- Alefa Frigeldötter, Human (Hältlander) Fighter (Sarah)
- Asanaria Quickrok, Halfling Bard (Emma)
- Baras Gouliou, Human (Tagean) Pankratiast (Sam)
- Hrodan, Human (Hältlander) Paladin of Augustus (Alex)
- Brother Solomon, Half-Elven Cleric of Toth (James)
- Wren Dre, Wild Elf Ranger (Gavin)
This time, it was Sam that missed the session after he managed to double-book himself with a LARP. Thus Baras was played in ‘bot mode. Also I’m writing this almost three weeks after we’ve played so this summary is going to be pretty brief.
This week, we re-join the daring heroes as they continue their assault on the temple of Baleon Nakt. As Baras, Solomon and Hrodan explored further; Asanaria was drawing Halfling graffiti on the walls whilst Alefa was taunting the wolves by using the head of the gnoll stable-master for a glove puppet. The three men discovered the stable-master’s room, along with his goblin lackeys. They were hard-pressed and Solomon ran back to the stables to get help. Said help was in the form of the Elf and the Halfling, they chose not to disturb Alefa who seemed to be having fun tormenting the wolves.
As this smaller party put down the last of the goblins, there was an indignant female howl from the stables. Whilst Alefa was distracted, a goblin patrol had managed to creep up on here and pepper her with arrows. The men looked at each other in shock before rushing back the way they’d come. As they burst into the room, they were greeted with the sight of a wild-eyed female Hältlander stood over three goblin corpses, her falchion dripping with their blood. Asanaria piped up with the shrewd observation that it had taken the four males to put down four goblins whereas Alefa managed to kill three by herself. She went on to mutter how inadequate they must be when a woman can take on worse odds and still come out ahead. The men wisely decided to bite their tongues but many a foul look were thrown in the Halfling’s direction.
Further exploration near the stable-master’s quarters revealed a large room containing papers. Solomon’s eyes lit up in glee whilst the remainder of the party scowled at what appeared to be a set of Halfling-sized gnolls.
“Kobolds” growled Wren Dre; the nervous looking kobolds looked at each other and immediately began a hasty fighting retreat. They hadn’t been completely surprised as they’d heard the sounds of the party dealing with the stable-master and his lackeys so they had positioned themselves close to the only other exit in the room. The adventurers unleashed a hail of blows and when the dust finally settled, there was a single kobold corpse on the floor and a blood trail leading out the other exit.
Yes, my kobolds are more related to gnolls than to lizards. This comes from my exposure to Mystara and particularly the “Shadows over Mystara” coin-op game.
Wearily the brave party looked at the blood-trail. It wasn’t long before Baras said that they needed to follow the remaining kobolds otherwise they may well alert the goblins and gnolls, perhaps even Griznak himself. As much as his fellows didn’t want to believe it, they knew that he spoke truly and so they tightened their armour straps, loosened their weapons in their scabbards and began following the trail although not before Solomon was able to dig through the papers and save the better preserved ones for later examination. It took them through an already familiar room littered with the corpses of goblins and a single mangy-looking dog; down the corridor that lead past the well room whence they had locked in a rather large spider; across the original entrance chamber with the statue of the Dark One and through a new set of corridors before finishing at a door.
Listening to the door, the Elf could hear the sounds of an argument. Though he couldn’t make out the actual words, he was able to establish that there were two sets of voices: the rumbling guttural voices of the goblins and a second higher-pitched set of voices. Quickly he relayed this to his companions and after final preparations; they burst through the door into a room. Forewarned, the goblins and kobolds had overturned tables to create a set of makeshift barricades.
And so battle was joined; the goblins and kobolds loosed their arrows and spears whilst some of the party did the same and the remainder charged to close with the foulspawn. It was a close fought battle and no-one came away unscathed. At one point, Hrodan had fallen and a goblin was attempting to stab him as he lay prone in front of a barricade. The party were victorious in the end although they realised that such a victory could well have been pyrrhic. They quickly explored the exits from the room, finding a safe enough haven where they could rest and heal up. There were two doors that could be spiked closed whilst the only other route to them lay through a set of unstable tunnels which Solomon judged to be such that even the meagre weight of a goblin could collapse it.
The party set watches and healing was given out. Baras discovered a pair of small vials in his pouch containing a bright pink creamy liquid that smelt of mint. Careful sampling judged them to potions of healing and he surmised that they may have been a gift from the Pixie Queen. Before sleeping, Solomon looked through the papers that he’d picked up earlier. Most of them were of clerical or administrative details involved in running the Empire of the Winter Dark but there were a couple of notable exceptions: one was a scroll that defied any attempt at comprehension though it was written on fine vellum that had resisted all damage; the other was a set of edicts that listed a pair of locations that held additional treasure, the Valgolg and the Krekingolg.
