[This is a dramatization of the ongoing Descent 2ed: Journey into the Dark campaign being run with some friends.]
“Quickly! After her. She can’t be allowed to escape!” Avric Albright hollered, rallying the rest of the stalwart band down into the crypts under Lord Theodir’s keep. The elven knight Syndreal was the first down the stairs, her blade still drawn and determination creasing her brow.
The arcane wizard Leoric of the Book and the halfing rogue Tomble Burrowell followed behind, having first made sure Lord Theodir was safe. “Beware adventurers, my crypts are filled with creatures, and the doors are trapped with diabolical riddles,” he warned.
“Why would you put riddle sprouting doors in your dungeons?” asked Tomble.
“Because… of the monsters…” Lord Theodir explained.
“Okay… and why do you have monsters?” Thomble with strained patience.
“They guard my most valued treasure.” Lord Theodir answered confidently.
“Or… you’re just a crazy Lord who has parties with the fiendish Flesh Moulding minions of the Overlord.” Leoric rebutted bitterly. It was clear the wizard didn’t appreciate the eccentricities of Lord Theodir.
“Hey, this is all fine and well, but can we GET MOVING? The Vampiress is getting away.” Avric called again from the stairs, even more impatient.
“Right – let’s be heroes.” Tomble grinned, flipping and catching one of his daggers.
In the crypts, the evil vampiress, Lady Eliza Farrow had turned to mist and was quickly trying to escape through the crypts. She ignored the denizens of the hallway, and flew through the first large dungeon chamber, before being halted by the door. The magic of the door kept her from passing, and with an evil scowl she reformed. The air in the room tingled, and Lady Farrow could feel the influence of the Overlord in the minions not yet manifest. That would buy her some time.
“In order to pass this door, you must answer the riddle true.” The door slowly spoke, the knots of wood shifting to form a twisted mouth.
“Fine! Give me your riddle, stupid door.” Lady Farrow could hear the band of adventurers closing down the stairs behind her.
“What was the name of the first Mexican Newspaper?” asked the door.
Lady Farrow sighed in exasperation. Clearly Lord Theodir had lost his mind. This was going to slow her process.
Syndreal ignored the webs, and charged down into the dungeon leading the party. She was first to meet the hordes of cave spiders. Her elven blade flashed in the light, as she brought it down on the largest of the spiders. She cursed in elvish as the toughened hide of the spider deflected her blade to the side without even scratching it.
Behind her, Avric bellowed, raising the bejewelled mace high as he followed Syndreal into the battle. The holy club was brought down hard on the spider – but the surprisingly the spider toughed out these blows as well. It was one tough spider!
Tomble and Leoric brought up the rear, letting arrows and magic fly. The onslaught only seemed to anger the spiders more.
“Focus your attacks on the big one!” Syndreal exclaimed, deflecting the spider’s attack to the side.
“Easy for you to say!” Avric called back, exclaiming in surprise as one of the other cave spiders landed a bite. “Ooh that’s not good!” the cleric continued, feeling a burning sensation where the spider bite landed, fighting off the symptoms. “I think they are poisoned.”
“Oh, you don’t say!” Leoric called out, before one of the smaller spiders bit deep, the same burning dizziness coursing into the mage. “I don’t feel so good!”
Syndrael drew deep upon her reserves and lashed out; the elven silver blade cutting deep. Avric bashed the wounded spider, causing a grievous wound, while channeling his mystic ability. All of the spiders reacted as the pain was shared among the group. Avric considered attacking again to finish the main spider, but caught a glimpse of the chest in the dead-end of the corridor. “You got this, right?” The cleric asked, as he pushed himself to reach the chest, visions of Lord Theodir’s treasure danced in his head as he opened it.
The chest was empty.
Meanwhile Leoric complained, “I’m still not feeling very good,” raising his hand to lash out against the smaller spiders with his magic – the bolts of arcane spellfire connecting and burning the creatures. The hordes of cave spiders were starting to weaken.
This was all the incentive Syndreal needed – finishing the lead spider off, then advancing to finish off one of the weaker spiders before finally breaking through the lines of creatures and reaching the first door. “Don’t worry… I can make short-work of this door.” She called out bravely before she slammed her shoulder into the wooden doorframe.
The door splintered, but didn’t budge.
“Ouch!” Syndreal rubbed her shoulder.
“Oh, silly elf. Let me!” Tomble gleefully called out, dashing around the remaining spiders and crouching to deftly pick the lock on the door. “See, there is nothing to this. Just a flick and a click and…”
The door opened up, but instead of the next room of the dungeon, the room was filled with the maelstrom roar of the sound of a pair of elementals. Their bodies were a whirling mixture of air and water and fire, the top curled over like a giant torrential mouth.
“Oh… crap.” Tomble blanched, nearly losing the grip on his shortbow.
Syndreal drew her silvery blade, “Be brave, young half-human!”
Tomble shot a side-long glance, muttering under his breath, “You mean halfling…”
The fleeing vampress had made her way through the first of the puzzle-doors when she heard the roar of the elementals behind her.
“Oh yes! Make short work of those heroes.” She paused to turn her gaze to the stones forming the ceiling of the dungeon. “Oh, great Overlord – I beseech thee. Slow those meddling adventures so that I may return the magical artifact stored here for you.”
There was a low shake to the dungeon walls, and Lady Farrow grinned. She knew the Overlord was watching over her – and she would not fail. Her smile turned to a scowl as she faced the next of these infernal doors.
“In order to pass, you must…” started the deep knotty voice of the door.
