Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Doggerland Session 5:32 (The Temple II)

The Tower (21st May 2014)

The Adventurers
Bow – Ranger
Cormac – Fighter
Gull – Thief (NPC)
Johan – Cleric
Vox – Magic User

Fighting Ravens - Wodensday 17th Hextember (Day 78) – morning

The beating of a score of midnight wings thrust aside the insipid man-height grasses to reveal the ravens’ prey. The adventurers, their sight impeded by the tall undergrowth, could only call out to each other in warning of the impending attack from above. The archers loosed many darts and bolts which struck their attackers but did little to slow the attack.

The giant ravens descended upon what they thought were a helpless band of puny humans, but this band of humans was more than met their beady eyes. The razor sharp beaks and claws of the aerial assailants proved no match for steel weapons and armour and the battle was soon over. The adventurers nursed a few minor scratches and peck marks but only one raven managed to escape the melee and fly off in the direction of the distant tower.

The Doors to the Temple

The party advanced towards the tower in pursuit of the last raven but the pull of the grotesque masonry of the huge temple building beside the path turned them thither instead. The two scouts, Bow and Gull, got to the entrance before the rest and took a look around. The huge double valves of bronze that once stood in the main doorway at the head of the elevated entranceway plinth had been blown asunder and pieces of the doors lay about the area in a charred scatter.

Bow and Gull explored the area and took a peek within the huge gothic building but could only see a large vestibule with columns that supported the lofty roof through the limited light that filtered into the Temple from the broken windows and roof tiles above.

On his return outside, a glint of gold from within the piles of debris caught Bow’s eye. He reached down to take a look and, after he had wiped away some of the blackened residue, realised it was the amulet that had been stolen from Johan a few months back. He quickly stuffed the amulet into his pocket and returned to the rest of the party.

 Temple Frontage - Courtesy of TSR
A Second Encounter with Ravens

It only took the matter of a few minutes to carve a path through the tall undergrowth on the way towards the tower. As the tower loomed closer the companions noticed that there were other paths that criss-crossed their own that ran between the tower, another ruined building in the distance, and the main temple building.

Just as the compatriots cleared the final curtain of repugnant undergrowth before the tower, they again heard a cacophonous cawing of large crows. The night black angels of death swooped down from the eaves of the tower and began to peck and claw again at the adventurers.

There were not so many of the giant birds this time round, but these raptors seemed far more incessant in their thirst for blood. The one that had escaped previously must have somehow relayed the danger posed by this particular band of men, so they attacked with greater ferocity than those previously encountered.

The combat lasted longer than the previous encounter and the scratches and bruises that the party had picked up not half-an-hour earlier began to take their toll. The fighters could hardly be touched in their suits of steel but Gull seemed to take more than his fair share of hits. After just a few minutes of hacking and slashing upwards at the giant ravens he fell to the onslaught of beak and claw. Vox swallowed a Potion of Invisibility and ran to his comrade’s aid whilst the birds kept up their incessant pecking at the thief’s face. Vox was able to fend off the birds long enough to administer a Healing draft to the rogue who sat up in wonder at what had happened.

Meanwhile most of the great raptors had been felled by the three heavily armed and armoured warriors but one raven slipped through their defensive net of steel and attacked the poor thief again. Gull fell to the floor unconscious for a second time but was beyond the immediate aid of Vox on this occasion. However, the young mage cast Magic Missiles at the raven that was attacking the thief and killed it outright just as the fighters finished off the remainder of the giant birds with their swords and maces.

Johan rushed to the side of the thief as the last of the ravens was brought down from the skies and administered a series of Healing spells to bring the unfortunate thief around again.

The party had taken a bit of a battering in the encounter and decided that they would need to rest up soon, but not in the Temple itself as the dangers contained within were most likely more than their match in their current state they surmised. They agreed that they should raid the tower that they were just outside of and use it as a safe haven whilst they plotted their next moves for raiding the Temple. They realised that they would most likely need to get under cover soon as patrols were sure to come around soon if the noise from the last combat was heard.

The Temple Tower Guards

The adventurers investigated quickly the outside of the tower and made note of the four dark arrow-slits, the ruined second storey and the overall run-down and overgrown look of the structure. Whoever had razed the Temple in the past had also made sure that the outer defences were also reduced in effectiveness.

