[Sorry for the lack of updates, we had a gaming lull due to real life issues (NERF real life!). Going to try to get one more session in before summer is in full swing but then will be off until late Aug/Sep]
The party noted an area with a door on each end and decided that it was likely a single room so rushed in through both doors simultaneously. It was indeed a single room and more clerics were within, preparing for some ritual. The party’s flanking maneuver worked well and soon the two guards and one of the lower level enemies had fallen. But the ranking cleric in the room was a hulking half orc with a nasty look in his eye and a morningstar as big as your head! While one cleric used a command spell to cause Glaark to fall the half orc mixed it up with Watcher. Even Watcher’s tough hide was dented by the mighty blows of the big half orc. But the support of Mort, Xana, and Marie with arrows, spells, and a rousing song (Mort is part Bard) rallied the troops and the clerics were dispatched. A large bone and gold key was found that seemed to fit the large door the party had found earlier.
But wait…what was this? In the corner was a cage containing a dirty, ragged, and malnourished woman. Had she been healthy and clean she would have clearly been fine looking but at this point she could barely stand. But stand she did…as proud and strong as she could muster. This was clearly no commoner or slave girl. She asked questions of the group; who they were and why they were here. Eventually it was discovered that she was, in fact, Kalinda, the Duke’s wife! She had been captured and dragged down here to be sacrificed. After some discussion much information was learned: The Duke is clearly being controlled by his new “friends” and is not himself. Kalinda knows there is some big ritual scheduled to start soon and go on for quite a while. Much of the town and guard is unhappy with the new leadership. Kalinda does not know much of the lower levels that they are in now, but knows the upper levels well. Xana’s aunt, Lumilla, was captured and given to a troll representative as a present (with some type of spell on her). The evil leaders were trying to gain favor from local tribes of monsters to help them out.
The party continued on and found the slave cells that were guarded by a dozen orcs. Being that these orcs were nothing special the party cut through them without significant effort. The group found several slaves including a pair of dwarves and a very beaten elf ranger – he wouldn’t break so the orcs beat him up a lot.
After a short rest to heal and feed both the slaves and Kalinda the party moved on with their “posse” in tow. After a few minor encounters they found a mist-filled temple area that was clearly used for minor sacrifices. A pair of hobgoblins, some strange undead warriors, and a huge minotaur were in the room and quickly moved to attack. Unfortunately Xana had moved up to get a clear shot with here bow and the minotaur’s charging head butt hurt her severely. But once again the party prevailed – a bit roughed up but still strong. Eventually they learned that the back wall (which was shimmering) could be passed through by spilling blood on the altar – the minotaur provided just the key for that.
The party moved down a hall, finding some goblins and hobgoblins digging out some new areas and then a cleric with some guards. Both groups were dispatched and the party eventually found that they were once again under the graveyard. With some help from Kruum the party got the slaves out of the dungeon. Kalinda decided that she would stay with the party. The party saw her as the rightful legal authority in the fortress and town and thought that she could be aid them.
It was a long walk but and the group determined that the key would open the door. When they found that it opened to a long stairway down the decision was made to go up to try to find Xana’s aunt first. The group made their way back to some stairs they had found earlier and moved up. They were now in the mountain, and at the same level as the fotress.
Careful listening revealed a room with some rowdy bugbears. Though tough the bugbears fell to the party. But the noise of the battle had warned some clerics across the hall who had defensive spells cast as the party came in. Though this made them tougher to take down it simply delayed their inevitable defeat.
Kalinda knows this level and can guide the party, but it is also fairly well occupied, traveled, and guarded. And discovery here could bring the entire fortress guard in to chase them.
[I hope that is enough to keep people interested – the session was a lot of wandering and the party, growing ever stronger, rolling over mostly “flavor” encounters. As noted, will take a break for the summer months. At least my son decided he wants a D&D birthday party so a friend and I are coming up with a simple adventure for that.]