Monthly Archives: February 2014

2/6/2014 Session: “That’s the dice…”

Participants: Damien (Renaldo), Stan (Ash) and Paul (Myles), missing Barundar (Matt) and Amon (Cameron)

When we last left the party, Barundar was plummeting for the water after having been snatched by a fishperson in a cavern below the cult-infested lighthouse in Wenshire.  The pool into which he’s falling is fed by a waterfall sprouting from a hole in the wall and is of indeterminate depth.

Myles rushes forth but is unable to stop Barundar from being snatched.  The booming splash of a large mass hitting the water fills the darkened cavern and is followed by the unmistakable thrashing of a drowning Dwarf.  Myles calls Ash over to use his lighted mace to help in finding Barundar in the pool.  Ash is able to spot a great disturbance in the water [“like a drowning child” Nathan says, disturbing the players a bit…] across the pool and travelling away.  Ash bellows out a Command for the fishperson to “release” Barundar, but his word goes unheard over the flailing and screaming Dwarf.

02062014-1

“A pool of water underground in a fishman infested, cult-tower? I’ll jump into it, hells yea!” – Renaldo

Renaldo, ever undeterred, sprints across the cavern and dives into the water with his scimitar leading the way, slashing into the darkness.  Amazingly, his blade finds its mark and he manages to sever the arm of the fishperson dragging Barundar into the depths, the arm maintains its grip on the Dwarf as the fishperson from whence it came bleeds out into the pool.

With Barundar now floating up to the top of the pool, Myles sprints across the stone bridge and pulls him from the water, holding his action for any fishpeople that might hop out near him.  Ash follows behind Myles and inspects the glowing stone.  In his hurry he is unable to make note of anything specific about it, other than it looks like it’ll fit in the altar on the top of the lighthouse above.

Renaldo continues his blind assault and, in true barbarian fashion, manages to decapitate another fishperson.  As he surfaces for breath, two sets of hands grasp at his feet from below but he is able to avoid being dragged down into the depths [for the time being].

Look at that bastard over there...

Look at that bastard over there…

Across the pool, a large form rises from the water with a staff in its hand.  The end of the staff glows with a green stone, which the form points at Myles.  A ray of green energy cuts across the room and blasts Myles in the chest, severely injuring him and seemingly sapping him of strength.  Myles cries out in pain as his Strength and Dexterity wither away [for 6 rounds!!!].  As quickly as it appeared, the form dips back down into the water and disappears.

Myles limps his way across the room to where the mysterious staff-wielding form appeared, but finds nothing there.  He pulls one of his remaining javelins from his back and throws it into the pool in a vain attempt at spearfishing.  Unsurprisingly , he misses and his javelin is lost to the depths.  Ash steps forward [towards the pool] and channels his divine abilities and cures the burning hole in Myles’ chest.

Renaldo is drawn towards what he thinks is a more worthy opponent and swims towards the green light, lashing out and connecting with his scimitar, cutting the fishperson mage across its chest.

A fishperson springs forth from the water in front of Ash [who rolled a 0 on his DEX save] and drags him down, deep into the pool.  Renaldo continues to avoid the grasping hands of an unseen fishperson.  The fishperson mage reappears and attempts to grab Myles but his hand slips off.  An electric shock cuts travels up Myles’ arm from where the fishperson mage touched him.  Again, as quickly as he appeared, the mage disappears again, submerging directly into the path of one of Renaldo’s scimitars which, again, cuts him across his chest.

As Ash is dragged into the water by the fishperson he fumbles [AGAIN rolling a 0 on his DEX check!] his lighted mace.  It flies through the air, but luckily lands on the shore.  Myles abandons his pursuit of the mage and rushes over to where Ash was before he got pulled into the pool.  He grabs the mace, tucks it into his belt and dives in after the cleric in an attempt to pull him free of the fishperson but is unable to do so.

...only after tossing the mace in the air, Ash fell into a pool and started drowning.

…only after tossing the mace in the air, Ash fell into a pool and started drowning.

