Serpent’s Skull – Part 57

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The Thousand Fangs Below – The Rescue of Eando Kline

Tabansi’s Journal, Part 57

The night was spent wondering whether the serpentfolk wizard would try to track us down and kill us, but by morning it was clear that she had either failed to do so, or had no intention of trying.

One option we had was to try and hunt down her and kill her, but we decided against it, and instead opted to try another raid into a different part of the fortress. This time we dimension door’d into a store cupboard near several sets of double doors which Ek’tura had discovered during his previous scouting.

The passageway outside was quiet, and we chose a door which seemed currently unused but showed some signs of recent traffic. Beyond it was a large room with stone benches facing towards a high stone table with chairs set behind it. Stone columns covered in serpentine carvings supported the ceiling of the room.

Searching around, we found a couple of hidden doors. One led into a small armoury, which was filled with high quality bows and flails. The other, which was behind the table, hid a spiral staircase which led downwards. The top of the staircase was guarded by two serpentfolk, who we killed without too much thought.

The staircase spiralled down about 75ft to a massive rough hewn chamber which contained a number of guards who seemed to have been alerted. We prepared ourselves for a fight, and I led the way down, trying to keep hidden, but was spotted and shot at. I immediately returned shots, but was pinned into the bottom of the stairwell by almost a dozen archers.

Athazog and Arkin moved down into the chamber, but had difficulty moving out without being turned into pin-cushions. Fortunately Derek was able to squeeze past, and summoned a wall of fire across half the chamber, shielding us temporarily from the arrow shots.

Player’s Note: This was tricky because the narrow stairs made it difficult to everyone to move past each other, and nobody wanted to move out into the open where they could be hit by so many archers at the same time. We also realised after the fact that for much of the fight Ek’tura was standing invisible in front of Tabansi. Tabansi has enough feats to completely ignore any forms of cover – but these probably don’t count when the cover is invisible. As it happened, he rolled so badly with all his shots that he kept on missing, but it’s a question we didn’t resolve for later times.

This allowed everyone to clear the stairwell and start engaging in melee, and for Ek’Tura to summon an earth elemental into the fight. Most of the serpentfolk were able to break through the wall of fire, but they had lost the advantage by this point and eventually all but one fell to our swords and bows.

There were several doors leading out of the chamber, one of which led to another well stocked armoury. A second led to a smaller chamber with several exits and from the third there came a stench of foul excrement, as well as the sounds of moaning. Unfortunately, this was the direction the surviving serpentfolk had fled through, so we decided to head in this direction.

Beyond was a sight and smell I will not soon forget, for there was a large room filled with cells, within which were held dozens of morlocks. They seemed overjoyed to see us, expecting a rescue of some kind no doubt. We were unable to unlock their cells at this point though, and quickly made our way through to another room where some serpentfolk guards were seated around a table.

Deciding that a quick and quiet fight was to our advantage, Ek’tura summoned some ghostly creatures which he called animate dreams, and these made short work of the guards with a little bit of help from us.

Players Note: The animate dreams are incorporeal, and the serpentfolk had no means of even harming them. This was raised by the GM as possibly game breaking, though personally I don’t feel that in practise it’s any more game breaking than PCs having ridiculously high ACs to the extent that they can’t be hit by anything without a natural 20. Being incorporeal, they wouldn’t block the enemies from attacking us, and even with the maximum number of 3 of them would only kill one serpentfolk a round.

Beyond was a largish room with a pool of water in the middle. Within it floated the dead body of a human woman. Examining her showed signs of heavy torture, but her cause of death was probably due to poison. There were tracks here of naga as well as serpentfolk here.

Exploring further, we encountered more cells of morlocks, and beyond those we discovered a torture room, within which was being held a chained human man. A serpentfolk stood over him, a hot poker in his hand.

I immediately shot the torturer, and as Arkin ran into the room he vanished from our sight. Fortunately Ek’tura has the ability to see invisible things and created a pit beneath his feat – but the torturer dodged to the side. As the rest of us came into the room, the invisible enemy struck at Athazog who was unable to determine his location. Ek’tura cast Glitterdust which outlined him, allowing the rest of us to finally locate and engage him.

Before long he surrendered, which we accepted, though I felt that this would only lead to moral complications later. We chained him up, and tried to free the human.

Eando Kline

He was badly injured, and secured with both mundane chains and magical locks. He identified himself as Eando Kline – much to our relief, since it meant at least part of our quest was now over. Eventually we freed him and healed him up, and also managed to locate his equipment and also a key to the morlock cells.

Derek was most keen to free the morlocks, though we had no easy way of getting them back to their home. In total, there were about 200 of them – well beyond our capacity for spells. At some point – I’m not sure exactly when – Athazog slew the torturer. He had refused to provide us with any useful information, so I was neither surprised nor bothered by this.

In the end we did free the morlocks from their cells, and started to lead them up towards the main passage of the fortress. The serpentfolk had laid an ambush for us though and the morlocks started a fight, swarming over their captors. We soon lost control over what was happening, so decided to leave the morlocks to their fate and teleport back to our camp along with Eando Kline. If they are lucky then some of the morlocks will make it out alive, but I do not hold out much hope. Tonight though we will rest, and in the morning find out from Eando what he has discovered about the plans that the serpentfolk have for us surface dwellers.

Players Note: This was the end of chapter five of the adventure path. We gained enough experience from this for most of us to reach fourteenth level. The next (and last) adventure will be Sanctum of the Serpent God, which we’ll probably begin in a month or two.

Samuel Penn