The group has now explored almost the entire northern edge of the cavern, maybe a fifth of the total cavern and ruins. The previous encounter with the vampire in the dungeon didn’t go very well and I found it extremely amusing when Seldrel’s player decided the small direction-changing mist moving towards them was a vampire and warned everyone accordingly. Everyone else’s reactions were also fun – Hardaz’ player was confident with his ghost-touch axe, Merxif has seen how effective his moon-bolt gloves are against undead and Bacon (who is usually the last to retreat) quickly got out of the way. The first round of combat wasn’t good for Hardaz, and Seldrel’s Knowledge check only gave him the name and very basic information. By the time Merxif noted that it was actually alive and not undead, it didn’t really matter. I missed with a second attack, and a typical mist isn’t going to stand up to lots of hits without continually healing itself by feeding. It could have been nastier if they hadn’t seen it coming.
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(25th Ready’reat) Seldrel and Winter have noted that the lights in the cavern ceiling had been getting slightly brighter and are now dimming. Seldrel thinks they match the daylight cycle above-ground.
A mostly intact building with a second storey is investigated. There are tracks of humanoids outside and Lanliss hears movement within. The building appears to have been a temple, and two snakes attack the group as they explore. A defaced altar has some script that Seldrel recognises as Tlaman (used by the Yuan-ti) but not enough remains to translate. Upstairs a number of spiders attack them. After clearing out their webs some coins are recovered. A step-pyramid flanked by huge snake statues can be seen in a walled area south. Movement of humanoids is also seen to the west. Heading out of the building they are ambushed by bugbears and morlocks.
Moving further west, the ruins explored have more bugbears and morlocks. A few short combats result, and one group of attackers includes a bugbear cleric. The group retrieve some worthwhile equipment and scout the buildings for treasure – mostly coins and scrolls. The group is almost out of spells and elect to retreat. The cavern lights have darkened but still provide a dim light. Returning across the marsh, both Bacon and Winter have an odd feeling that quickly passes. There is no sign of anything else nearby in the marsh and they reach the stairs out safely. They head up to rest at the crafting halls.
26th Winter is able to cut some of the rough gems found and improves their value a little. The party returns to the cavern and into the marsh. As they head towards the closer ruins, a mist is sighted, drifting from the north. Seldrel suspects a vampire following them. It changes direction towards them when they pick-up their pace, then suddenly flies across the uneven ground, attacking Hardaz and draining his blood. The slightly pinkish mist flushes red and Seldrel decides that it is a vampiric mist – a strange creature that drains blood from living creatures to strengthen itself. Bacon retreats to the ruin, Merxif fires a moon bolt thinking it is undead. His spell barely weakens it, and his goggles show the creature as living. Summer claws at the creature once but cannot harm it. Thankfully, Winter’s magical arrows have a much greater effect and it suddenly bursts in a rain of blood.
Into the north-western section of the ruins they encounter larger numbers of morlocks and bugbears. A cleric and tougher warriors accompany the two waves that emerge from rebuilt homes within the mostly ruined shells of older structures. They are defeated after a long and tough fight.