The Temple of Elemental Evil

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Into the Viscounty
Session 1

The Journal of Rel Starshine

1st of Planting 579 CY

I have arrived in Verbobonc. I spoke to several town guard about where to go seeking employment with the paladins of Heironious. I find the Bridgewalk Tavern in the High Quarter of the city. The tavern sits alongside the Velvadyva River and some of the patrons occupy balconies that hang out over the river despite the chill still in the air. I observed a gathering of locals placing little paper ships on the water and watch them float down through the city waterway.

Inside the establishment, I shake off the cold and order a Furyond wine for a few coins. About an hour after my arrival, a young initiate of Heironious enters and speaks to the patrons offering work for those willing to carry steel and travel to the wilds South of Verbobonc. I watch and listen intently to this young paladin from the Highcastle Temple of Heironious and wait. He seeks out a male dwarf with long dark brown hair and a beard streaked with silver. The Paladin, Fennec, talks with the dwarf who gives his name as Dugal, son of Eadan. The Paladin shares that the hire is for a band to investigate troubles to theSouth which may be linked to bandits or monster raids.

The pious warrior seems anxious to gather a small contingent and he approaches two halflings seated near the fireplace. I can overhear him speaking with the one halfling who translates to the other that if they go, he will pay them. The pair promptly get up from their meal and leave. They return a minute later and demand payment from the startled youth. The paladin tries to explain to the pair that they must accompany him to the hills to the south and search out the evil that may be lurking. If successful, there will be even more gold for the two halflings, Pinkertin and Merric.

Fennec of Heironious finally approaches me. . He asks me if I have any skills and I share that I know how to use my bow and have been known to use magic on occasion. He asks if I am willing to follow him to a village to the South and I agree to. The paladin seems pleased with this news and offers to take the four of us to his Temple to sign us on for this mission against possible bandits. We leave with Fennec and travel the short distance to the temple. A short time later, we have signed the payroll and have been paid 30 pieces of gold and 3 weeks iron rations to go to a place called Hommlet. I learn that other initiates are also gathering mercenaries and we are some of the last to be signed up. The other groups have been assigned other locations in the Kron Hills, such as Ostverk and Penwick.

Fennec agrees to meet us in the morn after his morning prayers so that we may set out for our travels. My attempt to make myself available for hire has worked. Now I can pursue any leads on the bandits who killed my cousin while working for the Paladins of Heironious. The halflings say goodbye to the “Shiny Man” and his bodyguard the dwarf, and state they are going for a real meal at a place called Jillie’s Inn.

I spot the two halflings later in the evening in the taproom of the Bridgewalk Tavern. I notice them divvying up a handful of coins and giggling and whispering back in forth. After dinner, I retire to my room and say prayers to Corellon before drifting away for the night in my past memories.

2nd of Planting 579 CY
Fennec meets with Dugal, Pinkertin, Merric and myself in the morning and gives us full details of the mission. He states our mission is to travel a village in the Viscounty called Hommlet that lies about a week’s trek or more south. The youthful paladin informs us that we are to seek out any banditry or foul humanoids. He says we are to find those areas, report our findings and deal with the situation if possible.

The halflings are not pleased with a long march on the road. I propose that we seek mounts or transport to speed the journey and allow the short folk to keep up and not exhaust themselves since it appears they are not up to much beyond walking to the table when dinner is called. The paladin seems flummoxed with trying to come up with a way to get everyone to the village. I suggest a cart. The youth likes the idea and agrees to buy a cart and an ox. I agree to purchase another ox to help get us to the area where we are to search for evil bandits.

After our purchases, we load our gear into the cart and set out on our journey. Our small band travels the road before darkness begins to encroach. We stop in a flat area and make our camp. Fennec cares for the oxen while Pinkertin and Merric gather wood for the fire. Dugal starts a fire and offers up some rations for me to cook for the group. Fennec goes to the edge of camp and says some prayers to his god. After our meal we discuss setting a guard to watch over those sleeping. The paladin takes a watch alone, Pinkertin and Dugal take the next one, and little Merric and I watch over the camp until dawn.

3rd of Planting 579 CY
After a short meal, we break camp traveling in the cart. At times, I take to walking as I find it more fulfilling and less cramped than the oxcart. During the day we come to Etterboek. During the short stop here, I convince the group to offer up a silver coin each in exchange for some fresh food to cook for dinner after making camp. The two halflings, Merric and Pinkertin swiftly hand over their share. At the market in Etterboek, I buy some potatoes and fresh fish. We set back out again on the road and travel up to an hour before dark. Dugal helps Fennec choose a campsite. Once they select an area near a small copse of trees, I start to make dinner. My companions praise my cooking. The rest of the night is uneventful.

4th of Planting 579 CY
Several hours of travel leads into a vale where I could make out a small village on the road ahead. Fennec informs us that the village is Cienega Valley. We pass through the human village near midday. I see that the settlement is surrounded by vineyards on the slopes of the hills. Merric wants to stop and eats several meals but the Paladin states the group must push on towards Hommlet. We leave Cienega Valley behind and pass a small caravan in the afternoon. An hour later, as the oxcart rumbles through a gloomy section of road we hear noises and screechy shouts from both sides of the darkened woods. Short humanoid creatures armed with blades and spears rush out to attack us. I quickly summon a slumber magic and four of the furry lizard-like beasts fall to the ground. As Merric prepares a spell, Dugal jumps from the cart and catches his boot, causing him to fall to the ground in an awkward jumble of axes and armor. The foes attack Fennec with their short blades. Merric’s magic causes the plants to entangle and hold some of them in place. With blades we dispatch our foes without any serious injury. We loot the dead and make to move on a good distance from the battle before we make out camp for the night. In the evening we make camp near a tiny stream and eat iron rations for dinner. We stay vigilant watching for the kobold creatures or other beasts but the night is uneventful.

5th of Planting 579 CY
The highlight on the road is that we encounter a larger caravan traveling North to Verbobonc on the road. Fennec waves at and engages the 6 wagon caravan with 10 armed guards on horseback. He queries about news of Hommlet and is told there is no news and the road is good ahead. Fennec shares that the caravan should watch the forest a half day’s travel north. The holy warrior tells them that we were ambushed by kobolds but they attacked in a small enough force that the group was able to dispatch them all.

The caravan merchant is asked about his wares and he tells us that he sells rope and farm implements. Several of our party check out rope while I price and purchase a large amount of iron spikes, 90 to be exact. The caravan departs and we travel on until we reach Hommlet. The halflings seem pleased for soft beds, fresh food, and having a few ales. At dusk, we break free of forested lands and see the sign of civilized land. I see a village of farms straddling a crossroads with close hedgerows marking the division of the farmland lying in the shallow valley. We pass a stone-built church before finding ourselves at a ford that crosses a stream. The dwarf drove the oxcart across the shallows and we spot several shops; a blacksmith, a moneychanger’s office, and a sign for a trader. It is the wooden sign of a smiling woman holding a mug that we all head for. Speaking to the stableman, we leave our beasts in his care and head inside the village inn.

