Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Forge of Fury #5: The Wrong Kind of Dwarf

It's been a few months since we were able to fit in a session of my Tales from the Yawning Portal game, but we've returned to it at last.

Our heroes for The Forge of Fury include:
  • Raven Flare, female tiefling rogue 4 (assassin, urchin)
  • Kalitni, female human ranger 4 (beast master, hermit) with Daikitsu, wolf companion
  • Xuri, female blue dragonborn sorcerer 4 (wild magic, sage)
  • Sir Dain (NPC/guest-PC), male hill dwarf paladin 4 (oath of devotion, knight)
  • Erky Timbers (DM-run NPC), male forest gnome cleric 4 (life domain, acolyte)

(Warning: Spoilers for The Forge of Fury follow.) 

Last time, the heroes descended to a new level of the dungeon, where they encountered a gray ooze and had a harrowing encounter with a roper. After a short rest to allow Dain to heal some of his wounds and Xuri to study the magic ring found in the roper's gizzard, the party was ready to finish exploring this level.

A door near the roper's lair led to a small long-abandoned prison. Two cells were open and empty, but the third held the corpse of a dwarf. Whoever had put him here had not searched him thoroughly, because the PCs found a small purse of coins and a key on the body. Dain did not wish to leave the dead dwarf here, so carried his remains back up to the Glitterhame to place within one of the empty sarcophagi there.

Once Dain finished performing simple rites for the dead, the party returned to the iron door with Durgeddin's smith mark. The key from the cell unlocked this door, and they walked up the stairs beyond.

At the top, they found an octagonal room with three large bronze statues of dwarves holding axes and shields. Between the statues were two doors, but Raven felt something was wrong about the one she examined--it didn't look like it had ever been used, and something had scored the floor in front of it. She stepped back and short an arrow at the door, but nothing happened. Meanwhile, Xuri had found faint tracks in the dust on the floor, which led to a secret door behind one of the statues. The party could hear the muffled sounds of hammering, and Dain thought it came from that direction. The sorcerer opened the door, finding a short flight of stairs up to another door, this one decorated with a glaring dwarf's face. She promptly walked up this other door, but as she did so, it animated to call out an alarm in Dwarvish.

[Xuri's impetuousness gave the enemy warning, but also meant that the other PCs didn't have the time to identify or trigger the other trap in the room.] 

This door opened easily, revealing a great hall with pillars carved with images of dwarves and dragons. The walls bore the remains of tile murals, which had been defaced with graffiti in an unknown language (they guessed Orc). At the far end of the room was a dais with a simple stone bench, and near it was a campfire surrounded by some pallets and packs. A voice from the shadows demanded that they go away. Dain, who was incensed at the defiling of this place, rushed to the foot of the dais, roaring a challenge.

Two bald, gray-skinned dwarves suddenly became visible as they hurled javelins, which hit the paladin. These were duergar, an evil subrace of dwarf, and the sight of them made Dain's fury boil over. Before he could move to attack his foes, however, a third duergar appeared right beside him, and sank her shortsword into his side.

Kalitni shot one of the first two duergar, scoring a critical hit. Xuri unleashed a witchbolt on the female dwarf, and Dain's sword landed a critical hit on her, boosted by divine smite. The two male duergar grew to double their normal size, but Kalitni downed one before he could attack again. Raven stabbed the other with both her rapiers, then moved to flank the female duergar. She withdrew and enlarged as well, but Xuri's witchbolt dropped her before she could do more. Dain and Raven promptly finished off the last duergar.

Erky forced Dain to sit still while he administered healing and the others searched the bodies and the room. Besides the gray dwarves' arms and armor, the woman carried a potion of healing that she never got a chance to use.

The great hall had five other exits, and the hammering came from beyond one of the doors to the south. The party decided to deal with whatever lay beyond the other doors first. They started by listening at the northwest one, which bore an inscription in the same language as the graffiti on the walls nearby. Raven heard nothing through the door, so Dain opened it. The room beyond was once a shrine to the dwarven gods, whose likenesses were carved on the walls. However, the place had been defiled: the pews were smashed, the gods' images defaced, and the altar was surrounded by piles of bones and a desiccated orc corpse. The paladin used his divine sense before entering, and detected three undead: the orc, and two piles of bones. When Dain drew his warhammer entered the room, the bones formed into two giant skeletons, and the orc rose and grinned evilly, its eyes lit with green fire.

Two giant skeletons and a wight
(mini with gray hair and white skin)
The orc and one skeleton closed with Dain, while the other lumbered over the broken pews to reach other members of the party. Raven maneuvered around to flank the orc, while Kalitni and Xuri flanked the second skeleton. The paladin and rogue whittled away at the orc, who proved to be resistant to nonmagical weapons. However, one of Raven's rapiers was magical, and Dain took a moment to sanctify his hammer with a spell. Meanwhile, the orc (a wight) consistently failed to hit the paladin with its sword and life-draining touch, and growled frustrated curses at him. (Dain replied with colorful Dwarven oaths.)

Xuri managed to line up an attack with her breath weapon that hit all three foes, though for minimal damage. Raven finally downed the orc, and turned her attention to the skeleton (which had only hit the paladin once, and flailed ineffectively otherwise). Dain downed that skeleton with a mighty blow of his hammer, then helped finish off the other one. The paladin continuing his cursing as he smashed the undead's bones beyond any change of rising again.

Searching the room, the PCs found a sack with some gold and two spell scrolls among the bones. A dwarf body lay on top of the altar, so Dain examined it carefully. This dwarf wore plate mail (now useless) and bore the marks of a brutal battle. The paladin guessed that the body had been laid here after death, before graffiti had been written over it and the altar. With soap and water, and help from Xuri's prestidigitation, they cleaned the room as best they could.

The party needed to heal and recover spells, so they barricaded the door with some of the broken benches and settled in for a long rest. Before doing so, however, Xuri expended her last spell slot to place witchbolt in her new ring of spell storing.


Ogre skeletons, with normal skeletons for comparison

Tales from the Yawning Portal: Past Columns

The Sunless Citadel

#1: Down into the Ground
#2: Lost Dragon
#3: Through the Dragon Door
#4: Goblin Boss Battle
#5: Through Pallid Gardens
Campaign Update
#6: Belak, at Last

The Forge of Fury

#1: Orc Gruel
#2: Bloody Stirges!
#3: Into the Glitterhame
#4: Even the Rocks Want to Eat Us

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