Author Topic: The Crystal Dominion - Session 21 Summary  (Read 2350 times)

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The Crystal Dominion - Session 21 Summary
« on: June 01, 2010, 12:55:20 AM »
The Crystal Dominion - Session 21 Summary

The Heroes:

RedEye - A sayune darkwalker with rogue skills and a few spells of sorcery.
Eiran - An elven ranger and archer with a gift for communicating with animals.
Sir Tristan - A knight in shining armor, man of honor and courage, and a skilled swordsman.
Alan - A human arcanologist... a magic tinkerer with a keen ability to "reprogram" spells and magic items.
Rikhaal – A human priest of Barrinor with an array of spells and powerful healing magic.

NPC Characters:

Koeglur – An ogre warrior, former slave, rescued by the party. Now serves the party.
Osh – A 12 year old human male serving as a squire to Sir Tristan.
Raluvin – A magically constructed humanoid mechanical automaton designed for service rather than combat.

The Story:

Our plucky band of heroes continues their exploration of the dark dungeon chambers of Kalrothis.

Last session the party had almost entirely cleared out the second level of the dungeon. They had obtained a number of valuable treasures and enchanted objects. Some were recovered from various chambers on the second floor and others were taken from the treasure room (which had been mostly cleaned out by robbers, but not entirely).

The party retreated back to the office near the beginning of the second floor (this was the room with the council table and the magical map on the walls). The party decided that this was a safe place because they could use the map to see if any enemies were approaching their position.

While Alan worked on analyzing all of their magical treasure, the rest of the party slept. Raluvin, the servant automaton, kept an eye on the magical map on the wall and would alert Alan if there was any movement besides the party.

Rikhaal took an hour out to go back to the temple area and demolish it. He had decided that such a temple must be evil and destroying it was the best thing to do.

After several hours of rest, the party awoke, ate and Alan unveiled all that he had discovered about their various treasures. Here is the complete list of what they had…

Besides various coins and bits of jewelry and a few odd bits of artwork and sculpture, the party had recovered the following magical treasures.

The Sheath of Weaponry – This sheath allowed the user to pull out any weapon desired merely by imaging it. Even magical weapons could be drawn forth, although every weapon so summoned was a temporary thing which would evaporate into smoke within an hour. Also, the sheath itself could only be used a certain number of times before its magic was depleted. Tristan took this item.

Akoran’s Bracers of Deflection – These bracers protected the user with a shimmering field of force. This force could turn a blade, but was even better at deflecting arrows. It would not function with metal armor. Alan claimed these bracers.

Iron Cloak – A simple woolen cloak which, when struck by a weapon, would turn into iron just long enough to deflect the blow. It provided excellent protection, but was not very stealthy as every sword stroke rang out as if struck against iron. Eiran took this.

The Ring of the Chameleon – As the name implies, this ring allows the wearer to blend into his surroundings. It could be used three times per day. Eiran, as the sniper of the group, claimed this.

Mattok’s Stone Wielding Gloves – A pair of silk gloves. These gloves allow the user to shape stone and metal as easily as if they were clay.

A trio of scrolls with wizards spells. Since the party wizard had died, they decided to keep these and perhaps sell them when they got back to civilization.

The final item was, by far, the most powerful. It was an adamantite hammer, engraved with glyphs and trimmed in silver and gold. This weapon bore the holy symbol of Barrinor. Rikhaal, being a priest of Barrinor, was the obvious person to claim this weapon. It radiated powerful magic and was ensorcelled with potent spells that made it devastating against demons and the undead. While a powerful weapon in its own right, it clearly had some greater part in the religion of Barrinor. Judging by the way Rikhaal fawned over this weapon (and continually polished it and whispered to it),it must be very valuable or important to his church. Rikhaal said that the hammer had a name… Hatholgimor, but said little else about its history.

Now, having rested, eaten, recharged their magic and identified all of these new items, the party felt ready to continue. They went back to where they had left off. They had only one more chamber on this level.

The last chamber was some type of guard room or security office. It had a large table and chairs. It also had a weapons rack, several suits of armor, a tapestry, crossed swords on the wall and so on.

