I should first explain that life has intruded quite a bit in the last month or so, which explains why I have not posted much. Lent, Holy Week and health issues have all been much more challenging than expected. Hopefully, life will settle down in the coming weeks and you will see more posts (for example, I have two more sessions of Lost Colonies to write...).
The beginning of this session involved finishing up the last of the puzzles I pulled out last time. It is one that I am particularly fond of and so I will share. As I mentioned last time, the room was covered in mosaics. On the far wall were three queens holding a chest. On the left wall, the three queens were dressed and ready for battle. On the right, two queens were standing, the third was sitting and all wore black. At the far end of the room were three life sized statues of queens armed with swords floating a couple of inched off the floor. In mosaic on the floor was a 6x6 checker board. The puzzle is solved (thus opening the chest) when the three queens are placed upon the checker board in such a way that every square is attacked according to the rules of chess. If the three queens are placed upon the board (and they are easily moved, gliding across the floor) in such a way that any spaces are not attacked by the queens, not only do the queens return to their original position in the room, but some kind of undead creature appears in each of the spaces not attacked by the queens and immediately go after the party.
Due to a lack of explicit directions, this room resulted in a lot of trial and error by the players and proved to be a bit more combat heavy than I expected, but was entertaining, none-the-less. When every player is pouring over possible solutions and sharing ideas, I figure a puzzle has done its job.
After the players solved each puzzle, the "chest" in the wall was opened revealing a bit of treasure and a rod engraved with writing similar to that on the Golden Masks they have been periodically running into. In addition, each was topped with a different 3D shape (pyramid, sphere and cube). Three significant finds happened to be in the chest protected by the queens: a tunic covered with Istenite iconography, a phylactery and a short sword engraved with the elven word for "hornet."
There was now only one part of the dungeon that the players had not been able to explore, due to setting off a trap that resulted in a lingering, acidic cloud. After solving all the puzzles, they returned to the site of the trap and found out that the cloud had dissipated. Beyond, they found a room occupied by some kind of fleshy construct covered in runes. When the characters considered attacking it, these runes appeared on parts of their bodies. The construct, however, did nothing until the party finally did make an attack (a Hold Person spell which failed to have any effect). What followed was a bit of a surreal combat. As Hamlen again stood in the breach armed with Liberator and boosted by Bless and Cure Light Wound spells, Arkmed the Dwarf was busily trying various key combinations in a dias in the room beyond the construct. As Hamlen found out that he shared any damage he did to the construct, Arkmed found that each key combination transformed the entire room into a portal to various unknown locations: a desert, a snow bound valley, an underwater city, an underground fungal forest, an unlit cavern and a featureless hallway marked only by circular iron door.
When the construct was finally defeated, Hamlen was near death and the party was loathe to risk walking through to any of the unknown locations. Thus, they returned to the surface. The session ended with a report of their success to Bishop Iova. Of note, Bishop Iova informed the party that the tunic they found is a bit of a relic. It was worn by St. Siors and bestows its wearer with an extra hit point per hit die and a bless spell usable once per day.
9 hours ago