Sunday, March 13, 2016

Idalium Game 41: Dead Dwarves Walking

Session date: Monday, January 4, 2016
Game date: Tuesday, October 1, 208

Gulleck Stonefoot, Dwarf 3, hp 15, xp 6277/8800
Caryatid, Magic-user 3, hp 15, xp 7910/10000
Axel, Thief 2, hp 4, xp 2284/2400

Manley "Meat" Smythe, Fighter 1, hp 9, xp 1568/2000
Brother Guntur Valto, Cleric 1, hp 5, xp 587/1500

When we picked up from our cliffhanger ending, we had the same roster of players, which was lucky in a way since we didn't have to come up with any weird justification for the new characters to arrive in the nick of time. I think several us arrived late for this game, so the session was a bit shorter than usual.

The dwarf zombies lurched down the hall to confront the adventurers. Brother Guntur clutched his holy symbol to his chest and played to the All-Pervading Light, but the walking corpses continued without flinching. Brother Guntur had the chilling feeling that these zombies were not animated by the demonic forces of the netherworld, but by a far stranger and more mysterious magic.

Caryatid drew forth her paralyzing wand, but alas, it did nothing to stop the advance of the mindless dwarves. In the end, Gulleck and Brother Guntur were forced to hack and bludgeon them to senselessness. Gulleck was clawed and bitten by one of his ancestral people, but he repaid the wound by hacking an arm off with his magical axe.

Once the zombies were dealt with, the adventurers resumed their exploration. Around the corner of the hall, they saw what looked like a library of sorts, but chose to explore another room off the hallway instead. This room contained a ten foot diameter pool of water, about six inches deep. At the bottom of the pool, what seemed like gemstoned glinted and sparkled. Everyone was suspicious, and rather than reach into the water themselves, someone (I think Axel) decided to retrieve the severed zombie arm from the hallway and poke at a gem with that. It was a good idea, too, because when the arm touched the gem, there was a sudden flash of light and the arm went flying out of the pool in bits, smashing against a wall. That pretty much put paid to any further investigations of the pool.

The walls here were very unusual. They were carved in a lattice of dwarven runes, and if you looked within the open spaces, you could see that there was another layer of runes a few inches deeper, and then another layer after that, and maybe even more, though of course it became harder and harder to read the deeper layers. These were dwarf rune walls, that recorded history with the most superficial context on the outer layer, with each inner wall recording more detailed and intimate facts. This particular wall told the story of the parentage of a dwarven general named Mâr-Rune.

In the next room, something was lurking in the shadows. Axel tried using the medallion that let one read the thoughts of other nearby creatures, and he was nearly overwhelmed with impressions of pain, rage, and fear. Someone crept around the corner to see what the creature was, and saw a weird amorphous fleshy blob that quickly spat a blob of sizzling slime across the room, barely missing the adventurers. There was another hallway on the far side of the room, and the party, after conferring among themselves, decided to just sprint across and hope they were faster than the thing's reactions. As they ran, they noticed that it now appeared to be made of stone, and it shot thousands of spiny needles across the room after them. It seemed that the strange creature was in a constant state of change, altering its form and that of its attacks.

Regrouping in the room across the way, the party saw that the floor and ceiling here were carved with layered runes, while the walls showed an intricate mural. On the east wall, the dwarven general Mâr-Rune stood alone in anger and defiance, while an army of dwarves marched against him from the north and south walls. It seemed that this Mâr-Rune had risen to power among the dwarves but then betrayed their core beliefs, and was ousted as a traitor.

There was a short column near the east wall with a hole in the top leading into a dark bit. Every so often the party could see a flash of light from within the pit, and they heard slithering sounds. The hole in the column was too narrow to squeeze into while wearing armor, but it looked like the column could possibly be demolished and that the shaft down into the pit would be wider if that was done.

The adventurers weren't sure that they really wanted or needed to descend into the dark pit, though, and they chose to set up a nervous camp here, posting watches in fear of the amorphous creature from the previous room following them in here. However, it showed no interest in moving from its corner, and nothing bothered them that night.

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