Who let the gnome out?!?

The Darkness (Part Deux)

"I'll Stumble For Ya"

The Darkness (part deux)

The Darkness again shifts to ethereal form and passes through us. As it does so, we feel our souls ripped from our bodies. Still dizzied from the effects, Avanta falls prey to the Darkness as the little gnome gets sucked into it. Peleous releases an Eldritch Blast, but misses. Noname continues to struggle within the Darkness, and continues to cause it minor pain. Kerric misses his mark but summons his elven dexterity to take another swing before the Darkness could react. He lands his second attack upon the Darkness. Erich, newly healed by the waters of the Khyber pool pounces upon the Darkness. For the first time, we feel the Darkness shudder <bloodied>.

The Darkness retaliates against its new pain and slams Erich. Erich is thrown across the cavern and is smashed against the walls <critical>. Erich falls unconscious once again. Peleous throws a Flickering Venom, but misses. Noname finally understands his position and realizes that he serves his party best by fighting from within. He hits again with his Sure Strike attack. And with each successful cleave, the Darkness’s claim is negated by Noname’s will to survive. Kerric again rushes to the aid of his comrade, and administers another swig of the healing waters to Erich. Erich’s eyes flutter as he approaches consciousness. Avanta struggles and worms his way out of the Darkness’s clutches. He rolls away, drinks his potion, and runs back to the Khyber Pool for another refill. Erich takes a swig of his potion, and again pounces the Darkness. His attack is wide.

The Darkness turns its attention to Peleous. Despite his attempts to duck and weave from its clutches, Peleous becomes its next victim. Peleous fights his imprisonment but is unsuccessful. Noname continues to chip away at the Darkness from within. Kerric finds his rhythm and successfully slices into the Darkness. Avanta drinks the rest of his water, refills his waterskin, and rushes back into the fray. Erich attempts another pounce and misses. Fearing the wrath of the Darkness, he swallows the rest of his potion.

Both Kerric and Erich feel more of their life force drain from them as the Darkness Cloud Drifts across their battered bodies. Like Avanta before him, Kerric is slammed by Darkness who takes advantage of the elf’s quivering form. Kerric is nearly impaled upon the rocks. He is barely able to pick up his bloody form as he stands to return to battle. He swings as severs a wisp of the Darkness away from its gaseous body. Peleous continues to wrestle his way out of the darkness, but is still unable to budge. Avanta and Erich’s attacks miss the Darkness.

This time, the Darkness marks Kerric as the most dangerous foe and attempts to slam him again. Kerric is able to avoid its bludgeoning force. Noname finally invokes his challenge to the Darkness, and is able to attack the Darkness as it attacks Kerric instead of him. He continues to do minimal damage, but damage nonetheless. Kerric, Avanta, and Erich all miss their attempt to cause the Darkness pain. Peleous finally frees himself from its grasp.

The battle begins to turn tide again. Erich becomes absorbed by the Darkness and fails to escape its inky cloak. Despite all he has done to rejuvenate his strength, Erich is rendered unconscious again. The Darkness laughingly voids him from its bowels. All the rest of the heroes miss their attacks, especially Kerric, who nearly imbeds his sword in rock. The momentum of his swing is so violent that he falls to the ground thus raising the age old question of, “if an elf falls to the ground, does anyone hear it?” <fumbles>Noname comes closer to death. The Darkness takes advantage of Kerric’s position and attempts to Slam him. Kerric’s luck still holds as he is able to roll away.

Peleous casts a Shared Agony and is able to affect the Darkness. He follows with an Eldritch blast, but misses. Avanta continues his Warsong attacks upon the Darkness, hitting sporadically. Kerric springs to his feet and redeems himself with an effectual slice to the Darkness. Then, he races to Erich’s side (again) and binds his wounds. A quick slap to the face awakens the druid.

The Darkness attempts to engulf Avanta, but misses. The gnome mockingly breaks out into a rendition of the, “The Reflex,” sung by the new age minstrel group, Doo-ran Doo-ran. The musings of Avanta inspire us further. Noname hits the creature twice from within his cocoon. Kerric and Avanta also draw the creature’s blood. Erich attempts to move into a flanking position, and takes a whopping hit from the darkness to the side of his head. Erich misses his attack, and falls down yet again from his wounds. This time, there is no one to heal him, and he comes ever closer to death.

The creature shifts into cloud form and blows through Kerric and Peleous. Deathly chills eat away at them. Kerric is able to sidestep the Darkness, but Peleous becomes the next victim of the Darkness’s grasp. Peleous is unable to extract himself from within the Darkness. With its attention turned to everyone else but him, Noname freely hacks away from the center of the monster’s being, occasionally hitting it.

