What do you do when you’re facing down two 10-foot-fall, 2,000-pound stone golems?
Buff like hell and pray your illusion spells will work.
That’s the course of action our merry adventurers chose when the iron gates swung open to reveal two hulking stone golems. As the golems advanced toward the party, Pall-Bar distracted both of golems with glamors and illusions. This gave Gilia and Daukau a moment to steel themselves for a prolonged fight with a handful of fortifying spells.
As the beefier members of the group went face-to-face with one golem, Pall-Bar kept the second guardian at bay by creating an illusion that the iron door between the rooms was closed. With one golem bashing uselessly at an illusionary door, the party polished off the first construct. But what would a battle be without an accident or two? During the fight, a stray shot from Ugagn’s bow pierced Gilia’s shoulder. Gilia shook off the friendly fire, and together the group charged through the illusionary barrier and quickly killed the second golem.
The group entered the golem guard room, where a pissed-off Gilia sucker punched Ugagn for striking her with an arrow. The punch led to a brief scuffle between gnome and dwarf, but Daukua and Pall-Bar put a stop to the infighting with a few well-timed spells. The dwarf, having gotten her revenge, shrugged off her anger and proceeded into the next room. But Pall-Bar was forced to calm down Ugagn, who in a fight of extreme paranoia, refused to leave the current room.
Moving past the now-deceased golems’ guard room, the group entered an unusual hall. At the center of the chamber, the characters found a glowing rune inscribed in a circular pattern. Inside the first circular inscription, the characters spotted a second, smaller circle of runes. Gilia and Pall-Bar, still under the effects of the Comprehend Languages spell, discerned that the outer rune read “Shelter”, while the inner glowing rune read “Silence”.
Assuming the glowing inscriptions were traps, the group took care to avoid the inscriptions as they explored the chamber and checked out two iron chests stationed on the far side of the room (both were empty, unfortunately)
Their explorations were interrupted when the iron door they entered through slammed shut and locked automatically. On high alert, the group noticed the smell of ozone growing stronger. Gilia, acting on a sudden impulse, dove into the circular runic pattern. She made it to safety with only moments to spare.
Without warning, lightning lanced across the room, badly scorching Pall-Bar and Thursten. Daukua and Ugagn dodged the bolts with well-honed reflexes, while Gilia watched as the bolts hit a force field around the runes and dissipated. The group members caught in the electrical storm ran for safety inside the circle. Gilia, acting on another impulse, stepped into the center of the smaller, inner rune. Immediately, the electricity stopped.
Proceeding to the top of a staircase, the wary group stopped to rest. After regaining some hit points and spells, they proceeded down the stairs, with Ugagn in the lead. The vigilant gnome wasn’t vigilant enough, however. Walking down the stairs, he triggered a trap that caused the steps to collapse into an 80-foot ramp. Oil gushed from two spigots in the walls, and the gnome lost his footing on the slippery surface. As he fell, he held out his bow as a lifeline for Daukua to grab. The last ditch effort backfired, though, when the paladin fell on the oily surface. Together, the two slid down the ramp and narrowly avoided a set of razors at the bottom.
The party landed in a pit filled with chest-deep sand. Thankful for the soft landing, they began to explore this room. They quickly learned they weren’t the only occupants of the room, however, when they heard movement underneath the sand. Daukua, standing in the sand, was bitten in the leg by an unseen opponent. Frantic to get out of the sand, the group forced open a door on the far side of the room, but not before Gilia and Thursten were also bitten. Poison coursed through their veins, weakening both wizard and dwarf.
The group left the sand-filled chamber behind, pausing so that Ugagn could retrieve a curiously preserved, disembodied hand uncovered in the sand. He chose to keep the unusual item. Moving on, the five-some entered a hall filled with inscriptions. The pictographs on the walls depicted a great city populated by human slaves and cat-like creatures. But the slaves, with help from the gods, overthrew their masters, and built an underground complex beneath the city. The last inscription depicted a closed door with two ivory horns and an ever-blooming flower set into the stone above it.
The party paused to ruminate over the inscriptions. Who inscribed the pictograms? Why did the builders of this complex think these hieroglyphics were important for visitors to see? Are the party members subject to some sort of prophecy?
In the end, a different kind of curiosity won out, and the group left their questions behind as they advanced forward into the next room. They entered a great hall that—to their surprise—was filled with worker golems. The workers didn’t notice the newcomers, and the characters watched as the golems stacked and readied construction materials. A quick-thinking Gilia deduced that these golems must be responsible for the preservation of the ruins of Iskandar resting directly above the catacombs.
The party, choosing a less-than-subtle strategy, began raining spells and illusions down upon two larger sentry golems standing in the room. The battle began to look bleak, however, when a third stone golem entered the fray.
Pall-Bar, deciding nine heads were better than one, polymorphed into a gigantic hydra and began dealing massive damage to the guardians. With his help, the group quickly carved through the guardian golems, causing the smaller worker golems to flee.
Exhausted but victorious, the group retreated to rest, but their slumber was interrupted when another stone golem, accompanied by two shield guardians, attacked the room where they were sleeping.