Saturday, 18 February 2012

The Shapechangers: Chapter 7

The Lord's Tomb is one of the City of Greyhawk's many burial sites. However located as it is within the High Quarter it is the place to be interred for the high and mighty of the city. New crypts are always being dug here because of the demand.

The party arrive at the location, negotiate themselves past some bored guards and fan out into the complex. Finding nothing of note or suspicion in the first couple of tiers the group descend down to level 3 and to the area rife with builders completing and excavating new tombs.

The builders are initially interested in the new arrivals but soon lose interest as the party inform of their intentions. Several perception rolls are made to determine evil doings within the vicinity with varying degrees of sucess.

Tekcos Tik discovers a series of crates similar to the ones found in McGloogan's warehouse and with further investigation finds a cunningly crafted secret door nearby. The halfling Dirkwood, nose to the ground and sensors on full alert is somewhat less fruitful. He does manage to back himself into a Velunaun Marble statue knocking it over and into more statutes that topple to the ground and shatter into tiny pieces.

The builders are outraged, what the bloody hell do you think your doing! The Bard also verbally lambasts the halfling after remembering the rogue's inclinations to destroy ceramic sculptures (bringing up the olde wound of those priceless urns that Dirkwood destroyed in a fit of childish pique during the campaign Against the Giants many years ago).

The halfling simply shrugs and tells the mob to go get a life and send any bill to the Mayor of Greyhawk. The builders march off in disgust saying they'll take their grievances to the door of the Mayor's Office! (but probably not before grabbing an early lunch and then leching and jeering at passing women).

Anyway, back to that secret door that Tekcos the Brave had found. Before informing the other party members of his discovery, the erstwhile psioncist gives the door a once over looking for anything that might act as an opening mechanism. He suceeds and promptly opens the door.

An immediate wave of arcane energy pulses through his body and expands outwards. The other party members sense this disturbance also and come running to see what Tekcos has done. They converge at his locale to find the secret door standing ajar but knowing that some alarm has been sent to whoever resides within. There is much chastisement!

Passing within the threshold provided by the secret door, the party encounters a series of old musty, moss covered, stairs descending downwards. Why is it always downwards laments the claustrophobic dwarf Ulric Von Himmler. More importantly, interjects the Bard, why is this moss growing here?, where does it get it's nutrients?

Let me answer that question with another question replies the DM...

SHUT UP! 8-)

The party form some semblance of order and descend the stairs in single file. There are a few mishaps, slips, trips, falls during the descent but nothing to warrant more than a sentence of description. The stairs level off and the party then traverse a tunnel that eventually opens out into a vast and musty smelling cavernous tomb. A tomb crisscrossed with a shroud of spider webs. Dense and impenetrable. The boys get to work with fire and burn a path through.

Moving ever onwards through the spidery maze, the party come upon a series of columns, sepulchres and tombs set upon a raised dais. Adjacent to the dais are 2 stone table-like structures and upon one of these lies what looks like the eviscerated remains of a hill giant. A pile of bloody carcasses, which even from this distance are quite clearly human in shape and form, lie nearby the gutted giant. Just before the dias area there appears to a series of pits of unknown depth and crisscrossed with webbing. Roars, rattles and other bestial sounds emerge from within them.

As the party gaze upon the strange macabre scene before them and begin to wonder if they slipped down through some fissure of reality into a Call of Cthulhu session, they spy a lone figure moving furtively towards the butchered giant.

I wonder you that is, states Caerendil. 'Yeah' snort the taciturn Dirkwood in reply. 'Whoever he is he's a dead un' interjects Ulric hefting his hammer, Agreed agrees Sir Kelly unsheathing his sword. 'What is the fool doing?' asks KC in hushed whispers....

There is no expected retort to question from the sixth member of the party. The party turn their heads in unison to stare at the space they've mentally set aside for the figure of Tekcos Tik. He is not there. The party turn their heads back in unison to stare at the distant forlorn figure nearing the bloody table.

Is that who we think it is?

Tekcos Tik, brave undaunted scion of psion (10xp Sukh 8-)) approaches the scene of carnage. He carefully checks the two pits near the table to see if anything horrible resides within ... it pit contains a creature that memory states is a Displacer Beast (chorus of 'Orrrrrr' and intakes of breaths from distant group), the other pit contains a massive gigantic rattlesnake. Tekcos edges away from the pits and towards the bloody table and it's morbid contents.

A green ray of light shoots out from the dais area and smite the lurking Psioncist squarely in the chest. Oof...considerable damage and ongoing poison damage. Teckos is staggered by the blast and scans the area for the origin of the attack. A voice from the dais area rumbles 'Kill the interlopers my pets' and then all hell breaks loose.

2 humanoid, rotting forms rise up from behind stone sepulchres and stagger towards Tekcos Tik. Several big, fat, well fed Blade Spiders descend from the webbed ceiling to attack isolated members of the party (KC & the Bard).

Tekcos recovered somewhat from the initial onslaught, blasts one of the shambling forms with a Telekinetic Punch. The psionic attack crushes the ribcage of the approaching creature and it collapses to the floor. Euphoria is short lived however as from within the creature's shattered body a multitude to tiny spiders emerge and angle towards the stunned psioncist.

A new figure, elven in form (in fact Drow) and clad in dark leathers stands upright upon the dais.

