The West Wing
The East Wing
The party began to realise that the skeletons were not animated, nor were they likely to. Lithanor went up to one of the guard skeletons and attempted to pull its halberd free. The skeleton collapsed in a pile of dust, while the halberd was extremely rusty and the shaft was very brittle and looked as if it would break with the first strike. Sneaky went up to the skeletal figures sat on the thrones
and attempted to take the jewelled mace that one of them was holding. As soon as she grabbed it, the mace collapsed into dust, and the jewels turned into fine crystals that disappeared into nothing before hitting the floor.
Lithanor suggested searching the dais more thoroughly. Morgan found a hidden compartment in the back of one of the thrones. Just then, Talanius fell over. Morgan rushed over to see if he was alright and helped him to his feet. He asked him if he was okay. Talanius responded “Oui! I am fine. Somesing just came over me for a moment” in a French accent.
Talanius then looked down at himself and seemed horrified. His next statement was “Oh non! Je suis un homme!” He then started trying to take his armour off. Morgan realised that Talanius didn’t have a clue how to remove armour, something that a seasoned fighter would be able to do without any problem at all.
It was obvious to the party that this was not Talanius and that he had been possessed. The party demanded some answers and when Mazaramus suggested tying him up, whoever Talanius now was realised that there was no way out of this other than to come clean and play along.
Talanius had been possessed by Princess Catharine d’Amberville by means of a magic jar spell. The skeletons on the throne were Henri d’Amberville, her husband, and herself. She assured the party that Talanius was quite safe, and that if she could find another suitable female body (looking at Sneaky) then Talanius would be able to return to his own body.
Out of game, Sneaky had already successfully resisted being possessed by Catharine. That was when she had the strange sensation at the end of the previous session. Catharine could only make another possession attempt each turn (10 minutes). Whilst the party were investigating the skeletons and searching the dais, another turn had passed, and she attempted to possess a random character, which turned out to be Talanius. Talanius had a +5 bonus to saving throws from the blood-stained arch, but rolled a “1” and so he was possessed.
Also, Catharine is a magic-user (which I think the party suspects), which is why she wants to take the armour off. Whilst wearing armour she cannot cast spells, which is why she surrendered so readily when the party threatened to tie her up. She is insane, not stupid!
Catharine removed the armour (with some help from Morgan). Somewhat horrified by the undergarments and shirt that Talanius wore underneath his armour, she carefully removed what was left of her tattered garments from her skeleton and attempted to make herself a bit more presentable, without much success.
The party told Catharine about their run-in with Simon. Catharine told the party that Simon was evil and would have practisers of the dark arts like herself and Mazaramus executed if he had his way. She discovered from the party that Etienne d’Amberville was responsible for the Chateau being trapped between worlds (and also her death, though she didn’t divulge this bit to the party). She came to the realisation now that she may have to help resurrect Etienne so that the transposition between worlds could be completed, and her-self and Henri restored (at which point they could kill Etienne…again).
Morgan returned to the throne and opened up the secret compartment he had found. Sneaky also went over to have a look. Inside the compartment were several evidently quite valuable pieces of jewelry, a tiara, diadem, ornamental rod and so forth. Sneaky was about to help herself to some of them when Talanius/Catharine pulled her out of the way. Catharine rifled through the jewelry and pulled it out of the compartment, then screamed “Where is it? Who has taken it?” (she was looking for her spell-book). The party asked what they were looking for but she sidestepped the question and told the party that they need to get to the library.
Not having any particular grudge against the librarian, she told the party that they would need to pay a 5,000 gold piece fee before being allowed to look through the library. The party told her that all of their money was being looked after by Aurena in the Indoor Forest. Just then, the eastern doors to the throne room opened and two rock statues began walking across the room towards the party. Lithanor thought they were Magens. However these seemed more crudely made than the Magens. Catharine corrected Lithanor, stating that these were merely living statues, much easier to create than Magen.
