Apocalyptica

Cleansing The Monastery of Stone

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A huge ogre burst out of the door and slammed into a surprised Templeton. Luckily his uncanny dodge allowed him to avoid some of the damage. Before he could react, 3 Orogs pushed past their ogre friend to surround Templeton. Templeton’s shield spell went up and stopped a few of their blows but a couple made it past his guard. In a bad way and very exposed, Templeton disengaged from the fight and moved away. He used his action to cast a minor illusion spell of a bulge in the rough hewn cave wall and snuck around to hide inside it. He could now see through the illusory walls but the orogos and ogre could not see him.

The battle wore on with Templeton firing his crossbows from the safety of his hidden location. Kareep made good use of his ablity to hide and sneak up to ambush the Ogre using his ambuscade ability. Puck let loose a fireball that killed the Ogre and burned the Orogs badly. Quintus used his spirutal hammer to beat the love of Tempus into their black hearts. Eventually all were slain. In their room Templeton found a loose flagstone hiding a pouch with 90 GP and 40 EP. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

Templeton led the way exploring the rest of the tunnels.

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An area was found that was barred off with a very complicated lock. Attempts to to pick the local and bend the bars failed. Widget was sent down but hit some kind of a ward and was destroyed. Clearly there was no way to go any further. But a different section of the tunnels led to a crypt. There were sarcophagi and remains lining the walls. A large central sarcophagus was open and empty. It had writing on it that said:

Here lies Samular Caradoon defender of the North.

Four zombies suddenly surrounded and attacked Quintus. He fought them off by calling upon the holy power of Tempus and turning two of them to dust. The other two were quickly dispatched by the deadly crossbow fire of Templeton and the strong lance work by Kareep.

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The crypt was searched and Kareep found 2 rings. One was made of silver with inset rubies worth 600 GP. The other was made of gold but was enchanted. Puck identified the ring as a ring of fire resistance. Kareep kept the item and attuned himself to it. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

With the keep secured, the party escorted the prisoners up to the mess hall at the upper level. There they ate and drank their fill and provisioned themselves for the journey out of the monastery. During this time, Bruldenthar told her harrowing tale of what happened to the caravan. Right before they would have reached Summit Hall, the attack came. It was swift and devastating. Earth cultists including monks wearing golden masks, earth priests, and fighters with the strange stone armor took down the caravan. Bruldenthar was taken prisoner along with Deseyna Norvael, Teresial, and Runedorth.

The group was ferried across the river by pirates in exchange for Brulhendar’s books for payment. At some point after that but before they reached the Monastery of the Sacred Stone, they were attacked by the air cult. It is suspected at that point Deseyna Norvael, Teresial, and Runedorth were taken by the air cult since they were not found in the Monastery of the Sacred Stone.

After an extended rest, the group geared up and worked their way overland to the town of Womford.

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Bruldenthar Found!

Widget flew into the large temple area revealing an earth cult priest and 2 guards hiding in wait. The priest managed to cast a slow spell which affected just Puck. Templeton was holding the doorway and was attacked by one of the guards who scored some viscous hits on him. Later the priest blasted the party with a shatter spell causing Templeton to go down. Puck saved him using a healing potion. The guard in the doorway went down and Kareep flew into the room bearing down on the priest. The priest shoved Kareep back and ran over to pull a lever in the wall triggering the floor beneath Kareep to give way. He fell into a room below where a terrible creature was released from a cage to attack him. The creature looked like an Umber Hulk who had two of its eyes removed and its claws replaced with large bronze blades.
The beast sliced and diced Kareep pretty good before he disengaged and flew out of there back up into the room. It was no long, however, before it leaped and clawed its way up into the main temple as well.

Seeing the full bulk of this monstrosity, Puck frowned and unleashed a fireball engulfing the umber hulk and the priest. The battle raged on for not much longer but finished with Quintus knocking out the priest and Kareep slaying the umber hulk. The priest had a key around his neck but nothing else of any value or interest. Badly hurt, the four took their prisoner to the barracks room they had previously occupied. There they locked the door using one of the two keys that were found. After a long rest, Templeton set about interrogating the prisoner. He was not very forthcoming. He was shocked to learn that we had dispatched Hellenrae and essentially wiped out his forces in the keep. But his fanatical lips were tight. Kareep was quickly frustrated and slew the priest with his claws.

