Attendees: Horus, Ralph, Thibault, Spawn of UJ, Hecate, Dave, and 3 others.
Not having found any new spells yet, we decided to return to the Dungeon of Fire once more. Fortunately, we were able to muster up some new recruits. It will also be a good chance to see how they operate in a dangerous situation before we try and return to the Land of Ice.
When we explain what we face when we return, we stock up on supplies for the dungeon. This time we decide to go all out and buy boat to float across the flooded room, goat to feed whatever beast may lurk below, and extra oil, pitons, 2 wood axes, and extra torches.
We make our way back to the dungeon and quickly make our way to the room in front of the pool room. While we are all getting ready to float across, one of the giant mushrooms pops up. We are all very careful to not touch it. Over time a couple more pop up, but we are able to stay away from them and they from us.
Dave and another pile into the boat and use the guide rope to make their way across, with the intention of chopping down the door. Halfway across, swarms of beetles begin pouring out from the walls of the pool, just above the waterline. All hell breaks loose as everyone tries to figure out what to do. The two men in the boat begin to pull back to the door, frantically trying to swat away the beetles. Thibault fires a magic missile into one swarm obliterating them. But just as quickly, another swarm takes its place. The men in the boat succumb to to the many bites and stings from the beetles, which for some reason we clearly understand are not scarab beetles. Someone pours oil into the water, another shouts about tossing in a goat. Finally we slam the door shut, to keep the beetles from swarming into the room. Not just to keep them from attacking us, but to keep from setting off the mushrooms and summoning yet more demonic creatures. Clearing out thoughts for a moment, we decide to fling the door open and pour oil on the swarms and them light them afire. We are successful, but now are without a boat or guide rope as all that burned up. Frustrated, we think hard about how to clear the pool and then decide to brute force the solution and build rafts all the way across. Sadly, the advanced mechanics of making rafts elude us, so we decide to hire one back in town who can build us ones outside the ruins and we can carry them in and make a pontoon bridge. On our way out, we notice there are more mushrooms in the room.
Once more into the pool! We are able to safely put out two of the four rafts needed to span the pool when we decide to test the waters with a goat. Sure enough, more beetles come to feast on it. We dispatch the beetles, but not before they kill the goat. We do this once more and then try to put the third raft into place. Alas, we were one goat short and now short one more person. After that, we have either killed enough beetles that they don't bother us. We chop through the door to find a hallway going left from the door.
The hall is narrow and unlit, making the going slow, as we don't want everyone backed up onto the bridge. So, at this point some of us are exploring ahead of the bridge, and some of us are back in the prior room. More mushrooms seem to be popping up. Soon we might not have a clear path back out of this room to the entrance of the dungeon. In the lead, Ralph quickly discovers a pit trap. The hard way. Some of us quickly scurry out and retrieve more planks from our carpenter. With these we get Ralph our of the pit. Sadly, he must have hit his head too hard and scrambled his brains, because, before we can lay down the planks, he leaps across the first pit and falls to his doom in a second hidden pit! We climb down and secure a rope to his body to pull him up. While down there, we see a hole leading off somewhere. Rather than investigate, we decide to investigate where it leads later. For now, we are more curious about a door up ahead, on the left.
Inside we are teased with view of a very large room that extends beyond the range of our torchlight. The ceiling reaches up at least 40'. There were several live trees around the room and fallen leaves strewn about. About 30' in from the corner of the room was a large stone sphere, over 5' in diameter, just resting on ground. From the rear, Horus and Thibault note that at lease one mushroom blocks door to leave the room and dungeon. Alerting the rest of the party, we decide to press on into the Room of Trees and deal with the mushrooms later.