This session, played Thursday 10/13/2011, included PCs Innominus (Clr 6), Hazel (Ftr 4 / MU 4), Yor (Dwf 6), Dak (Dwf 6), Vivuli (Assassin 5 / MU 4), and Uncle Junkal (Rodian Bard 4) -- the whole merry gang!
[EDIT: NPCs Gorgo (Dwarf-4) and Fuzz (Ftr-2) were present as well.]
The party started off in the circular "elevator room" in which they concluded last session. However, at Dak's suggestion, they swiftly decided to go back above ground for a day or so in order to heal, rest, and recuperate and to gain back spells and the like. Once upstairs in the Country Manor House now occupied by the recovering Prince Arkus, Dak and Innominus asked Father Azamondius and Grand Vizier Krock whether or not the Brothers of Carcoon would be willing to provide them with some dispel magic scrolls for their return to the depths. Father Azamondius promised to supply them with three such divine scrolls.
The party then headed back into Fortinbras, where they rent a home on the walled town's southwest side. One of their first orders of business was to visit a local alchemist's shop, Crazy Larry's Potion Vendor, and see how many water breathing potions they could get their hands on. Crazy Larry told them he could sell them seven such potions immediately, for 300gp each; if they wanted more, it would take a week for them to arrive over the mountains from Blintsport.
The party ultimately ordered thirty (!) potions of water breathing (five for each PC) from Crazy Larry's Potion Vendor, and waited around in Fortinbras for the week it took them to arrive. Some highlights from that week include:
+ Hazel did her usual of looking around town for unusual arcane items. She asked around for spell scrolls for wall of ice and wall of fire, to little avail. The main Council Spell Library is north in Farn Junction -- a metropolis currently Dark Plague-ridden.
+ Vivuli spent most of his week at the house, tending his snake pits and attempting to harvest venom from some of the asps in his home collection. He was successful, but it is slow going, and he got only one dose of poison for his week's labor.
+ Returning to the caverns far beneath the Country Manor, Dak assisted his dwarven excavation team in building load-bearing supports in the Thoopshib Temple, preparatory to knocking down the partially desecrated Temple's remaining pillars.
+ Innominus also returned underground and spent the week doing some detection work in the circular elevator room. He cast detect magic on all four doors in the chamber, finding that the little Thoosphib runes on the doors did indeed radiate magic. Vivuli assisted the cleric, using his x-ray vision ring to peek at what lay beyond the north and south doors: a storage room at the end of a hallway to the north, and a spiral stars down to the south. He also noticed that the doors were attached to the shaft walls and opened away from the elevator; the circular elevator room had openings at all four cardinal compass points, but no actual doors attached.
+ Meta-game-wise, this is about when Uncle Junkal's player showed up for the session [see DM's Notes]. In-game, Uncle Junkal visited the elevator room with Innominus and Viv and helped identify the fish-head runes on the doors, as well as some markings near the control panel levers, as belonging to the language of the Ponaturi, a dreaded mythical race of sea-dwelling fish-men.
At the end of the week, the party gathered their potions and headed back down to the elevator room. Their attention immediately went to the eastern control room, and, as Dak immortally put it:
"I guess I'm not opposed to messing with the levers."
It was decided that Viv would man the levers, Uncle Junkal would remain with him in the control room, and Innominus, Dak, Yor, and Hazel would ride the elevator.
Viv tried several different combinations, too numerous to document here, of the four levers in their up, down, and middle (neutral) positions. The first result he produced, after a few tries, was to cause a loud rumbling noise, then the whole circular chamber went up. It ascended approximately 200' and stopped. The only entrance out of the elevator on this level was to the east: the elevator opened into a vast, dark chamber, not unlike the one the party visited in Session 42. There wasn't much to see there besides a four-levered control panel just inside the vast chamber, so Viv cranked some more levers and eventually brought the elevator room down. However, at the same time as he struck upon the right lever pull, he saw a potent vision in his mind, of the Fish-Thing Thoopshib hissing in hatred at him. Viv was mind-blasted by the vision, and took physical damage from its "psychic hiss attack." The elevator arrived back on his level.
A few more lever pullings sent the elevator plunging downward, down 600' to a briny-smelling natural tunnel headed north. It was pitch dark. As Vivuli tampered with more lever positions in an attempt to return the party to his level, the PCs on the briny level below faintly heard sounds of movement or activity echoing down the northbound passage toward them.
At Dak's behest, Innominus placed his amulet of continual light into his sling and sent it flying down the large (30' diameter) passage. It flew 80' north and struck a side wall, glancing off to the left (west) at a slight westward bend of the tunnel. Dak and Innominus then headed northward toward the light, weapons brandished . . .
. . . Hazel readied her wand of paralyzation and prepared a spell . . .
. . . . upstairs, Viv tried another combination of levers, and the elevator started rumbling . . .
. . . and Dak and Innominus saw grotesque shadows cast upon the tunnel wall, of huge, 15' tall bipedal fish-creatures, armed with tridents, coming down the passage toward them. Backlit as they were by Innominus' thrown amulet, the two monstrosities' exact facial features were indistinct, but they gurgled and growled menacingly as they advanced, and the party struck immediately.
Dak threw an oil flask at the fish-things, striking one and setting it on fire, while Innominus prayed to Endra and cast Hold Person, which seemed not to affect them.
Fierce battle ensued, coupled with a plan: the melee fighters, along with some phantasmal forces of Hazel's, would slowly lure the fish-creatures down toward the south end of the passage nearest the elevator, where Hazel waited with the paralyzation wand. Then the dwarves and Innominus would leap aside and Hazel would zap the fish-things!
Hazel cast phantasmal force, and had some henchman-looking types march in toward the Ponaturi. The Ponaturi seemed to believe in these phantasms at first, and attacked them with their stupendous tridents, while the PCs, retreating southward down the passage, peppered the fish-things with missile fire. Soon, however, the Ponaturi lost interest in their ghostly attackers, and advanced on the flesh-and-blood PCs. Vicious melee ensued, and eventually one fish-man was cut down to chum, and the other one was successfully paralyzed by Hazel's wand. He too was cut down to chum, and both Ponaturi's satchels were ransacked for their pearls. Dak cut off all their hands, and this is where the session ended.
Scheduling-wise, we have switched from our previous Monday evening gaming night to regular Thursdays -- but aligning everybody's schedules is no easy feat. For the next few sessions, Uncle Junkal's player will likely show up a bit late (maybe 30-40 minutes) due to a work conflict. Yet this was literally the only weeknight we could find that worked for everyone. Thankfully, after the present academic term, his schedule will likely change -- of course, so will many of our other players, since many of us are in the college teaching profession and our schedules shift each term.
Other than that, I am thrilled that the party has found potent nemeses in the Ponaturi, and seem to be preparing for some kind of all-out raid or assault on their territory. There have also been some recent out-of-game discussions about possible other plans -- at least some tentative ideas I've heard mentioned by a couple of players -- so, as always, I will look forward to seeing what surprises the party brings on next.
Here are some screenshots from Skype: