12 Transformation 509
The party has just defeated a slew of possessed duergar and their intellect devourers. One has escaped into the next chamber. Savaric pursues his quarry into that room, through two arched doorways. Entering the room, he sees only a closed door and a long-discarded duergar corpse. He begins exploring the room for secret compartments and bumps into something in the doorway that he can’t see. He backs off and is clawed by a formerly-invisible intellect devourer! He fires a barrage of arrows into the creature and slays it.
Meanwhile, Rilka is guarding the open doorway in the previous room while the others wait for Savaric to search the area.
They retreat into the larger room where they battled the other duergar and head into the smaller adjacent room that Rilka has been guarding. The southern wall has a locked door that Surm attempts to open with the make-shift key they found—but he breaks the key! Fortunately, he has the mending spell and repairs it, and then tries again. He opens the lock successfully.
Savaric searches the way down a short corridor into another small room. This room is found to be empty, save for another locked door. Surm unlocks the door and Savaric and Rilka proceed into a long, narrow room—Rilka casting detect magic and Savaric looking for secret traps or passages.
Rilka detects a magic aura in the area just as they are assaulted by a fireball that ignites right in their midst. Savaric manages to save himself with his quick reflexes, evading the explosion completely. Rilka is well-served by her quick reflexes as well, though she does get more mildly burned. The conflagration reveals an illithid standing toward the back of the room, waiting for them.
As the other members of the party, Surm, Kortash, and Burask, file into the room to help deal with the new threat, two more fireballs ignite, engulfing them all. Most manage to not take the brunt of the assault, but Kortash is badly burned. He retreats into the previous room. The explosions reveal an additional two illithids in the room.
After a brief battle, the party’s superior numbers and Savaric’s wizardry with the bow bring them victory against the mind flayers.
Savaric searches the room and finds a secret panel in the wall. Opening it reveals a narrow corridor. Rilka casts detect magic down the corridor and detects the presence of a magical aura. Surm steps forward and attempts to identify it—only finding that it is a strong aura; he cannot determine the type of magic being employed. He then, with the encouragement of his friends, casts dispel magic against the likely trap. The magic dissipates.
Savaric makes his way down the corridor, looking for more surprises. The corridor leads to another door. Rilka discerns a magical aura on the door. Surm comes forward to identify it and, once again, determines that it is strong but cannot identify the kind of magic being employed. Again, with the encouragement of the others, Surm manages to dispel the magic on the door. It is unlocked.
Savaric opens the door and proceeds into the next room, which is empty. Rilka detects no magical auras—but does notice that as Savaric is moving about the room, he tends to avoid the center. When she points this out, Savaric doesn’t know what she is talking about. Surm comes in and begins looking around and discovers that there is an illusion in the center of the room hiding a large cabinet made of the same strange metal found throughout the complex. He tries to get the others to see it—Rilka’s senses manage to penetrate the illusion, but Savaric still doesn’t know what they are talking about—the room is clearly empty.
Surm opens the cabinet, revealing its interior to Savaric as if a portal had opened in the center of the room. Inside the cabinet is a large chest made of the same strange metal, a rack with a number of wands handing from them, and another rack containing a collection of scrolls. They still discern no magical auras in the area. Surm determines that the Ysar could be using a spell called magic aura to mask the magical auras in the room. It is actually a fairly simple bit of sorcery.
They empty the cabinet and begin going over the contents. The chest is not locked and contains a great deal of strangely minted oval coins of platinum, gold, and silver. There is also an assortment of gemstones and some vials containing magical potions.
They decided to take their finds back to the camp and stash it there—it will soon be time for Surm to collect Mõrvar from Kalimsport anyway. Surm wants to use the Ysarian teleportation device they found in one of the chambers. He steps onto the platform—and a series of images begin speeding across the back wall of the room. He concentrates and the images stop on a view of the campsite pulled from Surm’s mind. Savaric walks through the image and instantly finds himself in the camp—scaring a few of the guards by his sudden arrival.
