ADVENTURE 1: DEM BONES: The campaign began in the great city of Nenkal, jewel of the old empire, pinnacle of civilization. In a small building in the priests districtits old white pain peeling off, its stained glass windows cracked, the light shown down upon six people: Pylor Dashadow, ranger and thief, Pezzel the candy snatcher, a gnomish monk from the newly built docks dojo, Telok, an elven priest of nature, Jimwise Welby, a brave halfling paladin (and relative of the Welby who died in Rappan Athuk), and Xyun, a dashing bardic warrior who was absolutely filled with knowledge. The final person was the High Priest Sartorious, cleric of Muir, the man who was hiring these adventurers for a job. The job, as he explained was thus: the ancient priest Abysthor had disappeared centuries ago into the Valley of Shrines, claiming that he could restore the dying faith of Muir and Thyr, though he had never returned, and his fate remained a mystery. A recently discovered letter of his, which was given to Jimwise, revealed much of that fatesaying that Abysthor had gone into the old burial catacombs, to destroy some kind of black monolith, a source of great evil. The note hinted at unfathomable horrors lurking in the tomb, though never naming any of them, and said that if Abysthor was successful, the religion of the twin gods would find glory once more. And so their mission was to find this Abysthor and determine what had happened to him, nothing more. Whatever evils were in the tomb, they need not fight them, though they could if they so wished. Thus, the characters set outsome for religious reasons, others for the adventure, and others for the promised reward (a single magical item of their choosing, though within the poor temples limits). They dallied a bit at the gates of town, getting some free fried bread samples from a local merchant. It was here that Pylor got into some trouble. A roguish thief, he attempted to pick a mans pockets in the street, but failed and got the guards called on him. He tried running for the gates of town, but the guards there caught him and arrested him for attempted robbery. Only by paying a fine of three hundred gold were the others able to free him, and they were left wondering if this thief was really worth bringing along.
They finally set off, making the short trip to the Stoneheart Mountains where the shrines were located, and soon finding the faded white obelisks that marked the holy roadthe path taken by pilgrims when the faith was still strong. Stone steps led through the mountains, into a secluded, grass-covered valley, where the two empty shrines sat facing Crystal Lake, which seemed more filthy than crystalline. The shrines themselves were in horrible repair, desecrated with demonic symbols and human feces. In Muirs shrine, her head was chopped off, and a dark symbol carved into it. When the paladin tried lifting the head up, he was almost blasted by a burst of negative energy coming from it. Similar runes were scattered amongst the heretical markings: signs of the Demon Prince Orcus. From the rumors the characters had heard in town, Orcus cult had been a bit more active lately, and this affirmed them. They found a secret stairway under the statue, and when the paladin spoke the words: Truth, Honor, Courage, the three virtues of Muir, it was revealed. At the bottom, an empty room of tapestries concealed three secret doors, none of which the characters were able to openbecause they apparently required a follower of good and law to cast the proper spells, and they had no such capable individuals. Thus, they decided to investigate the burial halls.
The Forest of the Faithful, where the halls were, was filled with spiderwebs of all varieties and sizesand spiders to match. Four of these dog-sized arachnids attacked the party, and though they were beaten easily, they managed to give the rogue a good bite, sucking away much of his strength with their poison. In the center of the forest they found the Burial Hallsan ancient archway going into the heart of a stone hill. The entry was marked with another hellish rune, which seemed to react more to the good individuals than to those with a neutral bent. Inside, a hallway led through an entry room and further into the complex. Immediately, four skeletal things came shambling down the corridor, all covered in blood. Though most of the characters attacks failed (three of them fumbled!), Jimwise was able to turn them all using his powers, sending them running back to whence they came. Searching further along the corridor, the characters found an empty, wrecked priests room, and not far from that, a secret door leading to some stairs down. Two more strange runes adorned the area around the door, and they were both set off, though not fatally. Inside, Pylor discovered a lever, which deactivated a pit trap near the stairs. Still, they chose not to go down yet, instead checking out the rest of the level. They didnt get far.
Further down the hallway was a large burial chamber, and in the center was an ornate fountaina formerly holy device, it now gurgled with blood, and as they entered, eight skeletons emerged from it, an addition to eight that were already here. Quite the unfriendly fellows, they attacked! The characters killed none of them, and soon, eight more had emerged from the fountain, as if spawned from within! When Pylor was nearly slain by them, they knew that this was a hopeless battle, and ran for their lives, back out of the burial halls. Feeling tired, they made camp for the night. Before any were able to rest, however, the thief nearly collapsed, as the spiders poison finished its work, nearly slaying him. He begged for healing, but the paladin, feeling angry towards him, refused it. A fight almost broke out, but fortunately was stopped when Jimwise finally healed Pylor. (The fight was an out-of-character one, and shouldnt have taken place at all, but it was taken into character.) Finally, everyone got a bit of rest.
DM’S COMMENTS: This one went Ok, but not as good as I would have hoped–mainly due to distractions out of character, and two players acting silly, taking a RL squabble into the game. The main culprit was Jimwise Welby’s player. If you read my Rappan Athuk logs, you’ll remember him as Karosian, Welby (this guy’s a virtual clone of him) and of course, the short-lived Plendork. Every game he’s in, no matter the circumstances or DM, he’s always complaining about something. If it’s all role-playing, he’ll want combat, and if there’s any combat, he compains it’s hack and slash. We basically stopped playing after he had a bit of a tantrum, though it shouldn’t be too much trouble, since he hardly ever plays. Other than that, the adventure went fine. They’ve obviously learned some lessons from Rappan Athuk, as they didn’t hesitate to run from the Font of Bones.