Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Once More Into the Void Session 26

Mukah pressed against the wall up ahead and peered around the corner.  Oto waited back behind Talrek and Alcor who were each a good fifteen feet behind Mukah. Behind Oto stood Thyrell and Tinda.

“What do you see?” Talrek said.
Mukah motioned his companions back with one hand then slowly edged back from the corridor. Talrek and Alcor readied their weapons in anticipation. Mukah quickly walked back to the group.

“I see dead men in there,” he said. “But they standing around in room,”

“Sounds like zombies,” Talrek said.

“Let’s sneak up and get the jump on them!” Alcor said, and he hefted his spear.

Talrek motioned Mukah forward and signaled for everyone to advance quietly. Otrivush Oto quickly ran through the spells available to him. He had once read a treatise by a man who claimed to be an adventurer which told how to combat zombies. But he could not remember the details now when he most needed them. Probably fire would be best he mused.

Alcor was the quickest and the quietest usually so he advanced to the corridor first and stepped inside. After two steps the normally surefooted monk stepped on a bone which let out a loud crunch. Oto froze in position and looked around at everyone else. Talrek had a pained look on his face and seemed to be readying a prayer. The group waited for a few heartbeats and then a few heartbeats more but nothing happened.

Alcor followed by Talrek and Mukah entered the room. Oto turned down the corridor and followed the rest of the group into the room. Behind him, Thyrell and Tinda flanked off to protect the rear of the group. Oto looked around the room. It was easily thirty feet per side. In the center of the room were a group of seven walking corpses meandering slowly about the room seemingly oblivious to the heroes and issuing low moaning noises.

Talrek turned to the group with a puzzled look on his face.
“They don’t seem to notice us,” he said. “Should we just try to sneak past them?”

Oto could see another entrance on the opposite side of the room. He did not relish the idea of getting caught in the center of the zombies and then have them attack.

“No, we deal with them now,” Thyrell exclaimed forcefully. Alcor nodded and looked at Talrek.

“You can deal with them somehow Talrek, right?” Alcor asked.

Talrek took a breath, stepped forward and clutched his holy symbol, a low glow emanated from his fist and out toward the zombies.

“Begone!” he yelled.

Two of the zombies immediately moved away from Talrek and shambled off through the other entrance. Oto readied himself for the rest to attack but again nothing happened.

“Ehyahh” Alcor growled and threw a metal dart at one zombie striking it dead center in the chest. The low moaning noises suddenly stopped. All of the zombies slowly looked up at the heroes standing before them and then they moved to attack.

"Ohhh, boy its on," yelled Talrek.

Oto started the motions to cast Burning Hands as a line of zombies moved toward the heroes.

Zombie Attack

Session 26: Zombies

We were down to three players this week so two of us picked up the missing players characters. The heroes continued to wander the dungeon beneath the old keep while ominous rumbles shook the stone and increased in frequency.

The heroes almost immediately got into combat as the came down the stairs. They saw a room full of seven shambling corpses seemingly oblivious to the heroes. Alcor decided to throw a dart at one from a distance to see what would happen. Once it hit all of the zombies moved immediately to attack. For once the heroes were grouped well and were not split up. Talrek used Turn Undead to start the combat and 2 zombies turned and fled.
The combat lasted three turns, Mukah was hit repeatedly by zombies and dealt some damage, Oto used Magic Missile, Burning Hands, and Firebolt. Tinda again was effective dispatching a zombie with a killing blow. Talrek had a critical on a zombie destroying it.

After the combat, the heroes headed south entering a wide hall with peculiar stone statues of knights along the walls. Suspicious of the statues, first Mukah and then Oto examine them closely but find nothing. Talrek offers to cast a detect magic ritual spell. He casts the spell but he does not detect any magic. But Talrek does notice two brief flashes of light from the far end of the hall and popping noises. Heading to the far end of the hall they see a pile of goblin corpses and two charred zombies in front of a pair of double doors. Oto spots a glyph on the door after Talrek detects that they radiate magic. Unable to figure out how to open the doors safely the heroes decide to treat this as a dead end and they head back the way they came.

Heading north through a maze of corridors Mukah steps on a glyph trap that electrocutes him. Mukah drinks a potion of healing. Oto and Alcor head down a separate corridor to avoid the trap while the rest continue on. As they are almost out of earshot they hear Mukah yell that he sees zombies. Seven more zombies attack, Alcor and Oto attempt to retreat toward the rest of the group but are attacked by three zombies. Meanwhile, Mukah and Talrek are attacked by four zombies. Thyrell and Tinda are not immediately engaged in combat.

