Raunalyn's Princes of the Apocalypse

Session 2
The Bear and the Maiden (un)Fair

The group arrives back in Hommlet with their prisoner. Immediately, they notice that many of the townsfolk are looking at them with a new-found respect. Constable Elmo is pleased with their report and tells them that he will begin talking with the townsfolk and investigating the disappearance of the delegation. Until then, he encourages the party to begin talking to a few townsfolk.

Curious about these men in the stone masks, the group heads to the quarry on the east end of town. Meeting with the foreman, they ask if he’s seen any unusual activity at night. The foreman rudely dismisses them, and when they press, he shakes his head, mumbling something about “conspiracy theories” and telling the group that if they were really that bored, they could head out to Tricklerock cave…there’s supposed to be some type of famous treasure there. Ciandara notices that the worker that the foreman was talking to, an older halfling man, looked nervous and uncomfortable during the discussion, but when she tries to pull the halfling away, he tells her that he can’t discuss things here…the boss is watching. Ciandara tells him that the group will be at the Inn of the Welcome Wench during the evening if he wants to talk.

Meanwhile, the rest of the group walks amongst the workers in the quarry. Two of the workers tell them of the mysterious watchers…though they were frightening, they did not do anything overly aggressive. They workers were unable to tell if the watchers were male or female…they wore heavy robes and stone masks.

Finding this avenue of investigation to have closed for now, the group decides to head out to Lance Rock to see if they can find the dead drop.

The journey takes a little more than an hour, and it is still early afternoon when they arrive. They notice an old cave beneath Lance Rock, and they move in to investigate, noticing tracks heading into the cavern.

Cautiously entering the cave, they notice a dead body against one wall. The body looks to be fairly old…a few weeks at least, and that it is dressed similarly to the bandits that they encountered. Gilbane closes his eyes, sensing death and corruption all around him. Suspecting that the body is undead, he bends down to investigate. The body begins moving and attempts to attack him. The rest of the crew, having prepared attacks, immediately destroy the zombie.

Concerned that the cave has undead, the group decides to move deeper into the caverns and destroy any undead that they find. They eventually come to a room that has a large, flat rock in the center…obviously used as a place of sacrifice by the bloodstains covering it. As they move in to investigate Ciandara and Grayd are surprised as several large rocks tumble on them from above. Grayd is fortunate enough to jump out of the way, but Ciandara is knocked unconscious as two zombies leap down from above the group and attack. They take a few moments to dispatch the creatures, then heal Ciandara and continue on.

Soon, they arrive and a strange sight. Within a star-shaped chamber, three zombies caper about in an insane dance. One is dressed as a jester, bells tinkling from his hat; one is dressed in a bear costume; the last is dressed as a maiden, in a rotting ball dress and makeup. The group is stunned by this bizarre sight, and suspecting a trap, they begin pelting the zombies with arrows and bolts, quickly dispatching them.

Moving further into the caves, the group eventually comes to a large, well lit cavern. Within, a man in heavy robes moves amongst three large tables, each with a body on it. Beyond, a table is covered with various tools and implements. Further into the room, a man stands surrounded by several skeletons.

Gilbane immediately senses more undead, knowing that the man walking between the tables with the bodies on them is undead, and that the bodies themselves may also be undead. The group moves into the room to attack as the man on the far end of the room shouts at them, “Bow before the Lord of Lance Rock! Behold my dark terrors!”

He shouts to the skeletons to “Kill them all!!” and then runs further into the cave. Grayd rushes forward to deal with the zombie at the tables, only to be surprised as several hands erupt from the bodies. Soon, he’s completely surrounded by crawling claws.

Gilbane and Alexander move in, trying to help Grayd dispatch the zombie and the claws. Meanwhile, the skeletons rush forward to attack.

Eventually, the group defeats the undead. Now, wounded and out of spells and resources, they chase down the crazed human and self-stylized “Lord of Lance Rock.”

The find a room, obviously a study of some type. The room is roughly oval shaped, and the walls are draped with long, purple curtains. In the center of the room is a glowing orb that rests in a twisted sculpture of dead arms and hands. The orb contains a strange symbol; an inverted purple ziggurat that has a slitted eye in the middle. As the group moves forward, they hear a crazed shout from behind one of the curtains, “Can’t you see it? It’s the Eye! It sees your every move! Don’t you fear it?”

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The Lord of Lance Rock attacks, using a wand to fire multiple magic missiles at the group. Grayd and Gilbane move in to surround the mage, while Alexander slips behind the curtain in the hopes that he can get a surprise attack on their enemy. Sullanus and Ciandara pepper the mage with arrows and bolts.

After a fierce battle, the mage dies, bursting into black flames and withering to dust. The party, triumphant but greatly weakened, begin searching for clues about the mysterious mage.

The group is now 2nd level.

