Campaign of the Month: March 2009

Denizens of the Nentir Vale

After a while, ...

As Prescott watches his recent companions pass silently through the door, wistful memories pass through his head. He had not known them for long, but they were a fun and interesting group to battle with, despite their inability to handle their experiences and their inefficiencies at working as a team.

Seeing Snorbaugh begin to turn, Prescott quickly raises his voice and resumes a discussion on the best tasting parts of a minotaur. A few moments later, a feeling settles over Prescott, like a sodden cloak. This feeling is one of dread; he senses that his friends of late are heading into certain doom. Stifling a sigh, Prescott knows that he must follow them, hoping to catch them and prevent their demise. None of them were as quick as he, or as sure, or able to deal massive damage from behind with a simple twist of a dagger; no they could not survive on their own, without his aid.

“Shhh!” Prescott whispers, “Over there, I think I just heard a wee lamb in the brush.” He waits for Snorbaugh to grunt and head in the direction of the next nonexistent sheep, then moves silently through the now closed door, careful to leave no tracks that Snorbaugh might detect.

He steps quickly and quietly past several dead bodies, then peers through another door. Seeing several large dead snakes and ichor still steaming from pools on the floor, Prescott hopes none of his friends are still inside one of the carcasses. One, two, three, …, no they are all here; a silent sigh of relief escapes his lips. Seeing no other monsters in the room, Prescott straightens himself and strides into the room, eyes quickly taking in the details of the fight, recognizing Tira’s imprecise spell blasting and Barrick’s neat blade cuts.

Making up an excuse about missing the action, Prescott quickly integrates himself back into the party. After being apprised of the situation, he joins Erik in an attempt to sneak into the large room beyond. Prescott moves in without a sound and then holds his breath as he waits to see if Erik can mimic his skills. Just as Prescott fears, Erik sneaks in as quietly as a kruthik hatchling, alerting the entire room. Knowing his presence is useful, Prescott leads the combat and quickly kills the nearest brigand, kicking his body into the oily waters beneath the shambling bridge. Erik redeems himself by taking out another, and Tira finishes off the last two with her bouncing multi-coloured lightning; neat trick that one.

The now enraged giant lizard she-thing steps forward and grabs Erik with her tail. Prescott wonders at Erik’s future, unstealthy and slower than a lizard’s tail today. Prescott knows he will have to try and watch Erik’s back, lest his friend finds himself dazed or confused.

Prescott leaps forward into the gaseous emanations of the belligerent one and critically wounds the she-croc, but in the process, Prescott’s dagger becomes electrified. No matter, he does not mind a little tingling zap here and there.

The battle progresses in the haphazard way Prescott expects from the group, an advantage narrowly growing. But then, a crocodile larger than Prescott had ever heard of or seen breaches the surface of the water and swallows Rift whole. Prescott falters for a second, seeing the moving bulge that is Rift moving on the surface of the crocodile belly. He prepares to rescue Rift, but even more suddenly than the attack, the beast’s belly shrinks, and standing 40 feet away, is Rift, covered in mucus, but otherwise looking happy; neat trick that one.

Prescott is feeling proud of his abilities to help, when suddenly a bolt of white light streaks from the altar, slamming into Felsmon. Realizing the battle is no longer a given, Prescott turns back to Noomar, getting in one of his wonderful sneak attacks from behind. Prescott glances over at Erik, hoping to find him still in one piece. Instead of attacking an archer, Prescott finds Erik, swords raised, attacking not an enemy, but attacking Prescott himself! “What do I have to do to protect these people from themselves,” Prescott wonders as he tries to evade Erik’s swords.

Stepping and leaping through venomous snakes, attacking and dodging, Prescott all the while watches as his companions take hit after hit. Erik becomes dazed, more than once, Felsmon is forced to use two of the magic jewels on his armour before slipping on the snakes and later becoming dominated, and Barrick almost dies, save for the healing potions he drinks.

Finally due in no small part to Prescott’s heroics, the tide turns. The beast Slitheral is sucked into the larger multi-being beast. Tira kills Noomar, and Felsmon kills Thunan. But then just as Rift determines a magical way to enhance her staff, Tira’s magic implodes and knocks Rift into the snakes. Why does this band stay together, surely there are better fighting companions to be found in any local pub.