Several bodies were on the ground. They were all skeletons and covered in cobwebs. They had died in battle long ago.

On the far side of this chamber was a pair of large metal doors. These doors were locked and sealed by an array of intricate metal tiles inscribed with dreth glyphs. It was some sort of magical locking system.

Eiran put on the enchanted helmet and tried to use its magic to peer through the doors. However, the magic of the helmet could not penetrate them.

RedEye told the party not to worry and he would take care of it. He would phase through the doors and unlock them from the other side. He summoned his magic and went insubstantial and walked into the doors in this phased state. There was a flash of light and RedEye was bodily ejected from the phase and catapulted across the room. He hit the far wall and his limp, unconscious body slumped to the floor.

Rikhaal tried to revive him but healing spells were of no use. RedEye suffered from some foul sorcery… perhaps a trauma from having been violently ejected from a dimensional phase. Or perhaps a more sinister spell worked into the door to prevent such entry. In either case, RedEye was unconscious and the party could not revive him. Koeglur hoisted him over his shoulder and carried him.

Alan studied the intricate puzzle lock on the door and deciphered it. After experimenting for a little while, he solved the puzzle lock and unlocked the doors. The various metal glyphs all folded out of the way, the locks disengaged and the doors slid open.

On the other side was a great circular shaft descending down. The party peered down the shaft into darkness. The inside was dimly illuminated by a ring of Arkulyte crystals that encircled the interior of the shaft. Another ring of crystals appeared down the shaft every 15 feet or so. The party could not see the bottom. There was a set of dreth glyphs circling the inside of the shaft above the ring of crystals.

Alan deciphered the glyphs that ran around the interior… they appeared to have to do with levitation, ESP, unseen servant and some variations on Bigby’s Hand spells. They quickly deduced that this was some sort of levitation corridor. Rikhaal leaned far in to get a good look and his long blonde hair floated as if in water. Alan put his leg in. As he expected, it felt weightless. Alan stepped fully in and he was floating. Within moments the whole party was in. They quickly discovered that they could float slowly in any direction they wanted to just by thinking it.

They all began to slowly and gracefully descend. They had descended perhaps 75 feet when Sir Tristan noticed a dark shape far below them. Something was floating in the shaft. Rikhaal pulled out a glowstick and threw it down the shaft. The glowing rod flew silently down the shaft. As it descended, it briefly illuminated what appeared to be a large mechanical crab and continued on out of sight. There was a moment of hesitation. Had they really just seen… the shape was rising toward them. The party all had the same reaction. BACK UP THE SHAFT!!! The thing was rapidly ascending toward them and accelerating. The entire party concentrated on levitating back up as rapidly as possible. Koeglur was having difficulty and could only ascend at a slow speed. Tristan intentionally slowed his ascent to stay with Koeglur. As the party raced upwards, the thing chasing them was illuminated periodically by rings of crystals. It was indeed some kind of monstrous mechanical golem shaped vaguely like a crab. The crab reached Tristan and Koeglur some 25 feet from the doors above. It snapped out at them with huge mechanical pincers. They both turned to fight.

The crab had four large mechanical arms ending in pincer like claws. It had one large central eye set deep in a squat body. The party noticed that the claws did not seem designed for combat. They guessed that this thing must have been some kind of automaton that helped move cargo up and down the shaft and may have been pressed into some kind of guard duty in line with all of the other defenses and traps that had been turned on in this place.

Koeglur and Tristan battered the crab with their swords while Eiran punctured it with several arrows. However, the crab had heavy plate armor and withstood many blows. Rikhaal joined the others, attacking the crab with his new hammer. While the warriors beat on it, Alan stepped back into the shaft, floating around to the far side of the crab and used his staff of fire to spray it with flames. Three times he cooked the thing. The sounds of metal striking metal echoed in the enormous shaft. After several more hits, one of its pincers was severed, then a piece of armor flew off and finally the eye was smashed. The creature slowly descended, propelled downward from the force of the last blow. The crab, sparking and flickering with severed wires and twitching gears, slowly spiraled down the shaft leaving a trail of smoke behind it.