In the first round of combat, a disturbing trend emerges as Alcor and Talrek both roll 1s. Talrek fails spectacularly as he swings and misses, hits his own knee with his war hammer and knocks his helmet over his eyes momentarily blinding himself. Oto casts burning hands lighting all three zombies facing him on fire.

Alcor makes up for his first round by hitting a zombie twice in the second round and destroys it. Mukah is struck once. Alcor uses Hellish Rebuke on a zombie after taking a tough hit. Oto casts burning hands again this time on the zombies attacking Talrek. Mukah goes into a rage and attacks but he misses and falls prone (rolled a 1).

In the third and final round of combat, Alcor strikes and destroys a zombie, Mukah is hit three times while trying to get up, and Oto casts burning hands destroying the last two zombies.

After the combat, the heroes took stock and decided to take a short rest. Most of the group recover their hit points but both magic users are out of spells. There is another rumbling and Mukah and Oto are struck by rubble falling from the ceiling. Moving forward, Mukah almost immediately stepped into another trap. Oto tells everyone that the traps are single charge and are safe to step across once triggered. They continue north and there is another rumble and more falling debris. The heroes spot another set of double doors at the bottom of stairs that are leading down. There is a light shining from under the doors.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Brognor's Hall Level 3

Level Three: The Secure Halls

Brognor’s Hall the third level is divided into three areas that are not connected. Each is reached from different stairs from different levels or areas of other levels. In the past, most of this level was made up of the actual sleeping areas for those seeking refuge.

Wandering Monsters and Strange Occurrences (1-2 on 1d6 every 3 turns)

(1). Wight (1): AC 5, HD 3, HP 22, MV 30’, #AT 1, DMG Energy Drain, SA F3, ML 12, AL Chaotic. Each hit drains one hit die from victims. The wight appears to be a dirty, diseased, old man. He lopes, bent over toward the players.

(2). Rats, Giant (8): AC 7, HP 2 each, MV 40’, #AT 1 bite, DMG 1-3 + disease, SA F1, ML 8, AL Neutral. A swarm of giant rats.

(3). Shadows (2): AC 7, HD 2+1, HP 15, 14, MV 30”, #AT 1 touch, DMG 1-4 +special, SA F2, ML 12, AL Chaotic. Shadows are non-corporeal creatures but are not undead although they also are not affected by sleep and charm spells. They look like real shadows and in fact, will attack by coming out of the characters actual shadows. They surprise on a 1-5 on 1d6. If it touches a character it does 1-4 damage and drains 1 point of strength. This lasts for 8 turns.

(4). Gray Ooze (1): AC 8, HD 3, HP 20, MV 3’, #AT 1, DMG 2-16, SA F2, ML 12, AL Neutral. If it hits bare skin it does 2-16 points of damage. After the first hit, the ooze will stick to its victim automatically destroying regular armor and destroying magic armor in one turn. Ooze cannot be harmed by cold or fire.

(5). Shudder - the walls shudder and the floor seems briefly unstable. There is a deep groaning noise that comes through the walls.

(6). Sudden Breeze - a sudden cold breeze is felt and lasts for 1 round. Unprotected lamps or candles are blown out, torches sputter but relight.

41. Common Room
Areas 41 to 50 make up the largest secluded section of the level. It was the primary sleeping area for refugees. This room was a common area. There are tables, chairs and a lot of debris. There is a musky, wet odor to the room.

42. Common Temple
A large room, broken wood pews face the east wall. Two tall statues of gods are in the east area of the room. A female god to the north and a male god to the south. Each statue is 12 feet tall and stone. Their aspect is unclear, almost generic.

43. Storeroom
Wooden crates are piled dangerously high in this long narrow chamber. It was a storeroom in the past. The crates near the front have all been smashed open. The contents appear to be moldy blankets and rags. There is nothing valuable in any of the crates. The nearby group of troglodytes searched this area.

44. Sleeping Area
Several wooden pallets are in this area. One of the sleeping areas. The door to the east opens to the east. There is a simple tripwire on the other side of the door attached to a loaded crossbow facing the door sitting on a chair. If the door is opened it is triggered. Firing a single, large iron bolt for 2d4 points damage. It is a simple trap set by the troglodytes.

