Codex V-Chapter 3

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Rynn took a deep breath, sucking in the crisp mountain air. It was still early enough in the morning and dark enough with the cloud cover that there was a hint of coolness, especially at this higher elevation in the foothills. The first hints of fall were in the air. Just hints, but there they were nonetheless. Rynn took his time, circling the entire building first. Khaska and Jenika seemed to think this prudent, and watched the ranger and his wolf check the area for footprints. The building itself was fairly large, larger than Rynn had been expecting. It was certainly bigger than any of the buildings in Twilight. As far as he could tell, nothing had come in or out for the past few days, though there was a sign that a pack of wolves had entered the monastery and left some time ago.

“I don’t think there’s anything in the monastery at the moment,” he said. “It’s safe to go in.”

They entered on the north side, the collapsed side, gingerly stepping over the rubble and fallen rocks to enter. The room they were at was apparently a chapel of some kind, with a dilapidated altar to Heironeous and a series of dark stains on the ground that were probably from rotting wood-likely benches of some kind, long gone. Rynn stepped through the exit and entered the main courtyard. It was open to the sky, though the large steel doors hung open, one just hanging on by its top hinge, the other rusted into place.

There was a large statue on the other side, opposite the doors. A large Maha’i, probably 20 feet tall. He was dressed in plate armor, and was standing regally, his horns pointing up to the sky, his scimitar in hand but pointed down. Khaska recognized the pose as a “ready for action” pose according to the Maha’i style of swordfighting, one designed to be easily moved from if necessary, but intended to be nonthreatening. It was an exquisite piece of work, one that would have taken a long time and much care to finish, though it was showing some signs of having been out exposed to the weather for some time. At the base, in Elven, Common, and Maha’i, was a name, and an inscription.

Tawru Khimmak Tova Nem Rujdha, Khatil Tineen, Farsa Ahmud. Knight of the Silver Dragons. Ambassador of the Maha’i. Friend.

Khaska felt a somberness come over him, and felt as if he were standing on holy ground. Immediately he went to the center of the courtyard and knelt, placing his hands palm by his thighs, and tilting his head back. His lips moved in prayer, but neither Rynn nor Jenika could hear. He sat there for some time, sometimes pausing, sometimes speaking for a long time nonstop. After a few minutes, he bent forward at the waist, placed his hands on the ground, and kept his head pointed straight up.

His prayer finished, he stood. “Thank you for letting me pray,” he said to the others. “Truly, Likran Treewind was a good friend to Tawru, and one who felt terrible about his involvement in his death for many decades after the tragedy transpired.” He pointed at the inscription. “Treewind gave him the added name ‘Farsa Ahmud,’ which means ‘honored knight.’”

“This statue would have take a long time to finish,” Jenika noted. “I wonder if Treewind commissioned it?”

“Or did it himself,” said Rynn. “If he were here for several decades, he could have learned stonemasonry from the local dwarves.”

“Either way, I feel to honor Treewind more. Let us continue the search for his tomb.”

The upper levels seemed too rickety to enter, but Rynn managed to get a peek up the stairs here or there. Everything was abandoned or water-logged, the only things really left from the monastery itself were things carved into the stone themselves. Wooden doors had rotten away completely, tapestries had faded into nothingness, and any furniture left by the Knights was long gone. On the first floor there were many signs of goblins inhabiting the building for some time. Discarded rusting weapons, clubs, even some armor and clothing, as well as makeshift tents and shelters in places where the monastery was open to the sky.

“Rynn,” called Jenika, sharply. The ranger bounded around the corner to see what she had found.

There were a series of skeletons in the hallway. They had been picked at and eaten by some animals. The ranger bent close and examined them until he was sure of two things. First, the skeletons were goblin skeletons. Despite the fact that they had been broken apart and scattered, he was able to tell pretty readily what they had been. Second, they had been eaten by wolves. That was likely the pack he had seen signs of earlier.

“Looks like that door at the end of the hallway leads down,” said Jenika.

Rynn moved to the end of the hallway and looked down. Indeed, there were stairs. He glanced back. “I think it best to head down the basement,” he said. “Seems like there’s nothing else up here.” Khaska nodded and reached into his pack, bringing out his newly purchased everburning torch, while Rynn similarly pulled his out as well. With Rynn in front, and Khaska behind, they descended into the basement.

A similar scene greeted them. Goblin bones, strewn about the rooms they found. Some of the ones they first encountered had similarly been ravaged by the wolf pack, but others further in were more intact. The rooms themselves were much like the upstairs, showing recent signs of goblin habitation, but nothing else. Treewind’s tomb was nowhere to be found. Finally, at one juncture, far enough in that no daylight at all was with them, they found a bunch of goblins in front of a carved entrance into the ground.

“This must be the entrance to the abandoned mines,” said Rynn.

“Why are these goblins intact, while the others were not?” asked Khaska. Indeed, the goblins here were almost completely whole, if decaying. The stench made Ranna whimper a bit, but it wasn’t overpowering. Rynn examined the bodies.

“Looks to me like they were attacked. They all seem to have been hit with swords. Some of them fled, but were cut down from behind. Those here right by the entrance … looks like they were killed in their sleep. As to why they’re intact, the wolf pack probably had its fill upstairs and in the first few rooms here in the basement. The wolves wouldn’t have stayed around to eat rotting meat. I don’t think anything else has been here since.”

Jenika stepped to the edge of the entrance to the catacombs, looking in as far as the light extended and inhaling deeply. Must and dampness were all she could detect. If there was anything further in, it wasn’t apparent from the entrance.

Eryx (DM)
It’s now September 1 in the campaign, so I need you to all pay for upkeep. For August, there 15 days of traveling, and 15 days of staying in Laishtek, with the Ravenstones, and then in Twilight, just as a reminder of what went on to help you make your decisions about what your characters would have spent. You were in Twilight so quickly that although your supplies bought in the town cost more, you don’t have to factor that into your upkeep.

To sum up what you’ve found:
1. Goblins were living here a bit ago.
2. Many of them were killed in the basement by the entrance to the mines and right at the stairs leading down to the basement. They were killed with a sword or similar edged weapon.
3. The number of goblin bodies indicated that a number were killed, but nowhere near the number that were staying in the ruins.
4. Wolves came and picked at the bodies, but then left as they began to rot. The wolves are long gone.
5. You can’t detect anything in the catacombs yet, but Rynn is unsurprised. It looks and smells and appears to be exactly what you were expecting based on your Gather Info checks back in Twilight.

Also, make sure you’re done with your purchases. I assume you’ll be heading down into the catacombs. No retconning purchases after this post. Make your decisions, and make sure your character google docs are updated.

What do you want to do now?

Edit: Since you've done a thorough check of the monastery proper, if there's anything else you'd like to know that I didn't include in the narration, go ahead and ask it here.

DeltaWolf
Assuming the others are ready to go in; Jenika will offer to go into the catacombs first. She will pull out a touch (and light it) and make her way slowly in.

Thev
Is there any way the party can determine who the assailants were (by sword slashes, etc.)? Further, I'm having a hard time visualizing the setup of the room. Where's the door, the carved hole in the floor, and where are the goblins, exactly? From which direction were they attacked?

Khaska wouldn't be averse to going down into the mines, but he would be wary.

BlackWolf
First things first. I've marked off 12 gp for "poor" upkeep matching Rynn's style and the fact that we've traveled so much. My character sheet is up-to-date including all purchases made in Twilight.

From the narration, it would seem that the only remaining item of note from the Knight's tenure here is the statue of Tawru. Rynn would have inspected it closely and the area around it, just to see if there is any sign of the Maha'i sword having been encased at it's base.

Rynn is also curious to search the goblin bodies to get an idea of how many goblins lived here, and how that compares to his knowledge of goblin tribes. He'll also look for any clues regarding how they were killed. By other goblins? Perhaps killed when Kagu's current followers went mad? Or are there signs of death by other (taller?) means?

Regardless of the results of these questions, it seems that we must go down into the catacombs/mines if we are to find Treewind's tomb. There wasn't much else above, and although seeing Tawru's statue might be enough for a pilgrimage, it doesn't do much else to help with the quest. Plus we might find some answers to the strange events regarding Kagu.

