Day 23 - The road goes ever on and on (doesn't it just...)

Chasm

Banipal flies down after Rumbles and catches a glimpse of him vanishing into another hole. The far side of the crevasse is about forty feet away - a sheer cliff. Below us hangs an enormous web - the place is riddled with them - he comes back to join Norton in the body stripping!! They find a mithril breast-plate (fancy that); a masterwork glaive; masterwork short sword; a light crossbow with ten bolts and two potions. The other has a mithral shirt; a short sword; a masterwork mighty composite short bow with twenty five arrows; a cloak and two potions.

While this has been happening Yuna and I have caught up. I notice that the ceiling at least seems clear of web and am thankful for small mercies. Damir's been having a scout around - in the web below us lurks another spider… but this one's gargantuan! On a whim (or perhaps we provoked him) he flies out and casts a fireball at the spider - the web catches and starts to smoulder. That makes it angry and it webs Damir, slamming him against the far wall - Whoops!

Banipal flies straight into its face and whacks it; somehow I'm not surprised - appalled but not surprised. From the edge of the crevasse, Norton heaves a fireball at its bum. The spider doesn't seem fussed but the webs burn a bit brighter. Rumbles, taking advantage of these distractions, flies up and swings at it and between them he and Banipal finish it.

From one of the holes in the cliff below a bunch of drow appear and start firing arrows at Rumbles and Banipal - needless to say that only aggravates them and they attack. Yuna and I arrive in the entry way about the same time an ice storm materialises above the crevasse. The drow have another shot - I guess now they've started the fight they have little choice but to continue.

'Our guys' hit back - They strike at the same time and kill the one in front, then get into an argument over who killed him most. They do however notice there are another five drow - with swords - a little further down where the tunnel seems to open up a bit.

Rumbles ploughs into them - he wants the magic user... he shoulders past the remaining drow and slices off the magic users head, that'll stop him casting spells. He continues the swing and takes a chunk out of the next one... a drow with a sword lunges wildly and misses Banipal.

Norton scoffs a potion of flying, joins them and chucks a flame strike - he fries a few, leaving only three standing. Banipal and Rumbles are STILL arguing over who killed what the most... they're so "into" their argument that a drow takes a swing and almost hits Rumbles, Banipal kills it and Rumbles hits him for killing his drow. Banipal strikes back, hitting Rumbles soundly.

They resume their bickering - how predictable!

Norton, bored with it, flew over to Damir and made a enough of a hole in the web with some acid to slip him a potion of gaseous form - Damir now has a spot he'll never have to shave again but he does waft free of the web. Banipal and Rumbles stop fighting to strip the bodies. They find three mithril shirts; a trio of short swords; three... (count 'em guys) three masterwork composite short bows with twenty five arrows; three (fancy that!) cloaks; and a total of six potions (pause to draw breath); a rapier; a light cross bow with twenty bolts; a wand; an amulet; a brace of potions; a scroll and a pouch of diamond dust - or so we think.

Further rummaging reveals a masterwork mithril breast plate; a masterwork glaive; masterwork short sword; a light crossbow with bolts and two potions. (Deep breath) A two bladed sword; a breast-plate; a cloak; a hand-crossbow with twenty bolts; another potion (this'll keep Yuna busy); a pair of slippers (we're guessing they're spider climb); and a non-magical key.

They drag Yuna off to identify their haul while Norton and I stay up top to keep watch. She discovers six of the potions are poisons; four are spider climb and one is a potion of bull strength, the scroll holds a mage armour spell.

While they're distracted another of those flayed-elf thingies appears from nowhere - Yuna greets it; Banipal hits it - which just about sums up our party - and Damir slices a piece out of it. It retaliates by spitting at Damir but misses. Banipal flails into it again and smashes its face into a bloody pulp... it's pretty easy to hit... it doesn't have skin let alone armour but he really makes a mess. Then Rumbles steps up and kills it.

