So with a room full of slaves, guarded by a bunch of large Web toed Sahuagin the party backed off and continued to carefully examine the upper floor of the Fortress. How will they fair against the guards and more importantly how will they pass them without raising the alarm.
The Ranger Talon accompanied by the other party members, carefully pressed on, till they came to a very cold room which held the refrigerated bodies of a number of creatures including Lizardmen, Eels, an Octopus and worryingly a Human and a Dwarf. The group deduced that the poor creatures were Elmo’s original party and shuddered at the thought of themselves, suspended here as some kind of fish snack ready for slicing at a moments notice.
After completing a scan of the rest of the upper floor and finding no more sign of Sahuagin guards or rooms of interest, the party turned its attention back to Elmo. He slumped to the floor as he was questioned at length regarding the whereabouts of his party’s magical equipment. Unfortunately his injuries, and exhaustion meant he was unable to tell them any more than he already had done. Val’Vel the Elf suggested a more thorough examination of the empty room being used as a store room by the construction workers. He suggested that it was the only room they had come across that had not been prepared for occupancy. His proposal seemed to bear fruit when his examination of the room highlighted a series of magical marking on the walls unseen by the rest of the group. Then while attempting to remove magical trappings woven into the runic pictograms he was blown across the room by the shock of an electrical trap warding the magically hidden door. Val’Vel seemed dead, and only the quick thinking of the cleric saved his life. The Cleric passed his healing hands over the Elf’s lifeless body and with a spluttering cough Val’vel opened his eyes and winced as his burnt skin stretched taught over his blackened cheek.
Worth Nearly Dying for
As the party helped Val up a small crack in the smooth dressed stone wall could just be seen. With great effort the group heaved on the portal and sprung the mechanism keeping the door firmly closed. As light from the Lantern flooded into the musty room the party could see a collection of weapons, armour and a stone coffer hidden from view. Figore the Gnome waved his wand of detect magic at the contents of the room and gaped in awe and excitement as each item shone with a bright blue light. Giggling with glee and excitement Figore the mischievous Gnome dashed for the treasure like a child grabbing for its presents on Christmas morning.
One for you Two for me
The party spent over 30 minutes looking through the trove of items examining each with care and a certain amount of greed. The final list of items found which Elmo could identify consisted of:
- Leather Cloak of the Manta Ray
- Plate Mail +2
- Dwarven Chainmail +1
- Large Shield +3
- 2 x Medium Shields +1
- Spear +2
- Sword +1 with unknown other magical property
- Wand of Polymorphing
- Potion of Water Breathing with 4 Draughts
- Ring of Protection +1
- Ring of Free Action
- Ring of Invisibility
- Ring of Delusion (Figore thinks it is a ring of water breathing, free action and swimming)
- Three Small Travelling Spell books (Elmo’s) each with a range of spells included
- 4 Scrolls each protected by Varnish – Continual Light, Knock, Silence, Ice Storm
The party considered the tenets of their mission and it was agreed that only a few of them would progress past the steps down to watery fortress below. Elmo demanded his equipment back but the party refused saying their need was greater than his. Then to avoid any bad feeling the Paladin Jeremiah gave his solemn Oath to Elmo that his items would be returned to him after the lower levels of the fortress had been scouted.
The party bristling with new equipment, then set about making plans to deal with the guards on this level and the reconnaissance of the next. It was agreed the party would surprise the Sahuagin in the large room with the prisoners on this floor, and only two of them would then venture below the water making best use of the party’s aquatic equipment and darkvision.
Approaching the construction site with great care the party prepared to surprise the lounging Sahuagin guards. With a quick check of the room they charged headlong into the confused group. The Sahuagin reacted slowly, surprised at the unexpected intrusion and struggling with the dim light in the room being used to illuminate the walls for the ten non Sahuagin workers. Bristling with new armour and equipment Jeremiah the Paladin blessed son of Pelor stood toe to tow with the largest creature. His sword play a sight to behold as thrust after slash missed his quarry again and again. The only positive was his magically enhanced plate armour made his lack lustre swordplay more or less risk free. Figore tossed dart after dart into both enemy and friend alike, his low strength being a positive boon on more than one occasion as his badly aimed throws hit lizardmen allies more than Sahuagin foes. The group at this point seemed to have lost all patience with his poor accuracy and threat after threat was snarled in the mad gnomes direction. Talon weaved through the Sahuagin with ease bringing foe after foe down with the assistance of the shackled workers who grouped together to drag their captors to the floor. One particularly clever group of workers even managed to strangle a Sahuagin on their own, and with gutteral cries the same group then shuffled over to bring down a second creature facing off against Slip. After 5 minutes of intense battle the party focused on the last monster in their way.
Don’t Let him Get away
Seeing its chance to escape the last of the surprised guards leapt past the defenders guarding the exit to the second floor and swam towards the nearest underwater barracks, not without receiving a poke or two from Javelins as it jumped for freedom. Sensing the danger an alarm like this could bring Talon ordered the two lizardmen to follow. Val’Vael the Elf also realising the danger donned his Ring of Invisibility, and leapt casually into the dark cold waters. With his keen elven eyes adjusting to the darkness and sporting a natty new Cloak of the Manta Ray, which hugged his body granting him the speed and lungs of the aquatic creature. Even this was not good enough to help, dropping behind the fleeing Sahuagin and chasing Lizardmen, Val could sense his new cloak, although giving him unnatural speed for a Humanoid was still not fast enough to catch a panicking Sahuagin in its own domain. The Lizardmen, at home in the dark waters of the Azure sea kept pace with the Sahuagin, thrust after thrust of their javelins nearly finished off the powerful creature, but after blindly pursuing their prey for three rounds they turned a dark corridor only to run headlong into a nest of the foul creatures.
Val’Vael sensed a change in the situation moments before he saw the chasing Lizardmen race past his invisible form, backing into the top part of the watery tunnel Val watched in quiet dread as over twenty of the watery vermin cruised past him heading for his friends on the upper level.
Battle Plans and the Mad Gnome.
So realising the chase for the lone Sahuagin may not succeed the remaining party and lizardmen positioned themselves in front of the steps down into the watery darkness below, and waited for what was to come next. all the party that is apart from the Gnome, who ran to the only exit and poured Oil around the floor leading out. chattering with glee he called back to the group “Hey, you lot – you have 1 minute to deal with this or I’m lighting this floor!!!!” needless to say the party sensing the inevitable now had to deal with a crazy pyromaniac Gnome as well as the oncoming Sahuagin host. Moments later their worst fears were confirmed as the Lizardmen leapt out of the water and turned to scream SAHUAGIN!!! Quickly two creatures appeared from the stairs and were slain by the waiting group but more were to follow, many more and the look in the Wide orb eyes of the Sahuagin told everyone prepare to fight for your party’s life!
The party has not been in this much trouble since the slaughter in the Pirate caves weeks earlier, with no healing, a depleted number of Lizardmen allies, injured party members, a mad Gnome looking to cover his own escape with fire, and an absent Elven friend the remaining party looked to each other for encouragement. With the fear of their situation apparent all each person could see was the same fear reflected in every remaining member of the groups eyes!
FULL MAP OF THE UPPER LEVEL TO THE SAHUAGIN FORTRESS