Day 4 - Finally.... off

Ettercap

Up at the crack of 8:00am to stumble downstairs to breakfast. Pity there's not enough time for a bath but the others insist on getting an early start. Yuna refused to get up even though I went upstairs and yelled through her door so we left anyway.

Following Bertrands directions we soon found ourselves out of the woods and approaching the town of Laeric. It was a poor looking place (at least if one is used to a veneer of civility) A typical rural community and like Dagger Dale it took us little time to locate the Mayor; not that he was much help. All he could tell us was the 'Protectors' rode off to the East one morning and no one has seen hide nor hair of them since. All they had for us to go on was a very brief note saying the party was heading east to investigate 'something' (how helpful)

Having got all the information we could out of the Mayor; not that he knew much; we headed off top have a look round at the Town Protectors quarters and talk to Will, their Squire. He was as helpful as possible but again seemed pretty much in the dark. The only interesting thing he could add was that Sophie (the Town Protectors Cleric) used to ride out in that direction to meditate. We spent the rest of the morning talking to locals - a few folk confirmed they'd seen the adventurers ride out that day and noticed nothing peculiar, nor did there seem to be any rumours or stories of any strange happenings from that direction. Having exhausted all the possibilities offered in this limited burg we set off to the eat to try and track our quarry. Damir had the sense to check with the Farrier before we left Laeric and discovered one of the Town Protectors horses had something odd about its hoof or shoe or something which enabled him to distinguish its tracks from those left by other hooves along the trail. Fortunately the Town Protectors seem to have stuck mainly to the higher ground to the side of the trail so even though time and rain obscured the prints, Damir was still able to track them. We rode for a while between a forest and the shores of a lake before We'd travelled for about 1/2 day before Damir found a place where the undergrowth seemed to have been pushed back and trampled. We followed him through the barrier of brush and along the faint winding trail through the forest. The trail the Town Protectors left was faint but apparently still discernable to Damir and he led us along a way till we debouched in a small clearing.

The first thing we noticed was the dead horse, then the open trap door in the ground with stairs leading down into the earth. We tied our horses loosely and while some of the party had a look at the horse to see how it had died, Damir scouted about and found signs that someone had tied horses to a group of small trees on the fringe of the clearing. From the tracks and other signs Damir said it looked as though they'd panicked, broken free and run off for some reason, but the as ground was fairly churned up he. Meanwhile, for some reason best known to herself, Yuna after detecting magic on the stairs, chucked a rock through the open trap door... While that's one way to trigger a trap, I don't recall her yelling 'Cappuccino!' Before you could say "that hurts!" a swarm of biting, stinging insects appeared from nowhere and descended on us. Our horses went wild and bolted; good thing they were tied loosely; their panicked flight eloquently describing what must have happened to the Town Protectors horses and thus solving one small mystery... Clever girl Yuna but about those insects! I looked around but she'd gone.

I decided the better part of valour was getting the hell out of there - I don't wear armour and had little protection from the stings - I teleported...... Not knowing the area I managed to splash down in the lake rather than on the trail we'd recent ridden.. Oh well, I've been wet before. I trod water for a moment or two to get my bearings - on the shore I noticed a sort-of familiar figure waving to get my attention - Yuna. I mentally shrugged and started to swim ashore. When I got there Yuna had already made a fire and a pot of tea - she has very good tea) and we sat and sipped while I dried out.

