Another week in Athas, under the mountains, and in an ancient tomb. Wandering monster check reveals tribe of hejkin (4-40). Combat ensues. That pretty much sums it up, but to expand, we had our 4 returning PCs Yuka, Jarvix, one of the Barcan Twins, and Kindrock. In addition, we got to welcome two new players to the game, one of whom came in as Castri the elf ranger, and the other played the warlock Vinara (from free RPG day.) I briefly described the basic rules of the game, the setting, the adventure, and the previous encounter.
The evening began with some role playing, first to establish how the elf ranger showed up. There was a large crack shown on one corner of the map, which I described as actually being in the ceiling, and it led to a small pit of quicksand on the surface, into which Castri had fallen. What I didnt tell him, was that after Castri was left for dead after encounter 4, he had been hopelessly trying to catch up with the party, and now he finally had. Then the party lit two torches, both of which were to be carried by the sorceress.
They were in one chamber of the tomb, and a long slanting hallway led to the next. Each end of the hallway was barred by a locked portcullis, however, the party had found two heavy bronze keys amongst the remains of their last defeated foe. Jarvix thought the keyrings would make a nice pair of earrings.
Kindrock the brute and Yuka the athlete strode toward the portcullis. Yuka held a key, Kindrocks hands were empty until he grasped the bars and pulled. With all his might he strained, until finally with a sigh, he relents and steps back, defeated. Yuka struts forward and cracks his fingers, loosens his muscles and finally bends and peers intently at the lock before shrugging and slipping in the old bronze key. It turns with a click, and Yuka steps back with a smile. With a frown, Kindrock steps forward and grasps the bars once again. Not even Yuka hears the whispered curse the half giant mutters before throwing his weight into the test of strength again. Ancient chains rattle, hinges creak and with a loud noise the portcullis rises.
Only one more portcullis to go! Halfway down the hallway they pause as one of them hears a rumbling of deep voices ahead. Just back from a successful hunt, they argue in their deep rumbling voices over their kill. Only Yuka, who knows dwarvish, can understand them, though he can tell by their voices they are no dwarves. There is also a very dim light – cast by a small campfire made to roast bits of meat.The party creeps forward to spy six of the strange bony, angry creatures. They were furry, clawed, and scowling, and a couple of them had a tracery of electricity dancing acrost their fur.
Six hejkin, of three types. It was an extremely well rounded encounter, but it was hard to differentiate the three types of essentially the same creature. The sparky ones were electrically easy, but the other, the controllers and brutes, were harder to separate, so I described them as having stripes matched to the semi-random minis I was using. Grey savages for the brutes, axe-weilding beastoids for the controllers, and other smallish pummellers. Sometimes it is hard for me, as DM, to keep the monsters separated, especially if they are similar. These hejkins were especially difficult.
At this point, the party had the opportunity to gain a surprise round. Or they could try and draw the hejkin to them and attack from range with the portcullis between them. They listened a moment longer but the arguing showed no sign of slowing. They decided to take the surprise round. In the end it was the better choic, though they knew it not at the time. The hejkin, like Bugs Bunny, have the ability to quickly burrow through rock.
Kindrock spent his surprise action for the group and easily opened the now unlocked portcullis. Yuka and Castri each charged the nearest pair of hejkin. The hejkin reacted with angry curses and claw attacks. Jarvix and the Sorceress ran into the room and lined up shots. Vinara was late to the party, having just come through the same sand-chute as Castri, and he arrived at the end of the surprise round at the doorway.
The battle continued as party threw all they could at their foes. Also, Jarvix lit sconces along the walls to provide lighting. Two sides of the room had regularly spaced alcoves along their length holding coptic jars, or large ceramic urns, most are broken but two jars appear intact.
The controllers retaliate with their big earthquake blasts, which I described as a rumbling in the ground at their feet turning into a shaking of their bones causing massive damage. Ouch. oh, and it blasts you back three squares and knocks you prone sucka! A few PCs were hit by these great attacks of the hejkin. Castri was surrounded and had to use his healing surge with an action point, and it was joked howthe dm was an elf killer, specializing in rangers. I like to think that three of the enemy surrounding the elf was due to him being the nearest foe from their perspective.
The Sorceress on her turn fired a flaming blast that struck three of the enemy and created an area of flaming territory. This was a relief for Jarvix, who is normally targeted by her. This flame would cause the enemy an additional few points if they moved out of the area, and blast it, all three of them got hit by the adder. It was the gift that kept on giving. The next round she strode forward and blasted another one of them to smithereeens with her fury.
Meanwhile the warlock curses and eldrtitch blasts the enemy. He is caught in the next huge 5 square blasts of thunder damage. It begins as a low song that the hejkins chant until it grows louder and then explodes outwards with thunderous power. Jarvix was hit, but he retaliated with his mental thrust and parry to great effect, even dealing his back draft damage.
One by one the hejkin fell while the PCs always managed to regain their footing, no matter how badly they were knocked about. If only there were a river of lava nearby, the encounter might have ended differently. As it was, the party survived the battle and each of them contributed valiantly to the success of the encounter. Their reward was 6 days of survival rations taken from the hejkins recent kill and 50 gold worth of semi-precious trade jewels. Oh, and in the coptic urns a pair of healing fruits. These were described as once luscious and ripe, they had been mummified. While ancient, cracked, and dried up now, there was still a slimy black mummified center that would provide the same affects as a completely fresh healing fruit. Wonder of the ancients! The ability to store healing fruits indefinitely has been lost to the ages until now.
And so we come to the end of another episode of the tales of the Dark Sun Days of Athas. What further mysteries will be found within the remaining 6 encounters? I know. And so will everyone else reading the thrilling tales of adventure contained herein. For now and until next time I bid you adieu.