Now back at full strength the party began exploring the tunnels underneath the keep. There they found a nasty tentacle Grick which enveloped Templeton until Kareep killed it with a javelin throw and attacks with his lance. Later Templeton walked right into the middle of some virulent fungi. But he managed to dance away. Kareep through one of his Molotov cocktails. The fiery blast missed its target but forced the fungi to slowly retreat. As they moved away Quintus yelled out, “Poor Little Critters!”

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Just when he thought there was nothing down in the caves, Templeton found 3 large cells with prisoners. Most were human but one of them was a dwarf. After a quick conversation he discovered it was Bruldenthar, the dwarven sage he was looking for. The dwarf warned him of ogre and orog jailers in the adjacent room as he picked the locks on the cell doors. Templeton then went to the door but as he rounded the corner it flew open revealing an orog ready to fight.

Quintus is at full HP, has used 3 HD and has cast a 2nd level spell slot.

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Aggressive Negotiations
Negotiations with a Cloudkill

Before continuing their exploration of The Sacred Stone Monastery, Templeton convinced the party to let him try to speak to the Gentleman of Presence again. His logic was that if this indeed was a lich who didn’t like the cultists bothering him perhaps he could be convinced to “hire” us to deal with the problem of regaining the keep all to himself. Templeton’s aggressive negotiations spurred the gentleman to fill the entire room with a deadly cloudkill spell. Such poisonous vapors would have spelled certain death for a living man but the power of the magic and the fact that it did him no harm was further evidence that he was indeed a lich. Templeton promptly closed the door and his wonderfully prepared speech was tabled.

The front door section of the monastery was explored next revealing 5 monks who were on guard or writing in a library of sorts. The 5 monks were defeated and the books and texts were searched through revealing all sorts of texts about elemental magic, earth deities, and nihilism. Many of the tomes were recently written by someone named Marlos Urnrayle. Marlos is known as The Prophet of Earth and wrote many of the texts on elemental earth magic. There were stories of Marlos going to a place called The Fane of The Eye. And there he found a powerful magic item called Ironfang, a war pick that was imbued with the magic of a holy implement of earth power. There was a reference to the Monastery of the Sacred Stone which we believe to be the current complex being explored and to somewhere called The Temple of The Black Earth. There were also references to The Black Geode which was linked somehow to The Evergrowing Mountain which seemed to be some powerful individual or deity who was said to use The Black Geode to remake the earth in his own image. Also mixed in around the the books were 2 Spell Scrolls – Dust Devil and Erupting Earth. Puck took these scrolls to add to his spellbook later.

Further on in the complex were some monk living chambers which included a locked iron coffer which contained 120 GP, 90 ep, golden priestly vestments, a leather pouch with 2 gold bracelets (30 GP each), and 3 spellscrolls containing Earthbind, Transmute Rock to Mud, and Maximillian’s Earthen Grasp. Puck took these scrolls as well to add to his collection. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

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Six duergar mercenaries were encountered in a special heated and shuttered room. These evil dwarves were able to enlarge themselves to giant proportions and turn invisible. They were really tough. Quintus went down during the encounter and Kareep used his healing magic to get him back up but Puck was the star. Using his blur spell he boldly went right inside the room drawing all attacks to himself. The brave little gnome then unleashed a wicked fireball.

Templeton, Kareep and Quintus were all badly wounded at the end of the battle once the duergar were defeated. So they used Quintus’ last 3rd spell slot to cast healing magic to heal all of them. Then they went back and took a short rest for an hour to regain most of the rest of their strength.

Further exploration revealed a large dining area and kitchens. There were monks in the kitchens. The first was cooking when Templeton hit him with a critical sneak attack ending him very quickly with one shot. But 3 more monks spread out into the room and attacked. They were dealt with and the last room was revealed on this level – a huge open area containing …

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Fall of The Abbess

In the Monastery of the Sacred Stone, Templeton had just burst into the fighting ring room and was about to pull the trigger on his crossbow when The Abbess moved next to him with blinding speed and delivered a viscous punch to the small man’s chest. Templeton staggered about as this stunning effect of the Buddha palm strike reverberated through his body. Templeton was unable to do much of anything.

