On September 7th, still not content with the damage they’ve done to the Ar-a-mach, Rovert intends to strike another blow by seeking the seal key their notes indicate they are closest to finding. With Randall having disappeared and Conan shut in to recover from sun exposure during their last mission, he grabs a new arrival and they set out to speak to Dargos on the backs of great skeletal wolves.
- Rovert (TrS): Level 11 Human Necromancer
- Two Elf Eater Skeletons
- Drej, Level 5 pseudodragon familiar
- Malcom (HuS): Level 1 Human Cleric of the Empty Tomb
In the afternoon of the 8th, they arrive in Slighe Domhainn where the people are used to seeing Rovert arrive on a skeletal wolf by now. They arrive at Dargos’ palace and wait a little while for him to become available. He is quickly able to tell them a few routes to the mountain they seek, suggesting that the shortest, but not safest, is to go East, passing near the castle they previously took from a dragon for him. He also warns them that the area near Stalla Airgid, the capital, is teeming with Ar-a-mach activity, as if someone kicked over their ant hill. They inform him they are seeking the key to Geam’s seal and he tells them she did rule in that area but that he hadn’t heard of any Ar-a-mach activity there. They agree to check on his castle under repair and join him for dinner and the night.
In the morning, they set out Eastward, diverting about an hour South where they would have turned North to reach to mountain in order to visit Ovomoda’s castle. They find that the gnomes have rebuilt and have occupied the castle proper this time. They agree to pass dinner and the night with Dargos’ agent there. During their stay, he shows them a hidden room he found in the castle that Rovert missed in his previous stay there. Rovert assesses it to be a teleportation circle, activated by the candles he found in the castle before. He resolves to return with a party and find out where it leads.
The next day, they travel North toward the mountain they seek, Luchd-Siubhail (Wanderer). It stands more apart from the other mountains and by dusk they arrive at its steep, sudden slopes, near a village that farms the surrounding valley. They rest an hour or so there, but Rovert casts a stone-piercing-sight spell he has grown fond of on Drej, sending him to fly around the mountain scanning for hidden entrances. He only makes it a little over halfway before the spell ends, but returns reporting not having seen an entrance, but instead a group of gnomes with a sizable camp against the side of the mountain, who he saw shortly after the stone-sight ended.
Rovert sends Drej back out with another dose of the stone-sight and when he returns from another pass around the mountain (clockwise this time), he reports that the gnomes are camped right in front of a hidden door into the mountain. Having rested a little, they ascend, Rovert leading the way and finding a path through gullies and brambles with the help of his shared sight with Drej flying overhead. In a couple hours they reach the path (5 feet wide and cut into the mountain) that Drej described as encircling the mountain at the altitude the poem stolen from the Ar-a-mach indicated.
They follow it to the left, circling the mountain until they come upon the Ar-a-mach camp and are spotted by a guard. Rovert quickly kills him with a spell and as the others awaken and the other guard rushes to confront them, Rovert’s wolves take the lead. They make quick work of the camp, preventing any from escaping to warn allies. They see signs of significant preparation and recent arrival directly to this site. Without searching too hard and knowing that some of the gnomish party is already inside, they pass through the hidden door.
Inside they find a maze. At first they traverse following the left wall, bypassing traps as they go (a new stone-sight spell on Drej makes them easy to spot). This leads them around the perimeter of the maze, each dead end they find indicating a phase of the moon at which it is the outer entrance. After completing over half of this circuit, they see the Ar-a-mach party deeper in the maze, who flee immediately. They choose not to follow and rush headlong into the maze, but continue their path around the outside, eventually arriving back at their starting point.
Seeing no sign of anyone else coming or going to the camp outside, Rovert seals up the passage with a stone molding spell learned from the acolytes of Ovomoda, marking it with his blue chalk. They set out into the maze again, this time taking a left and then every right. Their path continually intersects with pathways they have already marked with red Xs and yellow arrows and they soon become frustrated with it. At the passage of the waning nearly full moon, they set out directly into the maze, intending the find the center by stone shaping if necessary.
