“Moonwatch” – Eighth Adventure night (Day 7, part 1 of 3).

Of the many ways to enter a new day, Lester would rank “sleep” at the top and “unexpected combat” at the bottom of the list.

Shy past the stroke of midnight the Heroes find themselves faced with five Duergar Fighters and what looks to be a Cleric.  The enemies have sprung from the shadows of the storage room warehouse, and it is Genive, Lester, Jaques, and the Dread Pirate Wobberts who will fight them.

The Duergar Fighters move to close the gap, reaching melee range only with Wobberts, and attacking unsuccessfully.  Lester drops back and issues a Summon, which will be answered in a few seconds.  Jaques recognizes the wisdom of spell-conservation.  He positions himself to hit the Duergar with a single spell as they unwittingly form a straight line with their battlefront.  Genive recognizes the wisdom of arrows, and lets fly.

All of the Duergar Fighters employ their spell-like ability to Enlarge themselves to a more threatening size.  Lester’s Summons arrive; four Dire Wolves heed his call and appear.  Two Dire Wolves flank the Cleric, who has just hit both Jaques and Lester with a Moon Bolt and drained them each for 3 points of Strength.  The other two Dire Wolves appear behind the Fighters and attract their attention.

Jaques converts a Chain Lightning to Acid and hits one of the middle Fighters, sending a terrific bolt of acid-energy along their line.  Only one Fighter makes the Reflex Save to take half-damage.  Lester casts another Summon.  Wobberts bobs and weaves in combat, tagging his opponent for significant damage with expert thrusts.

The Duergar Cleric sees the danger of his position between two hulking Dire Wolves, and elegantly manages to elude them by employing the other innate spell of his race, Invisibility.  Unseen he can hurry away from them without provoking an attack, though the Dire Wolves possess formidable skill at Tracking by scent.  His escape will not be for long.

Lester’s Summoned Badgers appear, to flank the Duergar Fighters already engaged with Dire Wolves.  The Badgers are not especially dangerous but serve to keep the Fighters off their guard.

The Cleric is tracked to his new position by the Dire Wolves, though he reveals his position anyway with a Ranged-touch Poison spell against Jaques.  The acid-wizard makes his initial Fort Save and takes no Constitution damage.  Genive goes Invisible and circles around to a more opportune position of attack.

One of the Enlarged Fighters slays a Dire Wolf, turns, and flat-out obliterates the pesky Badger at his back with a massive critical hit that triggers a Frost Burst from his War-Axe.  The second Dire Wolf and Badger are killed quickly by their intended Duergar prey.  This is as much success as the Duergar will have.

Jaques wipes out the wounded Duergar Cleric with a well-placed Disintegrate spell; Genive’s arrows and a series of free Trip attacks by the Dire Wolves ensure that the Enlarged Duergar fall down, get up, take damage, fall down, and stay down for good.

The threat is eliminated.  Some of the party takes time to drink Potions of Light Healing from the supply they purchased in the towns.  Jaques makes his secondary Fort Save against the Poison spell, and is clear of any further effects.  Genive and Wobberts strip weapons and armor from the dead Duergar.  They note that the Cleric is adorned with symbols of Laduguer, the joyless Duergar deity of constant toil.

Looking around, the Heroes discover a small camp.  The bedrolls and packs of these Duergar are arranged in a loose circle, with crates moved about to serve as tables.  They have been here a while.  There is evidence of preparation of some horrible, bitter soup of deep-grown fungi and lichen.

Of greatest interest is the back wall of this Storage Room.  Here, a section of wall twenty feet wide by ten feet high has been sundered from outside.  Beyond the gaping hole in the finished-stone wall, a tunnel of equal size slopes away into the hard-packed earth, disappearing into silent, foul-smelling dark.  The floor of this tunnel is crumbled dirt and stone and grit, which has been tracked by many boots into the Storage Room.  A wide receiving area had been cleared in front of this opening by pushing back shelves and shoving aside crates.

Examining the walls, Lester’s skill at Knowledge of aberrations tells him a grim, frightening truth: the Duergar have employed Umber Hulks to tunnel into Moonwatch.  One or more of these fearsome creatures are certainly somewhere inside the fortress…

The Heroes plan quickly.  Jaques is able to cast Wall of Stone; he does so, and seals up this entry-point with a solid six inches of stone.  Unless a subsequent force of Duergar invaders brings along a skilled tunneler like an Umber Hulk or a mass of tools, they will not be breaching Moonwatch’s perimeter any time soon.  Genive and Wobberts haul over and stack up crates and supplies against this new stone wall to brace it further.

By their estimates, the Heroes believe that the main force of their Dwarf allies should soon be arriving in the Cistern Room.  To rendezvous with them now is considered a good plan.  The Heroes retrace their steps back to their entry point.




About d20horizons

D&D player.
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