45. The Cistern
The door opens in. There is a tiny 2-foot platform on the other side of the door in the room that hangs over a large open pit. The cistern is 100 feet deep descending past levels 2 and 1 of the dungeon. The cistern is full of dark, clear water the surface of which is fifteen below the door. An iron spike has been pounded into the surface of the cistern. A rope is attached to it and descends into the water. Green algae coat the walls of the cistern up to a height of five feet above the water level.

Anyone entering the chamber without noting that they are proceeding cautiously needs to make a dexterity check to avoid falling into the frigid water.

Two rounds after entering the cistern six troglodytes break the surface below. They are armed with simple spears and appear to have been fishing for cavefish.

Troglodytes (6): AC 5, HD 2, HP 14 each, MV 40’, #AT 2 claws / 1 bite, DMG 1-4 each, SA F2, ML 9, AL Chaotic. Troglodytes secrete an oil which produces a stench that will nauseate unless the victim saves vs Poison. Nauseated characters have a -2 to hit.

Note that characters falling in the cistern will struggle to stay afloat or fight (-2 to hit).

46. Sleeping Quarters
A former sleeping quarters, it has been taken over by a hunting party of troglodytes. In this room are six alert troglodytes. If they have been alerted to the approach of intruders they will use their chameleon ability to blend into the stone walls and attack with surprise with a 1-2 on a 1d6 (reduced because it is a simple stone chamber with no hiding places).

The troglodytes have created “nests” of old blankets, clothing, and rags. Broken wooden furniture is piled in one corner. Fish bones and scales litter the floor.

Troglodytes (6): AC 5, HD 2, HP 14 each, MV 40’, #AT 2 claws / 1 bite, DMG 1-4 each, SA F2, ML 9, AL Chaotic. Troglodytes secrete an oil which produces a stench that will nauseate unless the victim saves vs Poison. Nauseated characters have a -2 to hit.
47. Sleeping Quarters
Another chamber with troglodytes, this time eight. These troglodytes are sleeping unless they have been alerted by noise in area 46 or 49.

Troglodytes (8): AC 5, HD 2, HP 13 each, MV 40’, #AT 2 claws / 1 bite, DMG 1-4 each, SA F2, ML 9, AL Chaotic. Troglodytes secrete an oil which produces a stench that will nauseate unless the victim saves vs Poison. Nauseated characters have a -2 to hit.

48. Closed Sleeping Area
The door to this area is stuck. Moisture has made the wood of the door swell. It takes an open doors check to force the door. Inside is an undisturbed sleeping area. Six beds footlockers and 3 chests of drawers. The beds are empty and have no sheets, the footlockers are empty and the chest of drawers is empty with the exception of one bottom drawer with 2 moldy blankets.

49. Wash Area
Two troughs are in this area. One on the west wall and one of the east wall. There is a large wooden table in the center of the room. On the table are piles of moldy clothes. There are eight more troglodytes in the room. They are alert. The troglodytes have refilled the troughs with water and poured live fish into them.

Troglodytes (8): AC 5, HD 2, HP 13 each, MV 40’, #AT 2 claws / 1 bite, DMG 1-4 each, SA F2, ML 9, AL Chaotic. Troglodytes secrete an oil which produces a stench that will nauseate unless the victim saves vs Poison. Nauseated characters have a -2 to hit.

50. Latrine
There is a stone platform with a hole in the center in each of the three alcoves in this area. A foul stench emanates from the holes. This was a latrine. The holes open into deep pits.

51. Guardroom
Areas 51 to 56 was a records store in the past. A gelatinous cube is currently trapped in this area by the barred door from area 51. It is ravenously hungry. This area is a former guardroom, two wood tables, and six wooden chairs. A chest of drawers has been pushed across in front of the door from this room which opens inward. The chest is very heavy and difficult to move because the three drawers are full of stone bricks and dirt. If the drawers are removed the chest can be moved much easier.

52. Rest Area
Everything is smashed in this area. There are busted pieces of wood lying on the chamber floor. It looks like it was wooden furniture. Careful examination of the floor will reveal trails of wet slime on the floor with a slight purple tinge. The doors to area 53 swing freely. The latches that kept the doors closed have been smashed like a large, heavy object forced the doors.

53. Sleeping Area
When the characters first enter the area the Gelatinous Cube is in chamber 53. If they make noise or have light, it will slowly move through the doors to area 52 and then follow the characters.