Surm uses the Agent’s Clasp to message Alasir about the arrivals of the others. He sends the others through in the same manner as Savaric—but when Kortash and Burask try to follow Rilka through, they are stopped—Surm can only send one at time or it breaks his concentration. Finally, after everyone has made it through, he sends himself to the University of Kalimsport.
Surm heads out onto the grounds to find his brother, Mõrvar. Mõrvar gives Surm some teleportation scrolls and returns the crystal ball. Mõrvar also shares the information he has gained concerning metal golems. According to the sage he spoke with, if this Ysarian construct acts like ones in their time, then it will be very hard to damage except with the hardest weapons (damage reduction vs. adamantine), it may be immune to most magics, and may also be able to breathe a poison gas.
They head to the Market District to gather magical and adamantine arrows for Savaric to help in their fight against the golem. Surm messages Rilka (through Alasir) that they will return to the camp in the morning.
Meanwhile, Savaric goes hunting for some rabbits to placate the young pyrohydra with that is living in the caves near the Ysar complex. He goes in and, after a while, actually manages to get the beast to act in a friendly manner toward him. He leaves the cave and goes hunting again with an impatient Ghost.
13 Transformation 509
This morning, Surm and Mõrvar teleport back to the camp and meet up with the rest of the Crimson Cord. Surm begins identifying their magical finds. They also spend a good deal of time planning against the golem.
They eventually decide that Surm will return to the harmonious crystal room and gain true seeing from one of the crystals. They then head to one of the more central chambers—where they had previously found a large, alien throne—and begin exploring again from there.
Savaric and Rilka search an adjacent door and open it, leading into another room. Surm can see—though the others cannot—that there is an invisible duergar in the doorway. He tries to warn everyone as it runs a gauntlet toward Burask, who is standing in front of Surm, guarding him. The duergar attacks Burask, rendering visible, and the others work quickly to dispatch it, though it cut a nice slice out of Burask.
Surm casts black tentacles into the room ahead in case there are other threats. Rilka and Savaric carefully step into the room, trying to avoid being grabbed by the magical appendages. Rilka can discern, by the curve of various tentacles, that four other figures have been captured by the spell. She immediately goes in to try and slay them. Mõrvar steps in and uses storm step to cross through the tentacles (and the trapped figures) to the other side. He heads up into an open doorway to another room.
Meanwhile, Surm, Kortash, and Burask, head around to try and get to the other side of the tentacle room through an adjacent corridor. They find that the corridor opens into a room with strange, metal furniture—and two illithids! The three engage the mind flayers who notice their entrance and turn to approach in kind.
Mõrvar, in the next room, sees a strange tableau: there is some sort of planar gate at the far end of this room. In the center of the room is an Ysarian crystal sculpture of some sort, its abstract design slightly disturbing to the eye. Also into the room are three intellect devourers and two very sinister looking illithid-like creatures, but with tails and spiked tentacles. Mõrvar is assaulted in both mind and body by the creatures and one of the duergar that has followed him into the room from tentacle room. He calls out that he found the gate and he tries to make his way back out of the room without being surrounded.
Meanwhile, the tentacles continue to squeeze the trapped duergar which force their parasitical intellect devourers to emerge into the tentacles. Rilka continues to fight, as does Savaric. As Mõrvar storm steps into the tentacle room from the gate room, Savaric fires at the intellect devourers and duergar in pursuit of Mõrvar.
Surm, Kortash, and Burask, finally dispatch one of the illithids, but the other one has made his way into the tentacle room. Savaric makes short work of the creature in a rain of arrows.
The entryway to the gate room is now guarded by intellect devourers. Surm casts black tentacles into that room, trapping the aberrations. The two large ilithids escape the tentacles and move toward the gate. Then, the party lines up in preparation for Surm’s other plan—a dimension door bringing most of them right up to the illithids!
They fight one of the illithids, bringing him down fairly quickly, leaving only the intellect devourers trapped in the tentacles and the last strange illithid. Surm glances into the nearby gate and sees what looks like a vat with a giant brain resting in it. As the party turns their attention to the final illithid, Surm and Rilka feel a force try to grasp control of their minds…and both realize that the power came from within the gate…