The living statues came closer. Catharine merely stood there waiting for them to advance. The rest of the party waited apprehensively, weapons ready to be drawn. As they got closer, they saw that the eyes of the statues were glowing with a dull red lava-like fiery glow. They halted before Catharine.
Catharine spoke to the statues in French, and they began marching towards the double doors leading to the Indoor Forest. The party asked her what she had done. She said that she had sent the statues to retrieve some of the party’s money from Aurena. The party were going to wait for the living statues to return. When Catharine told them that they could be some time as they were quite slow, Mazaramus decided that it would be quicker if he went to see Aurena using his broom of flying.
Mazaramus reached Aurena quite quickly and asked her for 5,000 gold pieces out of their stash. Aurena said that it was a pleasure to look after their treasure. “It’s quite comfortable to sleep on”. Aurena pointed out that there is no way that Mazaramus’ broom of flying will take the weight of such a large amount of coins. She woke up the unicorn and told Mazarmus to get on, which he did. She then got a chest full of gold pieces and, lifting it up as though it was a paper plate, said “Ready?” and handed the chest to Mazaramus.
Mazaramus took the chest. They weight of it pulled him off the unicorn just as there was a flash. Mazaramus found himself falling to the floor of the throne room, the unicorn standing beside him and the rest of the party looking at him with bewilderment. The unicorn went over to the double doors to the Indoor Forest, using its horn to pull on the ring of the door handle and open it, before trotting off through the doors.
The party proceeded towards where Catharine had told them that the library was. They went through the doors at the eastern end of the throne room, which led to a 20’ wide passageway running for about 90’ before turning south. The red carpet running from the throne continued along this passageway. About halfway along the passageway on the south wall was a door, which led into the library.
Entering the library, they encountered a man with a collie dog’s head sat in a chair reading a book. This was Claude d’Amberville, the librarian, who turned out to be quite polite and friendly. The party did indeed need to pay a 5,000 gold piece fee to look around the library, which they promptly paid.
For this encounter, I borrowed my four-year old daughters cuddly toy wolf. Pulling my jumper over my head, I put the wolf on my head with the wolf’s head sticking out of the top. My daughter found this quite amusing, especially when Claude was talking.
Anyway, the party proceeded to search through the library. Catharine was frantically searching through the larger volumes, looking for her spell-book, but to no avail. Sneaky found a scroll, opened it up and found that it had a picture of a dog on it. This was a cursed scroll. She failed her saving throw against the curse and turned into a dog.
The party continued searching. Catharine, realising that her spell-book wasn’t here, stormed out of the library via a second door in the east wall. Klaus ran after her.
Meanwhile, Mazaramus found a spell scroll, and Merick found what appeared to be a useful scroll. He gave it to Morgan, who was unable to read it as the writing was in French. This scroll was indeed important to the party as it contained some useful information on how to break the curse surrounding Castle Amber. I had prepared a handout for this, translating the handout provided in the module into French using Google translate. I know that there is a French version of the module, which has a purple cover, and it would have been useful to have a copy of that, and I would be interested to see how close my translation was.
Two of the party have the ability to read the scroll. Lithanor has the spell read languages in his spell-book, but had not learnt it for that day. (For any players of later editions of D&D, in Old Red Basic and 1st and 2nd edition AD&D, spell casters had to memorise their spells at the beginning of the day from their available spells). Sneaky could also read languages as a thief ability gained at 4th level with an 80% chance of success. Unfortunately, she was now a dog.
Not to be deterred, Sneaky translated the writing anyway…from French to Dog. Luckily, Claude spoke fluent Dog. Sneaky asked Claude if he could translate the scroll from Dog to English. Claude obliged. The fact that Claude could translate the scroll from French to English without having to translate it into Dog first was totally overlooked by the party.
The scroll, entitled To Those Who Would Be Free, explains that in order to break the curse and escape the mist, the party must journey to Averoigne to find four magic items, the Enchanted Sword of Sylaire, the Viper Circled Mirror, the Ring of Eibon and a Potion of Time Travel. These can be used to summon the tomb of Stephen Amber. First, however, the party must find the Gate of the Silver Keys (Aha! So that’s what the keys are for!)
