“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.” – Anatole France
Grrkda, Calavares, Akmenos, Un’named and Nymrion rested in the Horned Hold of the Grimmerzhul duergar clan before returning to the Seven Pillared Hall. They had no further leads in their investigation to recover the final two human captives except that they were sold to creatures whose description made them sound like gnolls.
There, they investigated the Grimmerzhul Trading Post they had previously ransacked, and found it boarded up. They then returned to Gendar’s shop to return the skull scepter he had requested them to recover for him. In return, he paid the party 300 GP.
The characters split up to take care of business in town. Nymrion set to work creating a number of magic items for the party. Grrkda, Calavares and Un’named went to Rothar’s Taproom to question the ‘rougher’ clientele there about possible gnoll settlements or activity. Grrkda tried to intimidate a table full of gnolls and failed. He tried to backhand the nearest one but missed. The owner of the establishment, a very large half-orc named Rothar, broke up the fight and answered a few questions. Calavares smoothed over the hostility by buying a round of drinks. The interview was fruitless; there are dozens of gnoll settlements in the labyrinth, and no one claimed to have any knowledge of a pair of human captives.
Leadless – the party split up and asked around. They heard that the best source of news would be Orontor, the administrator for the Mages of Saruun. They approached him and asked about taking ownership of the trading post, and he required a signed contract. The party could not produce one. Meanwhile, they asked about gnoll settlements and human captives. Orontor didn’t know anything about that, but he did ask the characters to investigate the Saruun Mage known as Paldemar, who had gone rogue and had not been seen for many weeks.
With no course left to them, the characters decided to travel into the labyrinth and simply start looking around. Within an hour of wandering, they were lost in the maze of twisting corridors beneath the mountain. In the third hour of their wandering, they were ambushed by a band of hunting Troglodytes, and were successful in dispatching them (except for a tricky spellcaster that used a power to increase its own speed and took off into the dark), and recovering some treasure: 21 Gp and 3 rubies worth 300 GP. They found an out-of-the-way nook and rested after the fight.
The characters set out and about an hour later, they found the entrance to what appeared to be an old fortress of some kind. The front portal was open, so they entered to investigate. The interior was totally dark, so they used a light spell to enchant a rock and toss it into the room. The room shook and a disembodied voice spoke the following:
Greetings, seekers of Baphomet’s boundless glory.
Those who prove unworthy of his attention
Shall be claimed forever as his slaves.
Those who prove worthy
Shall be granted power beyond mortal reckoning.
Mask, bell, blade and tome.
The characters were then attacked by a Ghoul, who managed to gain surprise on Grrkda and Calavares. Then a burrowing, tentacled Phalagar attacked Akmenos, and finally some column-clutching lurkers known as Cavern Chokers joined the fray. The fight was looking grim until a fountain of flame spell from Un’named (played by Steve) caused the Phalagar to release two of the characters it had grabbed and retreat beneath the surface to regroup. The party was then freed up to turn the tide against the other three assailants. When the Phalagar returned to the fight, the party concentrated their efforts on the creature and destroyed it before it could retreat again.
The characters have not rested and have mostly exhausted daily powers and action points. When we resume next session, we should update treasure (since Mike Terry had the treasure log and was absent from last session). Then we will continue exploring the fortress.