And finally, after 2 years and 1 month, the group returned to the Terror Dungeon.
Weeks had gone on where the party worked on leveling up, finishing up their responsibilities with the Ecclesiastic Council and the Sunrise Rabbits Orphanage, as well as attending to whatever jobs they were going to find themselves working on. Before we knew it, it was already past the middle of Restmonth and the temperatures had slowly climbed past single and teens to settle comfortably in the 20’s and even some 30 degree days. Winter was coming to an end.
We discussed at length what our next step was and we wanted to get a jump on a visit to Bork Keep and the Terror Dungeon before the other adventuring groups were going to get there. So it was after some long discussion that we settled on the following people to make the trip. Captain Asher, Brading, Darius and Rhygar, Shimlagesh, Connal, and finally Thon. We had a good mix of all types and the feeling was that we should make a decent accounting of ourselves.
We then spent the next few days gathering whatever supplies and eventually food stuffs we thought we might need. With Asher providing the party with a number of small vials of pig’s blood from his time working at the stockyards. We left early enough on the 20th and decided early on that we would pass through Canaslan (it was very difficult not to), but to avoid King Seljack and the Adventuring Band Streams of Mithril (where Dogsbody McGuin was from), we would not go to Paxian, staying instead at one of the smaller roadside taverns and Inns.
The winter sheep were in the fields, their fleece thick and wooly. In places we could see woodcutters and gatherers were already out in force. But as we put miles behind us we left Erylond behind and before long, the traffic on the highway petered out. The ancient trade roads were still whole and hale and we made good time in the pounded flat and melting snow. It was about 4ish when we arrived at the barrier for Canaslan and on passing through, the burst of warmth greeted us (the entire county is 15 degrees warmer than the outside), along with the faint aroma of body odor and beer.
It was as the sun was setting that we sighted a decent small village (8 buildings at most) and entered the common room of the local tavern. The place wasn’t very full and they had a few rooms to rent as well as a space on the common floor after 9:30 (for a common). The rooms were small (8’x5’) and a few of us took them while they were available. We drank with the locals and engaged in some punching contests (Connal won). Shimlagesh was a lightweight and in almost no time was passed out. The party all went to bed and slept well.
The next day we awoke and Shim, not thinking about the logistics of it, looked down at his fouled and puke covered garments and prestidigitated them clean. The room was small…and Brading was in it. So the dwarf got a line of spittle, foul, and vomit across his midsection just under his bards, and on his good shirt. Grumbling loudly, he went to the horse trough to clean it, muttering imprecations the entire time.
We ate up and were on the way by 8:30. We passed out of Canaslan without issue and in a few short miles, the Armigers and cavaliers of Bork keep rode up, 6 strong, and met us shy of the closer Demesne. They bid us welcome, reminded us of the rules (including no stealing), and wished us good hunting and fortune. By 11:30 we had arrived, set ourselves up in Hall One, and then discussed what we hoped. We figured a short foray would work out for us, with a longer one at 7:30 where we would come in around entrance 3.
So we went to the entrance, bid our hello to the girl and dwarves at the front, went through the steps and rules again, lit torch and lantern, and at 12:05, the Terror Dungeon had been opened again (first time in 10 weeks according to the log) and we went in. A breeze blew in, as if the dungeon was trading fresh air for foul. We descended slowly; the smell of rotting vegetation filled our nose. The main room down here had been scrubbed clean, no bric a brac or garbage could be seen and even the chalk marks on the wall were wiped free.
Four passages out, one door on the east wall. We discussed quickly and decided we would try to head to “V” the vivisectionists chambers. There was a room with a bone body on the floor and we would have to go through quickly or risk the wind cycle and screaming. Connal went first and the passage to the southeast had some dried stains on the floor from some liquid of sort. There was also a pit here (closed) down a short hall but we pressed on, frowning at the reek.
Around the corner was a pile of stones, grit, and dirt, just shy of the door. Maybe 5’ wide, a foot and a half across, and perhaps an inch or two deep. No one wanted to mess with it. Thon came down to check it out and he too suggested we don’t mess with it. There was another way to get to the chamber we wanted to, it involved the southwest corridor from the main room, so we opted to head back that way.
It was at that point that something slapped out and grabbed Connal by the ankle, twisted hard, and yanked him towards the now open pit. He managed to get one leg and a free arm in place to avoid dropping down, to what appeared to be a yellowy/orange huge plant in the hole with a pulsating center, and maybe 30 15’ long tarry ropy viney tentacles coming off of it.
The party ran back and forth, shuffling themselves around hoping to get a grip on Connal (Brading), as well as oil and fire if possible. The creature was moist, and the fire didn’t do much to it, but we did manage to pull the monk free and so well placed sling bullets drilled deep into the Giant Sundew’s flesh, sending gouts of ichor flying. Shim called out for a spell and a giggling gnoll armed with a two handed sword sprang into appearance just over the pit and fell down, ripping and shredding the sundew (critical hit!) doing terrible damage to it. It wrapped 4 or so tentacles around it and then pulled in different directions, ripping the gnoll apart, before shoving up at the pit’s cover and slamming it in place.
“So, it’s down there?” the group asked. On getting a nod, they all looked at one another and said, “Let’s get it!”
Connal ran deftly across the pit to the other side and threw the lever hard, opening the pit again, and this time we plied bolts, bullets, spears, and axes – until the sundew gave a last shudder and passed. Good job! A few of us decided to risk going down, getting the syrupy ichor on us as we cut through to the space below. There were 3 ogre skeletons in here, all prior victims of the plant monster. We also kept finding loose gold coins, piling up 35 of them. We also found a skin, like a cape or cloak, of a polar bear, complete with the head on it.
We got out and after verifying the cloak was big and cool, Connal took it from Shim (who was looking to wear it), and put it on. Realizing that there were some annoying things around him. Small, and annoying. Swat them!
Connal was a 2,000 pound polar bear. Brading took the brunt of his assault, slashed hard and bit as well before hurling him down the hall and whirling on the others (Cleric? Down 21 hp!!). We traded blows and tried to reason with him, before Brading was able to call out for a Remove Curse, and a lucky roll allowed it to succeed. Connal eventually dropped the cloak and was himself again. We decided it had some merit, but was also real dangerous. We would keep it for now and then eventually try and sell it off to the Church of Odin at some point.
We went on from here, heading to the southwest hall, ran through the door and through the room with the skeleton on the floor. At the next door we all entered and came into the room with an 8’ statue of a brass fish. It was even worse for the wear, beat and battered, hit and rent in places. We tossed some coins in the mouth (just to be safe), and moved on.
The hall led to the room with the Piercers, of which our infravision let us know there were 4 on the ceiling. Two of us need to be led through but others with infravision. The piercers moved on the ceiling a bit, but we were well prepared and crossed the room with little issue. Beyond here was a short hall and it led to a room that now had a 20’ pentagram and circle on it, drawn in blood and circled by various bits of bone. We didn’t want to mess with it but wanted to cross the room. Thon went first but the chamber seemed to sap his energy and he fell over, head pounding and weak. Connal went in to get him, and the monk too was affected (but to a lesser degree), dragging his friend out. The two of them sat there barely conscious.
No longer sure on how to get past, we cast a Detect Evil (yep!!) and tried knocking some of the bones away (nice sling hit…but they came back). Maybe something else? Asher had crossed back through the Piercer room to the hall there and waited for us.
In the dark. (WMC)
And yep, it happened. He heard faintly something in the hall behind him move just as soon as something seemed to grab his right arm from his shoulder down his side, and to his waist and hips. It seemed to tingle hard..and pushed him forward a bit. He looked back and in the gloom could only see an almost solid wall of shimmery ooze or gel trying to engulf him!
He yelled for help and tried to pull free, torch getting thrown and even a piercer dropping and trying to kill him (failed). He did manage to get loose with a SCHLORP sound and ran back through the chamber, sobbing and saddened, to the rest of the group, a new torch lit and in place. Connal seemed to be doing better but Thon was still a mess. We were in a small hall between the Piercers and the Pentagram Room of Evil, and there was a Gelatinous Cube waiting in the wings to eat us if we strayed too far.
And it was 1:11 in the after noon – time in the Terror Dungeon? 1 hour, 6 minutes so far.
Welcome back all. It’s real nice to be back in the dungeon crawl. You guys are doing great – because no one is dead yet!