Khaj-Mari

Cleaning out Zhul-Mar Outpost: Part Two

"It sounds like a hot dog in a microwave!"

After training and increasing some skills and powers, Chand Urnwar and Salenda Athysh return to Zhul-Mar Outpost to resume reclamation operations there.

Knowing that it had been at least three weeks since they last had anybody down in the dungeon proper (even though they had left five of Salenda’s platoon there to guard the keep topside) they re-entered the dungeon with caution.

And good thing, too… they discovered that something had been gnawing upon the Creeping Horror corpses they’d left behind in the big room (area 3 on the whiteboard map, pictured here in a shot taken near the end of last night’s session).

Worse yet, one of the corpses was lumpy and bloated, as if something had laid eggs of some kind in it.

Not wanting to risk some sort of nasty biological explosion, they doused the body in flammable oil and shot a flaming crossbow bolt at it from a distance. Doing so caused the body to burst, spilling writhing baby Carrion Crawlers, each a foot in length (and each just as functional as the adult version) fleeing the sizzling, pressurized Creeping Horror corpse. Yuck!

Rhetif, being the better at missile combat than the rest, volunteered to be the one who chucked four additional vials of oil at the scattering baby Crawlers, and then took the flint and steel from Salenda to run about, showering the now soaked little monsters with sparks.

Unfortunately, she found that one of the vials hadn’t broken, and when she reached for it, she was accosted by several of the little bastards. One of them paralyzed her, and four others immediately began feeding on her once she fell.

This spurred the party into immediate (though admittedly hasty) action. Salenda ran in and decided to start pulling the Crawlers off of Rhetif. However, the first one she grabbed writhed around in her hand and bit her (scoring a level 9 crit on Salenda’s right hand!), leaving her hand totally disabled, and possibly permanently damaged!

Chand also entered and squashed one with his staff, but a second one shimmied up his leg and paralyzed him as well, leaving him helpless on the floor with more Crawlers wriggling toward him.

Sergeant Veskin was unharmed though, and with her trident, she managed to aid Salenda in slaying the remaining Carrion Crawlers before too much more havoc could be wreaked.

They then retreated back up to the surface, where Salenda cast a Mend Tendon spell, as well as a Staunch Bleeding spell on herself, and then Cure Light Wounds all around for everyone else who had been injured.

Once this was done, the paralyzation had worn off on Rhetif and Chand, and they were ready to come back down for another try.

The second trip down they were on the lookout for the adult Carrion Crawlers, for where there are young, the big ones can’t be too far away!

They found them shortly after, just down the hall to the north barracks rooms. Having gotten their attention, they retreated back to room 3 again, and this time Rhetif hit one with a crossbow bolt just as Chand fired off a Blood Missile spell at it, and in doing so they dropped the first one.

The second was struck by a Rigor Mortis spell from Salenda, and was quickly dispatched as well.

They re-explored the other rooms in which they had been on their last foray here, and found another pair of adult Carrion Crawlers in room 7, this pair feeding on the remains of a Gnoll.

Acting on a similar plan (Carrion Crawlers not being noted strategists), Salenda threw a piece of debris into room 7 and got their attention, swiftly retreating into room 3 again when the pair of monsters came wriggling down the hall towards her.

The second they emerged into the room, the one in the lead was struck both by a crossbow bolt from Rhetif, and a well-placed Blood Missile from Chand, who managed to damage both Crawlers.

The first one dropped, but (unfortunately for Chand), the second Crawler shrugged off Salenda’s Rigor Mortis spell and was on the Blood Mage in a heartbeat, paralyzing him with one of its eight tentacles, and doing some devastating damage to one of his arms as it began to feed upon his helpless form in the corner of the room.

The Ulaphians all charged in at that point, impaling the beast on their tridents and slaying it instantly, saving their comrade before he could be devoured.

Salenda quickly healed his wound, and when he recovered from his paralysis (for the second time in one day), they entered room 7 and then room 8, and discovered four MORE Gnolls, each bloated and heavy with more Carrion Crawler larvae!

They carefully extracted each carcass and hauled them to the surface, where Staff Sergeant Ormech and the others had been prepping a large firepit in which they had planned to dispose of the other carcasses they had found. They burned the Gnolls and the baby Crawlers and went back into the dungeon, this time curious about what lay behind the door to the south of room 3.

They discovered that behind that door was a lone undead creature of some kind, tougher than a ghoul, and with long, sharp claws and a mouth lined with wicked teeth, but clearly not a ghoul or a ghast.

Salenda was able to command the creature, and after a very brief foray into the tunnels south of area 3, they decided to liberate one of the doors they found there (which was still in good shape, unlike any they had found in the northern section) to barricade the areas they’d already cleared, and the Lieutenant ordered Staff Sergeant Ormech to post a constant guard on this door while she and Chand journeyed back to Khaj-Mari for much-needed recuperation and some more training.

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