Further exploration of the interior of the temple revealed that they were in a vast pit, about 10 feet below the entrance level of the temple, which could be reached via a set of stone steps. The temple's ceiling was vaulted in a stair-step pattern, and very high. There were doors in the north and east walls of the interior of the pit. In the center of the pit was a pedestal (with a door on each side), atop which stood a giant, two-headed serpent. It's heads were hooded like cobras, and each only held one eye socket. Unlike during Balas Forktongue's visit, the statue of Ssaa'a Laass now held large, red, faceted stones. These presumably are the Eyes of the Serpent referenced in his letters. This is what Amor Ba'Gish sent them for. They did not elect to investigate further, as some of the many dogs summoned by Abel the wizard were now agitated, growling and whining at the closest door. They seemed somewhat confused, as well.
The PCs went around to the other side and were checking the other doors for traps when they heard a noise. The first set of doors were opening. Out came a whole bunch of Hunter Automata. Basically, what you're dealing with is a mecha-golem snake guy with paralytic eye beams and clamp hands. Ol' Sucker, the egg-sucking hound, was the first victim, paralyzed for six hours. Jerkal the Blazin' was also hit, but make a Fort Save. Long story short, the Hunter Automata were overcome by the PCs' sheer numbers. The fact that they couldn't hit shit with their eye beams didn't help, either. At that point, the PCs had no further aim than to descend into the tunnel under the pedestal. They never investigated the other door, either, but it was not apparent from the side they entered.
They entered and were immediately confronted with two more Hunter Automata. They also were confronted with something that would be another major factor in tonight's game: Large groups of PCs do not fit into narrow corridors very well. When it happens, it becomes very difficult to use all of the resources at their disposal. It also makes it very difficult to withdraw when one is wounded. At this point, we had four players with four characters each. Adam had a prior engagement (happy b-day, Momma M!) and didn't arrive until about nine-thirtyish. Even so, we had 16 dudes in a corridor less than 10 feet wide. Nonetheless, it was easy to take out the Hunter Automata. This would not last.
They descended a bit further and encountered a group of Degenerate Serpent Men (DSM) and Chaos Serpent Blobs (CSB). The DSM are beings that seem to be like snake men, with arms, clawed hands, snake heads, and snake bodies, but they seem wrong. Their physical aspects seeming like part-melted wax more than real flesh. Their attacks also seemed weak and their movements slowed. The CSB were another matter entirely. These large blobs of scaly flesh extruded pseudopods of various sorts, with snake and lizard heads, oversized ape arms, squamous tentacles, and the like. Fun! Also, pretty damned hard to kill as the guys would discover.
Here's the monsters:
Degenerate Serpent Man
These pitiful creatures are underdeveloped versions of the real deal. Their features look somewhat "melted" and they are a bit slow in their movements. They are not intelligent, and require no morale checks. They just try to kill (and drag off to eat) the PCs. Init -1; Atk bite +1 melee (1d4 + poison DC 12 Fort to avoid paralysis) or as weapon +1 melee (1d6); AC 10; HD 1d8; MV 25’; Act 1d20; SP Venomous bite, paralytic; SV Fort +2, Ref +0, Will +2; AL L.
Chaos Serpent Blob
An abomination with 1d8 appendages in the form of snake-headed tentacles and various other non-ophidian parts. The blob flows from place to place and can protrude its appendages in any direction, but never more than two in the same direction. It's not particularly intelligent, and is very, very aggressive.
Init -1; Atk varies (see below); AC 11; HD 8d8 (42 hp); MV 20’; Act 4d20; SP varies (see below); SV Fort +10, Ref +6, Will +2; AL C.
1d6 appendages each. Roll 1d8 to determine the nature of each appendage.
Appendages for Chaos Serpent Blob
1 Snake, Venomous (paralytic) 2 Human head on snake neck 3 Snake, Constricting 4 Ape Head 5 Spike Lizard Head on snake neck 6 Oversized Ape Arm 7 Squamous Tentacle 8 Human Arm
1. +3 Melee (1d2 damage + Fort Save DC15 or be paralyzed for 1d4 hours).
2. No Attack. May groan or mumble.
3. +4 Melee (Constrict for 1d4 damage per round, requires successful DC 12 Strength Check to escape)
4. No attack. May make noises.
5. +5 Melee (1d8 damage)
6. +4 Melee (1d4 damage)
7. +5 Melee (1d4 damage+ will constrict for 1d4 damage per round, requires successful DC 12 Strength Check to escape)
8. +2 Melee (1d2 damage)
Eventually, after aforementioned interminable battle, they were victorious. We had gone over by over an hour, so it was time to stop at that point.
We learned some things this session, which I'll go into in my next post.