Four (of seven) players available, who wanted to push on. I think in each of our last three gatherings we’d had at least one player who missed other sessions. The session started quite normally, got interesting with unexpected things (the frog that was a Bogwid), the half-orcs, and then the vampires back again. Lanliss’ player was ready to throw himself at a vampire with a stake, and was determined that the group not do too much damage and force them to flee. I wasn’t going to have a vampire stand around and let a player shove a stake through their armour and into their heart, so had to pause the game to double-check rules for killing a vampire with a stake. [The vampire must be helpless, and it’s a full-round action.] They had a false start with the idea of casting hold monster (only living targets) and thankfully there were two charges left on an item that can make an undead creature drop helpless for 1d4 rounds. The vampire failed the second saving throw!
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The search of Wastri’s Temple is careful and thorough. Most rooms hold items that support the temple or would be used by the priests. Statues and carvings of frogs and other amphibians are found everywhere. A large rear chamber has four large pools or fresh water and aquatic plants. As the group enter, more and more frogs emerge at the end of the pools, making a considerable noise. Seldrel feeds them with small bits of meat and dried worms from packets and boxes on a shelf. A wand, gems and many gold coins are recovered from the altar, and the high priests room. An upstairs area looks down over the altar. Two more frog statues are here, but they do not animate. A secret door leads out to the southern side of the building. The rooms here are dusty and either used for junk and rubbish, or just empty. A few have the fragile remains of chairs, tables and beds. A kitchen and storeroom finish off the building, and many bottles of wine carefully placed into the groups bag of holding.
Heading east, there are three obvious entrances, one with a broken door. Lanliss, backed up by Hardaz move to the northern entry and sight something move further back in the darkness. Seldrel and Winter see something about a foot in size dart into the southern doorway. An Ochre Jelly comes forward to fight with Lanliss and Hardaz who quickly swap weapons to smash it. Merxif supports them by magically throwing his mace at it. They succeed in bludgeoning it to a motionless bubbling mush without it striking any of them.
Bacon has entered the south chamber, and sees a green horned lizard watching him. He strikes it, and it retreats further into the building. He follows, and finds six of them scattered about the next chamber where they unleash a chain of electrical bolts. His fast reflexes allow him to evade this and he retreats. Winter and Seldrel have moved up now, and the Hunter lines up a shot at a lizard through two doorways and hits. The lizards all move out of sight, and not having paid attention to what happened with Bacon, she follows to finish off the lizard. A second discharge of energy seriously burns her and she too retreats. Seldrel keeps his distance and casts a carefully aimed fireball into the building. They pause before cautiously entering to find all the lizard dead or dying. Lanliss vanishes, and quickly scouts the central part of the building seeing rotting curtains, and a number of pools, but no movement. Merxif heals Winter, while Bacon checks the rooms the group has cleared, but locate nothing of value.
They all move up to check the central rooms, and this time and Lanliss enters invisibly, be sees a frog-like creature rise from the murk of the main pool. Other shapes move in the water around it, so he quietly moves past it to the back of the room and waits for the dwarves to move in. To his dismay, the frog moves away from him, and rises up on tentacles rather than legs, throwing foul smelling growths from its back at Bacon. It stays in the middle of the pool and the monk takes a chance on the depth of the water and leaps in to attack the frog-like aberration. Thankfully, it is only three feet deep and with the aid of magic missiles from Seldrel and arrows from Winter it is soon dead. Bacon batters the body with part of the broken door to ensure it and the young growing on its back are dead. Merxif is concerned about the potential of disease from both the beast and the murky water, so it is left to Bacon to search the pool. He only turns up water weed and bones.
