- Focus: infiltration mission & dungeon
- Spotlight: Durthan
The party ended in Urling and is quickly recapped on how to infiltrate Ethran Forest. Most important is that they do not take any magic items and not wear armor heavier than studded leather (since they pose as slaves), nor take weapons that can not be hidden by Gene.
The party has been advised that they should look for a town where the Durthan are recruiting. It doesn’t take them long to find a recruiting party in the local inn of Forla, a small Theskian town. They are all checked for spell-casting potential, and only Beren is briefly frowned upon for his divine potential and told he could become a cleric. They are also asked to sign a paper that they are working for an amount of 5 sp per week in construction.
Next the party (and other new workers) are being led by the Durthan into the forest. Gene is the only one who spots the evil spirits and shadows, but keeps this to himself as not to frighten his friends.
After a while they arrive at the castle that is being constructed. It is about halfway and the party is quickly introduced in what they have to do – mostly carrying stones.
Posing as guards
According to Tal the Durthan Area is not actually here, but a bit farther. For this the party starts a skill challange to slip away and disguise as guards.
The party tries to bluff their way past the nearest guard, but fails (failure) to convince him. Luckily Tal is able to use ‘charm person’ to convince the guard anyway (success). The party is still bound in ropes, so they break free (which takes a bit longer than it could, 2 success, 2 failure) and then sneak towards a nearby storeroom (success). They open the lock (success) and enter the area where they disguise themselves as guards.
The Durthan dungeon
Disguised as guards the party can easily make it over to the guarded area and even enter. They are let in, but then encounter the guard captain who is not convinced that the party needs to go beyond the door to the Durthan. And says he should recognize them, but doesn’t. By an epic bluff of Gene the party is eventually let through, but it is yet to be determined if that is a good thing.
The Ethran Room
In the next room there are 10 women of different ages (mostly pretty young), studying scrolls and books. One of them approaches the party (who just want to get through) and asks them their business, claiming they are not allowed here. Although the bluffing of Gene almost saves them also this time, eventually they are attacked.
In the combat Beren starts by locking the door (against the guards) and Tal starts by casting hold person on the woman that talked to them. The resulting combat against 5 wizards and 5 clerics is a tough one. It is only because Tal is impenetrable to their magic that they eventually survive the encounter.
After a minute to recharge their health magically, the door is finally blasted open by the Guard Captain. He and his men step into the room and quickly notice what has happened. The party has in the meanwhile set the tables in a defensive formation and expect to take a ready attack on a charging Guard captain. But instead the guard captain angrily goes to the nearest table and throws it into the party members. His minions follow and one even tries to do the same as his commander, but he fails.
The minion guards are easily taken out by the magic missles that Tal has spellstolen of the wizards. But the guard captain proves to be tough. This barbarian 1 / fighter 9 has a lot of HP and flies into a rage on seeing his underlings die. He should have finished Geneafter dealing him a powerful blow, but instead chose to focus on the more annoying Beren. (Wouldn’t be the first time people ignore inconspicuous Gene…) Eventually he is taken down. The party, once again wounded and out of healing decides to take a peek in the storeroom of the guards to check for any healing or other treasure. They also loot the pretty awesome treasure of the Guard Captain.
In the storeroom Gene checks for traps and finds a trap which he can not disable. He offers himself to open the chest anyway while the other party members are out of sight. He is hit by a poisonous gas cloud, but survives it without taking any damage. And loots some more amazing treasure, including another healing wand.
The Empty Room?
The party continues to the door behind the Ethran and find an empty room. Strange, but luckily Tal Rasha knows that the Durthan use secret doors to make their area’s less accessible. He says there should be a door to the Durthan and other doors to treasure, traps and/or monsters.
The party searches the room and finds 4 doors. After another search they find a fifth door. They start with the left door, but are unable to open it, but determine it has a non-magical mechanism that should get it opened. Next they go to the other side and find a similar mechanism. Then they open a random door that is not impossible to open and see an empty room. Gene enters first to scout and disappears. After a brief surprised discussion the other party members quickly follow him. They come into a room where they meet a Gargantuan Elder Black Ooze.
The resulting combat is once again a tough one. The ooze disinergrates the newly found weapons and it is lucky that most party members carry multiple weapons due to sneaking in weapons, posing as guards and finding better weapons. The ooze is split into many parts at the beginning of the combat, which turns out to be quite troublesome, but also makes it easier for Tal (after he gets freed from a grapple by Gene) to blast them to bits with fireballs from his new staff of power. Eventually both Gene Parmesan and Beren Elestar come VERY close to dying before Tal and Ulik (who needed to rage once again) manage to kill the last of the smaller oozes and can rescue their fallen friends from death. Both of them sustain severe trauma. Beren loses an eye to acid and Gene hides another horrifying acid scar.
Treasure Room I
After the ooze the party continues in the southern door that leads them into a room filled with treasure. They encounter no traps and decide to take everything and put it to good use.
Next the party chooses another easy door and they enter a hallway (in the same teleportation manner). After teleporting the party discovers a blade barrier blocking their way. They look for some kind of disabling switch and instead find a switch that seems to do nothing. But after some deducting they check the first door and yep, it’s open now.
