Greyhawk: Gem of the Flanaess

Part Five - Chapter Five: More Traps to Shake a Stick At

It was in the afternoon on the 17th day of Planting, in the Common Year of 581, when the Company of the Green Dragon found themselves exploring the 4th level of the dungeon of the Power Tower in the ruins of Castle Greyhawk, where they had made their way past numerous traps and golems of various kinds. Having used a dimension door spell to bypass a strangely constructed section of passageway that looked suspiciously like a trap, the band began exploring a chamber that lay just ahead of them and to the right.

Two openings existed on each side of the room while an ornate divan rested against the far wall with two stone statues standing on either side. The divan and the statues rested upon a dais of red quartz one foot thick. The divan turned out to be very finely crafted and quite valuable, while the statues appeared to be stone golems.

The band investigated the opening to the right first and found that it led to a circular room with a large pillar in the center. After closer inspection, they found that the room could be rotated by pushing on the pillar in a twisting fashion. They all gathered in the room and had Corvyn twist the room only to discover that it eventually released two large gray oozes. A quickly cast wall of force, however, prevented the oozes from landing on anyone and held them at bay long enough for the band to exit the room.

The opening to the left was similar in appearance, but when it was rotated, it led to another passageway, allowing the band to move on before it rotated back to its starting position. This passageway eventually led to an oddly shaped chamber thirty feet wide at the near end and more than a hundred feet long. The central ten feet leading to the far end, on both the ceiling and the floor, dipped down in a bowl-like shape, and at the far end stood three statues. The statue to the left was of Boccob, the statue to the right was of Istus in her various forms as perceived by each member of the band, and the larger statue in the center was of Zagig holding an ornate staff that appeared to be separate from the statue.

Zeke was more curious about the staff than the others, so he approached the statues to see if the staff could be removed. He was able to take the staff with no difficulties, but once he did the statue of Zagig came to life and began threatening to destroy Zeke if he did not return the staff to it. The statues voice was so deep and filled with immense power that it sent shock waves through the surrounding stone. The band members could feel their bodies quake and the air grew thick and heavy. Zeke, at first hesitated, unsure of what to do. But as the statue made no obvious or violent moves towards him and only continued to make threats of imminent doom, Zeke began to suspect that the statue was merely bluffing. So gradually Zeke moved backwards as if to test the statue. Still it continued to threaten him but made no other actions directed at him. Zeke slowly grew more confident that the statue could not harm him, and eventually he turned and quickly rejoined his companions.

Finding a nearby doorway, the band moved rapidly through it hoping to avoid any attacks from the statue of Zagig. But no attacks came. Feeling fairly certain now that the statue was only bluffing, the band paused long enough in a passageway to let Zeke and Tadwin examine the staff. The staff was covered with runes and symbols of power and appeared made to be highly enchanted, but a detect magic spell revealed that it could cast only a light spell. Written on the staff in Suloise were the words, “Ruka Mudraca”, which means “Hand of the Magi”. One other oddity about the staff was that when Tadwin tried to pick it up, it temporarily drained him of life energy. So Zeke held on to the staff from that point on.

Continuing on down the passageway, the band soon came to a rectangular pool of water where the head of a stone statue was sticking up out of the water. The area appeared to be a dead end, but closer examination revealed an illusory wall off to one side of the pool. The band had to merely step diagonally over the corner of the pool to move beyond the illusory wall, but Zeke slipped and fell into the pool, which caused the stone golem in the pool to attack. Corvyn jumped into the pool, sinking to the bottom, and attacked back while the others did what they could from above. Once the golem was defeated, the band moved on through the illusory wall and dried themselves off as much as they could. From there, they followed a long passageway, which just happened to run parallel to the passageway that they went through when they first entered this area. At the end of this passageway they found a set of stairs leading down to the next level.

Realizing that they had left a doorway unexplored in this section, the band decided to investigate it before moving on to the next level. So they doubled back through the chamber where the statue of Zagig was, where it continued to issue baseless threats at them as they hurried past. Back at the rotating room, Brom used his magical gloves to create a hole large enough for the band to crawl through. From there, the band made their way to the unexplored doorway.

Beyond the locked door, they found a large cavern where a red carpet stretched up to an altar of purple stone, upon which rested a set of golden holy items. To the right and to the left were a pair of fountains. After looking around a bit, the band found that the water in the fountains was magical, as was a pitcher on the altar. Zeke somehow, mysteriously determined that one of the fountains had magical healing water while the water in the other fountain could restore vitality. But like the magical water in the troll cave, the magical properties of the water would disappear if the water was taken from the cavern. The magical pitcher, on the other hand, could be used to retain the magical properties of the water. So the band filled the pitcher up with water from the healing fountain and moved on.

Once more, the band retraced their steps and made their way back to the spiral stairs leading down to the 5th level of the dungeon. Upon reaching this level, with Brom scouting ahead as usual, they soon came to a large chamber filled with what appeared to be iron golems! There were nineteen of them standing at attention – enough to present a serious challenge even to the Company of the Green Dragon. But Diamond was very skeptical that anyone could have that many iron golems in one room, so he tried to disbelieve it. As it turned out, they were only illusions. Eventually the rest of the band came to realize this as well, though it took some effort to convince Tadwin they were not real.

Two other doors led from this room, one to the east and one to the south. The band chose the door to the east first, which led them to a series of passageways, doors and traps. Beyond two sets of double doors lay a passageway where the gravity in the area suddenly shifted sideways. With Brom leading the way, he nearly fell victim to these traps. The first almost dropped him into a wall of fire. When he tried to escape this by entering another passageway, he almost fell into a wall of spikes. Fortunately, in both cases, Brom managed to hang on and keep from falling.

