RPG Recap: Beyond the Temple of the Abyss, 2012-03-24
Monday, the 9th day of the Red Moon, 937
Alive and burdened with gold, Rocky, Rigby, and Delian got the bodies of Derick and Egbert onto their cart and back to Edgwold where Umholt the Undertaker took delivery of them and shelved them for burial later that day. The survivors reported in to Captian Horn. Horn wasn’t thrilled at reports of “a tribe of kobolds” under the estate, nor those of a subterranean lake with an unknown monster count, or roaming zombies. Delian said it was clear: the Gladwell place wasn’t sitting on a cavern, but on a dungeon.
Horn said he’d have someone install some locked gratings over the entrances. Until then, though, the group was to go back in and keep counting the threats.
Tuesday, the 10th day of the Red Moon, 937
In the morning, the party rounded up some new blood: Prudence the Medium and Tamara the Proselyte. They replaced their shields, deposited their gold with the treasurer, and made for the dungeon. (But not before Rocky won a bigger share of the haul by utterly humiliating Delian at arm-wrestling.)
Before even entering the abattoir, Rocky spied a huge white centipede gorging itself on the carcasses of zombies they’d left behind. Rather than seek another path, they carefully inched their way past the thing toward the fireplace. There were no problems: it was too busy eating.
The party decided to head for the unexplored western end of the second level, across all the fake cave-ins from the Dwarfish mine-top. They’d almost reached their destination when they heard noises and mumbling off to the east. Everyone readied weapons while the voice cried out its hellos and don’t-hurt-mes. A little blue-clad goblin scrambled over the half-cleared pile-up and greeted the group enthusiastically. He made it very clear that he didn’t want any trouble, that he was a big fan of the party’s work clearing out the man-eaters – he called them “morlocks,” noting that they weren’t limited to eating men – and that he could really use some help.
The goblin (Huk) was a messenger who’d been sent to deliver a message to the kobolds in the northern mines, but when he got near the mine, he saw that the dwarfish skeletons, long dormant around their treasure, were moving about, marching in a circle around the room. Huk didn’t dare try to sneak past them, and he’d been waiting so long that the “night doors” were all closed. He explained that the dungeon was replete with secret doors that lead all over the place, but could only be opened at night, and with the right magic. He’d been sent through one near dawn, by his employers with the Traveling Market, but now he was stuck: he didn’t dare flee to the surface or head through the dwarfs to the kobolds.
If the party would clear out the skeletons, though, Huk would be happy to repay the group with an invitation to the market. (“But remember, unless I get back and tell them to expect you, it’s no good! So I have to get out of here alive!”) Everyone agreed, but stipulated that Huk had to show them how the night doors worked. He was slow to believe that the pink folk would want to stick around for six hours until nightfall, but agreed to wait with them, if they really wanted to.
With the deal made, the group headed east and took up positions on the stairs headed up to the mine-top. After some largely ineffective bowfire, melee commenced between the groups. Tamara knocked down several of the skeletons, shoving her way up the stairs past them with her glaive. Several of their skulls were crushed under her boots. Rocky didn’t manage to equal the death-dealing performance of his last delve, but miraculously escaped death from the terrible blows of the dwarf’s axes. Prudence lobbed darts at first (pointlessly), a magic missile later (to good effect), and finally ended up whacking at a prone skeleton with her staff. Delian fired an opening volley of sickle-fire, throwing his weapon in a perfect arc over his allies and onto the approaching dwarfs. Later, after a brief bout of standing guard over Huk, he’d close ranks again to help finish off the last few skeletons.
Everyone fared well, save for Rigby, who had his left forearm chopped clean off by a dwarf’s axe, and spent the rest of the adventure all but dead on his feet. The “all but” was thanks to Huk, who made a mad dash for one of the group’s torches and cauterized the wound.
Once the way was clear, Huk scurried on down the northern passage to deliver his message while the adventurers crushed dwarf skulls. With plenty of time to kill until nightfall, they decided to set up camp rather than keep exploring. They blocked off the western stairs with the minecarts and took turns resting. The only trouble came from one zombie man-eater who Rocky cut down with an arrow and was subsequently set alight. Later, the sound of stonework could be heard, but investigation was ruled out: it wasn’t getting any closer, and nobody wanted to risk it.
Unfortunately, when the group got moving again, they found all too quickly what the sounds had been. Not only had the rock pile blocking off the old mine been rebuilt, it had also been mortared solid, and Rocky couldn’t pull it apart. There followed a lengthy debate between the party about how to proceed: they could try using Huk’s incredibly explosive jelly to blow down the wall, they could storm the Kobolds, or they could go through one of the night doors. (Swimming through the flooded rooms to the south was also mentioned, but never seriously entertained.) Huk seemed keen on the jelly, but cautioned that it might not be the best idea if anybody would miss any of the structures within a hundred yards or so. The group was split: Delian favored taking a blind trip through one of the doors; Tamara was sure she could figure out a way to destroy the wall without destroying the rest of the countryside; Rocky and Prudence seemed to think every option was terrible; and Rigby still didn’t have much to say.
Finally, they asked Huk to see whether there were any doors around. He pulled out his night-door-finding apparatus and quickly pointed out a half dozen in the mine-top alone. The group decided they’d try one. Huk wished them well, told them he looked forward to seeing them at the market, and send them on their way.
There was no loot looted.