Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Ruined Chapel (10/03/2010)

The party had just finished off a group of duergar and a pair of Spined Devils and were able to free a group of imprisoned slaves that had been held in a pair of slave pits. The party provided the freed slaves food and temporarily stowed them across the chasm so the party could investigate the rest of the Horned Hold. Down a hall, up a small set of stairs, around a corner and down another hall the party crept on until they entered a room that appeared to have been a chapel at one point but had fallen into a state of disrepair. The room also contained that certain smell of death and sure enough, a group of wights had appeared just as we adjourned for the evening this past Sunday.

It was Renny who set off the combat when he stepped too close to a wight hiding in the rubble strewn about the room. The fighting was fast and furious as the bites of the wights didn't do that much damage (except to Akta) but they were able to whittle away at the collective Healing Surges of the party. The party responded quickly to the attack and did some whittling of their own. As the last wight fell the sense gloom dissipated and the sense of quiet returned to the room. As the party looked around they saw:

7 Wights

The party found no secrets or magic in this room and each member of the party earned 165 XP for the encounter.

The party moved through the door at the east end of the chapel and stepped out onto a parapet that overlooked the chasm and the two portions of the hall located on the other side of the chasm. From there the party moved back inside and realized they had cleaned out the final section of the Horned Hold. The party took a few minutes to comb through some of the rooms that hadn't previously been thoroughly searched and were rewarded when a bag containing 100 GP and five 100 GP rubies were uncovered.

After the party finished going through the final section of the Horned Hold they moved back across the bridge to the Great Hall where the newly freed slaves were waiting for them to take them out of the depths of the labyrinth and back to safety. The adventurers were surprised to see several of the slaves had gathered some of the halberds that had been stored by the duergar and were holding them pointed in the direction of the party.

Most of the slaves, still emaciated and dressed in rags, cowered behind the four flashing halberds. A small voice squeaked up, saying "They're Bloodreavers! They're gonna sell us to somebody else." A small goblin appeared from behind the halberd carriers and with a small goblinic finger pointed at Renny and said, "He's a Bloodreaver! I know he is. Ask him! Ask him!"

Eldred spoke first, trying to calm the freed slaves. After all the trouble of freeing them in the first place he didn't want to have to turn around and fight them. Through the benefit of his diplomatic abilities he was able to talk three of the four freed slaves into putting down their halberds. While hiding behind one of the slaves Gru continued his stream of allegations about Renny and one lone slave continued to hold off the party with a shakily held halberd.

Renny stepped forward to try and convince the frightened slaves that he indeed had been part of the Bloodreavers, but like them he too had been rescued ad freed by this group of adventurers. Finally Akta took a step forward and with a little intimidation convinced the last halberd to hit the floor. He quickly grabbed Gru around the throat and with a few chosen words in the goblin tongue he turned Gru's cries of protest into whimpers.

The party and the slaves raided the larder one last time and began the trek back to the Seven Pillared Hall. Once on the way the party soon realized that they would not make it back quite as quickly as they had hoped. The slaves were willing travelers, but because of their weakened state they had to travel at a somewhat slower pace. Having found their way here originally and knowing what directional runes to look for the party did not fear getting lost. But traveling through the dark labyrinth reminded everyone of what they did fear - the unknown. Various sounds still randomly echoed through the caverns - footsteps from nowhere, a random laugh that echoed through the hallways, the occasional scream the permeated the consciousness. The party was made of sterner stuff, but the noises often spooked the freed slaves and to keep them moving in the right direction often turned out to be more difficult than originally thought.

After a few hours the party found a place to take a rest with different groups of the freed slaves huddled in different corners. As the slaves and members of the party nibbled on provisions gathered back in the Horned Hold the slaves seemed to relax a little, and soon began to laugh and joke about getting out of this horrid labyrinth and back into the sunlight and then making it back to Riverdown and to their friends and families.

