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Brindenford Notes Page 11

Page history last edited by Gillian 10 years ago

Page 10

9/2

After defeating the Staglord and his bandits, Val, Elrohir, Coelwine and Gunter spent about two weeks ferrying supplies back to Volker's outpost, arranging for other items to be sold, resting, etc... By the end of this time, Felstor and Piven both had finished doing the research that Elrohir had requested of them; they each provided him with several potentially useful spells, and he paid them what they requested. They also were lucky to find old man Ofer Genga and his mule Bicwiden in town again; from him Val bought a potion of adamantine blood, and Elrohir acquired another spell scroll.

 

After this shopping and time in town, they found themselves late one evening, just after sunset, making their way towards the Lost Shepherd for a quick dinner and drink before heading home in the early autumn dusk. However, Gunter heard what he thought might be a cry for help, suddenly cut off, as they reached the bridge (not far from the docks). Coelwine insisted that they investigate. Gunter spotted a pair of probable loggers, lugging a third, plainly unconscious man, towards a boat on the dock. Coelwine called out to them, asking what they were doing, and the men rudely stated that they were "lugging a drunkard home" and to "leave them alone". Coelwine commanded them to stop, and wait for the sheriff or one of his constables. The men declined. At about that time Gunter noticed two men lurking in a nearby alley (he came up behind them as he circled around in hiding, himself), and Elrohir noticed another person in a second boat by the docks, watching. As Coelwine and the men argued, this person began to do something like cast a spell. Immediately, the pcs launched an aggressive assault.

 

The two thugs shoved the unconscious man off the dock into the boat, and closed with Val and Coelwine. Gunter had already climbed the building he was beside, and took a shot at the spellcaster in teh boat. He missed. One of the rogues he spotted climbed up after him. The second ran around the building trying to get behind Elrohir, but El heard him coming... and took him out with a single well-delivered touch spell.

 

El fireballed the spellcaster in the boat. The two thugs engaged with Val and Coelwine were just out of the burst. They traded a round of blows. Gunter ambushed the climbing rogue, but did not kill him. The caster produced a cloud of obscuring mist. She then called to her subordinates to retreat. The  rogue on the roof with Gunter managed to make a flying leap off the roof into the river below, and swam away. The cleric herself retreated back over the second boat, and dived into the river. She most likely got away, though  she might have been caught in a second fireball of Elrohir's casting, if she didn't dive deep and fast enough. The two thugs, however, were not so lucky. Their path of retreat was obvious, and short. Val and Coelwine followed close on their heels,  and were able to get off attacks as they tried to jump into their boat. Val slew her man, and Coelwine followed suit a few moments later.

 

The victim turned out to be a transient who had been staying at the local temple of Elanora dormitory. He was offered work by one of the thugs, and came here with him, only to be ambushed and hit from behind. He knows nothing about the people who attacked him. A search of the bodies of the dead reveals that the one rogue killed bears a tattoo on one forearm of a snake. Coelwine realizes it MIGHT be a tattoo of a snake-god, but he doesn't really know. The sheriff, having arrived after fireballs went off on his town's streets, suggests taking the victim and the dead back to the temple. There, Mother Iris decides she's concerned enough about the rash of vanishing transients to cast Speak with Dead. The rogue refuses to name his God, but does admit that they were  using tunnels under the town to take captives, and lastly names a local farmer, Devin Gardock, as their ally.

 

The sheriff and his men accompanied the PCs on a rapid-fire raid on Gardock's house, which is on the south side of the river, hardly a stone's throw from the bank just opposite the docks. There, they caught Gardock unawares, and were able to capture him via the use of a grease spell and overwhelming force. Val tackled him and hauled him out of the grease by his ankle, and the sheriff put his rapier to his throat. Gardock was forced to admit that he is a member of a group calling itself "The Venom Cult of Nag"! They have tunnels "all over Brindenford", and Jaskon Tully, the Miller, is his close ally and fellow Venom Cultist.

 

Sheriff Erro asked the PCs to please deal with the cult temple below the Dragon's Delve, while he deals with Tully, the tunnels under the town, and the rest of the situation in town...

