Stumbling in the Dark
Despite the valiant effort of the players to destroy the Black Spider *not to mention destroying all of the boss’s strategy* he had successfully escaped through the southern door. Merric ran through the southern door in pursuit of Nezznar, but he was greeted with darkness in the corridor beyond, the sound of fleeing footsteps receding into the distance. Determined not to let him get away Merric braved the darkness, keeping a hand on the southern corridor wall he inched his way forward.
With the two dwarves at her feet Aurelia enquired whether they would be alright, to which Gundren replied,
“Go get the bastard,” as he looked after his brother.
Wendel called out to Gundren to grab his javelin and exited the room, the darkness hovering just in front of him. Although hesitant to leave the dwarves to themselves, Asterin joined her sister and made their way to the rooms southern exit.
By this time Merric had traversed 20ft down the dark corridor, the south of fleeing feet slowly fading towards the south, when his foot hit a rod or stick of some kind on the ground. A little unsure what he had found and cautious of what potentially it could activate, Merric picked it up and threw it back down the corridor unknowingly throwing it right beside Wendel.
Wendel watched as the darkness suddenly surged towards him and enveloped him completely, plunging everything around him into blackness and he froze in place unsure of what is occurring. The sisters standing at the door see Wendel disappear in front of them, their darkvision unable to penetrate. All three of them heard the object bouncing upon the flagstones.
Suspecting the magic nature of the object, Aurelia cast detect magic and felt her way towards it. Picking it up, she determined it feels like the staff that the Black Spider had been carrying. Confident in it being the source of the darkness, she carried it back into the room and towards the far wall. Asterin sees the darkness clinging to her sister in a rough sphere.
Unfortunately for the Merric and Wendel, everything is still dark. Halfling don’t have darkvision and the darkness spell has cancelled the spell on the driftglobe. Asterin walked forward and nudged Wendel on the shoulder. She directs him towards Merric indicating that she can see now with her darkvision.
Overhearing her, Merric wonders why his Driftglobe isn’t functional and reactivates it. The corridor suddenly bursts back into light and everyone, except Aurelia, can see once more. The corridor the group is standing in forms a tee section, with a south access the source of the fleeing footsteps and the eastern route leading back to the rift.
In the other room, Aurelia walked into what she believes is the table and drops the staff upon it, striding across the room she exits the sphere of darkness. Realising that they had forgotten to loot the room she instructs the dwarves to do so before catching up with her friends.
They all catch up to Merric who informs them they he can no longer hear the footsteps. Wendel however, *that Awareness feat on top of a decent wisdom score is crazy* can and is able to determine that at least five sets of boots are retreating further to the south. It would appear as though Nezznar has regrouped with his forces and is retreating.
Unsure on how to proceed further the group recalls their conversation with Nezznar concerning his attempts with dealing with an undead presence in the mine. Aurelia heads east down some stairs leading the party into the room with the rift and approaches the stream. The stream pours out of the west wall, then tumbles down into the rift. Aurelia is interested in the source of the stream, recalling that she detected a slight scent of decay to it.
Not trusting the water, the group tie a rope to her waist as she braves the 3ft deep water. With no difficulty she travels up stream and discovers a passageway that bends to the south, concluding that it must pass underneath the earlier corridor. Concerned about letting Aurelia continue by herself, Merric enters the stream and due to his short stature is unable to navigate the stream.
Undeterred Aurelia continues further shortly arriving at a cavern with a dark pool. The shore of the pool consists of a thin layer of broken shells from strange, pale mussels, and a fishy odour hangs in the air. A passage leads south from this area, and a set of steps climbs up to the east. Not prepared to enter the pool without any backup Aurelia retraces her steps back to the group.
With Nezznar clearly beyond their reach and unsure on how to proceed further the group returns to the dwarves in the temple room. The group finds Gundren looking through the contents of the table whilst Nundro is examining the large statue, he seems to be staring intently at the face on the statue. Chuckling to himself at some joke only he can perceive, he re-joins his brother at the table.
Wendel and Merric join them at the table discovering both the staff and javelin rest upon the table along with a sack of coins and a pile of notes. Gundren gives Merric a look, it would appear he is still displeased with Merric with the earlier encounter. Asterin goes over to the statue and immediately recognises the figure as Dumathoin the dwarvern God of mining and has emerald gems in the statue’s eyes.
Noticing where her attention is drawn to Nundro says “Don’t touch the eyes, they’re fake. If I was a betting dwarf, I’d say it’s a trap of some kind.”
Asterin immediately places her hands behind her back and looks more intently at the statue, realising that Nundro was right, the eyes were in fact green glass not emeralds as she had first thought. She also determines that there is a spell of some kind protecting them, but she is unable to work out what for.
