The Night After The Fight
After the fight with the skeletons, the three adventurers decide to leave the crypt and come back the next day. They do not know what is waiting for them, and especially Lini could use some healing. When they go outside, the pelting rain has subsided to a drizzle. After a brief discussion whether it makes sense or not to bury the dead horses under a pile of rocks – Jonathan convincing Preen that it is better to leave the bodies to the carrion birds. And if larger predators are near, it is better the predators eat the easy horse meat than their little band.
As they look for a good spot to camp, Jonathan points out a nice high spot towards the west. After they made camp, Lini uses her last channel energy spell of the day to heal everyone for 5 HP. She is then the only one still seriously wounded, and she casts the cure light wounds spell on herself, healing another 5 HP.
Well, this sure is a better spot than the one I had seen towards the east. Guess our dour-faced ranger is good for something afterall. Now if only I could get him to crack a smile, once a day, maybe?
With the experience of the day that fighting skeletons with rapier or dagger has no effect, Preen is looking for something that can be used as a mace or a club. Lini offers him her morning star, the gnome sized weapon more of a light weapon to the half-elf. Lini herself will use her magic when fighting skeletons. Then she retreats a bit to make her daily prayers to Gozreh. The night is spent in similar fashion as the night before, Jonathan takes first watch, Lini second and Preen has the last watch. Nothing untowards happens during the night.
A New Day, Another Attempt
Having last watch, Preen takes the time to meditate before waking up the others. Lini in turn says her morning prayers and prepares spells that she feels will come in handy: detect undead, hide from undead and magic weapon. After breakfast the trio sets off for the crypt again, to see if the soft moaning sound is still present and if so, find its source. Lini and Jonathan light hooded lanterns, and then they all go inside the crypt. They stay close to the wall, avoiding the pile of skeleton bones, until they reach the door from behind which still soft moaning sounds are to be heard.
Using a trick he claims to have learned in the tavern, and uttering some arcane sounding words, Preen uses open the door without touching it, and peers into the quiet darkness beyond. Nothing comes forth to challenge them from the large room with pillars. They see three saddle bags and a few brooms next to one pillar. Entering slowly and cautiously, they make their way past and between the pillars, darkness obscuring everything outside the lantern’s light.
Traps and Pillows
Then, when Lini steps towards Preen, going the long way around a pillar, the floor opens under her, causing her to fall about 10 feet into the pit below. Her fall is broken by a pillow, but she feels the spikes that are present underneath. Apart from a few bruises and a fright, she is OK (4 non-lethal damage). Preen takes a thin, silk, rope out of his bag and uses this to help Lini out of the pit. From where they are standing, they see a lever in the wall.
Suspecting more traps than just the one, Preen puts his skills to use as he searches for other traps. Taking his time, he slowly makes his way through the room, using a piece of chalk to mark the suspect and safe tiles – a big cross marking the suspect ones. On his way around he spies another two levers like the one they had already discovered. Returns to the others, who have been waiting in front of a locked door towards another part of the crypt, Preen crosses a presumed safe flagstone, and falls also in a pit, also landing on a pillow, and takes some superficial damage (4 non-lethal damage).
Laughing at his own failure, Preen decides to make up for it by a demonstration of his acrobatics, leaping deftly out of the pit. At least, that was the intent. Unfortunately, his footing was poor, and instead of gracefully leaping, he slips and in the process destroys the pillow and slips further down, between the spikes. Seeing this, Jonathan moves forward and helps the rather abashed looking half-elf out of the pit.
I’m not sure what to think of this Preen. He seems so sure, but how did he miss that trap? Maybe he is more talk than action. I’ll keep an eye on him….
Preen’s spirits do not suffer for long, though, confidence returning when he walks to the door to search for ways to open it. The door is locked and no key hole is visible. Several attempts to pick the mechanism fail, and then they recall the different levers they have seen in the room – maybe one of them will open the door? Preen walks towards the first and nearest lever, pulls it down, and Lini then tries to open the door. While they hear a lot of sounds coming both from the door as well as the lever, the door remains locked. This is repeated with the other two levers, the last of which is at the other side of the room. Neither opens the door. “What if we push the levers down two or three at a time?” Lini asks. The others quickly agree, having the same thought. They all go to a lever, and at a signal from Preen they push their levers down. There is a loud ‘click’ coming from the door. As each lever slowly goes back up after it is pushed, Preen and Jonathan, who were at the levers furthest away, rush back to the door. LIni was quite near to the door, and manages to open the door well before the others are there. In his haste to reach the door, Preen miscalculates or does not remember exactly which flagstones were trapped and which not, and much to his chagrin he again ends up at the bottom of a pit, without injury this time. Scrambling to his feet, he feels something under the pillow and finds a small bag that sounds like it holds coin as well as something else. Stowing the pouch he gracefully jumps out of the pit, and rejoins the others at the now opened door.
I wish they hadn’t seen that. If I keep falling into pits like that I’ll make a right idiot of myself.
