This is a short story I wrote back in Aug-2003. It is a faithful account of a D&D session I was in. My character was Gwynn. I’m amused with the cheese I laid on this little project. I just ran across it today, 15 years after writing it. I was trying to find the name of Gwynn’s sword. So yeah. You don’t know who anybody is, but it should still be interesting. If there’s curiosity, I’ll maybe make introductions in the comments. The thrice-damned comments.
After the fight with the desmodu and the chuuls, Varden and Casartes decided to explore the pool into which the last chuul had retreated. Varden polymorphed into a shark for the expedition, while Casartes relied on his own bad monk self. Soon enough they found the remaining chuul and quickly dispatched the vile creature. They were about to explore the depths of the pool (which contained sparkly things that looked suspiciously like treasure) when suddenly, out of the depths came four dire sharks! Still beyond these new adversaries, Varden sensed something huge and ancient lurking in the depths below. Clearly, discretion would be the better part of valor, and the party still had Marharet to think about. Casartes and Varden returned to the group and all made ready to proceed.
As the party approached the large double doors in the spider-like chamber, Gwynn heard sounds from the room beyond of shuffling feet and shifting rubble. Gwynn was ready to bash in the door and bash any heads that could be found, but Casartes tempered his exuberance with wisdom and carefully cracked the portal open. “Come on in!” said a boisterous voice.
Realizing their cover was blown utterly, Casartes and Gwynn opened the doors fully. The fighter and the monk were joined by Taliesin, Varden, and Viday as they moved cautiously inside. A large room opened up, well-lit with torches and stretching nearly a hundred feet up. The remains of a staircase lay crumbled on the floor, upon which was perched a desmodu mercenary. It was he who had greeted the party. In the center of the room, a spiral staircase descended into darkness. Another desmodu tended a long chain gang of what were clearly ill-treated and overworked slaves.
Utterly incensed at the sight of such brutality, Casartes advanced upon the desmodu and confronted them as Gwynn and Taliesin moved to flank. Suddenly, a beholder rose up from the depths of the spiral staircase, eyes blazing with magical rays shooting in all directions! A fierce melee followed. Varden was struck with fear from one of the beholders rays; Viday and Casartes fought the two desmodu with valor and honor; Griffon, invisible as always, moved to free the slaves and attempted to enlist their aid, but to no avail. The poor wretches were far too ill used to fight. Gwynn and Taliesin used their arrows and blades to add to the helping of hurtin’ that was dished out to this batch of scumbags. One desmodu was dispatched, and the other desmodu and the beholder fled, the desmodu through a side door and the beholder up into an alcove high overhead.
As the rest of the party tended to freeing the slaves and pumping them for information, Griffon graced Casartes with the ability to Fly so that the alcove above could be investigated. Meanwhile, one of the slaves confided quietly to Gwynn that one of the enslaved trolls was actually a mindflayer spy in disguise. Gwynn would have none of this, and imediately brandished the mighty Karrach to slay the creature. Recognizing that its cover was blown (and after two mighty slashes from the icy blade), the mindflayer disappeared by some magical means.
Just at that moment, Casartes reached the ceiling and discovered a rude surprise: two desmodu mercenaries lurked above. The fight was clearly not quite over. After a few taunts and jeers failed to draw them out, the party decided to take the hurtin’ upstairs. Viday climbed, Casartes and Griffon flew, Taliesin used a dimension door provided by the monk, and Varden and Gwynn teleported in behind the desmodu. The party was feeling pretty good about their chances before the two beholders showed up. Then it was touch and go, and the fight was on!
One of the beholders laid down an antimagic field with its main eye that caught Gwynn, Viday, and Taliesin in a bad spot. Gwynn was toe-to-toe with one of the desmodu, keeping the vile creature trapped in an alcove. Unfortunately, Karrach was rendered ordinary by the antimagic, as were Gwynn’s protective rings and amulets. Gwynn took quite a beating, but held the desmodu at bay. Meanwhile, Taliesin was doing his best to keep the other desmodu pinned in the alcove opposite. Varden activated his ring of spell-turning and did his best to taunt the beholders into blasting him with rays in the hopes of turning their eyes against them. However, one beholder soon found itself in the power of the mighty Casartes, who apparently knows Beholder anatomy well enough to render the creature helpless through nerve pinches. Meanwhile, the other beholder was distracted by Griffon, who sneak attacked from below with his trusty longbow for a simply obscene amount of damage. You should have seen the look on that eye tyrant’s “face” as three feathered shafts ripped into its bulbous flesh. But Griffon was to pay quite dearly for his audacity, and the beholder used its eldritch power to all but slay the valiant elf. Fortunately, Varden was on hand to bestow healing on Griffon, and the killing blow on the beholder. Casartes, in the meantime, rendered his beholder foe into a slimy, gooey pulp, and emerged to help finish off the desmodu with the help of Taliesin.
After this exhausting fray, the party made a quick survey of the area and decided that it was a good time to camp.