Last time, our heroes solved the riddle and made their way into the hidden vault beneath the castle. They are keen to see what they will find there...
Read the first part of this campaign log here.
At the end of the hallway is a small chamber. Solid iron bars seal off half of it, and the room is littered with instruments: knives for skinning and cutting meat, empty glass vials (similar to the one they found before); and a long spear-like shaft that ends in a sharp metal tip. The tip is hollow, and there is a plunger on the instrument, as well as a small section that should neatly fit one of those glass vials.
Thanks, Captain Obvious
For the record: this is a very long, primitive version of a syringe.
As our heroes near the other side of the chamber, they see an old man chained to the wall on the other side of the bars. When he sees our heroes, he responds like a rabid dog, snapping his teeth at them and pulling at his chains. His teeth seem to be filed into sharp points, and his cell is littered with remains that our heroes quickly conclude to be human.
The fate of the many slaves taken into the castle of Codruscut is slowly becoming clear to them.
Appalled, our heroes investigate further. While everyone is rummaging through the strange instruments, Erdan decides to jab the old man with his spear, just to see what happens. The man turns even more rabid at Erdan’s attempt, but the slight nick Erdan’s spear causes seals almost at once. The man can heal supernaturally quick, it seems.
While our heroes ponder the consequences of this discovery, they hear voices and footsteps coming their way; they can only be guards. Our heroes get into formation swiftly.
The players faced off against five guards, which had about 200 fewer Character Points than they had. It was an easy battle, especially since the players had discovered in the previous showdown with the castle guards that Mind damage is exceptionally powerful against them.
Waiting in ambush, our heroes make short work of the guards. Kaan, ever the investigator, decides to throw one of the guards’ corpses into the cell with the old man. The old man immediately throws himself at the carrion. He begins to feed on the corpse. As he eats, his muscles grow, color returns to him, and he radiates warmth.
Even more appalled, our heroes decide to press on. If they linger here for too long, others will likely come. However, there is but one way left to go, and that is through the chamber filled with guards at the end of the other hall. There is a short discussion, and our heroes agree on a ruse to get past the guards. Erdan takes one of the great helms from the slain guards; they almost completely cover the face and will serve as a disguise. Wearing the helmet, he knocks on the door to the guards’ room. A latch opens and a guard appears to talk to him. Unfortunately, something about Erdan seems off to the guard and he is reluctant to open the door. He asks Erdan’s name and demands Erdan removes his helmet. Erdan makes a final brave effort: acting infuriated, he complies and barks an order that the door needs to be opened now. The guard doesn’t fall for it. He runs upstairs, sounding the alarm as he goes. Time to act quickly.
At this time, we had a short discussion about the Passwall spell (see Core Rulebook, page 174). Passwall, in short, allows the spellcaster to appear on the other side of an obstacle. The obstacle, however, cannot have a Size Category greater than the Apportation skill level of the spellcaster. Since most doors are at least Size Category 7 and the maximum level for any skill is 6, Passwall can’t be used to pass through most locked doors. We pretty much agreed that this renders the spell rather pointless. Sure, it works for windows or hatches, but doors would be very nice, too. This is something I’ll have to look into.
We parked this issue, and Razvan settled on using the Shift spell (see Core Rulebook, page 184-185) to teleport to the space he could see through the crack under the door.
Razvan teleports past the door into the now empty room. With no time to lose, he opens the door and lets his friends in. The chamber is a small mess room for guards: it is filled with shelves, cupboards, crates, and barrels stocked with supplies and firewood. It’s all dark and shady, and so our heroes quickly decide to hide here. The more skilled sneaks help out the others, and everybody finds a good place to hide before a group of guards comes clattering down the stairwell.
The ruse is successful: the guards don’t notice our hidden heroes and proceed deeper into the undercroft. Our heroes quickly lock the door behind the guards, buying themselves some time to go farther into the castle. They go up the stairway.
Upstairs, Zikan scouts ahead. He is quick to find the throne room. There, he sees the queen of Codruscut seated on her throne, discussing with a heavily armored man, probably a general. When Zikan reports back, our heroes decide on a course of action at once: there’s just two enemies, so our heroes will go in, using the element of surprise, and take them down. They ready their weapons and make their way to the throne room...