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Pie
(12/4/02 8:30:30 am)
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Party in the water temple
I had to write this up for some missing players, so I figured I'd share it:

Dramatis personae:

Culver Darksun: 9th level self-loathing Drow cleric of Pelor.

Ferin Torunn of Clan Locknload (don't blame me, I didn't come up with it): Fighter 7/Dwarven Defender 2

Garion: Human Ranger 1/Fighter 4/Lasher 4.

Gothric: Goblin Cleric of St. Cuthbert 6/Hospitaler 3. He's traded in Knowledge (Religion) and Spellcraft for Ride (wolves) and Handle Animal as Cleric class skills. This should give you an idea of his personality :). He always wants to beat any beast or animal found in the adventure into submission.

Mr. Crane: Human Rogue 7/Shadowdancer 2. A fellow who is as shady as his profession, and about whom very little is known.

Tamryn: Gold Elf Wizard 7/Incantatrix 2. Tamryn has elected to take a century or so among humankind to write a book about lower-order beasts.

You can see these characters' sheets at www.rci.rutgers.edu/~bowell/dnd/sheets/

After killing the water cleric and the kuo-toa wizard, the party edged back around the hallucinatory terrain floor and went deeper into the complex, Mr. Crane leading.

The party discovers 7 human warriors hiding up on a balcony in the next room. Mr. Crane sneaks up and drops into their midst, killing several. The party helped pick off the rest.

He scouted ahead to the next room and discovered a pool that had unidentifiable creatures in it, one of whom noticed him. The party rushes in and discovers weird human/fish hybrids (not kuo-toa) wielding longspears. Short work is made of the enemies, and Mr. Crane sneaks into the next room.

This is a long hallway. On the left is a door swollen shut with waterlogging. He can hear dripping water beyond it. He goes on ahead and finds a pool with a pair of water mephits frolicking in it. He heads back when he hears the party moving forward, tells them to wait a moment, but on his way back one of the mephits sees him and summons another one to attack him, while letting out an unholy shriek.

The party engages, and the mephits are soon joined by 4 humans and a kuo-toa. Almost all of them are destroyed by a fireball from Tamryn. One mephit survives, and one human. The mephit is easily killed and the human tries to run away. When it's clear he can't, he surrenders.

The party sets up a few sentries in the main hallway and the rest take the human into a room to interrogate him. He reveals that the water temple has a lot of kuo-toa, though the leader is a human female. He says there's one kuo-toa whose mother was raped by a demon called a, "Heziwoah or something." Tamryn recalled that there was a type of demon called a hezirou, but nothing about it. This creature is known as Oomakaan. He also said the "road ahead" lead into crypts of the dead of The Elder Elemental Eye.

The human also revealed that an elf wizard named Kadiss works for the temple, but he's off for some reason, though he points out where the guy's spellbook is. He also said that one of the temple's other main servants is a kuo-toa called Urulug the Monitor, a warrior who usually fights only with his body, not weapons.

Finally, Culver had convinced him that the party were an exploratory force from the Fire Temple. He revealed that Fire Temple is, "on top," and offered eagerly to tell the party everything they might want to know about a secret attack the Water temple had planned for them. He said that "Nilbool" (who he did not identify, nor was he asked to) was going to take Urulug the Monitor, a water mephit, and several kuo-toa to the Fire Temple and use a scroll to "make the Fire Temple's altar into ash," and that if things went bad, they were going to use some other magic scroll to get, "everyone back to the Water Temple." Between them, Culver guessed that the ashing-scroll was a scroll of disintegrate and Tamryn decided that the other scroll must be teleport, or word of recall.

Then he asked for a job with the Fire Temple, but was turned down, and was let go.

During the interrogation, a water mephit liquefied himself and slid out from under the waterlogged door. He sped off away, and the party let him go. The prisoner confirmed that the fork the party hadn't taken earlier off the underground lake lead to the heart of the water temple complex, and that the mephit was probably informing the enemy.

The party rustled Kadiss's room and came up with destroyed boots of elvenkind, a spellbook, a potion of jump (snagged by Mr. Crane), a couple of tindertwigs and a flask of alchemist's fire. They holed up for the 22 hours it was going to take to get Gothric's spells back. After about 7 hours, a trio of kuo-toa came not-really-sneaking-that-much up the hallway. Two were sent ahead, and one stayed behind. The one that stayed behind had a huge diamond surgically grafted into one cheek, wearing a trio of half-spears rayed out behind him in a magificent crest, a dark cloak held together with a brooch, and a pair of leather bracers. Mr. Crane was on watch duty, swathed in the shadows he's become cousin to, but the moment he made the slightest move to activate his wand of shield, all three kuo-toa's eyes snapped to him.

