Redemption War

Nasty things that begin with G

The party encounters some of Elderburg's inhabitants

As the party approaches the rope suspension bridge (of the classic “planks and rope banisters” model), they realize Sil has gone missing at some point while everyone was trying to evade being caught by a collapsing building. They decide to press on, and a plan is made, whereby Aetadius will cross the bridge first, tied off with a rope in case the bridge gives way; upon reaching the other side, he will tie off the rope to provide a safety backup for the following party member. This succeeds, and Kalissa crosses second, followed by Paxton. When Paxton about two thirds of the way across, however, a quartet of creatures slither from the shadows on the far side and attack the members there. The monstrosities are snake-like creatures, with beaks surrounded by four tentacles (gricks) and though they give the party a fright, they are dealt with without too much trouble.

As the party completes their crossing, Bud notices some large (but not giant) spiders nearby and converses with one in an attempt to further his project of finding a giant spider with which to commune so he can take on its form. He does not divulge the results of the conversation, but it does not appear to have been particularly helpful.

Faced with a choice of routes again, the party advances into what appears to have been an artisans’ quarter. They take some time to search buildings along the street, resulting in some interesting finds. Kasglan finds an abandoned journal, some twenty-odd years old, from an earlier explorer, which describes similar experiences as the party has had, before the entries end abruptly. Aetadius, however, hits the jackpot when he finds a secret door to a concealed cellar, which proves to contain quite a large stash of treasure; mostly coins, but also some art objects. The major finds are a Wand of Binding, which is given to Paxton, and a chain shirt with lightning resistance, which the party keeps in the event Sim might want it. However, as the party moves to leave, two ghostly apparitions (ghosts, actually) of elven warriors manifest at the top of the stairs and, hissing admonitions against venturing further into the city, attack!

One displays its horrifying visage, which causes Kalissa to want to avoid it, while the other quickly identifies Kasglan as a major threat (having fortified the party with a Beacon of Hope spell and more than healed the damage caused) and possesses his body. After taking a blow from Kasglan’s hammer, Paxton (in a fit of inspiration) uses the Wand of Binding on him, causing the ghost to leave his now useless body, and it soon joins its companion in going to their final rest. Shaken, but physically restored, the party leaves the cellar and continues their exploration. Along the way, they notice holes in the ceiling (the result of collapses) which give a view of the sky outside. It’s raining.

They find a circular, downward ramp, leading to a gate. As they approach it, two creatures drop from the top of the gate with a third drops behind them. These are some vile hybrid of arachnid and humanoid (ettercaps), but while they inspire disgust in the party, they are dealt with with comparative ease. The party opens the gate to find a bigger problem: beyond is a large chamber, leading to another large gate. The chamber appears to have once been an inspection area for cargo vehicles, but the vagaries of time and weather have left the floor covered with a deep layer of mud, which Aetadius quickly establishes as being of potentially lethal depth in places. Kasglan suggests the party take an eight-hour rest so that he can study Water Walk, but he is overruled on the reasonable basis that this will take far too much time when other options are available and besides, there really is no good place to rest. Aetadius quickly establishes one such option, by identifying the fact that there are readily accessible rafters in the chamber, getting up to one, and dropping a rope so others can follow. Kasglan attempts to do this, but loses his grip and falls into the mud. To everyone’s horror, a large humanoid shape rises out of the mud and pounds Kasglan with its fists, driving him below the surface, though he does manage to hold onto a rope the others had thrown him.

Kalissa and Bud wade in, the latter in wolf form; charging the clay golem (for that is what it is), he manages to knock it prone. Aetadius jumps onto its form and delivers several blows. The golem quickly retaliates, however, and delivers a punishing two-fisted slam attack that effectively shatters Aetadius’ body, leaving him in a coma and making it impossible to heal him. While Bud, Kalissa, and Paxton deal with the golem, Kasglan manages to extract himself from the mud, magically stabilize Aetadius to that he will at least not die, and pull his body out of the fight.

When the fight is over, and everyone patched up as much as possible, the party deliberates whether to forge ahead or fall back to Fort Deeprun; the latter has the best chance of keeping Aetadius alive, but is complicated by the fact that the way back is obstructed by collapsed buildings and the like. In the end, a plan is devised to tunnel upward and out: Bud uses druidic magic to enlarge plant roots, which weakens the excavation site and provides an anchor point from which Kalissa and Kasglan can dig into the ceiling. After almost two days, the party emerges on the surface. The ride back to Fort Deeprun goes slowly but without incident, and once there, a cleric is found who can cast greater restoration, allowing Aetadius to be physically fully healed. He does retain some mental trauma, and as a result will remain phobic about mud for a good long time. For his part, Kasglan considers the (admittedly very short) time he was possessed as the nastiest time of his life.

With the crew restored to full (physical) health, shopping ensues to replenish depleted supplies, and Kalissa acquires a black cloak with silver trim (just her style), which the shopkeeper informs her was made by an eleven tailor named Sig, The One Who Got Away.

Shaking their heads all the way, the party returns to Elderburg and makes their way back down the route they cut to the surface. In the intervening ten or so days, the mud in the wagon inspection chamber has dried somewhat, but as they reach the inner gate, the floor gives way behind them, leaving a sinkhole and cutting off their way back.

With that, the session is concluded.


theprint jurjen

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