Dec 02 2010

Chronicles of Netheril – November 28th, 2010

Scepter Tower – Floor 6

After waiting for some time, it was clear that Thoran was not coming back down with the rest of his troops; so we left our bolt hole and went up the spiral staircase to the 6th floor of the tower.

The staircase ended on this floor and we found ourselves in the middle of one big, mostly empty room that clearly took up this entire floor of the tower. In one corner, there were a number plinths arranged in a circle. The 5 Alabaster pillars that had been placed on the plinths were now glowing, and 3 of the plinths were still empty. The glow from the pillars was the only source of light in the room. At the end of the room nearest the pillars there was a wooden staircase leading further up. We could hear whimpering cries coming from the gloom at the other end of the room. When we investigated, we found an old man in tattered clothing shackled to the wall. He begged us to come closer and free him.

Something seemed oddly suspicious with the whole thing. It turned out to be a trap. The old man was in fact a large Oni who had cast an illusion spell on us. Once Dirty Pig was able to discern that magic was being used, the Oni dropped the act and attacked us. He was fairly difficult to defeat, but our reward was well worth the effort. We found the missing alabaster pieces that we needed to open the two locked doors.

With the current threat neutralized, we focused our attentions on the pillars. In addition to the light being emitted from the pillars, the plinths were covered in strange markings that also emitted an eerie glow. What knowledge we had of things arcane and religious led us to conclude that this was a very complex spell designed to summon a spirit and bind it so that the spellcaster would have absolute control over the spirit. Since the alabaster pillars were directly related to Lady Saharel (according to the Analects of Kuryon), it was obvious that she was the spirit Thoran was trying to control.

It’s a good thing we hid the two pillars that we already found. There’s no telling what might happen if someone was somehow able to control the power of Lady Saharel.

Scepter Tower – Floor 5

Before proceeding further up the tower, we returned to the 5th floor and used the thin alabaster pieces to unlock the door to what we assumed were Thoran’s quarters. There wasn’t much inside; but what there was, was of great value. We found Thoran’s bankroll; some gold, and quite a lot of platinum. We also found a plan of the tower. While there weren’t any floor plans, there was a cross-section of the tower that listed all the individual floors; 10 in all. Here is the list:

  • 10: Rooftop Battlements
  • 09: Staging Area
  • 08: Secure Storerooms
  • 07: Guard House & Battlements
  • 06: Laboratory
  • 05: Master Arcanist’s Quarters
  • 04: Feast Hall
  • 03: Kitchen & Reception Hall
  • 02: Dormitories
  • 01: Arcane Armoury
  •   B: Scepter Factory
Scepter Tower – Floor 1

With nothing left to do in Thoran’s quarters, we went back down to the 1st floor and opened the main vault. When the doors opened we saw 8 large chests in the Armoury. Seven of the chest were arrayed along the walls in a U shape, while the 8th chest was in the middle of the room and seemed to be clad in steel. Since such a vault was quite likely protected with many traps, Ash volunteered to go in first and try to find any dangers.

The moment he stepped into the door’s threshold, a figure appeared in the room; it was a Mind Flayer. To our great relief and confusion, it ignored us and turned its attention to the chest in the middle of the room. The moment it tried to open the chest, it was buffeted by what appeared to be powerful air drafts coming from 4 different directions. Instantly, the skin on the mind flayer’s face melted away. It turned around and tried to run away, but before it could take a single step, it had already dead; a pile of rapidly decaying fleshy goo lying on the floor. Then the vision, that’s what it had to be, disappeared just as suddenly as it had appeared. It was a warning. Perhaps sent by Lady Saharel herself; that we might survive long enough to put a stop to Thoran’s plan.

The vision had been very specific. It was the middle chest that was trapped. There was a good chance that the others weren’t. After careful examination, we were able to determine that the other 7 chest were indeed safe. And it wasn’t a case of a trap being to well concealed for us to find it, because the trap on the middle chest, while hidden, was still visible. Further examination of the room revealed the location of the 4 corrosive gas emitters.

The chest themselves were filled with enchanted items and armour. Once we’d equipped ourselves, we tried to devise a way to access the trapped chest. The obvious first step was to attempt to disable the gas emitters. We were only successful in disarming 2 of the 4 emitters, so another strategy was required. One idea was to line up the other chests end to end in front of the booby-trapped one and, from the safety of the corridor outside the armoury, try to push it to an alcove at the far end of the armoury that seemed like it was out of range of the gas. That idea was abandoned when someone pointed out that the trap was probably motion sensitive and the chest, being made out of wood, would simply melt away. Tying a rope around the chest and pulling it out of the armoury would also fail, for the exact same reason. The solution presented itself when someone noticed that the chest was unlocked. Apparently the mind flayer had gotten that far at least. We stacked the wooden chest up in front of the two active gas emitters; this would slow down the spread of the gas and buy us a couple of extra seconds. Once the rest of the team was out in the corridor, Adrie opened the chest, grabbed the contents and ran out. Turns out there hadn’t been much in the chest; one magical scepter and two recipes. The scepter was likely quite powerful, given the strength of the trap.

Scepter Tower – Floor 7

We returned to the 6th floor and prepared to go up to the 7th. Ash snuck up and found himself  near the midway point of a long rectangular room similar to the one on the 2nd floor; except that where the 2nd floor had an intersecting corridor, this one had a door. There was also a door at both ends of the room; but based on its size, it seemed as if the doors led beyond the walls of the tower. They most likely led to the battlements from where Ash had been attacked by archers when he stepped out onto the terrace in front of the towers main entrance.

There was a small handful of gnomes in the room who were busy practicing their combat skills. Because they were distracted, they didn’t notice when Ash signaled for the rest of the group to come up, and we got the drop on them.

About halfway through the fight, the side door opened, revealing a dark creeper and about a dozen kobolds. To our surprise, they didn’t attack us. Turns out they were planning to escape, and were simply waiting for an appropriate distraction. Most of the kobolds ran off as soon as they could, grabbing some weapons off the racks on their way out.

After the fight with the gnomes and the dark creeper was over, we noticed that two of the kobolds hadn’t run off and escaped. To repay us for eliminating their captors and saving them, they offered to help us fight the rest of the people in the tower. Based on the things they said during the conversation, we determined that they were from the same tribe mentioned in Allendi’s message. We even managed to get an invite to see their part of the tunnels. We just have to make sure that they don’t find out we were the ones who killed the kobolds in the kitchen on the 3rd floor.

Before exploring the rest of the guardhouse, we figured it would be a good idea to clear out the battlements. We split the party into two groups and each went through one of the doors in the training room. The plan was to trap the archers using a variation on the pincer maneuver. While the enemy was busy fighting the first team, the second team would sneak up behind them and catch them by surprise. Unfortunately when the second team was ambushed by a pair of death jump spiders, they whole thing degenerated into an all out brawl. To make things worse, the noise from the fight attracted the attention of archers located on the rooftop battlements.