Author Topic: Session 49 – The Underground City  (Read 2992 times)

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Session 49 – The Underground City
« on: January 02, 2007, 10:15:19 PM »
Session 49 – The Underground City

The party was standing at the top of the great central column, a massive column of stone some 200 feet tall and 40 feet in diameter which connected the ceiling and the floor of this huge underground cavern. Spread out across the floor of the cavern was the ruins of the city of Morgoth.

The party, following Ugita’s “Find the Path” spell, followed the balcony around to the other side and found a pair of locked iron doors. Ugita told Grimnoth to remove the door and set it aside. Grimnoth did as he was told, and set the door on the balcony railng, but the door slipped off and hurled down into darkness. It clanged loudly a couple of times as it struck the side of the column and with a crash, came to rest on the floor far below.

The party then went through the door, into the central column and found a large spiral staircase at its center. They began winding their way down the spiral staircase, ignoring all doors and landings, simply focusing on getting to the bottom as quickly as possible. They descended down the vertical shaft quietly.

It was completely dark in here, so Martin held up the party’s Light Stone and they also cast a “Daylight” spell on Grimnoth. With these two light sources, they could see the stair case spiral away beneath them into darkness. A cool breeze was coming up the shaft toward them.

They soon heard a scuttling sound and a number of large spider-like creatures could be seen coming up the walls of the shaft and up the stairs. The party soon heard other spiders coming from above. As the creatures came into the light, the party could see that they would some grotesque parody of a spider – each was a central spherical body with six equally spaced legs. No eyes and mouth were visible. Sprouting from the body of the creature was a long segmented tentacle with a large stinger. The spiders quickly advanced and attacked.

Callister took his new toy, the six buttoned device, which he had named “Mabel” and activated its “flamethrower” function, hosing down two of the spiders as they ascended.

Rothgar threw a shredder grenade at a group of four that were coming down the stairs from above. It took out a spider and wounded others, but then began to roll down the stairs into the party. It plowed into Grubal and Raj, the morphian, wounding both.

Grubal was light and got hooked on several chains and the device was whirling him about, slamming him into the stone wall. Rothgar took and arrow and shot the hook free from Grubal’s flesh. This was a remarkable archery shot considering the small target and its erratic movement. Grubal landed on the edge of the stairs with many wounds and hung on for dear life, bleeding and squealing.

While the others valiantly fought spiders that were coming at them in all directions, Rothgar, attempting to correct the miscalculation of the shredder grenade, rushed through the combat and dive directly onto the whirling ball of chains. He then struck at it to push it off the edge and down into the shaft. He was successful, but he was wounded in the process.

While the party fought the spiders, a new enemy appeared. A strange looking slug-like creature with a star fish shaped head radiating out from around a central toothy maw slithered down the wall and began vomiting globs of green ichor into the party. Both Rothgar and Callister were hit. Callister was the closest and ending up taking the creature one on one. He clanged his magic storm blades together and the twin swords erupted in a funnel of wind and lightning that shot out and struck the beast full on. Even though he swept the funnel cloud up and down the body of the creature, the slug thing held fast to the wall. The lightning burned it in several places though. The creature opened its maw and

Ugita used two “Horrid Wilting” spells to good effect. The first on the spiders and the second on the slug.

The green ichor that had struck Rothgar and had completely drenched Callister began to eat through their clothes and armor. The armor bubbles and smoked as the acid began to work. They also noticed that this green ichor began to move on its own, flowing over their armor, feeling into every joint, looking for weak points. Pieces of their equipment, backpacks and pouches and such, began to drop off them as the acid destroyed them.

Raj, the morphian, was again immobilized by these strange semi-morphian monstrosities.

Martin and Teela hammered away with steel and arrows and took out a few of the spiders.

The spiders stingers had a powerful toxin and both Rothgar and Ugida were stung. A strange warmth and weakness began to flow through their flesh.

Ugida cast a miracle spell and purged the entire party of these poisons. The spell also granted them immunity to this poison.

Rothgar finished off the acid slug with five arrows.

The party healed up and collected themselves.

They then continued down the stairs. At the bottom of the stairway, they found what had happened to the shredder grenade that Rothgar had pushed off the staircase high above. They found bits and pieces of a much larger spider creature down here, perhaps 4 times larger than the others. Severed legs and tattered remnants of its body lay at the base of the spiral staircase. The shredder grenade had hit this spider dead on.

Retrieving the shredder grenade, the party came upon a pair of double doors. Grimnoth forced them open and the party stepped out in the great cavern. It was quiet and cool. Grimnoth was still glowing brightly from his Daylight spell and they could see buildings all around them.

They noticed the door which Grimnoth had dropped over the side of the towering column. It was vertical, one point stuck deep in the dirt. Then the party noticed a humanoid figure hiding behind the door, peering out at them.

Ugita yelled out a greeting to the man in several languages, but the man quickly turned and ran. Rothgar fired an arrow and struck the man in the leg, causing him to stumble.