Perhaps aided by Myles in some way, Ash momentarily kicks free of the fishperson but remains submerged.  Across the cavern, also deep below the surface, Renaldo coninues his assault on the fishperson mage.  As more blood fills the water, Renaldo wonders to himself whether the mage is in some way resistant to his blade, because he’s really been dishing it out and it remains active.  So active, in fact, that the mage reaches out and shocks the barbarian.

Fishpeople manage to grab Ash and Renaldo again, holding them underwater.  Myles and Ash renew their efforts to fight against the fishperson but are not able to break free again.  Ash begins to suffer from prolonged time under water and takes a bit of damage from drowning.  Renaldo spends his turn freeing himself from the grasp of the fishperson just in time to look up and see a ray of green light shooting towards him from from the mage’s staff.  The ray hits him and nearly kills him.  As if to add insult to injury, the fishperson below grabs his feet again and continues to try to hold him underwater.

Stan has a storied past with water... and this map in general.

Myles was actually really glad that this plan worked…

Seeing the green glow from across the water, Myles notes that things are not going well and that if he doesn’t do something different, the party will almost certainly die.  Leaving Ash below the water, Myles swims back to shore and wretches himself out of the water.  He dashes for the large glowing stone.  Grabbing it in a very extravagant fashion he calls out, “Hey look!  I’m taking the stone!  That big glowing stone… I’m taking that!”  Grabbing the stone and waving it in the air, he runs back across the bridge stopping with a healthy distance between himself and the water, trying to draw attention to himself the entire way.

The fishpeople that were drowning Ash and Myles release their grip.  Ash immediately surfaces and crawls out of the water.  Renaldo strikes out with his scimitar, somehow managing to hit the offending fishperson in the head, killing him.

The fishperson that had been holding Ash springs from the water and knocks Myles to the ground.  The fishperson mage makes his way out of the water too and attempts to grab the stone from Myles.  The light from the mace on his belt distracts the mage and he fails to take the stone from the fighter.

Myles scrambles back to his feet and attempts to swing at the mage but the attack fails to find its mark.  With the last of his energy this turn, Myles does a pelvic thrust to ensure that the lighted mace is front and center before the fishpeople.

Ash and Renaldo rally themselves and join Myles in the fight over the stone.  Ash casts Sacred Flame, bathing the fishperson mage in radiant fire as Renaldo swings and severs the mage’s arm – the arm holding the staff!  The staff, arm included, falls to the ground between

Myles was actually really glad that taking the stone worked...

“Oh, I’m sorry… let me give you a hand with that.” Renaldo says.

Myles and Ash.  The mage instinctively strikes out at Renaldo for cutting his arm off.  Unfortunately for the mage, he does so with his now severed arm and he fails to do anything of note.

The remaining fishperson attempts to grab Myles but fails.  Myles kicks in retaliation, his boot connecting with the fishperson’s face, totally shattering his skull and sending him flying backwards into the pool.

Ash casts one more Sacred Flame, again bathing the fishperson mage in radiant energy.  This time the flames burn brighter and the mage’s skin begins to boil.  Within moments the mage is reduced into a pile of cinders and quiet settles over the chamber as combat has ended.

Ash comes in for the STEAL!

Ash comes in for the STEAL!

Renaldo begins to complain about how injured he is, thinking aloud about, “How nice it would be if there were someone around with magic that could heal me….”  Ash is also quite wounded, but sacrifices his last spell slot to heal the barbarian back to (almost) complete health.  The party forced the newly-healed Renaldo to collect the staff for later inspection, [just in case it zaps him or something] and the party rushes back to the chasm in the previous room.

Hints of the Walking Dead.

Hints of the Walking Dead.

The party uneventfully passes through the pit but it does take a bit of time.  As they ascend the stairs back to the lighthouse, the sound of the townsfolk pounding on the somewhat-frozen door grows louder.  As the party reaches the main chamber of the first floor of the lighthouse, the door gives way and a large group of cultist-looking fishpeople burst into the room.  [As we roll initiative, Stan manages to roll ANOTHER 0… seriously, three 0’s….]  There appear to be 4 individuals leading an equal number of large masses of townsfolk.

