Obelisks of Evil

Session Report (July 10)

Our heroes continue to scope out the rest of the ruined temple to Tyr, and find a storeroom, and some other living quarters. They decide to go back to the large living suite on the other side of the temple.

They enter and begin searching. The room is open to the elements as one corner of the temple has collapsed. Rain and condensation create pools of muck on the stone floor.  Shae searches a large closet/dressing room, in which there are two rotting bureaus/wardrobes, an empty lantern hook on the wall. While she examines the wardrobes, Grend  joins her. He notices that within although the floor in this area is slightly lower than that of the rest of the bedroom, it is remarkably drier.

Findlay joins them, and his musician’s ears pick out the sound of water dripping constantly. The sound seems to be coming up from beneath the floor near a bare wall in the dressing room. They call Drex over to examine the room. He finds the outlines of a trapdoor in the floor but there seems to be no way to open it. Shae tells everyone to start searching for a hidden mechanism, and the party begins searching the walls, floor, etc. After a moment, Grend stands up from what he is examining, walks over to the lantern hook, and pulls it down. The trapdoor swings silently open.

Below they see stairs leading down into the darkness. They descend.

At the bottom there is a stone corridor leading deep under the temple. The ceiling is formed of arched stone, rising some 12 feet overhead. More mouldering boxes, crates, and barrels line the walls. After advancing about 30 feet down the hallway, it turns to the right.

As they round the corner, the frontmost party members (Shae, Grend, Drex, and Enok) see an evil green glow from a chamber up ahead. As they see this, a stack of boxes topped with several barrels against the wall behind them tilts over and falls on them. The barrels — full of water and sealed, each weighing something close to 100 pounds — crash into and around them. Both Shae and Enok are hit by one of the barrels and take significant damage.

Findlay is spared from the collapse of the wall of junk as he had yet to round the corner. Instead, he sees that behind the wall of crates and barrels is an opening, through which three ghouls emerge. They attack Findlay, who begins to defend.

The rest of the party turns around to help Findlay but the footing is treacherous with the remnants of the wall of junk. 

The ghouls coordinate their attacks and it is only via Findlay’s skill and luck that he avoids being hit. The party quickly takes out two of the ghouls. The third turns and begins to runaway down the hallway. Shae, Grend, and Findlay follow. Shae finally catches up to the ghoul upstairs in the dressing room and takes him out.

They return to the corridor with the green glow. At the end the hallway opens into a stone chamber, dominated by a large obelisk set into the center of the floor. The column of stone is glowing green and emanates evil. Against one wall is a nook in which a stone plinth stands, topped with a slanted shelf and raised lip as if it held a book at one time.

Near the wall opposite the plinth stands a large polished stone slab upon which there is an engraving of a grand hall marked with the Tyr rune. It is depicted as situated in the mountains, above a river. Other mountains and landmarks are depicted in great realism around the hall, including a peak with a distinctive silhouette. The party doesn’t recognize the area, but both Shae and Grend think that if they somehow could get close, they could use the landmarks in the engraving to locate the hall. Could this be the lost Hall of Tyr?

They search the room but do not find anything else of interest. They turn towards the evil obelisk. 

Enok reads the runes on the obelisk, and tells the rest of them that it appears to be some sort of curse against Nature. Grend believes that the evil could be removed — and should be removed — either by magically removing the curse, or exorcism, or physically destroying the obelisk.  Lacking either Dispel Magic, Remove Curse, or Exorcism spells or prayers, they decide to go with destruction.

Everyone except Shae leaves the room. She retrieves her mallet and begins to attack the obelisk. It is slow going, but she eventually chips away a large gash in the stone, and then finally breaks it in two. As she does so, it rings like a chime and an explosion of green light rapidly expands out from the artifact, washing over the chamber. The release of evil green energy wounds Shae. As the ringing sound diminishes into the distance, the party can hear two faint echoes from the east — perhaps from the barrow they found outside Logiheimli?

The green glow is gone and immediately Grend feels the Mother’s energy return. The supernatural defilement of Mother Nature has ended with the destruction of the obelisk. The two mana-sensitives — Enok and Findlay — still detect that the area is low mana, however.

The Barrow!

The party decides to go check out the barrow. They find the original doors of the barrow lying on the ground, torn from its hinges. Entering they see a tunnel cut into the earth and shored up with stone beams leading straight into the hill. Some ways down the tunnel it is joined by passages on the left and right. Further ahead the tunnel ends in a double door. At the intersection, they can see another evil green glow, similar to the obelisk underneath the temple, in each direction.

