Monday, February 20, 2023

Sunday Session - Don't Knock Over the Urns

 What happened this week, folks?

Tonight's party:

  • Jax, barbarian+dog
  • Frederick, thief
  • Fulvus, halfling
And introducing:

  • Brandor, dwarf
  • Nolan, thief
We started in Neuforde, observing some of the new settlers and developments in the area (toll booth at new bridge, a few new homes, militia barracks, survey markers for future walls and a new temple). Things are booming in our little town on the frontier... (Oh, and Frederick just returned with the local halflings after finding some random goods that fell off some wagons. The local Adopt-a-highway program is effective.)

A bit of introduction, and the PCs sought out some rumors about the past history of the land. It seems that there was once some sort of barrier or network that helped keep Chaos at bay generations ago when the land was more settled. With the ensuing loss of the lands, and general instability in other domains, much of the local history has been lost. It is known that the "Ring Road" as the trade road passing through town is known, was formerly part of a border, although the route has been altered somewhat.

As a starting point in their search, the party headed upstream to a lake and cave previously explored and cleared of a polluting alchemist. On the way, they encountered a band of bullywugs, set on defending their territory. Through a bit of pidgin language, the party made clear that they were just passing through, and the leader seemed to recognize Jax. The bullywugs demanded a fee for passing. Frederick offered some pearls, and Fulvus his bag of marbles. The bullywugs were a bit meh regarding the pearls, but quite excited about the marbles. 

shiny marbles!

Reaching the cave, the party now sought to investigate some carvings that had been noticed during the prior exploration. Clearing some moss and debris, they deciphered what appeared to be a schematic representation of the local area, with a number of mystery points. Conveniently, one appeared to be nearby. Oh, and Brandor found a couple of unbroken bottles with mystery fluids in the ruined lab. I'm sure they are perfectly harmless...

Off to the mystery location, and the party found an old complex hidden behind a pair of bronze doorss. While checking them out, some giggling was heard, and Fulvus and Jaz crept into the woods to investigate. The giggling continued, and Fulvus saw his rope floating away, and Jax's pack straps were cut. Annoyed and figuring that the pests were pixies, the two retreated back to the party...

While investigating the door, Frederick got jumped by a spider-crab:

something like this

...and took quite a bit of damage. The party was quite unsuccessful at defeating the thing until Goober tore off a leg and Nolan was able to shoot it. Really, are you guys getting your asses kicked by a solitary bug? Anyway, the thing fled, heavily wounded, and the party entered the cavern.

The cavern was unnaturally cold, with breath visible. A doomed explorer was found, and Fulvus collected their silver dagger. The party explored further, finding a mirror-like poor with a statue on the far side. Spotting a shiny thing, Fulvus utilized his ring of jumping to leap across. He retrieved a large onyx, and cleared the pond, leaping back as an ooze emerged to take a couple of ineffective swipes at him and the party. 

Choosing to avoid the ooze, the party explored deeper, encountering a "half-ghost" semi-incorporeal undead that accused them of disturbing the place and threatened them. The party stated that they were seeking the Keepers of the Light. The ghost asked if they were Keepers, themselves, which the party admitted that they were not, but were seeking to become Keepers. The ghost asked if the Keepers still held the borders, and the party revealed that they were long gone. Disappointed, the ghost faded away.

Intrigued at this exchange, the party sought to follow the ghost, but checked a side passage first to clear it of threats. Here they found three funerary urns and a stone bench. Careful searching revealed no traps around the urns and the party was cautious to not disturb them. Frederick stumbled upon a secret door under the stone bench, and Brandor descended to investigate. 

Leading down the narrow passage, the dwarf and halfling yet again avoided a trap designed for tallfolk (see prior adventure)... The party picked their way into a chamber of grave goods, impressed that someone had reassembled a chariot in the space, before hitting up a large coffer. Which was filled with coin and a mystery device. Collecting the loot, the party heard Goober going off in the room above, and returned to find him in combat with a hobgoblin shaman. A bit of chaotic battle, and the hobgoblin, wounded, cast the room into darkness before fleeing. The party felt their way out of the room. And of course knocked over an urn... releasing another half-ghost (followed over the next two rounds by a second half-ghost and a wight). A couple of party members took some attribute drains as the party fled back they way they came.

They rested the night outside of the complex, with no disturbances. Heading back to town, the party encountered a few goblins who offered to trade (reaction roll 12). Exchanging a couple of rabbits for a wineskin, the party got back to town. 

Knowing that the ancestors of Victor Matui had once guarded the area, the party rode out of town to ask if he know of the old border protections. Victor was beginning the process of rebuilding the small fortification as the party arrived. Neither Victor nor his advisor had much knowledge of the Keepers of the Light other than vague recollections from ancestors, but promised to look into it. Victor also warned the party of another group who may be asking after him, and to keep an eye out for them.

So we have a potential larger mystery surrounding the Before Times for the party to suss out, as well as another potential faction (at least by name). The cavern/tomb was modded on the fly from the "Cavern of the Wraith Count" and worked quite well. The party wisely chose not to go toe-to-toe with many of the threats, as it would have quickly descended into attrition. There is some interest in returning to the tomb, with the hope of communicating with the undead for information, as well as to get that pesky hobgoblin... And I always enjoy being informed by the reaction roll as to what encountered critters will do...

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