Luckily the rest of the party still had the jump on the remaining 4 monks. They were surprised where the Abbess was not. Puck cast haste on Kareep. The bird man rushed in and did some good damage against the Abbess with his attacks. The battle raged on with Templeton finally shaking off the effects of the stun. During the battle 2 more monks from a different room came in to join the battle. At one point Quintus went down and Templeton used one of his two Potions of Healing with his mage hand to get him back on his feet. In the end all 6 monks were defeated along with the Abbess herself. The Abbess had a key around her neck which Templeton relieved her of.

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Pretty beat up and wanting to preserve some spells, the group tried to take an hour long short rest. Unfortunately half way into the rest there was a knock on the door. Templeton used his minor illusion cantrip to mimic the voice of the Abbess as well as he could. He said, “I am busy what is it?” Unfortunately he had not heard her speak very much – only throw punches at him. So they opened the door to come face to face with Templeton’s ready crossbows. The two monks were surprised. Templeton’s first crossbow shot went right through the neck of the first monk and he went right down. His second shot caught the other in the chest and he was finished by Kareep’s lance.

A short rest was tried again and this time was successful. After that Templeton took the lead exploring the Monastery of the Sacred Stone. They found a distillery with some really poor brandy in bottles and casks. Kareep took 4 bottles to create some Molotov Cocktails with some rags. Quintus took 2 bottles to drink and Templeton poo poo’d the incredibly poor quality of the brandy.

The bedroom of The Abbess was found. There was a chest with 65 PP, 800 SP, and 12 turquoise stones worth 10 GP each. There was also a note on the desk signed Hellenrae, Abbess of the Sacred Stone Monastery. This confirmed the name of the head of the monastery we had just defeated. The elemental earth symbols abound in the entire complex. With the following symbol:

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It was the same symbol we found in the secret cavern beneath Red Larch during the The Great Sinkhole of Red Larch affair.

Templeton then entered another room and found what looked like a human man called The Gentleman of Presence sitting at a desk working on something. The room was clearly a lab of some kind but everything was old and in a state of disrepair. As he entered the old man said in an annoyed voice, “I told you not to bother me. Leave at once.” Templeton tried to cast a charm person spell on him but the man was clearly a wizard and cast counterspell.

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Templeton tried to ask some questions but he and Kareep who had also come into the room were picked up by a telekineesis spell and moved out of the room. Templeton got a pretty good look at the man and he had a strange appearance. He could have been undead. Kareep’s previous divination spell had indicated that there were undead inside the monastery. There was a door to a different room and a staircase leading down in the Gentleman’s Room.

Deciding to leave The Gentleman of Presence be, the party moved to explore the rest of the area discovering a separate staircase going down, some monks quarters, and an open air hallway containing 2 Gargoyles who sprang to life to attack. Kareep caw’d in anger as gargoyles are hated enemies of the Aurakokra. The battle was short and swift with the gargoyles being defeated.

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From Summit Hall to The Monastery of Stone

After completing trade with Sigfrid Holden, the merchant let The Four off on the banks of the Dessarin Mountains just south of the hills. From there they marched east to Summit Hall, a Temple of Tyr. There they met with Lady Ushien Stormbanner and learned the history of the Knights of Samular. Summit Hall was built by Samular Caradoon hundreds of years ago who also founded an order of knights to protect Summit Hall.

One of Lady Ushien Stormbanner’s Samular Knights had fallen in battle. His body was being returned to Summit Hall in order to be interned into the crypts beneath. The missing trade caravan had the knights body amongst its cargo. It has yet to be recovered but The Four reasserted their pledge to find it to Lady Ushien and explained everything they had learned so far. To aid in their quest she gifted them each a Potion of Healing and had one of her knights help Kareep find a location on his map. The location was the Monastery of the Sacred Stone which one of the Samular Knights said he saw the monks with the golden masks residing.

The next morning the party left Summit Hall and trekked west across the Dessarin River and to the Monastery of the Sacred Stone. They were able to sneak up to it using Kareep’s excellent Pass without Trace spell which significantly increased everyone’s stealth. Templeton was able to scout ahead and find the monastery in a rocky ravine. He snuck around its entirety and found the possible entrances. The side doors were barred but the gardens had no roof. Widget examined the gardens and found they were a bit overgrown and had many stone statues there. Templeton tried to unlock the door but it was rusted shut. Templeton used two vials of acid to free the lock but the iron grate itself would not budge as it was rusted shut.