An archer dazes Erik yet again. Enough is enough; Prescott begins to wonder if carrying the party is worth it. If they cannot dispel the archer, Prescott will do it for them. He deftly steps forward and, swiftly stealing the holy symbol from around the archer’s neck, watches as the altar changes focus and dominates the enemy. Now that is how that is done.

Prescott does give credit to Barrick, as he was able to rid all dominating and dazing effects with a single chant; neat trick that one. Prescott remembers it went like this, “Be the mayhem, death and destruction you wish to see in the world.” He files the saying away, wondering if he will be able to use it to similar effect in the future.

But before Erik can say thanks, the altar fries his mind yet again. Tired of the novelty, Prescott strides forward and destroys the altar. Expecting praise from Erik, Prescott watches incredulously as Erik turns away, runs, and dives head first into the healing waters.

Tira’s announcement of finding a prisoner and gold do little for Prescott, he knows he must leave the group and will most likely never know the outcome of the quest these folks are on. Seeing everything wrapped up, Prescott heads for the door. Stopping to look back, he can only laugh as Erik shatters the old wooden stairs with a careless jump, dropping the three girls into the snakes. Seeing Tira panic enough to actually fly off the floor is almost too much for Prescott. He shakes his head as he stops laughing and exits the room. Back in the room of the giant dead snakes, Prescott joins in the congratulations traded amongst the friends, secretly wondering how many will still be alive should he happen across them in the not too distant future.

Comments

Tira looks around at her companions and takes a step back from Rift, “Girlfriend, you are in sore need of a bath.” Laughing she hits Erik once again, “And you know I hate snakes, do that again and I will find another use for your swords, both of them.”

Suddenly a look of concern, almost panic, crosses her face, “The tail! We have to go back in for the dragon tail! Someone should stay with this poor girl whilst the rest of us go get me enough hide for 50 pairs of new boots.”

After a while, ...
 

With a sheepish look on his face, Erik recalls what he can of the last encounter. Dazed. Dominated. Dazed. And dazed again. “Ya! Let’s kill the evil lizard and recover the dragon’s tail!”, exclaims Erik.

After a while, ...
 

DM: In which room did the adventurers stop? In the snake room with Zehir’s symbol and the pool where nearby two flaming snakes and two crushgrip constrictors lie dead? Or in the cultists’ room where seven snaketongue cultists no longer walk the earth?
DM: Did the party try to take a five minute rest in that room?

After a while, ...
 

The adventurers are in the snake room and will attempt a five minute rest. However, Erik will first go and peek through the curtain to the cultist’s room. If all seems “normal” he will take his rest in the snake room behind a pillar so as to be concealed from anything coming through the curtain.

After a while, ...
 

DM: Much XP has been earned.
Snaketongue initiates and warriors: 2800, Flame snakes, crushgrip constrictors, and warded doors: 2000, gives 2800/5. = 560 per player
Inner sanctum + 360XP for excellent role playing: 5460/6. = 910 per player for a total of 1470 per player.
You previously had 22,626XP, so .now each player has 24,096. Closing in on 11th level and the Paragon Tier.

Erik sees nothing behind the curtain.
DM: Do the others rest in the alcoves? Is anyone else behind a pillar? I am assuming that Erik is south of the eastern most glowing pillar. North is towards the curtain.

After a while, ...
 

Rift will hide behind a snake body in the western alcove. In fact, she will hide under the snake body. Yep, can’t get much grosser than that. “Tira, want to hide under a snake?”

After a while, ...
 

“Ha ha.” Tira mock scowls at Rift, then moves to the empty eastern alcove to sit and be still, shuddering once at the thought of all those snakes.

After a while, ...
 

With a wink in his eye, Erik motions for the rescued farmer’s daughter, Xeriope (or whatever her name is), to come and rest by him. [DM: Does Erik detect anything odd about her, other than what one would expect from the ordeal she just went through? If all is okay, Erik will start his rest.]

After a while, ...
 

Erik studies the farmer’s daughter, Xeriope. Like the succubus who bore her likeness, she is beautiful. It is also clear after just a moment, that she is drugged and very supplicant to any suggestion. This explains the quickness with which she followed Erik’s directive to sit by her. She seeks the protection of both Erik and the wall.

Prescott moves to sit by Rift but not under the flame snake’s carcass.

