Players - PCs
Ed - Roog (1/2 ogre fighter)
Ray - Lassirial (Elf assassin)
Wes - Brother Thabitor Fisk (Human Cleric)
Jeff - Fast Fingers Freddy the Filcher (1/2-ling thief)
Thiala - (Human Female Paladin)
Elmo - (Human Ranger)
Spugnoire - (Human Merchant / Wizard)
Drizzle Spatchcock - (Human Wizard)
We played another of our bi-weekly Castles and Crusades games this past Tuesday. Starting a bit earlier than normal, we had a wonderful session and got quite a bit of the dungeon under the Moat House explored.
Brother Fisk wakes up to take his watch and heals Roog's bleeding wound before the elated 1/2 ogre falls off to sleep. The next morning dawns sunny and windy as the party tries out some of Roog's "cinnamon toast"...an invention of the cooking warrior. (I'm going to start assuming that when the rest of the characters are gearing up for an extended stay in the dungeons, Roog is off purchasing food items that are NOT your standard adventure fare.)
Down into the dripping, mold and moss strewn halls the party descends. They head immediately for the sections of the dungeon that have yet to be explored. The first room that they run into is an old library of sorts, books lie strewn across the floor in puddles of moldy water. Most of them ruined beyond repair. But this doesn't stop Spugnoire, books are what he's been searching for, and he dives right in.
Most of the titles are of little interest, but after a few hours of searching the ceiling-high shelves, three likely books are located:
- 'Bubbles from the Bottom Most' - A prayer book.
- 'Divine Hunger' - Deals with how to gorge oneself and why it's important.
- 'Follow the Flies' - Some type of book about expansion plans.
All of the books mention a god named Tsathoguaa...which tickles the memory of the cleric, Fisk, but he can not remember anything substantial. A man named Roark also features prominently as well. The book 'Follow the Flies' has maps of the local area, bills of lading, plans of expansion and a map showing the location of the "Main Temple" on some island far to the south.
Adventuring further, with Freddy and Lassirial leading the way as silently as possible, the party wanders into an area that is mostly flooded. The black surface of the water ripples slightly, indicating some type of movement within. The room itself seems to have been a storage room for writing implements, including parchment, ink pots, leather bindings, quills and such.
Water is not something that the party is prepared to cross so they back off and head around the other way. (Two things here: One, the party is really using the map well. Jeff is the party mapper and takes a lot of pride in detail. I love this. Two, it's interesting to me to see how water can deter parties of nearly any level.)
Exploring more of the dungeon, they find a passage that leads around to the opposite side of the flooded room. This section though appears to have been a scriptorium of sorts. Tall wooden desks stand throughout the room, or what remains of them, while paper and books lie throughout. The majority of the room is flooded as well, but it's not till Spugnoire and Roog adventure a bit further to nab a book lying on the side of the water, that they find the water's fairly deep.
As they reach for the sodden tome, a crested, lizard-like head slowly surfaces from the middle of the "pond", hands raised showing no weapons. Roog raises his hands as well, one containing a large mace. The creature grunts out that it doesn't want to fight and is interested in trading.
A difficult conversation follows, resulting in a trade of the silvered sphere for a key that allows access to a secret room located in a yet to be explored section on the map. Freddy considers this a fair trade and contrary to Fisk's warnings, he trades for the key, visions of riches dancing in his head. Nodding, the lizard-like creatures (one other was detected further back in the shadowed hallway.) slowly slip into the water and disappear.
Immediately the party postulates on how these creatures got in here...And Fisk suggests that there's quite likely a natural spring that emerges here in the riven rock and they've swam back and forth this way.
Exploring towards the undiscovered portion of the map, in search of the hidden door and "great riches", the party soon moves into a roughly 'U' shaped room. The northern wall is partially collapsed but, following the lizard creature's directions, they find a well hidden door with only about a half hour worth of searching. Using the key, they enter a dry, well sealed room to find a large desk behind which sits an ancient skeleton pinned to the chair with a silvered crossbow bolt.
A careful search of the room reveals a strange scepter with a frog-like eye sitting atop it. When picked up though, it feels as if the handle is moist, and when Lassirial looks at it, it appears that the handle is actually now a tongue. He drops it immediately. A small bag of agates are discovered in a locked drawer and a scrimshaw thigh bone is found beneath the skeleton's robes.
No one in the party is able to read the scrimshaw writing, but Lassirial comes up with a theory that if one looks "through" they amphibian eye-rod it could be deciphered. This is partially correct, and as he picks up the disgusting scepter, the writing appears to be in common now. Reading it reveals this:
"Brother Roark, The foulsome enemy has found us, and we are now under siege. I have emptied the treasury and am sending it by boat as per your instructions. We will follow in all haste. Once in Tel Qa, we'll ask for Captain Ganlon at the Wharf Rat as we have in the past, and show him our coin. He is a trusted agent, we should be with you soon. Be wary, be vigilant, and my you hunger always."
The eye scepter also reveals a thin seam around the top, which when unscrewed, divulges a tightly rolled vellum scroll within. Drizzle looks at the scroll and doesn't recognize the three spells:
- Excruciating Cauterization
- Furngoth's Force of Forbidment
- Word of IOUN
After exhausting all options in the secret room, the group cautiously explores more of the dungeon. Freddy and Yassirial soon come around a corner and spot two back-lit figures standing stock still. Slowly pulling back they inform the rest of the party.
