5 Transformation 508
It is late afternoon, on to evening, and the party has sent half the soldiery back to Aldasar with the surviving villagers to report back to Lord Cannach. The party spends this night resting with their porters and set watches.
Mõrvar brings up the possibility of allying themselves with the Lich, siccing him on villages, and then going and “saving them” from him. The rest of the party shoots him down.
The night passes without incident.
6 Transformation 508
The party prepares their spells for the day, packs up camp, and checks the market hall to see if the Lich has re-materialized—he has not. They then make the five-mile trek to the mines.
Savaric lets Burask borrow an iron masterwork battle axe. Kortash receives a greataxe from Rilka.
They find themselves in a small mining camp near a tunnel in the side of a mountain. Savaric begins searching out the camp for a map, signs of a survivors, signs of a Lich, or anything of interest. He finds a waterproof scroll case with a map inside. It shows hand-drawn diagrams of tunnels. He also finds recent tracks leading into the tunnel from the camp. They’re unusual because there are tracks leading into the tunnel, but there are no tracks leading into the camp. This gets the party to wondering why the Lich would have teleported into the mining camp instead of into the mines or the ruins.
The map does show the point where the ruins were found. They decide to follow the tracks to make sure that they go to the ruins and not some other destination or an ambush. Savaric and his wolf, Ghost, begin to follow the tracks with Rilka and Mõrvar following behind. Surm and Alasir will follow, followed by the porters and then Sorcha and Tarben. Two of the soldiers, Einar and Garth, are assigned to guard the horses.
Ghost picks up a trail—a foul, rotting, stench—and Savaric follows. The rest of the party follows them. Between Rilka’s glowing sword, Mõrvar’s casting of light, and Surm’s casting of dancing lights, the party is able to see. The trail seems to be corresponding to the path to the ruins. They come to the place where the map marks the entrance to the ruins and there is a fissure in the wall. It looks as if they were mining and their work opened up an entryway into a structure.
There is a soft, eldritch green glow coming out of a room. Savaric looks for traps in the entryway and finds none. As he gets closer, he can see that the room is octagonal in shape. The baseboards of the room are made of skulls and they are glowing in this pale green light. There are three arched doorways in the room, one to the left, one to the right, and one straight ahead. The walls are smooth stone, but painted black.
Savaric enters the room, searches it, and the archways, and peers down the archways. He finds no traps. The east and west archways open up into corridors that lead to archways at their end. The archway to the north opens up into an oddly-shaped throne room. It, too, is lit by the skull-baseboards. Sitting on the throne, with his hand on his fist, looking unperturbed at Savaric, is the Lich.
Savaric turns around and runs back into the room, screaming, “I found the Lich!” Rilka goes in. Mõrvar casts bull strength on himself and heads in. Surm heads in, casting mage armor on his brother. Suddenly, the doorway to the throne room is filled with a shimmering violet curtain of fire. Savaric is slightly burned by the heat of the fire. Rilka and Surm identify it as a Wall of Fire spell.
Savaric moves out of the heat of the fire. The party then gathers and tries to make a different plan of action. Mõrvar flattens himself against the wall of mine out of line of sight from the throne room. Then they think of shooting arrows, imbued with Arcane Strike blindly through the Wall of Fire. Another consideration is throwing flaming lamp oil in the room to distraction him from his concentration on the spell. Yet another consideration is abandoning the Lich in his throne room and exploring the other corridors. They also consider pelting the fire with cold damage to put a section of it out. Surm has his frost spells and there is also the cold damage from Edgefrost. This is the plan they decide on. Savaric will “attack” the fire with Edgefrost while Rilka and Mõrvar stand ready to run through the gap. Surm will be ready to cast his spell on the fire. Savaric will send Ghost in to trip the Lich.
Surm uses the wand and casts mage armor on his party members. Everyone readies themselves for the assault. Mõrvar casts Bull Strength again. Savaric moves toward the wall, taking damage from the heat, and shoves Edgefrost into the wall. Surm begins casting his Snowball spells. The wall comes down in the section in the entryway.
