The Ruined Outpost: Part 3

Session 20

Torches lit, carefully prodding the floor ahead of them, the party entered a large chamber with pillars supporting the vaulted ceiling. Ahead steps rose to a platform where a huge demonic statue sat squatting between two unlit braziers. Dust coated the floor, swirling and billowing as they moved into the room.

Magnus, Jacob, and Alf ascended the steps, spotting a discoloured, smoother portion of the wall behind the statue: a secret door, but with no sign of how it opened. Magnus tried to open it with a knock spell, but nothing happened. Looking at the braziers, which were full and ready to be lit, they made sure everyone was inside, armed and ready for the expected attack from an animated statue [a common occurrence in my games], then lit the braziers.

The secret door shuddered open, retracting into the ceiling to reveal a small chamber beyond. Magnus peered in and saw a steel chest against the wall, but nothing else. Magnus stepped inside, looking for any obvious traps but finding nothing. Callum stood in the doorway, just in case the door shut. Alf took out some daggers and hunting knives and jammed them into the grooves of the doorway, hoping they would help prevent the door from closing. They tied a rope around the chest, and moved outside, taking hold of the rope. They pulled with all their might, but the chest barely moved.

At that precise moment, the braziers suddenly went out, plunging the room back into torch-lit gloom; the secret door tried to close, but the daggers held; the archway they had entered by was sealed by blocks of stone that slammed out of the walls, narrowly missing Ratkin; and, as expected, the statue came to life, rose to a towering ten feet and reached out for Jacob, pulling him into the air with ease, crushing and tearing, flinging him across the room: the warrior struck the wall heavily, knocking him out cold!

The statue, despite its size, proved easy to destroy: combined attacks from Ratkin, Willow, and Alf, a flurry of magic missiles unleashed by Magnus, and a final, penetrating shot by Callum sent it crashing to the floor.

They looted the topaz gemstones from its eyes, relighted the braziers, tended to Jacob and woke him up (he was still badly battered and bruised), and discovered that the chest was a fake and just the trigger for the trap. The walls sealing the room retracted back into the smooth, even walls, and everyone left the room as quickly as they could manage.

Back in the corridor, they started down the west passageway (the north one leading back to the entrance), Alf and Callum leading the way, prodding the floor and checking the walls. The others hung back, debating whether to rest in the corridor or carry on.

Alf triggered a trap: his spear prodded a pressure pad, and the corridor behind them was sealed by a huge block of stone, narrowly missing Callum, who had to leap out of the way, joining Alf. They were cut off from the others!

Both parties spent a couple of hours checking the surrounding floors and walls, looking for the means to unseal the corridor, but found nothing. While the others kept looking, Alf and Callum decided to investigate the rest of the corridor, carefully, and found a door at the end. They pulled at it, but all that happened was a clunk from something opening, then a heavy thud from behind them, followed immediately by the sound of something large and heavy rolling towards them!

A huge boulder, filling the passageway, rolled swiftly towards them. Alf and Callum squeezed themselves as tightly as they could against the wall, which saved their lives, but the boulder smashed into them, scraping them along the wall and partially crushing them, enough to send them spiralling into unconsciousness, but thankfully not oblivion.

At the same time, the huge block sealing the corridor retreated into the wall. Magnus and Willow hurried down to find their friends, pulling them to safety. They decided then to make camp in the corridor, knowing that they would be safe surrounded by dead-ends and traps. By morning everyone was up and about, nearly restored to health, but getting low on torches and lamp oil. Magnus conjured his mage light and they kept their torches unlit as much as possible.

Up the north corridor they passed, climbing across the open pit and avoiding the spear trap, moving past the hall to the way out and moving north, checking the floor ahead of them with rocks tied to ropes (fragments taken from the statue they destroyed). This proved a good idea, as they discovered three more pits down the corridor, and came to a t-junction. To the right, an alcove with two bronze dragon statues. Examining the walls there showed two more smooth, even portions, possibly another trap that would seal the alcove. They went left, following the east corridor, Magnus and one of the daoine leading, discovering another trap (darts) as the corridor zig-zagged. They bypassed it easily and came to a large bronze door.

The door was heavy and only Jacob proved strong enough to force it open. Inside was a familiar sight: a chamber with a demonic statue on a platform, braziers to the side, steps up. Another secret door behind. More cautious, they placed their rocks in the doorway, to (hopefully) prevent the door from closing if a trap went off (as they suspected one would), then lit the braziers and watched as the secret door retreated into the floor. Another small room, another steel chest. Magnus used his knock spell to unlock it, and whilst everyone else was outside, ready for a fight, he slid daggers into the doorway, and carefully opened the chest.

The bronze door and secret door tried to shut, both blocked, albeit partially, and the statue indeed came to life, and moved to attack the nearest adventurer…

End of Session

Note: fortune points saved the lives of Jacob, Alf and Callum. They would have been crushed to death otherwise.