Will o the Wisp.
A monster I have used so very rarely, and probably not for at least 15 years. Normally just a creature I would skim over and look elsewhere for. I think it's mostly because of the depressive and alien feel to it, (same with the Leucrottia) that made it something I could not sink my teeth into.
Well for the underground area of Glittercap, I wanted to make it feel otherworldly. Not another dwarven mine, but something just to the right of normal, just outside the realm of expected. And for that I fashioned an area of giant plaguebearing ticks using hit and run tactics, dwarven wights with cunning intelligence, and brooding depressing globes of animated plasma.
I have to say, I should have used these things sooner - they've been a blast.
Write up follows:
We gave thought to following the two wights but decided not to risk running down the dark corridor in pursuit. After making sure there was nothing in here to concern ourselves with, we drew up back into marching order and pressed on, going down the easternmost door towards where the wights had run off to.
It was a moldy corridor, and within 10 paces our booted feet were slapping in the wet puddles that were collecting there. Norris checked it out briefly but we decided not to risk the bard walking point assuming the wights were nearby. So it was spear butts and cautious steps as we walked into the deepening greenish/reddish algae slimy feeling water, eventually it rising to 4 or 5 inches.
Corridor turned to the left and went seven or so paces before ending, a door on the right and left wall. The right door was closed mostly the left one firmly seated. Checked them both for traps and found none and according to Guyus, he felt a faint evil presence north and west – meaning the right. We readied weapons and pushed the heavy door open.
The water was here as well, what was once some forging room. Big anvil mounted to a stone plug, coal beds (empty), and a few workbenches. Nothing of worth in here any longer. The far end of the room the water was 9” deep. There was another door, this one on the west wall – also not entirely closed. And again, our paladin sensed the evil nearby.
We drew up ourselves and opened the door. Corridor was a long “U” here and the wights were separated down each of the legs, far out of melee range and hissing at a distance. They were watching us with their dead dwarven cunning eyes and waiting to see what we would do. The party suspected a trap and did not want to step out there – the water would slow our movement and they were split up – someone was going to get badly hurt.
We decided to shut the door and then 4 of us dragged the anvil and stone back, blocking the door from opening – and preventing the wights from getting us from behind. We talked about where to go next and wanted to check out the other door outside the forge room. Norris declared it safe and this time Guyus opened the door. It was stuck and required a solid shoulder which the knight supplied and the door rumbled open. He rocked in half a step, gathered his balance, and rocked back out.
At the exact moment that a 5’ diameter mass of green slime dropped from the ceiling right where he was just standing.
We backed up quickly while the slime used the water as a buoyancy device, allowing it to float after us. Gwyn used his firestaff and hurled a blast of flame at the slime, burning it and shrinking it in the process. Torches were passed out and spread and we threw them at the slime, further burning it each time while we tried to give ground. Even Mebali got in the fight but he was scarred by the slime and required some burning to get the diseased mass off his forearm.
The slime eventually was burned away and we carefully looked around, nothing else. Thirty foot square chamber, two other doors out, one would lead right back to wights. We checked the southern door and opened it, showing a long corridor running west. We hadn’t heard from the giant tick in a while and were expecting it to show up.
According to the rough map that Norris was making, there were some strange gaps along the area and we thought they might be secret doors, but the group found none. We followed the corridor as it wound eventually south and then east again – linking up with the barracks chamber at one point and another door would open up to the room with all the bodies we had first encountered the tick in. Figuring we had gone full circle, we looped back to the original tick chamber and drew ourselves up into a potential fight, heading north toward the kitchen area.
It was about here that Guyus informed us that he felt the evil presence again and surmised it to be the two wights once more – just outside the kitchen and to the right. We readied our weapons and were going to run into the hall enmass to do battle, with Guyus and his paladinial skills at the front.
We hit the wights like a hammer, Guyus severely wounding the first one and Gwyn following with a whirlwind attack that injured both of them. Meanwhile Havic took up position on the other corridor with King, expecting to see the giant tick any moment, spears at the ready to receive charge. The wights tried to attack Guyus but only succeeded in hurting themselves as they tried to touch him. The rest of the party hung back avoiding any issue if possible and watching the southern opening for any sign of the tick or other wights.
The combat was not going well for the wights who could not touch Guyus without getting burned, so one of them picked up the other, swung him around and threw him into the paladin before running away down the hall! Guyus couldn’t stop him and he was escaping until Gwyn gave chase and caught up to the fleeing undead. They clashed in the hall and Gwyn was struck, loosing life force from the chill touch.
