The youths’ had their first “captured monster interrogation situation” where there was the call to let them go or kill them upon completion. We had 1 vote for let them go, one for torture and let them go, and the last was looking for a place to sheath his sword and hobgoblin spleen seemed like a good scabbard.
It was settled on one and one and the bloodletting happened. Knowing this adventure the sheer amount of Cyndicians they are going to run into, the “let’s kill them” player is going to be hard pressed to keep his sword out of the NPC’s backs
Write up follows:
The first hobgoblin was awake and was willing to answer questions. He could understand common but couldn’t speak it, so it was up to Volkan to do the questioning. There was some talk to torture the guy, including slicing off his nipples and cutting off a foot – but we settled on stern words and continuous questioning – mainly to get a better feel for the Zargonite was of doing things.
Finally he was appealing to Volkan to let him go – stick and carrot. Offered to answer a variety of further questions and even though he had been stabbed in both thighs and we took his Morningstar – when we cut the ropes free and let him go he thanked the party profusely and made his way back to the portal down to the 5th level and disappeared from sight.
That left the other hobgoblin who eventually awoke and claimed to have amnesia. He could speak common and hobgoblin, and had some symbols to Zargon branded into his shoulders which upon seeing, called out a prayer to heal himself and the broken leg he had gotten from Mark during the capture had healed up.
Hobgoblin priest. Not a good idea.
So it was Delsin and an overhand chop severed the hobgoblin’s legs and then with Heatstroke flaming he cauterized the wounds while Volkan finished him off with a single thrust of his dagger.
We listened. No wondering monsters, just the sound a door opening and closing far in the distance. The group discussed options and we wanted to explore the few areas left on this level. First we were going to go back to the room that radiated cold. Mark’s connection to Gorm had been growing and he was able to place a prayer on Delsin that would protect the fighter from cold and cold based attacks.
So we all made our way to the door, checked it (yes, it was still cold), and then opened up and peered in. The room was huge, there was a raised metal bin on the northwest corner, 4 huge tables, and three of the falls had shelves on them with clay jars and pots. Seemed to be some ceremony or embalming room. Delsin entered, sword out but not active – just the strange ghostly green swirls coming off its blade. The cold and frost in the room wasn’t affecting him, actually melting under his footsteps and then refreezing when he moved on.
About half way across the chamber he decided to turn around and return to the door when his way was blocked by a 7’ tall anthropomorphic shadow. He made noises like he wished to pass and the shadow remained between him and the door. So he raised his weapon and said Heatstroke, igniting the fires and making the blade glow brightly.
Unfortunately, this revealed 4 other shadows stalking out of the gloom and behind the fighter, surrounding him. Mark raised his symbol and called out to Gorm to help TURN these undead! And although it was good prayer, the effect seemed to fizzle as the shadows lunged towards Delsin.
The fighter swung his sword down from Crown to Crotch, hoping to split the shadow and run through it. It didn’t happen. Instead he felt a weakening and shuddering as the shadow stole some of his strength, the fighter gasping in shock as he pushed through the non-corporeal enemy and staged towards the door.
The shadows were moaning and running across the floor towards us. We let the door slam closed and charged down the hallway to the 30’ square chamber that had all the scattered skeletal remains about the floor. We hit the door here, piled in, and slammed it closed – the party whirling around swords up and ready to attack…nothing – the shadows did not follow us.
However, we heard a shuffling behind us and there were 2 Cyndicians, wearing black cloaks and what seemed to be bird or vulture masks. They had a tool belt under their cloak and were carrying a number of thin boards cut to lengths and strapped with lengths of leather.
Delsin wanted to kill them.
He was talked out of it by the other 3. He was not happy.
We talked to the vulture men who said they were waiting. Waiting for what? Waiting to wait. What could they be waiting for? Death. Coming here? He’s always coming. Do you worship death? No, we are waiting.
Delsin was growing more wroth as they spoke and he flat out asked one of them do you want death to come now? The vulture man nodded yes and our fighter drew Heatstroke in a single flaring sweep and before anyone could stop it, slammed it down and across the first vulture man’s chest. As he was going down screaming, Mark was at the Cyndician’s side and calling on Gorm to heal this man – reversing most of the damage.
Delsin was castigated to knock that crap off but the fighter did ask the Cyndician if he saw death in that split instant before he was healed. All he did was hiss and look at his ripped robe and angry scar. The two Cyndician’s looked at one another and said they would follow Delsin for now. Because it’s obvious that he will bring death.
As for the rest of us, there was talk of making another run at the cold room and the shades within. Mark wanted to try to turn them a second time and the group was going to be ready. So we went down the hall, pushed to door open, and Delsin went in, Heatstroke on and spitting hot light. One by one, the shadows emerged from the gloom surrounding our fighter until the last one showed – and then Mark called out to Gorm once again, demanding that these undead things flee and turn!
And it worked.
And unseen wind surrounded Mark, bathing him in Gorm’s blue tinged light, streaking out and sending all 5 of the Shades across the chamber and piled them into the metal bin where they stayed moaning and flailing about.
