Labyrinth Lord Lives

Braving the Fountain of Health

A merchant, flush with cash, needing to hire escorts quickly for a rush delivery to the neighboring town of Wood’s Hollow hired a motley crew of adventurers. Karameil, Al’bundin, Xavros, and Gertie were all willing to accept gold for a short journey.

There, they found that they had been delivering a Potion of Healing to save a dying daughter. The power of the potion was not strong enough to overcome the orcish poison, coursing in Arianna’s veins, and her father begged them to seek out the healing water from the Fountain of Health in the nearby ruins.

Brandr, a mage, was lured to join in for the prospect of impressing the dying daughter, and the five of them set off.

They braved death itself in the form of a man-eating spider, rats larger than dogs. In the end, they bested the guardian of the shrine with their minds, rather than their might, and returned triumphant.

However, in the process, they ran afoul of the rigid laws of the land…

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The hidden tower
or the magic bean

In the tavern of the Village, Aaron the hand announced to the heroes that Gerthie and the group were criminals for using divine magic to heal the daughter of the blacksmith. They were rat out by Meat shield, the adventurer they saved in the Temple.
Then sent out the bourgmester in order to talk privately to the heroes, he also faked a teleportation spell to the Mage town, and instead revealed a trap under the carper to a secret stash.
They shaked “hand” on a deal to send them far from the village and save the appearances. Instead of charging them, he asked the heroes to escape by a tunnel, and search for an unknown and invisible place south, using a “magic” bean to find it.

After several days of travel in the wilderness of the broken lands, Al Bundim met a tree with very strange wet fantasies, and also while sleeping deeply met at night a party of orcs scout on wolves. Finally following the temperature change of the magic bean in the pocket of Karamail, they reached a very suggestive narrow valley, and in the end of it found an invisible veil leading to an erected hidden tower.
The tower was old from several centuries, with 5 sides and 3 stories, and was currently guarded by orcs. Using the mighty power of the ruse, the heroes approached in untrimmed bushes. Then climbed the tower to the higher windows.

Al Bundim and Buddy the magician climbed first and reached a room with an altar and 2 orcs, one was sleeping and the other proposed a deal to them : “We do not want to stay in this solitary tower, us orcs need more, but our shaman chief wants to stay. Kill him while he is sleeping and we will leave after making angry noises”. Buddy accepted and sliced the throat of the poor orc.
Followed a very confuse battle with the orcs, the traitor raised the alarm, but they had a hard time to climb the stairs, under a rain of pieces of altar, burning oil, and pellets. Finally Buddy casted a large sleep spell that put them all down. Buddy and Xavros started to slaughter them all, but Xavros with pity kept the traitor alive.
On the higher levels of the tower, a room seemed to be the burning point of the magic bean, and a wall became intangible. On the other side, a similar tower room and an also large generic constrictor snake.

To come :
- the constrictor battle
- the other mitchel moth and the little boy
- the small creatures in the cave and the fire pit

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Knuckledraggers, Spider, Fairy Dragon, and Undead Dwarf Map
or, Creative Uses for a Ten Foot Pole

“The knuckledraggers are up to no good,” said the tree. So we went to the cave of the small, humanoid monkey creatures to find out what it meant by that (and to look for Drake, Michael’s “giant purple butterfly moth” friend).

As we approached the cave, Brandr seemed to be disoriented for a moment. As he recovered, we all realized the entrance to the cave was blocked by an inconvenient pile of brush which was (even more inconveniently) currently on fire. We fought our way through the fire to discover a broader opening which had clearly been very recently occupied by our monkeylike foes.

We looked around the grungy, littered cave, poking through a pile of trash in a little alcove and discovering some loot, including four books!* Next, we spied a large wingprint on one of the earthen walls. Hmm, signs of Drake? No time to think about that right now—across the cave, a smaller passageway rustled as tiny hands scrambled to finish blocking it with trash and more brush.

Finally, a use for Xavros’s ten foot pole! As we cleared the brush away, little daggers zipped out at us. Eventually it was easier to just light it all on fire and watch the little ones scramble away. Once we were through, Brandr briefly stepped out into the center of the small room, realizing his mistake as he was immediately struck in the arm with a thrown dagger.

