Westlaws Update 1.6
They met under typical circumstances; in the service to the Castle and its Marshal. But before that they each had tales to tell. The adventurers were unusual; they included many races and origins, but they all were in Sentinel trying to solve the situation they each uniquely found themselves in.
28th of Uktar, Evening : Comfortably ensconced in their favorite inn, the PCs rest from days spent wandering the Dagger Hills and hunting owlbear. Before their meal is finished, Forgia materializes at Grignak’s elbow, and informs him the young acolyte will meet him in his quarters immediately. Grignak heads to the room, and completed his purchase of the Blastpatch alchemical recipe and the ritual Detect Secret Doors, trading some coin and a bright holy symbol of Nolom pulled from a kobold lair. The young acolyte seems as frightened as usual, but practically beams at his new holy symbol, and leaves once the work has been completed. Grignak hurries into town to find and purchase a large, heavy crockery pot, as a means of capturing a live ochre jelly to work in their waste-management facility in the Lair.
Vani and Illuiria try spreading rumors of the ancient bronze bell (dumped just outside the doors to the inn) being a valuable artifact, though it doesn’t seem like a topic of popular opportunity. Brommik convinces the group to help him haul the bell to Cragrapid Keep as a donation to the Order of Avarkiel based from the ancient fort. The group also discusses how to try and lure the local bandits into attacking their caravan, but cannot agree as to the particulars.
29th of Uktar : Brommik hired a local carter to assist the PCs in hauling the bell to the border fort of Cargrapid Keep. The group had private hopes of being attacked by the bandits in the valley, with Vani hiding in the wagon as back-up. Taking the old cart path north-west, they eventually entered the northern Iron Rock Ridges, and the village and fort of Cragrapid, perched above the vast swath of the central Border Forest. The view was spectacular.
Cragrapid proved to be a strong stone tower fort built of ancient and thick masonry, hauntingly empty with only a handful of knights and a company of mercenaries to guard the facility. The PCs were welcomed as honored guests, met the local chapter’s Knight Commander, Kyrian Applecross, and after a night of simple feasting, and the donation of the ancient bronze bell, they were welcomed back any time they might need assistance or a roof. Brommik also donated his secondary magic longsword taken from the bandit lair located under the warehouses in Sentinel. There was much rejoicing.
30th of Uktar : The PCs travel back to Sentinel, and spend the remainder of the day acquiring new supplies and various furnishings for the Lair. They spent the night at the inn, discussing options, including; travel to the heart of the forest; exploring the water tunnel in the goblin warrens; and heading into the Underdark through their ooze tunnel.
1st of Echos : Group returns to the Lair. They assign proper sleeping quarters and settle in doing various maintenance tasks. Vani and Brommik discover their kobold minions, Itlik and Igix, are deeply engaged in training their lizard… to climb walls… Upon being noticed, they beat the lizard off the wall with their spears, and listened to Brommik and Vani ask their questions. They informed the pair, that they could do a lot of things, if they only had tools and, even make bolts for them.
The PCs decide to search the forest for the evils hidden in the heart.
2nd of Echos : Gathering supplies, the PCs headed east out of the Warrens, travelling down into the forest, and eventually wandering out to the eastern section of the woods until they reached the ancient stone bridge crossing the Moonbrook. They searched around the area for a while but could find no trace of road or other paths. Camp under the bridge for the night.
3rd of Echos : Following the Moonbrook back west, the psionically talented begin to feel the hackles rise on the back of their necks. Searching south of the area, they find nothing, but they thought they were in the right place.
4th of Echos : Moving north of the Moonbrook, everyone in the group begins to feel very poorly, with vague nightmarish thoughts taking much of their waking thoughts. They search the area, finding a few bits of rubble, but nothing conclusive.
5th of Echos : The night was horrible, with the feelings of being watched and the horrible nightmares affecting everyone, some even getting no rest and losing a healing surge…
By noon, however, they find a series of ruins that lead to a number of natural-seeming mounds standing before a vast stone monastery. The grassy hills turned-out to be burial mounds, two of the three with intact portcullis; the third missing its iron portal. Illuria remembers the kobolds in the “smart” lair having a similar portal ruined by Brommik.
