Rappan Athuk

18 Firemoot 945
Evening, underground, "Marthek's Place"

Weeks had passed since they lost Baba Zeez in the second level of Rappan Athuk. He did not look well for the time passing. Still ambulatory, though not as articulate, he and a couple dozen crazed ghouls fought off the party. Over many years, these creatures amassed a hoard of treasure, which the party had stumbled upon the last time they were here. The day Baba sacrificed himself so the rest could flee. Today Souka Yant sent her charmed gargoyles to bring him down again as he mindlessly strived to bite his former colleague’s eyes out. Grumbly frothed at the mouth as Dwerfater banished the undead at his beckoning.

In all, the loot they found seemed enough to covered expenses for some time. Athalis would certainly be able to keep them fed until Judgment Day on iron rations, from the copper coins alone. The silver looked like it’d cover the inn tab for the rest of the year, the remaining gold covering armor and weapons repair with enough left over to keep the party drunk through winter if they wanted.

Not to mention a magical elven dagger, a potion, and a black-headed warhammer of grey dwarven design, whose burlwood haft thrummed with chaotic power as Souka sensed it with her spell.

The party was tired though. A black skeleton nearly surprised them as they patched up their wounds. Athalis knew the way to a storage room, where they hoped to spike the door shut, try to get a solid night’s rest. After wiping the ghoul menace from this level, it seemed a fair chance…

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Delve 15
Sessions 43 to 49

Session 43
1 XP
Loot
cash awarded

Session 44
1 XP
Loot
nothing

Session 45/46
2 XP
Loot
4 SP
5 CP
1 garnet (20 SP)
230 GP
420 SP
290 CP
plate mail
dwarven plate mail
misc arms & armor (150 lbs worth 100 GP)
Thorn, +1 dagger of elven make
Gerndar’s Fist, +2 grey dwarven warhammer, chaotically aligned, requires weekly sacrifice…
potion of treasure finding

Session 47
2 XP (4 XP to level 0s who acted; 2 XP otherwise)
Loot
in-game weapon upgrades
evil-looking enigmatic blue-black leather book with silver glyphs
1 dark purple cloak & robe
several kris knives

Session 48/49
4 XP (8 XP to level 0s – ding!)
Loot
gold holy symbol of Orcus (80 GP)
bloodstained gold altar service (140 GP)
2 gigantic fire opal eyes (2000 GP)

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Delve 14
Sessions 34 to 42

Session 34
3 XP (not so much as for killing the black skeleton as avoiding a deadly trap)
Loot
3 CP

Session 35
3 XP
Loot
1 CP
1 small pouch that resists soiling
41 GP

Session 36
3 XP
Loot
20 CP
60 GP (the dwarves quickly determine they’re painted lead, so 0 GP)
3 boney scrolls (cast at 20: charm person, ward portal, sleep)

Session 37
3 XP
Loot
nothing

Session 38
1 XP
Loot
120 SP
tarnished, runed helm with missing chinstrap (Baba Zeez)

Session 39
3 XP
Loot
Gold chain with ruby (30 GP)

Session 40
3 XP
Loot
Magical potion, 2 doses ($2-8)

Session 41-42
Magic broom
300 SP
4 XP
silver-edged two-handed sword

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Delve 13
Session 32

Session 32
3 XP
Loot
-30 GP (paid to troll marauders)
-5 × 19 = 95 days’ rations (clerically transformed dirt and gong turned out to be inedible (“pass the lembas bread!”))
-5 GP (Dodd’s torchbearer)

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Delve 12
Sessions 27 to 32

Session 27
7 XP
Loot
2 potions (3C05)
6 books (3C05), 1 is magical and locked, the rest will sell for 46 GP
2 red scrolls (cure disease)

Session 28
1 XP
Loot
zip

Session 29
3 XP
Loot
4 GP
30 SP
90 CP
2 agates (5 GP ea)

Session 30
3 XP
Loot
1 amethyst (20 GP)
122 SP
900 CP

Session 31
9 XP
Loot
16x green gargoyle eyes of jet (400 GP)

Session 32
3 XP
Loot
eyes of jet transformed back into gargoyles (-415 GP)

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27 Highsun 945 (2)
Second day underground, one level below the Lair of the Dung Monster

First, the party stumbled in upon a troop of ogres doing some sort of monotonous coin-sorting. Knowing them for the evil fuckers they are, the party launched in against the ogres. Spells dropped and ogres fell under the spell of Souca Yant, but still one of them got away, running into a dark cavern with dirt ceiling a-crumbling.

