The party, rested and recovered from their many fights, decided to explore down further into the tower. They began by coming to the area where the floor had collapsed recently. Aldeberon jumped down the 10′ or so to the level below – and into a group of Trolls. They quickly began to overwhelm him as ZZ jumped down to aid and Iban and Cadwallider fired spells from above. The three Trolls were slain soon after, and burned by Aldeberon’s sword to prevent regeneration.
The lower level of the tower was more or less one large area, with some structural support and a wooden 5′ square box or conduit from floor to ceiling. In addition to a little treasure, a chest that sprayed yellow mold spores into Aldeberon’s face, a set of rusty keys, and goodly assortment of preserved rations they could use, they also found the much eaten remnants of Antarcus. The fighter had apparently fallen through the floor when he fled in fear several days before during the fight with his former master, Leptos.
From here, the party found a locked trapdoor (opened by a rusty key) with ladder going down 40′ or so. It led to an underground room which in turn led to an office of sorts, damp with dripping water that drained through flagstones in the floor, a desk on one side with closed drawers and a lump of mold atop it (the lump covered an old wooden cudgel or club). Beyond it was a set of cells separated by iron bars into 5 sections; the only thing of note within was a skeleton lying in one cell. The rusty keys also proved useful for opening these cells and the party approached the skeleton. It’s hand grasped an old amulet, which Iban took. Moments later, a spectral image rose from the skeleton and came after Iban, grabbing him by the throat. The amulet was quickly returned to the skeleton and the apparition vanished.
They now returned to check the other door out of the office area, which led to an old torture chamber; nothing of note was found within. Back in the wet office, the party did a thorough search of the floor stones, and found one that was moved to reveal an old pack and a small booklet detailing the Cult of the Black Flame. Handwritten in the front was Surteek; in the back cover was written Sosume in the same hand.
Not finding any further ways onward, the party returned to the upper tower and found the corpse of Leptos. ZZ cast speak with dead and asked it his three questions:
– How do you use the platform, runes, and keys in the nearby room? He did not know as he’d never found a key to operate it!
– What traps and creatures guard the area to which the teleporter led? He did not know as he’d never ben able to use it, though he had read of a “guardian” of some sort.
– What treasures could be found beyond? Again, he could not say as he’d never been able to use the teleporter.
Somewhat at a loss of where to go, the party returned to the cellar and bashed open the wooden chute, revealing a well dropping down 40′ or so; above was a trapdoor in the kitchen floor (a room the party had not really entered in their explorations). They decided to rest another night before proceeding. But, as they moved to leave the cellar, a weird light came up from the well towards them. Cadwallider blasted it with magic missiles (as Antarcus had said Leptos had done) and the thing fled back down the well.
The next morning, the party returned to the teleportation platform and played with it extensively, experimenting with it in many ways to try to make it work. Every time, they saw the weird arrow glowing above the platform in mid-air, could feel as if something were “happening” but aside from a weird feeling, they did not go anywhere. Finally, ZZ suggested turning the glowing arrow. He turned it to the rune that translated as SHINER. It worked and they were somewhere else! The room they found themselves in was 30×30 with a platform similar to the one they left off of, but with only a single rune on it (WROTE); the ivory key that activated the teleporter was still with them. In the four corners of the room were tall statues depicting respectively, a Xorn, Sahuagin, Efreet, and a Raven; four iron doors exited the four sides of the room. The party stepped off the platform and a voice from a statue laughed at them, saying “Ha, ha. You have sealed your doom!” Water began to flood the rom rapidly and the party instantly jumped back on the teleported, turned the key, and found themselves back where they’d started.
They now tried the other locations on the teleporter. ANNOTIUM still did nothing. PAWMS popped them out to the end of the causeway a mile from the Keep (I forget, did you walk back or teleport?). DALINS caused them to appear in the midst of a ruins atop a small island in the sea, where they had no idea; the place seemed very long deserted. The final rune, NOUDENG, brought them to the dungeon once more, in the cell adjacent to the skeleton. Fortunately, they had the rusty key to open it. Now back, they opted to do a thorough exploration for secret doors in the cells, and found one. It led to a long rough tunnel that opened to a very large cavern. here, Cadwallider snuck forward invisibly and spotted a group of Ogres arguing over a cauldron and a soup recipe (rats and frogs, I believe). The wizard then lighting bolted the group. But, he had turned visible and it turned out there was a nearby Ogre just around a slight bend that rushed him (the Ogre had been drawing on the walls, BTW). Meanwhile, more Ogres came from other areas, while a trio of Giants appeared and began throwing rocks. Cadwallider took a beating, but did manage to hit the giants with an ice storm spell that caused two giants to fall over; a third escaped and rushed the party; a fireball cleared the ice, but did little to help the giants. A rather tough melee ensued, but the various spells had taken their toll and the enemy were soon slain. The party did find some decent treasure here, and released a lizardman prisoner, who was happy to be freed.
This accomplished, the party decided to rest another night in the tower. The next day, they would revisit the flooding room with a plan to avoid that trap from springing on them. Also (forgot to mention at the time), the party realized that the new year had passed, and it was now 1272 YM (Year of Maladominus). Happy New Year!
– Experience: carried over (I’ll do a grand total when the dungeon is finished).