The party headed east from the audience hall, passing through a particularly cold room that had a half dozen pillars of ice in it. Nearby, they came upon a door beyond which Thren heard some noise of metal and a moan. Slipping through, they came to a short staircase down and into a torture chamber with two doors leading from it, one with a small window in it (which the party assumed led to a cell block). Thus, the party tried the other door; unable to pick it, Aldeberon kicked it…only to have a rapidly moving person, the jailor, attack him. He was clearly hasted in some manner as he moved preternaturally fast. However, Aldeberon managed to disarm him immediately. Havok tried hold person on him, without success. Still moving fast, the enemy grabbed his dropped weapon and struck Aldeberon again and again, and soon the fighter went down unconscious. As ZZ tended to him, Ateltan and Havok went after the fighter, who now tried to fleeonly to be cut down at the last moment before he could escape. His quarters had a modest treasure, as well as a large pile of Dwarven arms and armor. ZZ cast detect magic and the party took a small wood shield and axe from the pile, as they seemed to be magic (the shield was later identified as a Shield of Defense, with several interesting powers).
The party did a quick check of the cell block now, determining that most of the cells were empty, though one contained a Wight, another a Troglodyte, one a blue imp, and one had a dwarf who sat mumbling to himself oddly. The latter behaved oddly, constantly mumbling about killing the Ice Wizard, and how the dwarves would retake what was theirs, and other things along the same lines. He alluded to having been captured at a fight in the valley below. The door at the end of the block was a regular one without a window, and the party were concerned of what might lay beyond. So, Aldeberon used his clairvoyance to view beyond the door, but it was pitch black and he could see nothing. The party now took an alternate tack and ZZ cast Speak with Dead on the jailor. He first asked what was beyond that last door and was told that it was “the troublesome Dwarf.” Would anyone be by to check on the jailor? Yes, soon, as the entire complex was alerted to the intruders. Last, he asked how many level were between this one and the palace above. There were none, they were adjacent to one another.
This done, the party decided to retreat to the secret closet once more to rest and allow Aldeberon to recover more fully. They did not release the dwarf, intending to come back to him later. Enroute, after skating across the ice room again, they ran into a trio of blue-skinned Trolls. Cadwalider lightning bolted them, and that made for a rather brief melee, even with Aldeberon out of action temporarily. As they were near their camp site, Atletan tracked troll blood so as to make it look as if the party fled west from the scene of the fight.
Back in the secret space, the party passed the night uneventfully. They spent the next day resting, taking the opportunity to identify recently acquired magic items, make a few light coins, wizard lock the secret doors, and cast explosive runes on a piece of parchment. Aldeberon used his clairvoyance to observe that several blue imps were occupying the Jailor’s quarters now. As the day passed into night (outside), during a late watch Havok, on sentry was shocked when the two Specters the party had driven off before suddenly passed into their secret space. By great fortune, the cleric of Hashrak was able to turn them before they could attack the sleeping party (needless to say, that was a great deed by the party’s measure, as all of them asleep and helpless before the two Specters, in a tight space, could’ve been an utter disaster!). The party considered moving, but decided to complete their resting, but it was not to be.
A little later, they heard noise to the south, followed by blows to the wizard-locked secret door. Aldeberon use clairvoyance again and spotted a large force approaching them – the Specters, with blue Trolls, Imps, and others. The party fled, Cadwalider leaving behind the explosive runes. There now ensued a complex, running battle (as always, it is really hard to recreate these as they go on for hours, cover lots of terrain with splits of the party, and really are confusing; those who were there, feel free to chime in with any memorable details!). There was a shadowy, human-looking figure seemingly directing the enemy forces. Cadwalider lightning bolted him, but it seemed to fizzle before it reached him; it responded with magic missiles, which were absorbed by Cadwalider’s Ioun Stone (that item proved critical for the survival of Cadwalider at several points). As the party fled, they were pursued by beating wings, which later found them – a huge Wyvern, though it got in the dungeon was unclear. The party had fled north, finding a large complex of passages, rooms, and secret doors around a large bowl-shaped room that sunk down 10′ at its center. But there was no way out from here, and the enemy soon found them, and things looked grim indeed.
At one point, the enemy threw an extremely powerful fireball into the bowl room, but Cadwalider had just left it and was saved. A wall of fire appeared in the chokepoint to this area, blocking the party in (and also preventing a good look at the enemy leader). A second fireballfollowed a little while later. This one killed Atletan outright and left Havok unconscious (it also obliterated one of their bags of holding, the one with all their cash). The party was in serious danger at this point of being annihilated and so they opted to use the last charge of the Door of Welcome to flee. This they managed to do without being observed.
With many injuries and one KIA already, the party took counsel and decided to flee the dungeon altogether. Thren observed that they could, perhaps, return moments after they left, somewhat recovered, while their enemy was depleted of spells (the Door allowed them to exit up to 24 hours after they entered, though for those inside they would get the benefits of 24 hours rest). But this was deemed too dangerous, given how powerful the wizard they’d tangled with seemed to be, and with the unknown of who else they might have to face. So, they came up with a second plan. They would pile everyone but Havok and Cadwalider into bags of holding; the latter would then dimension door himself and Havok into the prison cell of the dwarf they’d seen the day before. They exited the Door of Welcome in the general direction of the prison, popped into the dwarf’s cell, then Havok used a wish from his ring to whisk them all back to their quarters in the Dwarf City.
Though their staff was surprised by the sudden reappearance of their employers after weeks of absence, the party found everything in order. Cadwalider now cast dispel magic on the dwarf, who seemed to wake up from his daze. The party hoped that he would provide information on what was going on with the so-called Ice Wizard, so that they would not have to return to such a deadly place…
– Experience: 3000 XP each (3300 XP for those getting +10%; I gave about a 30% bonus for surviving such an ugly situation!)