Turns out the “knuckledraggers” were indeed not especially fearsome. After we killed most of them, the remaining three cowered against the dirt wall of the tunnel, giving up their weapons and hiding their faces, pointing the way down the passage in (apparent) submission.

Taking them at their…pantomime, we trundled heedlessly down the tunnel, Karamail and Xavros leading the charge…directly into the web trap of a tremendous spider, sprung by a slightly larger monkey-creature—their supposed leader. As Brandr used one of his seemingly-limitless supply of daggers to free Xavros, the rest of the party set about dispatching the spider and its monkey-master.

After a little judicious healing, we proceeded further into the tunnel, which was now transitioning from rough, hand-dug earthen tunnels to dwarven stonework. At a junction, we discovered a heavy door fastened with three large padlocks. Above it, something was inscribed in what were clearly dwarven runes, but Karamail wasn’t familiar with the dialect. It said something like “…Noble…Dead Clan…Year…422.” So yeah. Not so helpful. Freakily, if we listened carefully at the door, we could hear little scratching sounds. Huh. Maybe that was Drake in there? If so, he could hang out a few more minutes or hours as we checked out the rest of this cave network. Things were just getting interesting, after all.

So we moved further down the earthen branch of the passageway…which kept getting smaller. After a while, Xavros had to take off his armor and squirm, Gertie began to hyperventilate a bit, and even Karamail was forced to crouch, but we were suddenly and unceremoniously expelled into a larger room. Nothing leapt out at us, but there was a large curtain across one corner of the room, draped in front of what looked like iron bars. After Xavros put his armor back on, Brandr borrowed the 10 foot pole and carefully drew back the curtain, at which point a HUGE BLAST of purple gas came right at us from what was behind the curtain…which turned out to be a purple fairy dragon, aka Drake, aka Michael’s friend.

Once we had recovered from variously laughing, staring open-mouthed at Drake, obsessively polishing our armor, and digging in our packs for rations and hey, where did you put my wineskin, I have the worst wool-mouth right now.. we learned that Drake’s breath was an intoxicant, and that the knuckledraggers had captured him and kept him here to provide them with amusement. He was happy to help us dig out the cramped passageway back to the door with the dwarven runes, and stood back as we tried again to decipher the runes.

“I think this bit says "traitor"", said Karamail, “And there’s something about a noble house, and a three? But that’s all I can make out. So let’s just open the locks. Ok?”

And of course, that’s what we did. Unleashing the undead dwarf inside. Whom we summarily dispatched. Inside his tomb were four scroll cases, score! Al took parts 1-2 of what looked to be this poor undead fool’s family history, and Brandr took parts 3-4. Inside the scroll case for part 4 was a map!

We spent a fair bit of time deciphering the map, which was also in the same unfamiliar dwarven runes. “Looks a bit like some art I saw once from a really ancient civilization called Ultima or something,” said Gertie. “Let’s see if we can’t puzzle it out.”

After some time spent squinting and arguing, we decided that was enough for a day’s work and headed back out of the cave system with Drake, returning him to his home in the trees. How odd, did you notice that the body of the undead dwarf noble was…gone as we went back through on our way out? Huh. Welp. Surely that’s not important. Speaking of things that are important, Drake gave us presents! Brandr got a scroll with two spells on it (Charm Person and Read Languages)! Too bad he doesn’t know how to read spells.

We headed back into town and witnessed the secret reunion of Michael and Drake. A love that dare not speak its name. Or something. Onward, to the spot marked X on the dwarven map!

*Books found:

  • “Tidal Forces of the Sea of Dread”
  • “Types of Ore Found in the Cruth Mountains”
  • “History of Halflings”
    Brandr has these
  • “The Art of Divination”
    Al has this one
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The narrator: Interlude in Kelvin

Drake told you could head east to reach the river Highreach in a few short miles, and that the “new” Duke’s Road runs along the west side of it. What “new” means to a Faerie Dragon is a bit of an unanswered question.

From there, he said, the road could be followed north, and just past the fork of the Hillfollow and Highreach rivers would be an impressive bridge over the Hillfollow to Kelvin and beyond along the Duke’s Road. If you skip the bridge, you begin following another road northwest along the Windrush.

