Bhapa: "Dude, man, it just occured to me that I should have tried to exalt poor Zor to some kind of greatness! My harmonica and my voice have both been known to inspire others."
Beryn "It is OK, laddie, that black pudding took us all by surprise."
April 9th 8PM.The party has spent five hours up the rope trick, and another 3 hours of resting. As we are coming out of out sleep, we have another encounter. We see the biggest cave bear we have ever seen! We are somewhat nervous, but Frey announces himself, as seeking to destroy the evil inside the dungeon, and Beowjaeger the Cave bear is with him. Snarling, the bear bears his teeth at the mention of evil, but then sits on his haunches and scratches. "Behold, these will provide sustenance and knit your wounds," rasps Fray, and hands Beryn some Goodberries, a handful, perhaps as many as 8. Beryn is very full after this, but feels much better.
Having been joined by such great companions, we have the bear stand guard and spend a couple of days by the pool. Beryn especially needs the healing and our new companion is very helpful with that. Which goes a long way to gain our trust.
Huckleberry becomes curious about the water during this extended stay and tries to detect magic in the area around us. He notices the secret door has magic on it, and relays that information to us. He knows it is very powerful, as if cast by a high level caster.
Three days pass, and it is now April 12th. The stench of the black oily water has really brought us down.
Dalton wants to work the way around and find the other side of the secret door. Nothing is there. Except a passage that we follow to an oddly shaped room, with piles of skeletons, human hair and other refuse are amidst black robes, but no symbols. Basically, piles of dead clerics. There is another door in this room. Silence and the feel of an abattoir is all that fills the room.
At Beryns urging, the door is checked for magic, but none exists there. The feeling of oppression, coming from the room, is pressing on us, as he opens the door. As it creaks open, no cobwebs or dust are noticed. An irregular tunnel heading south is revealed, about 5 feet wide. It leads to a room with several beds. We can smell something we have never smelled, and there is heat.
The beds are evenly spaced apart with a wooden chest at the foot of each. Duelin Dalton, foolhardy fighter that he is, begins to rifle through the chests. As he opens the first chest, burnt othur fumes are released. The party being of strong constitution, we all manage to survive, and Dalton moves to open another, as he holds his breath and the rest of us dash away.
A touch trigger unleashes a bolt of lighting, and he is shocked half to death.
Huckleberry decides to cast open/close on a third chest, the first two having only contained robes, a cloak, and daggers. He dons a robe and a dagger first, but it is of no use. A globe of cold is unleashed in a forty foot diameter. He finds a black leather bound book, and a ring. There is a picture of Orcus on the book, and magical runes on the ring, he dons helm and reads "Wear me if you wish a soft end."
He skims the book with the helms help. Suddenly, he feels as if he is somewhat confused, and realizes he is less intelligent. He feels hazy, and immediately sets the book down. He takes the ring and leaves the room. The rest of us decide to leave the last 3 chests alone.
Beryn opens the door in the room alone, and is hit with a feeble mind spell. His intelligence is now below that of even an animal, although he can recognize, follow, and aid his friends until he is healed. No one can notice yet.
The door opens to a hallway and further on we see double doors engraved with demons, and a smell, bitter, acidic, comes from the other side of the door. The door seems a warning.
Beryn merely pants.
The Cave Bear is sniffing at the air and looking unsettled by what he smells. "It seems a great evil lies beyond" says Fray.
Beryn Pants some more, and Fray notes he has learned the speech of beasts.
Amable comes up next to Beryn in front of the door, and motions for him to open the door. "On 3 he says, one, two, three....you going?" He listens, and hears nothing, and warns Beryn to stand back, but he merely looks at Amable. Amable ties a rope to the ring on the left door, and drags Beryn back a ways, and pulls on the rope.
Light floods out, and muffled voices go silent. In the distance seems to be a pool of lava with stone steps going over it in 4 directions to a central point, the point taken by a figure in black robes. He says, "KILL THEM! let none escape," and seems to be addressing others in the room.
"Brace yourselves" shouts Amable.
Unknown to us, the head cleric casts prayer, and they each cast protection from good on themselves. Four look like Acolytes, one looks older, more decorated, like a higher more advances cleric, giving commands. We can actually see his face, as well as what seems to be a high priest.
First to act, Bhapa lets fly, and misses. Dalton and the others await action, while Beryn swivels his head in confusion, before Huckleberry jumps on a bed to see, and casts a fireball. Since we have all retreated to the last room, Amable slams that door, not the double door, shut. As it slams shut, we note that all the acolytes in sight are turning to ash. Others are taking damage as well.
We hear a cawing like a giant rooster and heavy footsteps, then clawing at the door. Amable is trying to hold the door shut. Suddenly, the door breaks right down, and a vulture headed demonic being is revealed, with feathered wings.
Behind it a cleris looks through the door and casts a spell of hold person on Beryn, who gets a wild eyed look on his face as he is stuck in place, while grunting, and screaming wildly, and unintelligibly. Acolytes and clerics come pouring out of the darkness.
Bhapa steps back to get some room, and puts an arrow into the demon. Fray engages but can not do any damage, before the bear flings Beryn to the ground and attacks the demon. It swipes with its claws, grabbing it into a bear hug, and bites it in the face, ripping and rending all the way. Amable follows up with dire blow of his axe, and Huckleberry slams a magic missile into it. Fully enraged now, it launches into a full scale attack. It attacks with its lower claws while biting at the bear, its other four claws held in the bears hug. He barely clips the bears ear with his beak, though, then gashes it in the stomach.