The party slowly followed, gracefully descending the shaft. Soon they could see the light of the glow rod that they had thrown down. They came to the bottom of the shaft. The dead mechanical crab was laying on the ground, still twitching and sparking. The circular floor was littered with bones, bits of smashed wood, rusty pieces of metal and other odds and ends, but nothing of value.

There was another pair of large metal doors like the set above. The doors were ancient, rusted and heavy but they were not locked and one of them was even ajar slightly, but not enough to see through.  Alan could not budge them. Tristan gave the door a shove and with a squeal of metal, the door swung open. Beyond the door were broad stone stairs leading down to a large open area. It looked like a huge semi-circular balcony with a stone railing around the edge. There were a table and chairs on the far side of the balcony near the railing. However, the party members were more concerned with something else… in the middle of this enormous balcony was monstrous creature. It looked like some kind of a humanoid bat with broad leathery wings. Gaunt pale flesh was stretched over a thin skeletal frame and its hideous face was bestial. Bones poked through rotting flesh. It seemed like some horrible hybrid of an undead zombie and a monstrous bat.

This bat like creature was bent over a humanoid body… an orc of some kind. The bat was feeding. The orc’s stomach was ripped open and this bat creature was feeding on the orc’s entrails. At the sound of the door being pushed open, the bat had looked up, with the blood from its meal dripping down its chin. The creature loud out a ear splitting screech and stood up on its hind legs, flaring its wings out in an aggressive display. The creature was large… at least 8 feet tall with a 15 foot wing span.

Rikhaal uttered a battle cry and charged with his hammer held high. Koeglur was quick to follow as was Tristan, followed by the rest. As they had with the crab, the warriors – Koeglur, Tristan and Rikhaal – fought the beast with melee weapons while Alan stood off to the side and blasted it with flames from his staff. Eiran stood some ways back and fired arrows over his comrades’ heads into the enemy. Rikhaal’s hammer glowed brightly as he slammed it into the beast again and again. The bat creature clawed him and bit him.

Eiran fired two of his black magical “seeker” arrows. They glanced off the creatures thick hide, but as was their design, they kept flying and came around for another pass. Twice the arrows struck, but glanced off the beast’s hide while the battle raged on. The third time, both arrows pierced the creatures back. The arrows were the killing stroke and the bat creature pitched forward and collapsed on top of the dead orc.

Alan and Tristan rolled the beast off to examine the orc. They had many questions about how an orc got down here into this place.

At this moment, the bat creature stirred. Before it could rise again, Tristan lopped its head clean off. They dragged the body away and Alan hosed it down with flames from his staff. He made sure it was charred.

However, no sooner had he turned away, the charred skeletal remains rose again, headless. Tristan and Rikhaal leapt up and began beating the thing to pieces. Clearly some powerful necromancy gave strength to this thing. This time they did not stop their assault until nothing remained by charred fragments of bone and ash. They stood over it with weapons at the ready for several minutes waiting for the ash to reassemble itself. Nothing.

Alan took a close look at the orc that the bat had been feeding on. This was no undead abomination. It was no golem. This orc was a fresh kill. Regardless of whether the bat thing was undead or not, this orc had recently been alive. This orc presented many questions… How did a living orc (or at least he was living recently) get down here in the mines? This place had been sealed for almost 2000 years. They had encountered nothing but golems and undead so far. But now, here, a recently deceased orc?

The party looked around them.  They walked over to the edge of the balcony, stood at the stone railing and peered over the edge. Only now that battle was over did they realize where they were. Before them was an unbelievable sight… it was a cavern, but the size of the cave was mind boggling. The party found themselves looking out over a vast expanse. The cavern seemed to be at least two miles across. The roof and sides of the caves were embedded with thousands of softly glowing crystals. It looked somewhat like a night sky, with glittering stars in a dark dome.

