Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Beyond the Westwall: Session 2 (6/5/13)

At the end of the first session, the party once again encountered a yellowish-green slime creature (or at least half of said creature) below the town of Westguard. They were running from a group of orcs, which had somehow dug their way to a secret entrance in a mysterious burial chamber that the group had discovered. Note that only two players were able to make it to session two: Mark (Umitsu the elf) and Josh (formerly Gerard the fighter, now a cleric named Jarith). I took control of Bill's halfling Bogo and Vela, Pam's thief, for the session.

The elf, Umitsu, was the only one of the party that lingered in the burial chamber, in order to see what the orcs were doing. The elf hid herself in a niche, burrowing under the skeleton therein, and waited. She watched as a rectangular block of stone, which had been the "false" back wall inside one of the tomb's niches, fell with a crash into the chamber. Out stumbled five orcs of the Blood Fist tribe, who proceeded to search the chamber. They quickly noticed the depression in the middle of the floor, which the party discovered had contained what looked like a scroll case sealed with a kind of combination lock. The orcs began arguing even more urgently among themselves when they realized someone else had been in the chamber before them.

Meanwhile, Jarith (Josh's new character), cleric of Phaeton, was making his way through the snowy streets of Westguard with two of his fellow holy men. They were going about to make sure that none of the townsfolk were suffering under ill effects brought about by the harsh winter conditions. Suddenly, one of the town guard came up to the clerics to ask for aid at the Wailing Banshee inn. They agreed and went to help.

Just before Jarith arrived at the ancient burial chamber, Umitsu decided to cast Sleep over the orcs, causing all but one of them to fall asleep. That made it very easy for the fighter Gerard (now under my control as an NPC) to kill the single still-conscious orc while Umitsu dispatched the sleeping humanoids with quick dagger thrusts. It was about this time that Jarith arrived on the scene (having dowsed the slime with dwarf spirits and set it aflame in order to gain access to the tunnel below the Wailing Banshee), and was aghast at the scene of slaughter in the tomb.

Unconcerned with the cleric's discomfiture, Umitsu crawled through the niche through which the orcs had entered the chamber. On the other side she found another burial chamber, very similar in design to the one she had just left. She noticed a jumbled pile of snow-covered masonry at the center of the chamber. Looking up, Umitsu saw where the chamber's ceiling had been broken open from above. Somehow, the orcs were drawn to an exact location above the burial chamber (and less than 200 feet outside the town's wall!) and proceeded to dig.

Then, Umitsu heard more guttural orc voices above, drifting down to her from the hole in the ceiling. She cast Floating Disk to plug the hole temporarily, much to the frustration and confusion of the orcs above.

Meanwhile, once he got over his initial shock, Jarith inspected the chamber while Umitsu looted the orc bodies and investigated the niche. Jarith saw an inscription on the chamber's mosaic that read "Phaeton shall return with the rising of the Great Sun, and will bring the Reunification." Curious to decipher what this might mean, the cleric returned to Westguard's temple of Phaeton to seek possible answers among the priesthood. A senior priest named Father Durnos received Jarith's news regarding the inscription with a sort of rushed introspection that was unlike the older priest. Indeed, Durnos seemed to drop the subject very quickly.
By that time, Umitsu had retired to her room in the Wailing Banshee, to see if she could puzzle out the combination for the mysterious cylinder/scroll case the group had found in the ancient Bright Empire burial chamber. She noticed almost immediately that the last dial to the right had one character that was different, a replacement for a symbol that was on the other six dials. She decided to start with that symbol and work from there, trying out combinations in a systematic, trial-and-error method (a prospect that could be very time-consuming indeed).

As the elf fiddled with the dials, she began to see dark shapes that seemed to lurk at the edges of her vision, and these shapes disappeared when she tried to look directly at them. Then, Umitsu began to hear wordless, sibilant whispering. Eventually, she fell under some sort of compulsion, and some force took control of her.

The room became colder and colder despite the fire in the room's wood-burning stove, and a window across from Umitsu frosted over. Then, as if written by an invisible finger, a sequence of symbols appeared on the glass. The elf, still under some powerful compulsion, used the sequence to open the cylinder. Inside she saw a small repulsive thing floating in some water-like solution, a thing that looked like a thumb-sized brain with several barbed tentacles radiating out from it. The force controlling her began to lift the cylinder to her mouth, as if to make her swallow the tiny brain-thing. With a last burst of willpower (i.e. Mark made his saving throw!), Umitsu was able to resist the force long enough to seal the cylinder once more and stow it away safely.

The session ended after that titanic psychic struggle. Hopefully, session three tomorrow night will find our group back together at the table-top, because I'm excited to keep the adventure rolling! 

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