Chapter Twelve –"Does this smell of Fish?"

With the fight over the looting begins, all except McFlurry who checks for secret doors. We find some coin while the Elf finds nothing, so we quickly move on to explore more of this dungeon. An unexplored heavy stone door is found which is locked, while a wooden door nearby reveals a bedroom of sorts with many pieces of furniture to rummage through.

A diary written in Orcish is soon found on the table – they are apparently looking for a magic item of power but sadly with no description of its form. They also mention mining and the tunnels, concentrating on the fact that the western section of the mines is particularly dangerous.

McFlurry gets a special tingle as he nears a wall across from the bed and Stumpy gets a tingle of another sort as he pulls a chest he finds from under the bed out into the open. As usual there is a blur of movement as people simultaneously are as far away as possible but yet still are close enough to spot thieving all dependant on the current situation. The current situation in this case is that everyone has hands over heads and behind a minimum of four inches of steel as there is a large BANG and Stumpy flies ungraciously into a wardrobe looking very poorly indeed as an explosion of Negative Energy more or less wipes him out.

A quick small cure and he is back on his feet again, well away from the case obviously as are we all, either rummaging through other cupboards or pouring over useless trinkets or watching Idjit help examine the wall near McFlurry. Idjit makes a small “aha!” noise not unlike that famous actor from stage Mr Partridge, and pushes a small section of wall that looks exactly like another section of wall but one which causes a section of the stone before us  to open.

Inside is a very small room, no bigger than a large wardrobe that houses just an old table with a very large map on it. We take the chest from the bedroom to put into the secret room, and rest for the night.


The night passes without incident and we leave the bedroom and move to other unexplored areas down the twisting mining tunnels. Except in the large caverns and some random areas, the tunnels are only 5’ wide and in my Deep Gnome form aided by exceptional Darkvision, I am at the front leading the way.

We soon come to yet another dead end, and a massive touching session happens as we all shuffle about face** to turn the marching order around. Soon we find ourselves in the caves that the diary warned us about, and frightened without knowing exactly why, we show how brave we as a party are as we leave the west section and head south instead.

Still leading the way onwards, I can see an area of darkness within the darkness and know this to be magical. Pausing and warning the rest of the party we unanimously take the other path only stopping when we find a passage that after a foot or so inside is filled completely to the top with piles of loose stones. “Danger!” is written on the wall in Orcish, and after a few jokes at the expense of the Orcs who seem to have written ‘Danger’ on everything, we continue onwards.

The passage we are in slopes slightly downwards to a fork and taking the first turning we find a massive rock blocking the way. After a quite lengthy discussion on rock dynamics, Stumpy and Chunk pull the rock away, although some of us are sure we can hear faint singing coming from somewhere.

With the rock now moved away all is quiet again, and we move into the cavern. Large and devoid of anyone or anything it holds a large body of water that starts around 20’ from the opening into the room and goes all the way back to the back of the room which curves out of sight. On first inspection it seems that this water may be more than just a pool, but no one yet gets close enough to check properly. ***

Everyone however is close enough to see ripples in the water and then a semi naked female can be seen under the surface of the water before appearing at the edge of the pool, modesty covered by rocks and long hair. In a sing song voice she asks if we can help her before telling us of a story about large fish and giant crabs keeping her from home. She explains that the water is not just a pool, and that round the corner and out of sight is a hole that takes you deeper into the dungeon but a large cave beneath holds the crab monster that she is worried about.

“We would love to be helpful” says Trixie, “what are you?”

“I am a Nixie,” replies the lady.

“Ooo I am a Trixie, shall we go shopping?”

Explaining herself better it seems that the beast below is a giant Crayfish or something similar and she can help aid us by casting water breathing on two members of the party, to which Trixe and a Dagger wielding Chunk volunteer to.

I change into a Sahuagin and after a painfully embarrassing half an hour of sticking my toe into the water before running off or rolling around in the sand, finally manage to stay underwater without wanting to vomit. The three of us head off and the Nixie tells us of a ledge round to the right should we need safe access to air. She adds that the beast is likely to ambush the first person through the hole, and as the quickest, I offer to go first.

We dive down under the water, quickly finding the entrance to a short tunnel as described. Light at one end signifies it opens into a larger area, and turning to signal the lady and gentleman behind me, I swim through as quickly as I can. A giant Crayfish does not really do this beast justice as it must be 20’ long and thankfully the hulking crustacean misses me as I swim and dive with water based acrobatic ease.

I move up to a corner and begin to cast Creeping Cold as Chunk is next through the hole, and delight as the spell catches just as the hungry crabs jaws fasten around the swimming Half-Orc and holds him tight. It definitely is a case of bitten off more than it can chew as a furious stabbing from Chunk turns the water a murky brown with the blood of the beast which begins to thrash uncontrollably. When I manage to flaming sphere the tail, this is all too much for it, and it gently spins through 180’ degrees and begins to sink, releasing Chunk from its grasp. At this point Trixie arrives, her slow speed likened to a Manatee as we swim back past her.