In the middle of this reverie a voice from down the hall could be heard, "Hoy there travelers." A stout dwarf rambled up the hallway, followed by another dwarf and a loose cadre of humans. "My name is Thain Cardanas. I have claimed this labyrinth as my own and I intend to make it an example of the superiority of the dwarf kind. I need an army and I hereby officially conscript you into my service. I can promise you the rewards for your service to your king will be great."

The dwarf behind Cardanas spoke up, bellowing "All hail King Cardanas. Bow and swear your fealty to your king."

Bogar stepped forward and spoke his reply in his native dwarven tongue. The party may not have had a firm grasp on the language but it was pretty obvious Bogar's reply had something to do with Cardanas's lips and Bogar's backside. With a roar the two dwarves erupted in anger and the battle was under way.

The party was primed for the attack and responded with a fury. As the freed slaves cowered in the corners the two dwarf's in front were stopped in the passageway and were soon bloodied. The berserkers threw their hand axe's but any damage was mostly minimal. Once the two dwarf's went down the berserkers got mowed through pretty quickly as well. One of the berserkers tried to make a run for it but was nailed from behind and it was Bogar that provided the final blow.

DM Note: This battle did not go well. First of all, the party absolutely killed on initiative rolls and the king was bloodied before he ever got in a swing. The two dwarf's never got to enter the room thus bottling up the berserkers, who then never got to do any mayhem amongst the slaves. If nothing else Akta continued his role as tonight's damage magnet.

During the excitement Gru was able to slip into the darkness and out of Akta's clutches. Eldred used the devious goblin's escape to convince the freed slaves that Gru was really just a troublemaker and they never should have listened to him in the first place. As the party looked around they saw:

4 Human Berserkers, each wearing leather armor, carrying a pair of hand axes, and wielding a great axe

1 Dwarf Hammerer, wearing plate armor, carrying a heavy shield and three hand axes, and wielding a war hammer

1 Dwarf Bolter, wearing chain mail, carrying a crossbow and 20 bolts, wielding a war hammer, and wearing a slightly dinged up but polished crown

The party found no GP or magic, but each member of the party earned 150 XP for the encounter. Bogar claimed the battered crown as a memento.

Finally the party neared the Seven Pillared Hall. As they passed the small hallway that led to the back entrance to the Grimmerzuhl Trading Post the party saw the door was boarded over from the outside and two human guards sat outside, the guards rising to their feet but not leaving their post as the party walked past.

Upon arriving in the hall itself the party could see a few changes. The windows outside the trading post were also boarded up and one of the Bronze Warders was stationed directly outside its front door. A small ruckus appeared from the direction of the Minotaur Statue an individual dressed in all black (not Orontor) started running across the hall, pointing a finger at you and yelling. "You! Wait right there. The Mages of Sauron want to speak with you.

Breathlessly the mage arrived in front of the group and started by saying "The Mages of Sauron have decreed there will be no violence in this hall. You are accused of breaking our cardinal rule and we will deal with this infraction most severely. What say you?"

Another Mage of Sauron (also not Orontor) appeared  plateau near the Minotaur Statue and a third appeared from the Customhouse (Orontor). From across the hall two of the Bronze Warders jerked into action and started moving toward the party at their ponderous pace. Another voice could be heard as Rendil Halfmoon made his way from the Halfmoon Inn "Leave them alone! They've done nothing wrong." And yet another voice could be heard as a female cleric (Phaledra) made her way toward the party from the temple as she yelled "The Riverdown slaves. The Riverdown slaves. The heroes have freed them!" It seemed like every pair of eyes in the hall was on the party as inhabitants of the hall emptied out of every building and billet to see what the commotion was.

Eldred replied that the party knew nothing of anything that might have happened at the trading post after they had spoken with the duergar therein. In fact, the party had been in the Horned Hold freeing this group of slaves. A slight huzzah from the freed slaves was interrupted as the mage continued his accusations, each of which Eldred denied and deflected.