Guyus finished off the first wight and helped Gwyn on ending the second one. And no ticks came.
We healed wounds and then regrouped, deciding to follow on, hoping to learn of the way down. The corridor continued for a short distance until we came to the other side of the forge room, a series of doors on one side of the chamber. We opened them up, seeing a strongpoint with a few dwarven skeletons there and nothing else.
With no where left to check, we followed the last of the passage until it came to a set of stairs with water cascading down the slick stones in a clockwise turn as it went down into the gloomy darkness. Norris opted to check it out, the half-elf walking some 40’ down until the passage ended at about 3’ deep of water and a closed door. IT was not locked and merely closed, and the water was seeping easily through the wide gaps in the door. He came back up to us and we talked about going down into the mess and entering the 2nd level, seeing if we could learn something before retiring for the night.
The door opened to a very large chamber, 30’ x 50’. An open archway was on the northwest corner of the room, the water slowly making current in that direction, meanwhile there was a tight door on the southeast corner of the room. Mebali put Ludwig on his shoulders as the party entered the deeper water and made their way to the closed door. We lit a lamp and handed out a few more torches while the group got ready to knock the door open.
It burst to the right and the water swarmed through the gap, lowering the depth in the chamber but also soaking the group and knocking Mebali and the Halfling cleric to the ground. We crawled through the opening and shoved the door closed behind us, the party soaked to the skin and feeling run down. We would not be doing much more of this.
There was a door to our right and the corridor, with about 2’ of water in it, went left and turned counterclockwise around some central mass of stone. We left the door and walked on, eventually coming to another door as well as the corridor continuing and turning to the right.
We talked about what we were doing and decided to open the door before moving onward. It was some sort of prayer room, four worn dwarven statues at each corner, two other doors in here. On the eastern wall in deep dwarven runes was written, “Honor to the All-Father.” We looked around for only a few moments and decided to shut the door and move on.
But we had only gone a few paces before the door opened and two of the closest statues were there, assaulting the group! The statues were strong, and our first trade of blows resulted in very little damage being done. Mebali was hit in the mid-section, the wheelwright crumpling down and hugging himself with broken ribs. Gwyn, Guyus, Havic, and even Norris pressed forward to hold the statues back, but their blows were so strong, they kept knocking the group back, clearing the space in front of the door with each swing of their arms.
Detheron called to Frey and Dispelled the magic in the area, using one of his precious greater mistletoes as a focus – temporarily dropping the magic on 3 of the statues! The group assaulted the now still statues, their weapons doing more damage with each fevered swing. The lone animated statue came closer as we dropped one, and then a second statue. Thurin turned invisible and went down the hall.
The dispelling ended and our assault faltered for a bit. A few of the party were hit hard, and the statues’ blows did also have a slowing affect on the group, dragging our movements down and making our ability to dodge difficult.
It was at this time that those of us on the rightmost area of the corridor began to grow despondent and weary, lying down and bemoaning our misery. What was this sorcery? Only Thurin seemed unaffected.
And then he saw it, coming around the corner was a glowing pulsing ball of light 2’ in diameter, crackling with electrical energy. What the hell was it?
We dropped all but the last statue, that one was getting weaker and crumbling away. And then the ball of light shot out a blast of energy and shocked King with a stroke of lightning. Damn it! Thurin yelled that it was a will-o-the wisp and most likely beyond most of our skills. We plied weapons against the last statue, the group getting battered in return.
But it was Thurin’s lucky casting of Charm Monster that STOPPED the will-o-the wisp. However as we learned quickly – it was Thurin’s friend – not ours – and a very dangerous friend indeed. The statue was taken down and we dragged the despairing members of the group away from the floating energy creature. Thurin spent a few minutes with yes and no questions, learning that the wisp was down here with 2 others, there were some undead down here, and something dangerous (most like source of the plague).
We did not want this wisp following us and we wanted to leave it here and get the hell out of the subterranean chambers now. So Thurin convinced the wisp to “wait right here in this room and he’ll be right back” you know, because the wisp and he are friends. Then he shut the door and we all ran as fast as we could back through the watery chamber, up the stairs, and eventually back to the surface.
We went to the Temple of Odin in Glittercap and decided that we would set up camp now.