Kelvin

Some twenty thousands live here, a bustling center of dense urban life. Most are human, but some human-living elves and halflings can be found, and probably the odd dwarf as well.

Outside the walled city, lies a collection of fishing huts to either side of where the bridge touches down. At the gate is a small group of guards, They ask your business briefly, and ensure that you take heed of the posted laws, but are not overly gruff and wave you along inside.

The posted laws are:

FOR THE KEEPING OF THE LAW AND ORDER!
BE ADVISED!
* Weapons must remain sheathed and holstered within the city!
* Arcane magic is not permitted within the city walls!
* Divine power is permitted, but observance of laws is required.
* Trade caravans may shelter in the walled campgrounds.
* Violation of city laws, theft, burglary, assault, etc will be dealt with in the campground as within the city, but keep your own watch as well.

Kelvin, being a major town on a trade route, has almost any general service you could imagine. There are merchants operating out of their own buildings of all sorts, a daily open market, inns, taverns, temples, armories, and so on.

Will you look to sell goods? make purchases? Attempt to learn things about items you have found, or the land you now find yourself in? Look for adventure?

Will you find an Inn or sleep on the street?

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The Tomb of the Order of Petra

Tossing down basic facts here: requesting someone to rewrite as needed.

  • Gertie sought spiritual training, spending some of the party’s gold, hitting level 2, and gaining a vision from her god, Zaandu, the Insignificant
  • Party chose to aid the Order of Petra with their request to recover the evil artifact of the Masque of the Tomb King stolen by Unukalhai
  • Candles were provided to light the shrines of Petra which wards against evil in various ways
  • The Shroud of Rastaban was provided in which to carry the Masque, which is said to be unsafe to touch.
  • In the tomb were encountered various foes, including several types of undead and Shadows
  • The shadows drained many points of strength from our heroes

The adventure is not complete; we left our heroes mid-crawl.

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The Tomb of the Order of Petra (continued)

Our party unexpectedly encountered a (somewhat) friendly face. A boyish looking person, who turned out to be a woman with a close cropped haircut. Verdant. She described herself as having some ability to get into places, treasure chests, etc that are are locked away.

The group wasn’t entirely sure whether they needed to protect their valuables, but seemed like it was safer to keep her where they could see her, and also were somewhat worried for her safety.

Exploring further, there was:

(this is probably too much detail)

  • A deep chasm and a nearby ladder. A rope was used to lower the ladder over the chasm, and climb across
  • A turning point, the candle of evil detection (xandros) led the way south
  • A room of sepulchers, one ominously open, with a shrine of Petra in the center. Brandr seemed interested in taking the statue, but it was attached to the floor
  • Skeleton archers attacked but were defeated by battle prowess and the religious powers of Gertie
  • The remaining skeletons fleeing to the south were pursued, to finde Unukalhai himself, weilding the masque of the tomb king. He proceeded to animate more skeletons every round and a zombie attacked. However, he was put to sleep by Brandr’s Sleep magic, and the skeletons were overcome
  • Unukalhai was bound and gagged extensively, and the Masque was picked up using the Shroud of Rastaban
  • On the way out, an inconsequential armory was found
  • Also a side passage, intentionally collapsed led to a room of some kind of test
  • The party was wiped out by marauding skeleton ghosts — only to find themselves alive again, with the events repeating in ominous fashion
  • The party decided to push through and get the Sigil of Petra into a matched slot against the wall, which dispelled the ghosts and delivered three chests of treasure.
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Last week on Dungeons and Dragons and Towers and Electric Traps of Doom and Dusty Cellars

As per our previous agreement, we returned the Mask of Almost Certain Corruption of the Soul to the good priests of the Order of Petra, conveniently packaged in the Shroud of Rastaban. Please keep away from necromancers 189 years or younger.

In addition, the priests were delighted to hear how we considerably improved the general ambiance in their sacred crypts by the strategic placement of the conveniently provided (if patchouli-scented) holy candles/

We also delivered to them the infamous Uurkajdho (or at last that’s how Gertie likes to think his name is spelled), with whom I understand they are planning to have a stern talk.