Meanwhile, out in the corridor outside the library, Catharine had run into an otherwise empty bedroom and bolted the door. Klaus was contemplating bashing the door down with his mace when the rest of the party, having finished searching the library, turned up. Mazaramus suggested simply knocking on the door. As it turned out Catharine had finished her rant at not being able to find her spell-book and had calmed down. She was now taking some more suitable clothing from the bedroom, choosing clothing that would suit both her male physical appearance and her female tastes.
Eventually unbolting the door and re-joining the party, Catharine said that she would follow the party’s lead, having no idea where her spell-books were. Her real intention is to return to Averoigne with the party, there to retrieve one of her older spell-books that she had secured in a safe location in case of emergencies. She was also toying with the idea of using the potion of time travel, if they could find one (more than one would be better), for her own purposes.
The party were in the 20’ wide passageway with the red carpet that ran from the throne room, around the corner from where they had previously seen it turn south. Three doors were in the eastern wall, and a set of double doors were at both ends of the passageway, the northern set being where the passageway turned. The northernmost door in the east wall had already been found to be just an empty bedroom (now with clothes strewn about from when Catharine was changing), so the party decided to explore the central of the three doors.
The floor of the room was covered in a plush red carpet. Several card tables with chairs were around the room. In the centre of the room, seated behind a table was what was obviously a fortune teller, Dame Camille d’Amberville. Laid out on the table were ten cards. She invited the party to sit and pick a card.
These were obviously Tarot Cards. I got one of my own decks out, found the appropriate cards as per the module, and laid them out for the players. Each party member was permitted to choose one card.
First to pick was Gandi. He drew the King of Wands and received a magical rod. The module actually says the chooser receives a wand, staff or rod, chosen by the DM or randomly determined. Wands and staffs cannot be used by dwarfs, so that only left rods. I considered giving Gandi a rod from the Companion rules (a rules set for characters of 15th-25th level), but all of the rods in that book were, in my opinion, too powerful, so I gave him the only rod in the Basic and Expert rules, a rod of cancellation.
Next to pick was Lithanor. He drew the Page of Coins upside down. The effect was that all of the coins that the character is carrying suddenly disappear. At first, I thought that Lithanor was carrying a substantial amount of ‘loose change’ which came to nearly 1,000 gold pieces, but it turned out that this was in the saddle bags on the horses back in the foyer, as carrying this amount of money around would severely encumber him (the same with the rest of the party). It occurs to me that the party will have to remember to take some ‘loose change’ with them before they travel to Averoigne.
Third to draw was Mazaramus. He drew the Wheel of Fortune. The effects of this card can be good or bad, dependant on a 2d6 roll. Mazaramus rolled 10 and gained a bonus of +2 on attacks and saving throws for the next 2-20 turns (not counting time spent in amber bubbles).
Morgan drew next, drawing the Queen of Cups, and gaining a magical cup which is actually a cup of truth (a unique magic item provided in this encounter). Given some of the porkies that some of the NPCs the party have encountered have told them, this item could prove quite useful.
Sneaky wanted to draw a card, so she pulled a card out with her paw. It was the Knight of Swords, and was upside down. A collar appeared around Sneaky’s neck, hanging from which was a small sword. However, the sword was upside down, hanging by a hole near the sword tip.
Klaus drew The Fool. The effect of this was that the chooser would have a feeblemind spell cast on them. This spell only affects magic-users and elves. I had also put in an addition that if a character that has gained ESP from the feast in the west wing and is subject to a feeblemind spell, they would lose their ESP. Klaus was not affected by this card at all, so Madame Camille gave him the opportunity to draw another card, if he so wished. She did also remind him that cards may have a beneficial effect or an adverse effect.
Undeterred, Klaus drew another card. Given that there were only four cards left, and there is bound to be that one card that you don’t want to draw, this was not such a good idea. He drew the Death card…and failed his saving throw...and died.
Merick rolled a morale check to see if he had the nerve to draw a card himself. He made the check and drew a card. It was Strength. Merick gained 18 Strength for 1d6+6 turns.
