Day 8 - which way do we go???

Rakshasa

We wake the next morning to the smell of rotting Delver wafting through the window and the sound of someone knocking on the door!!!

"Who's there?" yells Hoo - the irony being entirely lost on the rest of the party. There's some sort of muffled response but nothing we can understand.... Yuna casts invisibility on the door, on the other side is a snivelling Gnome, wringing it's hands and scrunching it's hat.

"My name's Fizz..." It says. "I want to help......"
(Yeah, right!)

"They know you're here!"
(DER!)

"I'll tell you everything I know if you take me with you when you go...."

Hoo chats to the little vermin through the window and Fizz tells him what he knows. Apparently Bhishana Bhaga is an elvish litch who has forced the Gnomes to help her... a sort of a do-it-or-die-thing. He seems honestly terrified and says Bhishana Bhaga has set up her head-quarters a few hundred feet up a branch of the trail we haven't investigated yet. Yuna dispells her bunker and Norton joins Hoo questioning Fizz. Fizz says there's about 50 Gnomes trying to dig through to us but he thinks they will take the opportunity to run if it's presented; leaving only about 10 who seem willing to work for Bishana. Hoo gets the creature to draw us a map of the mines, complete with exits, pits, traps, snares and such. About the only truly interesting piece of information is that the Gnomes called the Delver 'Crush-Stone' which I thought rather more imaginatively apt than Fred. The wagons, we are told, were full of fine food and wines and soft furnishings.... though what use a litch would have for such things is beyond me. After a couple of hours standard squabbling, we head off - Hoo leads, I follow, then Damir, with Norton and Rumbles bringing up the rear. We've beefed up Hoo as much as possible with spells and such. We plan to use him as a weapon!

We travel down the tunnel leading to Bhishana Bhaga's lair and come to a sort of cavern... an open-ish space anyway. Yuna does detect magic and finds the usual emanations from the party but also she senses a strong enchantment coming off the Gnome - how weird... Fizz seems to realise his cover's blown and piss-bolts but Hoo grabs him before he can get more than three paces. The little rat's been enchanted to lure us into a trap - Never trust Gnomes. We shake him up a little and drill him to try and find out just how deep in the shit we are.... Now he tells us there are actually 90 Gnomes not 50 and they're ALL charmed.... and Bhishana Bhaga's not a litch but elvish mage; at least the food and soft furnishings make sense now; AND there's 4 or 5 spell caster Gnomes, who are - can you guess - charmed..... Great!! We hold a short strategy conference the upshot being that we decide to double back and come down a different track.... Never underestimate the value of surprise. We make it back to the main intersection - almost back where we started - before we let Fizz run. Yuna scans the tunnel ahead using her detect magic, she spots something; a fireball she thinks. Hoo and Yuna go to check it out while the rest of us hang back waiting for their signal. While we're waiting there's a muffled 'boom' from the direction Fizz took.... Hmmm, sounds like he's using Hoo's method of trap detection. From his spot near the rear of the party Damir sees a bunch of Gnomes trying to sneak up on us. He hisses a warning to Norton who quickly stone-shapes the corridor closed behind us - that'll hold them for a bit. Meanwhile Yuna's waved me up - she's suffering a fit of 'suspicions' and wants me to check the area around the fire-trap for traps... I thought she was being a trifle over-cautious, but she makes good tea and that's a hard skill to find so I humoured her. Live-and-learn - there were traps on either side - how compulsive! I disable them. On ya Yuna! There's a corridor off to the left, we follow it a short way - it splits into two. Yuna detects some sort of trap at the junction of the corridors - Hoo investigates using the up-close-and-personal method of trap detection - blindly groping about into the illusion he cleverly locates an acid pool with his hand but avoids taking any damage simply by being so incredibly dexterous. Norton uses his stone-shape to build an attractive ornamental stone bridge across the acid pool. Ahh, it's the little things in life..... On the far side the corridors continue a short way and end in doors. Yuna, still laughing in the face of danger, picks the one on the left... the door has an aura of magic...she dispels it! Now we can see it for what it is and there's no door but there is a big sticky web with a fireball trap on it - now that IS overkill! KABLOOM!! There's a flash of light and ball of flame races up the corridor towards us, dissipating at our feet. At the end of the corridor is a door - a big stone door so the bloody thing is still intact. I check for traps - it's clean... but how to open it. I search around and find a touch pad, it seems safe... Hoo joins me while the rest of the group move a fair way back up the corridor... Hoo touches the pad and a cloud of gas pours out. Perhaps it wasn't quite as safe as I thought. The rest of the group up at the intersection flee and I can't say that I blame them. Hoo and I are fairly committed so we leap forward.... straight into a fireball... we tumble and dodge and being amazingly good at that sort of thing, we evade the rolling ball of flame.

