Session 8 opens as Dame Carspadmir decides on the party’s reward for discovering the Axe of Ulek and the priceless heirlooms of state. They can keep all the silver, copper and gems they can carry, plus the potion of dragon control, magical arrows and leather armor. The rest she claimed in the name of the Prince, including the Scroll of Speak With Dead, with which she wished to experiment on the twice-captured assassin – who isn’t quite dead yet.
PCs present: Thorg, Mike, Grunk, Orwill, Reeny, Ebin, Huggra, and a new companion, whose multi-syllabic name I cannot recall (hi, Phil).
It was decided, for the moment, that the party should quickly attempt to finish off the remaining forces at the nearby caves while the Keep’s brain trust waited for replies to their messages. Soon, Carspadmir indicated, they would have a council to decide what to do with the newfound treasures.
The party headed out for the caves and scouted the portal dig site on the way. The area was deserted, supplies were either gone or destroyed, and there was evidence of discord between the bugbears and gnolls in the form of a handful of bodies of each race. The party then proceeded to learn the futility the humanoids faced when attempting to open the giant stone door, as they themselves failed to budge it. Huggra transcribed the magical runes on the linter for later analysis and they moved on to the caves.
A gnoll prisoner had indicated the location of the caves in which the high priests of the Oerth Dragon performed unknown rites. Only bugbears and their prisoners were allowed to enter. These caves were in much better repair than the others; in fact, it looked so pristine that the complex could have been built yesterday. The black and red tiles were intact and shiny, and there wasn’t even any dust or dirt on the floors. Dead quiet filled the air and the tromping feet of the party echoed loudly through the wide halls.
The noise attracted undead guards, armed with rusty scimitars and clad in tattered chain links. Some were destroyed and others turned by Ebin. Next, they discovered the chambers of four wild-eyed priests in flowing, purple robes, and these, too, were quickly dispatched. (note: the priests bore uncanny resemblances to Gary Busey, Mickey Rourke, Nick Nolte and Phil Spector).
The group chose to pursue a side passage instead of the main passage (which would have led them to the grand finale; see Session 9). Here, they were beset by a group of bugbear guards, the head torturer, and several Gygaxian gotcha encounters: a medusa locked in a cell with a sack over her head, which Huggra gallantly rushed in to remove, turning him into a lovely statue; a wight in a crypt who attacked as the party carelessly yanked the facings off the tombs; and, finally, a gelatinous cube who, it turns out, had melted the upper torso of the missing elf thief from the Keep, Lysorien, who had also been crushed by the heavy, stone secret door he was trying to sneak through. On the body were a pair of very nice elven boots and by his dead hand lay a lucky rabbit’s foot. Lysorien died without ever having learned the meaning of irony. He will be missed.
(note: the extra men-at-arms turned out to be unnecessary dead weight. They cluttered the corridors and made encounters a bit too easy. Next session they will be sent away to return booty and news to the Keep. Let’s hope they won’t be needed.)