See part 1 here for the set up to this, Nov 2nd 2012’s, game night.
The evening began where we had left off the previous game. The adventurers were in a side tunnel half-way down a wide 200-foot deep well in the sewers of the city. Viola, the half-drow rogue, set off a trap that released the scorpions in the small side passage higher up in the well.
Hearing the legs clacking against the walls of the well, the adventurers get ready for a fight. Lotus, the Shou ninja, moves near the opening to the well and Magora draws her mace but then steps back and pulls out her crossbow. Viola moves back to check the other side of the T-section hallway (opposite to where the trap was) and finds a room thick with mold, a crumbled wall, and passageway that exits with stairs going down, “smells horrible down here but there’s more room to move around,” she says. Rash moves down, away from the well, towards Viola. Lish, the human cleric, steps down the tunnel away from the incoming scorpions as the sound of the scorpions skittering along the well’s walls getting louder.
Lotus whispers, “prepare to pull back.”
Viola pulls out her rapier and peeks around the corner to get a complete view of the stairs leading down and out of the moldy room.
The skittering sounds cease as if the scorpions just stopped on the wall of the well some ten feet above the passage’s opening. Magora steps farther down the hallway and takes aim at the opening to the well.
Then, as if fading into view, having moved completely silently, a scorpion rounds the lip of the passage. It’s mandible open up wide, wider than what any normal scorpion should be able to, and it hisses at Lotus. Lish conjures water above the scorpion, the force washing it onto the floor. More scorpions follow after it.
“They’re coming down the walls,” Magora says and fires her crossbow, hitting one, but barely scrapes the chitinous hide. She reloads quickly and empowers her crossbow with magic.
Viola drops her sword and pulls out her shortbow. She moves back to the T-section and fires around the corner at one of the scorpions, hitting, but again it barely scratches the creature.
Rash bellows, “not on my watch!” and rushes in swinging his greataxe, cracking its hide but not killing it. It’s body elongates becoming a spiked ball of many eyes and wide mouth and it screams at Rash, confusing him, muddling his senses.
All four of the scorpions appear in the tunnel, but in their fiendish transformed state, screaming at Viola, Lotus, and Magora…only Magora seems unaffected.
Lish steps back even further and casts a spell of mental protection around her. Lotus, shaking off the affects of the creature’s scream, vanishes using her ninja abilities, side-steps the creature, and attacks with her wakizaski sword dealing only minor damage to it but enough to poison the creature. Magora fires her crossbow again, her aim true, the bolt sinks deep into it, it then swoops in, flying, and bites her wrist but she shakes it off. Rash swings his greataxe at the one in front of him, cleaving into its hide; blood now flowing out of the bizarre creature’s wounds, but it screams again at the half-orc which muddles his mind. Viola fires her bow again but misses, cutting her fingers on the bowstring.
Several of the creatures swoop in, biting at the adventurers. Lish rushes to Viola’s side and quickly bandages her fingers. Lotus begins babbling incoherently as if mad. Magora yells at Lotus, “keep yourself together!,” and fires her crossbow again but only scratches the creature floating in front of her.
Viola screams as if seeing phantasms. Rash raises his axe and bellows madly at nothing. Magora and Lish become concerned, seeing Lotus, Viola, and Rash acting strangely. One of the creatures again screams at Rash, keeping his mind in a confused state. The creatures then disappear while another screams at Lotus but she seems to be able to resist the strange effect that it has on the mind; it then disappears. She collects herself and looks out the edge of the well, up and down, for the disappeared creature. Viola collects herself, “what happened?” Lish tries to console her.
Magora eyes Rash yelling madly and brandishing his axe in the air, “Rash, calm down,” she says.
Rash, still yelling madly, swings his greataxe and cuts deep into Magora who moves just in time to keep it from being a mortal blow. As blood rushes down her tunic, Lish offers a prayer to her goddess, and then she bursts out in holy light which mildly heals the wounds of the others. Wary of the barbarian, the rest of the party readies themselves to constrain Rash but he quickly comes to his senses as Magora curses him, over and over again.
