Borderland of Adventure #17: The Black Chasm

At the end of last session, our heroes stood in Valentin Ironwolf’s secret treasure vault having finally defeated its last guardian – a terrifying necrophidius. Gleefully, they gathered the treasures together and headed back to the bandit’s tower to count and divide their loot. At the tower, they discovered Belivar waiting for them and there was much rejoicing. Prudently, they decided to wait overnight so that spells could be relearned and set out again early the next morning to investigate the stairs leading even further underground.

BoA

Arriving without incident at the head of the stairs several of the party noticed that the air issuing up from below was much colder than it should be. The party moved cautiously down the stairs and discovered that much of the ground was covered in a strange grey sludge and that in many places water dripped down from the ceiling. They reached the bottom of the stairs without incident, but discovered that further progress was blocked by a 20-foot long open pit. The pit was filled with water and so the party were momentarily stumped. Krorz rigged up an iron spike to a length of rope and dropped it into the water to discover the water was only about four foot deep. The party were very keen not to walk through the water and so returned to the complex above to loot all the doors and tables they could find. Their plan was to create a cunning causeway across the water.

Their “equipment” gathered, they returned to the pit and dropped the first table into the water. It was at this point, they discovered the pit was inhabited, when two sodden zombies burst forth. Desperate to feed on the party’s flesh, the zombies began to scale the walls of the pit. One was destroyed by Adoven’s divine might and Krorz slew the other with a mighty blow of his axe. With the creature’s destroyed, the party slowly made their way across the pit using their causeway idea, although they declined to search the foul, icy water.

Once across, they discovered a pillared hallway decorated with a mural showing Valentin’s victory over his enemies. In one direction a corridor – obviously damaged by some shift in the earth led to the south – while another led into a temple of sorts. The party decided to investigate the temple, and discovered that it was dedicated to Valentin’s patron – Heironeous. Here they discovered some minor treasures and trinkets before moving onwards down another corridor. The sludge here was deeper and the air grew noticeably colder.

At the end of the corridor, a sodden door blocked their progress. Eventually, Krorz kicked the door down to discover a terrible macabre scene. Chill air issued forth from the room which was full of bones. Scores of skulls hung from the ceiling on chains and as Krorz moved forward the skulls animated, trying to bite and bash him. At this Adoven channelled divine power into the room destroying many of the skulls, but moments later several skeletons wreathed in frost emerged from a side cell. The chill air of death surrounded them and as Krorz began to hack his way through them their unnatural cold began to sap his life from them. Worse, when each was slain they exploded in a deadly burst of cold. Behind these skeletons others merged clutching longswords and the party was fully engaged. Kemmo called for the party to retreat, but Krorz’s blood was up. Adoven and Klara were unwilling to abandon their friend and eventually the skeletons were destroyed (but not before Krorz was almost killed).

After the skeletons were destroyed, the party searched the room and found some treasures – including a magic wand! They discussed turning back as the clerics had used up many of their spells keeping Krorz alive, but eventually they decided to push on. Further on into the complex they discovered a natural chamber in which the air was barely above freezing. A large chasm full of black, fell water dominated the place and the party moved on without stopping to investigate.

Around the corner, the discovered another hallway of columns which linked up with the damaged corridor they had discovered earlier. As Kemmo and Krorz moved into investigate one of the pillars carved to represent a warrior wielding a battleaxe animated and attacked. The party leapt into combat, but the creature’s body was supernaturally hard – many of the party’s weapons were smashed or damaged as they sought to destroy their attacker.

During the battle, as things grew desperate, Adoven noticed that the ceiling sagged dangerously and he realised that destroying two of the pillars would likely cause a collapse. Kemmo immediately knocked down a damaged pillar and Krorz began hacking at another – which he quickly destroyed, As the roof began to sag and dust rain down from above, the part retreated. The construct, unaware of the danger moved forward slowly and was suddenly buried by the collapsing roof. Some of the party – Klara, Kemmo and Krorz –  were also slightly injured by the rock fall as more of the ceiling collapsed than they had expected. Although they were partially buried, their companions managed to quickly extricate them, but of the area’s guardian there was no sign!

This proved to be the last area the party explored as they could find nothing else of interest and although Klara threw a couple of rocks into the chasm of black water nothing emerged to battle the party. With their explorations complete, the party returned to the bandit tower, gathered their possessions and headed back to Piren’s Bluff. Once they reached safety, the party pondered their next move. Some favoured going to see the Sword Lords (as they had been asked to do several months ago) but Adoven was desperate to locate Khundrukar – legendary lost home of Durgeddin the Black. Thus it was, the party made plans to travel to Blasingdell as this was the closest town to the delve’s supposed location…

 

Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

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