The Black Labyrinth

We have just arrived in the Black Labyrinth. We had a treacherous chase through the darkness, where we were chased by the darkness. Kind of weird, but only Tela and Hadarai were touched by the darkness. They claim they received some kind of debilitating affect from it, but neither seem worse for the wear. Once we got out of the darkness, we came upon the caves of the Drow. Rascon made us all look like Darkelves. Using the magical map we have decided to head towards the Purple Nurple Dragon area next.

We met up with Eligio, our Icee friend. After talking with him, we discovered the Purple Dragon was far too crafty to enter into a situation where it might lose, so we ensured that an encounter with us would go poorly for it, using double redundancy, and a bunch of ropes to scale up to his cave and touch the statue. Wisely, he only chatted with the Goliaths and we were on our way.

Next we went to the “dragon” room, and came upon a terrifying and horrible sight. A red dragon had been slain with poison, and then its teeth messily debrided, its scaled sloughed off, its talons hacked away, and it’s corpse otherwise utterly abused. We did not investigate if any of the more esoteric dragon parts remained, but judging from the rapine of every other part of its body with the slightest value, probably even such unmentionable parts as would satiate the demand of the most perverse and impotent drow were despoiled from the unfortunate beast.

Further travel to the “hoard” room, we came upon pile upon pile of junk of all sorts. Rascon was attacked by what appeared to be a diseased vermin. It deftly dodged as I called the power of the storm down, but fortunately my years of training allowed me to sublimate most of the forces away at the last second. Boris misinterpreted my attack as an attack on Rascon and threw an old rusty can at her head. Once our composure was recovered, we managed to speak to it in broken Goblin, via my Gem of Colloquy. With a bit of bartering (Rascon’s “Friends Forever” necklace, and Boris’s shovel “Telekenysis”) we managed to convince it to let us search for the statue in this room. Once accomplished, we left the Were-rat to his “hoard” and headed for the “gold” room.

Sadly, the gold room turned out to be an abandoned mine that the Duergar were planning to turn into a spa. Though I’m getting ahead of myself. It was several hours of navigating the maze-like tunnels left over from the mining operations before the 4 Duergar made a mistake and ambushed us. I must confess the intrinsic magic of the area behaved oddly for me, and every time I shaped it into a deadly force, it seemed to home in upon my allies instead of the Duergar. It did not matter though, even with some in-expert attacks made by my compatriots, we still managed to handily dispatch three of the Duergar, though one did manage to make his escape.

After appropriating the spoils of the battle (they DID attack us) we headed for the next statue. It was inside a bank, which was on the other side of an illusory river. We talked to the manager about the possibility of a loan after touching the statue, but decided the usury might be a bit too dangerous and sold them the Duergar gear for a pittance. We recrossed the illusory river, backtracked through the abandoned gold mines (Evil Chaos Dwarf Spa, Coming Soon TM), and headed to the next room, mines. Low and behold, it was a trapped room, each tile of the floor would change color depending on how many mines where adjacent to it. Unless of course it had a mine, in which case it would just explode in a rather painful and embarrassing manner. Eligio and Borris took the brunt of the punishment, though I took a few licks myself.

Upon escaping from the mined room, we entered a Shadar-kai shanty town. They were of little help, but we were able to rest in relative peace before moving on to the ominous sounding “Explosions room”. Upon walking through the door Tela promptly fell dead. After we dragged her out and revived here, Eligio tried with similar results. Next we consulted the Shadar-Kai but they were no help, so we tried firing a flaming arrow into the room with again no effect. On a wild hunch I breathed my coldest ice into the room, and it worked spectacularly better then I had dreamed possible, solidifying the magic. However that didn’t really give us any way to progress. Finally, in a move the rest of us initially thought crazy Thump disrobed completely and entered the room naked. Obviously some accoutrement or other (Rascon suspects magic items) is responsible for the fatality of being in the room for he was able to run back and forth across the room unimpeded, and then ascend the wall, reach into the vent and touch the star statue. Another statue down, and nothing wounded but our eyes.

The next room we visited was the Cave room, which was a bizarre magical lightshow. Numbers on the floor chronicled our success as we decoded 6 hilariously badly translated sayings. Hell Pu Lu indeed. Once we had solved them all the doors revealed themselves and we made our way on to the “Bat Room”. At this point my scales started changing colors in a semi-random fashion. I expect this is because I solved the majority of the riddles, but I can’t help feel that polychromaticism isn’t really a just reward for my part in the venture. Regardless I can’t complain, for it is at least a better result then death by starvation as appears to be the finale that a number of less fortunate adventurers succumbed to judging from the state of the corpses in the room when we entered it.

Thankfully upon entering the Bat Room I turned from the glaring pink I had been to a more stately black. It was as though my chromamorphism was a portent of things to come for the room had no ceiling, rather cliffs and a starry sky. In the center of the room we came upon a half-orc sitting upon a large stone. Eyfer Git talked to us for a bit, and it turns out he is a rather ineffective recruiting agent for the Iron Saviors, the tower spanning organization that is trying to break the tower and escape. After a bit of lap flipping with him we touched the statue and moved on.

The next room was quite interesting. Thump entered first and as he passed through the doorway the most remarkable transformation took place. A moment later in his place was a cougar. Tela followed becoming a formidable bear. Rascon, when his turn came, was transmogrified into a giant toad with bulging hypnotic eyes. I turned into a stately monitor lizard, Hadarai became a large silver monkey, and oddly Eligio became a pile of snakes. Our attempts to exit through the other doors where hampered by an invisible force field. The bear found a metal plaque in the center of the oddly regular forest. It posited a farcically easy puzzle and upon reaching the right tree I thumped my tail until I got the rest of the parties attention, for I suppose I have not mentioned that while in our bestial forms we were quite incapable of regular speech. Anyway, within the tree were magical marbles which returned us to our regular forms. Tela selfishly took hers and left it to the rest of us to sort ourselves out. Seeing as most of the others did not have hands I scaled the tree and upon resuming my real form distributed the rest of the pearls to the others restoring us all.

