Session Twelve Summary (Graveyard of Empires: After the Fall)
Session 12, September 23 2020
The party has made a deal with Hesfyx -- in exchange for eliminating the troublesome troglodytes that attack caravans approaching the trading post, the deep gnome Czizek-Tirgma will send out scouts and spies to find the dark elves who kidnapped Vikram. The party bursts into the troglodytes' lair at 9AM on the 11th of Tenrilden, firing crossbow bolts at the lizard men before Rallion steps forward with his magic scepter ...
Rallion attempted to communicate with the charmed trogs but to no avail. We eventually tried all the languages we knew, but we could only communicate with hand signals and scrawlings on the ground.
Braadlur attempted to use the magic that the "last mage" used and managed to animate 8 of the statues in the large area with the troglodytes. One of them was a stone dragon head. The friendly trogs urged us to go back the way we came.
The heads attacked the trogs near them.
We backed up and there was a burst of fire and 8 of the 13 charmed trogs were killed. We continued to back up and the trogs led Rallion (they seemed less interested in the rest of the party). They led us through passages and a natural chimney but the opening was too small, so they were working at it with their claws. Rallion game them his hammer and spikes and sped up the process.
Braadlur stayed behind and tried to talk to one of the statues that appeared to be following us, but it attacked. Braadlur fled and out gnome guide asked what was going on as Braadlur ran past shouting "Run!"
The guide took Braadlur back towards the settlement but went past it to an area where things widened out. The guide managed to hide. Braadlur used his grappling hook to try and trip the statue, but it didn't work, and it turned to chase Braadlur. Braadlu coupldn't hide, so he ran.
Braadlur notices Ralion's hurried mark of the tunnel we went down. Braadlur found the hole in the ceiling at the end of the tunnel and once up there, he decided to light and toss down his bomb. He lit the fuze near the device and dropped it down the hole. It caused the ceiling of the cavern Braadlur was in, and the floor to collapse. It killed the statue, but Braadlur was trapped.
This was close enough to where the rest of the party was that half of us were caught in the collapse, and the other half made it to a tunnel that leads to some bad creature. Some of the gnomes died, and one of the trogs died and one was unconscious. The three remaining trogs ran, motioning for Rallion to follow. Rallion went up and secured a spike with a rope so the others could climb up and haul up the unconscious.
Rallion and Laris followed and found the edge of the trog's lair. We went back and found the rest of the party who came to find us due to rumblings that sounded like more collapse. The rumbling followed us, but it was Braadlur and his earth elemental friend Click Thump.
Click Thump explained to Braadlur that these creatures took on the properties of the stone they inhabit, plus take on characteristics of the figures they inhabit. He can detect them from a distance and knows that the trogs have killed some in addition to the one Braadlur took out.
We go back to the fork Rallion & Laris found and Click Thump guides us.
We come to a bridge over an opening with 8 trogs one of whom is poised to lever a boulder over the edge. Rallion attempts to convert them to our side, but Braadlur fires his crossbow and they attack. We take out 7 of them and one runs away.
We prepare to go towards the evil statues, who are preparing/doing "something" as per Click Thump.
Stony Smashing of Charming Trogs
Collapsing Caves that aren’t empty….we’re in ‘em!
Late morning/Early afternoon
About a work period or better into the day.
Rallion has charmed a group of Troglodytes that were just a moment ago set on killing us and feasting on our bones.
We all hold our hostilities and proceed to try and communicate. Braadlur is doing something with his rock.
Braadlur chants the words that Othix used calling on the stonegods and something happens…. All the torches start flickering, go down, then flare up. When the flames return to normal, the shadows are still moving because all the statues are moving in the room beyond. Looks like we’ve got more friendlies through Braadlur’s magic! They wade into the troglodyte ranks crunching and smashing them handily.
Braadlur looks a little concerned… Our charmed troglodyte squad is clearly alarmed and waves us back. We retreat a bit and all of a sudden the corridor is full of flames. We reckon the dragon head pointed this direction went off. I guess the new additions to the equation are not concerned with friendly fire... Braadlur still looks concerned. Maybe something went wrong??
Most of us retreat further back while Braadlur stays and watches what the stone statues are doing.
We attempt all the languages our party knows to communicate with the troglodytes We cannot seem to find one to converse with the troglodytes, although a couple did turn their heads when Kobold was spoken. The troglodytes are hell bent on moving away and since Rallion cannot communicate, we’ve little choice but to follow. Khorvac, waiting at the main entrance to the lair is quite surprised as we run past following the trogs and drops his snack, a hand that is half eaten. Ick.