Catharine wasn’t going to draw a card. She knew that there were some dodgy cards in Madame Camille’s deck, but seeing as the Death card had gone, she decided to take one. She drew The Moon. The effect of this card was to make her insane(...er).
There was only one card left, and Bhakragh hadn’t drawn a card yet, so he took it. It was The Juggler (also known as The Magician in other Tarot decks). This was probably the best card in the deck, and Bhakragh gained a ring of spell storing. Given that The Magician represents, among other things, a degree of control and utilisation of the four elements represented by the four suits of the Tarot deck, I had chosen the spells stored in the ring to represent the four elements, rather than giving it the spells recommended in the module. The spells stored are fire ball, wall of stone, fly and water breathing.
The reading was over. One character (albeit an NPC) was possessed, one was a dog, and one was dead. Then the amber bubble descended. Hey! Guess what? A whole session with no combat!
Sneaky and Mazaramus levelled up. Mazaramus can now cast third level spells. Transcribing the spells from the scroll he found in Claude’s library into his spell-book, he found that one of the spells was fire ball. He also learnt invisibility 10’ radius from his unknown mentor. Sneaky spent four weeks training to become Expert with the dagger, at a cost of 2,000 gold pieces. During this time, Mazaramus cast invisibility 10’ radius on each party member, with the exception of Lithanor who declined to have the spell cast on him.
Klaus was raised from the dead by the power of the amber bubble. Whilst he was dead, he got the opportunity to have a game of chess with Death (who wasn’t playing at his best, made a blunder and lost). Death explained that dying because of drawing one of Madame Camille’s cards wasn’t a fair way to go anyway, but he would be looking for someone to fill the now empty slot on his list.
Sneaky had been transformed back into human form before carrying out her training. She found that the sword that was on a tag on her collar was now a real sword, which she felt strangely attached to and was unwilling to part with it. Catharine revealed to Gandi that his rod was a rod of cancellation, and had the power to remove all magic in any magic item that was touched with it. Having seen the kind of obsession with a sword before when Lithanor had a cursed sword, he decided to touch the rod of cancellation to Sneaky’s sword. Sneaky’s sword, which was indeed a cursed sword -1, was made permanently non-magical. However, the rod of cancellation was a one-use item and was also now non-magical and worthless.
The bubble disappeared, and the party went through the southernmost door on the east wall of the 20’ wide passageway. This room was found to be occupied by eight dog-headed humanoids. As soon as the party entered, they drew their rapiers as one and pointed them towards the doorway. As most of the party were invisible, the creatures called for the party to reveal themselves. Lithanor, the only visible party member, stepped forward and introduced himself.
After some discourse, the creatures, which were called lupins (which is kind of an odd name for them, given that they have the heads of dogs, not wolves), asked if Lithanor was a follower of law. Once they were satisfied that Lithanor was pure of heart and deed and willing to prove himself in the ways of the lawful path (and could vouch for those party members that were not lawful), they told Lithanor that they had a task for the party, but would first have to prove themselves by vanquishing some creatures of chaos that were in a room nearby.
The party left the lupins and headed south to some double doors at the end of the wide passageway. These doors led into a room similar to the foyer where the party first entered Castle Amber. The grey mist surrounding the mansion was still evident through the windows. In the room were six small greyish-green creatures. Mazaramus flew into the room on his broom of flying ahead of the rest of the party.
The creatures were gremlins, and radiated a chaotic aura. Mazaramus failed his saving throw against the aura, causing his broom to go out of control and fly straight to the ground. Mazaramus came flying off the broom, taking a point of damage in the process. The rest of the party then came charging into the room to take on the gremlins, except for Catharine who had no desire to fall victim to their chaotic effects.
The chaos aura had a telling effect on the party. Sneaky’s head turned into a hamster head, Merick’s armour buckles came undone and his armour fell off, and Bhakragh began to smell of elderberries. One of the gremlins grabbed the broom of flying and flew around the room with it. Lithanor tried to take it down with arrow fire, taking two shots to hit and slay it. After three rounds of combat, the party finally managed to slay all the gremlins. The chaos aura dissipated, as did the effects caused by it.