He raises a rod and attacks the psioncist with more arcane magics. Attacked from three sources Tekcos Tik will be hard put to stay amongst the living this day.

Ulric and Sir Kelly seeing the psioncist's predicament rush to his aid (well as fast anyone can rush to anyone's aid when moving at SPEED 5). Running past the pits they are assaulted from above by a vast net of sticky gooey strands of webbing that arrests their forward momentum and leaves the pair immobilsed. A gigantic spider descends from the ceiling and angles towards the trapped pair to begin the feasting!

The fighting ebbs and flows for some time, KC and the Bard (surely the name of a hit 80's TV programme?) tackle the blade spiders in the web maze with a good degree of sucess. Tekcos and Sir Kelly team up to blast both Tomb Spider Swarms to oblivion. Ulric trades meaty blows with the big giant Tomb Spider mama near the pits ... and Dirkwood, well the halfling doesn't sully his blades for some time before finally deciding to leap into the fray to attack the Drow Arachnomancer on the dais...after initially boasting of his unblemished status the stout halfling is soon sorely oppressed 8-)

Sometime during the battle Keemor the mage arrives with the tomb complex but there is little for him to do other that provide good feasting for the remaining Blade Spiders. The isolated mage is soon cornered, attacked and mashed up pretty goooood. 8-)

Bad DM.

Eventually the Drow Arachnomancer is beaten down and killed. Likewise the two spider swarms and after the Tomb Spider mama is dispatched the remaining spiders retreat to the sanctuary of the ceiling leaving the party to search the area unmolested.

All the pits are examined and in addition to the Displacer Beast and the Giant Rattlesnake the party discover other incarcerated beasts, namely a Norker (which Keemor spends some quality time terrorising), a Owlbear (who provided some help during the fight) and a creature that no one can identify and is simply labelled 'Fannyface' (much to it's chagrin).

What to do with these creatures?

And will someone please stop Keemor doing those things to that poor Norker!

Behind the dais is another humaniod body laid out on a stone table. A nearby pedestal holds a weighty tome lying open. Upon examination, the body on the table is revealed to be a unconscious (poisoned) but most definitely alive Elf and the book on the pedestal is found to contain an ancient Ritual of 'Polymorphing'.

Hmmm...the party piece together the many fragments of information within the crypt to gain an insight into the dealings of the 'The Shapechangers' gang.

The quartet of evil doers working in unison, would mug humans or preferably elves within the streets of Greyhawk. The victims probably selected beforehand by Imogen Gillet working under her guise as a barmaid at the Green Dragon Inn.

The gang would then take the unconscious target back to their lair in the Lord's Tomb and using the Ritual of Polymorphing, the Drow Arachnomancer (Clannair Blackshadow) would transform the unfortunate victim into the desired form. Which would then be promptly killed and then harvested for the relevant organic materials.

The bodily remains would be fed to the tomb spiders whilst the useful materials would be picked up by McGloogan after he made his regular deliveries of building supplies to the crypt complex.

He would then ship the materials to the Guild of Wizardry for there use as potion components.

Harral Shastri, the Warlock would then collect the monies for the transaction and distribute it amongst the group. Ingenious! Several party members discuss if the operation is *really* all that bad and wonder if ... the Bard and Sir Kelly say NO!


Ok we've sussed the plot but still no sign of the Viscount.

The party fan out to check every nook and cranny of the underground tomb. A weakened and beaten Viscount Kerner is soon discovered down at the bottom of a deep and narrow oubliette.

He is soon rescued and healed up somewhat by Sir Kelly.

During these travels Ulric comes upon a suspicious looking cocoon suspended from a strand of web high in the ceiling. Sending furtive glances left and right and seeing that the coast is clear, the stout dwarf heft his shield and after a few practice abdomen twists unleashes the disc at the strand holding the cocoon.

The magical shield hurtles through the musty air of the tomb and angles towards the spider strand ... which it misses ... as it's trajectory curves back and towards Ulric, Dirkwood Littlelegs arrives in front of the dwarf to see what the commotion is all about...


Dirkwood Littlelegs is knocked prone by an attack from behind. A clattering beside him reveals Ulric's shiny shield rattling to a halt. The halfling looks at the poker faced dwarf with a suspicious gleam in his eye. Ulric smiles blithely and just shrugs.

The clattering sound alerts more party members whom rush to arrive at the scene and see what Ulric has no doubt found ... eventually someone spies the airborne cocoon. They look back accusingly at the doe eyed Ulric. The dwarf shrugs again before hurling his shield once more and this time snapping the offending strand cleanly. Inside the spidery cocoon is a goodly amount of gold, gems, potions and elixirs (some now smashed!).

The items are divved up in short order. The pit creatures polymorphed back into their original forms and then the party escort these rescued souls together with Viscount Kerner from the confines of this stale and unholy tomb to the bright and god blessed streets of Greyhawk. The party head with the Viscount to the Embassy of Urnst where there is much rejoicing at his homecoming. The Ptreides family are overjoyed, as are the Greyhawk authorities including it's Mayor.

Once rewards have been rightly accorded and the resulting joyous celebrations have died down a bit, the Mayor of Greyhawk Nerof Gasgal take Caerendil to one side and informs him of a small problem down at the Guild of Wizardry that the Bard and his party may be able to help him with...

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