[Raúguey, Ingvild, Mordikarr]
By the time the three of you get through first double door, Steve is already at the far end of the hall, a straight run with a branch to the left. Double doors at the far end lead to another chamber. As Raúguey uncovers his dart, Suren chitters angrily at Mordikarr. "What's wrong? whispers Ingvild.
"Suren say smell bad here. No like. Also smell other things at doors back there. Big friend not alone in here." Mordikarr advances with Raúguey, skirting a pile of boulders in the hall. He notes there are dark stains on some of these stones.
Ingvild looks down the short side hall and sees a pair of double doors that open into another room. The stench is astounding. "Guess that's his nest."
"COME THIS WAY! SEE STEV'S TOYS!" The brutes piping voice fills the hall. The trio advances to the doorway of a good sized room, 25 feet wide, and extending beyond available light. Stev is there, and he has... puppets. But these are no ordinary puppets. They're skeletons, each reassembled with some sort of gray material at the joints. They are suspended from bone frames, and these, in turn, hang by chains from the ceiling. The giant has a moose skeleton in one hand, and a human skeleton in the other, his huge chain lies at his feet. "SEE!? STEV HAVE NICE TOYS! WE PLAY NOW!" He manipulates the two figures with surprising dexterity, flipping the human form into the back of the moose. "THIS BLOOD EATER KNIGHT. HIM PROTECT STEV FROM BUG MANS!"
[Durego, Rawon, Strom, Maro, Ohwatoo, Saurabh, Dagmarten, Strom, Grendor]
Dagmarten darts to the fore, and looks around the room. "Oh you have got to be kidding me," he mutters. "Ingvild, this time you've gone too far." He looks at the others. "What do we do now?"
"We hold here, ready to face whatever chases them back out," Grendor is scowling, clearing displeased with this turn of events. "I just hope they *do* come back out."
Strom speaks up, "Say, they weren't carrying the keys to them Spire places were they?"
Ohwatoo shakes his head. "No, I have those. At some point we decided they should remain in the hands of the sane people."
"Good laddie, good." Strom turns back to the big room.
Meanwhile out at the entry, Durego has moved up near the statues. "They actually followed that thing into its lair? Fool of a fighter." We should get out of here."
"I'm not leaving until they come back out," answers Rawon. He takes a big swig from his flask. "If they manage to make friends with that thing it could be advantageous."
"Yeah, and what do you think the odds of that are?" mutters the cleric.
"Hear that?" hisses Maro.
"Aye that beastie is talkin' again. I cannae make out what it's sayin' though. Somethin' about toys an' blood?"
"Something like that, but I can't..." The elf's eyes widen, "What's that!?" He points to the single door in the southeast wall, which has slipped open with out anyone noticing. Long, thin, black... tentacles? Legs? Spines? are slowly creeping forward out of the shadows, and a bulky shape fills the door.
"Ware the right!" calls Grendor.
"What is it?!" cries Durego from the outside.
"Bug mans, laddie. I think it's bug mans."
[Round One - Bug Mans Initiative]
Maro begins to cast Magic Missile.
Dagmarten begins to cast Bless.
From outside the entrance Durego shouts "Raúguey! Invgild! Mordikarr! Bug mans!"
The shape in the door moves into the light. "That is no man, bug or otherwise,' says Grendor. It is a glistening black eight-legged monstrosity. A gigantic spider, that is quickly followed by a second and a third!
"Aye we're in it now lad. Let em come to us."
The spiders oblige, the first scuttling across the floor, straight for Strom, the second going for Grendor, the third scurrying up the wall to the right of the portcullis and out of sight. The pair attacking easily squeeze around the beam and the two fighters can see each is leaving a sticky trail of webbing behind it. Both attempt to bite their foes. Strom's foe sinks its fangs into the dwarf's leg, Grendor's nicks the elf on the arm. Both are distressed by the greenish ichor dripping off the creatures' fangs. "POISON!" cries Grendor. [Strom 7 damage, Grendor 1 damage, so far].
