TOREN 2002 - Stories|
Recent additions (08/13/02)
Regional map including the Highwall Area (Region B14) (jpeg, 310 kb)
Forge of Fury
Rappan Athuk to First Temple of Orcus
They traveled beyond the ruined temple of Orcus to the fifth level of Rappan Athuk. There they found a gate that guarded a flight of steps down to the sixth level. The gate was flanked on each side by two soot black pillars and a huge superheated vat of bubbling, burning fat. Gregor dispelled the magic that kept one of the vats hot long enough for the party to go through the gate beyond them. Past the gates a set of stairs descended 100 feet then deposited the party in a rough rock hewn passage that split into two passages immediately.
Krillin scouted down both passages and reported back that they each split into multiple passages. The party picked one and Krillin scouted ahead. Krillin did not come back as soon as he should and the party began to worry. More time past and there was no sign of Krillin. Krillin went back to report to the party but when he turned the corner where he had left them, they were not there. The party and Krillin had entered a maze with random teleporters. They searched for hours through the winding passages. Krillin had one close call. He heard a large animal up ahead and quickly hid. From around the corner came a huge dog. It had short, rust-red fur and its markings, teeth, and tongue were all sooty black. It sniffed the air once then looked right at Krillin. Krillin took off running, trusting in his boots of striding and springing to save him. Just as he fled, he caught a glimpse of an alien looking humanoid walking just behind the hound from hell. The thing stood 6 feet tall. Its flesh was rubbery and mauve and glistened with some sort of slime. Its head looked like a four-tentacled octopus, made all the more horrible by a pair of bloated, white eyes. its mouth, a revolting thing like a lamprey's maw, dripped with an oily slime. It looked at Krillin as he fled.
Finally the party joined up together. They spent the greater part of the day mapping out this maze and the one that lied in the other direction. They took a look past each of the mazes but it was already 11pm by the time they were done so they decided they should retreat and rest for the night. They made their camp on a landing on the stairs between levels 5 and 6. They were harried through the night by stirges, then rats, then huge spiders. They awoke the next day and prepared to press on.
They decided that they would go up to the top levels of the dungeon and rest through the day. The next morning, Gregor readied six fly spells in preparation for returning to Highwall. Before they left the dungeon, they decided to explore the spider caves that they believed were on the same level as the mazes. They hoped that they would find a way around the mazes, they were not that lucky. As they reentered the spider caves they were attacked by about a dozen huge spiders, spiders the size of elephants. They killed these and began to explore the cave. There were spider webs and spider egg sacs everywhere. The baby spiders inside were as big as small dogs and there were hundreds of them! The party began to burn each one systematically as they moved through the cave. After traveling a short distance, they discovered a bridge of sorts made out of spider silk. It connected two large openings on opposite sides of the cave. As they approached the bridge, they were attacked by four more huge spiders. They killed these then moved on, not exploring the openings high up on the cave walls. Finally the huge cave came to an end and the party was forced to retrace their steps. On their return trip, they found another huge spider on the bridge. The thing shot a ray from its eyes that turned Maynard to stone. Then it shot a bolt of lightning from its eyes that caught Gregor square in the chest and almost killed him. The party rushed toward the thing and when they got close they discovered that it was not an actual spider but some sort of hellish construct. Gregor hammered it with magic missiles and the fighters drew out their bows. The thing fell quickly to the party's onslaught before it could fire off any more rays.
Before they left, Krillin decided he would explore the two caves that the spider silk bridge connected with the help of Marcus and Artok. Gregor and Malkith stayed below and guarded the statue that was once Maynard. One of the caves lead to a door. When Krillin opened it he found four rat men and two huge spiders waiting for him. Then from out of nowhere a woman appeared. She had just cast a spell which confused the mind of Artok who was not himself for the rest of the battle and just seemed to blindly attack anything that was close. The woman was beautiful at first glance, until Krillin noticed the vestigial spider legs growing out of her side then the fact that her skin was hard and chitinous. Krillin and Marcus called for help. Gregor cast a fly spell and Malkith downed a potion of spider climb, then they both rushed to their aid. The battle with the spiders and rat men was quick and easy and the party was pressing the spider woman. Then just as they thought they had her, she disappeared. All was quite for a couple of seconds then the sky-ripping sound of lighting erupted behind the party. They ran back and found Gregor lying dead on the ground. Beyond him, on the spider silk bridge, stood the spider woman. She had a venomous look in her eyes like she savored the death she had caused and would kill the rest of the party if she could. She flew off the bridge then hovered in the middle of the cavern and turned to cast more spells at the party.
