Keep on the Borderlands

16. Vermastyx

1/4/11: We were over-loaded with players this week at the den. I made up a story reason to write off the TPK.

RPGA Sanctioning #:    10-10-2499715

Eldeth - Dwarf Slayer
Hirbe
- Eladrin Mage
Merric
- Halfling Thief
Rolf
- Dragonborn Barbarian
Tornam
- Dwarf Cleric
Varian
- Eladrin Mage

The adventurers had made their way into the deadly Chaos Scar in an effort to track down Benwick, his army of lizardmen, and the two black dragons that he bribed. They had come upon Lizardmen guarding an underground entrance, but were defeated by the lizardmen guarding it.

They awoke in nets, still by the entrance, and were dimly aware of their allies from the keep coming to their rescue. They were:

Bolios Whittish - A wizard who had come to the keep when his donkey died, looking for a new conveyance.
Moxulhar
- A copper dragon wyrmling the heroes had befriended
Doran
- a stubble-bearded rogue
Doran's Daggers
- Doran's cousins, two female twin rogues

The motley crew were able to best the lizardmen and began cutting the heroes free from their nets. When the heroes came to, they noticed that their friends had scorch marks all over themselves.

Bolios said, "We would have been here sooner, but we encountered these lightning crystals in the swamp" (which the heroes encountered during the skill challenge when they went through the swamp). "I tried to pull one out of the swamp to study, but it kept hitting me with lightning!"

Moxulhar said, "I wanted a crystal to keep as treasure, but it kept hitting me with lightning!"

Doran said, "I thought the crystals would be worth money, but... lightning"

Doran's daggers said, "We swam through the swamp, and now we're all wet!". Someone made a wind spell to dry them off, and watched Doran's daggers hair blow in the breeze in super-slow motion.

So it was established that these NPCs were hurt badly.. from the lightning... and could help them no further. Except to offer them specially-brewed poultices which would heal their wounds (at the cost of only one surge). 

The adventurers healed up, and prepared to descend. The entrance was a hole in the ground covered by a net. One they removed the net, they saw a rope ladder that descended into darkness. They climbed down.

The ladder lead to a large cavern. The sound of flowing water filled the chamber. With the descent, the daylight from above gave way to a green glow below. An odor of death and blood mixed with the smell of fresh water.

The heroes arrived on a central ledge between the cavern's upper and lower areas. A dim green light issued from crystals that sprouted from the cavern floor. Water flowed from several openings in the walls. It collected in a stream flowing into the room's lower reaches. Strewn around the immediate area were the grisly, partly consumed corpses of at least ten humanoids.

Tornam began to look around, creeping down some steps that lead to the stream. Suddenly, from a bolt hole beneath the stream, a black dragon the size of a large horse emerged from the water! It bit the dwarf on the arm. Acid spread from the wound, burning him.

Tornam gave a shout and struck the dragon. Rolf charged down the steps and swung at the dragon. It dodged his swing an slashed at him with its' tail. He avoided it. Varian, from the ledge, cast fountain of flame, burning the dragon.

Hirbe had been studying the green shards. He could sense that they were something of a conduit for elemental energy. He plucked one from the ground, thinking he could use it as an implement to enhance his fire spells.He cast a light spell behind the dragon, distracting it.

Eldeth used the distraction to race forward, leap down the steps and over her friends, and land squarely in front of the dragon. The slayer swung and plunged her axe into the dragon's belly, injuring it greatly. 

The dragon created a shroud of shadow that clung to Eldeth, Tornam and Rolf. The shroud made it hard for them to see, and enhanced the potency of the dragon's acid. Then the dragon breathed acid, bloodying Tornam and Rolf. 

Merric ran to aid his allies, and stabbed the dragon. Acidic blood spewed from the wound. The dragon lowered its' head and breathed acid again, staggering the heroes. a few of them were barely standing. 

Tornam reared back and swung, staggering the great beast. He was covered in acid burns, hurt badly. Rolf roared and swung, burying his weapon in her neck. The dragon fell into the stream, dead.

The heroes found her horde - a collection of gold and magic items. They divided it up and healed themselves. Then they climbed back up to give their friends the good news - one of the two black dragons was dead. They'd soon realize that they needed to return to the keep... Benwick's army would surely arrive soon!