Myles and Ash find themselves a few stairs up from the main chamber when the doors give way and they continue running up towards the barracks.  Renaldo somewhat uncharacteristically stops and faces the horde of cultists, saying that, “I’ll buy you guys some time, just hurry!”

Myles and Ash run like hell [over the course of a few turns] for the top of the tower, quickly losing sight of Renaldo.

As Myles and Ash run up the stairs, the townsfolk set in upon Renaldo.  A leader attacks him, dealing a small amount of damage.  Renaldo attacks back and decapitates the leader, causing “his” mass of townsfolk to falter and shift back in an attempt to retreat.  As the retreat, Renaldo lashes out at them, crippling a number of them but not outright killing the group.

More of the group sets in upon Renaldo and deal a great amount of damage [critting on him].  Renaldo moves away from the group and moves back down the stairs to the caverns below a little bit.  He runs into the wall and slumps down, severely wounded.  Almost utterly defeated and coughing up blood, Renaldo points his blade to the stairs and says, “They took the stone UP, go after them!”  Many of the group do as instructed, but some stay behind to finish off the barbarian.

Renaldo RageAs the frenzied crowd sets upon him, Renaldo rebukes himself for his non-barbaric actions of trying to avoid battle.  “Bollocks,” Renaldo says to himself, “It wouldn’t be barbaric if I went out without a scream, would it?”  Setting his jaw, Renaldo bellows forth a battle cry that ancient barbarians of legend would envy.  Pure rage courses through him as his veins bulge, his eyes glow red and his hair stands on end.  The force generated by this scream shatters the minds of many within the crowd, but it is not enough to prevent the inevitable.  Fighting valiantly to the end, Renaldo’s strength eventually falters and he drops to the ground.

 

You can see Renaldo's last stand to the far left as the horde splits in pursuit of Ash and Myles.

You can see Renaldo’s last stand to the far left as the horde splits in pursuit of Ash and Myles.

[At this point Damien makes his first death saving throw.  He types it in and….. ROLLS A 1…… In Next this means that, of the three failures needed to outright die, Renaldo has just acquired 2!!!!]

dying-dying

But no, it was actually a really tense moment.

Myles and Ash reach the top of the lighthouse but are unable to reach the altar before Renaldo must make his second death saving throw.

Jake Cries[Damien stoically announces each keystroke as he types it… “slash…… r……. spacebar…. 1….d……20……” knowing that, with another failure, Renaldo succumbs to the cold grip of death.  The group awaits the strike of the return key with bated breath.  Damien takes a deep breath and….. ROLLS ANOTHER FUCKING 1……..  The group collectively cries out to the cryheavens in agony and grief.  Damien states, “Well, that’s the dice….” as Renaldo passes on, dreams of utter barbarism unfulfilled…]

Myles and Ash, not knowing that their friend has just died, press on in their pursuit of the altar, the sounds of fervent cultists rapidly growing louder behind them.  As they approach the altar, Myles tosses the stone to Ash, equips his shield and turns to face the masses at the top of the stair. [When questioned on how the cultists are right upon Myles and Ash (who took like 6 turns to get to the top) Nathan states that the townsfolk are able to move, “at the speed of drama”.]

Ash catches the stone and slams it into the altar just as the cultist townsfolk round the corner to face Myles.  To both he and Myles’ surprise, the gently glowing stone does absolutely nothing in its new-found home.  Myles screams out for Ash to, “Do some cleric stuff to it!” prompting Ash to cast Sacred Flame upon the stone.  As the cultists reach Myles, the stone begins to sputter and spark, the light slowly growing more intense.

One of the leaders approaches Myles who has been preparing for attack for a few seconds.  Before the leader can act, Myles decapitates him, again causing the group of townsfolk he was leading to attempt to flee.  Myles dodges and weaves his way through the crowd, avoiding all attempts at attack before confronting the remaining leader, cutting him deeply across his belly.

ash lightAsh tries another spell, this time casting Light on the stone.  As he does so, an explosion of light erupts from the stone, whiting out the top of the lighthouse before dimming slightly into a solid beam of light cast out upon the sea.  Ash is standing right in front of the stone as this happens, but his divine favor and utter hatred for the Chaos Cult allows him to withstand the explosion without harm.

