Monthly Archives June 2016

Zork II

You are standing at the end of a tunnel in a sheer 500 ft cliff face. Jungle stretches out before you with mountains in the background. Exits lead back, and technically down.

Bael instructs Isis to change to bat form and work out where we are, go and find the tiger and try to get back here with it. Still under the effects of his charm she happily does so and flaps off.

Meanwhile the rest decide they need to find a safe way down and return to the room with eight exits. We take the one between the two we’ve already passed through, to finish off that corner!

It leads off and gradually bends to the right and descends in long, shallow steps. After maybe half a mile we come to a huge fissure in the rock but the path continues down the side of the fissure. We descend…

Eventually we see a blue light in the distance. We approach it and pass through with no apparent ill effect beyond a slight tingling. We are now at the bottom of the fissure and there isn’t too much to see beyond some boulders. It is quite dry down here. This cavern seems unlikely to yield much of interest so we return to the path and ascend. Someone notices that all our water bottles are now empty!! Could it be the effect of the blue light?

We get back to the eight arched room and go for the arch opposite where we first came in – it opens into another circular room with a dais at the other end but nothing else of note.

The arch one to the right of the spiraling upwards path seems to lead us spiraling down, which is a good sign. At the first of the inevitable side passages to the shaft we drop a copper piece, it falls for a while and we hear it hit something but it’s too faint to be sure if it’s rock or water. We descend another circuit and drop another – it hits rock. We also notice that there appear to be huge iron girders across the shaft. No one is too sure what they might be for.

We get to the bottom of the shaft. It is smooth stone with no boulders. Morgan notices that the walls appear to be have been scorched sometime in the past. Again, no one is sure what that might mean.

There are two other entrances/exits here – one smells of very little, the other has an unpleasant, acrid smell. We opt for the dry one. We find a row of cells, still populated with skeletons, what may be a guardroom and a small kitchen. Within the kitchen is a tap, and after running water through for a couple of minutes it seems drinkable. Hurrah!!

We elect to rest up for the night by our water source and continue exploring in the morning.
Bael takes first watch and is alerted by a scuttling sound – a huge tentacled centipede type creature drops from the ceiling. He grabs his sword and kicks Morgan awake. Lucky he did for the tentacles manage to paralyse Bael. Morgan jumps up and draws his sword and lets out a battle cry which awakens Minerva and Varys. Morgan lands a mighty blow and then is promptly paralysed! Minerva manages to land a hit on the beast but strangely fails to cut off any tentacles. She is then paralysed!!

Varys the Nervous girds his loins and casts Magic Missile. What a spell!! The Carrion Crawler collapses and everyone is saved. After a half hour or so the paralysis wears off and everyone has a laugh about how funny it would have been to be killed off in such a way. Then we all go back to sleep.

In the morning(!) we continue to explore south. The passage continues for a while then we see a blue light. Bael has an idea and walks up to it and passes his arm through, holding his full water bottle. It comes back empty. We head back to the bottom of the shaft, pausing while Bael fills his bottle.

We take the acrid smelling passage. The smell gets worse, and suddenly we are attacked in our midst by six troglodytes. No wonder it was so smelly!!

Only Morgan is unaffected by their terrible BO issues. However, he is at the back and currently unable to engage. To summarise – Bael has an absolute nightmare and it unable to land a blow. Minerva does a good job. Amber and Rob are attacked while still tied up (why didn’t Bael Charm them at breakfast time!!). Varys has to attempt some dagger action.

Somehow we survive the battle; Varys is able to swap places with Morgan so he can get involved. Rob’s bonds are severed and he is able to land a blow before being nearly killed. Magic Missile again proves it’s worth.

As the dust settles we realise Rob is missing. Morgan charges after him and is able to catch him before too long, given that he is almost dead and is only running from sheer effort of will…

Bael and Amber are also severely wounded, and questions are asked as to the wisdom of sending off the only person who could use the Staff of Healing on a scouting mission.

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Betrayed!!!

We rope up and Rob leads us across the narrow, slippery ledges that make up the only passable parts of this hellish cavern.

We pass several pools of boiling mud when suddenly several things happen at once. A hideous head with a tentacled mouth appears from a pool to our left, Varys starts to chant an incantation and Amber stabs Bael in the back!!

Quick to react, Morgan turns and punches Varys square in the face, knocking him out. Bael yelps while Minerva clonks Amber over the head with the flat of her sword. Rob looses an arrow at the monster, but misses.

Isis suddenly realises that the monster is her master and she must subdue Minerva so that she will recognise it as her master as well. She attacks Minerva, but fails to pierce the fighter’s armour. Rob manages to graze the monster with an arrow but Bael misses.