DM: Where are Barrick and Felsmon? I am assuming they are in the squares adjacent the western blue glowing pillar, with Felsmon in the square closer to Erik and Barrick in the square closer to Tira.

After a while, ...
 

Erik’s temptations are kept at bay and instead he offers her some possible words of hope: “Xeriope, soon you will be back home. I know the mighty Captain Revince will rejoice in tears with your return. You must help us get out of here safely. You must shake off the evil elixirs that now course through your mind.”

Knowing that words only help so much, Erik whispers across the room to Rift asking her if she can perform any rituals or cast any spells that might help clear Xeriope’s mind.

[DM: Does Xeriope look like she might benefit from a healing potion?]

After a while, ...
 

Erik reflects on the benefits of a healing potion. He is certain that a healing potion would strengthen the maiden enough to resist the effects of the noxious poison that keeps her mind trapped.

After a while, ...
 

In a soft voice and with gestures Erik tells Felsmon that the young Xeriope is in dire need of a potion of healing. Erik strongly suspects that the paladin has a few extra potions.

[DM: If Felsmon obliges, Erik will indicate that he and the rest of the group would like an extra potion or two!]

After a while, ...
 

felsmon will give 2 healing potions to erik rift and tira and 1 to barrick and keep the last one for himself

After a while, ...
 

and 2 to prescott

After a while, ...
 

The noble dragonborn Felsmon plays Nick Jingle, and takes healing potions to his comrades and the dazed farmer’s daughter. He returns to his location behind the glowing pillar. The dim blue light permeates the room.
Erik convinces Xeriope to consume the potion. Drinking only at Erik’s strong suggestion, Xeriope’s eyes unglaze as the healing draught overcomes the effects of the mind-controlling poison. Xeriope talks to Erik in hushed tones, the look of the captive replaced by the look of the grateful rescuee. She tells him how a winged demon woman came into the family’s house, slew her father and captured her. She recalls evil ceremonies with snake-like beings chanting around her and snakes covering her body. Xeriope shudders, as does Tira from her resting place in the muddy alcove.
After about two minutes of the tale, just the adventurers were beginning to catch their breath, the waters of the pool burst forth as the giant crocodile squeezes out the two-staff wide murky waters. While all of the others were caught unawares by the stealthy reptilian’s attack, the Ranger’s preternatural senses detected some disturbance from the pool. Erik was able to draw his swords even as the great maw of the beast lunged at him. The huge mouth clamps down on the Ranger, grabbing him. The creature roars as Erik’s razor bracers bite back into him with their greatest effectiveness, even as the monstrous teeth close on the human (Erik takes 19 hp of damage and is grabbed; the Croc takes 10 hp from the bracers).

DM: All members of the party can take a complete set of actions. Rift is currently prone under a dead flame snake.
DM: Note no PC has had a chance to spend healing surges out of combat, as the rest was interrupted.

After a while, ...
 

note: felsmon only had 10 healing potions the farmer’s daughter was notincluded in who he gave potions too, unless Erik wants to share one of his

After a while, ...
 

Erik had gratefully accepted the valiant paladin’s healing elixirs and gave one to Xeriope.

Grabbed, again. The ranger is now familiar with this predicament and has learned to use his razor braces well. May his two swords sink even deeper into the evil crocodile’s flesh. With his torso trapped in the clenches of the beast’s teeth, Erik has a moment – just a moment – to stare it straight in the eye. It is cold. Yet is it just an animal? Erik knows that if it bleeds, it can be killed.

[DM: Erik will attempt to escape the grab: 2 with bracers, acrobatics (14) v. reflex. Next, he will mark the croc as his quarry. His standard action will be a careful strike (18 v. AC)(1d87 + 1d6)(crit:3d6) with his sacrificial long sword. If successful, Erik will use its enchantment to spend a healing surge and weaken it until the end of his next turn.]

As he strikes, Erik shouts to his companions, “Keep Xeriope safe!”

After a while, ...
 

Writhing enchanted swamp vines radiate two staff lengths away from monstrous reptilian making the muddy floor difficult to traverse. Erik, thinking not of his own predicament, but of the maiden, hopes that Xeriope moves away as the vines extend. He then focuses on the issue at hand. Or perhaps the issue at mouth.

Positioning his bracers in the teeth of creature, he turns and twists. Again, he thanks fortune for their razor sharp edges. As they cut into the creature’s mouth, the crocodile lessens his grip ever so slightly. At that moment, the Ranger breaks free.

