The first session of my Paragons of Waterdeep campaign ended on a cliffhanger, with elf ranger Kale (Player Pam), Clerics of Lathander Oisin (Player Bill) and Leela (NPC), and Nestor (NPC) the thief making their way along a narrow mountain path in the fog when they found themselves facing a female centaur and her companions with bows drawn. The female centaur called out, “I've found them!” As it turns out, Kale recognized the centaurs as being from the White Owl tribe, a tribe with which her elven clan (the Spring Dawn clan) is not allied (and these particular White Owls thought that the party was a group of spies for the Fox centaur tribe, enemies of the White Owls).
Even though relations are shaky between Kale’s people and the White Owl clan, the adventuring party told the centaurs that they were hunting undead. This caught the centaurs' interest. The female centaur introduced herself as Floen, and she demanded that the party follow her. Reluctantly, the group followed the centaurs into a path plunging into a narrow crevasse in the steep, rocky face of the mountains. The party contemplated attacking the centaurs and making a hasty retreat, as the centaurs appeared to have trouble navigating the steep terrain. But ultimately curiosity regarding the centaurs’ destination won out.
Inside the crevasse was a centaur camp. Many of the White Owl tribe had been driven from the lower elevations by bands of undead humanoids. Apparently, the undead would not venture into these parts of the mountains. In order to gain the centaurs' trust, the party agreed to help the centaurs fight and find the source of the undead. Among the tribe, the group discovered a sun elf named Tanara, who explained that she had come to this part of the world in search of an ancient tower built by the elves. The tower had been built by the elven wizard Kurthrad. The wizard had been known to have made several magical artifacts. Tanara believes that the tower is located somewhere very close to the camp, and asked the party to remain and help her to search for it. She also told the party that some of the centaurs had been attacked by a strange magical force that caused them to lose some of their memories. Though the group was intrigued by the idea of searching the mountains for an ancient tower filled with magic items, their commitment to finding the source of the undead plague won out.
The White Owl centaurs explained that they believe the source of the undead to be a sunken stone structure that they had found protruding from the earth at the lower elevations. The following day, the group departed to investigate the ruin with six of the centaurs. The trek was uneventful until they made camp that night. The party posted a watch, and during Kale’s watch she noticed humanoid figures in the darkness shambling toward the camp. She awoke the rest of the party and they found themselves under attack by a mix of 12 undead orcs and goblins. Oisin was able to turn almost all of the undead while Kale, Leela, and the centaurs finished them off. The group noticed that some of the undead had open sores on them that leaked a sickly green and purple ichor. They party burned the bodies, careful not to touch the foul fluid.
The next morning the party set out again and finally arrived at the buried structure. When they arrived, they saw black stone protruding from the earth, as the centaurs’ described. The ruin radiated a strong sensation of evil, and they all were made a bit nervous when they looked into the gaping entrance that lead down into dark depths. It looked as if it had sunken into the ground long ago. Suddenly, five orcs, two goblins, and two gnolls charged from the entrance of the structure. After dispatching the humanoids, a voice from inside the ruin challenged the group, declaring itself as Gritsnak. Floen and most of the band of centaurs were reluctant to follow the party into the structure. Two of the younger male centaurs, however, decided to accompany the party, apparently seeking glory. The group entered the structure to find a large chamber containing a statue of the ancient god of the dead, Myrkul, who himself was slain during the Time of Troubles decades before. Carefully, they explored a hallway that split off from the main chamber. They passed several doors, and behind one they could hear the sounds of what they thought was undead shambling. The group shimmed that door shut just as something within started battering at the door. The party retreated back the way they had come, only to see a stone door sealing off their original entrance to the hallway. They proceeded down another hallway in the hopes of finding another way back to the entrance of the ruin. They opened a door to find themselves in a bed chamber. With the two centaurs covering the door, the rest of the party went inside.
Oisin cast detect magic and found a spear leaning against a wall that was magical, and also detected magic under a large four-posted canopy bed. As soon as Oisin announced his discoveries, Nestor the thief went to investigate under the bed. Suddenly, a giant spider erupted through the bed’s mattress to attack the party. Kale let fly with her bow, while Leela stuck the spider with the magic spear. Nestor scrambled out of the way defending himself with daggers. Oisin covered Nestor and Kale while attacking with his morningstar. A vicious battle ensued, with everyone attacking the spider while Oisin and Kale drew its attacks. Oisin was bitten by the spider. Everyone stayed in the fight for another round when Oisin discovered his muscles getting stiff. Realizing he didn't have long before the spider's poison took hold, Oisin cast Shield of Faith on Kale. With the aid of the Shield of Faith Kale was able to withstand a final desperate onslaught by the spider before finishing it with her sword. She and Leela turned to the sound of Oisin's morningstar hitting the ground as he collapsed, unconscious. It was then that the group heard the centaur’s slam the door to the room shut and bar it from the inside. One of them turned to the party and said “Something is coming."
To be continued...