Deep inside the lost tomb of a Dwarf king, the party is faced with a decision – go left or go right ? Dwarf Paragon Eberk (Knowledge : Dungeoneering) cannot say if the catacomb’s layout is symmetrical. The choice of direction is somehow paralyzing. Fortunately, Wizard Corun Dum’man steps up. He boldly goes left. His friends follow.
The passage leads thirty feet and then promptly turns right. Cautiously the group peers around the corner, into silent darkness. Eberk alone can see just fine; his Darkvision exposes a corridor that runs straight for seventy-five feet and then turns right.
Halfling Rogue Goa leads the party and checks for traps every twenty feet, aided by her friends’ lanterns. Her first two attempts are hideously bad (with a Natural 1 rolled for Search for a total skill check of 12, followed by another Natural 1 rolled for Search for a total skill check of 12). Dismayed, she doesn’t even try to Search the last stretch of hallway. Fortunately, Dwarf Eberk is on his game (Search = 26, followed by a Natural 20 rolled for Search for a total skill check of 27, then Search = 26). He confirms that what Goa didn’t see, isn’t there.
Around the next corner, the party illuminates another dusty, empty stone corridor that leads sixty feet before turning right. Suspicions rise that this is a loop, leading back to the dead Lemures and Barbazu at the junction. Halfway down this corridor there is a hallway leading left. Goa (Search = 20) and Eberk (Search = 16) sweep for traps and certify the way safe.
This hallway to the left is a dead end – just an alcove, fifteen feet deep, which ends abruptly at a stone wall. No traps in here, either. Druidbarian Øskur Røgnvaldurarsøn casts Embrace The Wild on himself, to gain the Scent ability. He immediately regrets this; it now stinks significantly more of unwashed devil in here, a mix of sulfur and feet. Øskur does notice (with a Natural 1 rolled for Survival for a total skill check of 18) something odd…the air in this alcove is not stale. It should have a concentration of stench, but does not. Almost as if this is not a dead-end…
The group eyes the wall at the back of the alcove. Corun Dum’man casts Detect Magic – the “dead-end” glows bright with enchantment. Øskur fishes a rock from his pocket and tosses it at the wall. It bounces off a solid surface, but the group hears (Listen check) the pebble hit ice, not stone. Bard Elroy Wick touches the mysterious wall. It is room temperature.
Wizard Corun observes nuances in the wall’s magic. He deduces (Spellcraft = 26) that this is a Major Image or a Permanent Illusion spell. Eberk marches forward, battleaxe in hand, but his Wizard friend pulls him back. Corun (Spellcraft = 30) knows it unwise to smash through a wall of magic ice. Serious injury would result.
Drawing his arcane strength (Level check = 15), Corun fails to Dispel Magic. Still depleted from the fight earlier, he has no useful spells left for the day. The party leaves the alcove, back to the dead Lemures and Bearded Devils, then out to the main hall. They will make temporary camp here. From party treasure Eberk borrows a +1 Breastplate to wear as pajamas. Øskur Røgnvaldurarsøn casts Healthful Rest on the party to double their rate of healing while they sleep.
Hours later the party is refreshed. They return to the alcove. Inexplicably, the magic ice wall is gone. Where it stood is now an open corridor, leading forty-five feet into darkness. At the very edge of the inky black, Eberk can make out the threshold of a large chamber.
Goa Finnbjorn leads, eyes hunting for traps (Search = 26, 24, 15) every twenty feet. Eberk (Search = 23, 14, 26) quietly double-checks her work. The group is forty feet into this newly-opened corridor when Goa notices a wall has appeared right behind them, out of thin air, blocking them in. She is not happy to point this out to the others.
It is another wall of magic ice. Corun Dum’man (Spellcraft = 22) didn’t hear anything cast it. This might be an unseen magic trap sprung by a misstep, or it might be something’s innate spellcasting ability. Corun casts See Invisible on himself, and fruitlessly strains his eyes against the darkness of the wide, echoing void of the chamber before them.
Druidbarian Øskur has a bad feeling. He buffs himself with Resist Energy : Cold. Rogue Goa refuses to believe she missed a trap, and frantically scans the floor (Search = 30) looking for the pressure plate or sensor that summoned this wall.
Eberk sees what is in the large open space before them. The rest of the party clues in when Corun casts Light on a rock and throws it into the dark. The tiny rock blazes illumination into a large chamber, forty-five feet deep and wide, and thirty feet high. This is a burial chamber; at the far back rests a great stone sarcophagus on a dais, with stone chests to its left and right. The walls are inscribed with the same magic text, up from shoulder height.