Curiosity and Half-Orc Cats
As the creatures seem to have fled, the adventurers bandage their wounds. Magora turns to the half-orc male and says, “Rash, if that happens again I’m going to hurt you.”
“Well…don’t get scorpions on ya!” He replies.
She just stares intently with her deep half-orc eyes, “I will hurt you.”
Rash just growls, “bring it!” but she lets it go.
Bringing the focus back to the tasks at hand, Viola says, “What ever those things were, they sure did a number on our minds. I’d sure hate to run into one of those in the temple.”
The adventurers then head into the moldy room and down the stairs. It winds around, spiraling deeper into the depths with Magora leading as she has magic that helps to detect traps. She finds one, a pit-trap, in the floor in a hallway after the stairs and Viola comes forward, studies the trap for a while and then is able to disable the trap.
They continue onward, finding another trap which Viola disables, which Rash walks over first to test the rogue’s handiwork. They come on a third trap and Viola breaks the mechanism of it as well.
Further down the hallway they can hear water dripping and they come upon a chamber that has two five foot square grates in the floor with dark oily water below. In an alcove in the chamber is a cot and a chest. In the center of the room, near the grates, is a large worn bronze gong with a mallet hanging on the stand. The party enters the room and begin searching it.
“Viola, what do you make of this?” Magora says about the grates and the gong.
“Hmm, those grates on the floor can’t be good. Is this a dead end, is this all there is?” Viola asks.
“I believe so,” Magora replies.
“There must be more here than what we see. A gong, two grates over liquid,” the rogue continues.
“And apparently a place where someone sleeps.” Magora points to the cot.
Looking at the grates, they are set with wide-spaced bars and have hinges but no locks. Viola then searches the chest, doesn’t find any traps but it is locked. She then pulls out her tools and sets to unlocking the chest which resists opening to her half-drow fingers. Lotus comes over to help her and the two of them together are able to discern the difficult mechanism.
With a click the chest opens and inside they find some blankets, a sack with sewer-workers guild clothes, and at the bottom are four vials with magical liquids inside. The sack contains several different guild badges and a sowing kit.
“I think we found the living quarters of a doppleganger,” Viola says.
“We should leave, then,” Rash says, “how do we know one of us isn’t the doppleganger?”
“We came in together,” Magora says indignantly.
“I have faith and assume that you’re not,” Viola says and then turns the party’s attention to the gong. Magora and Lish divine that it is not magical.
“They come here to dispose of the bodies, they bang the gong and throw the bodies down the grates and what ever is listening for the gong comes and gets them,” Lish suggests.
“Why would they drag the bodies all the way down here?” Viola asks. “What should we do?”
“We shouldn’t go down into the waters. I believe we should go back and report on our findings,” Magora says, “there’s nothing left to do here, other than banging the gong.”
“Yeah, about that…” Rash says as Magora begins to protest. The barbarian goes over to the gong and takes the mallet and slides it under his belt. Magora positions herself between the gong and Rash.
Lotus does a final search of the room.
Viola says, “You think we should ring it?”
“No,” Magora says.
“You know…eh…I’m afraid of what would happen but it would almost be a shame not to play the game through, wouldn’t it?”
“Not really,” Magora replies dryly.
“We’ve come this far…” Viola says looking at the gong.
Magora just says, “I like my life as it is.”
“Are you so sure something bad will happen? How do you know something bad will happen,” the rogue presses the half-orc woman.
“Because it’s a gong,” Magora says, “in a room…that is hidden…by many traps.”
“It does seem to be that the gong is meant to summon something,” Lish quietly says.
“Right, but what?” Viola asks. “Do you truly believe everything in the world is evil?”
“I never said that…” Magora says.
Rash speaks up, “You can bang it then,” and hands the mallet to Viola under Magora’s deadly stare.
Viola takes the mallet and says, “I would not bang the gong wihtout the consent of the entire group, I’m just saying…”
“I do not think that is a wise idea,” Magora states sternly.
“What do you think, Lotus,” the mallet wielding rogue says to the Shou woman.
“We really haven’t learned anything about what is happening with the missing sewer-workers,” she says.