I follow the others into the taproom of the inn. The room is clean and warm and the humans inside look at us for a moment before quietly returning to their food and drink. Pinkertin is talking to Merric in his native tongue, most likely about ordering food. The large older human behind the bar comes out to greet us and welcome us to his inn. The jovial, balding man is Ostler Gundigoot and the place is called the Inn of the Welcome Wench.

The innkeeper escorts us to a table near the hearth. He surprises the two shortfellows by speaking their tongue when they start talking to one another about the menu. Pinkertin orders meals and drinks for the group from Ostler and he sends everything out with one of his servers. Fennec asks about rooming and the innkeeper shares that guests do receive simple meals with their stay for free or they can stay in the dormitory room and get plain breakfast. I give the man 2 gold coins for a room for the night. The halflings get a room while the dwarven warrior priest and Fennec decide on the dormitory for the night.

Dugal has an opportunity to speak to Goodwife Gundigoot later. He asks her about any rumors or stories of recent attacks on the roads surrounding the village. The goodwife tells the dwarf that there were some missing merchants to the roads north between Hommlet and Etterboek about a month ago. She knows little else and tells Dugal that if he needs more assistance that he should seek out the Druid tomorrow. After finishing a second glass of wine, I say goodnight to my merry companions and think about my purpose and hope that I will be able to succeed with my tasks. Everything has went well so far. I have joined up with one of the paladins and I should be able to learn more about banditry from the druid.

6th of Planting 579 CY
After breakfast cooked by the Goodwife Gundigoot and her two daughters, we set out for grove of the druid. Inside the little forest in the center of the village, we locate the dark bearded man who is one of the revered faiths in Hommlet. We introduce ourselves, I greet the druid and inform him I am Rel Starshine of Celene. The druid, is Jaroo Ashstaff of Elahonna. Fennec tells the druid that he is seeking information of any bandit activity or evil creatures that might be troubling the area. The priest of Elahonna says that he can help us if we are willing to make a donation to his deity. Everyone gives Jaroo some of their pay from Fennec. Pleased, Jaroo tells that all of us that we should investigate a location 10 miles from the village.

The druid tells that if we follow an old trail on the outskirts of the village it will lead us east to some ruins where six years past a band of traveling heroes put down a giant troll who had taken residence in the stone ruins. He says it is a moathouse that is surrounded by a wetlands and would be an ideal place for any foul beasts to use. I ask Jaroo who built the keep. He tells us that evil men built it and used it as an outpost before he came to Hommlet.

Fennec believes the party should investigate this ruined bastion of evil. Merrec asks Jaroo about the tower and the keep being built in the village. Jaroo is more forthcoming on this subject and informs us that the tower is the hold of Rufus and Burne. They came to Hommlet 3 years ago, after being granted permission by the Viscount of Verbobonc to build a stone keep on the southern borders of the Viscounty. Fennec asks what the two men did, and Jaroo says that the rumor is that they slew a green dragon in service of Verbobonc.

We agree to follow the paladin to the moathouse in order to earn our coins. I hope that we are on the right path. We follow the overgrown trail that leaves the village to the East. The way is slow and difficult due to the thorns, creepers, and tangled vines that have grown up along this track. We arrive at the ruins about an hour before dark. The land here is sunken and desolate. The pungent smell of wet earth and mold are prevalent here. As we approach the fallen fortress through the cattails and bog grass we can hear weird bird calls and the croaking of the swamp life. Suddenly the five of us are attacked by gigantic frogs that seem intent on having us for dinner. Merric and Dugal almost perish as the creatures wrap their sticky tongues around them and drag them toward their hungry mouths. I quickly cast my sleep spell on the frogs catching half of them and causing them to succumb to my magic. Freeing themselves from the frog tongues, we all attack the other frogs and slay them all. Dugal discusses eating these things, but no one else seems inclined and he ends up slitting them open and he finds a small gem for his trouble.

We cross over a decaying drawbridge into the courtyard of the keep. Much of the place was destroyed in a siege by the evidence still visible. Broken walls, a collapsed tower, and the skeletal remains of a second story all show the destruction brought down years ago onto this evil outpost. A nearby broken tower opens onto the courtyard. The others decide to poke around looking to see what they can find. Again we are ambushed! This time a giant spider drops down attacking Dugal and Pinkerton. I fire several arrows at the swollen black torso of the spider. Dugal and Fennec hack at the creature while the two halflings move away and toss missiles at it. After several hits the giant beast convulses and its long legs curl up under it as it dies. Dugal locates a small treasure box and he puts into his pack.

Since it is growing even darker with the setting sun, we seek out a place we might be safe to camp. We do not wish to enter the ruined proper or retreat to the swamp of frogs so I suggest we climb up to the stone wall and camp upon the battlement of the broken wall. Pinkertin the rogue climbs up and lowers a rope that he has secured to the stones above. We each climb up and help the next one up. We quietly put out our bedrolls and eat cold rations. In the moonlight, the paladin points out a worn trail that weaves across the courtyard from the drawbridge to the entrance of the keep. We man our watches, but we encounter nothing during the night.

7th of Planting 579 CY

After I take time to study my spellbook and the priests pray and a simple breakfast, we head up the low stairs into the ruined main keep. We see the debris of the former owners, mangy pelts and stuffed heads of a former trophy room lie scattered about one of the first chambers. We enter another full of broken furniture and manage to find a silver rod left behind. We hear a sound down a hall and investigate. Pinkertin clears the door and Fennec opens the portal to reveal a giant lizard! The creature rushes forward and tries to taste the dwarf. I fire arrows and Dugal hacks with his large axe. The paladin thrusts his sword at the giant reptile while praising Heironious. Pinkertin throws daggers into the monster while Merric tosses his darts.

The room is partially collapsed and Dugal spies a chest partially buried under the stone and timber rubble. He decides to wait and check the gullet of the lizard. His instincts pay off and the dwarf recovers a metal kite shield that had been swallowed by the giant lizard. Once he is done retrieving the shield, the dwarf decides to go after the chest. As he moves debris, the fallen stone shifts and the material collapses upon the dwarven warrior priest. Fennec works quickly to uncover him, while I try and brace the damaged wall with several timber posts. The young warrior frees the dwarf and Merric performs some healing upon Dugal. We decide to return to Hommlet so that everyone can rest up from their wounds from the lizard and the wall collapse.

Our progress was faster on our return to the farm village. Fennec has hacked away many of the thorns and thistles that impeded us on our original trek out. The human youth seems tireless. Once we reach the village we spend more time viewing the layout and examine the castleworks being constructed up close. A single tower is complete sitting upon a hillock. Human laborers are digging into the earth to create a foundation for the coming stone walls. A stonemason is supervising the installation of stone blocks for the outer wall. I spy a human in robes near the tower. I assume he is Burne the mage, master of the tower. He studies us from across the construction site. The others are unaware of Burne’s gaze as they watch the laborers lift a huge stone up with ropes and winches. Returning to the Inn of the Welcome Wench we pass several shops including a carpenter and a wheelwright’s shop.