Kareep and Puck flew over the wall and into the gardens carrying Templeton’s rope. Unfortunately 4 gargoyles leaped to life to attack. Puck had a prepared spell that he used to blast one of the creatures as they focused their attacks on Kareep – Auracokra are their hated enemies. Kareep and Puck fought the 4 gargoyles from the inside while Templeton and Quintus attacked from the outside through the iron gate. That gargoyle’s stony hide was immune to nonmagical weapons so Kareep and Templeton made good use of their newly acquired enchanted weapons. Eventually Quintus ripped the iron grate open with his bare strength and went in to cast healing magics on Kareep. The battle was fierce with Kareep taking the worst of it, but the four finally slew the 4 gargoyles and checked the doors into the monastery from the garden. One was bared shut but the other was open.

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Templeton snuck in and all around the hallways. He heard hand to hand fighting going on in one room, so the party snuck up and was all ready. Templeton burst into the room to get the jump on those inside. Inside the room was a fighting ring and four beat up monks surrounding an untouched female. The four men were surprised but not the female. Before Templeton could aim his crossbow and fire, the female monk moved as fast as lightning to get next to him and struck him hard in the chest. Templeton’s world was sent spinning as he was stunned by the attack.

Quintus ended at full hit points and used 2 – 1st level spell slots, 1 second level, and 1 3rd level slot.

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End of the Line

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The horde of ghasts was finally defeated. But the party was badly wounded. So they opted to renew the ritual of water walking and try to take a short 1 hour rest in the underground river to renew themselves. They never completed the rest as 2 huge Chuuls – crab-like creatures swam down the river to attack with their massive pincers. The party managed to fight them off as well – slaying them both. The same tactic was used again to try and take a short rest. Again it was thwarted by the appearance of 5 undead shadows. The power of Tempus was unleashed upon them as Quintus turned them to dust with his divine turning. Before he was able to destroy them, however, they had managed to drain much of the party’s actual strength with the strength draining powers. Unable to continue, the party turned around and went all the way back to the secret room to try and take an extended rest. They left widget behind to monitor the underground river.

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During the rest 2 men in a boat sailed by on the river. Templeton managed to persuade them to leave with his verbal acumen. During the rest there was a major earthquake. The stable that was in a state of disrepair collapsed and the underground river tunnel also collapsed. After examining the extent of the damage is was clear that the underground river was completely blocked. There was no way to follow.

Frustrated, the party turned their attention to leaving the keep and heading down river to the town of Womford. They were frustrated again, however, by discovering their horses had been killed and the only boat left in the keep was in a bad state of repair due to the large chain being dropped on it.

Finally the party got a break as another boat was spotted coming down the river. Thy hailed the boat and found it to be captained by Sigfrid Holden along with his female crew of Pia and Perla. The boat seemed to move via magical means. There were no oars or rudders apparent. Sigurd was a quirky fellow and his female crew were suspiciously softspoken but Templeton brokered a deal with them to transport The Four to Womford in exchange for an opportunity to trade. Sigfrid Holden turned out to be some sort of wizard. He had a magical trunk aboard his small ship that was much larger on the inside than the outside.

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Kareep of Goldenfields traded his Orb and 800 Gold Coins for Anosa Soreen and a Javelin of Lightning. Templeton Daltrey traded Reszur and 750 GP (50 GP pitched in by a very helpful Kareep) for Sky Piercer and Gloves of Thievery. Puck spent 600 GP and traded his Wingwear, lens, and a scroll of wall of water for a Pearl of Power, Cloak of Protection, and Wand of the Warmage. Quintus traded in his wingwear and spent 800 gold coins in exchange for Gauntlets of Ogre Power and a Greatsword + 1. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

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Down the Underground River

Sneaking up the stairs Templeton got the jump on one of the Reavers standing Guard. The crossbow bolt caught him right under the chin and spun him around like a rag doll. The priest came out of the building and nailed Quintus with a powerful magic missile hurting him badly. He then cast a spell coating the entire area in a freezing sleet making it extremely slippery and reducing vision. Quintus stood firm and used the side of the building to find his way forward and out of the blizzard-like conditions. He yelled back to Puck and Templeton to follow his voice. Puck moved forward keeping his feet and moving clear of the area of effect of the spell. Puck then pulled out a rope and expertly tossed it back towards Templeton.