 

After a few hours of rest and recuperation, the party plunged into the tunnel below Gardock's house, and soon reached the dungeon (they did pass several side-tunnels, but decided not to investigate any of them, including one that was filled with giant webs and made Val cringe). Reaching a T-intersection, they did as Gardock had told them to do, and turned East. They did find a pair of freshly slain bodies, of an orcish man and a human woman; there was no evidence they were either cultists or victims, and the party were a bit confused by who they could be... after looting a couple of scrolls from the bodies, they turned east and followed a long smooth stone passage. At the end, Gunter attempted to sneak close to the guard room, but he tripped over a stone, and the guards heard him. Yelling a warning for their fellows, they advanced and shot at him. Val and Coelwine ran past the rogue, taking shots at the guards as they came. Battle was joined, and these were plainly tough, experienced foes. The battle was hard, and then FIVE more guards ran out from another passage. Elrohir threw a fireball at them and NONE went down! Val killed her guard, as did Coelwine, in the next round, and Elrohir threw a web spell. Two of the new guards, badly injured by the fireball, had run to a door at the south end of the room, and were trying to open it, but it was barred, and they were slow. The web caught them, and because of the torch beside them, they were almost immediately surrounded by flaming webbing. They died.  A third guard hung back and tried to shoot arrows at the PCs, while the final two closed to take up where their dead companions had begun. Another couple of rounds of hard battle saw both Coelwine and Val injured, while the guards failed to fall. Elrohir's web kept the archer pinned, and a flame spell finished him off. Finally the guards perished, but it was a close-fought battle!

 

We paused here.

 

9/16

The party searched the guards' bodies but found nothing very interesting. They investigated the south passage from the guard-room, and Gunter listened at a couple of doors. However, they were feeling quite nervous, and Elrohir was short on spells, already. They decided to fall back to the guard room, especially when Elrohir and Coelwine thought they spotted someone in the northern passage spying on them. However, when they began to retreat, Gunter was ambushed by an invisible attacker, the assassin Gyllid. He barely survived a brutal backstabbing, and a swift melee began. Val attacked the assassin , and Elrohir used his staff to cast Combust on him. They were able to take him down, but Val was wounded as well, and Gunter was severely weakened by the poisoned blade he wielded. Fearing more such attacks would happen, they scooped up the body and retreated back to town.

 

In town, they waited 24 hours and had Mother Iris cast a speak with dead on the assassin. They learned that there was no other known entrance to the temple, that two people at the Queen's Craft were allies of the Cult, and that there were many priests, warriors, a hag and a lamia in the temple. They were quite shocked by the potential number of enemies they faced, and decided they had to have help. While they waited for recruits to arrive, they also ambushed and questioned Jimma and Siv, the two craftsmen allied with the Cult. From them, they were able to get names of some of the priests, more detailed descriptions of what was going on at the temple, and a copy of the Black Book of Nag. They learned that the Cult is in the process of indoctrinating a new High Priest, a "venom-touched" leader. In the next 24 hours, they intended to complete the ritual that would make this person their new High Priest. Exactly what would happen, then, they're not sure, but they don't want to find out...

 

At the same time, the Cult responded to the party's assault by raiding into town, and taking Mayor Saddana and her two daughters hostage; a message was left saying that if the PCs or anyone else tried to mount a rescue, they'd be sacrificed. Val promptly voiced the opinion that since that was inevitable anyway, it would be stupid to hold off on those grounds. Nobody disagreed. And so, the PCs led a group of the following members on an all-out assault of the temple: six 2nd level warriors, hired by the Sheriff, who normally act as caravan guards; Swanhilde the ranger of the Woodsfolk, who aided them against the bandits; two Lion figurines of wondrous power from Felstor the Sage, and six potions each of Cure Moderate Wounds and Neutralize Poison from Mother Iris Gellow and the Temple of Elanora.