A Lone Survivor
Lini still holds the door, which appears to close on its own accord. Not wanting to be trapped in the other room, she initially wants to keep the door open while the others move forward, but a quick inspection of the door on the other side shows a handle, which probably can be used to open the door from that side. This room again has a number of pillars, and from a door in the far corner the moaning can be heard, more clearly now. To be on the safe side, Lini casts her spell detect undead, and determines that there are no undead creatures within a 60 ft radius.
Then the moaning sound suddenly stops, and Preen and Lini’s ears pick up the muffled sound of a crossbow being cocked, coming from behind the door. Lini calls out that they are good people, and will do no harm. “Who is behind the door?” The response is a silence…
Preen whispers to the rest: “I will open the door, then we can all rush inside and surprise the person in there” Jonathan is nearest to the door, and he pushes the door open. Due to something blocking the door from the other side, the door opens only a slight amount. But enough for the crossbowman to risk a shot – the bolt ends up in one of the barrels he is hiding behind. Preen then puhes the door slightly farther open, just enough for Lini to go through, which she does. Crouched behind some barrels she sees a man, who has a wild look about him and mutters: “Angry bones…. angry bones!!” Lini tries to reassure the man, telling him the skeletons are defeated and he has nothing to fear. The man softens a bit, but then reverts and wails “It’s a trap!! Angry bones!!” as he aims his crossbow at the door and behind it, Jonathan. When he pulls the trigger, the shot flies wild, missing the ranger by a mile. Jonathan tries to open the door all the way, but it will not budge.
Then Preen calls out to the others: “Close your eyes!” which Lini and Jonathan do. There is a flash of light, and when they open their eyes again, they find the man dazed and blinded. Lini hurries forward and takes the crossbow from the stunned man. With joint effort, Preen and Jonathan finally open the door so they can enter the room. Preen recognizes the man to be Roldare, a man from Kassen. The others also know him from sight. Lini talks again to him, calling him by name. He calms noticeably, but remains unhinged.
Suddenly recalling his find, Preen takes out the pouch and the parchment inside to reads what is written; some hintthat it takes the cooperation of three to open the door. He crumbles the parchment and throws it away – the information being a bit moot by now. A quick search of the room yields some bedrolls, lanterns and oil, two healing potions and 5 rations. Preen gives one of the healing potions to Jonathan and stows the other himself – you never know when they may be needed.
Roldare comes out of his daze, and Lini wants to ask him some questions, least of all: what happened? Roldare seems to lose his focus, his eyes staring at a point just above Jonathan, but then the whole story spills out of him, in a staccato way. Six of them have arrived here in the crypt, planning a surprise for the youngsters set to get the Eternal Flame. They were disabling the traps by putting pillows on the spikes, but then suddenly they were attacked by skeletons. All are dead now, only his sister and himself still survive. His sister was taken away by the leader of the skeletons. When asked where he saw his sister last, a somewhat incoherent reply follows, possibly she is taken ‘down’ somewhere. He then clearly states that the others should find his sister, but he will stay here, where it is safe. “You will need keys, a shield and swim wear!”
A Face Full of Acid
As nothing more is to be learned from the man, and he is very persistent about staying where he is, Preen, Jonathan and Lini leave him be, and intend to go look for the missing sister. In the corridor room, Preen had seen another door, and he goes to find out what’s behind it. Cracking it open he sees a small room where a giant beetle is feeding on the brains of a dead person, and a door at the far end of the room. “Ooops…”, he mutters.
Preen enters the room, and the beetle starts to move in a menacing way. Jonathan says: “Get back Preen, then we can close the door!!” and he moves back to make space in the corridor. Preen however shakes his head as he has other plans “We fight!” and casts his spell color spray, with another flash of light and colours stunning the beetle. After a moment of indecision, Lini hurries forward and stabs the beetle with her trident, hurting it and causing it to hiss in protest. Sighing, Jonathan joins in the fray, only to have his sword bounce off the beetle’s armour. Leaping deftly over the beetle to strike it, Preen also finds his rapier glancing off the beetle’s carapace.
Coming to his senses – at least partially – the beetle swivels his head towards the source of the pain and spits a spray of acid at Lini, hurting her badly (10 HP damage). Attacking the beetle from one flank, Jonathan finds an opening and stabs his sword into the beetle. On the other side, Preen lunges in a sneaky attack with his rapier and finds a weak spot – the beetle instantly collapsing onto the floor. They all leap aside when the remains of the beetle crash to the floor the carapace cracking open ans spilling countless small eggs at their feet.
Not sure what Jonathan was thinking there. If we turn back every time we see danger, we’ll never find the lost girl. Bet Lini’s mad though, taking the brunt of that beetle’s rage…
Maybe we should discuss our options before we barge into doors. This confusion may become fatal. And why is it always me that gets hurt badly in the process? I’ll have a long talk with Gozreh tonight, for guidance.
Lini takes some time to heal herself (cure light wounds – 4HP recovered) Not sure what to do with the eggs, and simply grossed out to boot, they decide to burn the remains and the eggs; first brushing everything together in a corner. With the aid of some lamp oil, a merry fire is soon burning, crackling with regular popping sounds.
Turning back to the the body of the villager for a closer look, they cannot put a name to him, not helped by his head having been eaten by the beetle.