Gull tried to look in through the arrow-slits but could see nothing but blackness beyond. He listened at the main door across the footbridge over the dry moat that surrounded the tower but could hear nothing beyond.

Bow counted to three and burst the door open, only to be greeted by a hail of arrows and crossbow bolts, none of which, miraculously, hit him.

Vox did not want to fight another prolonged battle, and just wanted to get his head down for some sleep so at the first opportunity he called for his comrades to step aside whilst he hurled a Fireball into the midst of the tower’s interior.

The screams of fear and agony that followed the searing heat of the spell confirmed that the tower was guarded well, but most likely not for much longer. Bow and Cormac raced into the furnace to find that they only faced three standing adversaries; maybe a score or more men-at-arms lay scattered about the barricade in the room in charred heaps.

The ensuing battle lasted but a few minutes as the injured Temple Guard leaders could only put up a token resistance against the enraged warriors.

Rest for the Night

After the last three remaining guards had been dispatched Vox and Gull investigated the two closed doorways within. The two rooms proved to be the private chambers of the leaders of this band of guards and were quite well appointed.

After he had closed the main door to the tower and set a Glyph of Warding inside the entrance, Johan chose one of the rooms to rest up in and pray for a full suite of Healing spells whilst the thief and magic user searched for valuables. Cormac helped with searching the chambers and then sat on guard beside the main door whilst Bow took to the roof of the tower as lookout. He found nothing in the tower above other than nesting materials and guano from the giant ravens.

Vox prepared a meal for the party from the supplies he had found in the tower’s stores and then cast a Detect Magic spell over the goods that they had looted from the rooms and guards. The party had found a few more magical weapons and items of armour, as well as a few potions and plenty of treasure. The magician had also found a small sheaf of vellum leaves and an accompanying quill and ink. As he thumbed through the loose leaves he noticed that one of them contained a list of names and places. He only recognised the one name though; that of Mellub from Staneford. As he was about to put the sheaves into his rucksack, Johan spotted that one sheet, when it passed in front of the lantern that Vox used for his light source, had a hidden inscription upon it. Vox held it up to the light, and there was indeed some ink-work on it; a map of an underground tunnel system.

Johan returned to the common room of the tower and ran his healing hands over his companions’ wounds. After everyone had been fully healed he returned to his room again, exhausted. The party realised that to get the best out of their cleric they would need to hole up in this location for several more hours whilst he rested and prayed for more divine help. Vox also needed a short while to get a new selection of spells learned in time for their next foray towards the Temple itself.

The party decided to rest up overnight and as the lanterns for the evening were lit they covered the arrow slits with bedding to stop their light from shining beyond the confines of the tower. They did not want to give away their position to passing patrols by not observing the blackout that was obviously in place.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Doggerland Session 5:31 (The Temple)

Advance upon the Temple (14th May 2014)

The Adventurers
Bow – Ranger
Cormac – Fighter
Gull – Thief (NPC)
Johan – Cleric
Vox – Magic User

Mother Screng's Herbshop - picture taken from T1-4 Temple of Elemental Evil (copyright TSR/Wizards of the Coast)

 Return to Nulb - Tirsday 16th Hextember (Day 77) – early morning

The white orb of the glorious sun hove above the horizon and slowly burnt off the shrouding mists that blanketed the Imeryds River on the day of Tir. The eddy of shimmering gossamer swirled and dissipated as the sturdy tramp of heavily shod boots from the small band of travellers passed through the dewy veil. It was to be another fine day in Vannin.

The party of adventurers, well-rested after two weeks of carousing in Castleford, had a spring in their step as they knew that this must be the final part of the fight against the Temple and all its followers. They had an idea where the Temple lay and were about to pin-point its exact location at the reinvigorated village of Nulb.

Blue smoke meandered into a miasma of fantastical shapes as it rose from the multitude of hearths and cooking fires within the hearts of the hovels within the village. The adventurers were clear on their objective and set to work as soon as they got to the clearing outside the motte and bailey castle. A few villagers about their daily chores and the brace of men-at-arms who stood guard behind the wooden palisade walls watched in wonder as Vox administered a magical dweomer upon his compatriot Bow, who very quickly ascended into the air and flew off in the direction of the lightning display of several weeks before.

