Where we left off…
Our heroes have just broken through the far side of the barbican in the mysterious kobold-infested complex. They stand within the shelter of the far passage, panting from the exertion of the fight. Eleanor tends to the wounded as best she can, while Daethin and Piruk stare down the dark, featureless stone hallway.
The party continues along the passage in the lower level of the kobold complex. The distant yapping of kobolds raising the alarm can be heard behind them. The passage winds along, unbroken by side paths or doorways, and the party is forced to stop only once, when Kit throws a cautioning arm up at the discovery of a pressure plate in the floor. Further observation by the rogue, and by Piruk reveals a hatch in the ceiling above the plate. Most likely forming some sort of deadfall trap. The group carefully marks the danger zone with a ring of white chalk before proceeding.
Soon, a bend in the passage reveals a ramp leading up to a large room. From the bottom, the group can only see tall pillars lit by the ruddy glow of torches. Kit and Daethin proceed forward cautiously to investigate.
Stopping just far enough up the ramp to be able to see over the upper edge, the two scouts spot a curious site in the room beyond. In the center of a great, pillared hall an unidentified animal roasts on a spit over a bed of coals. The spit is unattended, and the meat has begun to char. The acrid odor of overdone food drifts into the tunnel. Beyond the cook fire, a quartet of kobolds stands staring into the passageway. Each is dressed in a low, wide-brimmed hat and an unusual black half-coat. They stand poised with instruments in hand. A fiddle, mandolin, drum and horn.
“I really don’t like the idea that they appear to have prepared a concert for us.” mutters Daethin.
Further observation reveals that the musicians are not the only ones in the room beyond. The two scouts notice over half a dozen other kobold snouts peering out from behind the chamber’s stone columns. None of the ambushers appear to be aware of the scouts’ presence.
Daethin and Kit return to the group to discuss their plan of attack. After some deliberation, our heroes decide to strike hard and fast. Rayne leads the way, creeping cautiously up the passage until she has a clear line of sight for casting. As she begins her spell, however, things spring into action.
A barked order in draconic is immediately followed by the four musicians striking a dramatic chord which turns into a stirring, staccato rhythm. The music is blended with the thrum of several bowstrings, as a hail of arrows flies into the passageway, several striking Rayne as she weaves her spell. The sorceress manages to complete the delicate gestures despite the stinging distractions, and returns fire with a massive fireball.
As suddenly as the music began, the quartet becomes a solo.
Following on the heels of Rayne’s opening barrage, the rest of the party charges forward, sensing the tactical advantage. As Santiago clears the passageway in the lead of the group, he suddenly comes under attack by a hail of stones hurled from a ledge above the passage opening. Simultaneously, two kobold rogues who had been hiding on either side of the opening rush the monk to take up flanking positions.
The rest of the party joins the fray shortly thereafter, pouring out of the tunnel entrance into the great columned hall. The room is massive, lined with pillars of stone, which stretch up to the high ceiling lost in the gloom above. The wall to the party’s right is dominated by a massive stone facade, carved from the rock wall. A pair of great double doors are mounted in the facade at floor-level, while twin stairways unwind from either side, climbing to a similar set of doors on a balcony above. Over the two entrances, a massive depiction of the symbol that has been marked throughout the complex so far, has been carved in relief. Our heroes will gawk at the sight later. There is a fight at hand!
A flight of arrows from Daethin’s bow lays out the last of the charred kobold bards. As he falls, however, a pair of sorcerers come into view at the far end of the room. One unleashes a magic bolt of acid, which sizzles into Lanna as she closes with one of the kobold rogues. The other spreads a sheen of magic grease across the center of the room in an effort to block any attempts to charge.
Soon, the tide of battle begins to turn against the would-be ambushers. As the whole party clears the end of the passageway, they begin to gain the upper hand. Piruk’s Maul, along with Lanna’s blazing sword and the flying fists of Santiago, make quick work of any kobold within striking distance. Daethin holds the spellcasters at bay with suppressing fire, while Kit picks her way along the edge of the room, in an effort to close with the unarmed magic users.
