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Tales from the Table: Failures from BWA (November)

October

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Now that the pot-bellied, vomiting creatures have been put down, a moment of calm settled in while waiting for the other shoe to drop. After a tense moment, the parties attention turned to the closed stone door at the north end of the room. With no handle, and a load of jewels inset in the wall, Heidi took the lead in investigating every nook and cranny of the room.

-“We all strive to purify ourselves, healing our mortal wounds so that we may ascend to join the stars”-

A small groove encircles the engraved black pillar in the center of the room and small magical lights sit darkened behind the few quartz crystals that Fungerfil stripped off the walls. Keen dwarf eyes catch on the stonework of the pillar, as Heidi calls for help from a distracted Boone. Sharp words fly and muscles strain. Grinding of metal on stone is the response of the pillar to being turned, as it is spun clockwise and counter-clockwise. The pillar is forcibly lifted out of its socket instead, revealing a complicated mechanism and a second phrase.

-”The Brothers of The Stars welcome you, pilgrim, on your journey to healing under the stars”-

Schlubbel and Boone have begun to get restless, wandering and checking the previous room for any hint of how to open the stone door. “Did anyone actually try the door?”, Heidi asked. “I hit it with my axe!”, shouted Boone from the next room. At a touch, the door slid quietly into the floor, revealing the stone room beyond.

Three smashed wooden sarcophagi stand beyond a wooden barrier, with their previous occupants reduced to piles of bones at the foot of each coffin. A door to the east and west beckon.

To the east was a room covered in dried black goo. Careful steps were not enough to avoid the gummy, blackness sticking and grabbing at the soles of boots. Another long room beyond this small 20×20 space is filled with strange equipment and a half dozen wandering wrackspawn. Sinew snapped as a black creature whipped its head around, black pits focusing in the darkness before it let forward a pained howl.

A planned ambush was scrapped, as the scattered party sought to reform lines amidst the tar. The first creature to enter the tar room crouched, knees creaking, before a lunge brought it right over the tar into the fray. Fungerfil and Schlubbel had been the curious explorers, and now they were thrown on the front lines, Fungerfil taking the brunt of the claws and black vomit. A slash of a heavy blade announced the joining of Boone in the fight, while Marina and Heidi struggled to provide aid from outside the cramped room. More leaps brought new wrackspawn into the tar covered room, one continued to shriek as it pressed its belly, massaging it. Boone’s powerful blows reduced his opponents to giblets, while Fungerfil and Schlubbel made a fighting retreat, landing deadly accurate bolts and eldritch blasts. From the west door to the sarcophagi room, a trio of shrieks were the replies. With the sound of stretching leather and rippling fur, the trio of ambushers found themselves face to face with a bear.

Fungerfil, Boone, and Schlubbel were left with only a few undead left on their front. Two left, and the last undead on the ground crouched for a leap to the sound of a snapping rope, its jump fell short and it was readily dispatched. As its last ally fell, the shrieker went silent, a gout of black gel shoved forth from atop its perch on broken furniture. Boone took the impromptu shower in stride. His reply to the black vomit was fierce and the perch was not safe from his weapon’s reach. Meanwhile, claw and ki decimated the ambushers. With water whips flying around the bulk of muscle and fur.

Exploring the depopulated area, the strange equipment has been mostly destroyed. A large glass vat sits capped off, with formaldehyde reeking stone tables gouged up in the corners. After the laboratory room, Schlubbel and Fungerfil walked into a room just north of the sarcophagi room, bearing a row of defaced human statues. At the same time, Heidi and Marina explored the direction their attackers had come from. A partially collapsed doorway forced Heidi to return to her dwarven form. The room east of the sarcophagi was littered with metal and stone scraps, but a room north of this small space held a raised dias of stone surrounded by six unlit braziers. Schlubbel began reading an untouched diary left in the statue room while Marina and Heidi were lighting the braziers.

A few quick page turns later, it is discovered that the diary belonged to a noble that had sought immortality from whatever healing ewer the priests in the star temple had. His last entry is a scrawled declaration, that he will ruin the star temple for them having cursed him. A click from behind the row of statues brings Marina and Heidi to a small maintenance space. A half door, unlocked by Fungerfil after he scrambled over the statues, revealed some untouched items in an old supply closet.

Heading north through the open stone doorway, Boone gripped his weapon tightly on seeing a stone statue. Arms outstretched, the statue presided over a faint depression with drains at its lowest point. Elaborate stone sarcophagi, untouched, lined the walls leading up to a large, reinforced set of double doors to the east. Names could be made out at the bases, with Marina’s knowledge pointing her to these individuals being higher priests and saints of the Order of the Stars. The statue sits lifeless, despite Boone’s massaging and prying hands, a relief to the rest of the party still reeling from their disastrous encounters with statues in their first dungeon.

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