Mage of Sauron #2 had his own accusations to add, but Orontor spoke up to say that this was exactly as he had stated. He had sent the party to the trading post for advice on Murklemor and the the duergar in the trading post had likely sent them on the way so that Murkelmor could enslave them himself. Rendil added a certain level of shrillness to the discussion and once Phaledra arrived she moved in among the freed slaves to ensure they were OK.

Despite the presence of the two slow moving Bronze Warders the party held true to their story and the two Mages of Sauron were reduced to making threats about possible future restrictions and punishments for any and all infractions of the law. Frustrated the Mages finally stormed away taking their Bronze Warders with them. Phaledra took the freed slaves back to the temple and Rendil insisted the party join him at the Halfmoon Inn.

Afterwords the party was at the Halfmoon Inn. Rendil maintained his promise and the party knew they would sleep in a comfortable bed that night, but the prospect of a hot meal and a good ale or two (or three) was of more immediate concern. Rendil wanted to know every detail and peppered the party with questions, and while they may not of told him everything they knew, party members were eventually able to provide enough of the story to eventually satisfy his interest. The party also included a toast or two (or three) to newly ascended Renny deStennett (4th level) for his contributions to the group.

During a lull in the evening a pair of tieflings stopped by the table to offer their congratulations for the party's effort in cleaning out the slavers from the labyrinth. They went on to say in a quiet and confidential way that the Mages of Sauron had commissioned them to contact the party on their behalf with a business proposition, but it could wait until the next morning. To provide a level of proof to their claim one of the tieflings held open his tunic to reveal one of the amulets the party had seen the Mages of Sauron wearing.

Afterwords, when asked, Rendil stated that this was not unheard of. The Mages had a specific area of concern, but sometimes they might have need of someone who's reach may who may extend beyond their own. Despite this reassurance the party was suspicious of the intentions of the two tieflings. Perhaps once they heard more of their story the next morning the party might think different.

The next morning the two tieflings waited patiently as the party members made their way downstairs at the inn. When the party had gathered one of the tiefling bade the other to wait outside, and once Rendil was outside of listening range he pulled out a small piece of parchment and handed it to Eldred. Eldred unrolled the parchment and read:

Your actions against the duergar are commendable. I am a Mage of Sauron that has been implanted into the evil organization behind the duergar's action and I wish to help you defeat my "comrades." I have been seeking a way to put an end to this situation and I believe you can help me. Please follow my confidants so I may speak with you in person.

The tiefling explained it is too dangerous to meet in the hall and this mage was hiding in a small cave area nearby. Again showing the amulet the tiefling went on to explain that the mage had one of the Bronze Warders with him to ensure their safety.

Still suspicious the party agreed to go visit this unknown Mage of Sauron, and agreed to meet the tieflings at a specified time. Rendil still thought it was a good idea, but the party wanted to check with Orontor to see if he knew of what they spoke. Orontor was thrilled to know that senior members of the Mages of Sauron had obviously taken some actions of their own to fight this evil. He provided a detailed description of Paldemar, the missing Mage of Sauron, should the party encounter him.

When we pick up next week the tieflings will introduce the party to the Mage of Sauron that is working undercover. Perhaps they might be able to provide some additional information about the Blackfang Gang and the Well of Demons also.

Score Card: With the completion of the two encounters the party had accumulated an additional 975 GP, 578 SP, and 1400 GP in gems. Jenneth agreed to carry the +2 Flaming Maul for the time being and Krstic stashed the six remaining unexploded pitch bombs from the Orc Pyromaniacs. With the 315 XP earned this night the party had accumulated 7135 XP (7500 needed to reach Level 6). Renny was sitting at 4155 XP (5500 needed to reach Level 5).

Reminder: We will meet at RnJ's next Sunday and Brian said he would bring snacks.

No comments:

Post a Comment