Monday, June 12, 2017

DM Report - Skull Mountain: Level Three

The crew started a foray into Skull Mountain on Saturday. only a short session this weekend due to Life, but a good one.
The party was:
Jen: Ingrid (5th level fighter)
Jack: Seamus (4th level druid)
Alex: Starfalcon (6th level ranger, half-elf)
Sam: "Clint" (6th level paladin)
Nick: Owen (5th level magic-user)
Various henchmen, including Octavius the 4th level half-ogre fighter and Bertold the 6th level religious brother. And Mortimer the brownie, of course.

After the annual Midsummer lookabout the party opened the Secured Door and took the Long Hall. They brought a religious brother from the base camp and threw down the altar to evil cold by the Pilgrims' Camp. Unbarring the Pilgrims' Doors they went to level two and did a full sweep.
Inside the Temple the altar had continued breaking down and was just fine dust. In the room they are now calling the Study they found a mug with a silver tea infuser next to it. The tea inside the infuser was still damp. Owen took the infuser for possible later examination. Since that was the only odd thing they took the Temple Doors down to level three.

At the base of the stairs was - sunlight. Embedded in the ceiling was a sunstone, an almost-mythical magic item whose method of creation is lost. They found two sets of double doors leading roughly East and two large corridors leading roughly West. There was another wall covered in bas reliefs, but someone had chiseled off all of the evil visages long before.
As they began to head West a group of 6 wights poured out of a side door, but Clint was able to turn them. Seeing sunlight further down they moved on and found that both westward corridors opening into a vast room that had sunstones set into the ceiling far above. The entrance gallery was more than 30 yards wide and faced 20' tall stone steps going up. Walking up they found the Garden, a room 100 yards by 33 yard with two raised pools, a greensward, and fruit trees. Some of the sunstones were missing in a corner, so the tree there had died, but the rest looked like a lovely garden.
There were 10 different 10' opening on the left and right walls 95 openings on each side) and a 20' opening on the far wall, all leading to stairs going down. As they began to look around the garden Starfalcon was attacked by a starving mountain lion, which the party quickly slew. They spotted a few birds, some rabbits, and a fox. They found a fairy ring in the middle of the room (which they refused to enter!) and at one point they saw an image of the Briars inside the fairy ring, then a brush cat, seemingly teleported from the Briars, ran off into the rees. At about the time they thought was Noon there was a brief light 'rain' throughout the area, light in the garden, heavy enough to over the two pools to refill them.
The party did some back of the envelope figures and concluded that they could get 4 crops of wheat from the Garden and that would be enough flour for 30 people, year round. The fruit trees could bolster that. With some sort of meat source the Garden could maintain a small permanent garrison at the mountain....

They began checked the perimeter openings and soone deduced that the Garden is surrounded by a sunken corridor 20' below its level (i.e., on the level of the entrance corridors) and that there are more stairs up from the corridor to perimeter rooms. They began to methodically explore the perimeter.
First they found an entrance to a series of small, well, apartments with a communal latrine. It was adjacent to a room with armor, weapons, and cleaning supplies. They collected a few small objects from these rooms.
Next was - a maze. After a pit trap (which injured 2 of them) and a piston trap (that narrowly missed killing Clint) they retreated, healed up, and continued to explore. A large lounge lit by a sunstone and full of divans held a few more little trinkets. They discovered that the 20' stairs led to massive doors leading  further down. Opening them they were greeted with the stench of a swamp and the odd tang they associate with Green Slime, so they closed the doors, assuming they;d found the way to Level Four. The corridor outside the doors to Level Four was large and heavily decorated, disguising the Jaculi that attacked. The party killed all but 1 or 2 of the creatures, but they were worn down doing so.
The then found a massive latrine area that housed a bedraggled cat in a diamond collar. Between Starfalcon, Seamus, and Mortimer they learned it was the familiar of a mage killed here a few years back that had been hiding ever since, living on mice. In the next area they fought a metal guard that did not recognize Clint's security card (the security unit just said 'communications link inactive' as it attacked) and then - fought another one!
They prevailed, but were out of healing spells and low on hit points. They retraced their steps, vigilant for wights, and returned to the North Area to rest and heal.

The party determined that the sunstone at the landing was moved there after original construction, trapping the wights between sunstones. They are aware of at least one more perimeter stair they have yet to explore. They are also concerned about the maze and when they return may use Starfalcon's Jade Raven as a guide. Jack is a bit frustrated because level two was mostly symmetrical and the section of level three so far has not been. he was also frustrated that he selected spells for the deep dungeon and then ended up in a garden!
Full examination of one of the metal guards shows that they are articulated, and pieced together, but otherwise empty - they look and act like "robots" but are magically animated. They encountered a gelatinous cube, but the ranger gave them so much advance warning it wasn't really a battle.
Seeing the changes and alteration really drove home that Skull Mountain has been occupied many different times by different groups, most of whom changed things around.
They will return to deal with the wights (which worries them!) and finish what they are calling Section One