Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Near TPK, the Temple of Chac, and the Underfortress

This session happened Friday, July 23, 2010, and was the only session I ran this past weekend. This Adventure Log was delayed due to my participation in Zak's SAGE event. There will be a second posting this week. Just as soon as I get around to writing it...

Adventuring Group:
Sal Ty (elf wizard)
Tycho von Helmont (elf alchemist)
Agnes (dwarf rogue)
Thorngrim (half-orc sorceror)
Rhapsody (half-elf rogue)

Note: the list of player characters is in player sitting order, from my left and then clockwise around the table.

With a heavy arcane and rogue mix, the group decided to hire some additional muscle (Gunnar Darkbattler, fighter for hire) and avoid the more melee heavy locations they knew about, settling upon further exploration of "Santa Fe". After two days of walking (camping in Dropoff Tower along the way), the group arrived at "Santa Fe", camping in the basement of the Entry Building. During the evening, the watches witnessed the bats nightly exit from (and the dawn return to) the caves and a griffin flying by on the hunt.

Wishing to avoid the dark creepers, the group entered the caves through the stairs in the Gargoyle Tower. The chambers accessed this way have walls decorated in martial themes, most showing human soldiers carrying spears and bows. Returning to the room they escaped the dark creeper darkness through, they discovered an additional door that was covered by the deeper darkness last time they were here. Agnes verified that the trapped door to this area was still locked and barred. Rather than check any of the doors available to them, the group followed the left branch of the "Y" from the barred doors. This led through an old guard post to a small, empty armory.

In the small armory, Agnes and Rhapsody located a secret door and opened it (after verifying it was not trapped). Beyond was a dusty corridor that went a ways and turned left. At the corner was a small shrine containing a statue of what appeared to be a male deity. With the group scattered down the corridor, Rhapsody investigated the statue, accidentally triggering a cone of cold trap that reached all the way down the hallway and into the small armory. Gunnar was killed outright, Thorngrim and Sal were both wounded to unconsciousness, and Tycho and Agnes were wounded nearly as bad. Rhapsody herself escaped without a scratch. After stabilizing Thorngrim and Sal and bringing them back to consciousness, the heavily wounded group retreated to the Entry Building to camp and recover. Gunnar's body was wrapped in a blanket and placed in the bag of holding for proper burial later.

While the group was not enthused about continuing explorations past the trapped statue, Rhapsody was certain that it was safe to do so as long as no one stepped within a close proximity to the statue. To prove it, she went first past the statue the next morning, safely. [Actually, the other characters insisted she "prove it" before they were willing to follow.]

The other end of the secret passage opened into a room containing a deep reservoir of water, across which was an altar and some braziers. None of the group liked the look of the water, despite it being still and deep, or perhaps because of that. Sal used levitate to move across the water without touching it to investigate the altar closer. It was clearly dedicated to a water deity, but Sal was not certain which one. The braziers were enchanted to light when flame was touched to their interior. The group was interested in taking the braziers, but their size (over six feet across) precluded this.

Deciding to leave the room, the group exited through a small antechamber and into a larger room containing another reservoir, connected to the first via a tunnel in the wall. The walls of this room are covered with scenes of the deity perfoming miracles and works. From this, Sal is able to identify the god as Chac, an ancient deity for water and the rains. Additionally, the scenes on the wall clearly show a different deity than the one in the shrine in the secret passage. The adventurers find this odd.

The adventurers left through a different antechamber and discovered a fortified wall bisecting a large cavern. Looking around they find that this is a fortified position designed to keep things out from deeper caverns. Worse, while the gates had obviously been broken through some time in the past, more recently there had been some traffic, rag-footed traffic, and a good deal of it.
Not wanting to push any deeper (or possibly run into more dark creepers), the group fell back to the Entry Building and camped. [Also, the session was getting near time to quit and the players don't want me rolling on my Super Secret Table of Doom to determine what sort of sorry shape they make it back to town in.]

The next day Sal cast mount several times and the group rode the phantom steeds back to Dropoff Tower (avoiding a bulette along the way). While camping at the Tower, assassin vines moved past and the group attacked them with ranged weapons, refusing to let them continue running wild in the forest. [This was also the only combat the players were in the entire session and they weren't about to let it go by.]

The next day Sal cast mount multiple times again and the group rode all the way back to the Iron Keep by nightfall. The adventurers turned over the body of Gunnar to the keep authorities for proper burial and returned to Spider's Bar.

[I assigned some XP at the end of the session as an adventure bonus as the PCs had found a significant location - and to encourage further exploration.]

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