Shattered Star #41: Attack of the Killer Bats!

At the end of last session, we left our heroes exploring the lair of the giant they had recently slain.

The Shattered Star

 

An exhaustive search by Narfu, Sarif and Zainnis revealed no other exits and so the party realised they had to once again cross the subterranean lake’s waters. Luckily, before her fly spell had ended, Karelia had flown back up the waterfall and brought back one of the boats pulled up on the beach with the two graves discovered so long ago. Thus, they had enough space for everyone to cross the lake, despite the ghouls’ best efforts.

The party set out, but not before lashing the boats together for safety. Several of the group feared the ghouls’ return and they believed the added stability afforded would render their attacks ineffective. However, the ghouls didn’t bother the party as they proceeded down the narrow passageway running away to the west.

However, other things lurked in the corridor. Here the roof dropped down to only about 30 ft. above the water and the corridor’s stone walls were riven with many narrow ledges. Chained to these were mouldering remains or—in many cases—skeletons. How or why these unfortunates came to be here, the party could not say and indeed they did not get long to investigate. For out of the darkness ahead swooped two huge, obviously dead bats!

Zainnis shot one of them, and in response they both let out terrible screeches. The screeches shook many of the party to the bone—several were stunned by these terrible attacks. To make matters worse, the skavelings the party discovered the bats’ bites paralysed their victims. By the time, the bats had made two passes over the party, only Thaladan had escaped being stunned and/or paralysed.

To compound this problem, both Grooble and Karelia were badly wounded—Grooble even losing consciousness! Luckily, Thaladan used his channel energy to keep his companions alive until some of the stunning effects wore off. As the bats swooped again, more of the party regained the ability to act and the bats were met with a barrage of arrows and channeled energy.

Eventually, both bats were slain but the party was now desperately low of resources. With no real option—and no real idea of what lay ahead—the heroes turned back into the lake and made for the giant’s lair. It was now the ghouls chose to attack again. However, the clever combination of the lashed together boats comprised with Zainnis and Peta both injuring or killing an attacker drove the rest away and the party returned to their makeshift lair without further incident. However, as they were drawing their boats up into the hall to keep them safe from the ghouls, one of the boats—the one from the lake above—suddenly disappeared on the wings of some form of teleportation magic!

The party’s night was largely undisturbed. However, when they awoke both Grooble and Karelia had developed nasty coughs. They both felt ill and it was quickly determined they were infected with ghoul fever! Expending some magic to stave off the effects of the disease, the party decided to push on; there would be time for a cure tomorrow!

Back in their now two (lashed together) boats the party returned to the waterway leading west. It quickly gave out into another illuminated lake—larger than the first two—and of saltier water than before. As they began to traverse the lake looking for somewhere to put ashore, a strange enchantment came over the heroes. They could all hear an indistinct whispering; although no-one could make out the words they all reported they were spoken in their native language! As they pondered this mystery, Sarif suddenly began to strip off his armour in preperation for diving into the lake’s inviting water; a timely protection from evil from Grooble suppressed the strange enchantment and the party rowed on swiftly.

Sadly, they did not row fast enough! As they approached a sandy beach hidden to the east behind a rocky protrusion the enchantment again took hold. This time, it afflicted Zainnis; another protection from evil stopped the ranger stripping off and diving into the water but at that moment several of the heroes saw something large, powerful and sinuous—perhaps a huge snake, eel or wingless water dragon swim below the boat. Moments later, another creature crossed under the boat.

The beach was still almost 50 ft. away…

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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