November 5, 2010
Having successfully won over the Strange Rod from the kobolds, the party camped outside the temple for a few days to heal their wounds. Rested and restored, our heroes went into the Forest Shrine again, this time taking the west corridor.
The first thing they encountered was a set of three copper statues similar to the ones they had encountered in the east wing of the building. One was shaped like a gnome, one an elf, and one a human; however, the statues were twisted and deformed, as if their sculptor had ruined them on purpose. With much grunting and heave-ho, the party managed to move the smallest statue, the gnome, a few feet off its pedestal, but, having found nothing too unusual about it save a magic aura, the party continued onward into the left wing.
The next room they found themselves in was one both curious and deadly. In the large room were five rows of two pillars each, and every few seconds, these lines of pillars would shift one direction or the other. One hoping to cross the pillars would need patience and good coordination. To make matters worse, crystalline mage statues occupied three of the pillars!
The party entered a brief but furious fight and emerged victorious, with Zogs shining as he got the others to help him pull two of three statues down with judicious use of rope. When the statues had all been rendered immobile, the pillars stopped shifting. After healing, the party turned their attention to crossing the room.
Zogs and Mayve nimbly made their way across the pillars, but the others weren’t as able. Timtim tried to float across on his floating disk, only to crash down forty feet into the pit. While Silos used a rope to climb down, Thalord put aside personal safety in favor of expedience and jumped down, taking the injury like a man (or dwarf). Tamarie elected to wait for the others to find a way to cross.
Having gone to the bottom of the pit, Timtim, Silos, and Thalord explored around. They found a gear system that they guessed was part of the machinery behind moving the pillars, but not much else, and elected to climb up to the other side of the room with the help of Zogs’ rope. Timtim and Silos made it up without too much trouble, but the well-armored Thalord was another matter.
After nearly an hour of trying, Thalord made it up the rope when Zogs used himself as a counterweight. The perilous climb thus bested, the party moved on.
They next found themselves in a room full of lava. A goblin tribe charged them money to cross with a set of boards, and went through a secret door before the party could cross fully. A few near-fatal mishaps were had with the lava pools, but the party made it across safely.
The next room had a steep slant to it. Gnolls bared their teeth and guarded a treasure chest similar to the one that had contained the Strange Rod. However, as the party prepared for battle, the gnolls stiffened and fell down, killed by a mysterious force! Not ones to waste an opportunity, the party members looted the chest and found the Strange Ring; as they did so, a strange rumbling echoed through the temple.
The slot on the Strange Ring matched the end of the Strange Rod. When the two were put together, they formed an odd-looking key!
The party now navigated the treacherous lava expanse and the pillar room, the latter with some difficulty. Having returned to the front of the temple, they noticed that a new door—with an impressive lock—had risen from the ground. The Strange Key fit the lock perfectly, and the door opened into a gloomy dirt tunnel.
This tunnel descended a good distance below the earth at a fairly gentle slope; after nearly ten minutes of walking, the party came out into an enormous room. Each corner of the room had something different: moss, a few trees, a standing pool, rocks. At the far end of the room was a well. The party spread out to examine the room’s features.
After a few minutes, however, a large thing of stone and whirling dirt burrowed up from the middle of the room. It resembled a humanoid upper body with two flaming dots for eyes.
The thing declared itself to be the Lifegiver, and moved to attack!
The party faced this hardy foe valiantly, despite its ability to move through the ground with ease and resist many of their abilities. When it was near death, however, the Lifegiver surrendered, and freed the statue-slaves it had created so many years ago—with memories modified to fit the current time. The Lifegiver then swirled around and collapsed into the ground.
The well began to glow with a calming green light. The party clustered around it and … the session ended here!