Serpents Skull – Part 62

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Sanctum of the Serpent God – Fall of a Meladaemon

See the campaign notes for background.

Tabansi’s Journal, Part 61

The night passed back at camp without incident, and by morning we were ready again to make an assault on the maze. This time we knew that we had to try and defeat the Meladaemons once and for all, so Derek and Ek’Tura prepared spells that would hopefully prevent the daemons from escaping.

We decided that the best plan of attack would be to strike at the natural caverns where we saw a single Meladaemon. We teleported in to the top of the stairs at the back of the entrance room, and found a single Urdefhan on guard there. We try to quickly take it down, but it gets out a yell of alarm before Arkin is able to finish it off.

I quickly sneaked down the stairs into the cavern. It was a complex room made up of what looked like multiple stalagmites which had been cut off about 15ft from the ground leaving flat plateaus of rock. Narrow passages ran between them, and the ceiling was about 60ft above.

There is the sound of spell casting from within the cavern, so we quickly put up our own spells and start moving in, using air walk to reach the height of the plateaus. Far too close to us was a Meladaemon, a fact I noticed first when I started feeling incredibly hungry just before catching sight of it.

Ek’tura summons his own daemon to aid us, and a fight is begun, with the Meladaemon hitting us with horrid wiltings. A second Meladaemon and a couple of Urdefhan archers are also in the room, but we concentrate everything we can onto the first one. Ek’Tura is able to bind it with a dimensional anchor, and both Athazog and myself manage to land some hits on it, wearing it down whilst Arkin takes on one of the archers, and Derek channels healing towards us. Ek’Tura’s own daemon is slain by another horrid wilting.

Fighting Meladaemons in the cavern

The second Daemon teleports away, and we continue to press the first one. It backs away, and suddenly the entire cavern is filled with deeper darkness. Derek though calls on Sarenae and is surrounded by a glowing nimbus of light, which pushes the darkness back, allowing Ek’Tura to hit the daemon with some spells.

Another daemon – a Derghadaemon – teleports in right next to Ek’Tura, who takes sonic form and flees back. Derek speaks a word and banishes it before it can do anything. Finally, I manage to put several final arrows into the daemon, and it goes down.

Player’s Note: I did make use of Tabansi’s Quarry ability towards the end, even though the Meladaemons were immune to criticals (it provides bonuses to hit and auto-confirms criticals, as well as making tracking of a creature easier), then realised afterwards I could only use it on favoured enemies, which outsiders don’t yet count as for me. Fortunately, the hit bonus didn’t actually make any difference.

The other ability I couldn’t really use was deadly aim, which provides damage bonuses in exchange for penalties to hit. Though useful, it’s also annoying in that it forces a choice that often turns out to be wrong. Against the daemons, with about 50% chance of hitting on my primary attack, it’s too risky using it, and when I did, I generally missed. But when I didn’t use it, I rolled high and it would have been beneficial. Thinking about it from a game design perspective, I think I’d prefer a weaker ability which kicks in automatically if you roll well, rather than forcing the player to make an artificial choice.

He have a moment of respite, as we finish off one of the archers, before the second Meladaemon returns, flying in out of the darkness. Ek’Tura bravely takes it on in hand to hand, relying on mirror images and his sonic form to protect himself.

As Athazog engages it in melee, and I rain more arrows into it, it tries to teleport. Ek’Tura though is able to block it from leaving, and Derek strikes at it with a Flamestrike. It is looking weak, and tries to teleport again – this time succeeding. The final Urdefhan is taken down, and we take a moment to rest and recover.

Near the back of the cavern are a set of double doors, which look quite out of place in this maze. Deciding to investigate, we open the doors and head inside.

The most noticeable aspect of the room beyond was a large translucent sphere of blue energy, within which was a cyclops impaling a Azlanti woman with a great sword. Ek’Tura thought that he recognised something about the scene, but wasn’t certain. The blue energy seemed to be some form of temporal stasis, with a teleportation effect bound into it.

Player’s Note: At least this group has one character with some good knowledge skills. Unfortunately they weren’t quite good enough.

The walls of the room were covered with ancient tapestries, though they were tattered and faded with time. A mending spell repaired the physical tapestries, but didn’t bring back the imagery on them, which was unrecognisable.

At the back of the room were a couple of statues of serpentfolk, their arms outstretched across the room towards each other. Their arms were broken though, and lay on the floor in pieces. I wondered whether they had been holding a weapon or other objects which had been broken free, but could see no sign of that.

There was also a second door at the back of the room, which opened into another set of tunnels. Squeezing down one led us to a small room from which led up a wide set of steps. From above came the sound of talking in Aklo. Expecting trouble, we ready our weapons and prepare to take on whatever threat is above.

Player’s Note: We completed this session feeling a bit more upbeat than the previous one. Though one of the Meladaemons got away, we did manage to kill one, plus we found something that looks interesting and will need some returning to later. It feels like we’ve made some progress.

Samuel Penn