They go to the tunnel on the right. They see another, smaller obelisk set in the center of the tunnel. Beyond it, the passage continues, with several openings on the left and right. Inset into the walls are niches in which they can see the bodies of the dead. They are all in armor with shields and weapons, many of which are ornamented with gold, silver, jewels, etc. For a moment Drex’s eyes shine with avarice, before he is able to control his impulse to loot the bodies of the dead warriors.

Enok interprets the runes — this time the curse seems to reduce the power of the gods from reaching this area. He surmises that there are three obelisks — the one in the temple’s basement defiles Nature, this one corrupts sanctity, and the third must reduce the ambient mana.

They decide to destroy this obelisk as well. This time, Grend uses his knowledge of mining and stone cutting to damage it just to the verge of destruction, then the party stands back as Shae hurls the largest rocks she can find and lift at it. While the work is going on, several of the dead rise from their niches and shamble through the tunnels. They appear to look at the party, but then wander off without attacking.

Shae manages to hit the obelisk and destroy it. This time the party is far enough away that no one takes damage as the glowing green ring of light explodes out from it as it crumbles to the ground. This obelisk’s chime is answered from the direction of the remaining green glow behind them.

Traveling to that location, they indeed find a third evil obelisk. In this part of the barrow, all the bodies appear to be more common folk rather than warriors. 

They destroy it using the same tactics they used on the second one. Again, as the lengthy process progresses, some of the dead rise to move about, but none attack.

When this obelisk is destroyed, two things happen: first, as the flash of green energy expands around it, Findlay and Enok both feel the mana return to the area. Secondly, all the restless dead return to lie down in their niches.

The band of heroes returns to the main tunnel and look at the double doors ahead of them.

A Ghoulish Reception

Session Report (June 20 and June 27, 2019)

More skeletons continue to emerge from the ruins as the battle goes on. Enok gets separated from Findlay at some point, and is surrounded. He holds them off — several times it looks like he is about to be taken down but miraculously manages to avoid major damage. This continues for several seconds but he is eventually overwhelmed and drops unconscious to the ground.

Ultimately, the heroes win the fight with the skeletons. Grend practices his Esoteric Medicine skills on Enok, getting him conscious again, but still barely holding on. After searching the ruins and discovering a few coins in the rubble, they decide to leave and once again camp in the wilderness to allow everyone a chance to recover. This time they find a suitably sheltered camp site.

Grend calls upon the Mother (Nature) to allow him to cure some of Enok’s wounds using Grend’s own energy (in the usual way — Grend hawks a loogie, slaps it on Enok’s back and prays). He also tends to the (relatively minor) wounds of the others. Drained and weak, he then calls upon the Mother to restore his own wounds and falls into a deep sleep (while the prayer works its healing on him).

The rest divvy up the watches and they rest for an uneventful night.

The next day the band of intrepid adventurers head back into the ruins of Logiheimli, determined to find clues to the location of the Hall of Judgment. Shae tells Grend that they are going to the temple ruins and that she will not under any circumstances muck about in the outbuilding ruins again.

They approach the temple ruins. Ahead, through the unnatural fog that seems to shroud the ruins, they see the edifice. The front wall of the temple is 60-80 feet long. Near each corner there is a short set of steps leading up to a door set in the stacked stone walls. In the center looms a larger opening. Massive doors lie in the muddy ground in front of it, appearing to have been battered and wrenched off their hinges. They step into the opening.

After their eyes adjust to the gloom, they see a massive hall. The floor immediately inside the opening is stone set into the ground. This extends about 15 feet to either side and 30 feet into the room, then a raised (about 6 inches) wooden floor covers the rest of the hall. The lower stone floor is covered in rainwater. The ceiling is thirty feet above them, supported by massive wooden beams forming arches from 8 columns along the sides of the room. Gray light filters through numerous cracks in the roof, and there is a steady drip of water falling from above onto the floor, echoing in the large space. 

Broken pieces of tables and benches litter the room. The near right corner is filled with rubble from a larger cave-in of the roof and part of the walls. At the far side of the room is a short flight of steps rising about 3 feet to a raised dais, upon rests a stone altar that appears to be cracked and broken. To the left of the altar, near the corner, is a large (4 foot high) urn carved from a single block of stone. In the right corner is a large (10 foot) statue lying facedown. On the back wall, on either side of the altar, is a pair of normal-sized doors.

