It was this meeting that the fecal matter hit the oscillation device. Through a number of bad decisions and split party - a few over zealous wandering monsters coming in, and just poor luck, we managed to carve out a possible TPK.
The group also met their first level draining undead - wights. Two at first, they killed them but the wights managed to kill off two of the party - which meant they will rise as wights.
Upon escaping to the surface it was just stunned and exhausted expressions amongst the players and a feeling of despair.
Write up follows:
Using the light of the wheel we noted that the side corridor preceded some 12 paces and then turned at a crisp 45 degree angle to the right. No signs or marking anywhere. Zeta and Tranis worked their lit up wheel forward to the turn, the party pacing behind with care, and looked onward, seeing another 10-12 paces and then another 45 degree to the right. The corridor was also showing more sign of work, the walls becoming smoother, the ceiling and floor more square edged.
At the next corner, the changes to the passage continued until there were no longer any features or signs; the entire place looking almost like it was poured into place. The passage only went 7 paces or so before turning to the left.
Once more Zeta and Tranis made their way to the front, peering around to see what was beyond here. The passage went 10’ and then opened to some chamber at least as large as our light source went and then beyond there. There were either paintings or ink drawings on the walls, starting just before the entrance of the room. From what we could tell they were of Hades and in some he was standing with the other Olympians, in others he was working with his adherents.
We rolled the wheel back and Zeta gave the chamber a good look with his infravision, surprised to see it was warming up from the current 65 through the entrance area all the way to 100 or so at the far end of his mission. There was nothing else in the room. From there we brought the wheel back to illuminate the area and tested waving our hands and arms past the entrance. There was an odd tingling sensation to be sure, but that was it.
Upon finally stepping into the room that we felt a sort of increase in temperate, maybe a handful of degrees. And when we left, we cooled off again over time. Through a variety of trials and errors, we discovered that the further one went into the chamber, the ultimately higher the temperature reached.
We could not see enough of the room so the decision was made to unrope the wheel and send it rolling into the room. The light spell on it should illuminate more of the chamber and let us not get screwed over or caught up in anything we weren’t ready for. So we pushed the wheel in, it rolled almost 25’ and then fell over. The chamber was almost 50’ long and there was another exit on the far side that made a turn to the right, some sort of slope leading down and away.
Zeta was once again picked to check the area out, eventually getting across the chamber with exaggerated care. It grew very hot, 100 plus. He doused his entire waterskin across his body to keep the metal buckles and braces from possibly burning his skin as we as to provide some relief. From what he could see the corridor sloped 20 degrees for 12 or so paces and then turned to the right where the corridor fed into a set of stairs going down.
We talked about our options at length, deciding at long last on two things: 1) we wanted to get the wheel back so we walked into the hot room and rolled it back to the entrance. 2) Zeta could check further but he must bring someone and that person shouldn’t be wearing metal armor. Auri volunteered and the two of them drew weapons and made their way across the room. It did indeed grow warm and then hot, the two of using only their infravision to provide any sight as they walked. The rest of the party watched as they disappeared into the dark and were gone, everyone readying weapons and gear.
Zeta and Auri made their way to the stairs, made sure there was no issue, and began walking down slowly. According to their infravision, the corridor went down steps before coming to another left hand turn with another sloping set of corridor going down. They proceeded with care, moving quietly and surely.
And then something flared near Auri from both walls, momentarily spoiling their heat vision. It came from a pair of Hades’ painted faces, two glyphs, briefly illuminating the stairs. And revealed at the limit of Zeta’s vision (who was the rearmost of the two), an eight count of skeletal figures coming out of a secret room from the “heat room” and heading their way. Seven of them armed with spears and a few shields raced towards the two friends, while the last one withdrew a sling and hurled a caltrop bag at the entrance where the rest of the group was.
Shit. Auri and Zeta swapped positions ready to assault the onrushing undead. The rest of the group backed up, not wanting to get assaulted by the undead in the room (that they still could not see). They did let the wagon wheel light roll forward and fall upon the caltrops, briefly making a bridge over them should the party need to assault forward.
The undead were held back on the stairs by a mix of Auri and Zeta’s skill, noting that one of them was fighting very skilled, dodging blows left and right. Zeta let fly an arcing bottle of holy wine but it was intercepted and laid down with care.
And then Auri killed one of the skeletons. And it exploded.
The blast was like a hammer blow, but the broken bits of bones and raining pelvis pieces only affected the two living friends. The undead were unfazed, instead only continuing their press forward. Tactics needed to be changed. Auri swapped to a spear and began thrusting backwards to the back row of skellies instead, her spear all but useless on their lack of fleshy forms.
The slinging skellie hurled a flask of oil at the rest of the group who was huddled around the corner, unsure still of what they were fighting. But they did hear another secret door open up and another 8 skellies fill the room. A 2nd slinger joined the first and some spear users blocked the way. Liscinia made her way to the front with her tower shield and the party was lining up to bring the rain of blunt arrows down on the skeletons.
