Earthday, 27 Goodmonth, 1468 CY
Excerpt from Lilac Derbyshire’s Journal (Earthday, 27 Goodmonth, 1468 CY)
The Hordebane just cannot catch a break! After slaying the self-proclaimed Queen Shephatiah and finding no means of accessing the Karak Lode, we finally made camp for the night in order to get some much needed rest. The trials and travails of the desert and the many monstrous denizens of the complex we had assaulted had rendered our company dead tired (though thankfully not dead). Unfortunately the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune had not yet finished their volley, and we were viciously assaulted by chokers and another troglodyte. There’s nothing quite like being used as a shield to absorb a friend’s sword swing when you’d rather be sleeping, but such is the adventurer’s life. After dispatching our ambushers and finding the shifter we had taken captive executed, we decided to dispose of the troglodyte stinking carcass. Chris and I lugged the fetid corpse down the stairs and into the Queen’s throne room, imagining the stench in there couldn’t get any worse. While transporting the body, a metal object fell out of one of his pockets and glinted in the light of my sunrod. I quickly retrieved it and found it to be a Clan Ironfell Signet Ring! At least that was good news, and I assumed that the Lode must be near by.
We found it quickly enough. Despite the previous night’s search leaving us stumped, we found a secret entrance while following a trail of canary feathers to a previously searched room. Diony had lost track of the bird brained former prisoner we had rescued, and our search for him turned up the Lode instead! Jackpot! The trail of feathers lead us to a secret entrance in the floor, complete with lift, and we descended into the mines. At the bottom we discovered troglodytes guarding a portcullis. A pitched battle broke out. I provided fire from the back while Tanner and the Professor used their respective talents for translocation and turning into a swarm of disgusting insects (ick!) to by pass the portcullis. It was finally opened by the Professor, allowing Chris access to the remaining troglodytes. As I’ve documented she is a ferocious fighter, so as you may imagine the remaining guards were speedily dispatched.
Beyond the portcullis we finally found ourselves in the mine we had been tasked with rediscovering. It was hardly a wondrous sight however, as pulsing veins of magic spread throughout the mine. Tanner and I determined it to be raw elemental chaos energy, and it lent a ghastly hue to the mine’s sprawling corridors. They seemed to trigger in the Professor the same violent headaches he had experienced while examining the Throne earlier. To make the environment even less homey, we found spread among rock and rubble the skeletons of numerous dwarf miners or guards, whom the Professor later determined may have died as many as eight centuries past. Severely rusted weapons lay untouched by the skeletons, and most disturbing of all they were decapitated. Headless skeletons hardly put a country girl at ease, and it was no surprise that we quickly found ourselves clashing with the creatures which dwelled in these long forgotten shafts. A swarm of spiders and a pair of loathsome carrion crawlers (they evidently nested in the mines) attacked us, and they were soon joined by a chillbane dwarf zombie and a hideous barlgura demon. Determining that the zombie was weak to fire I loaded a grenade into my crossbow and launched a smoke powder blast at it, focusing my fury to aim with as much precision as possible. The fiery explosion was devastating, and the smoke gave Tanner an opportunity to strike at it. The zombie, whose chilling aura had been difficult to manage, thankfully fell. The rest of the battle was intense and nearly deadly. In an impressive display of strength Chris tore a crawler off the wall and brutally pummeled it as it crumpled on the ground. The Professor summoned a localized earthquake under the demon which destabilized the shaft and began the process of a collapse. Amidst falling stone we retreated back in the direction of the portcullis, but Chris found herself poisoned and unable to move. Tanner quickly dragged her to safety however, and we all survived. Unfortunately, the demon had smashed my homunculus before being crushed by the cave-in, and I was unable to retrieve it before escaping to safety.
Anxious to retrieve the valuable technology my father had entrusted to me, I began examining the fallen rock and trying to determine a way to reach my automaton. Tanner and Chris warned me to be careful around the unstable stone however, and after a breath and coaxing the others into agreeing to help, we rigged a pulley system and began to make a tunnel. Tanner gave us a pep talk that rivaled a bard’s, while Chris and Irjan hoisted, I secured rocks to the pulley, and the Professor in swarm form determined the safest path to take. Upon reaching the stone my homunculus was crushed under, I took out my crowbar, wedged it into place, and Chris, Tanner and I went to work. Tanner pressed on the crowbar with all the might a wizard can muster while Chris and I strained at the rock with our bare hands. The Professor wormed his way under and collected the homunculus as well a number of other valuables, including gems and healing potions. We quickly made our egress from the makeshift tunnel and I returned my homunculus to my bag. I guess if I am to incorporate the snake construct’s venom into its design, I need to take it apart anyway, so perhaps the demon saved me some labor? Always look on the bright side right?
Meanwhile, one of the gems seemed to trigger a reverie in the professor, and he seemed to dissociate while lost in a memory. He came to visibily agitated, though he seemed unwilling talk. Tanner and I examined the dwarf skeletons and hypothesized about reasons for their decapitation. Meanwhile, Irjan found he too was affected by the elemental chaos that ran through the mine and voiced his displeasure with it. We then examined our options for traversing deeper into the mine. We had found a passage off to the right that could be climbed to continue along the mine. I determined that a pulley system could shift some rocks to make for an easier ascent, and if necessary we could use rope to rappel down the other side. After determining the best route of continuance, we set to work, and in the process steeled ourselves for whatever challenges may await further into the dark depths of the Karak Lode.
Found Ring on Troglodyte from ambush.
Followed trail of yellow canary feathers downstairs to the hidden Karak Lode entrance.
Fought past troglodytes at the portcullis to enter the mine.
Dwarven skeletons missing skulls, weapons out and rusting—it appears the dwarves killed each other in the end. Veins of raw elemental chaos energy run throughout the mine.
Epic battle of the collapsing chamber, and subsequent unearthing of the homunculus.
Troglodytes, demon (barlgura), dwarf zombie (again), spider swarm, and a carrion crawler all perished.
- 780 XP to all players (Total: 11920)
- Ironfell Signet Ring (held by Lilac)
- 2 potions of Cure Moderate Wounds (taken by Chris and Hoff)
- 1 Potion of Healing (taken by Hoff?)
- 5 gemstones, added to Party Coin Purse
- 50 gp, already divided amongst party members (Irjan gets 10gp)
- Clean water – barrel currently contains 25 gal (5 gal drunk in the 3 fights since awakening)
Transcripts of important interactions from the RP sessions will be posted here:
Missing Skulls and Rocky Roads