Cast of Characters:
Mordecai, a Cleric-4: Adam
Forlorn, an Elf-3: Bo
Mister Moore, Magic User-4: Mike
Grumble the Smug, Halfling-3: Nogal
Shy, a Fighter-3
Phat Kobra, a Dwarf-3
Zeke, a Fighter-3
Starkweather, a Thief-4
Barzai, a Cleric-3
Hammers of the God: Spoilers
We resumed this episode shortly after the group hauled their halfling, Grumble the Smug, up to the top of the well and doused his flames. The fire throwing bulk never came to the opening to be attacked, so they started strategizing how to go get it. And strategizing. And talking about sports. And strategizing some more.
<Thirty minutes later…>
Their plan involved dropping a light spell on a copper piece, and dropping it into the cave to light up the area. They sent the thief, with the invisibility ring, down the hole dangling upside down to scout; he identified the monster as a horse-sized slug clinging to the near wall. Then they used a phantasmal force to create an illusion of the bottom of the shaft, so when they lowered people into the shaft, they'd be screened by the illusion. Mister Moore anachronistically referred to the ploy as "looping the closed circuit TV video with an illusion so the guard doesn't notice".
The first fighter they lowered down dropped to the floor with a loud clang of armor, and all the preparations were for naught - the slug heard the noise and started spraying the area with a jet of fire. Zeke the fighter charged the slug. Shy came screaming down the rope next round using gauntlets, and joined the fight, whereas Phat Kobra lost his grip while sliding and fell flat on his back; then joined the fight after recovering. The slug died quickly under a hail of sword blows.
Past the slug room, they wandered down an interminable passage that opened into a massive vault that dwarfed their little globe of 30' light in darkness. Across a measureless chasm stretched an arched bridge. The bridge was a marvel of engineering. As the group stood on the edge of the abyss, they could hear sounds of life, as if they were on the verge of a subterranean jungle. Water rushed deep below, they heard the sonar of bats and other dark dwellers, the chirp of giant cave crickets. They readied their weapons, and set off warily across the bridge.
"Oh my god, I can't believe what we're going to be fighting!", blurted out the halfling. That's what happens when a crumb-snatcher plays D&D; they angle themselves to peek behind the screen and spy on the map and notes. Nogal quickly related to the others that he saw a picture of a huge winged serpent attacking adventurers on the bridge.
Give the people what they want. Just then, said winged serpent attacked out of the darkness. The monster undulated through the air, and screamed a sonic blast at the characters. The sound effect messed with their equilibrium and gave the victims intense vertigo. Rather than risk standing, a few of the guys chose to drop to their knees and cling to the bridge.
The fight turned out to be a bit anti-climactic, because once Mordecai used the staff of healing to remove the dizziness effect from himself and then Mister Moore, Moore successfully webbed the creature's wings together, sending it plummeting into the abyss. As usual, a few minutes were wasted as the players made jokes about Mordecai "Gripping his staff, laying his healing rod on the others, slipping some wood", and similar juvenilia, all done in a Beavis and Butthead accent. Gamers.
On the far side of the abyss, the bridge led them to a chamber where a pair of guardian statues, 7' dwarves with heavy stone hammers, flanked a bejeweled door with a mystic-looking alloy bar on the outside of it. They took the valuable looking bar, left the gems alone, left the statues alone, and pulled open the sealed doors.
The doors led to an ancient crypt, and a swirl of dead air blasted past them. Beyond the door was a room with 12 sarcophagi, some stone boxes, and a central crypt under a massive dwarf statue (wielding a hammer). The ceiling stretched into the inky blackness above them, and their lone dwarf, Phat Kobra, could swear he saw the forlorn ghosts of dwarves swirling in the darkness over their head.
No matter, it was time to loot! The twelve sarcophagi each had an ancient dwarven mummy, with spectacular gilded plate. The armor went into the corner, the mummies got piled up. "I feel a little bad about doing this", said Mister Moore. "But we're going to be rich if we can get this armor back".
Why stop at sacking an ancient tomb when there's money and meta gaming at stake? What would Cugel do? WWCD? "You know, dwarf zombies keep popping up behind us and animating dead bodies", mused Mordecai, the morally confused cleric. "I also want to point out there's a big chasm not far out of the room - like, walking distance. Who cares if they turn into zombies when they're at the bottom of the abyss?"
Sometime much later, after dumping the dozen or so desiccated corpses into the void, they realized all of their food and water was spoiled at the next rest break. Was the group cursed by their desecration, or something else? "Barzai will just have to take purify food and water tomorrow, we can hang in there until then."
The next order of business was to investigate two stone boxes in the crypt, a box of sacred knowledge and a box of forbidden knowledge. In both cases, the crash-test halfling, Grumble, ensured the box wasn't trapped and retrieved a sheaf of clerical scrolls and a sheaf of magical scrolls. (Many random rolls later, and the players had a treasure trove of excellent magic).
The final thing in the crypt was the main the tomb itself. The tomb had a locking mechanism on the top of it, and the heavy statue behind it was set in such a way that it's massive hammer would smash down on the poor thief picking the lock. It didn't take much imagination to see the death trap.
Mister Moore and Forlorn huddled, intense whispering, and Forlorn came back with a plan. He webbed the statues arms back to the wall. "According to my calculations, an ogre-strength creature will snap through the webs in a round or so, giving the thief enough time to roll off the top of the tomb".
Starkweather went to work, the statue sprung into life and started tearing it's hammer out of the webs. The surprise came when the two statues outside of the crypt, the ones the party ignored, also sprang to life and slammed the door, locking the group in the crypt. Then the dozen dwarf zombie mummies the group threw into the canyon materialized back in their crypts and started to clamber out.
"You've got to be kidding me! That is so fracking cheesy! Dingle. We threw those mothers over the side and now they're back. Cheesy!" That was a pretty consistent reaction from the players, who felt like tainting their reputations with tomb desecration was now for naught since the zombies teleported back into the room anyway. I said, "It is what it is, fellas. You've got a dozen angry dwarf zombies climbing out of their boxes to get at you".
This fight quickly turned south for the party and was spiraling towards a TPK. Mordecai and Barzai each tried turning the zombies, and their spells had no effect. "What the hell!" Barzai was then put unconscious and dying, Grumble was put unconscious, and the survivors were getting swarmed. Mordecai reached for the EMP switch - Dispel Evil on a scroll. "Dispel Evil will destroy undead, and could even disenchant the enchanted statute", he quoted from the book. The spell was cast; nothing happened to the zombies. "What the hell! Teleporting zombies that laugh at turn undead and dispel evil - so cheesy!"
The statue, on the other hand, *was* destroyed.
Mister Moore has a saying, "When the going gets tough, the tough pull out their wand of paralysis and start blasting", at least for 5 more charges worth. Earlier in the campaign, I confirmed that magical paralysis via the wand is not the same as a hold person, and works on undead. So he started madly blasting pockets of dwarf zombies until the horde was manageable, and by manageable, I mean that Shy the Fighter was able to cleave through them with his magic sword vs the undead, Ghostcutter.
Time was late, and we ended after first aid was done on the unconscious guys and they were restored to positive hit points with the staff of healing and some cure light wounds.
Now they need to decide if they continue opening the final crypt, or do they deal with the fact that a pair of stone statues has them trapped inside? Good times.