It doesn’t come to that (though if it had, Rovert probably would have had no spell points remaining for the battles come) and they soon find their way to the center chamber. They hear hushed voices there and when Rovert peaks in, he sees the Ar-a-mach gnomes standing around a pit debating whether to descend. They drop a “glowstone” and comment on how it rolled away to the South, giving no indication of how deep it is but showing some kind of slope. While they talk, Rovert creeps up behind and when spotted rushes forward and casts a gust of wind, propelling three of the four into the pit. The fourth fights them, but is soon slain.
While Rovert, Malcom, and Tom descend, climbing slowly down the steep part, Rovert orders his skeletal wolves to leap down and pursue the Ar-a-mach. As they go, they can hear fighting below and when they reach a gentler slope turn from climbing to hurry down. They arrive to find two of the wolves somewhat battered, one of them melted to a pile of mush and bone. They engage the Ar-a-mach at the edge of a pit of acid and quickly kill the remaining three, the last as he was escaping across a bridge over the pit.
After looting some alchemical products from them, they carefully proceed across the bridge themselves, it continues around a corner, the acid pool also following the curve of the cavern, they soon see a massive crab, at least 20 feet across, hanging from the ceiling over the bridge. (Thank you Lasersniper from the DMBanter Discord.) The doesn’t see them until they are close, but when it does, it fires a beam at them that encases Malcom’s and a wolf’s legs in crystal. They soon break free and take cover among the crystals already on the bridge, but learn that it has damaging spot lights that see through the crystal.
Rovert and Malcom both start casting spells (multi-turn spells, a rare thing in combat with this campaign) while the wolves and Tom try to draw fire. They both manage to finish, Rovert destroying the stone in key places where the crab is gripping the wall, which leaves it dangling by one leg. Malcom finishes his spell (using most of his spell points) and unleashes a beam of deathly black lightning that causes the crab to let go, falling into the acid. When they see that the acid isn’t doing much to damage the crab, they cut the crystal-entrapped wolf free and run.
As the cavern continues to spiral, they come upon another crab, but this time they refrain from fighting it, fleeing immediately and managing to evade his beams. It stops pursuing when they get to the end of the acid pit. In the chamber there, they find a door in the floor that requests a key to be found in the green stone in the chamber of stones. They assume (correctly) that that is the chamber they see ahead and enter to find a bumpy, conical chamber with perfectly round stones littering the floor. They step carefully, eventually finding the green stone at the far tip.
Rovert carefully cracks it open and the ground suddenly starts to rumble. He grabs the key and they all stumble toward the entrance to the chamber of stones as it starts to pitch about, the round, smooth stones flying through the air as they rattle around inside. The key opens the door and they find themselves in a chamber too large for Malcom’s lantern to show any kind of size to it. They through a glowstone taken from the Ar-a-mach up into the air, but see no sign of the top. Rovert, low enough an spell points that he would rather not, casts a powerful light that illuminates at least the near side of the chamber. With a glow stone in each wolf’s mouth and Malcom with his lantern in the middle, they spread their light as far as they can, again following the wall clockwise. In the massive light Rovert created, they soon recognize a massive (maybe 400 feet long) rattlesnake of stone reaching up to the ceiling and biting a stalactite there and realize that they were inside it!
They give the great, stone snake a wide berth as they work their way around, eventually reaching a shrine where they obtain a crystal indicated to be Geam’s key to the seal. They also find her workshop/quarters beside the shrine, where they sleep several hours. When they wake, the search it, looting some alchemical ingredients and other curiosities. They also peruse her journals, learning that she was Bron’s lover (another of the Cuirm-Cogaidh who helped seal away Luath Draoidh) and that she knew the location of his seal key. They take all hints to its location with them when they leave, going out through a well-hidden one-way passage that puts them out in a gully near the base of the mountain, not far from Earball Clòcaich, the largest town near the mountain by Dargos’ account.
Though the sun is already setting again, they set out back toward the Vale by the way they came, not wanting to encounter any more Ar-a-mach and tip their hand to having obtained the key. They ride into the night before resting and pick up the next day early in the morning. By Sunday evening they pass the night in Slighe Domhainn and by Tuesday evening arrive back in Citadel where they divide loot and choose an adventurer to guard Geam’s key. Malcom and Tom level up.
The Ar-a-mach have been thwarted pretty badly at this point. They aren’t done with, but I’m going to have to take the Haven campaign in a different direction than intended for a while before they recover. They had been on track to awaken Luath Draoidh by March 2020, now? Who knows.