The group searches the room. Grend goes over to check out the urn. He sees that it is filled with rainwater, and at the bottom there appears to be the body of an emaciated man curled up with its knees pulled up to its chest. It is utterly still. The others come over when he calls out what he has found. 

They decide to (literally) fish the corpse out of the water. Everyone readies their weapons as Grend pulls out a fishing hook and line, and reaching over the urn snags it on the corpse’s clothing. He carefully pulls it up until the body just breaks the surface of the water. Holding the line with one hand, he reaches over with the other to grab the corpse by the scruff of the neck, ready to pull it out of the urn. As he does so, several things happen simultaneously.

The figure’s eyes snap open. One of its hands quickly grabs at Grend’s hand and Grend feels a sudden sensation like an electric shock jolt him through the contact.

Another gaunt figure drops from the ceiling to land nearby, snarling and raising its bony claws to strike at Grend.

As the party’s focus is on the two creatures (ghouls), a panel in the wall behind Enok slides open silently, unseen.

For a beat, the party stands unmoving in surprise.

Then Shae’s axe moves blindingly fast, twice, at the ghoul in the urn. Both hit! The ghoul and the urn disintegrate in an explosion of water, flesh, and stone. 

Shae’s player declared All-out Attack, Double. The first attack roll is a 3 — critical hit! Rolling on the Critical Hit table indicates normal damage. The second attack roll is a 4 — also a critical! This one does double damage. Shae rolls and gets over 50 points of damage.

Findlay begins to play the Song of Alarum — which increases the party’s damage by +2 (or +1 for impaling weapons).

The second ghoul charges Grend, who dodges. He strikes and misses as the ghoul moves past him. The ghoul then attacks Enok, who sweeps his staff dramatically, catching the creature on the back and propelling him several yards beyond. 

Enok’s player rolled a critical success on a parry roll. The dice were with the PCs this night!

As Enok deftly defends, a bony claw reaches out from the panel behind him and grabs him by the neck, dragging him out of the temple. The thing’s touch shocks and paralyzes Enok, he falls in the narrow corridor in which he has been dragged. 

Grend moves to where Enok has been dragged. He enters the corridor behind the secret door to find the third ghoul bending down about to take a big bite of Eldhud flesh…

Drex decides on discretion over valor and disappears into the shadows. 

Shae moves to attack the ghoul still standing inside the temple.

Grend manages to hit the ghoul about to chow down on Enok, which draws the ghoul’s attention to him. Shae strikes and hits the other ghoul as Drex comes out of the shadows to strike as well. A couple of rounds later and the two remaining ghouls are defeated.

The combat over, the team goes back to exploring the temple. They determine the fallen statue to be Tyr, the Law God. The secret door leads to a hallway that runs along the entire length of the  right wall of the temple room. At one end is one of the smaller outside doors they noticed outside the temple, and the other ends in a pile of old crates and barrels stacked against the wall.

The group searches both the right and left walls for more secret doors, and discover that an identical hallway with matching secret doors runs along the left wall of the temple as well. This hall, too, is choked with junk and debris blocking any way further into the temple. The only obvious way further in are the two doors on the platform near the altar.

Drex checks the door for traps — none — and they step through. Exploring the ruined temple, they find a large common eating/cooking room. Rusting cooking utensils and rotting tables surround a fire pit in the floor, over which a brick chimney is set in the ceiling. Drex melts into the shadows and checks out the room. He senses more than sees a couple of shapes hidden in the ceiling above. When he goes back to report, Shae pulls out her bow and an arrow and asks Enok to cast a Light spell on it, which he does. Shae then fires the arrow into the chimney where it embeds in the crumbling brick. At this, they hear chattering, hollow laughter from the chimney which fades as the source moves rapidly away.

Searching the room, they find nothing of interest. They continue to search the rest of the temple. At this point, Enok casts an Earth Vision spell, which gives him the ability to see through stone. They use this ability to scope out several rooms — several barracks and living quarters on one side of the temple, and a large living suite on the other. The suite was obviously for someone important but is now a rotten, sodden mess. One corner of the building has collapsed, exposing a (once) well-appointed desk and sitting room, and the bedroom proper. Enok can see a large closet or other storage space off the bedroom.