Aendir and Thorzin were totally cool with taking on the spiders and going the long way ‘round, but Mos and Nethwen insisted that they weren’t going anywhere near the
Spider Nope Stairs. Or the Temple of Spiders Nope. Nooope, nopity nope nope nope.
They finally decided to climb down a rope to reach the spiral stairs going further down into the Pit of Insanity; they also didn’t particularly want to investigate the big, scary statues in the Hall of Bronze. Using the rope seemed a lot more sensible. They could see a landing near the base of the pit, and Nethwen kinda-sorta remembered that a brief exposure to the pit’s chaos wasn’t too dangerous. Probably.
They hurried down to the landing.
The platform actually extended out a little way over the pit, and a large statue of a two-headed demon with tentacles for arms stood watch above the pit. About 40-50 feet below the landing, the sides of the bottom of the pit sloped inward toward a huge globulous mass of grayish goo, roughly 20 feet in diameter. The liquid chaos had a prismatic sheen of swirling, oily color across its surface.
Near the statue, an unmoving cloud of mist hovered a few feet above the floor of the landing. Mos was fascinated by the translucent cloud, and eventually determined (without actually touching it) that it seemed to be a very potent cloud of acidic vapor.
Meanwhile, Aendir and Thorzin checked out the door. As they drew near, Aendir stepped on a pressure plate that caused the large door to slowly swing open, revealing a corridor…
A sudden SNAP was the only warning as the weakened hinges of the heavy door unexpectedly shattered, and with a thunderous slam the door fell to the ground.
Everyone froze, straining to listen. Did the noise attract anything?
Yes. Yes, it did.
From within the hall now revealed, they could hear heavy, many-legged thumping footsteps. They readied their weapons and stared in shock as a titanic carrion crawler, easily four times larger than any they’d ever seen, came rushing out of the darkness and attacked.
The battle was fierce and bloody, and thankfully brief. The giant crawler pummeled Aendir with its tentacles, but the doughty paladin fought off the monster’s paralytic poison and continued hacking at the horrible beast along with the rest of his companions. Yona got in the final blow, burying an arrow deep in the beast’s eye and into its brain.
Chesh was curious, and tried tossing a piece of dead crawler down into the Pit. It started to be absorbed into the liquid chaos, but then burst into bright flames and melted!
Then Mos tried to detect magic, and inadvertently discovered one of the many dangers of the Pits of Insanity: the poor halfling’s eyes popped right out of his head and rolled away across the floor!
Aendir scooped up the shocked warlock, as Thorzin and Chesh chased after his eyes. When they finally caught them, they were far enough down the hall that they could see the remains of a fallen delver in a side room.
That unfortunate person had undergone the same chaotic changes as the stone walls; the metal of his breastplate had sprouted microtentacles all over, his skull had turned to wood and had grown to three times its normal size, and his leg had apparently phased into the solid stone – a couple of leg bones were sticking out of the floor! And the delver’s backpack had been transmuted from leather to solid, shining Ithildin (elvish moonglow silver)!
They didn’t stop to investigate though, and hurried down a side tunnel with the parts and pieces of the halfling until they thought they were far enough away from the Pit to rest. By the time everyone got there though, Mos had magically regrown his eyes (though the old ones were still there too)!
The now-recovered warlock had to go back and investigate that fallen delver, and Yona tagged along. She grabbed the (heavy!) backpack, while Mos couldn’t resist taking that big wooden skull. (He then proceeded to wear it as a hat for the rest of the evening.)
The backpack and almost all of its contents had been transformed, but the transformation didn’t quite reach the last page of the poor fellow’s journal. Mos was able to tear it out, and he read it aloud to his companions. Much new information was learned.
(DM’s Note: Go read the journal page. It’s worth it!)
Since they were there, the pair of delvers did a quick search of the other rooms in this small section. The first (and only) door they opened unleashed a huge cloud of toxic yellow gas! They quickly slammed that door shut. The only other item of interest was a table that had been changed from wood… to potato. Uncooked potato. The giant crawler had apparently been noshing on it, too.
It was time to get the hell out of there. They returned to their waiting companions (Mos was noticeably top-heaving with his new hat, and Yona was waddling while carrying that huge, heavy hunk of metal) and headed off to find more
They found a room where long-dead corpses still lay where they’d fallen in battle. Nethwen noticed some odd little green worms scattered throughout the carnage, and Chesh remembered them as the necrotic undead worms of the spawn of Kyuss. They decided not to explore much further in that direction.
They then went ‘round the corner and found another one of those solid stone slab doors with the brass-handled levers. It looked to be identical to the one up in the Hall of Bronze, but this time Thorzin tried the lever. It didn’t work, sadly.