This area is similar to area 52. Broken furniture that was once chairs, beds, and cabinets.

Gelatinous Cube (1): AC 8, HD 4, HP 28, MV 20’, #AT 1, DMG 2-8 + special, SA F2, ML 12, AL Neutral. This cube has a human-sized skeleton inside it, a sword and an ax. Because of this, it cannot surprise victims. A successful hit will paralyze the victim unless a saving throw versus Paralysis is made. Any attack on a paralyzed victim automatically hits. The paralysis lasts 2-8 turns. It is immune to cold and lightning damage.

At that exact moment, Ted tripped and fell.

54. Common Room
There is an intact wooden table against the east wall and three intact wooden chairs in the room. There is a charcoal drawing of a tree on the north wall.

55. Records Room
Broken furniture is scattered about the room. It looks like there was a table surrounded by chairs but it is all smashed now. Paper is scattered on the floor. Most of the paper is wet with a purple slime. On the south wall, there is a wall to wall wooden cabinet of narrow drawers. A few drawers are missing. On top of the cabinet are a dozen candles. Most are white wax but one is red wax and is taller and unmelted. This candle is a magical Candle of Protection from Undead. If lit it casts light in a 30-foot radius. Undead are unable to enter this circle of light. But the light only lasts for 6 turns before the candle is melted permanently.

56. Records Room
There are three tables pushed against the north wall. Eight wooden chairs are pushed under the tables. There may have been other furniture in the room at one time judging by the broken bits of wood on the floor.

57. Guardroom
Areas 57 to 62 was the sleeping areas for the nobility that stayed in the refuge. Area 57 was a guardroom to prevent common folk from wandering into the area. There are tables and chairs and a rack holding 5 spears.

58. Scribes Office
A room full of wooden desks and chairs. Piles of parchment are scattered and stacked everywhere. There are four shadows in this chamber. They appear out of the shadows of the players and attack with surprise on a 1-5 of a d6.

Shadows (4): AC 7, HD 2+2, HP 16 each, MV 30’, #AT 1 touch, DMG 1-4 + special, SA F2, ML 12, AL Chaotic. Each hit by a shadow drains 1 point of strength.

59. Scribes Office
Another scribes office. This one has fewer desks and chairs and has one enormous table to the east side of the room. Again there are a lot of parchments and papers scattered about. The papers detail lists of people, food stores and the like.

60. Hold Leader’s Office
This room is better appointed than any other found in the Hold. A large oak desk sits in the center of the room. A high-backed wooden chair behind it. Three wooden chairs face the desk. Behind the chair are two wooden cabinets (twin doored wardrobes). On the south wall are two enormous tapestries. The tapestries depict angelic beings raising humans up to fight ogres (they are fanciful retellings of two of the early victories against the ogres). Behind one tapestry is a metal locked safe door 1-foot square. Inside the safe is a magical Horn of Plenty (one use per day it produces enough food to feed 120 people).

61. Town Hall
A large room with wooden benches facing a two-foot raised dais against the west wall. The ceiling is vaulted and 20 feet overhead. Clinging to the ceiling is an ochre jelly waiting to fall onto unsuspecting players.

Ochre Jelly (1): AC 8, HD 5, HP 33, MV 10’, #AT 1, DMG 2-12, SA F3, ML 12, AL Neutral. A giant amoeba that can only be harmed by fire or cold damage. Attacks with weapons or lightning only split it into more ochre jelly (1d4+1 jelly with 2 HD each). Smaller ochre jelly only do half damage.It can destroy wood, leather, and cloth in 1 round but cannot damage stone or metal.

62. Records
The financial records of the Hold were kept in these halls. The central area is honeycombed with many small niches holding rolled up parchments. If it is searched for 10 minutes a single magical scroll of Protection from Undead can be found.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Town of Pirn

A few blog entries ago I posted some images of a Medieval building created using textures from the Fat Dragon Games templates.

The next thing to do was to make a Medieval town scene. But I wanted to try unique building shapes so I decided to drop using the templates. Instead, I just created the buildings in Blender and applied textures later (from textures I found online created).

This took a lot more time but was a lot more satisfying because I had the ability to make any type of building. It also took a lot more time. In fact, I have been working away on it for about 2 weeks. The first week making the buildings and the second week populating the scene with figures.

The result is below.