We discuss concerns about a longer stay and decide to speak again to Jaroo. The druid suggests we speak to his friend Derval, a farmer who may allow us to pasture our oxen on his land. Fennec and I go to see him while the others return to the inn for a meal. We walk to the sheep farm and Fennec speaks to three kids who inform him that Derval is home. We speak to the farmer and he graciously agrees to allow us to store our cart and oxen at his farm. We thank Derval and join the others for a good meal at the inn.

After dinner has digested and we sit idly by the fire, Dugal decides to get up and speak to a big farm lad who is drinking ale at the bar talking with the innkeeper. Dugal speaks to Elmo who seems to enjoy his ales and has a reputation for out-drinking everyone who stops at the inn. The dwarf decides to challenge Elmo the village drinking champion to a drinking contest. Bets are placed by locals and the halflings get involved as coins are wagered. Ostler Gundigoot fills mugs of stout ale before both contestants. I stay back and monitor the crowd keeping a look out for any tell-tale signs of subterfuge in the inn. Elmo and Dugal slam ale after ale down. The farmers and tradesmen cheer on Elmo. After over a dozen mugs of ale, the dwarf teeters on his seat and collapses face down onto the table. The crowd yells and cheers for Elmo as he remains undefeated.

Pinkertin meets a human male in the common room after the crowd thins. The man speaks halfling and asks him if he would like to play some games of chance. Pinkertin agrees to a small game of dice. During the game the man asks Pinkertin about being Hommlet and the halfling shares that he had been hired to check out the area for monster trouble. Furnok the gambler informs Pinkertin that in addition to gaming, he is also a Treasure Finder and he offers up scroll of protection from magic to our expedition if we allow him to join us and give him a share of rewards and treasures. Pinkertin lets the rogue know that he will share this information with the others. Before retiring for the night the we pay the innkeeper for additional days at the inn and for meals and for drinks consumed during the evening.

8th of Planting 579 CY
Before breakfast, I study my spellbook and prepare for divination of magic on the few items we have recovered from the ruins. At breakfast, Dugal seems mostly recovered from his effort to beat Elmo at his greatest skill drinking lots of alcohol. We gather in my private room upstairs after the meal and I cast my magic over the items. The shield that was in the gullet of the giant lizard is enchanted. We easily decide to let Fennec Shinyman take it since only he and the dwarf can use it and Dugal likes carrying his two handed axe into battle.

We don our gear and set out from the village. We travel to the ruined moathouse and arrive shortly after mid-day. We search other areas of the keep that were not searched during our previous visit. As we search through a moldy kitchen and are checking out a wooden cask, a giant tick leaps out from the chimney and tries to feed on one of us. A couple of good hits and the thing is dead. We do locate stairs descending down into darkness, but we decide to explore the upper ruins before taking the stairs.

In the room that once was an audience chamber, another tick springs out and tries to drain Merric. This creature dies rather quickly. Another door opens to a bedchamber. Here Pinkertin discovers a scabbarded broadsword that we pick up. At the end of the hall is another door that the halflings examine and listen at the door. Fennec opens the door and we enter to find a giant snake. The swamp is disturbing as it seems to breed gigantic versions of reptiles, amphibians, and other creatures. We move in to battle the snake as it is aggressive and it seems to wish us as a meal. After a quick battle the five of us again are victorious. For our troubles Fennec recovers a jeweled dagger.

After looting the snake, we enter another chamber that results in us being swarmed by bats. Fennec leads us to a wooden door that cannot be opened. Dugal uses his axe to hack through the barrier. The dwarf chops his way through the door to discover that it is barred from the inside. Dugal uses his axe to take care of the bar as well. Opening the door the paladin leads the way into a fire blackened room that is also filled partially with rubble. From around a corner in the ruined room, armed men attack us from ambush. They throw javelins and attack with swords. Quickly, I cast a spell and 7 of the 9 bandits collapse into a slumber. The remaining brigands are now outnumbered and try to flee outside through a collapsed wall breach. Again, I cast a sleep spell and these men fall down as the magic takes effect.

My companions look at me and are in awe that I was able to effectively take out this group of brigands by myself. I am not sure that many of them have spent much time around any spellcasting wizards before. Dugal and Fennec quickly tie up our prisoners while the halflings and I strip them of weapons and any valuables. Searching the room further we uncover a buried chest hidden under loose stones of the wall breach. The waking bandits are surly and not very cooperative. I show them the bloody dress that she died in, but none of the men recognize it. It appears that this group may not be the bandits I am seeking. They refuse to answer our questions until I use my remaining spell and charm one of the human bandits.

The surly bandit’s mood changes and he gives his name as Taryn. He says the group’s leader is Zevil. The others glower and tell Taryn to shut up, but the charm magic makes him friendly and he spills his guts. He shares that they have been together for 6 months and serving the Master. When asked were the Master is, Taryn says he is down below the keep. He even shows us a hidden passage that says leads down to the man leading this bandit group. Perhaps he is the one responsible at Humming’s End. We make camp in the chamber, keeping a watch out large beasts and keep an eye on our bandit prisoners.

9th of Planting 579 CY
We gather up our prisoners and march them back to Hommlet. They reluctantly march because if they do not they are told that a sword is the alternative. The journey is uneventful and we reach the edge of the village.

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Session 2

(Session 2)

(Still 9th of Planting)

We decide to turn over the bandits to the men serving the Viscount, Rufus and Burne. We march the bandits to the tower and speak to the 2 guards at the entrance. We inform them that we have bandits that we captured and wish to turn them over to Rufus. The guards lower a drawbridge and we are granted permission to enter past the iron entry door. Inside, we meet a man in green robes and a muscular warrior in chain armor. Rufus and Burne greet us and we make introductions. The two halflings whisper back and forth while Fennec talks with the two lordlings. Burne the mage asks for proof that the men are indeed bandits. I speak up and inform Burne that the 9 men were captured at the ruined moathouse and that they attacked us. I tell him that I used magic to capture them and then to charm one of the men who has told us information about their banditry. I also tell them that they are serving a master at the moathouse.
Burne accepts my words and he agrees to take the prisoners. He says that he will take them to Verbobonc where they will face justice for their crimes. Rufus thanks us and we depart the tower. I decide that we should inform Jaroo of the news of the hidden master of the moathouse. We walk over to the grove. Speaking to the druid, we share the news and he encourages us to seek out the lower level of the complex and deal with the threat there. As an incentive the priest of Elahonna gives each a vial of holy water.
We decide to spend the remainder of the day resting, provisioning, and planning for our return to the moathouse. We return to the Welcome Wench and are greeted by Ostler. The taproom is somewhat full of folk. Most are the local farm folk and craftsmen stopping in for a quick meal or a pint of ale. Two of the men sitting alone stand out. One is a man in a dark gray outfit and the other is dressed in the robes and cloak often worn by the human mages of the land.

