Chaos Scar

36. The False Tomb

6/27/11: Next Monday is July 4th. We may skip....

Artemis - Half Elf Swordmage
Eldeth - Dwarf Slayer
Hirbe - Human Mage
Kettenbar - Wilden Monk
Merric - Halfling Thief
Tornam - Dwarf Cleric

The heroes had opened all three chests at once! From one came a band of snakes. Another sprung a trap - force darts exploded out and flew at the heroes. And from the last came a skeleton wielding two scimitars.

Merric sliced the skeleton as Eldeth and Kettenbar swiped at the vipers. The darts rocketed through the air, missing everyone. More were ready to explode out of the chest. Hirbe cast a spell and killed the vipers in one shot.

Merric swung at the skeleton again. The skeleton blocked the attack with one blade and cut Merric with the other. The next series of darts hit most of the heroes. The skeleton sliced Eldeth. Artemis and Hirbe gathered around the dart chest, and together used their mastery of Arcana to drain it of its' power.

As the others battled the skeleton, Hirbe looked in the chests. Since entering the tomb, the heroes had abandoned their practice of splitting all the treasure and had begun hoarding whatever they could for themselves. Hirbe saw a crystal box with a ring in it. the box alone was worth 150 gold. He pocketed it. The other chests were empty.

Tornam healed Merric (after doing a 'sweet dwarf roll', which sounds to me like a delicious pastry). Eldeth felled the skeleton with a mighty blow.

The adventurers rested and healed up. Kettenbar spotted what was, to him, a very obvious secret door in the wall. The heroes very cautiously made their way into the tiny crawlspace. It led to another strange, long hallway whose walls were lined with artwork. The art was of different monsters holding up colored globes. Some of the globes were illusory, and contained either another crawlspace or a trap!

At the end of the hallway was another archway. The heroes decided to check each 'globe' to see which contained what. Kettenbar got a magic spear in the face, but their search was successful and thorough. They found a couple of new crawlspaces. The adventurers decided to check out a crawlspace in the north west corner, through a gold sphere held aloft by a naga.

That crawlspace brought the heroes into a small room. In the room was a statue with three arms. Its' forth had broken off and lay at its' feet. The palms of the hands had gem-sized indentations in them. After a bit of back-and-forth, Hirbe placed a gem in each of the three palms. The statue then crushed all three and dumped the dust on the floor. Gloomhandler was beside herself and cursed Hirbe. Hirbe threatened her, and Merric didn't defend her. She withdrew into the halfling's vest. Hirbe would return to this room to scoop up the gem dust on the floor, figuring it might be of some use. They also took the broken arm, and decapitated the head and carried it around.

Throughout their exploration, the heroes consulted the poem/riddle from the first hallway and were continuously looking for something to put the magic ring that Hirbe had found into...

They next entered the crawlspace through the red sphere held waist-high by the skeleton. The crawlspace was long and windy, and poor hefty Tornam had trouble squeezing through. The crawlspace eventually led them to a huge chapel whose floor contained a winding mosaic of floor tiles quite similar to the floor tiles in the original hallway. The adventurers were very cautious about exiting, but eventually became comfortable and spread out.

Many gathered by the altar, which glowed blue. They sensed great power coming from it, and Tornam even sensed that is was a force of inexplicable good. There was another misty archway to the right of the altar, with an inert skeleton lying before it, pointing at it. Tornam had the urge to run through, but didn't. And on the opposite wall was a ring-sized slot!

But what distracted the heroes was the pews. Merric lifted a pew and found piles of silver and gold! He tried to quietly loot it while his friends searched about, but the creaking pew and the mountain of money clinking together betrayed him. Hirbe and Artemis raced over to other pews - they too were full of gold! The three began to race, looting pews and filling their containers with as many coins as they could. Merric finally got to a front pew, and when he opened it he triggered a trap! Poison gas exploded out and filled the room! The heroes gagged and suffered, but thankfully the gas dissipated. Merric saw that the other front-most pew was also trapped, but couldn't disable it, so he let it be.

