To the north is a cavernous room with pillars arranged as stepping-stones. A test of balance – another barbarian test, but one more to my liking. I step across. The pillars are rounded at the top and a little slick. Jope will not make it across here without a little help. I see some movement below. On the other side a short passage and a door which I do not open.
I head back to join the group – Rainor watching my progress. On the final pillar I become overconfident and fumble the jump. My ring of Feather Fall catches me, but below I find what is causing the movement – swarms of ants. Big ones. I cast Spider Climb from a scroll and flee, but I have several of the things on me, and thousands follow me up the wall.
I put up a Wall of Fire to burn them off. It helps, but not enough. Jope’s standardbearer uses the standard (a dragon head on a pole) to breathe fire. After a little longer, I manage by dint of rolling about to crush the remaining ants. But I need a fair bit of help from Ovthen to deal with the bites and stings.
The southwest corner is where the hag-priestess map indicated that the focus of the complex is, and we open that door.
Beyond is a temple, really. And barring our passage a human of indeterminate age. He and Jope chat a little. It seems that he more-or-less administers the test, and is not terribly pleased that Jope needed help to get through it. He is a priest of Gorrum, it seems – the chaotic god of fighting a lot. After a moment more of banter Jope simply attacks him. The fight might have gone on longer, but Rainor managed to stun him with a splendid shot to the temple, then – taking advantage of his momentary distraction – I got him with a Scorching Ray that arced up and transposed our positions. Although this sort of misfire can be a disaster, in this case it meant that he was teleported 30 feet away from his weapon. The next few seconds, well, nothing out-of-the-ordinary happened.
I open the next door. Beyond is a man who has sort-of half transformed into the hero (?) in the statues around us. With him are a squad of undead. The man attacks me rather than Jope, springing in and away. The undead move in. I drop a Glitterdust on the group, and retreat.
The man and the undead warriors pour through the door, I am hit again, then Rainor, then another one takes a swing at my ne…
Dave is not keen on respawning, and I don’t really want to bring her back nerfed. I had a look through Ultimate Magic, and two options have caught my eye so far.
First, there’s the question of her family ring: Thought and Memory. We could bring back her cousin who was present during the owlbear attack as a Magus, a gish class who probably can benefit from the T&M bonuses.
The second option is that it seems that this “hero reborn” business involves a certain minor artifact sword, dedicated to Gorum. I am thinking Oracle of Steel, which is an option for Oracle in UM. Chaotic Neutral, of course. Oracle of Steel gets Disable Device as a class skill. It leaves us short of an arcane caster, but like any team that’s been working to together a while the only way to seamlessly replace Switch would be to make a Switch clone, which we don’t want to do.