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Hunger in the Darkness - Expedition to the Mines of Zolurket (Inactive)

Game Master Mark Sweetman

A desperate attempt to reclaim the ancestral Dwarvish mine of Tar-Urkatha from the darkness that has engulfed it....


1,501 to 1,550 of 2,477 << first < prev | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | next > last >>

Primordial Ooze

Roger that - but you're hard pressed just dismantling the barricade in the first day. Which brings you to another night and my previous question:
Does the party watch outward, inward or split duty this night to come?

During the day you work throughout to dismantle the barricade within the tunnel and move as much of it's bulk as possible to near the outer entrance. You are able to clear most of the barricade during the day, but it now lies in rough piles near the mountain side of the entrance. Plans are made to give a better degree of protection, but for now it just looks much akin to a dump site.

The afternoon grows long in the tooth... and night is to descend once more.

A note, you've seen evidence that they get food from within the mines (the gnolls that came out with mushrooms) so you're unlikely to starve them out. Plus this is the only known entrance to the mine - so you'll need to keep it open if you plan to explore within.


Male Dwarf Transmuter 4

"We need to, at minimum double all our watches tonight. We can't be picked off as easily as things transpired last night. We are so close to our goal of the mines, we can't let our guard down now."


|| AC 20/T12/FF18 | HP 45/45 | F +6 R +4 W +8 | Init +5 | Perception +12 | Sense Motive +6 | Darkvision 90' || Dwarf (Deep Delver) Inquisitor 6

"If we're to stay here then we'll have to watch all directions. We should withdraw to the giants cavern after destroying the fortifications here, no sense having to take this ground twice."

I'd say double watches and watch both out and in.


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

"Agreed. Double watches, with fires, and look both out and in."


Stats:
AC 20/10/20, HP 35/35, F+3 R+1 W+3, Init +0, Per -1

"I agree as well. Do any recall if we have caltrops from the wagons or will we need to wait for Stonebrow? Those might help us control the terrain until we can complete our own defenses."


Primordial Ooze

You have some caltrops.
Also on the topic of double watches - do you mean double length? - you've only 11 dwarves now and yourselves, and all of them took a single watch the night prior. So I'm guessing the intent is for people to stay up twice as long?

If I can get Perception checks for the middle watch that would let me move things forward.


Primordial Ooze

Bueller... Bueller...


Male Dwarf Transmuter 4

DM, I think that is the plan for watches. Being a little tired for the next day is much better than being picked off by the man in black again. Also, I think Dolgrym should be moved off of middle watch, with his low Perception score. He'd try to swap with one of the squad who had the earliest watch, if possible.

Perception 1d20 ⇒ 3


Male Human Paladin /4 ]Hps 36/36 AC 23 FF 21 T 11 CMD 18 Fort +10, Ref +6, Will +8 Init +1 Per +0

Khepri would want the last shift in the morning around when the sun would normally arise. Not sure where that would fit him in double watches


|| AC 20/T12/FF18 | HP 45/45 | F +6 R +4 W +8 | Init +5 | Perception +12 | Sense Motive +6 | Darkvision 90' || Dwarf (Deep Delver) Inquisitor 6

Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7

Padrym casts about the dark, his eyes blurry from long hours spent digging fortifications.


Male Dwarf Trapsmith Rogue

I am sorry to say I do not know what watch I am on. >hangs head<
Oh and voice, we are dwarves, we can make a new entrance if we need to.

Perception in case it matters1d20 + 13 ⇒ (1) + 13 = 14. Love will sleep atop the tower with the rope pulled up if he can.


Primordial Ooze

The Campaign Info page doth hold your watch order.

Dwarf Perception:
6d20 ⇒ (17, 5, 2, 11, 12, 6) = 53

Despite your fears... the night actually passes without incident and despite the extended watches you feel reasonably fresh. However as light brings greater clarity, you look to the mine's entrance and find something there that was not before.

Driven into a crack in the stone within the tunnel is a stake that bears a skull atop it. It stands there giving silent vigil and as you draw close to inspect it, you see a line of spidery script etched into the bone.

Knowledge Nature DC12:
It is not a dwarven skull, it looks human or near enough to.