Second, the adventurers found the largest piles of coin they’d ever laid eyes upon, and some of it was out of view! Trouble was there were at least a score of foul-smelling undead guarding it. The fight started alright, but the party’s numbers were pretty quickly overwhelmed by the unending onslaught of walking dead reeking of an open grave.

The glint of gold and gems within torchlight, they combated the ghouls, but in the end it was impossible. Baba Zeez even came to a sad demise, sacrificing himself so that his allies could flee this certain death. If he was ever to be seen again, frighteningly, it would probably be as one of these same undead.

Thinking Baba’s death was sign to hightail it out of Rappan Athuk, the band headed back toward the central room with the stair that went up into the dung-heap-smelling first floor. They hoped not to run into the shit-monster, but before they could worry about that they remembered the black skeletons were still locked into the entry room!

The fight was on once again, and one after another black skeleton strode into the lantern light. Things looked dire, and there was no better known way out…

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27 Highsun 945 (1)
The next morning, underground, one level below the Lair of the Dung Monster

It was a dark and stormy night.

No. They were underground still. Their resources were dwindling, and their gods were angry at the constant interruptions this morning. Not even noon yet as best they could guess, and already they were looking for a place to hole up after the chance encounter with a pack of ghoulish undead.

On the upside, after spiking themselves into a room, and even “un-picking” the lock to ensure it stayed shut, they had a little time to detect for magic, and as luck would have it there was a bit. In a smashed chest, in a padded slot not obvious to casual inspection, was a 4-slotted potion bottle. Grit took a swig right away, just had to see what happened.

Thankfully he neither died nor turned into a monster. He just felt “oogly” inside for a moment. A diseased party member tried it too, since who knows, but it didn’t help The Rot that was starting. So they stashed the other two does for sometime when Grit was really thirsty.

In the morning they had a pair of black skeletons waiting for them outside the door! Their fear-scream sent half the party running into the corners of the room. However those remaining thought quickly and banished one while fighting the other. The banished one went off into the darkness, and after ending the other, the party strode off in the other direction.

Down the next corridor they came across a door of ebony bound in gold just beyond a strangely cold secret door. The ebony door radiated evil beyond and had an unusually complex-looking internal lock, so the party messed around with the secret door. Inside was a hovering silver sphere, which seemed to be creating an intense cold in the room. Baba Zeez ran in to see if there was anything of obvious value within, and it nearly cost him some skin it was so cold. Well, they’d found a meat locker if they needed one…

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26 Highsun 945 (1)
Morning, underground, Lair of the Dung Monster

The party turned back toward the entrance, where they’d climbed down from the southern mausoleum, but as expected, the ladder went all the way to the ceiling of the room above, providing no egress. So they made do in the space below the stairs, just as it opened up into a door with a room. Souka Yant ordered her charmed gargoyles to stand watch over the door, which also received a deeply-struck iron spike.The chamber was cramped, and Grit’s stink made it hard for everyone to sleep, but they all fell out eventually…

Until at some small hour of the morning the gargoyles at the door alerted the party to the presence of something beyond, which could be heard to be a clawing, scrabbling noise, which grew louder and more insistent as the party woke and armed themselves. The smell of living flesh had brought the undead, and they were forcing their way in! As the spike in the door finally gave, the party launched an assault against half dozen scrawny pale creatures with gaping maws of rotten teeth and filth under their nails. The gargoyles took the worst of their paralyzing strikes, as the party attacked from range.

Having slept most of the night it was impossible to go back, and so the arcane spell-casters were unable to recover their spells. The rest of the party felt the fatigue as well, but had no ill effects, at least for the first night. The way back was still shut, so they proceeded back to the southerly branch from the room with the red ant skeleton.

Not far down into the inky darkness and rough-cut stone walls, they found what must be a secret door, cleverly painted to blend into the walls, but obvious to the touch, being made of wood. As the party stopped to search for a mechanism by which to open the portal, the rear guard called out that they were under attack! Another of those hallway-filling gelatinous creatures was crashing down over the back ranks!

