Korday, Marantus 11, 1018 A.G. – In the Original Tomb of Horrors, Arantus
We have taken a short rest, looking around the room at all the treasure we found but we have not yet stored any of it away. Amazingly, as we rested, we experienced our powers and abilities increasing substantially. We chat amongst ourselves and as we are doing so, we realize the three cauldrons are emitting a greenish smoke, making us a little drowsy. When we finally start collecting our loot, we realize the Eye of Vecna seems to be missing from where it dropped. Groa quickly told us she remembers that whenever anyone wants to use it, they would have to gouge out their own left eye and put it in their eye socket. We’re in a panic to find the Eye of Vecna but Kuiperia, who had been sitting down with her back to us, now suddenly stands up and turns around. NO, NO, NO, NO! What has she done???? Her own eye, hanging by strands on her cheek, a bloody, pulpy mess, falls to the floor with a loud thwap as we stare in horror. In its place is the Eye of Vecna, pulsating red. “I wanted to find Vecna’s secrets and relay them to the Raven Queen. I’m talking to it right now.” We all know of course of the rivalry between the Raven Queen and Vecna – and we know Vecna’s secrets of necromancy are extremely dangerous. Groa also tells us it is too traumatic and dangerous to reverse what Kuiperia has done – at least for now. Kuiperia is warning us now that we can’t stay here, if we do, the green smoke will make us fall asleep and die. While Kuiperia is talking, Groa stealthily picks up Kuiperia’s bloody eye and tucks it away in her pouch. Kuiperia is going on and on about how she perceives things in the world now – everything is sharper, clearer, her vision is astounding. I think Kuiperia has gone over the edge. Groa talks about getting out of here while Kuiperia starts talking again – but this time in a different tone of voice – it’s actually Vecna speaking thru her! It tells us it is interested in leaving here too and wants to help us. It tempts us with many secrets it can reveal to us but it requires our assistance. Groa says we are just going to find the way out, up to the surface and contact Gabbe. Vecna says “Incorrect my leafy friend, we are in the most isolated, deepest part of Acererak’s chambers. This entire place is nothing more than a gigantic oubliette – one that can only be entered and exited thru Acererak’s teleportation circle.” I remember the day last Augantus when Ungus, Kuiperia and I were trapped in one along with a vicious Blackfang Knoll. It took Lady Itzehl, putting her hand in a brass imprint, to rescue us. Oh, Itzehl, I wish you could do that again! But that is not to be this day – as Vecna is telling us that only Acererak can activate the circle. Groa, with a spark of hope, searches and finds a fragment of Acererak’s skull and brings it over to the circle in hopes of opening it. But Vecna laughs at her, telling her only a LIVING Acererak can activate the circle. Meanwhile, the green smoke is getting thicker and I am finding it hard to concentrate but they just keep talking and talking! Vecna is saying something about he wants his apprentice back and only we can resurrect him. What? Groa informs Vecna that having just killed Acererak that is not going to happen. But Vecna is insistent saying we can bring him back – and he wants to bring him back as a young 10-year old child before he became corrupted. I pull the circlet of gems out of the haversack and, placing it on the floor, groggily ask Uncle Crogan “what is going on?” and “can you help?” He’s clueless and is of no help so I put the circlet back in the haversack. Having seen Uncle Crogan’s soul, now Groa comes up with another bright idea – how about trading Uncle Crogan’s soul with Vecna putting Vecna in the circlet. Quickly realizing she is not powerful enough to do that, we then think about forcibly removing the blue scarab from Kuiperia’s chest. I forgot to mention that Vecna is now communicating with us telepathically, using our Blue Scarab abilities. Groa then states what we all dread – we might have to kill Kuiperia, and remove the Eye of Vecna in order to trap Vecna here. OR – we could subdue Kuiperia and gouge the eye back out. But the real Kuiperia speaks up with her own voice, albeit a little shaky, and asks us to hear Vecna out. We allow it to speak – so to summarize, it wants to raise Acererak from the dead, returning him to life as the 10 year old Cambion boy who, in ages past, became Vecna’s apprentice. If we agree, it will assist in the Raise Dead ritual by using its necromantic secret of raising a dead creature to an earlier stage of its life.