“Yes, yes.. Answer your riddle. Give it to me already!” the vampire snapped back to the door.
A limb formed from a tempest of swirling rocks, fire and water lashed out, hitting Syndreal. The twin elemental to the side lashed out towards Tomble, connecting with a glancing blow as the little thief tumbled backwards out of reach. “Avric! We need some help up here!” Tomble cried out, hoping the cleric would take his place on the front lines.
Leoric, the mage, forced himself forward, despite still being woozy from the spider venom. Raising his hand, he shot a mystic bolt into the space Tomble had vacated. The elemental’s form became as insubstantial as the wind, and the mystic bolt passed through it, hitting the far wall. “I can’t shoot at it. I’m no good – and I’m not feeling very well.. still.”
Syndreal braced herself – holding back both elementals. Suddenly a deep echoing laughter could be heard reverberating through the walls, and largest elemental took on a newfound fury. Rocks and fire and water battered against Syndreal, nearly ripping her wooden shield from her arms. Her armour was dented, and blood started to flow from cuts and bruises, but the valiant elf held the line.
Avric ran forward, although seeing how wounded Syndreal had become… Seeing Tomble battered by the elemental, and Leoric still wracked with the spider venom; Avric changed his action and instead held his holy mace high. Channeling the power of his divine faith, a healing warmth flowed out from Avric and into the entire party. Their wounds healed, and a fresh energy surged through them.
Syndreal felt a new energy and lashed forward, slashing through the largest of the elementals. Her blade cut true and deep, the elemental started losing control as it weakened.
Avric entered the space beside Syndreal, deflecting a blow from one elemental as he concentrated his attack on the first one. Two more strong swings and the elemental was dealt a killing blow, and the maelstrom of elements dissipated as if they were never there, leaving only the lesser elemental.
Syndreal turned to the second elemental, but Leoric called out from the back, “Just go for the door – we need to catch that Vampire!”
Syndreal nodded, and ran forward. She didn’t notice the wire raised across the floor. With a clatter, the elven knight fell sprawling to the floor. The deep echoing laughter of the Overlord returned.
Tomble was quick to take advantage of the opening, dashing around the elemental and over Syndreal’s fallen form to get to the door. “Answer me the riddle, lest you pass,” the door started to intone, but Tomble had other plans. He pulled his lockpicks out, and started to work on the mechanism keeping the door closed.
“How about, I choose dank musty hallways, for 2oo Aleks?” Tomble said with glee as the mechanism unlocked and the door opened to the hallway behind. Tomble cackled with delight as he bounded into the hallway.
Syndreal was up and following quickly – with Leoric and Avric trailing behind. “See ya!” Avric called out, shutting the door on the elemental, trapping it behind.
The short hallway lead to another door – and Tomble went to work. The door didn’t even have time to start its riddle before there was a click and the door creaked open. Tomble went pale – again – as the snarl of a pack of Barghests met them. “Oh no… not these guys again!” Tomble cried.
The lead Barghest snapped at Syndreal and Tomble, before jumping back, allowing the pair in the rear to jump forward and snap. Syndreal’s shield deflected attacks aimed at her, however Tomble wasn’t as lucky.
“We don’t need to fight them,” Avric advised, “Just run around them and get out!”
Tomble gritted his teeth, nodding. Jumping forward, he ducked under the jaws of one of the snarling monsters, and then skirted to the side of one of the monsters in the second rank before getting to the locked door on the far side. His deft fingers went to work, and another door opened.Tomble dove inside before the Barghest could attack again. Syndreal followed at his heels.
Leoric was still suffering from the poison, when he remembered the magical doll they had found upstairs. He took out the doll and used it to magically transfer the poison from his body into the body of the magic doll. The doll took on a sickly green, and he felt instantly better. Now feeling better, Leoric quickly ran through the room, dodging the snarling beasts. He paused at the door, tossing the spent magic doll back to one of the Barghests. Avric pulled up the rear, closing the door. The echoing laughter turned to cries of anguish as the band of heroes had nearly caught up with the Vampiress.
In the final room, the chest moments before had held the artifact lay opened, and the satin pouch was clutched firmly in Lady Farrow’s claw-like clutches. In frustration she pounded her hand on the door, attempting to answer the riddle. “Ahh.. I don’t know – that’s a stupid question. Umm.. Fifty-Seven?”
“False – I will give you a new question. What is your favourite colour?” the door intoned.
Lady Farrow’s face lit up. “That’s easy!” but any more was cut off by the sound of the door behind her opening up.
“There she is!” pointed Syndreal, “We have you now!” and charged forward, lashing out with her silver sword to cut the vampiress deep.
“No! I was so close…” the vampire cried, curling back under the attacks. Several arrows flew past Syndreal – embedding themselves into the vampire. Avric charged up beside Syndreal and landed a heavy blow with his bedazzled holy mace.
The vampire staggered back, “So close… so close… I’ve failed you, Overlord.”
A flash of magic lashed out, and the vampire turned to a sudden red mist, the purple velvet bag falling to the floor. The red mist flowed up through the stones of the ceiling, while calling out “I’ll get you next time, heroes… Next time!”
Leoric picked up the bag, examining the artifact. It was an exquisitely carved set of ivory dice, inscribed with mystic runes. They were designed to be worn as a pendant, and the Goddess Fortuna would smile upon the wearer.
As a reward for defeating the vampiress, thwarting the Overlord and saving the guests, Lord Theodir bestowed the Fortuna’s Dice upon the party, and weary from their quest, the party travelled back to the kingdom of Arhynn – eager for their next quest.