We sense the Darkness panicking the nearer it comes to death. However, the Darkness will not relent. Again it shifts into cloud form and seeps through Kerric and Avanta. They each feel its deathly chill. The Darkness successfully slams Kerric, and nearly kills the elf. The elf can barely hold his sword from all the blood. He swings again, but the pool of elven blood amassing at his feet causes him to lose his footing and he slips and falls again <fumble>. Meanwhile, Avanta continues to chip away at the creature. Peleous is rendered unconscious. Meanwhile, Erich is fighting death’s door.

The Darkness attempts a last slam against the prone Kerric to once and for all do away with the pesky elf. It misses. Noname takes the opportunity to stab at the monster with its attention diverted, but Noname hits the cavern wall <fumbles>. The impact causes Noname to lose his sword. Enraged, the fighter screams with frustration. Calling forth his strength, the noble fighter cocks his fist and punches into the darkness. And, as he retracts his fist, the Darkness dissipates…the Darkness is dead.

XP: 500 (100/ea)
- Residuum: 90 GP (18 /ea)

We have little time to rest. So, we do our best to patch our wounds, and continue our search to find Daria and her family. We walk down another hallway. As we proceed forward, we notice that both the walls and the floor feel…fleshy. We turn the corner and come face to face with a Dolgrim and a Dolgaunt.

Kerric runs forward and attacks the Dolgrim first with his nimble strike. The arrow finds its mark and imbeds itself into the Dolgrims shoulder. To Kerric’s surprise, the floor just beyond him opens, revealing a giant maw! Kerric shouts a warning to his comrades. The warning gets cut short as three crossbow bolts hit the over exuberant elf. In seconds, the elf is down and bleeding out.

Avanta casts a Vicious Mockery to Dolgrim 1 (DG1) but it is impervious to his musings. Erich and Noname charge the monsters, but cannot navigate the terrain. They lose their footing and fall. Erich attempts to cast a Chill Wind, but he loses his foces during the fall, and the spell comes up short. Peleous casts a Spiteful Glamour spell at D1 and the Dolgrim is visibly repulsed by Peleous’ gyrations. The Dolgaunt casts a Warped Flesh spell to Kerric and deals more damaged to the already beaten Kerric. The spell not only causes Kerric’s flesh to sizzle, but he is immobilized and slid into the jaws of the maw.

The future for Kerric looks grim. Kerric drops prone to make him less of a target from the Dolgrim’s bolts, and he is able to shake off the immobilization effect of the Warped Flesh spell. The Dolgrims load another bolt into their crossbows and fire. The party, wary from the dying elf’s warnings, take cover as the bolts sail over their heads. One of the Dolgrims (DG2) mis-fires his crossbow and ends up cutting his own ear. Meanwhile, Avanta heals Kerric and pulls him out of the maw. The gnome attempts a Vicious Mockery to DG1, but misses. Erich hits DG3 with his Chill Wind spell. DG1 suffers another of Peleous’ psychic “ vogue-ing, and begins to violently bleed from its nose. The Dolgaunt (DGN) turns its attention to the fallen Noname, but Noname’s armor is able to shake off the effect of the Warped Flesh spell. Noname gets up, and is able to leap over the maw on his charge, but slips and falls again.

Seeing DGR1 in pain, Kerric takes advantage and buries an arrow into the DG1’s thigh. The Dolgrims focus their fire upon the nearby Noname. Both DGR2 and DGR3 hit. DGR2’s bolt sinks deep into Noname’s chest. <crit> The pain dazes Noname. DGR2 laughs eerily and loads and fires another bolt. Fortune is with the fighter for DGR2’s arrogance forces him to mis-fire his crossbow. DGR2 loses proficiency with his crossbow <fumble>. Both Avanta and Erich cast spell and the arcane magic fails to foil the monsters. Erich takes another attempt <burns> but the second spell is no more effective than the first. Peleous Spiteful Glamour explodes DGR1’s brain as the monster eyes burn from the Tiefling’s pelvic thrusts. DGN casts another Warped Flesh against Noname. This time the spell hits and Noname is slid into the maw. Noname shifts into full defense mode as he falls into the jaws.

The melee continues to be an oddly beautiful ballet. Blades and arrows flash through the air, but few hit their intended targets. Of the remaining Dolgrims, only DGR2 is able to find a mark. Avanta squeals as an arrow catches him in the side. His voice draws the attention of the DGN, who casts a Warped Flesh towards Avanta. The spell hits Avanta, and the gnome flesh burns. Additionally, he is temporarily immobilized and is pushed into the maw. Of our party, only Erich is able to hit. DGR2 suffers under the deluge of the Grasping Tide.