Here we ended the session. The party will have to wait until the next session to find out what the task is that the lupins want them to undertake.
After defeating the gremlins, the party went back to the lupins. They thanked the party for removing the taint of chaos. They then told them what the task was that they had for them...to seek out and slay the ‘white beast’. The party asked for a more detailed description of the beast. The lupins told them that it was a large, lizard-like creature that radiates extreme cold, and was quite likely an elemental creature. Lithanor came to the conclusion this creature was quite possibly a white dragon.
The lupins gave the party two magic items to help them in slaying the beast. They gave Lithanor a wand of fire balls, and to Klaus they gave a displacer cloak.
The party then left the lupins to hunt for the ‘white beast’. First, they went north along the wide passageway to some double doors that led into quite a large room. A balcony on the north side of the room held various musical instruments. Evidently this was the ballroom.
Mazaramus entered first on his broom of flying. Mazaramus was still invisible, though his broom wasn’t. Swinging from the chandelier in the centre of the room was a strange ape-like creature in jester’s clothes. Held by chains that the ape-jester was holding were three white apes. Mazaramus flew to a corner of the room, and after a short while the white apes shuffled over to the corner, sensing that there was something strange there, while the ape-jester tried in vain to hold them back. After a while, the apes gave up trying to reach the broom and returned to the centre of the room.
At this point, Mazaramus decided to fly over to the ape-jester swinging on the chandelier and attempted to whack him with his staff of striking, but missed. The rest of the party then charged in. The ape-jester released the chains and the white apes rushed to attack the party. Lithanor shot at the ape-jester but only caused a single point of damage, Klaus hit with his sling for 2 points of damage, and Mazaramus missed with his staff again.
The following round, the jester cast a charm monster spell at Mazaramus, who failed his saving throw. The missile firers missed completely. He was only armour class 9, but their hit rolls were diabolical. Gandi managed to slay one of the white apes.
In the third round, the jester won initiative again and turned Klaus into a white ape with a polymorph other spell. The white apes couldn’t land a single wound against the heavily armoured fighters that were engaging them. On their initiative, the party slew the remaining two white apes (not Klaus) and Lithanor slew the ape-jester with an arrow shot, which also ended the charm on Mazaramus.
Before Klaus could do any harm to the party (he was a white ape with the behaviour and traits of a white ape) a dispel magic spell restored him to his normal human self. Guillaume d’Amberville was seen standing on the ceiling and had just cast this spell to help the party. Mazaramus flew up to greet him, now that they could actually see each other, and learnt that this was the wizard who had been teaching Lithanor and himself new spells when they had levelled up in the amber bubble.
Afterwards, we realised that Mazaramus had forgotten about his +2 bonus on attack rolls that he had gained from the Wheel of Fortune tarot card, and would probably have hit the ape-jester with the first strike and slain him. Oh well! At least the encounter turned out to be more fun this way.
The ape-jester, once he was slain, fell to the ground and transformed into a more human form, albeit still with somewhat ape-like features. It also seemed as though he had a trace of a smile on his face. Guillaume explained that this was Petit-Singe, one of the d’Amberville family, who had been cursed by Etienne d’Amberville as a punishment for stealing spells from him. Etienne transformed him into the ape-jester and placed a geas on him so that he would die if he left the ballroom.
Searching Petit-Singe, they found a bag that was found to contain monkey nuts and bananas, all quite fresh and able to sustain four people (or apes) for a day. They also found a small vial of green liquid. Sneaky tried to analyse it using her knowledge of poisons, rolled a 20 (which is bad) and came to the conclusion that it was Vitas Omega, a particularly virulent and contagious poison that could devastate whole populations. Mazaramus also tried to analyse it, having alchemical knowledge. After taking a sniff of it, and giggling like a ten-year old, he determined that it was a potion of longevity.