“Rash?” Magora asks.
“What?” The barbarian says.
“I think I know what you want to do,” she smiles at the half-orc.
Rash laughs, “give it a good one!”
“Lish,” Viola asks, “what do you think?”
“If you wish to bang the gong, I will do what I can to heal the wounds…”
“Do you think we should bang the gong to see what happens or do you not? Yes or no?” Viola interrupts softly.
“Well if you want…” Lish begins.
“That is not what I asked, what do you want?” Viola says with a little more force in her voice.
“Well,” Lish says, “what I want is for us to be finished with what needs to be done down here so we can get out. If you need to find more information then banging the gong may be what you need to do. Is it safe, I would say no, but this whole place hasn’t been safe. Do what needs to be done.”
“A simple yes or no would have been sufficient,” Magora says.
Lotus pulls out a coin, “heads we bang the gong, tales we don’t.” She flips a coin, walks over, takes out her sword and bangs the gong with its hilt. No one hears the coin hit the floor and no one sees what it came up.
Against the Odds
As soon as the gong is struck, the floor undulates as if made out of water but it still is solid. Between the two grates, coming out of the stone like a watery statue of a woman with subtle piscine features. She says, “welcome back, please come and kneel. The master will be with you shortly.” She looks around the room but doesn’t seem to focus on the adventurers. The floor subsides.
Lotus kneels. The rest of the party stands looking on in silence.
“We will not be able to assist you if you go down into the water,” Magora whispers to Lotus while eyeing the grates in front of them.
The woman looks down at Lotus, “the master will appear soon,” and then she dissolves back into the floor.
The water below splashes and a tentacle comes up through the grates and then another through the other grating.
“Back up,” Magora says and takes a step towards the exit. Lish quickly obeys and backs out of the room.
As one of the tentacles heads towards Lotus, she quickly steps away. Rash steps up and swings at one of the tentacles but it dodges out of the way.
“Viola, I think it’s best we leave now,” Magora says and heads out of the room swiftly.
Lotus swings at a tentacle, hits, and tumbles across the room towards the exit as a dark ichor oozes from the wound. Viola glances around and follows Magora.
The tentacles flail around, as if performing some intricate motion in front of Rash. The half-orc steels himself against the phantasmagoric display. He seems only phased, dazed, for a split moment and then steps away from the tentacles and swings his greataxe deep into Lotus’ flesh, “kill them,” ringing in his head.
The rest of the party continues running down the hallway and up the stairs. Lotus goes on the defensive and runs from the half-orc, following the rest of the group. As she runs, Lotus vanishes and while invisible she hums a tune for Rash to follow.
Rash continues his pursuit, “follow your friends as you would normally do,” he hears whispered in his head as he rushes on after them.
At the top of the final set of stairs into the moldy room, Magora, having waited for the others, asks Lotus (who is now visible), “Lotus, what’s happening?”
“Move!” Lotus commands, “Rash is taken over, we’ll have to deal with him when we get to the edge,” they both move on, “I will stand between him and you.”
“No. I think I will stand between him and you, I have a way of dealing with him if necessary,” Magora says. Lotus protests but she acquiesces.
Rash comes up the stairs and yells, “I’m sorry Lotus, I’m sorry.”
“Follow me,” Lotus says and notices that his greataxe is on his back. Rash follows but does not try to close the distance.
As they near the T-section they hear the screeching of the things which were originally in the form of scorpions. The party readies to fight them as Rash then closes in on the party. The creatures appear at the well’s end of the passage. Viola fires her shortbow and hits but its hide deflects the arrow. The four foul things swarm Viola, attacking her with their fanged maws but she is able to deflect all but one of their attacks. Lish steps up to Lotus and heals the wound that Rash’s axe gave her.
Magora steps forward, using the power of her god, she fires at one of the creatures and deals a hefty amount of damage but its hide deflects much of it. Healed, Lotus runs past Lish and jumps over the floating creatures, landing on the other side of them to somewhat block the exit to the well. Viola takes aim and fires again but misses and the arrow flies past Lotus’ head.
The creatures then disappear.
