At the end of last session we'd made it across the Burning Mud Room platforms and were resting in a Tiny Hut spell before pushing into the last room.
Jhuni Blackfire (she/her) - enthusiastically pyromaniacal Sorcerer/Wizard
Thelmor Irdro (he/him) - Blood Hunter of the Lycan persuasion
Nil (they/them) - badass Cleric
Snow (she/her) - Swashbuckler and Gloomstalker Ranger
Sunrise (she/her) - Lore Bard - and Honey (she/her) her homunculus familiar
Perfect (he/him) - Battlemaster fighter
Grey (he/him) - Assassin/Illusionist
On to the Undead Dwarf!
In the next room we find the dwarf, kneeling in front of the hammer and wearing plate armor; he seems to be undead and mostly, though perhaps not entirely, flesh and bone. With, admittedly, a little bit more of the bone showing than any of us would prefer. There's a helmet on the floor beside him.
Thelmor: "Excuse me, sir?"
He looks up. His eyes are bottomless pits.
Thelmor: "You look to have been a fighter, perhaps a paladin. Is this," he motions, "of your own will, or were your forced into this?"
Dwarf: "This would not have been my choice."
Thelmor: "That's... good, since we'd really like to get to the one who chose to be undead, the one who did this to you. Give us a chance, and perhaps the Raven Queen could send you along on your way."
Dwarf: "You speak of the Raven Queen like I'd go to her. I long to see Moradin's forge, to send my own fires at it -- not your Raven Queen."
Thelmor: "It could happen, if you were released from this."
Dwarf: "Someday. Today?"
Thelmor: holds up Wave. "It's possible; third time could be the charm."
Dwarf: "What do you plan?"
Thelmor: "Take the weapons, kill Keraptis, return the weapons to their proper owners."
Dwarf: "Promise to kill him?"
Thelmor: "That's the plan."
Sunrise, meanwhile, has used Message to address the hammer: "Pssst! Talk to you for a sec?"
Something answers, in an inquisitive female voice. It sounds... upbeat. "Hi! Hi, you want to talk? I like talking."
Sunrise: "I like talking, too. We're actually here to free the one holding you and bring you back home. How do you feel about that?"
Whelm the Hammer: "It would be nice not to be in service to Keraptis. The sooner the better, really."
Sunrise: "I think that's what we all want. Is there anything you can do to make it easier to get you out of here?"
Whelm: "Out of here like out of Dolrig's hands? Or out of the mountain."
Sunrise: "Well, both, eventually."
Whelm: "I can't go against Dolrig."
Sunrise: "Can't turn in his hand? Move aside when a blow's coming?"
Whelm: "I can try. And I can tell you what I can do. Careful when he brings me above his head; he's getting ready to make a shockwave that'll hurt people. Don't get too close, but that'll be hard here. If he throws me, I go back to his hand so just stay out of the way entirely. I can fix stuff... I can fix a lot of stuff. Mending."
Sunrise gasps. "I can do that!"
Whelm: "I like you."
The hammer is good with putting down Keraptis, too.
Sunrise: "Really nice to meet you! See you after the battle! I'm Sunrise!" She goes on to recap for the rest of us by way of more Message cantrips.
The dwarf stands and puts on his helmet. "Well, if you're ready. I think this crowd is a bit too much for me. I'd hate to make it easy for you. I'm sure none of the others did." He bangs his hammer on his shield four times, and four earthen figures flow up out of the ground. The battle begins...
Nine, the flesh golem we acquired last time, made it into the room with us; Grey assigns him to hang back & guard Sunrise.
Snow moves first, dropping Hunter's Mark on an earth elemental and attacking it; she gets extra damage from Sneak Attack and an extra attack from Dread Ambusher. Sunrise and Nine move behind a pillar, taking cover but keeping an eye on things. She begin strumming her lute and throws a Suggestion at the dwarf: "You don't want to be here any more than we do! Why don't you take down these elementals and make it go faster."
