Sanctum of the Serpent God – Twisty-Turny Passages
See the campaign notes for background.
Tabansi’s Journal, Part 60
After fleeing from the terror’s of the maze on the wings of Ek’Tura’s spell of Getaway, we both take time to recover our senses as the enchantment wears off. In time, still linked by the telepathy spell, we learn that the others have survived the fight and they are soon able to join us through Derek’s Word of Recall.
Though we have been driven out of Hunter’s Maze, we at least have the head of General Belkor, the Urdefhan which their leader Izon wished us to locate and kill. Now seems like a good time to return the head and get the aid of the Urdefhan against the Serpentfolk, though our lack of spell resources make it difficult for all of us to get there easily.
So Ek’Tura volunteers to take the head to Izon himself. He’s spoken to the Urdefhan leader alone before, and didn’t seem to cause any major diplomatic incidents – and it’s not as if any of the rest of us are gifted diplomatic, myself especially. With a little discussion we agree to the plan and await Ek’Tura’s return.
When Ek’Tura returns, he fills us in on what happened. Izon had been pleased to have the head of his traitorous general returned to him, but is somewhat confused as to why Belkor was being imprisoned by the Urdefhan, and asked Ek’Tura to take a patrol to where he was being held to investigate. He is however willing to ally with us against the Serpentfolk, though Ek’Tura was unable to give him a timeframe in which this would happen. He did though show a desire that part of the agreement would be for the Urdefhan to be allowed to eat the Morlocks.
Ek’Tura is flown back to the Hunter’s Maze on some skavelings with a Urdefhan patrol. The Urdefhan landed, and explored the ruins outside the caves. On seeing the bodies of Urdefhan here, they asked how they were killed, and Ek’Tura explained that we had been forced to kill them because they attacked us. They seemed to accept the answer as reasonable and a couple of are sent to explore the ruins. Shortly afterwards they vanished to the sound of screams and the sounds of some large beast moving amongst the ruins.
The Urdefhan found the imprisoned Morlocks, but not much else, so headed back to report to their leader and Ek’Tura came back to us.
Now that the Urdefhan know of the Maze, it is probably important that we head there as quickly as possible, but unfortunately the spell casters amongst us are low on spells. It is decided to camp overnight and return in the morning as quickly as possible.
The following morning though I wake to feeling feverish and weak. I seem to have come down with a bought of Demonic Wasting. As I stagger over to Derek to seek some healing, I notice that Athazog is also feeling sick. We must have contracted the disease yesterday whilst fighting the Meladaemons. Derek is able to provide us with some healing which removes the disease, though I am still feeling weakened. We decide rather than using up more magic, we will press on ahead anyway. What could possibly go wrong?
We teleport directly into the entrance room to the Maze, where the magic floor which shouts the winning conditions for the Maze is. The dead bodies which were there have been cleared away by someone (or something), and the room is empty apart from the defaced statues.
I feel that we should trigger the magic mouth, since that may trigger the start of the winning conditions for the maze (to survive for three hours). The others argue against this though, and it is ultimately decided to not activate it. It may be that it no longer applies, but I feel that we could end up wasting several hours here, only to have to do things again later.
Ek’Tura sits down in the corner to cast a slow spell, and the rest of us take a look around the room and down the passages that lead out. We don’t wander far, since we don’t want to disturb anything that might be lurking here, but eventually Ek’Tura finishes and conjures up a small eye that he sends off down the maze, drawing a crude map as he does so. He discovers a cavern not far from here where some Urdefhan and Daemons lurk, but prefers to get a rough map of the entire maze than perform careful checking.
With a rough map of the Maze, Ek’Tura then tries a Locate Person to find the Urdefhan priest Valgaunt. Having successfully got a bearing on his location, we head down into the twisty-turny passages to try and find him.
After a while we come across a couple of set of stairs heading up into a square room. There are seven plinths in the middle of the room, on which stand statues of serpentfolk warriors. At the far side of the room a couple of larger statues of serpentfolk sorcerers stand, their staves raised high over a wide passage.