Ghost goes in. As soon as Ghost crosses the threshold, the party hears a gong. Suddenly appearing in the room before the throne room is a huge fire elemental. It nearly encompasses nearly the whole room.
Ghost attempts to trip the Lich, but fails. Savaric attacks the fire elemental, but misses. Mõrvar makes his way to the Lich’s throne room. The elemental swings at him as he goes by—and hits him hard, but he manages not to catch on fire. Rilka moves in and to the left, flanking the elemental with Savaric. Surm casts Snowball against the elemental and hits him with it. The fire elemental attacks Savaric and hits him, but Savaric does not catch on fire. With his second attack, he scrapes the side of the wall of the chamber, doing himself some damage.
Rilka then attacks the elemental, missing once, and then missing again. Savaric attacks once and misses, but attacks again and hits. The Lich attempts to cast a spell and Ghost takes the opportunity to bite the Lich and knock him prone. The Lich still manages to cast the spell and three searing beams of fire shoot out, one attacking Ghost and two attacking Mõrvar. The one attacking Ghost misses, as does one of the beams attacking Mõrvar. But one hits him and does damage. Mõrvar attacks the Lich while he’s down on the floor, hitting him hard with Deathblow. He hits him hard again as well. Ghost bites at the Lich again. The fire elemental then attacks Rilka and hits, and Rilka heroically avoids catching on fire. Surm casts his Snowball and misses.
Ghost attacks the Lich again and bites him and trips him. Mõrvar attacks the Lich again and hits, hard. The Lich falls. Mõrvar beheads him. Rilka attacks the fire elemental, hitting it once with her falchion. The fire elemental attacks Rilka and hits her twice. She manages not to catch on fire. Savaric attacks the fire elemental with Edgefrost, hitting it twice. The elemental dissipates.
They decide that they want to drag the body of the Lich out of the ruins and burn it. They drag it out into the mine camp and Surm searches the body. He’s wearing some unremarkable black robes (that are not in disrepair). Upon further inspection, there are some intricate embroidery upon them. He’s wearing a fine cloak. He has an intricate gold headband with purple and blue gemstones set within it. He’s wearing an amulet that looks like animal scales. Tucked into his robes are a couple of vials. He was also wearing a masterwork dagger. He’s also carrying two onyxes—one large, one small—and a crystal.
Surm casts Detect Magic over the Lich and all of his possession. He detects magic on the amulet, the cloak, the robes, the headband, and the two vials. He discovers that the robes are the Robes of Bones. Someone who dons the robe can detach embroidered undead creatures attached to the robes. They cannot control the creatures (unless they already have that ability). The cloak is a Cloak of Resistance +2. He is unable to figure out the properties of the amulet, nor is able to determine the aura of its school. He is also unable to determine the properties of the headband, but does determine that its magical school is transmutation. The first vial is a potion of displacement. The second is a potion of invisibility.
Rilka channels the positive energy of her god and heals the party.
Once the body is stripped of possessions, they put it on a pyre and burn it.
They return to the sanctuary and Savaric searches the throne room and finds nothing of interest. He then returns to the entry chamber where they fought the fire elemental and searches the corridor to the right. He finds no trap. Looking down the corridor, he can see a doorway at the end of the corridor. He passes through the doorway to search the corridor and hears a gong sound. Savaric gets burned as flames suddenly fill up the doorway. He continues down the corridor, searching for traps, and finds one. There is a panel that fills the corridor that, if stepped on, will trigger…something. They chalk-mark the trap to warn themselves against stepping on the panel. Then Savaric jumps over the panel. Ghost jumps over the panel. Mõrvar jumps across the panel. Alasir jumps across. Surm heroically makes across the panel. The porters, then Sorcha, and finally Tarben make it across. Savaric then checks the doorway across the way for traps. He finds none.
