Chapter Seventeen –"mmm...tastes of chicken!"

While McFlurry dances a jig after finding the secret door, we learn why our resident non present Rogue has been given the moniker of Shadow, as he scares the bejesus out of everyone by suddenly appearing from within the darkness of the stalagmites.

The plan is for us to swim across the water to get to the same side as McFlurry, and while we are waiting, I aimlessly stick my hand in the water to clear away the frothy top, wanting to take a look at the bottom of the pool. Knowing full well that the boiling hot water will not affect me at all as I am currently masquerading as a Harssaf, I completely forget about the little water hedgehogs, and withdraw my hand not quite quick enough. Thankfully my bright red head does not show my flushed cheeks from my embarrassing mistake, as I pull out the little spines shot into my finger.

McFlurry carries Shadow across on his back like an arachnid St Christopher to help identify the Monks inkling correctly, as the Monk had actually found nothing at all, and his proclamation was nothing more than his Eleven spider sense tingling. Shadow however spots a door straight away, as well as the more useful information that the doorway is trapped. With no inclination to progress further leaving this behind us, we all sit and stare at a door that we know is there, but cannot see, let alone open.

Shadow soon has disarmed the trap and then finds the doorway, but sadly not how to open it. A hour or more passes and we are still none the wiser, and have to watch a pantomime show as McFlurry huffs and puffs trying to push the door in. Even speaking “friend” in Dwarven does nothing either, that’s how bad the situation is.

Cursing the stubborn door, we leave the area and move to a sauna like room consisting of very hot pools of water, which causes thick heavy fog making the place clammy and also very slippery. I start to guide people through the hot springs when I am attacked from within one of the water pools by a humanoid looking lobster that strikes out, but thankfully misses me.

Chunk moves up and unlimbers his axe, but misses the creature by swinging wildly. Rather than slip and tumble into another pool of water I think outside the box and simply leap into the pool next to it, to whack the creature with my ever present lump of gnarly wood. I then sense that three more of these creatures are approaching from further into the darkness, partially hidden by the fog, and call out to the others.

Idjit draws and then drops his bow in one smooth movement, while Chunk hits one and I finish off the other. I then clamber out as another creature swings at the Barbarian before moving into the pool to the other side, but his attack bounces off Chunks armour. The lobster man is cut down more or less before he gets a chance to do anything else, as Chunk smashes him down moments later.

I cast Creeping Cold on one and another two appear and move into attack me, and three quickly becomes four as I am mobbed on all sides by the Crabby Patties. Shadow has obviously not read the ‘thieves are crap’ handbook as he tumbles in and strikes a well-placed blow, followed by McFlurry who does the same thing, tumbling in and smashing another to the floor. Huzzah for the Circus!

Shadow fresh from his victory, is hit from behind by an unseen force and as though he has been swatted by a giant hand, flies more than ten feet across the path before falling into the boiling water of a side pool. Chunk bellows out in rage and cuts one down with such ferocity that body parts fly about, and then steps over its messy corpse to attack and severely wound another. I leap into the water and drag Shadow out so he is not boiled alive, and while I am preoccupied, one of the lobstermen turns to try and push McFlurry over.

Chunk helps prevent this by chopping McFlurry’s attackers face off, and Shadow tumbles out of my grasp back onto dry land, straight into a strategic position to stab one dead.

Through the fog, I see another naughty lad move in, but don’t get to him in time before he suddenly raises his empty hand towards Chunk and blasts him into the boiling water. Chunk angrily steps out of his scalding hot bath and rushes towards the one that cast some kind of spell, while I splash out of the water to hit one moving up towards Shadow. McFlurry fails to sell any tickets to his martial arts display as he does nothing but miss, miss and miss again before finally managing to connect for the least amount of damage possible. His lobster man opponent looks down at himself and giggles nervously as he finds all his limbs are still in the same place, compared to the squishy mess in between the Barbarians toes.

Within seconds only one apart from the caster is left standing, and the caster decides to make a run for it, disappearing from sight into the lava before we can do anything about it. As the search and clear up ensues, I fall for my own bluffing tactics as I try and get Shadow to eat one of the creatures hearts to then have the magical ability to become one. McFlurry however is a tricksy Monk, and cunningly counter bluffs me into thinking that it is a good idea after all, and with a thoughtful look, I pop it the heart in my mouth. I then try to continue the bluff, as I know that after fighting these creatures that I am able to shapeshift into their form, and am infused with their knowledge. They are Clacklin, and shifting into one of them, I say “..see, it does work!” but no one is listening anymore, probably because I am talking in Iguan.   

Now that I am effectively disguised as a Clacklin, I devise a cunning plan and move up to the stream of lava, and seeing one of the lava creatures, I stumble pretending to be hurt while moving towards them and pointing behind me.

