Tuesday, 26 August 2014

LotFP Writeup 4.3

We left off with the party riding hard out of the now-diseased town, laden with loot from the late enchanter. Tesco's maniacal laughter cuts through the air as we start once again.

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The first order of business, of course, was to check the loot. Items of note included no less than 2 spell books in addition to a ring which detected as magical to Tesco's assisted sight. He quickly donned the ring and scanned through the books, hungry for the knowledge within. To his surprise, the biggest find was a variation on his beloved Summon which claimed to have a superior method of empowering the spell via sacrifice - as long as the victim was human. Milk was entirely unaware of this as he continued with his scrolls.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party decided that striking out north was the best plan - leaving the Red Duchy entirely and seeking adventure in the Republic of Seled, about a weeks travel at their current speeds. This journey, however, would involve 2 days in the dangerous wilds between the two states, wherein roam peoples and other things outside the writ of law.

With the initial rush of flight behind them, the party had an eventful days travel, choosing to rest the night rather than exhaust themselves. This un-eventfulness continued for the next couple of days until they awoke to notice something unusual near the clearing - a squat, square stone building, lacking windows with a collapsed doorway. Seeing no obvious signs of habitation, Tesco and Gutch proceeded on to the puzzling, isolated structure whilst Milk, Pepper and James stood guard over the horses. Doing a circuit around the building, our brave pair found a large crack in the rear wall. Peering in, they could see debris and think, undisturbed dust. Lighting the lantern, they began searching the ruin. After a good twenty minutes searching, they had only discovered three things - a trapdoor leading down, a wide set of stone steps and an unceasing scratching above them. Weapons ready, they decided to check above them.

The were met with a grim scene - the entire floor was covered in the corpses of the long-dead in what appeared to be some sort of church hall. The bodies were little more than withered husks wrapped in near-entirely gone rags. Searching through the bodies, Tesco was unable to find any trauma or obvious causes of death. Meanwhile, Gutch set about checking the walls for any obvious discrepancies. He first realised that the room was slightly smaller than the entire building - meaning the walls have extra thickness, or a hollow space behind them. The latter was quickly shown to be true, as well as seemingly being the source of the scratching. A glance was shared, and the pair began battering the wall to try and make some sort of opening. After a considerable degree of effort, a single stone was pried lost, but was immediately replaced by a bony hand gripping the stone below it, attempting to tear it away.

Milk and Pepper looked up idly from their guard, hearing their companions charging back towards the clearing, yelling about skeletons. Milk sighed, and continued working on his scroll whilst Pepper girded himself for a fight. It was not long before their bony foe was upon them. Whilst individually weak, Pepper was seriously wounded by one of the creatures before the fight was through. Taking a moments rest, Tesco, Pepper and Gutch returned to the room from whence their foes had emerged. Once there, they discovered that the hollow space was filled with ancient bones and a choking dust. After recovering from said dust, they decided to venture into the basement levels.

Pepper elected to stay above the trapdoor whilst the other two plumbed the depths. Once they had descended, they were met with a strange corridor - three pairs of wattle-and-daub discs set into the walls. These discs were incredibly obvious against the stonework of the corridor. Brandishing his 10' pole, Gutch jabbed the nearest disk, punching a hole clean through it. A femur protruded from the hole. Gripping it, he then pulled the femur loose, unintentionally enlarging the hole to the point where a considerable portion of the contents spilled out - a great pile of bones was now in the corridor, in addition to the choking dust from before.

Once the dust had settled, Gutch and Tesco pushed on to the end of the corridor - a flight of stairs, turning to the right. They advanced to the bottom of the stairs, and were met with a similar corridor. Once again, they pushed through, but the room at the end of the corridor was very different - a simple stone room, with an altar set in the centre. Topping the centre was a fore-arm sized golden idol. Tesco decided this was an obvious trap, and left Gutch to his fate. Gutch saw the idol. He wanted the idol. He wanted it bad. He ran his palms over the entire room, and could not find either mechanism nor switch. He couldn't see a pressure plate on the altar. Bracing himself, he snatched the idol and began sprinting as hard as he could towards the exit. He heard a smashing, whirling, crushing sound behind him. He kept going. As he passed the second pair of discs, the same sound and feeling. Tesco, however, could see the the scene play out - the bones contained behind the discs burst forth, meeting with their counterpart on the other wall, forming terrible pillars of writhing bone and debris. Gutch cleared the third, seconds before the bones flew forth. He glanced over his shoulder, and saw the terror he had narrowly avoided, idol still clutched to his chest.

Tesco had already moved to the trapdoor, and was yelling for Pepper to lower a rope to pull them up. Gutch meanwhile was nearly caught in the second pillar, narrowly avoiding it thanks to Tesco yanking him into the inert pile of bones by the first pillar. The both grabbed onto the rope whereupon Pepper pulled them up to ground level. They fled, golden idol clutched tight.

The rest of the day was spent nervously glancing at roadsides for skeletal pursuers, which consistently failed to materialise. Similarly, the night was spent unmolested by gleaming bone figures. The next days travel saw them break out of the denser forest into grassland, a river running far away to their left. Ahead of them sprawled a larger village, which they moved into.

In the small, rough alehouse our party spied a similar group - a large man with a ponderously massive hammer, upon which he rested his chin. He was accompanied by twins, equipped in lighter leather armour and more reasonably sized weapons. The entire trio seemed incredibly glum, and so our oh-so-kind group decided to cheer them up by interrogating them on the cause of their sour mood. Upon being questioned, the huge man (later identified as Rolf) left for his room. The twins explained that up until very recently they were Rolf and the Triplets - their brother having been lost in a dungeon about 3 hours travel to west, by the river. They went on to describe how their over-cautious brother had taken out a wall which stopped the river flooding the structure with his 10' pole. They gladly gave our group directions to the place, happy that someone might profit from their misadventure.

Tesco felt it best to seek out hired help for this escapade, preferably someone with experience regarding working with water. What he found was Vim, professional hireling and die-hard survivor. A short, wide commoner who most notably carried ten one foot poles which could be assembled into a single pole - a useful tool in any dungeon. Whilst not a combatant, he could combine the roles of several potential retainers into a general dogsbody. Tesco warmed to him immediately and hired him at a fifth-share of all loot.

The now-enlarged party assembled, they set forth for the entrance to the semi-flooded dungeon, ensuring they were not followed. The entrance was as described - a raised stone square, easily clambered atop with stairs set directly into the middle, leading down into damp darkness. Vim was given the lantern in addition to his poles, and so the intrepid adventurers plunged once more into darkness.

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