The ride through the forest to Foehrenfort takes but three hours. The fort is very old, once forming part of the coastal defences that fought off sea raiders in the less-civilised past, though the sea has long since receded. The original keep is in ruins, as is the curtain wall surrounding the fort, though this last, at least, has been shored up to still provide a stout defence.
The party are received by the fort's commander, a foreign-born woman named Raina del Gado y Jimixez who has served decades in the King's army.
"The old keep," she explains," has long had the reputation of being haunted. No one will go near it at night -- some not even in daylight -- but it's so far out on the wall that no one really needs to. We're mostly content to let it crumble, and use it a story round the fire to scare the new recruits, sometimes send a few inside to prove their courage. Sure, there's always been noises at night, but I used to think that was just the wind howling through the holes.
"Lately I'm not so sure. The noises are getting louder, and more frequent. Some of the troops swear they've seen lights. And then there's this sickness that's been going through the camp. And the disappearances..."
"Fear not, commander," says Father Rochouart, "we have come to cleanse the foul stain of the undead from this place!"
Setup: roll 4 = modified (was:into the dungeon to kill vampires)
Interrupt: move toward a thread - Neldir - Triumph / Technology. The dungeon will contain an item or clue to the item Neldir is seeking; this will appear on a roll of Special for room contents on the 1st ed. DMG random dungeon charts. So it's kinda still Into the Dungeon...
Characters*: Neldir, the Elders of the Elven Forest, Ranwitha the Pious Merchant, Siorighan MU12, Tibalt & Barnot, dwarven mercenaries, griffon, Reverend Father Gelnay de Val d'Oine, Reverend Father de Molleré, Brother Mundlo, Zuhal B'thallit, centaur lizard, Jola, Sir Gaunet, Jönnick, Baron Iehan Forzdeleu, Count Rotres d'Estancbel, Lady Delphinia
*The 4 new NPCs in the party will only be moved to the NPC list if they part company with the PCs. They will count as PCs on the Mythic charts whilst still party members.
Threads: find Neldir & the book
remove zuhal's curse
[The commander's reaction roll towards the party is 9+1(Rochouart's CHA mod.), so she will give them all reasonable assistance. Mostly they will asking for extra torches, lamp oil, and healing from the fort's chaplains.
Just to be safe, I checked the truth of the rumour there are vampires here. A roll 10+1(Lady Delphinia the wereboar's reaction was over 10)=completely true.
After an hour or so of rest following the ride through the forest, the party goes into the dungeon in the afternoon.]
The top story of the squat tower which is the entrance to the ruined keep is still above ground. Daylight comes in weakly through a high window and the stairs leading up. Due to the recent heavy rains, there is water about 18" deep flooding the dungeon. The party descend the narrow stairs into the tower. The 30' diameter chamber [A1] is empty save for what has blown or leaked into it. Two stout doors of oak with rusting iron reinforcements are set in to the wall on opposite sides. Neither opens when tried, nor shows obvious signs of having been recently used.
"Vampires can turn to mist and seep right through the cracks," explains Géraint to his new companions.
"I'm a more traditional kind of girl," says Miolla, and begins kicking in the eastern door. It gives way slowly, but she eventually forces it open.
They had hoped the doors would have formed a seal, and that the rest of the dungeon would not be waterlogged; they are sadly disappointed.
[I will be keeping extra careful track of who has spare torches in case anyone falls into the water, which will happen if a one is rolled mêlée and a saving throw vs. paralysis is then failed. Movement rates will be reduced to the next worse level (e.g. unencumbered becomes 90'/30'). The map has 5' squares instead of the 10' squares from the dungeons under the monastery, so it's going to be more cramped as well. As the PCs are higher level now, the first level of the dungeon is dungeon level 2 for purposes of encounter charts and treasure.]
Behind the door is largish rectangular room. Rusting spear racks still line one of the walls, and corroded remains of armour are scattered about the floor, hidden under the brackish water. A search of the room turns up nothing of interest, but there is a wooden door set into the western wall. Miolla forces it open, revealing a long, cramped corridor beyond.
They proceed into the dark, narrow corridor. Lycinia is in the lead, torch and sword held aloft. Haddie brings up the rear with her lantern. Sloshing through the cold water, for what seems an age, they come to a 20' square anteroom [A3], devoid of furnishings save the rotten remains of a wooden table with a mouldering playing card still adhering to the surface. Corridors lead north and south out of the room. As the party confer on which way to go, Miolla feels something rush past her, scraping tiny claws against her mail [the party was surprised, but the monster, a Flitting Spirit] rolled a 2 for its attack].
Some sort of ghostly creature whizzes around the room, clawing and scratching as it goes. It is completely diaphanous, nearly invisible, in the subterranean murk. No one can see it until it is practically upon them. It attacks them seemingly [ok, actually] at random. All swing wildly at it as they feel it pass by, but very few hits are landed -- or do they just pass right through it? At length [8 rounds later] Aldira's rapier finally dissipates the spectre. Fortunately no one was injured.
