Session 12: Death And Flames In Wave Echo Cavern

The group slept uneasily in the cavern as the rhythmic thunder of pounding waves echoed all around them, loud enough to make the stone underfoot shiver. But their sleep would not last long.

Lee felt strongly that they couldn't leave the dwarf body with bare feet. This resulted in a lot of arguing over what to do. Eventually Lee cut up water-skins and fashioned what might pass a cursory inspection as moccasins.

Before going to sleep, Atilius summoned a familiar owl and Lee cast a silent alarm on the area. Once they finished arguing over the watch schedule, they gave in to their exhaustion, except for Lee, who took the first watch.

During Moula's watch, she heard the sound of many wings flapping through the center of the chamber, but she kept still and quiet and it soon passed. Soon after she woke Atilius to switch shifts.

During Atilius' watch he heard sounds of heavy movement coming from the chamber's entrance and quickly began waking everyone, and sent his owl to investigate. Lee grabbed his longbow and immediately ran across the chamber, but stumbled in the complete darkness and tumbled across the floor. He picked himself up and began stomping as loud as he could to draw the enemy's attention away from the group.

Deep growls of large goblinoids were heard running towards them. Albrecht, able to see the three advancing bugbears in the dark, moved stealthily behind them and cast thunderwave, knocking two of them down. The booming thunder echoed throughout the chamber, pushing the bugbears towards Lee, and knocking two of them prone.

Julious cast produce flame, lighting up the area around him. Turenim cast light on a rock, illuminating the entire area.

The closest bugbear smashed Lee with his morningstar. Lee drew his sword and swung wildly at the bugbear, but Atilius foretold that Lee would miss the mark.

Moula swung at one of the prone bugbears, smashing her staff down on it and following up with a stomp on its face, breaking its jaw.

Albrecht rushed up behind the standing bugbear and stabbed it with his rapier, causing it to cry out in agony.

Atilius threw a firebolt at a prone bugbear, but missed, and blasted the ground nearby with flame. Julious threw his produced flame at the other bugbear, but it also harmlessly showered the ground with flames. Turenim cast guidance on Lee.

The bugbear on Lee lifted its morningstar over its head to smash Lee, but its its injury caused it to drop the weapon in pain. The bugbear with the broken jaw got up and smashed Moula with its morningstar. The other bugbear got up and lunged at Pippin, barely catching him with his morningstar.

Moula retaliated against the bugbear that hit her, smashing it in the head, and crumpling it to the ground for good. Then she jumped up and kicked another bugbear with a flying roundhouse kick, wobbling it.

Albrecht cast healing word on Lee and stabbed the unarmed bugbear again with his raper, causing it to howl in pain.

Atilius threw his firebolt at the bugbear that was chasing Pippin, causing it to fall from the shock of the flames. Pippin ran up behind the last, unarmed, bugbear, stabbing it over and over again until it fell.

Julious, hearing grumbling from the darkness in the tunnel cast produce flame and threw it towards the sound, briefly illuminating two more bugbears who were just beginning to flee. Turenim dashed towards the tunnel, shedding light on the fleeing bugbears.

Moula ran up to the fleeing bugbears, jumped up and landed a leaping front kick on the closest of the two. Albrecht cast vicious mockery, unleashing a string of lame insults at the other bugbear, but it had no effect. Atilius moved closer to the bugbears, hitting the same bugbear with a firebolt. Pippin dashed up and shoved his shortsword deep into the bugbear engaged with Moula. Julious cast produce flame, but missed with his throw.

Even with a sword in its back, the bugbear smashed Moula with its morningstar. In turn, Moula swung wide and off balance, but turned it into a spinning kick that put the wounded bugbear down for good.

Atilius hit the remaining bugbear with a firebolt, scorching it badly. Pippin stabbed it in the torso and its knees wobbled. Turenim, caught up to the melee, swung his damaged mace at the brute, and hit it, but did not do any damage.

Bracing itself, the bugbear swung his morningstar up and smashed Moula in the face. It smiled at its surprise success and was still smiling when Lee's arrow pierced its skull and came out the other side.

Albrecht made sure all the bugbears were truly dead. Pippin searched the bodies and gave the found loot to Moula for holding.

After the battle was over Lee expressed his displeasure with the unnecessary noise made in the battle, potentially alerting enemies to their presence. After the scolding, Turenim took the last watch while everyone else continued to rest.

Fully rested, the group ate some rations and then, one by one, descended down the sturdy hemp ropes that were tied to the the stalagmite, into the pit 20 feet below.

