After last week's TPK at The Gaming Goat the our newly reconstituted characters (just add water!) were ready to get the show back on the road. Our dwarven fighter (Zach) was missing this night, but our mage (Roger), ranger (Tim), and dwarven cleric (Tom) were joined by a wandering monk (Don) just in time for the evenings festivities. With our usual DM (Clyde) at the helm the party quickly resumed their search for the Sunset Shrine.
After having made their way through the badlands last week, a trip that included getting lost several times along the way on their way to the TPK, the party soon found a path that continued to led up into the hills in the general direction of the shrine. The climb finally gave way to a mesa that included a well worn path that lead past several rocky outcroppings, several thorny looking bushes, three bubbling mud pits, and directly to a set of steps that lead down to a closed door. The party moved cautiously down the path and were able to reach the steps without incident. The party surveyed the area and noticed that there were many pairs of boot prints and animal paw prints in the dirt and dust of the path and on the steps, as well as tracks as left by a wagon or wheeled cart. They also noticed the normally breezy mesa gave way to an area of remarkable calm next to the steps.
A quick arcana check showed that the area surrounding the steps was definitely magic, perhaps something of magic in a defensive nature. While the other three party members remained on high alert the dwarf slowly placed his foot on the first step and nothing happened. The dwarf then stepped down to the second step and again, nothing happened. The dwarf now stood before a well worn door that was covered with long worn lettering and a symbol of a setting sun.
With nowhere else to go the mage offered to use a Mage Hand to open the door but the dwarf had already extended his hand in that general direction and set off a trap. Back above a mud monster suddenly appeared in each of the three mud pits and a dust devil, standing beyond the area of the steps, also appeared. The first two mud monsters quickly buried the monk in mud with thrown mud balls and immobilized him, and the fight was on.
The ranger began to pin one of the mud monsters with his arrows and the mage was able to bloody the dust devil with her first attack, and then dealt additional damage when the creature moved. While one of the mud monsters went after the ranger the other two attempted to flank the dwarf, but the monk was soon back in the fight. The mage quickly finished off the dust devil on her next turn and was then able to supply additional ranged support against the remaining mud monsters and the combat was quickly over.
But the evenings activities weren't over just quite yet - the door to the shrine was still closed. The party stood back from the door and waited in anticipation as the Mage Hand attempted to open the door. Three of the party members were still a little too close and took 10 points of thunder damage and were knocked prone from the explosion. The party tried it again, this time standing a little further away, and the Mage Hand was able to successfully open the door.
Inside the party found a hallway with a finished floor and walls and lined with statues. At first glance the statues appeared to be those of fighters, but a closer look revealed the fighters were actually creatures with bulging eyes, tentacles, and included something that appeared to some kind of ooze coming from them. The party started to move down the hallway ... and we'll pick it up there next week.
For tonight's encounter each player earned 275 XP, still not quite enough for those of us with level 1 characters to reach level 2. A search of the defeated creatures also revealed a magic tome, Chronicles of the Dawn War +1. A mage carrying such a tome in their off-hand are imbued with all kinds of bonuses when fighting Elemental creatures.
I have been remiss in not noting that we have actually had two tables going for each week of this DnD Encounters session. The Gaming Goat is quite spacious and is able to host us while still having 10-20 M:tG players in attendance as well. They do a real nice job running this store - give their web page a quick look (here) - so stop by and visit if you haven't been there before.