Nov 6, 2016

27th Day of Planting, CY 579

Starting at about mid-morning of the 27th Day of Planting, Year CY 579, the reunited party has discovered that Athan just inadvertently summoned a demon, the result of a trap placed on one of the scrolls in the alcove he was searching. The clever demon used its gaze attack to weaken the fighters and, due to its innate magic resistance, was not succumbing to any of the cleric or magic-user spells thrown at it. The party quickly came to the conclusion that they were outmatched, and running away was not going to be an option without casualties. Thus, Athan, after trying to pick Pontus’s pocket for some reason, decided to read the most powerful magic scroll in his possession, Limited Wish, to wish the demon to immediately return to its home plane. Given how high of a level the scroll was, there was a decent chance of failure, but a risk he felt he needed to take. The gamble paid off, and the party was now minus one demon and minus one 7th level spell scroll – and very much alive to explore the rest of the dungeon.

At some point during all of this, Athan apologized to Sarril for being the one to steal and hide his magic mirror - the act that sent the party into the dungeon to begin with. That was a pretty big reveal, and the party was a bit too busy to process what all of that meant – perhaps to Athan’s benefit. He did say he thought it was the right thing to do at the time, but admitted to making bad decisions. He also asked Sarril to touch the golden skull, which he reluctantly agreed to do. After doing so, Sarril was visibly shaken, saying that something powerful and evil is aware of who he is and where he is right now.

After exploring a few more alchemical labs and storage areas, the party came into the last unexplored room in the northeast corner of the dungeon map. Here they encountered a total of 16 shadows, which were easily dealt with once the clerics turned them. Jarrus took a liking to some gold dinnerware, and filled a large sack with heavy gold plates, serving dishes and the like, effectively becoming a loud walking wind chime.

The party proceeded to move up to the second level of the dungeon and found their way into a large octagonal room with a pit and some braziers, as well as a slab with a sacrificial crystal dagger and bowl on it. Pontus picked up the dagger, setting off a trap (which did some damage to him) and an alarm, which summoned a kind of wraith guardian into the room, which, like most opponents that have not been demons, was easily dispatched. The octagonal room had four large bronze doors, heavily barred and chained going in each direction, with the northern door being warded with the same magical symbols that warded the outside entrance of the temple. The party was able to find a secret door leading out, thus not having to break any of the bronze door locks.

After some brief exploring and finding another set of bronze doors with magical wards at the bottom of a staircase, the party headed southwest and found what appears to be the Water Temple. There they met the high-priest Belsornig and two of the lesser priests. After some brief introductions, slaughter began. Once again, the party proved to be too much for these lowly temple dwellers, and one of the lesser priests retreated into a room with a pool of clear water and prayed aloud to the water (or something in it) to save him, then jumped into the pool which turned out to not be water at all, but highly corrosive acid. Jarrus ran to the edge of the pool to see if he could pull the priest out and then, for some reason, decided to jump into the pool of acid himself. Delvin saw this and ran over to the pool to help, then he decided the acid looked nice and jumped right in.

Sarril yelled to the rest of the party for help (Pontus and Athan had stayed behind to guard Luapan, who was still under the effects of a Hold Person spell). Pontus and Athan came running into the room and Pontus, ever the hero, jumped into the pool of acid, grabbed Jarrus and Delvin both around the waist, and pulled them out. It became quickly apparent that the pool, or something in it, was using some kind of suggestion spell to make people jump into it. Anyone failing their save was jumping into the acid, taking 2d10 damage per round and losing their equipment (although everyone’s magical equipment made its saves for the one round they were exposed, the creature did have the ability to destroy magical items and absorb their properties to use them against the party). Seeing what was going on, the party ran from the pool room and took refuge in the high priest’s chambers where they healed as much as possible before thoroughly looting the place like a good adventuring party should.

During this looting, the group discovered some clerical scrolls which included Part Water and Purify Food and Drink. Delvin, being a druid with knowledge of the elements, recognized these spells and theorized that the creature in the pool may be a type of elemental from the elemental plane of water, which has been corrupted by evil - hence the acid. These spells may have been a backup plan for Belsornig to destroy the thing if it turned against him. If so, he also theorized that a Purify Water spell would have the most direct effect against it.

With this information, the party hatched a plan. After resting overnight, they tied a rope around Delvin, which Pontus held onto so he didn’t try to jump in the pool. After buffing him with Athan’s ring of protection and a Bless and Chant from Luapan, Delvin stood in the doorway and cast Purify Water at the pool. The spell did 10d6 damage, which is quite a bit, but not enough to kill it. It tried, unsuccessfully, to make Delvin stop with a suggestion. Delvin hit it again for another 10d6, making it angry, but not killing it. It then ordered Pontus, using a suggestion, to kill Delvin. Pontus resisted. After Delvin hit it again, it still wasn’t dead, and it tried and failed to make Athan do something – after which it telepathically stated that it was obvious that “you already serve her.” The creature then began, through telepathic communication, to tell the party that Belsornig was weak and that they are worthy to lead the Water Temple. It also offered them anything they desire, which would have been in the form of a Wish if Sarril hadn’t then blasted the thing with a Purify Food & Drink scroll, killing it.

The destruction of the creature created a massive explosion that caused the lapis lazuli basin containing it, as well as the crystal dome over it, to shatter into millions of pieces. No one was in the room to take damage, so all ended well. Of course Athan began sifting through the rubble, a process that took several hours, during which he found a half dozen valuable (but large and heavy) pieces of lapis lazuli that Jarrus gladly took and placed into a sack to replace the gold dinnerware that was destroyed went he went swimming in the acid. Athan also found a scroll case, and inside was a piece of parchment with the following written:

On three, in six, lies nine - but none shall ever see
Vile Good cloaked by fair Evil for eternity.
Will you answer, Answerer? Where is your power, pray?
With the whelp of Mitrik and there until doomsday.

(Note: Mitrik is the capital of Veluna, and this poem was a clue about Prince Thrommel, whom the party had already rescued)

The remainder of the day was spent sorting through rubble and the party sealed the doors and spent the night in the comfortable bedrooms of the priests of the water temple.


  1. This sounds like one of the best sessions yet--players making deductions, atypical solution to a big problem, negotiation, a big bad, clues and swag!

    I guess the prohibitions placed on Athan didn't extend to talking about the mirror? Nice loophole.

    Shadows aren't undead in some early versions of the game--how would the crew have fared if unable to turn them I wonder? But if the party is mostly decked out in plate with fair hit points by this stage (they can tackle a giant!) then I guess it would have just been a "speed bump."

    1. Good point about the shadows. I didn't think they were considered undead either, but because I am using the simplified ThAC0 rules from 2nd edition (something you did for us back in the day and I liked it better), I am using a 2nd edition DM screen instead of a first edition. It has more stuff, which is nice, but it also shows shadows on the cleric turning table so I went with it. I prefer that they not be treated as undead, however.

      I do think the party could have handled the shadows as they had magic weapons, but it definitely would have set the party back by a few days due to strength drains. And as we all know, time can be the real enemy in this game.