This session happened Friday, July 9, 2010, and was the only session I ran this past weekend.
We picked up yet another player this week and had a VERY full table. More on this later in the week.
Su Bel (human cleric)
Agnes (dwarf rogue)
Tycho von Helmont
San Ti (dwarf monk)
Sinn (gnome bard)
Thorngrim (half-orc sorceror)
Rhapsody (half-elf rogue)
After some discussion as to which locale to explore, it was decided that “Santa Fe” would be better than The Ruins, due to the large number of inexperienced or lightly experienced adventurers. [Over half the party was still 1st level.]
The group marched to the Woodcutter’s Camp, then followed the Gravemarker Road to Dropoff Tower, where they camped for the night. Tycho “cooked” some wild boar for dinner. During the night, Su Bel spotted a troop of giant ants enter the area, search about for food, and then leave, heading northwest. As they did not attempt entry to the Tower, she did not wake anyone and let the ants go. She did mention their path to Tycho the next morning and he added it to his notes on the giant ants.
The next day the group followed the Old Road across the Three Peaks hills to the Sea of Grass. Using a plan developed by Thorngrim, the group started clearing the Grass Road, with the plan to extend it from the Old Road all the way to “Santa Fe”. This was long and tedious work and they camped in the Sea of Grass only a third of the way along their proposed path. That night they were attacked by two giant scorpions and Rhapsody was severely poisoned before the scorpions were killed. She was greatly weakened for the duration of the expedition. [Rhapsody lost five points of strength due to the poison, which would have been worse, but Tycho made a Heal check to neutralize the last of the poison. Apparently alchemists ARE good for something besides blowing things up.]
It took two more days to push the Grass Road to the edge of the Pueblo Hills [the party got lost part way] and another day to mark the trail to “Santa Fe” itself. After climbing the cliff to enter the outer ruins, the group followed a set of stairs down and back, into the heart of the cliff. At the bat cavern, they found the building Su Bel had burned down on the previous expedition and poked through the now-cool ashes, finding little. The group started a more thorough search of the cavern, systematically working they way through the buildings. A third of the way through, they found two things of significance: a hidden floor niche two feet deep and full of coins and an ornate door on the cavern wall, clearly an entrance to another area.
Just as Agnes opened the ornate (and trapped) door (after noisily investigating with hammers and pitons to anchor rope so Agnes would not fall into the pit trap in front of it), the group’s sentries spotted two groups of dark creepers, each group led by a dark stalker, moving to attack. Ready for a relatively easy fight based on previous experience, the group was taken aback when the dark stalkers dropped an immense (60-foot radius) deeper darkness, leaving them all blind as the dark creepers moved in for the…wiffle?
Even with an overwhelming superior position, the dark creepers found it difficult to wound the adventurers. [My dice ran cold for most of the fight.] Agnes pushed through the darkness past the ornate door until she could see again and called the party to her. The group retreated in her direction (wishing she had mentioned the stairs at the edge of the deeper darkness). San Ti closed and held the door while Tycho used two potions of true strike to hammer in spikes, sealing the door between the adventurers and the dark creepers.
Taking stock of their situation, the adventurers found themselves in an area with walls decorated in murals showing warriors marching to battle. At the top of the stairs Agnes had found (but not warned people about), was a door that lead to the stage of a large auditorium. From the stage the group could see an exit passage with stairs leading up. Taking those stairs brought the party up into the building the gargoyle had been using as a lair on the surface!
Exhausted, the adventurers camped in the basement of the entry building to the ruins. [It has a door that can be barred.] That night the sentries noticed a griffin flying by and a bulette investigating the canyon floor. They wisely decided to remain silent and avoid the attentions of the monsters. The next morning the adventurers started the two day journey back to the Iron Keep, arriving tired but much enriched by their expedition.