Passing the time, I mention to Norton that it seems a bit too quiet down there - we go to see what's happening and catch up with the rest just in time to end up in a fracas.

Banipal's wandered off - AGAIN.

Perhaps he has a short attention span, A.D.D or something like that. The upshot is that he's gone and found himself (and by default us) another bunch of drow. Damir and Rumbles follow him, lamb-like, right into a fireball. They just don't learn from those hard and frequent lessons. Banipal races across the room and stuns the magic using drow with a resounding slap-up-the-side-of-the-head.

"Try and herd them together!" shouts Yuna, apparently wanting to fireball the lot of them, including the members of our party.

I shrug and go search the cave walls, staying clear of the combat, behind me I hear Yuna casting a fire-ball... I wonder who she's aiming at!

It explodes in the other room. Banipal springs clear then, like a Monk on a piece of elastic, bounces straight back. Damir's holding two off by himself but Rumbles arrives - he swings his axe and slices one in two.

Damir, suddenly finding himself in an opponent-free zone, quickly moves up on another drow - there seems plenty to go round - he kills it! There's only one left standing and Banipal flattens it, making them all dead!

The room that used to have drow in it, leads into a T-intersection, Banipal has a look round and sees a stairway leading down.

Damir's striping the bodies - I think he's channelling the Monk.

Rumbles and I head up to join Banipal leaving him to find... four each of mithril shirts, large mithril shields, rapiers, hand crossbows, and potions. The remaining drow, the magic user had a rapier, a light cross-bow with twenty bolts, a wand, an amulet, three potions, two scrolls and a small pouch diamond dust.

While all this has been happening, Banipal headed off up the corridor in the opposite direction. Damir joins him after he's finished looting, they pause at another T-intersection... there are four doorways with heavy brocade velvet curtains - sable on ebony.

Cautiously Damir moves down the corridor and eases a curtain to one side. There are six bunk beds taking up nearly all the space in the first room, it smells of sweat and other less pleasant odours. At the end of each bunk are two small foot-lockers secured with padlocks. Heavy curtains, ebony on sable this time, divide the room, there are two sumptuous beds with heavy linens, two writing tables one a disorderly mess of papers and parchment. The other room has four beds - three with linen and one bare and a small chest.

Meanwhile, I've been prowling round the corridor and down the stairs. It turns abruptly to the right and continues down - there are six iron doors with small shuttered windows - I pop back and tell Rumbles and Norton - they join me.

We go get Yuna and investigate. Tripping blithely down the corridor I set off an trap... Ooopsie!!! Wonder who's behind me... a huge salamander materialises in front of me. I shout a warning and tumble past it. The bastard thing turns and stabs at me with its long spear... that hurt. I slash back doing quite a respectable amount of damage - pity it's fourteen foot high and fourteen feet long... luckily Rumbles is right behind it - he swings and just about chops it in two. Norton casts a searing light and must have killed it ‘cause it vanishes.

Rumbles wants to open a door - he flips a six-sided coin and I check door #1 for traps then unlocked it. Norton and I check the room. We go through the same process for the rest of the rooms and find lots of nothing.

Back to Damir and Banipal who are searching footlockers and bunk beds for loot... neither of them seem to be able to break or pry them open... damn good locks! They find nothing... moving to the room with the big beds - they find a guard roster on one of the writing tables - they check it carefully - we seem to have killed them all. They also find an unsealed wax tube. There are letters in it and Damir can read them with his helm...

Indrizil,

Word has probably reached you about the fall of Maerimydra and perhaps you have wondered about my safety. Obviously, I survived the sack of the city, although it was a close call indeed. The city fell at the hands of mere chattel - the priestesses of the Spider Queen had kept the city so cowed that, with their power gone, its defenders could not resist even a force of goblins, ogres and giants. We held our strong places for a time without the clerics, but then House Chuma was overthrown from within, and so we were undone.

I write to you now from Szith Morcane, the old outpost north and west of the city. Perhaps you will come visit me - though I must say that if you still profess faith in Lolth you will not be welcomed by those who rule here now, which I think you would not enjoy very much.

