Crusade Campaign – Session #10

Jimmy had volunteered to stay invisibly outside the door in order to provide early warning in the event someone came to use the room.  While his comrades rested, he watched as various groups and individuals passed at times north or south, including guards, monks, and even servants or slaves bearing food and wine.    He could also hear the sounds of guards or others bearing arms moving down towards the stairs to the level below, likely reinforcements looking for the party.  Tot h north, he could sometimes hear the quiet voices and see the torchlight of the small guard contingent he knew was just around the corner.

All went well enough for many hours, though atone point a monk ran by, obviously in great distress.  he returned to the south a short time later, a very grim look on his face.  He returned a little later, now accompanied by a dreadful presence, some sort of demon or other terrible creature of the underworld that Jimmy was unfamiliar with.  The thing passed and Jimmy thought it might have paused ever so slightly as it passed him, but it did not stop.

When the hall was clear, the thief slipped silently into the room with the party, where the three clerics were busily praying for spells.  There was now a short debate on the merits of remaining to finish getting spells, or fleeing in case the monster was able to sense them.  They decided to remain, and Jimmy slipped outside once more to take up his station.  The demon soon came back with the monk and disappeared to the south.  A little later, an older monk with a small entourage of senior fighters and other monks came by.  one monk motioned to the door the party was hiding behind, but the older monk shook his head and they continued on.

When the party had finished recovering spells (except for Xarxen, who said he had enough to get by), and conducting some desperately needed healing, the party slipped outside.  Jimmy would now use his invisibility to scout to the north, starting with the small temple-like room he could see due north.  Slipping past the side passage where the guards were loitering, he stepped into the room — and was engulfed in a fiery explosion from a glyph of warding.  Though his ring of fire protection aided him, he rushed back south quickly as some of the guards ran over to investigate, at which time they saw the rest of the party to the south.  A melee ensued as guards tried to get past the party, but were slain.  Jimmy, meanwhile, got in between the attacking guards and their fellows, ensuring that anyone fleeing would run into him and be delayed.  The guards were quickly slain, though one managed to get to a door and through it, after shouting to someone beyond. A second guard fled the party but was unable to get through the door, which was shut on him.

The party took their time now, listening to the desperate guard (translated by Xarxen for their benefit).  There was apparently a monk beyond the door, and he had put a glyph over it, sot he guard was told to “fight tot he death” since the door could not be opened.  The party then slew him and Xarxen dispelled magic to remove the glyph.  Perudo next cast Silence on a coin and the door was burst open – to reveal a small meeting room with no on in it.  There was a door out of it, but the fallen Pandemonious’ dagger indicated it, too, was protected by a glyph.  Perudo successfully dispelled it, and the second door was thrown open.  Beyond was a small room dominated by a carved and painted pentagram in the middle of the floor, in the center of which was a burned corpse (it smelled slightly of burned meat in the room).  The last guard was there before them, while in the opposite corner was a monk.  The former fought bravely (but died) while the monk threw a hold person spell that took Perudo out of the fight.

The party quickly plundered the bodies but found there were no other doors from here.  They now moved to another passage further east that ended in an empty round room full of skeletons.  Wanting to check for secret doors, the clerics and paladins turned or destroyed them — except Xarxen, who control of half of them.  A few of these were sent to enter the temple to set off further glyphs, though none were found.  Jimmy now began to arrange the slain guards around the area where he’d set off the glyph of fire, while the others searched fruitlessly for secret doors.  It seemed this whole area was a dead end.  however, Lune had the insight that the burned body was likely that of Pandemonious, though this was never confirmed (Jimmy speculated he might’ve been questioned by a speak with dead spell and the party at one point considered taking to him that way themselves to get info from a friendly source, but never did).