We discuss the opportunity of adding another blade to our fledgling band. Fennec seems dumbfounded by the talk, believing that we have enough swords already. I convince Dugal that another warrior would help to protect the halflings in battle. Once the paladin stops moping about our desire to live through battle, we discuss options. I mention Elmo. Everyone looks at me intrigued, but Fennec states he seems to drink too much. I tell him we should make some inquiries in the village to learn more about the hulking farmer turned man at arms.

I inquire with the innkeeper’s daughter about the man I saw earlier in robes. She tells me his name is Spugnoir and he is a traveler staying at the inn. I seek out the druid. I ask Jaroo about Elmo. The druid tells me that Elmo is strong, and was a soldier in the the Verbobonc Army for two years. He also shares that he is honest and has done caravan work in the region. I thank the priest and give him 10 silver coins as a donation before departing.

While I am gone Fennec speaks to Ostler Gundigoot. Ostler informs the holy warrior that Elmo Green is a good honest lad. Fennec asks about his skill at arms and is told that he doesn’t know much, but believes him to be a man to be reckoned with if he were in battle due to his size and strength.

After dinner, Elmo enters the Inn of the Welcome Wench. We call him over to our table and ask him to join us. Fennec asks the warrior about his skill at weapons and he informs him that he is trained in battleaxe, longsword, broadsword, and longbow. After a discussion about his skills and training, Fennec offers Elmo a place in our group. Terms of payment are discussed, and I suggest we pay him an equal split of wealth recovered during our foray into the moathouse. Elmo agrees to the deal and he shakes hands with everyone before we celebrate with some drinks. I have two glasses of wine before departing for bed in my private room.

Once there I take time to write a letter that I will give to Goodwife Gundigoot to send off with the next caravan traveling to Oakvein in the morning.

10th of Planting 579 CY

We eat our morning meal in the common room. I try not to watch Pinkertin and Merric as they devour their food like two starving wolves in winter. After the meal we meet with Elmo and let him know that our plan is to travel by highsun to the moathouse. I return to the inn and cast identifying magic on the arrows that are enchanted. Once done I share the information that the arrows are enchanted to fly true. The others give the 4 arrows to me since I use a bow.

We leave Hommlet before highsun. We hack and try to clear a better path to the ruins. With Elmo’s help, it is done. We arrive at the ruins before sundown. We decide to search the bandit’s tower for hidden passages, but we find none. After that, we agree that we should descend the flight of stairs off the ruined kitchen and search the lower level for any lurking dangers to the nearby community.

As Fennec and Dugal cross through the arch of the chamber at the bottom of the stairwell, they are attacked by green slime. With fire and several blades we dispatch the gross colonies of slime. The party loses several weapons to the corrosive effects of the green slimes. Once we are safe we check our surroundings. We find that the one side of the chamber is filled with broken crates, barrels, and furniture piled high almost to the ceiling along the one wall. Elmo and Pinkertin decide to dig through the trash here. With the big man’s help, the duo soon find two doors that were obscured by the filth.

Pinkertin discovers that the door is locked and that the mechanism is new. Intrigued he uses his picks to open the padlock. Behind the door we a storeroom of food and drink. The other locked door is also opened and we find a cache of arms and black cloaks bearing a flaming yellow eye. Both Merrec and Pinkertin take one of the cloaks. My knowledge of halfling culture seems to be very poor. From what I am learning from my two companions on this mission is that they love food and have a desire to possess strange things that they fall in love with, sometimes even if it belongs to another.

Pinkertin decides to scout the southern wing of the broken barrel room. As he slowly makes his way down the pillared chamber to check out a side passage two gaunt men shamble out from behind the pillar. Pinkertin scrambles back and shouts at Merric in halfling. The other halfling informs us of the intruders and we move to engage them.

Elmo, Dugal, and Fennec battle the undead men with blades while the two shortfellows and I hit them with missiles. Several more zombies lurch out a series of rooms along this hall and attack us. In the ensuing fight one of the rotting men smacks Dugal in the stomach and he falls down to the floor and does not move. Everyone else continues to stand toe to toe with the zombies, but more and more keep arriving and I yell for them to cover me as I make my way to the fallen dwarf. I grab the armored dwarf and hoist him over my shoulder as zombies grab and claw at me. Fennec covers my retreat as I am struck and almost fall to the dead as well. I manage to make to the stairwell and lay the dying dwarf down and get Merric to aid him. Elmo and Fennec do an admirable job fighting defensively from the archway. I fire numerous arrows and Pinkertin and Merric add their darts and daggers to the battle.

When all is done, all ten zombies are destroyed. The corpses are rotted and carry nothing of interest. Pinkertin and I search the small cells that the zombies came from. I discover a loose stone as I search for secret passages. Behind the stone is a small cloth sack. Inside the pouch is a sparkling gemstone. I take two bundles of flight arrows from the once secret storeroom to help replace some of my broken arrows. We also stock up on iron rations from the pantry next door. We help Dugal back to Hommlet but night has fallen by the time we limp back into town.

At the Wench, Ostler Gundigoot sees how battered we all are when we cross the threshold of his inn. Goodwife comes out from the kitchen with plenty of food and clucks like a mother hen because of our wounds. We eat our meal in relative silence tonight having faced our toughest challenge thus far. During our meal, two more travelers enter the inn for rooms. They are an odd pair, the one is a hulking warrior with a scowl and the other is a slight small bald man who wears dark clothing.

After the meal, I see the one called Spugnoir. I approach the man and ask if I may join him for a drink and conversation. The young bearded man nods and motions for me to join him at his table in the corner. I introduce myself and ask about him. I learn that he is a practitioner as I had suspected. He says that he arrived in Hommlet on the 28th of Coldeven. He did share that he came in with a caravan that passed through Sobanwych. Spugnoir shares that he is seeking to adventure out with others and would like to gain all scrolls as his share of any adventuring.

I speak to Fennec and the others and they feel that Spugnoir’s offer is too steep to offer him a position with our band. As events wind down in the common room of the inn, we all turn in for a night of rest.

11th of Planting 579 CY

In the morning the two halflings set out for some shopping in the village. Pinkertin buys five daggers from Brother Smythe at his forge. The two then visit the leatherworker’s shop. Here Pinkertin purchases sheaths for his new blades. Merric shows the leather worker, Yorth Bearspaw, the capes that they removed from the moathouse and asks him if he can alter the garment to fit him. Yorth freaks out and demands that the duo leave and not return.

Merric suggests that they seek out the village tailor. Merric speaks to Radist the Tailor a slight man who lives alone above his shop. The halflings ask the tailor if he will fit the capes to the duo to be used as cloaks. Radist agrees to fit them. Merric pays him and he promises the cloaks will be ready in two days.

