Location: Forests south of Rilan
Date: early Trical, 1333 Avard
After their battle with the roper and the cleansing of an undead pool of magic, Eingrim wanted to push on a bit. With gaps in all of their memories but Toox – perhaps because she was a changeling – Roland and Eingrim especially wanted to get a better feel for the other members of their party.
An orc party snuck up on the troupe. Thanks to Hiko's familiar, the party was well aware of the pending ambush before it began. Half a dozen orcs and a half-orc / half-ogre orog were snuck in on a bluff looking down on the camp, while a single orc snuck up on them from the other side. The single orc shit on his hand and then flung it at Eingrim – and ran.
When the party refused to chase after the single orc, the orog and his group withdrew. All of the orcs met at a cave not twenty minutes away. Only later would the party realize the orcs could have attacked them at any time in the night, but chose not to.
Renegade orc bandits were becoming problematic after the War of the Four Winds and the Ogran Invsaion. Eingrim and Roland felt obligated to investigate, and Toox and Chimes were curious. Hiko wanted to flee, but grudgingly went with the party. Ironically, his familiar was the best option to stealthily investigate the orcs.
Hiko altered his familiar from the form of an octopus, to that of a owl. Cloaked with an invisibility spell, the owl flew into the cave. Hiko watched through his familiar's eyes while the party guarded both the entrance and the elven illusionist.
Eingrim had visited the ruins some years before, and thought he knew them well. The orcs, however, had uncovered a new passage. When Hiko's familiar flew into the passage to investigate, it became trapped behind some kind of magical wall. Hiko immediately popped his familiar into a pocket dimension while the team discussed options.
They decided to take the fight to the orcs, as the orcs seemed to have holed up in the caves as far from the new passage as possible. Roland and his plate armor and shield, plus the blessings of his patron goddess Xoriah, held one end of the line quite easily against the orcs. The other end of the line had trouble, as a veritable cloud of javelins erupted.
Hiko very nearly bled to death, and Eingrim was taken prisoner, unconscious but alive.
Hiko yelled in ogran at the orog and the orcs to let Eingrim go, but the ograns yelled at Toox to investigate the new passage. The troupe figured that fighting the orcs was better than walking into traps, and so they mounted a second offensive.
Toox changed shape to that of one of the orcs from the other end of the line, whom Chimes had managed to knock unconscious. Hiko, revived, attacked with illusions, while Chimes hit one of the orcs with a crown of madness. Toox rushed into the orcs and yelled in ogran (thanks to coaching by Hiko) to throw Eingrim to her. The confused orcs, witness to the orog's seeming madness and the infighting from the crown of madness, complied.
Toox and the team rushed out of the caves, only one orc having been killed during the encounter, and fled. They found a bear cave, thankfully unoccupied, and buried deep within it to lick their wounds.
After hiding out most of the day, they analyzed the battle, and decided that the new passage was more important than the orcs. They figured that Hiko, Toox, and Chimes could sneak in to investigate, while Roland and Eingrim remained outside. Eingrim's spell dimension door could move the two of them into wherever the other three needed, with wall of bone handy, if necessary.
Chimes, Hiko, and Toox managed to sneak in to the new passage apparently without being monitored. They found a series of walls of force that operated in sequence, five of them in a row that activated for twelve seconds at a time the moment someone stepped into the middle of the passage. The invisible walls then cycled in intervals. Toox called it the 'hall of patience', because she needed more of it.
The next room was circular, with a twenty foot ceiling that mirrored the floor. There was a pedestal in the middle of the room with a gold coin on it on the bottom, but not the top. Twelve inches of water lined the bottom of the room, apparently welling up from grates in the floor.
Hiko had his familiar grab the coin from the adjacent room, and then things went wonky. Gravity reverse in the circular room, and the familiar was thrown upwards. For a bird, this normally would not have been a problem – but a veritable wall of water from the bottom fell towards the top. Again, Hiko popped his familiar into its pocket dimension to avoid damage.
Unfortunately, the loss of the familiar left them somewhat blind with regards to the orcs – whom had all heard the roar of the circular room. The orcs quickly went to investigate, some even checking outside, where they found Eingrim and Roland.
The mage grabbed the paladin and used his spell to move through the solid rock, into the circular room. Hiko, Toox, and Chimes were investigating the next room when they heard Eingrim fire a bolt of lightning at the orcs he could see in the Hall of Patience. Unfortunately, his bolt of lightning only startled the orcs, the invisible walls of the passage completely blocking his lightning bolt. As they watched, the orcs advanced to the next invisible wall – the orog at the lead.
The next puzzle after the watery room was more dangerous. A chasm filled with spikes was crossed by a narrow bridge of stone, only a few feet wide at the apex in the middle. On the other side of the chasm was a metal portcullis – and on the other side of the portcullis glittered gold and silver.
The moment anyone stepped on the stone bridge, it was instantly covered in slippery grease that oozed down into the spikes – and then a powerful gusting of winds filled the chasm.
Roland heaved Toox in a powerful feat of athletics, throwing her almost halfway across the bridge. She landed running, her agile monk's feet just barely ahead of the grease and the winds. She grabbed the portcullis, however, and was filled with terrifying, mind-breaking fear. Before she could run back across the bridge, Chimes ensnared Toox with a spell of calm, nullifying the powerful glyph of warding on the portcullis.
The orcs completed their transect of the Hall of Patience, and then… waited. They filed into the circular room, all of them careful not to touch the pedestal and activate it, and then they just… watched.
At the bottom of the chasm, impaled on the spikes, were two dead orcs. The orog and his people knew all about the treasure, and they wanted the troupe to open it for them!
They did not plan on Eingrim and Hiko, though. Working together, Hiko was able to utilize Eingrim's familiar to touch the pedestal, and cause the reverse gravity water trap to beat, batter, and drown quite a few of the orcs. While that trap went on, Eingrim was able to temporarily dispell enough of the magics of the bridge traps to get everyone across. The glyph of warding on the door had to be destroyed, but once it was down, Toox and Roland managed to get the portcullis up and everyone inside.
The temporarily disabled bridge reactivated once they were all inside. The orog led the charge onto the bridge, but the stone greased itself up and the chasm's winds threw him down into the spikes, where his body joined those of several other orcs.
The orcs, seeing their leader dead and no way across without losing more lives, retreated.
Inside the chamber of riches, an antimagic field held sway. The troupe shrugged, taking their time to divvy up loot and analyze the items as best they could. They even found a grimoir that was cursed – had they opened it up anywhere but in the antimagic field, it would have drained the reader's mind of intelligence.
Once they were rested and comfortable with all their loot, they lifted the portcullis and left unmolested by orcs or traps – for the passphrases for the traps were included in one of the books.
They camped, that night, keeping a wary eye out for orcs and other beasts, before heading back towards Rilan.
DM's Notes: After some back-and-forth, exploration of a one-shot ( oneshot-020 ), and starting a new season, we returned to Season 2 after we eased our self-imposed coronavirus quarantine by allowing Michael to rejoin us on a regular basis.
None to date.