This seems to have proven too much excitement for our good friend Al’Bundim who decide to part ways to look for, I quote, “A well-tended shrubbery to chat with and/or micturate upon”.

Following this, we proceeded to have ourselves accused of thievery at the local market by a woman who turned out to be a rival of Verdant’s family, proving as we suspected that aspiring cut-throats from disapproving, noble families are trouble to be acquainted with. Fortunately, aspiring cut-throats from disapproving noble families can also on occasion call upon their powerful (if unamused) parents to bail everyone out of jail.

This certainly brought us to the right time to get the hell out of Kelvin and pursue one of our true passions as a group: Exploring dangerous towers infested with traps.

Due to the general attractiveness of undead dwarves, it was decided to track down our undead dwarf friend that reacted so impolitely when we liberated him from his tomb. It was nice of him to conveniently leave a map behind, though.

The map led us to a small town where we bribed one of the locals with a book about disrobed Halflings to tell us about the nearby dwarven fortress of yore, which turned out to also have been inhabited by elves.

Once we found the said location, we were presented with a dilemma: Go down into another cave, or brave some diabolical lightning-based trap to get into a tower atop the hill?

For some reason that remains vague now, we decided to go for the diabolical lightning-based trap, which failed to kill us all.

The tower turned out to be of the round persuasion, with features such as:

  • A dusty cellar featuring a heavy, locked iron door in it.
  • An elevator!
  • An old and clearly evil magic user who has been comically trapped in a force field for the past 67 years. It was fun to taunt him.
  • Rotten beds!

Exploration of the tower is currently still underway and has proven rather free of opportunities to die so far.

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Previously, on Extreme Makeover, Evil Tower Edition

As we ascended to the next level of the enraged wizard’s tower his death threats and curses faded to a less disagreeable level. It was quiet and strangely cold. Colder in a little area just to the east of the floating disk. But first we went through a door to the west into a little room. Therein was a table and seated at the table, a ghostly old man at which we waved. The ghostly man was most singleminded in exhorting us to risk our soul in playing a certain game with him. If we won, it would open the magically shielded door to the south. Ooh a door! If we lost, it would only cost us our soul. Oh.

We hemmed and we hawed until Verdant sat down to play. What could go wrong? And it seemed simple enough but the next thing we knew it was not. The old man shouted “FINALLY!” and was gone. Verdant vanished from her chair, and then reappeared in the other chair but now bluish and ghostly and despondent. She was thereafter most singleminded in exhorting us to risk our soul in playing a certain game.

Karamail and another went back to get the corpse of DeLorenzo the thief, to see if there was enough of his soul left that he could play the game. There was not.

So… we simply played again! And won this time thank the gods. The door opened and after an awkward conversation with Verdant (wherein she mostly exhorted us to play the game again), we went through the door.

A library! Stacks and stacks of ancient books. Brandr and I began opening books at random. Although lacking in any apparent filing order, all the books fell into three categories. There were books on communication with other worlds, encyclopedias of creatures in other worlds, and books about knots. I searched the room extensively for secret passages and was disappointed. Brandr did find a spellbook though so we’ll call it a win.

We then went back towards the floating disk where there had been a door to the north and went through (we declined the sporting offer to play a game with Verdant). It was sealed with some impressive rubber gasketry indicating that obviously the room beyond was to be full of blood or acid or teeming with vicious insect life. It was not. It was another library. Pulling these books at random and opening them was a very efficient way to turn them into dust. Likewise shining light on their pages was a good way to fade the ink to illegibility. Kayoshin discovered calfskin gloves and tiny delicate tongs at a table nearby and used these to slowly examine books thereafter. It was all books about glasswork, books about metalwork and a lot of poetry/philosophy/nature-stuff. W.T.F. people.

Back to the strangely cold area by the floating disk, and we opened the metal box there. It contained 30 vials of red viscous liquid. A healthy and life-preserving sense of paranoia kept us away from any plan involving opening, drinking or gargling, but we did take a vial with us to see what would happen. Now looking back I think all that happened is that we forgot we were carrying an evil vial of evil red liquid. Hopefully Brandr still has it?