Whilst the ranger was in the air, the rest of the party sauntered around in search of something to do with the hour or two at their disposal. The two inns had been completely destroyed by the conquering Thuringian army so they wondered what else the village offered in their absence.

Just as they were about to head off in search of somebody that they might know the party was approached by a wizened old crone. She asked them what they were doing and where they might be headed. Johan and Cormac spoke to the old woman and asked why she had such an interest in their movements. She replied that she might be able to help them with healing and such as she owned the local herb shop, as well as being a priestess of Sol Invictus. At mention of this name, Vox and Johan immediately left the vicinity and headed towards the river. Gull sauntered after them but Cormac humoured the old lady. He found out that she had been present the last time the Temple was razed and the demoness was imprisoned. She gave Cormac some useful information on how to get to the vicinity of the Temple and then gain entry if the main doors were still glyph-warded. She also mentioned that the main forest path was guarded by some fearsome beasts and that they had best be wary if they headed out that way. He thanked her for her advice and made to follow his comrades.

Bow returned from his flight about an hour after he left. From his vantage point in the sky he had spotted a place in the horizon spanning forest that seemed to be a clearing with perhaps a large building and associated tower completely covered with ill-looking vines within. He noted that the trees within the Gnarley Forest at that point seemed to change in character too, so he was quite sure he knew where the Temple lay. He compared notes with Cormac when he returned and the pair of them agreed that the information they had gathered corroborated.

An Encounter in the Gnarley Forest

The party grabbed a quick bite to eat from their supplies and headed out of the village in the direction depicted by Bow and Cormac. The dry dirt road that exited the south-east of the village took them part of the way until Cormac recognised the side track they were supposed to take if the old crone’s directions were to be believed.

The narrow path became an even narrower game trail, so the party had to advance in single file. The trees on either side loomed over the party and cut out much of the afternoon’s light, and the bushes and undergrowth to either side could have hidden a multitude of enemies waiting in ambush.

After they had been travelling for about an hour, a slight rustling from beside and to the rear of them brought the adventurers out of their reveries. Bow and Gull caught sight of movement but before they could call out, three monstrous beings erupted from the surrounding bushes. The huge grey-green mottled beasts that leapt from the bushes made for the centre and rear of the column. The ugly, noisome humanoids towered over their prey and the gnashing of their teeth made for a rude accompaniment to the dance of their ever moving limbs.

The teeth and claws of the monstrous beings rendered their way through the armour and protection of all of the party causing grievous wounds whenever they struck. The party fought back with all of their might but the enormous beasts proved powerful enough to withstand some of the best blows that Cormac and Bow could deliver. Johan stepped to the rear of the column to defend Vox and voiced the word that all dreaded to hear – Trolls! Upon hearing this Gull scarpered into the undergrowth, and Vox followed swiftly upon his heels.

Slowly but surely the fighters managed to grab the full attention of the first two trolls, whilst Johan was left to deal with the third but largest of the attacking trio. The fight went the way of the trolls to begin with but then the two fighters’ superior martial prowess began to tell.

Gull reappeared from the undergrowth but a twig snapped at the wrong moment and the troll he was about to back-stab caught sight of him. Vox let fly with his Magical Missiles to aid his comrades, but they only had a limited effect on the monsters.

Whilst Johan held his own at the rear of the column, Bow and Cormac hacked the other two trolls to pieces. One of the trolls fell to the ground, wounds agape, so the fighters’ attention turned to their remaining adversary. However, once their attention was drawn away from the fallen beast its wounds and severed limbs began to heal and knit together.

Vox, by this time, had become quite fearful of the outcome of the battle, especially since he saw the fallen troll get up from its hideous wounds and re-join the battle. He made his mind up to help Johan who was now in a terrible state and cast a Fireball in the direction of the largest of the attacking humanoids.

This had the desired effect. The monstrous beast fell from the damage it took from the magical fire but best of all, its wounds did not close up and heal. Johan also spotted this and advanced into the brush to grab a burning brand with which to help his fellow warriors when the next troll fell to their blades.

