Monday, September 16, 2019

Stonehell: The Death of Ka'Nefer

Session 106-108 were played at ReaperCon on 8/28, 8/29 and 8/30

This writeup will be a little different than my usual ones. Because I was running this 3 nights in a row, and those night all ran late, my notes are rather crappy. However, one player (Ed) gave me his notes, and they helped fill in my sparse chicken scratches.. The list of characters and players below is both incomplete, and doesn’t specify which players played on which night. There were some that played every night, and a few drop ins that only played one night.

Almost everyone played a pregen character. I made a bunch of fighters, a couple clerics, thieves, and a wizard, elf, dwarf, halfling, and mystic, all level 5, almost all with a magic item.

Koltic, Cleric 6, NPC
Seamus, Cleric of the Great McGuffin (Ed)
Drog, Fighter (Lynn) followed by
Kordar, Dwarf (Lynn)
Chris, Fighter? (Patrick)
Thes Hunter, Fighter (Jacqueline)
Unnamed Thief (Ariel) followed by
Kaylene Vin, Mystic (Ariel)
Irate Jackal (Cranky Dog)
Hogwort the Unmoving, Wizard (Chris)
Kangaroorex, Elf (Rob)
Uros Minos Manos, Halfling (Tompall)
CTD2, Thief (One Boot, then Bobby Jackson)
Unnamed Fighter (Heather)

Koltic, growing increasingly anxious about the swelling of the attendees at the Temple of the Black Sun, decided to recruit some other adventurers in hopes they’d be willing to take on Ka’Nefer. Thankfully a band of nerdowells had just ridden into town, having heard stories of the great dungeon Stonehell. Telling them of the dangers, and showing them an incomplete map he’d copied (and not wanting to share the whole map), they agreed, and the next morning, headed out.

Taking the hobgoblin cave entrance, the party makes their way carefully through the Hobgoblin Redout to the disco room, and past it with one character aged, and another irradiated. They make their way into the Reptile House, though the lizardman caves, and to the entrance of the Prison of Ka’Nefer. There they spotted their first monster, a group of Heartless. Seeing their blackened shrunken skin, the pit in their chests where their hearts should be, and the unnatural blue flames emanating from it, filled the party’s heart with terror, and most of them, including Hogwort, froze at the sight. They survived, but only just, and one by one the remaining party members were paralized at the Heartless’ touch, but they fought on, and defeated the evil creatures.

Descending into the prison, the party viewed Eiric & Co’s efforts to disable the traps and slay the monsters within. Passing through the chamber of the Black Sun, they felt the same evil force frip their hearts. Koltic warned them, but even still, it was chilling. Deeper they went, following the hotter path which brought them to a massive long chamber that looked as if it was out in the middle of the desert. Before them was a long rectangular reflecting pool, flanked by 3 stone pillars on either side. Beyond it hunched a broad black stepped pyramid, at the top a large bronze door. Above all that, in the blue sky, a black sun radiated an oppressive heat.

Thes, never one for the sanctity of a temple, and feeling the call of nature, relieved herself in the pool. This upset the mummy wardens who lay under the sand at the foot of each needle. A well placed web spell kept the fight manageable, and the wizard’s use of “Entangle” on a mummy’s own bandages was inspired.

At the foot of the pyramid, the heat blazed down…

Night 1 Notes: Everyone’s dice were cold! Failed saving throws, poor to hit rolls, crappy damage all around. The only reason the party survived was because my rolls were at least as bad.

Deciding that a rest before taking on the pyramid, the party returned to the Reptile House, and a side chamber that Koltic told them about. Just outside the door, 5 Heartless catch them. Again, much of the party is paralized, Hogwort included, of course, but Koltic turns 2, in spite of the oppression of the Black Sun within the dungeon. The other 3 are killed quickly by a lightning bolt from the wizard, but at the cost of 3 of their own.

Within the chamber the party was going to rest in they find 3 other adventurers (a dwarf, halfling, and mystic) who had fled the undead. Deciding that the more the merrier, they join together, and get some shockingly uneventful rest.

Emerging from their rest, the party returns to the Prison, dusting a dozen skeletons on the way.

Passing through the Chamber of the Black Sun the cold feeling of dread again fell upon the party… then the burning heat of the Pyramid. The mystic, who’s head was wreathed with flames, seemed immune to the heat, so climbed the stairs first, and tried the door. The sheer weight of them was too much for her alone, so the wizard levitated up, avoiding the burning hot stones, but still felt the heat of the sun. Sadly the wizards weedy arms didn’t seem to help. The pair were joined by others, and the door was opened. The rest of the party rushed up the stairs and into the (comparatively) cooler entry to the pyramid. Within the black stone chamber were stairs… the party took them deeper into the pyramid.

Zig zagging back and forth, the stairs opened up into a hot and humid chamber, over 30’ wide, and more than 70’ long. Raised beds along either side contained thick verdant jungle plants and at the far end was an impressive throne and a Black Sun mural that seemed to force anyone looking to bring their gaze back to the throne. 4 highly decorated pillars supported a balcony that ringed the room. On the balcony were shelves containing books, scrolls, tablets, and small statues. The party explores the chamber, and eventually 2 discoveries were made.

Thes, finding nothing interesting on the throne, defecated on the seat. This did not deter others from examining the throne, but it did keep anyone from sitting on it.

