Shadows in the Smoke
While the remains of the giant beetle are smouldering in the corner in the room, Lini channels some energy to restore the health of the party. Preen goes to the door at the other end of the room, and checks it for traps. Finding none, he opens the door and sees a corridor behind it, which has a turn to the left. When he enters the corridor, he smells as if something is burning in the room ahead, or if something has burned. Further down the corridor the smoke is so bad, it tears his eyes and his breathing is impaired. He wets a cloth and binds it across his face. The others follow this example. The corridor ends in a room where an almost extinguished fire is giving off a lot of smoke. Behind the smoke Preen sees a shadow move, without anything to cast said shadow.
When he goes back to report this to the others, Lini understands that this is a Shadow: an undead creature that is made when people die from their greatest fear. They go back into the room where they found the beetle, to make their plans. Lini casts her spell Magic Weapon on the rapier of Preen. Then they all go back to the smoky room with the shadow. Preen sneaks around the fire in an attempt to get behind the shadow, but he is seen.
How did that shadow see me? I know I was as sneaky as anything there, and still he spotted me right away. Freak!
When he is attacked, suffering minor damage, the others then also see the Shadow. Preens counterattack missed. Lini channels energy to damage the Shadow, but this is not very effective. Jonathan shoots an arrow at the creature, but misses. A second channel energy of Lini is more effective, but the Shadow still stands. Preen hits him with the rapier that Lini enhanced, and inflicts some damage. Then Jonathan shoots an arrow, that is aimed straight between where his eyes would be, but the arrow passes straight through the Shadow without seeming to cause any damage whatsoever and shatters on the wall behind it.
Lini switches to her trident attack, but misses. Preen uses his acrobatics to jump past the Shadow and attack him from the back, but he too misses! Jonathan, having found that his arrows are not having any effect, walks forward while drawing his mace. He hits the Shadow, but his mace goes right through it. Also Lini’s attack – while striking true with her trident – leaves no mark. Having enough of it all, Preen stabs his rapier in the midsection of the Shadow (critical hit) and then it is suddenly gone without a trace. Preen makes quite a show of having removed this threat, but he does thank Lini for blessing his weapon.
They proceed to quickly search the room, as the smoke begins to seriously affect them. Preen finds a key near the fire pit, and he picks it up. Lini sees a well made dagger lying almost in the fire. Suspecting it will be hot, she pulls it out using her trident. With a little water she cools the dagger and picks it up. They then leave the room to get to a space with fresher air. Preen asks to look at the dagger Lini has found. It is of very good quality, and a detect magic check shows it is a magic dagger with a +1 on attacks. As it will be of most use to Preen in the current situation, the dagger is given into his care. They return to the second room with pillars and find a corridor towards another door, which is trapped, and has no visible way of opening it. A brief attempt by Preen to open the door from a distance fails, and they then leave the door be.
They return to the main entrance hall of the crypt, and open the door on the right side of the crypt. A humid atmosphere welcomes them. When they enter, they see a rectangular basin of clear water with a statue of Kassen behind it. As they enter, a booming voice sounds: “Magic is the key” Lini walks towards the basin, and casts detect magic. The bottom of the basin is littered with hundreds of keys, they all look alike. One key has a magic aura.
Toward the south of the room there are two doors, both are locked and have keyholes. Preen listens at the door but hears nothing.
Lini, wanting to get the magic key from the bottom of the 40 feet basin, sheds most of her gear, and ties a rope around her waist. She instructs Jonathan to pull her up when she signals this trough the rope. She lets her self sink into the basin, with a light emitting dagger to guide her way, but halfway she is out of breath and signals Jonathan to pull her up. Taking some time to get her breath back, she then goes for a second attempt, with renewed vigor. This time it is successful, and this time she comes up with the magic key in her hand. Dripping wet, she stows the rope back in her pack and puts her gear back on. She then uses the magic key in the lock of the door to the left, but it does not fit. The key Preen has found does fit both doors, and the door to the left opens to a small room with a low stone bench and an ancient mural on the wall, which depicts the battle of Kassen and his enemy.
Why did I take the trouble to get the magic key if it does not fit on either door? Good thing Preen has found the correct key. Hopefully the magic key comes in handy later, or Preen will start to think he has done all the hard work…
On the floor they see numerous recent footprints. The room ends in a small corridor, which has again a door at the end. Preen opens the door and sees a white domed area with a pillar in the centre. From the pillar numerous arrowheads point out. The walls of the circular room are chipped from what he determines to be arrow impacts. As Preen describes the room to his companions behind him, the pillar starts to turn. Preen quickly steps back and closes the door. Through the door they hear the pillar rotating faster and faster until they hear the thudding and clattering of countless arrows hitting the walls and door for what seems to be forever. It however is only about a one minute before the impacts cease, followed somewhat later by the sound of the pillar grinding to a halt.
Preen opens the door again, and the pillar is now devoid of any arrows, and the room is littered with broken arrows. There is a door straight across the room, and a door towards the south of the room. Preen goes to this door, Jonathan inspects the door across, while Lini holds the door through which they came open, as it wants to close of its own accord. Jonathan opens the door, and recognizes the corridor behind the door as the corridor they have been before. So they have a way out of this room, and Lini lets go of the door – which cannot be opened again from this side. An inspection of the pillar shows that this trap will require quite a laborious manual resetting, and will not go off again on its own. Preen has opened his door finally, proudly putting away his lockpicking tools.
Good thing they didn’t notice the door wasn’t even locked, or I’d have looked a right fool!
The Blood Skeletons
Behind the door is a big room with pillars again, and two statues at the end with a staircase between them. On the walls sculptures of rows upon rows of mourning people. Preen sneaks into the room to explore. Behind one pillar he sees a skeleton on the floor. Lini follows him from a distance to guide him with her light, when suddenly four skeletons jump up around her, including the one near Preen. The skeletons are drenched with blood, which has turned their bones red.
Preen quickly does a sneak attack with his magic dagger, and one skeleton is no more. Then the three other skeletons attack Lini, but only one of them hits her with minor damage. Preen attacks another, but is not effective. Lini channels positive energy to harm the skeleteons, and causes a little bit of damage to all of them. Enraged by this attack, the three skeletons attack Lini with a vengeance, and she is hurt very badly, she is now at the brink of collapse (0 HP) .
Preen stabs another skeleton, and this one also goes down. Lini takes some time to drink a healing potion, which barely keeps her in the fight. Jonathan tries to push the skeletons out of Lini’s way by body checking them, but bounces off without success. He is then attacked by one of the skeletons and suffers some damage. Preen positions himself behind one of the remaining skeletons but his subsequent attack misses completely. Lini moves out of the reach of the skeletons and casts her final channel energy of the day, but the skeletons remain standing. Jonathan swings his mace at one skeleton and this one falls down in a pile of bones. The last skeleton does a vicious attack towards Preen, hurting him badly, but then Preen finally finishes this one off as well.
Shocked, wounded and tired, the three adventurers decide not to stay in the crypt, but to go back outside to their previous camping spot, to lick their wounds and recuperate for the next day, while they contemplate their best course of action.
And I thought regular skeletons were bad. Never mind ones that drop blood! I’d swear I saw them mend after we struck them….