The halflings return to the inn and shortly they are approached by Jaroo the druid. He asks Merric if they have recently visited the leatherworker Yorth. Merric affirms that he and Pinkertin were there. Jaroo asks the halfling priest about the capes. Jaroo tells them they should not wear the black capes as they are the symbol of evil men who were defeated at the Battle of Emridy Meadows years ago. Fennec tells the druid that the party found them at the moathouse.

I go to the trading post with Fennec and Dugal. I purchase a large bundle of torches and a quiver of sheaf arrows and ask them if they have a hand pulled cart. The traders Rannos and Gremag state they do have a cart, and it can be purchased for 900 gold coins. I examine their faces to see if they pranking me with a pretend price, but I can see that they are not. Fennec and Dugal inquire about plate armor. The men state they have none on hand for sale, but they could order suits for several thousand gold. I resist spitting inside the store but I walk out promising myself not to give these greedy merchants a single coin more for their insane prices.

I decide to visit the wheelwright. Borgan has a cart that he sells to me for 25 gold coins. I thank him for his cart and we return to the Inn of the Welcome Wench.

12th of Planting 579 CY

Rested and replenished, we set out again at dawn for the moathouse. We make the trek with the cart. We arrive at the ruins by midday. We stash the cart in an upstairs room and descend the stairs to the area we battled the zombies. Someone or something has removed all of the bodies from the bottom of the stairs! We cautiously check the area. Pinkertin checks a wooden door off of the entry room. The halfling rogue informs his friend that he heard a distant rattling coming from the other side of the door. He also notices that someone has recently greased the hinges of the door.

Fennec Shinyman opens the door and we search the room. We finds bits of trash on the floor but nothing else. Pinkertin checks the other exit and we learn that he hears grunting from that door. We prepare for a possible battle. Merric says a bless prayer while Dugal prays to his god to improve the paladin’s strength. Fennec opens the door and charges inside with Elmo and Dugal on his flanks. The trio intrude open an ugly horrid ogre. A deadly fight erupts as they all engage in battle. Merric. Pinkertin, and I launch volleys of missiles at the ogre. The creature despite several good blows upon the warriors is no match for our combined assault. The ogre topples and bleeds out in his bedchamber.

Pinkertin and Merric set out to search the area and recover his treasure in his chest. I concern myself with a door that is barred. We hear movement on the other side and then several pleas for help. The others are concerned that the calls are a trap, but I dismiss their theories and remove the bar from the door and open it. Inside the fetid cell we find a gnome and two bedraggled humans. I speak to them and learn that the trio were prisoners captured by bandits and turned over to the ogre as food. The humans are a husband and wife named Linden and Marga. They are linen merchants from Dyvers. Linden promises a reward if we will help he and his wife get away safely. The gnome is Bartles. He shares that he is from a small village in the Kron Hills. They tells us they have been captive for several weeks. Fennec and I give them food and water.

We decide to help the former prisoners escape and escort them and a barrel of brandy back to Hommlet.
Bartles gives Fennec an iron ring with gnomish scrollwork upon it and tells him to show it to other gnomes if he ever needs aid. Bartles then walks out of the village at night. The merchants speak to Ostler Gundigoot who aids them with food and room until they can arrange to leave with an upcoming caravan.

13th of Planting 579 CY

I discuss with Dugal and Merric that paying several gold each night for rooms at the Inn of the Welcome Wench is depleting our pouches quicker than expected. Everyone agrees. I proceed to offer a suggestion that we could consider building house somewhere in the village if we pool some of our wealth. Fennec asks if I have any thoughts of where to build. I mention that a hilltop opposite the mill would be a good location since the land is empty and could give a good view of the village and would offer some defense if needed.

The others like the idea. We ask Elmo if anyone owns the hilltop and he informs us that it belongs to the village elder, Virgen Lorgathan. Elmo offers to introduce us to him. Elmo leads us to the largest house in Hommlet. The manor house is surrounded with a stone wall. Outside several toddlers play outside in the grass under the close watch of servants. A male servant escorts us inside the home where I see several richly dressed young men and their wives eating a late morning meal.

An older man, dressed in a brocaded shirt of gold greets us and informs us that he is Elder Lorgathan. We introduce ourselves. The elder seems to be aware of us already. He informs us that Jaroo and Rufus have informed him of our purpose in Hommlet. He asks why we have come to speak to him. I speak up and inform the Elder that we desire to purchase some land in the village and we learned he is the owner of the hill across the stream above Mytch the Miller’s millpond.

I ask Elder Lorgathan how much it would cost to purchase the land so we might build a house. The human stares at us and I notice he rubs a gold coin in his right hand between his thumb and forefinger. Virgen Lorgathan flatly tells us that we cannot buy the property and he hints we would never be allowed to built any fortification in the village. I refute him and state that we only desire to build a house because continued residence at the Wench is costing each of us too much in coin.

Dugal asks the elder if he has any land that he would sell to us. The elder finally states that he owns a wooded lot on the Eastern edge of town that is empty. We ask about the price and we discuss the price amongst ourselves. We are prepared to buy the lot from the Elder when he hears us mention building a wooden house on the lot. Elder Lorgathan then states that he cannot sell us the lot for that price since we intend to build a house, which makes the property move valuable. He names a higher price now, and then tells us he can only agree to that price once we remove all potential threats to Hommlet that are in the moathouse ruins East of the village.

Elmo and Fennec restrain me as I begin to boil at the Elder’s greed. They drag me from the room as I mutter unkind words in elvish. The dwarf and halflings follow quickly behind as they are escorted out by the manservant. I tell the others I am done dealing with greedy men in Hommlet. We return to the inn for a meal and drinks. During our meal, Ostler’s daughter overhears our talk of land and corrupt thieves and she tells Fennec that her father owns land in the village. The paladin speaks to the innkeeper and the two men quickly strike a deal. Fennec reports back that he and Merric have purchased a small lot of land directly across from the farm owned by Elmo’s father. I ask how steep the price was, and Merric shares that it was only 65 gold coins.

Shocked at the low price, we all thank the innkeeper. Determined to get a home built, I travel to hire the town carpenters. Dugal, Pinkertin, and I. We speak to Rickvar and Samdar and hire the brothers to build nice cottage for 75 gold. The carpenters promise to have it finished in two weeks. After nailing down details for our new abode, we all agree that we should go ahead and slip off back to the moathouse even with darkness falling. We make the trek during the night and arrive at the former outpost of evil in the middle of the night.

We decide to make a camp inside on of the former barracks on the upper level. We set watches and try to get some rest until dawn. Several hours after our arrival, we are attacked by giant rats. We slay the enormous rodents and drag their corpses down the hall to the chamber that the giant lizard once lived.

14th of Planting 579 CY

After breakfast we return to the lower level and search out other passages. Fennec leads us to a torture room that is filled with disused instruments of pain. Pinkertin discovers a faint dried blood trail that travels across the floor right up to one of the pillars in the room. We search the column and I discover a hidden door that opens into a shaft inside the stone pillar. The shaft descends into darkness and is lined with rungs allowing us to climb down. The warriors lead us down the shaft into a burial crypt.