I drop into the lava and follow a path formed in the rock below the level of the lava until I appear out of sight of the rest of the party, coming across another Clacklin who looks at me suspiciously. Wondering how I have been so easily spotted is not an option, so I bop him on the nose. The Clacklin runs off and as I chase him, back up into sight of the party, who take up the ruse of firing upon me with great gusto, who know I am one of the two Clacklin but really don’t care.

Thankfully their aim is worse than their interest in trying to shoot me down and as the arrows fire overhead I stop to see the Clacklin I was following among a group of other creatures, gesturing wildly at me as I emerge from the waist deep lava. One of them raises a wand and blasts me with a lightning bolt, and when I don’t fall over, I get blasted again. Thinking its time to give up the charade, I turn and run back to the party on the other side of the stream.

Once I have returned to the others and changed back to one of my normal selves, we continue to explore this side of the passageway, finding a large room with no apparent exits. All it contains are huge egg shaped boulders that appear to have skeletons next to them. Peering back out the way we came, we see that six of the Clacklin are watching us from across the lava stream, but this soon is soon reduced to two as we move away to another room. This however contains lots of molten lava , meaning that we only have a brief cursory look about before returning back to the boulder room to move one of the large rocks.

After a huge push, we roll a rock over, and find that the skeleton was actually partly underneath the rock - a skeletal tail pinned underneath the rock holding the creature in place. With no inclination to free the other skeletons pinned beneath the rocks, we stuff the broken bones in a sack for later experiments and ready ourselves to run out of the room and past the opening in which we know the Clacklin are waiting for us to emerge from the other side.

I run out first to draw fire, taking a lightning blast straight to the chest for the team before we are quickly into the passage way out of line of sight from the Clacklin. Heading past the steam pools, we soon reach the secret door we found earlier in the day. I then cast Stone Shape on the door, creating a door within the door, which takes us into a little room that holds a table and nothing else.

Deciding that we have had enough of this place, we leave the volcanic complex, and camp a few hundred yards from the entrance in and out of Trixie’s Rope Trick.

The new day see’s us back adventuring and back to the lava stream. Two of the Clacklin are waiting for us and I move up with Stumpy who casts Silence on the caster as he attempts to blast us with a wand.

We try and get them, but a spell of some kind causes me to fall over face forward into the lava and the others don’t get to me in time, nor are they willing to leap into lava funnily enough to run after the Clacklin who submerge themselves into the molten rock.

We then move through another unexplored lava area when a voice in our heads smoothly says ”...why not have a hot relaxing bath?” Despite the obvious lack of Radox or the soothing smoothness of Molten Brown Black Pepper bath gel, Chunk and Shadow jump in. Thankfully myself and Stumpy had protected the party with Protection from Element spells earlier, and thankfully the thoughts of cleansing by fire last fleeting but excruciatingly painful seconds as the boiling party members quickly realise what idiots they are and get out.

After all of that effort, we find nothing in this room apart from a very collapsed tunnel and the outline of a door on the wall. We dig around at the tunnel aimlessly for a while, and although it looks like we have cleared an area, its back breaking work and the tunnel appears to be quite deep. We then have a go at the outline of the door, and only stop when the Clacklin pop round the corner and lightning bolt the people on the edges of the room.

They come back to attack once more, and Stumpy again Silences them to prevent further lightning bolt  attacks. In an attempt to help those that may be effected by the trap, I change form to bury all my clothing and items within myself, and running round the corner, find another four more creatures ready to attack me.

Stumpy and McFlurry move in and Idjit fires his bow, while I with my rusty scimitar barely scratch the surface, not even good enough to raise a curious glance in my direction. Stumpy is blasted into the lava by one of the Clacklin, and the par-boiled Dwarf gets out and with one hand wipes the lava off himself with a gauntleted hand, and with the other, touches a Clacklin in the giblets with a Cause Serious Wounds.

McFlurry is all elbows and head butts as he expertly tumbles through the massed throng to get to the ‘Sonic Boom’ Clacklin as he later described it. With a grapple and a trip, the caster is down and before he can raise his head off the floor, McFlurry hits him hard in the face with a Felling Star Strike then webs the area, catching me in it.

One of the Clacklin in the lava frees the one that McFlurry was pummelling, by scooping lava and throwing it at the web, and then they both quickly run off and submerge themselves in the lava. Chunk cuts down one and then another in quick succession, and I am still stuck in the web. Which is slightly unfortunate for me, as this is when a massive Hydra emerges from out of the lava and breathes fire at us all.....

 

Played 28th March 2010.
Draft Started 11th August 2010
Posted  11th January 2011

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