It was in the “bird” room that we were set upon by demonic spiders, and a giant spider as well. As usual we worked together so well that the survivors where shortly fleeing. A few moments after they had fled we discovered an elf bound with webs in one of the trees. A bit of work freed Nameless Numberhead Elf from the tree. He decided to follow us around after we had discussed the horror of the Duergar/Drow war that was disrupting the entire level. A short trip down a staircase made of logs that had been pounded into the cliff face and we the room’s star. Rascon ran ahead and touched the the statue. And by touched I mean licked. With his tongue. Nothing ill happened and we proceeded to the Owlbear room.

The Owlbear room greeted us with the noisome spectacle of dozens of spikes adorned with owlbear heads and skulls. Of side note, my skin had become Leviathan Purple. We hightailed it to the monsters room where I turned brown, and we ran into Alex, who, while out of place, was rather obfuscating at first. Time and discussion didn’t help much. He warned us against the Iron Saviors but refused to actually elaborate any more the the representatives of the Iron Savior do. He did at least share with us what was ostensibly a quick and safe route to the Troglodyte room.

Enroute we were ambushed by a Shader-Kai who attacked us and then was pretty much punched in half by Thump. A little after that we encountered an Eldritch Giant. This battle was a little more difficult, but as always we bested it and continued on with our journey.

In the Troglodyte room my scales turned bone white, it’s a pity no one can see or hear me right now, as I do have quite the troglodytian visage at the moment, or at least that was my initial thought, but apparently they are more magically astute then I had expected because they greeted us as fellows. And by us I mean Rascon and myself, for they apparently also like demons, and a tiefling is enough demon like to fool them. Thump touched the statue, potentially ruining the charade, but Rascon managed to convince them it was just a slave acting poorly and tethered him and scolded him for being bad.

Upon our next trek through the monster room we encountered another troglodyte, this one however was green, and I was back to being purple, and he attacked pretty much immediately. This turned out to be a poor decision on it’s part for it died before I could decide which form of arcane torment to inflict upon it for the hubris of thinking it could even scratch myself or the company I keep.

Thump did an astonishingly good job convincing the guards to let us through, helped by the veil Rascon covered us in to make us appear to be duergar. Apparently we need papers of some sort to touch the star statue. At the Bureau of Officiousness and Red Tape we encountered a Misfortune Devil who saw through our disguise. He drew us into his office where he tried to spring his trap, which involved a pit fiend and sleeping gas, and was intended to leave us as slaves. Hadarai stopped the vents, and thump blocked the door, and we began negotiations towards an alternative. He seemed more willing to die then accede to the possibility of us escaping and him getting off without punishment. As the discussion drew on eventually an alarm sounded! Hadarai’s bluff turned out to be correct, the Drow were attacking. A quick check revealed the pit fiend had left and so after a couple of attempts Thump punched the devil in the face (the first time the devil ducked and he punched Hadarai instead). Then we made good our escape trying to decide whether to attempt to touch the star or not. I am in favor of doing so considering the amount of confusion that is liable to be abounding during a war, and considering the trouble we’ve already been through to get this close.

We exited the buildings of the Bureaucratic Demons and entered the streets, which had now filled with the chaos of battle. We found a beleaguered Duergar and rescued her from the two Drow that were harassing her. She gave us directions as to the quickest route to the capital thanks to Rascon’s quick wit. Enroute we passed a park where seige equipment was being assembled (we later learned this was the Annihilator), then a garden full of possibly explosive fruit (we did not stop to investigate).

Moments after we passed the garden of good and explosive fruit, we heard a strange noise from the sky. Several of us (myself included) managed to get out of the way, for a giant flaming flying spider had been “shot down” and crashed into the wall of the building right next to us, showering us with bricks and disgusting bits of spider. Rascon was pinned under the rubble, whilst the rest of us escaped with a few scratches, and for my part I nimbly dodged it all. As soon as the worst was over I rushed back and Tela and I quickly extricated Rascon so we could continue on to the capital. Upon arrival we found a side door that was partially obstructed by rubble; a few moments work from Thump, Tela and myself and we had a way in. Upon entering we discovered that some of the fiercest fighting was taking place here.

We picked another small fight, and came to the aide of another Duergar, eliciting directions from him as soon as our small part of the battle was under control. I lent Hadarai my cloak, and he did a speed run, along with a bit of teleportation, to touch the star and get back to us. We rapidly departed before the Purple Dragon could focus it’s full wrath upon us. As we headed towards the East Gate to head back to the “monsters” room a frightful machine came trundling up behind us. The annihilator the duergar in the capital had spoken of was preparing to do battle with the Spider Goth (not to be confused with the Goth Spider) and we where kind of in the middle. We dashed off the highway and into a private residence (empty). After a bit of stumbling around, and Thump trying to loot the food, the veil finally dropped, and we took a well needed short rest. As we got closer to the gate, staying off the main thoroughfares this time, we came across the thickest portion of the battle, and it was all up and down the gate-wall street, making a crossing a difficulty for us. After a brief stint in an antiques shop, with a Gorgon (We see what you did there) we rand into Riot the half-orc from the Iron Saviors. After a brief discussion he recruited Hadarai into the Iron Saviors. Then they teleported us to both remaining stars, and then the stairs to the next level.

The Black Labyrinth

The Great Tower of Oldechi aslum