BK 600CY

The Ruined Temple of Hextor, pt. 1

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.

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The Summoner's Cellar

As the PCs moved down the fire-damaged stairs into the basement, the stairs gave way—making the going treacherous. Upon reaching the bottom landing, the PCs found the cellar door closed.

Upon opening it, the PCs saw that Tyderius had hastily abandoned some sort of summoning chamber/lab. A wooden partition, serving as a portable wall, prevents the PCs from seeing farther into the chamber. However, as they moved into the room, they heard a moaning noise coming from behind the partition. When one of the PCs poked his head around to see what was making the noise, he was surprised to see Argus Peiper lying unconscious on the floor, an air elemental floating in the air above him.

Before the PCs could react, the three missing earth elementals rose out of the earth in the PCs’ midst and a fierce battle ensued. Luckily for the PCs, the elementals had sustained various amounts of damage during their attack on the town and were not at full-strength. While things looked dire for the heroes, the PCs prevailed in the end without any casualties.

As the PCs explored the cellar, they discovered a number of arcane summoning circles etched out on the floor in burnt silver powder. In addition, they discovered a locked chest which they hoped would contain hints as to why Tyderius had summoned so many elementals to attack the town. When they opened it, they triggered one last gift from the summoner: a powerful black tentacles trap.

Although the trap was dangerous, the PCs were able to outlast it and at last they searched the chest. Among other various minor treasures, they discovered a note which read, "The power to summon beings from other planes should not be taken lightly. Before attempting such, be sure to learn the language of the beings you wish to call, otherwise you will not be able to command them. —Cranzer"

With a rescued Argus Peiper in tow, the PCs returned to the surface and briefed Captain Holt on what they had found. They also learned that the town guard had discovered tracks they believed belonging to Bazin near the outside of the western wall. Oddly enough, five more sets of tracks, belonging to three booted humanoids and two equines, appeared out of nowhere. The PCs quickly surmised that Tyderius had used magic to flee the burning building, bringing several accomplices with him—one of whom was most certainly Varishen. The group had then ridden south on magically summoned steeds and somehow had crossed the river.

Captain Holt asked the PCs for help in capturing Tyderius. Due to the casualties inflicted by the elementals and the need to send to Rookroost for reinforcements, Holt was unable to send any of the town’s soldiers after the spellcaster. Holt promised to have his men escort Amira and her wagon back to Rookroost, thereby fulfilling the PCs’ obligation to Ahren. With that, most of the PCs agreed to give chase although Eliab decided instead to stay behind in the town to give care to the wounded and dead. Not wanting him to be alone, Lireal elected to remain behind as well.

The rest of the PCs, given horses by Holt, crossed the river via Argus’s ferry and began tracking Tyderius and his men. Several hours later, a merchant traveling north from Kinemeet reported that a group matching Tyderius’s description had attacked him by casting a black tentacles spell. Luckily for the merchant, the evil wizard had not stuck around to enjoy his handiwork and the merchant’s terrified but stout draft horses had been able to pull themselves and his wagon, with him in it, free of the spell’s area. The merchant advised that he was pretty sure Tyderius and his group were making for the Abandoned Temple of the Herald of Hell.

The PCs continued along the road south, eventually seeing a ruined castle in the distance some ways off the road. Realizing that this was the abandoned temple, they approached cautiously. Just as they could tell that the castle’s upper floors had all been destroyed and collapsed, a bearded devil appeared ahead of them, blocking their way, and demanding a password before allowing them admittance.

Snarling in disdain, the demonic tiefling Deacon Ash refused to discourse with such a creature and a fight ensued. The bearded devil was a vicious fighter and soon Deacon Ash was lying in the dirt, his life’s blood pouring from grievous wounds. Despite their best efforts, the PCs could not staunch the flow and they watched in horror as Deacon Ash perished for the second time.

Despite the loss, the remaining PCs were able to defeat the fiend. Plenty of loose rubble allowed them to build a cairn for Deacon’s body as they searched the area. In the remains of the old keep, they found an old cellar door and a set of large steps leading down into the quiet darkness.

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Elemental Attack on Artonsbrueck, pt. 2

Meanwhile, a pair of fire elementals had attacked the Shallow Draft‘s stables. With the stables set ablaze, and the horses and ponies inside panicking in their stalls, a trio of half-orc adventurers, Teesha, G’narl, and L’ron, rescued the equines and defeated the fire elementals just as the PCs arrived to help. Seeing that the stables were on fire but that the horses had been saved, the PCs ran to the tavern’s entrance as they heard the sounds of fighting coming from within.

