The party remained in the city for 3 nights to rest and recover, taking the opportunity to send off the dwarf-sized magical leather armor to be resized for the Halfling (we skipped over paying for it…). Floi also made a brief visit to the party, for no apparent reason beyond having nothing better to do (and probably finding the party more friendly to him than his fellow Dwarves). Cadwalider and ZZ used the opportunity to carouse once more. Meanwhile, Parker still afflicted by paranoia from the dungeon, ran off and disappeared into the Dwarf city and did not return.
Fully recovered, the party headed out to the dungeon (less Parker, Torig, and Wulfred — see note below). An hour’s walk found the party at the bare cliff face, and ZZ unaccountably went up and knocked on the door – no one answered. Entering, the party climbed stairs and came back into the main entry hall. Nothing seemed different since they last passed through here, so the party began to explore the four side passages off of this one previously unexplored. The first led down a short corridor into a round, domed room painted completely black. ON the ceiling was painted a very lifelike, almost 3D picture of a red dragon as if it were descending into the room from a black sky. Below it on the floor was a small pile of shattered gems and a few bent gold coins, Dwarf-made but of a very antique nature. The other side rooms later proved to be quite similar, though with different color dragons (white, green, and blue). Around this time the party began to hear a tapping as of metal tools on stone like they’d heard before, a sound which slowly began to get on everyone’s nerves and would continue unabated for hours.
The party now explored to the north and east. After a brief skirmish with wandering spiders, during which the Halfling thief Kyrii bent his sword slightly (crit miss, but the magic sword barely saved from being destroyed), the party came to a very large room with a strange portal on one wall, 8′ wide and 13′ high. It looked like black glass but slowly began to lighten, revealing a distant and indistinct landscape, with a procession of Dwarves moving slowly away from the viewers towards a strange, stylized mountain in the distance. Iban tossed a few copper coins through the portal, though had trouble seeing them in the gloom beyond. The party chose not to remain and continued on.
The party later went down a long, seemingly dead-end corridor. While searching for traps, Kyrii set one off, causing a huge slab of stone to block the party off in a dead-end corridor; a search for secret doors or mechanisms failed to find any. Becoming concerned that they were indeed trapped, Iban cleverly cast spider climb to better grip the stone slab, then used his great strength to pry it open slightly (good rolls!). This allowed the others to escape, and they soon found a mechanism to open the sliding trap. Further on, the party came to a room with a trio of the stone dwarf statues like they’d fought before, who also came to life and attacked. These ones, and the room they were in, were much damaged by an apparently intense heat of some sort. When slain, the party discovered a secret door that led to along staircase and a second secret door, this one leading outside to the top of the cliff above the main entrance.
The party continued exploring to the endless tapping of metal on stone, soon finding a room with an ancient, desiccated Dwarf atop a stone chair . The corpse was covered with dust and a few spider webs and had clearly been there undisturbed for centuries. At its side was a clay tablet, now quite dry, with the following written in Dwarvish:
I now commend my spirit to the Earth Dragon, to enter at last unto its everlasting halls. At last, I shall be free of those that would oppose us, and cheat us, and rob of us of our due. Death to the Elves! Death to the infidel Dwarves. Let the maw of the Earth Dragon swallow them forever. Ziglir, last of my clan.
The party found some coins beneath it, and a potion bottle that rolled off was caught by Cadwalider before it could break. The party also took a gold pendant off it, which depicted the diamond-pupiled eye they’d seen carved throughout the complex (NOTE: I don’t recall who took that, or if I overlooked it in the plunder!).
Another mechanical trap, a false door, smashed Kyrii not much after this. Throughout all, the tapping continued until suddenly it stopped when a force of invisible, pale-skinned Dwarf-like things in rags appeared from thin air and attacked the party. A sharp melee ensued, with the enemy mixed in around the party and no chance to assume a better formation or use the terrain to their advantage. Worse, some tapping could be heard further away, seeming to indicate more of the things were aware of the party. ZZ tried turning them as undead but, though they seemed to react to his attempts slightly, they did not run. Several in the party took significant wounds before the things could be finally slain. Worse, however, Aldeberon, Iban, Havok, and ZZ all found themselves so disoriented after the fight that they could not move or travel unless physically led by someone else. Given all that, the party beat a hasty retreat to the hidden exit they’d previously found. En route, they spotted a glowing, evil-visage Dwarf looking at them form a corridor, beckoning them towards it. Cadwalider shot a lighting bolt at it as the party fled.
Back on the surface, the dazed party made their way back to the Dwarf city and safety…
– Experience: 700 XP (770 XP with 10% bonus) for those PCs present.