Dwarf: "Aye, okay, why not?" He raises Whelm over his head, then slams it against the ground. A massive shockwave ripples out, and most of us are stunned; Jhuni, Sunrise, and Perfect are not. Jhuni fires off Scorching Ray, targeting golems and doing some damage. Thelmor shakes off the stun, but Grey does not; two of the golems were stunned, and one breaks free. One of the golems attacks Snow, who is still stunned; it hits her *hard*. The other active one attacks Thelmor with a downwards slam; he staggers but remains upright, taking a rather large amount of damage as well.
Nil manages to throw off the stun. "Please don't do that again."
Dolrig, pointing at Sunrise: "She asked me to!"
Perfect moves up to interpose himself between Nil and one of the golems. He attacks the golem, then calls a commanding sort of encouragement to Snow: "You can take it, Lady Kitka!" She gets 9 temporary HP.
Snow tries to come back to her senses, but fails. Sunrise decides to wait until Dolrig shakes off the suggestion; Dolrig turns and makes a cone attack that takes in a full quarter of the room; Sunrise, Nil, Thelmor, Perfect, and one of the golems are all caught by it. He has made a pressure wave that does force damage and tried (unsuccessfully) to push everybody back. The golem did get cracked into the wall a bit, but everybody else managed to avoid that. Jhuni steps in front of Grey, then drops a fireball on a pair of earth elementals and uses a sorcery point to sculpt it around her allies. FWAKOOM!
They're holding up, though they've obviously taken some hits.
Nine notices the elemental that got slammed against the wall; it's too close to Sunrise for his taste, so he attacks it... and crits. "NO HURT FRIEND!"
Thelmor moves in with Wave, who's a bit distraught at being on fire but tries to go with it. He stabs Dolrig, and then is attacked by an earth elemental who tries to grapple him; Thelmor slips out, and the golem smacks himself hard enough to do real damage. (So much for "hugging it out"...) The last of the golems has come out of the stun, and attacks Jhuni; she shows up Shield as a reaction, and avoids it. The damaged elemental tries to attack Nine, and hits him once but screws up the follow-through so badly that Nine smacks him back instead. Grey is still stunned, and still hasn't snapped out of it.
Nil throws up a Beacon of Hope preparatory to doing some healing. Perfect attacks the elemental in front of him, then hands an extra attack to Thelmor. Both of them hit, and Snow shakes off being stunned; she can move next round.
Sunrise drops a bardic inspiration on Grey: "SNAP OUT OF IT!" Then she leans around Nine and stabs the earth elemental with her rapier.
Dolrig takes a two-handed grip on his weapon. "You really want me to attack me guys? Fuckin' dumbass got stunned for three rounds!" He attacks the elemental, and also Thelmor. He is, clearly, not the most cooperative of suggestees. He also shield-bashes the elemental: "Get in the feckin' ring!" The elemental staggers back, towards Perfect.
Jhuni lets out another round of scorching rays, doing some damage; Nine attacks the elemental in front of him, backhanding it solidly. "Do not touch friend!" That elemental, and the one in front of snow, are both starting to crumble. The other two are battered, but not that bad.
Thelmor drinks a healing potion, and Grey finally shakes off the stun effect.
An elemental takes a swing at Jhuni, who invokes Shield again; it misses, but the next one manages to hit anyway. Jhuni takes damage but manages to stay upright. Another one attacks Snow, but screws the whole entire pooch on this one. It manages to leave itself so completely open that Snow, freshly recovered, stabs it almost by accident; it essentially runs onto her rapier, and loses a chunk of rock from its body. An elemental tries to attack Nil, but misses. (Nil: "Hey! What the hell did I do?") The last one tags Nine fairly solidly, but he shrugs it off and gives it a thumbs-down.
