Sunday’s game was a little earlier than usual and had its fair share of technical issues, but we managed to get a good session going. We picked up where we left off – in the middle of the pitched battle, and Caeluma was able to damage the large eye construct in the middle of the courtyard. This had the effect of disrupting the anti-magic field so that Arwan was able to get to Kerne to heal them. The last of the dolgrims and dolgaunts were swiftly picked off, and quiet was restored to the Hold’s entrance.
A quick scout around revealed barracks, stables, dog kennels, and an armoury in disarray with signs of past violence and the armoury in particular having been picked clean to equip the dolgrims. A further set of large doors leading into the mountain were quietly eased open to reveal the way forward. Caeluma caught a brief sight of a small floating creature that the group nicknamed “the angry artichoke” as it passed the end of the corridor some way away, but it didn’t spot them, so they felt safe enough to approach and try to get the lay of the land.
Thorin recalled enough of the layout to indicate the direction of the throne room, library, forge, and main living areas so they could all get their bearings – and they were able to hear indistinct voices nearby. Caeluma summoned Shriken to invisibly scout a little further and found the throne room had three occupants. An ashen-skinned dwarfish figure was in a conversation with a dolgaunt and a tall thin figure with a squidlike head that seemed to be in charge. Their language couldn’t be understood by either Caeluma or Shriken, so Valenia moved forward, also invisibly and was able to understand the Undercommon that they were using.
There were three main strands that Valenia overheard before the “angry artichoke” was seen returning:
The dwarf was being told that Karkanna needed to be found and brought back under control. The dwarf was demanding to know where “The Axe” was – and was told by the mindflayer that it was still with the heir and the assassins had failed. The dolgaunt was ordered to go round up more prisoners so that they could be converted, and the mindflayer said it would confirm progress with the Watcher so they could complete the deal with Winter.
Shriken and Valenia retreated back to the corridor as the “angry artichoke” – a gazer – sped back – and all would be well if not for one mistake. Valenia called out to the rest of the party to let them know they were back, and the gazer heard them, spun round and saw the rest of the group. It yelled out in alarm and the sound of running feet could be heard.
This is where it all got a bit messy.
Everyone moved around the staggered hallway junctions to get clear lines of fire, and Arwan felled the gazer before it could flee. Valenia created a spike growth area covering an area of the court and the corridor outside to act as a chokepoint – and a number of dolgrims that burst out of a nearby door were badly injured as they ran through it. The dolgaunt was able to grapple Caeluma with its tentacles, while Kerne missed the dolgrims with her spell. The duergar psionicist turned invisible and attempted to poison Thorin – but was unable to find a weak spot in his armour, while the mindflayer floated out another entrance and threw a lightning bolt spell at Arwan as it beat a retreat.
The group cut down the majority of the dolgrims and slew the dolgaunt, but not before another mindflayer appeared behind the dolgrims and stunned Kerne and Caeluma with a mindblast. The mindblast had the unexpected benefit for the party of slaying the last of the dolgrims, but then a section of the south wall of the throne room was destroyed and the first mindflayer appeared, flanking the bulk of an enraged beholder – The Watcher
And that’s where we left the bloodied and battered group in a state of disbelief and terror and will pick up from next week.
All posted images are from Wizards of the Coast 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons and are their copyright.