Waving at her sister, Aurelia comes over to help and using detect magic works out that the statue is imbued with Abjuration magic to act as a column to support the ceiling above.
“I’m not 100% but thinking about how it is setup, I think if you take the eyes out it’ll set off a spell to cause a cave in.” Aurelia says to her sister. Asterin shakes her head and leaves the statue as it was.
Meanwhile, Wendel is busy inspecting the staff for a possible replacement. He rolls a 4 on inspection and can only determine that it isn’t balanced. Satisfied he could make use of it anyway, he takes it with him along with his javelin. Noticing Gundren’s looks at Merric, Wendel decides to go check over Nundro to make sure he’s okay.
Nundro’s shirt is soaked is his own blood. Although the healing spell repaired the physical damage, Nundro looks very unsettled. After a brief chat with Wendel, it’s revealed he’s been tortured daily for more information on the mine. He also says he still remembers the feeling of the blade as his throat was slit. He shudders at the memory. Despite this he thanks the little halfling for saving him.
It’s clear that the group is exhausted from the earlier fight with the Black Spider and Aurelia recommends Nundro’s room as the perfect place to sleep. It’s small, has only one entrance with a solid door making it easy to fortify and defend. Gundren likes the idea and finishing with looting the rest of the room the party makes their way towards the door. On the way out Gundren stops Merric.
“If you ever endanger my brother’s life again, you’re out of the deal!” stated Gundren. Overhearing this Asterin immediately defended Merric.
“And I saved his life, you’re welcome!” informed Asterin, who promptly rolled a 25 on her persuasion check. *holy crap!*
Gundren was a bit grizzly about it, but he realised she had a point, he begged the group not to take any more chances though. Nundro who also overheard this exchange ran up to Asterin apologising for not thanking her before for healing him and saving his life. Asterin merely smiled and retrieved a spare shirt for the dwarf so he could take off the blood soaked attire. Nundro was extremely grateful.
The group quickly fortified the small room. Wendel noticed that Nundro would occasionally shudder to himself as the room made him uncomfortable, so Wendel spent some time with the dwarf to provide what comfort he was able to. Deciding on the watch saw Merric, Aurelia and Wendel each taking turns throughout the long rest.
During Merric’s watch he could hear a wet squelching noise pass through the corridor outside. However, it didn’t stop at the door and kept travelling further east. The rest of the downtime was uneventful. Upon awakening Gundren, who had been pouring over Nezznar notes, was able to determine that the undead were based in the main smelter room to the south. Nezznar had erected a barricade in a room adjacent to the smelter, preventing the undead from entering the western side of the mine.
Curious, Asterin looked further over the notes and was able to gleam that Nezznar had encountered an additional undead force to the south of the smelter room as well. Meanwhile Aurelia had been pouring over the staff determining its traits and with an Arcana check of 19 revealed to Wendel that it was known as the Spider Staff and it could deal poison as well as cast several spells.
Although the spells had no use for him, Wendel equipped it as the poison ability was up his alley. Gundren informed the party that he and Nundro would remain in this room, barricading the door behind them. Once the party had dealt with remaining undead presence that they should return to them to find them.
Deciding to leave, the group re-entered the rift to the east, but instead of heading south, opted to retrace their steps back to the forge of spells. Climbing back up the rift the party entered the passageway at the top. The sound of wet squelching echoed from in front of them, the party had run into a small party of Oche Jellies.
Wendel took aim with his bow as Merric moved forward to block the passageway. An arrow took flight dealing 10 to the first Oche Jelly as it came into sight. A barrage of Eldritch Blast and firebolt from Aurelia and Asterin dealing a whooping 24 damage in total to a single Jelly.
Blocking the passageway, the two Oche Jellies moved towards Merric but were unable to hit the nimble halfling. Rushing to his side to back him up Wendel spun his new staff dealing 22 damage to the first jelly as it burst from the amount of damage it had sustained. Then following up with a flurry of blows rained down upon the second jelly with a critical hit dealing 14 damage.
Finally having an opportunity to attack Merric followed suit dealing 13 damage to the ooze cutting it in half, as the jelly split into two smaller creatures. With a shrug Merric swept his scimitar for his second strike as a critical hit dealing 14 damage felling the jelly.
The final jelly fell to another barrage of edritch blast and fire magic from the two sisters finishing the encounter.
*Every single attack of the party hit. Not one single attack of the jellies did.*
In high spirits thinking that nothing could stop them the party strode back through the booming cavern and re-entered the starry cavern, with the forge of spells just beyond. A low moan greeted the group as a pack of ghouls entered from the west.
What undead horrors await the party? Will they revisit and re-enchant their weapons at the Forge of Spells? Find out next session.