Undercommon:
The line of script is in Undercommon, and states simply "Death awaits all that enter"

Daytime - increase fortifications and await Stonebrow?
Anything else?


Stats:
AC 20/10/20, HP 35/35, F+3 R+1 W+3, Init +0, Per -1

Feigr grunts upon seeing the skull, "You did say you were watching, right? Whatever that thing...or things...is, we're going to have a devilish time finding them if they are sneaky enough to do that while we're watching. I'll help keep fortifying things until Stonebrow arrives. I hope he is here today."


Male Dwarf Transmuter 4

I'm at a loss as to what to do for the time being, other than trying to fortify our little camp while the majority join us.


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

Knowledge nature check 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26

"The skull looks to be human, or at least not dwarf or elf. The message is simple: 'Death awaits all who enter.'" The elf smiles slightly. "Obviously. Just as it awaits all who *don't* enter."


Male Human Paladin /4 ]Hps 36/36 AC 23 FF 21 T 11 CMD 18 Fort +10, Ref +6, Will +8 Init +1 Per +0

Khepri is all about taking the fight to them, so they worry about us and not the camp. Of course that is Khepri's strategy is most fights against evil.


Male Dwarf Trapsmith Rogue
Cynara wrote:

Knowledge nature check 1d20 + 6

"The skull looks to be human, or at least not dwarf or elf. The message is simple: 'Death awaits all who enter.'" The elf smiles slightly. "Obviously. Just as it awaits all who *don't* enter."

"So long as it's not mine I don't care to much whose skull it is. Where it cane from, When the origional owner lost it, and How it got here are the questions I'm asking myself." Could one of you more mystically inclined give it a once over? I don't expect it's a trap but it will be good practice."

Checking approach to skull for traps, thing could be bait. Find traps taking 10 if I can for a total of 25, 27 if stone. If I cannot take 10 then bonus is +15/+17. Also cheking wall, ceiling, crack, post, and skull. Same numbers.

So DM how fresh is Yoric here? Still a mass of gore? Dried out jaw tendons only? No lower jaw and the bone dry and yellowing? Pale white and brittle? Additionally any marks on the bone other than the script? Scrape marks in the crainial vault? Are the small cracks between the skull plates clean? If they are clean then it might mean the skull has been cleaned by scrubbing or insects. Any lime deposits in the cracks, that would indicate it has been in a damp area for a long time. Any smell coming off the bone. If it was a ritual object it could well carry hints of paint or insence. Taking 20 on examining the skull if I can for a total of 33 oherwise bonus is +13.


|| AC 20/T12/FF18 | HP 45/45 | F +6 R +4 W +8 | Init +5 | Perception +12 | Sense Motive +6 | Darkvision 90' || Dwarf (Deep Delver) Inquisitor 6

Padrym watches as Love goes to work.

"This is a challenge I long to answer, but we must be cautious. Whatever it is has already killed one and is taunting us a second time."


Primordial Ooze

Love finds no traps around the skull, nor on it. The surrounding area is also clean. The skull itself looks to be reasonably new - it's owner relinquished it within the last few years at least. It consists of only the skull and upper jaw, the lower jaw missing. It is devoid of flesh, and the only visible markings on it is the written script. There are still some small accumulations of well petrified gore in the recessed areas. It smells as you would expect a skull to smell and you cannot discern any lingering scents that might portend where it had been stored.

I think I covered all of the angles there :P

If arcane sight is applied, then you discern that the skull bears no auras.


Stats:
AC 20/10/20, HP 35/35, F+3 R+1 W+3, Init +0, Per -1

"How inconvenient that it is missing its jaw. I fear my talents will not be of use with this one."


Primordial Ooze

No need for the lack of jaw to restrict you from speak with deading it.


Stats:
AC 20/10/20, HP 35/35, F+3 R+1 W+3, Init +0, Per -1

"But, perhaps I shall try anyway. Sometimes the spirits speak more directly." Feigr casts his mind toward the skull, calling the spirit back to speak so that it may be sent on. "Greetings spirit, thank you for coming to my call. What can you tell us of your death?"


