- The heroes make their way with some trepidation into the “living dungeon”
- Brath (Joe): the walls of the dungeon are breathing… it IS alive! But worse… apparently this dungeon took form with all the beings nearby to make it – some are trapped in the walls and floors – some now skeletal, some very recently dead… but some… horribly… still alive… flailing and faces agape in horror… arms, tentacles, hooves, all desperately threatening those that pass by
- Magnus (Roberto): Puts them out of their torment and misery
- Continuing further down, the dungeon pathway becomes a maze and we find a lot of dead ends and have to double-back and go around to find our way deeper in
- Gallydyn (Max): As we go through the maze, Gallydyn casts light to offer some perspective and see where the paths go, able to reduce our time hitting dead-ends
- Feel along the walls of the maze some sort of hands protruding from the walls, like prisoners trapped within, clawing and grasping against the heroes
- Rainier (Fab): Unlike the creatures & beings encountered further up in the dungeon, Rainier helps to put aside the arms and not kill them as we make our way through.
- The hallways, floors, ceiling all ending in pointed angles, not weapons, but clearly treacherous to the passers-by
- Ereveron (Dave L.): Ereveron tells everyone to wait while he scouts ahead. His elven training makes finding easy passages not hard to find, and is able to lead everyone through unharmed at a barely slower pace.
- A corridor drops off into a huge chasm in the middle, even though the other side is visible
- Minoru (Eric): Fortunately, we have a good idea of what to do: some of the rope we were all carrying are able to secure the rope to the sharp protrusions. Brath volunteers to make his way across the gap in flying form secures the rope to the other end
- the stone gets smoother and smoother until it’s almost a reflective surface. At first, our reflections look normal, but they start changing… our features start disappearing completely, and very soon the faces start to look like the masks we’ve been trying to pull off the hapless victims
- Brath (Joe):, rattled like everyone else. Casts a simple spell to bring a gentle fog to surround and obscure the image of the reflective walls as they make their way further in.
- The adventurers are almost to the centre of the meteorite/living dungeon when they come across a group of star-mask brutes with a lot of corpses. The star-mask brutes are vomiting out xombie eggs onto the corpses, and the eggs are crawling inside them and animating them.
- It is too late for the party to just sneak past. While the newly-made xombies are too uncoordinated to attack the party the brutes and the eggs are certainly able to attack.
Star-Mask Brutes & Xombie Egg Swarms
- Even after the battle, Brath, still in bear form, continues to tear the bodies apart, making certain that they cannot animate further.
- The dungeon shudders – sounds of shifting… clicking… even rock sliding against rock.
- In the distance, they even saw an archway collapse and change… does the dungeon KNOW we’re here?
- Brath drags a few of the bodies into a pile and tries to set them ablaze, but the vomit seems to be a retardant
The dungeon springs a series of traps, trying to kill off the heroes that it clearly identifies now as a threat
- Fortunately the adventurers survive long enough (right?) to reach the very heart of the dungeon. Here a vast glowing brain is embedded in the rock, glowing a baleful blue-green. The brain throbs like a heartbeat.
- If the party destroys the dungeon heart (or pulsating brain in this case) then the dungeon will die. The dungeon isn’t fully recovered yet from crashing out of the sky and is not able to mount an effective defense this close to its own core.
- Ereveron, using old secrets of the forest, is able to concot a neurotoxin poison and inject it into the foul ‘brain’ of the dungeon – the reaction is obvious.. it worked
- Minoru, channelling the lore she’s sought out, and the conduit she seems to have established with The Archmage, is able to crippled the brain further… and with the aid of the companions, she feels she has triggered a critical blow
The heroes move to escape, but are confronted again by the lingering minions of the dungeon:
Panthurs – Xombies
Continuing on their way out, the party discovers a large chamber with metal structures in it. Minoru can’t make much of what they do, and when she touches it, is blasted by some arcane force.
Rainier inspects Minoru’s brainy wound on her left forearm… those steel rods have mutated the flesh and equipment which came into contact with it into pulsing brain tissue.
When Magnus and Rainier used bodies or materials to pass through the totem pole metal rods, whatever came to contact with the rods turned into pulsating brainy tissue as well.
“I theenk we need to cut eet owwwt.”
The cleric turns to Gallydyn and asks the sorcerer to heat a blade of a dagger with his magics.
In doing so, the sorcerer passes the red hot bladed dagger to the cleric. Rainier then motions to the Magnus to help hold Minoru still.
“Hold steel, my friend. Bite down on dees.”
Rainier removes his leather belt and places it in the girl’s mouth. The savage restrains the Minoru from behind and holds her left arm steadily.
“Ready?” asks the cleric.
Minoru nods and takes a deep breath.
As Rainier commences to cut the brainy tissue, Minoru does her best to fight the urge to withdraw from the pain and stay still, and whatever writhing she reflexively does is restrained by Magnus.
It takes time to remove the mutated flesh. During the removal process, Minoru receives visions…
The totem-pole metal-like structure which caused the mutation is a weapon. It is a weapon used by a living dungeon to create more living dungeons. Interacting with the poles in any way (poking them, throwing things at them, and especially using magic) causes them to discharge…
She also has a vision from an alternate reality where the town of Candlefen and other cities in the Dragon Empire are targeted by this weapon and are turned into living dungeons…
If there are other weapons like this out there they could spell doom for the cities of the Dragon Empire.
When finally the party emerges, we see that some of the small totems have been taken by the zombies and are wandering back into the Dragon Wood…
DICE USE: Brath knows that the xombies are headed into a ravine and so aren’t an immediate concern.
However, a deep voice booms to the ears of the heroes, “It’s about time… you are way overdue.”
Felling the Black Dragon, the heroes find the dragon’s lair by a river:
- ONyx statue – 2000gp
- Rage hammer
- Brilliant breastplate
- Bear Helm
- 3 potions of regeneration
Deep in the dragon cave and sitting up against the onyx statue watching his companions, angry at the unjust reward of Minoru‘s bravery, and still shaken from the ferocity of the black dragon’s attacks, Brath unstoppers the special vial of Fizzy Bubblech and takes a long pull of the powerful liquid. Grimacing… he takes another.