Meanwhile the third spider reappears at the top of the portcullis, scurries across the ceiling, and drops down on Dagmarten! The creature attempts to bite the cleric, but misses!
Rawon sees the spider attacking Dagmarten and fires at the thing, but the arrow goes wide. Ohwatoo, who has just scuttled back toward the entrance, follows the arrow with a dart, which also misses.
Maro's spell goes off, and there are suddenly two more of him around! Dagmarten's spell also goes off, and those nearest feel good. Kind of invincible. [Strom, Grendor, Maro, Rawon, Dagmarten, Saurabh are blessed, Ohwatoo and Durego are out of the area of effect].
The two fighters slash and hack at their foes with swords, but neither scores a hit. Maybe it's the burning sensation in their limbs... Saurabh takes a swing with his new flail at the spider on Dagmarten, but also misses. Durego is too far away [and around the corner] to attack effectively.
[Round Two - Party Initiative]
Ohwatoo begins to cast Magic Missile!
Maro begins to cast Magic Missile!
"Get this thing off me!" shouts Dagmarten.
"OY! FUN TIME BOYS! GET YOUR BUTTS OUT HERE!" cries Strom as he squares up for another go at the spider in front of him.
Rawon fires another arrow at the nearest spider , judging it to be the most critical threat. The shot strikes home! [6 damage]. Ohwatoo releases a magic missile at the same target. [5 damage]. Maro chooses to fire his magic missile at the spider attacking Grendor [#2, 2 damage]
Saurabh and Dagmarten swing at the nearest spider with flail and quarterstaff respectively, but neither can connect. Outside Durego edges forward a bit, but keeps his eyes on the surrounding trees, just in case...
At the front, half-elf and dwarf swing at their foes, but neither can connect, again!
Each of the spiders attacks their nearest enemy, Strom, Grendor, and Dagmarten. Both fighters are hit, but Dagmarten manages to intercept the fangs aimed at his throat using his quarterstaff. [Strom and Grendor 3 damage each, the poison, it burns! Strom 4, Grendor 3 damage].
[Raúguey, Ingvild, Mordikarr]
"STEV NO OPEN GATE FOR BUG MANS. THEY GO BETWEEN BARS. BUG MANS NOT SO BIG."
Fumbling for his flask, Raúguey says, "We will stay and play with Stev, but first we must make a toast to Erlinga, the God of Play Games... Stev must make toast with little mans or little mans can't play..."
Ingvild mutters, more to himself than anyone else, "About now, my brother is saying, 'Ingvild you idiot, what have you done?' Ahh, you only live once." Ingvild hurries up to stand beside Rags to help solidify the ploy. Pulling his flask out and he grabs the diminution potion and pulls the stopper, then appears to pour a little of his mead into the flask and lifts it up for Stev. "Here ya go!" He boasts "This is some of the finest mead money can buy - brought it all the way from Auslag!"
Mordikarr stops short of the two and remains just inside the doorjamb into the hall where the three of them are now. "Mordikarr join too." He says loudly - as he removes his own wineskin of mead to drink from. "To games!" He raises his wineskin in the air.
Stev separates his two puppet-skeletons and hangs them from the ceiling hooks, then takes the bottle and sniffs it suspiciously. "STEV NO LIKE BAD DRINK. BUG MANS TRY TO POISON STEV ONCE. STEV GET SICK. THIS SMELL FUNNY."
At the door Mordikarr tilts his head, then says "You hear something?"
Stev turns his head so one of his misshapen ears points to the double doors. He listens for a moment, then begins to croon. "BUG MANS COME, BUG MANS COME, TAKE LITTLE MANS AWAY. BUG MANS COME, BUG MANS COME, LITTLE MANS STAY TO PLAY." A monstrous grin creases his alien features as he carelessly drops the potion. "STEV HIDE WHEN BUG MANS PLAY." He grabs his chain again, and moves back toward the hallway and the double doors beyond...
Raúguey dives forward and just manages to catch the potion before it crashes into the stone floor. A few drops of precious liquid splash out of the vial's mouth.
"Time to go!" calls Ingvild as his sharp ears pick up shouting and the clash of arms.