As we cautiously inspect the area we are assaulted by undead humans who scamper out hoping to feast on our flesh and bones. We defend ourselves from these unnatural beings who mock us as they attack us. One of the creatures claws Pinkertin and he falls to the floor bleeding. We destroy these five ghouls. Merrec binds his friend’s wounds and we retreat up the shaft and the other flight of stairs to camp and let the wounded rogue regain his strength. During the night, we are again beset by giant rats, not once but twice. We dispatch them without receiving a scratch.

15th of Planting 579 CY

We decide to return to the crypt and search the area now that Pinkertin is conscious. We find a nice collection of mixed coins and some vials of liquid, as well as a scroll case. Merric finds a rough tunnel broken out of the back of one of the tombs. We have him follow a trail of gold coins back through a maze of tunnels after hours of him trying to search and map these low rough passages it becomes clear that any further attempt will result in becoming completely lost and not finding a path back to the crypt again.

End of Session 2

View
A New Evil
Session 3

(Session 3)

15th of Planting 579 CY

The party leaves the crypt tunnels and makes plans to search more of the surrounding passages. Pinkertin hears a noise. We investigate and discover it is coming from above. Fennec and the halflings express fear that the sound of numerous birds are an ill omen. Dugal states that we should investigate the cawing of many birds. We ascend the shaft, and travel up the stairs to the keep interior. When we reach the ruined kitchen we find dozens of crows and ravens flocked together perched upon the jagged broken walls and beams of the room. Suddenly the 60 birds cease their calls and they look at us. One raven speaks in the voice of the druid of Hommlet. He says, “ Heroes of Hommlet, you are needed. Come quickly!” The rook of black birds erupt into flight and take wing back to the West.

We travel with haste not knowing what Jaroo might need us for. Pinkertin spontaneously comments that he wonders why the druid needs us. Fennec, Dugal and I look at the halfling who claimed he didn’t speak in the human common tongue. The rogue looks at all of us sheepishly and weakly smiles. Fennec comments that a honest soul would always speak truth with an honest tongue. The sun is setting as we reach the settlement. Light smoke is rising from the West side of the village. Merric calls out to guards at Burne’s keep tower who have torches lit and seem on edge. He asks what has happened. A guard answers that there was an attack. Elmo appears worried, and I realize the area of smoke is near his home.

We travel through the village and see the farm that was attacked. Fire has destroyed the pens and farm buildings of Elmo’s neighbor. Dead livestock lay on the ground with their throats cut. Elmo finds his mother who tells Elmo that monsters led by a man attacked the Woodcutter’s farm. She says that they took Hale’s three children, 2 boys and a girl. Elmo’s mother tells us that all of the leaders are at Elder Virgen Lorgathan’s manor.

We go to the manor to talk to Jaroo and the others. Elmo pushes past the servants and makes his way straight to Evard Green, his father. He is in conference with the Elder, Rufus, Mytch the Miller, Jaroo, and Ostler Gundigoot and a man we have not met before. The stranger is wearing the vestments of St. Cuthbert. Jaroo speaks and thanks us for receiving his message and returning to the village with haste.

Jaroo introduces us to Canon Terjon of the Church of St. Cuthbert. Jaroo informs us that the attack occurred the previous night at Hale’s homestead. He says that fires were set and the woodcutter’s few cattle were slaughtered as a ruse. During the fire, Hale and others tried to combat the fire. That is when a man dressed in red, leading a band of gnolls entered Hale’s home and snatched the children while leaving his wife unconscious but alive. Jaroo goes on to tell us that a note was left behind. The note refers to our group as Hounds of Hommlet and tells the villagers that the child are gone forever, but further delving into the moathouse would result in even more attacks as punishment.

We briefly talk to each other before telling the assembly that we plan to pursue the kidnappers and attempt a rescue. Canon Terjon tells Fennec that he appreciates our efforts at fighting evil at the moathouse. Evard tells Elmo that the tracks cross the western bridge before heading off into the wilderness in a westerly direction. We ask about the number of attackers and Evard tells us that the raiders numbered 10 to 12 gnolls and one man based on the prints.

I ask if the village can aid use with food and equipment for the rescue mission. Rufus shares that his armory has no better armor than suits of chain. Fennec suggests leaving immediately, but I caution that the trail will be hard to find in the dark of the forest. We gather the food and supplies from Rufus and he assures us the village militia will be posting guard to prevent further raids. We go to the inn. Ostler Gundigoot puts us up for free and serves us a late dinner as well. We eat and go to sleep.

16th of Planting 579 CY

We wake before dawn and thank Goodwife Gundigoot for the fresh food for the road. Elmo leads us across the bridge and into the woods outside the village. The big warrior keeps an eye on the sky and he comments to Fennec that he hopes that the rain holds off so he can follow the trail left by the gnolls. We follow a definite trail left by the hurrying gnolls. Even I can follow the trail they left through the woods.

We travel all day though the rough terrain. The forested land is also rocky with twisting ravines and broken cliffs slowing travel. Elmo says at sundown that we have traveled 7 miles from Hommlet. Fennec and Dugal are determined to pursue the gnoll band and demand we push on at dark using torches to stay on the trail. We travel all night and add another 4 miles to our chase by dawn.

17th of Planting 579 CY

I convince the party we must stop and rest for several hours. We all eat food prepared by the goodwife and taking turns napping. After 3 hours, we set out at a forced march after the gnolls and their master. We travel the rest of the day. We are all weary, it is not just the halflings. Rain starts and soon it is pouring. We move forward looking for a place of shelter away from the heavy rain. Elmo leads us all into a ravine that immediately is noticed as odd. Instead of dense tangled trees, much of the ravine is barren. The rough stone walls of the valley rise 100 feet above us. The dark streaked rock ravine is over 400’ in length and with rain subsiding for a few minutes we can see more of our surroundings.

The area is eerie. There is an oppressive feel to the dark muddy swale. Bare dead trees and a few clumps of tangled trees dot the ravine. A vulture sits in dead tree nearby eyeing Pinkertin with a baleful gaze. Elmo says that he thinks this ravine is where the gnolls went, but the rain has washed away any sign. Fennec says we should go in and look around for any sign of the gnolls or the children.

The Paladin pulls his sword and leads the way into the valley. As he approaches a tangled copse of trees, several crows take flight and leave the area. Merric spots some bits of ivory in the mud ahead. As we move to inspect, we find the area is littered with the mixed bones of forest creatures and several skulls and bones of humans. Fennec spots some cave openings along the ravine. Clearly, we have found something here in this eerie spot in the forest.

Fennec channels the power of his god and searches for evil. The paladin informs us that he can sense evil from a cave off to our left, that lies closest to the mouth of the ravine. We make our way up slope and check the opening in the rock. Elmo examines the entrance and tells Fennec that the muddy tracks inside the cave mouth do not belong to the gnolls we tracked. We decide not to plunge into that cave, since our mission is one of rescue, not exploration. Elmo and Fennec steer the party back across the ravine to another cavern opening that lies below a copse of rotted and diseased trees. As we near the cave face, we are suddenly surprised by a ferocious band of kobolds. The shrieking creatures come jumping out of cover of the trees above the cave and attack. We dispatch all eight of the little beasts. We search the corpses and decide to check another cave nearby since there is no signs of gnolls at the cavern before us.

