What follows is Spoiler City. Don’t read if you intend to enter the ToH as a player!
Our current player–character breakdown:
Adrian P. (covering for Mike F.)
Ceralt, 14th-level Fighter
Phelan, 9th-level Magic-user
Dendyr, 14th-level Cleric
Rath, 7th/8th-level Dwarf Fighter/Thief
Forethal, 9th-level Cleric
Quint, 12th-level Ranger
Brandice, 4th/6th-level Drow M-U/Thief
Our brave PCs emerged from their battle with the “false Acererak” ready to continue their search for the real McCoy. A bit of backtracking (a dangerous thing in this place) led them back to the remains of the Chapel of Evil, there to bed down the night, rest, and recover spells. While there, they tested the archway of glowing orange mists in various ways, but didn’t tempt fate by stepping inside. Sound did not carry through the mist, nor did sight. (One character in the party, thinking evilly, animated the skeleton discovered earlier in the chapel and ordered it to step through the arch. He then ordered it to return, but it couldn’t hear his commands … presumably it stands there still.)
The party investigated the mummy preparation area, and Dendyr the cleric soon discovered the halves of the One Key hidden in the stone vats, and also the hidden ochre jelly! The jelly reared up and attacked, but was swiftly dispatched by Ceralt the fighter and Quint the ranger.
Next the party came to a long, open pit in the corridor. Many spikes dotted the floor. After some discussion, Brandice the drow mage-thief levitated across and affixed a rope to the far end. Each PC then would step down into the pit, walk across using the rope for balance, and climb up the other side. Simple! Dendyr crossed first, only to unleash a volley of spikes upwards as he stepped into the final third of the distance. Twenty-one points of damage later… time for a new plan!
A harsh turning point came for the group at the Jumbled Chamber (my term), a room of battered furniture, trunks, coffers, funerary items, and hideous greenish curtains depicting undersea life. Dendyr, Quint and Brandice busied themselves examining the walls behind the curtains, while Rath the dwarven thief-fighter checked out the (empty) chests.
Moments later the precariously balanced room responded to their movements, sending the characters flying. This happened several times. Finally, as the bruised characters were desiring to move on, Phelan decided to yank down one of the long curtains. Rrrrip! tearing the enchanted curtain reverted it to its natural state—an enormous quantity of green slime that fell in a sheet to cover a 10 by 20 foot area. In but a moment, Phelan and Dendyr were buried under mounds of green slime and destroyed, eliminating the group’s 14th-level cleric and 9th-level wizard in one fell swoop!
The band of adventurers trudged ahead, bypassing a spiked pit and then taking a spear to the gut (courtesy of a trapped door), and eventually made their way to a unusual grotto filled with brilliant streamers of gold and silver mist.
Rath inhaled the gas and shrugged off its effects, and he entered the cave solo while the others waited outside. Rath soon encountered a mysterious woman and engaged in conversation. She revealed little, evading questions about the tomb or her role therein and only hinting that she had been in her grotto a very long time. Rath, good thief that he was, noticed two sacks lying behind the woman and inquired about them. She sadly waved an arm toward them. The dwarf then touched the smaller of the two sacks and the other sack and siren immediately disappeared—spirited away to parts unknown (or oblivion) by Acererak’s magic. Investigation of the sack revealed four potions in metal, stoppered vials.
Rath related his experience to his companions as the shimmering mists in the cave behind him began to fade away. The group then forged ahead, moving to an area that would prove one of the most dangerous of the evening…
Stay tuned, gentle reader.