As there will likely be close quarters underground, Rynn will keep his sword at the ready (rather than trying to use his bow, which he'd normally favor). Using his everburning torch for light, he'll try to move carefully and quietly. He'll keep an eye out for any signs of life, and have Ranna "seek" as well.

“I think we’ve pretty much exhausted the monastery above ground,” said Rynn. “If there’s anything to find, it’ll be in the abandoned mines.”

“I’m still not sure what’s happened up here,” said Khaska. “I trust your expertise, though Rynn. Can you walk me through this again?”

The ranger glanced around. The entrance to the catacombs was at the end of a long hallway. He checked and double checked.

“It appears to me,” he said, “as if the goblins were attacked down here by something or somethings wielding swords. The attack seems to have come from the mines.” He pointed down at the goblins nearest the carved door that led further into the mountain. “These were killed as they slept. Whatever killed them did so quickly; they couldn’t respond in time. However, the combat awoke others, and they all seemed to flee. They were cut down from behind as they did so. This continued until out of the basement of the monastery, where eventually the wolves ate some of the dead bodies.”

“And how many goblins were here?” asked Jenika.

“It looked to me like a large tribe,” said Rynn. “Probably about three or four hundred. That seems to be about the size of Kagu’s tribe last I heard. His was the biggest of the local tribes, but it’s not like we had them all take a census.”

“So, whatever came after them came from the catacombs? And it used an edged weapon?” Khaska asked.

“That seems to be the case,” the ranger said.

“Then I think we should proceed with caution.”

“I’ll go first,” said Jenika. The monk reached into her pack and pulled out a new torch. Rynn helped her light it with his flint and steel, and then the monk took a deep breath, and entered. Being so far underground already meant they were already relying on their torches, but moving from the carved hallways of the basement of the monastery to the uncarved walls of the abandoned mine made it seem that their torches did not give as much light.

The first part of the mine sloped gently downward, spiraling in on itself until they reached the first major room. The ceiling of this room was about ten feet high, and there were sconces for torches at regular intervals, but all rusted. Small stalactites adorned the ceiling, and there was a faint sound of dripping as water fell from them onto the floor, where a small puddle had formed in the middle of the room. There were four exits from the room aside from the way they had come in. With no good reason to choose one, they investigated each for a little ways. One tunnel had been caved in about fifty yards in. So that left three to choose from.

Eryx (DM)
As we do this “dungeon crawl” (sort of), I’d like to have a bunch of your rolls on hand to use as needed. Please give me five rolls each for the following skills:

Spot
Knowledge (Nature or Dungeoneering, whichever is higher)
Listen

If there are any other skills you will be using, like Survival for tracking, give me five of those too (include Ranna as needed, BlackWolf).

Now we also get to the issue of how we want to approach the dungeon crawl. I have the dungeon mapped out, but obviously don’t want to show you the entire layout. In a normal D&D table-top campaign you’d just pick an area and then explore it, and I would draw the map out as you go. Here in our “theatre of the mind’s eye” that’s just not as plausible.

Here’s my suggestion to make things easier. There are some junctions in the mine where there might be indications of which way to go. At those junctions I will stop and ask you for input, describing what your characters see/hear/know about the area. Otherwise, when there is no reason to pick one branch over the others … I’ll just roll for it. Like right now you have three options. I’ll roll a d6, on a 1-2 you’ll go left, on a 3-4 you’ll go down the middle path, and on a 5-6 you’ll go right. This will make things smoother than asking for input at every branch or fork in the mines.

What do you all think of that? If you give me the go ahead, I’ll just get started, and we’ll see how this goes. (I’m open to the possibility that a dungeon crawl itself might not be very fun in this kind of campaign, but I wanted to try at least one, and the situation totally fits. I’ll ask for your input when it’s all said and done to see if it was entertaining enough to do again, should the situation warrant it.) I’m open to other thoughts how you want to handle this situation in this kind of campaign.

Thev

  • Spot checks (including +5 bonus for each): 7, 13, 25, 8, 7
  • Knowledge-nature (including +8 bonus for each): 20, 12, 14, 17, 27
  • Listen (including +5 bonus for each): 9, 24, 24, 9, 16

And your plan is fine with me!

BlackWolf
I think this is a great way to handle the dungeon! Here are my checks for Rynn:

  • Spot: 25, 15, 23, 11, 19 (+7 bonus; add +2 more for favored enemies)
  • Knowledge (nature): 18, 21, 22, 24, 27 (+8 bonus)
  • Listen: 16, 8, 11, 19, 22 (+6 bonus; add +2 more for favored enemies)
  • Survival: 22, 15, 13, 14, 12 (+9 bonus; add +2 more for favored enemies)

and for Ranna:

  • Spot: 23, 5, 13, 20, 20 (+3 bonus)
  • Listen: 14, 8, 18, 10, 21 (+3 bonus)
  • Survival: 11, 9, 2, 17, 2 (+1 bonus; add +4 more if tracking a scent)

The survival roles are for locating / inspecting any kinds of tracks that we might find; though I figure if anything noteworthy occurs you'll stop to tell us.

Generally Rynn will advise the party to move carefully and quietly. Until there's reason, I won't bother with Move Silently checks, but just know that he is trying to move cautiously.

DeltaWolf

  • Spot: (+7) 27, 21, 12, 13, 19
  • Knowledge: (+0) 10, 15, 5, 11, 14
  • Listen: (+7) 15, 14, 23, 16, 25

“Well,” said Rynn, “there doesn’t seem to be any particular reason to pick one way over the other. I say we just pick one at random and see what happens, but proceed carefully and quietly.” The ranger had his sword out now, hoping to not need it, but wary nonetheless. His skill with the bow would probably be of little benefit in the tight quarters of the abandoned mine. He pointed down the middle tunnel. Jenika shrugged, and, torch held high, headed down the tunnel. Their torches collectively only illuminated about 60 yards total, front to back, which would give them some warning should something attack them, but was not all that helpful in illuminating much beyond Jenika. The monk slowly advanced until they came to another fork. Again, arbitrarily, they picked a direction, but after 100 or so yards it dead-ended. There was no cave-in, it just looked like this was the end of the mine tunneled as the ore vein it had followed ran out. They headed back and took the other fork. This tunnel grew to be larger, and descended further into the ground than the other. There were occasionally offshoots, but none went more than just partially away from the main tunnel. Rynn could hear dripping coming from ahead, and as they rounded a corner they saw that the tunnel continued down, but had partially flooded. As it descended they would begin to walk in water, and their lights did not illuminate enough from where they stood to see much further than the beginning of the water.

Jenika raised her hand and pointed to the ceiling. There were a number of stalactites that had formed over the years, and that was where the dripping sound had come from as individual drops fell from them into the water. Aside from the ripples on the surface from the drops, nothing else disturbed the surface. But that was not what Jenika was pointing at. Rynn noticed it immediately too. Two of the stalactites were much larger than the others, and they were perched right over where the water began.

“Darkmantles,” the ranger said. “They will drop down on your head when you get too close and try to suffocate you. They’re not that dangerous, and there are only two of them. They might cast a darkness spell, though, which would be annoying.”

Eryx (DM)
The dice have spoken, and you are still exploring the middle tunnel. One branch led to a dead end, and the others have been too small that they didn’t even extend past where your torches illuminated them.

Ahead of you the passage has flooded; as the tunnel descends you would be walking further and further into water. Right now you aren’t sure about the other side, if there even is one, because pausing on account of the Darkmantles has limited how far your torches’ light has reached.

Between Thev and BlackWolf’s Knowledge (Nature) rolls, you basically know everything in the SRD about Darkmantles. They’ll probably wait until you’re under them (Rynn speculates they wait here for animals to come drink) and then drop down onto you. You also know that two of them likely pose no problem for your party, though their ability to cast Darkness can be annoying. One such spell would be countered by a Light spell from Khaska, if he choose to cast one, but not two. Also, Thev, is your spell tab up to date on your google doc? i.e., does it reflect what spells Khaska would have prepared for the day? Seems you're missing some slots, especially your newer 3rd level slots gained when you leveled to 5.

What do you all want do do? If you want to fight the Darkmantles, give me initiative and three rounds of actions. Also, tell me what you want to do after the fight, as you don’t anticipate it would be a difficult one.

DeltaWolf
Jenika is not wanting to get in a fight with these things, especially because she has no desire to wade through the water. She is in favor of going back and trying another way.

