “Oh, it’s been a month or three.”
Ulm: “Have you seen him since the dragons attacked?”
Ulm: “So you stole the key before the dragons attacked?”
Charlgar: “Well, yes, but I did steal the key; Vercinabex stole it and gave it to me.”
Ulm: “And he told you to keep it safe.”
Ulm: “And you used the key to rally more of the Rift Lords to your cause?”
Charlgar: “See, here is the genius of my plans. I told everyone who would listen, including bugbears and goblins, that the Rift Lords had stolen the Tiamikal Nul-Shada’s key and therefore they would soon be at war with each other. Then we, as the underclass, would rise up and take over the ruins. It’s an ingenious plan, really.”
Ulm: “Until the dragons attacked?”
Charlgar: “Yes, the dragons ruined everything. I hate dragons!”
Ulm: “So how does the cage over there work?”
Charlgar: “We capture crawlers in it. They drop in through the opening in the top. We can also drop the bottom out of it to get rid of people we don’t like. I suggest you hop in and I’ll show you.”
Ulm: “No thank you. Where is the trigger for the cage?”
Charlgar: “Oh, it’s upstairs, of course.”
Ulm: “You go outside and climb?”
Charlgar: “It is an easy climb, just use the cage.”
Ulm: “Then let’s go upstairs. Show us the way.”
Charlgar: “I don’t want to go out there, they have stinging tentacle. I send others upstairs.”
Ulm: “What other people?”
Charlgar: “Wilmot is in charge. He operates all of this and makes all of the delicious carrion crawler loads. He makes them highly poisonous and explosive.”
Ulm: “Who is this Wilmot? Is he a Rift Crawler? Did he help you and Vercinabex steal the key?”
Charlgar: “Wilmot is my subject, so yes, he is a Rift Crawler.”
Ulm: “Is he a bugbear? Is he a giant?”
Charlgar: “Psft, No. He is a little person, sort of like him,” he says, pointing towards Anmor.
Ulm: “How many others are upstairs working with Wilmot?”
Charlgar: “I don’t go up there, so I do not know. I’m sure it’s less than a hundred.”
The party talked amongst themselves for a moment and decided they had learned all that they could from Charlgar. Unsure how well he they had tied him up, they decided to take his magic items with them. Anmor identified the items listed below:
- Belt of Giant Strength +6, value 36,000 GP (Kullen, gives Belt of Giant Strength +4 to Chresin)
- +1 Great Axe of Speed, value 32,000 GP (placed in Ulm’s Handy Haversack)
- +5 Banded mail, value 25,000 GP (placed in Ulm’s Handy Haversack)
Kullen climbed up to the opening above the cage. Looking through, he saw an empty room. A single lever was affixed to the wall beside the opening. Manipulating the lever in an upward motion caused the top of the cage to open, allowing a carrion crawler to drop into the cage below. The Carrion Crawler repeatedly swatted at Anmor with its tentacles, but was unable to penetrate his armor. Granuel and Chresin moved forward and squished the creature into a pool of goo. Kullen move the lever back to a horizontal position and the top of the cage returned to its normal position.
After double-checking the ropes used to bind Charlgar, the rest of the party joined Kullen on the second floor. With Ulm in the lead, searching for traps, the party made its way down a winding, narrow corridor. The party traveled about 45 feet down the corridor opened before coming to an opening that lead into what appears to be a workroom of some sort.
A strong acrid odor fills the atmosphere of this room. Alcoves along the wall hold large stone vats from which the odors seem to emanate. Stone bins and tables covered in beakers, alembics and burners provide the rest of the furnishings. To the south, a mine cart, attached to a chain and small wench, has been pulled up beside a small blockade. The tunnel on the far side of the chamber slopes downward into a deep darkness.
Ulm countered by successfully casting the spell Power Word Blind then moved behind some equipment to gain cover. Granuel took a running jump and landed in the mine cart beside the dwarf. Kullen used his composite bow and hit the dwarf with two magical arrows. Chresin used Swift Haste to close on the cart and anchor the Rope of Climbing to one of its handles. Anmor cast Sound Lance and hurts but does not incapacitate the Wilcot.
Blindly, Wilcot reaches for and releases the cart brake. Chresin, holding the Rope, was unable to stop its progress and it went careening down the ramp, crashing into a barricade 60 feet away. Both Wilcot and Granuel ended up prone in the cart. Granuel grappled and then pinned Wilcot. Ulm cast haste on everyone except Granuel. Kullen and Chresin closed on the cart and then beat up on the dwarf, killing him with a flurry of melee blows.
Anmor, using the Nethertome of Trask, cast speak with dead, but Wilcot’s Coldtooth’s soul was unwilling to give up any secrets. Casting Detect Magic on the corpse, Anmor identified the following magic items:
- +3 wounding spiked chain
- Wand of Cure Moderate Wounds, 32 charges (Granuel)
- Wand of Scorching Ray, Level 8, 27 charges
- +5 Mithril Breast Plate (Anmor, party will sell Anmor’s +1 Full Plate)
- Gloves of Dexterity +6 (Anmor, Anmor’s Gloves of Dexterity +4 to Chresin, party will sell Chresin’s Gloves of Dexterity +2)
- Ring of Protection +3 (Kullen, party will sell Kullen’s Ring of Protection +1)
- Periapt of Proof Against Poison
Searching the room, the party also found the following items:
- A focusing crystal (i.e., a large diamond) worth 1,500 GP
- A rack of vials full of poisons
- A second rack of vials with a label, Cure Serious Wounds, but is actually another poison
Finding nothing else of interest in the alchemy lab, the party moved back to the opening above the cage. Anmor and Chresin, using items that allowed them to fly, moved out into the cavern and began searching for the key. Their assumption was that the key was magical, so they used Detect Magic spells as the reconnoitered the area. They circled the entire cavern for the better part of two minutes but found no magic. Anmor, however, discovered a tunnel sloping sharply downward.