The long southern side of block has a number of doors. The first leads to a set of small dusty chambers that have been empty for a long time. The second has many alcoves and a stone bench around a large room. While Lanliss investigates here, a door further along opens and two bugbears emerge. Hardaz and Bacon both charge down to engage them. Winter and Seldrel begin ranged support, and all are surprised when other humanoid figures emerge. The dwarves realise that the new group with the bugbears are mostly half-orcs including a warrior with a great-sword, one with a bow, two monks, and two others that use magic. Lanliss (invisible) and Summer assist the dwarves. About half of their opponents have dropped when Winter sights a figure approaching from behind them – one of the vampires met a few days ago. The second drops from the rooftop and swings at Merxif who dodges. The half-orcs are finished quickly, except for one who casts a spell and disappears. The dwarves and Lanliss run back up the road to fight the vampires. Lanliss reminds everyone they have stakes and there are sudden rapid suggestions on how to incapacitate one long enough to shove a stake through their heart. The main warrior vampire wearing chainmail grins amusedly, emphasising his fangs. The vampires inflict blows with their weapons and Merxif uses the last two charges of his moon bracelet, firing shimmering bolts at the warrior. Both strike, but the second knocks the vampire down and leaves it helpless. Both Hardaz and Lanliss are close – the dwarf runs a stake through it heart and the elf cuts its head off. Winter finishes the other vampire with a storm of arrows, and it flies off as a cloud of mist. Garlic, holy water and cleric’s blessing turn the undead remains into dust. There’s some healing and the remaining southern facing rooms are searched. The bugbears look like those previously encountered here, and the half-orcs are likely an adventuring group that has made it down this far through the mountain. They appear to have been using some of the rooms here for up to a week. An assortment of gear, a few potions and coins are claimed. The last few rooms are dusty but have been entered recently – they contain bones, skulls, and a few recently dead morlocks and trogs. The group return up through the mountain and emerge in the hold courtyard. It’s partly cloudy, and both moons are visible. Celene is full, and Luna is new. They build up a large fire, and spend a few hours letting their moon items recharge in the light. Then its back down to the crafting halls to rest.
4-5th Needfest: Some of the group check out the Hall of the Gods – the statues have changed. This set are nearly all human. Merxif and Seldrel determine the identity and domains of all but one; a dark slightly masculine humanoid figure with no features. Seldrel plans to spend two days crafting a belt of strength for Hardaz, and Lanliss will make makeshift holy symbols to match the statues they have identified. Hardaz, Bacon, Boris and Merxif head into town to speak with Kevelli, sell off some treasure and buy some weapons to equip the statues. Kevelli tells them he may come back to the Halls early in Fireseek if the weather is better. They activate the statue of Vecna – the most recognisable of the deities, receiving a minor wand of fear.
6th: The group return to the block they were exploring, entering the northern side. A couple of large rooms look to have been animal pens, and then a solid building has chambers with old worn and rusting exercise and/or fighting practise equipment. It also has a few guardians, that Merxif determines are constructs. The animated armour wields swords and shields. They take some time to destroy, with the fight in narrow passages. A secret room has some jewellery and potions. The final chamber in the block has skeletons spiked onto the walls and a short stair down into a basement. Broken shelves and pottery shards are unremarkable, but Lanliss locates a well hidden secret door. A passage leads into a dusty tomb, with an animated skeletal warrior. They more in a destroy it quickly, finding this to be a another tomb for Gregern Falshadren. A bunch of gems are recovered. Two are magical, what Seldrel believes are an Ioun stone and an Ivory Goat figurine. He also realises both are cursed. Lanliss finds two more secret doors – one that leads back to the basement and another to a second crypt. This one is cleaner, with two sarcophagi. The group surround and carefully open each – the fine coffins within are both empty. They have obviously been used recently and would suit the pair of vampires encountered in the cavern. They do their best to restore both tombs to the way they first appeared and all hide in one of the secret passages, waiting in the hope of the other vampire arriving. When Seldrel’s mage armour and flight spells cease, they know they have waited about nine hours. All are become cramped and restless. They wait another hour without anything happening and decide to head back upstairs. They mess up the first crypt again, hoping that if the vampire returns he will think they only found the first crypt. All are pleased to get out of the cramped space and head for proper beds.