BlackWolf
I'm assuming that Rynn has not noticed any tracks coming this way. So the ranger will just shrug. "I'm guessing that whatever killed the goblins didn't come through here. Treewind's grave and Tawru's sword could be down any of these passages. It wouldn't hurt to try a different way first."

Unless Khaska really wants to fight the darkmantles, or has a vision from Teresh telling him to go this way, Rynn will go with Jenika's suggestion and try a different way. He sees no reason to kill the creatures unless they need to.

(Though if we do return this way later, we should try to set up some ranged attacks. With our bows we might be able to take one or both out before they could reach us.)

Thev
Khaska agrees with the other two: may as well explore another passage instead of getting into a perhaps superfluous fight for the possibility that the passage doesn't just end in water.

Jenika looked warily forward, craning her neck to see if the water ended anywhere she could see, but the light was too limited, and she didn’t want to get any closer.

“I don’t want to get into a fight with these things just to find out the passageway leads nowhere. I say we go back and try another way,” she said.

Rynn shrugged. “Tracks will be hard to find in this rocky, wet mine, but I’ve been looking. Even so, I'm guessing that whatever killed the goblins didn't come through here. Treewind's grave and Tawru's sword could be down any of these passages. It wouldn't hurt to try a different way first.”

“I concur,” said Khaska. “No reason to get in a superfluous fight just to find out the passage ends in water.”

“If we come back, we can try to shoot them from a distance,” said Rynn. “It’s very likely we could take out one or both before they got to us, if it comes to that.” He turned to leave. He continued to scan the ground for signs that something had come this way, but between the water dripping from the ceiling, the hard rock floor, and the time since the attack on the goblins, he was not optimistic his efforts would yield anything.

Returning to the main chamber, they again picked a different path. At another fork, they decided to go left, again with Jenika leading the way. The floor grew slimier as they advanced upwards, until eventually Jenika held her torch up higher. The walls were covered with mold and growths just up ahead. Something glinted in the light, and she took a step closer to see it.

Just then, one of the growths nearby began to scream at her. The monk jumped back in fear as Rynn and Khaska moved forward, weapons at the ready. The scream was picked up by a few others, and was slightly unnerving. It reminded Rynn of a trapped animal, but he immediately knew what it was. “Shrieking fungi,” he said. “And there’s probably, yes, a violet fungus just there, at the edge of the light. The shriekers can’t harm us, but the big one” he indicated the purple human-sized fungus just ahead “can poison us if we get too close to those tendrils.” He squinted. “Looks like it’s fed recently, though. Maybe a badger?” Indeed, the skeleton of a small animal lay at the base of the violet fungus.

“Can you see that, just beyond the violet one?” said Jenika. Being careful, she crept forward a bit so the light reached further.

Khaska peered into the darkness. “Indeed. It looks like these have grown over a corpse.”

Eryx (DM)
You can see three shrieking fungi and one violet fungus, though that’s as far as your light currently extends. Just beyond the violet fungus lies a skeleton. The light from its metal armor is what caught Jenika’s attention at first. If you were to go look at it, you would need to go past the fungi, and would have to fight the violet fungus.

What do you want to do?

BlackWolf
Rynn wants to inspect the corpse, so the fungus must be gone from among us. If practical, he'll use his bow and target the dangerous violet fungus first:

  • Initiative: 14 (rolled 11 + 3 bonus)
  • Round 1: rapid shot
    • attack: 13 (rolled 6 + 5 base + 3 DEX + 1 mwk - 2 rapid shot), damage: 4 (rolled 2 + 2 STR)
    • attack: 26 (rolled 19 + 7 bonus), damage: 7 (rolled 5 + 2 STR)
  • Round 2: rapid shot
    • attack: 9 (rolled 2 + 7 bonus), damage: 6 (rolled 4 + 2 STR)
    • attack: 23 (rolled 16 + 7 bonus), damage: 7 (rolled 5 + 2 STR)
  • Round 3: rapid shot
    • attack: 25 (rolled 18 + 7 bonus), damage: 8 (rolled 6 + 2 STR)
    • attack: 9 (rolled 2 + 7 bonus), damage: 5 (rolled 3 + 2 STR)

Should the DM rule that arrows would be ineffective against a plant (I could see it going either way), then translate any of those attacks to longsword ones by adding 1 to the attack roll and removing the 2nd attack per round. Once the violet one is out of the way, the annoying shriekers can be hacked away by the sword.

DeltaWolf
Jenika is inclined to let the others shoot their arrows at the fungi. But if the violet one gets close or the others decide to attack close range then Jenika will jump in.

  • Initiative: 14 (9+5 Mod)
  • Flurry of blows:
    • To Hit: 20 (14+6) Damage: 11 (8+3)
    • To Hit: 8 (2+6) Damage: 9 (6+3)
  • Flurry of blows:
    • To Hit: 18 (12+6) Damage: 4 (1+3)
    • To Hit: 22 (16+6) Damage: 6 (3+3)
  • Flurry of blows:
    • To Hit: 10 (4+6) Damage: 10 (7+3)
    • To Hit: 17 (11+6) Damage: 9 (6+3)

Thev
Khaska will help out against the violet fungus first, using his shortbow.

  • To hit: 7 + 4 = 11
  • Damage: 1 + 1 = 2
  • To hit: 6 + 4 = 10
  • Damage: 5 + 1 = 6
  • To hit: 15 + 4 = 19
  • Damage: 6 + 1 = 7

“I would like to get a look at it,” said Rynn. He dropped his backpack and the everburning torch at his feet, then drew and nocked an arrow. “But we have to kill the violet one first. “We can just hack away at the shrieking ones once it’s dead.”

Khaska drew his bow as well, and the two of them sent their arrows across the distance to the violet fungus, which began spilling red ichor when it was hit, its tentacles flailing noiselessly as they continued to fire at it. Khaska missed with both of his shots while Rynn sent four at it in the same amount of time. When Rynn’s last arrow connected, the tentacles stopped flailing and dropped down.

Khaska put his bow away, drawing his scimitar. “Your skill with the bow increases, Rynn.” The cleric stepped forward tentatively, slashing at the shriekers as he advanced, silencing their noise one at a time. The violet fungus was dead, indeed. There were two shriekers past the corpse, and the ranger used his sword to chop one apart as well as Jenika simply reached down and yanked one out of the crevice it had grown out of.

“Well, that was easy enough,” she said, as Rynn wiped his sword off and sheathed it.

“Let us hope the rest of the mines are as easy as what we have encountered so far,” intoned Khaska, bending over the corpse.

It was a badly decomposed dwarven corpse, almost none of the flesh left on the skeleton. It was dressed in full plate, a dwarven warhammer at its side. It had on a backpack, which Rynn pulled off. Looking inside, Rynn discovered that it was a Heward’s Handy Haversack, like his own. He reached in to pull out what he could.

Most of the items were standard adventuring items. Tent. Sleeping roll. Extra clothes. Flint and Steel. Nothing really worth keeping. There was a bag of gems towards the bottom, with five white pearls and a scattering of lesser gems. He handed those to Jenika, who looked them over and then returned them to the pouch. Finally at the bottom, there was a leather-bound book. Rynn pulled it out and flipped through the pages.

“I think it’s in dwarven. Can anybody else read it?” he asked. “I can’t.” He looked at the front page. “It looks like a journal to me. There are dates, I think, and the front cover has a hand-written title page.”

Jenika shook her head. “I only know common.”

Khaska likewise shook his head after glancing at it. “I know not dwarven, though tomorrow I could prepare a spell that would allow me to read the text.”

Eryx (DM)
Arrows were effective against the violet fungus, and the shrieking fungi were easily dispatched. For the fight, such as it was, you earn 1125 XP each.

You’ve found the corpse of a long-dead dwarf. He had a Heward’s Handy Haversack, gems worth 630 gold (actually 700, but getting them appraised will cost you 10%, so just add 210 each to your money-you can get them appraised back in town), and his armor and weapon. There were a few other knickknacks for adventuring, but nothing really worth mentioning.

The journal was well-preserved in the magic of the haversack, and aside from a bit of dirt and water damage, it’s in relatively good condition, and still readable-technically. However, it’s in a language that none of you can read, though you suspect it’s dwarven.

What do you want to do now?