Inside the room is an elderly female elf, she seems to have been incanting.... I decide not to give her the opportunity to start again and close, spraying her with a vial of XXX super-spider venom I'd been saving for a special occasion. I can't wait to see how it works... I splash the venom across her face; she falls paralysed. Hoo steps forward to kill her but I beg him not to - I want to watch this stuff work! I'd no sooner stopped Hoo than the bloody barbarian comes charging down the corridor, through the cloud of poison, into the room and smashes her with an axe - I try and trip him before he hits her but just missed - Bugger! I scream at him to stop - bastard he'll ruin the experiment. Hoo steps in between us and manages to talk some sense into him... he backs off. This is fascinating.....it's been about 6 seconds since I hit her with the venom. I test for rigor - she's comatose... this poison's working really well. Rumbles hears noises from back down the corridor, Gnomes are massing... He spins and races back through the poison cloud to join the rest of the party. Meanwhile Hoo is looting the elfs comatose body - peculiarly suspicious behaviour for a monk! At least he's being careful, he's wrapped his hands and is wiping everything BEFORE he picks it up. He finds 2x Rings (Ring of FireBalls, 3 charges, 6d6 & Ring of Magic Missiles, 10 charges, 2 missiles per charge, 2d4+7), an amulet (Amulet of Protection +3), a non magic green robe (which she was wearing), boots and a belt.. Hoo swipes them and stashes them somewhere. Rumbles arrives at the confluence of corridors where the party are facing off against a whole bunch of Gnomes... He charges to the fore of the party and bellows at the Gnomes, frightening them to a standstill.

12 seconds after administering the venom and she's dead! Perfect! Works like a charm.. Her limbs contort as though in agony at the end....

Hoo yells down the corridor - "The elf is dead! The Gnomes may be uncharmed."

I yell, "Kill the Gnomes before they get away!"

Ignoring me, the Gnomes rejoice and race forward to embrace the party. Yuna and Damir are trying to herd the Gnomes to an exit. There's a cloud-kill approaching and they're trying to get everyone out. It's chaos (or so I was told).

Without warning Norton whips out his Urgosh and takes a totally unnecessary swing at Yuna; luckily for her he missed. Damir turns and leaps on Norton trying (we think) to subdue him.. Gnomes are running everywhere making it difficult to keep track of what is happening and where. Rumbles sees Damir and Norton grapping with each other and wades through the fleeing wave of Gnomes to pull them apart. I'm happy I'm in here - those people are insane! Yuna ducks out of the action and does a detect magic... It's EVERYWHERE - seems these Gnomes are charmed too... still... I said we should have killed the little monsters... but they never listen to me...

I've started to check this room for traps and Hoo's looking round in case he can spot any concealed thingies.

He tries the roll top desk - it's trapped - poison darts spring out of it's front, lucky he's so dexterous... seems a bit of a waste though; after all that, it's locked. He managed to prise it open with a javelin

Norton is wriggling and biting and struggling but still can't break Rumbles hold - nor can Damir who's yelling something about "killing the Gnomes of Zurich." Rumbles tries to bash their heads together... don't know if it will actually help anything but he seems to be enjoying himself. Yuna casts an area of effect dispel encompassing 40 Gnomes, Rumbles, Damir and Norton in an attempt to bring them all back to their senses. It doesn't seem to work, they're still squabbling and snarling and attacking each other. The Gnomes start to mutter and growl and move threateningly up on the rest of the party. Norton casts a SoundBurst to stun Yuna - for some reason he really seems pissed with her...Dunno what the problem is. Damir is flailing about with his sword; glad I'm not in there with them; he manages to kill a Gnome despite having Rumbles hanging off his head. Rumbles drops Norton and uses both hands to hurl Damir up the corridor toward Yuna, bowling over a bunch of Gnomes on the way, Yuna vanishes which seems a good idea considering everyone is trying to kill each other. Norton, finding himself free of Rumbles casts a Bull Strength on himself and charges into the Gnomes; he seems to be looking for something or going somewhere. Rumbles swings wildly and lops off Norton's head; the blood fountains everywhere splashing Damir who's rolling about in a pile of Gnomes, stabbing wildly with his dagger - he seems to be doing a reasonable amount of damage.

Suddenly Yuna 'blinks' into the room Hoo and I are searching and brings us up to scratch on what is happening. to those idiots we travel with. Hoo springs into action and takes off down the corridor to join them - I point out a safe spot so Yuna can settle and make us some tea; she's had a trying day so far. While we sip our tea we read the note I found in the desk that Hoo abandoned (I guess he must have already read it as it is unfolded) It reads:

"Sister Dear,

Thought I should let you know that things have not transpired as were expected. Lolth's clerics have suddenly made themselves noticeable by their absence so I fear that my recent choice of employer may have been unwise. Certainly, I have yet to be paid for my recent efforts - and begin to also suspect that lack of payment may not be the worst outcome yet to unfold.

