Episode 7: The Great Escape
Previously on Canyon Fodder: After a careful negotiation, our heroes stepped right into a steam pile of mistakes when they ‘accidentally’ broke into their host’s chambers setting off alarms across the fortress. They fought bravely, but with everyone unconscious, Henri turned to stone, and Teddy off who-knows-where, Tal Xander negotiated a surrender to the Marilith, Andariel.
The scene is set with Cataclysmia and Bartholomew rotting away in the fortress’s dungeon, Theodoric skulking undetected around the hallways, Xander catching up on his sleep in his assigned chambers, and Henri standing guard in the Throne room watching Manes scurry from place to place under his stony gaze.
In his wanderings, Teddy noticed that the Marilith would spend time every “day” staring at the coral ring near her chambers and then go off to sleep in her chambers. After finding Xander, they discussed their options; Teddy in his high pitched halfling voice, and Xander presumably with articulate hand gestures seeing as his ability to speak had yet to be restored. They decided that the best course of action was to free Bart and Cat, retrieve their equipment from the vault on the other side of the fortress, restore Henri with their new-found leveled up powers, and then sneak away with no one the wiser.
Part one of their brilliant scheme went off without a hitch. The rogue and monk took out the two pitiful manes guards with the help of some monkly deception. Teddy went down and freed Cat and Bart while Xander guarded the door. The four of them marched off towards the vault.
The vault entrance was down a set of stairs. It was guarded by two more pitiful manes as well as some potentially less than pitiful wards. The plan was for Xander to go down, hail the manes, and dispel the first set of wards with the spell stored in his ring. The dispelling went well enough, but apparently the manes were not quite as stupid as our group thought and one of them reached out to pull the alarm. Xander leapt across the room and took it out while Teddy took care of the other. Cataclysmia took care of the last ward and to vault door stood before them.
Theodoric pulled out the vault door key and inserted it into the lock. To his surprise, not only did the door not open but the key was sucked into the door! That was when we noticed the door was actually a mimic. Who does that!? The mimic was not a terrible challenge for our friends, but it did manage to trigger the alarm with one of its pseudopods. Bummer.
In the vault they found 12 chests including our equipment as well as some other goodies including what they assumes were the devil ray shards on necklaces. Little time for a thorough search they raced off to free Henri. Perhaps Andariel slept through her alarm or hit snooze?
Close to two dozen manes fell like dominos before the adventurers wrath before they got to the throne room which contained another eight manes plus the marilith. The battle was short and fierce. Teddy and Xander rushed in on opposite side of the room and engaged the manes while trying to get as much cover from Andariel’s arrows as possible. Bart rushed to Henri and de-petrified him. Cat cast a telekinesis spell and used it to bind Andariel. Thus the battle came to its climax with the six armed demon hanging in the air as the five inglorious bastards did what they could to beat her down. This time the cry for surrender came from Andariel, but they would not have any of it. With one of Henri’s arrows protruding from her forehead, the Marilith’s serpentine body dropped to the ground.
With more time on our hands, we did a more thorough search and found more loot as well as the items we traded Andariel for the shards. There were still some manes left in dark corners of the fortress, but they wanted nothing to do with the band of warriors. Cataclysmia took some time to check out the coral ring and found that she could astrally project around the fortress and surrounding area. While poking about she noticed a squad of demons coming our way towards the fortress.
The last thing they wanted was another fight at that moment so they boogied then and their back to the river avoiding the supposed reinforcements. Amazingly the boatman was still there and they climbed aboard and launched down the river.
About this time they decided to check out the necklaces. Seeing as Cat had put one on some time ago and was no less normal than usual, they rest of the back put theirs on. Everyone rejoiced when Xander got his voice back due to the magic in the necklace’s stone.
They floated down the river for some time and then turned off the main branch down an offshoot. It turned into rapids which dumped into a lake swirling around a maelstrom in its center. Unable to do anything at this point but hold on they were sucked down the whirlpool and emerged unscathed and dry on a slowly moving river “somewhere else”. The river cut through a flat plain. The air was hot, humid, and briny – a sea of some sort was close. Large biting flies made what might have been a restful respite an annoying experience for all. The river was not terribly deep and we could see what looked like bleached coral on the bottom.
We drifted for some time and saw up ahead a bridge crossing the entrance to a large bay. Closer inspection showed figures on the bridge. Not wanting to float into trouble they pulled over, made camp, and scouted ahead. They found three balgura and a handful of manes on guard at the top of the bridge – with who knows how many inside the structure.
Henri come up with a crazy plan: cast water breathing on everyone, have Teddy cast an illusion on the barge to make it seem like flotsam thrown from the whirlpool, and we would drift past the bridge with all of us hiding underneath. For once the plan went off without a hitch and a battle was avoided.
Interesting factoid: it was not coral on the riverbed, but rather bone. Lots and lots of bone. Eww.
Once sufficiently past the bridge, the group climbed back on the raft and looked around. They were in a large sea or bay. Off in one direction they could see a verdant green landscape – probably a jungle. Further on they saw two towers that marked the city of Lemoriak. And in the middle of the bay was what looked like a construction site. Was that where the tarrasque was being assembled and they would find Demogorgon and the splinter that started this whole mess…?
Stuff they found:
In the vault:
3 potions of superior healing
book with metal plates
8 stone arrows
3 scrolls of water breathing
7000 gold pieces
11 gems: 1 black opal, 2 sapphires, 4 opals, 3 diamonds, 1 star sapphire – all about 1000gp each.
Potion of speed
Potion of vitality