Well, since Our Heroes™ dispatched the evil cleric and saved the town of Threshold, it was time to do what all adventuring parties do when they succeed — bask in the glory, spend their valor-gotten spoils, and then look for a new job.
After getting back to town, the thief, excitable young boy that he was, decided that this wandering around in the wilderness gig wasn’t for him, and left the party to investigate what sort of life he might make in the city. This left the party short a thief, a role that would ultimately be filled by hilfy, who joined the DP group with this session.
The fighter returned to the Lord Chamberlain to report on the party’s success. He said that he was sure “his hirelings” and he would be happy to tackle any other jobs that might be available. The Lord Chamberlain, having already heard the glowing success reports from Threshold’s mayor and thus judging the group to be worth expending a bit more time on, informs the fighter of a series of caravan attacks that have been taking place over the last few weeks. He wants someone to go and put a stop to it.
The fighter returned to the tavern with the new mission in hand. Meanwhile, the druid had gathered up the various non-magical weapons they had collected from the kobolds and sold them at a local weapons shop for a nice bit of change plus a longsword, so the party divided up their money. and then got the information from the fighter about their new mission. The were suddenly aware that a young half-elven girl was standing at their table, listening intently.
Half-elf stranger: I couldn’t help but notice that there are certain…adventuring skills missing from your party.
Fighter: You have no idea.
The stranger identified herself as Desse, a specialist in acquisitions and covert investigation, and asked if she could join the party. After not much deliberation, the party agreed to bring her on board. She immediately contributed to the party by plying some information about the caravan raids from the bartender. (The party isn’t really aware of this, but almost everyone who works at the Shady Dragon Inn is a retired adventurer of some renown. There’s very little of note that goes on in the Kelvin district that Hally and his crew aren’t at least marginally aware of.) The bartender told her that the raiders left behind few survivors, most of whom didn’t actually see the raiders. The one who did said he saw a four-armed humanoid leading a warband of lizard creatures.
The party set off down the south road towards the capital, along the route where the attacks had been happening. In the middle of their second day of travelling, they came across a wrecked caravan. The two wagons had been ransacked, and three dead bodies were left behind. A fairly obvious trail led off into the forest. The druid and his wolf began tracking, eventually coming to a clearing where a belt pouch, containing a small gem, had been dropped near a nearly-hidden path into a thicket, near the base of a steep cliff. The druid looked up the face of the cliff-like hillside until he fell over onto his back, and sent the wolf back to fetch the rest of the party.
Fighter: What is it boy?
Me: Sensei fell down a well?
The party made their way into the thicket to the base of the hill, which Desse began to evaluate for climbing.
Rafi: I have rope.
Desse: I also have rope. And I have a grappling hook.
Rafi: I was going to use mine to tie people up. But your idea is also good!
Before they actually spent too much time trying to climb the hill, however, their trail led them to an ivy covered door carved into the side of the mountain. It was covered with bas relief carvings showing a stern looking priest pouring a potion into the open mouth of a dying man. One the left of the door, a carving of a dour looking man holding a bastard sword, and the other of a skeletal figure with it’s mouth agape. Both the druid and the cleric failed to identify the religious significance of the carvings, but the thief quickly determined that the door was in fact a fake, and upon further searching, found a secret door to the right. While trying to figure out how to open it, the Rafi, the duskblade, had the idea of pouring water into the mouth of the skeleton. This was indeed the trigger for the door, and the party gained access to the mountain.
The first room they came to was obviously intended to be a guard chamber. Five kobolds were playing at dice in the centre of the room, while a slightly larger kobold in chain armor looked on. The party charged in and attacked, making quick work of the five smaller kobolds. The leader of this small pack, sensing he was outnumbered, ran out the hallway on the far end, having been prevented from sounding the large gong to alert the rest of the complex. The fighter, priest, and druid pursued him into the next room, where an odd sight greeted them. The watch captain was waiting for them in the shrine, but a green mist was now wafting off of his scaly hide. When they came within five feet of him, they had to make saving throws or become sick and queasy from the odor, resulting in a -2 to all their die rolls.
Priest: You’re harshing my mojo.
Druid: Mellow, man! Harshing your *mellow*.
Priest: Look, you’ve got your problems, I’ve got mine.
The priest was hit hard by the kobold, and dropped back to heal. Meanwhile, the fighter managed to fumble his sword, having it wind up on the ground behind his target. The druid quickly handed his longsword off to the fighter, figuring that he would make better use of it. He then decided to try and grapple the opponent.
Me: The Druid tries to grapple. The kobold’s attack of opportunity crits for….2 points of damage.
Don: I just wanted to give you a hug, man!
A few rounds later, the kobold was dispatched and the horrible green mist and the sickness it caused subsided, and they began to try and figure out something about the shrine they were now standing in.
Dave: Do I recognize anything here? (Rolls a 9 on his Knowledge(Religion) check).
Me: It looks like a shrine of some sort. You think, but are not sure, that the statue is the same guy in the carvings at the entrance.
Don: You failed theology, didn’t you?
Me: He’s a Scientologist.
The druid fared better on his check, and was able to finally identify the figure in the statue in the shrine, as well as the carvings they saw outside, as Soleth, the deity of an ancient lawful neutral death cult. The soft-spoken and much misundestood priests of this solemn sect believed that death should be quiet and dignified affair, and are extremely anti-undead; they were fabled to have a potion that could be administered to the faithful to protect their body from ever being raised in any necromantic fashion (this is the ritual that was being depicted on the false door outside). This isn’t the sort of religion that kobolds normally go in for, leading the party to speculate on the origins of the underground temple they were exploring, and how the current residents came to be here.
Why are the kobolds here? Are they, in fact, the brigands behind the caravan raids? And what other mysterious and ancient secrets does their underground lair hold? You’ll just have to tune in next time and fine out!