There the party stood before the great doors of the mausoleum, wondering how to get past the massive steel portal. The brave clandestine types stepped forth to attempt to pick the lock, but the mechanisms were well beyond their ken. Souka Yant then pushed the ne’er-do-wells aside and called upon some horrible blood magic to increase the potency of her spell. Fickle as the powers of magic are, her first attempt failed, her spent lifeforce wasted. After some divine healing from her friends, she made a second attempt, again cutting herself to gain power. Suddenly she was aware of all the doors nearby, and the one before her simply vanished.
Damp, musty air rolled out of the mausoleum, as the last of the sun set over the edge of the depression 50 feet above them. Near the doorway, broken bits of weapons and bone were visible. Torches and lanterns were lit, and Concorde cast a spell in preparation of facing evil, which would identify its location, should it be hidden. And the spell lit up the entire space of the mausoleum in his eyes, causing him to take a step back. Not only did the floor raise a concern, he could detect some powerful evil entity lying within the massive stone coffin in the center of the crypt.
The charmed gargoyles were sent in to remove the coffin lid as the party prepared where the steel doors formerly stood. A huge cackling skeleton arose from the stone coffin, its bones shining like black steel, and eyes glowing red pinpoints in unholy darkness. It screeched a frightful sound that made skin crawl, and two of the gargoyles fled, and those in the door had to harness their wills to stand fast.
Acting quickly, missile weapons were aimed and shot as the remaining gargoyle gouged its opponent, and a mighty strike felled the evil thing. The fight was over in moments, but the black skeleton cackled maniacally as it was destroyed.
Gathering their breaths after the brief exertion, those standing in the doorway notice the mausoleum floor beginning to rise! They could easily run out the front door, but then they’d be blocked and stuck in the graveyard overnight. They had to find a way through the crypt, and Concorde’s spell told the way.
Athalis’ elven eyes found the actual secret trapdoor which the spell only hinted at, and a few of the party made a dash for the mule for those hundreds of pounds of gear and rations they had it haul along. In the 40 seconds it took to unstrap the bags the floor rose nearly four feet, but they threw the bags up, pulled themselves up, and raced to the back of the empty mausoleum, as the ceiling was nearing head-height. No fear.
The smell down the secret ladder was revolting. Apparently Rappan Athuk was rotten in every sense, death and decay overwhelming Thasaidon, Cerngoth’s Brother, as they made their way ahead into the darkness. The remnants of the evil detection spell wore off, but dwarven gold sniffing abilities kicked in, and the party discovered a room with a massive cave-in at the back. Near at hand was an old wooden coffin, its lid loose and apparently long plundered. Someone smashed the lid open, and indeed it was empty. Souka Yant sent her gargoyles in before the ruffian could destroy the rest, as she desired a palanquin fashioned out of the coffin bottom for her charmed stone creatures to carry her on.
Vanity sated, the party proceeded in another direction, since it looked like a week’s work to clear the cave-in, according to Radek. The cavern walls changed to carved stone floors and walls, and the first chamber they found held a number of skull piles, neatly organized. Broken bones lay around, and seeing nothing interesting, they moved on.
A casket lay in the next chamber, the on the floor a well-trod rug of strange design. The casket looked empty and the rug worth nowhere near the effort to haul away, so forward again they went, taking the clearest route (following the rat larger tunnels would be easy enough for the halfling, but the rest of the party would have to crawl).
The stairs leading out of the room sprung a trap on Kit, or nearly did, as some halfling luck saved her by a hair. Instead her step just dropped the lid, and her foot hung there a few inches over some black-tipped downward-pointing spikes, which surely would have trapped her foot. As she counted her blessings the party turned in surprise at….