The party’s first action was to knock on the bronze doors; well, it was worth a try, but there was no response. Then Alurax decided to see if they would yield to the party’s default solution of throwing oil bombs at them. Again, there was no effect – apart from some smoke marks on the bronze (that’ll take ages to get out!)
At this point, Gullhar decided to make use of Larsh, the polar bear; with Alurax’s help, the doors started to yield; they were barred on the far side but that was no obstacle to the bear’s formidable strength. Finally, they gave way and flew open. The party stumbled in and found themselves in a large room, at the end of which were two sets of green curtains. Halfway down the room on each side was an alcove, in which was a large stone statue.
Elysia was wary about moving into the room without checking it out thoroughly; she sent an Unseen Servant to pull the curtains aside and Relic to fly in and see what lay beyond them. He reported back that there were two rooms there; one had a red stone floor, the other a pale blue one.
As the party moved towards the alcoves, the inevitable happened – the two statues animated and moved to attack. Gullhar and Larsh were facing one, Alurax and Alagon the other. Larsh tried to swipe and bite at the statue but his claws broke on the enchanted stone and he fell back, growling in irritation.
Alurax attacked with his trident, Alagon with Whitefyre and they damaged the statue that they were facing. Lydia tried to attack it but her sword bounced off the stone without doing any damage.
Gullhar took damage from a nasty stone punch. The doughty elf returned the favour and sent chips of stone flying off as his sword hacked into the statue. The next round, he scored another hit and managed to dodge the return punch from the statue’s stony fist.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the hall, Alurax and Alagon attacked again; Alurax’s trident missed its mark but Alagon hit with Whitefyre and the statue shattered into hundred of chunks of rock.
Now the party’s attention switched to the statue that was facing Gullhar. Elysia fired a salvo of Magic Missiles at it but they bounced off the stone, having no visible effect. Alagon launched his attack, hitting the statue; it missed Gullhar, who was trying hard to avoid being hit. Unfortunately, his efforts were in vain as a crushing blow sent him sliding across the obsidian floor. Alagon used this opportunity to hack again at the statue and this time, he succeeded in destroying it.
The party picked itself up and started to search the alcoves in which the statues had stood. They found several long-dead bodies and a collection of adventuring gear and magic items, which were squirreled away for later identification and use.
The party split up to explore the two rooms at the far end of the hall. Lydia and Alagon went into the room with the red stone floor and found that it was warm, whilst Gullhar and Larsh investigated the blue-floored room and found it to be very cold. The far end of the room was revealed to be not stone, but ice. As Gullhar and Larsh ventured onto it, the ice cracked and fell in, plunging them into a pit lined with brown mould. Alagon and Lydia rushed in to see what had happened. As the brown mould started to suck the heat from Gullhar, Elysia flew in and pulled him to safety; Larsh clambered out on his own. Alagon used his healing hands to repair some of the damage that Gullhar had taken.
They then decided to try the other room. Gullhar, ever adventurous, went down the passage on the far side of the room and found a strange dial mechanism which he began to turn this way and that. Unfortunately for the rest of the party, who were still in the main room, the floor vanished underneath them and they fell into a pit of white phosphorus. Due to the heat of their bodies, it ignited and they were all set on fire; Elysia flew out of the fire, taking Alagon with her. Alurax and Lydia clambered out of the pit, having been badly burned; the fire was also starting to affect Gullhar, who was rescued by Elysia, still using her Fly spell.
Having taken quite a lot of damage in the three rooms, the party decided that they would camp in the main hall while Alagon recovered his ability to lay on hands. They were now starting to realise the disadvantages of exploring dungeons without a cleric.
Eight hours later, they woke; in the outside world it was now October 12th. Alagon and Lydia tried to use their healing powers but found out, to their discomfiture, that they could only heal half the damage that the party had taken in the phosphorus pit. The party, being down on health and the ability to take damage, needed to tread warily as they explored the rest of the dungeon. Gullhar tried the door past the ice room. He failed again to get the lock open but Alurax had better luck with the door beyond the hot room.
Beyond this door was what appeared to be an old abandoned laboratory. There were various shelves, flasks, jars, racks of manuscripts, scrolls and the like. A large metal cabinet proved irresistible to Alurax but as he opened it, a fire trap went off and he started to jump about, trying to put the flames out. Inside the cabinet were hundreds of glass bottles of various shapes, sizes and colours. All seemed to be locked shut by something.
Being elves, Gullhar and Elysia managed to find two secret doors but as they were examining them, something invisible tried to strike at Alurax. It missed but the party were now alerted to its presence. They tried to hit it but failed dismally. The invisible creature struck at Lydia, doing her significant damage. The party lined up across the laboratory to try and isolate it but it moved towards Elysia and attacked her. Relic then used his ability to see invisible objects and creatures and stung their attacker, putting it into a catatonic trance. As the party watched, the little pseudo-dragon perched on top of the comatose attacker, and – now being aware of its location, Alurax, Alagon and Gullhar hacked it to pieces.
Believing the laboratory to be secure, the party investigated the secret door that Elysia had found. It led to a hidden chamber, in which there was a desk and a lever on the wall. Not being a man who can resist a lever, Alurax pulled it and the door slid shut again, sealing them in. On the desk was a mace, which – when touched by Alurax – tingled with magical power. Alagon got the impression that there was something evil about it.
In a drawer of the desk was a folded vellum sheet, which Alurax picked up and read. The explosive rune on it went off, blasting both Alurax and Alagon. Almost miraculously, the sheet was still legible and they realised that it was a guide to the bottles in the laboratory cabinet.
As well as the vellum, the drawer also contained a lump of amber with a black pearl inside it and a silver jar full of a strange liquid; Alurax took a sip of it and felt an incredible strength and power course through him.
Having seemingly exhausted the hidden chamber’s possibilities, the party decided to try the secret door that Gullhar had discovered. They moved down a passage, past a side branch and found the rear of another secret door that led them into a library. As they entered, a loud and continuous barking sounded, coming from nowhere in particular.
Alurax decided to move into the room but as he did so, something attacked him from behind, knocking him over and ripping into his armour. He very quickly fled the room and the barking stopped. A bit of experimentation revealed that the creature (whatever it was) only attacked its targets from behind. The rest of the party entered, kept their backs to the walls and began a search which soon revealed another secret door.
Beyond this one, there was another hidden room; this too had a desk in it but as well as that, a large rock in one corner. There was also a helmet on the desk, which Alurax picked up and tried on. There did not seem to be any immediate effect from wearing it.
Investigation of the rock soon revealed that it was hollow and it yielded to a few heavy blows from the party. Inside was a large collection of books and scrolls, which Elysia moved in to investigate. She was reluctant to examine them further because she sensed they might be magically booby-trapped.
Meanwhile, Alurax had got a bit bored and had wandered off down one of the corridors out of the library. Unfortunately for him, he walked straight into a fire trap which went off and killed him. On realising what had happened, Alagon decided to use his time egg that he had received at Christmas to wind back time five minutes so that he could prevent Alurax from going down the passageway in the first place. The impetuous fighter was admonished for splitting the party and getting himself killed. The party got the distinct impression that there were going to be many more opportunities for Alurax to do himself some serious harm before they left the dungeon.
White Dwarf #203 - Cover -
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