The Arvan Game Pt. 11: The Horrors of Hornstone

Note: As Hornstone served as a testing ground for certain traps, set-ups and chambers that I’m using for the Obsidian Doom module I’ll be abridging the play-by-play in the ruins though a few I’ll have to mention as the results were just too rich not to mention.
In the trees outside of the ruins of Hornstone they decided to sleep through the day in order to confront the monsters within on their own terms (and sleep in safety as the monsters will probably be aware of them very soon anyway). They spied the ruinous tower which was as white as bone with hollow grayish pocks and pores due to the pecking/burrowing of birds throughout the centuries of abandon. They drank the whiskey they were hauling with themselves and both slept while hidden (luckily for them, no encounters). They woke as dusk approached and prowled (well, Dead-Eye was as quiet and unseen as a ghost, Bers on the other hand, stumbled up in the open making all kinds of racket) up to the sagging and slightly ajar double door, the entrance to the ancient tower.
They carefully, or should I say slowly rounded the tower circumspect to try to find an alternate way in besides the front door dissuaded by the cavernous darkness and musty smell. They found that they front door was the only way in and thus they walked in to the high ceiling octagonal foyer. On four of the walls in the dark and musty chamber were the open-mouthed reliefs of frowning yet laughing satyrs, an eerie and soft moan could be heard from each of their mouths caused by drafts. They proceeded carefully into the center of the chamber towards the only other door, a man-sized door barred by a rusted portcullis. The floor dropped open and they both failed their saving throws to dodge so they fell 50ft down into a lower chamber.
They landed onto a pile of bones that shielded them from the spiked floor as the trap-floor above slammed shut. The chamber they found themselves in was suddenly brightly lit without obvious source of illumination and a magic mouth appeared over the only exit a studded bronze double-door. Basically they stumbled into a labyrinth, a magical dungeon-maze used primarily for entertainment by powerful mage-lords. As I used this part of the campaign to test a few trap rooms and scenarios for the Obsidian Doom module I’m just going to relate a few of the best moments and glance over the rest.
In a one of a few chambers with a door at each of the compass directions under Hornstone Bers went to open a door with Dead-Eye guarding her rear watching an open archway in the opposite direction, of course the door was a trap it swung outward from her attached by a chain to a large solid stone block counterweight which was directly above her head as the door was recessed (the only recessed passage in the room by the way as well as the only door), she made her strength check to keep a hold of the door and found herself in a tight spot, Dead-Eye leapt through the passage into the next room after a successful Acrobatics skill check and splashed into a chamber with a flooded floor (the dungeon under Hornstone was a little decrepit after centuries of no maintenance) only to have two revenants rise form the water. They correctly identified one these as the farmer’s missing daughter, Bers dodged the falling block as she let go of the door latch and jumped backward, Dead-Eye had already immediately leapt back as a dodge from a claw attack. The revenants just went around waiting in the North room as it connected with no obstructions to the flooded chamber. As our duo passed through the North door-less arch Bers triggered a tripwire trap after Dead-Eye had already pointed it out and a barbed spring-loaded spear-trap shot out of a hole and nailed her in the knee crippling her leg, she easily pulled herself off of it after a successful Will-save almost tearing the leg clean off. The revenants attacked and she swallowed down a couple of healing potions, the battle was brief and our heroes easily slaughtered the undead corpses of two young girls. Another trap room which they had stumbled upon with no way back was a tabletop-boulder balance room, I thought I was clever with this one but turns out it’s a classic dungeon trap and one which has now appeared in the game I’m currently playing but with TWO boulders of course my mage has the Teleportation I eldritch ability so it was nothing, but enough with the aside.
Dead-Eye barely made it and tossed a rope to Bers who had to be quickly yanked to the opposite side as she stumbled at about the center of the balance-table-floor and the boulder nearly rolled over her. They eventually made it to the end and were a little disappointed to find an empty and long abandoned observation/entertainment room where a central crystal viewing orb gave the only weak flickering light in the room. They found steps and a wide stone step rising to a secret trap-door under the flags of the chamber above (the chamber behind the rusted portcullis) but decided to sleep in the deserted chamber as they were badly beaten up till the next night (hopefully). They missed the secret door leading to the still secret treasure vaults of the place even after a careful inspection of the area (tee-hee).
They got their timing right and woke at the desired time and continued to the upper chamber. They were ambushed shortly afterwards by a murder of Garkains which dropped on them from the high domed ceiling. They were both enwrapped within the stinking pale leathery wings of the monsters and each had three creatures on them and being drained of blood. Bers even had one of the fiends sinking its teeth into her boot and foot in order to suck blood when it couldn’t get in edge wise between its brothers. It looked like a TPK (total party kill) on my part when both Dead and Bers were able to break loose with Natural 20 grappling checks and quickly won the battle Bers even throwing her axe at a fleeing Garkain as she was a bit miffed about the whole thing. They ascended and were met with dusty ruined rooms, rotting wood floors and disintegrating plaster walls. They made their way up through the upper rooms and seemed to find no other monsters until Dead-Eye fell through a rotted bit of floor into a locked armory in the floor below (they couldn’t get the doors open) and onto the rusted spears still on the racks. As Bers was getting ready to lower a rope the vampire warrior had snuck up behind her and successfully used his Seduction ability on her and began to drain her blood, she was very pale and sickly at this point; ready to lose consciousness. Dead-Eye used a grappling hook he had bought upon gearing up before the leaving Fertum Dreyhawk (Cris, Dead-Eye’s player recognizing a dungeon hook when he saw one) to climb out just in time to save her life and they fought the vampire though this time they were able to land a few more blows chasing him off. They attempted pursuit to a rickety balcony only to run smack-dab into a Skrane (Bizarre Beasties #4 on the Ranger Games Publishing website) which they easily defeated but not before taking a few good blows. They decided to barricade themselves in a mostly empty room without a window as the dawn neared needing another bout of healing and rest.
When they awoke thy heard the same mysterious pipe-song they had heard in the barn several nights ago but were able to shake off the effects this time around and basically charged their way up to the top where they faced the vampire warrior again before reaching the top but were able to easily defeat him looting his corpse of a battleaxe, a gold helmet, spiked gold bracers and the strange black cape which seemed to take the shape of batwings when he flew. They left his dagger (a cursed item but other than that there was nothing special about it, guess that’s why they left it). They also ran into a few giant spiders and a shadow creature but took them out pretty quickly (in about 2 rounds) and ran into the final confrontation with a vampire Satyr, which I had named Manaan but they never did learn his name. The battle lasted 5 melee rounds and culminated with their ramming a sliver of shattered wood furniture into his heart after they beat him down with the hafts of their weapons and stripped off his bronze chest plate. They recognized the final chamber at the top of the tower as an old chapel of some kind though it was obviously desecrated. They quickly vacated the place while they had daylight without inspecting for any hidden chambers (which of course there were) and made sure they were far outside of Satyr’s Grove and near the North Spur before camping.

To Be Continued…