In the center of the room are six Lemures, now shambling towards the party. Only Corun, sight enhanced with See Invisible, can see the Large, bony, bipedal, scorpion-tailed creature hiding in their midst. He recognizes it (Knowledge : The Planes) as an Osyluth, commonly called a Bone Devil. The Wizard’s shout of surprise launches the fight.
Goa draws her twin +1 short-swords “Slice” and “Dice”, and awaits the wave of Lemures. Øskur boosts himself with Bull’s Strength. The Lemures close in. One surrenders an Attack of Opportunity to Eberk. The Dwarf connects with a quick axe strike.
Elroy Wick pulls his short-sword “Homestead Avenger” and commands 3d10 silver for a great (Perform : Sing = 23) battle hymn that pours iron in the spine and fire into the gut. His Inspire Courage and Inspirational Boost will prove helpful in this fight. It works for Eberk, at first. The Dwarf Paragon leaps to action, deftly killing two Lemures.
Corun Dum’man casts Mage Armour on himself, and moves up five feet. For now he alone can see the Bone Devil. Then the Osyluth attacks, breaking its Invisibility. The devil’s stinger-tail lashes out and stabs Eberk; the Dwarf is poisoned and loses 6 Strength.
Shocked at the instantaneous appearance of a nine-foot-tall devil out of thin air and shadows, the party nonetheless works down the Lemures first. The Druidbarian launches into a Rage, and kills the third Lemure. Wick tries but fails to damage the Lemure that Goa just wounded with her off-hand blade, “Dice”.
Eberk, striking a Lemure, repositions and steps into the Bone Devil’s aura of Fear. The stouthearted Dwarf fails his save against Fear (with a Natural 1) and is unhinged. Wizard Corun lines himself up and delivers a Lightning Bolt. The powerful spell kills the fourth Lemure but doesn’t effectively damage the Osyluth. Corun suspects he knows why.
The Bone Devil attacks the Druidbarian, striking with a bite and two bony claw attacks, before stinging quavering Eberk again and further weakening the Dwarf by two more points of Strength.
Rogue Goa makes good on a slash with “Slice” (with a Natural 20 confirmed as a normal hit) then kills the fifth Lemure with “Dice”. Øskur Røgnvaldurarsøn steps back and casts Bite of the Werewolf on himself. Elroy Wick withdraws slightly.
The Bone Devil towers over their group. Eberk, terrified, drops his weapon and shield and flees at top speed, away from the fearsome creature, to cower in fear beside the ice wall blocking further retreat. Wizard Corun blasts a Lesser Orb of Sound. This spell will bypass the Spell Resistance protecting the Osyluth.
The Bone Devil makes an INT check, and decides that the raging Human in the chimeric-lionskin pants is the greatest threat. The Osyluth bites, claws, and stings the Druidbarian. Øskur resists the initial effects of the poison and loses no Strength.
Finnbjorn and Røgnvaldurarsøn team up and dispatch the last pathetic Lemure. When Øskur steps in against the Bone Devil, Elroy Wick’s courage-boosting song helps the Druidbarian ignore the Fear aura. Wick throws dagger “Butter Knife” at the Osyluth in possibly the weakest effort of the fight so far. Corun attempts to Dispel Magic on Eberk but the Fear effect is not a spell.
Four-on-one, the party tangles with a Bone Devil that is in every way their match. Several of Corun’s Sound orbs miss; the creature is more nimble than it looks. Øskur Røgnvaldurarsøn slashes the Bone Devil with his Holy greatsword and sinks harsh Werewolf bites into the devil’s sinewy flesh. Goa Finnbjorn tumbles through the Osyluth’s legs, resisting its Fear aura, and sets herself up in a flanking position to antagonize from behind. Elroy Wick ducks behind the Druidbarian and casts two Cure Serious Wounds and two Cure Moderate Wounds onto Øskur over the duration of the fight.
Surrounded, the Osyluth lashes out with bites, claws, and its vicious tail. Everyone in the party catches at least a dose of its poison; in some cases, multiple doses. Elroy Wick and Corun hang back. Eberk eventually regains his composure and rejoins the fight. In the end the Bone Devil gives up an Attack of Opportunity, which Øskur and Eberk use to soften the devil for Goa’s killing blow.