The only place left to explore in the east wing was through a door in the south wall of the throne room. Mazaramus cast invisibility on Sneaky and himself before they proceeded. Returning to the throne room, they noticed that Talanius armour and weapons were still there in a heap on the floor. Sneaky gathered this up and hid it in the secret compartment in the back of the throne. It was then that she noticed a quite valuable ring in the secret compartment. Evidently this was with the jewelry that they had originally discovered there, and must have been dropped when Catharine was frantically searching for her spell-book.
Whilst Sneaky was hiding Talanius’ armour, Mazaramus wanted to ask Catharine what she knew about the remainder of the east wing. It was at this point that they realised that they had not seen or heard from Catharine for some time. In somewhat of a panic, the party began frantically hunting for Catharine and calling out for her. It turned out that they had forgotten that she was still invisible (courtesy of Mazaramus) and was simply keeping a low profile. When they did discover that she was still with the party, she refused to divulge any information about the layout of the mansion.
Going through the door in the south wall, the party found themselves in a 50’ east to west by 40’ north to south room with blue walls, blue ceiling, an azure carpet and furniture all of which had been dyed blue. Apart from another door in the east wall, the room was otherwise empty.
As the party approached the door in the east wall they experienced a significant coldness emanating from the room beyond the door. As this was evidently the lair of the ‘white beast’, Lithanor and Klaus began to cast preparatory spells on the party, as did Catharine. Rather than wait for the rest of the party to prepare, Mazaramus opened the door and flew through.
Mazaramus found himself in a 40’ north to south by 60’ east to west room with another door in the opposite wall. The walls and ceiling were ivory coloured, a snow white carpet covered the floor, and the furniture was dyed white. Moreover, a layer of frost covered the floor and furniture, and in the centre of the room was a large white six-legged lizard-like creature from which emanated a numbing cold.
Mazaramus was able to launch a fire ball at the creature, doing 20 points of damage, before the creature advanced and Mazaramus took damage from the cold.
The rest of the party had cast their preparatory spells while Mazaramus flew into the room. Klaus cast resist cold on Gandi, Lithanor cast mirror image on himself, and Catharine cast haste on the party. They now charged the beast, only Sneaky and Catharine remaining outside the room. Lithanor, Morgan and Gandi finished the creature off with their first attacks, with Merick, Klaus, Bhakragh not even getting a swing in, never mind not needing their second attacks, and the haste spell proving to be on the whole unnecessary. They still took damage from the intense cold emanated by the creature, which turned out to be a frost salamander. Gandi only took 5 points of damage, instead of 6, so even the resist cold spell didn’t do a right lot. Resist cold provides a +2 bonus on saving throws against cold attacks. The cold aura from a frost salamander does not allow a saving throw. It also reduces damage by -1 per die of damage. As the cold aura does 1d8 damage, the damage reduction is -1……total!
After slaying the frost salamander (Lithanor was a bit disappointed that it wasn't a white dragon), they found a mound of frost in the south-east corner, which turned out to be a pile of gold and silver coins. Buried in the pile of coins, the party found another ornate silver key, this one embossed with the letter ‘B’. Four down, one to go!
After doing a bit of healing, the party proceeded through the next door and found themselves in a green-painted room with an emerald-coloured carpet. No furniture, oddly enough. Standing in the centre of the room was what was apparently a very tall green knight wielding a two-handed sword. Mazaramus flew above it and asked who the knight was. The knight pointed his sword in Mazaramus’ direction and boomed “NONE SHALL PASS!” At this point I pointed out that, given the ceiling was 20’ above the floor, the knight, who was about 8’ tall and wielded a very big sword, could probably hit Mazaramus if he jumped up a bit. He tried to make a dash for the door on the far side of the room, but the knight simply disappeared and reappeared in front of the door, blocking it. At this point, the rest of the party entered the room.
