Left hanging.

Previously the party had arrived at the break in the shattered tower created by a powerful explosion in the laboratory below. Above them, impossibly suspended, hung the remains of the upper level of the tower. Around them the floor appears to be held in check by good luck and magic. Denig, is very disconcerted and hangs back. The rest are relatively unaffected and start to seek a way to the next floor which can be seen above. Luckily, they remember a potion recovered in one of the lower rooms that said float in Sothron. Eventually, after much boasting over climbing skill and agility it is decided that Dagaard should drink the potion.

Gently, Dagaard rises up to the next level with a rope fastened round his waist. He ascends into a room with a shattered floor and a jet black door leading into the tower. There is room for three more and he is soon joined by Fulton and Pick. The party deem it wise to leave the quivering Denig below because of his apparent anxiety of the nature of the tower, the bulk of his stone skinned body and the lack of space.

Water elemental – an enslaved minor maia

Having assessed the door, Fulton enters the chamber beyond. Soft blue light, as if filtered through the surface of the sea, surrounds him and he can see the stairs beyond. However, both he and the nearby Pick are uncertain as to the nature of this room and decide that roping together would be wise in case of any magical effects. As Fulton enters, a water elemental (an enslaved Maia) attacks. Pick enters quickly to support Fulton, Dagaard on the other-side of the door is forced to hurriedly pick his way across the shattered floor to the door to avoid being pulled off his feet. Battle with the water elemental is swift and successful, with Fulton only receiving a mild dousing with water.

With the room secured, Denig’s stone bulk is hauled up and the room quickly examined. Apart from three book cases with stones and some iridescent hide covered books, there appears to be nothing of immediate interest. The party also appear to have decided as one that the main priority is to climb the tower to find the lair of the Fell beast and destroy it before it can pick them off on the way back to the village. Accordingly, any detailed searches can be done on the way down and the same for looting. They press on up the stairs.

Above, they enter a hall with jet black floor and four pillars that contain genies of earth, air, fire and water apparently carved into the pillar in stone representing each of the elements. Each of the trapped maia is chained and because these appear to be carvings the party pay them no mind. Denig and Pick cross the floor to a door across the room and the manner of the statues causes them a moment disquiet as if they statues are alive and watching but they pay them no heed still. The doorway opens out onto an open platform with an orb in the centre. The floor of the platform is covered in silver marks but neither has the experience or wisdom to understand their meaning so they return to the stairs and the party ascends.

The level above appears to be a curved corridor with stairs up to the next level. Apart from a careful examination of the corridor for traps, the party do not linger and press on to the level above.

The stairs up shift from the coral marble of the tower to a dark granite. The party enter a dimly lit room that is reminiscent of an underground cave. The dwarves are immediately at home in the room. The centre of the room is dominated by a statue of an earth genie but lacks stairs to ascend to the level above. On one side of the room appears to be a veil of light, blinding to look at and impossible to see beyond. Despite its brightness, none of its light spreads into the darkened chamber. Cautiously, the party pass through the veil and into the space beyond.

They find themselves floating in air. Quickly, the realise that this is but an illusion, although Pick remains a little concerned about the illusion and the possibility that somewhere it may not be or that it may become reality and he will fall. There are seven mirrors in this room, a set of stairs leading down and a doorway. Denig opens the door to discover a small platform with white flowered plants which he spends a few minutes exploring. The party then descend the stairs.

Below they discover, two rooms, a lounge and a bedchamber. The exploration is rather cursory as they plan to return after defeating the Fell beast at the top of the tower. Soon they have returned to the room of air and are considering the lack of stairs and the seven mirrors. Eventually, they notice that the stone genie’s hands will hold one mirror from the room and so the hidden stairs are revealed. The adventurers continue to climb the tower.

The stairs emerge into a shadowed open area, the walls are four feet high and the floor is covered in grit and sand. Above them, the bulk of the tower sits suspended on the curved buttresses that sweep out of the tower at this point. The floor above appears to be unreachable. In the centre of the space is a coral pink marble plinth with form rhomboid shaped depressions each marking a compass point. This causes much debate about the need to find the objects that might control travel to the next level.

The explorers also notice a small alcove to one side that fits one person. This they discover links to a similar alcove in the room of air and there appears to be a hole of a similar shape and size in the floor above. A re-examination of the room below reveals the words up and down in an ancient form of Haradaic. Fulton tries out these instructions in the alcove and finds himself lifted into the tower’s upper levels; where the room is filled with strange hybrids of animals all stuffed and mounted on plinths. Upon returning to his companions, he spends an entertaining few minutes teaching them the words to control travel and the party eventually ascend to the dimly lit Menagerie of taxidermy.

The door from the Menagerie exits out on to an open aired platform with two nearby doors. The first appears to be a library and the second a laboratory. It is while opening the second that the Fell beast descends from the dusk sky and assails the party. Denig immediately runs through the open door into the laboratory to escape the winged monster. With a savage war cry Dagaard Dragonhelm launches a ferocious assault on the beast but in delivering his blow his war hammer shatters. Fulton avoids being raked by the monsters claws by forgoing any meaningful attack for full on defence. Pick launches his own assault with modest success.

Fell Beast head study by Dargon XKS

Realising that none of his companions have sought safety, Denig returns to the fray his broadsword strikes with the flat of the blade but somehow mystical energies are transferred and the beast writhes as sparks of energy scours its body. The brief respite allows for a change of position and weapons. Dagaard takes Pick’s hammer and Pick switches to the great battle axe he has carried with him from the Dwarven citadel of Jorvulla. The four companions surround the beast. Denig’s sword play suddenly looks less effective without the magical energies delivered before but the dwarves deliver telling blows until Fulton drifting to the rear of the winged creature is able to drive home his advantage and deliver the final fatal blow.

The companions explore this level but without any real conviction. They discover a number of strange items in the laboratory. A jade sickle taken by Fulton as weapon; a skull lantern lit by some form or eternal flame and some sandalwood bracelets by Denig for decoration among them. Denig and Fulton are convinced that there must be a hidden door somewhere in the centre of the tower but are only prepared to spend ten minutes searching. If it hadn’t been for the dwarves’ more dogged efforts in library an entrance to the stairwell may never have been found.

The level above is a reading room lit by four glowing skulls; one of which, a long dead sorcerer’s reanimated skull, attacks the party. Somehow the party defeat the ghostly floating head with only minor frost bite. The room itself appears to lead nowhere until they locate two keyholes which take two silver keys found on the level below. Crystal stairs rise magically to the level above.

The brave heroes emerged into the dark dome of the tower. Three sarcophogi were lit by the ethereal glow of the flame skull brought up from the laboratory below. Will they open the sarcophogi now or wait for morning?

3 thoughts on “Left hanging.

    1. Rather than death Maia are supposed to become non corporal. I ruled the players can do damage but Crit severity is two levels less as per Creatures and Treasure. Stun and hits per round are ignored. Fortunately, the war hammer is a great concussion weapon. Magic would work but the MU was on the floor below quaking and having a crisis of faith.

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