Eventually, the series of passageways led the band to a spiral staircase which appeared to descend to the next level. But before going there, the band backtracked to the southern door in the room full of illusionary golems. Upon opening this door, it appeared the band was looking out into another plane of existence where stood a countless army of stone golems. Some of the stone golems turned and ran towards the band, but before they got very far, the band suspected this was another illusion and tried to disbelieve it. Once again, they were correct – the entire thing was just another illusion. So the band went back the spiral stairs and descended.

At the bottom of the stairs was a familiar looking alcove with a familiar looking image of a grasping hand above a wooden disc. A circle of runes written in magic said, “May the hand of Fharlanghn grasp you.” Zeke, feeling more confident than was usually the case, proposed to step into the apparent teleportal ahead of everyone else while the band waited back for a bit. The band was still unsure how Zeke had so easily managed to identify the properties of the magical fountains a bit earlier, but they agreed to let him take the lead.

When Zeke then stepped into the teleportal, he immediately found himself in another alcove with a long narrow passageway heading off in one direction from which soon came the light of a torch. Seven heavy chains stretched across the passageway at the height of about five feet and were attached to iron rings and eyelets. The source of the torchlight soon revealed a huge mountain giant fast approaching, so Zeke cast a dimension door spell and transported himself behind it. The mountain giant then pulled a lever thereby releasing a counterweight that caused several of the chains to pull huge blocks of stone out into the passageway sealing it off and creating a few small chambers. Zeke tried unsuccessfully to charm the mountain giant, which then turned and struck Zeke a few times, critically wounding him. Realizing he could not take any more hits from the giant, Zeke cast an invisibility spell and hid while he waited for his companions to arrive.

The mountain giant, meanwhile, reset the stone blocks in their original positions and stood by and waited. When the band arrived one at a time in the alcove, the mountain giant again set off his trap, this time trapping Brom and Corvyn in between two of the stone blocks. Realizing the he and Corvyn were about to be crushed by the other set of blocks, Brom used his magical gloves to dig into one of the stone blocks.

Having managed to avoid the trap so far, the band then used dimension doors to move beyond the trap where they were then able to battle and kill the mountain giant. After searching the giant’s lair, the band took one of two side passages where they immediately came upon a door. But before they could open the door, they heard the sound of a man crying out in anguish, coming from a long passageway behind them. They band hurried in the direction of the scream, past a side chamber with a huge table and three huge chairs, and into a cave where a large pit took up much of the floor. There was no sign of a man in pain, but there were two mountain giants on the opposite side of the pit ready to throw boulders. Being invisible, as usual, Brom was able to fly over the pit and kill one of the giants before it got to attack. The other giant was easily killed just moments later.

Behind the giants lay a small mound of treasure consisting of coins and gems. Included among the treasure though, the band found a small sealed urn that when opened would let out the sound of a man crying out in anguish – apparently a permanent audible glamor intended to trick people. Nearby, behind a secret door, the band found the bedroom of the giants, but nothing of value there.

Returning to the door they were at when they heard the scream, the band opened it to find what appeared to be a drawbridge spanning a huge pit of flames. As the band approached, the far side of the drawbridge was being pulled up, giving the band a sense of urgency to do something before it was too late. But before they did anything rash, it was fortunately discovered to be largely an illusion. The flames were not real and neither was the far drawbridge. Instead, the pit was lined with needle-point spikes and hidden among the illusory flames was a series of planks and pillars that would allow easy access to the far side of the room.

Once past this trap and through the far door, the band was faced with a choice between a set of stairs going down or a passageway to the left. They took the passageway first. After a couple of turns, they came upon an area that looked as if it had been hit with a fireball, with blackened wooden beams partially blocking the way. After squeezing past this obstacle, the band then was confronted with a collapsed stairwell going down. Using ropes to secure themselves, the band slowly made their way past this. From there, around a corner and down a long passageway, the band finally came to a dead end where stood a strange statue of a dragon man.

As soon as the band saw the statue, the statue began to speak, starting with the number twenty and counting down. When the statue got to number sixteen, the band realized what it was and took off running as fast as they could. Moments later, an explosion filled the passageway with fire and the band barely avoided getting caught in it, missing them by a couple of feet, though they could certainly feel the heat. When the smoke had cleared and the band had come to the conclusion that this passageway was nothing but a trap, they made their way back to the stairs they had passed up earlier.

These stairs did not go down very far and soon led to a door. Beyond this door lay a maze of sorts where the floor was covered by a billowing mist. Brom drank a potion of spider climbing and was able to effectively map out the entire maze with no difficulties, eventually finding a set of stairs on the far side. But when Brom tried to lead the band through the maze, they stepped on a couple of pressure plates along the way. Each time they did, a secret door nearby would open and through a magical portal a monster of some kind would step through. The first monster was an ice devil. The second was a nalfeshnee demon. The band was able to kill both with relative ease before moving on.

The stairs on the far side of the maze descended about fifteen feet and led to a large cavern, the walls of which were almost entirely lined with stone statues of bizarre beings. On the far side of the cavern were several unnatural rock columns, but the center of the chamber was dominated by a very large rock column. Sitting beside this central column was a stone chair carved to look like a winged biped squatting so that you sit on its legs, rest against its chest, and use its arms for arm rests. Its palms were turned up with curled fingers. The chair had gem stone eyes and rest upon a dais which was surrounded by a circular sort of mote that descended into darkness.

As the band was looking about the chamber, eight of the stone statues, which turned out to be very tough gargoyles, suddenly attacked. The band was able to fight them off and kill them, though they did suffer a few injuries. After healing up and casting a detect magic spell, they discovered something magical emanating from one of the hands in the chair. When Brom began to dig it out, six more of the statues came to life and moved to attack.

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