Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hijinks from the Castle of the Mad Archmage

Cast of Characters -

  • Biata - Shadowmage
  • Kalen - Wizard
  • Oryx Flamebeard - Dwarf fighter
  • Collen Redsides - Barbarian fighter
  • Grunbar Rockpuncher - Dwarf handsman
  • Morgrim - Dwarf cleric of Bachontoi
  • Kesk - Human fighter
  • Hildigrim - Halfling fighter

So last night, the Red Ravens were exploring and looting along the Bone Road on level 7 of the Castle of the Mad Archmage.

They have been looking for "The Rod of the Sky Gem" for over two years now and they were determined to find it.  Some tidbits about that --
  • Bachontoi, God of Red Wisdom, wants it.  He has commanded Kalen to find it.  Kalen has been looking, but, he's kind of "on the honor system" with this, so, it hasn't been a priority.
  • Morgrim, Kesk and Sir Owyn have been Geased by "The Ringmaster" to bring HIM the Rod.  Apparently his Demonic Circus (complete with terrifying clowns and a freakshow) needs it for some purpose.
  • Bachontoi says that he can break the geas.  We shall see.
  • The party has been using Jasper the intelligent sword that can detect gems in hopes of finding the Rod as they wander the Bone Road.
  • Morgrim, Cleric of Bachontoi, has used Augury to get a few Yes/No answers.  They are confident they'll find it eventually.
So, the party is methodically clearing the Bone Road when they find a secret door (Oryx has Glasses of Minute Seeing) and they enter a dusty passage that has been unused for some time.  

This passage leads to a room filled with ghouls and ghasts.  This kind of situation is just begging for a Fireball, so Kalen pops one into the room and Oryx, Grunbar and Collen hold the secret door shut.  55 points of STR between them!

The end result of the conflagration is a lot of ghoul-b-q.  Smoldering remains of shelves and some destroyed coffins are all that remains. 

The characters discover an adjoining chamber with a floor (30'x30') entirely covered with bronze plates.  Chains of varying lengths swing from the ceiling.  The party immediately realizes that they are going to have to "monkey bar" across the room.  

Just to validate the danger, Grunbar sends the Mech-elf into the room.  It's invigorated by electricity and  it discovers that it really, really likes this room.  Arcs of blue electricity shoot up its legs and it seems to be strengthened by the energy.

Kesk comes up with the idea of making a path across the floor using wooden coffin chunks.  Sure, they are burned, but they should insulate.  He gets the Mech-elf to test it and it works.

Kalen Levitates and uses the chains to pull himself across the floor.  Collen swings across and drags one foot (ouch!)  Hildi tags along with Kalen.  

The sub-group heads into the next room to find a large chamber with mosaic covered walls.  The mosaic depict pastoral scenes like hillsides, rolling hills, farm scenes, a deer hunt, etc.

The rest of the party catches up and Jasper tells Morgrim that the eyes of the animals are made from his namesake!  Jasper!  The party does some significant prying (3000gp worth) before exploring the next room.

Now THIS is where things get interesting and fun!


Behind the door, lying in wait, is a canny ghoul with a Rod of Beguiling.  When the party enters the chamber, it discharges the rod.  Everyone is in range and they all need to make saves.

Normally, EVERYONE makes their save.  They are of high enough level now and have enough bonuses from magical items that they typically only fail on a 1.  5% chance.

Kalen the Wizard and Oryx the Dwarf BOTH FAIL.

They regard the ghoul as a trusted and dear friend!  

Of course, Collen and Grunbar don't see him that way.  He's a nasty ghoul with a magic rod!  KILL IT!  

Grunbar, the Handsman, makes short work of the ghoul, but Oryx sees this as MURDER!

He goes after Grunbar!  Biata casts Grasping Shadows and the tendrils of darkness restrain the dwarf.  In fact, if he isn't released in 4 rounds, they will kill him.

