Chapter Twenty Six –"Dont fall down the Spikey Pit, with anyone else but me..........."

Having been left asleep back in town, I spend the next few hours on four legs bounding through the countryside as a cheetah, before resuming a more suitable shape for moving through the darkness of the now familiar cave systems. It’s not long before I can hear the sounds of dungeon dwellers causing problems. Knowing that my fellow party members cannot be far from any sounds of chaos and or fighting, it is not too hard to track them down and soon I am reunited with some of the party. The ‘some’ are Chunk and Idjit, both of them dripping wet and standing next to a well.

After explaining the reasons why the party is split and politely trying not to laugh at the bits that involve Idjit, we begin to search for the rest of them and hitting the first set of crossroads, call out in Dwarven to attract Trixie and Stumpy. Something flitters through my peripheral vision, and spinning around, I call out a warning as a Demon like creature steps out of the wall, touching Chunk in the lucky charms. Luckily, the two Dwarves are drawn to our direction from the calls, and hearing Chunk’s girlie scream helps pinpoint our location for them to come running. We are alerted to their imminent presence as we can hear Trixie call out “….French Steve** is in trouble! Help him!”

Chunk instantly rages, striking twice at the creature, but the ghostly form is incorporeal and both of his attacks go straight though to strike the wall. The spikes of my club rips into something, that slight resistance acknowledging a successful hit as neither blood nor marks show, which impresses Chunk enough to cause him to drop his weapon. He grimaces as he is struck again, an underhand strike scratching along his side, but seems to be bearing up against whatever diseased based nastiness the creature has lurking under its fingernails. Idjit also hits with the Orb, its usual form of a club hitting the undead creature and then a swipe from Chunks large sword penetrates the creature and with a brief sneer of contempt, it winks out as though it was never there at all.

The two Dwarves arrive, far too late to see our fighting prowess, and checking fruitlessly for any treasure, we all go to the Altar room to rest. Stumpy tells me that the Altar is aligned to the God Tyr, and we have another attempt at the Altar and the protected book, but I still cannot work out a way to release it from its poisonous clutches. The acid bath that leaves us freshly scrubbed and with bright pink faces has revealed nothing nor initiated any new ideas on how to obtain the book and with one last long glance, we walk away from it.

Resting for the night, we awake to a fresh new day, moving down the stairs into a massive cavern. The cavern is higher than I can sense as a Harsaaf, so Chunk loans me his mask so that I may fly upwards to scout. I have travelled barely five feet upwards before a slime drops on my head, covering me down one side like a blanket dipped in acid. Thankfully Trixie is ready and waiting with a Fireball to blast me with, and the ooze lays dead and scattered to the four corners of the room as I brush charred pieces of jelly from my skin.

I continue with my excellent path finding skills, which basically consist of flying around and waiting for things to drop on me - my old Druid tracking teachers would be so proud. Soon we have cleared a path across the cavern, and I return to the floor, walking the last few feet to a corridor at the far end of the room. As I step round the corner, a crude spear is thrown at me, missing the mark and clattering off the wall into the cavern behind me. Taking a quick look at the roughhewn spear, and assuming straight away that they must be primitive savages, I nominate Chunk to accompany me in a tallyho charge down the corridor to show these natives ‘what for’ and promptly fall down a pit full of spikes.

The few seconds that I have to think on the subject warn me that I am now in a pit with a pathological killing machine as Chunk is now primed and ready to go with furious rage from the fall, the spikes, and the fact that I used his face to land on. The fall and spikes have taken their toll on me though, and my bad luck obviously continues as my pit partner then deals a vicious blow to the side of my head, which nearly kills me outright and knocks me unconscious.

This is both a blessing as Chunk stops hitting me due to being not a threat anymore, but also a curse as I am still stuck in a pit with a raging lunatic as I regenerate slowly back to consciousness, likely at any moment to awake and be cleaved in twain.