Safely at the bottom, Atilius sent his owl to scout the two passages ahead. Finding endless passages in both directions, the group decided to head east.

The came to a thirty-foot-high natural cavern where many tunnels intersected. By the light of Turenim's stone they saw that the walls were carved with simple reliefs showing dwarf and gnome miners hard at work. Below them, nearly two dozen skeletons in rusted scraps of armor were scattered across the cavern floor. Some were dwarf skeletons, while others were orc remains. Half a dozen large brass lanterns stood in niches or on ledges around the cavern, but none were lit.

As soon as they all entered the cavern they heard flapping coming from above as 10 stirges swooped down. One of them stuck their proboscis right into Moula's shoulder, another embedded itself into Lee's back, two stuck themselves into Pippin, one in his back and another in his neck, and a fourth jabbed its beak right into Julious' face. Moula smashed the one on her to the ground with her staff, and then hit the one in Pippin's back with a crescent kick, knocking it into the wall, where it fell to the ground. Turenim ripped the stirge off of Pippin's neck with his bare hands, and smashed on the ground. Lee swatted with Talon at the one on his back, but couldn't connect. Pippin held his neck to stop the blood from spouting out. Julious swatted at the one in his face, but couldn't pry it off. Atilius cast magic missile, killing stirges that were attacking him and Turenim. Albrecht swung at one, but missed with his rapier.

The stirge in Julious' face continued to suck the blood out of him. Moula swung her staff, smashing the stirge on Lee's back, but missed the one on Julious face, and kicked the one attacking Turenim. Turenim tried to grab at the one in Julious' face, but couldn't grab it. Lee killed the stirge attacking Albrecht. Pippin, holding his neck with one hand, tried and failed to hit the stirge sucking the blood from Julious' face. Atilius threw a firebolt at the one in Julious's face, and missed it, but hit Julious. Lee pulled out his dagger and stabbed the final stirge in Julious' face.

Julious pulled the stirge out of his face. Turenim used his channel divinity to heal Julious and Pippin's injuries, and bandaged everyone up. Julious cast cure wounds on himself. When they were all ready to move on the group headed south.

After 30 feet they found themselves in a four way intersection. Ahead, the tunnel was collapsed. To the right and left were short passages, each ending in 6 feet tall, 4 feet wide doors, and made of thick cut slabs of stone fitted with iron handles and hinges.

Opening the door to the left, they saw a 20' by 80' chamber that must have been an office or storeroom of some kind. A large stone counter bisected the room, set with three dusty balance scales made of iron. Cubbyholes carved into the north wall were stuffed with dusty paper scraps. Several long-dead corpses—gnomes and orcs by their look—were sprawled across the floor.

The group left the office room and went down the opposite corridor. Opening the door they saw a much larger chamber with splintered stone benches and heaps of rubble from a partially collapsed ceiling. Amid ruined stone bunks and toppled weapon racks were the bones of several dwarves and orcs. Turenim went back to the previous room to search for valuables. Meanwhile, as the rest of the group searched the bunks and weapon racks, the bones began to stir and knit together, forming nine skeletons.

Lee called for Turenim and swung his sword at the nearest skeleton, breaking off some bones. But it swung back and tore into Lee with its rusty blade as did another skeleton. Two skeletons slashed into Julious as well. Two more skeletons rushed at Moula, but she dodged away from their blades. Two more skeletons closed in on Pippin, both slashing at him. Another skeleton slashed Albrecht right across his face. Julious cast produce flame, and threw it at one of the skeletons, briefly catching its garments on fire. With two swings of her staff, Moula smashed one of the skeletons to pieces, and then backed kicked one behind her. Atilius shot three magic missiles at one skeleton, but it kept coming towards him. Pippin stabbed at a skeleton, but his sword went right between his ribs, and he dashed into the other room to get Turenim.

Turenim ran into the room, shouting "begone in the name Hope, Faith  & Charity!" and all the skeletons turned and tried to flee, clambering into the walls. One by one the party picked them apart. They searched the room, taking some spare weapons, but did not find anything else of value.

The group returned to the cavern where they fought the stirges and continued straight, to the north. Coming to another four-way intersection, they saw that the left and right passages went on beyond their light, but straight ahead to the north, they saw a door just ahead. Opening the door they saw a chamber with old stone bunks in orderly rows lining the walls. A corroded iron brazier full of old coals stood near the middle of the room. Across the room was a door on the left wall. The bones of a half dozen dwarves and orcs lie strewn about, clad in scraps of armor. Three gray, hunched figures squatted among the remains, pawing at the scraps and gnawing on the bones. The ghouls immediately turned to them.