Entering the echoing halls, the first chamber is a vast place with several ruined statues, thick pillars and always sporting the mosaics of the elements. The first chamber bore a massive statue of a female goddess holding a large gold bowl of burning flames, covered in thick, black moss. The group was struck by numerous psionic attacks, and the group avoids the area along the wings of the halls.
They investigated a series of small rooms, some holding intact miniature statuettes of people, others holding smashed statuettes, and others being dank and empty. At first several PCs gathered a few to keep, but when it was brought to their attention that they were likely memorial pieces marking the dead, they put them back with apologies.
Near these rooms, they entered a pool chamber where they were attacked by a mass of mossy sludge, then another that had numerous stone tables in it, that summoned a large earth elemental, with which Grignak discussed various matters regarding the elements. They entered another chamber with censors hanging from the roof, and finally an open courtyard filled with ashes, leading to a small exterior shrine. When the PCs entered the courtyard, a pair of small fire elementals came out and tried to burn them; though Brommik’s immunity to flame made them bored, and they happily accepted the keystone the PCs brought with them of a firebloom, carrying it back into the small shrine.
The rest of the halls held a ruined library on the upper level with a few books and scrolls, a large central courtyard with a strange pair of trees that seemed suspiciously “awake” and a complex at the back that once housed workshops, a feast hall and storage chambers… along with a troll, that the PCs were able to defeat though it was scary.
They also found a stairwell leading into the deeper cellars, guarded by a tri of male soldiers and a female goddess figure beckoning them deeper. Beyond was a rusted and ruined iron portcullis, and a pair of trapped corridors leading away from a central goddess figure welcoming them to the crypts. Along one side was a guard room, and several preparation chambers led along a wide non-trapped corridor, with several narrow halls leading off into darkness. Using the right-hand rule the PCs began to wander the tunnels.
Each tunnel was lined with a series of narrow niches holding clay urns of various sizes and shapes holding ashes and bones. From time to time, rounded tunnels had broken into and out of the burial tunnels in random places. Also, during their explorations, there began to be actual voices heard from time to time, seemingly matching the horrible visions the PCs had felt off-and-on over the past few days. They were getting close to the corruption in the heart of the Forest!
Exploring one of the rough “worm” tunnels, they found they meander back and forth through the area, sometimes heading a few hundred feet into the earth beyond the crypts. At one point, they heard distant “digging” noises, and at another, they encountered a pair of armadillo-like creatures that rusted the PCs weapons and armor (and making all of them toss their relics to the rear and pull-out back-ups and lesser weapons), but eventually they managed to chase the pair off.
Returning back to the main crypt tunnels, they encountered a large chamber filled with sarcophagi and mounds of bones, but their journey was otherwise uneventful. Eventually, the group tripped into a dead-end tunnel with the “voices” seemingly very loud. Vani examined the tunnel’s end, and found a secret door, which when opened, they discovered the source of the great horror that was rotting the heart of the woods.
The first was a pit chamber with the remains of countless victims psyches smeared into its walls and the deep cells carved into its center. Beyond was a torture chamber covered in filth with a large throne overlooking the chamber. Guarding a tunnel leading away from the chamber of horrors was a robed skeleton, that when attacked clawed at the PCs and sent several of them (Vani and Brommik) on a blind teleport into the ruined crypts beyond. Quickly battered, it took a while to gather the PCs back together again, before they proceeded into the deep shrine beyond.
A central altar of mottled stone lay before hideous statue of a ram-headed beast wielding a sceptre of skulls. Bones, blood and worse lay in heaps before and around the statue. The focus of horror was identified coming from the altar, and as the PCs watched, the stone molded and bubbled turning itself into a hideous creature of pure chaos; a Chaos Beast!