Pirn Town Square and the Black Witch Inn

I call the end result Pirn. After the name of the town just off the Map, I made for the Stillwater setting. Pirn is envisioned as the last town at the end of the road before roads turn to trails through the wilderness.

Eventually, it would be nice to develop the entire town. As long as the number of buildings remained under 50 it probably would not take all that long. Populating it would be just about impossible. It would be a lot easier to start with something simpler like the village of Stillwater which has about 25 buildings.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Once More Into the Void Session 25

Once More into the Void Session 25
The Trouble with Chitters

Our latest session opened with the players all holed up in a small cave behind a secret door. Everyone but Oto took a watch as we slept. During Talrek’s watch, he heard scratching at the door but eventually, it went away.

Once everyone had rested the secret door was opened. Oto noticed giant rat tracks outside the door. The group wanders around in circles checking some nearby caves. In the one really large cave, Oto notices spots on the cave floor that look melted or dissolved. The cave is otherwise empty. As the group turned to leave a gelatinous yellow blob fell from the ceiling onto Alcor burning his skin where it touched him.

Oto suggests the group run for it since the blob appears to be pretty slow moving. He casts firebolt and leaves, Talrek casts Guiding bolt and splits the blob into two blobs.  Moving south the group outpaces the blob.

The group enters a cave with several low, small tunnel entrances. Mukah tells everyone that he can hear skittering and chittering noises. He notices claw marks on the cave floor. The noises stop. Just then Oto steps onto a loose section of cave floor and plummets 15 feet down into a pit.

Oto falls into a pit and the Kruthik attack

Round 1
A bunch of greenish white insect erupts from the small tunnels and attack. Talrek is hit first. The rest of the group manages to avoid any hits.

Round 2
Oto gets up from being prone at the bottom of a pit and casts Mage Armor. Mukah goes into a rage making multiple attacks, Alcor also attacks multiple times but the creatures appear very tough despite taking so good hits. The group (except Oto) start to get overwhelmed.

Round 3
Oto laboriously climbs out of the pit. Peering over the edge he can see Thyrell and Talrek fighting the creatures. Thyrell swings and misses badly dropping his sword (rolled a 1). Alcor grabs one creature, tears off a mandible and spears it in the brain killing it. Talrek casts Guiding Bolt and Spiritual Hammer and successfully kills one creature.

Round 4
Thyrell stumbles on the edge of the pit (rolled a 1 again) and steps on Oto’s face. Oto moves to one side and rolls out the pit, stands and casts Fire Bolt but misses. Mukah swings and misses and almost drops his sword (rolled a 1). Tinda the wolf grabs one creature and shakes it until it is dead. One creature remains and Talrek pushes it against the cave wall with his shield to pin it but he misses with his mace.

Round 5
Thyrell again stumbles at the edge of the pit barely avoiding falling in (third 1 rolled in a row), he ends up straddling the pit but pulls himself to one side. Two more creatures emerge from the tunnels to joins the attack. One emerges behind Oto’s back and Oto is struck twice. Oto spins and casts Burning Hands. Alcor disengages from his fight and rushes over to help Oto. Talrek kills one of the creatures attacking Thyrell.

Round 6
Thyrell finally manages to skirt the edge of the pit without falling in and joins Oto in fighting one creature. Mukah is badly hit twice taking a lot of damage (2 criticals). The creature attacking Oto strikes again and the portly mage is staggered barely staying conscious. Oto casts Magic Missile and kills the creature savaging him. Only one creature remains and Alcor hits it, Tinda bites it and then Talrek kills it by casting Sacred Flame.

After the pitched, desperate battle the group pauses to deal with wounds. Thyrell casts cure light wounds on Oto. Talrek takes the time to cast a Ritual Healing spell bringing most of the group back up close to maximum hit points. Oto examines the corpses of the creatures and realizes they are Kruthik hatchlings. The group begins debating whether to press on further and risk meeting full grown Kruthik. Mukah wants to press on but is overruled and the group turn about and head back toward some doors they had passed earlier.

The group has to make their way through some rubble and everyone manages except for Alcor who gets stuck. As the group waits for Alcor to show up they take a short rest. During the break, there is a shutter felt throughout the caverns and dust and debris fall from the ceiling. Eventually, Alcor shows up but is exhausted. The doors they approach are old and rotted. Talrek listens and hears nothing. Mukah grabs a door handle to open the double doors but the doors fall off their hinges to the floor.

