Ephemera Session 6: Playing Under the Dome...

"My favorite steel dome" - Darius
Unfortunately, I missed Session 5. However, Darius the Handsome made up for it as I was able to participate in the sixth session of Ephemera, run by Chris (The Clash of Spear on Shield). Here is Darius' take on the session:

So I missed some of the action [Darius and I missed Session 5]. However, we were still in the pyramid temple north of the village of Tarn, trying to figure out where the dark dwarves were taking the young people of Tarn. We found that someone was turning the kids into little skeletons. A sad and distressing discovery for even the most jaded adventurer.

As we continued our explorations, we soon found the culprit: A ghoulish priest of some kind. Despite our lack of useful spells (we are a bit heavy on charm and sleep), we were able to dispatch the evildoer with little fuss.

We went back to a room that had four pedestals, each with a bone under a small glass dome. It also had pipes or vents around the outside walls, each pipe opening had traces of oil and sulfur. Not a good sign. I decided that I would tie a rope around myself. I gave the other end of the rope to Egbert. I don't like him, but I trust him. For some reason, Sandy and Conner joined me in the room...this would put them in the line of fire if something came out of those pipes.

We cut up some rope and tried to plug the pipes as best we could. It almost worked. As I lifted the glass dome on the pedestal to take a finger bone, the stuff started to happen with those suspicious pipes. The rope plugs held...at least all but one did. The pipe closest to me unplugged itself and I was blasted with flame...I slipped into a coma but the rope survived and Egbert was able to drag my body back to the adjoining room. Apparently some sort of intervention took place in the room...having to do with the artwork on the walls and the beam of sunlight coming in through the hole in the ceiling. I was not awake or aware when all this happened, so I am a bit fuzzy on the details. All I know is that I was healed and ready to go.

With nothing else to see, we prepared to leave the temple and make the walk back south to Tarn. On our way out of the temple exit, we heard a rumbling sound and felt the ground shake. As it grew louder, we determined that it was coming from the southeast and it sounded like stampede. We were able to gain a vantage point and could see a stampede of forest animals southeast of us, moving directly north. Barring a change in their direction, we were out of harm's way.

We could see them fleeing a low cloud of some kind. The cloud, clearly some sort of nefarious magic, was quickly gaining on the frightened beasts. The slowest animals at the rear of stampede were caught first. It killed every animal it caught. YIKES!

The cloud passed through the herd of animals, leaving a trail of unmarked corpses in its wake. What deviltry was this?

We decided to follow the cloud's path to the south to find its source. Tarn and its evil leader would have to wait.

After traveling for a day or so, we found an steel dome, sitting in the woods like a hermit's hut. Only it was much bigger, maybe 100' across. We unlocked the door and started exploring. We noticed a signed that said "Armageddon Outpost 12." Well, okay then. There was a deep thrumming noise that grew louder as we pressed further along the interior of the dome.

We came to a room with some sort of machine. Lots of pipes and valves. That's where the noise was coming from. Sandy the dwarf studied it for a few minutes and then figured out how to turn it off. We decided to move along and continue our exploration, lest we get caught flatfooted by whatever might be lurking in other rooms.

We continued our explorations, taking on a few stirges, and then we ran into another one of those pesky dark dwarves. Conner charmed him before he could do any mischief. We learned that his name was Rundt. He could tell us little about his master or the purpose of this place...although, in hindsight, we could have asked some more pointed questions about his master.

We followed Rundt through a few rooms and met his master, Vagroth. Vagroth was a vapor demon. As I said, we could have asked better questions. So the charm spell didn't work on Vagroth. He just laughed. However, two of my three darts hit struck home and the demonic giggling was silenced.

We did notice that there were three urns behind Vagroth...maybe breaking them might have some effect on this guy.  I ordered my two charmed followers, Tub and Bob, to start breaking the three urns that were on the floor behind the vapor demon. They each broke one, spilling out treasure. This left one urn. The rest of the party decided to move around the demon and I, so that they could all attack the hapless urn. I was left to fend for myself, a first level magic-user with the dagger, against a vapor demon of unknown strength. And, I was soon to learn, possessing a dagger of his own, dripping with some sort of magical poison.

The rest of guys started knocking the one remaining urn around the room, but were unable to break it. In the meantime, the demon cut me with the dagger and I could feeling my whole body, mind and soul weaken. The rest of the party kept hacking and whacking at the final urn but could only get in glancing blows. Finally, the guys broke the urn, which killed the demon and spared me the insult of dying.

Rundt told us about some secret doors and exploring beyond them is the next order of business.