The seventh session began with most of our heroes in the village of Rannir, beneath the shadow of the mighty Tower. Meanwhile, Maeralya approached the village with news about the terrible Temple to the east.
Leandro Rebes, Fighter 3, a Mercenary from the Bargainer’s League with a powerful grudge. (Matthew)
Guillermo Acosta, Grand Alchemist 3, a seeker of secrets from the far-off city of Candleton. (Delwyn)
Marit, Explorer 3, a skilled Monster Hunter from the violent hills of Estiria. (Catherine)
Maeralya, Elven Enchantress 1, an Antiquarian from the far-off Elven Courts. (Asha)
Not long after the party arrived at the village, Maeralya also arrived, catching the group up on what she had discovered about the historical repeating of the current trouble afflicting the region. In turn, Guillermo let her know what they had discovered about the alchemical laboratory nearby; that the settlement of Red Oak no longer existed, but there was a well-known landmark known as Red Oak in the region.
Retiring for the night, the party were afflicted by strange dreams.
The party took the opportunity to visit the Spell-Wright Asandarin the morning. He was apparently waiting for them to arrive and invited them to his sanctum, where he gave them some information about the location they sought; it had once belonged to the local Vicearch, a title roughly equivalent to Earl, who had been an Alchemist of ill and dark repute, much given to experimenting upon the local population. Several adventuring groups had already attempted to locate the laboratory, though they had so far returned empty handed and some maimed by traps or passing monsters; and the location itself had from time to time become a stopping point for bands of beastmen. Still, Asandar gave the party his blessing to attempt the delve, in return for a promise of whatever spellbooks and research notes they could uncover.
With the local ruler’s blessing, the party headed off to locate the ancient laboratory.
Marit (Expl 3)
→ Bob (Ftr 2 / Henchman) (+1 Morale)
→ Cullie (Hunting Dog)
Guillermo Acosti ( Alc 3)
→ Erasmus (Ftr 2 / Henchman)
Maeralya (Enc 1)
→ “Mook” (Ftr 1 / Henchman)
→ Keletheryl (War Hound)
Leandro (Ftr 3)
→ Bertram (Ftr 2 / Henchman)
The journey to the former site of Red Oak was short and uneventful. On arriving at the area, the party began to notice strange aberrations in the wildlife in the area; as well as the peculiar red-budding tree, the grass grew in peculiar shades and some of the smaller wildlife was mutated and strange. Guillermo suggested that the laboratory was leaking alchemical elements and reagents into the surrounding area.
Taking this as confirmation that they were in the right area, the party began to search for the entrance mentioned in the snipped of text they had seen. The only almost-standing structue was a couple of walls and a boulder supporting a small portion of remaining ceiling; Marit discovered a beam blocking then entrance (and supporting the roof), which she squeezed past. Inside, the mossy stonework floor was interrupted by a large stone slab. Attempting to squeeze out, Marit accidentally disturbed the beam and the ceiling collapsed, barely missing crushing her.
The party spent a while clearing the rubble from the floor, and then Maeralya noticed a lever in the wall. Using a rope to pull the lever (having been warned of traps), the party watched as the slab slid aside easily on oiled runners. The first thing the group noticed was the stink of kobold dung!
From beneath, the kobolds jabbered threats in their debased version of Beast-Hakk. Leandro threatened them back, and when challenged to “come down here and say that”, responded by leaping into the chamber. The following combat was mostly one-sided as the party above poured missile fire into the kobolds (Marit shooting three dead in a matter of seconds) and Leandro hacked through them; the last survivor obeyed the kobold champion’s order to open one of the doors and was immediately cast down by a massive, nine foot long weasel!
This was a somewhat more dangerous foe and even though the party hammered it with arrows and sling bullets, it managed to charge Leandro. He was ready for it, however, and set his halberd to receive the charge. The beast thundered into him and sank its teeth into his shoulder; yet even as it began to attempt to drink his blood, it started to fall limp, impaled clean through on the polearm.
With the cellar cleared of enemies, the party took a moment to get their bearings as they began to climb down, and Guillermo took the opportunity to treat Leandro’s vicious shoulder wound. The cellar had three doors, one of which was already opened; the cupboard behind was filled with weasel dung and pieces of regurgitated fur and bone. The northern exit was crudely boarded up, and the other door was stuck; Leandro easily opened it with a kick of his boot. inside lay a dusty wine rack in a darkened room. He then quickly noticed that the wine-rack was on a balancing platform, and poked the rack with his 10 foot pole; a crossbow bolt thudded from a gap in the wall and embedded itself in the floor. Examining the crossbow bolt, Guillermo determined that it had once been poisoned with purple worm venom, an extremely deadly toxin; but it had long ago expired.
