Chunk and McFlurry eventually move the rock out of the way so that I can peer out into the darkness for evil doers. After waiting a few minutes to make sure, and another couple more simply listening intently, I signal the all clear and we move onwards.
It is at this point in which Stumpy realises that he can do nothing to combat any Darkness shenanigans today - we only find this out as there is an audible “Er, Lads…” and turning to face him, all witness his stupefied look as he strokes his beard. He looks sheepish and simply explains his failure to remember which spells counter what, meaning our plans of moving towards the darkness are quickly scrapped and we head back to the old Roper area instead.
Trixie positions the stone of alarm behind us to give some notice from any attacks from the rear, but we soon find that the Roper area is a dead end so decide to continue onwards to a set of stone stairs we had previously left un-explored.
As we clamber back over the Roper’s rocky barrier, McFlurry notices a darkness that can only belong to the naughty lady and so we quickly get a move on as the darkness approaches. We had sort of discussed a plan of action during the night, but due to the fact that some members cannot see or dispel any magically induced blackness, the plan is basically abandoned. This did not stop Chunk from half remembering what he thought were parts of the plan and with a cry of “Plan! Aha!” rushes off into the dark tunnels and away from battle.
While people including myself try to work out what Chunk is up to, or think of any part of any plan that we have ever devised that would benefit from the main tank running away during combat, the darkness is on us. Too late, the intelligent part of Chunk’s brain orders him back to us, but hampered by the simple fact that he now cannot see means he is unable to be used properly. As the only person that can actually see, I co-ordinate attacks as much as possible in this tight corridor, and McFlurry drops a web followed quickly by an Acid Fireball from Trixie.
Sadly this was done in the wrong order and the Fireball hits the web and bounces back to blast the three of us in a handy funnel, covering us all in acid. As I see her in the web, I fire off a Creeping Cold and a flaming Sphere in quick succession, but the Sphere appears to do nothing but set the web on fire, which does burn her but allows her to free herself from the sticky strands. Trixie fires off an Agador’s scorcher down the corridor and once I have moved back into position, I find that the Orc has fled back down the corridor out of my sight. I take the opportunity to move off and heal myself.
Chunk has moved back in the only direction he can see, which is our sleeping area at the watery cave where he finds more Orcs are waiting, piled up in the door way and beyond. The corridor leading into the room also appears to be silenced and he spies a caster quickly initiating a spell which causes him to stumble off balance and knock him to the floor. Chunk does what Chunk does best and shrugs, gets back to his feet and smashes the Orc in front of him into a bloody mess with a well-placed Axe blow.
With the first Orc down, another quickly takes his place, shouting and screaming in a similar way that Chunk himself does during a fight, while McFlurry calls out “…something is happening at the cave!” to the rest of us out of sight round the corner.
Myself and Trixie are standing guard at the corridor covered in web watching for the Orc lady while Stumpy is unsure what he is doing, other than getting in our way in the darkness.
With Chunk’s hands full as he battles the pile of Orcs before him, he mumbles something in the darkness* but as he is silenced, it goes unnoticed.
A flash of something, not quite light, goes off in the gloom, and I quickly work out that it is a Dispel Magic spell – not because of any Druid insight into the magical world, but simply based on the fact that it has quite handily removed the Web, and just as that fades from view my Blindsight disappears…….but not the magical darkness itself.
We start to move away slowly in the darkness, blindly stumbling along and very wary of the fact that the non-blinded Orc lady is close behind us.
The Wizard behind the group of Orcs is causing Chunk plenty of trouble, but McFlurry comes to his aid, receiving a barrage of Magic Missile’s which thankfully wink out on his shield. McFlurry rolls expertly around and through the marauding Orcs to arrive at the caster’s feet before dropping him to the floor and striking him very hard in the chest. The caster however was covered with the sparkling layer of protective magic though, which discharges back to blast McFlurry away with racks of pain.
Chunk smashes his raging Orc down, while I escape from being attacked in the corridor by turning into an Eagle. I fly back to Chunk and McFlurry, and attempt to fly over the Orcs in-between Chunk and the Monk. Of course they have spears ready in case a rare bird of prey does exactly this, and I am a bleeding broken winged mess by the time I flutter to the shoreline.
Stumpy manages to get to the back of combat and casts Shield other on Chunk while there are more grappling shenanigans from McFlurry. It then all goes dark as the Orc Lady arrives at the rear, to which Chunk reacts by turning his back on the smaller Orcs to start swinging wildly in the darkness in an effort to smack the Orc lady as she approaches. I find myself out of the darkness with a small step towards the sandy beach while Trixie brings out the big guns with a Fireball which explodes in the darkness.
Chunk takes a beating from the unseen Lady but Stumpy’s spells protect him enough to stay upright. Stumpy however cannot take the punishment being dealt, and the Cleric drops dying unseen in the darkness. Chunk’s wild hits are sadly very wide in the dark and Trixie continues to burn stuff, with even the light of a massive Fireball failing to illuminate the area as madness and chaos run wild in the darkness.
I turn into a Fleshraker dinosaur to help me sniff out the enemy, while Chunk finds that he really cannot stand alone against the Lady, as he is hit with punishing strikes. The first finishes off Stumpy through the Shield Other effect and a subsequent attack from the Lady finishes off Chunk, the axe embedded in his neck.
McFlurry tumbles over the corpses in the darkness and then ties to pass the Orc lady in the corridor as well, but he receives a staggering blow to the side and ends his tumbling performance by skidding to a halt quite dead.
Although we have no way of knowing, all that remain of the party is myself and Trixie, and I smell her shape as she moves in fast hitting me with a savage axe cut to the upper chest. Stuck in between a rock and a hard place, I stand on the shores of the beech knowing that another attack like that one will finish me off, and knowing that regardless of what I do will earn me a another punishing and likely killing blow, I shape change.
I turn into a crocodile and small heal I get from the change has as I hoped, kept me alive*** despite the powerful strike that nearly sweeps me off my feet. Limping away, I swim in to the water, and slip below the water’s surface to swim round to the ledge round the corner, where I sit and feel sorry for myself.
Trixie tries a Sleep spell which caused something to fall over, but she had no real expectations of the Orc Lady succumbing, and flies off into the corridor with her fingers crossed. Unfortunately for her, it looks like the Lady guessed her intentions and Trixie flies directly into her path and is struck out of the sky like a small fly, very dead indeed.
On my ledge, an hour or so passes before I can see once more and feel well enough to actually investigate. Still in crocodile form, I surface to look above the water to see four dead naked party members.
I heal Stumpy to find he has nothing left and so cannot heal the others so I have to use the little spells I have left, casting Cure Minor Wounds to rouse the others****. Stumpy reads a Resurrection Scroll and Trixie is up once more, and now there are five lonely party members on the beach listening to the sounds of strange construction work on the other side of the boulder which has been pushed closed.
Played 27th Sept 2009
** Chris made a comment about fighting an equal and so I said to him “This is what you wanted, mano o’ mano!” His reply was “Yes, but he (the Orc Barbarian) has a wizard behind him and I have a little gay boy” pointing at McFlurry.
*** I survived with 7 hits left.
**** Everyone lost their life here (bar me) so reviving them was enough to get them back up once more. Trixie had lost her life previously, meaning a resurrection scroll was needed.