Having heard just about enough from this thing, Morthwyl orders Kuiperia to go over to the other side of the room, more than 100 feet away – out of telepathy range from us. She complies but shakes her head and mumbles the whole time she walks away. In addition, we all walk thru the double doors on one wall of the chamber. Groa, at first wonders about the accuracy of that kind of resurrection, then remembers – she has heard of ancient, undisclosed rituals that can do that. Then she asks if we have any other options to get out of here. I turn my thoughts inward, hoping to sense another way out. With a hint of panic in my voice, I tell them I only feel solid rock around us, everything sealed, there is no other teleportation circle anywhere. Next Groa says she doesn’t recall the name of the woman in Sigil but she feels that Vecna respects her. (Yeah, that’s really comforting!) I ask Groa to try to contact Gabbe again but there is no response. So we decide to explore the chamber further down the corridor. I tell the group I already can sense there is no way out but am willing to explore anyway, if just for the sake of getting away from this green smoke.
At the end of this short corridor is another set of double doors which Morthwyl thrusts open. Beyond the doors we see a large square room with 6 columns, all casting a dull light of different colors – there are two blue, two green and two yellow ones. We see no other doors or windows. Our eyes now spot the eerie sight of ropey, drooping strands of spider-like webs connecting all the columns. Suspended in some of the webbing are five larval-like pods, some slowly moving. Groa and I recognize the encased face of one of them – Obanar, the Human Wizard – he is barely alive but paralyzed as are the other four – a Half-Elf male, a Human female, a Dwarven female and an Elf male. On top of three columns are aberrant spider creatures with tumors all over there scarred bodies. Also there are two other, much larger – humanoid spiders – one of which has a long tube injected into the larval sac containing the Dwarf female fighter – and it’s sucking her life juices out of her.
Enraged, Morthwyl yells and wants to charge it. Just as Groa points out the columns are swirling with arcane energy, one of the green ones hits Morthwyl, drawing away some of his healing ability and poisoning him. As Ungus steps back and buffs our powers, the small Spiders try to get close enough to attack Morthwyl, one of them dominates his mind, pulling out his thoughts – then it goes insubstantial. The second one attacks him also, trying to tear his mind apart with psychic damage and starts to drag him into the room. Without resisting, Morthwyl is pulled thru the doorway, a pit opening underneath him. Starting to fall, he manages to grab the edge of the pit. The third Spider then hits him with more psychic damage and also tries to pull him into the pit. But this time he fights back. Now the two Ancient Spider-Demon humanoids start to act. The closest one moves next to the pit, blasting a psychic attack into the corridor, hitting all except Ungus. Dazed, we see Groa get hit and slowed down but then she wills her armor to change to psychic armor, resisting some of any future damage. The yellow columns then attack Morthwyl, dazing him again and unloading more psychic damage on him. Groa attacks two of the Spiders, hurting their defense and sliding them. Even though I am dazed, I manage to shoot one of the Ancient Spider-Demons three times, immobilizing it. Next, the Spider dominating Morthwyl commands him to jump into the pit. He plunges down 40 feet onto spikes and vials of oil, crushing four of them. The released oil then explodes into flames after a devil’s head in the base of the pit spits out fire. The floor lights up, burning Morthwyl. A blue column shoots out a bolt of lightning at me, knocking me prone, sizzling electric fire coursing thru my body, my beautiful hair sizzling and curling at the ends. The second blue column ineffectually attacks Boldra. The green columns attack again – this time hitting Ungus and Groa with their poison. Ungus moves forward, casts his Denunciation Spell on the Ancient Spider-Demon, lowering both its attacks and defenses then he moves back to safety. Two Spiders creep up to the edge of the pit and, looking down, try to dominate Morthwyl but only one succeeds then it goes insubstantial. The third Spider moves to attack Groa but misses. The Ancient Spider-Demon next to the pit shoots a psychic bolt at Morthwyl but misses. The other one is successful at shooting a bolt at me however, slowing me. One of the yellow columns then attacks me, missing while the other attacks Boldra – once again with no effect. Groa casts her Rain of Blood spell on the three Spiders and one Ancient Spider-Demon, damaging them and making them vulnerable, also bloodying two of the Spiders. Then she casts another spell on the same crew, sliding two Spiders and the Ancient