The adventurers found what they believed to be the magical cipher for decrypting the carvings on the mysterious ziggurats and were faced with a choice – to see what was written down, or continue upwards to find the Emerald Claw. Reasoning that the pyramids weren’t going anywhere, they chose to ascend, using a spiral staircase that was again split between giant and ordinary sized steps. It led to a plain chamber with a single entrance, and Kurtis quickly determined that there were people moving around on the other side of the door.
With practised ease, they broke through the door and fell upon the Emerald Claw troops stationed there. Even with the support of their leader, an Ogre Fighter, they were no real match, and the battle was soon over (helped by some truly awful dice rolls by the GM). A rough and ready voice could be heard calling for help from beyond a nearby door, and after after a nervous moment where a glyph of warding on the door nearly pulped Ruin and Kurtis, it was opened to reveal a prisoner.
Yeeves had been a pest controller at the University of Morgrave, pressed into service as muscle for an expedition to this area that unfortunately ran afoul of the Emerald Claw expeditionary force soon after arriving. As a warforged, Yeeves was of interest to the representative of the Lord of Blades accompanying the expedition – and so had been taken prisoner with the hope of converting him to the Warforged extremists’ cause.
He preferred the look of the adventurers, battered as they were, and threw his lot in with them – his equipment had been carefully stowed nearby in anticipation of his conversion, so he was ready to fight straight away. This was just as well as giant spiders from a seemingly abandoned level above had come down some nearby web-strewn stairs to investigate all the noise and vibration. Swiftly despatched, the party confidently continued to look for the rest of the expedition and found a passageway leading to what looked like an open air area.
They chose instead to methodically check each of the rooms before them, and found a large mosaic-floored room. Before they could examine the mosaic though, six more giant skeletons moved to attack from neighbouring rooms. Kurtis, who had been scouting, was able to move out of the way and they made a stand at the doorway to the room.
Giant skeletons have got an enormous reach with their weapons – about fifteen foot – so even with the relatively narrow space in the door, several of them were able to strike through at the party simultaneously – and Yeeves was nearly killed before the adventurers really got to know him.
What followed was an epic grind of a fight, with summoned creatures and elementals used as shields to allow the adventurers to chip away at these fearsome enemies. Several one-shot summoning items were used to produce large and medium sized earth elementals that could overcome the skeletons’ innate damage resistance, and pretty much every spell at their disposal was used up.
They won, of course, but everyone was very very focused on the battle. The banter and jollity faded as they assessed and realised just how formidable a set of opponents these were – especially as they recalled the difficulty they had with the giant skeletons down on the first level of the temple.
We ended the session with the end of the battle, and now some serious decisions will need to be made about how to proceed. The leaders of the Emerald Claw are no doubt nearby, and with the amount of noise they’ve been making they have almost certainly lost the element of surprise. The party is battered and low on resources, but so are their enemies. This could be a brutal end fight next week…