Cormac, Bow and Gull between them slew the two remaining trolls and kept hacking at their fallen bodies until Johan could join then with the flaming brand and cauterise the wounds, thus stopping them from reforming and healing.

With grim determination, the priest of Balder set to burning the foul smelling corpses so as to make sure that they never rose again whilst the rest of the party drew breath and took stock of their own wounds. Johan finished his grisly task and then administered to his companions’ hurts.

Bow suggested that they pressed on to the Temple but Cormac countered him by mentioning that there might in fact be a troll hoard at their lair. Bow easily found the trail that led to where the monstrous beasts had come from now that he could study the surroundings, so he led the party off in search of the trolls’ treasures.

Dire Wolves

A short fifteen minute walk down a small game trail went easily on them but the howling and snarling that soon approached them meant that the troll cave would be well-guarded. Five massive wolves loped into view, and when they caught sight of the party they redoubled their fury and charged at the ranger who stood point.

Bow took the brunt of the attack whilst his compatriots spread around him to aid him in his fight. However, these large wolves were no match for magical steel and they were all soon felled.

The party advanced upon the cave they could see ahead with a bit more caution but Gull motioned that the expected troll-wives and babies were not present within. The foul smelling cavern had plenty of room for the adventurers to rest up in but the rotten flesh stench that emanated from within meant that they had to stick to within a few feet of the entrance.

As the party were badly beaten up by their encounter with the trolls, Johan and Vox suggested that they stayed there the night to regain spells and heal up. Bow immediately lit a torch and began to investigate the interior of the cavern with Gull. There were no other entrances or exits within the cavern, secret or otherwise, but scattered throughout the rocky den were piles of gold and silver treasure that must have been looted from the many travellers and merchants that the trolls had attacked and eaten.

Johan made sure that they had a cooking fire going before he marked out a magical glyph upon the dirt floor entrance to the cave. He mentioned that no-one must cross the threshold of the Glyph of Warding lest they be affected by lightning.

The party slept well through the night; each watch passed without event. In the morning, the adventurers awoke and made their way to the front of the cave in turn. Johan told them the pass phrase was “I love clerics”. This rankled Vox but as he did not wish to bring down the wrath of Balder upon his head he muttered the pass phrase so he could exit the cave. Johan chuckled to himself as he had already dispelled the glyph before everyone had risen and wanted to see the magic user squirm as he spoke the words.

A Feast for Crows? - Wodensday 17th Hextember (Day 78) – early morning

The party, now fully restored, advanced towards the Temple along the main game trail they had left the day before. After a short walk they found that the trees began to change in nature. Gone were the oaks, elms and thorn bushes and in their place were twisted, gnarled abominations of nature. The fruit that hung from the branches was unlike anything that the party had seen before; great globes of blue that looked like a cross between a very large crab apple and a grape.

Bow plucked one of the fruit to smell it, and cut it open to survey its insides. It looked and smelled like a normal fruit but it was unlike anything he had eaten before. He held onto it for a while just in case he felt the need to try it later.

A few moments later the party rounded a bend in the path and saw through the thick, unnatural undergrowth the remains of a pair of towers. Bow investigated the remnant stone work and attempted to climb up for a better look over the surrounding area. Unfortunately for the ranger, the vines and creepers were just as rotten as the rest of the undergrowth and so could not hold his weight. He fell a short distance and twisted his ankle slightly in the process.

Johan took point and advanced between the two towers. He forced his way through the thick undergrowth and found himself between another two foreshortened towers that would have made up part of a gateway. He surged on ahead whilst his companions followed in the wake he created in the undergrowth, until he could just make out the roof of a huge building and a tower in the distance.

A loud cawing and crowing brought him back to his senses. The party members cast their eyes about and then saw, heading towards them from the north-east tower, a flock of ten or so giant ravens with murderous intent in their beady, intelligent eyes.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Doggerland Session 4:30 (Pool of the Standing Stones V)

Pool of the Standing Stones V (7th May 2014)

The Adventurers
Bow – Ranger
Cormac – Fighter
Gull – Thief (NPC)
Johan – Cleric
Vox – Magic User

 Map courtesy of White Dwarf 12 - copyright Games Workshop
Out of the Frying Pan… - Moonday 1st Hextember (Day 62) – early morning

The darkness within the corridor held no horrors for Bow the ranger as he stalked ahead of his companions. After a few dozen yards a door appeared out of the shadows upon their left hand side. Bow surged through the unlocked door and found himself in a small vestibule with another similar door at the far end. He advanced upon the second door and thrust it open. A wave of heat hit his face as he entered a large chamber.