Edit: It was pointed out to me that the XP I just gave will allow everybody to level up. I want you to refrain from doing so until after the dungeon crawl is over and you've had a chance to rest. So, if you all decided to head up to the ruins and camp overnight before continuing on tomorrow (and Khaska could read the journal then, if he prepared comprehend languages), then I'd allow you to level up. But if you stay in the dungeon, consider the entire time you are down there a single experience. No leveling until it is over.

This is to slightly represent the traditional dungeon crawl where you might explore part of the dungeon, and then head back to town to sleep overnight and rest, recuperate, prepare new spells, etc. The town is too far away in this case, but camping in the ruins (assuming nothing attacks you during your sleep) would serve the same purpose.

Thev
Could they do a tad more exploration before they head up to the ruins for the evening? How much time has passed since the party entered the dungeon? Either way, Khaska would be curious about the journal and thinks it might be worthwhile to learn what's written in it just in case it provides useful information for the rest of the dungeon crawl (what a peculiar term!), and would push for resting as soon as necessary. He'd definitely prepare comprehend languages for the next day.

Eryx (DM)
You've only been in the mines for a few hours. You started decently early in the morning, so you have a lot of time before you all need to rest.

Thev
With that in mind, Khaska would advocate going forward, eliminating more tunnels if possible.

DeltaWolf
Jenika is in favor of following this tunnel further. Is there any indication what killed this Dwarf?

BlackWolf
Thev, I believe it is called a "dungeon crawl" because the party has to move slowly through the dungeon due to dangers like traps and monsters. Typically the area is explored room by room, tunnel by tunnel. One cannot "run" or even just "walk" through it… so to speak.

Are there any identifiable marks on the Dwarf's armor or weapon? Could he be a member of the Knights? And does his gear appear to be masterwork or magic? Rynn would attempt an Appraise check on them.

The ranger will agree with exploring further down this tunnel.

“Well, I don’t know for sure what time it is,” said Rynn, “but I don’t think it’s more than 1 or so in the afternoon. We should continue searching in the meantime. Perhaps nothing will come of our explorations, and tomorrow the journal will gives us more worthwhile information to go on.”

“I agree,” said Khaska. “We should eliminate more tunnels if possible. We are still refreshed and ready to go.”

Jenika nodded. Again, she led the way. The tunnel they were in eventually looped around back to the original tunnel, which they continued to explore. One branch reached a dead end shortly beyond the point where it branched off, this time clearly caused by a cave-in. Rynn examined the area, coming to the conclusion that someone had tried to move the rocks from the cave-in, but had given up after some time, likely because of the enormity of the task. This had been a long time ago, decades or even more, based on the condition of the moved stones.

The other branch led down to a similar situation they had seen with the darkmantles, the path sloping down until eventually reaching a portion that would be underwater. There was nothing to be wary of this time, so they walked right up to the edge of the water. Unfortunately, though they could see that the gradual slope would not have them be fully swimming, the light did not reach any kind of fork or branch or dead end. Wanting to explore other passage before wading into the water, they headed back. Two of the main passages from the front room had dead-ended, for now, in water. So upon returning to the main chamber, they took the third and final route. Jenika still led, but by now her torch had burned out. Khaska was right behind her with his everburning torch, so it wasn’t much of an inconvenience.

As before, there were forks, and they picked and wandered through them. Some dead-ended, but the main tunnel itself gradually sloped downward. As the path they were on continued, the smooth carved floor of the mine eventually gradually began to be more rough and unhewn, eventually to the point where they had to be careful where they stepped, the floor now covered with rocks and unfinished floor. Stalagmites jutted up from the ground. It appeared to Rynn that they had left the mine and entered more of a cave-like area. Jenika still was in front, waiting until Khaska was close by to move on. She was about five yards in front of him when she took a step forward and slipped on a wet rock, hitting the ground sideways and injuring her hand as she tried to catch herself. However, the ground that she fell onto gave way and she fell a few more feet as the rock collapsed into a pocket below ground. It wasn’t far, and she wasn’t injured aside from a few scrapes and bumps.

“Jenika!” Rynn called out from where he was.

“I’m okay,” she said. “I just …”

The light wasn’t very good where she had fallen as Khaska approached, but she saw a patch of darkness in front of her begin to move. Khaska reached her then, and the light from his everburning torch shining on the ground.

A mass of tiny creatures was emerging from a pocket in the ground; the collapse had opened a small hole to some other place. Jenika jerked her hand off of the rocks and moved back a few feet, shaking her hand where it had touched the swarming group of creatures. Khaska drew his sword, but knew it would be an ineffective weapon in some ways. It was a centipede swarm, and it was moving towards Jenika.

Eryx (DM)
Jenika has stumbled on a swarm of centipedes, and they are attacking. You became aware of each other at the same time, so they have not actually damaged anybody yet, and you have not had an opportunity to attack them. However, right now Jenika and the swarm occupy the same space, so I need Delta Wolf to give me a fortitude save. If you succeed on the DC 13 check, you can move and act as normal. If not, Jenika can only move for the next round.

Rynn and Khaska know about swarms from their Knowledge (Nature) Checks, and Rynn knows everything about centipede swarms, but Jenika does not know anything, and is likely panicking somewhat. Also note that the ground is rough enough that we are in “difficult terrain” by the rules, so you can only move half your normal speeds.

Please roll initiative and give me three rounds of actions.

DeltaWolf

  • Initiative: 12 (7+5)

Round 1:

  • Fortitude Save: 7 (2 +5 mod) Failed

Round 2:

  • Move to close combat position
  • Attack
    • To Hit: 21 (15+6) Damage: 5 (2+3)

Round 3:

  • Flurry of Blows:
    • To Hit: 24 (18+6) Damage: 7 (4+3)
    • To Hit: 22 (16+6) Damage: 9 (6+3)

Thev

  • Initiative: 3 + 3 = 6

Khaska will first cast hold animal on the swarm to immobilize it (if possible). With that done, he will cast searing light to damage it - 3. (That's what I rolled for damage. Does it come with any bonuses? Do I need to roll other dice?)

Eryx (DM)
You rolled a 3 for your searing light attack with both dice? (You get to roll 2d8 for damage.) And you must also roll a ranged touch attack, which is d20 + 3 Base Attack + 0 DEX, so d20 + 3.

Thev
Ah, thanks! I just rolled for the ranged touch attach and another damage die.

  • To hit: 7 = 4 + 3.
  • Damage: 9 = 3 + 6.

BlackWolf
Many apologies for this late post, friends. Last week I had a work conference that took me out of town for a few days, and with being so busy, posting slipped my mind.

Rynn will pull out the short section of rope from his pack and toss it down to help Jenika back up and away from the swarm. Hopefully Khaska's spells will be effective and we can move away from the swarm since weapons will be ineffective. If we can get a little distance from the swarm, we could light some real torches to use as weapons, though they won't be ideal either. Wish we had some Alchemist's Fire… other than torches, I don't think Rynn has much ability to fight the swarm.

Initiative: 11 (rolled 8 + 3 bonus)
Actions: Throw rope to Jenika and call to her to "grab the rope!" If she does, he'll help her out and retreat. Otherwise, he'll work on lighting a torch. He'll also try to warn his friends about the swarm (e.g. immune to weapons).

In less time than it took to draw a breath the swarm surrounded her and began crawling up her legs. A wave of fear washed over the monk, but she managed to steel herself and begin to climb away as she felt them biting and scratching at her skin. Rynn grabbed his rope from the pack and threw it to her to help her clamber out of the depression the collapse had created. “Grab the rope!” he called. She did and with the two of them pulling and Jenika’s nimble feet she was out in a flash … but the swarm kept coming at them. Khaska drew his scimitar, but Rynn shouted at him. “Weapons won’t hurt the swarm. Get away!” However, the cleric didn’t have a direct attack in mind. He muttered a prayer, but frowned. The hold animal spell had no effect on the swarm.

The three of them backed away quickly, then turned and began to run. The swarm did not move quickly, and once they were a bit ahead of it they could move at a more leisurely pace … but still it kept approaching them. Rynn reached into his pack. “If we can light my torches, that will help, and I don’t think we have many other options. There are too many of them for our weapons to work effectively.” Khaska turned once and said a prayer, a beam of holy light lancing from his hand towards the wriggling mass approaching them. Unfortunately, the swarm merely moved around the searing light spell, like a river around a stone, and seemed generally unaffected.