Dugal leads our party to a different cavern complex. We see heads and skulls of men and elves in various stages of decay. The dwarf and paladin agree to lead a foray into this cave. We enter and are swiftly attacked by a band of orcs with spears. We are flanked and another group of orcs attacks us from another passage. I push towards the second group and battle them with my sword to prevent their getting to us in the room and getting a chance to surround us. Luck is with us, and I am able to hold the flank with Elmo with use of both of my sleep spells. We take one orc as a prisoner. In orc, he tells us that Greelax will makes us pay! I interrogate the ugly orc. He tells us that Greelax is their chief. The orc is uncooperative so I drag his bound body outside to work on putting fear into his thick skull. Dugal and Fennec follow me concerned that I will execute him on the spot. Despite my hatred, I need information and I can control my utter contempt in an effort to help rescue the poor innocent children.

I kick the orc several times and pull a dagger. I ask him about a human dressed in red. The dull-witted orc says he doesn’t know any humans. I kick him once more and demand to know where the gnolls are. The orc quickly states that he will tells us about the gnolls if I give my word to free him. I look at Dugal and Fennec and tell the orc that if he speaks the truth and does not try to trick us into an ambush that he will be freed but he should leave the area or face certain death. Fennec helps the captive to his feet. The orcs leads the paladin to another cave. Fennec, Dugal, Pinkertin, and Elmo enter the cave to check for signs of gnolls. Almost immediately, the four encounter gnolls.

After a brief but fierce battle, Dugal returns and informs Merric and I that they encountered 3 gnoll guards. He states that they killed two, but one ran sounding an alarm along the way. The others join us and are suggesting that we leave the area to rest. Outside the caverns Fennec releases the orc and tells him to flee and not to return to the caves. We leave the cave complex and travel North.

We march some distance to the North and then West. We cross over a forested ridge before skirting an area where we hear creatures that Elmo says are bears. In a small sheltered depression surrounded by thick growth we make camp. We change bandages on our wounds, clean our blades, and eat some rations before turning in except for our guard rotations.

18th of Planting 579 CY

We pass through the night without any troubles. Elmo uses his rangering skills to lead us to the caverns without following the trail back that we left from. We carefully move through the woods keeping our talk to low conversation and only if needed. We return to the swale, this time during the day. We move slowly to the gnoll cavern keeping watch for ambushes from the other caverns and copses of dying trees.

Elmo and Fennec lead our group into the rough passage. The gnoll guard room is empty but for dried blood from our last foray. We travel down a passage and can hear gnolls yipping and chittering in a chamber ahead. In an effort to quell as many as I can, I slip up to the edge of room and prepare to cast a sleep spell into the adjacent corner hidden from my view. As I ease forward, one of my companions accidentally bumps me and I stagger and step forward to regain my balance. The nine gnolls look right at me and howl in anger and attack me. I suffer several wounds and my spell is ruined. I fight off the gnolls who swarm me. My companions join battle against the other gnolls and I fear I may fall in battle in this chamber. Blood trickles into my eyes partially blinding me. Elmo moves up along with Fennec and Dugal. One of my foes falls, and I quickly step back trying to close ranks back with my friends.

I manage to cast a spell quickly, and three of the attacking females collapse, evening up the odds in our favor slightly. The battle surges around and as Merric uses a healing prayer on my worst wound, the paladin is struck by a gnoll blade and collapses onto the cave floor! I pull my bow and fire arrow after arrow until the remaining gnolls have been defeated. We bind one sleeping gnoll female and wake her after a quick search turns up some coins and a nice sable fur.

The gnoll captive, Yurp, tells us about her tribe when questioned. She tells us that her chief is Floregg and that he has 4 wives and 2 sons. The tribe numbers around 17 adults and 18 young. We ask Yurp about the door off the chamber and she tells us that it is the armory. We make entry after Pinkertin jimmies the lock. We find some weapons and armor and a barrel. The wooden barrel is leaking and the odor of good ale fills the chamber. Elmo and the halflings decide to pull draughts despite my comments about being in harm’s way. Their actions would never happen in any unit of the Queen’s Army!

The paladin stands in the room weakly urging the trio to stop drinking ale in the middle of the gnoll cave. I get Dugal’s aid and he helps me by smacking the barrel once with an axe and I quickly pour the ale out since I do not trust Pinkertin, Merric, or Elmo to just walk away sober. They all shoot me angry looks and I tell them in elven that fools get the most wise killed with their folly! We decide that with our healing drained and the paladin wobbling around like a newborn fawn and unable to fight that we should leave. We take Yurp with us. Dugal tries to reason with her and suggest she tell us about the human children. Yurp tells us that she knows nothing about human children. We eventually learn that a number of the warriors returned from a raid days ago. Dugal asks her about men dressed in red and she does indicate the cave of the men to us. We again leave the valley. This time we make a fake camp east of the ravine before releasing Yurp.

We set out from our fake campsite and march nearly 3 miles away to the North and West. I ask Elmo to try and cover our passage so that any gnolls or other raiders are not led to our actual planned campsite. The light rain stops and we find a small meadow with a small stream nearby. Elmo tells Fennec that he wants to go off and hunt. He later returns with 3 rabbits for the party to eat. I skip the rabbits as normal and eat a meal of bread, cheese, and berries. We set up our watches without the wounded young paladin. Nothing disturbs us during the night.

19th of Planting 579 CY

We travel West in order to throw off any pursuit. We find a nice hollow a few hours before dark and set up camp. Dugal and Merric tend to Fennec’s wrist wound. The holy warrior looks much better after their ministrations. We light a small fire and set our watches with plans to seek out the cavern of the men that the gnoll female showed Dugal.

During the first watch, while standing guard, Fennec and Merric are startled by a large beast that lumbers into camp. They shout urgent alarms waking all from slumber and reverie. The beast attacking Fennec is a troll! The paladin stands fearlessly against the hideous green-skinned beast. In the next moments the claws of the foul thing slice Fennec along his face and neck and the shiny armored human staggers and collapses at the troll’s feet. Dugal and Elmo charge at the troll while the halflings and I pepper his hide with arrows, daggers and darts. The troll cannot stand up to our combined assault and falls to the dwarf’s mighty axe. Elmo demands we burn the troll corpse, stating they are undying without flames to consume their flesh and bones. I assist the ranger moving the body while the priests tend to Fennec. Pinkertin helps gather wood for a fire for the troll. We burn his nasty smelling carcass some distance from our camp and keep watch for other trolls wandering the area.

