A Broken Hammer, A Dull Sword

Navigating the tunnels

In-game date: 11th Ascending War +0

Deep in the catacombs, apart from the sunlight above, it’s hard to mark the passage of time. The party completes their rest, and prepares to journey onward through the abandoned hallways. Exercising a great deal of caution (or perhaps paranoia), Sikram and Frambard listen at the door for several minutes before opening it and continuing.

Down the next hallway, Salob spots a suspicious-looking tile. Wary of traps, he decides to test the path ahead by tossing a gnome. He moves to grab Almorn by his collar and belt, but Almorn deftly dodges, and, incensed, draws a dagger. Frambard plays the diplomat, and calms the situation, while Sikram gathers a more suitable test weight – the ever-present rat corpse.

Their caution was wise – after taking the weight of only a few rats, the suspicious tiles crumble away into a chamber 15 feet deep. Reyacrogan, bored with the slow pace and eager to continue, attempts to jump the corner gap to the solid corridor beyond. However, the scree from the crumbled floor, along the remnants of the rat remains, make for a slippery surface, and he nearly falls into the deep pit. His platonic warrior-partner, Salob, catches him in time. With a bit more consideration, Reyacrogan makes the jump safely, and sets up a rope guide to assist the rest of the party across.

At the end of the short corridor, the party finds a spacious room – with 15 feet high doors, and a 30 foot concave roof. In the darkness overhead, dim shapes or symbols can be seen. On closer inspection, the roof is covered in bats! In the center of the room lies some sort of mound or pyramid. Clearly constructed, judging by the symbols carved around the bottom, but lost to the ravages of time. A fading memory of the previous inhabitants of this land.

The party continues on, quietly kicking down the doors, so as not to wake the bats overhead. The next area is a long, broad corridor, perhaps 30 feet wide. Lurking in the shadows are a trio of giant bats, which aren’t sleeping – and attack!

Almorn reacts quickly, notching a crossbow bolt. But as he draws the string back – it snaps! “Shoddy human craftsmanship”, he grumbles. The bat he had been aiming for wastes no time in overrunning the gnome, grabbing him in its claws and flying upwards.

A second bat is in melee with Sikram and Salob. Sikrams whip glances harmlessly off the creature’s hide, who responds with a deep bite to Salob. Salob responds with a sword blow, then gets into position to catch the sure-to-fall gnome. Reyacrogan steps in to take Salob’s place.

Almorn struggles in the bat’s grip, clearly afraid of heights. He clasps the lucky charm on his necklace, and performs some superstitious good-luck gesture – perhaps a prayer to Garl Glittergold? While there’s not much hope – it seems to work! A terrible screeching sound emanates from somewhere in the walls, and the bats are momentarily distracted. Almorn takes the opportunity to wriggle free, and lands with a flourish in front of Salob.

The bat, enraged, strikes down on the pair. Salob meets the downward motion of the bat with his own upward thrust of a sword. Almorn rolls out of the way, draws both his daggers, and lunges back in. His blades strike true, puncturing the beast’s jugular, and piercing between some ribs. The beast falls, and Salob’s scaly foot finishes the struggle.

Reyacrogan is having a worse time. The remaining two bats are causing quite a bit of trouble. Frambard plays a soothing melody, which even in the midst of battle, manages to cause one of them to doze off, landing on the ground with a dull thump. The other one, however, remains awake, and takes a good chunk out of Reyacrogan’s shoulder.

“No one makes me bleed my own blood but me!” cries the barbarian, who attacks the bat with newfound fury. Sikram manages to land a thorn-whip, drawing the ire of the bat, who leaps to retaliate. Reyacrogan chops the beast’s head off mid-leap.

The party gathers around the third bat, still asleep. Unable to defend itself, it is quickly dispatched.

As the party finishes the skirmish, Salob, SIkram, and Reyacrogan notice a door quietly close out of the corner of their eyes. Was someone watching? Though the party is weary, they quickly press on to find the watcher.

The door leads to a very large room, lined with stone pews, a brazier burning at the far end. Something skitters along the walls, but it otherwise seems unoccupied. The party starts to investigate.

Almorn wanders into the middle of the room, and is caught unawares by a stab in the back. “Rasso!” the attacker cries, and Almorn drops to the floor. The party rushes in, but the mysterious attacker ducks behind a pew and disappears from sight. Reyacrogan stems the gnome’s bleeding, and then he and Salob round the pew, seeking their foe.

The battle having moved onward, Frambard comes in, and uses his magic to restore Almorn to fighting condition.

Rasso tries to strike Salob from behind, but the ringmail armor does its duty, and soon Rasso finds himself surrounded by SIkram, Salob, and Reyacrogan. Closer in, it’s clear that this Rasso must be the dreaded were-rat! The silvered swords seem to burn the wretched creature, who screams in pain. Sikram grapples Rasso with his thorn whip, though the proximity affords Rasso the chance for a critical bite, and Sikram falls. Not long after, Rasso himself is beat, panting on the floor. “Kill…Rasso…” he pants – and Reyacrogan obliges, splitting his head.

At the end of the large room, the party thinks it can see a way out the other side of the tunnels. They pause to collect their breaths, lick their wounds, and prepare…

Characters awarded 155 xp for the dungeon.

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