The cultists all attempt to flee the light, allowing Myles to hunt them down one by one, [critting twice in the process].

This do in rememberance of Renaldo...

This do in rememberance of Renaldo…

At the bottom of the lighthouse, the cultists that killed Renaldo begin to drag his body away into the darkness.

Ash and Myles descend the tower, expecting to see Renaldo looting the bodies of numerous cultists.  They are both shocked the descent into the open chamber at the base of the lighthouse to find it completely silent.  A pool of blood is located at the top of the stairs that descend to the caverns below.  There is a trail leading from the pool to the door and it is obvious that something has been dragged out of the building.  Myles and Ash cry out for Renaldo but begin to fear the worst…  Ash looks to Myles and says, “Surely, the brave and ferocious Renaldo is out chasing the cultists down… h-he’s probably killing the cult leader right now, right Myles?  Right?”  “I don’t know, Ash, but I sure hope so…” Myles responds as they begin to follow the trail of blood out of the lighthouse.

And to think, we didn't even want to stop in this podunk town....

And to think, we didn’t even want to stop in this podunk town….

As they exit the lighthouse, Myles and Ash note that the majority of the lights in the town have been extinguished.  One of the few buildings that’s still alight is the chapel near the center of town.  The pair follows the trail of blood until it peters out near the end of the docks.  Sprinting at this point, they decide to seek aid at the chapel.

As they approach the structure, they find that blood stains the door, which Myles promptly kicks in.  The trail of blood is heavier inside and leads to the altar.  Ash calls out for a priest but his calls go unanswered.  The pair proceed up to the altar and Ash begins hearing chanting, which he admits is pretty ominous.

The altar is stained with blood, but the trail continues back into the vestry.  Proceeding back, the chanting grows louder until, once inside the priest’s chambers, it is obvious that they are coming from somewhere nearby.  A wardrobe stands on the Southern wall and also has blood splattered on it.  Ash inspects it, but it seems like an otherwise ordinary wardrobe.  However, when he stands near it, the sound of the chanting seems to be coming from below.  As he relays this to Myles, who promptly pushes the wardrobe over, revealing a laddered chute leading below.

Ash's thought upon seeing Renaldo's body being used in the dark ritual...

Ash’s thought upon seeing Renaldo’s body being used in the dark ritual…

Ash leads the way down, and he and Myles descend deep below the chapel.  Reaching the base of the ladder, the pair find themselves facing a dark scene.  A giant statue of Dagon stands on the opposite wall.  Standing before the statue is a figure that Myles recognizes as the Mayor of Wenshire [Myles seems to think that his name is something like Sal Mon or T. Rout, but isn’t 100% sure…] who strongly resembles a fish.  The mayor is standing over the beaten and bloodied body of Renaldo leading the chant before a congregation of townsfolk not dissimilar from those that attacked the group at the lighthouse.  Most disturbingly, a pair of cultists are collecting blood from Renaldo’s body….

When we pick back up, I'm expecting the Mayor to say something like, "This isn't what it looks like..."

When we pick back up, I’m expecting the Mayor to say something like, “This isn’t what it looks like…”

Myles reaches into his belt and hands the mace back to Ash stating through gritted teeth, “……you’re gonna need this……”

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/30/2014 Session: “You fell in too?!”

Participants: everyone!

We join the party as they’re preparing to leave the Smoking Ogre in Lanmis.  Barundar and Myles are the first outside.  Barundar puffs deeply from his pipe after a long night.  Myles sees this and motions for the pipe, Barundar passes it to him and he draws from it before handing it back to the dwarf with a wink.  The remainder of the group exits the inn and sees the two leaning contentedly against the fence. After all are assembled, the group begins to discuss their next steps.  All are in agreement that moving to the North is likely the best path, but they disagree over paths.  Barundar advocates for avoiding trade roads and venturing due North through the Angmoor swamps towards the Othmidia Highlands, an area that he knows well.  Myles and Ash would prefer the trade roads towards Otemshire via Wenshire. Eventually, the party decides that allowing Myles to visit his family in Otemshire isn’t a bad idea, and they agree to travel the trade roads up the coast.