Delsin crept to the bin and peered in. It was filled with gray linen wrappings used for mummification and filled to almost 3’ in height. While the shades were scrabbling away, he felt around until he managed to grip the metal handle of some chest. He dragged it up and out, bringing it to the hall and then went back to the bin. Mark was sweating fiercely now – the struggle to hold the undead at bay was taxing him and he muttered out for Delsin to hurry. The fighter poked around the bin for a bit until he came upon a burlap sack. He snagged it, pulled it free, and turned as the shades pushed off from the wall and started to cross the room.
Everyone yelled, Mark dropping his arm and Delsin dragging the priest out of the room and back to the hall. We let the door slam behind us and ran down the hall again and back to the skeleton room. Door closed we waited…and the shadows did not follow.
The vulture men were watching us as Safir used his picks to open the chest lock and we tilted it back to peer within. There were hundreds of gold crowns, a smattering of silver, and on top was a translucent potion which a quick test showed to be invisibility. We gave that one to Safir and split up the treasure accordingly.
This left the other bag which we opened to show 5 humanoid skulls that have gone yellow with age. Mark had an idea and lined them up one after the other. He then lifted his Mace of Gorm and brought it smashing down on the first skull. It shattered and in the not too far distance, we heard a high pitched whining scream. Shadows? Maybe! He did it again, and another scream! Three, Four, Five! After some time the screaming faded away and the group went back to the cold room again to look around.
The room was opened and it was…cool. Not cold, just cool. There was still frost on the ground but the shelves and tables were wet. We cautiously looked, and the shadows were gone. The only sign they had been here were the black glue like staining on the linens in the bin.
We looked over the chamber for anything else of value and again for secret doors – finding neither.
So the talk was to go back through the area where the zombies had attacked us, Delsin letting us know that he had shut the door on two of them, and then after taking care of them, continue on to the corner area where there is a small section of the level we hadn’t checked yet. If it was a bust, we would go back to the hall with the ladder down to the 5th level and check the rest of the distance north. Our investigation shows that there is a decent section in the middle of the 4th floor that had not been accounted for.
We crossed the chamber and went out the door on the east side. From here it was as we remembered a day and a half ago down the hall and a turn south. There were a number of back and forth passages here, the dead Cyndician in the wolf mask and the 4 hacked up zombies were still here where we left them. Down the last western passage Delsin led us back to a closed door where we once more drew up in line and then marched in.
Two zombies were here in some government functionary’s tomb. The coffin had been torn apart and the two zombies headed for us. But Mark once more called to Gorm and with another blue tinged blessing – sent both of the zombies staggering back and cowering along the back wall.
We stalked forward and everyone swung at once. Delsin’s run in with the shadows earlier had sapped the fighter’s strength a bit but he was still able to do punishing damage. As we struck the zombies the turning faded and the undead spun about to face us. The party hit and struck and stabbed repeatedly until one and then the 2nd one fell over.
As soon as the 1st zombie was taken down the two vulture wearing Cyndicians said “it is time” and whirled into action. They took off the wooden planks and undid the straps. Then they laid them out and quickly the sound of hammering filled the room. We were watching bemused until after a few minutes it was obvious – they were building a simple coffin.
As soon as it was finished they ran forward, grabbed the zombie, and tossed it in the coffin. They then nailed the lid closed and sat back exhausted and happy. As one of them was bundling up the now smaller pile of wood, the second one came to the group and said, “Waiting is over. Coffin is built.” He then held his hand out and said, “10 crowns please.”
Delsin was ready to hack up another one when Safir said, “please. That was actually impressive. I will give 5, if you want to, or anyone wants to, match my donation?”
Mark took out 3 crowns and Volkan pulled out 1. We all looked at Delsin who muttered this was a Gorm damned waste of time and money and then thrust the coin at the vulture guy saying, “Here, take it.”
The vulture masked Cyndicians thanked us and then left the room, 10 crowns richer and seemingly happy. The group was pretty sure Delsin was murmuring “never again” but no one wanted to challenge the fighter on this for now.
We left the now dead zombie room and made our way back to the hall and then south. From here we travelled east until we arrived at a turn to the north where a 7’ diameter stone boulder was propped up here. This was the rock that scared us yesterday. We picked past it and started heading north up the long passage when we saw another closed door on the left hand side.
Some listening allowed the party to hear something wet and fleshy moving in there, so it was weapons ready and then bursting the door open. A 30’x30’ room with a coffin in the center. A 9’ long, 3’ diameter worm like thing with 8 2’ tentacles around its mouth was questing towards us and making gurgling snoring sounds.
Weapons were hot as we plied in. Safir’s arrow was lost in the fleshy back of the worm and Volkan channeled his energy down, ripping the air in front of him with a shoving blast and shouting out, “Mahjykiyu Missihlyu!”. A bolt of yellow fire tore into the worm who reared back but kept on. We hit and thrust and stabbed, but the worm didn’t die. Instead it flailed out with its tentacles – smacking wetly into Mark and Delsin who were at the front, and a few tentacles managed to sneak past and strike Volkan.
The hits were painful but not damaging. But it was the slime on the tentacles that gave the group pause and each person struck on bare skin or through clothes felt a burning buzzing on their skin that threatened to paralyze them – but for each one – only the adrenaline and sheer will at this time kept them from freezing in place. But knowing now the danger they faced (Mark called it a Crawler) the group was going to have to redouble their efforts and take this menace down swiftly.