Session report 10-29-2009
My players found a HUGE DIAMOND.
They have infiltrated part of the cult that occupies the Crater Ridge Mines. They posed as a combination of new members as well as a replacement for one of the higher-ups that was killed (you’ll never guess who killed him!) With the hard part behind them, they were now (mostly) free to wander about the temple without arousing any suspicion.
They decided to change their previous plans and instead wait on jumping the high priestess. They figured maybe there could be more to learn if they keep up the ruse a while longer. They decided to wait one more day, and live among the cult. And learn they did! Valuable information was uncovered about the exact layout of the mines that completely changed what their plans are for after they deal with the High Priestess. One of the players decided to spend the day exploring the nooks and crannies of the temple. The mines were built by dwarfs many years ago, before they were slaughtered by the cultists that now occupy it. Because of this there are several areas that are just plain not used, as the new residence doesn’t have as much need for all the space.
Well, while exploring, he found a scroll written by the dwarfs explaining a huge diamond that was cut as a tribute to one of the big dwarf goddesses. According to the record, the dwarfs hid and protected the diamond very well in these very mines when they had to flee many years ago when the cult showed up. This caused the player to take extra time in the next areas he searched, as now he had something that he could actually potentially find! So he decided to take 20 in a rather inconspicuous empty room, and with his amazing perception and taking two, he still only barely managed to find an extremely well hidden secret door in one of the walls. With the assistance of his Warlock friend, he spend a couple hours and managed to break through the Arcane Lock sealing the door shut. Beyond it was a huge diamond on a pedestal in a fairly large very ornate room. No carvings of men and demons copulating and women of all races being raped and every other despicable act imaginable was here like the rest of the mines had become littered with. This room had beautiful carvings of the dwarven goddess.
Taking care, they decided to look before they stepped. It’s a good thing they did, because the ranger spotted a very well hidden huge trap door immediately inside the room, and the warlock detected some very powerful magic on the pedestal. They decided to head back and fetch some of the others before doing anything, just in case something went wrong. When the Invoker and Paladin got there, the Invoker was able to detect that the pedestal was indeed an extremely powerful magic trap, the exact nature of which was foreign to him. They decided to try something pretty clever: They all went around the corner (out of line of sight of the trap) and the Invoker summoned his Unseen Servant (level 1 ritual) and commanded it to go fetch the diamond. Seeing as the unseen servant is invisible and doesn’t actually apply any sort of force on the ground, it was a pretty good idea for avoiding most normal traps! They didn’t even peek around the corner, for fear of some devastating effect coming from the trap.
However, this trap was not fooled. Shortly after commanding the servant to get the diamond, every one of them felt a strong assault on their minds. Some of them resisted but for others it was too much. They suffered psychic damage and they found themselves thrust against the wall with great force. The invoker felt the mental bond with his servant break; clearly it had been destroyed. They also heard the whirring and clicking of several mechanical devices quickly wind up, coming from that trapped room. Finally, the door leading in to the small room before the trap all of a sudden became blocked by several thick horizontal steel bars. Looking around, they saw that the two other doors that provided escape from the hallway they were in were now also barred.
Their fears of what might happen next were quickly extinguished however, as the noise of the whirring trap started to quiet down. Seconds later, the entire place was silent again and the bars retracted in to their doorways, and the secret door automatically closed. Now armed with more knowledge of what they are going up against, they decided to fetch the Dragonborn Warlord, the last member of their party, to come help them. They figured they might need the healing.
They spent quite some time discussing options. They knew the trap had psychic attacks and some sort of spinning mechanism but unfortunately knew little more about how it functioned or, more importantly, what exactly triggers it. The decision was made for the ranger to make a running rump diagonally from the secret doorway in to the room, so as to avoid stepping on the trap door. Once inside he planned to take a closer look at the trap, hopefully without triggering it. He would have a rope tied around him, and the Dragonborn had the other end tied to him, which he would keep taut, in the event that he were to fall in to the trap door. The roll was made. The jump was successful. However, what they feared might happen did indeed occur: The trap activated the instant he leaped in to the room. Now with a clear view of the thing, he saw that the pedestal had several curved blades tucked in to itself, and as countless gears started to click and spin, he saw several 10 foot long blades spinning in alternating directions, making reaching the diamond quite challenging.
The Dwarven Paladin, the protector of the group, was quickest on her feet. As soon as she heard the trap start to engage, she activated her Benign Transposition to trade places with the ranger. If anyone was to face the full force of the trap head on for the sake of retrieving a holy Dwarven treasure, it was her! Moments later, the bars once again blocked the three doorways, locking the Paladin in the pedestal room.
