Arc Sol - Human Cleric of Pelor, the god of the sun (349 points)
Aurum Red-Brand - Human Wizard (329 points)
Mor'ath Enanqua - Elven Swashbuckler/Thief (329 points)
Zaxod - Half-Orc Knight (339 points)
Day 72 (Cont.):
Weather: Who Cares! You're Two Miles Underground
Date: Coreli 3rd, 2526
After making sure the skeletons weren't coming back, the party finished their rest and then headed back to the black pudding room. Mor'ath prodded the door with his trap-finding pole, and although the bottom half was bashed in, it was still able to mostly open. Beyond the door was a hallway with two alcoves on either side containing stone statues of dwarves with glimmering red gems for eyes. Further down, the hallway forked right.
They investigated the statues and noted what they were wielding, a maul, an axe and shield, a stone tablet, and hammer and chisel. Aurum said that they should take the gems, but nobody else wanted to, and the party continued to the fork. Straight ahead was a 2m wide 30ft deep pit with the cover melted off, which Arc tossed a loose stone down. Near the bottom, the stone started slowly sliding through the air, revealing the hiding gelatinous cube, which Aurum then fried with many Fireballs.
While they debated how to cross, Mor'ath noticed another floor cover and hinge on the far side, and although he volunteered to scout solo (easy thanks to his Jumping), the party decided to head right. The hallway continued off into darkness, with three exits each to the right and left. As they approached, Arc and Mor'ath heard a chewing sound, and motioned for the group to stop.
Mor'ath headed off in Stealth mode, but Zaxod followed and the jingling of his mail armour gave them away as they turned the corner, revealing a small alcove lined with burial niches. Two ghouls that had been eating a corpse stood and turned to attack, as Arc moved in to reinforce and Aurum charged a Fireball.
While the party was distracted, two more bodies stood up behind them and let out a dull moan, followed shortly by the "corpse" that the ghouls had been eating. Arc then activated True Faith, and the fight was all but over, with the undead too penalized to even come close to landing a hit.
After noting that the alcove behnd them had many empty burial niches, Mor'ath checked out the next two and noticed a gap between the floor and wall in one, clearly another sliding door. He noticed that the torch sconces in the hallway could be turned, and rotated them with his pole just to be safe. 10 minutes of experimentation later, the door slid open, revealing a room with six of the slightly-larger than life-size dwarf statues lying on slabs, loose bones scattered on the floor, rotted tapestries, and burial alcoves containing entire skeletons lining the walls.
Wary of more undead, Arc used True Faith while Mor'ath moved in, and the bones began to slide along into piles. Mor'ath was able to smash many of them, while Zaxod and Aurum stepped in and readied their weapons. The bones reformed into full skeletons, but only one survived the first second, which tried to run as far away from Arc as possible. Zaxod tried using Diplomacy (at default), but failed, and Aurum roasted it with a Fireball.
Mor'ath took a quick look around the room and noticed a seam along an area on the left wall, and tried to activate the secret door. After 5 minutes of trying to find a trigger, he gave up and went to go get the sledgehammer thatn Zaxod had left near the triangle wall to bash it down. Sensing an opportunity, Aurum ran back to the statues and gouged out one gem with his stoneworker's tools.
Over the next thirty seconds, Zaxod smashed a fist-sized hole in the roughly 6" stone wall and peered in, but was unable to see much without a lightsource in the room. He heard quiet, disturbing laughter (as though through a voice changer), and a ring of light turned to face him from the darkness. As it did, he felt his brain begin to melt and asked the wizard to take a look.
Aurum used his staff, which had Continual Light cast on it, to get a better view and saw large black dog-like creature with a single giant, glowing eye instead of a face. Like it had done before, it stared at Aurum while chuckling softly, and he felt a sharp pain in his skull and backed away. They then heard footsteps, and the beast fell into a bout of mad, cackling, laughter, inflicting a mental wound on the entire party.
Arc and Zaxod began laughing uncontrollably, and the party quickly retreated back to the pudding room. Arc gestured for a piece of paper, which Aurum gave him, but wrote down only gibberish, thanks to the unnatural laughter. Zaxod waved his arms around and drew his axes while pointing back to the room with the eye hyena (or "heyena"), but thanks to failed Gesture nobody was sure what he meant.
Aurum figured out to try Dispel Magic on Arc, but only succeeded at getting rid of the Continual Light on his holy symbol, and then passed out while attempting to drink a potion. Arc tried to cast Awaken, but was unable to concentrate, and the party decided to retreat. Mor'ath picked up Aurum after Zaxod refused to, and they headed back to the entrance.
Although they had to throw Aurum over some pits, they eventually made it, and after several minutes of walking through the mines, Arc and Zaxod were finally able to stop laughing. Arc successfully Awakened Aurum, who then suggested they go back to cast Shape Earth to close off the tomb from the mines, leaving a stone archway so they could find the way in again. They debated what the heyena might have been, and between Arc and Aurum realized that it wasn't a demon, devil, angel, magical beast, or construct.
They walked upwards for an hour and a half until they reached the surface, and returned to the south "gate" of Chryssa's Rest, where Mor'ath told a pair of guards to get somebody to watch the mine entrance. They then went to the church and met with the local initiate of Pelor, to ask him about what might have caused Zaxod's baldness ("It doesn't looks like a magical or divine curse, I'm not sure."), and if he knew what the heyena was ("It might be a demon." Arc: "No, it's not."). After a bit of debate, they bought a bunch of healing potions and headed onto the Enchanter's Guild shop.
Hue the Many-Coloured was similarly unhelpful, not knowing anything about either the sudden baldness or heyena, so the party went to find the other adventuring party and see if they knew. On the way back to the mansion, they saw Trugal the halfling berating the guards at the south "gate", and went to talk with him.
The halfling had no idea, and rather politely avoided mentioning Zaxod's hair problem until Arc brought it up, but suggested they try talking to Gilli, who, as a dwarven priest of Moradin, might know a thing or two about ancient dwarven tombs. They doubled back to the church, where Gilli informed them that covering dwarves in stone is a Moradinian burial rite, and that she had never heard of putting coins in eye-sockets or offering bowls.
Little progress tonight, sadly. A couple skeletons, zombies, and ghouls, but the one real threat was avoided. A lot of time was also spent dealing with/looking for traps and other hazards.
The party doesn't know what the heyena is, but they do have a pretty good idea of what it isn't. Unfortunately, they don't have the skills to figure out what it is themselves. They've narrowed it down to one of two categories:
-Aberrant (highly possible)
During the heyena introduction, Mor'ath realized that he had only 6 minutes left until his Luck recharged and the whole group suddenly really wanted to talk about anything but the game for some surely unrelated reason.
Zaxod was trying to use his (default) Gesture to get Aurum to Shape Earth the wall down so that he could attack the heyena. Everybody else was so wounded they didn't even think of that as an option, so his character was sulky, while laughing hysterically, and refused to carry Aurum. Hooray for Bad Temper.
0 for partial failure (they really didn't accomplish much this session, only clearing 2 rooms)
1 for good roleplaying
0 for combat (the only threat was the heyena, which they never attacked)
MVP went to Aurum by random roll, as his mapping tied with Mor'ath's trap-finding