Nil touches Thelmor and drops a *large* healing spell on him; they're not going to be able to do that too often, but it's a huge help. Perfect attacks the one in front of him -- "How dare you!" -- and crits, and cleaves. His blow goes right through the golem in front of him, and hits the one beside it as well. Both are in poor shape after that.
Snow reapplies Hunter's Mark, then attacks the elemental in front of her with a powerful stabbity. It... collapses away from her rapier, leaving behind a decent set of plate armor as the rock melts back into the floor. Snow transfers the Mark to the next elemental.
Sunrise drops a suggestion on Dolrig, then throws a bardic inspiration on Thelmor. Dolrig retreats so suddenly that Thelmor fails to react; he's been convinced to stand off until we finish the elementals.
Jhuni throws Burning Hands on the two elementals in front of her, doing some more damage though not as much as she'd like. Nine, meanwhile, is still trying to keep the fourth elemental away from Sunrise. He doesn't do any damage this round, but he's still in the way.
Thelmor finally shifts to hybrid form, and attacks the elemental beside him. It's looking pretty ragged at this point.
Grey drops one of his minor illusions between two of the elementals, trying to distract the one fighting Nine.
One of the earth elementals turns to swing at wolf-Thelmor, but misses. It growls something in Terran.
Nil, of course, speaks Terran: "Your mother was a gravel pit???"
The next elemental, hearing that insult, turns and takes a swing at them. It mutters something about, "Its mother was a mountain."
Nil: "Its father was a quarry."
It twists around, so angry it's spitting pebbles.
The last one takes a swing at Nine, and then a swing at Grey's illusion but its fist passes right through.
Nil reaches out to heal Jhuni, and Perfect tries an attack and knocks a chunk off his target's shoulder. Snow finishes her encirclement, passing by the dwarf, who takes a desultory swing at her and sort of slaps her on the back with the hammer. It wasn't an attack, though, more of a comment or possibly a come-on. So: no damage, but it shocks Snow out of her advance. "Nae-nae, ye stay here, ye're fine."
Sunrise throws out more Bardic Inspiration.
Dolrig, to Snow: "Hey lass, d'ye want to see what this hammer can do?"
Snow: "...Um, no?"
Dolrig: "Aye well, tae bad because I'm doin' it anyway!" He swings the hammer around and throws it, attacking the elemental and taking another chunk off it. "Impressive, nae? Bet ye wish ye had a weapon like that. If ye want it, ye'll have to kill me for it."
Jhuni throws more Burning Hands on the two elementals in front of her. The one in front of her manages to soak it up, but the one beside it collapses back into the ground. Jhuni: "About time."
Nine is still trying his best, but he stumbles and looks a bit surprised; he just hit himself in the face by accident.
Thelmor attacks the elemental in front of him; the first blow shatters it. The plate armor goes flying across the room. Thelmor slides past Grey's illusion and attacks the remaining elemental; it doesn't shatter, but it's looking a bit... disconnected. Thelmor: "Your first cousin is a Pet Rock!"
Nil hears the response, which is basically: "I know, please don't bring it up." Nil loses it laughing; none of the rest of us have any idea why.
Elemental: "Don't laugh. He's very good at it."
Grey turns invisible and slides up behind the dwarf, apparently unnoticed.
The remaining elemental moves forward, and Thelmor takes a swing at its back but misses. It hits Nine, who's still okay but definitely damaged.
Nil moves over to Snow and drops some healing on her. Perfect makes another attack and gives somebody another move.
Snow moves her hunter's mark to Dolrig: "You wanted to duel? Let's duel!" She stabs him with her rapier, and slips back out and takes cover behind the pillar.
Sunrise looks over at Nil. "Ready for this?" She hands off a Bardic Inspiration. Then she begins playing again, and the tune becomes much jauntier. She then throws a Hideous Laughter at Dolrig. There's a loooooooong pause, and then he falls over laughing.