In a breath, he studies the Croc and spies a weakness – a small gap in between the scaley plates. His aim is true but the near-escape and danger to Xeriope must have weighed on his mind. It is only a minor wound. But, for the magic of sword, it is enough. The personal strength leaves Erik, and the Crocodile is weakened.

In the moment that Erik studied the creature, he noticed one additional fact. All of the previous wounds that had been inflicted are now healed. Completely. There is not a trace of the axe blades or sword blades that struck it, except for some slight charring that has not healed where Rift’s fire sphere injured the creature.

Just a few feet away, Rift’s mind races as, beneath the snake, she hears the battle begin. She mentally reviews her powers and their status at the moment. The powerful fire sphere spell is spent and will not renew. Her most powerful teleport is spent. Wait. As she passes through that part of her mind that connects her to the Astral Sea, she shudders as she remembers how she used the most powerful part of her teleporting abilities, instantly moving through space from the inside of this very same creature to a platform in the teleport. Ah, if only she still had that power, it might be needed again. Even as she contemplates this, she realizes that this power remains within her! The creation of her new staff, the channeling of such energy in the same place where she had previously teleported, had an unanticipated benefit: it renewed her connection to the swiftest parts of the Astral Sea. If called upon, she could again teleport with seeing the location to which she was going at that moment.

DM: Erik inflicted 5 hp, but the Crocodile is weakened.
DM: Rift’s Daily teleport is not used.
DM: Tira, Barrick, Rift, Felsmon, and Prescott can all take actions.

After a while, ...
 

Rift thinks back to the awful battle. She remembers only too well being inside the crocodile. But wait, was it acid that was afflicting her? She wonders, also, did the channeling of the mighty energy also give access to the staff’s new power of resistance to fire/cold/acid/lightning?

After a while, ...
 

Tira looks at the charred section on the gigantic croc, if only she had a spell that dealt fire. But wait! She does! Tira knows her memory is weak, but forgetting one of her own spells seems a bit much. Could the snake fear have messed with her brain? But now is not the time for contemplation, Tira flicks her dagger and does her best to set the lizard on fire with an Explosive Pyre (14 vs Ref; 2d811 fire damage).

After a while, ...
 

Rift realizes that, indeed, if she were inside the crocodile again, she could channel the magic that enable the staff’s new power of resistance to acid if she were to control the magic the moment that acid touched her again.

Tira’s mind connects to the wild powers that she can harness. If only the glowing column weren’t in the way. She would have an unimpeded shot. Flames explode around the reptile. It tries to dodge, but it makes no difference as flames engulf the Croc. Oddly, Erik thinks, hmm, smells like roast chicken.

The Paladin isn’t thinking of food as his magic sword leaps from its scabbard, and he moves slowly through the difficult vines to engage the Crocodile. With the reptile distracted by Erik, and with the effects of the enchanted whetstone still limning the sword with the truest of blades, the Dragonborn strikes hard and punctures the tough scales.

Far from seriously wounded by these attacks, the Crocodile roars! He sniffs the air and looks intent to begin to move towards the Eladrin he previously swallowed.

DM: Barrick, Prescott, and Rift can still take actions.

After a while, ...
 

Extent of the difficult terrain created by the enchanted vines that Felsmon just waded through. The vines extend 2 staff lengths in all directions around the Croc:

SnakeRoom_round1.5

After a while, ...
 

Using all of her actions, Rift rips her +1 sword out its scabbard, shouting “Go back to the cesspool of a swamp where you were spawned, you overgrown lizard!” She teleports into the belly of the beast. Yuck, same guts as before. Holding her breath, as soon as she feels the terrible effects of the acid, she activates the latent power within her staff.

Then, letting go of her staff (from her research she knows this would be ineffective against the internals of the monster), she hacks, slashes, stabs, and generally causes mayhem from within. If she can, she will strike in the direction of the crocodile’s giant heart. “Ugh” she mutters to herself. “This had better be worth it.”

Rift assumes that the others are doing their part on the outside. She can only hold her breath for so long, and time is running out. “Fight!”

After a while, ...
 

Teleporting inside the belly of the Croc, Rift feels the pain of the creature’s digestive juices begin to eat away at her skin and rip away her clarity of mind and her magical abilities. Her staff glows a fiery red and her skin hardens like chalk against the acid. Rift knows this effect will last only a few seconds, though, and wonders just how long it will take her companions to slay the Croc. What if it dives under the water with her still in the belly?