The arched doorway leads into another octagonal room. There are two more arched doorways leading out of the room. Savaric checks those doorways for traps. Savaric finds a magical trap in one of the doorways. The party discusses their next course of action, as they can’t disable a magical trap. Everyone gets into a position around the octagonal room and Rilka prepares to wave a dagger through the threshold of the doorway to set off the trap.
Rilka places the dagger through the threshold and a column of fire descends, catching both Rilka and Tarben in its wake. Tarben manages to dodge some of it, but Rilka takes the brunt. Mõrvar looks through the other doorway and sees another octagonal room. It appears to be an alchemical lab. There’s another doorway on the other side of the room. Rilka looks through her doorway and sees an assortment of racks with various magical accoutrements—candles, incense, chalks, wands, etc. It, too, is an octagonal room and has another doorway on its opposite side.
Savaric checks Mõrvar’s doorway for traps, but finds none. Still, the party suspects that it is, indeed trapped.
Savaric moves into the room with the magical accoutrements and searches it for traps, but finds none. He does discover that amongst the magical accoutrements there are some uncharged wands, awaiting charging with magics. But there are some that are probably magicked. Surm walks around the room casting Detect Magic and discovers that, indeed, four of the wands are magical. He cannot determine what the first two wands do, but the third one is a wand of flaming sphere. It has 15 charges left. The fourth wand he is unable to determine as well.
Mõrvar looks into the next room, which is another octagonal room. There is not a door leading out of it. And sitting in the center of the otherwise empty room is a chest. Savaric searches the doorway for traps and finds none. He still suspects that it is trapped. Savaric shoots an arrow at the chest. A gong sounds and suddenly appearing in the room that they are in is a beautiful warrior with wings stained black, a flaming composite long bow, and a rope coiled at its side.
Savaric fires his bow at the new enemy, hitting it hard with arrows. Mõrvar attacks with Deathblow and hits it hard. He attacks again, attempting to intimidate the warrior, but fails in both respects. Rilka attacks, hitting the warrior, but then misses. The warrior turns and fires at Rilka, but misses. It fires at Savaric and hits him with a flaming arrow. It then fires at Mõrvar and misses him. Ghost nips at his heels and misses. Surm heads out the door and takes up a position where he can cast a spell. He casts Admonishing Ray, but unfortunately misses his target. The soldiery then take up positions and attack. Alasir is looking a bit green about the gills—sickened from second thoughts about this fight.
Ghost attacks the warrior and misses. Rilka attacks twice and misses twice. Mõrvar attacks and connects for serious damage. The warrior falls. Mõrvar decapitates the creature.
They search the creature’s body. It has a masterwork longsword, a flaming masterwork composite longbow, and a 50’ length of rope. Surm casts Detect Magic on all of it and does discern that it all magical. Surm identifies the sword as a +1 longsword, the bow is a + 1 flaming composite longbow set to a +5 strength, and the rope is magical, but Surm cannot discern its properties without identifying the creature. Savaric asks to borrow the bow for now. The party says that he can, but if he breaks it, he’s bought it.
They enter the room with the chest. Savaric searches the room and finds nothing out of sorts. He searches the chest and discovers that the chest is locked and magically trapped. The trap is on the lock. The party tries to figure out a way to spring the trap without being near the chest. They decide to have Savaric shoot an arrow in the lock from the doorway. On the third try, Savaric makes the shot.
Once the arrow gets in place, all around the room, arcs of electricity erupt around the room for about thirty seconds. Surm casts Mage Hand and jiggles the arrow. The trap doesn’t go off again. He calls an “all clear”. They all go inside and Surm tries and tries, but can’t seem to get the lock to open. Mõrvar takes the crowbar and attempts to pry the chest open. After numerous failed attempts, he finally opens the chest.