Options for PathThe group spends the majority of the day on their horses as they head Westward towards Wenshire.  A cold, salty breeze and an overwhelming smell of fish greets them as they approach the village.  They hit the entry of the town just as the sun has begun to set and the fleet of fishing ships have begun to offload their daily hauls.

The party finds the nearest tavern to get a warm meal in their bellies before settling down for the night.  They enter the bar and, to everyone’s surprise the inside smells more like fish than the outside.  Assuming that it’s just due to the concentration of fishermen in the bar, they proceed in and order food and drink.  The stench does nothing to deter Amon from attempting to pick up some of the local ladies.  He quickly manages to offend the bulk of them by assuming that they were “for hire”.

Myles explains that there’s a longstanding rivalry between Wenshire and Otemshire, and voices his disgust over the idea of spending the night in the town.

As the group eats their meal, the notice a painting hanging over the bar.  It’s obviously very old and is covered in soot (“…or maybe distilled fish-stench”, Myles thinks to himself.) from decades of hanging in the tavern.  The painting features a vista of the town, complete with a shining lighthouse.  Amon and Ash look out the window and in the dwindling light are just able to make out the shape of a lighthouse sitting on an island near the entrance to the bay – obviously in disrepair.  Amon and Ash turn to Myles for an explanation.

Myles recalls stories from his youth about the Wenshire lighthouse that used to burn brightly and light the coast, but as he recalls, it fell in a particularly bad storm.  He goes on to explain that each time the town attempted to repair the lighthouse some malady befell the project.

As Ash listens to Myles’ story he inspects the silhouetted lighthouse through the window.  Lightning from a storm out to sea briefly alights the structure.  While he doesn’t see anything specifically, Ash notes that he does have a bad feeling over the town in general.  To which Barundar jokes that it’s probably just the smell of the locals.

Some of the fishermen from across the bar are eyeing the group suspiciously, so as they finish their meals, they decide to camp outside of town rather than stay in town.  As their horses carry them past the bay, everyone notices that the haul of fish from the ships is abnormally large for the relatively small population of the town.   Barundar states that they’ll “consider that curiosity around the campfire.”

[At this point, a small side conversation starts about everyone’s beverage choices for the evening.  My wife is painfully pregnant and was possibly in labor as we were playing, so I was drinking water (for now) along with Damien, Matt and Nathan discuss beer choices and, when pressed, Stan admits that his drink of choice is a caffeine free diet coke.  Just when you think you know a guy…] 

The party travels up the path a ways, leaving the stench of Wenshire behind them.  They travel off the trail in order to set up a camp.  While traversing a lightly wooded area, Ash and Renaldo hear a rustling in the bushes behind the party.  They turn around quickly, but see nothing in the darkness, so the group continues on.  As Myles, Barundar and Amon are busy setting up the camp, Ash casts Light on his mace and checks the bushes once again.  With the aid of the light, he is easily able to see a number of shining eyes looking back at him.  Taken aback, he stammers to the group about, “Sh-sh-shining eyes, lifeless

FIIIISSSSHHHH PEOPLLLEEEE

FIIIISSSSHHHH PEOPLLLEEEE

eyes…. yellow and black… like a doll’s eyes!”  Barundar runs over and, with the light from the mace is easily able to identify the figures in the woods as FISHPEOPLE.

Before the party can react, one of the fishpeople attacks Ash, attempting to swat the light-emitting mace from his hands. [Nathan often uses the word “biff” for a miss, the biff count will be displayed in purple.] [1]

Ash strikes back out of shock, but he also misses.

Renaldo suddenly realizes that he left his greataxe back in the now-refilled ruins at Lanmis but, not about to let a small setback like that stop him, rushes at what appears to be the lead-fishperson and punches him right in his face.  Barundar whips out his heavy crossbow and shoots it as well.