Then the very unhappy priests start moving in, in numbers we could not have guessed at. They crowd into the doorway at the double doors, looking down the hall at us in the other room, their pet demon grasped in the bears grasp. Bhapa slams an arrow into the demons eye, leaving it easy pickings for Dalton to dispatch. Then he attempts to block the exit as the bear tosses the body of the demon at the acolytes rushing down the hall, pinning one on the floor, leaving room for Fray to cast Faery fire into the hallway.
Amable grabs Beryn and starts pulling him towards the exit. Huckleberry sends a Magic missile down the hall, killing the one that has been pinned, then moves to squeeze past Dalton.
Then the acolytes run through the faery fire and attack the bear with morning stars. He dances in rage as they can not land a blow. Many clerics come running down the hall.
"By the weed I inhaled in the other room" cries Bhapa, slaying an acolyte form the door leading from this room, as Dalton calls for withdrawal and misses a shot from his bow. Fray moves away missing with his sling as the bear swipes and bites another acolyte to death, before moving to the exiting hallway as well.
Amable drags Beryn down the hall, Huckleberry riding his back and recalling magic missile into a pearl.
Two acolytes go after the bear again, only this time, they cast cause light wounds, but one misses, and the bear rages out a loud roar in pain.
5 Clerics come in and 3 cast hold person on Fray, but he is able to resist. 2 cast same on Bhapa, one fails, but the other one takes hold.
In the background, someone shouts, perhaps the high priest, "Nadroj! Come, COME! Help us!"
Dalton runs up and throws Bhapa on the ground behind him, then moves to protect him, as Fray lifts him to carry him away. and the bear makes a fighting withdrawal. Amable drags Beryn out of the hallway into the room behind them as Huckleberry casts shield and Beryn starts to wiggle.
A cleric slams the bear with a mace. Three more come in and use cause light wounds on the bear, who rages in agony. as others fill the room. Nadroj is heard to answer the high priests call, and is ordered to "Kill them."
Dalton handily dispatches a cleric with his sword and Fray drags Bhapa about 10 feet down the hallway. Dalton close behind. The bear can deal no damage before retreating down the hall, and Beryn begins to froth at the mouth in rage. Risking a shot down the hallway with his crossbow, Amable sticks a bolt into a cleric. Huckleberry recalls another Magic Missile into his other pearl of power.
Beryn stands around wild eyed at the goings on.
The clerics cluster at the entrance to the tunnel. Two can manage to swing their maces at the bear who is blocking the way. One lands a horrible blow on it.
No sign of Nadroj as of yet. He is consulting with Zehn (High priest) in the lava room.
D Dalton helps Fray to pick up Bhapa and they begin to jog down the hallway. They get out of the tunnel and into the room. The bear grabs a cleric into a hug,m and gnaws his face, into his skull, and brain, slamming the lifeless body to the floor.
Huckleberry and Amable flee from the tunnel, and are far gone in moments, out of sight. Beryn sees two friends running away and follows closely.
The bear is left fending the clerics in the tunnel, who can only approach him one at a time. Zehn sends Nadroj after us. Nadroj, it turns out, is a spectre. He moves 80 feet into the room with the beds and chests.
Meanwhile, the bear takes an attack, and fends it off successfully. Meanwhile, thinking the bear expendable, D Dalton slams the door to the tunnel shut, and spikes it that way. Dragging Bhapa farther away, Fray commands the bear to fight more, who swipes the cleric in front of him again.
Dalton is screaming for us all to run. Amable, huck, and Beryn are still fleeing as the bear and the cleric swing wildly at each other.
Suddenly, in the room past the blocked off door, a spectral wizard is reaching towards us, having come through the stone itself.
Bhapa takes one look at the ghost coming through the wall and takes to his heels. D Dalton looks at Fray and says "We out of here, right?"
Fray commands the bear to attack again, who kills one cleric, then biting another, almost kills him as well. Then, he moves back, slinging at Nadroj, as D DAlton flees down the hall as well.
Huckleberry leaps of Amables shoulders, and turns invisible, while Beryn follows Amable in flight.
Nadroj is squared off with Fray. He casts hold person. Fray falls stricken. Nadroj moves in the direction of those of us who have fled. The clerics can't hit the bear.
In the dark with Dalton, Bhapa stops to light a torch, although he can make out a glimmer from Beryns sword showing the way they have gone. Dalton continues to just run like hell, risking tripping in the dark, but deftly maneuvers after Amable. They all enter a level we have been at before. Fray is still held, and the bear hugs the last damaged cleric, ripping his head right off.
Beryn, Dalton and Huckleberry are working their way to the surface. Bhapa is hesitating, as Nadroj decides to go back to Fray and removes 2 levels from him.
A cleric misses using cause light wounds. The bear knows he is cornered, rips that cleric to shreds, before getting hit by another cleric. He pulls that into another bear hug almost killing him, then dispatches him before moving to another. That one is half dead but casts a spell. The bear is not quite dead yet. He kills the second to last cleric, then the last hits him hard enough to send him into a blood rage before death, so he easily kills the last cleric, before charging into the room with the main priest.
The High priest knows he has no spells to really harm a bear, so he swings away with his heavy mace. In his rage, the bear can not be hit. The bear mauls Zehn who panics and makes a fighting withdrawal down the stairs. The bear slashes him with his claws, and Zehn, desperate, panics and bolts. Being faster, the bear drags him down from behind and with cries of rage, disembowels him , and lets the body tumble into the lava.
Totally drained, Fray becomes a spectre of Nadroj himself.
As his blood rage wears off, the bear lays down, and with his dying throes, falls into the lava after Zehn.
Death count 9th level cleric
Six 5th level clerics
12 second level clerics,
1 Vroc Demon.
Left alive, Nadroj and Yarf the spectres.
Torn by wanting to help Fray and wanting to save his skin, Bhapa has much thought in front of him.