The knight boomed again “NONE SHALL PASS!...without first besting me in single combat”. He then called for the party to choose a champion to fight him. Lithanor volunteered. He still had his mirror image spell running, and the party was still under the haste spell. The green knight told Lithanor that in order to defeat him he would have to sever his head, and held out the two-handed sword by the hilt, blade pointing to the floor. Gandi piped up “Let me take him. I’ll soon take his head off with four attacks per round with my axes”. (Okay! That’s not literally what he said. Characters wouldn’t refer to game mechanics, but you get the idea). The green knight then pointed out that only the two-handed sword that he was offering could harm him.
Lithanor wasn’t liking the idea of having to use such a cumbersome weapon, but eventually agreed to accept it. The green knight drew another sword (this one was just a long sword) to fight with. The green knight hacked away three of Lithanor’s mirror images. Lithanor scored a couple of hits on the green knight, first severing an arm and then hacking a leg off, forcing the green knight to hop (yeah, this encounter had Monty Python written all over it so I couldn’t resist), before eventually decapitating him. The green knight and the two-handed sword evaporated into a green mist, with only the ghostly voice of the green knight sounding out saying “You have proved yourselves worthy! You may pass” as the green mist dissipated.
The next room had ebony paint covering the walls, a sable carpet on the floor, and all the furniture painted black. The room was apparently empty, but the party decided to do a thorough search of the room, including rolling up the carpet. Either the players had been looking at my map or they had a flash of inspiration, because out of all the ‘coloured’ rooms, this one had a trap door in the floor, which was hidden by the carpet.
It was time for a Wandering Monster check. The party heard stomping footsteps approaching from the west. Sneaky had a quick look through the door and saw three living rock statues approaching. She closed the door and jammed a chair against it by the door handle. The party considered running down the trap door before the statues broke the door down, but I pointed down that, even being hasted, they would have to climb through the trap door one at a time. The blocked door began glowing red, and soon the chair and the door caught fire. The party instead decided to stand their ground and make a fight of it, forming a semi-circle around the doorway with the fighters. The statues smashed down what was left of the door and burst through. They didn’t last long. The party was still hasted and hacked two down before they could attack, the third fired magma from its hands towards Klaus, missing hopelessly thanks to his displacer cloak, one blast even hitting the wall, before being smashed down by Merick (who still had super strength from his Tarot card).
After the brief combat, Sneaky returned to the trap door and explored down the spiral stairs leading downwards from it for about 30’ or so. Figuring that the stairs went down for some distance, they decided to find out what they guessed must be the last room first.
There was a fair amount of heat emanating from the room beyond the door in the east wall. The room beyond had scarlet painted walls, a blood red carpet and red lacquered furniture. Standing in the room was a large man with red skin and yellow hair, wearing reddish-gold armour and carrying a brightly glowing shield.
The adventurers were expecting another test, similar to the green knight that they had encountered previously. The man simply congratulated the party on making it this far. It turned out that the man was a Sun Brother, and was quite friendly towards the party, especially as they had helped the lupins.
After conversing with the Sun Brother for a while, they learnt that he was an ally of Claude the librarian, who had helped him defeat an efreet once, and that the Sun Brothers were themselves from the Elemental Plane of Fire.
Whilst they were chatting, Sneaky had a look around the room and found an iron chest, glowing red hot and emanating intense heat, though the chest itself didn’t melt. She got a copper coin and dropped it onto the chest to find out how hot it was. The coin melted within seconds. She decided to leave the chest alone.
Before leaving, Sneaky asked if the Sun Brother would like to join them. I didn’t see why he wouldn’t so I made a reaction check. The reaction was very good, so, after leaving through a secret door to consult with Claude, the Sun Brother gave the party a ring set with three rubies, which Sneaky took (the Sun Brother commented on the strange trick, namely an invisible character taking the ring, and that the party should beware about such tricks as this is the sort of thing an efreet would do, but I missed a paragraph in the back of the module that lists the Sun Brother’s powers, including detect invisible).
The Sun Brother said that the ring can be used to summon him should they need his help, but he can only help them three times. Furthermore, once they go beyond the gate, he will no longer be able to aid them.
