Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Paragons of Waterdeep: Session 3

At the end of session two, our intrepid band was still in the sinister ruins of an ancient temple of Myrkul, former god of death. Oisin, Cleric of Lathander (Player Bill) was paralyzed by the bite of a watch spider. The elven ranger Kale (Player Pam) rushed to his aid, attempting to use her knowledge of natural poisons to neutralize or at least slow the toxin. Nestor the thief (NPC) looked under the now-destroyed bed (under which the spider had been hiding) to find what appeared to be a wizard's staff. Nestor then found a wizard, bound and gagged on top of the ruined bed. He unbound the wizard to find that his name was Vorath (Player Glenn). Vorath had come to the sunken stone structure in order to find magical artifacts, and had been captured by orcs and goblins several days earlier. The staff under the bed belonged to Vorath and it was returned to him after some hasty introductions. The wizard was shown the magical spear that they party had found in the room. He cast read magic in order to read the runes carved into its shaft. The runes read “Spear of the Healer.” Kale decided to put the spear in Oisin's hand to see what would happen, and the cleric immediately began to recover from his poisoning.

Once Oisin had recovered, the party tried to figure out their next move. It turned out that Vorath and Oisin are both from the village of Amphail, north of Waterdeep. Vorath's mentor, Bartok, had recently passed away and left him a small house in Waterdeep. The house is supposed to contain magical secrets and is heavily warded. Vorath was taught the pass phrase “Happy half-orcs have halitosis” in order to enter the house. The wizard had considered going to Waterdeep, but was tempted by rumors of the sunken stone structure in the High Forest’s Star Mounts.

While talking and debating, the group was interrupted by a loud rumbling and sounds of a group of goblins and orcs coming from the hallway beyond the door. With the door still barred, they waited for the humanoids to pass. They then gathered up the magical spear, a set of ceremonial bracers encrusted with small gems, and 200 gold pieces before proceeding down the hallway to the north. There were no immediate signs of the humanoids.

They passed a door with the words “Bad Here” in orcish painted in blood (Kale was able to translate) and decided it was best not to open it. They then came to a small room that was full of hay and smelled of animals. There was a stairway going down in one corner. The party noticed three unusually large wolves asleep in the room. Kale, Vorath, and Nestor crept over to the wolves in order to dispatch them quietly and quickly. Vorath took out the first wolf flawlessly, followed by Nestor who dispatched the next wolf with a rogue's precision. Kale's wolf, however, awoke before she could kill it. So Kale, Nestor, and Vorath put the beast down together in a short fight. Suddenly, the group heard the sound of more humanoids coming from the hallway from which they had come. They decided to stand their ground and fight.

A seven-foot tall gnoll barreled into the room, snarling in rage upon seeing the dead wolves and the party. The gnoll announced himself as Gritznak and immediately pulled a large scimitar before charging. Goblins and orcs streamed in from the hallway behind Gritznak. Oisin smashed into Gritznak with his morningstar while trying to avoid blows from the enraged gnoll. Nestor threw daggers, while Vorath let fly with magic missiles. Kale immediately slew the first goblin to close ranks with the party. A pitched battle ensued, with most of the party in tight formation in a corner. They group became worried as the room filled with humanoids. Orcs with crossbows began firing at them until the centaurs broke ranks to charge the orcs. Nestor slipped out in order to try to get behind Gritznak, while Oisin traded blows with the gigantic gnoll. Leela stepped up to the front lines helping to fend off the waves of humanoids while Kale cut down one goblin after another with sure strokes of her sword. Finally, with dead humanoids all around, Oisin was able to land a crushing blow to Gritznak's side. Kale immediately sprung to finish the gnoll chieftain off, nearly severing his head with a two-handed swing of her bastard sword. It was then that Nestor shrieked as he was stuck in the leg with a goblin blade.

With Gritznak down, the party quickly dispatched the rest of the humanoids. Kale and Vorath removed a magical ring, a gold necklace, and a few gold and silver coins from Gritznak's body. The gnoll’s scimitar was also discovered to be enchanted. However, Nestor was lying on the ground in agony. Oisin removed the sword from the thief’s leg, to find the blade coated in sickly purple and green substance. To the group’s horror, the substance looked and smelled like the liquid they had seen oozing from the undead humanoids they had previously encountered. Oisin and Leela tried using healing spells, including the “Spear of the Healer,” which did not work. Kale looked closely at the wound in order to see if she could identify and slow any sort of natural toxin. She quickly determined that the source was not natural, and Nestor's leg began to turn black around the wound. Kale became determined to amputate Nestor's leg. She wiped her bastard sword and prepared for a clean two-handed swing. But Leela jumped in the way, sobbing and protesting.

While the group began to argue about what to do for Nestor, Kale heard a change in Leela’s sobs. The elven ranger looked over to see a now-undead Nestor gripping Leela’s arm with tremendous force and attempting to bite the cleric. Kale swung her sword, easily removing Nestor's head. It was then that the party then decided to make their retreat. Before they could leave the room, they noticed the blood of the dead humanoids being sucked into the stone floor. Then, the entire temple began to shake and shudder. They quickly gathered up a stunned Leela, lit the hay in the room on fire, and made their way back to the entrance of the ruin. They were praying that a certain stone slab that had sealed off the passage back to the ruined temple’s entrance was now no longer an obstacle.

As luck would have it, the shaking of the temple seemed to have dislodged the stone slab, and the party flooded into the room containing the statue of Myrkul. They found five animated skeletons blocking their path. Oisin called out to Lathander and turned all of the skeletons, and the party ran out of the temple’s entrance. There they found the remainder of the centaurs, who ran toward the party. Suddenly, there was another rumbling from the structure, and portions of the ruin appeared to push up from the ground. The party and the centaurs decided to put as much distance between themselves and the temple. They traveled for some time before setting up camp. During the night, the centaurs made it plain that they thought the party had made things worse for the White Owl tribe by stirring up the evil of the temple.

The next morning, the party and the centaurs made their way back up the mountains to the hidden crevasse. There they once again met with the high elf wizard Tanara. They recounted the tale of the ruined temple and introduced Vorath to her. Tanara was of course troubled by what they had to tell her. She told them that, while they were away, she had found a rune-covered stone tablet buried in the ground. She was only able to partially decipher the ancient script, but thought the table to be some sort of teleportation device that would take her to the hidden tower she sought.

After some discussion as to what to do next, Kale insisted that it was time to return to her people in order to tell them of what had happened. She had been sent for aid and had also found the most likely source for the undead plague, and therefore had to tell her people. The rest of the party agreed. Before setting out, Kale took a rubbing of Tanara’s tablet to show to the leader of her clan. Then, the group set off once more, this time for a journey to Kale’s vo’an…

To be continued…

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