Emboldened by the successful battle, they decide to head south. But the sounds of splashing are heard coming up the corridor [wandering monster from room A4].
Lycinia and Miolla step forward and peer into the darkness. Lycinia's torch reveals a horrible walking corpse [shroud phantom] coming steadily towards them. It is still wrapped in its linen winding-sheet. Tatters trail far behind it in the black water.
They step back into the room, ready to attack the moment it comes close enough. But it is deceptively quick. Long, bony arms shoot out from beneath the shroud, grabbing for Miolla's throat. She leaps backward, swinging her mace as she does, but as she avoids the corpse's grasp her swing comes up short. Lycinia thrusts her sword at the creatures chest, and is surprised when the blade is turned aside as if the linen were an adamantine breastplate.
The corpse pauses for a moment, as if surveying the room with its veiled eyes. It emits a low, breathy moan which is most unnerving, especially to the priest. Fr. Rochouart is gripped with supernatural panic [shroud phantoms have the special ability 'Turn Clerics'], and flees from the room into the dark corridor leading back towards the exit. He orders Haddie to follow with the lamp, but the girl just stands dumbly in the corner of the room [failed Loyalty check]. Théscine advances with her magical sword. The elven blade cuts deeply into the undead creature [7 damage leaves it with 8hp] but it continues forward. Géraint stabs weakly at it with his silver dagger, but his half-hearted attack does not connect.
The creature reaches out, claws raking Théscine's cheek [1 damage; she has 8hp left]. She is filled with fear and revulsion; her riposte is ineffectual. Géraint again is too cowed by the sight of the thing to make a decent attack of his own. Lycinia has had an idea, and comes back into the fray, striking out with her torch. The flames burn away a bit of the enchanted shroud [a torch does 1d4 damage with no modifications for strength. Lycinia hit for 1 point of damage, leaving it with 7hp].
[round 4. miss miss miss miss]
The thing is intent on killing Théscine, and lunges straight for her. As it does she brings up her sword. The creature impales itself on the enchanted blade, and is destroyed [7 damage kills it].
The party wait a minute to catch their collective breath, and listen down the corridor. They hear nothing else approaching, so make their way south. They come to a roughly 30' squarish room [A4] where Lycinia's torchlight reveals three more of the veiled undead [shroud phantoms a,b, & c.
round 1. the party wins initiative.]
Miolla speaks the words of a spell, and extends her hand towards the lead ghoul. A shower of green sparks shoots forth from her fingertips, shredding its pall and burning its withered flesh [a Magic Missile for 10 damage, reducing it to 4hp]. As Lycinia and Géraint slowly advance with torch and dagger at the ready, a second shower of sparks flies from Théscine's fingers, destroying the leader [her Magic Missile looks the same as she and Miolla both learnt it from the spellbook of Vethrelcem (the former court wizard at Castle Hræfnmor)]. Fr. Rochouart looks hurriedly through the pouch at his belt for a phial of holy water. The remaining two undead advance, emitting low, terrible moans. Fr. Rochouart feels the unholy power emanating from them, but this time stands firm.
Miolla raises her mace and lowers it in evident frustration. She knows mundane weapons are useless against these fiends, but hates not being able to fight. Lycinia and Géraint engage the two undead. Lycinia burns one with her torch [c takes 3 damage, leaving it with 16hp], but Géraint is still too nervous to get close enough to strike [misses b, having rolled a 4]. The creature takes advantage of his timidity, and lunges at his face, raking him with terrible claws [for 3 damage, leaving him with 9hp]. Lycinia's sword may not be able to harm her foe, but it does a good job of knocking away the thing's grasping fingers. Father Rochouart finds the phial he is looking for.
Miolla pouts in the background. Worland stays near Haddie so she feels safer. Théscine advances into the room. Géraint finally summons the courage to fight. He steps in under his opponent's clumsy attack -- like he has done many a night in the back alleys of Frommsport -- and slides his dagger between its ribs [3 damage reduces b to 4hp]. Fr. Rochouart strides boldly forth to stand beside Géraint. With a shout of "Discede!" he splashes the fiend with holy water. It blackens and smoulders, then collapses in a heap [7 damage destroys b].
Emboldened by fighting alongside the pious Fr. Rochouart, Géraint springs to Lycinia's side to fight the remaining creature. His untempered zeal unfortunately leads him to fight carelessly. Though he hits the creature, his silvered knife inflicts but the merest scratch [1 damage, it has 16hp left]. He also gets in Lycinia's way so that she cannot bring her torch to bear. As Géraint dances back to ready another strike, Lycinia is left wide open, and is blindsided by the creature's filthy claws [she takes 4 damage, leaving her with 12hp].
