After long last the party armed with the Runekey was able to find the Treasure Room. There are two of them - one of them untouched and virginal, the other partially plundered by Sir Dargan and then by Vanir/Djohrgahd and the Phantom Blades. There are other "D" rune doors scattered about this level, and each of them have something within the ancient dwarves wanted to preserve, guard, or protect.
The party snagged what they could (after a short and potentially deadly encounter with a modified Gorgon (the bull version, not the traditional medusa-kin)) and then dragged out a large pile of it to get to town.
I was very kind and had no claim jumpers bushwhack them and made sure that at least for now, all was good and smooth. Once word leaks out that they made a killing at the site, I am not so sure that future trips home will be as uneventful - but that's for another day.
Write up follows:
We arrived just outside the Throne room and waited, hearing the distant (very!) sound of gnolls and none of them nearby. Even the guard area outside Sakath’s Room was empty, the oil lamps still lit and a couple of ranseurs leaning against the wall.
We ran over there and entered after verifying the place was not inhabited, shutting the door slightly to disguise our presence. The ceiling was almost 100’ domed overhead, with a pair or heavy iron chandeliers providing lots of light for the chamber. A 2nd tier encircled the perimeter where a pair of steps went up, a low wall with numerous alcoves and niches every half dozen paces. In the back was a 4 tiered platform with a number of thrones on it, one of them obviously Sakath’s. We counted places for over a dozen guards but there were none here now.
Quickly we fanned out, some of us looking for secret doors or places, others for any sort of clues, others for treasure. We allowed ourselves 5 minutes no matter what and then we were going to back away from the chamber hopefully far in advance of any returning inquisitive hyena-men.
Although there were some items of note, no real treasures were to be found. We did uncover an important looking document in a strange hand in Sakath’s few items of interest and we took it, replacing the page with a rolled up normal piece of paper to make it appear like the room had been untouched. There was talk about scribing some expletive on the wall but it was decided that we should make NO show that we had ever been in here – nothing to give the gnolls a reason to be on alert or looking for us.
Leaving the throne room we went back to the hall and approached the 1st rune locked chamber. The doorway showed many old signs that it had been picked at earlier, but nothing had broken the seal. The party held their breath while Karis used the Runekey and the chamber opened.
A blast of stale air choked the hall along with a thin scree of dust, but when it cleared we beheld a deep chamber, perhaps 4 lengths wide, the ceiling a dwarven comfortable height of an inch or two over 5’. There were over a score of thick wooden and brass reinforced chests in here about the chamber, the back wall sporting a similar number of rolled up rugs and tapestries, the left wall home to over 30 statues and busts of dwarven art. But in the middle of the chamber was a squat stone figure of a bull…that opened its hellishly blue palefire eyes and snorted terribly loud, pawing the ground.
There was concern about going in to battle the creature/construct (we didn’t know what it was) due to the severely reduced ceiling height and the cluttered terrain because of the chests. Most of the group stayed gathered about the entrance unsure and vacillating. Coruth’tae fired off a lightning bolt, angling it so it rebounded off the ceiling to strike the strange creature. There was a loud sizzling crack and THOOM but when it ended the beast seemed unharmed. The elven mage and the gnome both stayed on either side of the doorway, outside of range and view while the party tried to coax the bull to approach them in the hall.
It was at that time that it snorted loudly and opened its mouth and breathed out a scintillating bluish field of smoking energy that slammed into the party, rocking them back on their feet. The creature’s breath stole some of the group’s life away and sapped their vigor, causing them to become crusted over briefly with a gritty/sandy coating. Fabambus shouted out, “GORGON!” upon seeing it and advised the party to either run or close immediately since it would continue to breathe on the group if possible until everyone was turned to stone.
Karis hunched low and ran in, Flarg following on his heels. Asgirda fired stonebiter arrows at the gorgon, wounding it, Gwyn shooting as well. Melee was engaged and the fight was brutal and terrible. Spells and blades made the day and the Gorgon fell in time with the party only taking a few more hits for their trouble. We then shut the door to the treasure room and the group began opening boxes.
There were 23 chests in total, filled with tens of thousands of gold and silver pieces as well as plates, mugs, cups, bracelets, necklaces, circlets, buckles, rings, combs, candle holders, stands, and holy symbols and jewelry. We broke out the bags and started filling them, our excitement almost physical as we decided how much we could possible haul out of here. The aid in the efforts, Detheron transformed himself into a mule and allowed even more sacks to be slung across his back. We were loaded down with no more room to carry ANYTHING, and we still hadn’t cleared out 1/3 of the chamber.
Fabambus checked the hall after the door was opened and even though the sounds of gnolls were louder and more insistent nearby, none were in visible range and the party left the treasure vault and made their way back down the road, up the sloping passage, and through all the side and back alleys until we arrived at 1st street. From there we doused all light and walked as quietly as we could to the stairs and began the long walk back to the surface, leaving Wodenvarelse behind.
We came out up top and Goloriana met us where we divested ourselves of our treasures and loaded what we could into the wagon. Bag after bag was pulled free and stowed aboard. Then the party was attempting to tarp it down and deciding if we should head back now or later when we noticed that Roxarn of the Red Clouds and one of his companions coming up the hill from their encampment. He commented on our obvious emergence and from they were able to tell that we had a good haul. He was looking for an idea of what we found and how it was and Karis was very closed lipped about it – saying nothing. Roxarn eventually got the hint (his companion said nothing the entire time, merely looking at us all in turn) and said that we had 35 days until the site became open.
We hastened our loading and then left, riding out in a way to avoid the Red Cloud encampment, on watch for any attempts on us or our load. It wasn’t until over a day later that we felt safer and continued on our way to Ponyboro. We met with Lord Daernhorse and told him of our haul. The lord offered to turn some of our coin into notes along with the Cooperson and Wolverton family, each of them scribing a 2,000 crown bearer note in exchange for coinage.
From here we opted to ride on to Cymbarton where the sale of our wares and goods would fetch the best price as well as directly pay the Adventuring Guild their share of the treasures. We paid Flarg and Asgirda their cut and the bugbears laden down with gold and treasures began the walk back to Orihalcus with fond waves and “good lucks” at us.
We ended it here. At this point no one has enough to go up and there is some talk about speeding up our turn around to make it back to Dargan’s Folley for 1 if not 2 more trips down.