Primordial Ooze

A ghostly mist suffuses the skull and an ethereal jaw forms where the lower is missing so as it may speak. "I did not see it come... I felt cold steel slide in my back and pierce my heart."


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

Cynara watches the process with interest. "Ask where the one was when death came."


Primordial Ooze

The mist seems to shiver and pause before answering "In Zolurket... within the transept beyond the entrance."


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

The elf starts. "What was a human doing in the mine so recently?"


Male Dwarf Transmuter 4

"It's clear that the mine is or has been much more occupied than we originally thought over the years. If the attacker was undead, they are still going to be in there, I'd imagine."


|| AC 20/T12/FF18 | HP 45/45 | F +6 R +4 W +8 | Init +5 | Perception +12 | Sense Motive +6 | Darkvision 90' || Dwarf (Deep Delver) Inquisitor 6

"I would like the answer to that as well Cynara. However, I think there's only one way we'll find out."

Padrym stares at the entrance.

"Would that we could go in now."


Male Dwarf Transmuter 4

DM, when is the expected arrival time of Stonebrow? How many more days, I guess I am asking.


Primordial Ooze

Stonebrow will be crossing the valley today and with you this evening - that is the same day that the skull was discovered.
If you wanted to delve within today, you could do so - or you could plan to enter tonight after Stonebrow's arrival.


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

"We seem to be caught between two sets of enemies; the gnolls, who come night or day; and the dark stalkers, who come by night. Of the two I fear the gnolls less. I say continue to fortify the camp, have most of us sleep through the days to keep watch for the stalkers, make sure we have enough supplies here to last for a while, and then enter the mine."

She looks around at the assembled dwarves (and token human and jackalwere). "You've worked towards this for years...the Stonebrow, for a lifetime. Let's not throw that away when you stand on the brink of victory."


Primordial Ooze

Over the course of the day you watch Stonebrow's wagons track across the valley and to your relief no gnolls or other threats rise to challenge the passage. He arrives to camp slightly ahead of the wagons and spends many minutes standing in silent regard of the edifice... peering into the blackness of the tunnels. Only when the wagons roll in does he turn, and begin to bark orders.

Later that afternoon, as the sun dips below the horizon and evening is falling a council is conveyed. All of your group are invited to the inner circle, though the camp is small and all can overhear. Stonebrow sits on a stool and runs a hand through his hair before speaking "We stand ready, and soon will enter... though I have heard we face threats within and without still. I would hear your counsel..."

Assume Cynara's speech from above goes here

There are mutterings of support to Cynara's view and Gaelthrin adds "Even if we retake the hall, it will do us well to return the fort to service - rather than the poor structure it stands as today." Stonebrow himself nods sagely... though you detect a hint of reserved disapproval.


|| AC 20/T12/FF18 | HP 45/45 | F +6 R +4 W +8 | Init +5 | Perception +12 | Sense Motive +6 | Darkvision 90' || Dwarf (Deep Delver) Inquisitor 6

"It is as Cynara says Stonebrow, we have gnolls, dark stalkers, and undead in this area. The gnoll tribes are too scattered for us to chase and we would spend many years doing so. We don't know were the dark stalkers lair, though it would most likely be the entrance to the mine itself, even if they have another way out. Our watches must be in pairs and we'll need to make sure the fort is well defended while we sortie into the mines themselves."


Stats:
AC 20/10/20, HP 35/35, F+3 R+1 W+3, Init +0, Per -1

"Aye, we at least need to hold the fort until we know more of the halls themselves."


Primordial Ooze

Stonebrow sighs and nods as he stands to turn towards the mine "Well enough and well said. We'll hole up here in what remains of my forebear's defences and shore them up against attacks from both sides." making a series of orders to his subordinates with respect to storage of goods, where the livestock are to be corralled and where his personal goods are to be stowed.

However he then turns to the group and states with resolute intent "There is something I must do, and I would welcome your walking at my shoulder" waving off Gaelthrin as she makes a start to come also "Caution is truth and warranted... but I would set foot past the threshold and strike a message to those within. The gladdringgar of House Stonebrow will be struck." waiting a few moments for you to ready yourselves before walking towards the mine with the group as honor guard.