The last undead horror seems harder to destroy than its fellows. Aldira decides to use her magic on it. She traces a pattern in the air and speaks syllables of power; a glowing white arrow appears beside her, and propels itself into the creature [10 damage; her Magic Missile spell was learnt from Una's spellbook, so looks different]. Théscine slashes the thing with her sword [3 damage, dropping it to 3hp], and it staggers back, almost losing its footing [it rolls a 1 for its attack, but makes a saving throw vs. paralysation to avoid falling in the water]. Lycinia presses her attack with the torch, and destroys the fell creature.
The combat ended, the room can be searched. The remains of four simple wooden coffins float in the dirty water. In one of them is a rusty iron strongbox. Géraint prises it open, and is delighted to find it full of gems and jewellery:
Treasure Type I (HC XIV)
Gems (3): Obsidian-25 sp, Malachite-25 sp, Onyx-75sp.
Jewelry: (5): Golden fleur-de-lys clasp-600 sp, Copper necklace with large opal pendant-400 sp, Aventurine bead anklet-20 sp, Platinum pin depicting winged victory-1200 sp, Simple golden hoop earring-80sp.
Total Value: 2425sp.
He holds each item before Haddie's lamp to show his compatriots, then stows it all safely in the pouch at his belt.
Leaving by the northeastern door, the party proceed down yet another excessively long, cramped corridor. They pass by two passages leading off to the south, and eventually arrive at a half-open wooden door. Pushing it aside, they proceed down an angled corridor to another chamber [A5].
The chamber is filled with floating débris. Heaps of rotten cloth and fur protrude above the surface of the water. The stench is unbelievable, like a flooded field of decomposing sheep. The party move cautiously into the chamber, but overlook the danger lurking withing.
The three piles of fur are actually strange amphibious creatures, waiting patiently in the water for their prey [shaggy lopers]. They are covered in dark, bristly fur, and have toothy, alligator-like maws filled with a triple row of teeth. The creatures are roughly human-sized, stooping forward somewhat and balancing with their squat tails. They have no upper limbs, but their powerful legs are capable of quick movement.
But all this is just barely taken in by the surprised party as the creatures leap up to attack.
One [a] attacks Miolla, biting her shoulder. Its teeth, luckily, cannot penetrate her armour. The second [b] attacks Worland, whose leather is far more yielding that Miolla's mail coat [he takes 2 damage, putting him at 6hp]. The third [c] rears up before Géraint, and breathes a gout of fire upon him [Géraint saves for half damage, taking 1 point. He now has 8hp], but he avoids the worst of it.
The party quickly recover from the surprise, and set upon their new foes [winning initiative]. Miolla knocks the one attached to her shoulder soundly on the head with her mace [10 damage drops it to 6hp]. It staggers back, sorely injured. But its shriek of pain ends in a blast of fire [Miolla fails her saving throw, taking 2 damage; she has 11hp left]. Lycinia misses her opportunity to attack by dodging the flames. Worland strikes back at the one who attacked him [b], but his battle axe barely grazes its fur. Fr. Rochouart joins him, but fares no better with his sword. At least the thing does not come close enough for another bite. Aldira circles round the third one [c], drawing her rapier as Géraint slashes it viciously with his own [7 damage drops it to 5hp]. Théscine's swing goes wide as the creature sinks its teeth into Géraint's left arm [4 damage puts him at 4hp]. He cries out in pain from the terrible crushing wound.
Miolla's opponent [a] dodges an overhead blow from her mace, but blunders right into Lycinia's sword [7 damage drops it to -1hp]. It falls into the water, spraying blood from its side. Géraint strikes his foe [c] through the neck with his rapier [8 damage brings it to -3hp]. It falls, mortally wounded. Fr. Rochouart hits the last of the creatures, but it is considerably hardier than its fellows, and is barely inconvenienced [5 damage put it at 18hp].
[rounds 3 & 4]
The creature is surrounded. Fr. Rochouart cleaves through its collar bone [9 damage] and Worland cracks ribs with his axe [5 damage]. And yet it persists, biting fiercely at Worland, though its teeth come down on nothing save the boss of his shield. Aldira at length finishes off the beast with a decisive thrust to the side.
Father Rochouart looks at Géraint's mangled arm, and orders his friend to be still. He intones a prayer to the Light God, Who reaches down from the Highest Heaven to take the pain from his faithful Servant [cure light wounds heals 5 points, bringing Géraint back up to 9hp (of 12)].
Whilst this is happening the rest are searching the room. Bright-eyed Miolla notices a discolouration on one of the walls, neither mold nor filth but a difference in the stone. Tapping on the wall around it reveals a secret door! Behind the door is a small alcove, barely 5' square, containing several cheap pottery jars filled to the brim with coins. As they fill their pouches and bags with the loot, Aldira estimates there must be at least five hundred, with some gold mixed in amongst the silver too [500sp, 20gp].
"I'm starting to see," chirps Miolla happily, "why you took up the vampire hunting business!"
"I like this one," responds Worland, "she talks sense."