Author Topic: Session 52 – Battle at the Shrine Gate  (Read 3189 times)

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Session 52 – Battle at the Shrine Gate
« on: January 02, 2007, 10:21:53 PM »
Session 52 – Battle at the Shrine Gate

The party was resting in the former lair of Aracles, a well fortified building in the underground city. Rothgar, Belizar (the spirit that was merged with him, a voice in his head) and Tyron Orbus, the recently freed mage, were working together to translate the magical research that they had found in Aracles’ office.

After several hours, the party finished up and prepared to depart. The freed slaves (the skrell and human warriors who had formerly been slaves of Lord Varull, the sarthak) were told to stay. The party thought it would be better for them to stay because they would be safe in the well fortified building. And the party could move more quickly and quietly on their own.

The party left the keep and headed back out on the main road toward the east residential chamber. The party passed through the rest of the city. They eventually came to the edge of the city and the far wall of the cavern. They came to an immense tunnel in the wall, some 60 feet tall and 40 feet wide. The road continued on into the tunnel.

The tunnel went for a quarter mile and then opened up into the south residential chamber. The chamber was enormous. It was a quarter mile long, some 600 feet wide and almost 300 feet tall. The side walls were composed of five levels of balconies. The floor of this huge chamber was an underground park setting. It had grassy hills, trees, bushes, fountains, statues and winding cobblestone pathways. The ceiling, rather than being a stony surface lost in shadow, was blanketed in an illusion. The party gazed upward at a nighttime sky. Moonlight clouds drifted by and stars could be seen beyond. Ugita, in Holrumna’s armor, switched his visor to True Sight mode and gazed up. He saw only darkness. The clouds, moon and stars were merely an illusion. The party assumed that the ceiling must have night and day cycles and that was what provided light for the plants in this self-contained ecosystem.

The party ventured into the garden, following one of the winding paths. They could hear the chirping of insects, the sounds of a forest, as they walked.

About half way through the gardens, they came across a huge circle of blackened and charred grass. A crater was at the center. The party avoided this area, keeping outside the blast radius.

Further on, they came upon some strange plant life. One tree looked like an oak that had been twisted and warped as if by some foul magic. Another tree seemed to shimmer, until the party approached closer and realized that it was hundreds of blinking eyes reflecting the light from their Continual Light stones. The tree had clusters of human looking eyes, bunched like some morbid fruit. The eyes blinked and watched the party as they walked by. The leaves of this strange tree shook and rattled like a rattlesnake’s tail. The party moved on quickly.

Still further on, the party saw ahead what looked like a Deathmauler tree. They had encountered one in the Desolation, on their first day in the Desolation. It had been a deathmauler tree that had eaten Kaelig, their guide, almost as soon as they had set foot in the Desolation. That Deathmauler tree had walked on its roots and moved toward the party with purpose. This one, however, seemed to be rooted and gently swaying. It made no aggressive moves. Still, the party gave it a wide berth.

At last the party reached the far side of the huge chamber. They came to the edge of the trees and grass and saw a broad expanse of cobblestone stretched from the grass to the far wall, some fifty feet.

The party expected to see a blank expanse of stone bricks in the huge wall which somewhere hid a secret door. However, a blank wall is not what they found.

A set of huge double doors was dead center in the wall. The doors were 40 feet tall and 20 feet wide. They were made of some type of dark grey metal and covered in intricate etchings which depicted battles, cities, armies and dozens of different animals. At the center of the etchings, spread across both doors, was a huge glyph – it was the symbol of the Jaidor Talisman. The same symbol that the players had on the map which they had followed across the world. The same symbol that the players had seen in the ancient texts they looked up in the Citadel far away. This was the symbol that had led them on this quest, taunted them with its mysterious marking on their map for so many thousand leagues. And now, at the end of the world., here they find it, on a set of gargantuan doors.

On the left door, at chest height, was a large locking mechanism with four keyholes. A very complex lock, it seemed.

Ugita did not trust the doors and urged the party to search the wall for a secret door elsewhere. The party cast Continual light on a few more coins and set them up to cast more light. They then set to the task of searching every brick in the wall for this secret door.

After an hour, they were getting frustrated. They expanded their search. The party decided that the sarthak must have placed these doors here during the time when they rebuilt the maze and began worship the “flesh god” within.

Ugita, scanning with his armor’s “True Sight” mode, looked up and saw something invisible. Hanging suspended above the ground in front of the huge double doors were four enormous glass spheres. Each was 12 feet in diameter and hanging by a large iron chain about 50 feet above the ground. They were filled with something pink – a pinkish liquid of some kind. Obviously, these were part of a trap. Probably they would drop and crash to the ground spilling the liquid if the lock was tampered with. Ugita noticed that there were four keyholes on the lock and four glass spheres above. One each.

Tyron Orbus hit the main gate with a disintegration spell. This spell’s ray hit the metal of the door and caused a large flat irregular area to glow white hot. The spell disintegrated about 3 inches of the gate in a large area, but failed to punch through it.

The heat and vibration of the spell set off one of the lock traps. The third of the four spells came crashing to the ground, instantly become visible upon impact. It exploded in a shower of thousands of glass shards. The pinkish gas within hit the floor and flooded out, spilling and spreading out on to the floor. The party watched as it spilled over the edge of the park, killing weeds, grass, bushes and trees. It seemed this gas disintegrated organic matter.

Attracted by the noise and light, several creatures came crashing through the forest toward the party. These strange creatures were quadraped and moved a bit like dogs, but had a bony exoskeleton, somewhat like a crab. The creatures had no eyes or other sensory organs. They had markings scrawled on their shells, like some sort of runic glyph symbology… Belizar recognized them as sarthak magical glyphs.

The party fought them. It was a tough battle because at several points, one of these creatures would bite through armor, lock its jaw on its target and then begin siphoning off life energy from the victim. In so doing, the creatures themselves would heal even as they stole life from the target.

Callister, who offends the Gods on a regular basis, founding himself facing THREE of the creatures. Had it not been for his Ring of Free Action(which prevented the creatures from locking on) he most certainly would have died.

Belizar could sense the same random scrambled morphian emanations from these creatures which Raj had sensed from several of the other creatures down here. Obviously, these shelled crab-like canines were either spawn of the flesh god in the Shrine or perhaps mutations created by Aracles experiments. In any case, these place seemed to be filled with strange abominations and pervasions of life and here was yet another example.

The party did managed to defeat these creatures but it took every ounce of strength, courage and spellcraft at their disposal.

And we ended Session 52. The party has just defeated these creatures. They are now wiping off their blades, resting, healing, etc. Standard post battle business. The party is standing before the great double doors which lead to the Talisman Shrine. They expect to find a maze of traps between them and the Shrine. Ugita and Tyron Orbus are, even now, retooling their spell lists to deal with a maze of traps.

[Editor's Note: This next note was written by me during the campaign back in 2004]. We are now up to real time. We played this session only a few days ago. From here on out, I’ll update each session immediately after we play. I expect there to be only 3 more sessions before the end of this campaign. Honestly, I’m relieved. I’m looking forward to the end of this campaign. We started this campaign in 1999. We took a year off, so we’ve actually been playing this campaign for 4 years. I’ve decided four years is too long. The next campaign I run (assuming I don’t retire after this one) will be less than 20 sessions and less than a year.