Knifey in the Sunken Temple

Having been tasked by the head of the Rogue's Guild to get a key in the Sunken Temple, and with a handful of quests from around the world for the same dungeon, Knifey and friends went in to the Swamp of Sorrows to explore the temple. The Sunken Temple is quite an interesting dungeon, but isn't for the faint of heart. There are zombies, maggots, dragonkin and dragons all guarding the temple, and quite a few secrets to uncover.

The first secret is its layout. Trying to find your way to the front door can be a bit of an adventure, and once you are inside the labyrinthine corridors become more confusing. There is a lot to be said for getting a seasoned adventurer to act as a guide, which is how my previous incarnations all seemed to have quested in the temple. This time we had no guide, just two characters who had been there before, at least a year previously, and the others had not ventured there before. Even a dusty map was little use, with the many different levels of the temple proving far too awkward to represent on a two-dimensional piece of parchment.

With someone to act as a guide the adventuring goes fairly quickly, cutting down beasts who are out for blood as we jog from one area to another, down some stairs, up some more, then back down to get above where we started, confusingly. It's all part of The Plan though, and soon enough the temple's secrets are unlocked and we find ourselves back outside breathing fresh air, as fresh as swamp air can be at least.

Without a guide you get to hear a gnome rogue utter such statements as 'this place is more confusing than Undercity', and 'when I said we wanted to go down, I did of course mean up'. With a circular layout to the inside and many identical chambers, only differentiated by points on a compass, finding which stairs lead to which areas can be an amusing exercise in running blindly in to waiting monsters. And I do mean 'exercise'. Have you seen how many stairs there are in the temple? If gnomes had built that place their would be a transporter or two, I can tell you that much. Even dwarfs would have built lifts.

The positive aspect of no one knowing where they are going, and thus blindly running around the same area again and again, is that after a while, either through learning or sheer embarrassment, the layout is slowly picked up. Sure, maybe rats learn quicker than adventurers, but gnomes are better dancers. And in the end we no longer need a guide, for we are guides ourselves.

Apart from the network of corridors and rooms to navigate, there was also the impediment of monsters to overcome. It was not too difficult to start with, having my rogueish sap to stun one troll opponent, the priest's shackle to hold a zombie, and a warlock to banish an elemental. The big guys could be controlled with ease and the little monsters that littered the place were nothing more than a distraction because of that. But soon enough the warlock and another chap had to leave, making us three. A rogue, priest and warrior. New and enthusiastic help came in the form of another rogue and a mage, and better still they were both gnomes. Only good things can come of this!

Unfortunately this is a temple of two halves. Before too long the susceptible zombies and trolls had been replaced by dragonkin. The entire chamber before us was filled with dragonkin. Dragonkin, who aren't affected by a rogue's sap. Dragonkin, immune to shackles, and a mage's polymorph. I wouldn't say we had a problem, just a challenge. We had between two and five elite monsters to defeat per fight, and when there were fewer elites a whole bunch of minions came along too. Some strategy may be in order.

The mage's awesome firepower against multiple opponents made her a good choice for defeating the minions, and she was happy to do this. Us two stab-happy rogues would take on the elite mobs one-by-one, keeping them stunned as much as possible using our nefarious abilities. The warrior held the attention of the others, effectively queueing them for destruction whilst keeping the priest safe. This worked well, each character playing to his strengths, and the monsters fell quickly and assuredly.

Only when the Avatar of Hakkar arose were there any casualties, and as we were fighting the spirit of a god it wasn't surprising. Even so, we were victorious. We went on to kill Morphaz for the class quests, and finished by defeating Eranikus and gaining his essence. We entered as brave yet wary adventurers, and exited as masters of the Sunken Temple.

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