The somewhat battered party meets up with new arrival “Shadow,” a well-dressed, unruly-haired halfling from Wellspring (which happens to be near Mageswell). Shadow has lost his entire adventuring party, and is stuck in the ruins of Khalhatan, where, he informs the group, the lizards do not prey. In need to additional manpower (even a half-man, at that), the party welcomes him and his thieving skills to the expedition.
Their first priority is figuring out the obelisk puzzle, when they do through a combination of wizardly knowledge, knowledgeable discussion, and some bit of dodging various trappy things. Tiskus activates a bit of lightning, a bit of darkness, and a bit of trepidation as he places the figurines — each a representative of the godly pantheon — in the cup-like settings that fit the opposite of their aspect. VOILA! The obelisk opens!
Once inside, the party discovers the bodies of dead monks in worn, ratty robes — except for that one pristine robe worn by a tome-clutching skeleton. After a bit of checking here and there, the group discovers the mechanism to open and close the Obelisk, giving them a perfect place to rest and recover before venturing onward. They also discover a good bit of treasure behind a hidden panel, to include some coinage, a magical dagger and a magical whetstone.
After some perusal of said tome, which relates the history of Khalhatan under the reign of Yurith, the party sets forth on the second leg of their journey in this pit-city, the tomb of the dead ruler himself. The book warns that Yurith’s obsession with immortality, as well as the legend of the Mud Sorcerers brought about the doom of the city. Created the pit actually. Oh, and it summoned the lizard things, which are called linnorms. Why the lizards don’t enter the ruins is another matter — and a happy discovery. This means they only have to worry about the tomb (the entrance to which Shadow has already located, as noted by the great, big, stone that read, “DO NOT ENTER THE TOMB ON PAIN OF DEATH”).
This tomb actually does turn out to be a pretty big worry, as the expedition quickly finds out. Upon entry, Shadow skulks about, and locates a nasty deadfall trap. Tiskus divines a magical door to the west, as well as a magical sarcophagus. The nature of the magic becomes obvious when the mage gets within a few feet of the sarc, when a slew of Darkmist Zombies and Skeletons materialize!
It’s a hardy battle, which features a zombie tripping a trap, Rafos getting piledriven into a column, and Tiskus being shoved into a makeshift drowning pool of nasty, black water. The party adapts and overcomes, however, thanks to the martial displays of Telvas and Rafos, as well as some nice maneuvering by the thief and some spell slinging by the wizard. No one dies, which is a nice change from what’s been happening lately to our intrepid semi-studs.
Not that they don’t try to keep the death toll rising. As they explore one of the three exits from the area, they find yet another pit trap, which nearly claims the life of Shadow, who loses his bow in the evidently bottomless hole. After a battle with a pair of life-sucking Dark Wraiths, the party obtains a wax dragon, inside of which is brass skeleton key (or rather, a brass key with a skeleton head. But no tomb, as of yet.
More cautious, and rather more creative now, the party finds another innocuous room with a suit of armor just standing there…hangin’ out…doing nothing…Telvas knows better, however, and decides to hammer the armors’ feet to the floor with a pair of spikes. Good thing. A magical trap activates the suit (just as Telvas is finishing his work). Since it can’t move, however, the group has a good laugh at the guardian’s expense. They add insult to injury later on, when, after the suit has pulled its own feet off, Telvas tosses a sarcophagus lid on top of it, crushing it completely. A narrow passageway leads off into the darkness behind the false sarc. But, as there are more obvious ways to leave the room — including a wide set of steps with a huge, blood-red skeleton in it, the party leaves that for another day.
Which leads to the battle with Veluta, the guardian wraith of the tomb. After dealing with yet ANOTHER pit trap (with various levels of success and danger), the party takes on the skeletal warrior. It attempts to hit a summoning gong, but Tiskus, always on the border of foolhardiness, snatches the thing out of its way. He pays for his move by getting his bell rung, but survives the blow (and moemntarily prevents the gong from being sounded). Of course, the thing does sound anyway, and POOF! a pair of shadow hounds materializes.
At this point, the combat turns into “whack a halfling,” as Shadow darts in and out of the battle, getting in a few good licks, sundering Veluta’s armor. The enraged guardian turns his attention to the “shrimp,” and chases him about the chamber, to little avail.
Meanwhile, Rafos, Telvas and Corg take advantage of the misdirection, handling the Shadow hounds, sending them out of existence. When the group finally gets its full attention on the (at one time) well-armored foe, they take it down for good.
As the session comes to a close, we find our stalwarts a bit beat up, by now in possession of yet a second key — an Iron Skeleton key found inside a magical, glowing brazier. They assume the two keys will work on the magical door they saw in the entry chamber. Before heading that way, though, they take some time to heal up and gather their resources. The one question on their mind at this point is likely, if this was the guardian, what in the world is the nature of what it guards?
Adventure start: May 15th.
Time spent adventuring: 1 full day
End date/time: May 16th, evening
Rafos has two weeks to kill an innocent.
Shadow lost his ranged weapon, but has done well without it.
Tiskus is either the bravest or the most foolhardy mage ever.
Telvas just keeps on spinnin’, man.