“Cut the rope, do not let them ascend,” Rash hears whispering in his mind.
An Axe and Half-Orc to Hold Her By
Rash says, “out of my way,” and he comes down the hallway that exits at the well, “Is everyone okay, I’m sorry, that thing had control of me!”
“We should keep moving,” Viola says.
The party approaches the bucket and Viola offers for Magora to go up first. Rash says, “Let me take the lead, you all have taken enough damage…there’s no more traps.”
“I appreciate the concern but I will go up first,” Magora replies.
“If you must,” Rash says.
“Those things are still out there, maybe Rash should go first so he can pull the rope…he is the strongest,” Viola says, “besides he weighs the most…”
Rash then steps up to the bucket and grabs the rope. He says, “come on,” as they hurriedly gather in the hallway near the edge of the well. “Come on,” Rash says again then takes his axe and swings at the taught rope, severing it and letting the bucket and rope fall hundreds of feet into the dark waters below. “Guess we better go back down,” Rash says.
“We will climb,” Lotus says.
“I think we better go back down,” Rash says, concern dripping from his half-orc lips.
“Drop your weapon!” Magora says, casting a spell at the barbarian who immediately complies.
“Kill them,” Rash hears echoing through his mind. The barbarian takes a drink from his whiskey flask, growls with rage, steps forward, and grabs at Lotus but Lotus throws a martial punch at the unarmed half-orc which bloodies his nose as Viola fires an arrow at Rash which slices a wound on his shoulder but fails to strike true. Unphased, Rash continues to try to grab a hold of Lotus but she spins out of the way, dives between his legs, grabs the barbarian’s axe, drops it down the well, winks at Magora, and then vanishes from sight.
Magora casts another spell at the barbarian, “Stop attacking!” she commands and Rash stops in his tracks looking dumbfounded.
Viola fires again, striking another wound in the half-orc and says, “We’re going to miss you if we kill you, Rash.”
Lish casts a spell and and the barbarian becomes held immobile by the cleric’s sorcery. Immobilized, Rash just stands there.
“How long will this last?” Lotus asks.
“Only a few seconds,” Lish responds worriedly.
“No,” Lotus says with concern, “this mind control he is under?”
“I said, only a few seconds,” she says again still thinking about the mind control she placed on the barbarian to keep him held in place.
The party then begins discussing ropes, who has one, who is the best climber, and so on.
Lotus throws two shurikens at Rash, both of which hit the half-orc but their poison does not affect the raging barbarian.
Magora pulls one of two 50 ft. length of ropes from Viola’s backpack. Viola then starts climbing up the wall of the well. She slips, falls, but catches herself on the lip. Rash continues to be held. Magora moves up to Rash and ties him up. Viola, focusing herself, climbs up fifteen feet along the well’s wall. Lotus and Lish keep an eye on Rash and Lotus nicks the half-orc with another poisoned shuriken but again, the poison is not strong enough to affect his still raging mind. Viola keeps climbing but it’s slow going, she’s twenty feet from the scorpions’ passage. Rash begins to twitch, Lotus readies herself. Lish and Magora both cast spells but Rash shakes them off. Rash growls and rips his arms out of the ropes. Lish attempts another casting at Rash but again it doesn’t take hold to his enraged mind. Magora casts again but the spell again fails. Viola keeps climbing, pulling herself up to the passage, she comes face to face with the scorpion-creatures which are back in their holding area, 30 feet away.
Rash, free of the spells and the ropes, raging, lunges at the female half-orc, Magora, and grabs a hold of her. Lotus vanishes again and stabs at Rash but the barbarian’s elbow accidentally knocks the ninja nearly unconscious. Lish commands, “release her,” and casts a spell but her casting is not strong enough to work.
Viola ties the rope to a rung that is just above the scorpions’ passage.
Magora struggles, attempting to break from the barbarian’s hold, but she is not strong enough.
Rash drags Magora down the hallway then leaps with her wrapped in his thick arms down the well after his axe; the half-orc inquisitor screaming as they descend into the darkness. As the fall, Magora is able to kick free of the barbarian’s grasp and then they hit water.