First, each pillar contained a secret hiding spot with a canopic jar in it. The jars were Blessed by one of the clerics, whereupon they broke apart and fell to dust.

Second, the throne had a switch built into the arm rest… While the party was all split up, Hogwort triggered it, causing the throne and floor around it to drop down into the Crypt of the Mummy Lords. The previously killed Mummy Lords had been propped back in their thrones, but were very clearly no longer animated. The other 4, sitting on their thrones however, were, and the mummies moved in for the kill. Hogart was obviously frozen in terror. One of the thieves dropped a rope down, and lassoed the throne, triggering the switch. The throne rose quickly, bringing the not quite dead fool, and 3 of 4 of the mummies up. The rest of the party, having rushed to the action begin to beat on the mummies. The mystic jumped on the throne and triggered the switch, dropping herself and 2 of the 3 mummies back down into the crypt. The mummies beat on the mystic, and one of them cast Blindness on her. She failed her save…

With the mummies out of sight, the Hogwort could move again, so he looked over the edge and froze, leaving it to Kangaroorex to the cast fireball down the hole. The Throne, the poop, the mummies all burned quite pungently. The mystic got a little crispy around the edges, but was otherwise okay.

A fresh rope was lowered down, and the party looted the corpses. The blind, near death, and suffering from Mummy Rot mystic managed to lean against the right spot on the wall, and discovered a secret door opening onto Ka’Nefer’s treasury! After checking for traps and magic, they looted it all, and then RAN for the dungeon’s exit, hoping not to run into Ka’Nefer… assuming he didn’t die when his jars were blessed… One thing was clear though, there were still other enemies to deal with, including the heartless that were waiting for them at the top of the stairs leading out of the prison. Thankfully a Protection from Evil 10’ radius kept the party, loaded down with loot, safe, and they bypassed the danger.

Night 2 Notes: The dice were much hotter tonight, but still, the sight of mummies is terrifying! Mummy Rot however is less terrifying than level or ability drain… Also, where the hell is Ka’Nefer?!? I kept rolling to see if he’d show up, but nope!

Back in town, the party throws an EPIC week long bash. They level up, and decide to go hunting the Chosen of the Black Sun directly. Pumping Koltic for more info, they decide to enter the dungeon through the Bandit Caves, through the Mushroom Forest, to the Korners, and into the Quiet Halls. They dust some skeletons on their way.

The Quiet Halls, surprisingly, live up to their name, and the party makes it to the Great Hall where the gong hangs. Wanting to summon Ka’Nefer, rather than go wandering around aimlessly, they bang the gong! A pair of Mummy Wardens soon rush into the chamber, several members of the party freeze in terror, including Hogwort. Koltic turns one, causing it to run off. The other stabs on party member with its polearm, but is then cut down. From that point on, every 5-10 minutes they bang the gong again… and again… and again.

Hours pass before anything else enters the chamber, but when they do, they come from nearly every doorway in the chamber. Skeletons, Heartless, and Wardens.. Because of the size of the room, and the way everyone had drifted around it, there were a lot of individual fights going on. Near the gong, the Mummy Wardens and their pole arms try to pincer the party down in the southern end of the room. A Web spell from Hogwort (not paralized for once) catches 2 of them coming in from the east, and Thes pounds on them.

The skeletons were quickly dusted, and one of the heartless turned, while the wardens were trapped by webs. Ka’Nefer chose this point to appear, at the southern door near the gong (and the webs). He dropped a Silence spell around the wizard who was paralized in fear at the sight of the Mummy Lord anyway. The ball of hate and pointy bits that was the halfling couldn’t injure the mummy he was fighting, but he could knock it down over and over and over, so he did, making it easier for one of the fighters to stab it. The rest of the party, as they finished off their individual fights, began to converge on Ka’Nefer. Seeing the Mystic’s glowing fists and flaming hair, he casts Hold Person on him, freezing him in place. Then the Mummy Lord of Stonehell cast Darkness around himself. This broke the wizards line of sight, and he moved out of the zone of Silence, and cast levitate on himself, rising up toward the ceiling. Sadly the darkness was a full zone, not just a wall. A couple of fighters rush into the dark, hoping to catch Ka’Nefer with a lucky swing. Neither does, and one ends up caught in the webs.

Ka’Nefer steps from the darkness, surveying the battle, and spies the wizard up near the ceiling. He attempts to blind him, but Hogwort shakes off the spell. That distraction allowed Kangaroorex to catch Ka’Nefer and the Wardens in an amazingly powerful fireball! The explosion roasts the remaining Wardens, crisps the monk, burns Thes’ hair a bit, and turns Ka’Nefer into a pile of ash almost instantly. (33 points of damage out of a possible 36).

Ka’Nefer is dead… Gathering their wounded, and the little loot, the party rushes from the dungeon, out the main entrance, and seeing the famous inscription for the first time.

Night 3 Notes: He’s dead… they actually did it… they overwhelmed his resistance to fire, and killed him!! The upper levels of Stonehell will actually quiet down. I had such a blast running this with a new group, seeing how they’d tackle the challenges I put them up against. It’ll be neat to see how my regular group takes having this victory (and the spoils) snached out from under them.

Gains: Ka’Nefer’s treasury!
Kills: Lots of skeletons, a bunch of mummies, and Ka’Nefer!!
Losses: Unnamed Thief, 2 others…

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