The party quickly discovered that this trap was far more dangerous than they had anticipated. It constantly barraged every one of them, even the ones out of line of sight, with a psychic attack that not only pulled them towards the bladed device with great force, it also left them dazed, unable to put their own turns to great use. The Paladin got pulled in to the blades as they promptly swatted her away. The diamond was her objective, so she threw a hammer with great force directly at the jewel. Her aim was true, but was saddened to find that the diamond did not budge one bit, seemingly affixed to the deadly pedestal.
The Warlock tried to blast the trap with some eldritch energy, but he was unable to land any significant hit against the spinning contraption. The Warlock was then horrified to discover that when the trap next assaulted his mind and yanked him towards it, the bars keeping him out of the room quickly snapped open to let him through, slamming shut behind him. Finding himself at risk of being pulled right on to the trap door, he attempted a move so crazy, it fit his personality perfectly. Just as his feet left the ground from the force of the attack, he pushed off to assist the throw. He turned his body and threw the largest side of his body at the blades themselves. His plan worked; the blades landed a nasty cut along his back but the force of the blow reversed his direction in mid air, causing him to just barely land on the safe part of the ground. Before he could really appreciate the life saving maneuver he had just pulled off, he saw that his ranger friend had also been pulled along with him, only he landed on the trap door. It opened a split second later dropping him 40 feet in to a pit. A second after that, a set of bars shot out half way down the pit, trapping him at the bottom. Quickly glancing around, he saw that this pit had several holes in the wall, out of which a number of disturbing things could come.
Meanwhile, the mighty Dragonborn warlord had started to pry open the set of bars leading in to the trap room. He just barely managed to pry them apart, but the force attempting to shut them would not subside. If anyone would want to pass through, he would need to continue holding them open with all his might. Unfortunately, the constant psychic attacks made doing this nearly impossible. He managed to prevent himself from getting pulled in to the pit by holding on to the bars with all of his strength. Once again on his feet, he let go of his grip on the bars and instead tied some of the slack of the rope around the bars. This would hold him in place on each pulse of the trap. Soon he had the warlock also attached to the rope (so now it was bars, Dragonborn, warlock, several feet and then the Paladin.)
As the psychic assaults continued as strong as ever, the party quickly decided that this was not a fight that could be won. Most of them were getting dazed on every single attack, making it nearly impossible to do any damage to the trap, as what little concentration they could muster had to be spent keeping themselves alive. The call to retreat was officially agreed upon. The only problems were the Paladin stuck on the other side of the pit, the ranger stuck in the pit, and the bars keeping them all in (except for the Invoker, who had managed to stay behind the bars in the corridor.)
After some quick thinking, the Dragonborn yelled to the Paladin to leap in to the pit. She hesitated only a moment. This Dragonborn’s bravado has gotten her in to trouble before, but looking around she didn’t have any better ideas of her own. She leaped in to the bit, avoiding the spinning blades that the trap continued to try to pull her in to. She only fell about 10 feet before she ended up dangling against the wall of the pit, held up by the rope attached to the bars above. From there it was trivial to climb up the rope.
The ranger was on his own, however. While the rest of the group scrambled to try to get everyone close to the gate for the Dragonborn to pry open again, the ranger discovered what came out of the holes in the bottom of the pit: poisonous gas. Struggling to stay conscious, the ranger found that his greatest ally in this hopeless situation was the psychic trap above! As its psychic attacks continued, he found that the amazing force of them was strong enough to thrust him in to the air with each attack. Working through the splitting pain of the attacks and the poisonous gas filling his lungs, he managed to grab hold of the bars overhead when lifted by one of the attacks. In a spectacular show of adrenaline-fueled strength, he managed to pull one of the bars out of its resting slot, creating just enough room for him to slip through. As the next predictable psychic assault occurred, he let down his own mental defenses, allowing the trap to fling him even further up the pit. He slipped past the bar he had pried open. Were it not for the Dragonborn’s Rousing Words, the stress of the situation would surely have defeated him completely.
Now standing atop the bars half way down the pit, he saw a length of rope come flying over the edge. The Invoker had managed to get more rope from his pack and toss it down. Shielding his mind from the psychic assault of the trap above, he sprinted towards the rope and climbed up the wall. The instant he reached the edge, it was the Invoker’s time to shine.
He quickly spoke a few words under his breath, undoubtedly communicating with the many gods he served, and summoned a powerful divine magic. Every single one of his allies found themselves awash in beautiful bright light. A moment later, their familiar surroundings returned, only now they were on the other side of the bars, around the corner from the trap. The Invoker had caused them to step through the Astral Sea, bypassing the physical barriers in their own world.
The whirring slowed to a stop. The psychic assaults halted. The secret door closed once again. The bars retracted.
How will the players proceed? Will they try again, now that they know more about how the traps function? Will they leave it be while they continue their eradication of the cult, hoping to return later when they are more powerful? These are things we will find out next week!