The others have groaned about my verbosity, so I he promised to be more concise in my entries.
We came, we saw and we destroyed the big ugly in the psychedelic mushroom room.
Very well, to make the reader more satisfied, I’ll provide a little more detail.
Once we were able to shake the momentary blindness from our eyes from the transport from Diderius’s crypt, we found ourselves in a dimly lit, circular room. Dank, swampy smells assaulted our noses and a miasma floated across our sight. It wasn’t particularly dense, but it was noticeable.
Figures moved in the gloom, resolving into lizard like creatures, simple lizardmen guarding the portal and entrance to the caves. They moved to attack and we defended ourselves. The lizardman shaman caused us no end of difficulty. I cast a hypnotic pattern, floating above him and he froze in place, transfixed on the swirling colors and patterns.
The other lizardmen assaulted and I had advanced too far into the room and found myself surrounded by these creatures. Swords bit into my flesh, those which weren’t stopped by what armor I had. Then a flash of heat washed across me as a wall of fire from Tairen’s hand flared around me. The Lizardmen screamed as their flesh snapped and popped like a pig that had been thrust into hot coals.
After we finished off the lizardment, we tied up the shaman and began questioning him once I let my pattern dissolve. We weren’t able to get many answers from him and were disturbed by a rush of feet and yuan-ti entered the room, weapons at the ready. This fight was more difficult and distracted our attention from the shaman, who began his spell casting again. For that, he paid the price of a quick trip to his snake god, whoever that might be. The yuan-ti were more challenging, but dispatched with a few thrusts of blades and magic.
We paused for only a moment to catch our breaths. We didn’t have time for a longer rest, this was not a good place to be taking our ease.
Beyond the chamber was a stone bridge that sloped downwards. Slime coated everything here, making footing difficult and requiring our complete concentration. Elyria suggested hammering in a piton into the floor to anchor a rope to assist in sliding down. Unfortunately, the layers of slime made making fast the piton tricky and required several attempts. I grew weary of the delayed and decided to take my chances sliding down the bridge’s slope. After all, thou only liveth once after all.
With the help of the rope attached to the piton, most of us were able to traverse the bridge. Our paladin was unlucky and took a wrong step in the muck and lost his footing. Twisting, he tried to grab on to the bridge as he slid over the edge. His fingers found no purchase and he fell into the deep chasm below.
From below the sibilant hiss of serpentine bodies sliding against each other was hurt over the disgusted invective from our paladin. Seriously, where had a paladin learned so many expletives and curses? I found myself nodding approvingly at his grasp of Common.
The cursing halted suddenly as grunts of pain came from our paladin. The young snakes that had been hatching and maturing in this pit did not take kindly to a metal encased half-elf landing in their home with all the grace of landslide. On second thought, a landslide can be graceful, this, however, was not.
He began his climb, fighting off the swarms of snakes with his free hand until we could reach down and grasp his hand to pull him up. He wiped his gauntlets on his tabard and dug a few snakes who had squirmed between his armor and the padding beneath it. These the threw back into the pit and he gestured for us to continue.
We continued down the hall and passed another hall extending to our right. We could come back to explore that in a little bit. At the end of the hallway we continued down, a door stood closed. We opened it to find what appeared to be some form of chamber. It appeared to be some kind of altar, although there were none of the typical accoutrements you would expect to find at an altar. All that stood here were two statues and four suits of armor. As we entered the room, destined for the door on the other side, the sibilant sliding of snakes came as hundreds of small snakes slithered from the statues towards the suits of armor. We watched in horror as the snakes began to form themselves into the musculature of arms and legs. Their movements were jerky at first as they reached to pick up their weapons, but smoothed as the snakes became better coordinated.
We took some wounds, but nothing too serious. Indeed nothing in these chambers were particularly difficult, but we could feel our strength draining as the repeated encounters sapped our resources. We were weary, of that there was no doubt.
Beyond the far door, another hallway stretched into the gloom. Sven, as normal held a hand for us to wait while he examined the area for traps. He found none and we advanced.
It should be noted here that our faith in Sven’s trap-sense waned as a hail of darts erupted from the walls. Most of us were hit. The damage was negligible, but we could feel a searing heat in our blood as the poison from the darts pumped into our veins.
The door to the north, beyond the trap that Sven didn’t find, opened into quarters. A yuan-ti and a few lizardmen looked as we entered. I won’t bore the reader with details, but let it suffice that we dispatched the creatures, extending our weariness even further.
Leaving the room, we continued down the hall. A door to our left opened into a prison with a few poor souls who appeared to be undergoing the metamorphosis into yuan-ti. While it may sound cruel that we slew these as well, I assure the reader, we provided the best mercy we could and ended the suffering they were in. The transformation looked painful and no creature should endure it.
Beyond that, we had a choice. To our right another passage extended. A quick review of our path in the crypt led us to the conclusion that this passage probably met up with the one we had originally encountered after the bridge. There would be time to explore that, but our attention was caught on the next room and the lights which shown from the open archway.
It’s difficult to describe this room. Colors of all shapes and hues swirled as though the feet of giants trod on the walls. Each “step” caused a point of color which swirled and spread into the next step. We could hear the slithering of feet and sibilant chuckles of a predator stalking prey who had come too close to the predator’s den.
The illusion of the colors was of arcane magic so Tairen stepped forth and murmured words of negation. Nothing happened and Tairen gathered up the last of his strength to try to negate the illusion. This time the colors disappeared, replaced by stark gray walls, lined by slime and algae. It was poorly lit. Lizardmen paused in surprise, much like a guilty child will stop when their parents catch them in the act of something particularly nefarious.
Beyond them, the expected altar was set on the far side of the room, guarded by a huge… thing. It’s difficult to describe. The abomination certainly had the origins of the snake, but grossly exaggerated and larger than many of the trolls we had encountered earlier. In one of his hands, a dwarf in purple and white hung unconscious, Varram.
To the side a priestess stood in placid disinterest as we approached. With my flailing strength, I flung out my hypnotic pattern against the priestess and the abomination. Both shrugged off the hypnosis, though one of the lizardman guards stood stock still. I stood in minor disbelief and no small amount of disappointment and gathered my strength for one last attempt.
This was more successful. The abomination froze in place as it caught sight of the pattern, the dwarf still hanging limply. I was unable to entrap the priestess, but taking the abomination out of the fight was more than enough. We defeated them in detail and roused Varram.
We really hadn’t planned on capturing Varram alive. I think we had gone into this thinking we would be forced to fight him. Little did we know that he would be handed to us defenseless, which leaves us in quite the quandary. Do we kill him, or bring him with us to Waterdeep? For now, we have decided the best thing to do is to bring him to Waterdeep and let the council decide what to do with him. Perhaps, by not killing him, we can regain of the lost favor with the elves.
But, then again, perhaps not.