As it turns out, the fishpeople almost had the party entirely surrounded.

We don't always have fights on the world map.. but when we do, they're full of "biffs".

We don’t always have fights on the world map.. but when we do, they’re full of “biffs”.

Amon reaches out and uses his Shocking Grasp to zap a fishperson.  The fishpeople spring into action but are blinded by the light from Ash’s mace and holistically miss the party. [2,3,4 and 5]  Myles was unprepared for the battle is wields his sword in both hands.  Swinging wildly, he nearly eviscerates a fishperson [essentially ending his contribution to this fight, as it turns out].

The boss fishperson reaches out to strike Ash but misses [6] but, in retribution Ash sends and Sacred Flame from his mace, singing the scales on the face of the boss fishperson.  Renaldo continues his punching fury reducing the boss fishperson to a bloody mess near death.  Barundar switches to his scimitars and swings at another of the fishpeople, but misses with both.  Amon shoots a Ray of Frost at a fishperson and it shatters into pieces.

Myles swings again at the gravely wounded fishperson in front of him but fails miserably.  As he pivots on the ground, he loses his footing and flings his sword into the air towards Renaldo.  The sword hits the ground, embedding its point into the ground right at Renaldo’s feet.

The boss fishperson lashes out at Renaldo and Ash with the last of his strength, hitting them both for significant damage.  

"Attacking Renaldo is a futile effort, pain only fuels my rage."

“Attacking Renaldo is a futile effort, pain only fuels my rage.”

Renaldo thanks the gods for the gift of the random sword that just landed at his feet and, taking it, uses it to filet the fishperson boss.  Barundar is sprayed with blood from the boss and rallies in the bloodshed, using it as inspiration to down another of the fishpeople.

Amon shoots another ray of frost wide and Myles, shocked that he just threw his sword to the barbarian scrambles to pull a javelin from his pack.  With it, he attempts to stab the same gravely wounded fishperson in front of him, but fails.

[7 occurs somewhere in here, too] Ash reaches out with his mace and engulfs one of the few remaining fishpeople in a Sacred Flame, wounding him.  Renaldo jumps on the opportunity to use his new-found sword again and stabs the fishperson in the face as the flames subside.  He has the manners to at least thank Ash for the assist.

Barundar has found himself without enemies to attack so he switches back to his crossbow and takes aim at the wounded fishperson in front of Myles but misses.  [Myles might have pushed the fishperson out of the way in an attempt to secure a kill, but who knows, it was dark…]  Now free from Myles’ reach, the slippery wounded fishperson makes a mad dash for Amon and strikes for significant damage against the wizard.  Amon attempts to retaliate but misses due to the severe pain.

Another of the remaining fish people engages Myles and hits, but Myles’ attention is still with the now-fleeing fishperson that he originally wounded.  Myles rears back and throws his javelin at him but misses, the sound of the javelin skittering into the woods signalling his utter failure as a fighter.

As Myles sobs into his mask, Renaldo works his way around and finally slays Myles’ target before it can subdue the wizard.  Standing triumphantly above the fishperson, he lets out a barbaric roar as he continues to stab the corpse over and over, mocking Myles at how easy it is.

The Spiderman pinata in this example represents the fishperson...  You can see lady luck in the background stealing Myles' sword.

The Spiderman pinata in this example represents the fishperson… You can see Lady Luck in the background stealing Myles’ sword.

Barundar is next to act and plunges both scimitars into the gut of the last remaining fishperson but doesn’t quite do enough damage to kill him.  Amon is fed up with the battle and sends three magic missiles into the air that strike down into the last enemy, rending its form into a fine red mist that drifts along the wind.

Amon is OP.

Amon is OP.

Barundar is left standing in an action pose with his formerly-buried-in-fishperson scimitars now left buried in nothing at all.  Myles stomps over to Renaldo and retrieves his sword to much protest from the barbarian, who is left to claim a scimitar [which, as everyone informs him is a most un-barbaric weapon choice] from the cache the party had gotten from Rector.