OOC: Stev is making a bee-line for the hall and the doors beyond, his intention is unclear, but he's moving quickly. You'll need to run hard to keep up or pass him.
As the main group continues the battle, those in front note the sudden reappearance of light near the double doors to the north. "That better be our wayward sons returning," cries Strom.
It is. Mordikarr charges out of the doorway, eyes wide. One of the two door panels slams shut behind him, then the other! Beyond the closed doors you can hear Stev's high-pitched voice, "BUG MANS BAD!" he shouts, followed by something quiet. One of the door creaks open, and Ingvild bolts through, followed by Raúguey, who catches a foot on the door frame and falls on his face. The door crashes shut, timbers rattling as something big and heavy slams into the far side.
[Round Three - Spider Initiative]
The three spiders don't seem to be aware of the newly arrived foes behind them, they press the attack. The pair at the front both miss, fangs clashing against armor, but Dagmarten's foe connects, The cleric pales and collapses! [8 damage].
Poison still burning in their veins, Strom and Grendor begin to back up in lockstep, but there's little room to maneuver. Maro slips forward, positioning himself next to the spider attacking Grendor. At the rear, Durego finally moves forward. His eyes widen when he sees his fellow cleric on the ground, and he moves to engage the nearest spider. Rawon backs up a few paces so he and Ohwatoo are side by side.
The newly arrived party members boggle for a moment, then (those on their feet) spring forward. Raúguey scrambles to his feet and follows. The portcullis and the beam supporting it create a partial barrier to missiles, so all three pull blades.
Rawon fires a silver arrow at the nearest spider, right before Durego moves to block his line of fire, and scores a palpable hit! [9 damage] The shot splits the creature's head open, whack dead! As he fires, two magic missiles streak from Ohwatoo's wand, heading for the spider attacking Grendor. Both strike home as expected [7 Damage].
"Help the others, I'll take care of Dagmarten," says Saurabh, gesturing for Durego to advance. He pulls the unconscious, slightly green cleric to the side. Durego hesitates, unsure if he should advance, which might block the retreat, or stay where he is.
At the front, Strom, Grendor, Maro, Ingvild, and Mordikarr all attack the two spiders there. Raúguey dances about in the rear rank, waiting for an opening. Maro scores a hit on the nearest spider, and Ingvild stabs it from behind with the gleaming yellow-bladed sword [7 and 8 damage respectively]. The critter, already wounded, expires in a quiet heap. Mordikarr manages to hit the spider attacking Strom, but his blow is partially obstructed by the beam supporting the portcullis [3 damage]. The others miss their attacks.
The poison affecting Strom and Grendor continues to burn [1, 2 damage]. Half-elf, your life force is running out!
[Round Four - Party can't buy initiative]
Saurabh prepares a spell!
Durego prepares a spell!
The last spider is surrounded. It whirls, spraying strands of grey silk at Strom, then it lunges at Ingvild, who just manages to avoid the dripping fangs. The dwarf finds himself stuck in a sticky mass of threads, unable to move!
Raúguey laughs at the dwarf's plight, but his amusement is short-lived. He suddenly finds himself enveloped in sticky gray strands too! Mordikarr and Ingvild find themselves snared in the new mass of webs, and as they struggle to break free, they see movement in the dim corner of the room. [Light sources carried by those webbed are obscured].
The ranged attackers at the rear, Ohwatoo and Rawon, have no clear line of sight on the low form of the remaining spider, or whatever else might be lurking in the room beyond. Grendor backs away from the combat, and Durego casts his healing spell on the half-elf. Saurabh does the same for Dagmarten [6 and 7 respectively].
Maro, or rather the many Maros, [Hey look, it's me, Maro!] step forward and attack the last spider, but his blow goes wide. The remaining party members struggle to break free from the webs that surround them.
Poison continues to affect Grendor, Strom, and Dagmarten [4, 4, 2 damage respectively]. Dwarf is about to die!
There are several figures, many-limbed and upright, in the east corner of the room near the double doors there. That's probably where the webs came from. There's also one wounded spider near the portcullis.
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