02 Scepter Tower 3
Exploring onward underground from the ramparts, the party entered the catacombs of ancient Fastormel. Zombies, skeletons, vampires, and a specter all tried their best to make the party join them in undeath, but they were all ultimately defeated. What lies further south, past the catacombs exit?
The Dragon Slayers of Nenlast entered the catacombs into the servant’s vault and had to contend with 4 Shadowhunter Bats and a Boneshard Skeleton. Some clever use of fire to remove the mold and spider webs the bats were using for concealment made this encounter easier toward the end.
Next, the party consulted Muckenfuss‘s Hand of Fate to decide which way to go, and were directed east. Proceeding in that direction, they came to a rusted-shut iron door that took a couple of tries to open. Finally, they gained entrance to the warrior’s vault, where they had to contend with a baker’s dozen of skeletons and one specter. This specter did not give them anywhere near the trouble the four did in Nenlast.
South past the warrior’s vault they found another alabaster pillar buried in debris. After some debate, the party decided to rebury the pillar and continue on. Another rusted-shut door presented less difficulty, and another branch in the corridor soon followed.
Continuing in the same direction, the party entered the arcanist’s vault, where narrow walkways between burial chambers presented difficulty in dealing with the zombies, skeleton, and deathlock wight that lay within. Thanks to superior climbing ability by Ventlandra, the wight was soon dispatched, and before it was able to raise any of its undead allies.
Exploration of the vaults found seven ritual books and a magical totem. Examining one of the books, Muckenfuss inadvertently set off some explosive runes which destroyed the book. After barely managing to disable the runes in a second book and finding the knock ritual within, Muckenfuss decided to just pack the remaining five books and examine them at a later date.
Next, the party continued west to a corridor that wrapped back around to the north and east into a new chamber, where nobles were apparently interred. A false floor fell away as Broknar stepped on it, but he was able to jump away. When swarms of rats began to pour out of the pit, the party decided that continuing on wasn’t worth it and abandoned the room. There was nothing worth taking from that vault anyway.
Returning the way they came, they took the branch left unexplored and entered the commoner’s vault, where more skeletons and one wraith awaited them. Identifying the wraith as the worst threat, Arquera loosed her most effective pair of shots at it and felled it before it had a chance to act.
Proceeding from there, the party went west at the next T and entered a chapel, where seven bodies hung by the neck. As they debated their next course of action, the bodies suddenly released their trick nooses and fell to the floor, revealing themselves as vampire spawn and attacking. Muckenfuss quickly dispatched more than half of them, and the rest were defeated soon after. Feeling weary, the group decided to use pews the barricade the doors and camp there to recover.
After their rest, they proceeded west into a sort of throne room built for Barthus, a vampire lord and priest of Bane. They engaged him in battle and wore him down quickly, in part due to his inability to dominate any of them with his hypnotic gaze. Realizing his defeat was inevitable, he turned into mist and escape through cracks in the corner of the chamber.
With the defeat of the vampire lord, the party has cleared the dangers of the catacombs. The only path yet to explore leads south from here, continuing in the direction of the mysterious Scepter Tower.