Looking down from this balcony, there was a vast world thousands of feet below. They could see a canopy of foliage stretching out from the base of the cliff to the far size of the cave. In the center of this immense forest was a glittering lake and in the lake near the far shore was a small island. This grand vista was spread out before them like a whole hidden world and this balcony offered a godlike view of the scene.

The entire cavern was bathed in soft light from the crystals overhead and it looked a bit like twilight. The heroes could make out small lights far below that look like they might be campfires or torches. The distance was too great to see any detail.

Once they got over their initial shock at the vista below, the party looked around the balcony. There was a large oaken table and a set of cushioned chairs. A skeletal body lay next to the table and another body was seated at the table, slumped forward with a crossbow bolt in his throat. The body at the table was fresh, like the orc, as if he had died just moments before. The party marveled at this. The body was wearing a ring which Alan determined was magical. Tristan surmised that perhaps the ring was what was keeping the body from decaying.

A leather bound book was lying on the ground, open and face down.

At the center of the stone railing, situated right at the edge of balcony, was an odd contraption. It was a mechanical device of some kind. It had a series of lenses set in mounts that could swivel. It had a number of odd knobs and levers. It was fashioned from brass and crystal, wood and iron. It included a cushioned seat in its design from which an occupant might easily reach all the levers and see through the lenses. It was clear from the design of the thing that various lenses could be swung in place by pulling various lenses and that they would serve as some kind of telescope for anyone seated in the chair.

Alan, of course, was fascinated by this device and was soon lost in studying its construction. One of the hinges controlling the mount of one of the lenses was damaged and preventing any of the lenses from moving. The damage was minor and he pulled out his tool kit and began to repair it. He could see where a power crystal would go to power the thing. Luckily, the party had several power crystals they had recovered from the dungeon floors above. He hoped that after fixing the hinge he could get it working again.

While he worked on the strange telescope, the rest of the party continued to look around. Tristan picked up the book and asked Raluvin, the servant automaton, to read the book to him. Raluvin began paging through it and reading passages. It was a personal journal of one of the officers of the Crystal Dominion. It told of the mundane day to day operations of the mine when it had been inhabited 2000 years ago. It became clear from the journal that some of the officers and wizards enjoyed coming here to this balcony to have meals and hold meetings and generally to look upon “their” realm. All of this while the hundreds of slaves toiled in the great cavern below beneath the whips of the slave masters.

Eiran wandered over to the side of the balcony and found several stone stairs leading down to a slightly lower ledge. On this ledge was a large vehicle. It looked like a sleigh… as what might be pulled through a snowy field by a horse. However, this sleigh was large and had enough sitting for 12 people. It has no reigns or tongue or any means to hitch it to a horse. Instead, the strange sleigh had four iron brackets similar to others that they had seen – the same size and shape as the curiously cut crystals that had encountered. It was obvious that this sleigh was enchanted and required four of those crystals to operate. The others gathered around and they guessed that this once powered by 4 crystals… that this sleigh could fly. (They’re right).

While Raluvin continued to read out loud from the journal, Tristan wandered over to the skeletal corpse lying on the ground. This corpse was very old… likely having lain here for 2000 years. It was dressed in moldering robes. Perhaps a wizard… Tristan noticed that the skeleton had something clutched in one hand. He pried the bony fingers loose and picked up the object. It was a heavy stone disk engraved with markings. He could not read the letters. They looked similar to the magical glyphs that they had been seeing elsewhere.

Tristan gave the stone disk to Alan who examined the runes. After probing its magical aura for a time, he deduced that this was a magical key of some kind.

Finally Alan completed his work. The party put one of the crystals that they had picked up (they had found and recovered several of these “power crystals” on the upper two floors). They dropped one into the bracket on the telescope device. It hummed to life.

Alan jumped eagerly into the seat and studied the controls. There were various markings written in Traxxian. He asked Raluvin over to translate for him. The servant golem pointed to one master lever that had four positions… the four positions were marked with the following words:

1. Far Sight
2. Light
3. View Magic
4. View Slave Collars

Other levers, it quickly became apparent, allowed one to reorient the entire contraption – seat, lenses and all. It could be turned left and right, tilted up and down and so forth. One lever controlled focus. Another controlled zoom and so on.