The tunnel was very wide and caked with refuse and rubbish as if Carrion Crawlers had been scurry along its length for a hundred feet or so. After that, the tunnel began spiraling sharply downward, ending on a small ledge just above an even larger cavern.
Primeval Worm Lair
This massive cavern of sloping floors and several colossal stalagmites is lighted by phosphorescent fungus clinging to the walls and ceiling. Mats of rancid and decaying fungus bubble and seethe in a thick carpet on the cavern floor, filling the air with a hazy green taint of spores and stink. Here and there huge mounds of fungus rise like hills, and scattered throughout are the bones and skulls of long dead giants.
Anmor and Chresin quickly learned that the air within this cavern was not very health (OOC: Spores required FORT save), though neither were overcome by them. As they circled the room, an enormous worm rose from the crusty floor of this room.
Although at first glance this chamber appeared empty, it is in fact the lair of a primeval carrion crawler of immense proportions. This worm may be the progenitor of the entire aberrant species. This behemoth is an ageless monstrosity known in legends as the Mother Worm. She awakens when she senses intruders enter her lair.
Chresin decided that he and Anmor were ill equipped to handle this beast on their own and cast Dimension Door to return them to the room where the rest of the party was waiting.
The party spent several minutes trying to determine what is going on here. Testing a theory, Anmor threw a coin into the upper cavern and watched as the carrion crawlers swarmed over it. Anmor told the party that he suspected that the swarming carrion crawlers are carrying items to the bigger beast below. Unfortunately, the coin was too small to see that happened after they swarmed, so he decided that they should try a larger object.
Kullen climbed down to the Charlgar’s bedchamber to retrieve something large, only to find the hill giant had gone. After sharing this news with the party members above, Kullen got a large piece of furniture and placed it in the cage. Anmor manipulated the lever and the item dropped to the cavern floor below. The crawlers once again swarmed towards the item and it becomes clear that they are indeed moving it towards the spiraling tunnel that leads to the lower cavern.
The party decided that they should rest before assaulting the Mother Worm. Kullen rejoined the group and they made camp for the night in the second floor entryway.
Spiritday, 20th of Sunstrong, 4433
The party spent he first part of the morning preparing spells and planning strategy. They began the execution of their plan with Chresin casting Dimension Door, teleporting the entire group to the landing in the lower cavern. Anmor cast Eyes of the King to summon four dire bats and then used a wand to cast the spells Fly on Kullen. The spell casters prepared the party for the ensuing encounter. Thirty seconds after the dire bats began circling the chamber, the Mother Worm rose from the fungus. The party was ready and unleashed a hell storm upon it. Kullen attacked, but quickly learned that his “Greataxe of Stuff” was not very effective (OOC: DR 15/Epic) against this enormous creature. The Mother Worm’s first attacks struck and paralyzed Kullen and along with all of the dire bats. Chresin cast the spell Regroup to bring Kullen back to the ledge with the rest of the party. Granuel removed the paralysis and healed some of the damage.
The Mother Worm was only able to see Kullen, so she began climbing the ledge to try to reach him. Attacking him again, Kullen once again succumbed to the Mother Worm’s paralysis effect. Ulm cast Greater Invisibility on Kullen, effectively making everyone in the party invisible. Fearing the outcome of more melee attacks from the Mother worm, Chresin tells everyone to prepare to fly, then casts Dimension Hop, carrying all of the party members to a spot, in mid-air, well out of the monster’s reach. (OOC: The mechanic were a bit kludgie here. Chresin delayed until Anmor could activate his boots. Granuel locked arms with Kullen (who was already flying) and Chresin locked arms with Ulm. He then cast Dimension Hop to move everyone en masse).
Ulm cast Swift Etherealness to free himself from Chresin’s arms. Chresin then flew away from the rest of the party and again cast Polar Ray and the creature. The Mother Worm retaliated by casting a ray at Chresin’s square, but did not hit thanks to the Invisibility effect. Chresin and Anmor continued to cast spells from their new vantage points. Unable to protect herself, the Mother Worm finally perished from the unrelenting onslaught. The party moved back to the ledge and collapsed in exhaustion.
OOC: Summary of spells cast during this encounter
|0||Anmor||Eyes of the King|
|0||Ulm||Invisibility Sphere||Ulm & Granuel|
|1||Ulm||Haste||Self + party|
|3||Granuel||Shield of Faith||Chresin|
|6||Chresin||Polar Ray (Empowered)||Kaiju Worm|
|7||Chresin||Regroup, swift cast||Kullen|
|7||Chresin||Polar Ray (Empowered)||Kaiju Worm|
|7||Anmor||Sound Lance||Kaiju Worm|
|7||Ulm||Power Word Stun||Kaiju Worm|
|8||Anmor||Flame Strike||Kaiju Worm|
|10||Chresin||Polar Ray (Empowered)||Kaiju Worm|
|10||Ulm||Power Word Stun||Kaiju Worm|
|10||Anmor||Flame Strike||Kaiju Worm|
|11||Chresin||Polar Ray||Kaiju Worm|
XP totals at the end of session 34:
* Anmor 165,230
* Ulm and Chresin 163,391
* Granuel 159,993
* Kullen 163,453
Everyone remains level 18. Ed and Eric earn dork cards for wrangling multiple characters each.