Adventures in an Actual Dungeon
While the rest of the party was ferociously battling trolls and gnolls, little Nim laboured tirelessly to make a breastplate for his good friend Ulfgar, who had saved him many times already in the course of their adventures. Upon hearing that the rest of the party had journeyed to the inverted castle, Nim with the breastplate in tow set out to join them in the exorcism of Sword of Vengeance.
With Ulfgar now smartly outfitted in his breastplate, the party set out guided by the Librarian Balfour. As they approached the infamous Hall of Trials, the vegetation slowly faded away until they were left standing on a windy, sandswept hilltop in front of 3 sandstone statues weathered by the years, but still standing tall. To their left a menacing muscular figure in the nude stood peering out of his one unbandaged eye. Dead ahead loomed a large winged figure with five heads. While to the right sat a bloated being with rams horns and wings. Ulfgar immediately recognized this as Orcus, the demon lord of undeath, strode over and faced him down. Ulfgar bellowed a challenge to Orcus. Suddenly the sand beneath their feet gave way to a steep ramp and before they could blink they were sledding down into a dark cavern.
Shaking the sand out of their clothes as their eyes slowly adjusted to the dim lighting, the party found themselves standing in a large rectangular room. On three raised platforms set into the walls, stood the same 3 statues they had encountered in the sandy outdoors, but these were carved in dark granite with every feature detailed in terrifying excellence. Before they had the opportunity to admire the craftsmanship, previously unnoticed piles of bones slowly pulled themselves into respectable human forms. Armed with axes and swords these skeleton warriors slowly circled around. Before the heroes of the Wayward Chimera could fully draw their weapons, flaming forms seared through the air and landed among the statues and burning skeletons emerged there. While Nilo hid in the shadows, sniping the oblivious flaming beings, Nim and Ulfgar forged ahead into the skeleton fray as fireballs rained down around them. A ferocious battle ensued until once again our heroes were standing alone amongst piles of bones.
As the dust settled around our troupe of fighters they were faced with a decision. To their left lay a small passage with a sign reading “Shiny Things.” Nim took off to see just what shiny things there were, but before he reached it he was stopped by a warning from Balfour that down that way lay only goblin traps and no shiny things at all. Thus, they went left, down a flight of stairs and found themselves face to face with a Wood Elf. After blinking a few times in surprise at meeting others down here, the elf introduced himself as Fenros, a ranger who had come down here with a group of treasure seekers. Unfortunately after a series of unfortunate events, he had become separated from his party, whom he now feared dead. As Ulfgar, Nilo and Nim were missing a few from their regular band of adventurers, they eagerly invited Fenros to join them on the rest of their dungeon excursion. He happily agreed provided they would help him find a way out as he’d been down there for about a week by now and was getting rather hungry.
In the room around them were 3 statues each guarding a dark passageway. Before any discussion could begin about their options, Ulfgar set off for the passageway guarded by a clenched fist holding a set of scales, the symbol of Kelemvor, god of the dead. The others followed into a room with a near identical statue to the one at the door. After a thorough search of the room, the only thing they noted were the shapes of an oval and a thin bar in the dust of the scales. Nilo, full of useful facts, immediately piped up that typically a heart was weighed against a feather when Kelemvor is judging the souls of the dead. So the party returned to the central room to pick a new passage in search of hearts and feathers.
This time venturing down a passage guarded by a dwarf statue, they came into a long hall with 6 dwarves carved of stone. As they walked past a dwarf smithing, a dwarf carving and a dwarf fighting an orc. They noticed a small lump lying at the feet of a dwarf mining. With a cry, Fenros rushed forward to kneel beside the cold corpse of his dear friend Gank. A distinctly orc noise sounded behind them. A stone orc gargoyle unfurls its wings and disengages from its battle with the stone dwarf to face down the live dwarf in front of him. With a shudder, the rock wall spits out a second gargoyle and the battle is on!
The dust of dead stone orcs settles around a chest. Nilo strides forward and throws it open to reveal a red ruby carved into an anatomically correct heart; albeit with some hypertrophy. As she draws it out of the chest a door swings open to reveal a second room. Nim rushes forward towards a familiar glow and finds himself warmed by the comforting smolder of a smithing forge, complete with anvil and dwarven tools. Nilo produces the Sword of Vengeance, Ulfgar hands him a hammer and Nim begins to beat the sword with expert precision.
With each blow, ominous black smoke seeps slowly from the sword. Nim continues with renewed fury, his tiny frame throwing its all into each hammer blow. When he’s satisfied that every imperfection has been purged, he quenches the sword with a loud hiss that times perfectly with the smoke congealing into a black gargoyle that seems to suck the very light from the room. The gargoyle births out two bloated demon babies in quick succession. They live a very short life before dying with demonic gurgles as blades plunge into their hideous throats. The smoke gargoyle is subsequently vanquished and our heroes return to the room of Kelemvor.
Nilo moves forward and places the ruby heart and a feather plucked from her best arrow onto the scales. With a grumble the wall behind slowly slides away to reveal the cloaked figure Kelemvor standing before a shrine. While the others stand back, Ulfgar alone walks forward, places an axe on the altar and prays. As his prayer rings through the room, a gorilla slowly climbs from the axe head, beats its chest in a magnificent mating display and attacks. To the dismay of animal lovers everywhere, the gorilla dies in a bloody battle just as a gong sounds. Balfour, who has stood at a safe, yet not entirely cowardly distance, now pipes up that the gong sounds when the trap of Shiny Things is sprung. Rushing back the way they came, our party encounters some Kobolds, who they easily cut down with minimal effort. After the dangers they’ve faced today, the Kobolds seem like a silly impediment. They reset the trap (just to be polite), decide to skip the third room, which Balfour states he knows to be a fury of uncomfortable environmental conditions and head back to the inverted castle with their now uncursed Sword of Vengeance.