A few days had passed since the adventurers’ triumphant return from Lance Rock. Monkey, Francis and Jakesy said goodbye to the other adventurers, and continued on their travels, while Diablo and Gimbel returned from their own travels and rejoined the party again, where they were regaled with tales of all the trouble the adventurers had experienced with the necromancer.
These stories were interrupted by a rumbling sound from outside; moving quickly to investigate, the adventurers discovered that a large part of the village green and a few children were disappearing into a chasm that had opened up.
The group dashed to the scene, with Thumbalina throwing herself right over the edge, where she landed safely on a great pile of dirt to her great delight. In no time at all, she had cheered up the children that had followed her down, while above the rest of the adventurers attempted to calm down the terrified townsfolk. Their efforts were not helped by several of the village elders, who sought to send everyone back to their homes. This behaviour was deemed suspicious by the adventurers, and they were soon sure that some of the elders knew about what lay beneath the town; Thumbalina called back letting the group know about a tunnel and door down in the underground space.
To confirm their suspicious, they decided to investigate the complex. It was a dungeon. They’re adventurers!
While they were preparing for the descent, Kaylessa, the innkeeper, organised a rope fence around the hole, and generally kept the townsfolk in good spirits, while the elders mumbled and muttered nearby. The fence did little to stop Thumbalina and the children of the village, who were throwing themselves into the depths with great glee, landing on the dirt pile, then climbing up a rope for another go!
Eventually, everyone was organised and the group descended. They chose to investigate the door, which led to a long, worked corridor, adorned by reliefs of dwarven warriors. It proved that two of these reliefs were actually doorways, and so the group turned north through the left-hand door, and proceeded for a long time. Eventually they reached a room in which several human bodies were being gnawed upon by giant rats. The rats defended their meals, but were soon driven off by the adventurers. The bodies proved to be those of travellers, each with a symbol etched into their foreheads, deep enough to cut the bone. No-one could identify the symbol, but it was certainly disturbing.
The next room they investigated was less grisly, but no less unusual: a 20-pound rock, floating in the air, was its only adornment. The adventurers poked and prodded at the rock, until it eventually fell to the ground, but they could not determine what made it float in the air. Shrugging their collective shoulders, they moved onwards.
The tunnels now turned south again and they found themselves confronting eight men in leather armour marked with the symbol they’d seen inscribed on the corpses. Conversation was not a strong point of the men, who attempted to kill the adventurers for their intrusion, describing themselves as the “Bringers of Woe”. It didn’t go well for the Bringers of Woe; a couple were captured, but the rest were slain. Those captured had little to say to the adventurers – mainly on account of being unconscious and the group mindful of the need to push on. That said, the room they was interesting. It held the broken statue of a dwarf, with a small plaque giving its identity as a petrified Ironstar(?) dwarf, found 32 years ago in the Red Larch West Quarry; a ring of gravel surrounded the dwarf, and a number of valuables surrounded it. Heedless of what might occur, the group collected the valuables – silver pieces, gold pieces, and a few gems – as well as a bloodied dagger.
Continuing east, they discovered one of the elders of Red Larch – Baragustas – who had been absent from the commotion above. He pleaded with the group to not proceed, in case they woke the “wrath of the Delvers”. This wasn’t enough for the adventurers to stop investigating, so they proceeded onwards after tying him up.
The group finally reached a great, huge chamber of many stone monoliths, some standing alone, while others were set in great trilithons. The adventurers were not alone, although it took them a little time to discover this – an evil priest lurked in the darkness at the back of the cave, and cast a slow spell on the adventurers soon after they entered. The adventurers rushed forward (some quite slowly), but they were not able to catch the priest before he made his escape through a secret door, collapsing the tunnel behind him.
No further items of interest presented themselves to the adventurers, and so they made their way back home. Along the way, they found a mentally-challenged half-orc who seemed to be torturing a young boy; in fact the boy was being punished for failing to follow the orders of the town elders – or “Believers”, as he referred to him. The half-orc, Grund, made little good conversation, and needed to be subdued before the adventurers to escort the boy home.
The return of the adventurers to town caused great uproar amongst the townsfolk when it was realised that several of the elders had been capturing and killing travellers to appease the “Delvers”. There would be an accounting in Red Larch…
- Michael is playing Krovis Thorn, a LE human fighter 1/paladin 2 working for the Lord’s Alliance.
- Josh is playing Grigori, a CN human fighter working for the Zhentarim.
- Danielle is playing Thumbalina. a dwarf barbarian working for the Emerald Enclave.
- Dean is playing Zed Lepplin, a human warlock.
- Jesse is playing Jandar, CN human fighter, a criminal working for the Zhentarim.
- Mikey is playing Diablo, N gold dragonborn warlock, a sage working for the Lords’ Alliance.
- Noah is playing Gimbel, CN forest gnome rogue, a criminal working for the Zhentarim.
The biggest problem with this section of the adventure was simply that I hadn’t been able to properly set up enough of the NPCs in town. This was the first time the players had met the elders, so they weren’t really aware of their importance in the village. As I’m running this adventure in Encounters-format (2 hours per session), it doesn’t leave a lot of time for role-playing, although it’s also true that I tend not to be a big role-player at any time.
However, the session did serve to continue setting up Kaylessa as an important contact and NPC; she’ll be mayor next session, and I hope to use her to provide commentary on the effects of the actions of the players as the campaign continues. Being the innkeeper, she’s likely to hear most of the gossip in town…
XP-wise, this section is too light to get players to 3rd level. As a result, we’ll be starting the main adventure a little light; however, some of the players have augmented their XP by playing in some of the Expeditions adventures. That and the number of players we have will likely balance the encounters, so I don’t have to adjust things too much.
Yes, the priest escaped. This will become relevant later on. I’m not quite sure exactly how he’ll come back into it, but there are also a lot of hanging plot threads about the elders that I’ll try to explore in upcoming sessions.
I’ve also advanced the timeline another 7 days, to reflect that the adventurers do spend time off when they’re not adventuring. My old-school tendencies keeps it at “+1 day per real day not adventuring”. This may change depending on circumstance, of course!