Aphonion Tales: Adventures in the Spice Lands and the War in Hanal, a tween and teen D&D game (edited notes, posts Tuesdays, most recent 11/29/22)

CPaladin

Explorer
Session 49 (November 27, 2022)

9 Kas (just after midnight)
They proceed out of the ruined drowan city via the right-most, southernly passage. Iados is scouting about 100 feet ahead of the group. He notices that it is rapidly getting cold. He just keeps flying onwards, and notices that it's starting to get darker, even with his darkvision.

A voice whispers in his ear. "Almost my cousin." He has the feeling of the hairs on the back of his neck standing up. Iados quickly looks around, as he hears "Interesting, interesting," in his other ear, but he can't see anything. "I do think I'll ride along."

He continues on--nothing seems to be happening, except the darkness is accompanying him.

A while later, Iados comes back to the group, accompanied by more darkness. As he does, he says that he came into a cavern with what appears to be another ruined drow settlement, though much smaller, with purple crystals in the ceiling providing light. Near the entrance is a burst barricade with hundreds of skeletons near it.

"It sounds like the enemy fought their way through here as well; perhaps we can keep going?" says Sister Agnes.

With no disagreement, they push forward rapidly and enter the cavern, with many dead bodies lying around the hastily erected barricades. Most of the bodies are human, but some are drowan.

About halfway through the cavern, Elyn hears a voice, likely amplified by magic, in undercommon: "Stand firm, in the name of House Aleval. Are you responsible for this?"

Elyn calls back, "No. This was the work of the Hanalian army."

"A human army dared? We are only now investigating the western passage, from which there has been silence."

"I hate to be the bearer of bad news," says Noah. "But you know how there was supposed to be a city back there? It's been ruined, and it's beginning to be occupied by Hanalian royal guards."

There's a flash, and about five feet ahead of them, a male drow fades into visibility. A moment later, two figures like drowan spider crossbreeds appear on either side of him. "I am Ilvaran. Second Boy of House Aleval in the City of Gualadur. You say that humans dare inhabit the cavern?"

"I'm sorry, but we stumbled upon here and don't mean any harm," says Iados.

"You are in flight. How many are the force behind you?"

"About 120."

After glancing at the drider to the side, which shakes its head no, the drow says, "We cannot defeat a force that size. We are only scouts. Continue along the main passage, and watch the left hand wall. After about three days travel, if you watch carefully, you will find a secret passage that will lead to the surface." They then disappear rapidly.

The group is approaching exhaustion, but they decide to press on for some hours more before resting. After another six hours of travel through what was at one time a major route, passing more skeletons here and there, including drow, lizards, occasional Hanalians, and one skeleton they cannot identify though it is humanoid, they find a side cave with some places to sleep and a source of water. They pitch a hasty camp, and Elyn does her best to conceal them. Sister Agnes falls directly to sleep, while the others take watches--the elves each watch half of the rest, while everyone else except Sister Agnes takes one 2 hour watch. The rest passes uneventfully, and they feel greatly recovered. At this point, everyone is fine except for Sister Agnes, who is still at one level of fatigue.

10 Kas approximately

They travel for about 24 hours, until they are all again reaching exhaustion. They pull in to another wayfarers' cave. By this point, they are passing broken down carts, the bones of horses, and other signs that whatever passed through was both a large group and just kept on going.

Another "night" passes peacefully.

11 Kas approximately

They press on, slowing down after another day's worth of travel so they can search for the secret passage on the left-hand wall. Elyn notices a group of stalactites that are capable of moving. She works them around, and opens a much smaller passage that heads up. They get inside and then make camp, and Ravokris spends some time figuring out how to jam the mechanism of the secret door. The mechanism feels similar to what an elf might use, though it's clearly not elven work--at least not his type of elves. He jams it, though not so well that it would resist a sustained assault.

