- Brand the dirty sneaky Thief
- Draug the Warrior
- Ryan the no nonsense Cleric of Aristemis
- Thorkell the Warrior - left at the top of the pit
- Chez the "How do we start fighting here?" Warrior
- Bezal the halfling - left at the top of the pit
- Daniloth the "my spells kill me" Elf
- Chester the thief - left at the top of the pit
- Grom "I'm a Wizard!!"
- Jenson the Warrior - left at the top of the pit
The action opened with with the crew coming over a rise and glimpsing the village of Lusates and the infamous Great Stinking Fissure of Gorm a few miles beyond. There were dark clouds emerging from the fissure which was many miles wide and many more long. There was a sulfer smell on the wind and a minor earth tremor shook the ground.
A farmer, with his family and pigs in cart, stopped to chat and the gang learned that people were leaving the town. It was a very rich and fertile area, but the tremors and the stink had been getting much worse in the last few months, ever since the hollow star had turned up and the grey cloaks had been spotted. The final straw had been in the last few weeks when a few lone farmsteads had been smashed, the inhabitants missing. In one instance the family of a farm had managed to fight off a group of grey cloaks directing a massive worm. After that people started packing up. Thanking the farmer the party moved on, but not before Chaz bought a pig.
The town was obviously very affluent. Even the simple houses were solid and well kept, painted with bright colours, orange being predominant. The fields around the town were very verdant, and roads were well cobbled. At the Inn they found the innkeeper in the process of packing things up, and charging exorbitant prices. He was happy enough to answer questions for free though, confirming what the farmer had said. He gave a patronizing little laugh when the crew told him that they would deal with the underground threat. There had been a previous group of adventurers, he told them, that said the same thing a couple of weeks ago before they marched off to save the town. They had never returned from the crevice.
A visit to the small temple was next and the party discovered from the priest that legend had it that a great beast lived beneath the earth and in ages past sacrifices had been given to quell its hunger, but no such sacrifice had been made in living memory. He also spoke about the appearance of the grey cloaks and that they must be members of some cult dedicated to chaos. He directed the group to an ancient pit north of the town, just before the great fissure where sacrifices were supposedly made, but no one had visited it due to its evil reputation. Ryan the cleric and Daniloth the elf both noticed that the temple was built on much more ancient foundations, into which were carved an obscure wavy script that they were not able to make heads or tales of.
After a night at the expensive inn the crew set off at first light and soon came to the pit referred to by the priest. It was a hundred feet wide and many hundreds of yards before the edge of The Great Stinking Fissure of Gorm. Worn stone stairs spiralled down its inner surface meeting a layer of
obscuring and frightfully smelly mist about forty feet down. Someone tossed a rock in and they listened to it clatter for a while. Then Grom and Chaz decided that they would send the pig that Chaz had bought down first. A dubious plan, made more so by the fact that the pig had no intention of going near the pit. Grom managed to man handle the poor struggling thing and partially roll it down the first few steps, where it promptly fell off the edge and went plummeting, thumping and squealing for long moments. There was a collective faceplant as everyone now realized that whoever was down there now knew that someone was up here.
|Who's throwing pigs at me...?|
After some squabbling the crew began a nervous decent down the perilous stairs. It was not lost on them that a single misstep could result in a very long fall. Unfortunately, Grom's spiderclimb spell wasn't nearly as effective as in the serpent mound near Hirot. As they approached the mist layer, Daniloth's keen eyes spied figures moving slowly up the stairs toward them. The party paused and a grey robed head poked partially above the mist, its face hidden. "Have you come to join us?" Came a sibilant whisper, "to worship the great Palimdybis?"
The party looked at one another for a moment. "Why yes" said Chaz, "Yes we have".
"Excellent" replied the whisperer. "Put down your weapons and come to us".
"We'd actually like to hang on to our weapons if that's alright with you." This was met with seething hisses and muttering.