20th of Planting 579 CY

We do nothing but rest and allow Fennec to regain his strength after being clawed the night before by the intruding troll. Dugal changes bandages and makes sure the warrior drinks plenty of water to help him regain his strength.

21st of Planting 579 CY

Before dawn we break camp and make our way back to the valley. We approach the cave tunnel that Yurp directed us to. We pass a growth of twisted trees and find ourselves before opening. Fennec grasps his symbol of Heironious and informs us that he detects the strong presence of evil from the cave. Pinkertin cautiously listens at the opening before slipping into the darkness to scout for us. He returns and tells us to follow.

As I enter the darkness of the cave, I can feel the evil. It surrounds us. It is part of the stone. We find a wide passage lit by the light of numerous torches. The floor is worn smooth by the tread of countless feet. This cave is old and has seen many visitors in its time. As we chose a direction we quickly learn that our very footfalls echo noisily and any words seem to carry and amplify. Dugal and Fennec wrap their hard boots with cloth to help quell the heaviness of the footfalls. We decide to enter a side chamber and quickly encounter four humans in robes and chain armor.

I use sleep magic and three of the men fall into a heavy slumber. The remaining acolyte tries to stand against the blades of the ranger, dwarf, and paladin but he is not as skilled and dies after a short but bloody struggle. We bind the three men and strip them of weapons and valuables. We attempt to question them about the missing children but each tries to chant or cast some hostile magic at us instead. They have to be given a quick death since they are zealots and worship some foul god.

We find stairs and decide to travel down. We end up battling a band of eight zombies. It is unfortunate that neither priest is granted the ability to repel the undead. I am used to the elven clerics who can repel them with a holy word. We defeat the slow moving zombies. Further exploration leads us to a cell door. Fennec discovers that the cell is occupied by a woman named Sharna. He can see her shapely legs through the iron bars on the door and the bones of several other unlucky prisoners who have succumbed during their captivity. Pinkertin attempts to pick the iron door’s lock but luck is not in his favor and his picks break trying to open the door. Sharna pleads with Fennec to free her, but he tells her that without the key we cannot aid her. Fennec tells her that we shall return as soon as we can find the key.

We search several passages near the prison. We find a bolted door and discover it leads down to a crypt with coffins. Fennec wishes to investigate the crypt because he believes that they may be a door on the chamber that leads to another chamber where the children are. I point out that a darkened crypt that is bolted on the outside is unlikely going to lead to a chamber full of kids. We chose another passage and find a store room. While we check for valuables, we spot a weird image. Slowly moving down the hall is a slumped skeleton and a small cache of coins. By the time we figure out the reason, the creature has blocked the tunnel off and trapped us in the store room. The glistening creature fills the entire passage and I can make out the edges now and see that is is roughly shaped as a cube. The monster strikes out at Elmo with a tentacle of fluid from its body. I fire several arrows into the creature while Elmo and Dugal hack at its face. We manage to destroy the gelatinous thing. Pinkertin and Merric find some coins and a wand of metal inside the leaking remains.

Fennec leads the band down another set of stairs. We enter a smoky chamber that is lit from several flickering torches. A large human with an axe challenges us, claiming we are trespassing. The torture chamber we find ourselves in becomes the scene of a battle. The torturer cannot stand long against our band. The man collapses into a bloody heap and we find a set of keys on his corpse while stripping him of treasure. While searching the torture room for some makeshift lockpicks from the bits of torture equipment, the halfling points out the row of lavish chairs along the far wall. Some sick and twisted person has viewing parties here watching poor souls being slowly tortured as entertainment. I see the paladin tense up at the thought, and I think we all want to find those responsible right now for some justice bringing.

Fennec leads all back to the cell to free Sharna from her cell. He speaks to her as he is unlocking the door and she tells him she is shackled to the wall too. The paladin rushes in to free her followed by Dugal. Fennec sees Sharna and is transformed to stone! Dugal, son of Eadan avoids the same fate and manages to shout alarm while he slams his eyes shut. Sharna demands to be freed. Dugal tries negotiating with the imprisoned medusa. Sharna tells the dwarf that she can restore our companion but only if she is freed from her bonds and allowed to go free. Elmo, Pinkertin, Merric and I stand in the hallway and we quietly debate whether not we can trust her should she be freed. Sharna tells us that she will keep her word if freed and will return the paladin to normal and leave us all unharmed.

I do not think we can trust her to walk away and not try to kill our party. I am very unsure if she can even aid Fennec. I suspect that it is a lie designed to earn her her freedom. I am more in favor of an assault with missiles while she is still bound to the wall. Eventually we would hit her enough that she would die, even as we fire blindly with our eyes covered to prevent seeing her visage. I tell each of my comrades this and we vote. Merric sides with me. Dugal and Elmo want to free her and trust that she speaks without a forked tongue. It comes down to the rogue. The halfling makes his decision based on a coin toss! What kind of nonsense! I never want my fate decided by his hand and random decision making. He chooses to free the medusa and allow her to help the paladin.

Dugal tells the medusa that we will free her under the condition that she cover her face with a cloth sack so we can all be safe. Sharna the medusa agrees to the sack. Dugal moves forward and places the sack on her head before unlocking her shackles. The medusa reaches into her bodice and removes small bottle and sprinkles an oil over the stony remains of the warrior. Fennec is transformed and is momentarily disoriented. Dugal supports the holy warrior and Sharna moves out into the hallway we have vacated for her. As she passes the spur the remaining party has gathered in, she quickly pivots and rapidly moves on me and snatches off the sack from her head. I believe that I will die! I look away and she approaches me and whispers into my ear. She tells me that she could have easily killed our entire group had we not agreed to freeing her as we did. She tells me that we are weak and she will let us live this time since she gave her word. She turns and stalks off. I finally breathe again and sheathe my sword once the tremor in my hand subsides.

After waiting some time so we do not accidentally run into the medusa making her way to an exit, we climb the stairs and go off seeking Hale’s children, if they are still alive. We find an altar in a pillared chamber decorated in red and black stone. The large altar is stained with blood. We find 4 bronze vessels with symbols upon them at the back of the altar stone. Fennec informs us that the vessels are tainted with evil. We leave them alone.

We walk down a passage and check a portal. Pinkertin checks the door and we enter the chamber and find four men engaged in an evil religious ceremony. The bald headed priests all begin calling evil prayers down upon us. We engage the dark priests in battle. Dugal is blinded by one evil priest casting a blinding light on his eyes. We hack and toss daggers and darts at the robed priests. We dispatch three of the four underpriests of this dark temple. The last priest tries to flee out another passage that leads back out to the hall. I step out and sight the fleeing man and fire two arrows into his back and he collapses dead. Our healers say prayers over our wounded and the paladin uses his healing touch in order to undo the wounds upon our party. The halflings gather up the valuables of the priests into sacks. We observe a number of books on the shelf and a quick look into them and it is my opinion the writings are all treatises on evil worship and dark gods and demons. I suggest we leave them and perhaps we consider a camp and rest to regain our spells and a chance to sleep.

(End of Session 3)

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