Back in the clearing the rest of party; in a rare show of unity; dived for the stairs all being extremely careful not to touch the first three stairs which seemed to be the trigger of the trap. Norton managed to stone shape the lid back onto the trapdoor and even fashioned a couple of nifty handles which were most useful later. They slammed the lid down and cut the insects off. The stairs led down. Hoo Dung went first as trap fodder, relying on his great dexterity to save him should he trigger anything nasty. The stairway was dim, below were soft pools of lights from what we later discover are everburning torches. The stairway leads into a large dimly lit room which, in turn, led to a corridor lit occasionally by everburning torches. The corridor stretches away 200' with a branching off to the left and to the right. Hoo Dung goes first (Note to self - Monks REALLY are great as portable trap detectors - but is it worth the smell?) The first branch, to the right, leads a short way to end at a room. From the shadows of the corridor Hoo Dung peered in to a room about 20'x30'. In the middle of this room is a laughing elf child sitting on the floor and three much larger than normal spiders wrapping it up in their web. The ceiling of this room is lost in the darkness; in fact Hoo Dung thinks it goes up further than it should. He headed back to update the rest of our party....If it looks like a trap and smells like a trap - it probably IS a trap... but Damir doesn't want to leave the elf child - perhaps it's enchanted; maybe they plan to use it as a sacrifice.... Who knows what goes through these peoples minds? Rumbles was, by all accounts, just happy to have something to kill - he's so easily pleased. The rest of the group gave in pretty easily and they all headed back down the corridor to the rooms entrance. The spiders and the laughing elf-child seemed oblivious to the small commotion Norton and Rumbles must have made clanking down the corridor in full plate mail, which just makes it taste like a trap as well. Reluctant to actually enter the room; and who's to blame them; Norton and Damir set themselves up in the doorway to fire arrows. They loose their first round hitting everything they aimed at (or so they say) They fire again, the spiders start to fall. Suspiciously though the elf-child just keeps laughing and the remaining spiders haven't moved to attack but kept spinning their web. Using his splendid dexterity (he's almost as good as me) Hoo Dung tumbled into the room moving to confuse the unseen attackers he's sure lurk in there somewhere. Again Norton and Damir fire from the doorway and another spider falls. Rumbles - not being able to restrain himself - leaps into the room waving his enormous axe and yelling like a demon (It's a REALLY good effect) He smashes the last spider to icor at the same time as Hoo Dung spins to see the two huge spiders sitting on the wall opposite him and previously hidden by being up high on the wall with the door in it. The spiders throw a web trying to snare them; Hoo Dung spins, leaps and avoids the super sticky substance while Rumbles relies on his prodigious strength; it takes more than a web to slow a half-orc barbarian! This means poor odds for the remaining spiders. Norton and Damir race in to join their companions and the spiders are made short-work of.

While they'd been phfaffing about, Yuna and I had finished our tea and trekked back to the clearing; making certain there were no insects left. We found the trap door with the nifty handles Norton had made, levered it free and slipped in, carefully avoiding the top three stairs. It was pretty easy to locate the rest of the party; a blind Dwarf could have traced them by the noise; and we caught up to them. The elf- child turned out to be a 'dummy' with an illusion... A trap! Fancy that.

I let Hoo Dung have a break and went to scout ahead. The branch to the left travelled straight for about 100' and ended in a T-junction; while the one on the right look led to a room of the same dimensions as previous one. I back-tracked and motioned the party up to meet me at the left-hand turning. Again I went ahead to check for traps. At the T-junction I paused; the 'T' went for 40' (20' in either direction) still dimly lit by everlasting torches, both ways ended at closed doors. I signalled the rest of them to join me, flipped a coin and turned left, this time the rest of the group stayed fairly close behind me; I've asked then not to, it makes me nervous and being nervous while disabling a trap is NOT good..... Do they listen?... HA!!

At the end of the short corridor is a huge dim room; no everlasting torches here; the ceiling is swathed in darkness. Yuna does detect magic and says that the altar and the frescoes that chase each other round the room are both magical. Damir chucks his light pebble in, careful to avoid those areas Yuna declared 'magical'. With a bit more light we can make out more of the frescoes. A Drow male is chained, tortured and dragged before the priestess who cuts out his heart with a ceremonial dagger; strange script writhes across the walls. I suggest they let me go in first and cautiously slip into the room. Damir and Norton take their places - bows knocked - at the doorway to cover me. .... I slid along the walls whisper quiet and... Bugger! My foot is caught in a bloody invisible web. YUCK.. I wrench myself back but this stuff is pretty strong. While I was struggling these monstrosities appeared from out of the web. GROSS! They're sort of a cross between a human and a soft bodied bloated spider... Ettercaps! I love this job!! They race along the web toward me - I continue to struggle (still with no sucess) Damir and Norton fire at them and Rumbles rushes madly into the room with his bloody great Axe; it's the thing he does best. The Ettercaps don't even pause; in fact a couple more appear to join them. Still struggling to get free I manage to dodge their bite and claw attacks which is good - these things are poison, though that's not a real worry. More arrows thump home and Rumbles is wreaking havoc; dismembered bits of Ettercap splash wetly against the walls. Finally I manage to wrench free and get out of the room. Rumbles backs out still swinging and we fire the whole room - web burns SO well. Having put an end to the Ettercaps we're now free to have a look around the room. Other than the altar and frescoes which we studiously avoid there only seems to be a skeleton in the far corner. Ho Hum! We move on.

