The party was able to rescue Bacon, who appeared happy to see friendly faces (well, he wasn’t too sure about the horned red-skin). After a brief respite, the merry group continued about the dungeon, promising to bring Bacon back to Nine Pillar Hall when they returned from slaying a guardian. The troop ventured deeper, entering a room with a large hole dropping several hundred feet into the Underdark, several heads skewered to some hooks on a wall (their decomposing bodies lay beneath these), and a dagger stuck ½ way to the hilt in a stone sacrifice alter. Joe, entrepreneur that he is, decided to search the goopy corpse. As he went about doing this, the body’s head engaged him in conversation. At first rather startled by the unexpected company, we came to learn a few things about the obstacles ahead, as well as what had happened to these talking heads. Apparently, they were on the same quest that we were, and had been defeated by “The Guardian” after collecting four relics (blade, bell, book, and mask) used to open an Inner Sanctum. Saying goodbye to the new friends, the HoF went to investigate the gaping hole in the floor. There appeared to be a passage on the other side of said hole, so over went the warlock, using his Spider Climb ability to crawl along the wall. Inside he discovered 300 gold (which he pocketed), a gold chalice, and a Demonic Statuette that matched the one already in his collection. On the way back, a rope was rigged up for Pete to get back across. Unable to hold onto the rope, the warlock began to fall. He would have fallen to his doom, if not for the wizard’s fast thinking to use his Freezing Hand spell to catch the warlock (although rather roughly, I might add). As a sign of gratitude, the warlock gave Ryan 150 gold.
After a brief rest, the group moved into the first room. Walking on a blood-streak as one would a red carpet, the adventurers marched into the next room. Seeing a book lying on an alter, the first of the four artifacts, they walked down the blood-smeared central isle. As they proceeded, the voices of several ghostly giants began wailing, followed quickly by flying pews. The hostile benches target the fighter and the mage, as they were the farthest into the cathedral-like room. Ryan dropped to the floor, while Joe charged ahead, zigzagging as pews attempted to maul him. Seeing one of the pews about to hit the dodging fighter, the warlock fired off an Eldrich Blast, obliterating the pew-ny enemy.
After the belligerent benches lay splintered about, the party approached the alter. Joe was on his toes, and decided to use a rope lasso to pull the book from the alter. Just as he did so, the floor tile where he normally would have been standing rose rapidly and smashed against the ceiling. One artifact down, three to go. The next room was oddly shaped, with 4 runic circles where we believe that the artifacts must be placed. We hugged the left wall and went into the first passage way.
The next room was a ghastly sight. A pool of blood separated by a long platform that stood before a red statue holding a whip greeted us. Ryan decided to tackle this room by himself, and managed to do so without grievous injury, despite being swatted twice by the statue and set upon by two Carnage Demons. Joe and Pete tried to give him some backup, coming in the form of Joe throwing an ax and Pete calling the demons “ferries” and “creampuffs”. Ryan used a Mage Hand and his teleport ability to retrieve the Blade artifact, which was in two pieces at either end of the room. After his teleport, Brittany, Joe, and Pete engaged the Carnage Demons in combat. After soundly defeating these foes, the HoF went after the next piece of the puzzle.
This room contained the Bell artifact, as well as some squirming columns made up of the bodies of those that had failed the trials. Joe went ahead and tanked the room, blowing by the columns as they howled, spit acid, and bit him. Pete followed him so that the party could communicate with each other, as well as provide some backup if the fighter needed it. Grabbing hold of the bell triggered some spikes to spring forth from the handle. These spikes pierced Joe’s gauntlet, and as his blood dripped down the bell and onto the floor, some foes stepped from the columns. A rather confusing battle ensued, with people teleporting, columns shrieking, and demons exploding from Brittany’s arrow shots.
The battle finished, our group moved on to a room that was blocked by a black curtain. Joe and the Paladin opened the curtain, and saw themselves in a mirror. The next thing they know they are standing in a room with no doors or windows. The rest of us quickly closed the curtain, and proceeded to discuss ways to get past this obstacle. We decided that backing up and looking at the floor would be the best course of action, so Ryan, Brittany, and Pete did so. The Warforge was too much of a pansy to follow us, so he guarded the rear. After a short time, Ryan decided to look in one of the other mirrors that hung about the room, and took 8 points of damage watching his reflection decompose. A few failed attempts at destroying the mirror, and Ryan looked at the same mirror that Joe and the Paladin were sucked in by, and off went the mage to the little room. So Pete and Brittany were left to complete the task. At the other end of the L-shaped room was another black curtain. The ranger arrived first, and was attacked by a skeleton. The warlock heard her alert, and hurried over to see what was going on. On the other side of the curtain lay the Mask, as well as two skeleton guards that were quickly dispatched. The warlock put on the mask and looked at a mirror, and was luckily transported back to where the Warforge was waiting. While they waited, the ranger found a stash of gold and several valuable gems before making her way back to Pete and the Warforge. Together, Brittany and the Warforge broke the mirror that had taken Ryan, Joe, and the Paladin, who were quickly spat back out to our world.
Having all of the required artifacts, the group decided to hold off on summoning the Guardian, and returned Bacon to his owner. Taking a hiatus from our current quest, mainly due to the fact that we wanted a ship that could travel on the Astral Plane, we went in search of the required reagents. The reagents that we need are 3 troll hides, 1 werewolf paw, and some angel blood. We tackled the troll hides, as this would be the easiest to find. The Palaforge/Waradin stayed at The Glass Ax while we went to find someone to take us to the swamps where some trolls would undoubtedly live. We procured a guide, who gave us a raft tide to a location where trolls were known to have a village. Travelling down a path, our party was set upon by a swarm of small red spiders. Some flammable goo and epic stompage ensued.
All of the noise created by our brutal onslaught against the spiders caught the attention of several trolls, and one came to investigate. While Joe, Ryan, and Pete were all in hiding, Brittany played the helpless damsel. As the troll charged her, Ryan dropped out of his tree and began strangling it with his Chain of Holding and Joe lit into the unfortunate creature. It was when we saw his wounds rapidly heal that Pete came up with the idea to take the troll as a prisoner. With the troll’s regenerative properties, he explained, we could skin it, let it regenerate, and keep skinning it at our leisure. Pleased with the plan, the group began to drag the troll back to the waiting raft. As we began to drag our captive, the other two trolls became curious and called out to their companion. Unable to breath because of the chain wrapped around his neck, the troll just gurgled. The warlock, able to speak troll, imitated the captive and called out to the other trolls and told them “Just a will-o-wisp. No worries.” Despite this, the trolls kept coming up the path, so Pete continued with “Just a second, I’m taking a dump. Don’t come around the corner.” Hilarity quickly followed as the trolls kept questioning the condition of their friend, which was answered with “Oh dear god the smell! What did I eat?” and “I think I just shat-out my intestines!” This had to rather shocking when the two trolls came upon the stomped remains of the spider swarm encased in sticky goo.
Arriving back in 9 Pillar Hall, we added some accommodations for our new pet troll, mainly being a cage over the fighting pit (where he’s being kept)and some measurements to make sure he doesn’t get out and cause mischief. After all of this was done, we procured the required 3 hides for our ship.