The centre of the large chamber was taken up by a huge pit, lit from within by the glowing embers of the world’s core. The ranger bypassed the pit and made his way directly to the two heavy wooden doors at the far end of the chamber.

The rest of the party arrived into the room soon after their scout and began to look about. They spotted that the molten rock from the pit flickered on the uneven surfaces of the walls and ceiling and cast eerie shadows upon them whilst they investigated the chamber for its secrets.

Bow, however, was in a hurry to get to grips with their final adversaries so he continued to push the doors with all his might. He called for Cormac to lend his strength too as he made ready again to heave.

The shadows that played upon the walls and ceiling grew larger by the minute, so Johan moved closer to the edge to see if the cause was from something within the pit. As he leaned out over the precipice, an iron spear ripped towards him with the hands of a demon-like monster holding it tightly in its grip. The salamander, for that is what Johan recognised the being as in the split second he could react, was clambering up the wall of the pit to investigate what the noises from the chamber were.

The cleric fought a defensive battle as he strove to stop the fire-demon from escaping the confines of its pit before his comrades could come to his aid. Cormac and Vox proved their worth as they helped Johan repel the fiery elemental and finally force it, seriously injured, to fall back to the confines of its molten tomb.

…And into the Fire

Bow renewed his call for Cormac to come and aid him in opening the double valves at the far end of the room whilst the rest of the party rued the opportunity missed to grab the salamander’s bejewelled helmet and iron spear as it fell. A tidy sum they would have brought at any market of curios.

The two fighters managed to push the doors open and the valves kept moving after they had stopped pushing. The scene which greeted them was not one they would wish to see again in a hurry.

The large audience chamber beyond extended before them for a distance before stairs climbed up towards a dais upon which there sat a throne. Ensconced on the throne was a huge bony devil. To either hand were a female in dress robes and the evil cleric, Braken. Guarding these two on either side of the steps were two pairs of gnolls and at a table before the steps a veritable boneyard of animated skeletons began to rise from their feet at the intrusion.

All the beings within the room leapt to their feet and either surged towards the approaching party or moved back to defend their masters. The party assumed that the great bony devil was Dando, the owner of the Sword of Solitude but they could not see him armed with it; he only had a great amulet suspended around his neck.

As the party took in the scene, the skeletons advanced with weapons drawn. They paced rapidly towards the party through a pool of stone coloured ichor but it did not seem to have any effect on them.

The robed woman took her chance and fired a small Fireball from the end of the baton that she carried at Vox. The young mage managed to save himself from the main part of fiery damage he would have received but was hurt sorely none-the-less. The evil cleric completed a chant and all sound around the doorway entrance was negated. This annoyed Vox and Johan as they wished to return the compliments with their own magical dweomers. Both of the party’s magic users retreated until they were outside of the influence of the Silenced area whilst the two fighters burst into the room to slow the tide of the approaching horde of bony death.

Johan cast his own Silence spell at the far end of the chamber which contained the three most powerful opponents. Vox shouted for all those that could hear to beware and let loose with his own Fireball effect. This was much more powerful and less restricted than the small one that had hit him from the female mage. The effect on their enemies was devastating; the four gnolls were quickly enveloped in the ball of flame and fell to the floor silently screaming whilst their bodies contorted in agony. The female magician also fell to the floor in a crisping heap followed by most of the skeletons. Braken was noticeably stricken but the bone devil, Dando, merely laughed silently and descended the dais to take the fight to the party.

With the bulk of the skeletons now out of the way, Bow saw that he could charge the devil and tackle him one-on-one. Cormac held the last remaining skeletons at bay until Johan could Turn most of them and then he bore the brunt of the attack from Braken. Gull took pot-shots with his crossbow at whoever he could whilst Bow joined the minor devil in single combat. That combat was very short lived, however, as Dando instilled such a fear into the ranger’s mind that he fled the hall at full speed. The devil laughed at the change in fortunes and advanced to deal certain death to the remainder of the worthless band arrayed in front of him.