Unperturbed, she stabs away at the Croc’s insides. She is horrified to find that the insides are just as protected as the outside. She shakes her head in dismay as she realizes that with her strength only a near perfect strike at some currently unseen weakness in the stomach lining would cause anything other than indigestion to this monster.

Then, the impetuous wizard realizes something else. Her brain is functioning far more swiftly and completely than it did the last time she was inside the beast. Perhaps by having avoided the reptile’s maw and throat or perhaps by resisting the damage of the stomach acid, she has left the pages of her textbook and has complete access to her magical powers. Perhaps it is because she is here by choice and because the creature did not swallow her and exert its own considerable powers on her. While she cannot teleport away, as she cannot see her destination from inside the stomach, all of her other powers and abilities remain at her command.

Outside the Crocodile, Felsmon marvels at the rash actions of the insane wizard. Still, he wonders with a smirk, what a fireball would look like inside the Crocodile.

After a while, ...
 

Prescott moves diagonally out of the alcove to get a clear shot at the croc and flings his dagger, creating a large gash near the monster’s eye.

After a while, ...
 

Barrick manuevers through the vines to arrive just to the north of Felsmon. His axe blade reflects the blue glow from the nearby column and is guided to a chink in the brute’s armor. His blows are more than equal to those of his comrades in arms.

After a while, ...
 

DM: Do any ongoing bonuses remain from what each player received via Barrick’s warlord call of being the mayhem you want to see in the world?

After a while, ...
 

With a painful rumble in his belly, and the tasty Eladrin gone, the scorched Croc looks at the three warriors that confront it. The human was crunchy but tasted good! The jaws close on the arm of the Ranger but clamp shut as Erik deftly avoids them.

DM: All PCs can take a full set of actions.

After a while, ...
 

Rift has unfortunately used up most of her most exciting spells. Unless by some divine magic she has regained her fireball?! If so, she let’s fly. If not, then sheets of blue flame appear in front of her, shooting upwards in a scorching burst. Hopefully far enough away to not cause damage to her. She continues to shoot scorching bursts, until the creature is a smoldering mass of tasty crocodile.

After a while, ...
 

With weakened quarry so close at hand, Erik’s swords are employed in a “cut and run” maneuver. First he makes two attacks 16 v. AC][1d87][HQ:1d6][Crit:3d6] and then he shifts back 3 staff lengths, lest the vines impede his progress.

After a while, ...
 

Barrick feels the need to extract Rift from the monster’s guts, knowing that she might just have ported in there with no ready avenue of escape. He swings his axe over his head and down at the creature’s neck in a Brute Strike (14 v. AC / 3W = 3d10 + 8 / reliable).

After a while, ...
 

Rift’s companions are amazed and disturbed as fire comes out of the mouth of the Crocodile. Rift,finding herself in total darkness, cast light on her staff before releasing her spell, but having no idea which direction she was facing, let the magic go where it would. She just manages to avoid the spells effect on herself but can definitely feel the heat. Erik can smell the charred breath of the reptile to groans as though as he has eaten a most unpleasant piece of meat.

Erik distracted by the flames in his first attempt at wounding the creature, capitalizes on its pain in the second strike, doing minimal damage but inflicting more wounds nonetheless. He is pleased to see that no healing occurred on the Croc’s body since his last strikes. In the vines, Erik is able to shift one staff length to his northwest.

Felsmon’s sword swings at the reptile, but he is not able to find an opening in the scales.

Barrick studies the flames as they come out of the mouth. He spots a weakness in the soft tissue beneath the exposed teeth. His axe sinks in and rends away teeth. Blood begins to flow freely from the charred mouth.

Prescott looks to attack the same weak area. His dagger flies but misses. Luckily, the enchanted weapon returns to his hand after bouncing off the steel-hard teeth of the monster.

DM: Tira can still take an action.
DM: The Croc is bloodied.

After a while, ...
 

Tira steps forwards so as to have a clear shot, but still remains out of the vine’s zone. She fires off her wonderful Chaos Bolt (+ 14 vs Will; 1d10 + 11 psychic damage).

After a while, ...
 

