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|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.