Thankfully, I open my eyes as Chunk is attacking the floor and the spikes that speared him, and while lying perfectly still on the bottom of the pit, I cast Meld into Stone. My casting is off though and I fail to take the precautions according to the spell manuals guide for having one of your party members trained in the most unsociable class available to Man or Demi-Human, meaning I am not quite cut in half by Chunks sword strike, but still killed instantly.

The Dwarves above have waited the appropriate time before coming to see where the rest of the party have gone, and begin to throw rubbish cast with a Light spell down the corridor.

Spotting some suspicious looking bipeds, Trixie casts Confusion on them all, with one wandering off while the rest bicker amongst themselves, before settling down to watch the mischief. One tries to pick up the light but gets punched in the head by the other, and Trixie happily Magic Missiles and slingshots them from afar as they mill about the far end of the corridor.

One suddenly snaps out of it, and runs off for help, while the two remaining ones continue to attack each other, grappling each other to the floor before flailing with clawed fists. Trixie helps to kill one, and the last one stands around simply looking at the floor.

Chunk flies up with my corpse for a Scroll to be read*** to raise me, and once I awake, I wordlessly leap the pit to the other side. Trixie shoots one with a crossbow, I run down the corridor towards the remaining Troglodyte and immediately drop down another pit. Stumpy has a shield other on me to help cushion the fall and Chunk flies down the pit to get me. The last Troglodyte surprises us by calling out in Draconian saying that his men should not have attacked us, and wants to talk.

We parley and stop our attacks for the moment, and I ask if there are any more pit traps. His response is to take one of his fallen comrades and activate the last one with the corpse, the dead Troglodyte dropping out of sight to more spikes below.

Chunk ferries us all across to the Troglodyte, and he explains that our help would be in exchange for a safe passage and information about the area ahead of us. Grizzlisk, our friendly Troglodyte, simply wants us to get rid of his mad leader, who apparently is a half Dragon.....

We quiz the warrior, and find that the leader can cast spells and breathe fire, but normally just smashes people with a mace. He currently has no other Troglodytes guarding him as they have wisely left or had their loyalty repaid by being killed during one of his ‘funny turns’. The Troglodyte draws us a map of the area, including were the boss is held up, and the surrounding areas.

Agreeing with Grizzlisk request, we soon head off to explore through the caverns, which are very large and populated by large lizards. The Troglodytes themselves have not left the area in ages due to the green slime and the entrances to Benthoc’s cave has long since been filled in leaving them slightly trapped between a rock and a hard place. Once we are happy with the layout of the map and explored most of the area, we formulate some plans and rest for the night.

The morning arrives and we are up promptly, moving to Benthoc’s corridor before the party is buffed with Elemental protection, Blindsight and Bears Heart spells.

We enter the room with Chunk in the front flying high, with Stumpy and Trixie flying closer to the ground behind him, with myself jogging after them all on foot, Clerical chanting is heard but stops as we move further into the room. Immediately we see that there are about a dozen dead troglodytes and some baby dragon skeletons guarding the large figure of Bethnoc. Chunk’s brightly glowing face has illuminated the area where the Troglodyte leader stands and we can see that Bethnoc is an opposing figure, large of build, with scaled face and hands and wearing plate armour.

I move in, running down the slope on one side of the room, while Stumpy and Trixie go down the other sloping section that sweeps into the room like Bulls horns. I charge into the first zombie I see, club rising and falling to smash and break its collarbone, while Stumpy calls out that Bethnoc has cast Godspeed on himself.

I am swarmed by zombies but the varied attacks of claw and club bounce from my armour and when they do hit, are shrugged off. Chunk flies directly at Bethnoc, furiously raging, shoulder charging him and causing him to step backwards, while Stumpy moves to a suitable area and unleashes a mighty prayer roar that blasts the surrounding Zombies to dust. His majestic display is not over as he spins his arms and motions, casting Dispel Magic on Bethnoc, causing the very noticeable Blur spell to vanish, along with other less visible protective spells.

