Combat with some interesting creatures, and plenty of exploration and discussion. Bacon’s player has missed a number of sessions this year. He has recently been able to join in regularly once more and spent a fair bit of time this session looking through maps, and notes and catching up on some of the things he’s only read about. He made some useful connections! Questions the players/characters were asking during the session finally allowed me to present some detailed background material on the family that built Fals Hold, and then the legend I’d prepared on one of the items found under the mountain.
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3rd Brewfest: Heading west towards the stairs, the group hears tapping sounds from further west and Summer hoots to Winter of active creatures. Some small lizard-like animals are digging or tapping at the rubble – as Lanliss approaches, three larger ones rush out from the rocks and attack. Lanliss is bitten – his legs feel stiff and uncomfortable. As the dwarves move up to fight, Seldrel identifies the creatures as cockatrices with their young. All are quickly killed before anyone else is affected. The group head up and out of the Hold, where they find the sun has already set. Passing the graveyard, they stop as humanoids emerge from the long grass and attack – three ghouls and a half dozen zombies. Though the ghouls strike many in the group, no-one is paralysed and all the undead are soon destroyed with only minor injuries. Merxif heals everyone and they hurry into Falsford. The town is still busy from the festival, and they are lucky to get rooms at their usual Inn.
4th Brewfest: Lanliss awakes with the shakes, and both he and Bacon are also showing signs of ghoul fever. Merxif escorts them to the temple of Rao to have their diseases cured.
5th – 7th Brewfest: The party spends time recovering from injuries incurred under the Hold. Bacon reviews the maps and notes that Merxif and Seldrel have collected, and gathers some more detailed information about the Falshandren family that what they previous had obtained from the Crimson Seer. He makes a connection between some notes about swords and a group of warriors that came from the south perhaps 200 years ago – with an inscription on two secret doors under the hold, and the three named Flan swords that they have found. He believes that the swords may be used to open the secret doors. They discuss the properties of the flan swords with Kevelli (the premier wizard in Falsford) and raise the issue of repairing the broken spear they recovered from the fountain and pool under the mountain. When they mention the pool is inscribed “Avarrath’s Folly”, Kevelli becomes quite excited, and after gathering some books, tells them of the “legend of Avar” – an Oeridean warrior who came to FalsKrag nearly half a century ago following a great dragon. Avarrath was given a magical spear of lightning by his deity Heironeous, but broke it on a boulder under a waterfall while trying to slay the wyrm. They couldn’t kill the dragon, but imprisoned it magically under the mountain. It appears that they have recovered the remains of Avarrath’s weapon, but don’t have the funds to reforge it at this time. Seldrel begins crafting a few items for the group; particularly +1 cloaks of resistance.
1st – 5th Patchwall: The party relaxes in town while Seldrel finishes crafting.
6th Patchwall: Back to the Hold early. The party heads straight down to the Hall of the Gods and observes that the statues have changed again. They now are: one elf, one dwarf, three gnome (one with a raccoon), 5 human deities, a man-like form, and a huge rock. Two of the human deities have already been named. The group recognises the dwarven, elven and gnomish deities. As with previous times, they note descriptions and details, so they can ask around the temples in Falsford for knowledge the group doesn’t have.
They head down stairs past the magical traps and upstairs to the chamber with the secret doors and sword text. The crossbars of the flan weapons fit the holes in the doors, though a sword has to remain inserted to keep the door open. The north door with the text opens to a hall, that fills with long iron spikes when closed. A second door at the end requires another weapon crossbar to open. The next chamber has prayers and blessings to Kelanen and Mayaheine.
Named brass plaques are fitted to the walls – Lanliss finds an urn full of ashes behind each, which the group decides to leave. A hidden compartment has a box with some coins and a green crystal skull. Much of what is written on one wall is magical, and Seldrel copies it down to show Merxif, who can’t make sense of it. After a few attempts, they realise that attempts to translate or copy the writing introduces errors. Seldrel feels that there’s divine magic involved, but Merxif hasn’t prepared Read Magic for the day. The other secret door has element symbols on the door – it slides up partway when a sword is used, and the hall beyond has a lever to keep the door up. The room at the end has statues. Five figures and the blades they wield are skilfully carved, with names on the plinth. Mindel, bard with rapier, Luth aithris . Deirdre, either cleric or paladin of Mayaheine with bastard sword, Dealan hallac. Comdan, warrior with longsword, Talam hallac. Idrin, lightly armoured caster with shortsword, Fuar hallac. Lastly, Denian, the warrior mage who crafted the weapons with scimitar, Tein hallac.
Looking at their maps they decide to head past Avarrath’s pool and go down the northern ramp to a new area. As they approach the pool, Winter sends Summer ahead to scout. The owl returns rapidly with sounds of pursuit. They spread out and five orcs enter the next chamber. Lanliss and the dwarves engage the first few and Seldrel casts a web spell that appears to catch all the orcs. They quickly kill the one on the edge of the webbing, then set fire to the web. It burns back to the next two orcs that are also engaged. Seldrel dismisses the spell so that the two orcish warriors can be flanked by the group, and it is seen that the last two orcs had escaped the web. They have hidden in the next room beyond, and are also defeated. Overall, the combat has been fairly quick and no major injuries incurred.
Heading down the ramp, Lanliss and Winter sight a giant spider on the ceiling. Winter shoots it, and it drops onto the ground to attack. It dies before managing to bite anyone. Summer scouts north and returns hooting about something. Using speak with animals, Winter learns that large rats are nearby. Quiet voices can be heard speaking to the west, in varied tones and not distinct enough to determine language. Heading that way, they are attacked by four giant centipedes that emerge from the rocks, and then ambushed by the source of the voices. A mound of flesh that seems full of eyes and mouths, mutters, yells and exclaims nonsense such that it somewhat disturbs half of the group. The confusion is quickly thrown off, though the gibbering mouther bites Lanliss, and then engulfs Hardaz, chewing on him internally before the remainder of the group can bludgeon it to death.