They forged on, and next found a huge laboratory filled with strange machinery, the most prominent of which were the three gigantic iron and glass tanks in the center of the area. Two of the three were filled with some greenish liquid and inhabited by sleeping or dead creatures, while the westernmost tank sat dry and empty. A huge hole in one of the glass partitions on that tank indicated that the inhabitant may have broken free. The easternmost tank held a terrifyingly large centipede-like creature with a segmented body and many legs. Though it was coiled up as it floated in the translucent liquid, the creature was at least 40 feet in length.
In the middle tank was a creature straight out of nightmare. The centipede creature was big, but this serpentine purple creature was HUGE. At least twice as long as the other creature, its mouth could have easily swallowed an entire horse. The high ceiling of the hall was shrouded in shadow, hidden by many pipes and machines.
The delvers stood for a while in the doorway, but eventually overcame their trepidation and moved through the area. They chose to not mess with anything here. (Dammit.)
They could see and hear the snapping, popping flashes of lightning coming from the next room, and proceeded carefully into another lab. This large room was crowded with tables, work benches, and odd metal machines. These were covered with wrecked bits of metal, glass, and less identifiable stuff. The tang of ozone filled the air. Pipes crisscrossed the ceiling, and near the western entrance they could see the snapping and sparking of lightning emanating from a damaged pipe overhead.
And then two small humanoids suddenly popped into existence, hovering in midair just beneath the broken pipe. They seemed to be playing in the lightning and showering sparks, but when they noticed the delver interlopers they quickly vanished again.
The Aelectricity was leaking from a damaged pipe; Thorzin could tell it looked to be slashed open, and Mos noted two oval-shaped burn marks (footprints?) on the floor beneath this broken pipe.
They also chose to not touch anything in this lab, and moved on through to the stairs shown on their Delver’s Guild map, and down to the bottom level of the Lost Mines.
(DM’s Note: This is where I screwed up the mapping. These stairs should have taken you to the room in the West Mines, rather than next to the hydra’s lair in the East Mines. All of the maps are now updated and correct. Sorry about the mix-up.
They found yet another brass-handled lever next to yet another solid stone slab. Hopefully one of the levers will work someday.
Further along in the ancient dwarven mines, they could hear a rhythmic thumping noise coming from a side tunnel. Yona was sent to investigate, and found a nine-foot-tall humanoid creature, apparently made from solid rock, hammering away at the wall of the room with its fists. It was making slow but steady progress in enlarging this room, and since it appeared to be enjoying itself just fine all by itself, she decided to leave it be and snuck back to her friends..
And then they found a hydra’s lair. The seven-headed monstrosity charged, and though there was a very frightening moment when two more heads sprang from the stump of a dead head, the tough delvers were able to chop, stab, shoot, and burn the huge reptilian monster into oblivion.
Its lair held the broken and tattered skeletal remains of previous meals. Mos gingerly attempted to detect magic once again, and was relieved to find his eyes and his spells worked normally again. He found a magical ring (still on a finger).
They then decided to go upstairs to investigate the other side of the big cave-in that had forced them to detour. And as it turned out, there was one room up there that was still reachable. Light could be seen coming from a crack under the door, but no sound could be heard.
Inside, they found an Everburning Torch illuminating the chamber, which held a stone slab table in it center and a matching pair of sarcophagi stood against the walls on either side. Chesh decided it was her turn, so with the help of a spider climb spell from Mos, she went in to examine everything from above.
She found that the right-hand sarcophagus had an unbroken seal keeping the lid on, but the left-hand sarcophagus’ seal had been broken. Everyone gathered around the sarcophagus and pulled off the lid with weapons ready.
They needed ’em, too. A strange mummy with red, blazing eyes attacked immediately.
Chesh was stricken by the creature’s gaze, and it rushed to attack her as if it somehow knew she was weakened. Its terrible claws seemed to slice through her defenses like paper, dealing much more damage to the cleric than it was receiving from all the delvers’ weapons.
But then it was Mos’ turn. The warlock tried out his new Crown of Blasting for the first time, and blasted the vile undead with rays of searing, burning light!
Not to be outdone, Yona then used her magical blade to pierce the undead’s foul spirit, banishing it back from whence it came and causing its body to collapse in a pile of dirty rags and sand…
The other sarcophagus began to dance around as something inside it tried to break free. It wasn’t successful, especially when Thorzin jumped atop it and claimed it as his bed for the night!
Everyone paused to consider the possibility – it was an easily defensible room with only one exit, and they definitely needed a nice, long rest.
Thorzin insisted that he needed to keep feeding gold coins into the sarcophagus so it would keep vibrating, and the dwarf had a very enjoyable (but kinda loud) nap atop his rumbling bed…
End of Session.
DM’s Note: As always, that was a whole lotta fun. I did screw up a bit on the maps, but we’ll hash out those details next session. See y’all on the 15th!