The party, sans Braadlur, follow the troglodytes in a hurry. They seem quite done with the stone creatures of Braadlur’s. They lead us along and Rallion marks the way. We start going vertical through one passage into another room with some rumblings down a hallway and a very small opening in the ceiling. They give us the negatory sign, hissing and crooking their neck as if dead, when we point down the hallway of rumbling. That’s not hard to understand… We try pantomiming with the Troglodytes, they draw a picture that, well, I’m not sure what it exactly is, but it looks like it shouldn’t be described in mixed company or around young children. I think I’ll go check out the rumbling tunnel while Rallion admires Trog Porn. I thought Rallion was more of a prude. You never know what fetishes are hiding in people. Trogs?! I didn’t figure him to go for scales.
Rallion passes his spikes and hammer to the trogs (who take them reverently, interesting) to work on widening the ceiling opening. Maybe that’s some kind of new thing with him… spiking the trogs… oh my, I’m gonna have to start thinking about the diet of these Gnomes, get those images out of my head. He says the picture they drew was a representation of the tunnels around here and it looks like they’re heading around to the backside of their lair. Sure Rallion, troglodyte backside. Not confident you’re interpreting the right backside from the picture, but you do you.
There’s a mighty rumble from back the way we came, rocks fall, dust poofs and flesh crunches. What the hell?!?
The majority of us make it into the side tunnel. A fair number of the party are trapped and wounded as the ceiling collapses. We make haste and extract those that can be saved. Braadlur must have used that explosive he brought along. I wonder if he’s still alive. Not much for it at the moment though. The ceiling’s exit tunnel is opened up nicely now. Once the troglodytes that survive get their bearings, they tear out up the tunnel and disappear. Rallion and I shimmy up and secure ropes for the rest of the party to haul the wounded and unconscious up then run after Rallion’s new friends.
We follow a tight convoluted passage for about 20 minutes and come to a regularly sized passage about 10’x10’ with a ladder going down and stairs up to the right. There’s screaming of troglodytes from the stairway. We head back to collect the party and about halfway we find they’re already coming our way, they heard a rumbling sound and have moved this way to escape whatever is following. We hustle back the way we came toward the troglodyte lair. The rumbling intensifies and Braadlur appears with his friend Clickthump, an earth elemental.
He relays his story: After we ran from the stone statue, Braadlur stayed to see if they could be communicated with. He thinks he was able to be understood by the stone creature, however hostility ensued and he beat feet. Khorvac joined him in his flight, losing his hand snack for good this time. The two gnomes attempt to hide. It sees Khorvac and goes after him, Braadlur tries to trip it unsuccessfully but he does draw it’s attention. Heroic that Braadlur. He thinks Khorvac was likely able to make his escape as Braadlur runs for his life. The stone thing close behind. He was thankful that Rallion made his sign at the passage we went down and when he made it up the vertical shaft, he dropped his explosive on the stone dwarf. Which led to the big badda boom and collapse of the surrounding tunnels, including the one we were in. He called upon his stone friend Clickthump and caught up with us after his rescue from the lucky entombment and not crushed from the collapse. Good thing that his buddy listened to him that time.
Braadlur tells us that Clickthump has given him a rundown of these stone creatures. When he tried to use his stone as Othix had, it opened up a conduit to dark powers in a place with stone everywhere much like air here. The stone creatures take on the powers of the form they ‘occupy?’ along with the toughness of the rock. Great. A dragon head that’s tough as stone and breathes fire. Fabulous.
I wonder if turning would work on the things… not undead though, so probably not… We regroup after Braadlur’s return head toward the troglodyte den and the moving statues of interesting things. We come to a bridge and spy a group of 8 trogs waiting for a statue to walk by underneath their rock ready to lever off the ledge. They aren’t happy we’re here, Rallion tries to talk, and Braadlur shoots. Decision made, we engage and one of them gets lucky, or I get unlucky and take a spear to the shoulder. We dispatch 7 and one run runs off.
Clickthump relays the lay of the lair and that the stone creatures are doing something in the main chamber. There’s 7 of them left. With his fancy moving through stone and making tunnels trick, maybe he can cave in the area above them and disrupt what they’re doing. I’m sure whatever evil stone animating spirits from elsewhere are doing, it can’t be good.