Treasure Room II
Also in that previously inaccessible room is a lot of wealth that the party directly takes and puts to good use.
The Durthan Rooms
The last door leads to a hallway that shows two Durthan rooms at a time. Most of the doors are arcane locked, but they manage to find 2 open doors. One probably belonging to Raine Silverleaf and in the other one they find a ruby hairpin that Ulik Brightvolk recognizes.
Unsure what to do the Tal decides to use the Detect Secret Doors scroll they have found with the treasure and that leads to the discovery of a 6th hidden door in the not-so-empty room. Opening it they see an empty office and upon teleporting in they discover it is not empty, but instead occupied by Raine Silverleaf.
Raine welcomes the party and gives them a moment to talk to her. She is apparently left by the other Durthan after her failure and can redeem herself by killing the party members, if they come. She speaks about it lightly, saying that either she or the party members will die. Tal tries to convince her that the other Durthan have abandoned her and that she can just leave them, but gets frustrated with her answers and comes to the conclusion that she must be stupid.
Eventually the talking gets boring and Raine attacks the party. She starts by dominating poor Ulik Brightvolk. From that moment it’s 3 vs 3. Raine tries next with two attempts to stop Tal from harming her and even makes Ulik attack Tal, but despite her best efforts she is unable to land a successful spell on Tal. In the meanwhile she does manage to confuse her own incorporeal animal companion and Gene. Beren takes the time to Bullrush Raine into a corner using her desk as momentum. After Tal manages to put a wall of force between himself and Ulik and Beren and Tal manage to drive Raine into a corner, it doesn’t take long to knock her unconscious. It is a bit troublesome to undo the domination on Ulik (which Raine can control telepathically), but Tal manages to do it by spellstealing Raine’s own dispel magic and using it against her own domination, which succeeds barely (since her wizard caster level was only 10).
The desk and the bedroom
Next Gene searches the desk, which is masterfully stripped of all evidence, but manages to find a small forgotten note in the bedroom, which holds valuable information of the Durthan Plans. He also finds a secret door to a treasure room.
Beren says he will offer himself to open the treasure chest (and trigger a possible trap) this time and courageously goes into the room alone. Unfortunately for him this was the wrong moment to act heroic, and he gets stuck into a forcecage that is slowely filling itself with water. The party discusses a while on what to do, because Tal has only 1 teleport left that works in this area. (An outside teleport into Ethan Forest would not work). Raine offers to exchange information in return for being set free. She argues that she is a disgrace to both Hathran and Durthan and is no longer a threat anyway. She makes the party members right it down on paper while Beren is still drowning. She gives a good hint: that outside there are more Durthan that probably have spells that could save Beren. Tal rushes outside with Gene, while Ulik holds Raine. Tal finds the nearest Durthan and steals her teleport and rushes back. The angry durthan misses a fireball and then rushes behind the fleeing party members. They manage to grab Ulik and Raine and then Tal teleports them inside the water with Beren, who by this time has lost consciousness. They take only a moment to laugh at the angry Durthan who casts cone of cold on the forcecage, but doesn’t manage to inflict the party any harm, and then teleport to just outside the Iron Keep
end of session 3
Rewards: 4.000 XP, 41.000 GP, Treasure: (total worth: 51.162,5) (arcane) scroll of 1. color spray (25), 1. magic weapon (25), 2. ghoul touch (150), 2. spectral hand (150), 2. eagle’s splendor (150), 4. ice storm (700), 5. teleport (1125), (divine) scroll of 1. magic weapon (25), 1. bless weapon (100), 2. cure moderate wounds (150), 4. poison (700), 5. spell resistance (1125), ring of protection +3 (18000), potion of remove paralysis (300), potion of neutralize poison (300), potion of resist fire (300), scimitar +1 (2000), +3 merciful ghost touch Hammer, gnome hooked (50000), +3 heavy wooden shield of fire resistance (27000)
- After Gene’s quote: “just on the safe side I hide and scout the empty room”, Gene Parmesan stepped into the room and boy was he happy he was hidden when he saw the Gargantuan Elder Black Ooze in front of him!
- Beren Elestar totally through his patience with the stupid dungeon rushes in to open the final treasure chest… and drowns in a magical forcecage that fills with water. Careful next time!
- Tal Rasha laughs at the ‘pathetic’ Ethran clerics and wizards who, after failing to land any spell, start attacking him with a greataxe and 2 daggers. He is less enjoyed by the fact that they did manage to almost kill all of his friends and kills the poor buggers in return.
- The Guard Captain breaks down the door, observes the situation with the hidden and ready-to-ambush party members and instead of falling for the ambush, throws the table that was supposed to provide cover right at Tal and Ulik, who are smashed back.
- The Guard minion who tries to do the same as his superior but fails utterly and can’t do Gene any harm with the table.
- Beren Elestar bull-rushes a oaken desk into poor Raine Silverleaf who is thrown back and trapped behind the fallen desk.
- Averting the disaster that is supposed to strike during the Moon Festival
- Finding out the identity of the puppeteer!