Session #6 (4-29-12): Off To Quasqueton
So the group reconvened in Threshold where they resupplied to make for their trip to Eastbrook. Golar the dwarf agreed to accompany them once again, but Callam the halfling decided to stay behind this go around ( I guess the Barrowmoors made him sick to his stomach). Myra, Orien and Cadfael procured more hirelings; Mutlik and Veder, two men at arms, Toldric and Finn two porters and Thad the Fighting Man henchmen all joined the group. After procuring a mule for the stubby legged slow dwarf to ride and a horse for the cleric now donned in heavy plate, they were off following the map provided by the Wizard of ID.
During the first night, the horses were attacked by giant beetles that burrowed up from the earth. Myra and Cadfael were also attacked. But Myra was quick with her Sleep spell and the creatures were quickly put out while the group set upon them with sword and mace. Unfortunately, Mutlik managed to wake one of them up during their instant kill attempt and the beetle turned its large abdomen into Cadfaels face and blasted blistering oil all over him. Cadfael ran off to the rear of the combat to attend to his wounds while the rest of the group dispatched the remaining oil beetle. Cadfael managed to remove one of the beetles oil sacks and stored it in a bag for later use. The horses and Cadfaels wounds were tended to and the group readied to continue on their journey.
On the fourth day, just as they passed beyond the road leading north to the Citadel of the Iron God, the group spied a unicorn observing them from a nearby bluff. Everyone thought this an odd sighting, but Myra and Orien assured the group that sightings of unicorns were a good omen and portended a favorable future. The group all agreed that was definitely in need. No sooner had the graceful creatures appeared, then it was gone again. So the group continued on its way (although Cadfael did recommend tracking it down...)
On the 5th day, the group encountered a small merchant caravan led by a trader named Farvick the Trader. They exchanged news of the road ahead, and Farvick was very happy to hear that the group had captured the infamous Riva the Robber, having fallen prey to her and her bandits in the past. Farvick offered up some of his goods, of which a crate of fine Elven Silverleaf wine was available. Orien took much interest in this and after some bartering and the exchange of a flask of the groups fine brandy, Orien had two bottles of the stuff for himself. Good farewells were exchanged as the group moved on.
That evening they were set upon by giant mosquitoes. Myra tried to get her sleep spell off, but not before one of the nasty insects shoved its needle like beak into her neck, disrupting the spell. It was then up to the rest of the group deal with the mosquitoes through combat. This time the hirelings shined, killing them with spear and sword. Once dispatched and wounds healed, the group settled back in to get some needed sleep.
Day 6 went by uneventful, and that evening the group made camp once again. The night was clear and filled with stars. It was on Golar and Finn's watch that it came. Distant at first, but Finn heard it and called Golar's attention to it. The sound was like that of a gigantic flag flapping slowly in the wind, beating out a deep booming sound as it drew near. Something was flying toward the group and whatever it was, it was BIG. The group scrambled to put out the fire and gather up themselves and the mounts to hide under the trees, gazing up into the night sky.
Overhead, its huge silhouette blocked out the stars, as the dragon flew. Its wings beat slow and steady as it lazily made its way across the sky, heading westward. Cadfael suggested casting a spell at the creature, to which the others gave him a very stern "ARE YOU MAD!!!" response. "Yea I'm sure your light spell will be very effective against it- maybe you will make it glow all nice and bright" snorted Golar.
"Well at least its heading in the opposite direction we are headed and that's all that matters" Orien commented.
The creature soon passed, and once they felt safe enough, the group quickly set up camp again and finished their evening without incident.
The nest day, they reached the small village of Eastbrook. There they set to the task of replenishing supplies, getting food and lodging at the Eastbrook Inn and inquiring about town as to the whereabouts and information about Quasqueton.
They gained gained a bit of information here and there from locals:
Many years ago two wealthy adventurers, Rogahn the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown, built a hidden complex known as the Caverns of Quasqueton. From this base, they conducted their affairs away from the prying eyes of civilization. While of questionable ethical standing, the two drove back a barbarian invasion and gained the support of locals. Eventually, they gathered their own army and went on an expedition against said enemies, where they met their demise.
The complex is said to have two levels and it is said the very walls speak to visitors
Other rumors claim that it is heavily guarded with traps and monsters
Rogahn was rumored to have had a beautiful lover named Melissa, but if she remained behind or accompanied Roghan on his last mission none seem to know.
The site has been hidden for ages, but it is said it was recently discovered by a ranger and his men that were investigating sightings of monsters north of Eastbrook that were harassing woodsmen and huntsmen. Upon investigation, they found at the base of an ancient tower ( which the huntsmen/woodsmen have always avoided since it was rumored to be the haunt of an evil sorceress), a once hidden entrance.
The group used this information and other rumors they collected and set to the task of finding a someone to take them to the location of the Caverns of Quasqueton.
Myra and Orien made friends with the local blacksmith/stableman, a halfling named Snips. Snips told them to seek out one of the huntsmen who had discovered the location, a man named Wardell the Fletcher whom they soon found and was willing to lead them to the site. He and Orien spent some time playing "who's bow can shoot farther" and Wardell gave him some more insight into the legends surrounding Quasqueton. He also told them they weren't the first adventurers to head off that way and that some that did had never returned.
Cadfael, visited the local Church of Mitra and spoke with Father Treemas "the Palatable". Cleric pleasantries were exchanged and then Treemas gave Cadfael some more rumors about the site and also warned him about the dangers of the sorceress who was rumored to live in the tower.