Having at last found their ring-slot, Hirbe took the magic ring from the crystal box (the ring was a watcher's signet ring, which aided stealth checks). He put it in, and the wall lowered. The wall revealed a hallway, but crushed the ring.

The adventurers steeled themselves, and began to traverse the long hallway. Merric and Kettenbar were in the front, keeping their eyes peeled for traps. They spotted a pit trap and carefully triggered it. Then, like a nut, Kettenbar jumped in and somehow avoided the spikes. He looked for secret doors and found none. He climbed out and they continued. They found another trap 20 feet ahead, and did the same thing. Their allies jumped the pits, aided by the boon of flight granted them by Adrella, the daughter of The Star Dragon.

Somehow, through bad luck (and low die rolls), Kettenbar and Merric missed the last pit trap in the hallway. Merric fell in, pierced by the poison spikes. He survived the fall, and glumly noticed a secret door in the bottom of the pit. The heroes helped him out of the pit. They followed the hallway a bit more, and saw that it turned and ended in a heavily-barred door. They decided to check out the secret passage in the pit. But first, they took hours to bend and break the spikes in the pit.

Then they headed through, and spilled into a secret hallway. Kettenbar noticed another secret door nearby, but could not figure out how to open it. Hirbe studied it, and sensed great arcane energy infused in it. In order to open it, a certain deed would have to be performed, and then a ritual of Remove Affliction would have to be done. The heroes assumed there was someone or something they needed to kill before they could pass through.

Their path led to a hallway filled with fear gas. Hirbe grabbed Gloomhandler, Merric's imp, with his mage hand. She had been heckling him about wasting three gems on the statue. She called for Merric to help her. Merric did nothing. Hirbe forced her into the fog. The gas did not affect her. Hirbe held her for a few minutes out of the mist. When he finally released her, she quietly went into Merric's vest, saying nothing. Artemis noted that was the first time the imp had ever kept her mouth shut...

They got through the fog and opened a door at the end of the hall, which dissipated the mist. Past the door was a stairwell full of webs. Artemis and Hirbe methodically used their fire powers to slowly burn through all of the webbing, and resting between uses of their taxing spells and abilities. At last, they cleared the stairwell.

The stairs led to a dank chamber with a golden couch. On the couch was a mummy wearing a crown. At the base of the steps was a golden magical mace (of disruption +3!). The mummy sat up and said, "Who dares to disturb Acererak? It id your death you have found!". The heroes had found Acererak, the evil one who'd created the tomb that was trying to tap into energy from the chaos meteor!

Tornam felt something wasn't right, though. They'd found Acererak already? And a magic mace was lying right there for him to take?

But there wasn't much time for thought, as Acererak launched off a deadly attack! His Crown let out a massive wave of energy, injuring and dazing everyone! Hirbe used his mage hand to try to pull the crown off Acererak's head. The mummy shrieked and tried to keep it on. Artemis picked up the mace and handed it to Tornam. Acererak cast a shadowstorm spell that injured almost everyone, created a concealing zone, and dropped Kettenbar! The heroes were in big trouble... Acererak was a very deadly foe!

Artemis charged through the gloom, slashed Acererak, and knocked him into a wall! Then Tornam held the mace of disruption aloft and cracked Acererak in the face, collapsing its' cheek! He swung again, and radiance exploded from the mace, killing the mummy!

The whole chamber began to rumble and collapse. the heroes scooped up the loot and ran out of there...

Then I said "So what did you think of the dungeon?! Too hard?". They looked at me and asked me if that was it. I said "I guess it's time to head out and get back to the Chaos Scar!" and tried not to smile. But Tornam had already been unsure. There was that secret passageway that had been unexplored still... I explained that their suspicions were correct. They'd defeated a "False" Acererak! There was still much more tomb to go. The module actually tells the DM to try to fake the players out, heh heh...  

The adventurers realized this was just one more trick. They'd fought a fake Acererak. They needed to rest, and made plans to hole up in a hallway and try to prepare for whatever horrible tricks Acererak still had up his sleeve....