- Malik (Nick)
- Fyodora (Lisa)
- Phoenixfire (Cathe)
- Luccio (Adam)
- Konrad (Sean)
- Ezmerelda, goliath warden (Cody)
Cody's character joined and we ended up with an amazing 6 players. This, and the fact that Cody hadn't played 4E before, and it was Sean's second session with 4E, made combat drag and it took quite some time. Still, Ezzie's inebriated irish-accented giant woman made it worth it.
Watches are established and the party rests. On Luccio's watch, he notices that the revived construct Aleph is digging through the broken parts in the cart. The rogue asks it what it is up to; Aleph pulls out a detached head, similar to its own.
"These heads do not have name-runes, " it notes. "Name runes?" Luccio asks. "Samekh," the construct points to his forehead - on it is a deeply-carved rune. "All twenty-two of us Deepvein Miners have...had these name-runes. I do not know what to make of these parts."
Luccio leaves the construct to its rummaging and the party completes their rest. On waking, they cautiously make their way through the tunnels, looking for a way out. They run across rails running down the center of the tunnel. Following the cart-rails, they come to a door across the tracks as well as a passage leading off to the side. Proceeding carefully, they open the door across the tracks and find another short section of the tunnel with another door at the other end, as well as a small side-room off the tracks. Peering into the the room, they see a pile of fallen rocks and a pair of red eyes.
Making their way into the room, the party finds another Deepvein Miner, trapped under the rubble. Samekh identifies it as Aleph, head of the Miners. As they toss rock aside, they hear an "oof!" as a stone lands on someone or something in the darkness. They find what seems to be a red-haired human woman, wearing hide armor, only over nine feet tall! The giant woman reeks of alcohol, sits up holding her head, and identifies herself as Ezmerelda, "but you can call me Ezzie." She's not quite sure how she ended up here - she lasts remembers drinking in the inn, and then wandering outside to find a place to "take a leak." They look upwards and see a bright spot far above - it looks like she fell down this old ventilation shaft. They invite her to join them as they try to escape the mine.
They open the next set of doors along the tracks to find a great room. The tracks cross the room on a wooden gantry nearly 20 feet above the stone floor and then exits on the other side. Midway through the span, a slide of some sort goes from the tracks down to a gigantic red-hot glowing forge on the opposite side of the room. Luccio sneaks midway through the room before spotting - and being spotted by - a large, floating orb of flesh with a large central eye, many smaller eyes on stalks on top, and a great toothed mouth nearly bisecting the orb.
B-b-b-b-b-beholder! This is a Beholder Gauth from the Monster Manual 2. I'm not sure what a gauth is - the players suggested that is was a gaunt goth; apparently the beholder is skinny and is wearing black lipstick with its many piercings.
Luccio deftly climbs down the gantry while the rest of the party advances into the room. The ranged members of the party position themselves to take shots from above as the meleers climb carefully down. They find that there are several unarmed humanoid constructs as well as two armed with sword and shield supporting the abberant floating creature, hiding below the gantry. Konrad finds himself in his own fight off to the side with a couple of enemies while the rest of the adventurers focus on taking down the terrifying beholder and its remaining minons.
The beholder uses its eyestalk powers to try to disable the party members below and telekinetically pull the ranged adventurers from the gantry above. Ezmerelda, Fyodora, and Luccio advance on the beholder but are delayed by the mechanical minions. Phoenixfire tosses elemental blasts into the fray. Konrad is stuck well away from the rest, having trouble downing his foes but not taking much damage from them either. As the unarmed minions fall, the last construct turns a valve on the forge; molten metal flows through channels on the floor, but the party is dextrous enough to avoid damage. Luccio and Fyodora finally flank the beholder, but find that is of little help as the creature's eyestalks keep both of them in view at once.
The adventurers enemies eventually fall to the party's coordinated attack. Aleph and Samekh can now identify where they are and inform them that the next room behind the forge is the mustering room, which should eventually lead out. Malik peers through one of the two sets of doors leading behind the forge; the next room is similarly large and open, but contains an enourmous construct, over 15 feet tall. Thankfully, it seems to be inactive at the moment. Luccio checks out the other end of the rail gantry. This passage leads to a split in the tracks: in one direction, the tracks lead down deeper into the mine; in the other, many mine carts are lined up. The rogue squeezes past the carts. In the tunnel beyond, he sees many pairs of glowing green eyes - more of Master Control's constructs. He stealthily avoids attention and returns to report to the party. They decide to head into the mustering room and take their chances with the giant construct.
If they had gone the other way, it would have lead to an Indiana-Jones-esque mine cart chase. Still, they didn't know if they would be able to get out if they had gone deeper into the mountain. This still sounds like fun, so I have the feeling the players may find such a chase in the Ironhammer end of the mines...
Catwalks lead around the perimeter of the mustering room. Additional suspended platforms approach the titan construct, which has a huge axe on one arm and an enormous maul on the other. They see no chance of sneaking past with the less stealthy members of the party, so Luccio and Fyodora sneak up either side of the catwalks while the rest of the party waits at the doors. The monk finally missteps and the giant machine wakes up. A gargoyle-like construct made of clay is also revealed, clinging to the wall above, and four unarmed humanoid constructs rush in from the hall that leads out of the mustering room. Luccio quickly blinds the titan, and Ezmerelda and Konrad seize the opportunity to charge in on one of the catwalks that extends into the center of the room. Fyodora faces off with the clay homunculus while Phoenixfire and Malik take potshots from the door.
The titan deals massive damage with its axe and maul, but is taking a beating from the focussed fire of the party. Even using the giant maul to smash the supports of the catwalks does not save the huge machine. The clay homunculus falls quickly to Fyodora's powerful strikes. The unarmed smaller constructs seem to fall with a hit, but split open to reveal masses of tentacles that proceed to use psychic attacks against the minds of the party. Without letting a single member fall, the party systematically destroys their enemy.
This was a much-downlevelled Warforged Titan (still a mighty threat), a Clay Scout, and several Warforged minions which turned into Fell Taints when killed. This continued an abberant theme seen with the beholder in the last room and the psychic powers of Master Control.
Their resources dwindling, the adventurers carefully make their way upwards through the tunnels. They find a familiar sight - a section of collapsed ceiling with bits of devil-dwarf corpse. Peering up into the natural chamber where they had originally entered, they see a group of duergar. Taking them by surprise, Fyodora, Luccio, Konrad and Ezmerelda climb up into the cave and charge. Malik and Phoenixfire take cover, peeking up to fire arrows and magical bolts into the room.
Several of the devil-dwarves are similar to those that they encountered before. One from the back, though, is calling terrible hellfire down on the party while another is using psionic attacks to cause pain to the minds of its enemies. With many of their greatest powers expended, the adventurers struggle to take the duergar down. It is a close thing, but the party is victorious.
This encounter worked very well. The party's resources were low from previous fights, some were at a disadvantage having to climb up into the room, and the good mix of artillery, controller, soldier, and brute monsters were set up well to receive the charge of the adventurers. The encounter was quite hard for the players and represented a genuine threat and was a good capper to the session.
After a quick rest, they climb up out of the mine and head back into town, attempting to camoflage the large crystal that they have recovered. The constructs Samekh and Aleph stay in the mine, hoping to recover others of the Deepvein Miners. The party collapses at the first inn that they find, grateful for the rest.
Thus ends session 3.