In an anti-climactic battle, the group surrounded the beast, and proceeded to batter it into submission. In a stunning couple rounds <<in>>, the beast that has haunted the depths of the ruined monastery died in a gout of icky death-stuff.
The PCs cast the idol to the ground and looted the hoard of treasures (hundreds of pounds of silver and gold coins and gems) beneath. Assured the secret door and the depth of the PCs exploration ensured the PCs would rest safely, they camped in a corner of the shrine and tried to rest. Victory!!
6th of Echos : The continuing images of horror and nightmares, and the ever-present stench of rotting Chaos Beast, made the night a horrible one with little rest. Grignak suggested the PCs try and haul the corpse of the Chaos Beast out to his little flame elemental friends for disposal. Point of Order called, as to its massive size. It was then suggested the PCs carve it up and carry it out in bits… Another Point of Order called on how simply icky that was. The corpse was abandoned and the treasure was divided for carrying.
Wandering out into the corridors of crypts the PCs eventually followed the right-hand rule to lead out of the maze and back to the nexus of corridors that was the central beckoning statue. Vani swore he saw something down one corridor, but upon examination, could see nothing. He told the PCs and they quietly agreed to camp for dinner under the statue, while Vani and Colo kept an eye open. The two soon spotted a goblin head poke around the corridor to spy on them. Informing the PCs, the two approached the corridor and spotted a tall bugbear cajoling a pair of goblins with massive packs on their backs. It was telling them to keep an eye on the PCs.
Vani took advantage of the opportunity of their surprise to fire a couple shots at the bugbear. The resulting horror of a bugbear, charged into the group, dropping Vani and eventually Brommik, with its horrible strength. It summoned a pair of dire rats who inflicted filthy fevered wounds, while the two goblins curled into nearby tunnels and cried for their lives. <<mercy>. The fight was long, but eventually its minions dies, and it too went down. One of the toughest fights in the monastery!
The goblins were identified as being porter slaves. They seemed unable to comprehend the concept of the surface world, nor did they have any appreciable skills beyond fetching and carrying. The goblin’s packs were massive constructs, holding fish, strange goods, such as rags and broken tambourines.
The bugbear bore a magical morning star, strange hide armor and a map! The map was drawn of charcoal on parchment, and consisted of several lines and images of sorts along with diamonds and squares marking off chambers and tunnels. One symbol became noted, along the far left of the map, as the symbol for “Elemental Water”.
Gathering their belongings, the PCs convinced the goblins to lead them to where the bugbear came out. A ways along the left-hand wall, another worm tunnel pierced the crypts, and after clearing a little rubble, the group headed into a long, narrow tunnel leading down, deep underground. Knowing it likely led elsewhere.
The group then left the complex of tunnels, and headed back to the Lair for some partying and with a pair of disgruntled goblin porters in tow. Their first view of the surface was a raging blizzard…
7th of Echos : The day was spent in personal tasks, such as Blastpatch making, potion brewing, watching the kobolds fish and rummaging through the large, heavy packs the goblins were toting. There is a kobold-goblin summit, in which the kobolds re-iterate their need for tools, and the fact that the goblins are slaves is made clear to them… <<“they>s room, eventually finding a small tapestry of fine make hidden in a bench. This relic, sewn with gold and silver threads, depicted a city of the underdark, dominated by a large central pillar, built along a lake or sea of the deeps. A masterwork, it was easily worth 900 gp without even knowing its origins. Nothing spoke that the goblins were servants of the drow.
The PCs asked how the goblins had originally fled from upper Warrens, and the chief led the PCs to the original entrance, where the trash-filled niche lay. He revealed a hidden door, leading to a carved circular stair that led up to another hidden switch… and into the main stair entrance to the Upper Warrens and the PCs own lair!!! Grignak looked for another even lower entrance, but failed to find anything. The Lower Warrens were, apparently, yet another section of hidden carved halls from the original Elemental Shrine that the PCs claimed as their Lair!
The PCs retreated to their Lair, a little less secure about the origins of their claimed lair, knowing that drow indeed were somewhere nearby, and that there was a whole world lying below their very noses…