Old Souka Yant was absorbed, picked up by the thing, her gargoyles and other nearby party members only just barely dodging out of the way in time. The paralytic jelly that constituted its body sent electric shocks through her body, causing near-death. At that moment her charm spell that had controlled the gargoyles stopped, and the party had three new adversaries to boot! The jelly horror sloshed forward as the party attacked it with swords and spells, and it soon dissipated in a gooey mess on the floor, while the gargoyles were slain one by one. As the cube died, it left the expired wizard lying motionless and covered in slime. Concorde managed to bring her back from the brink of death at the great disapproval of his deity, Choranus, who apparently thought it was her time. Further, all could see she seemed visibly diminished from the whole experience, some lifeforce never returning.

Grit carried Souka Yant now for a while, and the rest of the party went on to learn the secret door pushed up into the ceiling. The stench from beyond was of death, surprisingly strongly smelled over the ambient odor of dung and rot they’d almost grown accustomed to. Someone thought they heard a muffled snicker from ahead, and so creeping into a cavernous chamber, they were engaged in combat by another animated dead humanoid, which seemed to be the source of the smell. The smell in fact was so strong, all approaching had to cover their mouths or would occasionally tear up, making the fight against the undead more challenging. Whatever it was, it was clearly mad, as it congratulated the party for finding it, then laughed and cajoled the party as it died (again).

At least it had a chest that they knew contained gold, as the dwarves’ keen abilities had detected a faint amount down this way. Opening it turned out to be a simple matter, and it appeared to have 20 copper and 60 gold coins within! Something didn’t add up though. The dwarves would have known if it was so much gold, and only a trace was smelled, and indeed a close inspection showed the “gold” to be painted lead. The shrewd dungeoneers noted the chest detected magic as well, though, and no magic items appeared in the compartment. Some experimentation revealed the lid contained a small panel that could slide away to reveal the storage of 3 rolled-up scrolls writ on long strips of bone. What a find!

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26 Highsun 945 (2)
Morning, underground, Lair of the Dung Monster

It was surely still early, and whether the sun was up was a matter of debate down there. The well-hidden, lonely and clearly insane creature slain, the party gathered up the actual valuables it kept, and struck out into what seemed to be the only clear way forward, the other options being rat tunnels that only a halfling could negotiate.

They set the dervish out in front once the hallway turned to a tunnel that narrowed to single-file, she being able to detect traps as well as put up a good fight in a pinch. The rest of the party carefully followed behind, just in case she missed anything. She announced she could hear water ahead, likely some underground stream. Farther along, the chittering of rats. After 50 feet of this careful progress, the tunnel widened into a large natural cavern, the water still out beyond the edge of torchlight.

Suddenly huge numbers of rats scurried across booted feet, temporarily flooding the floor with disease-carrying rodents, but none attacked. A woman’s voice from within the cavern called out for help suddenly, the voice vaguely elven in tone, and a couple of the men in the party strode forward to help! But the dark of the cavern caused slow progress, and only one of the dwarves managed to step out of the light for a bit to see a humanoid figure scramble over a 10-foot pile of rubble that looked like an old cave-in.

Some headed south to discover the quickly moving stream that cut through this area. Most others though moved toward the rubble wall, asking for lights to be doused or covered, trying to find out where the woman went. Those with infravision clambered over carefully to see what was on the other side. Just as their eyes adjusted and started to make out the details of a chamber with rat-holes up high, only accessible by rock shelves and ledges, a dozen feet off the ground. The footprints of the woman who ran through were barely visible as their heat faded, and various warm-bodied shapes were apparent near the rat-holes. One of the larger bodies made a throwing motion and a cold object could be seen sailing toward the four adventures on the top of the wall…

The cloud of dust that exploded from the thrown bag caused the four to cover their mouths and duck for cover, but Radek was slow to react and inhaled a lungful of it, causing him to cough and sneeze and choke… and die.

The first shots were in the dark, all those fighting able to see the heat of life. The one who threw the sack fell into a magical slumber, and his apparent mate cried out and charged int. As the battle began to intensify, many of the party surged over the wall, bringing their lights so all could see.

It was dozens of giant rats, crawling over each other and the entire base of the wall to claw and bite at the party. The “mate” who ran to attack was apparently humanoid, but his build and features were strongly ratlike, enough to call him “rat-man”. Poisoned arrows were shot from the high positions as the giant rats stormed the front lines. Spell casters managed to keep the attackers at bay for the most part, either putting them to sleep or commanding them to attack each other.