We descended, ostensibly to converse with the wizard, more likely so Brandr could taunt him. He did tell us that the game’s magic had to do with various incantations from the ancient city of Mur (?) combined with twisting the fabric of space (into knots?). We learned that the old man whose soul had been trapped therein was apparently long dead, and that if someone were to lose the game, Verdant would re-appear in this world quite whole and healthy.

Everyone except Brandr and myself then went to the top floor. They gaped a bit at the telescope and more so at the enormous fishtank full of orange fish. They tried very hard to talk to the fish but the fish had nothing to say back. Things were deduced about the telescope, not least of which being that the large crystal egg from the wizard’s level was supposed to be placed inside. Thus did they call down to us below “Hey get the big crystal ball”. Which was fortunate I think because when Brandr called back “What do you want the crystal ball for?”, we happened to notice the wizard smirking. He covered it up but based on this and on paranoia and on the fact that everything here has tried to kill us, we left the whole top floor alone and did not activate the telescope.

Meanwhile, brandr and I discussed Verdant-rescue plans. One was to cast a sleep spell on the wizard, take him out of the salt circle and while he slept see if he could lose the game for us. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Oh I guess we could unleash an evil mage on the world. Since we were already one zombie dwarf down in the “unleashing/releashing of evil beings” game, this seemed a bad idea.

The other was slightly less crazy and involved using the water of life to reanimate the corpse of DeLorenzo the thief and then threaten to make him a corpse again if he didn’t lose the game. We did that one. Maybe it was wrong but it worked. Verdant reappeared and there was much rejoicing and almost no exhortations to play a certain game (except from DeLorenzo who you could faintly hear in the background).

To regain Verdant was to regain the evil key in her pocket so we went to the evil basement and the giant evil iron door. Through that door was an evil operating theater. There were disgusting body parts as well as an intact corpse whose chest had been sewn up with some quite fine gold thread. Kayoshin estimated the thread to be valuable to she removed it, awakening the corpse’s intestines which turned out to be of a violent disposition! A few frenetic moments later and the room had more disgusting body parts and one less corpse.

Notable – we did see more vials in that room. They looked a bit similar and that they could have once contained red liquid but it had long since dried to rust-red dust. We found a box of glass pieces that Brandr was insistent fit into a “microscope” there, but no sense could be made of it I think.

Also there were mirrors in a weird alcove. I peered in one and had a vision of my own old age. This felt absolutely awful in a blinding pain sort of way but yet filled me with an unreasonable hope of living out the week. Verdant took the sensible precaution of smashing them all while blindfolded.

The next room was a dungeon with a number of cells. We were attached by ghosts and prevailed. There was also a skeleton in a cell with far too many arms that we stayed the hell away from.

Returning to the floating disk room, we saw to our surprise that there was still a level beneath. We descended via disk and found a room with shimmering force field curtains controlled by levers. I will leave off the details of all the lever-pulling and say only that we deduced its secrets and obtained the staggering amount of treasure at the other end of the room.

It is possibly more money than I have ever seen. Carrying it back to town is going to create a pretty enticing prospect for bandits, although hopefully that additional complexity will dissuade any attacks from evil demons. Thus on balance we’re probably no more likely to die than usual.

There were a few other items – a large pearl and a set of crystal dice.

Verdant: “I get the dice! I risked my life in a game after all.”
Xandros: “But… I wouldn’t roll them or anything.”

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To whom it may concern - don't touch the evil looking dagger

I figured out what’s driving me to keep this journal. I’ve never been one for writing but a few months back an informative note gave me a new appreciation. A very detail-oriented bursar of some sort in a grain merchant house (customer of ours) had left me a nice note as he was bleeding out, explaining what had just happened and how so many of his nearby coworkers had come to have no heads. The devil is in the details as they say (although seldom so accurately). and if it weren’t for that note I would have wasted precious seconds not running like hell.
So… This journal is here just so that if and when our mouldering corpses are discovered by some passing adventurers in an ancient ruin just such as this, the information herein may slightly improve their odds of survival. Cheers.