Templeton, who was on his belly, had Puck’s rope land right next to him. He grabbed the rope and pulled himself along, sliding on the slippery ice, until he got to Puck’s position and clear of the ice. Seeing the priest and the Reaver move into the church via the left side door, Templeton, Puck, and Quintus moved to the door on the right to flank them. The priest and Reaver tried to slip back out the way they came in on the left side to avoid the trio but ran right into Kareep who had snuck around on the other side of the building and hurled a javelin at the priest.

The priest fired a magic missile spell at Kareep, but the ranger’s brooch of shielding protected him completely from the spell. Then Puck moved bravely into the middle of the scrum in order to draw the enemies attention. Templeton used Puck’s brave distraction to fire expertly aimed bolts with deadly accuracy. The reaver went down. The priest ran inside the church shutting the door behind him and tried to hide.

Kareep entered first and looked around unable to find the priest. Puck entered second and demanded the priest give up and surrender. Templeton did the same. The priest yelled “You will be crushed between his claws!” and cast another sleet spell to coat the room in ice and wind. The priest fell over a pew in the church but managed to get to the door only to find himself right next to Quintus. Quintus and Templeton attacked him and tried to capture him but he made it outside and dove into the water below. Kareep flew down and found him in the water skewering him with his lance and hauling him up to dry land to be searched.

The priest was wearing a key that looked identical to the key found on Jolliver Grimjaw. It was known that this key unlocked the iron door at the bottom of the secret staircase. The dead Reavers had 6 GP each on them. Inside the church was a symbol looking like an X with a line connecting the bottom two points. The Four had seen it before in the tapestry of the necromancer. Templeton assumed it was the symbol of the Elemental Water Cult.

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Now that the entire keep seemed secure, the party searched the boat. On it they found some casks of ale, salted fish, various pelts, a locked chest containing a pouch of 190 SP, a pouch with 95 GP, 3 chunks of malachite worth 10 GP each, and a Potion of Healing. Quintus took the potion so that both he and Templeton had one. There was also a locked crate containing 3 large books. Templeton identified them as the dwarven books he was looking for as they matched the book he had in his possession. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

Mostly spent, the party holed up in the secret room of the keep and took an 8 hour long rest. All the while, Puck’s owl Widget kept watch on the grounds of the keep and saw nothing the entire time. Everyone reached 5th level!

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Rested up and with new found power, the party went down the secret staircase and used the keys to unlock the iron door. There they found the underground river but the two boats they saw there previously were gone. There were also no ghasts to be seen. The only boat left out in the keep was too large to fit down the underground tunnel. Puck sent Widget to fly on ahead through the dark underground river to see where it led. After about half an hour Puck felt the life force of his familiar snuffed out. Puck re-summoned him and found out that it had been killed by ghasts.

Undaunted, Quintus used ritual magic to call upon the power of Tempus and cast Water Walk. In 10 minutes time each party member could walk on the water of the underground river for 1 hour. Using Kareep’s driftglobe, Quintus’ light spell, and Templeton’s hooded lantern, the party made there way up the underground river. About half an hour into the trip Templeton spied the sickly green head of one of the ghasts just beneath the water. Templeton let loose a crossbow bolt and sunk it into the creature’s head. Six ghasts surfaced to attack. Quintus cast a spiritual weapon and Puck let loose a fireball. Kareep flew forward to engage them with his lance. Four were destroyed but 8 more surfaced to attack everyone in the party.

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Kareep went down from damage as the ghasts tried to pull him underwater. But the walk on water spell held him on the surface. Puck let loose another fireball engufling the ghasts in deadly flames.

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Many ghasts remain and the deadly battle continues…

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Securing the Boat

With all three of the guards on the large boat slain and Templeton in the water preparing to climb up into the boat, Kareep saved him the trouble by flying over to land on the boat. Seeing that Kareep had the situation well in hand and hearing the cries of Quintus that reavers and fathomers were in the tower, Templeton swam for shore. The currents were challenging but the short Waterdhavian noble somehow found the strength to get to safety. Kareep dropped the anchor on the large boat and secured a rope to moor the boat to the adjacent dock.