Fisk decides that these must be undead and comes around the corner bearing his holy symbol, "In the name of Odin, I bid thee BEGONE!". No luck. The zombies charge and combat is on. Roog and Elmo take the fore and meet the creatures half way. Blows are traded and much damage is dealt out on both sides. In fact, Roog takes a mighty blow from one of the foul creatures and falls to the floor, unconscious.
Fisk steps into the gap with his spear and slays the undead monstrosity while Elmo's is soon taken down by Drizzle's magic missile. Roog is brought to consciousness just as the room from whence the zombies came turns pitch black. Roog has never seen such a thing and sticks his head into the black "wall"..."Bad dark darkness" he mutters.
Freddy hears a rhythmic muttering from within the room, decides that he can navigate relying only upon his dexterity and hearing, and proceeds towards the voice. A shuffling groan is emitted just as he clears the spell's borders and he finds a tall bean pole thin human kneeling next to a mystic circle on the ground, facing away from him towards a zombie who has just risen from the mess of bodies strewn around the room.
The halfling sneaks up behind the necromancer and without further ado, buries his dagger in his brain, to the hilt. (rolled a natural 20) The evil spell caster does not utter a word and falls to the floor lifeless. Roog comes in and quickly takes care of the recently raised zombie quite quickly.
A sickening sight meets the party as the darkness dissolves. Cadavers, stacked like cord wood, lay along the eastern wall, while evil devices, drawings and experiments lie scattered across the room. The only other exit is an obviously new door in the northern wall.
After looking carefully through the room, the party discovers a brain pan bowl of obvious necromantic worth along with a pile of discarded loot gathered over years of raiding. Bolts of expensive cloth, objects of art and a couple of chipped urns containing coins lie nearly forgotten...a further testament to the necromancer's true interests.
Fisk pushes the northern door open to find himself facing 5 grey goblins. They leap up from a table and attack the priest with gusto. Landing three lucky shots, they bring him to the ground...unconscious and bleeding badly. Charging in, the rest of the party brings three of the goblins down quickly, while the other two break and run. One gets Lassirial's dagger in the back for his troubles and Spugnoire quickly casts a sleep spell...ending their departure.
Meanwhile, Freddy tries the Necromancer's potion on Fisk, in the hopes that it heals his friend. Fisk disappears, it was invisibility. ARGH! What a waste, thinks Freddy. Oh well. He then applies the potion that he knows is a heal draught and brings Fisk back to consciousness. But the priest has fun with his newly acquired invisibility.
There are 6 donkeys tied up to the wall of the goblin's roughly circular room, these, along with a couple of kegs (one small beer and another fine pipe weed.), some rotting food, sleeping pallets, and a rough table and chairs, completes the rooms contents. A long, rough hewn tunnel leads to the east.
The party loads up their newly acquired loot and heads off down the tunnel, assuming that it leads outside. It does, and they emerge into the late afternoon sun, not more than 100 yards away from the Moat House. From there, they head back to Hommlet and the Inn of the Welcome Wench.
Once back in town, they eat a wonderful meal, regaling the rest of the Inn's patrons with the story and then get a comforting night's sleep in their rooms.
That evening, while the rest of the party is telling tales, Lassirial takes care of business. He makes his way to the worker's camp, finds his "mark" and waits. Once the man goes to sleep, the assassin sneaks into the tent and quietly slits the man's throat. He rifles through his stuff, finds proof (a family crest on a medallion) and quietly sneaks back into the night to return to the Inn.
The next day they visit Burne and speak to him about their adventures. He is convinced that the raids over the last few years have been a combination of both the brigands as well as the necromancer. He's surprised to hear that the evil spell caster had been there as long as he had.
He pays the party for their services and speaks to them about the two lost children. This will be the group's next mission. Freddy figures that this might clear his name...
Lassirial pays Burne 100 gold pieces to cast an identify upon a dagger that he discovered in a drawer's hidden compartment in the secret chamber. It turns out the black blade, upon dealing a killing blow, transfers to the user a bonus to his next strike. (See below for more details.)
This is where we ended it. The party has decided to travel to the Jagged Stones in order to track down the children. The parents of the children have left the day before, with two militiamen in tow. But no word has been heard since.
- 5 bolts of cloth, stained and in poor condition, but worth 60 gold nonetheless.
- A jacinth anklet portraying a woman hunting a stag. (10 gold)
- A garnet pin. (60 gold)
- A porcelain statue of two dogs playing with a little boy. Chipped but worth 30 gold.
- Two tapestries in fairly good condition. (100 gold)
- Two urns (chipped and worn but valued at 10 gold ea.) full of coins: 223 gold, 97 silver, 576 copper.
- A brain pan circled with brass and strange runes. (MAGIC: powers unknown)
- A black obsidian knife. (MAGIC: Normally +1 to hit and damage, but upon a killing stroke, a bonus of 1d6 is added to the next to hit.)
- A small bag of rare black agates (12 of them at 60 gold ea.)
- Scroll of three spells (see above) (MAGIC)
- Eye scepter (MAGIC)
- Necromancer's black iron chainmail (+1 in essence, but also inimical to fey)
- Bone scroll tube with scrimshaw writing
- Potion of invisibility (Used on Fisk)
- Three books (see above)
- Stack of papers from the secret room detailing day to day operations of the hidden cult
- 643 exp ea.