In the middle of their rest, while Ravokris and Elyn are both up during the changeover, Elyn observes what looks like a bit of water running into the camp down the center of the passage. Elyn wakes everyone up, concerned about the water. The runnel of water has just run onto one of the resting uruk's feet. Ravokris notes that the "water" has a vaguely reddish tint.

The uruk howls, wakes, and leaps up, while the "water" is still on his foot and crawling up his leg.

Ravokris also notices a rivulet of water on the ceiling about to drip down towards him. He dodges to the side and shouts for everyone to beware the ceiling because "there's bad water up there!"

Elyn desperately tries to figure out what this is, figuring it's some relative of the jelly or ooze family, but unable to identify it. It does seem more intentional or intelligent that most oozes. She watches the uruk that is being climbed carefully.

Noah takes out a hand axe, and lobs it at the water on the ceiling, missing by a wide margin, and follows it with another, which sinks into the water, and then falls back to the earth, with no apparent effect.

Sister Agnes casts banishment, but with no effect (although it was a valid target--it just saved).

Ravokris blasts it with Agannazar's scorcher, scorching the one on the uruk. It fails to dodge, and he inflicts 26 hp of damage, evaporating some of it but it's still there.

The uruk whose leg is being climbed bellows in pain and hacks at it with his sword. The other uruks also start chopping at his leg. One hits, with the blade passing through the watery substance and into his flesh.

Abruptly, a mass of water, like a pool, comes rushing along the tendril of water on the floor and engulfs the uruk. After a moment, there is nothing but bones left, suspended in the jelly like substance. The other creature, however, recognizes that Ravokris has hurt the uruk and mentally lashes him and everyone else except Iados with a psionic blast. Noah saves, as does one uruk, and the rest all take 21 points of mental force damage and are knocked prone for 1d4 rounds.

Iados shoots one with his short bow, but he can't tell if it's doing any damage. Elyn begins crawling away, unable to figure out if she can harm these things.

Noah starts raging and says, "Hey gross slime monster, I'm making lots of noise and swinging this big axe at you." He tries to cut the one suspended from the ceiling off the ceiling. He hits solidly, and the blade sinks into its watery form; he rolls 12 damage, and some water actually flies away with the axe blade, though perhaps not as much as he would have hoped. His second blow hits even harder, dealing 17 damage.

Sister Agnes casts mass healing word, restoring 10 hp to all of her allies. She considers casting an offensive spell at the creatures to try to defeat them, but she isn't sure they aren't intelligent living creatures. Deciding that her oath to never harm a person, even to save her life or those of her friends, outweighs the risk that the creatures will kill them, she channels divine energy at it, hoping without expectation to turn it, but having no effect at all.

Ravokris throws another scorcher at the same target, dealing 24 damage. The uruk form that it had engulfed lets out an agonized bellow, despite already having broken down into bones.

One of the uruks keeps hacking at his former cousin, and then the other turns to Noah and says, "What now?"

"Maybe run?"

"Wounded?"

"Good point. Grab them, then let's go."

Sister Agnes calls out, "Na-Strom! It's more important that the resonator make it out than we do."

Noah gives commands for one of the uruks to carry Ravokris, while the other carries the resonator with him. Sister Agnes and Elyn remain lying on the ground.

Another psionic blast erupts up the corridor from the other one, though the resonator, two uruks, Noah, and Ravokris are out of range. Sister Agnes and Elyn are caught in the blast, and Sister Agnes and Elyn both take 30 points of damage. The other surges at Sister Agnes, and engulfs her.

Elyn is shouting, "Save yourselves! Run, and get the resonator out of here! I love you all! Save the world without me!"

Iados flees, scattering ball bearings behind him as he runs.

All of a sudden, Sister Agnes disintegrates within the entity. The other two keep pounding on Elyn as the others flee.

The survivors of the group run up the tunnel until they are exhausted. They have lost their cleric and their ranger, and they just keep running, terrified. At last, they exit into a snow-covered, ruined village. There are signs that it has been recently bombarded, but surviving villagers emerge from the ruins as they hit the surface.

[End Session 49]
 

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