 

This valiant band descended into the Temple, and were met by a sizeable guard-force at the front entrance, consisting of Naralliki the Guard Captain, two warriors of the Cult, two Rogues, the remaining assassin, Aeraki, and Naralliki's huge snake. Aeraki, who had been waiting invisibly in the cave when they entered, came at them from behind. The two Warriors and Naralliki (and her snake) were in front. The PCs and their warrior companions began their assault from far back down the entry passage, as soon as they could see anyone silhouetted in the torchlight. One guard was badly injured, and the other slightly. Val hit Naralliki, who immediately pretended to be badly injured and collapsed. The snake began to slither forwards. After the surprise round, the Aeraki attacked the group from behind, but unfortunately for her, she had been heard approaching, and Elrohir cast grease on the passage. She was not impeded by it, but was not able to kill the first guard she attacked. Naralliki cast mirror image on herself. The warriors in both groups exchanged archery fire. A critical hit nearly killed one guard, and he retreated into a far corner. Elrohir used a fireball, and took out the second guard, and all of Narilliki's images. Furious, she followed up with a Greater Slumber spell, and sent Val to sleep. The retreating guard drank a healing potion, and moved back to the attack; Swanhilde engaged him in combat, while two of the guards woke Val back up. A second fireball caused Naralliki to re-evaluate her position. Unable to advance on the PCs, and badly burned by the fireballs, she was forced to retreat. Her snake was already dead; the two rogues had remained hidden during the entire combat, and are still lurking, waiting to ambush the first party members to actually enter the guardroom. Aeraki was taken down in hand-to-hand combat with Coelwine, Elrohir and two guards. Amazingly, none of the PCs nor their new companions died, but they are already contemplating whether retreat is a viable choice at this point.

 

10/14

The PCs backed off down the hallway and evaluated their position for a few minutes. During this time, the two rogues retreated to the north,  getting a priestess from her poison laboratory to join them. One drank a potion of invisibility and came ahead to scout. At the same time, the PCs decided they needed to send a scout ahead. Swanhild the ranger's badger companion was sent to search for the smell of the Mayor of Brindenford, but soon came back indicating a dead end... Swanhild moved down the southern passage, in the direction their map suggested might lead to an area marked "Barbarians" and then beyond it "Prisoners". She opened one door for the Badger, who slipped through and investigated the room beyond, but again returned, indicating another dead-end.

 

Just as Swanhilde was returning with this report, Gunter (who drank a potion of "see invisible" and was watching the northern hallway, since they'd just been attacked by two different invisible foes during their two raids on the temple) spotted one of the rogues strolling out of the northern hallway into the guard room. Behind him, lurking in the shadows, were the second rogue and a priestess. Combat began as Gunter shot the "invisible" rogue in the chest, badly wounding him. Elrohir turned and threw magic missile at the cleric, and Val shot the second rogue. The guards who were in the chamber fired arrows but were unable to hit the  rogues. Then the cleric used her wand of hold person on Gunter. The second rogue charged him. The invisible rogue closed with one of the guards, who was blocking his path to Elrohir. Both guards swung their glaives at the air in front of them, and one managed to hit the rogue. In the next round, Elrohir cast flameburst  on that square, and killed that rogue. However, the other rogue coup-de-graced the held thief, Gunter, and took him to -9 HP. Val and Swanhilde charged the cleric, and took her down in a couple rounds of hand to hand combat. One of the guards was able to get to Gunter just in time to pour his cure potion down the  rogue's throat and save his life.

 