Whilst we look into the room, Ek’Tura notices that the statues are in fact Permanent Images. It is mentioned that since Ek’Tura can’t see through the images, they could be concealing something within them. I mention there is also the possibility that there could be something invisible surrounding them. It is then though that I notice something briefly stick out of an image – there does indeed seem to be people trying to hide within the images.
Not bothering to ask questions, Derek drops a fireball into the middle of the room to announce our presence. At that point, an Urdefhan leaps out of one of the images and strikes at Arkin at the top of the stairs, then springs back into the cover of the plinths. Derek calls on his god and a pillar of fire strikes the images, including the now revealed Urdefhan.
As I move cautiously to the top of the spells and place an enchantment on my bow, more Urdefhan start revealing themselves, darting in to stab Derek but hits only armour and quickly retreats back into cover.
Athazog leaps into the room and joins the fight, as other Urdefhan step out of the illusions and surround us. Arkin and Athazog work together to flank our attackers, but are themselves outflanked by their superior numbers. I find that many of my arrows are deflected by their magical protections, but some hit home. Even Derek is forced into fighting them hand to hand with his flaming Scimitar.
It is then though that Arkin is attacked from behind and falls to the floor, barely alive but playing dead. This opens things up to allow several of them to concentrate their attacks on me. Ek’Tura manages to cast a spell which slows them all, which allows me to slay one.
We are all surrounded and bleeding, when Ek’Tura summons up an Earth Elemental to take some of the pressure off us whilst Athazog slays another. It is then though that two manage to outflank me, and there is the feel of a double bladed sword piercing my back and everything goes red, and then black. I feel a pit open beneath me, and the calling of my god.
Then Derek’s prayers are echoing in my thoughts as he pulls me back from the brink of death. I awaken to see Athazog slay one more, then leap down the stairs after the final fleeing one, catching it and killing it. It explodes in a burst of negative energy as its soul is consumed by its dark god.
With Derek’s help, we heal up and take stock. We loot the bodies, and decide to continue on, following Ek’Tura’s divination of the direction to Valgaunt. There are more tunnels, until they open into a wide chamber with a chasm running down the middle and a couple of narrow ledges either side. Arkin scouts forward, and notices a frog-like creature clinging to the wall of the chasm just beneath the ledge.
It vomits a ball of black goop at him, making him feel drowsy. Arkin falls back, and the creature clambers up over the ledge towards us, so I put an arrow into it. Nevertheless, it bits at Arkin, and begins trying to swallow him.
Ek’tura recognises the creature as a Hydrodaemon, and casts grease on Arkin allowing him to slip free. Three more of the creatures climb up over the ledge or glide down from the ceiling and we are soon joined in combat. However they turn out to be less dangerous than the Urdefhan, and are soon slain or driven off.
Beyond the chasm we find a narrow passage that leads into what looks like a large spherical room. I lead the way inside, to find a room about 60ft in diameter, with a ledge running around the outside, leaving a 40ft hemispherical pit in the middle. At the bottom of the hemisphere is some sort of statue. Several passages seem to lead out of the room in various directions.
Before I get much chance to look at the statue though, I see a couple of creatures at the far end. They are mostly skeletal, but with fleshy jackal heads and pulsating intestines wrapped around inside their skeletal torso and skeletal wings stretched out behind them.
Arkin darts past me and into the room, notices two more either side of the entrance, and quickly runs back. As I raise my bow, one of them leaps at me, flying across the room and its tongue lashes out, licking at my face. A feeling of paralysing dread fills me, and I am unable to move.
Derek quickly summons a wall of rock, which he places between myself and the creature. He says that they are a type of Mohrg, and says a prayer to Sarenrae which removes the paralysis from me.
As we decide what to do, I hear movement along the passageway from both directions. A mohrg comes racing down the passage, licking at Derek but she resists its paralysing touch. I shoot arrows into it, and Arkin springs forward and stabs it, taking it down. A second comes into view, but quickly retreats back.
We prepare ourselves to face more of them.