The tavern, which had been attacked by a pair of earth elementals, was defended by Argus Peiper, Amira, the barmaid, an ogre, Bazin Peiper, and two local sailors. However, during the height of the battle, Bazin turned on his brother and helped the earth elementals to capture Argus. Unfortunately, the PCs arrived too late to stop the earth elementals and Bazin from escaping with their prize, The PCs then ran to the front gate.

At the front gate, the final pair of earth elementals were attempting to sunder the gates. Defending the gates were Captain Holt and the gate guard crew. Unfortunately, they were no match for the earth elementals, which had surprised them by rising out of the ground in their midst. By the time the PCs arrived, Holt and his men were defeated although the PCs were able to stabilize Holt. Despite their efforts, one of the earth elementals fled back into the earth.

With the various battles concluded, the town of Artonsbrueck took stock of the sitation. News of Bazin’s treachery spread quickly. Several of Holt’s men, searching the town’s perimeter walls for breaches, discovered a hidden bolt hole outside the town’s western wall. Horse tracks led south towards the water’s edge.

While the town guard attempted to restore order and determine what happened, Holt asked the PCs to spend the night in the town so that they could investigate the burned remains of Tyderius’s house the next day. While the PCs rested, some of the guards and townsfolk spent the night excavating the ruin that was Tyderius’s burned home and discovered a trap door that led down into a basement.

The next morning, the PCs headed down into Tyderius’s basement.

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Elemental Attack on Artonsbrueck

As Tyderius fled back into his house, over a dozen various man-sized elementals escaped from the now-burning house to attack the town. Unable to stop the air or fire elementals due to their speed, the PCs opted to attempt to stop a pair of water elementals. While they were successful, the other elementals quickly spread throughout the town, causing mayhem and destruction.

In this adventure, the players controlled the NPCs as the NPCs attempted to fight various elementals. A brief synopsis follows:

The PCs intercepted the water elementals which were heading for the piers. As a result, the Rhennee barges were safe. The Rhennee, suspicious of evil magicks, stayed on their vessels to protect their cargoes.

A pair of water elementals moved to attack the docks. They were driven off by Bursar Torrin, Teller Rinddel, an ogre, and some town guards. Upon defeating them, Torrin led his men towards the warehouse district where Horst, leader of the town’s militia, was leading the fight against a pair of fire elementals. Horst was joined by Samir, a wealthy land-owner, and town guards. With Torrin’s group’s help, Horst and Samir were able to defeat the fire elementals and prevent the warehouses from being set on fire.

At the same time, a pair of air elementals attacked each of the town’s ballista emplacements. The first was defended by Elrenica, a female elven wizard who lived in the town, Lieutenant Bergeron, a sergeant of the guard, and the ballista’s crew. Alas, the defense of the first ballista dud not go well as the elementals immediately swept several members of the defense team off the walls. Those who survived were unable to return to the fight and watched in horror as, despite of the elementals being slain, the surviving elemental killed the remaining defenders before it pushed the ballista off the wall and fled back towards Tyderius’s house.

The second ballista position fared better. Led by Willum Peiper, the town’s retired constable, Kendrick, a local halfling ranger, and the ballista crew defeated the attacking air elementals with few casualties. Unfortunately, their position allowed them to watch helplessly as the other ballista position was overrun.

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The Journey to Artonsbrueck

Two weeks after the PCs rescued the noblemens’ children, Ahren asked the PCs for help escorting a merchant to the river town of Artonsbrueck. While such a menial task would normally be beneath those of the PCs’ stature, Ahren explains that the city is experiencing a shortage of caravan guards and that the city’s soldiers can’t fill in due to concerns about strange occurrences happening north of the city. As a result, Ahren asks the PCs to escort the Bakluni merchant Amira to Artonsbrueck and back. The PCs agree, hoping to earn more favors from Ahren.

The next morning they head to the Northhaven Tavern where they meet Amira. An attractive middle-aged Bakluni woman, Amira’s no-nonsense attitude and organizational skills quickly have her wagon loaded, horses in their traces, and the group on the road south.

Despite the road being fairly well-patrolled, the group was attacked as they slept after their first night on the road by a group of orcs led by a human archer named Zarishen. After defeating the orcs and their leader, the PCs were surprised to learn that they, not Amira, were the bandits’ targets for Zarishen possessed a note from someone known as The Eye which instructed the bandit to kill the PCs and included their descriptions.