Chunk then hits the creature with the same force that he hit me down in the pit with, a trailing sword and massive sideways strike that scores a large cut to the chest. Bethnoc looks visibly shaken from the blow, and barely has time to register that Trixie has hit him with an Enervation spell, not once but twice. He recovers enough to dodge my attack, my club swishing past his leg as he steps aside.

Bethnoc’s madness is evident on his face, as he seems to alternate between laughter and fear, and releases a green tinged gas that engulfs us all, but affects us much like a Trixie post teatime fart, ie a little smelly, but otherwise politely ignored, and then follows it up with Half Breed Dragon fear, which causes some discomfort, but not enough for us to move away.

The small Dragonkin have begun to swarm round the party, trying to protect Bethnoc, and biting and clawing they inflict tiny wounds on us all. Myself and Stumpy start to clear them away, the small Dragons smashed to one side as heads are crushed and limbs broken leaving the area smothered in gore.

Another Dispel Magic cast upon Bethnoc indicates nothing on him to remove and Chunk continues the attacks, killing the half breed with an overhand sword strike that cleaves collarbone and smashes through the rib cage. Quickly pulling free his sword, Chunk’s mad bloody stare is once more in his eyes and with spittle flying from his mouth, he neatly turns the withdrawal of his sword from Bethnoc into a near mortal strike against me, the blade thankfully slightly deflected by my raised buckler before hammering into my head.

Trixie tries to disarm him with a spell, but fails, following this up with a Dispel Magic in an attempt to target the flying mask that provides his maneuverability, but mistakenly targets him instead. This does remove some spells buffing and protecting him however, and gives me the time to fade into the stonework with a Meld into Stone spell.

Stumpy moves back as far as he can, but is painfully aware that it is not far enough. Chunk however awakens from his rage, which means everyone instantly forgets the would be murderer in our midst, as they all become loot buddies scrambling around in the cavern.

I emerge from the stone floor – still quite miffed at my near death experience; and sulk quietly by the side passage while the others search the area for secrets. A quick search down in the center pit reveals mostly rubble, but does find a few gems. The Dragon statue looming above the area where Bethnoc stood against us has obsidian teeth which are removed, but the altar itself is devoid of anything, nor could we find hidden compartments to loot, and so we move to the side passage where I stand.

Leading the way, I spot a thin spider strand across our path and identify it to the rest of the party before they can pick them out themselves as they become denser. A massive spider suddenly appears from a deceptively hidden stretch of web, which spurts goo at me. As I struggle to free myself, it then turns on Trixie grappling her easily to the floor. Stumpy moves to a better position, nearly falling down a pit that opens at his feet but luckily steps back just in time.

Trixie Dimension Doors away from the brood-mothers clutches and I change into a KuoaToa to avoid the stickiness of the web, but with the Spider now free of its prisoner, it finds a new target to pin down - me. Chunk moves in to attack the spider, his sword striking like a spear and bringing forth a gout of sticky blood from the Spiders side, but I can see no more as I am pinned face down to the floor.

 

Session Played: 2010
1st Draft finished: 15/04/13
Published: 8th May 2013

 

**A debate (as per the norm) broke out as we discussed the finer points of calling out names in Dwarven. Phil tried to apply real world logic, again, as is often the case to any debate, and asked “..would their names be the same in Dwarven as they would be in Common? For example, Steve, what's your name in French?” I say Steve (with an accent) spotting his mistake, and not just the one of getting my name wrong.

 

*** First death, so actually I did not need a scroll, just worded that way for the story. The original notes read:

“Chunk heals me with a potion, and I wordlessly give back the mask and fly out of the pit, landing on the other side. Trixie shoots one with a crossbow, I run down the corridor towards the troglodyte and immediately drop down another pit.”

 

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