The monster crashes lifeless to the floor. The party is slightly less dead. Everyone is wounded, but the weakening effect of the poison is the most debilitating factor. Eberk retains the most strength of anyone after the poison’s secondary effects sap more Strength from the group. Elroy Wick is in distant 2nd place. Øskur has a Strength score of 2 when his Rage ends. Goa has half as much. Wizard Corun’s Strength has been reduced to zero, and he is unable to do anything but lay in a heap. The party will need a lot of rest to undo the poison’s temporary attribute damage.
Between Wick’s dedicated first aid and the Druidbarian’s Healthful Rest and Lesser Restoration spells, it is a full three days before the party is completely recovered. This time is spent in the main hall, away from the rotting corpses of the devils. As her recovery permits, Rogue Goa examines the stone chests and (taking 20 for Open Locks) unlock them.
The wealth they contain is startling. One chest contains what the Rogue estimates to be about 200 pounds of gold. The other stone chest holds a trove of gems; an emerald, a blue star sapphire, two fire opals, ten golden yellow topazes, eleven violet garnets, and eleven alexandrite. These precious stones pass from Goa to the eager hands of the Bard and Druidbarian, on to Eberk to Appraise, then to Corun Dum’man for storage in his gem satchel. Twenty thousand gold pieces’ worth of gems are collected.
The sarcophagus is next. Øskur Røgnvaldurarsøn, Eberk, and Corun Dum’man position themselves and heave the lid back far to expose the contents.
Instinctively they draw back, on sight of the corpse within. Desiccated and grey-brown with dust lies the otherwise well-preserved remains of a great Dwarf king. He was laid to rest in finery of silks rather than armour, arms crossed on his chest, beard braided.
Corun casts Detect Magic; to his eyes the dim coffin glows brilliantly with strong magic auras. Bracers, shiny and undiminished by age; a ring on the late king’s right hand; a scepter laid with care at his side; and most prominently, a finger-like curve of stone set around the king’s neck on a fine chain.
Eberk steps back as Corun and Øskur relieve the sarcophagus of its treasures. The Wizard makes a series of Spellcraft checks based on the auras of magic on the items. The ring is a Ring of Minor Spell Storing, loaded with a Mirror Images spell. The bracers are Bracers of Armour +5.
The scepter is a Rod of Splendor, immediately of interest to Bard Elroy Wick. In his possession, this rod grants him a +4 boost to Charisma; clothes him in expensive clothes, furs, and gems for twelve hours a day; and once a week will summon a pavilion tent large enough to feed and entertain a hundred guests. Wick’s mind reels at the possibilities.
As to the stone “finger”, it is of a unique and powerful magic that the Wizard cannot identify. The party will need outside help to determine the properties of this item.
The adventurers struggle the lid back on the sarcophagus. A squad of Orcs is sure to come in search of the magic relic now in their possession, so Elroy Wick takes a dagger and carves “See you soon, idiots” in Orckish on the stone coffin. Øskur Røgnvaldurarsøn likes the idea. With his Holy greatsword, the Druidbarian carves is own message : “Lawlz – U Mad Bro?”, in Orckish.
Time to leave. As they exit the chamber, Wizard Corun notices a slight crack in the wall. The slim fissure zags from the floor up to the arcane magic text. Corun realizes that the missing script below shoulder-height was not scratched or rubbed off, but was nullified by this break in the enchantment.
Back in the outside world and fresh air, with their horses which were presumably cared for in the past few days, the party returns to the Orcs’ camp site. They are surprised to find two Humans there, horsemen of the House of Davis.
These soldiers are scouts, sent to find the party. The House of Davis had intelligence indicating a company of Orcs were headed for the tomb. As a strike force of Davissian soldiers moved to intercept, these two scouts came to warn Corun and his friends.
Not finding the party when they arrived, the scouts decided to wait. Just today, the scouts received word that the inbound Orcs were defeated with a successful ambush. Packing up to leave on their own, the scouts will instead return to Tannis with the adventurers.
Unfortunately, stalwart Dwarf Paragon Eberk suddenly remembers his fraternal obligation to make sure the entombed king’s defiled resting place is properly sealed up. While he said nothing as the corpse and its treasures were looted, and the sarcophagus overtly vandalized, Eberk chooses right now to develop an unquestionable urge to do right by a nameless dead Dwarf king. The group shrugs, and delays their departure to humour their friend’s request.
(end of the session)
(1) Image isolated from D&D Monster Manual, illustration on page 51.
(2) Image isolated from D&D Monster Manual, illustration on page 57.
(3) Image isolated from D&D Monster Manual, illustration on page 18.
(4) Image isolated from D&D Monster Manual, illustration on page 162.