Quintus engaged the Reavers in melee. The Reavers and Fathomer seemed surprised by the four and questioned who they were. Apparently these four were not involved in any of the previous battles. Quintus replied with steel. Puck blasted some fire magic expertly past Quintus, through the doorway and into the chest of one of the reavers. Between the eldritch blasts of The Fathomer and the deadly razor sharp shark teeth longswords of the Reavers, Quintus did not last long. He went down hard, blood seeping from gaping wounds. The Fathomer pushed a release lever on the large cog in the tower that sent the huge heavy chain down into the water and smashing on top of the moored large boat. The boat splintered a bit but held together. The Fathomer then turned invisible. Templeton showed up shortly after firing a deadly barrage of crossbow bolts into the reavers clearing them out. Templeton also managed to use his invisible mage hand spell to administer a healer’s kit to Quintus and stop him from dying by binding his wounds.

Kareep then flew into the room looking for the invisible Fathomer. He thought he detected him and pointed behind a large curtain. Templeton ran into the tower, leaped up and cut the top of the curtain, swinging in a wide arc hoping to ensnare the Fathomer and reveal his location. However, the Fathomer must have moved because the deft maneuver ensnared only air.

Somehow the Fathomer had gotten past everyone and made it through the door. He went all the way up to the northeast tower and opened the door. Three bugbears came out and started coming down to investigate the tower the four were holed up in. Clearly the Fathomer had sent them to get us. Kareep used his potion of healing on Quintus to get him back up and in the fight. Only one potion remained and it was in the possession of Templeton.

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Templeton went to the edge of the tower and let loose some crossbow bolts. One of the bugbears was clearly larger and was the captain but Templeton targeted one of the other two. Unfortunately the invisible Fathomer had readied some eldritch blasts. One of them managed to strike Templeton despite his cover. The magic burned. But the Fathomer was hurt and had had enough of dealing with the intruders. He dove off the cliff and into the river below. Widget spied him swimming past the boat gate and into the gaping maw of the river cave. Further evidence that something lay between it and the secret stairs revealed by Jolliver Grimjaw’s key.

With the three bugbears coming down the stairs towards The Four, Puck bravely ran forward. He cast a bladeward on himself and stood adjacent to the bugbears. The bugbears were supposed by this brave maneuver from such a little fellow that Templeton used the distraction to sneak attack with his crossbow and suddenly killed both the underling bugbears. All that remained was the bugbear chief. He smacked Puck pretty good with his huge morningstar but the bladeward protected him offering resistance and half damage.

With all the party’s attacks focused on the bugbear captain it wasn’t long before he went down under Kareep’s lance. But not before getting a couple more licks in on Puck. The brave little gnome had really done well this day.

Badly hurt, The Four holed up in the southeast tower to bind their wounds and to try to take a short rest. Templeton searched the area and found a leather satchel with some treasure in it. It contained 70 GP, 12 PP, and 6 agates worth 10 GP each. The Master Party Treasure List was updated. During this hour respite, Widget kept watch on the keep. About 30 minutes into the rest he watched as the servants left the kitchens and carefully sneaked towards the main gate. The party decided to just let them go.

Fifty minutes into the hour long rest, Widget saw the door to the last unexplored outbuilding open and 2 reavers came out. They walked around casually not seeming to be on alert. That is until they saw the bodies of all their comrades littering the keep that the party had slain. The two reavers ran into the main hall presumably to alert Jolliver Grimjaw only to find the wereboar dead on the floor therein. The reavers ran to another door in the last outbuilding and spoke with a priest there. They showed the priest what was going on before the party, now healed by using the last of their hit dice, finally finished their rest and began to slink out from the southeast tower to move to engage them.

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Exploring River Keep

The alarm was up in River Keep and the Reavers and Guardsman were on the move to find and destroy the intruders. Two guardsman had entered through the main doors and Kareep was still outside hiding on the roof. With Puck surrounded by the two guardsman, Templeton ran down the stairs, pulled out both hand crossbows and let loose two bolts promptly killing both of the men. Kareep then flew down from the roof dodging a couple of javelins as he entered and shut and barred the door behind him.