The Crocodile twists and turns his head to try to shake the chaotic magic bolts tearing at his mind. Rift loses her footing inside the reptile. It is no use. The sorceress has the monster in her power. His brain bounces in his skull, and he roars in pain.

The half-elven sorceress is too far away for the Croc to exact revenge, but the dwarven axe that caused him such pain earlier is right before him. His weakened condition has worn off, and the monster relishes his returning strength. His jaws clamp tight on the dwarven fighter Barrick. The sharp teeth penetrate the dwarf’s armor.

DM: Barrick takes 10 points of damage and is grabbed.

From her small stomach chamber, Rift rights herself as best she can. Rift feels the acid begin to eat away at the chalky barrier of protection laid down by the elemental staff. The next time the reptile’s stomach rumbles, she will feel its pain. But, will she also be dazed? Time will tell. In the meantime, she thinks she can see the direction of the throat, as though the creature’s mouth is open. She fires her scorching burst.

Barrick cannot believe that flames are coming out of the Croc’s mouth again, and this time with him stuck in the jaws. Ah, these are Rift’s flames. He has felt the magic fire so often, it is like an old tooth ache. The stench of the roasted reptile tongue almost makes the dwarf retch, as it reminds him of a table he once lay under. Then, he remembers the ale that got him there. Good times.

DM: Barrick takes 9 points of fire damage.

Without Erik’s distracting the Crocodile, Felsmon realizes he will have an even harder time hitting the reptile. As the creature moves with the dwarf in its mouth, the Paladin concentrates and draws on the power of the whetstone and the dragonborn that made his sword and made him the warrior that he is. Felsmon’s bladework is true and turns the stream of blood flowing from the Crocodile into a river.

Barrick sees a dagger from Prescott fly by him missing the Crocodile wildly. He then returns his concentration to his axe and considers whether hitting the thing might be easier while in its mouth.

Blood flows freely from the gashes that now cover the front of the crocodile. Rift can see ichor flowing in the stomach as well.

DM: Barrick, Tira, and Erik can all still take actions.

After a while, ...
 

DM: Tira’s attack roll was odd.

After a while, ...
 

When all you have is bread and butter, you eat bread and butter. Well, Erik tries to give the nasty croc a taste of it in the form of a twin strike. May the croc choke on a large helping. (16 v. AC, 1d83, HQ:1d6, Crit:3d6)

After a while, ...
 

Barrick, caught in the bloody mouth of the creature and feeling his strength receding, attacks desperately with his axe. (Daily: Shift The Battlefield, 2W = 2d10 + 8, half damage on a miss. Also, if it matters, this is a close burst 1 – maybe hit the thing in more than one place – and Barrick can slide it two squares on a hit, if his feet are still on the floor)

After a while, ...
 

It is good when you happen to like bread and butter. Seeing the first one do damage, Tira flicks off another chaos bolt, then moves one square NE (toward the curtain).

After a while, ...
 

Barrick swings his axe around trying to get a bead on the fleshiest parts of the scaly exterior. The creature has him clamped tightly. He just can’t get his to do more than nick the reptile. It must be the memory of that smell.
Erik studies his quarry, looking for a weakness. Tira marvels at how the chaotic nature of the twirling blades reflects the blue glow of the columns. Even the monster seems to notice as it avoids Erik’s first attack but is not so lucky with his second strike. Blood pours freely from the gashes Erik inflicts in the monster’s sides.
The blue glow inspires Tira. Her chaotic magic dances straight to the small brain of the Crocodile. It nearly groans like a human from the intense pain. Its eyes turn red from the blood behind them.

DM: Tira’s roll was odd.

Then, the crocodile’s stomach churns. The acid has gotten past Rift’s barrier. But, the wizard is not dazed, only injured. Her mental faculties are fully present. She realizes that as the acid continues to drain her health, its magical abilities will eventually impair her mind, just as though she had been swallowed.

DM: Rift takes 10 hp of acid damage.

The dwarf then feels the full weight of the mighty Crocodile’s jaw clamp around him. His armor holds and his shield takes some of the impact of the dagger-like teeth. Definitely, the effect of those teeth could have been much worse.

DM: Barrick takes 12 hp of damage.

With the crocodile’s mouth occupied, Prescott realizes that he can slip past Erik and get to the Crocodile while it is distracted by Felsmon. He moves quickly and deftly weaves his wave past the Ranger. The Croc looks helplessly as the Elf passes by him. With the dwarf in its mouth, it can do nothing.