Spider-Demon toward the pit. Only one of the Spiders falls in, crashing down next to Morthwyl and breaking seven more oil vials. Both it and Morthwyl suffer more fire damage, the Spider becoming bloodied then it dies from the spikes piercing its lungs. I am taking ongoing residual psychic damage and I try to undaze and unslow myself but ask for and receive Groa’s help. Then I crawl on my stomach to the edge of the pit and teleport Morthwyl up next to me using my Ring of Calling. Once he is safely behind me, I then teleport both of us back 25 feet and shoot one of the Spiders, dazing it. Not realizing he is being dominated, I am startled and angry when Morthwyl tries to bash my brains in with his hammer. Then he comes out of it and apologizes to me. One of the blue columns attacks Groa, knocking her prone and electrocuting her – her branch tips sparking fire. The other blue column hits Boldra with no effect. Both of the green columns attack Ungus and Boldra, both missing. Ungus then casts a healing spell on me and Morthwyl then helps him stand up. The two Spiders jump across the pit and confront Groa and me with claw attacks. Groa takes a hit but Morthwyl switches places with me and it misses him. He then retaliates, killing it. One of the Ancient Spider-Demons reaches out and closes the doors. I finally stand up, spotting a Spider on the wall, right next to me. Using the end of my Greatbow, I try to smash it but I miss. But Morthwyl hits it with his hammer, splattering pulpy guts all over us. Leaving us to wipe the muck off our faces, he waddles over to the door and reopens it. Then Groa gasps as she sees one of the Ancient Spider-Demons hanging upside down in front of the door. Morthwyl reacts by attacking and bloodying it, knocking it down prone onto the edge of the pit. Groa then attacks both the Ancient Spider-Demons, killing and sliding one of them into the pit. After the blue columns once again attack Morthwyl, I sense the room is draining of arcane power as three of the columns – one of each color – go dark. But the remaining green column hits Morthwyl as Ungus smartly steps back. The remaining Ancient Spider-Demon attacks Morthwyl, slowing him while the remaining yellow column dazes him. I move way back and shoot the Ancient Spider-Demon, bloodying and immobilizing him once again. Morthwyl jumps across the pit into the chamber as Groa stands up. The blue column attacks him then it and the rest of the columns go dark also. Ungus moves forward again just in time for the Ancient Spider-Demon to attack him but thankfully it misses. I then shoot it again, killing it and ending this stupid battle.
We cut The Blue Cloaks free and begin to revive them to the point they can start talking even though they are still groggy. We give them beer to help their parched throats. Groa senses the columns could recharge so Morthwyl sets to smashing them. Now she says the room is safe enough to sleep overnight here. But first we take a short rest, while we are chatting with The Blue Cloaks. Kuiperia is approaching down the corridor saying she can’t stay there, the green smoke is suffocating her. But we won’t let her in this room, ordering her to go back to the end of the corridor and stay there.
Obanar, in better shape than the others, introduces The Blue Cloaks one by one. Their names are: Metterby, a male Half-Elf Warlock; Jangrid, a female Human Cleric; Peristaul, a male Elf Paladin and Raina Agustian, a female Dwarf Fighter- the one who was being drained. We toast them with more beer and trail rations. Morthwyl asks Obanar if he knows anything about safeguards on the oubliette. He only tells us what we already know – that Acererak’s redoubt is too strong – only he can open its teleportation circle. Groa lets out a big sigh saying we might save the future by staying here, sacrificing ourselves. (But I think to myself I am too young to die and not ready to give up!) The Eye of Vecna wants to raise Acererak from the dead, returning him to life as the 10 year old Cambion boy who, in ages past, became Vecna’s apprentice. If The Blue Scarabs agree, it will assist in the Raise Dead ritual by using its necromantic secret of raising a dead creature to an earlier stage of its life. Morthwyl wants to tie Kuiperia up but instead settles on shutting and barring the door. Then we all move to the far end of the room. We discuss performing the raise dead ritual on Acererak without Vecna, but resurrecting him as a young adult before he becomes a Lich, then killing him after he gets us out of here. But Groa reminds us the ritual we know only works on a creature who has died within thirty days. Ungus says he has studied a prophecy about Acererak. That one day a young Acererak will bind and imprison his much-hated father – Tarnhem. But that never happened. His point being he feels we could successfully raise and train a young, impressionable Acererak to be a good boy. We’ll think about that as we stay here overnight. . . .