Now, Rob also realises that the monster is his master and he turns and looses an arrow at Morgan at point blank range. Morgam responds with a tasty left hook and Rob falls over.
Amber too is suffering at the hands of Minerva – she slips over and then takes a boot to the head which knocks her out.

At this point Bael feels it might be time to attempt an exit. Morgan feels the call of the monster but manages to resist. The party are all still roped together and luckily the three strongest members are still compos mentis. They are able to slowly drag the prone bodies and the struggling Isis through to the nearest ledge. Unfortunately this is not the exit and so our intrepid heroes must delve deeper into the mountain caverns… We bind the arms and gag our ‘charmed’ companions and wake the unconscious ones so that they can walk.

The path descends and and the first fork we take the passage on the level (the right hand passage). It soon turns back on itself and becomes worryingly steep so we backtrack.

The other path (the left fork) continues to descend and then we come to a three way fork. For want of a better method of choosing we take the left passage. It descends and ends in water… Backtrack.

We take the middle passage. It veers to the right and then ends at the opening of a huge fissure – no way through here. Backtrack.

We take the right passage. It leads to the top of a scree slope so we descend it. It goes a long way down but eventually we get to the bottom and figure it’s time for a rest and some water. Isis is indignant that we attempted to attack her master and curses us. She says she cannot hear his voice any longer but knows that she serves him.

Bael attempts his own Charm. Firstly on Varys and then on Isis. It works!! They smile happily at him. Varys says that it was the little statue that first spoke to him…

After some rest we press on and and come to a lake. Bael wonders if there might be a small pale creature with lamp-like eyes living on an island in the middle. There is no sound of anything however so he decides to don the cloak of manta ray and explore. After 200 yds the water is only up to his shins so the others all join. The water briefly makes it to knee depth and then gets shallower again. At the far shore the ‘beach’ slopes up and we appear to be walking up a dried river bed.

In the cavern wall we spy an archway. Not a natural arch but one carved out of the rock. Morale rises and we pile on through.

After a while we pass through a vaulted chamber with ledges on either side of the passage. At times it seems like the DM is making it up as he goes along…

We eventually reach a circular chamber with 8 exits. The passage 90 degrees to our right appears to smell fresher so we eagerly enter. It rises and turns to the left. A passage heads off to the left – it ends at a huge shaft that both descends and ascends into blackness. We continue to climb the sloping passage. After what may be another turn of the spiral we find another passage to the left. Again it ends at a shaft. Back to the spiral. After a while it strightens out and we see the glimmer of day light!!!

We reach the end of the tunnel and find ourselves about 500 feet up a sheer cliff. Looking out on jungle below and mountains in the distance.

While the evil in the mud pools must be defeated, we need to gather strength and hone our skills before we return.

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That’s not a giant pearl, this is a giant pearl…

Before departing for the village and healing, Bael is determined to open up the giant oyster.

Minerva and Morgan get hacking at it, while Bael sings a ditty about scything cornfields. Eventually they crack through the shell enough to be able to have a hack at the muscle. Something blocks their swords and some careful butchery reveals a huge black pearl. The size of a baseball, which means nothing to our Mystaran heroes!!

The sight of the pearl stirs memories, and Isis resolves to check her diary when we get back to the village, and before she flies off to renew her acquaintance with the tiger.

Feeling pretty beat up, we return to the village to rest and recuperate and hopefully restore the sight of Varys and Amber. ¬†Umlat, the priest, confirms that the giant black pearl of legend was the size of a man’s head and allowed the owner to control the weather.

Three days of lounging around sees everyone feeling better (and seeing better) and ready to return to Taboo Island.

We pass through the temple and return to where we originally saw the shark. The water level has dropped (as we thought it would) leaving a muddy wet floor. We are able to just about make out the dais in the gloom and Bael dons the Cloak of Manta Ray to examine further. There are no more sharks and he is able to confirm that this is the same chamber.

There are more steps off in the distance, but when he goes to explore there’s been a huge rockfall that has blocked further progress.

From this point onwards, Vary’s recollection of events seems to become rather hazy.

He remembers returning to the upper level and continuing past the collapsed floor that we fell through into the flooded cell-block. ¬†Beyond this we found a room somewhere with a stone pedestal and a small carved stone box sitting atop it. Amongst the detritus on the floor we found a beautiful bowl with gold inlay and diamonds around the outside. Inside the stone box was a statuette of a hideous half-man half-octopus creature. It glowed under Bael’s detect magic spell and no one fancied picking it up.

After feeling like this level of the under-temple was fully explored, we descended the stairs down which a lot of the water has flowed. The steps got rougher and opened out into a hot cavern with many bubbling mud pools. A precarious ledge seems like our only way forward….

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