The elvish rogue rips his dagger across the scales, drawing deep red lines in the regions that Erik had already traced out. The Crocodile is reeling, breathing hard, but it does not release the dwarf.

After a while, ...
 

DM: Damage totals – Rift has taken 10, Erik 19, Barrick 31 hp.

After a while, ...
 

The Croc begins to turn toward the Elf who has just wounded him so fiercely. As it does, Felsmon avails himself of his enemy’s distraction. He sinks his sword deep under belly of the reptile. Rift hears a sound very much like burp. In a fraction of a second later, she knows that the Crocodile is no longer breathing. Feeling the release of some the beast’s strength and seeing its eyes glaze over, Barrick pushes the jaws apart and begins to hack away at the head. Erik and Felsmon join in. Soon, a large enough bloody hole is made that Rift can wiggle through.

DM: What does the party do now?

After a while, ...
 

Um, can Rift take a bath in the pool? “Avert your eyes everyone!”

After a while, ...
 

“Friends”, solemnly states Erik, “we have unfinished work.” He gestures back through the door to the room of the recent great battle. The beast still could be completed and turned into a weapon that destroys all of Kengistan. Erik suggests that they go back in, search the room more thoroughly and then find a way to destroy the beast. “Someone should keep watch”, Erik finally states, also indicating that he can do so unless his skills of perception are better used in the search.

[DM: If there are no objections, the group would like to go and finish business.]

After a while, ...
 

“Let’s do it!” says Rift. We will go back in and kill the beast.

After a while, ...
 

Barrick (down to 17 hp) sits on the carcass of the beast to examine and nurse his wounds.

After a while, ...
 

DM: Aside from Barrick, is anyone else going to take a short rest before heading into the room?

After a while, ...
 

Erik rests behind the beast, on its south side.

After a while, ...
 

If anyone is resting, Tira is resting as well, back in her protected alcove.

After a while, ...
 

Felsmon cleans the Crocodile’s blood off of his blade. The time passes slowly but uneventfully. After the passage of the five minutes, the adventurers feel rested. Their powers and skills are renewed.

Felsmon is saddened to see two of the magical gems placed in his armor by the Minotaur are now dark.

DM: Healing surges can be spent. Effects that end with the encounter have now terminated.

After a while, ...
 

The enchanted vines stop their wriggling slowly, continuing to present themselves as obstructions, as though the mystical plants did not know that their power source was dead until several minutes after the fatal blow.

Rift cannot help but ponder the meaning of such magical longevity. Does death come slower when such power of Zehir is close by? Or does the ancient Dwarven magic, that is so far from removed from the Gilden Age of the Ironfells, that the party has seen such power from here on the Serpent Temple grounds, does it pervade this place so deeply that even death is kept waiting, as it is for Warbella the Anvil Guardian in the Hammerfell deep below?

After a while, ...
 

Having finished his rest, Erik gets up and moves to the southern door. He still wears the symbol of Zehir. If he perceives nothing at the door, he will reenter the large chamber, bow drawn, with plans to search for treasure and a way to destroy the beast.

After a while, ...
 

DM: Does anyone or everyone accompany Erik? Does anyone, perhaps Prescott, stay with Xeriope?

After a while, ...
 

Erik suggests that Xeriope be brought back into the large chamber, so as to have the group’s protection. He also thinks that someone should stand guard and he offers his skills for that role.

After a while, ...
 

We all agree with Erik. “Good plan! You guard Xeriope.” Rift winks at Erik. We’ll make our way back into the large chamber, being careful to avoid the foul water, and the snakes. Rift will study the beast carefully, looking for a weakness. She wonders, if the beast were freed of his shackles, would it try to move and attack? Could it be pushed into the pit of molten metal perhaps?

After a while, ...
 

Rift ponders the Beast. It did seem to have several leg-like supports that could render it ambulatory. But, its motions and grabbing on Slitheral and on the Yuan-Ti archer were so unfocused and random, she doesn’t isn’t sure it could do right-left, right-left or even left-right, left-right. Maybe it could waddle, those chains might be there for a reason.

