Monday, August 15, 2016

Idalium Game 49: What a Tangled Web We Weave

Session date: Monday, April 4, 2016
Game date: Sunday, October 20, 208

Gulleck Stonefoot, Dwarf 4, hp 23, xp 9047/17000
Caryatid, Magic-user 4, hp 19, xp 10680/20000

Manley "Meat" Smythe, Fighter 2, hp 13, xp 2954/4000
Brother Guntur Valto, Cleric 2, hp 8, xp 1793/3000

A short-handed and relatively short session this time, and the adventurers were focused on mopping up the remaining wererat monks in this accursed monastery. But now, having caught a few hours of sleep, they first inspected the tin lantern they had retrieved from the temple. There was an inscription encircling the top of the lantern, in letters that they recognized as Ancient Idalian. Though no one could read the old language, they did possess a magical pair of spectacles that could allowed them to understand it. Gulleck put the strange goggles on, and read, "The source of the all-pervading light salves the wounded and restores health to the diseased." He opened the lantern to find a crumbling wick in a small reservoir of pasty, congealed oil of some kind. Oddly, the paste smelled absolutely delicious to him. Gulleck ventured to swallow a small amount of the paste, and felt a wholesome warmth pervade his body, and suddenly he was aware that the feverish delirium that had been growing by the hour was gone. (This was a lucky thing, too, as it turned out that according to his unlucky dice rolls, the disease from the giant rat bites would have killed him. Which would have been rather bathetic, so to speak, having just retrieved the item he was sent to acquire in payment for being raised from death!) Experimenting further with the oily paste, Gulleck and Meat found that when rubbed on their wounds, it had a remarkable healing power and their wounds were significantly less livid and inflamed.

Emboldened by this, they set out in search of the remaining monks. At the end of the last session, they had crept into the monks' house, but found it empty and abandoned. They decided to return to the temple, for they had seen a flight of stairs at the back of the shrine where they had defeated the Abbot, descending into the underground catacombs that seemed to connect many of the buildings in the monastery complex.

On their way to the shrine, they passed through the terraced porch that was the entrance to the temple. The little capuchin monkey that had guarded the room when they were last here had returned, its leg still shackled and chained to a short piece of wood that had split from the pole that formerly leashed it here. It barred its teeth at the adventurers and squealed. Gulleck held forth his ring of animal control, and his eyes rolled back in his head as it became still, and allowed Meat to break the shackle from its leg. Once released from Gulleck's control, the monkey looked confusedly at its leg and then at the adventurers and then pointed to its open mouth and screeched.

"Oh, he's hungry," said Caryatid, and offered him some scraps of rations and some water. The monkey seemed grateful, and before Caryatid could react, he ran up onto her shoulder, where he remained perched and would not come down. And that is how Caryatid ended up with a pet monkey.

The group entered the catacombs and explored an unfamiliar tunnel, eventually finding a ladder leading to a trapdoor. According to their maps, they were somewhere below a building that the monks had called their training hall. Caryatid slipped on her ring of invisibility and quietly opened the trapdoor and peered out. It opened into a room with a bookshelf of books and papers against one wall. A monk (human now, during the day) sat in a chair facing away from her). A polearm rested against the wall next to him, and a lantern burned on a low table.

Caryatid quietly gestured for the others to join her, and they attempted to overpower the guard without being noticed. Unfortunately, the clank of plate armor gave the party away, and the monk whipped around, eyes wide, and shrieked an alarm. Gulleck and Meat moved quickly to deal with the guard, while the sound of running feet approached from the courtyard outside the room.

The guard went down in a heap, and Gulleck and Meat quickly pulled the bookshelf down and over to block the doorway. More angry monks in saffron robes arrived, wielding polearms over the bookshelf. Caryatid's new pet monkey leaped off her shoulder to perch on the table with the lamp, hooting and screeching at the chaos surrounding it.

The battle was going well at first, with Gulleck and Meat fighting the monks over the barricade, but then four more monks came charging in through the other doorway leading into the room, effectively flanking them. Brother Guntur was suddenly surrounded, and issued a horrible death cry as two vicious polearm blades sank deep into his body.

Caryatid spoke a complex incantation, and then sticky strands of silk spat from her fingertips (say that five times fast!), entangling the monks in a snarled web from which they could not escape. Seeing their comrades incapacitated, the two remaining monks behind the barricade dropped their polearms and ran from the doorway, their running feet echoing as they fled the building.

Gulleck wiped blood and sweat away from his forehead and looked at the captured monks, and then at the pale, bloody body of Brother Guntur near their feet. He made one last attempt at peace with the ratmen, insisting that one of them swallow some of the oily paste from within the holy lantern, in the hope that it might cure them of their shapechanging curse. But the monk only gagged and spat - "It burns my throat! What poison have you fed me?! It burns!"

"Well, I tried," quipped Gulleck grimly and then got on with the dismal task of dispatching the evil monks. He didn't want to get his axe stuck in the sticky web, so he used the new magical spear they had found in the temple. Only six inches long, when lunged with it suddenly expanded to a ten foot spear and then blinked back to its miniature size again. Over and over Gulleck stabbed at the wretched monks with the magical spear, dispassionately carrying out his work until the shrieking stopped. It was truly horrible.

We ended the session here, with the rat monks vanquished from the evil monastery, but the death of Brother Guntur a rather bitter payment in return. There has been some speculation that with the rate this party goes through hired clerics, the Great Church may stop allowing them to hire any more of them!

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