Session 7 & 8
ADVENTURE 8: CAT FOOD AND WORM FOOD: This session began as the characters spoke with the priestess, telling her the details of what they found in the dungeon, and agreeing that when they retrieved the three heroes bodies, they would be paid far better than a mere 5,000 gold. Their next day in town they spent basically shopping and relaxing, before making the trip back to Corregon Island. Here, they stayed briefly in Port Grinetos, hearing a rumor from the innkeeper about a powerful illusionist rumored to lurk on the upper levels of Rappan Athuk. Little did they know they would meet him soon! A short journey to the dungeon and they got inside again, bypassing the gargoyles through a clever method: Welby distracting them and then running into a rat-hole, while the others went through the mausoleum, easily gaining entry. As they went through the first level, the characters got a nasty shock. They met a patrol of undead: two ghasts lead by a black skeleton, with sword and armor that were awfully familiar: it was Karosian, their dead companion. The battle was fairly simple, and the PCs defeated their former friend, finally putting him to rest. They then met up with Welby, who had gotten lost in the rat-tunnels for a little bit, finding himself briefly in a fungus-filled room on the second level. Afterwards, they went down to level 2, deciding that the halfling paladin should speak to Saracek again, and persuade him to give up his remains peacefully. The parley was disastrous, and Welby had to run for his life: fortunately, Saracek did not wish to follow out of his tomb, and the halfling yet lived. Then they checked out the secret room near the old ogre hideout, and Sithdar climbed up a passage that appeared to lead to the surface. As he began his descent, he decided to slide back down, and would have slid all the way to a lower level, had not the others caught him. Further into the level, the characters took the stairs to level 3.
They were now in an immense cavern; stalactites and stalagmites covering everything. Oddly, this level radiated evil a bit less than the previous ones. A single warning was written over the entry: Beware of Purple Worms! They made it through the large cavern without incident, noticing briefly an odd shine on the central rock formation, then crossing over a small river and into a side passage that lead to a more man-made chamber, with gruesome carvings on the walls, and demonic symbols everywhere. Here they made a left, and eventually found themselves in a torture chamber of sorts, filled with blood-stains, manacles, and several iron maidens. Further on they found another room where six orcs were torturing a helpless man. The characters quickly defeated the orcs, and sensing no evil from the man, they freed him. He said his name was Aramos, a demon-hunter who had come to Rappan Athuk searching for a bird-demon, supposedly the one responsible for luring all the villagers into the dungeon. He spoke of a slain party, and other battlesbut as they found out, it was all a lie. Suddenly, Aramos screamed, saying that he could sense the bird-demon getting closer. Then he burst into flames and fell lifeless to the ground. There was a flash of light and then, standing next to Tyro, was a horrible creature: nine feet tall, with sickle-like hands and a birds face, it soon attacked the cleric, slaying him in a single blow, sucking the life from his body and tossing the dessicated corpse to the ground. Some of the orcs arose, now no longer orcs, but jackal-headed humanoids. The characters attacked, and though the demon attempted several fear spells, they quickly brought it to its knees, where Ruklon beheaded it with his scythe. As the demon died, he saw the illusion around it fading away: it was Tyro, and he was very dead indeed! During the whole battle, he had seen the others as demons, who had attacked and murdered him brutally. What had previously seemed to be Tyros body arose, taking on its true formthat of a regal, tiger-headed man, who taunted the characters and insulted their inferior species. The battle with him was long and bloody. All their weapons seemed to do naught, bouncing off of some invisible force-field around the tiger-man, as he laughed and arrogantly poked fun at them. Ruklon got one good critical hit in, seriously hurting the tiger-being: but then he was charmed, and sent to guard the back room of the lair. Before he could get there, Welby ran into the room, searching for any clues as to how to defeat this threat. He found a room filled with humans hanging from meat hooksa gruesome sightalong with several chests. He tried to bash one open, and it released some sort of poison gas, though he survived that . Later, he discovered a mirror on the ceiling, which he tried to smash, hoping it was the source of their enemies power. At the same time, the tiger-devil used some sort of magic to suggest to Ashrem and Karl that they needed to go into the main cavern and dig for treasure, being as loud as possible. They both ran out. Eventually, Sithdar also got into the back room, and for a few turns, Ruklon tried preventing both him and Welby from smashing the mirror. Eventually, Ruklon was directed outside, to guard the room as the Rakshasa slaughtered the others. Finally, the both managed to break his mirrorthough it had no effect on the villain at all. He was about to kill Sithdar, when the rogue drank one of his unidentified potionsa potion of flight, flying up to the ceiling and out of reach. The then chugged two healing potions, saving his life. Eventually, Sithdar broke through the door, pushing past Ruklon and then flying off, cutting off the tip of Tyros finger before he left the area. Back in the butchery chamber, the tiger man had a one-sided battle with his halfling opponent, soon slaughtering him. Now, as Sithdar was leaving, he jammed the exit door shut, to prevent the monster from pursuing him. Little did he know that this would also end up killing Ruklon. The fighter was then attacked by his former charmer, and a long, epic battle followed. Ruklon got in another amazing critical, bring his opponent low, but not killing him. Then, the fiend used another suggestion, persuading him to join his buddies and their treasure-hunting operation. As Ruklon was going back, he found that he could not open the door. While he tried to bash it down, the tiger-man heard him, and came running, again attacking the escaping fighter, and killing him quickly. Now, Sithdar had caught up to Ashrem and Karl, who were noisily hacking at the rocks of the cavern. Their activity was heard by an immense purple worm, who came up from the ground and attacked Ashrem, catching him in its huge maw and soon swallowing him whole and devouring his lifeless corpse. Seeing this, Sithdar flew as fast and as far as he could, back to the level 2 stairs. Karl was left alone to fight the towering beast, and it looked like he was about to die. Yet he persevered, shooting it full of arrows and using deadly hit and run tactics as he tried to stay as far away as possible from the slow beast. Eventually, an insectoid umber hulk appeared as well, and Karls future was looking dim indeed. But the master archer wasnt about to melee either opponent, and stayed out of their ranges while firing volleys of magical arrows their ways, eventually killing both in a heroic shootout! Soon enough, his charmed state ran out, and he cut the worm open, taking a piece of Ashrems digested bone, as well as any equipment that remained. He then ran back up to level 2, soon meeting with Sithdar. The two were barely able to escape the dungeon, exiting out of a rat-hole, while greasing themselves up with the spell of the same name and leaving behind Karls armor. The only 2 survivors of this brutal encounter then grimly made their way back.
DM’S COMMENTS: Finally, back to the dungeon! The Scramge encounter went excellently…so many people dead. When the cleric player’s character was killed, I took him out of the room and did his turns outside, while making it look to the other players like his soul was eaten by the demon and he had to fight his way out to avoid eternal oblivion. Nobody had any idea that it was actually Tyro they were fighting, at least not until it was too late. They were very distraught when they killed him! Sadly, they had no weapons good enough to touch the Rakshasa, so they could only damage him on criticals, which were very rare this battle, so he kicked their candy asses. Last night could have easily been a TPK, but two got away. Still, two characters are beyond raising, as Scramge has since eaten their bodies, and the other two are dead enough that they’ll have to spend a lot of money to raise them. The Rakshasa will be back, and hates them bitterly for the destruction of his precious mirror. He might just move up to level one for a while, train a few were-rats, and possibly make friends with Dungie. Could go be a good long-term villain. Anyway, despite the loss of life, all the players absolutely loved it.