After cleaning out the toilet bowl, they decided to check out the door at the bottom, near the altar. That turned out to be a treasure room, with a giant disco ball, five apparently untouched treasure chests, and four mostly-disintegrated skeletons.
Everyone knew it was obviously a trap, but they had some theories about how to get around it. First, they tried to lasso the chests and drag them out of the room, but of course they were anchored. Next, they tried to break open the chests to see what was inside. They did manage to break open one of the closer chests, which had giant silver pieces in it. Yay silver? Maybe the other ones were better...
Beware used a wall of darkness to try to 'blind' the disco ball, and then Asm tried to sneak through the room to the chests -- ZAP, lightning. So the lightning-focused Ariel went in next, but OW the lightning was enough to give even her pause. Heyyou tried smashing the disco ball with his hammer, and *it* got zapped...
But eventually they figured out that if they didn't touch anything (using Beware's Giant Fly figurine to carry people around) the disco ball wouldn't zap them. Unfortunately, when they tried to break open the locks on the farther chests, it zapped the chests and a weaker arc hit whoever was doing the breaking.
So, restart. Tie a rope around the hammer, break the locks with the hammer, drag the hammer back with the rope (because the lightning zap stopped it from returning). Then have Ariel go in on the fly, caaarefully open the chest, and ignore the rebound zap which was weaker. And... the chest read her mind, and showed an illusion of the weapon she most wanted to find, which was an upgraded version of her own staff of ruin. "Leave your weapon here, and you can take it..."
She did. It *seemed* to work. Beware reluctantly flew in next and upgraded his Bloodclaw weapon (he had several backups, so it wouldn't be a huge disaster if this turned out to be a really obvious trick). Asm's weapon was really pathetically old, so she upgraded it as well. Then they discovered that they could put in *any* (+3 or better) weapon, not just the weapon they were replacing, and got upgrades for the rest of the party using random crap they didn't need from the party treasure pile. Unfortuantely, it only worked once per person, so they couldn't upgrade *all* their crap.
Also, this would only work while the orb was blinded which was five minutes, so they couldn't identify the weapons to make sure they were real until afterwards. Verdict: As it turned out... they looked real. The chests seemed to be re-enchanting devices that also transformed the weapons if necessary.
They weren't very hurt or drained of resources, so they decided to explore the area a little before coming back to the toilet to take a night's rest (since there was some vague time pressure, even if it didn't seem reasonable at this point for the shadows to be able to find them, this deep inside Stonekeep). They found a magic book in an other wise ruined library, a trapped painting that didn't really look all that valuable so they left alone, and lots of blocked passageways -- the only way left to go (unless they wanted to go back to the skeleton city) was down the suspicious corridor that went in a direction they'd been warned against.
So... they pushed on, gingerly. The tunnel did not accept their trepidation, and waited until they were near the far end before either rotating or shifting gravity 90 degrees, dumping them all into a pit full of skeletons.
Most of them landed on the edges of the pit. Asm helped Beware out, Heyyou managed to grab the door, punch a hole in it, and thread a rope so that they could maybe climb back up to... the vertical corridor. No one else thought that would be helpful. Instead, while most of the party shot their area blasts into the pit to hold back the encroaching skeletal swarm, Ariel ran down a tunnel and found (a) a pulsing blast that kept pushing her back towards the pit, and (b) above the pulse-thing, about 15 feet up, the tunnel continued.
So the party did a fighting retreat, complicated a bit by a three-headed, crystal-eyed lich that hovered threateningly and absored area attacks, deflected melee attacks, regenerated the swarm, and was basically really annoying. They managed to back away from him, run past the pulsar, and teleport up into the tunnel beyond, letting the pulses hold back the swarm. Victory!
(a) Asm had run down a completely different tunnel than the rest of the party, and they didn't seem to connect.
(b) The lich followed up past the pulsar, blocking them in the hallway.
(c) The hallway led to a dead end room with more monsters in it.
One of the monsters in the room was a crystal golem, which advanced and blocked off the OTHER end of the hallway, trapping most of the party in a horrible tactical situation, compressed in a five-foot corridor and unable to move. With Varnix of all people facing the golem, and Heyyou trapped in the middle. Ariel teleported past the golem into the room, and discovered that the glowing floating crystals in the room were MORE MONSTERS which dazed and blinded her and were basically looking like they were going to kill her before she killed them.
Luckily for her, Asm realized that she'd gone down the wrong corridor and ran alllll the way across the skeleton-swarm sewer tunnel network to join the party, then teleported past the whole traffic jam into the room with Arial. And half the crystals switched their focus to try to kill her, instead.
Meanwhile, the party eventually managed to kill the lich three times, which killed it semi-permanently at least, and turned their attention to the golem. It had a symbol of Dumathoin on it, so they guessed that maybe with it dead, a portal would open or something? Otherwise they could at least rescue Arial and Asm from the glowing crystals. But with the lich gone, the golem (which had been hitting people with razor-sharp claws and spraying crystals whenever it was hit) gained a new ability -- the ability to randomly remove people from combat with no save or to-hit roll or anything. It got Varnix, Asm, and Beware all almost instantly, leaving Arial all by herself against the crystals again, and only Heyyou and Warren left in the hallway behind the golem.
last session | next session
Tom was laughing that he'd assumed we'd lead the lich into the room with the crystals and let them take each other out -- I'm not sure how that was ever possible with the golem blocking the hallway, though. He was also really annoyed whenever we managed to damage the lich, since its abilities were supposed to cover it from all possible attacks (but damage fields and multiple attacks of the same type could get through it, and it also needed to make a save to absorb ranged attacks).
I'm kind of wondering what the heck is going on with the golem, seeing as it zapped three characters with no recourse or even, you know, a to-hit roll. Sure, Beware got zapped in reaction to hitting it in melee... but he wasn't the first, second, or third person to do that -- just the first to do it after the lich was gone.
And with nothing like a save to come back, or any hint of a duration, or... yeah. Which, metagaming, screams 'teleporter'. But the golem doesn't seem to be going out of its way to teleport the others.
Eric thinks Tom is desperate to kill someone so is going to leave only Arial by herself in the room with the crystals, which should do the trick. v.v