He recovers almost immediately, but he's still prone. Jhuni drops a Fireball on him, accidentally catching Grey (who's invisible) in the process. Nine, meanwhile, rips apart the last of the elementals, and then sits down on the ground, panting. "I... protect... you. Nine... Did good."
Thelmor moves up next to Perfect, grins at Dolrig, and says: "Now it's time for the real fight." He stabs him twice with the trident Wave. He then drops Searing Brand on the forehead of Dolrig's helmet. Retributive psychic damage for the win!
Grey pops out of invisibility with a fairly massive stab attack. He's now visible, and smoldering a bit from the fireball, but still doing pretty well; and the dwarf definitely notices the dagger in his kidney.
The dwarf is looking pretty battered; not about to go down, but not at full health either. Nil moves in with her quarterstaff and smacks him, then apologizes. Perfect goes for a straight attack with Blackrazor, doing some damage and then backing off. His expression is pure "Let's Get This Done."
Snow slips back up and attacks again, doing max damage with sneak attack and... actually, apparently everything else. She basically just rams that rapier into his eyesocket.
Dolrig: "Ow. Fuckin' ow!"
Snow slides back out between Nil and Perfect; Perfect holds his fist out for a fist-bump.
Sunrise: "I once knew a bard name Kas; whose bollocks were made out of brass; they tinkled together; it made stormy weather; and lightning shot out of his ass!"
Dolrig chuckles but (OOC: Makes his save and) says, "Ye'll have tae do better, I've heard that one." He stands up and starts swinging: Grey, Thelmor, Snow, Perfect. (OOC: 9 for Grey, 14 for Snow and Thelmor (who's resistant, so 7), and Perfect looks fine.) He then takes another full set of attacks, missing Nil, hitting Snow and Perfect, and crits on Thelmor. Of course, owing to Thelmor's brand, he's taken 21 points of psychic damage and has a massive headache. "The feck'd yer feckin' werewolf do? Feck!"
Jhuni lays into him with scorching rays, which can't be comfortable; he's cursing in Dwarvish.
Nine is sitting the rest of this out.
Thelmor towers, grins, and says: "Well wasn't that cute? But it was wrong." He attacks with wave, several times, doing huge amounts of damage. As Dolrig staggers back, the hammer falls from his hand and he's caught on the tines of the trident. We hear a sigh. "Ye know, it's nice even if it's the second time 'round. Thank'ee." He dissolves, the physical pieces dissolving as the less tangible bits drift into the air. We have defeated him, and taken the hammer.
Thelmor kneels in prayer and Nil picks up the hammer. We get a flash into our minds, a stirring around us. A woman, hard at work at her forge. She's working on an obsidian sword, putting the finishing touches on it. As she works, another person walks in behind her: clearly not part of the forge, dressed in noble robes, with a scar across his face. "Crohn! Tell me! Please tell me you have created these weapons, finally."
Crohn: "I have at least the first one." She adds a bit of polish, then hands it to him. When he grasps it, spectral tendrils reach into his chest and pull something from his heart. The blade goes from obsidian to the empty darkness of the night sky.
Her: "Never had your soul touched before? You said you wanted some of your soul in it."
Him: "You're sure this is enough to take my father down?"
Her: "When all three are complete, yes. But the weapons are just weapons. They'll need heroes to weild them."
Him: "If our father comes around..."
Her: "I doubt he will, in our lifetime. The weapons can be passed to our children. Leave me to my work, and I promise it will all be done soon."
The vision fades, and we're all back in the room.
Sunrise Messages Whelm: "Welcome to the group."
Whelm: "Thank you for setting him free. He was a good one. He deserved a better end. I think he's happy now. I mean, angry, but happy."
So... the choices for who can actually use Whelm seem to be either Nil (cleric) or Snow (ranger), or Sunrise (Bard). Snow is backing out, so it sounds like Nil is currently attuning to it and then we reserve the option to maybe hand it off to Sir Bluto.