I do not know if you still cling to the hope that the Spider Queen will restore you - will restore all of us - to her favour, but if you do, I urge you to reconsider. It is not too late for you or for our bond of blood, The Lady of the Dead will accept you still, just as she has taken me into her care. All Maerimdra is the temple now, and her emissaries rule here too. Abandon your empty allegiance to a silent goddess and come to Szith Morcane, but do not wear the emblem of the spider. I have need of allies of my own blood, and if Lolth still ignores your pleas, I suspect you do as well.

- Rhavauz.

Under one of the beds is a pouch containing 65 platinum pieces, 50 gold pieces and a mithril necklace. Banipal dismantles the room and finds nothing more. He moves to the next bedroom and re-initiates "Search Pattern Alpha" again... he steps through the door and a ball of flame explodes at his feet - he back flips out just as Damir spins at the noise.

The room is full of flame, saunter up the corridor - trying to look innocuous the first room is a dining room it looks like it's been recently used and left in a hurry.

The other room has six bunk beds with padlocked footlockers which from past experience seem indestructible. They give up but only long enough to come down and get the rest of us... Rumbles bashes the locks off half of them and I go and unlock the other half.

Damir and Banipal are following me searching the chests as I unlock them. I can hear the faint sound of Rumbles breaking locks apart waft up the corridor. One of them has a false bottom which reveals a gold comb studded with diamonds (not magic), a wand and a scroll with a Haste spell.

The racket down the corridor has subsided so we join Rumbles and search the chests he's smashed open - or what's left of them. No false bottoms or secret chambers so we wheel Yuna in to do her detect magic; just the obvious. Having exhausted all possible routes we head back to the crevasse to pick another tunnel. I wonder if the rest of them realise we're all in the same place for a change.

Hanging about in the entrance-way choosing which hole to go down, further up the chasm, Damir spies a much smaller hole. Some debate ensues about which hole to go down next... the small hole or the hole in the centre of where the web once was - it's looking fairly raggedy by now.

The 'centre' hole wins so down we go.

We enter a huge cavern - a clump of creatures stand. There are two lizards, laden down with packs while three duegar sell goods from the pack to a mind flayer; two drow and trio kuo-toas.

A ledge runs along the wall to our left, ten feet above the ground with six doors set in it. The doors are all barred and the bars are nailed closed. Boldly Banipal strolls right up to them, they seem to be selling general goods - wine, weapons and the like. They stop and stare at him...

"Just here to see what's on sale!" he says (in under-common) they stare at him like he's diseased and everyone backs up.

The duegar start putting their wares away.

"What? You don't want to trade?" he asks incredulously.

"We don't deal with scum." One of them snarls and they lead the lizards away, out the archway in the far wall.

The drow start to draw weapons as they back away, Rumbles snarls at them from the darkness and one of them shoots an arrow at him.

Now it's on - Banipal and Rumbles fly at them.

While the fight rages, Damir and I go check the doors - they're all closed. These drow learn faster than the others we've encountered - they try to break away from the combat but Banipal won't let them, he follows. A tunnel leads off to his right but he mostly ignores it - just glancing over his shoulder to see what's there - two more Drow.

Rumbles advances too and takes a swipe at the other drow - the one that was stupid enough to shoot at him. Norton follows to keep them in sight, he sees a ray slice out of the tunnel behind our two brave warriors, it misses them both, the two lurking Drow come out behind them and have a go... they miss.

One of them casts a web, cutting Rumbles off from the rest of the party. Damir activates his boots of speed and flashes into the fray managing to drop one of the drow in one go - I follow him.

Rumbles has killed his drow and stops for a moment to look around - he doesn't see anything of interest, he turns and charges the web attempting to break through. Norton had thoughtfully tossed acid over those bits he can reach which has weakened it.

From nowhere an ice storm materialises - strangely it's centred to envelope the whole party even though three of us can't be seen from where the caster stands - God's cheating again!