Everyone slowly exhaled a sigh of relief as it seemed the keep was secure. Unfortunately it was very short lived as reavers smashed their way through the upper door by the wall of the keep. Templeton sprung into action, running back up the stairs and getting into position to intercept the men as they came out.

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The party managed to get into a favorable position so that the reavers and guardsman could only come one at a time through a hallway where they were riddled with bolts and skewered by Kareep’s lance. The kill zone worked quite effectively. All of the enemies were slain except the two missing fathomers who never showed themselves.

Templeton and Quintus ran after some fleeing guardsmen, slaying one and letting another get away as he went into the gatehouse. Templeton and Quintus chose to retire and rejoined their friends.

With this section of the keep now secured, the party badly needed to recover from their wounds. The upper door was in shambles so it could not be secured. Puck sent his owl familiar, Widget, to keep watch on the goings on, while the party holed up to rest in the secret room for an hour. They managed to complete their rest without incident. During the hour Widget observed some of the guards moving about the keep and then getting into a small boat and sailing away.

During the short rest Puck examined the scrolls recovered from the chests. He found two spell scrolls. Haste and Wall of Water. Both of these spells were too high level for Puck but he planned on adding them to his spell book soon. Templeton examined the large book that Jolliver had in his possession. Rather than an actual book it seemed to be a binder of all sorts of papers thrown together with little organization. A few things of interest were in the binder. There was a document describing members of the party as troublemakers to look out for. So it seems this group had spies in Red Larch. There were some shipping manifests and caravan inventories. It seems as though Jolliver and his men were robbing caravans but there was no definitive evidence linking them to the dwarven caravan the party was looking for.

After completing the rest, the party made their way downstairs hearing someone creeping around. The main door was still shut but the two smaller doors that had yet to be explored had someone run in and shut quickly. Templeton and Quintus each busted into the doors to find the kitchen and a servants quarters filled with about 10 or so human servants cowering in fear. After Templeton explained that Mr. Grimjaw would no longer be requiring their services, he discovered that the hired help was not hired at all. In fact they were being held in the keep against their will and forced to cook and clean. Templeton assured the scared folk that they were now free, but warned them that the keep was not yet completely secure. The servants had been here for about 3 months and had heard of the keep bandits attacking caravans and such. But they had not heard or seen anything about a dwarf caravan or an elf girl. Templeton told the people to hold up in their quarters and sit tight. The Four would return when the keep was secure to get them out of there and back to the safety of their village.

The servants told Templeton that they had seen Bugbears in the keep. They laired somewhere within but did not know where. They also told Templeton about a hidden door that Jolliver used from time to time. They showed him where it was. Sure enough, Templeton opened the secret door and found a spiral staircase leading down. The party lit lanterns and created a light spell to go down into the darkness. At the bottom of the spiral stair was an iron door with a key hole. Templeton produced the key they had found on Grimjaw’s person and tried to use it. Click the door unlocked. Templeton opened the door and went through it finding himself in a natural cavern with water flowing through it. Two small boats were moored by the door and the underground river flowed out of the cave through a tunnel into darkness. But to his horror, Templeton saw the heads of 10 or so disfigured ghasts starting to come out of the water. Their foul stench filled the cave with the smell of death. Templeton quickly stepped back through the iron door, closed it, and locked it. As he told the rest of the party about the foul creatures he could here them scratching at the iron door and sniffing.

Knowing they were completely outmatched by the horde of ghasts, the party went back up the stairs and shut the secret door. They left the main part of the keep and began to explore the rest of the outbuildings. They found some additional guard quarters. All of the chests had been ransacked and anything of value had been taken. There was a stable in a severe state of disrepair. There was also a weapons room. Kareep took 2 javelins and Puck procured one of the light crossbows. Everyone replenished their stock of crossbow bolts.

As they grew closer to the southeast tower, Templeton noticed the large boat was unmoored from the keep and was being sailed towards the exit. There were three guards on board. Templeton ran forward and let loose a bolt from his crossbow nailing the guardsman in the rear of the boat manning the rudder. Templeton then ran acrobatically hopping over obstacles to get to from the keep wall to the top of the tower overlooking the boat.