Thus, today we returned to the area of the wizard’s tower, this time resolved to actually enter the dwarven ruin nearby, as per the original plan. In that ruin a group of goblins had taken residence in the front bits. We killed some of them. We put some to sleep. We manacled some of them into a giant rat-king slash tavern-puzzle, and we locked some of them into animal cages. Not necessarily in that order and in fact exactly which goblins were involved in which part I forget, In the back there was also a “magical forge” which description while technically accurate does not convey the sense of disappointment that was its primary effect. Kayoshin got the two blacksmith-ey goblins to surrender with the perfectly honest statement “Drop your weapons and we might not kill you.” and they gave us the whole tour. As it happens, the imbue-ment of crappy goblin weapons with magical powers still leaves you stuck with the crappy goblin weapons underneath. Gertie was particularly affronted and let the two blacksmith-ey goblins know that this was completely unacceptable.

What else they told us, is that there is a room with lots of slime down one way. The goblins bathe in it. The head goblin there goes by the name of Chief Valenga and he is “mostly a goblin” whatever that means. They said they stole some treasure from him (?). Despite these great qualities we went the other way towards an ancient dwarven room for worship of some kind. Oh and dear reader if you pick #3 and go down the big main tunnel, watch out for tripwires and if you keep going straight, none of the goblins they sent that way ever came back.

On the way we came to a pedestal in the middle of the tunnel with a bell on it. As Karamail passed the bell rang three times and a dwarven voice called out. Karamail said it was just some standard greeting but the funny accent allowed him to understand something that had been bugging him. Apparently these aren’t dwarves we’ve been chasing and/or releasing upon the world, they’re Duergar. If you’re like me and need this explained further, apparently they’re like dwarves but weird and magical and evil.

Next we came upon some goblins that had locked themselves in a throne room. We took great pains to thoroughly shatter their firm belief that they were safe. I now have a longsword that may very well be the nicest I have ever seen. If you dear reader are lucky enough to find it still on my corpse, enjoy it. I do not believe it to be cursed. Oh and my shield is magical in some way too although damn me if I can figure out how.

Taking the 3000 or so silver coins from the chests in there (formerly trapped), we finally reached the evil temple room. In the corner there is a raised area with 2 evil maggot statues carved with mouths open. Eyes that are gems and glow evil reddish purple. In between them is a platform with an evil dagger stuck in it. Or at least there was. Unfortunately Gertie picked up the dagger. Doing so filled her with hunger. Putting down the dagger didn’t help. Brandr picking up the dagger didn’t help either and now he too is filled with hunger and also doesn’t want to put down the dagger. Both of them were carefully but quickly manacled and I have a feeling before too long they may end up gagged and tied to the goblins but I didn’t say that. If this last bit helps you the reader not pick up an evil dagger or if it helps you figure out how and why some combination of us corpses are tied and/or manacled together, then I’ve done my good deed for the day.

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Packs nearly full again - of new weapons, coins, and evil mysteries.

So after much discussion and an unrelated but violent encounter with a murderous ooze, we went with a symmetric approach. Brandr and Gertie were quietly manacled each to one end of the locked chest. (This is the chest within which is the evil dagger that with some luck nobody was going to touch anymore.)

Obviously if I am later able to write this, it means that we have not yet been killed and eaten by either of them. Honestly, nobody is more surprised about this than I am.

The temple had three doors but the one in the back looked the evilest so we went that way. In the room there was a font and a basin with a duergar statue. Prodding with a 10 foot pole showed the statue’s head could be turned. Turning the head filled the font with water. The water when drunk by a goblin caused said goblin to grow to an enormous size, free its bonds, pick up its goblin friend under one arm and run away. This last turn of events stunned us long enough for the goblins to make their improbable escape.

The other door in the room led up stairs . Up there was a much rougher passage leading both left and right. Going left we came to a duergar statue and another bell rang as we approached it. A voice rang out

We of the depths… Beseech the one… Who in hunger… Gives us life.

Not creepy at all! Around the time of the second verse Verdant sensibly knocked over the statue but at the end it stood up, and relatively nimbly too. After some frantic bashings by us it went back down, less nimbly and in more pieces.
Skipping ahead – A cavern with glowing bits, stalagmites, stalactites, and nasty choking dust. Pass. A little area up on a ledge in which three very murderous giant bats were trying to sleep, and which when disturbed settled for trying to kill us. At the back of this little area was a secret passage, within which we found 2 chests.
Verdant checked for traps and picked the locks, at times glaring at the locks for reasons she kept to herself. Inside – gold, and some kind of magical-looking rune-inscribed dwarven hammer that went to Karamail.

