Friday, March 30, 2012

Adventures in the Northern Reaches #2

Session #2 (3-17-2012): Exploring the Fallen Earth Temple

The group, now armed with henchmen set off to the Caves of Chaos, but decide to investigate the ruins below Moonstone Keep first as it may have significance to Brother Cadfael. Golar, decided to forgo the expedition and instead enjoy spending his remaining coin getting drunk at the Flaming Troll (unfortunately, he insults some local toughies and gets into a barroom brawl which lands  him in the clink for a week- so no Caves of Chaos for the dwarf this time around).

The group head into the wooded are where the ruins lay and discover the remains of a ruined temple whos walls have mostly collapsed, roof caved in and overgrown with vegetation and trees. They can see that some carvings along the top of the temple indicate that it was once a place of worship for the old gods of the earth. As they draw closer to get a better look at the carvings, the group is set upon by a swarm of stirges. Myras sleep spell fells the creatures and the party sets upon killing them.  No one got injured by them.

After dealing with the stirges they continue exploring the carvings. At the temple’s apex is the distinctive face of the Green Man- the god Silvanus. At the lower right Orien and Cadfael recognize the effigy of Hern the Hunter. But off to the left bough of the temple, the carving is that of a snarling wolf. Brother Cadfael recalls some lore regarding  a being called Malar, which is a creature who represents primordial animal savagery, hunting for sport, the pleasure of the kill and primal fury. But why this beast is depicted here Cadfael has no idea.

After some tinkering with the carving to determine if it moves or conceales anything in any way, the group heads into the temple.

Inside they don’t find much but a ruined shell of a temple. Brother Cadfael moved forward with a 10’ pole testing the floor to make sure it is safe for the group to pass over and poking around in the ruins. This alerts his presence to a group of giant centipedes who immediately attack the group. Once again Myra’s useful sleep spell makes quick haste of the critters and noone was severely hurt except Brother Cadfael whos crushing blow lands on his foot instead of the centipede.
After searching about the group decides to head out back to the group of standing stones they can see from the ruins.

The stone circle is made up of 5 carved block standing stones but in their center is a oddly shaped bolder. Orien and Cadfael spot something at its base but cant make it out. After scouting around the perimeter of the stone circle to determine if it is safe, Brother Cadfael and Orien enter and investigate the center stone. What they find horrifies Brother Cadfael, for piled up at the base of the Druidstone covered in overgrowth are human skulls. Cadfael covers these with holy water and administers blessings upon the skulls and while doing so notices some strange holes in  many of the skulls. As he investigates, h e is attacked by a poisonous snake that was hiding in one of the skulls. Cadfael got bit , but the snakes poison didn’t get to him and the snake slithered off.

Cadfael and Orien determined that the holes were similar to those created by large animals, perhaps fang or claw punctures.

Near the site they noticed a large old oak tree and went over to investigate. They encountered a very old dryad(?) named Elsa who claimed the tree was her home and she was friends with the Druids who once tended the grove until it was destroyed by the minions of the Dragon Army. Orien inquired if the woman knew of Galadoramius and his whereabouts. She seemed to have heard his name before but could not recall immediately anything about him.

The group left the grove and spend the evening at the Flaming Troll and departed the next day for the Caves of Chaos.  One evening along the way they were attacked by a pack of wild dogs and Colmar the barbarian from the north suffered mortal wounds during the combat and did not make it. Brother Cadfael cast a light spell on one of the dogs in an attempt to blind it but only managed to make the animal glow 30ft with light. The group slew the dogs and discovered one still had a thick leather collar around its neck with the inscriptions “FLUFFFY” tooled into it.

A few days later the party reached the valley of the Caves of Chaos. Guided by Alig who had been to the caves once before and instructed the group as to which was the goblin lair and which was the orc lair. The party decided to take on the goblins.

They readied their light and weapons outside the cave mouth and entered the darkened goblin stench filled caves beyond…

Soon inside their light showed a 3 forked passage, but immediately Malg the dwarf, who has darkvision, cried out “GOBLINS” and so the goblins came at the group “ gobble, gobble”. They made quick work of Malg the dwarf and Ghile before they could even get a swing in. Once again Myras sleep spell saved the day and downed the goblins, but with two of their man at arms slain, the group decided to make a hasty retreat before nightfall bring on more of the nasty creatures. Once heads were collected, the group traveled into the night to a safe place they could rest.

A few days nearly back to Threshold, the reduced group was attacked by giant Flies? Bees? These creatures proved tougher for the party and even a good shot from Orien couldn’t bring one down. So, once again it was Myra to the rescue with her sleep spell.

Once back in Threshold the party claimed their rewards for the goblin heads. They decided to keep the equipment from their previous hirelings in the hopes of better equipping new hirelings. Despite a handsome bonus provided by Orien to Alig to continue with them, he declined. Always loyal and enthusiastic, Byrig the porter was most happy to be asked to continue with the group ( being that the previous two groups he traveled with met very quick endings- this groups survival rate seemed to be working in his favor)

And so, the group awaits Golar to rejoin them so they can once again head back to the Caves of Chaos.

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