Gladdringgar:
The gladdringgar is a name-rune. It is considered a rite of passage for young dwarves to strike it deep within a cavern beside that of their kin before them.
In this case it is clear that Stonebrow means to strike it as a message to the monsters within the mines.


Male Dwarf Transmuter 4

"That sounds like an honorable plan. I'd be happy to accompany you."

At the mouth of the caves, Dolgrym will burn a charge off his MageArmor wand.


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

Cynara bows wordlessly and falls in behind, letting the dwarves go ahead of her if they wish.


Male Human Paladin /4 ]Hps 36/36 AC 23 FF 21 T 11 CMD 18 Fort +10, Ref +6, Will +8 Init +1 Per +0

Khepri stays back with Cynara letting the dwarves have their moment. While the ceremony goes on he'll'll be using his detect evil to make sure nothing sneaks up on them


Stats:
AC 20/10/20, HP 35/35, F+3 R+1 W+3, Init +0, Per -1

"Aye, I'll walk with you Stonebrow." Feigr walks at or near the front with Stonebrow with mixed emotions, eager to proceed and fearful of what he may face within. He casts shield of faith and detect undead before entering and concentrates on the path ahead.


|| AC 20/T12/FF18 | HP 45/45 | F +6 R +4 W +8 | Init +5 | Perception +12 | Sense Motive +6 | Darkvision 90' || Dwarf (Deep Delver) Inquisitor 6

Padrym will move along, Magatha eager and ready in his hands. At the first sign of trouble he will cast his armor spell.


Male Dwarf Trapsmith Rogue

"Calling cards....."

Muttering Love takes the lead watching carefully for hints of new work or subtle traces in wear patterns that can indicate a trap. He pays close attention to walls and ceiling as well.
"Right let's see what this hole has to offer. Can't say I've been impressed so far."

Looking for traps as well as hidden doors and murder-holes.
Perception: general +13 vs. traps 15 w/ free check. vs odd/recent stonework 15 w/ free check. vs stone based traps 17 w/ 2 free checks.


Primordial Ooze

Fickle Hand of Fate:
1d100 ⇒ 40

It is probably just a trick of the mind... but the tunnel into the grand transept seems longer and darker both as you make your way through it. Encroaching upon the mines with a sober mind is more imposing than it was before when you were chasing the gnoll and your adrenaline was pumping. The musty smell of stagnant water and mould hang in the air as you continue to stride forward... left over right.

Emerging into the Grand Transept you are awed by the sheer size of the chamber, while similarly painfully aware that your dark clouded sight does not allow the same distance of vision that you would enjoy in the light of day. Beyond where your sight can touch come noises seemingly magnified in the dark... drips of water seem to impact the ground with a thud... the slightest scrapes seem to lengthen and ghostly half-sounds flitter through without recognition.

Stonebrow himself stands and looks into the darkened and ruined streets and buildings for a good few minutes without motion. Then a sigh and he pulls a leather wrapped kit of tools from his belt. Within are a series of chisels and a metal mallet - the armnaments of a carver. He kneels in place and brushes away the dirt from the ancient and broken cobbles before placing his chisel of choice and rearing up to strike it far more strongly than seems wise.

A solid metallic crack booms into chamber as blue sparks fly from the chisel and floor both. Stonebrow quickly and expertly repositions for a second strike *boom* a third *boom* and he works with a manic pace that belies his age. It is not quiet... *boom* and you are sure that the sound has reverberated throughout the chamber and alerted many to your presence. *boom* Fingers grow tense and grip weapons o'er tight *boom* eyes flicker furtively from shadow to shadow... surely something is coming *boom*

Padrym:
At each strike of the hammer you get a twinge of longing from Magatha and a growing sense of an old and primal feeling... hunger? rage?.... dread?

Feigr:
The sussurant chorus in your mind seems to shrink and withdraw as the mallet strikes, each ringing blow making them recoil... bar one or two voices. They are not speaking, but laughing. It is not a cheery or mirthful laugh.... but a maniacal one... the sound of a madman without a care in the world as he sets a house alight just to watch it burn.

Love:
While the man works... your eyes go to the left and down of the entrance... where you spy a black stone seemingly discarded and roughly the size of your fist. It looks soft and crumbly... and your thoughts turn to Eidelbrecht and a certain request...