"Put them down! Join us! Join us!" This seemed to signal the end of formal negotiations as Grom yelled "Colour Spray!" and immediately forgot how to cast the spell. The rest of the crew leapt into action and arrows were loosened and forward party members charged, carefully mind you, down the steps. It was a relatively quick fight as one of the cloaked figures attempted to block the charge and the others started a hideous chanting call. They never got to successfully complete whatever magic they were attempting as they were violently kicked and hammered off the stairs. One cultist, however, didn't fall when struck down and a horrendous pulpy mass exploded from its chest and continued the attack before it was dealt with. Poking at the cultist's body, they discovered that it had no face so to speak of. Just a slit mouth and a blank rubbery visage with limp fleshy feelers ringing the outer edge. Suitably grossed out, the party continued its downward progress.
Below the mist layer they found it to be humid and shadowy. The stairs continued to spiral down a short way but crumbled off perhaps fifty feet further on. Three doors in the pit's stoney side were seen, two easily accessible and the third further down passed a break in the stairs. The pit itself dropped alarmingly into a deep darkness, with the unsettling sense that something massive squirmed in the depths below.
Heaving aside the first door they were greeted by a cultists rising groggily from kneeling before some sort of alter. He was dispatched forthwith and the crew set about searching the little prayer room. Ryan the cleric noticed the same curious swirly script from the town's temple on the door frame of the room, and Brand poked at some heavy egged shaped stones trying to estimate their value to weight ratio. Daniloth's secret door sense pinged and they found a little hidden passage behind the alter.
Always willing to risk it for the chance at treasure, Brand crept in and discovered a cramped dusty old passage, crawling with little pale spiders which had painful bites. After disarming a trap, the rest of the crew squeezed in and made their way along. They discover a couple of other passages leading down from this one but kept creeping along until they found themselves emerging into a second prayer room similar to the first. Deciding to go back to the two passages they passed by, the party discovered the first one lead down an odd winding corridor to a small cavern. The cavern had an weird other worldly feel to it, a sense that was compounded by an pool of water on the ceiling, complete with a stalagmite dripping water up into the pool. The crew prepared itself for all sorts of reverse gravity situations and cautiously entered the room to find it pretty normal. Well except for the dripping up water.
Brand decided it was time to investigate the upside down pool. He was lofted up on Chaz's shoulders and rammed head first into the pool and couple of times. Spluttering and choking he still managed to grope about and clamp his hands around a massive gold colored ring. Pulling it out, they found it had and odd script on it that no one recognized. It was also enormous, easily fitting over someone's arm almost like a torc. After a few more experiments where they found the water seemed to always fall up, the crew collected some in a couple of water skins and departed.
They then checked out the second tunnel leading off the secret passage. This tunnel also lead down, more like a chute really, so they tied rope at the top so they could climb back up. Brand, as almost always, went first. Before he got to the bottom he heard scraping sounds of something massive and tugged on the rope to be hauled back up. Not wanting to alert whatever was down there, Daniloth, with his see in the dark elvish eyes, was sent down next. Daniloth managed to peer out the end of the tunnel and see a massive worm like creature undulating about a circular room. The length of the worm appeared to disappear down a hole in the center of the room, and bizarrely had a rope ladder affixed to it. Daniloth cautiously got down and found the worm thing didn't seem to react to his presence. He spotted another rough passage leading away from this one and quietly called the others down to investitsge. One by one they slid down the chute and all made their way past the worm and into the rough side tunnel. A few speculated about what the worm was. Grom seemed to think it was the very beast they'd been sent to kill, while Brand was of the mind it was some sort of transportation system.
|Like this. Only scarier.|
It was a tough one, made tougher by Ryan's goddess becoming fickle and denying healing and imposing disfavour. A second basilisk joined the first and things looked dire. It was down to a couple of lucky rolls but the band managed to scrape though, battered and bruised. The golden horns were hacked off and the party returned to the giant worm room. Here the group had to convince Grom, being somewhat convinced that this was the beast they were here to kill, not to start an attack. They decided to go back up to the second worship room and take a look at the third door along the stair well.
Concocting an elaborate rope system the band crossed the gap of collapsed stair to the third door. They also noticed a small cave entrance just a few yards further down the side of the pit. Grom spell burned to remember spiderclimb but just ended up summoning a swarm of little evil biting spiders when he cast it, narrowly avoiding corruption with another spell burn. It was the first time Grom had suffered something worse than a misfire, which was quite amazing considering the number of casts he makes.
So standing before the third door the crew prepared to enter, and that folks is were we left it til next time.