But then Funis and others in the back of the party heard running feet…and ghouls came around the corner to attack our rear.
Funis went down in a spray of blood, paralyzed by the ghouls’ attack, and out rear main fighter was out of the fight.
The group was split in two, and one of our groups was now assaulted on both sides. Crossbow bolts and arrows peppered the ghouls while Pawn was brought up front to turn the skeletons arranged against us there. Marcus and Pecheri tried to get behind Liscinia and her tower shield, only barely getting into place when a THIRD secret door opened and 8 more skeletons came out! Now three slingers against the main group and 5 other skellies, while Auri and Zeta were being forced down the stairs by the combined strength and assault of the skeletons there.
For long agonized minutes it was a slog against the press of undead with our spear, sword, and spells; most everyone running out of whatever resources they had. However it became unsustainable after Liscinia and Marcus were forced to give ground against the advancing undead from the skeleton room, forced back around the corner after one of the slingers hurled a hot coal into the oil soaked floor and the blast sent everyone scurrying back.
Auri and Zeta had no choice, the press of undead was too much against them, so they turned and RAN further into the dark and down the slopes and steps until they were deep deep under the ground. Where their infravision picked up a door. A door that Zeta opened, they both charged into the room beyond, and Zeta slammed closed. Where Auri fumbled for a locking bar and slid it home.
Two friends alone in the dark, undead spears and bodies bashing at the door beyond. And they just realized they had been poisoned from the door. Zeta fell over choking on his own blood while Auri stumbled to her knees and fought off the toxic effects. She managed to get a candle lit and tried to administer to Zeta…but the proud half-elf, confused and yet still making his way in the world, died in her arms.
And with the door opening, it triggered an alarm spell which summoned MORE undead from further in the complex. And this time it was 4 ghoul looking creatures, except two of them had an air of confidence about them. We reshuffled our line in order to hold them off, and Flimflam cast Magic Fang on Whosea for the upcoming fight. Marcus whipped out Whipztar’s grimoire and reading from the enchanted tome called out “EMPTY” where the room with skeletons that were attacking our flank…just emptied. The wheel disappeared, the bodies disappeared, it all went empty.
And the undead hit our back line again. It wasn’t just ghouls, it was something more. As evidenced when weapons just bounced off their hide. As evidenced by the disdain it had for the party. As evidenced by the life draining ability it had. We had to break free and go, and go now. Ghouls were dropping more of the party. Marcus lost a level, Sanford lost a level, Pawn lost a level and DIED by a Wight! Then Sanford was torn apart and Scripinius our linkboy was drained by a Wight and DIED! Quintus was killed. Whosea was drained and then…Funis and his paralysis wore off.
The Light footman with his enchanted mace waded into the back of the Wight’s, slamming at them at the same time that Flimflam and his enchanted cudgel and Whosea and his enchanted…teeth hit the front. It took magic weapons to take them down, along with a flurry of disrupt undead and magic missiles we punched a hole through and the party decided to run. Liscinia and Funis held the rear as the party hoisted our paralyzed brethren (Geld and Caeteccius) and we charged out of here.
We reached the bridge and were crossing when we heard our pursuers coming back after us again. So Liscinia and Funis dragged first one wagon base bridge back over the pit and let it fall…and then the second. The last thing the two hirelings saw were a host of skellies on the other side…and our one time companion and Halfling priest Pawn standing there – the priest having blood all over his form, and black eyes staring with undead malevolence and confidence at us retreating. And still the party ran on.
And now in the wagon room we had four zombies to contend with! Fuck! Marcus pulled out his book again and consulting Whipztar’s tome, selected FLIP – turning the busted wagon up and over and ONTOP of three of the zombies! Nice! They were pinned which allowed Funis to do battle with it long enough for the group to get past and away and then keeping up the rear.
We climbed wearily up the slope, through the incense room, and into the store room. From here we navigated the slope up, Tranis using rope all the way back down to help us pull ourselves up. And the wandering monster gods were against us even more as one, two, three of the pale and bloated carrion crawlers crept into the Hades room and tried to attack our ranger.
Flasks of oil held two of them back and one of them made it through as a torch was hurled and others came up to help. It caught on fire and tried to attack us but Flim, Whosea, Liscinia, Tranis, and Marcus all held it off and slayed it while we made our way to the front and escaped at long last into the evening cool air of the Griffanus Estate…with half our members gone or missing or dead.
We lost Scripinus, Quintis, Sanford, Pawn to wights and other undead. Zeta and Auri are unaccounted for, chased further into the dungeon by a host of pursuing skeletons (Of those two, Zeta has dies from Poison and Auri is weak and in a single room without exit, used as some sort of flensing chamber where the local necromancer take flesh from the body).
Escaping to the night air, low on spells or empty, with two of our members paralyzed and some of us level drained by the wights: Flimflam, Whosea, Tranis, Marcus, Pecheri, Geld, Vestanus, Funis, Liscinia, and Caeteccius.