He put the master lever in position number 4 – view slave collars. One of the big lenses swung into position and he peered through it. He then used the other levers to pan left and right, up and down. Nothing seemed to happen. He could see through the lens, but it was like looking through normal glass.

He tried position three – View Magic. The lenses rearranged themselves in an intricate mechanical dance and settled down. Once the appropriate lens was in place, he could see several pinpoints of bluish light when he viewed the cavern below. Those pinpoints of light only appeared when viewed through the lens. There were a cluster of them coming from the island. And there were a few others scattered about, mostly coming from the edge of the lake.

The party discussed option 2… light. They assumed that this might project a beam of light. Perhaps not, but better not to risk it. So, Alan instead put the lever in position #1 – Far Sight. Again the lenses changed positions and suddenly he could see a magnified view of the scene below. Like a telescope, only magically enhanced. With this lens configuration, he could make out much more detail below.

On the island below there was a castle and it looked lived in. He could see lights in the windows. On the shore of the  lake he could see that the lights were actually a small village. He could make out perhaps 50 small huts and other buildings. The village was definitely lived in. He could see lights and several humanoid shapes moving about the buildings.

A few small boats were tied up on the shore and two boats were out on the lake.

There was a set of stairs leading down from the balcony where the party was. These stairs were carved from the stone in the side of this enormous cavern. The stairs went down for thousands of feet, hugging the wall of the cavern. The stairs transformed into a road only to become stairs again, then road, then ramp and so on. This meandering road made its way down to the cavern floor below.  The road ended at a pair of gate towers, one on the cavern wall and one on a tall hill set a few hundred feet from the cavern wall. It was clear that a stone bridge had once connected them, but it had collapses long ago leaving only broken pillars and piles of rock. The two stone towers stared at each other across a great chasm of open air between them.

From the stone tower on the hill, there was a winding road which made its way down to the village on the shores of the lake. So, it seemed that it had once been possible to walk from this high balcony all the way down to the village - a walk of more than a mile and a descent of more than 2000 feet. But now the path was broken in several places with gaps in the road and a missing bridge near the end.

All of this the party could see clearly with the lens array greatly magnifying their sight.

As the party watched they could see a small group of humanoids making their way up the road toward the stone tower on the hill. They soon emerged at the base of the tower where the bridge had once connected. They could just make out that the group was composed of orcs or goblins. They had a captive or prisoner of some kind. It seemed to be a human, an older man, though it was difficult to tell. They goblins took the human and tied his arms spread wide to two wooden posts. They then retreated into the stone tower.

The party watched and waited. Soon, they saw a winged form gliding down toward the stone tower. It was a bat like creature, identical to the one they had just killed here on the balcony. The terrified prisoner struggled against his bonds, but it was no use. The great bat thing cut the ropes and carried the struggling victim aloft. It flew with him in its talons rising higher and higher in the air. Alan worked the levers to track the flight of the monster, turning and tilting the machine to keep the lenses on the bat. They followed him as he flew up to the ceiling of the great cavern. In the ceiling, the bat found a small nook in the rocks where it settled and began to devour the human.

Alan and the party, horrified, saw that the bat was not alone. Near the feeding bat was another one, hanging silently from the cavern roof. Then a third. And a fourth. Alan panned around and they counted 15 of the creatures. There may have been more, but it was difficult to see.

The party gathered around the table and discussed everything they had witnessed. This discovery changed things. This was no empty mine. This vast cavern held an entire ecosystem, perhaps a whole civilization. Were these the descendents of the slaves? Had someone else come into the mines through another entrance? There were many questions.

The Swordtongue guild had sent them here to clear out the traps from an ancient dungeon and mine, but no one had imagined anything like this. The mine was much larger than they had anticipated and, more importantly, there was someone already here.

The heroes needed information, but they felt that they also needed to communicate with the guild and tell them of this discovery.

And this is where we ended session 21. The heroes are seated at the table on this stone balcony overlooking the great cavern. They are discussing what to do next.