Up the corridor I go, flitting from shadow to shadow and checking for traps before I put my feet down. The corridor ends in an empty room and continues again on the far side, no traps; nothing interesting. Up the next corridor, this time it ends in a much larger corridor with at least 3 doors I can see and a whopping huge statue about 120' feet down. The rest of the party have wandered up behind me; I hate it when they do that.. I just HATE having people right behind me... can't think why. Once again I suggest they STAY PUT while I go and have a reccie; they'll no doubt ignore me but I might get a round or two without tripping over someone. The way is lit by everlasting torches and I start down with Rumbles beside me - he's less annoying than most of the rest of the party and handy to have around if I stumble on a big group of nasties. There are four doorways, all up, in the opposite wall. I stopped to have a peek in the first two rooms, they're both about 20'x20' and empty except for a big rectangular block of dressed stone; like an altar; and frescoes that look similar to those in the 'other' altar room. I get a definite sense of danger from these rooms - probably some sort of magical trap - so I keep moving - the rest of the party will no doubt stop to investigate but I want to make sure there aren't any large congregations of hostiles lurking around to leap on us.

I continued, leaving the rest of them to look into the doorways - so to speak - down this corridor to get a better look at the statue. The corridor opens into a large domed sort of cavern-ish space, with a statue of Lolth on a plinth in the middle, before continuing down till it turns at a right-angle. Already I can hear the rest of the party as they gabble about in the corridor discussing the first two rooms. Apparently there is magic in the rooms themselves - I suspected as much - and they're discussing what school and strength it is; I tune them out and continue. I heard later that they'd been experimenting to ascertain the effects of the room by the remarkably simple method of going in. I can understand that sort of behaviour from Rumbles; he's a barbarian after all, what excuse do the rest of them have??? I understand that Yuna sensibly employed the empirical method and sat back to observe what happened to the others. Most of them got off Scott free....most but not Damir. While he was in this room he tried to read the script around the frescoes...he couldn't understand it but immediately he felt weaker and it didn't go away when he left the room - Norton said it was some sort of constitution drain and he can restore him at midnight when his God, Wee Jaas, renews his quota of spells.

Opposite the statute of Lolth is a short corridor, I creep down quietly; the room is about 20' square with a floor to ceiling metal grill closing off one end. There's an alcove (or some-such) down there and I'm sure I can hear something - I peer in; it's dark but there's definitely something in there; I go in with a light. At the far end of this room; behind the grill; is a sort of snapping-chest.... Hhhmmmmm I think I'll let it sit there a bit longer. The last room in this wall is another of the 20' square rooms with a dressed stone altar. Again I decide to leave it be, at least until I know what type of magic I'm dealing with! Rounding the corner the corridor narrows and travels only a short distance till it ends in the doorway to a darkened room. I peer in.... the room is full of web with some sort of mosaic on the floor - I can't make it out, what with all the web! By now I can hear the rest of the group not far behind - they're making so much noise it sounds like they're having a party! Rumbles and Damir are right behind me in the corridor and I suggest they head back around the corner into the main corridor cause I'm going to fire the room. I do it before anyone can object. The web burst into very smoky flame at the same time as I heard a terrific commotion from back where the rest of the party were waiting. By the time I got there it was all over - even the corpse had been looted - but apparently they'd been attacked. Yuna was minding her own business brewing a pot of tea (very considerate of her) when something went whizzing over her head. She shrieked and dived for cover - Norton and Damir fired off arrows but Rumbles, on the scene in seconds, cleaved the monster in two almost before anyone had time to even see what it was. A Drider.... venomous spell-casting monsters with the head and torso of a Drow and the body of a giant spider - one of Lolths most bloodthirsty creations. Probably a good thing it's dead - I wonder if there are more; from the decor it certainly seems likely.

