2007-07-29 Mithras Temple

Kubo San and his hawk Daigoro
© 2007 Marco Dörfliger
The party decided to continue exploring the temple. In the middle of the maze, they again heard the minotaurs preparing an ambush. This time they were going to use Tsutomu’s arcane powers, however. They summoned a huge (!) fiendish centipede and sent it ahead (squeezing, haha!). The damage reduction provided enough staying power to nearly kill one of the minotaurs. As soon as it was gone, the party crept closer, always trying to avoid the dreadful minotaur charges. As soon as Tsutomu was able to look into the room, he sent forth a ball of fire that caught three of the four minotaurs in the room. Our archer Nanami shot down a second minotaur, and before melee was joined, the remaining two minotaurs fled in different directions.

The party decided not to pursue and backtrack to a known place in the labyrinth. On their way back, they saw a minotaur in the distance, but again decided not to pursue since it was running into unknown territory. They were too afraid of rushing into a trap.

They went elsewhere. At one time they nearly lost their rogue Takeo in a spear trap – 1d6 attacks at +21 with 1d8 damage, including 20/×2 criticals. I think I fudged that one by only rolling five spears instead of six, but one of them was a critical, so I had lost track for a second, and then decided to run with it. Note to self: A “Fusillade of Spears” (CR 6, DMG p. 72) can result in a save-or-die situation. Something I don’t like.

Takeo also fell into one of the pit traps near the center of the maze, but at least it wasn’t spiked. As he climbed up, he discovered a secret door at the bottom of the pit, but since he also heard noises from behind the secret door, he quickly climbed up the walls, and people readied their bows. And they saw something strange: Out of the solid stone wall, a big horned head appeared. They fired their bows (and I gave it +8 to AC for cover) and missed. The head disappeared again. And the party decided they’d had enough and started to retreat. They were confused. What had they seen? An illusion? No matter. Out!

While retreating, I offered the party another DC 20 Spot check to see the head of the greathorn minotaur (for that is what they had seen) appear out of the wall and disappear again in order to give them a warning. They did not make it, and so the greathorn knew they were on the run, and it had remained undetected, and it decided to give them a parting blow. The party retreated without taking any special precautions, and thus, in the last passage leading to the stairs out, the greathorn steps out of the wall, takes a move action to reach the last character, and does a standard attack. My idea was that this was a token attack to scare the party away followed by a retreat back into the wall. But the last character in the party was the archer at half hit points. And the minotaur crits. I was lucky, though. The archer was dropped to -9 and survived. I’m not sure: Was that unfair, ie. did the players not have enough warning? The players also blew their Knowledge (nature) check, so they didn’t know about greathorn minotaurs (MMIV).

It does deserve a nomination for “The Most Exciting Combat Round 2007”, however. :D

The party retreated out of the Mithras Temple and holed up for the night down by the river, far enough from the hobgoblin settlement, and defensible. The spot was well picked by Kubo San for it remained hidden from the minotaur hunting party sent out later that night.

Aurin and Attaxa
© 2007 Monique Vesely
Sa-Tsuki, day 10 – two days after the marauder attack.

Early the next morning, horn were sounded in the valley. It seemed like the village was passign signals to places up and down the river.

Aurin memorized Stone to Flesh in order to catch the greathorn while it moved into or out of stone.

The party decided to continue exploring. Kubo was eager to see some greathorn blood! This time they were extra cautious. Slowly, methodically, they moved on into the darkness. The place seemed strangely quiet. And after many a cautious peeking around corners, they found Morthaur’s forge, some notes, masterwork longswords (for hobgoblins) and large greataxes (for minotaurs), notes on the production of flaming weapons with the help of a powerful wizard (requires caster level 10!), and from the numbers and dates they concluded that most of the production had stopped about three weeks ago. At that time, huge numbers of weapons had been carried away, and from then on, only few things had been made in this forge. Further exploration yielded a strange magic sword with arcane runes. A successful Knowledge (arcana) check by Tsutomu revealed that it was an ancient weapon containing the power of the sun! Apparently it was lacking a big diamont in its pommel. But ominously, the wielder’s eyes turned milk white when wielding it. (Yeah, another Weapon of Legacy designed by one of my players.)

Elated, the players pressed on. Where was the treasure!? :)

Mithras Temple Level 1 Mithras Temple Level 2 The maze was still empty. Everybody had gone away! I had decided that the minotaur whipmaster had decided to report the incident to the head of his order, taking the other shaken minotaur with him (down to two hit points), where as the greathorn minotaur had retreated back into the bowels of the earth, there to meet his secret brethren of the dark underground. Perhaps we’ll see some more minotaur and greathorn action in the future…

On the second level of the maze, the party finally found what they were looking for. The temple of Mithras. A huge statue of the minotaur god of war, covered in leaf gold and dried blood, surrounded by smaller statues of immortal heroes of battle. I cannot stress how cautious the party was. At this point they fully expected the statue to come alive. Tsutomu was using Telekinesis and Light to have a glowing sword hover in front of the party and into every passage… And he was the one who pressed onwards when most of the party wanted to call it a day and retreat. So when he saw the dreadful statue, he was unfazed, and noticed some jewels in the eyes of the smaller statues. He started to remove them from the statues. There was a short discussion: Is the defiling of an evil temple itself an evil act? I don’t think so, and said as much. Tsutomu being evil and having no trepidations when it comes to dark and bloody places underground just kept on discovering jewels. What I did was ask for successful DC 12 Appraisal checks. As long as he made them, I revealed another valuable gold statue or jewel. And he made them all… Black pearl (600 gp), golden yellow topaz (500 gp), amber (120 gp), brown-green garnet (110 gp), carnelian (80 gp), solid gold statues of immortal heroes worth 400 gp, 800 gp, 600 gp, 700 gp, and 800 gp.

Yay for the D&D Treasure Generator! :)

XP

Challenges overcome:

I count the opponents that had to flee because of low hit points as overcome, where as the opponents that made a strategic retreat as “live to fight another day” – thus the whipmaster and the greathorn minotaur are not considered challenges overcome.

XPs gained: