ADVENTURE 22: Into the Lair of Zelkor

The Characters

Telok: Elf cleric of Obad-hai, divine disciple, level 11 CG
Jerry Springwater: Human Fighter-Paladin-Justicar, Level 11 LG
Jestyn: High Elf Wizard, Level 11 N
Verrof: Earth Genasi Ranger-Foe Hunter, Level 9 LG, ECL 10
Sithdar Darkblade: Human Rogue-Assassin, Level 11 NE——DEAD!!

ADVENTURE 22: Into the Lair of Zelkor: The session began with Telok visiting the poorer sections of Nenkal and administering charity healing to various sick children and beggars. Many of the poor appreciated his aid, though a few surly drunks were angered when he cast Quicksober spells on them. Before they once more left for Rappan Athuk, the party visited their old friend Gorbash. Verrof once again tried to arm-wrestle the ogre, once again losing.
Soon they were off again, quickly teleporting back to level 3. Jestyn was surprised to see that he couldnt teleport into Scramges former room, not knowing the source of the problem. This was soon dismissed as the PCs took their new canoe and paddled down level 3s river, searching out the hidden sub-level where Zelkor was rumored to live as a lich. They paddled on as the river wound its way through an underground tunnel, Jestyn practically waters-skiing behind with a levitate spell. Verrof paddled, narrowly steering away as the river made a side-passage, which looked to lead rapidly to a lower level. Eventually, the PCs arrived at a large cave where the river flowed into a man-made T shaped pool before once again descending underground. Here, in the midst of mulit-hued rock walls were two stone slabs, upon which rested corpses. As the PCs got closer, the corpses spewed forth an ethereal mist that coalesced into undead beings. The characters promptly beat them in a short battle. Then, ignoring the rivers further path as well as a blocked-off passage to the north, they explored a cliff to the south-west. Here, they spotted a huge pile of gold at the bottom. Figuring that this was too easy a find, Jestyn recalled tales of a lost spell called Fools Gold, which could make ordinary rocks look golden. A true seeing spell of Teloks revealed this to be true, showing the gold as mere stone. Jestyn looked down the cliff, seeing the outline of what might have been a secret door. (Using his robe of eyes expanded vision). The others did not see it, but Sithdar climbed down and affirmed the wizards observation. The others came down, one way or another. (Jestyn and Jerry rather painfully). Sithdar opened the door and the characters went onward, through a narrow tunnel that winded around until it reached another secret door, clearly visible on the dead-end wall. Here were three holes, a message above them reading a warning in an arcane tongue, stating that one of the holes contained the doors unlocking mechanism, the others would chop off your hand. At first Telok tried Divining which was the right hole. He got a response as worthless as his question. Next they just summoned a Magman, having the monster try the holes out. The right hole turned out to be right after all, and the door opened.
Inside was a large tomb chamber guarded by four iron statues. As the first characters entered, the statues began to exhale a poisonous vapor, though nobody was affected by it. They then animated to attack as golems! Luckily, Jestyn was able to cast a wall of force, blocking off one of the golems for the duration of the battle and rendering it useless. The other, however, was quite the fight. As Verrof went to fight it, he was possessed by the undead inhabitant of the roomZelkor. He attacked the nearest character, Sithdar, beating him to death with his two maces, which were doubly effective against the evil assassin. Sithdar died on the first round, as Verrof smashed his brains out. The possessed ranger then battled with Jerry, though not to such extraordinary results. Eventually, Telok was able to dispel the magic jar and save his companion. The golem was a deadly foe, almost killing Jestyn despite a Stoneskin spell, and doing great damage to all. Soon a figure could be seen on the far side of the roomtransparent and glowing with a purple light, it was the form of an undead wizard, Zelkor himself. He cast a wall of fire, blocking the PCs access to him and allowing his golem to walk into it for healing. A fireball helped as well, and nearly doomed the characters. Yet they persevered, despite all odds. The justicar ran through the wall of fire, bravely suffering the painful effects. Just then he was possessed by Zelkor, in time to attack Verrof, who was just getting through the wall. His possession didnt last long, and it was taken care of with a greater