Grunbar goes for the Clobber and knocks Oryx out, "for his own good" and Collen tears the grasping shadows off of the unconscious Oryx.

That's when Kalen peers into the room and sees the dead body of his former master!  Shock and anger! What has Grunbar done!?!

He's already levitating, so he casts invisibility for good measure.  Followed quickly by minor globe of invulnerability.  He uses the ceiling and moves himself away from the party so that he can best plan his attack.

He moves into the electrical room, past Kesk who is in the hallway, and removes the wooden path.  He hovers invisibly in the back of the room.

I roll for random encounters (1) so here come the DEMONS!

Orcus has been hassling the PCs for quite some time now.  They attacked a favorite succubus some time ago and The Big Guy has set up shop on Level 8.  He's been using undead as his eyes and ears.  He has A LOT of contacts along the Bone Road...

He sends 5 vrock and 2 glabrezu to attack the party!

So now, Oryx is unconcious, Kalen is missing and the party is under attack!

Kalen DOES cast haste on the party (except for Grunbar) to buff them up for the battle with the demons!


The battle against the demons turned out to be mostly a distraction, the real conflict was between Kalen and the party.  Oryx was knocked out for most of the battle.

At one point, Biata starts blasting vrock with cones of cold from her Staff of Wizardry.  Kalen gets caught in one of the blasts, but realizes it wasn't intentional.

He decides to dimension door away from the electrical room to go and check on his former master.

Once there, he finds Oryx unconscious and his master, dead.  Hildi is hiding in the room, taking bowshots at the vrock.  The vrock and glabrezu continue to battle and the glabrezu succeed in gating in some reinforcements.

Eventually Oryx wakes up and they converse about their mutual loss.  They seem to have varying opinions about how the murder should be handled.

Soon thereafter, Kalen spies Grunbar in the other room.  Grunbar has taken the Rod of Beguiling and is telling Kalen that this item is responsible for the confusion.  He hasn't murdered his friend, just a ghoul-wizard.  Grunbar tosses the rod into the room with Kalen.  Kalen asks if he can tell if its magical.  I tell him not at this distance (he's hovering invisibly in the corner of the room).  He yells back to Grunbar that its just a stick!

I don't remember what caused the situation to degrade further, but at some point, Kalen decided to lightning bolt Grunbar!

This created an interesting situation.  You see, Grunbar has a ring of spell turning and Kalen has an amulet of spell reflection.  The result of the lightning bolt was a volley of electrical energy, back and forth between the two of them.  The lightning rebounded about 4 times from each target until Grunbar rolled "03" and his ring failed to turn.

Now visible, Biata sends an invisible stalker to steal Kalen's amulet!

Kalen responds by summoning a fire elemental!  He sends it into the fray!

Collen, seizing the moment, pulls the Two-Handed Frostbrand of Errol out and fires up the frost powers!  In his hasted condition, he is attacking 6 times per round.  The fire elemental is LARGE so with the extra frost power, Collen is rolling 4d6 per hit.  He hits 5 or 6 times for 111 points of damage, OBLITERATING the fire elemental in one round!

The invisible stalker isn't having much success trying to steal the amulet -- Kalen's AC is too high.

Biata summons 18 HD of stirges and sends those after Kalen.  Seeing the flock of stirges, Kalen detonates a fireball at his feet.  He's protected by his minor globe.  Oryx has red dragon armor so he shrugs it off.  Hildi gets blasted to 0 HP and has to roll on the chart (rolling 9; he ends up being overwhelmed by the heat...)

The stirges burst into flames....

.... and so does the rod of beguiling lying on the floor of the chamber.  With its demise, the charm is broken and Kalen and Oryx realize that their "friend" was just a monster.  Literally.

The party heals up, makes up, and heads out into the hall.

Jasper says that there's a gem beyond that door...
"Thomas Newton, the man who fell from the sky"
Hmm.  Could the Skygem lie beyond the door? 

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