Creeped out by this, Jenika kept in front of the others, swiping at her clothes and dislodging the occasional centipede still on her. Rynn and Khaska hurried to keep up with her. “Let us gain some distance to light the torches,” the cleric said.

They jogged, keeping track of the swarm by the light of their everburning torches, trying to keep the skittering black mass just at the edge of their light until they hit a long straight stretch of tunnel and made a break for it to gain some distance. Rynn and Jenika were able to sprint faster than Khaska, outdistancing the armor-laden Maha’i, but eventually Rynn decided they should stop, that they would have enough time to light the torches as the swarm approached.

“They still coming?” he asked, retrieving his flint and steel and the three torches from his pack.

They waited. Nothing happened. The swarm didn’t emerge from the edge of their light.

“Did they lose us?” Khaska asked. “There weren’t a lot of turnoffs.”

“Maybe they lost the trail,” Rynn said, “so to speak. They might be coming, still, but not chasing us if we got too far out in front.”

Eryx (DM)
Jenika took 6 damage from the swarm the one round she ended in the same space that it did. She is at 26/32 hitpoints. Nobody else has been damaged.

I wasn’t sure what your characters would do since the swarm appears to not be following you anymore. The swarm moves at 20 feet a turn, which means you can easily keep ahead of it once free of it. Your sprinting to gain some distance appears to have made the swarm lose you, though it’s still back there, and you haven’t finished exploring this tunnel yet. Rynn suspects that the swarm is probably now what we would call metagaming a “wandering monster,” per the rules. Do you want to light the torches and go make a stand? Do you want to keep running? Try some other tactic? Go finish exploring the other tunnels?

This was the last branch off of the main room you tried (you turned back at the flooded tunnels at the other two.) To sum up:

1. Tunnel 1 (left tunnel)-fully explored except for whatever is past the water (if anything). This is where you found the dwarven corpse.
2. Tunnel 2 (center tunnel)-fully explored except for whatever is past the water (if anything).
3. Tunnel 3 (right tunnel)-likely a wandering monster centipede swarm somewhere down it. It seems to chase you until you get too far ahead of it, then it looses the trail and becomes a wandering monster. This tunnel is not fully explored yet.

What do you want to do?

Thev
So, those were the only three tunnels? Or could we go back farther and take other paths? If not, it might be good to head up and regroup for the next day.

BlackWolf
The centipede swarm is an annoying problem. Part of me wants to say we should just light some torches and fight it now while we're mostly in good shape; see if we can destroy it. But our group lacks the ability to do much damage to the swarm; our gear and class composition is almost comically ineffective. If we head up and rest we could level up, but unless one of you wants to cross-class into sorcerer to get the burning hands spell, I'm not sure the extra level will help much (other than HP).

So yeah… I'm not sure what to do next. In absence of any better plan, Rynn will agree with Khaska to go rest. That will let us level and read the dwarven journal. Maybe we'll get lucky and avoid the centipede swarm when we return. Or maybe we'll gather up some dried up pine branches, light them on fire, and use them as impromptu thrown weapons at the swarm. :P

Question: is tunnel 2 the one where we found the Darkmantles? Also, we never did get any feedback about the dwarf corpse's gear. I'm assuming that we would have at least taken the haversack.

DeltaWolf
It sounds like the others want to go back, rest and check out the dwarven journal- Jenika will quickly agree.

“What course of action should we then take?” asked Khaska.

“The swarm will probably keep wandering around the tunnels, so there’s a chance it might wander out of that one into another,” said Rynn. “We don’t really have the weapons to damage such a foe, except for the torches, and that would still not be very effective.”

“Perhaps we should head up to the monastery to rest up for the night,” said Jenika. “I don’t know what time it is, but we’ve obviously been down here for a while.”

“That seems the best course,” said Khaska. “I can prepare my spells tomorrow and read the journal. Perhaps it will lend some aid in our task.”

Their course of action decided, the party backtracked to the main entrance and then up the spiral tunnel to the entrance. It was late afternoon, so they found a room in the monastery that was mostly clear of goblin refuse, though they did have to clear out a lean-to, to set up their camp. There was a small hole in the ceiling, perfect for letting smoke out. Rynn and Jenika gathered firewood while Khaska prayed at the statue of Tawru.

They rested easily during the night, and nothing disturbed them. In the morning, while Rynn once again scouted around the area, Khaska said his morning prayers and prepared his spells. Rynn returned before he finished, so the cleric pulled out the journal to read it out loud once he had completed his morning ritual.

The Journal of Dag Bluemaul,” he began.

Eryx (DM)
Jenika has been restored to full health, and you are all now level 6. Congratulations!

If Rynn wanted to try to do some hunting to obtain food, I’d allow that. If you want to, roll a Survival check to see if you could provide food for the group. Pressed for time before the sun set, you can’t take 10.

Regarding the dwarf’s equipment, there was his armor (full plate), his weapon (a two-handed dwarven warhammer), the jewels, and the haversack. He had other things, but nothing worth looting. What do you want to do with each of those? (I assume you’ll keep the jewels and the haversack for sure.)

Yes, tunnel 2 was where you found the darkmantles. Sorry, I should have put that detail in the last gray box.

Now that you’ve read the journal, what do you want to do? Also, I want to point out that Khaska has prepared the Speak with Dead spell (though as it’s a new day maybe you wouldn’t prepare it, or would prepare it more than once). You could use it on the dwarven skeleton and it might lend you some more answers. Then again, maybe the journal has all that same information you’ll get from the corpse.

Thev
Well, that's interesting. Is there a knowledge check we could/should do to find out about the voice? Either way, Khaska's now most interested about going down Tunnel 1 if at all possible. He'll also prepare speak with dead again (hm, I just realized his entire quest is to become a Speaker for the Dead for Tawru…) and chat with the deceased dwarf.

Khaska can also forage for food with a Survival check: 7 = 2 + 5. …Not that it'll do much good, of course.

BlackWolf
Yay, leveled up! Rynn will go ahead and do some hunting:

  • Survival: 21 (rolled 10 + 11 bonus)

The dice have a sense of humor, I guess. Can't take 10? Fine, roll 10 instead. :P That should be plenty good for feeding the group (and I rolled this before leveling; not that it mattered since I didn't end up changing that skill).

Rynn is game for helping Khaska speak with the dwarf corpse. He's curious to know whether their party found Treewind's tomb, or if there were flooded caverns when they were here. Based on the journal, it would seem that the area where we found purposely moved rock is where Dag was trying to clear the cave-in. Although the tale of hearing voices is disconcerting, still the ranger thinks we should try to clear that cave-in. It just seems like that's the most likely way to find Treewind's tomb at this point. I just wonder how huge the job will be…

If we are in need of more torches, could Rynn craft some simple ones? His skill is specifically in bowmaking, but they'd both be wood related. Rynn has 3 already, but according to inventories it looks like neither Khaska or Jenika have any. I just want to make sure we're prepared as can be against the stupid centipede swarm.

As for Dag's gear, I never did get a response for an Appraise check or whether the weapon or armor seems masterwork/magical. But I'm thinking we'd take them both anyway… the armor at least can net us a few hundred gold, and we can stuff it in the new haversack for carrying. Long term, I think that Jenika or Khaska should take the haversack — it's a really useful piece of equipment!

Eryx (DM)
You're right, I did not give you the results of that Appraise check. Both the weapon and the armor are magic, though Rynn can glean no further information then that.

There are enough lean-tos, cloth covering, leftover goblin clothing, etc. that you could make quite a few torches, if you wanted. The DC is low enough, and I'll allow you to take 10, so it's not a problem. Just tell me how many you make, so we can have an accurate number in case that becomes relevant.

So who wants the haversack? You also have a Bag of Holding (Type II), so yeah, you're all doing fine on weight and pack space. Amara took the bag of holding (Type I) that you got in Codex III.

DeltaWolf
Jenika wouldn't mind holding on to the Handy Haversack.

Eryx (DM)
You have three questions, as Khaska is now level 6. What do you want to ask Dag's corpse?

BlackWolf
Oh yeah, we're definitely keeping the gear then. Magic items will sell well. Dag's gear, yo.

