I knew it was going to be a weird night when everyone broke out the hoodies. That’s something you get when you play face to face (via webcam, but still)… Weird stuff can happen.
After some debate, we chose to explore the southern passage instead of seeing what lay behind the metal door. We had mapping to do, after all. The darkness swallowed our discussion. We voted to send Wenner ahead to explore. The vote was 3-1.
Wenner glared at us for a long moment, then melted into the darkness with such skill that he might have been snatched from the dungeon by some hellish force. “Would you take a look at this!” he called from some distance in front of us. I sparked a sun rod and we followed him down the hall.
There was a pit in the ground, surrounded by the shattered flagstone of a false floor. We leaned over the side — at the bottom was a six-legged lizard-like creature, not too unlike a basilisk. “Someone should go down there and search the creature,” said someone. All eyes were on Wenner. The halfling sighed heavily.
We tied a rope around Wenner and lowered him into the pit. The creature had been dead for weeks. A hand stuck from beneath its belly; Wenner shoved the swollen carcass over to reveal a goblin, likely dead at the same time as the lizard. The goblin had been running from the lizard, and both had fallen into the pit and died. The dead goblin wasn’t stone, though, so this couldn’t be a basilisk.
Bryn remembered the dented silver mirror in his pack, the one we’d gotten from the dragon bone excavation up above. If we did encounter any basilisks, maybe there’d be something we could do. Whatever we came up with, it would probably involve Wenner somehow. He’s just so _versatile_!
Wenner had some potions in his arms when we hauled him up. “Healing potions, I think,” he said. “Want one?” I shook my head. Lord Bahamut has promised to keep me safe if I keep him in my heart. Besides, Wenner likely needs them more.
We come to a room; low, narrow tunnels lead off in several places into the east wall. Someone small could likely crawl into one. Sheeoil peeks into the closest one and sees nothing but darkness, but he guesses a certain six legged lizard could have crawled from it.
Holding the sun rod high, I walk to the middle of the room. The floor cracks beneath me, then breaks, and I fall into a deep pit. I jump up and haul myself out.
“Well,” said Wenner. “Let’s do this.” We play the rope out carefully (the rope that was still tied to Wenner from the critter pit) as he crawls into the tunnel. It was too dark for even halfling eyes, so he reached out, trying to feel anything that might be a trap… or treasure. What DOES treasure feel like? Wenner risked striking a small light.
Staring right at him, just inches from his face, were the eyes and sharp, sharp teeth of a monster exactly like the one in the pit, except all too alive.
When Sheeoil heard Wenner’s surprised squeak, he pulled hard on the rope. Wenner popped out of the tunnel like a cork from a bottle. “See something?” asked Sheeoil. Wenner opened his mouth to speak but couldn’t make a sound. He could only point at the tunnel.
While the rest of us stood on either side of the tunnel entrance to take on whatever would come out, Wenner fled to the far side of the pit in which I’d fallen. “Oh, good plan!” I shouted. “When it lunges for you, it’ll get trapped and –”
Wenner smiled, then faded into the darkness. “Bad bait,” said Sheeoil.
The Kruthik Young tore from the hole, turned and saw Sheeoil. It swiped but missed. It was followed by a smaller Kruthik that also turned to attack the elf. It, too, missed.
Sheeoil kills the kruthik hatchling with the light of a sacred flame. I hit the young kruthik with a bolstering strike, leaving it wounded and marked. Wenner took a moment deciding not to continue exploring while the rest of the company took on the monsters. He ran up and stabbed the youngling with a sly flourish; the kruthik staggered, bloodied.
Angered, the kruthik turned to Wenner. My mark exploded, further wounding the creature. Another round of combat and it died. I pick the sun rod up and we go exploring a little further. As I stayed back a moment to shine the light in a dark corner, the others followed the southern passage as it bent toward the east.
A kruthik hatchling popped out of a tunnel and threatened the others. I, hearing nothing, sauntered casually up to the rest of the group. Seeing the hatchling, I rushed it and killed it with a single swing of Lifedrinker. Two more hatchlings arrive.
They die from single hits. They were dying so quickly that Sheeoil stepped back so that Bryn could try to crush one with his Staff of the War Mage. He swung and — missed. Missed?
Oh, look, all our stats have been reset to the default levels. We spent a couple minutes filling them back in.
Bryn actually _hit_! The hatchling died with a squish.
The passage widened into a room, too dark to see the other side. All we could see was a shadow… that moved, and leapt into the light. It was the largest kruthik we’d seen. Long, elongated spines ran along its back. The spines flared up as it sized us up. The kruthik shot quills from its spikes, but all of them missed.
Now it was our turn. Sheeoil seared it with sacred flame. Bryn pounded it with a magic missile. Two younglings crawl from the darkness — nicely gathered for a shot of my acid breath. I spit acid at them and it hits on each, but for only very minor damage. Wenner sliced a youngling with a sly flourish. Sheeoil missed with his sacred flame.
And then Bryn let loose with a thunder wave. Electricity coursed through the adult kruthik’s body. The magic slammed the kruthik back into the darkness; we heard a crash and then a high, piercing wail of pain from it, but it did not come back out of the darkness.
One of the younglings began to dash away; running after it, I crashed through the false floor into another pit. This one was a little too high to jump from. Now I knew how the adult kruthik felt. Wenner kindly used a positioning strike to knock one of the younglings into the pit with me.
Bad new for me, good news for Wenner. He was bloodied from the fight, and Sheeoil’s divine magics weren’t delivering the heals like they should.
After the rest of the company finished with the last youngling, they briefly discussed trying to pull me out, but I’m too heavy. Angry at being left, I manage to jump up high enough to pull myself out.
We find the adult kruthik lying wounded at the bottom of yet another pit trap. It glared up at us, trying desperately to not show how wounded it was. With both the youngling and adult kruthiks trapped, it was easy enough to kill them from safety.
Wenner found some rubble in the corner. He tried to hide a small chest in his pack, but it was too large to go unnoticed. He called us all to it and opened it — it was full of gold and gems. The local Temple of the Dragon Lords is going to get new altar cloth!
Spent from the battle with the kruthiks and the battle before it with the ochre jelly, we headed back to the metal door, thinking to keep an eye on it as we rest. We came around a pile of debris and saw…
… just as we saw our murderous hobgoblin, he saw us, ran through the doorway and slammed the metal door behind him.
We spiked the door and settled down for a rest.
Seeing kruthiks die as they get knocked into pits? Priceless!
Two weeks until we meet again.