The rest of the party wanted to go and deal with the snapping chest - I left them to it and went with Damir to have a better look at the statue of Lolth while waiting for the webs to burn out. I took my time and had a really good search of the statue and the plinth. Damir got bored and wandered back down the corridor a bit - with hindsight it's a damn good thing he did or I might be dead. I found a clever little niche secreted in the plinth of the statue - it was trapped so I set about disabling it. Everything seemed to be going along swimmingly until I felt something click... Whoops... (Note to self - Having a REALLY bad day) Pressurised gas sprayed out enveloping me and a decent area around me. I just had time to fling myself backwards to the edge of the gas cloud and recall thinking, before I lost all sense of feeling, that this was a splendidly clever delivery system and a VERY toxic poison... From the paralysation, I thought it was probably based on spider venom and then I lost consciousness. Fortunately Damir had seen what happened and was on the spot with a neutralise poison spell which had me back on my feet in no time (Bless his heart and cotton socks) That was a nasty experience! By the time I could see, hear, and feel again the gas had dissipated. Damir and I had a look in the niche - there was a small pouch with 6x 1,000 gp@ gems. Better than a poke in the eye with a pointy stick but not worth being gassed for.... Ah but getting my hands on the pressurised dart delivery system, that WAS worth the gassing; I can study this and make more! By now we guessed the webs must have burned out and the smoke cleared enough for us to see so we wandered back to the room with the snapping chest to see how the others were doing. we could hear them before we got there.... they managed to get through the grill; disable the snapping chest with an iron spike to stop it snapping and 'liberated' a helmet of some kind; they also found (we believe) the first solid evidence that the Town Protectors most likely came to a stick end (pardon the pun)... the mutilated remains of some clerical robes. Coming from a place like this no one really wanted to try on the helmet to see what it did so they'd stored it in Damirs bag of holding. We returned to the burned out room. It was a charred mess and we could barely make out the mosaic on the floor; a large black widow spider attacking elf (a persistent theme) with that weird writhing script running all around it. Damir used his helm of Read and Comprehend Languages, he can't understand it but is certain it's some form of archaic Drow. The room continued through another open doorway, down a brief way and opened again onto another room. In the light of the everlasting torches we could see a body lying in the middle of the room. Rumbles can just reach its leg without actually going into the room - carefully he drags the body out. While the ghouls I travel with paw the corpse, I checked the room for traps - all clear!! I finished my trap sweep and joined the others - they'd gone over the body; it was wearing the remains of leather armour and carrying a set of masterwork lock picks. Looks like we found Winfield, the Town Protectors Thief. Norton would be able to do a speak with dead (after midnight) We might learn something useful from that....

I checked the room for traps and only found the one - the same one Winfield 'found'. It's another niffty pressurised dart delivery system thingy, obviously Winfield triggered it! I let the others know the room was safe and a bunch of us set about checking for secret doors while Damir stuffed Winfields body into the portable hole. (Note to self: Don't go back in that hole till someone has given it a good scrubbing!) We finally found a secret door in one of the walls and estimated it would come out somewhere near where we started; the only room we'd seen that we hadn't actually gone into. I opened the door and slipped into a narrow dark passage; Hoo Dung and Yuna went racing back to 'other' entrance to this room. The passage from the secret door was only a few feet long and ended in a closed door. I opened it, a glanced across the room showed Hoo Dung and Yuna just arriving in the far doorway. Right in front on me a book sat innocently on a plinth... I know; I know; I know!! Obviously a trap and I've been having a terrible time with traps today but these's an urge..... sort of like an itch.... I reached out slowly and it grabbed me...Typical. It's a Mimic! I'm getting horribly tired of being stuck to things - I tried to pull free; no luck. The wretched thing slammed itself into me - adhering to the front of my clothes and my arm - SHIT! Next thing I know Rumbles is right in front of me wielding his bloody enormous sword; I flinched, tried to duck and yelled "Don't" but he did it anyway. Now I'm stuck to a Mimic AND Rumbles sword. To add insult to injury Rumbles seems more worried about his sword more than about me! While the rest of the party debate what they might do to get me free, I managed to worm out of most of my clothes, which meant I only had one arm and hand stuck to it. The rest of the party had graduated to discussing a variety of frightening things they might try on me under the guise of 'assistance'. Overhearing Rumbles serious suggestion; "We can always cut her hand off!" I decided to try something of my own... "I'm going to teleport back to the statue of Lolth," I yelled and then vanished - it was the only place in this complex I knew well enough to teleport to with safety. I was rather hoping I could leave the Mimic behind and teleport just me; no such luck. The rest of the party arrived about then. "Set fire to it," I suggested, willing to risk the damage to get the wretched thing off me. They continued to discuss other possibilities.

