Thursday, March 22, 2007

Expedition to Bhal Hamatugn, pt 2

As the Heavy Rollers stood looking down at the burning hut, they quickly came to no sort of agreement. The valley was clear of terrain that they could hide behind, and their approach would be unshielded. No one could agree with one another as to what action to take, and so they took a variety of actions instead.

The party immediately fractured into three parts: Casorati the psion hid in the bushes, Tlaloc sprinted ahead of the rest in a berserk charge, while the remainder found themselves strung between these two extremes. The dragon appeared very upset that his interrogation of Jared was being interrupted, and he leaped into the air with a mighty jump. The battle was confusing and frustrating for the Heavy Rollers, who found themselves being toyed with by the beast. The fiery dragon Gottrod would not stand still, and flew by them breathing gouts of flame. Some few of the group were capable of harming the beast, however. Yeshua utilized his newly acquired spell Ice Lance, throwing a spear made of pure ice at the flying dragon. In return, he received a vicious fly-by bite by which he nearly met his end. The final blow was administered by Tai Morthane, nobleman and duskblade, who held his blow until the vicious creature responded to his shouted insults by swooping down to bite him. He took the incredible chomp but was able to lash out his heavy flail, hitting it perfectly on the back of the neck, instantly killing the large dragon. It careened into the ground, bouncing and rolling until it landed among some nearby bushes.

Crazy Jared lived up to his name, claiming to be King Jared IV of Anduria. He brandished a scepter and used powerful illusion magic to clothe himself in rich finery. The party was leery of trusting this strange man, but humored his odd requests to dictate their adventures to Jared's imaginary(?) scribe. He gave them directions to the Pit of Seven Jaws, and warned them that a hideous beast lay within. The mentioning of Bhal Hamatugn prompted the "scholar-king" Jared to cast Comprehend Languages, and he related that the name perhaps meant "Black Fish" or "Lucky Blackness". He also recalled a previous group of adventurers who had travelled through nearly a week prior.

The group traveled to the Pit, and carefully made their way to the bottom along its spiraling path. After some great deal of careful approach, the hydra was indeed found to be dead of terrible wounds. Their path was found, and they moved into the deeper Underdark.

They followed a stream, reasoning that this stream must lead to the underground lake in which Bhal Hamatugn would be found. Their first night in the fell place was a lesson in bullies, as a Gauth (lesser beholder) tried to extort payment from them for traveling through his domain. Via harvested several of the eyestalks, reasoning that they might be useful sometime later. Into the handysack they went...

The following day, they arrived at a great waterfall, which fell down to a lake far below. The entire cavern was lit by phosphorescent fungus, and a path was illuminated leading down to the shore of the lake. Far below, the temple of Bhal Hamatugn sat in the lake, built to resemble a huge spined fish with glowing eyes.

As they reached the shore, a long canoe appeared out of the low mist that hung over the black water. It was piloted by a Kuo-Toan bearing a shortspear, who asked them if they needed a guide to the Smoking Eye. They agreed to a ride across the lake, and spent the time in idle conversation with the frog-like creature about what lay ahead. They recounted their desire to recover Zenith Splintershield, and Via claimed that she had killed a beholder. Via reached in the handysack and pulled out one of the departed creatures eyestalks, waving it at the frogman.

The Kuo-toan reacted violently to them, and sixty feet from the stairway, he flipped the canoe into the water. Swimming was a difficult prospect for many on the canoe, and the next few minutes were those of panic as the Kuo-Toan swam easily onto the steps, alerting the guards to the presence of invaders.

As the drenched adventurers climbed up the steps, they were met by fire from above. Kuo Toans perched in sniper-nests in the eyes of the great fish rained bolts down on top of them. The battle was difficult, with the ferryman-monk applying a series of punishing blows to Tlaloc the barbarian. The battle ended with victory for the party, leaving further exploration of the temple until the next session.

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