Malkith, who had drank a potion of spider climbing earlier, climbed across the ceiling and dropped onto her. He caught hold of her and grappled with her. He was able to stop her from casting more of her spells. The two fought viciously with Malkith pummeling and the spider woman biting with venom covered fangs. The rest of the party fired arrows into the flying grapple trusting that Malkith could deflect any that were coming his way. Finally, they overcame her and Malkith held on as she gently floated to the cave floor.
Maynard was a statue and Gregor was dead. Now the party had to hike back to Highwall. Before they left, they dragged the statue of Maynard to Max's lair and asked Max to cover the statue with garbage. In return they gave him some nice, succulent spider bodies to feast on.
On their trip back to Highwall, they ran into two hill giants. The hill giants closed on them and began speaking in their own strange language. The only word the party could make out was "Gudmund." Krillin circled around behind the giants unseen then the party attacked and killed them.
Once back in Highwall, they got Gregor raised from the dead and they purchased a scroll that they could use to restore Maynard to flesh.
They returned to Rappan Athuk were they got Maynard then flew back to Highwall, once again a full party. They spent about a month in Highwall before returning to Rappan Athuk to explore further.
They finally returned to Rappan Athuk on Sunday the 21st of Sumsar 7409 AR. They continued their exploration of the sixth level. As they were traveling through a large cave a spectral form emerged from out of a large column in the middle of the cave. The thing looked to have once been a merchant but its face was now distorted into a terrible rage. It attacked Maynard and drained away a good portion of his life. After the attack, Maynard was unable to heal himself, so the party was forced to return to Highwall once again.
They returned to Rappan Athuk on Craftday the 5th of Dursar 7409 AR and proceeded back to level 6 were they had fought the trolls almost a year earlier. Had they really spent almost a whole year exploring Rappan Athuk? The cave was a large one with an underground river running through it. The river split in two and surrounded an island in the center of the cave before merging and diving back into the far rock wall. They found that new trolls had taken up residence in the old troll lair but this time they slew them all without any getting away. With the trolls dead and burning the party decided to explore the river. It disappeared into a low-ceilinged channel. Maynard cast a water walking spell on each of the party members and they explored downstream. The river was swift and descended quickly. After traveling for about 15 minutes it slowed and split into two channels. The channels flowed to two sides of a large column and a beach before disappearing back into two separate tunnels.
At the far end of the beach on the edge of the left channel were moored two boats. Krillin could just make out the twinkle of gold ore piled up on the beach then he was surprised by two goblin rogues. Krillin was ahead of the rest of the party and soon found himself surrounded by four goblin rogues as two more appeared out of the shadows. The party rushed forward when they heard Krillin's cries for help and got to the scene just in time to save him. The goblins dispersed and tried to make it to the boats but were killed. Krillin impaled the last one on his duom as it leapt for the boats.
The party began to load the boats with the gold ore that was on the beach. Just as they had one boat loaded they heard a roar and a splash and a huge troll came exploding down one of the river channels. Soon two more trolls joined the first. They fought with great skill and rage and if it was not for the aid of Gregor's spells the fighters might not have been able to stop them. After one fireball too many, the trolls retreated back down the river channel that they had emerged from. The party hurried to load the second boat in case the trolls came back or even worse brought reinforcements. Just as they had the second boat loaded and began heading back up river, the same three trolls rushed from out of the river channel on the other side of the beach. The two tunnels must have connected somewhere. The trolls fought viciously, but Maynard put an end to them with a blast from his rod of thunder and lightning. The sound of the thing and the dying screams of the trolls echoed throughout the large cave they were in, and a number of stalactites fell into the water. Quickly they grabbed the boats and fled the cave. They took their newfound wealth all the way back to Highwall.
They returned to Rappan Athuk on Seaday the 9th of Dursar 7409AR and went back to level 8. They found a stairway that descended steeply in the dark corner of the goblin beach. Krillin explored it and found that it descended about 200 feet deeper into Rappan Athuk. They decided they would rather explore the two channels of the river on this level then go down the stairs. Once again they all had a water walking spell affecting them so they could walk right down the channel. They found the cave that must have been the lair of the trolls that they had killed. Next they found a large beach and cave. When they explored the cave they were attacked by a dozen huge white scorpions. The scorpions were each almost 10 feet long. After killing the scorpions, they remembered the rumor they had heard that "Scorpions guard the way to a fell king." They found the scorpion den in the back of the cave and a passage high up on the back wall. They destroyed the scorpion eggs and then went down the passage.
