Morning on the 24th day of Barrakas.
Special Note: Jason was not able to attend this session due to an illness in his family, and therefore the events surrounding Thorn and Chomper’s chrysalis were not covered in this session. Hopefully Jason’s family will be well for our next session, and we can cover it all in a flashback format.
When the session opened the party had just awakened in the dark elf camp, ready to face the Khyber Temple. The elder of the village told them that he would take a group of warriors, and lead the party to the temple. The dark elves gave the team some food and water for when they would be in the temple itself, then the whole group set out for their journey.
When the party arrived at the temple the found a large stepped pyramid structure that appeared quite ancient in construction. The elder told them that at this point they had two options: they could enter through the Khyber entrance, or take the Path of the Nine. The elder further explained that the Khyber entrance was also called the Labyrinth, and that it was directly connected to the Khyber Underdark. The Path of the Nine was supposed to be an access to the temple that only The Nine could use.
The party chose to examine this Path of the Nine, and went to the east side of the temple, where it was located. When they arrived they found nine plain stone doors evenly spaced along that entire side of the temple. Of the nine doors, only seven of them were still intact, the other two appeared fractured and damaged. When the party got within a hundred feet of the doors, five of the seven intact doorways changed to show patterns that had been carved into their surface: One showed a large flame, one a single eye above two cogs, one covered in clouds and lightning, one had animal tracks leading to a spear, and the fifth had a pyramid with a sun and eye motif. The party recognized themselves in the symbols on the doorways: Armigero, Corvus, Gaius, Thorn, and Uther respectively.
As they got a little closer to the doors, a ghostly image of a human male appeared before them, and instructed them about the Path. He told them that the Path was a test to prove themselves before the coming battle with the Servant of the Adversary. The shade further instructed them that they would each need to face a test, but in each test their allies would be allowed to assist them. They would be allowed to quit a test at any point, but if they did, then any individual who’s test was failed would have to face the Servant with “the full weight of Khyber upon them.” It added in that in order to open the gateway to the servant, that they must pass at least three tests.
The party thought that meant that the entire team could enter one door at a time, and face its contents together. The party began to debate about who’s test should be tackled first, when Uther opened his door and stepped through. The rest of the party followed.
The door opened to a pane of pure light, stepping through the party saw a massive room; 85 ft. by 85 ft., with a 30 ft. ceiling rising above it. That ceiling was filled with large holes that followed a regular pattern. Set within the floor were many tiles, nine of which contained stone circles that appeared to be separate from the tile they were set within. The nine circle tiles were set in a three by three pattern perfectly squared with at least 25 ft. between each circle, like a nine that would appear on a die when displayed in pips. The middle pip on the bottom of this pattern was set right in front of the party, after they entered the room, and the tile it was set within was a distinctly different color than the rest. When the party had all entered the room, the door behind them vanished as if it had never been there.
Corvus and Uther examined the discolored tile for some time, but in the end, Uther chose to step on to it to see what would happen. The disc in the center of the tile was in fact the top of a long pole, and it rocketed upward propelling Uther up with it. The agile monk was able to maintain his balance, and as he looked about him, he found that the four corner discs had extended to be 20 ft. poles, the four poles directly between those corners, to include the pole that he was now standing upon, rose 10 ft. into the air, and lastly the pole in the center stayed flush with the floor. More terrifying was the rows of endless screw-like blades that descended 20 ft. from the holes in the ceiling. They did not extend over the poles themselves, nor over the space between each pole in a grid-like pattern. Dropping down from over the top of each corner pole was a 5 ft. pole with a mask fused into it.
The party surmised that Uther must need to reach the masks, and while he might be able to jump that distance, it would be very difficult. Uther dropped off of the pole he was standing on, and within a few moments, all of the poles and devices retreated back into the floor and ceiling. Corvus suggested that Uther stand on top of one of the corner poles, and then he would step onto the discolored pole, theoretically sending Uther up to reach the mask. Uther got ready, and then Corvus stood on the discolored pole. When they did this, all of the poles, and devices started to extend to their previous positions, however the Artificer was not quite as agile as his monk friend, and was instead thrown to the floor, causing the poles to start sliding downward. Uther capitalized on the upward motion though, and leapt up to the mask above him.
The mask did not come off, it was part of the pole in the ceiling. Everyone else shouted from below for him to place his face in the mask, and when he did, he felt the mask heat up for a few moments, and then he heard a click from above. After the click, that pole started to recede, and Uther was forced to drop to the floor below.
Since that went so well the party decided to try another corner pole, but this time Armigero was tasked to trigger the device; even with his great mass and size, it turned out that he was more agile than Corvus. The poles all rose into the air, and everyone maintained their balance this time.
