Pezzel The Candysnatcher: A gnomish monk-wizard (level 4)
Pylor Dashadow: Elf Ranger-Rogue (level 4)
Telok: Elf cleric of Obad-hai (level 4)
Xyun: Human Fighter-Bard (level 4)
Jimwise Welby: Halfling Paladin (Level 4)
ADVENTURE 3: GORBASH THE OGRE: After looking around the huge cavern for a bit, the characters decided to instead explore the eastern half of the level. Here, after passing the sinkhole, they eventually came to a Y intersection going north and south. To the north they discovered a slimy room covered in algae, which continued further to the east but was filled with brackish green water, too deep to easily wade through. Pylor could hear the croaking of frogs from down the tunnel, and they wisely avoided the area beyond. Sadly, the rogue and the paladin were both impaled by stalactites that suddenly fell from the ceiling, though none of them were killed. When removed, it was discovered, horrifically, that the stalagmites had circular mouths and a single eye each. They were a kind of living creature!
Opting to take the southern tunnel, the characters passed through a room with a strange whistling sound, and a wind that put out Xyuns torch. Further down they found a large passage divided by a huge column. Both sides of the passage were blocked by short rock walls, which the character had to struggle to get over. As they were doing so, most of them heard a noise in the half of the passage they werent takingvery heavy footsteps, circling around towards them. A towering ogre attacked from behind, nearly killing Jimwise with his immense maul. A bloody fight ensued, while the ogre yelled of his hatred for adventurers because some had murdered his brother Ambro. He nearly slew them all, but through skill and luck they were able to knock him down before he ran off again. They then left the ogre, apparently dead, where he fell, taking his maul with them. In a connecting room they found his lair and began looting it before restingfinding, among other things, an odd trident marked with images of amphibians (it was later identified as a frog-bane trident), a magical ring of jumping, and several potions. As they rested, Jimwise decided to investigate the ogre further and see if he was truly dead. He was not. The characters made sure he would survive, then slept the night. The next morning, they healed the ogre back to consciousness, and surrounding him, the questioned the monster. His name was Gorbash, and though brutal he did not seem altogether dumb. His brother was an ogre named Ambro, who lived in Rappan Athuk before being slain by adventurers (see my Rappan Athuk campaign journal). The PCs managed to convince him that they had nothing to do with those fellows, and he grew a tad more friendly. In exchange for sparing his life, he told them what he knew of the dungeonof a passage to the south of his lair where lurked a powerful undead servant of Orcus named Draeligor, and how there was indeed a cult to Orcus lower down. Gorbash told them of the piercers, those horrors who had the form of stalactites, and of the unwholesome area beyond the frog pond, where a whole group of Frog-People supposedly made their home. As Gorbash feared the wrath of Orcus, he asked the characters to escort him out of the dungeon, so that he priests would not slay him for revealing information about them. Hesitantly, they accepted, knowing that the wounded ogre could not effectively attack. Thus they headed back for Nenkal city. The journey was an easy one, and on the way, they got to know their new companion better. They convinced Gorbash to come with them into town, saying that he could easily get a job as a pit-fighter or a bouncer in a tavern. At the gates, they had to sign some papers saying that the ogre wouldnt cause any harm. Once through, they soon got Gorbash a job at the Filthy Harlot, a wretched and poorly run tavern whose innkeeper was a rude and vulgar man. Outside, Pylor tried propositioning a prostitute, but declined her services, unwilling to pay the right amount. As it was now night, they decided to sleep; except for Xyun, who went to the temple of Thyr and Muir to speak with the priests some more, as he was looking to join their faith. There, he briefly spoke with High Priest Satorious. In addition to some religious discussion, the priest told him that they should seek out the tomb of Flail, a great holy man who was buried in the valleys halls. In that tomb they would find two holy relics: a chalice and a stone. He also gave the warrior a scroll of Resurrection, saying that they needed to speak with Flail before he would give up his sacred possessions. Later, Xyun spoke with the lesser priest Jonathan, a friendly fellow who initiated him into the religion of Thyr. The next morning, a strange commotion was coming from the temple district. Going to see, the characters found out that the Temple of Ehlona was on fire, an immense flame burning away at it, sending smoke up to feed the angry clouds. As they got closer, some of them could feel magic radiating from the fire, as well as great evil. Pezzel, with his magical sight, suddenly saw a man in the flames. Xyun rushed towards the building to try to reach the man, and leaped through a wall of fire, barely surviving. The strange man looked down at Xyun. He wore a strange crimson robe, a gray mask covering his face and two clawed metal gloves on his hands. He spoke, proclaiming himself a Disciple of Orcus, and saying that it was time for a new age of greatness to fall upon the world, and age for the Demon Prince. He disappeared into the flames before the bard could reach him. Telok was able to pull Xyun out of the fire just before it consumed him. Afterwards, the good cleric helped some other priests to recover from the attack on their temple, and also spoke with the High Priest of Pelor, an oblivious and arrogant man who laughed at Telok when he said that Orcus followers had started the fire. They spent a bit more time in the town, speaking again with the priests of Muir and Thyr, asking about the lower rooms of the shrines, and informing them of the Orcusite activities. Xyun gave Gorbashs old maul to the High Priest, as it was reputedly a cursed item, and only the holy church could handle it. After a little shopping, the characters made the journey back to the nearby Valley of Shrines. At the shine of Thyr, Telok was unable to make the statue move at his command, due to his unlawful attitudes. They then journeyed back to the burial halls, back down to the first sub-level, and into the western half of it. There, they climbed down a small cliff and descended into an old tomb area, filled with coffins, and not yet choosing to go down a set of stairs they saw. The halfling paladin could sense evil from one of the coffins. Just then, a living shadow leaked out from insidea being of pure darkness, incorporeal and unholy. The undead thing attacked, though it was soon destroyed by Teloks holy turning. The room behind the coffins featured two more sarcophagi, and one housed an equally unpleasant shadow-thing. Soon after they started fighting it, it called forth a horde of rat-shadows as well, who also attacked. Happily for the heroes, the clerics great faith was able to defeat all the shadowy rodents, and forced the shadow to float off back to its lair, wounded. Pezzel and Jimwise followed, and as they didnt see it in its lair, they went into a connecting rat-tunnel. As they crawled through, the monk was attacked by the shadow, and though it was tense battle, he soon prevailed over the undead abomination, sending to back to its hellish afterlife. In the creatures caskets they found quite a bit of possessions, including some potions and a magical scroll. Here we ended.
DM’S COMMENTS: A great time was had by all, especially with Gorbash, who the paladin befriended when he decided to save his life. Good diplomacy and good role-playing can go a long way. Xyun’s player is doing especially well, and getting into the story by having his character convert to Thyr. The piercers surprised most PCs, as none of them have ever fought the monsters before (all have only played a few years), yet the shadows were surprisingly easy, thanks to detect evil and good turn results.