After securing their prisoner, the human leader, the group continued to Artonsbrueck, arriving without further incident. Once there, the PCs quickly met the town’s military leader, Captain Holt, and dropped off their prisoner so that he could be tried for banditry. The PCs then spent the remainder of the day exploring the small trading town. During their explorations, they met Argus Pieper, owner of the Shallow Draft, and enjoyed some entertainment in said tavern. However, the evening’s entertainment wasn’t very entertaining as the comedian, a halfling of sharp wit named Kormick, heckled his own audience.

After the PCs had retired to their rooms, Lireal and Deacon Ash both decided to go on midnight strolls. While Deacon Ash enjoyed a peaceful walk, Lireal watched a man walk off the end of a pier, almost as if he were sleep-walking or attempting to commit suicide. When Lireal jumped into the water to save the man, she was attacked by a formerly invisible imp. Alone in the water, only Lireal’s cries for help saved her from drowning as a group of Rhennee from a nearby barge come to her aid. Unfortunately, the unknown man drowned, his body later recovered. Examination revealed the man, the town’s jailer, had been stung by the imp, the poison making him too weak to swim. Upon her return to the PCs’ rooms, Lireal received a stern lecturing from the other members of the party about wandering off alone.

When Captain Holt investigated further, he discovered that the prisoner, Zarishen, had escaped. The next morning, Holt enlisted the PCs’ aid in an attempt to locate the missing prisoner. Deacon Ash’s tracking skills led to the realization that Zarishen had fled to the home of Tyderius, a man who was knew to the town. When Captain Holt and the PCs confronted Tyderius at his home, Tyderius slammed the door in their faces and spoke mystic words in a variety of odd, planar languages. A moment later, over a dozen man-sized elementals of various types burst out of the house and began attacking the town.

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Creepy Crawly Dungeon Crawl, part 6

The PCs continue the search and stumble upon an earth elemental riding a giant wasp. The earth elemental, who is really the mite druid wildshaped into elemental form, is wrangling a wasp swarm. All 3 attack the PCs and a long battle ensues. Eventually, the PCs are able to kill the giant wasp and the wasp swarm but the mite druid’s defense are just too good. After he runs out of offensive spells, the mite decides to retreat and disappears, never to be seen again.

The PCs discover the druid’s lair in a nearby cavern. In it are several pits; in the pits are the two human children and an invisible creature that turns out to be a leprechaun. The leprechaun regales the PCs with his tale.

The PCs return to the pech’s mine and take the mithral ore and a giant diamond they found. However, as they are leaving the area, The Man in the Earth rises from the ground to confront them. The odd 3-armed, 3-legged, 3-eyed creature threatens to attack them if they don’t leave the diamond behind. Out of healing and with Deacon dead, the PCs decide that discretion is the better part of valor and relinquish the gem. The creature allows them to keep the mithral ore and leave unmolested.

Although the human children and leprechaun are malnourished, the children are alive and well when returned to their parents. Ahren listens closely to the PC’s tale as the merchant throws the PCs a feast to celebrate their rescue of his child. Meanwhile, arrangements are made for the raising of Deacon Ash from the dead.

The next day, Cazamir the high priest of Zilchus, with funds donated by the merchant, uses a diamond to raise Deacon Ash from the dead. Ahren proclaims the PCs heroes and bestows upon them the Order of the Copper Crescent.

In-game time elapsed this session: 48 hours
Total in-game time elapsed: 25 days and 20.4 hours

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Creepy Crawl Dungeon Crawl, part 5

The pech also advise the PCs that the mite druid has an extremely large spider as a pet and that it hangs out in a glory hole that they will have to move through.

The PCs rest overnight in the lair of the defeated ogre spider with the pech.

The next day, the PCs continue the search. Within an hour or two, they see a glory hole ahead. Deacon Ash moves ahead and steps out of the passage. Ashe does so, a huge black widow spider descends upon him, biting him and severely poisoning him. As the PCs continue the fight, Deacon Ash succumbs to the poison and dies.

After Deacon dies, the party retreats back down the passage to regroup. They manage to lure the spider to where they can see it and eventually kill it with ranged weapons. Once in the glory hole, the PCs look up into the spider’s webs and notice a desiccated corpse.

