Under The Sun
Halls of Tenacity
The crew is back! Sweetlick is out somewhere being awesome, meanwhile the Forest-Lit Druids have sent Otto to the scene to help investigate.
They decide it’s time for blood and head down into the Halls of Tenacity.
Per Borodin’s advice the adventurers all light torches, sunrods, etc. The room is covered with trap warnings in two forms: eternal chalk and dead adventurers. They dodge around most of them until they reach a pit in a narrow corridor. There’s no room for a running start and 10’ is a long distance. Saum ties rope around his waist and Donaar holds the other side. Saum then tumbles deftly over the pit and sees small (but deadly) Grues in the next room. Better send a tough guy next. So, they do the obvious: toss the dwarf. Who is heavy and doesn’t quite make it, but Saum helps him up before the poison spike pit has dessert. Saum jams the pit trap, which holds together long enough for most of the crew to cross carefully. Otto simply changes to a mouse and scurries across, then leaps up in black panther form. The grues nervously attack, but are very weakened by the bright lights in the room. Donaar is the last to cross the pit and jumps poorly; but he’s still holding the rope tied to Saum. Saum slides across the floor and several teammates leap onto the rope to save Donaar from the spikes. They make quick work of the grues, and the last one is eaten by the Mimic treasure chest against the wall.
Further in is an obvious kill room. Grating covers the floor and ceiling, which is all stained with blood and littered with bone. After the grating is a ceiling shaft with a rope dangling down, beyond that are huge double-doors that have no obvious opening mechanism. While the less-brave adventurers debate on ways to cross safely, Donaar simply marches ahead—and is not hurt. Otto takes bird form and flies up the shaft: he sees a ceiling chamber with trap activation switches/buttons, and that the rope is wrapped around a pulley then tied to a boulder. Saum disables the remaining traps, but there is no obvious way to open the door. Wanting to avoid the boulder, the team ties a new rope to the bottom of the hanging one, back into the previous room, and play tug-of-war with the boulder. They win only after Antek helps. The boulder comes loose and falls down the shaft, pulling the rope down with it. Everyone but Antek lets go, who flies down the hall in defiance of physics and good sense. Again the dwarf is (1) airborne, and (2) smashed by a boulder. Saum scales the shaft and finds a lever behind the boulder’s previous spot; this lever opens the mystic doors.
Beyond the doors is a long hall full of ancient defenders and rabid intruders. A team of duergar have gnoll and minotaur slaves, and gargoyles line the enormous chamber. The tough minotaur charges, deftly dodging attacks but is getting burned by Wytex’s magic missile. The minotaur is dropped before he reaches the mage for revenge. The gargoyles make flyby attacks but Otto’s thorns slow them, nullifying their most deadly maneuvers. The Gnoll Marauder fights savagely and chases the weaker prey but is felled by opportunity attacks.
No time to rest, as the Duergar and their animated armor guardians attack. The Theurgist Slaver unleashes hell on the crew, nearly killing four of our heroes with columns of fire and psychic destruction. The Duergar scouts plug away with arrows and warhammers. Wytex’ acid arrow hits four foes and destroys the deurgar’s advances. The heroes fight back, and hard. Saum pushes the boulder from the previous room (natural 20? I’ll allow that) which hurtles down the gauntlet hall. The boulder smashes a gargoyle and a scout, and Otto pulls another gargoyle into the boulder’s path. Antek is knocked unconscious but is dragged to safety by Donaar a split second before he gets bouldered again. They focus their firepower and bring down the remaining foes.
Finally a short rest before facing the two guardians of this hall – large Earth Archons. The crew rests, form a plan (lock down one, focus fire the other) and launch their attack. Donaar charges one archon and Antek charges the other, marking both and locking them into place. The heroes unleash everything they have—these archons are dangerous, and if left alive too long they’ll destroy the whole place. Both archons slam the ground, utterly destroying everything in a 20 foot radius and nearly killing half the group. But good strategy prevails as Borodin pinpoints the archon’s weaknesses, and the archon guardians fall. The heroes have passed this trial of tenacity, but the artifact weapon is still nowhere in sight.
Beyond this hall is a cavernous chasm with a stone bridge. Two molemen guard an ancient door leading further down. They explain that they have guarded this door for some 59 years, and have almost forgotten why they were there or how to open the sealed door. They explain they used the artifact weapon, an ancient Greatsword, against the Earth Titan sealed in the chambers beyond. An elder moleman is summoned, who has a scroll depicting the heroes destined to open this door: one looks like Borodin, one like Otto, and a third human is unrecognized.
Otto finds the druidic chant that seals the previous room, and the crew returns to the surface for a long rest.Chapter 4