Inside the chest is an assortment of platinum, gold, and silver, some jewelry, some onyx (some large, some small), two rings, and a rod. Surm casts Detect Magic on all of it. He detects magic on the two rings and the rod. He discerns that one of the rings is a ring with evocation magic on it. He cannot determine anything else. They count out the coins, finding 500 platinum, 475 gold, 225 silver. There is about 5 lbs. of jewelry. There are 25 large onyx, and 25 small onyx. Mõrvar appraises the onyx: he thinks the smaller onyx are worth between 25 gp and 75 gp each; the larger onyx he appraises at 100 gp each.
The party then heads back to the alchemical lab. Surm positions everyone around the octagonal room and Savaric will shoot through the doorway to hopefully set off any traps. Mõrvar warns him not to damage any of the lab in case they want to take any of it back with them. Savaric fires and a column of flame descends down into the doorway, catching Mõrvar and Rilka. Mõrvar managed to dodge, but once again, Rilka took the brunt of it.
Savaric and Surm work on trying to heal Rilka’s wounds, but to no avail. They then work on Mõrvar and manage to fix him up. They then try to work on Tarben, but don’t do much good. Rilka casts Cure Light Wounds on herself. Surm casts Cure Light Wounds on Rilka.
The party exits the sanctuary and the mine and camps for the night, resting up to return for the next day.
7 Transformation 508
Rilka starts the day by channeling positive energy for the party for more healing for the party before they re-enter the sanctuary. They return to the alchemist lab. Savaric searches it out. He finds nothing of interest other than the various pipes, bottles, and tubes that comprise the lab. Surm casts Detect Magic around the room, but detects no magic. Savaric finds no trap in the next doorway, which leads to an octagonal room lit by the glow of the skull baseboard (much like all the other rooms). In the center of the room is a gold pentagram with ancient sigils around it set into the floor. There are various magical accoutrements such as braziers, incense, candles, and holy water decanters set about the room. Everyone takes up positions around the walls in the alchemical lab and Savaric shoots an arrow through the doorway into the opposite wall into the pentagram room. The arrow ‘plinks’ on the opposite wall and nothing happens.
Surm reveals that pentagrams are primarily used for summoning of outsiders, used to hold creatures; if it is set into the floor it is probably a powerful summoning circle. Savaric enters the room and begins searching it. He finds no traps and nothing other than what is obvious. Surm casts Detect Magic in the room and detects magic on the pentagram. He doesn’t believe that’s normal for a pentagram. Savaric searches the pentagram area and finds a magical trap on the pentagram. Surm writes “Trap” in chalk to mark the trap for Lord Cannach and they move on to the other half of the sanctuary.
They return to the central “hub” room and Savaric shoots and arrow as far as he can down the corridor. The doorway fills with a pale green mist and a gong sounds. The arrow travels down the hallway and goes through another arched doorway at the end of the hall. They do not hear another gong. Eventually, the mist dissipates. Savaric leads the way down the corridor, looking for traps. Halfway down the hall, he finds a plate trap in the hallway. Surm marks it with chalk and they all jump over the plate—except for Kortash. He lands squarely on the plate and is wracked in pain as a electric arcs jump through his body. Rilka channels energy for the group and heals everyone in an effort to help.
They continue down the hall and find themselves in an octagonal room. There are two arched doorways leading out of the room. Savaric searches the room and finds nothing of interest other than the doorways. Surm positions everyone so that if the doors are trapped in flames (as what happened before), no one will be trapped in it. Savaric shoots an arrow through the northerly doorway and a column of flame descends. He shoots through the southerly door and another column of flame descends.
Both doorways lead into octagonal rooms with arched doorways leading to further rooms. Savaric enters the northerly door and searches that room. This room contains a desk, a small bookcase, a luxurious rug, two comfy chairs, a sideboard with an empty decanter setting upon it. On the desk is a burnt-down candle in an ornate candle holder. Savaric finds a secret compartment in the desk. Inside it he finds a series of folios. They appear to have writing, but it is encrypted. Mõrvar attempts to determine what language it is written in, but fails. Surm cannot either. They take the folios.
