After searching the area and entombing Deacon Ash’s body in a cairn, the PCs who were there, Ephezen, Adeipho, and Kendrick, elected to rest before further exploring the ruined castle. In addition, they hoped that Lireal and Eliab would arrive to help them.
The next morning, Adeipho and crew were relieved when Lireal and Eliab arrived—and they hadn’t arrived alone. Accompanying them was the half-orc druid Grymbull. Enraged by Tyderius’ attack on the town, Grymbull had offered to help Captain Holt deal with the evil spellcaster. Holt then introduced the druidic adventurer to Eliab and Lireal—who then agreed to bring the druid with them on the road south.
After filling them in on Deacon Ash’s death, the group entered the ruins via the large spiral staircase they had discovered. After several revolutions, the stairs opened into a landing room before continuing down into the darkness. If not for the PCs, it would be completely dark. However, it wasn’t silent as the PCs heard a low moaning/babbling noise coming from the open archway ahead.
The PCs moved forth to explore the first dungeon level of the ruins and discovered a huge prison chamber with a dozen 10 ft. square stone cells in it. The babbling grew louder and the PCs were soon having to fight off the effects of two allips’ babbling. As the allips attacked, nine skeletal warriors emerged, one by one, from prison cells and moved to attack. Without Ephezen’s ability to channel positive energy, the PCs would have been in serious trouble—with it, the undead were no match for the party.
The PCs continued to explore the level and discovered several rooms which indicated that the level used to serve as a prison of sorts for the Hextorites. While defeating a strange plant-creature that used spores to induce hallucinations in its prey called a basidirond, one of the PCs fled from the hallucinations into a nearby chamber. In that chamber stood a man-sized, six-armed marble statue of Hextor. As the PC attempted to flee past the statue, it came to life, clubbing the PC. Suddenly the heroes were fighting two foes at once and things looked dire!
With a bit of luck, and after shrugging off the hallucinogenic spores, the PCs were able to defeat both the plant-creature and the animated statue. After tending to their wounded, the PCs continued to explore and discovered a lab devoted to building constructs. Worse, lying on a table in the middle of the room was a man-sized creature fashioned from flesh, leather, and mismatched body parts—a flesh golem! The un-thinking creature rose and attacked but, in the end, proved to be no match for the heroes.
Although there were many rooms left unexplored, the PCs, low on resources, elected to rest to regain their strength. As of yet, they had found no sign of the summoner or his lackeys.
However, their rest was interrupted when the PC on watch was attacked by two hobgoblins, an archer and a swordsman, and their two pets—a leopard and her nearly full-grown cub. After the archer failed to take out the PC quickly, he retreated—leaving his pets and the soldier to guard his back. While the PCs were able to defeat the cats and the solider, the archer was too fleet of foot and his made his escape deeper into the complex down the large spiral stairs.