Khepri and Cynara:
As the mallet falls, you see orange sparks instead of blue.
Cynara also finds that the gladdringgar shows in stark contrast to her eyes despite their failings.

Dolgrym:
Sorry, nothing special for you today - next time perhaps :P

Chancing a look at the work of Stonebrow you find it curiously well advanced. The tools at work must be magical as although he has been working but a few tens of seconds his gladdringgar is almost finished. The once-broken cobbles beneath where he struck the first blow have been reformed as strong as they must have been when initially laid. He continues to strike for further precious seconds before laying a hand onto the newly struck rune "За вас брат" Dwarven - For you brother

The knot in your stomach that has been gradually becoming as a stone and gnawing at your conscience screams out for attention.

Multiple Signals in the Dark:
1d4 ⇒ 3
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24

Perception DC 24:
To the East, there! You hear a chittering of tooth and claw.
Something is moving nearer... a humanoid shape, though hunched over... and with a tail.


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

Perception check: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (6) + 7 = 13

Cynara's attention is drawn by the gladdringgar rune over all else in the vast chamber, the echoes of the last chisel stroke filling her ears.


Male Human Paladin /4 ]Hps 36/36 AC 23 FF 21 T 11 CMD 18 Fort +10, Ref +6, Will +8 Init +1 Per +0

Khepri still stands with Cynara, concentrating on finding evil, trying not to be too distracted by the events of Stonebrow.

Khepri has no shot to make that perception check so I won't even try a roll


|| AC 20/T12/FF18 | HP 45/45 | F +6 R +4 W +8 | Init +5 | Perception +12 | Sense Motive +6 | Darkvision 90' || Dwarf (Deep Delver) Inquisitor 6

Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26

"Contact East! Humanoid with tail, tooth, and claw."

Padrym casts his shielding spell, preparing for combat.


Male Dwarf Transmuter 4

Dolgrym hadn't heard anything, but he knew to trust Padrym's instincts.

I am assuming he used his Mage Armor wand before the chiseling began. I marked the charge off the wand.

He quickly casts his final protective magic, Shield, knowing whatever was coming to greet them would not be friendly.

AC is 18 now. HP 34/34


Male Dwarf Trapsmith Rogue

Perception. 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (8) + 13 = 21 rats!

Padrym wrote:
"Contact East! Humanoid with tail, tooth, and claw."

Before the dwarf with the odd axe has finished speaking Love is moving, west. He slips around the main group readying his crossbow as he does.


Primordial Ooze

Stonebrow snaps out of his reverie and begins shuffling backwards with eyes to the gloom "I'll not leave running, but I'll not stand to die." he says as much to himself as to you.

In the dark you snatch flickers of movement at the extremes of your vision as you look to where Padrym directed. Soft, scurrying sounds are audible now, though the sources remain mostly hidden. A voice rises above, seeming to come from the East - but also echoing "Fresh two-legs come. Hungry and curious... curious and hungry we are." At that moment a heat pops up above a ruined wall 40 odd feet distant from where you stand.

It is long and sleek, with a bud nose and whiskers as well as dirty and matted fur. The figure sniffs the air before baring it's teeth in a gesture that seems defensive. It wears no cloth on it's head and it cocks an eye to regard you quizzically.

Knowledge Dungeoneering DC 15:
The creature is a were-rat, cursed with a lycanthropic tie to the filthy vermin of the gaps between and sewers.

Parlay / Back-away / charge to engage?


Male Dwarf Transmuter 4

Know. Dungeoneering 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (11) + 9 = 20

"Greetings were-rat. We are here offering you a chance to parlay. Our group is moving into the mine to take back our birth right. If you leave now, there need be no violence between us this day."


Female Elf ***INACTIVE*** Oracle (Life)/4 HP 28/28 AC 17/T 12/FF 14 Init +2 Perc +7 Fort +2 Ref +3 Will +5/+7 vs. ench. effects

Cynara squints into the blurry dark, unable to see the distant speaker. At Dolgrym's words she sniffs the air and listens for indications of more rats about.

Perception check: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21

Knowledge (nature): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24

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