The party were now ready to venture down the trap door and the spiral stairs. But first, the amber bubble. Klaus was the only character to level up, now being able to cast third level spells and can try to turn vampires. He also attained the Skilled level of weapon mastery with the mace. Oh, and Mazaramus made everyone invisible whilst Klaus spent two weeks training.
The party ventured through the trap door and down the spiral stairs for about 100’, after which they reached a landing with a passage leading west and sloping gradually downwards. Morgan’s sword piped up and indicated that they were on a sloping passageway, revealing its third power to detect sloping passages.
The passageway levelled off after a short while and then continued westwards, ending at a door. The party went through the door, which took them into the dungeon section of Castle Amber.
The first room that they entered was quite large, 70’ east to west by 50’ north to south, with a door on the opposite side of the room. The floor of the centre of the room was covered by a tile of letters, each tile being 10’ by 10’, forming a five by five grid. The words spelled out by the letters made no sense whatsoever. While they were musing over this, they heard light footsteps as of someone dancing or skipping and moving away from them. A short while afterwards, the door on the opposite side of the room opened then closed again.
Sneaky circumvented the letter tile by Climbing Walls via the north wall, which she accomplished with no problem, and then proceeded through the door on the other side.
Still pondering the tiles and what effect they might have, Lithanor took a risk and walked straight across the centre row of tiles, which spelt out the word HAZAH, and was promptly struck blind as soon as he reached the other side.
Sneaky meanwhile, found herself in another large room which contained four 20’ square cells. She investigated the cells. In one cell was a long-haired man with a paint brush and a bucket of white paint, and was painting a very realistic painting of the moon on the back wall of his cell. Another contained a minotaur, which barely reacted to Sneaky’s presence.
Back in the tile room, Mazaramus had a revelation. “Hang on a minute! I’ve got a Broom of Flying. I can ferry us across”. So, they ferried across, and Klaus used a charge from his staff of healing to cast cure blindness on Lithanor. They then joined Sneaky in the cell room.
The man painting the moon ignored the party, even when they entered his cell (for some reason all of the cell doors were unlocked). The party came to the conclusion that this man was beyond any hope and would be of no help. Sneaky went back to the minotaur’s cell and opened its door. No reaction. She then said “you’re free! Go!” Still no reaction. They left the minotaur, but left its door open.
There were two other doors leading from the room of cells. One in the west wall and one in the south wall. The party decided to go through the south door. This led into a very large room, 140’ east to west by 40’ north to south. The room was full of vats and cauldrons, along with shelves holding flasks and vials of various substances. Four men were stood against the east wall, none of them clothed, but two holding short swords, which rushed to attack as soon as the door was opened.
Yeah! I was reading from the boxed text and didn’t stop to think that the entire party was invisible. I guess the creatures responded to the door opening. They reached the door and then stood there watching the doorway. The party had seen two of these creatures before. One was golden skinned and was a demos magen. Morgan had a boxing match with one. Another was silvery-grey, and they knew that this was a galvan magen, which could fire lightning bolts. Of the other two, one had pale greyish skin and the other a very pale, almost white, flesh colour.
The party quietly walked around the magen and began looking through the room. Mazaramus was already looking around, and had found that some of the items in the room could be quite valuable, having already found some powdered gold and platinum in some of the vials. The rest of the party were not as quiet in searching around the room, Gandi in particular making a fair bit of noise. The magen looked around, trying to locate the source of the noise.
Lithanor climbed to the ceiling on his rope of climbing and attempted to distract the magen by shouting “Hey! Up here”. The pale white magen looked towards Lithanor and the elf was assailed by a telepathic attack. He failed his saving throw and was charmed by the magen. This particular magen was telepathic, and ordered Lithanor to show where the others were.
So, Lithanor, who is invisible, is now hunting for the rest of the party, who are also invisible. Meanwhile, four magen are guarding the door that the party entered through, with some idea that there are intruders in the room…and one of them shows signs of being at least semi-sentient, given that it is a construct.
Find out how the adventurers get on in the next session, as they explore the rest of The Dungeon.
Find out how the adventurers get on in the next session, as they explore the rest of The Dungeon.