Tearing the boards off the final exit from this room revealed a shaft heading downward and a set of rusted rungs, along with a smell of damp air. The party wisely decided not to attempt to use the rungs and instead descended ropes into the floor below.
Down below the cellar was a circular room forming a crossroads. A rivulet ran across the stone floor from west to east, while several of the party noticed a low but consistent humming sound coming from the south. On this basis, the party decided to head north, advancing carefully and leaving some of their number to guard the cellar.
The north corridor ended with a locked door. Leandro borrowed his henchman’s axe and made relatively quick work of the door as the others watched nervously around for ambushes. Inside was a room with painted, pinkish walls; another door waited on the opposite side. Entering, Marit realised with a sudden freezing feeling that the room had a fine notch all along the walls at roughly neck height; quickly ordering everyone out, the party watched as a pair of large serrated blades flashed suddenly from either side, slicing out across where their necks had been mere moments earlier.
Further careful investigation indicated that the floor was hinged in the middle; standing to either side at all caused the floor to descend slightly, setting off the trap. Leandro spiked the notches and advanced to investigate the other door, which had a handle but no apparent lock. Assuming by this point that the door must be trapped, he asked his henchman (who was a former lumberman) to fetch some chisels and a saw; and soon enough the team began to saw around the handle before malleting the handle into the next room.
The door hinged in the wall and opened into the pink-walled chamber, making it difficult not to step to either side. The light from the lantern revealed a large laboratory centred around a great operating table. Six niches containing corpses lay on either side of the room, while great permanent metamphora lay between the niches, and a huge piece of alchemical equipment of some kind stood on a metal gantry hanging over the surgical table. At one side of the equipment lay a storage cupboard, while a large, barred metal door lay at the other.
The corpses in the niches started shedding mercury as they slowly shambled to their feet, vicious-looking bladed weapons attached to their arms in place of hands. Quickly recognising the danger, Leandro moved everyone back across the antechamber, physically pulling Guillermo away as he tried to puzzle out the alchemical/surgical equipment. Taking a position on the other side of the trap room, Leandro blocked the door with the intention of allowing the alchemical “zombie” monsters to shamble into the trapped chamber. The monsters were extremely strong and surprisingly skilled; some of them began to land hits even despite Leandro’s armour and shield, but eventually the trap went off. Bertram landed an excellent charge with Leandro’s polearm, killing one of the creatures, though he lost the polearm in the attempt. Shortly afterwards, Guillermo released his powerful Burning Hands spell; 3 more fell to the ground in flames, and the party looked in wonder at the alchemist.
Leandro slowly retreated to allow the party to shoot at the zombies, and the two remaining monsters began to overrun the party a little, one of them getting access to Guillermo and only narrowly failing to gut him. But the party regained their composure and with Guillermo’s sap and Maeralya’s staff added to the battle line the tide turned once more; Leandro beheaded the burning zombie and Bertram took advantage of the gap to zip around the other side and bury his axe in the only one still standing.
Though there were worries about the toxic burning mercury (not to mention the huge pools of the stuff on the floor), the party advanced into the laboratory once more. One of the destroyed mercury zombies had a strange blade strapped to its thigh; on examination, this was determined to be an “elementally perfect” blade, with an effect similar to Mythril. A green-tinted potion sat on the surgical table; although on initial testing it appeared to be a Potion of Heroism, it was identified as a Potion of Delusion by the expert Alchemist. The four huge metamphora were found to contain a pair of Wyvern corpses and a pair of Ogre corpses.
Breaking open the equipment locker caused the tinkling sound of breaking glass, and suddenly the smell of mercury vanished as alchemical “anti-scent” filled the room. Inside the locker are the following items:
2 wrought gold chains worth 1000gp each,
1 orichalcum chalice worth 4000gp
1 set of finely wrought platinum scales worth 900gp.
Partly choked and somewhat battered, the party decided to grab what they had found so far and return to the surface to recover.
865gp of killed creature components
Two Wyvern Stingers (720gp)
Two Wyvern Wingtips (720gp)
Two sets of Ogre Knucklebones (280gp)
Total Treasure: 6,900gp
XP Gained: 9,485xp