Braken was quickly put down by the combined might of Johan and Cormac, and the last remaining skelton met a similar fate very soon after. The rest of the party ganged up on the bone devil and he too was soon returned to the Abyss leaving behind just an empty husk and the amulet which Johan swiftly picked up and cast into the fire pit in the salamander’s room. There would be no devil summoning whilst he was around.

Bow’s Side-track

Bow broke from his induced fear alone in a corridor that he recognised from some time before. It took him several moments to realise what had happened and where he now was. He retraced his steps back towards the audience chamber where he fought the devil, but before he entered the room of the salamander his curiosity got the better of him and he decided to head on down the rest of the corridor to see where it led.

There were no other doors along its length and he surmised that the dead-end was a similar teleportation device to elsewhere in the complex. He advanced upon the wall and when he turned around he realised his assumption was correct. His lantern lit the scene of carnage where the party had fought the Temple guards with Theoderic.


Whilst Bow explored the corridor after his Fear induced rout the rest of the adventuring band explored the audience chamber. They could only find the (mostly) charred corpses of those they had already slain and a large earthenware urn beside Dando’s throne. A quick glance inside showed the fire blackened remains of rats and other vermin.

Gull looked all over the throne for a secret door release button but could find nothing, so Johan drew on the might of his trusty magical mace and smashed the throne to pieces. Beyond the back plate a narrow corridor extended into the darkness. Just as Johan had made his breakthrough, Bow returned to the room to relay all that he had found.

The Ranger, sore from his ordeal, led the party through the break in the wall along a short corridor that led directly down steps deeper into the bowels of the earth. The rest of the party follow him through but were slightly delayed due to the narrowness of the opening.

The party’s scout had managed to get a few yards ahead of the rest of his companions before they could form up and follow him in single file. He walked rapidly forward eager to meet any enemy before him and entered a small ante-chamber. On the far side of the room was a large chest.

Bow’s greed got the better of him and he strode rapidly to the chest in order to strike off its lock and plunder its contents. Unfortunately for the woodsman the treasure chest was not all it looked. As he stepped close to the chest, the floor and parts of the wall curled around him and began to smother him within its depths. The rest of the party heard his muffled screams and ran to aid their comrade.

The mimic was summarily dispatched and the party moved on. Vox realised that the earthenware urn that contained the scorched rodent remains must have been used to feed the strange creature whilst whoever needed to could pass it without fear of being eaten itself.


A final set of stone steps led further down into the gloom. Bow again led the way and at the far side of the small room he espied a huge amount of gemstones cascading out of another large treasure chest. He threw caution to the wind and advanced upon the chest without pausing to wonder if the room may have been inhabited by yet another of those mimic creatures. He cast his sword into the depths of the pile of gems but he could feel nothing in there of any bulk. He relayed to his comrades that the chest was just literally full of gems and nothing else. Gull put his appraisal skills to good use and concluded that the gems were all made from paste or glass; albeit very finely cut.

The party were frustrated at getting all this way and not finding the Sword they were looking for, so they searched for secret doors but could find none. Cormac dragged the chest out of the way just in case there was something underneath but all he found was some cryptic writing. Vox was quickly onto the scene and realised that it may be an important clue.

He did not have the correct spell ready at hand to read the cryptic writing so he suggested to the others that as they had to heal up anyway why didn’t they camp here, take some rest and a bite to eat so he could learn the spell that would reveal the meaning of the mystic inscription.

The Secrets of Dando’s Treasure - afternoon

Vox put his head into his spell books whilst Johan asked Balder for his divine help in healing his companions. Several hours later the little mage had learned what he required and read the words inscribed upon the floor aloud. “Magnus Dando” he exclaimed. A bright flash made the party shield their eyes, and when their vision returned there was another chest in the room.

This time, upon opening it, the party discovered a mound of silver and gold coins, a small ring, two scrolls, a musty tome and a fine sword that they hoped was the one that they were looking for.

Return to Steeplefell – late afternoon

The mission was now over, so the party retraced their steps back to the rope that was their exit from the dungeon complex. The rope was undisturbed so they climbed it and retraced their steps back to Steeplefell village where they were greeted in the Gryphon as heroes. When they looked around the common room and asked questions they found out that their one time companion Theoderic had taken his reward and sought adventure elsewhere.