Kerric unleashes a Twin Strike to DGR3, and only a single shaft is able to penetrate the beast’s hide. Kerric leaps to find more favorable ground and releases a second volley of arrows. This time, both arrows find their target, yet DGR3’s hide is so tough that the damage is minimal <two>. DGR3 returns the volley, except this time it focuses its attention to Avanta. Both of DGR3’s bolts pierce Avanta. The maw takes another bite and Avanta falls unconscious from his wounds. Erich summons another Grasping Tide and the wave hits DG3, bloodying it. Peleous performs another Spiteful Glamour spell. This time, it is DGR2 that is affected and it, too, bloodies. The DGN sets its sight upon Erich and casts its Warped Flesh towards him. The DGN’s assay is to powerful <crit> for Erich to avoid, and our Druid is the next to petrify and be pushed into a maw. Noname, who has yet to be an effective combatant, attempts a reaping strike upon DGR2. The cavern has shaken Noname’s focus as the mighty warrior not only misses his opponent, but becomes weakened from his missed efforts <fumble>.

Peleous and Kerric rush to the immediate aid of Avanta and Erich, who are trapped in Maws. Kerric extracts the unconscious gnome from its impending tomb. Peleous, however, doesn’t reach Erich in time, and the Maw’s razor sharp teeth bite into Erich wrist and bleeds him unconscious <crit>. (Thus the Maw bit the paw). DGR2 and DGR3 move to flank Noname. As DGR2 moves into position, it takes a cut from Noname. DGR2 returns the favor with a club to Noname’s head. DGR3 buries a bolt into Noname’s back. Hoping to finally put the warrior down, the DGN casts another warped flesh against Noname, but misses. Noname pulls back to full defense against the trio’s onslaught.

As Kerric is healing Avanta, DGR2 delivers a club to the pre-disposed elf. The elf is knocked over, but he was succeeded in patching up Avanta prior to taking the hit. DGR3 follows suit with its brother and sticks a bolt into Kerric as well. Avanta looks over and mutters a healing word to Erich, who regains consciousness. As Kerric is bowled over by DGR2, Avanta unleashes a stinging chastisement, “Only a lover-of-a-troll’s-buttocks would strike an elf when he is not looking.” The Vicious Mockery visibly rocked DGR2’s feelings <crit> as it lowered its guard to truly consider its mating preferences. “Wow, I must have struck a nerve. Well, can’t ask…can’t tell, if you are DEAD!” And, with that final Mockery <burns>, DGR2 falls dead.

Still feeling the effects of the earlier Warped Flesh spell, Erich cannot move. However, he is still able to cast a Frost Flash spell and hits DGR3. Peleous tries to follow up with a Spiteful Glamour, but misses DGR3. DGN sees the elf in excruciating pain and finishes him with a Warped Flesh. The elf falls over unconscious. Noname finally gets into the action and successfully Cleaves into DGR3. His blade then nicks DGN on the follow through. DGR3 exchanges blows with Noname and brings its club across his head. The blow dislodges Noname’s helm <crit>. DG3 attempts to shift to a more advantageous position, but Noname catches DG3 with a backswing, and severs it head. <opp>

With all the Dolgrims dead, the party turns its attention to the Dolgaunt. Avanta hits the Dolgaunt with the discordant vibrations of the Dissonant Strain spell. And, what sounds like the wailing of a beholder being dropped into a vat of lemon juice to the DGN, sounds like the din of beautiful women enticing her lover to bed to Erich, as the melody assists Erich from freeing himself from his paralytic state. Now freed, A Chill Wind is cast and the DGN’s skin turns excruciatingly icy. Peleous runs for a better vector, but cannot keep his footing. He falls. Despite the Warlock’s clumsiness, he successfully casts an Eldritch Blast from his prone position. The mixture of hellfire with the Druid’s former chill breaks chunks of hide from the DGN. The DGN utters a Maddening Whisper in retaliation to his tormentors and hits both Peleous and Noname. The psychic blast pushes Peleous back into a maw. Noname recovers quickly recovers his wits and delivers an eviscerating Reaping Strike upon the DGN <crit>, causing a severe abdominal laceration. The DGN is visibly seen holding its innards as it tries to continue to fight. It is stunned and severely weakened.

Erich runs toward the DGN for a killing blow…and falls. “I’ll stumble for ya,” mockingly sings Avanta, but he too misses the DGN. Peleous moves towards the DGN in preparation to release his Dark Spatial Aura. Meanwhile, Kerric is on the floor unconscious. Noname strikes again, and this time, his sword runs the DGN through. The Dolgaunt falls to the floor lifeless and bloody.

XP: 875 (175/ea)
- Coercive Gauntlet of the Unblinking Eye (symbiotic glove)



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