Unfortunately, Ahkmed found a secret door behind the thrown and the party was forced to reconnoiter the passage that lay beyond. Fortunately, it merely led to small subset of rooms unconnected to any other part of the dungeon, and this included both a treasure and a map room. Their rest was briefly interrupted by a pounding on the door and a demand to see the king, but using some knowledge gleaned from the map room, they managed to talk their way out of having to fight right then and there.
That knowledge included the following:
- The language used on the maps and various correspondence is that used by the Cyn (a name the party learned for those who wear the golden masks while in the Brain Lasher city).
- There was some kind of trade going on between the toad men and occupants of levels immediately above and below.
- There were prisoners, one of which was an elf (though they did not know if they still lived).
- There were priests among the toad men.
It was decided that the party would first free the prisoners (if they were still alive) and then deal with the priests.
Using the maps that they found, the party made quick work of the guards and managed to free three prisoners:
- Thog the Dwarf, a former PC that has been a slave of various factions within the megadungeon since the early days of the campaign.
- Aldros the Elf who has evidently been experimented on, because he has severe amnesia and isn’t very good at learning spells.
- Fidgewik the toad man.
The poor toad man was the unfortunate recipient of magical experimentation gone wrong — he turned to stone during what passed for night in the dungeon. He was imprisoned to keep him isolated from the rest of the toad men in case the affliction was contagious. Gillek the Gnome had on his possession a ring labeled “stone” in Dwarvish. He knew it was magical but had yet to figure out what it did.
Therefore, he decided to see if the ring was a protection against petrification by giving it to Fidgewik. His instinct proved correct and Fidgewik enthusiastically declared that he was no longer a toad man but a gnome. The rest of the session saw the toad man trying to mimic the gnome in all things. For example, Fidgewik assumed that a trident is a gnomish weapon because Gillick primarily uses the magic trident he got from the Water Naga outside the underwater city. Of course, Fidgewik insisted on using a trident himself.
Most of the session was taken up with interviewing the prisoners as well as feeding, healing and equipping them. The session ended with a combat with a water-hydra guarding the underground lake which led to the demesne of the toad men priests. This combat went extremely well for the party. They had learned of the hydra’s presence from Fidgewik and were able to prepare and execute a battle plan, which included using a pig carcass to draw the hydra out of the water and into terrain that better fit the abilities of the party. The liberal use of missile weapons and a goodly amount of bad rolls on my part saw the party make short shrift of the beast.
Next: the party braces for a clash with the toad men priests.