In-game time elapsed this session: 10 hours
Total in-game time elapsed: 23 days and 20.4 hours

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Creepy Crawly Dungeon Crawl, part 4

Hendrick rejoins the PCs as they continue exploring the passages. An hour or so after fighting the mite ranger, a giant stag beetle, with multiple mites riding on its back, comes barreling down the passage, trampling the PCs! The PCs fight back and soon the giant bug and its passengers are dead.

The PCs are later ambushed by an ogre spider that is squeezing in the small passage. The tight quarters make fighting the huge beast very difficult but eventually the PCs prevail. Farther down the passage they discover its lair. In the webbing they find the desiccated remains of a fey known as a pech. The PCs decide to rest in the ogre spider’s lair.

The next morning, the PCs hear the sounds of mining ringing throughout the nearby passages. Deacon Ash sneaks down the passage and discovers a mite on a large camel spider guarding three pech mining slaves. Unsure of how powerful the mite is, the PCs use trickery to approach—Lireal casts an illusion of the ogre spider and then runs into the mining chamber. She almost tricks the mite guard into thinking the illusion is real but then it sees Deacon Ash approaching and attacks. The mite turns out to be a druid. After another fierce battle, the heroes free the pech slaves. There is also a large collection of mined gemstones and mithral ore in the middle of the chamber.

Before the PCs can take the gemstones, the pech warn the PCs about something they call “The Man in the Earth” and advise that he is likely to attack if the gems are taken. The pech describe him as a 3-armed, 3-legged creature that can move through the earth. None of the PCs recognize the description but they decide to leave the gems there for now. The Pech warn them that the mite leader is a powerful druid and that they believe he is holding the human children, as well as a leprechaun, captive for reasons unknown.

In-game time elapsed this session: 2.4 hours
Total in-game time elapsed: 23 days and 10.4 hours

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Creepy Crawly Dungeon Crawl, part 3

After resting overnight, the PCs are ready to continue searching for the missing child. Sometime during the night, Deacon Ash somehow managed to befriend a badger.

Hendrick attempts to disable the trapped door but fails and is bathed in druidic fire.

Once open, the trap door reveals a ladder descending 30 feet. Spiderwebs choke the passage. Hendrick, tired of spiders, decides to sit this one out (Al called in sick).

Upon descending, the PCs being to move down a narrow passage. Deacon and his wolverine are in front of the party when Deacon triggers a floor pit trap. Deacon jumps to safety but the wolverine falls into the pit. At that moment, a strange blue creature riding a giant spider, both of whom had been lurking upside down farther down the passage’s ceiling, charges Deacon Ash. During the fight, Deacon identifies the creature as a fey known a a mite.

After the mite and spider are killed, the PCs find a humanoid armored corpse in the bottom of the pit.

After several more hours of traveling, the PCs arrive at a glory hole: a large vertical shaft that connects several tunnels to each other by way of a spiraling ramp. As the PCs move into the shaft, four more mites, all riding giant spiders, exit various passages and move to engage the PCs. The PCs kill the spiders and 3 of the mites. The 4th mite is interrogated but he proves uncooperative and is therefore summarily executed.

As the PCs continue the search, they are ambushed by a giant scorpion. The scorpion is the pet of a skilled mite ranger who uses his bow to good effect against the PCs as the scorpion blocks the passage. However, after a furious fight, the scorpion and the mite ranger are eventually defeated.

In-game time elapsed this session: 10.4 hours
Total in-game time elapsed: 23 days and 8 hours

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Creepy Crawly Dungeon Crawl, part 2

The PCs head back into the tunnels and defeat more vermin. After exploring the tunnels, they finally discover a trap door. After defeating the large camel spider that lairs in that chamber, they examine the door for traps.

Unfortunately, they fail to find the trap; when the trap door is opened, a section of the floor drops away, dropping several of the into a sand-filled chamber 30’ below. As the rest of the PCs make their way through the trap door and down a ladder, a juvenile ant-lion emerges from the sand to attack! After a close call, the PCs kill the ant-lion.

One rough tunnel leads from the ant-lion’s chamber. The PCs follow it, discovering that it opens into a large, web-filled chamber. As Deacon moves ahead stealthily, he is attacked by a giant spider and a large black widow spider! After the spiders were defeated, the PCs discover a small chamber of worked stone. In it is another trap door. Hendrick examines the trap door and recognizes magical auras for abjuration and druidic fire.

Exhausted from a day of fighting vermin and exploring small passages, the PCs decide to camp for the night before moving deeper into the creepy crawly dungeon.

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