A considerable amount of skulking and exploring followed on this combat,   as the PCs made every effort to find the Mayor and her daughters. With the trusty badger scouting ahead, they found the Barbarian's chamber fairly quickly,  and despatched the half-orc. They found his message to "Czarzem" but were unable to make much sense of it. Further south, they found the poor farm-woman captive, and freed her. They wrecked both snake statues. Gunter realized how the prison floor section worked, and was able to determine the best way across it (I decided the whole floor was not trapped, just the squares at the base of the stairs). They got to the door at the south end,  and found the black hallway. This was fortunate on their part, as they'd made no effort to keep  any of the Nag medallions,  and  would have been unable to enter the northern door into this area. They found the statue room, and here also found Mayor Sadanna and her two captive daughters, being guarded by two monstrous spiders. Killing the monsters took only a few minutes. As the others questioned the mayor, Gunter explored ahead. On the stairs, he was appalled to discover Captain Naralliki approaching; she was still wounded from their earlier encounter, though, and Gunter was able to back off and warn the rest that she was approaching. As soon as she descended the stairs, they ambushed her and were able to take her captive! At this point, Elrohir sent three of their six guards with the Mayor, her daughters and the farm-woman back to the entrance, with instructions to hide in the T intersection chamber until the rest of them could catch up. They haven't yet decided if they  want to retreat, or are interested in trying to wipe out the rest of the inhabitants without a break.

 

10/28

After sending the Mayor and her daughters out of the temple, they decided to press on and see what they could do to stop the enshrinement of a new high priest. Gunter scouted ahead, up the stairs and down a long pillared hall. He found a side passage, painted ominous black, that led into the great temple, where he heard and saw much chanting and ceremonial recitation of prayers to Nag and Nagaina. He scooted back to the rest of the party and told them that there were 2 priests, 2 rogues, an assassin, a strange woman with long fingered hands (a hag), a dozen commoners, and about 8 guards.

 

So much planning began; in the end, Val and Elrohir and Gunter each drank a potion or used a scroll to become invisible. They sneaked up to the edge of the temple hall and threw 3 missiles from a necklace of missiles that Elrohir had been hoarding. They were 2 5-hd missiles, and a 3-hd. After I calculated who was in the blast, rolled saves, subtracted damage, they did a huge job... one priest, both rogues, and the assassin died outright. The hag and one priest survived. The guards were not touched, nor were the commoners. The commoners fled.

 

They then closed for melee combat; the two lions (figurines of wondrous power on loan from Felstor in Brindenford) charged 4 temple guards who were on the far side of the room, while their four remaining caravan/town guardsmen engaged the nearer four temple guardsmen. Val had consumed a potion of haste and was able to get 2 shots off before the priest or hag could act. Gunter also got off a shot. That took out the priest. The hag (I completely forgot her spell resistance!) lasted a round longer, but was unable to do more than attempt to retreat enough to use her fog cloud, and failed. Then Elrohir threw one of his own fireballs on the back rank of guards, just as the lions closed with them and savaged one to death.

 

Two rounds later, the guards finally surrendered, having watched all their leaders die in flames.

 

One of the guards revealed the general location of the secret door leading into the High Priest's chamber; they quickly forced it open, and discovered the boy (whose poison touch they'd been warned about) awaiting them. He spoke of their fate at the hands of Nag for daring to disturb him, but they sneered and attacked. Val, Swanhild and Gunter entered the room, shooting arrows at him. In turn, he used his magical pipe-playing ability to confuse them all! Swanhilde fled, but Gunter and Val turned on each other. Elrohir stepped in and used his Combust spell to light the boy on fire, which disrupted his ability to confuse. Again, he was unable to save against Coelwine's Hold Person scroll; Elrohir and the cleric were then able to finish him off the next round. They took his head with them back to town to prove that the temple had fallen!

 

Much looting and treasure-hunting followed, and all the PCs advanced a level. Val and Elrohir are now 6th level, while Coelwine and Gunter are 5th. Elrohir gained a wand of Hold Person, and the spell Lightning Bolt. Coelwine got magic armor; Gunter also got a magic weapon, and Val took several smaller items of interest. Each came away with over 3,000 sp in wealth, as well as silver plate for the tower and several nice pieces of furniture. The temples gained a deal of silver via Nag medallions that were melted down, and the 6 guardsmen earned a half-year's wages each. Felstor's lion statues were returned to him with great thanks, and then the Mayor gave the PCs a family heirloom as a reward for their rescue; a silver whistle in the shape of a whale - this magic item summons a skywhale that will carry them wherever they desire; only 7 summonses remain, so they'll have to plan their uses carefully!

 

Page 12

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