Grabbing her, we leisurely make our way back to the others and informing the Nixie of the battle; she gives us a pearl ring and with a cheery goodbye, disappears back into the waters depths.

Deciding that we are not ready to find out where the water leads past the crab thing, we move out of this room and once more block the passage with the rock. I shift back into a Gnome to take point, but we seem to have exhausted all the ‘easy’ paths, so we head back to the rock blocked passageway. We then spend a good few hours piling up the rocks in the passage to make a crawlspace suitable for the largest of us to enter.

Once completed, I scrabble up the rocks and crawl through the space we have cleared. The rocks where piled up at least 20’ deep, so someone definitely did not want something on the other side to be found or discovered and while contemplating what treasures may await; a tentacle whips me from a stalagmite and drags me deeper into the corridor behind the rocks.  
I am a helpless bunny as all my strength is sapped from my body and can only watch as I get dragged over sharp rocks, although I do see McFlurry run in and punch the strange looking rock in front of me. Chunk also runs in and whacks it hard, while I change back into a fishy to gain some strength to be able to get back up once more. Trixie fires off some Magic Missiles from the back rank, but they wink out of existence.

Chunk is struck by multiple strands but thankfully does not seem to stagger under the light but damaging blows, but an unexpected bite draws blood on his arm. Trixie far behind the rest of the party calls out “ out for their evil cousins, the Rapers...” just as Chunk staggers from strength loss as he is hit again. Seconds later Idjit and then McFlurry stagger and the party is just about done in, Chunk has to rage to keep his strength up to be able to hit it and still stand upright.

I stagger in to whack the ground and do the fishy dance to aid Chunk hit it again when Stumpy saunters in and smashes it with a spiked club, killing it. Flopping about and dragging ourselves up the wall we drag people upright and set about gutting the Roper, which has obviously been walled up for far too long as it has nothing at all in its digestive system.

We then slope off back to the bedroom where we spent last night, load up with us much healing as possible and set up triage areas on the bedside cabinet. The next day we spend getting the fighters back to full strength leaving me the only one still feeling the effects of the Roper. The ring is identified during the day as a ring of Water Breathing, while the plate is not magical, but has 4 words on it, ‘Show your true faith’ and sadly not detailed with instructions on how to retrieve the book.

During this day of sitting about, Trixie looks about slyly before masking it with a puzzled look and asking the nearby McFlurry “..does my spell-book smell of fish?” When the Monk obliges, she snaps it shut in his surprised face accompanied by much laughter from the rest of us.****

We fall into a blissful sleep but this is rudely interrupted as the female Orc leader brings darkness and chaos into the room as people start to flail about in the darkness. She casts a spell causing everyone to feel weak but McFlurry still manages a nifty punch to her face. Idjit also gets a good strike in, followed by Chunk massive axe swing which carves a bloody swath and massive dent in her armour. All of this is of course imagined as we can see nothing at all in the magical darkness, just visualising the scene from grunts of pain, weapon clatter and flecks of blood that splash onto exposed skin.   

Trixie then Acid blasts the corridor hitting Stumpy in the doorway and the lady in the darkness and very quickly afterwards silence descends of a magical nature, not just a lull in combat. Stumpy and Chunk have left the room to see if they can find anything, but at a crippled speed, total darkness and no audial clues, it is not hopeful.

People are attacked in the darkness, but with no clues and no idea of what’s going on, we are likely to be attacking ourselves. I shift to a Fleshraker Dinosaur so that I can track the Orc Leader and move up to attack her position aided by her heavy scent.

I leap on her and attack, getting hit in return and back off out of combat so she cannot launch multiple attacks at me. I can sense Idjit and Trixie, both moving slowly, although Trixie is flying and scrunched up in a ball to try and prevent being attacked.

Chunk manages to somehow stumble across her in the darkness but his strike misses and clangs off the wall. My charging leap also goes way off target, and with only a few people out the silenced area, the few people that can hear can only hear variations of Scooby Doo noises coming from a 7’ Dinosaurs limited vocal chords.

She escapes into the night*****

We return to the barracks to sleep but we don’t quite feel safe enough and so leave and head back towards the rock covered area where the Nixie lived. Once inside, we settle down on the small sandy section that leads into the water, while Trixie puts a stone of Alarm on the large rock door.

We wake in the morning and Stumpy heals me back to normal, returning the strength lost from the Roper attacks the day before.




** My notes actually have the words “..a glistening Idjit rubs his way past everyone..” but I am not sure exactly why he would be glistening. Wishful thinking perhaps?

*** As we are all milling about, Kon singles out Chris and directly asks him “Do you go near the water?” to which Chris replies, “As you ask that question, no I do not.” Which I thought was a perfectly framed answer.

**** He actually did this during the session, which Brad took lots and lots of abuse for. The oldest trick in the book surely?

***** Moving in darkness caused a lot of confusion and people moving more than they should and tracking faster than they are able and discombobulated so it was decided that she escaped into the night rather than us being right on her tail .

Played August 23rd 2009