Looking past the ruined doors the group see steps down into a flooded cave. In the middle of the pool of water is a small island with some wooden debris on it. Mukah leaps across the pool to the island and finds bleached humanoid bones and a few rotted wooden buckets. Mukah attempts to leap back but he comes up short and falls in the pool. He swims over and pulls himself out.

As the group discusses where to go next there is another shutter and more debris falls. This time both Oto and Mukah are struck by debris.

Should have memorized Jump

Oto looked carefully about the cave. The rest of the adventurers had begun to trust his keen eye and he had taken the task to heart. On the floor Oto could see some strange, scoured areas where the rock floor of the cave appeared to be melted or dissolved.

"There is some strange scouring here on the floor," Oto said.

The rest of the group came over to look. The dwarf Talrek, the half-orc Mukah, the tiefling Alcor and the drow Thyrell with his companion wolf Tinda. Not finding anything of interest in the cave they all turned to leave. Oto looked about once more and then joined the others. Only Alcor stayed back for one more look.

Suddenly, there was a yell from Alcor, Oto whirled about and saw that Alcor was yelling and gesturing at a huge blob of yellow, gelatinous material splattered on the cave floor. The blob undulated and moved, clearly alive. The ceiling! Oto realized he had forgotten to check the ceiling!

"It's burning my skin!" Alcor shouted.

"Everyone Run!" Oto shouted. Oto realized the creature was likely to slow like most other molds and slimes he had encountered in the past. Everyone started to run, Alcor sprinted past Oto and Talrek. Only Talrek hung back.

"If we don't kill it now it will follow us," Talrek shouted at Oto. Oto just yelled "C'mon!"

Oto cast one of his fire cantrips at the creatures and was rewarded with the sight of parts of the creature dissolving and burning. Oto realized the creature was susceptible to fire damage. Talrek also cast one of his holy spells. But instead of damaging the creature, the radiant holy light split the creature in half. Both halves continued to move toward the dwarf.

Oto turned and ran after the rest of the group, trusting that Talrek would follow. Ahead he could just make out Alcor's back in the dim light from his lantern. Puffing from the effort Oto kept running until he entered another cave. Several small tunnels entered the cave along the south and east walls. Another larger tunnel entered from the south. Mukah stood near the tunnel to the south and had his hand up gesturing for everyone to be quiet. Alcor, and Thyrell stood quietly nearby. Oto stopped and rested his hands on his knees tired from the exertion. Talrek came clomping up behind him.

"What?", Oto whispered to Thyrell. Thyrell motioned for Oto to be quiet. Then Oto heard the noise. A chittering and scraping noise coming from all around them. The sounds were quiet and first but the grew louder and then suddenly there was silence.

"Oh good, they went away!" Oto joked. Thyrell and Talrek smiled in amusement but Alcor and Mukah seemed less than amused by Oto's poor attempt at a joke. Then they shrugged.

"Maybe right, let's move on", Mukah said.

Oto moved forward with the rest of the group. After just three steps the ground suddenly went out from under Oto's feet and he plummeted like a rock into darkness.

Oto fell for a moment then came to an abrupt and painful halt. He was at the bottom of a deep pit. The lantern sat above on the edge of the pit where he had apparently dropped it. Oto groaned as the pain from his back suddenly made him aware of the depth he had fallen.

"Ohhh, guys a little help"

Looking up Oto briefly caught a glimpse of Thyrell looking over at him from fifteen feet above. Then Thyrell disappeared. "Hey!" Oto yelled.

Above he could hear shouting and the chittering sound had returned accompanied by screeching and the sound of swords hitting armor. Talrek shouted out in pain from above apparently attacked and hit by something. Oto rolled over onto his knees then climbed to his feet. Looking up Oto could see some movement but no details. He rubbed his hands together. It looked like we would have to climb out on his own. The walls of the pit were rough and appeared to offer many handholds. I should have memorized my jump spell Oto thought disgustingly.

Oto prepared himself then paused. First, he thought I should prepare Mage Armor and arrive at this fight prepared. Oto pulled up the memory of the spell in his mind, spoke the incantation and gestured with his hands. A shimmering magically barrier briefly appears around Oto as the spell took effect. Then it disappeared but Oto could feel it was up and working.