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Princes of the Apocalypse
Beginnings

Graeyd, Dwarven Cleric of Kord – Graeyd is searching for a delegation from Axegard. The group consisted of several of his clansmen, a few human merchants, and some Elvish dignitaries. Because they are so long overdue, he has begun following their trail, which leads him to Hommlet

Alexander Titan, Rogue – Alexander is in the city of Enstad and is contacted by a fellow rogue. A caravan was attacked recently near the village of Hommlet. His contact hands him a drawing of a symbol, one that Alexander recognized from his past.

Gilbane, Half-elven Paladin – Gilbane the wanderer begins seeing dire omens while travelling through the Kron Hills. Something is amiss here, and he travels to the nearest village, the village of Hommlet, to discover what is happening

Ciandara, Elven cleric of Pelor – Ciandara was a member of the Elvish dignitaries that were ambushed on their journey to Verbobonc. Through luck, or maybe through the grace of Pelor, she was thrown from her horse and knocked unconscious. A local druid, Jaroo Ashstaff, found her and brought her to Hommlet to recover. All she remembers from the attack is that one of the attackers was wearing a strange symbol.

Sulannus, Elven Warrior – Sulannus is journeying to Hommlet to discover more about the Battle of Emridy Meadows, which took place a little over 10 years ago. She believes that her brother may have been lost in the battle, and she wishes to find the site of the battle and pay her respects.

Graeyd, Alexander, Gilbane, and Sulannus meet on the road to Hommlet. For safety during their journey, they decide to band together while they finish their travels. Arriving, they immediately head to the Inn of the Welcome Wench.

They discover that the townsfolk are suspicious of strangers when an elven woman, Ciandara, begins asking around about a delegation that had gone missing a few weeks ago. Hearing this, Graeyd begins asking for details, learning that Ciandara was a member of the very delegation that he is searching for. Further questions to the townsfolk residing in the Inn meets with stony silence.

Ostler Gundigoot, the innkeep, informs the group that they won’t get anything from the townsfolk unless they can prove that they are trustworthy. He suggests talking to Elmo, the town constable, to see if there’s anything he can do to put in a good word.

Graeyd spends a few minutes speaking with the young constable. Elmo says that he is undermanned, and he would like Graeyd to investigate the rumors of a group of bandits to the south. If Graeyd can do this, Elmo will talk with several townsfolk to let everyone know that the group is trustworthy.

Alexander spends a few hours walking around the inn, hiding in shadowy corners and listening to conversations. He learns of the bandit attacks, and also hears tales of a young girl and a haunted crypt, and learns of a potential plague at a place called Lance Rock. He also overhears a group of miners who work at the quarry discussing men in strange stone masks who watch them when they work at night.

Gilbane, Ciandara and Sulannus go and visit Jaroo. The druid offers them dinner and spends a while talking with Sulannus about the Battle of Emridy Meadows and the rise of the Temple of Elemental Evil. Gilbane asks Jaroo if he suspects that the Temple may not have been destroyed. Jaroo is unsure, but he intends to do a ritual that would allow him to commune with the elements. The three of them decide to help Graeyd deal with the bandits on the following day.

The next day, the group heads south, meeting a group of Knights of the Hart along the way. Graeyd and Ciandara find them to be suspicious, but the rest of the group sees nothing out of the ordinary. The knights continue on to Hommlet.

Eventually, Alexander hears a commotion off the main road; a loud roar of an enraged beast followed by the sounds of raucous laughter. Investigating, he discovers a small band of rugged men poking a spear into a wooden cage, within which a black bear is imprisoned.
Thinking that these might be the bandits they are looking for, the group moves in to attack. Smelling blood, the black bear suddenly breaks free of its cage, immediately pouncing on one of the bandits and brutally mauling it.

Ciandara yells to the group that they need to keep one of the bandits alive for questioning. Alexander wisely incapacitates one of the bandits while the bear rushes toward Gilbane. The Paladin, who wishes to follow the Oath of the Ancients, attempts to calm the raging animal. The bear doesn’t attack, but growls menacingly at Gilbane.

Meanwhile, the final bandit attempts to fire his crossbow at the bear, hoping to use the enraged beast as a distraction so that he can escape. He fails miserably and is soon brought down by Sulannus and Ciandara. The bear, no longer seeing its tormentors, growls one last time at Gilbane and slinks off into the woods.

The party takes the time to interrogate the sole remaining bandit. When Ciandara’s honeyed words fail to persuade the criminal, Graeyd gets a bit more forceful. The eventually discover that this particular group of bandits was just a small band. The prisoner describes that there are several such groups, and that his group was paid anonymously, the blind drop being at a place called Lance Rock. After further interrogation, Ciandara and Graeyd learn that the group that attacked the delegation was another of these bandit groups, and that several of the members wore strange armor made entirely of stone.

Getting nothing else from their prisoner, they bind him and drag him back to Hommlet so that he can face justice.

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