The party advanced on the man’s position intent on questioning him. Off to the left, they noticed two other people – a human and an ogre who came jogging up. They halted about 40 yards away, swords drawn and concerned looks on the faces. Ugita called out to them as well, but they did not respond and quietly spoke to each other. The ogre then turned to glare at the party while his companion ran off between two buildings.

Seeing that the ogre was not responding and simply watching them, the party turned their attention to the wounded man on the ground before them. Ugita tried several languages but got no response. He then pulled out the arrow, healed the man’s wound and helped him to his feet.

“Who are you?” said the man in Rukemian. Ugita was surprised that this man, in a cavern beneath a wasteland on the continent of Aggradar, would speak an Ithrian language.

“I am Ugita”

“Where did you come from?

“We come from the surface, from the city of Shidar.”

“From the ruins above?”

“Yes. We have traveled for to find Shidar and to reach the dungeons beneath it.”

“No. No! You must not be here. My master will never allow you to be here”

“Who is your master?”

“My master is Lord Varull”. Seeing no hint of comprehension from the players, the man explained… “He is Sarthak… the Lords and Masters of the Underworld. This place is holy to them. You must not desecrate this place”.

As Ugita and this man argued, others came into view. There were humans and orcs and ogres and other races that were not so easily identified. They came down streets and poked there heads out of allows. There were a dozen or so.

Finally, a crowd clustered around a central figure rounded the corner of a building and came into view. The central figure was obviously the leader. He was an obese creature, with a tremendous belly and spindly arms and legs. A bulbous brain case gave his head an awkward appearance. His pale grey skin glistened moistly. He was wearing a mix of robes and an ornate chest plate. He leaned heavily on an ornate oaken staff. He wore jeweled rings, bracelets and necklaces. He sat on an iron and marble throne attached to an ornate litter. The entire thing, throne and all, hovered two feet off the ground. This fat creature, sitting on his floating throne, slowly drifted toward the party. His expression was a mix of amusement and contempt. The crowd of warriors around him followed slavishly. Some, heavily armed and armored, were obviously bodyguards and hovered protectively near their master.

The warrior with whom Ugita had been speaking, stepped aside and with a flourish, introduced Lord Varull of the Sarthak race. This was his master.

Lord Varull and Ugita then became embroiled in an argument about the presence of the party on “holy Sarthak territory”. Clearly, this place had been claimed by the Sarthak, the dominant underground race as a holy land. And the party was bewildered by this.

Ugita tried to explain about the presence of the Talisman in an ancient hiding spot down in this ruined city. And that a great army, led by an evil demonic priest, was coming for it.

Lord Varull explained that the Talisman was not hidden or lost. The Talisman was at the heart of the Ikroth, the Sarthak Flesh God. They knew of the morphians and their great quest centuries ago. And Aracles “accomplishment” with the Talisman.

Based on what Raj and Hezra had told the party, and combined with what Lord Varull was telling them, it quickly became apparent to Ugita and the others what had happened. It seemed that Aracles, the morphian leader who had brought the Talisman to this cavern so long ago, had began to study the Talisman and learn about it. He had become obsessed with the thing and had tampered with its great energies. He grew drunk with power and experimented endlessly on his fellow morphians. But being no great sorcerer himself, he unleashed horrors that he could never have foreseen. Somehow, the magic of the Talisman had gone awry and merged all the morphians into one great horrible amorphous entity. Undoubtedly an experiment of his that had gone horrible wrong. In any case, it did not matter anymore. Through the power of the Talisman, the morphains merged and became a bloated, insane thing that dwelled in the Shrine of the Talisman, at the center of the maze of traps that they had build to protect the Talisman for all eternity.

Lord Varull told the party, quite proudly, of how the sarthak had found this place, had defeated the traps of the maze and had found the Shrine. Inside, they found this “perfect life form”. This monstrosity was, to the sarthak who worship magic and life, the perfect ultimate expression of life. Rather than fear it, they venerated it. And because of the Sarthak’s great mental powers, they were able to communicate with it. This place became a holy place for the Sarthak and from time to time, sarthak lords would make pilgrimages here. The sarthak, had rebuilt the maze of traps as it had been. A piece of the “Flesh God” was taken to each of the major sarthak cities to be worshiped there. But the main bulk of the creature was still here in the Shrine of the Talisman, where the Sarthak left it undisturbed, where they could worship it. And inside this creature, at the very heart of this monstrosity, suspended amidst the oozing gelatinous body, was the Talisman.

Lord Varull, growing weary of the conversation, suddenly saw Grimnoth. Like all sarthak, he was fascinated with necromancy and artificial constructs. Grimnoth looked like a fascinating specimen. So, he declared that before he allowed the party to depart this holy land, they must hand over all of the magic items and the Grimnoth creature.

We ended this session with a dramatic standoff. The party, having had quite enough of this sarthak’s lord condescending attitude, decided they would fight.

The archers on the roof, drew their arrows. Rothgar strung his bow. Ugita tried desperately for a diplomatic resolution. However, Lord Varull would have none of it. He demanded that they hand over Grimnoth… now!