Rynn will not go crazy in making torches. He'll just make 9 — 3 per character, specifically for fighting centipedes.

As for questions for the corpse, I think we should definitely ask, "Did you find a tomb under this monastery?" I think Khaska should pick the final questions (and wording), but here are a few other ideas:

  • "Were these mines flooded when you were alive?"
  • "How long will it take to finish what you started in clearing rocks from the cave-in?"
  • "What did the voice say to you?"
  • "Where is the tomb under this monastery?"

Thev
The more specific the answers we can elicit, the better; thus, Khaska will ask no yes-or-no questions. He'll talk it over with Rynn and Jenika, though. Here are the ones he's leaning toward now:

  • What did you hear the voice saying?
  • Where are there tombs under this monastery?
  • Many of the tunnels are now blocked by water and fallen rocks; what is beyond those obstacles?

The first portion of the journal described Dag and his travels with two fellow adventurers. They had come to Twilight some time ago—the last few entries were dated in the year 52DT.917, over sixty years ago. They had explored the dungeon and found some treasure, but Dag wanted to stay further to investigate a voice he had heard calling to him. Eventually his friends abandoned him, and he attempted to find the location of the voice by clearing the rubble from one of the cave-ins.

“Intriguing,” said Khaska. “I have prepared a speak with the dead spell. Perhaps we should also ask questions of Dag’s remains. There are some questions that remain unanswered.”

“We did find an area that had caved in, and it looked like there had been some of the rubble cleared,” said Rynn. “Perhaps that was where he was looking for this ‘voice.’ I wonder if it’s the same voice that those two halfling brothers heard in the mines.”

“He did mention ‘cave-ins,’ though,” said Jenika. “He might have tried his hand at clearing more than one of them before he fixated on the right one.”

“It does seem that Dag was quite fixated on this voice.” Khaska stood. “He might have taken any number of actions we might deem unwise.”

“Before we go down,” said Rynn, “I think we should make some more torches, in case we run into that centipede swarm again. We only have two torches that actually generate fire that would damage it.”

Rynn set about making a few torches quickly. There was enough leftover leather and cloth and sticks from goblin lean-tos and discarded clothing that they didn’t lack for materials. As he watched Rynn, it seemed to Khaska that they could have made many many more than the ranger did, but after about five minutes the ranger was satisfied with the number he had made—three for each of them. For light, he did pull out his everburning torch, as did Khaska, but the ranger made sure that everybody had a real torch ready-to-hand, as well as his flint and steel, to light them in a hurry.

They descended back into the abandoned mines and took the tunnel with Dag’s corpse. With the fungi all dead, the area was beginning to smell just a bit, but it was not as bad as even the goblin corpses by the entrance to the mines. While they traveled, they discussed what questions they should ask should the spell be successful.

Khaska knelt by the corpse and began to pray, his holy symbol held in his hands as he communed with his god and implored the divine magic to touch the corpse of the fallen dwarf. The cleric could feel some resistance, but the corpse could not succeed in thwarting the spell. Khaska bowed his head in thanks, then straightened and spoke to the remains of the dwarf.

“Forgive us for interrupting your rest,” he said. “You spent much time here in the abandoned mine, seeking a voice. What did it say to you?”

The skeleton’s jaw moved slowly, and the voice was dry and sent shivers up their spine, making the very air seem colder. The words were spoken individually, with a small pause between each, creating a staccato effect.

“Forced. Trapped. Caged. Imprisoned. Hates. Knights. Wanted. Freedom.”

Khaska and the others glanced at each other.

“Where are the tombs under the monastery?”

The skeleton seemed to pause.

“Found. No. Tombs.”

Khaska took a deep breath.

“Every tunnel is now blocked at about the same distance as the cave-in by water. What was farther in your time?”

Again, the skeleton seemed to pause.

“No. Water. In. My. Time.”

Eryx (DM)
Those are your somewhat cryptic answers. What do you want to do now, while you strip the corpse of its armor and weapon?

BlackWolf
Rynn rubs his arms as if to dispel the chill in the air. "So, they didn't find Treewind's tomb. But something was trapped down here by the Knights of the Silver Sword? I wonder if it finally escaped and that's what killed the goblins. Maybe even has something to do with Kagu."

Since our main objective is to find Treewind's tomb, I think we should investigate around the cave-in area where Dag had been digging. We could try opening it up; though that would take time and possibly unleash something bad. We might also try wading into the nearby water to see if there's a way around the cave-in.

Or we could continue exploring other parts of the mines, but it doesn't seem likely that we'd find Treewind's tomb or Tawru's sword that way. We could also consider leaving the Monastery and heading back to town… but I'd like to know more about what happened here, if we can figure it out.

Thev
It seems unlikely that there would be a tomb down either of the watery passages; since there was no water in Dag's time, he could have proceeded down those passages and found them. That leaves the blocked passage - the one from which people have heard the voice.

Furthermore, Khaska feels that the words Dag heard provide greater support to the idea that Treewind's tomb is down the blocked-off passage. What else would express feelings about the Knights like those besides a relic of Tawru, imbued by some portion of his spirit? On a second thought, Khaska realizes that there could be other things with similar thoughts - not necessarily Tawruvian relics - but he somewhat doubts it. With some trepidation, as he didn't expect to find something so intense, but with excitement, he'll propose to clear away the rocks.

Eryx (DM)
I feel slightly obligated to point out that there's still an entire tunnel you haven't finished exploring (because there were centipedes at the time) and Dag's journal mentioned cave-inS, plural. You've only found one.

BlackWolf
Rynn wouldn't say no to exploring down the other dry tunnel, if just to rule out any other changes that might have happened in 60 years. When we found the centipede area, part of the cavern "gave way" so new tunnels might exist now which weren't there during Dag's time — perhaps even leading into the area we seek.

On the other hand, who knows where the caves and mines go? We could just as easily spend a lot of time wandering around fighting subterranean creatures without getting any closer to our goal.

Metagaming, it seems like our illustrious DM might be hinting that we should try exploring more. And hey, some more XP from fighting monsters wouldn't hurt. But I try to make Rynn's decisions without metagaming considerations.

Based on what we've learned so far, it seems like spending time clearing the rocks would be the best course of action to achieve our goal. But it could also take days… or weeks or longer! We don't have mining equipment, after all — no tools or shovels or things. So in Rynn's mind, there are no clearly good decisions at this point. Unless there is something that Rynn would know that I don't as a player which hasn't yet been communicated?

So what do you guys think? Should we start clearing rocks or should we explore more? If something did escape from these tunnels to kill the goblins, that could indicate a new passage (though not necessarily; magic and incorporeal options are not to be dismissed).

Edit: Another thought… I was just looking at the map that Eryx gave us. Based on that, the centipede tunnel seems far away from where we want to be. Unless the tunnels loop back around somehow; seems kind of far for something like that though. From the map, it actually looks like the flooded areas might be the best bet for getting past the cave-in; if they connect up underground somewhere. But I have to admit that swimming in that water isn't Rynn's first-choice of activities…

Rynn rubbed his hands up and down his arms, as if trying to dispel the chill in the air. “So, they didn't find Treewind's tomb. But something was trapped down here by the Knights of the Silver Sword? I wonder if it finally escaped and that's what killed the goblins. Maybe even has something to do with Kagu.”

“It seems unlikely that Treewind’s tomb is down either of the passages that are now flooded,” said Khaska. “He did seem to indicate it was down a passage that had caved in.”

“There were more than one of those,” said Jenika.

Khaska was strangely silent at this point, staring at the skeleton. “I had not thought to find something so … intense.” He stood. “There is much unknown. I suggest we go back and finish exploring the last tunnel, the one we found the centipedes in, before we begin clearing away the rocks or wading through the flooded tunnels.”

“Sounds good to me,” said Rynn.

Jenika held up her torch. “And we’re more prepared this time.”

“Rynn,” said Khaska, “I believe that you wanted to take Dag’s armor and weapon with us. We should treat the armor with care, and treat the body itself with the reverence due all living creatures. When you are done, I will say a prayer for Dag’s soul.”

Rynn and Jenika both stripped the body of the armor. Rynn was pretty sure it and the weapon were both magic, and well worth their while to take. When they were done, Khaska put the skeleton into a resting position on the floor, again knelt by while it holding out his symbol of Teresh, and said a prayer. When he was done, he stood. “Let us proceed,” he said.

