The Nein have just entered into the cavernous door to the partial ruins of Aeor. They cautiously begin exploring the tunnels watching for any signs of possible traps from Lucien and his crew. Beau discovers a frozen, recently dead body dressed in dynasty style clothing. It’s enough to keep the companions alert and on edge.
Veth scouts ahead and finds the path narrow uncomfortably into a crack that opens into an impenetrably dark void. With Caleb’s magical lights and Fjord’s trusty rope they are able to cross into the next chamber. Like a broken funhouse, the next room seems to be turned onto it’s side. floors become ceilings, doors 20 feet up the walls. Caleb notices strange glyphs covering the floors and walls of this room.
Using ropes and magic jumping boots, the Nein make it into the ceiling door chamber. Once again, the room is covered in glyphs, and giving off an obvious magical aura. As the adventurers explore, Jester notices something odd hidden among the icy stalagmites. Angled, jagged limb like protrusions surrounded by a silky, stringy material. Jester’s giant spider warning alarm starts ringing and she hurries her friends back out of the chamber and she seals the chamber shut. We’ll save this encounter for another day.
Left with only one other option, the Nein continue into the wall door chamber and find a steeply slanted room with four unlit braziers. As the group begins to rope climb down into the new chamber, Caduceus notices several icy presences quickly moving towards them. He tries to warn the group something wicked this way comes, but before the friends can react he is surrounded by the entities and a horrible, piercing cold sap his strength and energy. A precarious, chilly fight ensues with the Nein pulling out all the stops to get rid of these icy elementals before their cleric goes down.
Caduceus continues to get hounded with attack after attack, and though his friend’s are trying everything they’ve got he is clinging to consciousness. Fjord, who has been holding the opposite end of the rope as an anchor takes a huge risk. He lets go of the rope and begins to free fall slide towards Caduceus. Colliding into the critical cleric, he carefully times a Thunderstep spell, transporting he and Caduceus to safety. Unfortunately, this move sends Veth, who was hanging from the anchored rope, plummeting uncontrollably through the cavern doorway and into the unknown blackness of the next chamber.
Veth crashes through the doorway and falls into what feels like an unending blackness. Unable to see in the pitch black, she feels herself falling for at least 100 feet before she panics and casts slowfall. Now, slowly gliding down another 150 feet, she finally comes to rest at the bottom of a huge chamber. Caleb sends his dancing lights down into the chamber to get a visual on Veth. Blasted bones and shattered debris surround her and she finds herself at the edge of a strange, sulfuric tar pit. Alone, disoriented, and curious Veth slowly touches the tar pit, noticing its strange quality when suddenly the tar pit reaches out to touch her back.
An oily black ichor monster begins to chase Veth around the bottom of the chamber as she tries to evade its poisonous grasp. The rest of the Nein, hundreds of feet above Veth, leap into panicked action unable to reach her quickly. Caleb, Jester, and Yasha are polymorphed into giant eagles and begin to dive down to snag Veth as she unsuccessfully tries to escape. Caleb and Fjord, from the backs of their eagle friends lob attacks down on the tar monsters. Beau does her fisty best to beat the beasts back but ultimately Fjord and Caleb clear the combat with a nasty fireboy and pad-lock combo.
After taking a short rest to recoup, the Nein continue their investigation into the next chamber. Jester finds a hidden doorway and leads the group through to the next room. A door with no knobs or hinges blocks the path to the next room. Caleb realizes that a magical lock needs to be opened and he begins to release several low level spells into the door. Glowing sigils appear and the door swings open.
They hear sounds of battle. Screams, slung spells, and several bodies set the Nein on edge. Quietly trying to ascertain who’s on either side of the battle, Veth notices that the bodies on the floor are also dynasty denizens who seem to have perished in the exact same way as Vess, blood pouring from the eyes, ears, and mouth. The Nein can only assume that Lucien and his Tomb Takers crew are on the other side of the fight. A shadowy figure in the center of the room grips a screaming humanoid in its hand. Nine red points of light shoot out of the antagonizer’s body and the humanoid figure goes limp. A familiar, lilting voice calls out to the Nein, “My apologies, you’ve arrived early. i was hoping to tidy up a bit.”
This was a fantastic episode! I’m only slightly disappointed the episode wasn’t called Shiver and Queef, but that’s beside the point. The cast were either deliriously giddy from exhaustion or in the lightest mood they’ve had in ages with all the silly giggling and juvenile jokes littered throughout the episode. You really can’t help but laugh along with Marisha and the others when Matt slips up and sets off a giggle fit that lasts for half an hour. I think we all needed a laugh break after the past….seven months…
While Mercer laid down an air of eerie during the Nein’s explorations, we don’t get to the encounter we’ve been waiting for until the last few minutes of the episode. What’s sandwiched in between the start of the episode and the quiffhanger ending are two back to back encounters with some exciting MVP moments.
The first encounter with the ice elementals was more difficult and dire than I was expecting. I was still feeling creepy-crawly from their ice spider sighting and wasn’t thinking much of the floating ice cubes until Caduceus got absolutely swamped by them. The dice did not favor either Beau or Caduceus during these fights, with them unable to really get a handle on these creatures. Thankfully Caleb’s fiery abilities shined strong, helping to mitigate much of the damage. When things were looking particularly hairy for Caduceus, Fjord pulls out another clutch drive by teleport away from danger move, saving Caduceus from a devastating 200 foot drop to certain death.
Fjord’s carefully calculated move had some rather unfortunate consequences for Veth. She takes the fall into the unknown and spurs the Nein immediately into the second combat of the session. The entire encounter is a bit of a comedy of errors. Veth calls out that she doesn’t need help, which delays her companions actions, then immediately gets sucked off the wall she’s climbing and is back in life threatening danger. Beau gets inadvertently hypnotized by one of Nott’s spells and is essentially useless for the first half of the fight.
Even though Fjord and Caleb can take advantage of Arcane recovery during their short rest, and everyone else heals back up to a healthy HP. The clerics and Beau are going into a possible boss battle at half power. Matt’s door puzzle also took the wizard down a few spell slots going into next week’s encounter as well. I am nervous but intrigued to see what happens when we dive into next week’s episode! Don’t worry Critters, it’s almost Thursday!
Don’t Miss It!
Catch the new episode of Narrative Telephone Tuesday at 7pm. Brian W. Foster leads the story this week and it promises to be a doozy.