DM: Rick Smith
Hex Cade lvl 5 Barbarian lvl 4 Psion Earth Genasi – Dan Forrest
Falkner lvl 4 Barbarian lvl 4 Rogue Tiefling – Barbara Kalberg
Drachalt lvl 9 Druid Silver Half Dragon Half Elf – Tom Blossfeld
Vishana lvl 2 Rogue lvl 2 Fighter lvl 2 Cleric Pixie – Jon Rosen
Zohi lvl 10 sorceror half-elf – Ken Marin (in absentia)
Finding Our Center
Zohi popped back from town to drop off Falkner, but he disappeared a moment later in order to chase a “promising lead” whatever that might mean. And so the party continued, still looking to finish the great circle.
First the party ventured into a cavern full of lichen and fungus with a little narrow trail running through it. Hex decided he didn’t like the way all the vegetation separated him from the stone walls, so he kicked over a toadstool. Immediately four voices yelled out, “please don’t do that!” Hex looked around confused, wondering how many of those voices came from his three companions. Everyone else looked forward, where a mean-looking human with human skull shoulder-pads and a dire bear companion stepped silently from the fungal shadows and regarded the party. “This is my domain, come no further!” he declared. Drac stepped forward and sensing a kindred spirit he engaged the man in dialogue. Seeing nothing to smite, Hex left to guard the corridor as the others parlayed for information.
Accepting a jewel as payment, the guy introduced himself as Taren and stated he had no allegiance to the forces owning these temples. He described the method by which to gain entrance to the fortress at the center of the lake (touch the master key to any of the doors) and said that the balance between the various elemental forces was maintained by making them negotiate with each other for passage to the center… the water door was opposite to the water temple, so water minions would have to go through fire territory to reach the center, and vice-versa. The center is made up of two more temples, the innermost of which is dedicated to Tharizdun. He said that the Triad runs the place and oversees the Doomdreamers, which probably made sense to some of the party, but I was sort of spacing out so I didn’t get that part.
Anyway, the party left Taren in peace after buying some fungal concoctions from him, and continued on their merry way. Next they traveled through a room full of the sound of stone grinding on stone… Earthcleaver informed Hex that a fault in the stone lay below, but that it would work itself out and imposed no immediate threat. The next room had some dog-sized ants that were quickly dispatched.
Finally the party reached a room they recognized on their previous maps… four red marble obelisks at the corners of a huge metal plate in the floor, and a glowing orb hovering in the air at the center. Hex tossed a vase into the orb summoning four fire elementals, which the party had no trouble destroying. This was clearly the start of the fire temple… finally the heroes had come full circle!
Finishing off the last few rooms, the conquering heroes fought 2 more destrachans and a flying floating insubstantial dwarven head surrounded by weapons that moved by themselves: a sword spirit, apparently. Hex didn’t like this encounter because the creature was immune to slashing weapons, so Earthcleaver didn’t do much for him. Once this angry spirit was mollified (i.e. dispersed, destroyed, destructed, annihilated, dispatched, etc.) the heroes were ready to head to the center… but which road should they use… one of the three bridges, or the boats?!
Well, Drac decided we should use the boats, and for some reason no one objected. At first it was smooth sailing… a single attack by a giant lobster critter (a chuul) ended almost before it began as Vishana and Falkner impaled it with arrows and Drac beat it off with a stick or something. Hex kept the boat stable. No, the problems began when the boats got within 200 ft or so of the central isle, and the lightning towers began to warm up and crackle. Now these boats were going at top speed, that is to say about 20 ft per round. The heroes were separated into two boats: Drac and Scaly on one, Vishana, Hex and Falkner on the other.
The first lightning bolt barrage from the towers struck the two boats, doing upwards of 30 pts of damage to everyone. Hex and Scaly dove into the water on opposite sides and Vishana went flying forward in order to present separate targets… hoping only two people would get hit as only two towers were firing at us. Nope… lightning from the two towers forked over and slammed into everyone doing more big damage. At this point the party was now about 160 ft from shore and the towers were showing no sign of letting up. Bad situation.
Vishana went flying full speed for the island carrying the master key in hopes she could get the door open and it would stop the barrage. Lightning streaked out and hit her unconscious just as she was reaching the island… her limp form skipped to a stop on the sandy beach, outstretched hand holding the key mere feet from the solid metal doors. Drac meanwhile transformed himself into a giant bird of some sort and lifting Falkner made it to the island, being hit once more for his trouble. Hex dove under the water and he and Scaly swam along, watching the surface of the water continually light up as lightning bolts played across it. Once reaching the island the barrage finally stopped, and the pixie was healed up to some semblance of health. Vishana put the key to the door and the entrance to the inner temples creaked open!
The first room was filled with a long pool, the walls covered in water temple imagery. A narrow walkway ran the length of the hall to either side of the deep pool. Hex started out on the right side and was immediately grappled by a giant mutant turtle thing (a tojanda) and yanked into the water. Vishana and Drac attacked from above as Falkner dove in after the critter. Hex managed to psionically expand his size, which helped him break free of the creature’s powerful grasp. The monster then grabbed Falkner, but at this point the constant blows from all sides were taking their toll, and a few moments later the monster was dead.
Shaken but not stirred, the party contemplated their wounds and wished Zohi would show up to throw some fireballs into the next few rooms. Perhaps their wish will be granted….