Borderland of Adventure #24: Into the Dungeon

At the end of last session we left the heroes in Ratikhill recovering from their recent exploits. While the group spent some much deserved downtime, Klara discovered more of the mysteries of her patron (Fharlanghn) and also engaged a henchman – Maban Annear, a human bard of grandiose ego and boundless ambition. Belivar also secured the services of a henchman – Jory Menadue – a human fighter and an incorrigible gambler.

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Klara also engaged the services of the reputed local sage (and famed wearer of expensive gowns) Tregereth Faull to discover the location of the lost Monastery of the Fire Opal. This she managed to do with little trouble and provided the party with a rough map showing its location. It seemed the monastery stood just five days travel away or so hard among the wooded foothills of the Rakers. It seemed an easy journey along well-established roads and with many villages and towns along the route in which to rest overnight. Klara took the precaution of gifting the talented sage with extra gold and asked her to perhaps be a little less forthcoming with the monastery’s location if a certain band of Hextorites came seeking Belivar.

With their business taken care of, the party set out to find the monastery in the first week of Reaping as summer caressed the land. They comprised:

  • Krorz  (male half-orc rogue 3)
  • Hemgor (male human fighter 2)
  • Adoven (male dwarf cleric [Moradin] 3)
  • Belivar (male halfling summoner 3)
  • Klara (female half-orc cleric [Fharlanghn] 3)
  • Maban Annear (male half-elf 1; henchman to Klara)
  •  Jory Menadue (male human fighter; henchman to Belivar)

Their journey was pleasant, but uneventful, and five days later they stayed for the night in a village close by to the monastery’s location. It turned out that the peasants knew of the ruined monastery, but never went there as they believed it to be haunted. After questioning, however, they did say a hooded woman had recently been using the track leading to and from the place and that they didn’t like her – she smelled funny! Rumours of devil worship in the monastery also still swirled among the peasants.

Undeterred, the party set out the next day, and shortly after midday found the ruins hidden deep in the woods at the end of a perilously overgrown track. Ominously the signs and sounds of woodland animals was strangely absent from the area. After exploring the above ground ruins vigorously, the party descended a set of steps they discovered leading deep underground.

The steps emerged into a damp chamber. To the west could be heard the sounds of running water emanating from behind a swollen door while three other passageways led deeper into the complex. Rotting rubbish and bones covered the floor and as Krorz explored the area he cut open a rotten sack. Before he could react, yellow mould exploded into his face and got into his lungs. However, the redoubtable half-orc was made of stern stuff and although he coughed up yellow gunk for several minutes, he was essentially unhurt.

Deciding to explore the  northern passage, the party discovered two doors. It was quiet beyond and so they randomly picked the western door. Beyond grew a large purple fungus that started screaming as soon as the door opened. The plant – identified as a shrieker – was quickly destroyed and nothing else seemed to lurk within the chamber (which in turn led to another). As the party started to search for lost treasures, Krorz spotted a secret door high up on one wall. Belivar had a collapsing ladder and so Krorz was quickly able to open the passage. Sadly, lurking within was a grey, skinless humanoid that immediately bit and gouged him. Surprised, Krorz could not defend himself and was quickly paralyzed. In the ensuing melee, which saw another creature emerge from another secret door, both Maban and Hemgor were also bitten by the creatures but eventually the party destroyed what they identified as ghouls. The creatures’ lair contained some small treasures – a pile of gold, some rope and a few magical scrolls – and thus heartened the party investigated and searched a large room to the east. Retracing their steps, they discovered more corridors and several doors. Behind one they fought and slew a gigantic centipede and beyond another they found the remains of what was obviously the monks’ training equipment.

Within this room, they discovered a secret door. After briefly discussing their next plan, Krorz searched the door and then opened it, Beyond lay an obvious bedroom and within the bedroom stood a female human. Horns grew from her head and given her garments she seemed to be an arcane spellcaster of some sort. Sadly, she had heard the party coming and was ready for them. Before the party could attack, she encased them in a web. As they struggled to break free, she followed this up by first blinding Hemgor and then dropping a fireball into the room (which incinerated the web and badly damaged many of the party).

As some of the party struggled forward, while others retreated, Hemgor struck out with his spear narrowly missing Krorz. Another fireball dropped into the mass of the struggling party killed Belivar’s unfortunate henchman, Jory Menadue, and almost destroyed his eidolon (which slumped to the ground and took no more part in the fight). With disaster hovering about the party Klara and Krorz struggled to get to grips with the woman. She badly damaged Klara with a magic missile attack, but she in turn cut her badly. Now retreating, the woman brought Klara to the brink of death with a shocking grasp spell, but now badly injured and surrounded by two very angry adventurers she was quickly and brutally cut down.

Stunned by the savage magic that had almost cut short their adventuring career, the party healed their wounds as best they could, mourned their dead and gathered the woman’s loot which included gold, a wand, a magic cloak and a spellbook. Then with their treasure secured, the party prepared to retreat to rest and recuperate…

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Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

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