Again, Jenika went first. This time they explored a branch they had not previously, slowly making their way down to where they had encountered the centipede swarm. It was nowhere to be seen once they approached the area where Jenika had stumbled on a cave-in spot. It was apparent, upon closer inspection, that she had merely caved in an air pocket. There were no additional tunnels to go down underneath the one they were in. So they proceeded.

The terrain continued to get more and more rough, resembling a cave more than dwarven tunnels. The ground was more wet than before, puddles collecting at the bases of some stalagmites, though others had been broken, carving a clear, if rough, path before them. Eventually the path led to an opening up ahead. They moved toward it, and discovered that an entrance had been carved, opening to a room below, even though the floor was a good 20 feet down from the carved opening. Rynn’s sharp eyes managed to catch that a rope had previously been attached to a stalactite nearby, years of wear carving a small niche in its limestone. It was a simple matter to attach his rope and then slowly climb down into the room. Khaska, with his plate armor, and Ranna, stayed above while the other two descended to get a better look.

The room was completely carved out of the surrounding rock, square angles and lines everywhere. It was also fairly large, and its roof was a full 30 feet above the ground. The floor was gradually curved, so that any water that collected ran down to the sides. There wasn’t much of it. The ceiling looked to their untrained eyes that it had been carved recently. No stalactites had formed, and no water dripped down. In one corner of the room was a chest. The top had been smashed off and discarded to the side. Inside were some papers, pushed around and disorganized, the writing on them barely visible, and again in dwarven.

But it was Rynn that first spotted the large torn sheet of paper in the middle of the room. The ranger walked over. It looked like an old scroll had been unraveled and had fallen apart, then pieced back together. The writing was also faded, and part of it was burned off, but he and Jenika, after a few moments, were able to determine what it was.

A map of the mines.

“Khaska!” Rynn called out. “We’ve found a map!”

“A map!” the Maha’i’s voice rang out. “Praised be the gods!”

“And it looks like,” Jenika paused to look at the map, then walked a ways away, her torch illuminating further than they had seen before. “Yes, there’s another exit here.”

Eryx (DM)
I’ve sent you all a picture of my crude drawing of the map. It should be pretty easy to see the similarities between that map and the one I previously drew of what you’ve explored so far. There’s a lot of writing on the map, but it’s in badly faded and in Dwarven, and Khaska doesn’t have another casting of Comprehend Languages prepared at the moment.

I “split” the group up so that a) Khaska could stay above to make sure the rope was secured and b) could help people back up if necessary. That was more my decision to help you all move ahead and not need to stop to ask for input on a minor challenge (the fact that this room’s floor is 20 feet below the entrance you first discovered).

What do you want to do now?

DeltaWolf
It seems to Jenika that there is a large probability that they will not be able to move forward without going into water. The torches surly will not work, so doe we have any items that can be used for light underwater?

BlackWolf
I'm not sure if the Everburning Torches will work underwater. But they won't be extinguished, at least. Besides, I'm hoping that the water isn't too deep so we can keep torches above water. I had thought about buying a sunrod or two; now I wish I had.

Based on the map, I agree that we'll probably need to go through some water. The exit Jenika found probably leads down to more water. I think we should check it out real quick to see. But if there is water, I think I'd rather go back to the other tunnel (leftmost on the map) to try crossing it. That way we don't have to deal with this 20 ft. drop.

So my suggestion is to have Rynn and Khaska check out this tunnel real quick. If we don't hit water right away, we can come back and get Khaska and Ranna (perhaps letting the Maha'i borrow my Ring of Feather Falling to get down?) and explore further. But if it is filled with water too, then Khaska will be able to help pull us back up and we can go around.

Or if you guys prefer, we can all come down and try taking the most direct route (not go back around). Thoughts?

Eryx (DM)
If the everburning torches go underwater they will not go out, and will give off the same amount of light as they do above water. From the rules, Continual Flame cannot be quenched, hence neither can your ever burning torches. I'm just not going to try to get into the physics of what illumination that provides, and just say that the effect is the same.

Jenika and Rynn were able to get a good sense of the map, though the writing on it was badly faded, and in Dwarven to boot. It looked to them like the abandoned mines extended past the areas that were now flooded. They shared this information with Khaska, who still thought it prudent that they explore the new passageway, but carefully. So they did explore the new passage, but when they found that it, too, was flooded down the line, they came back. Everybody agreed that, all things being equal, they’d rather not have to deal with the 20-foot drop if they had to beat a hasty retreat for some reason.

Getting back up was simple enough with Khaska’s help, and soon they were on their way to loop around back to the other passages off of the main entryway. Trying to avoid the darkmantles, they took the leftmost passage, past where Dag’s corpse lay in rest, and down towards where the passage had flooded.

They were almost there when Rynn suddenly came to a halt. “Stop!” He hissed, his words echoing through the cave. Jenika, who was in front, froze. It took her a moment, but then she saw the shining black, writhing mass of the centipede swarm. It hadn’t noticed them yet, and she backed up until it was just beyond their light.

Eryx (DM)
Thev is in the throes of finals week, so I’ve been in touch with him and his “post” this time is to defer to you two.

Choosing the left path has led you to where the centipede swarm now is. (I also let the dice decide where it had wandered to.) It hasn’t noticed you yet, and now you have nine torches that can actually damage it. It appears to be moving in the direction you were headed, but very slowly.

The tunnel is such that two of you could stand side by side, but not all three of you, though there were places just a bit further back that would allow all three of you to stand side by side.

What do you want to do?

Edit: Apparently I misunderstood what BlackWolf meant when he said he wanted to check out the new passage "real quick," so I've updated the post to reflect what he intended. Not much changed, but yes, there's flooding everywhere, and you're still now by the centipedes, who still haven't detected you.

DeltaWolf
Jenika is in favor of burning through the centipedes and continuing on.

Thev
Khaska is willing to confront the centipedes and continuing forward. Better to get them out of the way when we can.

BlackWolf
Right. Okay. Let's get rid of the pests. And hope this doesn't get too ugly.

Rynn will break out the real torches and light them. He's going to dual wield a pair of his, using full-round attack as much as possible. (DM, when he'd have to move, just only take the first roll for the round and remove the -2 penalty.)

For reference, a torch deals 1d3 damage as an improvised weapon against swarms (per the SRD). I don't think that STR damage applies to the swarm; just the fire damage.

Initiative: 11 (rolled 8 + 3 bonus)

Round 1:

  • Main hand: 20 (rolled 14 + 6 base + 2 STR - 2 dual wield), damage: 3 (rolled 3)
  • Off-hand: 13 (rolled 7 + 6 base + 2 STR - 2 dual wield), damage: 1 (rolled 1)
  • Main hand 2nd attack: 20 (rolled 19 + 1 base + 2 STR - 2 dual wield), damage: 2 (rolled 2)

Round 2:

  • Main hand: 12 (rolled 6 + 6 bonus), damage: 2 (rolled 2)
  • Off-hand: 17 (rolled 11 + 6 bonus), damage: 3 (rolled 3)
  • Main hand 2nd attack: 6 (rolled 5 + 1 bonus), damage: 1 (rolled 1)

Round 3:

  • Main hand: 25 (rolled 19 + 6 bonus), damage: 1 (rolled 1)
  • Off-hand: 13 (rolled 7 + 6 bonus), damage: 2 (rolled 2)
  • Main hand 2nd attack: 19 (rolled 18 + 1 bonus), damage: 1 (rolled 1)

So, looks like I'll probably only contribute ~7 points of damage here. Hope you two are more lucky. I'll cross my fingers that Khaska's Searing Light spell will be extra effective.

And here are some Fortitude rolls, since they'll probably be needed:

  • 20 (rolled 12 + 8 bonus)
  • 26 (rolled 18 + 8 bonus)
  • 12 (rolled 4 + 8 bonus)
  • 16 (rolled 8 + 8 bonus)
  • 15 (rolled 7 + 8 bonus)

Since Ranna will be ineffective against the swarm, Rynn will have her stay back.

Eryx (DM)
Everybody light your torches and get to hacking! You've got enough for three each, so you can all dual wield if you wanted, theoretically, or whatever.

Please give me initiative rolls and 3 rounds of actions, Thev and DeltaWolf.