They were rewarded for their rescue mission with a pouch containing a hundred silver coins. The party did not show their disappointment with the amount as they were now used to treasures measured in the thousands of gold coins. They were rich and the villagers were poor, so they accepted their reward of coins and free board and lodgings at the inn with humility.

Through Staneford and Nulb they Go (days 63 - 66)

The adventurers decided to stay in Steeplefell for a further three days to allow Vox to Identify the items within their new-found hoard. The two scrolls contained many high powered and useful spells that both Vox and Johan could use, and the sword matched the description that they were given for it – they had accomplished their mission. The vial of red liquid that Vox had previously identified as AGAU converted hundreds of the silver coins in their hoard to coins of gold. The scimitar that was the Temple Guard leader’s went to Gull for his help and everyone came out of the division much better off than they previously had been.

Vox also identified the libram as containing some every powerful wards, but he got nothing from the ring. Johan cast a Detect Evil spell upon the ring and tome and both glowed as inherently evil. The cleric quickly gathered them up and cast them into the fire. He would not be party to keeping such abominations in this world.

Their route back to Castleford meant that they would need to pass through Staneford and Nulb. As they passed through Staneford they decided to report their findings to the lords Rufus and Burne. They thanked the party for their continued support in putting down the Temple and suggested that they passed through the fens to see how Hallan was coming along with getting the moat house into use as a true fortification against any future evil advances.

The party took the route to Nulb through the fens and paid a visit on Hallan at the moat house as suggested. Their friend was pleased to see them and offered them food and drink whilst he showed them around the repairs. So far, the workmen had begun to drain the foul smelling fens, cut back the gnarled and sick looking plant life and cleared out all of the fallen masonry. The artisans had also moved in and had almost completed the ribs of the roof timbers. A pair of stout main gates and a drawbridge had been made anew and hung in the gateway, whilst the fallen masonry was reshaped for use a little later to repair the walls. All of the monsters’ corpses had been cleared out of the dungeon and it had been given a full airing to remove the stench of death and decay. Dozens of guards milled about on duty and messengers travelled to and fro throughout the duration of their stay.

The afternoon brought the party to Nulb. No longer was there an air of despondency and disrepair about the place. The motte and bailey castle had been completed and work had started on a stone temple dedicated to Sol Invictus. The two old inns had been completely razed and the scorched earth upon which they had been burnt had been raked in readiness for two new inns to be built in their place; in fact the foundations had already been set down.

Return to Castleford (day 66) – late evening

The weary travellers passed through the town gates as the sun began its final descent behind the gloaming hills in the distant west. The guards leant lazily against their guard room wall and waved the companions through. Any threat that was perceived to hang over Castleford had obviously been negated and the guards were a lot more at their ease.

All thoughts of hardship were left behind when the party turned onto Market Street. They knew they could now rest and recuperate for a while before they were to be tasked with their next mission. The party made straight for the Talehangers’ Inn and booked the best rooms in the house.

Training in Castleford (days 67-76)

After a long night of drinking and debauchery the party members, who nursed serious hangovers until they were rapidly dispelled by Johan’s divine orisons, headed to the Castle to report in to the baron Tancred. Bow was allowed to keep the Sword of Solitude as he would need it if they were going to take on the next challenge of destroying the Temple and sending the demoness Zuggtmoy back to her domain in the Void.

The adventurers split up over the next ten-day and went their own separate ways, only meeting back up each evening to eat and drink together. Bow and Cormac hunted down new weapons, armour and a decent trainer to help them improve their skills at arms, whilst Johan gave alms to the town’s poor. Gull spent most of his time running the gauntlet of the Wynde and improved his skills at the hands of the guild’s master thief. Vox, forever doe-eyed in her presence, dogged the lady Mathilde and improved his spell-casting abilities.

Ten days was more than enough time for the party to rest up so, fully recovered from their ordeals, they left the town behind and headed back towards Nulb to seek the whereabouts of the Temple which they knew was to the east or south-east of the village as that was where they spotted the lightning displays the night of the first earthquake.