Consequently, it seems perhaps a time of semi-retirement may be in order. Do not try and find me. I have located rather a nice little rabbit hole and, although under its previous management it would not have been suitable, with a little work and the addition of a few home comforts I'm confident that it can be renovated into the type of cosy retreat that is more than acceptable for one of breeding and refined tastes. I may even decide to keep it afterwards.

It will be interesting to see how the present difficulties resolve themselves. I'm sure that opportunities for such as we....."

Damir, seeing Nortons dreadful death, uses a gift given to him by the Gods.. a one only. He casts LifeWord on Norton... (opposite of DeathWord...) the Angel of Death refuses to take Nortons life - his head slowly rolls across the floor and reattaches itself.. Norton rises from the dead no longer charmed...Ooooooooooo! The Gnomes step back in awe. Norton steps forward and casts a dispel magic at Rumbles...now he's not charmed either. Hoo bursts out of the Cloud Kill and bare-handed clubs a Gnome to the ground. Rumbles takes a swing and cleaves a bunch of Gnomes - nice to see he's trying his skills on the enemy for a change. you'd think by now the Gnomes would be dispirited but not a bit!! They throw themselves into the fray with all the enthusiasm of a deranged mage (sorry Yuna) only to meet Hoo's flurry of blows - he's pretty good with those fists and smashes them silly - four down and one in a coma! A Magic Missile bursts forth from a group of Gnomes centred on Rumbles. In response, Norton hurls a Flame Strike; incinerating about 20 Gnomes - Krispy Kritters is, I believe, a traditional Dwarven dish. There are only a few Gnomes left and Damir and Hoo have almost mopped them up but....there is one Gnome (or is it?) still standing, totally unscathed and looking a trifle surprised. Rumbles charges it - determined to decapitate something that will stay dead! Woohoo, he's on form today.. 'The vorpal blade went snicker snack, he left it dead and with it's head......' The illusion - the one we didn't know was there - drops as the head spins across the room, leaving us with a decapitated Rakshasha... Fancy that.... Rumbles eagerly searches the body, finds a ring and puts it on (+2 ring of Protection), he also finds a Wand of Charm (6 charges, Level 9 caster) and a potion of charisma (+?)

I sip my tea while I finish searching the desk, Yuna, using her permanent Detect Magic continues to check around the room. In the desk are a pair of scrolls (Dispel Magic 7th Level caster) and not a whole lot else. Yuna has found a source of magic coming from the wardrobe and I've found some very fine clothes; I keep some furs and Yuna grabs some others plus a couple of really nice outfits. The clothes are a tad large for me and I wonder at the small split in the back.... it looks just like a tail slit!! How weird. I check out the source of magic Yuna located in wardrobe... a trap... Fancy! I disarm it and we open the small panel and Lo, a crystal ball. I rat around some more and find another secret compartment in the wall behind the bed - it's a wall safe with 5,000gp of gems. While we're ferreting about in here, the rest of the rabble head off to search the other two rooms; once again without their trap-finder... me! (Note to Self - Some people NEVER learn). At the first room Hoo, with his usual grace and brazen aplomb simply opens the door..... He has the luck of a monk... It seems the whole room had been filled with incendiary devices. With a devastating blast, it explodes outward catching Rumbles - good thing Orcs don't burn well. Well... we'll never know what was in there.. whatever it is it's ashes now. They fare better with the second room which isn't trapped at all. Sadly it seems to be nothing more exciting than a lounging room for Gnomes with an attached kitchenette - I've never liked that arrangement of rooms. As a group, we head back to the dead Elf's room to rest a bit and because it's much, much nicer than any other room we've come across so far. We relax, drink more tea and get Norton to Identify all the stuff we've found - that ought to keep him busy for a bit... Hmmmm now what's left... I guess we could wander round the mines for a while but I doubt there's much of interest to be found; knowing these guys they'll be champing at the bit to get back to the Inn and spend their ill earned gains.

Well... Glad I didn't bet on that one - I'd have lost a bundle. Contrary to all my expectations they decide they want to explore the mine further - why??? I have no idea, it's just a big hole in the ground full of dead Gnomes. I humour them and check for traps.. there aren't any. I told them.... it's just a hole!!! The tunnel to the left is a dormitory (for Gnomes); on the other side is a cavern with stream running through - boring.... FINALLY, they catch on and decide there isn't anything to stay for. We follow the bodies of semi-exploded and charred Gnomes to the door and we're outside. We tracked back to where we left the horses and took off back to the Inn.

Back to The Inn of the Far Shore.


Stupid things we've overheard...

This flickering torch light is playing tricks on my eyes. It almost seemed as though that chest moved by itself.

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Stephen Hawking is a remarkable person whom I've know for 40 years and for that reason any oracular statement he makes gets exaggerated publicity.