“Moonwatch” – Seventh Adventure night (Day 6, part 2 of 2).

Genive checks the door leading out of the Cistern Room.  As the Party’s only Rogue, she is qualified to find and disarm traps.  She makes a remarkable Search check, and finds no traps.  The door is unlocked, and swings inward.  Its edges are lined with padding; when closed and locking handles are engaged, the door would form a watertight seal.  If there was a considerable column of floodwater in the Cistern Chamber, the static pressure would hold the door closed against accidental entry.  On the outside of the door, and official-looking sign warns of potential flooding hazard.

The door opens to a hallway, also as dead quiet and inky-black as the Cistern Room.  Genive advances slowly, noting a key on a keyring beside the door on the hallway side of the portal.  It fits the locking vermin-proof outflow gate.  Lester pockets this key as a precaution.

The Spymaster takes point, far enough ahead of the light radius to stay just this side of perfect dark.  She is Moving Silently and braced for what may lie ahead.  A stone’s throw behind her, the Party shuffles and clanks along, some members far less stealthy than others.

There is an intersection of hallways; left, right, and straight ahead seem no different than each other.  They are equally still and dark.  Genive knows there is a Storage Room straight ahead.  The Heroes are halfway across the intersection when their hearts stop at a guttural roar that rips apart the silence from their right, followed by the sound of thunderous, heavy footfalls.

Weapons are flashed and the tired Party prepares for anything to come.  Lester throws his Light stick down the hallway, hoping to see what comes their way.  Unfortunately, the Light stick shows him what comes their way.

It is a Minotaur; Large, angry, and carrying an oversized Great-Axe.  The creature bears down on Kartug, attempting to gore him with a charge.  But the Half-Orc is nimble and well-armored and the attack doesn’t succeed.

The Minotaur occupies a ten-foot square and hunches slightly under the ten-foot hallway ceiling; it is quickly faced with a wall of Heroes quick to attack it.  They wear down the Minotaur in a lopsided four-on-one.  Godfrey is unofficially initiated to the Party when he takes a heavy hit from the bullish beast’s axe.  Kartug, Wobberts, and Arxius Cole assist in melee, and Genive sends arrows.

Then, out of nowhere, five Dwarfs appear from Invisibility and attack the battle line from behind.  Lester’s eye is sharp and he knows what they are before anyone else does.  Hanging back, the Halfling Summoner observes his allies in combat with these newcomers.  When Lester steps to an optimum position and casts an Acid Breath spell, several of the Dwarfs in the affected area succeed on a Reflex Save and take no damage.  Now Lester has an even better idea what they are.

The fight lasts a mere half-minute, and then the silence returns.  The Rogues were only half the level of any Hero of the party, and the Minotaur was the subject of some pretty intense efforts to kill him.  The Party is only very lightly wounded – Godfrey’s axe wound actually the only damage sustained.

The Heroes search the bodies and find mundane goods, though Genive takes a brief interest in the Rogues’ +2 Leather Scale of Silent Moves armor.  The Minotaur’s giant Axe will be left behind.  There would be no practical way to carry it.

The Dungeon Delver confirms what Lester already knew.  These dwarves are Duergar; reclusive, territorial, evil distant-cousins of common Dwarves such as those of Khör. The Delver spits on the corpses of the Duergar, angered to see an old racial foe here.  Dwarves have a deep hatred for Duergar, a mutual feeling between those races.

The Heroes want to move along; their intention is now to search out the 5th underground level of the Moonwatch fortress, and sweep it of enemies.  Their intended target will be the base master-keys, either the one in the base commander’s officer one floor up, or the chief medical officer’s key in the medical ward on the first underground level.

The doors to the Storage Room ahead, are open.  The Heroes enter cautiously, and discover a dark, cavernous warehouse.  Rows of crates and barrels stretch off into the abyss; eerie shadows are cast as Godfrey and Lester’s individual Light sources cast conflicting shadows.

Some containers at this end of the rows have been broken into, and part of their contents scattered by the previous searcher’s haste.  The goods stored here are universally mundane.  It is the kind of equipment one might store in the very back of a closet or crawlspace, knowing it will seldom ever be needed for immediate use – iron nails, horseshoes, door hinges and screws, wood planks, spools of rope.

To the right of where the Heroes entered the room is another door.  They exit this way, and notice to the left at the next intersection, that there are two large iron security doors, closing off that hallway.  The map shows that there should be a stairwell up to the next level, right here.  It is apparent that the security doors mentioned by Specialist Renn have been closed throughout the base.  The Heroes are on the accessible side of these particular doors; anyone on the other side would find themselves locked out of the floor at the base of a stairwell.

Continuing to the next Storage Room, the Heroes discover that the doors to this room have been smashed down.  Kartug Igmutin is smart and investigates the direction of force.  He learns that the doors have been smashed outward, from inside the room.

Cautious, the Party enters this vast, dark Storage Room.  There are many rows of shelves and crates, as in the previous room, but here the Heroes detect a strange smell in the air.  Where before in the other room there had been a musty smell of dry wood and dust, in this second storage room there was another smell, stronger, over top of these other hallmarks of still air and years of disuse.  Something both earthy and slightly foul.

As the Party fans out to search the room, there is a sudden flurry of movement !  Five Fighters, all in half-plate armor and shield and Dwarven war-axes, charge out of the shadows, with a sixth armored Duergar at the rear of their ranks.

Wobberts, Arxius Cole, Genive, Lester, Champion Godfrey Kent, and Kartug Igmutin brace for their third combat session of the waking day.  It is now midnight; Day Seven has begun.

The adventure ends here for the night.




About d20horizons

D&D player.
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