Recognizing them as more undead, Turenim stepped forward and commanded them to begone. All three of them immediately turned and headed to the far wall, trying to claw their way through the wall. One by one the group destroyed them.

The group searched the room, but did not find anything of value, so they opened the door on the west wall. Outside the chamber they saw numerous intersecting passages. The ceilings were only six feet high. Moving on they found that several of the passages ended in partially excavated rock faces. Atilius sent his owl to scout the area, but soon after flying up a set of stairs to the north Atilius' lost his connection to the familiar.

Soon they came to the set of stairs going up to the north. At the top they found themselves in a large, mostly natural cavern with two large stalagmites and a stone column rising up to the ceiling about thirty feet high. To the right, an escarpment dropped down ten feet to a lower ledge of the cavern. The middle of the escarpment was divided by carved stone stairs.

As the group entered the cavern, seven ghouls lumbered towards them from the far end of the cavern. Once again Turenim stepped forward and commanded them to begone, turning three of them, who immediately made their way to the far side of the cavern. Julious moved up to the remaining ghouls and cast thunderwave. The blast echoed throughout the large chamber, and knocked the ghouls back. The group then made short work of them before they could do any real damage. Then, one by one the group destroyed the rest of the ghouls. Each time Pippin attacked he used booming blade, hastening the ghouls' demise and adding to the thunderous echoes in the chamber.

After defeating the ghouls the group looked around, but did not find anything on the upper ledge of the cavern, so the went down the stairs. At the bottom they found two large tables in the middle of the cavern and opposite the escarpment was an identical one, also with stairs, going up ten feet on the eastern side of the cavern. The skeletal remains of dozens of dead warriors—dwarves, gnomes, orcs, and ogres—attested to the fierceness of the fighting that took place here long ago. Instead of exploring the upper ledge to the east the went up a set of stairs to the north.

At the top of the stairs they found themselves in the middle of a 30 foot passage. The left passage ended in a door. The right passage appeared to open up into a cavern. They tried the door, but it wouldn't budge, despite their attempts.

Heading east they entered a cavern that extended beyond the range of Turenim's light. Right in front of them this large chamber was dominated by a blast furnace and a mechanical bellows powered by a waterwheel. The furnace was cold and dark, but heaps of coal were piled nearby, along with carts full of unrefined ore. The waterwheel sat in a ten-foot-wide channel cut into the floor of the room, but the channel was dry and extended beyond their view. More than a dozen withered corpses were scattered around the room. These slain dwarves and orcs were still wearing the remnants of their armor. Floating above them was a skull engulfed in green flame.

From among the corpses, eight of the fallen dwarf warriors rose as zombies and shambled towards the group. Meanwhile the flaming skull rose up the cavern's ceiling and shot a ball of flame towards them, engulfing them all in its fireball. Lee and Albrecht were totally engulfed in flames and fell. Everyone else managed to run out of the center of the flames, but were still badly burned, and Atilius fell anyway. With all the strength they could muster Turenim, Moula, Julious, and Pippin dragged Lee, Albrecht, and Atilius out of the chamber and back down the stairs.

Once clear of the immediate danger, Turenim cast prayer of healing, and bandaged everyone as much as he could. Then they decided to face the flaming skull once more.

They entered the chamber again. Pippin and Albrecht jumped over the channel to engage the flaming skull, but it levitated higher and they weren't able to reach it. Pippin and Lee shot at it with arrows, and Atilius cast firebolt on it, while Albrecht, Moula, Turenim, and Julious attacked the zombies. Moula also threw one or two darts at the flame skull. Turenim commanded all the undead to begone, and the the zombies were turned, but the flaming skull kept attacking.

Gradually Albrecht, Moula, Turenim, and Julious finished off the the fleeing zombies. Meanwhile the flaming skull had cast blur and was throwing magic missiles and fire rays at its attackers.

Turenim tried again to turn the flaming skull again and this time it worked! Unfortunately, the flaming skull flew up to the farthest point of the ceiling. The group did not want to taunt the flaming skull for fear that it would renew its attacks on them. Then Moula told Atilius to cast misty step on her and teleport her up to the level of the flame skull. She readied herself, but when Atilius cast the spell, it only took one hit to kill the flame skull. She hit it two more times as it fell to the ground, but the fight was over!

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