As Corvus reached out to the mask, a huge entity manifested in the center of the room. The creature was a swirling mass of tentacles, that turned in on each other with such writhing intensity, that they seemed to be all tentacle with no actual body. The creature flung a wave of black energy out of the end of a tentacle, and it struck Uther, knocking him into the screws, and those drove him to the ground below.
Surprised the party started to move against this new enemy, and as they did three snakes made of stone dropped down from where the three remaining mask poles connected to the ceiling. One of the snakes was right next to Uther, and it attacked him, injecting poison into his body from its bite. The others joined the tentacle mass, and moved against the rest of the party.
The battle was quite frustrating for the party, the tentacle beast had a tendency to writhe and flail its tentacles about it, this made getting close it very difficult since it assured a person of at least being accidentally struck by the creatures burning tentacles. The snakes were no slouches either. There poisoning bites, and shifty movements made them cagey opponents.
At first the party ended up spreading their attacks to thinly, merely wounding all of the creatures, but killing none of them. The party ended up prevailing over these enemies, by finally singling out a single creature at a time, and bringing it down with combined attacks. Gaius was particularly impressive when he called up a wave of fire to deliver the death blows to both the tentacle creature and a snake with a single incantation.
Once all of the creatures were dead, the party continued the process of launching Uther up to the masks, and having him unlock each one. Once all four corner mask were unlocked, the central pole rose into the air, and Uther unlocked that one as well.
After all of the masks had returned into the ceiling, four doors appeared on the far wall of the room bearing the symbols of Armigero, Corvus, Gaius, and Thorn. The party chose to open Gaius’s door this time.
Gaius’s room was much smaller, but no less an enigma at first glance. The room was composed of large metal gratings, that covered the floor. The only unique feature to the flooring was the single stone tile that was the same color as the triggering tile in Uther’s room. The ceiling though seemed to be composed of a stormy sky, and the walls were carved with the images of storm clouds and lightning. Gaius walked to the center of the room, and stood on the discolored tile. When he did this, four metal statues appeared; one against each wall, centered to that wall. The sky/ceiling changed too, and the clouds seemed to gather over each of the statues. Each statue was identical, and they all looked like Gaius, posed like he was expecting something.
The party was quite perplexed about what they should do next, so Armigero tried hitting one with his hammer, but this barely even dented the solid metal statue. Gaius tried stepping off and back on again, this caused the statues to wink out, and the clouds to spread out again, and then when he got back on, the statues reappeared, and the clouds gathered once more.
The party told Gaius to shoot lightning at one of the statues, so he fired off a blast of electricity, at the far statue. This caused lightning to arc and spark across the statue, and one quarter of the floor area. The blast was intense, and seemed to be lingering over time. The really interesting part was that after Gaius’s blast four whirlwinds appeared, and they too had lightning playing across their funnel like forms. Two of the creatures attacked Gaius with bolts of lightning, while the other two lashed out at the party with bursts of lightning, that propelled them away, and knocked them to the floor.
Gaius responded by firing lightning of his own, but that only seemed to strengthen the creatures. Uther and Armigero engaged the two that attacked the party, and Corvus conjured forth a rain of magical shards to rain down on the two attackers.
The party’s attacks seemed decently effective, and they even seemed to have one of the attackers on the ropes, but then Gaius moved off of the tile to attempt to assist Corvus in the fight. When he did the statues disappeared, and the whirlwinds went with them.
The party rested for a bit, and got their breath back, and once they did Gaius jumped back onto the tile, causing the statues to reappear. He fired lightning at one of the statues, and the whirlwinds appeared again, fresh and ready for the fight.
This time Gaius would stay in place, and tried using bolts of Chaos energy instead of his usual lightning. The rest of the party engaged the creatures, and while they were able to damage and eventually kill the creatures one by one, the creatures inflicted grievous harm on them as well.
What truly perplexed the team, was the fact that the the room never changed. Gaius noticed that the lightning would play out over the statue and floor that he struck over quite a period of time, before eventually fading. This time he lashed out at a statue, and when he did only two whirlwinds appeared. The party engaged the beasts, and as quickly as he could Gaius fired on each of the statues. Unfortunately Corvus happened to be standing on one of the grate sections when Gaius unleashed his lightning on the statue attached to it, frying poor Corvus like a baked crow. Corvus weathered the blow, but was peeved at his shocking friend.
When Corvus fired on the last statue, the remaining whirlwinds were greatly damaged by the blow, and looked severely weakened. The party continued their fight against the creatures, while the lightning settled over each statue. As each statue’s charge wore off, a click was heard. The party finished the last of the whirlwinds off, and watched as each grate section and statue settled and clicked. When the last one did, a column rose from the floor in the tile where Gaius stood, and it had a mask upon it. Gaius placed his face in the mask, and three doors appeared on the far wall.
As the session closed the party was considering who’s door to tackle next.
Midday on the 24th day of Barrakas.