dispel. Soon the golem was taken out by Verrof, and they were left with only Zelkor, who had suddenly disappeared. Thus they opened his coffin, a black ebony box, releasing a cloudkill trap that flooded the chamber. Inside was a crystal box, though no signs of any remains. Verrof smashed the box, revealing the contentssome odd magic items as well as a gem. Suddenly, Zelkor appeared, casting a fireball, wisely countered by Jestyn. He had a mirror image on himself, so most attacks merely passed through him. The battle was nearly finished by a few fireballs, but some healing stopped that. As his spells were being depleted, Zelkor retreated, for a time tossing spells as them as he crept out of walls, at times floating under the floor and even once passing under Jestyns wall of force. As they were trapped in this room, Jestyn communicated with his familiar to get Snaggletooth and have him open the door from the outside. Zelkor soon left the room, and the PCs only got out when Verrof used his ring to Blink through the now closed door, not wanting to wait for the dragon. On the other side, Snaggletooth was found dead; merely a withered corpse. As they were leaving, Verrof was attacked by Zelkor, who phased in through a wall. The battle raged on. In a few rounds, Zelkors new mirror images were all taken down by the warriors. Verrof was able to get in one good hit, nearly killing the incorporeal wizard with his powerful mace, while Jerry finished him off with a final blow. Zelkor disappeared into nothing, fading away from reality.
Still, they had not found his bones, which Verrof needed for his quest. They went back in, hurrying as fast as they could, for the wall of force was almost down, and the golem was waiting. Soon they discovered a secret compartment under Zelkors coffin, containing many powerful spells as well as a manual of Golem Creation and Zelkors diary. Taking these, they also took the skull they found and ran out of the room, closing the door just before the golem could get loose. Outside, they read Zelkors diary. It spoke of his long past journeys into Rappan Athuk, leading the armies of good. It spoke of the futility of their mission, the constant ambushes and guerilla tactics of the evil priests, who turned his men into undead to use against him. The journal spoke of a being called The Master, some powerful force dwelling on the lower levels. It spoke of how the priest Bofred went to fight this Master, never returning. It then spoke of Zelkors corruption and transformation into an undead being. A few details of the journal mentioned that Zelkor sought Akbeths magical ring, and also spoke of rust monsters on the level below this one. Taking their hard won loot, the heroes left the area and teleported back to their city.
Here they shopped and healed, identifying their new items and selling some of them. Jestyn sequestered himself in his room to read the Manual of Iron Golem Creation. As he opened the book, it exploded! He was knocked back, so burned that he could barely stay conscious. As he room burned, he attempted to escape, but was so weak that he was knocked out, nearly dying in the flames. Fortunately, his familiar Andy was able to get out and warn the others, who rushed back. Verrof ran in and saved him from the flames, while Telok healed him. The chaotic Telok turned into a gust of wind and flew away from the scene. Not wanting responsibility for it, Jestyn turned invisible and fled. Verrof went downstairs and paid the innkeeper two thousand gold to fix the room up, now more affected by St. Cuthberts lawful philosophy. Afterwards a little bit more shopping was done, Zelkors bones returned. (Verrof used his reward to ressurect the dead dragon Snaggletooth.) The ranger then went to find the partys old aquaintance Jeb Greenhammer, a trapmaster who had aided them back in the Tomb of Abysthor. (Sithdar was still dead, and they had little desire to raise him again.) He soon found Jeb, who agreed to join the party for a fee of two thousand gold, along with an equal share of all treasure found.

DM COMMENTS: This battle was truly epic. If Jestyn hadn’t cast that first wall of force, it may have easily turned into a TPK. Only careful strategy saved them and allowed them to slay Zelkor. The explosion from the Golem book at the end nearly killed Jestyn too. Sadly I rolled many ones, and he made his save. Sithdar is totally dead now, and they’ve chosen not to raise him since he has become a floater character. We’ve now got four PCs and a hireling. Now they’e saying that they want to tackle the temple of Orcus. Wish them luck, for they will need it.

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