Once the group was satisfied they had made the necessary preparations for the trip, they stayed the evening at the inn and set off early the next morning.
The trip north went uneventful, and by late afternoon they reached the site of Quasqueton. They could see the top of the tower sticking up above the trees, high on the partially bald hill, old and desolate. Wardell pointed out the entrance to the Caverns below the tower, wished the group luck and headed back to Eastbrook.
The group made preparations at the entrance and then Golar scouted ahead with his dwarven stone cunning and dark vision to determine if the way was safe and unoccupied. Within they found a long corridor which stretched into the darkness with deep alcoves set along it every 30' or so. They moved into the corridor and alcoves checking for tracks, secret passages or any sign of life. Cadfaels tracking revealed the presence of humanoid, human and booted prints rather heavy throughout the hallway and in particular between the second set of alcoves. Golar could make out scratches on the floor indicating that a secret door existed here that opened out and upon further examination, Orien determined that both sides contained secret doors. Golar also spotted a spyhole set into the rock face, disguised to look like missing mortar. Beyond he could hear low murmuring. Orien discovered a similar spyhole on the opposite door, but when he tried to view beyond it, the hole was blocked. There seemed no way to open the secret door from their side.
The group quietly snuck back outside to discuss tactics. Clearly this was some kind of an ambush Orien and Golar surmised, meant to take them from behind once they had passed. The group hatched a plan.
They re entered the passageway, but in reverse order, so Cadfael and the dwarf, Golar were in back and as they passed the secret doors, Golar called out " lets continue down this hall there is nothing further to be found here". Cadfael set out caltrops at one opening ,while a flask of oil was poured near another with a torch at the ready. And then they waited to see if the ambushers would fall for their ruse..... But nothing happened.
Meanwhile up front, Thad and Mutlik discovered another set of alcoves but were advised not to investigate. Frustrated, Golar made his way up front and stepped into the alcoves to investigate.
"WHO DARES INTRUDE UPON THIS SANCTUARY" boomed out a mouth that appeared at the end of one of the alcoves.
"ONLY THE FOOLHARDY, DOOMED TO CERTAIN DEATH" boomed out another mouth on the opposite alcove.
"WOE TO ANY WHO PASS INTO THIS PLACE- THE WRATH OF ZELLIGAR AND ROGAHN WILL BE UPON THEM- MUAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAA!!!!" Both the mouths chanted in unison.
The loud and raucous laughter drowned out the sound of the secret doors opening up and the wild berserkers that set upon the party from beyond them.
One of the wild men sliped on the oil that was set on the floor, while another cried out as it moved across the caltrops. Cadfael moved in to attack ,as did Orien, but Orien received a heavy battle axe to his chest and he went down. Myra cast her sleep spell as Golar moved from the front to the back again to join the fray. The spell downed two of the berserkers, but two more she could not see entered the fray and landed solid blows upon Cadfael. Once Golar joined the cleric, they were quick to put down the remaining berserkers, with help from Veder's spear.
The party quickly moved the bodies, themselves and the mule into the room beyond one of the secret doors as the other has been closed. They rested up there a bit and Cadfael used the last of his heal spells to cure himself and Orien. The bodies of the berserkers had little on them but a nice belt and dagger.
The group continued through the door from the room beyond the secret door. They found a hallway with some doors. One was locked so they passed it up, yet beyond another they did find a woodworking/storage room filled with tables and benches. Cadfael went in to have a look around and immediately was attacked by giant termites. The battle went quickly, although Cadfael did receive a nasty bite that stuned him for the entire encounter.
After the battle they continued their search and found a small ornate wooden box and using a key they found in an old carpenters apron, open it up to reveal a chess board with chess pieces carved to represent forest animals. " A good find, perhaps something you may appreciate Cadfael" Orien offered.
The group continued on along the passage to a door and beyond that to a cross corridor. They decide to turn left and came to another set of doors each opposite each other. One seemed stuck but the other they opened and reavealed a dank room with a set of stone stairs descending into the darkness. Golar investigated and determined that the stairs descended into some caves or cavern below. There was also lots of tracks coming up and down the stairs. They closed the door and continued.
Onward they came to a hexagonal room with a circular flight of stairs in the center going upward. The constant howling sound they had been hearing got louder there and their torches sputtered as they enter the room.
"Those must go up to the Tower" Golar exclaimed.
But within this room they found a grizzly sight, the remains of a group of adventurers and some of the wild berserkers they had met earlier. It was clear the battle was somewhat recent based upon the state of the corpses. A fighter, a magic user , and a dwarf were amongst the corpses. As Golar and Brother Cadfael moved in to inspect the corpse and search them for goodies, Cadfael screamd out as rot grubs from one of the bodies began to burrow their way into his arm.
He tried to cut them out with his dagger, but only managed to get one of the nasty worms. Quickly they were making their way up his arm under his skin. Myra moved in to help , as did Golar. Finn, Cadfaels trusty torchbearer, gets the bright idea to burn them and sets fire with his torch to Cadfaels arm. This action indeed killed the worms but with great injury to Brother Cadfael.
The group assessed that they are nearly out of spells, had no healing and needed to recover a bit. So they retreated back to the workshop room where they killed the termites, blocked the door with an iron spike and set up watches to rest.
So far so good, no hirelings lost nor killed thus far. Surely the Unicorn was a good omen. But somewhere in this lair, a room of pools awaits, the object of the groups quest. Hopefully their luck will continue until they find it....