Puck managed to hit the same guardsman with a fire bolt and killed him. The boat floated a bit more awkwardly towards the exit with anyone at the helm. Kareep and Quintus tried to get closer and attack with javelins and crossbow but missed. Templeton yelled down to Quintus to try and raise the chain blocking the exit from the keep. He fired two shots from his hand crossbows, taking careful aim and slaying both of the remaining guardsman on the boat. He then dove into the water some 30 feet below to try and climb aboard and stop the boat.

Quintus opened the door to the tower and saw the mechanism to raise the chain preventing egress of the boat. However, he also saw a fathomer and three reavers.

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The Fall of the Wereboar
And Uh oh... this keep has a lot more guys

The battle in the main audience chamber of the river keep raged on. The main threat was Jolliver Grimjaw a powerful wereboar in hybrid form whose enchanted lycanthropic hide was immune to nonmagical or non-silverred weapons. Also in the large room were 2 reavers (men with custom swords lined with shark’s teeth), the guard captain, and 2 fathomers. The fathomers were some sort of water elemental priests. They could take the form of water and envelope opponents. They could also turn invisible and use vampiric touch. Very elusive fellows.

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A Fathomer suddenly appeared next to Templeton and enveloped him in his watery form. His vampiric touch ability drained Templeton’s life and healed the Fathomer of damage. Templeton managed to get free of the Fathomer as it slinked away turning invisible once more.

Templeton used silvered bolts from his crossbow to great effect against Jolly. Quintus also was able to use his spiritual hammer to damage the creature. But the crossbow bolts from Templeton were biting deep and causing him a lot of damage so he focused his viscous attacks on Templeton and managed to cut him down with his claws and tusks.

With Templeton down and bleeding to death, Puck sprung into action. The crafty gnome cast a blur spell enabling him to run away to the edge of the battle. The opportunity attacks all missed as they were confused by the shifting image of the gnome’s little body. Puck followed up with a blast of Aganazzer’s Scorcher that ripped through the line of opponents burning them all with fire. To everyone’s great relief Jolly fell, the great were-boar’s charred body hitting the ground then slowly transforming back into the shape of a man.

Quintus was then able to cut down the guard captain with his greatsword and cast a healing spell that brought Templeton back up. The two reavers were slain and the main door was closed and barred. Jolliver’s corpse was searched. A book and a key were found on his person. Both were taken by Kareep. The party then began to search the keep room by room looking for the fathomer that had escaped invisibly.

A room above the balcony was found that had water on the floor. It was thought this must belong to one of the fathomers. Great care was taken to try and find him but he was not there. There was a secret door in the room leading to a treasure room. A chest was found containing a sack of 30 GP, 80 SP, 2 scrolls, and 4 jaspers (worth 70 GP each).

Another room was searched containing two chests. One contained 600 GP and the other 450 EP and a pouch with 15 blue azurites worth 10 GP each. The Master Party Treasure List was updated.

In the haste to explore and ferret out the Fathomers, Quintus and Puck got ahead of Templeton and Kareep. A door leading outside of the keep to the top of the keep’s wall was discovered. When Quintus stepped through with Puck on the other side, the fathomer’s struck by shutting the door and separating them. Each of them was attacked by a fathomer individually. Puck yelled for aid. Templeton came running and attacked the Fathomer helping Puck and managed to open the door seeing Quintus battling the other Fathomer out on the keep’s wall.

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In order to get around and attack from the other side, Kareep flew down and opened the main door to the keep. As he rounded one of the interior walls he saw Quintus and the fathomer battling up a flight of stairs on the wall of the keep. However, he also saw 4 more reavers and 4 more guards waiting for some sign of what to do. Seeing Kareep they ran out to attack.

Kareep flew up on the roof to escape reinforcements. There he hid while Quintus got back inside and shut and bared the outer door leading to the wall of the keep. They were fairly certain that the fathomers were on the other side of the door but with their use of invisibility it was not certain.

Puck and Templeton and Quintus raced down to secure the main door which Kareep had left open. But they were too late. A reaver and a guard had entered and were between them and the door. Puck bravely raced over to get into position to close the door and to draw the attention of the enemies so that Templeton could make his crossbow shots really count by using sneak attacks.

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