The passage sloped up steeply then entered a rough cave. The cave was empty but had two other exits. One was walled up with crude brick and mortar. The other dropped off into darkness and had a statue of a rat perched on its edge. The rat statue was extremely life-like right down to each individual whisker. It had to have been petrified to look this perfect. Krillin decided to investigate. He climbed over the rat and down the cliff. He reached the floor 60 feet below then took a couple of steps forward. After he did he felt the stare of a terrible creature. He looked to his left and could just make out a single great eye 10 feet above the ground with a toothy maw beneath it and wild wavy hair above it. He could not see the body of this strange cyclops, however. Krillin new he had to get out of there in a hurry and downed a potion of flying. Strangely, the potion did not work and Krillin was forced to run and climb the wall back to the party. The giant eye followed him. As it got closer, Krillin could see that it had no body. The eye was in the center of an 8-foot diameter sphere and what he at first thought was hair were instead 10 eyestalks. The thing was a beholder!
Krillin called for help as he climbed the cliff. Malkith waited until he could see the thing. The rest of the party backed up and hid. As soon as the eye-tyrant came into view, Malkith leapt for it. He jumped from the edge of the cliff, sailed 20 feet through the air and hit the thing, but he could not hold on and fell 40 feet to the floor. He landed, tumbled and quickly stood with hardly a scratch. The eye-tyrant floated back down close to Malkith and blasted ray after ray at him. Malkith dodged most of them and resisted the ones he could not dodge. The eye-tyrant made the mistake of getting too close to Malkith and Malkith was able to launch a flurry of blows on it and stunned it several times. The thing tried to retreat but Malkith jumped onto it again and this time held on by grabbing some of its eye stalks. The thing careened and fought, but Malkith was able to beat it into submission and he and it fell to the ground. The rest of the party was dumbfounded. Malkith had single handedly killed a beholder!
Next, the party broke down the brick and mortar wall and found a crypt beyond. Inhabiting the place was the spirit of a cruel-visaged yet beautiful elf maiden. She rose from her grave and wailed in such horrid hatred that Maynard who was the closest one to her felt his heart almost seize. He gritted his teeth and beared the scream then the whole party attacked the spirit and sent her to her final rest. They decided after that to retreat back to Highwall to get rid of some of their gold. On their way out they spotted a cave entrance at the back of another beach along the underground rivers. In the cave entrance was a creature with a vaguely human-like head. When it saw them, it moved out of the cave. The thing was huge. It had the body of a lion, and the wings of a dragon. Its back was set with curved barbs, and its long tail ended in a cluster of deadly spikes. The thing spun around and flung six huge spikes at the party. Each was the size of a sword. After their encounters already that day, they were in no condition for a fight and fled. They decided they would kill the lion creature on their next trip into the dungeon.
Back in Highwall it dawned on Artok that this priest of Trasparia, Dunmugd, had a very similar name to the evil cleric that they believed wanted them dead, Gudmund. Could they be one and the same? Artok tried to find some information out about Dunmugd but no one seemed to know much about him. The rest of the party was ready to return to Rappan Athuk so Artok had to drop his investigation for the time being.
They returned to Rappan Athuk on Earthday the 10th of Dursar 7409 AR and spent the next day exploring the mazes on level 6. They came to a strange room with a large pit. In the pit lights seemed to be flickering off and on. Krillin approached and, as he did, the lights went off. They reappeared on both sides of him and attacked with shocking jolts of electricity. There were two of them, will-o-wisps. The party killed one and the other one went invisible and fled toward the back of the cave. Gregor had cast a see invisibility spell and could see the thing fleeing. It disappeared down a passage at the far end of the cave. The passage was below the level of the cave and mostly filled with stagnant water. The party prepared to follow the thing. As they were all in the passage, wet up to their chins, Gregor asked, "you realize we are following a will-o-wisp down a water filled underground passage right?" That gave everyone pause, but they pushed forward none-the-less.
They should have thought better of it. Two will-o-wisps were waiting for them in a larger water filled chamber. Each time they shocked someone, it electrified the water in a 30-foot radius. The party was in a hopeless situation and quickly retreated. They retired to the mostly abandoned upper levels and rested through the night.
The next day, they returned to the mazes of level 6. They fought one of the strange four-tentacled octopus headed creatures that Krillin had seen earlier. The monk rushed it and killed it quickly. They later found out that it was a mind-flayer, a creature greatly feared for their mind crushing psionic powers. They also ran across a small group of goblins including a wizard that gave them much trouble.
The next day, they returned to level 8 for further exploration and to kill the huge man-headed lions. They found three of them in their lair and, using a wall of force spell to good affect, killed them one by one. Just as the last one fell and they breathed a collective sigh of relief, Gregor, who was still standing by the cave's entrance, cried out "two more are coming!"
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