- Nik Vinter
After the fight of the last session the only thing left to do was to retreive the treasure and that's what the party did. Coins, potions, a scroll. They also searched the body of the fishman king finding a weirdly wet translucent stone that Joe promptly took. Everyone was satisfied so the group promptly left and headed back to Hommlet. On the way back Joe realized that the wet stone was actually the magical artifact that was generating water because his backpack got filled with water. No one had a clue about how to control the stone, so they just rolled with it allowing it to generate seemingly random quantities of water at seemingly random times. A nuisance but not too bad.
Now the group needed time to reorganize before heading to their next destination, and that's what they did. The characters went to the trading post and met Gremag and Rannos there, bought a cart with a horse and some other provisions, then went to meet Nira to exchange gems in exchange for money and ingots. While the horse and cart was being delivered the group spent some time in the city, helping to build the castle and meeting other denizens. Parabir (who is a follower of St.Cuthbert) tried to visit the druidic groove but with little success since he refused to respect their traditions and donate money to Jaroo.
One week later and with the horse in their hands the group took a small detour to Verbobonc to identify the potions and the gem leaving them with little money but plenty of useful items. With everything done it was finally time to accompany Furnok to his dungeon.
The group left from Hommlet in the morning, with the tomb being 1.5 days away, in the eastern part of the Kron Hills. Taking the Low Road their trip was cut short after 6 hours of travel by a scream. Everyone rushed towards the source just to be faced with a gruesome scene: many dead warriors scattered across a field, with a lonely cart in the middle, almost intact. In the cart, a cage, with a gray cat inside.
Everyone froze, scared to make a step. Everyone was afraid of the cat, afraid of dying like the many corpses before their eyes. What happened there? Instead of ignoring the scene the group felt compelled to act so they devised a plan: Olafur would get naked, coat his weapon with poison, drink and invisibility potion and slowly crawl towards the cat, taking him by surprise. Sadly, the plan didn't work.
Everything was working fine up until the last moment and then, right before taking a blow the cat looked Olafur right in the eyes and started mutating. A globe of darkness engulfed the area, a monstrous creature before Olafur's eyes and before him only. With not enough time to react or understand what was happening there wasn't much to be done and, like in a nightmare, the only sign of Olafur that the rest of the party gmanaged to get was his agonizing screams coming from the swirling obscurity.
They had to run.
And that's what happened. The group ran for 10 minutes, and then 10 more, before settling on a marching pace to cover as much ground as possible. They made camp and the night passed uneventfully except for the nature noises that kept everyone on edge.
When they returned to the cart the next day the scene was similar, but with two key differences: Olafur's body was laying next to the cage, and the cage was now broken and empty. No one wanted to investigate so they just left Olafur's body to rot under the sun, being unable to prevent themselves from feeling uneasy and observed. They kept going forward, everyone silent and lost in their thoughts, with Furnok guiding the way.
Sadly, the peace didn't last long. Adventuring is a dangerous job and lowering the guard even if for a bit might be fatal. Everyone was thinking about what happened the day prior, too concentrated to notice an ambush waiting right for them. Three arrows hissed in the air, one hitting Parabir. Dark creatures, with scaly skin and matted hair rushed at them, their eyes empty and vacuous. Two lunged at Furnok and Parabir, three stayed back with bows. Joe rushed in melee with his mace while Tabudai, Furnok and Kobort tried to use the bushes as cover to reach the archers.
Then everything happened at the same time: Tabudai started moving his hands and cast a Sleep spell. Furnok, Elmo and Joe overpowered the meelee fighters and killed them both, then the magic left Tabudai's fingers and put two of the three archers to sleep, giving the last one just enough time to fire a single arrow. A fatal one. The air got pierced by the attack directed at Turuko, which barely managed to notice the projectile before falling to the ground, his chest perforated. The rest of the group survived, but at what cost?
Kobort rushed to Turuko, trying to save his friend but to no avail. The rest of the group stood motionless. After some tears the dust settled: Kobort wanted to go back to Hommlet with his friend's body to give him a proper burial, he wouldn't make a step further towards the tomb. Sadly this directly opposed Furnok's wishes: they were so close and he already wasted so much time tagging along the party. Going back to Hommlet to heal and hire mercenaries would've meant weeks of wasted time, time that he didn't want to spend. He started walking towards the tomb, Kobort towards Hommlet. The group had to make a choice.
They reached the tomb with Furnok a couple of hours later. It was a cold autumnal afternoon and the sun was setting down. Furnok took a stone key from his backpack and used it to open the stone doors, revealing a circular stairway leading down. Since everyone was scared he scouted ahead and came back minutes later to report his findings: a closed stone door with a half-sun drawing on it. After some thinking the group had the right idea: Joe broke his lantern and the group used the glass pieces to reflect a ray of light from the entrance to the stone door, which slided downwards revealing a rectangular room.
The crypt had 4 statues (3 of which intact), a stone altar with a mosaic and a broken wall with a hole leading somewhere in the darkness. One is never too carefull so Parabir took out his 10 foot pole and started banging one the floor to check for traps. The noise echoed in the corridors. Something was coming from the hole in the wall. Sometimes one is too careful.
A swarm of giant rats rushed into the room like an ocean wave. Luckily the group was half ready for this so they took the initiative and managed to run away without getting hit. After discussing it for a bit they devised a plan: they would build a stone wall at the entrance door, blocking the passage for the rats and then bring a smoking fire into the underground complex hoping to force the rats out from another opening. Everyone got to work and in a couple of hours time everything was ready and it was time to bring the woodden structure that would serve as the smoke source into the first room of the dungeon.
Parabir and Furnok volounteered and started descending the stairs. There was a simple problem though: the rats were still there. As soon as the creatures saw the light and the two humans they started rushing at them again. Parabir threw his torch and the woodden structure at the enemies, hoping to block them, and then started running away followed by Furnok. This seemed to partially work since only a handful of rats managed to quickly get trough and follow them trying to bite the characters as they were desperately trying to get over the stone wall blocking their escape.
With the help of the rest of the grop they managed to hoist themselves just in time for the rest of the rats to reach the stairs. The situation was precarious, the rats were rushing at the wall getting one on top of the other, trying to bite Joe and Elmo who were valiantly defending the top of the stone construction. The others meanwhile started running to pick up a big rock to throw down the stairs. More rats were coming but so were the stones that, thanks to the stoic defense of the warriors, got dropped on the rats killing them oneafter the other.
The battle was won, but at what cost? Everyone was tired and wounded, and they were all more than a day away from the closest city.
The only thing to do was to set camp and hope for the best. They decided the guard turns and Joe went first.
Everyone else was sleeping.
And that's when Joe's vigil got interrupted.