Rilka examines the rug. It looks well-made, but well-used and ancient. Savaric takes the candleholder and Mõrvar appraise it. He thinks it’s worth 75 gold. He appraises the rug as being worth 150 gold. Surm casts Detect Magic on the room and detects none. Looking into the next room, they see another octagonal room lined with bookshelves filled with books. Surm exits the study and Savaric fires an into the floor of the library and nothing happens.
Savaric enters the room and searches. He finds a wide variety of books and he finds a secret compartment. Surm comes in and casts Detect Magic in the room. He detects no magic in the room. Savaric then checks the compartment for traps. He finds none. Inside the compartment is a book—a wizard’s spellbook.
They all then begin perusing the books trying to determine what kind of books they are. They find books written in High Elven and High Dwarven on a variety of topics: poetry, history, etc. They also find a number of books written in languages they don’t understand. Mõrvar appraises the books they understand at being worth 250 gold pieces apiece. They recognize 50 books. There are 450 books that they do not. That means the books they recognize are worth 12,500 gp.
They then backtrack and head to the southerly room. It is lit by the pale glow of the skull baseboard. There is a long stone table in the center of the room covered in bloodstains and other marks. There are chains and leather straps on the side of the table designed to hold down victims. There is a cabinet on the wall. There is a small table near the central table/bed with notes on it. The notes are written in a similar encryption as the folio. There are also anatomical diagrams on the notes. There is another arched doorway out of the room.
Savaric searches the room. He finds surgical tools in the cabinet on the wall. Other than that, he finds nothing more than what was initially seen. The arched doorway leads to another octagonal room lit by the pale skull baseboard, but he can see just fine with his darkvision. There is no door leading out of the next room. There are five sets of chains on the walls. There are blood stains on the floor.
Surm leaves the surgical room. Everyone takes up positions. Savaric shoots an arrow into the room with the wall chains. Nothing happens. He goes into the room and searches it, but finds nothing of interest.
They return to the library and collect five books as a sampling of what was found to show Lord Cannach. They then exit the sanctuary.
They then return to the hamlet, gather some food, and then start heading back to Aldasar.
10 Transformation 508
Surm tries to identify the magical items again along the way back to Aldasar. He identifies the Lich’s headband as a headband of vast intelligence +2. The amulet is an amulet of natural armor +1. One of the wands is a wand of hold portal with 30 charges. The other wand is a wand of magic missile with 20 charges. The final wand is a wand of scorching ray with 10 charges. Each have a caster level of 12. He also identifies the rope as belonging to an Erinyes, a type of devil. The rope is used to entwine around people and only they can use it. One of the rings is a ring of counterspells. The other ring eludes, but he discovers that the rod is a rod of wonder.
Riding toward Aldasar, the party meets the rest of their soldiery along with Lord Cannach and a few of his personal guards. He rides up to the party and says. “How goes it? I had reports of a Lich in the village. I was dispatching more men to combat it.”
“The Lich is slain,” Surm says.
“Slain? That is good news indeed!” the nobleman says.
“Took his head and burned the body,” Rilka says and Surm confirms.
“We cleared out its hidey-hole. The ruins were basically a structure it was staying in, using as a base,” Surm says.
“Well. That is definitely good news. Reason to celebrate,” Lord Cannach says.
“Yes,” Rilka agrees.
“A celebration is in order,” Surm says.
“I take it the rest of your villagers made it back okay?” Rilka asks.
“Yes,” Lord Cannach says.
“Good,” Rilka says.
“Yes, they are staying temporarily at my estate,” Lord Cannach.
Everyone turns around and starts heading back to Lord Cannach’s estate for a celebratory feast and to begin negotiating the cash out of the treasure found in the sanctuary.
Along the way, while they camp, they have some heated discussions about their future plans. Savaric wants bigger payouts and Mõrvar wants to create a base of operations. Rilka and Surm are more interested in working and building a reputation. Mõrvar has designs on uniting the North. Surm wants to negotiate on his own with Lord Cannach on their payout and makes it clear that the other’s interference will hurt the negotiations.