Dinner with Toramund was a complete success, with the possible exception of Liam almost getting tossed out for interrupting the host. Bynn regaled Toramund with some interesting tales (cleverly saving both of his natural 20s of the evening for history skill checks). Ganath entertained him with arena combat stories (“I gotta fight the halfling! It’s what I’m all about!”) In the end, by trading away some of their supplies so Toramund could fully equip his courier to send an important message to Balak (“What R U wearing?”), he disclosed what he knew of the legendary lost safehouse of a now deceased House.
The information led the group to a hidden canyon that was hopefully different from the many other hidden canyons in the desert. A full day of searched eliminated some but not all of the possible passages, and the party had to hole up in a cave for the night. (Except for Grimgutt, who after a spat with Zaine was demoted to guarding the sand skimmers above ground, and writing “I will remove sand from Zaine’s shoes WHENEVER she tells me to” 100 times.)
A gang of Gish attacked in the night. Despite the narrow confines, and a gish elite that could jump around like the guy Bond chases around the construction site in Casino Royale, the party was victorious. The next day, additional skill checks allowed the party to find the probable entrance when Liam held up a large staff he “borrowed” from a man with a fedora and the sun shone through it on a particular passageway.
Explorations began in earnest, and the party battled a large group of undead zombies and skeletons. Interestingly, at one point the two groups of undead actually attacked each other, confirming theories that undead often have deep seeded rivalries between each other – much like same party candidates during the primary season. Ganath proved his worth by taking on 3-4 undead at a time. Zar wanted to take teeth from the undead but was unclear about whether he could take them from something that had already been killed, or if doing so would count as double-dipping. In the end, the tooth won out. Ganath found a large heavy shield that was magical, at which point a heavy sigh could be heard 300 feet above on the surface from Grimgutt.
This led the group to a doorway to wonderous treasure – only in this case, the door was the treasure. It was lined with copper, making it easily their biggest score since adventuring together. The door was locked, but Zar opened it with his barbarian thieving skills (“Lead with your shoulder!”) and knocked the door down.
The doorway led to a crypt, with five sarcophogi and a center column with runes written around it on the floor. The runes could not be deciphered but the party decided to open the lids of the sarcophogi on the off chance that the runes read “Welcome adventurers! Free candy in the crypts!”
It’s not that they weren’t prepared for bad mojo. Zar held the door and was ready to slam it down in place of the lid when it was removed in case a nasty undead came out. The door proved ineffective in preventing the ghostly creature from emerging. Or the three others from other sarcophagi. Or the multiple undead that sprung up in the runes, including a banshee like creature that targeted the Liams for never calling or writing after she engaged in a double-team with them backstage after the show in Cork.
It was not an easy fight – the ghostly creatures had resistance to our mundane weapons. Everyone was bloodied at least once during the battle, and one of the no-show “companion” characters almost died – really died. Like, three hit points away from their negative bloodied value. (Apparently undead prefer to munch on a downed character instead of attacking another. If only we had seen some undead horror movie that would have clued us in to that…) In order to protect the identities on both sides, a code will be used so only dyslexics will know what really happened: Mail almost died when Mit was playing him.
Still, the group was rewarded with an even greater treasure: Another door. This time plated with a metal we had never seen before, perhaps even silver. What’s behind this door will be a mystery until the next session, during which time Zar can brush up on his “open lock” skills by watching tapes of John Cena and Dick Butkus.