Monday, July 19, 2010

Session 31 - The Hidden Master

The adventurers and their companions had rescued Skink, stopped Telakin the doppelganger master, and possibly gained a new companion, Brazzle Bedazzle, but there was still much to do. The leader of the shape-changers' gang had been eliminated, but according to the information they had discovered, over two dozen were still active in the City of Greyhawk, and they still did not know who had sent the doppelgangers after them and why. The papers and large map they had discovered revealed the gang's activities, so they decided to hand the information over to the authorities. The map was too large to carry conventionally, and carrying it under the water to exit the subterranean level would run it, so they removed it from its frame and spent the next two hours carefully noting the color coordinated pin-marked locations with quill and ink. Once complete and allowed to dry, they rolled up the map and placed in inside the bag of holding.

Map and papers safely tucked away for the trip, the made their way towards the exit chamber and its watery contraption. Their numbers had increased somewhat on the trip back (Brazzle, Talon, and their prisoner), so there was not enough room for everyone on the small pedestal, so Ardynn decided to with Rowdy, Skink on his back, The sharp ears of Ash and Bolero heard the faint sound of grinding stone and turned to find a hidden door in the chamber wall had opened up, fifteen feet up and across from their position. In the passageway that opened were three cloaked figures. The two in the front lifted small hand held crossbows and took aim.

Bolero called out to his companions in warning as he went for his bow, but before anyone could respond, the cloaked figure in the back rose up off the ground to float above the two in front, and a wave of invisible energy slammed into the group, a loud roar filled their heads as their mind were assaulted. Nearly everyone reeled from the assault-only Ashbourn, Snuffy, and Rowdy remained on their feet-and Brazzle and Talon both fell from the pedestal into the water. Ash jumped across the platform, throwing himself on the ground and grabbing the two before they could sink to the chamber's watery depths, taking the painful sting of a tiny crossbow quarrel in the back for his effort. He could feel the poison wash over him, but he managed to shake off the effect. Snuffy, unfortunately, did not, and the dwarf fell over, unconscious. A voice invaded the monks mind, telling him to let Brazzle and Talon go to save himself, but the monk's mental training allowed him to bring up a wall in his mind to repel it, and he pulled his companions from the water, then scrambled for cover behind the control levers for the platform. Again and again the wave of mental energy hammered the group, keeping them on the ground, and one of the cloaked figures continued to fire and the other jumped out onto the platform, floating down by magic. When he landed, the grabbed the unconscious Telakin. Ash rushed to tackle him, and the two locked into a fierce grapple. In the struggle, the hood of his cloak fell back, revealing that their attacker was a dark elf! The drow tried to draw a knife, but Ash was in control. Bolero had come around, and pulled Telakin out of the conflict, shielding him from the attackers on the ledge, saving him from a hurled dagger from the dark elf on the ledge.

Ash focused his spirit energy and launched himself into the air, leaping across the gap and grabbing onto the lip of the passageway their enemies occupied. The drow prepared to strike the monk from his perch, but four blue missiles of magic lanced around him and into the dark elf's chest-Ardynn had finally come around and launched a magic missile spell from where she was pinned under Rowdy. As the foe in front of him fell from the secret passage and into the water, Ash pulled himself up and engaged the last foe. Face-to-face, the monk could see four slimy tentacles spilling from the hood of the robe, and a pair of milky white eyes stared out at him. The robe itself bore the same symbol on the doppelganger leader's forehead. The creature threw up one hand, revealing a large rod of twisting metal. Lightning arced down the length of the rod and the monster whispered words of arcane power, and a bolt of lightning blasted the ledge below, striking Bolero, Talon, and their prisoner. Ardynn, despite all logic, had been affected by the doppelganger taking Allustan's appearance, and she couldn't help to star in horror as already wounded creature took the full brunt of the powerful spell, its form shifting back to its true form even as it blistered and burst. Still levitating, the monster moved itself back, pushing along the ceiling of the chamber.

Bolero pulled his rope of climbing from his pack, sending it out to tie itself on the lip of the open door. Ash was not certain what he faced, but struck out with a blow meant to stun his foe. The hood of its robed fell back, revealing the monster's head completely-a large mauve head looking more like a squid than a man, with four writhing tentacles surrounding a round, lamprey-like mouth. It turned its monstrous head to the monk, pushing itself back out of his reach before fading away.

The secret tunnel led to another secret door, opening into the Free City sewer. They decided it would be an easier method of escape from the underground complex than the water-filled chamber.