Edit: I've been authorized to roll for Thev.

“Well?” she asked. “It hasn’t noticed us.”

Rynn was already getting the other torches out and lighting them. Khaska glanced at him, then nodded, sheathing his scimitar. One torch went to Jenika, one to Khaska, and the ranger held one in each hand after motioning Ranna to retreat, which the wolf did, though her demeanor showed she was not happy about it.

Khaska muttered a prayer and light lanced forth from his hand. This time the Searing Light spell burned through the swarm, and small writhing bursts of light sparked in the darkness as individual centipedes succumbed to the divine magic. However, the remainder of the swarm rushed towards the party.

It was difficult work. The swarm seemed to anticipate their moves sometimes, avoiding the fire of the torches while crawling up and onto each of them. Jenika and Rynn were both nauseated momentarily, but continued to strike with their torches. Each of them felt the scratches and the bites of the insects all over their bodies, but it wasn’t but a few moments later when Jenika finally swiped her torch across the last of the black mass. Individual centipedes still were alive, but the swarm itself had mostly been destroyed. They were in no further danger.

Jenika dropped her torch to the ground and finished swiping individual centipedes off of her arms and legs, half shivering as she did so. Khaska bore his wounds stoically, as did Rynn, though the ranger was still scratching at his clothes for some minutes afterwards.

“One less monster to deal with in these caves,” Rynn said.

Eryx (DM)
I was authorized to roll for Thev and just took the initiative to do so for BlackWolf. You destroyed the swarm relatively quickly … at the end of the three rounds it was almost dead, so I took the liberty of rolling another round, in which you handily finished it off.

Your hitpoints are as follows:

Jenika: 14/34. 3 of that is DEX damage from the poison.
Rynn: 13/34. 2 of that is DEX damage from the poison.
Khaska: 15/35. None of that is DEX damage; Khaska made all of his Fort saves against the poison and the nausea.
Ranna: Full health.

I’d say it’s about noon. Maybe 1 pm. You’ve been down in the mines today, first talking to Dag’s corpse, then exploring the other tunnel and discovering the map, and now headed down this tunnel to the water.

What do you want to do now? Heal up with the wand and press forward? Take a break and come back tomorrow?

Thev
I think that spending a bit of the wand to heal up and continuing would be advisable. No sense in wasting most of the day. However, if we do run into more opposition, Khaska would be cautious. We don't want to get stuck, wounded, in the mines overnight!

BlackWolf
Rynn doesn't care much either way. He's happy to be out in the wild again, so he doesn't care if we "waste" a lot of time healing up. But on the other hand, the subterranean exploration isn't quite the same as being topside. So getting down to business is good for him too.

Seeing that Khaska wants to continue, he'll readily agree. The DEX damage will take a few days to wear off; that will impact Rynn and Jenika's AC. But overall we should be fine.

Here are some rolls to heal using the wand of cure light wounds (heals 1d8+1):

  • Rynn: 7, 8, 4; brings him up to 32/34 HP.
  • Jenika: 2, 9, 2, 7; brings her up to 34/34 HP.
  • Khaska: 6, 7, 4; brings him up to 32/35 HP.

So that's 10 charges used; by my record that means we have 33 remaining.

Barring any more unexpected trouble, Rynn figures we'll head over to that other tunnel as planned. From the map and what we've explored, it seems like it would be the shortest distance we'd have to wade (swim?) through the flooded tunnels. Rynn hopes it isn't too deep… but when we get there he'll cautiously head in. As long as it doesn't get deeper than waist-level, he'll want to press forward.

DeltaWolf
Jenika is all for moving forward. She will want to go very slowly once they reach the water. If our magic torch won't get distinguished by putting it in the water she will recommend that they use it to see however far they can underwater.

The ranger reached into his pack and pulled out the healing wand. The magic mended their wounds and healed their sore skin, the bites and rashes vanishing. After a few minutes, they felt mostly back to normal. Jenika and Rynn were both still feeling a little sluggish … even the magic of the wand could not affect the centipede poison that was slowing their reflexes ever so much. Still, they decided to press on.

Just a short ways away from where they had destroyed the centipede swarm they came upon the flooding in this passageway. Rynn opted to go first, holding his everburning torch in hand. Just to test, he put it under water. It made the light above the water’s surface dim just a bit, but had the opposite affect of lighting the water up so he could see where he was going. Jenika went next, carrying a normal torch, and Khaska came after. Ranna was forced to leap and swim just a bit, but the water never got much above their thighs. Their boots were soaked, and their pants dripping when they emerged, but based on their understanding of the map they thought that they had discovered that all three flooded passageways met together. A short jaunt to explore by Rynn showed this to be true-the flooding connected each passageway, or at least connected to three other new passages. As this was a low point in the mines, water had come in over time, but it was not impassible. After about fifty yards, they were on dry ground again.

The passageway immediately became sticky with spider webs, but it was apparent that the webs had also been recently cleared by goblins. The webs were burned and singed, and though there were a few decomposing goblin corpses, the passageway was clear.

Rynn edged forward, carefully. He glanced at one of the goblin corpses. “It doesn’t look like any of these were killed with an edged weapon, like the ones at the entrance,” he said. “I would make sense that they were killed by some kind of monstrous spider. Those wouldn’t leave a mark.”

“Monstrous spider?” Khaska’s voice wavered just a bit.

“The goblins cleared this path out,” Rynn said. “They might have killed the spiders, but we should be careful.” He edged forward, holding his torch up, eyes scanning. The ranger knew that the spiders might very well be smaller ones, more nuisance than real threat, but still he didn’t want to be caught unawares. He moved through the tunnel until he came to a fork. To the left the spider webs continued to look burned and singed for about 10 yards, but then they stopped being singed and burned and continued as he expected “normal” webs would look. To the right the webs continued to be burned, but then stopped. The way past the hanging, dilapidated threads looked clear.

Eryx (DM)
BlackWolf has pointed out to me that I did the DEX damage wrong from the last post. To account for that, your hitpoints should be as follows, after using the wand:

Rynn: 34/34
Jenika: 34/34
Khaska: 32/35

Jenika’s DEX score is down to 10, and Rynn’s is down to 12. Make the adjustments on your page as necessary.

Will you go left, to the spider webs (towards the other passageways on the map), or right to the cleared tunnel (the long straight passageway on the map)?

BlackWolf
"Let's see what the goblins were up to," Rynn suggests as he motions toward the right path.

Looks like the water turned out to be pretty easy to traverse. I guess we could have tried it sooner. Oh well… Somehow I had the impression that the tunnels descended quite a bit and that we'd be swimming our way through. Glad that turned out not to be the case.

After checking out the right path we can come back to fight spiders if we still haven't found Treewind's tomb.

Thev
Khaska concurs with Rynn: may as well go to the right for now! Also, I'd been under the impression that the tunnels descended so that they were completely submerged soon after the water line, and that we would be swimming underwater for an indeterminate amount ot time. Whoops!

DeltaWolf
Jenika will examine the webs to get a clue to the size or type of spider we are dealing with.

  • Knowledge Check: 14 (13+1)
  • Spot Check: 27 (20+7)

“Let’s see what the goblins were up to,” said Rynn, indicating the right path. Khaska nodded. Jenika led the way again, her torch illuminating the burned webs. She glanced over at the left passageway, trying to assess the webbing and to determine what kind of spiders might come at them from behind. Unfortunately, she didn’t know much about such things, but she pointed it out to Rynn, and the ranger simply glanced at it.

“I bet whatever made those are relatively small spiders,” he said. “They’ve probably just been here for a while, picking off straggling animals that wander this far in, like the goblins.”

“I thought you said they were monstrous spiders?”

“That just means they’re bigger than just your average everday spider,” he said. “They can be from a few feet to gigantic ones that can be many times bigger than we are.”

He turned to move back down the other passageway, to see Khaska frozen.

Up ahead was rough terrain, but a quick glance indicated why the carved smooth floor was so rocky. There was a cave-in up ahead.

And someone had cleared it away.

Eryx (DM)
I took the liberty of rolling a Knowledge (Nature) check for Rynn and spot checks for both him and Khaska. Rynn is relatively confident that the spider webs were made by Tiny or Small Monstrous spiders. None of the group can see any spiders as far as your light extends.

That will wrap up this chapter.

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