After a solid minute of chaotic fighting, the battle ended with the party victorious… Most likely.

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26 Highsun 945 (3)
Mid-morning, underground, Lair of the Dung Monster

Standing in the midst of a heap of dead giant rats and their ratman masters, the party turned to see if Radek might somehow have survived that deadly attack of choking dust, but the blood running from the corner of his mouth made it clear he’d gone back to the Dwerfater. So his pockets and pack were looted, though his gift from the Dwerfater, the Warhammer of the Goblin King, disappeared from whence it came.

Searching one of the ratman bodies up on the ledge, the party found the ratman just wore ragged old clothes and carried short sword and short bow. An empty vial nearby suggested possible use of poison in the earlier barrage. The other two bodies were left alone to avoid the risks of getting up to them, and the ratman who leapt down to attack in melee was no better armed than the others. Exploring the large rat tunnels these creatures emerged from did not appeal to the party, and the stairs down could wait for a bit more reconnaissance.

So they went back out to the large chamber where the underground stream ran through and, after navigating the outer edges of the stoney chamber, they looked for some way to cross swift-moving water. In the end, it appeared the shortest jump would be about seven feet with a running start, just a bit longer than anyone was comfortable clearing with absolute certainty. So Velma tied herself to a rope, handed the other end to Grumbly, and had a go. She stuck the landing, no sweat.

The other side of the stream blocked off a smaller area of the cavern, not remarkably different than the northern side. However, exploration of the southern walls showed evidence of burn marks from floor to ceiling along some 40 feet of wall. Velma avoided getting too close to that and poked her head into the various ratholes that were apparent. In one slightly larger hole, she could see the remains of a body with no head. Only 15 or 20 feet away, she felt she could get to it easily. And she could! But as she reached out over the corpse to grab the helmet she could see lying nearby she was suddenly swarmed by a dozen giant rats!

She tried to make a break for it, but they came over her too fast. Quick-thinkers on the other bank pulled on the rope to yank her out of the rats toward the stream, and at the same time her dead weight on the rope helped lead a healer across to her as he splashed through the stream. Somehow he just managed to lay hands on her as he hit the southern shore, causing the rats to scurry away for a moment. Baba Zeez jumped across to assist directly, while others fired ranged attacks, and they beat all of them off Velma in short order.

While the party worked to get the beaten Velma back across, Baba Zeez climbed into the rat tunnel she’d found to see what had gotten her interest earlier. He found the headless corpse and the broken helmet nearby. He grabbed the old headgear and investigated the cavern beyond where the giant rats came from. Finding nothing else, he emerged and joined the party on the northern shore.

Since nothing further was obvious to explore that wasn’t some kind of rat hole, even a man-sized rat hole, the obvious way to proceed was to continue down the stairs that seemed to be guarded by the ratmen.

Down they climbed, some 100 feet according to Grumbly. The room at the bottom was a scene of animal carnage. Giant rat bodies were strewn everywhere, blood splattered on the walls, not unlike the carnage they’d created above, but the wounds were seemingly from some large animal. There was not much other evidence in here, and on further exploration, the four doors leaving the room were all found to be locked.

Pretty much choosing at random, since no other clear indications were available, they tried to unlock a door using their thieving tools. The first attempt failed, but a more deft hand succeeded, and they were through. Not far down the passage they found a room containing a massive sarcophagus. Leaning on one side was the corpse of a hobbit, leaning on a rotted old backpack. Inexplicably, the room was icy cold as well, and the northern hall out of the room had a great racket coming from it, which turned out to be a 4-foot spiked ball that rolled around on its own apparently. The hobbit’s rotted backpack contained rotted food and a rotted pouch. Baba Zeez’s persistence paid off though, because the rotted pouch contained 120 silver coins!

Since the northern hall with the rolling spiked ball did not look like a safe way to go, they backed out and tried another door. The next door resisted all efforts to have its lock picked. Even Souca Yant tried an unlocking spell, but nothing worked. Baba remembered seeing a hand-axe lodged deeply in the northern door, so he yanked it out and started hacking at the locked door that resisted the best lock-pickers the party had. After 20 minutes of loud chopping, Baba indicated the way forward was cleared. The rest of the party looked at the mangled door, splinters sticking out everywhere, and only room to squeeze past. Oh well…

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