We were missing our mage this night but we added Jorie, who played the Elven Rogue Keira. The game play this night did run a bit long - OK, it ran really long. We got off to a late start to begin with, some of the players were late, and I asked too many questions, but our DM patiently led us through the encounter and we had a good time. Also, one of the players had rolled up a Druid character with a wolf familiar - the wolf turned out to be very useful during the encounter, but we did have to consult the rulebook several times to ensure character/familiar actions were being played correctly.
After killing off the goblins last week the Elven scholar Faldyra Allariel had apparently decided that we were a worthy group to cultivate a friendship with. As the caravan made its final leg of the trip to the ruins of Castle Inverness she told us more about what she knew of the castle. She explained the ruins were said to be haunted and there was a ghost tower located here. There was also a second ghost tower located in the Witching Fens, and a third was rumored to exist somewhere in the Nentir Vale, but the mysterious third tower had not yet been located. She further explained the presence of the towers allowed "the spirits of the wandering dead to wander by night."
To allay this potential problem (you know, dead people walking around and all) Aldus Splintershield desired to cast a cleansing ritual to consecrate the grounds and to ensure the safety of the fledgling colony as soon as the caravan arrived. The day had started to grow long so the caravan continued to push on until they arrived on the crest of a hill overlooking the castle ruins. From that viewpoint the adventurers could see the four standing walls of the castle and they could see the four crumbled turrets at each corner of the standing wall sections. There also appeared to be several large stones standing in a circle in the center most area of the courtyard. With the sun retreating, and with not all of the castle grounds readily viewable, Malgram asked the party to scout ahead before the rest of the caravan moved forward.
The group, including Faldyra, moved ahead to the front entrance of the castle walls. No gate existed anymore, and after listening and a few furtive peeks inside it was decided the place was empty, but we still needed to explore further to ensure this truly was the case. Before entering Faldyra used her arcana skills to determine that the gate area held a remnant of a protective magic spell, but in its weakened state it would not be a hindrance to the party. Further, it appeared to Faldyra that the castle walls were also tied into the magic of the gate, and that the magic was of a type unknown to her.
But for now it appeared safe to pass into the inner courtyard, so one by one the party stepped through the front entrance. Following the right hand rule the party decided to visit each of the crumbled turrets and to make their way around the courtyard to ensure the grounds were indeed safe, ending up at the standing stones in the center of the courtyard. The first turret was crumbled to the ground, leaving some rocky terrain and some unsafe places for one to step, but it was otherwise empty.
The party then moved to the next turret, but had to pass a small graveyard along the way. For having been undiscovered for so many years the graves appeared to have been kept up a little. Three of the headstones were broken, nine were intact but otherwise unremarkable, but the remaining headstone was easily readable: Aldivya Vladistone, Wife and Friend. The name was unknown to most of the party, but Faldyra recognized it. She told the party that Aldivya had been part of the Silver Company, the group of adventurers party that had ventured into - and then back out - of the mysterious castle some 60 years ago.
With nothing having sprung out of its grave the party moved onto the second crumbled turret. As before the area included several piles of rubble, but nothing of interest. It was at this time the party started to notice several oddities about the castle grounds. For one thing, the collapsed walls of these turrets included no huge pieces of rubble. Secondly, the castle walls didn't seem to flow with the surrounding area on which they sat. It was almost if the castle had been picked up from somewhere else and simply placed here. And lastly Faldyra was actually expecting to find a standing tower here, and even if it had crumbled within the last 60 years, where was its debris now?
The sun continued to dip in the western sky so the party decided to scoot forward to the third turret. As previously seen there was a small amount of rubble in the area of the turret, but this corner of the courtyard also included an empty fountain. No water bubbled forth and upon further inspection three large-sized ocher jellies emerged. The party quickly shifted into an attack formation, but the jellies used their slippery movement ability (Shift 4) to get out of trouble and to attack the party members arrayed toward the rear.
The party members delivered a good amount of damage to two of the jelly's, only to see each of them split into two smaller jelly's once they were bloodied. The secondary jelly's were soon dispatched and the party was able to concentrate on the third jelly, and soon it's too smaller descendants, until the battle was completed.
With quiet having returned to the courtyard, the fountain was further inspected and something was found to have been stuffed into part of the fountain. Several bad rolls later several party members were able to release the clog when they pulled forth an Iron Skin Belt (Minor: Gain Resist 5 All Damage until the end of your next turn).
With the evening running long the party was able to explore the fourth crumbled turret, again finding nothing. When we meet next week we will further investigate the Iron Skin Belt and the last section of the courtyard, the standing stones in the middle of the yard.
Side Note: Per comments from my previous post (here) I used the Defenders Aura and Righteous Radiance combo to some degree of success, and I suppose for a first level character it was sufficiently powerful. The jelly's were large creatures and my character was able to shift and keep two of them in his aura almost all the time. I thought I would have done a little more damage from my RR though ... I hope I didn't miss a damage dealing instance (or two) along the way.