Mr. Crane blows his whistle, and the party (except for Tamryn, who was still resting for his spells) snaps to. As the battle is joined, the kuo-toa keep shouting things back in a squishy language that no one understood to the one enemy that was hanging behind. The kuo-toa never attacked, taking full defenses. As Mr. Crane and Gothric started to head toward the guy that was hanging back, he ran. Gothric gave chase, but the kuo-toa was moving as fast as his dire wolf, and had a lead. The creature disappeared around a corner, and Gothric managed to tag it with a dispel magic, which blew away one effect on the creature. In the next round, a glass bottle shattering to the floor could be heard, and when Gothric and his wolf came around the corner, they could see the already speedy kuo-toa had rocketed ahead. Gothric attempted a hold person spell, but it had no effect on the fishy humanoid.

Back in the hallway, one of the kuo-toa had been killed, and the other surrendered. Ferin spoke with it in Undercommon, and it explained that he and his companion were sacrifices to find out how strong the group was and what it was capable of. It told him what it told its leader, but then refused to answer any further questions, inviting the party to kill it if they didn't like it. When Mr. Crane tried to jump into the shadows but was immediately seen by the kuo-toa (with something like a 44 hide check), he said, "That pissed me off," and stabbed the prisoner through the eye.

The party went back to resting, and the next day (after magicking the party with strength and health and so on), the headed back to the underground lake, cut a hard turn, and entered the other side of the water temple.

They came to a room that had a massive statue of several kuo-toa carrying wriggling human prisoners and riding a massive eel-creature. In an alcove screened off by seaweed, they discovered a devastating dexterity-sapping glyph trap on a rock. One of the party dispelled it, and the trove beneath was rifled. They found some gold and platinum, and a lead-stoppered bottle whose school of magic no one was able to identify. These went into the bag of holding. The final treasure was a flat iron rod with a button on one end and writing in Abyssal on it. In attempting to remove it from the narrow hole it was in, the button was accidentally pressed, and Mr. Crane was unable to pull it any further. He pressed the button again, and it came loose. The Abyssal writing was translated as follows: "Orcus's might cannot move it, but Grazz't's cunning can move it anywhere." Orcus was identified by Culver as being the demon prince of undead, who is often depicted as a massively strong creature. Tamryn recognized the name of Grazz't as a demon lord renown for his trickery.

The party agreed to let Mr. Crane carry the rod.

Moving on, the party discovered a passage that lead to a large cave with a 3' pool of indeterminate depth. The cave continued to the north to lead out to the surface of the crater ridge. Another entrance was found at last.

The group decided to sink a grappling hook and line down into the pool, and pulled it back out after it hit bottom. They discovered its depth to be 15 feet. The party were discussing what to do next, edging toward leaving, when they heard a disturbance in the pool.

When they turned, they saw an elegant and terrible creature. She had the head of a beautiful woman and a long, serpentine body which was only partially withdrawn from the water's surface. Her scales were a brilliant emerald, and she had a crest of orange spines down her back. She studied the party quietly for a moment.

The group decided not to attack at first sight (incredibly :)), though Mr. Crane did melt into shadows. The creature identified herself as Zeityan, a servant of the Water temple--or former servant, as it turned out. Though the reason for her disaffection was never discovered, she did provide a wealth of information after the party made clear that they intended to destroy the temple.

She said that the only way to truly defeat the temple is to get to the Outer Fane (which she identified as the kimberlite extrusion at the center of the Stalagos lake, though not the spike within. She said that was the Inner Fane. She said that in order to get to the Outer Fane, the party should take the lesser key of water they had taken from Kelashein--the leader of the temple whom they had already killed--marry it to its twin, which is carried by Oomkaan (who she identified as cleric who is half kuo-toan and half hezrou. She said that when you press two lesser keys together, for fifteen minutes they become greater keys, and that these greater keys can be pressed to one of the Outer Fane doors, which will then open. She advised that the best way to get in is to head far south and acquire a rowboat, then row that out to the Water Door.

She also said that the two main threats in the Outer Fane are sorceresses named Mhunaath and Yklah, who assume the false form of purple, rubbery-skinned creatures like Zeityan herself.

She asked if the party knew what the purpose of the "crater's ridge mines" was, and dissatisfied with their answer, she explained that they were a proving ground and buffer zone for the true temple. She confirmed that Tharizdun and the Elder Elemental Eye are one in the same. Or, more accurately, that the Elder Elemental Eye is a false face for Tharizdun. However, she said, while the lesser peons are told that they work to break Tharizdun/The Eye free of the prison that the other cruel gods placed him in, no one in power who knows anything actually believes this can be done. After all, this was a prison constructed not only by good gods, but by every primordial deity of Oerth. When asked what they ARE attempting, she gave a level look and asked, "What do all those in power seek?"

Culver suggested, "To retain power."

She agreed.

Finally, she said that the doomdreamers--those in charge of the Temple--are more concerned with something happening elsewhere (though she didn't know where), and that is why they were allowed to destroy one temple, and in general wreak havoc in the mines.

It seemed that she had more to tell, but at that point, two very bad things happened. Ferin, intending to show that he was carrying the Sword of Water, moved his hand to his weapon. At the same time, Mr. Crane came from out of the shadows. She ducked under the water, and came back with displacement and mage armor on her. She berated them for acting aggressively toward her, then told them they were no longer welcome in her home.

The session ended, with the party full of knowledge and ready for war.

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