Thinking about its size, assuming that it is composed of 111 humanoids, with their combined strength, Erik, Felsmon, and Barrick, they probably cannot push that much if the average weight of each humanoid is about 100 lbs. But, if the magical amalgamation has lessened the weight of the contained humanoids has been drained to closer to 60 lbs, then they just might. Plus, there is the weight of the elemental bindings to consider. How to estimate that? The magnificent brain of the wizard figures that those bindings cannot be more than 100 lbs each, and she remembers seeing 3 on the Beast. Oh, it’ll be close.

DM: In what order to the adventurers enter the room? With Erik guarding Xeriope, I am assuming they are in the back. Felsmon and Barrick first, Rift and Tira next, Erik and Xeriope last?

After a while, ...
 

Erik momentarily entrusts the safety of Xeriope with Barrick, based not only Barrick’s proven combat skills but that in truth, opposites do not attract. He moves to the door and before opening it, tries to perceive if anything has changed on the other side. Has it?

If everything is okay then Erik will motion as such and the others can enter. Barrick and Felsmon can go first, followed by Rift and Tira. He will enter last, with Xeriope. Once inside he will position himself on the far side of the water with bow drawn, ready to fire at anything that enters. Xeriope will be behind him. Only when Rift indicates that it is necessary will Erik move to help with whatever plan is devised to kill the beast.

After a while, ...
 

At the door, Erik can tell nothing. Cold, solid stone meets his ear. Even once the door is open, only utter blackness greets the party.

After a while, ...
 

Upon entering:

InnerTempleRound1

After a while, ...
 

Just as the group gets ready to enter the door, Prescott says, ”I’m sure there is something worthwhile for going back in there, but I’ve got to be heading back to the King and make my report. There’s a reward I’m needing, and time has passed more than I expected. If you are ever in the Elven woods, be sure to tell the guard that you are friends of Prescott. That’ll keep you from getting shot.” With that, the rogue tosses his symbol of Zehir to Felsmon, “Try wearing it this time”, and heads off.

Turning to the door, it again opens into utter blackness after Erik kneels with the symbol of Zehir.

Stepping through, with Xeriope trailing behind Erik (he marvels at her willingness to follow into the blackness), the temple room is only somewhat as Barrick remembers it when last he left just about 10 minutes ago.

A thin smoke, smelling of roasted flesh, pervades the large chamber. Smells better to Barrick than the last smoking scent he smelled, that roasted tongue of Crocodile. There is no hint of magical flames in this odor. Reminds the dwarf of a good boar roast he had one time. Enough reminiscing. On the southeast corner, the warrior sees bright flames over the region of molten metal that show an outline of the charred remains of what must be the huge crocodilian Yuan-ti, some other snake-like body, and some humanoid figures.

In his robes, the Yuan-Ti Master Noomar, looking alive and well, chants over the flames with his back to the group. A female Yuan-ti stands close by in red leather armor. Tira notices that the armor nicely sets off her green scales. Two Yuan-ti, with their backs mostly to the party, are on either side of the altar holding crossbows. Felsmon is not pleased to see that it has been crudely re-assembled. The latter three Yuan-Ti are familiar to Erik’s eyes as part of the “Strike party” he spied while the adventurers rested in the nasty Troglodyte room. The female is the one, from Felsmon’s translation, Erik identified as the Strike leader.

The large Yuan-Ti, Nathis, whom Erik almost fondly remembers for the scolding he received when he tried to abscond with mutton, stands near the edge of the moat looking into the water and saying something in Draconic, rather forlornly, Erik surmises. Felsmon hears that he is using the words to call for a beloved friend. All notice the sad nature of the call.

Just past the altar, through the smoke, Barrick can perceive the form of the purple winged monster, the Berbalang that called itself “We”. It looks as though it has been in a significant battle and is near death, if not already claimed by the Nine Hells or worse. Its wings are torn, and its face and body is covered with the black ichor Barrick recalls from their previous encounter. The many hands of the Beast touch the “We” and seem to be pulling it in.

Rift realizes that just standing in the smoke, it is difficult to breathe. Tira immediately considers that fighting in the smoke of any kind, even casting spells, would take considerable endurance. Everyone’s eyes sting.

No one in the room seems to have noticed the party, despite the creak of the wooden bridge. The crackles of the flames are loud even to the group from Nentir.

After a while, ...
 

Note that the northernmost staircase (north is toward the adventurer’s backs) remains demolished.
It is not clear from the smoke if snakes still cover the area south of Nathis.

After a while, ...
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