Oto climbed up the stone walls of the cliff with some difficulty. There were a lot of handholds and places to put his feet but Oto was the first to admit that his body was not built for climbing. His round stomach kept getting in the way and threatening to shove him off the pit side. Finally, his right hand felt the edge of the pit. Then his left hand. Oto struggled and pulled himself up to the lip of the pit.

Peering over the edge Oto could see Thyrell with both swords out, slashing at a chitinous, almost metal plated insect-like creature. The creature had four legs and a pair of arms and mandibles. The legs were built like pincers and as he watched he could see Thyrell leaping out the way of the slashing pincers. Talrek was also in front of his view blocking pincers with his shield. As Oto worked to pull himself up into the cave Thyrell leaped toward Oto and stepped one foot directly on Oto's face. He yelled in anger and Thyrell suddenly lost balance. Oto ducked involuntarily as one of Thyrell's swords hit the cave floor right near Oto's left hand.

Oto pulled himself up onto the cave floor and let loose with the first cantrip that popped into his mind, Firebolt. But he missed, disrupted by the act of getting to his feet. Oto backed away toward the cave wall as Talrek and Thyrell slashed away at the strange green and grey insect-like creatures. Oto gasped in pain as he felt two sword points dig deeply into his back. Pulling himself forward, Oto pulled free of the swords and turned about. A horrible creature stood before him, blood dripping from two of its pincer-like legs.

"Ahhh!," Oto yelled. The creature did not flinch but chittered at the mage.

"Manibus stuppea Flamma", Oto yelled speaking the incantation for Burning Hands. Flames leaped from his hands and sprayed over the creature that skittered back in pain. Alcor appeared suddenly on Oto's right, blood dripping from a gash on the tiefling's leg. Alcor speared and pinned the creature attacking Oto briefly but it broke free.

Oto could hear shouting behind him. Then a cry of triumph from Talrek. The creature skittered forward again and stabbed at Oto catching him in the gut. The green pincer slid into Oto's stomach and emerged. Oto watched blood spread out over the front of his robe. It was now or never Oto new. He would bleed out if they could not end this fight soon.

Going over the spell in his mind, Oto upped the potency and cast. Bolts of pure magic leaped from his hands and swooped unerringly at the creature striking it four times. Fluids and chitin sprayed over the cave floor as the bolts of magic ripped through the creature. It slumped to the cave floor.

Oto slumped to one knee. The cave walls became blurry and and dark.

"Help", Oto stammered. Thyrell appeared at his side casting a spell. He place his hand on Oto's stomach and Oto felt the pain recede and warmth grow up from his core.

"Thanks, Thyrell that was close", Oto said.

Getting to his feet he looked about. Six of the creatures lay chopped and mangled on the cave floor. Mukah also appeared to be badly injured. Blood poured from wounds on the half-orcs legs and arms.

"I am going to cast a ritual healing spell," Talrek said and kneeled in the center of the cave. "Stay close to me for a few minutes."

The group moved in close to Talrek. Oto took the time to examine one of the more intact creatures closely. The body was an odd mix of mechanical and insectoid. The ends of the pincers looking like metal. He realized he had come across the name and description of the creatures before while studying in the college.

"These are Kruthik hatchlings," Oto said wearily.

"Hatchlings? You mean there are bigger ones?" Thyrell asked.

"Yes, and the bigger ones are really nasty. The bigger ones are tougher and secrete acid".

Talrek finished up his ritual and a warm glow spread out from the dwarf encompassing the rest of the group. Oto immediately felt much better. Looking down he could see that he was no longer bleeding and most of the ache had left his back.

"We move on", Mukah stated, motioning toward the large tunnel heading in the same direction as the small tunnels the creatures had used. Oto realized that was probably going to lead right to the lair of more of these creatures, and probably more mature ones.

"Ahh, I would not recommend that", Oto stated worriedly.

"Look, what are we doing here?" Thyrell asked. "We are after the Necromancer, and I do not think we are going to find him in this direction."

Talrek nodded, "This direction seems disused and inhabited by vermin."

"So let's head back," Oto said.

"Back where, the exit is blocked, remember" Mukah stated.

"There is still that pair of doors we passed," Thyrell said. Talrek and Alcor nodded. Oto looked hopefully at Mukah. Come on Mukah, he thought, now is not the time to think with your anger.

Mukah scowled, looked at the rest of the group and then shugged.

They all stood up and one after another headed back up the tunnel in the direction of the doors.

"Mukah, keep your eyes open for those two blobs!" Talrek warned.