Oh. I forgot about Gertie and Brandr. You might ask why the two of them so blithely continued as willing members of a party that had just manacled them to a locked chest. It was Kayoshin who found the line of reasoning that worked. Here’s a taste:
“We could unmanacle you, but then we’d have to take the chest away from you and then you wouldn’t be near the dagger. Is that what you want? Not to be near the dagger? This way you’re both equally near the dagger, and actually nobody is closer to it than you two. Isn’t that the best arrangement?”

It was most excellent, although it had to be periodically re-argued.

We doubled back and this time took the rough passage the other way. A large dark cavern, the far wall of which fell away to an abyss. Bones and armor scattered about turn out to be 12 skeletons lying in ambush. Gertie’s shouted prayers to Xandu the Insignificant caused 8 of them to run away in terror – leaping into the abyss and to our great delight. The other 4 we just bashed into little pieces which was also fun.

The abyss is quite a thing. A torch fell longer than is comfortable to think about before snuffing out suddenly in what we’re pretty sure was a river. There’s a great wind as well. And an archway over the abyss at one point. And on the far side we could see a huge statue of another maggot thing. And a warren of passages that I struggle to remember.

Gertie and Brandr continue to be a little off. Gertie for instance proposed that they swing the chest with all their might across the abyss, and then use the chest’s momentum to pull the both of them across to the other side, 80 feet away. Wiser heads prevailed.

But I am using too much paper. Let me go quicker. We came upon a furnished room with many books. Notes on mineral deposits and places where a pool of “dark energy” could be extracted. Some talk of red crystal this-and-that, but it’s mostly about “blue dark energy”. Must be the same funny blue-purple magic that the goblins had imbued their crappy weapons with. There’s a journal about extracting this energy, about efforts to mine a great pool of it, and also encountering neighboring elves and suchlike. Evil and more evil.

Also there was a room with coffers that had been turned over and ransacked, and 12 statues in odd poses. Many or most of the statues appeared to be peering at something in their hand, and one of them was peering at a ring on his finger, a ring which was most suspicious for being an actual golden ring and not carved as a part of the “statue”. Very carefully and without touching it, this ring was removed and ignominiously dropped in an old sock which was then dropped into my pack. Note to self – do not change socks ever or at least until further notice.

Gertie around this point lost her mind and attacked the chest, broke the lock, acquired the dagger. She was still manacled to the chest of course but this was a moment of much apprehension. She seemed quite content though. The bad moment passed. For Brandr though, content is not a word you would use.

Brandr: “Unmanacle me!”
Xandros: “Ugh. I will. At some point. Possibly when you stop asking me to do it.”

From there we daringly (stupidly?) rushed across the narrow archway, nearly being knocked down by gusts of wind. We defeated zombies. Gertie stabbed a zombie with the evil dagger, which caused what is best described as a “flash of darkness”, a dimming of all our lights, and the temporary blinding of some of us.

We took to knocking on doors and saying “housekeeping”, but thereafter found only empty rooms. We found a room full of weapon racks and weapons. I picked up a sword to have it suddenly start glowing right through its scabbard. Verdant took the pieces of a nice looking crossbow. I remember a trident and a broken mace. I think the others may have taken these but I’m not sure. I am a of this moment armed with the glowing sword and I gave the other most excellent longsword to Kayoshin.

We continued on, deeper and deeper. The passage we followed was choked with more and more rubble, and became slippery with a little cataract of water running down its length. But down we continued, using ropes to move down safely. Finally we reached a chamber where someone had diverted the little streamlet so as to irrigate various large and strange mushrooms. Some of them tried to kill us and very nearly succeeded but were themselves killed instead.

It’s dark. It’s cold. It’s wet. Most of us are injured. Brandr and I have a disgusting amount of apparently nonremovable squidgy mushroom tendrils attached to our bodies. Somehow though, we’re still alive.

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