I attack the drow I can see and kill it. Damir and Banipal have ganged up on the remaining one, the magic user - he's not looking healthy.

Norton's lying in wait with a counter-spell spell to hit the magic user with when Rumbles bursts through the web behind him... could have been a nasty surprise.

Banipal and Damir both leap on the body of the magic user and ravage it, they find a wand, an amulet, 2 potions, 2 scrolls (one is mage armour the other a ray of enfeeblement (which he used)), and a small pouch of diamond dust. His henchmen have (between them) 2 mithril shirts, 2 mithril large shields, 2 rapiers, 4 javelins and 2 potions, while those Rumbles killed on the far side of the web only had 2 potions between them.

None of the dead drow are wearing the tabards of Lolth... though they are wearing tabards - perhaps they're of the Lady of the Dead.

Back in the main cavern, I'd already checked these doors for traps and they're clear. Starting at the far end I listen... nothing... pick the lock and get out if the was while Rumbles and Damir rip the bar off and open the door - not bad if it takes both of them.

It's a big dark room with lots of cobwebs, some spiders scuttle away into the dark. I check the entrance for traps - it's clear so I get out of the way.

Damir steps in... its empty and dusty with a door in the corner... another smallish room with a small chest of draws, bedding on a wire frame bed, a dried up old wooden desk, all of which are mouldy and shoved up against one wall. They have a look around and find nothing. Same in the next room... and again. The fourth room is big and long - bigger than the others - again there's a door at the far end and mouldy, fusty, dusty, musty bed linen, tapestries and other assorted stuff thrown in a pile on the floor. The door leading off this room has been has been tampered with so it can be opened from the inside but still looks barred from this side.

Damir opens it and steps through.

It's dark and cobwebbish, on the far wall two oozy, sludgy shapes move up the wall toward the roof. They seem to be trying to get away from the light, or maybe guarding the two doors at the far end. Yuna peers at them carefully.

"Black Puddings!" she announces.

"Sounds tasty," Banipal remarks.

Yuna and Norton lob fireballs at the puddings - heating them perhaps... you do boil puddings, don't you?

Damir's firing flaming arrows into them and Yuna adds a lightning bolt to the mix - the pudding sag and fall to the floor in an enormous soggy, smelly mess.

"What do you think it tastes like?" asks Norton looking curiously at it.

"Eeerrk... Norton!" I cry.

"Well! It's hot..." he replies.

"Wanna come check these doors?" yells Damir.

"Not really." I respond.

No sooner are the words out than there's a blast from where they're standing. I think someone tried the door.

Damir, Norton and Rumbles try and leap out of the sphere of damage - Norton's not quite fast enough... He is a dwarf and in full plate mail!

"Trix," Damir yells "Would you check these doors?"

"No... Thanks."

"Come on," he wheedles "We found the Glyph."

I think that's supposed to comfort me...

"Hmmmmmm........"

I fly over, listen and check for traps.

"It's clear!" I tell them and get out of the way.

The room inside has much the same as the others - rotting, musty bed linen, tapestries and such-like. We try the next door. Pee-eew... an unspeakable stench wafts from this room and a pool of fetid slime shimmers with a faint violet light in the centre of the room - at the edges of vision amorphous shapes flutter. An alter stands at the far side.

Damir's torch reveals they're ochre jellies. One of the creatures looks suspiciously like a Roper. It has a go at Damir and he retreats taking Rumbles with him. They slam the door and back away.

"What if we just throw dead Drow at it till all its tentacles are occupied then go past it?" I suggest - no one pays any attention - what's new.

A fireball would work but Yuna and Norton are out of spells so we decide to call it a day - FINALLY!!!!!!!

Yuna sets up her impregnable cottage and we retire for the night.... At last, a place where I can have a cup of tea in peace.

Back to The Inn of the Far Shore.


Stupid things we've overheard...

What does scroll of stupidity do???

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When it is darkest, men see the stars.