The party now made their way back towards the bridge over the stream they’d seen before, and its guard post.  As they came around the corner, Perudo tried out the wand taken from a slain monk — it caused all six of the guards on the bridge to turn and flee screaming!  Xarxen then sent two of his skeletons to pursue them, lest unchased guards just lead to more trouble.  The stream crossed by the bridge fell from a ceiling waterfall to the north, where it fed both the stream and a pair of round pools connected by narrower channels.  The pools were filled with all manner of colorful lotus blossoms, but there was no other way from this area except the way the guards had fled.  Perudo cast locate object, without effect.

heading up that way, the party came to a trio of guard engaged in battle with the wayward skeletons.  All were soon slain.  There was a choice of all directions to go, and the party decided to try due east through a door.  This led into a huge chamber at the center of which was a blood stained altar with many writing is the indecipherable language of Magnus’ priesthood (Xarxen said it was all about blood, rivers of royal blood, cannibalism, and other unpleasant things); however, written largely in Common was “Look ye on we who were once Kings, now but food for the Lord of the Underworld.”  With no other ways out, the party came back to the guard post and saw, to the south, a large force of guards had been alerted and were approaching.  Not wishing to fight so many, Lune threw his remaining bomb from the necklace of missiles and blasted almost the lot, except for their leader, who Xarxen hit with hold person.  He was slain immediately.

The party needed information, and they debated whether to get it from this man or a monk (perhaps the one they’d slain earlier).  They decided to use it on this guard, though, when Xarxen informed them he had the spell, as well. Thus Perudo cast speak with dead on the guard officer.  The first asked where the stairs up were (he said “there is no up from here”).  Then they asked what location was most heavily guarded in this place (“The First Deep, near the stairs to the Second Deep” — this was interpreted to mean the level below this one, near the stairs to the next lower level, and thus probably a force looking for them).  Last they asked directly about the location for the Aspergillum (“that is a secret kept solely by the monks”).

The party now continued, apparently coming into the monastery proper as the underground stone gave way to actual brick. They found several quarters for guards and officers, all now empty (apparently they had blasted the bulk of the remaining guards).  In one room they found some cowering slaves but, as they turned to leave them, an older, angry-looking monk had appeared in the corridor behind them as from nowhere.  Before they could act, he had brought a flame strike down on the party.  This was quite devastating, but did not kill anyone outright.  However, as the fighters rushed at him and the clerics moved to silence him, he ot a second spell off — and a beam of foul green light sprung from his fingers and struck Aial, killing him instantly (slay living, save was a 5 Matt — sorry).  The monk was now silenced, but proved to have taken a potion of speed and was a formidable force in melee, as well.  Worse, at one point he took a small box from his pouch and, opening it, blew some black powder into the face of Xarxen, who instantly turned black and purple and died, gasping in agony as he died in mere moments (thus, the party went from almost clerical ability, to three full-up clerics, back to one in the space of two rounds).  The monk was slain at last.  They now had a monk to question; however, their cleric with the spell to do so was now dead, as well.

Shaken, the party bagged up Xarxen and Aial and continued on (I think they took the monk for later Q&A, as well), discovering the secret door the monk had used.  They now came to a larger, more elaborate room with a great statue of Magnus and a bunch of skeletons apparently on guard.  These they either turned or destroyed, and found two large double doors nearby.  behind one they could hear horses so they opened the other to be hit by a searing blinding light (AKA actual daylight – it was morning outside and the sun was above the hills and up the valley that opened up to the east).  Two guards were there, but were quickly slain.  The party now took the slaves they’d found previously and made them take the horses and ride off (despite having no riding skills) in the hopes this might confuse the monastery’s defenders; the stablehands they found were also run off.  They also wrote in monk’s blood “Xarxen was here” (though the fact it was in Common and not the local Angren might make it less believable).

They needed tor rest once more, especially given the loss of two of three clerics.  So, moving back inside, they returned to the lotus pools and the waterfall.  Lune, with his ring of free action and Perudo’s ring of the deeps, tried climbing up the waterfall and succeeded in reaching the top, which was a cut channel in the hill above the monastery that channeled a small river or stream.  Dropping a rope, he was able to aid the others to make their way up to what they hoped would be the best resting place they’d found thus far.

———————–

– Experience:  2740 XP each (includes XP for Aial, if he can be resurrected).

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