"Set fire to it," I said a little louder... Still no sign anyone was actually listening.

"Will you bloody-well set fire to it!!? I yelled.

Hoo Dung stepped forward with a shrug and some oil - Damir looked a little unsure. "It's OK - she asked me to," he explained and touched the flame to the oiled Mimic. I've had plenty of things done to me that hurt a lot more and I was so glad to be unstuck I decided to take back some of the nasty things I've said about him.

It's been a long and weary day and we agreed that here was as good a place as any to get some rest. Yuna revealed this fabo portable cottage that would fit all of us and was just about impregnable - a sort of travelling bunker. I recalled the strange structure I'd seen in the forest that first night and a few things clicked into place. I was feeling restless and wanted to go back for a better look at the large altar room where the Ettacaps attacked us. Rumbles and Damir decided they'd come along with me. We got back without meeting anyone - or anything - and entered cautiously. I went straight to the altar to check for traps and see if I could find a secret door or compartment or something - almost anything would be nice. While I was concentrating on that, Damir tried again to read the script surrounding the frescoes.... Bad idea... I heard Rumbles warning shout and looked up to see Damir just about to sit on the damn altar. Bugger him! I threw myself at him and tripped him but he managed to grab me and we both fell to the floor. I was trying to hold him down and yelling at him, but he's as strong as me and he REALLY wanted to get to that altar. Suddenly Rumbles was there and things got a lot easier though it took the two of us to keep Damir down. He struggled so much Rumbles had to cosh him so we could get him tied and gagged. Finally he was restrained to our satisfaction and we shoved him to one side while we finished our exploration of the room. We didn't find any secret doors but I did locate a secret compartment in the front of the altar. It was trapped - of course - so I started to disable it. It took a little longer than it would normally take me; what with Damir, trussed like a turkey but still trying to roll toward the altar and Rumbles, letting him get a few feet then kicking him back! The cache revealed a pouch containing four gems worth about 300gp, a golden necklace (600gp) and a piece of rolled up cloth that looks like it might have some writing on it; we'll get Yuna to take a look at it when we get back. The pouch seems to be a sort of 'pouch of holding'. When I reached into it I noticed that my arm went in further than it ought before it touched bottom. Should come in handy. Despite our efforts we find nothing further so we drag Damir back to the rest of the party (Actually we carried him, but we thought about dragging him! It's the thought that counts) When we got back we asked Norton to learn yet another remove curse to try on Damir... Having managed to loose both his constitution and his mind, he's been having a worse day than me. Yuna checked the cloth we'd found and said it bore traces of a spell from the Transformation school of magic. Satisfied that the spell effect had dissipated she opened the cloth to reveal part of a tabard with golden bird emblem and some writing. Norton borrowed Damirs helmet (he's in no state to use it himself at present) to read the spell and declared it was a spell to transform a human into a Drider (Whoops - that'll be the one Rumbles killed earlier; makes sense, it's the only Drider we've seen all dungeon)

Back to The Inn of the Far Shore.


Stupid things we've overheard...

We'll let him fire the mortar, he's not to good with a gun.

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