He mentioned the fine vellum scroll to the Halfling and she demanded to have a look. Sighing in resignation and expecting nothing of it, Solomon gave her the parchment. He failed to notice the muttering under her breath as well as the faint glow to her eyes as she looks over the scroll.
“No wonder you couldn’t read it” she said, “It’s a magical scroll of Arcane power”.
He looked at her in surprise “You can read it?”
“Of course I can” she shrugged, “I am a Bard after all”.
“So what does it do?” he asked eagerly, the others listened on with their curiosity piqued.
“It appears to be a dweomer for understanding written scripts so I suspect it’s a spell that will allow a person to read any written material as though it were written in Vulgate” she replied nonchalantly.
After a decent rest, it seemed that the Val-Eahrakun favoured them. There had been no disturbance during their break and furthermore, no hue-and-cry had been raised. It seemed that no-one had found the corpses that littered the temple and that no patrols had yet returned. Moving swiftly to take advantage of this lucky break, the party reconnoitred the remaining rooms that they could find (looting all and any corpses as they went) before returning to the stairwell that they had found in the wolf stables. They paused briefly to steel their nerves before descending into the depths once more.
At the bottom of the stairs, they found a new corridor stretching off into the darkness ahead of them. It was readily apparent that this level was in somewhat better condition that the previous level, the ceilings were supported by vaulted arches at regular intervals along the corridor. The party took a quick look in the first room they came across but seeing little more than broken tables, old chairs and other detritus, they chose to press onwards.
They happened upon a cross junction: ahead and to the right lay long dimly-lit passageways that headed off into the darkness whilst to the left, the passageway ended at a large archway with a gold inlaid inscription on the lintel. Beyond it could be seen a richly appointed room. It didn’t take long for them to decide that was the direction they wanted to head. Solomon paused at the archway, pondering the inscription.
“Would that scroll be able to translate this inscription?” he asked Asanaria.
She shrugged. “Probably”.
“It seems that I am not able to use this scroll as its power is alien to me” he grimaced, his pride as a follower of the God of Knowledge somewhat dented.
“Give it here. I can use it” answered the Halfling impatiently.
To everyone’s surprise, she took the scroll from the cleric and began to reading it, her intonation haunting yet flawless, the words seeming to linger on the echos before disappearing. Thus completed, the scroll faded away as the magic was spent. Asanaria turned her gaze to the lintel, seemingly oblivious to everyone staring at her.
“Hmmm” she muttered, “That’s odd. The inscription reads ‘In One Is All’”.
“That’s it?” asked the Cleric, “In One Is All?”
As the Half-Elf spoke those words, he felt a distinct chill settle into his bones and he gasped in pain as he staggered against the wall.
“Do not repeat those words, any of you!” he spat as he sought to catch his breath.
Of course, adventurers being the ‘ornery creatures they are, no one could resist doing so. When they all seemed unaffected, Solomon sighed and had to wonder “why him?” They pressed on into the room, although it was once a finely appointed antechamber, the furnishings had long since rotted away save for a large brass bell. Wren Dre turned to warn Asanaria against touching the bell but found her reading a set of engravings on the walls. She called to Solomon and asked him to bring parchment and ink with him.
When the Cleric joined her, she began to read the inscriptions out loud so that he could write them down. As she read them, the remaining party members listened on; their faces growing pale as the dread litany unfolded. Here on the walls were depicted vile and reprehensible acts, unholy deeds that could only have come from the lips or hands of the Dark One. Even the cleric of Toth was shaken as he dutifully wrote down the words. When the Halfling was finished, everyone was looking drawn and pale; each of them could feel a sense of oppression, as though there were something incomplete, a malevolent scrutiny as it were. Asanaria was the first to speak up.
“Well, he sounded like he had right cheery childhood, dinnee?” said the irreverent Halfling, a cheeky grin on her face. She was answered by snorts of laughter from the others and the sense of foreboding lifted slightly.
Baras led the group out of the chamber into another passageway, which soon ended in a T-junction with a door on the opposite wall. He looked over his shoulder at his companions as though looking for a decision.
“Hrodan says that we went left at the last junction, and we should go left again. Simple left hand rule” said the Paladin as Alefa rolled her eyes at his speech.
Hearing no dissent, Baras turned left and headed along the passageway and it was not long before the party stood before a door. Asanaria inspected it closely before whispering that the room beyond was occupied and that this door was locked. With no key and no-one having the skill to open the lock, Baras and Hrodan braced themselves before charging the door down. The door broke off its hinges and deposited the two men into a large room filled with a pack of kobolds, all of whom were hidden behind simple barricades. With howls and battle cries, the party charged into battle.
The fight was short and brutal; it turned out that the kobolds were not alone when some of the party members were ambushed by large spiders. In the end, it was Solomon who turned the battle when he dropped a Sound Burst in the far corner. The massive concussion cracked carapaces and ruptured ears but the canny Cleric had ensured that his fellows were well out of range. So the session ended with the group putting the kobolds down and exterminating the last of the spiders.