The rope was in place. Harshnag approached, ready to pull the missing weapon down from the giant statue’s outstretched hand. He neared the mysterious, but thus far innocuous orb that lie on the floor.
His movement stopped as if he’d hit an invisible wall. The Frost Giant stood completely still. With panic in his voice he cried out, “I don’t think this should be happening!”
We watched in shock as he drew out his rune-inscribed greataxe and plunged it into his own chest. He groaned in pain, blood splattering the floors of the well-lit dining hall.
My hands flew out on pure instinct, sending concussive blasts of force at the orb. Nothing happened until he had gotten close to it, so maybe it needed to get the hell away.
A tiny crack appeared along its outer shell and the orb rolled backward about a dozen feet. We didn’t have time to assess the result as a sudden inhuman shriek pierced the tension. An inky form detached itself from behind the giant statue, landing with a splattering sound on the floor in front of us. It looked like a tentacled nightmare.
This week we got a bit side-tracked within a lengthy, winding tunnel that cut out from one of the bedrooms within the Eye of the All-Father temple. In sharp contrast to the rest of the adventure it was a standard dungeon crawl, with monsters and loot, localized entirely within these tunnels.
We were still a bit shaken from the giant boulder-hallway death trap from last week, and wanted to get the hell out of there. But Bryseis had seen a tunnel in one of the side bedrooms further to the north. We tentatively crept up there, letting a flying Halfred safely trip the boulder trap while we were inside the side room.
The tunnel stretched for a long time, and were forced to travel single-file. We began seeing holes in the walls and could hear chittering. The sounds grew as we continued. Surely that can’t be a bad song!
When we reached a fork in the tunnel several large insects burst out of the walls. They looked like beetles but with shiny, almost jeweled carapaces. They were still only the size of a small dog, and didn’t pose much of a threat. We were a bit disgusted that they acted like big ticks, trying to latch on with their pincers.
We went north and found a small cavern. Two dead bodies lie on the floor, with mining equipment. One of the bodies began to move, and several more of the Arcanamites burst out.
Half a dozen of them proved a bit more painful. From examining the bodies of the ones we had killed we found they had some sort of anti-magic properties. Our sorcerers were both extremely low on spell slots anyway, so we fought ’em analog style with daggers, crossbows, and a liberal use of T.I.M.’s Soulcrusher mace, which lapped up many an insect soul. If that’s a thing that can happen.
The bodies had a bit of coin and what looked like a magical wand. Bryseis took it for future identifying.
We journeyed to the south, then west, finding sunlight that lead to an opening outside. We were greeted with the open air and a cliff that fell hundreds of feet down to a river. We could make out the Frost Giant ship still docked. Thankfully they didn’t seem to be on high alert, but we were reminded we were still on the clock with exploring this temple.
We wound around to the south, then east. These tunnels were crazy long! Eventually we stumbled into the damn nest, complete with queen Arcanamite. She had a nasty spell absorption/reflection ability that Bryseis discovered when she attempted a Chaos Bolt. Weirdly it only applied to spells with ranged attacks, so T.I.M. could still do incredibly amounts of damage with his Spirit Guardians (T.I.M. kicked all kinds of combat ass this session in general, and took the lead in the tunnels).
The queen summoned several more Arcanamites, as well as a Swarm of babies from the eggs. At one point we discussed the moral problems with entering a creature’s domain and slaughtering them all, but oh well! Among the loot we found a jewel-encrusted warhammer (though T.I.M. was confirming his love of Soulcrusher, which he’s had since like level 3, again and again this week). Sadly still no spiffy glaives.
Our tunnel excursions were concluded and we made the long trek back to Harshnag. We had a few cuts and scrapes, and some decent loot, but were still missing the other giant weapon we needed to step through the magical arch.
We had one more area to explore: the dining hall to the south of the main chamber.
The dining hall, like everything else here, was gigantic, and very, very dark. We found a neatly stacked wood fireplace in the middle, and Halfred lit it with his mechanical lighter, needing to dance away as it quickly caught flames. Clearly some magic was involved!
With the room brilliantly lit we saw a huge statue to the east, which Harshnag identified as their goddess of the hearth. In her outstretched hand 60 feet in the air was the trident – the missing weapon! It looked far too small in her hands; the statue was much larger than the gods in the central chamber.
In front of the statue a curious orb lie on the ground. It held swirling colors within it that constantly shifted in seemingly random patterns.
We were instantly wary. Korinn used her Wand of Detect Magic, and sure enough the orb lit up (as the did fireplace behind us). We toyed with trying to pick it up via mage hand and dump it into the Bag of Holding. Ultimately we decided to leave it alone, and focus on grabbing the trident.
I lent Halfred a rope and he flew up to the trident and tied it off, letting the rope dangle. Our plan was for Harshnag to simply reach up and grab the rope, pulling the trident down.
When he neared the orb he suddenly stood still and cried out. He drew out his greataxe and stabbed himself! I launched a double blast of Eldritch Blasts at the orb, attempting to knock it back via my Repelling Blast invocation.
The flew backwards 10 feet, though Harshnag remained standing perfectly still. At the same time a shadowy thing emerged from behind the statue, giving off a terrible shriek. A horrifying, tentacled, inky form detached itself from the statue, splattering on the ground in front of us. What fresh hell is this? We’ll find out next time!