Well, where to begin with this week? We had it all: suspense, tactics, foreshadowing and a fiercely fought set-piece finale before one last cliff-hanger. There may have been some thievery too.
Straight from defeating the living colour spray spell, our intrepid adventurers sent their freelance locksmith to scout ahead. He soon came back, yelling his head off about fire and metal hydras, and they all took cover quickly, expecting a veritable apocalypse. Rather embarrassingly, nothing happened. Sneaking back the way he’d just come, they discovered that he had been fooled by images being projected in what could best be described as a security scrying room. Essentially walking inside a giant crystal ball, images of a devastated laboratory were shown to the adventurers in frighteningly vivid detail. They noticed that the scene shared many design features of the abandoned forge that they had discovered beneath Sharn’s towers, confirming that they had come to the right place. The most distinctive features on display were two enormous flames sweeping around the laboratory, and the scorched image of a hydra-like construct in a pool of molten glass.
This latter image brought back memories of the devastation encountered at Rose Quarry, and led to some debate as they continued to explore the ruins. As much of this debate took place in whispered chat text that I couldn’t see, I can only assume that there was worry about how to defeat the construct. It’s not that my players are suspicious, but they do seem to have a mortal fear of giving me ideas with which to beat them.
Eventually they found another rotating room and noticed that they only had a couple of the relevant key colours. One of them had been found with the body of the captain of the guard last week, so they tried that first. Nothing seemed to happen, so they took it out and then plugged in the other key – triggering the trap that they had just disarmed and then re-armed by removing the first key. The room rotated so that the single exit was below the party. While most were able to scramble to safety, Quilynn (the halfling cleric) and Keil (the shifter druid) were not so lucky. They fell thirty foot into a water-filled well. While Keill was able to swim, Quilynn promptly began drowning. Fortunately the party reacted quickly and was able to rescue them both before it was too late.
Some quick experimentation later, the correct combination was in use and the party found itself making its way down a very long sloping corridor. Any worries that their waterlogged companions might suffer from a chill from their unexpected dip were soon assuaged by the rising temperature as they reached the bottom. A scorched door, positively radiating heat lay before them, and they prepared for an epic fight. Bursting through, they found the laboratory that they had previously seen in the scrying room, and the two large fire elementals roaming loose in there rushed to attack.
Part of their preparations had been to use a protective scroll found earlier in their explorations – a scroll of resist energy – on Koff. Equipped with a magical longsword claimed from one of the warforged warriors who had attacked them in Sharn, he stepped forward to meet the first one head on. The scroll soon proved its effectiveness, absorbing the bulk of the furious elemental’s fiery attacks.
Kurtis the thief, meanwhile, was not so fortunate. He’d spotted a crystalline chest near the hydra construct, and reasoned that the schema they’d been sent to retrieve would be in it. Hoping that the elementals would be distracted by Koff and the rest of the party, he tried to sneak towards it, but was detected by the second elemental. He was forced to beat a hasty retreat, severely burned by his attacker.
Between Ruin’s careful use of cold-based spells and Koff’s magical resistance to fire, the elementals were eventually dispatched, with Keil landing the killing blow in each case – some say he was just trying to dry off rather than show off. A few moment’s recuperation and some attention to the chest by Kurtis later and they had secured two copies of the schema, some potions and a mysterious disc with slots for four schemas.
Feeling more secure, but aware that they were running low on supplies and spells, the group finished checking out the areas they could gain access to. Another rogue living spell – in this case a living burning sphere spell – was despatched with a single well-timed blow by Koff, and the way was clear to ransack the supply stores uncovered with another keycharm. Some select items of furniture were also seized by the party, seeing as they had a man with a cart waiting outside.
Spirits buoyed by success, they made for the exit and continued through the mine towards the entrance – only to be met by Emerald Claw soldiers and their undead allies. The sibilant voice of the vampire, one Brother Garrow of the Blood of Vol gave them a choice – surrender the third schema or die and be raised to serve for eternity. It probably comes as no surprise to hear that the adventurers opted to fight their way out…
To be continued…