Then, Rayne uses Baleful Transposition to port herself onto the ledge where the rock-throwing kobolds have continued to pelt the party as Wigston fires off a Sleep spell, which drops most of the rock-throwers into a deep slumber.
Suddenly outnumbered, panic begins to set in among the kobolds. The two sorcerers turn to flee as do the remaining rock throwers. One of the casters manages to avoid Kit, fleeing through a small door at the far end of the chamber. The other runs for the lower entrance in the massive facade, Santiago hot on its tail. Rayne drops one of the fleeing rock-throwers with a volley of magic missiles from her magic gloves, but the other manages to flee into a room at the far end of the ledge.
Justt as the last kobold sorcerer throws open the great double doors, Santiago lays him out with a killing strike to the base of his spine. The sound of chanting can now be heard through the doors.
The chamber beyond is a massive, semicircular auditorium. A kobold dressed in shaman’s robes stands before a great, stone altar piled with offerings. Two more sorcerers stand to either side of the shaman, while a gathering of other kobolds look on from a balcony above.
The shaman faces a massive image of a staring eye, carved in relief on the far wall above the altar. The pupil of the eye is a hole set in the wall 15 feet above the temple floor. As the shaman’s chant grows in intensity, the offerings on the altar are born up towards the hole on a platform of arcane force.
“Juglanth Daar!” cries the shaman, “Juglanth daar! Confn jihai hesi regipre!”
Hoping to disrupt the ritual, Santiago charges into the chamber and delivers a viscous trip attack to the shaman, sending him sprawling on the floor.
The sorcerers react to the invaders by filling the entryway with a magic grease slick, and then unleash a volley of acid arrows at anyone who appears. The Shaman manages to regain his feet and strikes out at Santiago, his hand bathed in an entropic glow. The monk feels the shaman attempting to sap his strength, but manages to resist the withering effect. He retaliates and once again sweeps the shaman off his feet, before springing away from his fatiguing touch.
The rest of the party begins to make their way gingerly through the area affected by the grease spell. The shaman, battered and bloody from Santiago’s repeated attacks, regains his feet and defiantly completes his ritual, his voice rising to a crescendo. “Juglanth Daar! Juglanth Daar! Svent hesi irlym! Juglanth Daar!” As he completes his chant, he lashes out with one hand and sends an Unholy Blight spell hurtling into the clustered heroes standing in the doorway. Most of the group takes withering damage, but Piruk catches the blast with his mouth open and is left sickened.
As the shaman unleashes his spell, the object of his summons comes floating through the hole above the altar. A horrible floating orb, dominated by a single eye set above a gaping maw crowned by half a dozen wriggling tentacles, each tipped with a smaller, glaring eye.
“Juglanth Daar!” cries the shaman, triumphantly.
“Moradin’s Dross!” mutters Piruk. “Beholder!”
Santiago and Lanna are undaunted by the fearsome orb, they charge forward and cut down the shaman. Juglanth Daar glares down at the humanoids who have just destroyed his prime servant. His gaze holds the fearful and weak willed temporarily helpless.
Our heroes are neither fearful, nor weak willed, and by and large resist his eye’s effect. Juglanth Daar, then directs his forward tentacles down towards the party, rays of flame and dark magic lance out from the eyes at their tips, but once again, the group is largely unfazed. Sensing the power of his opponents, the great eye snarls, before turning to follow his last offering back through the hole from whence it appeared.
The kobolds panic! Their leader is dead! Their God has forsaken them! They begin to wail and flee for their lives. One of the sorcerers is cut down by Kit before he can escape, but the rest of the diminutive reptilians make the exits.
Standing in the aftermath of their assault, the group takes stock of their situation… Kit looks around, puzzled “Hey… Where’s Rayne?”