The party now out of combat, they take time to inspect the corpses that remain.  Each of the fishpeople wore a necklace with a distinctly cultish symbol carved out of an obsidian-like substance, the boss’ was significantly larger than the others and is likely more valuable.  [The 5th necklace from the vaporized fishperson was retrieved from the branches of the trees above…]

LOOT:

5 small obsidian “cultish” necklace bobbles, 2sp each for a total of 10sp.

1 large obsidian “cultish” necklace bobble, 4gp.

The party takes a short rest as Myles tallies the inventory of loot before setting off into the night [with multiple torches now lit] to track the fishpeople’s trail.  The trail leads to a beach, where foot prints are being washed away by a rising tide but the remaining evidence suggests that the fishpeople came directly from the sea.  As everyone ponders this fact and its possible connection to the town and the lighthouse, Ash refers back to his notes and clerical manuals and finally finds a symbol matching that of the necklace.  The book notes that this particular symbol is an offshoot of the CHAOS CULTISTS.  [Fighting the Chaos Cult is one of Ash’s main goals in life.]  Ash convinces the group to travel back to the village of Wenshire to get to the bottom of any cult activity.

The group travels the few miles back to town and arrives at the edge under the cover of night.  They proceed through back allies until they arrive at the bay.  As they survey the scene and the bridge that connects to the ruined lighthouse they easily note the form of a guard patrolling its length.

The party approaches the bridge behind the guard and are proceeding stealthily until Ash kicks an errant bucket into the bay.  The sound pierces an otherwise tranquil night and the guard spins on his heels and heads back towards the party.

"...might..."

“…might…”

Everyone jumps behind barrels or boxes that line the bridge and the party successfully hides from the returning guard.  As he passes, Renaldo inspects his features looking for anything that might reveal an aqueous upbringing.  He reports back to the group that he might have looked slightly amphibian, but that he wasn’t covered in scales or anything obvious like that.

The group reaches the base of the lighthouse without further incident.  A large wooden door stands firmly in place between two stone statues of men.  One statue holds a shield and the other holds a sword pointed out to sea.  Barundar uses his Stone Sense ability to inspect the lighthouse and the statues.  To his surprise he is able to notice “from the craftsmanship” that the stones of the lighthouse and the statues were crafted by Dwarven hands and that the stones came from the Moonshadow Mountains near Nargrim, some 2-300 miles away!  The group makes note of the fact that the Dwarves making statues of men is most curious, but there are no inscriptions present that might provide a hint as to their meaning or who or why they were created.

Myles is able to find a few, heavily eroded scribblings around the door frame, but Ash and Amon are only able to make out a few words, “darkness… light…” but nothing else of note.

Barundar and Myles each throw their shoulders into the door in attempts to force it open, but both are unable to bulge the swollen doors.  Ash looks around and sees signs of the Chaos Cult everywhere around the lighthouse, using these symbols to fuel a holy fire deep within his gut, he rushes through his friends and blasts his way through the door with a thunderous noise.  As Ash plows through the wood the party sees his still-alight mace bounce through a hollow room, then promptly disappear.  The silent night is then filled with the sound of chain mail armor bouncing down stairs.

The party stands outside the lighthouse in shock until calls from the guard shake them from their surprised stupor and they rush inside.  Finding no way to bar the door from the inside, Amon calls upon his arcane abilities and freezes the waterlogged doors shut with a Ray of Frost.

[After much confusion over the layout of the lighthouse, the game continues…]

This is what we had to go with to figure out the layout.

This is what we had to go with to figure out the layout.

This is about what we figured out the layout to be.

This is about what we figured out the layout to be.  It’s safe to say that the lighthouse in Wenshire is not OSHA certified. 

The party is now locked inside the presumed cult-overrun lighthouse.  The guard has arrived to the outside of the door and bangs his weapon against his shield sounding the alarm of intruders.

The party crosses the otherwise empty chamber and finds Ash at the bottom of a sloping set of stairs lying upside down against a locked door at the bottom.  Recognizing that they are on an island in the middle of a bay, the party decides that heading down is almost certainly a bad idea, and instead heads up the spiraling stairs.  They force the door open and find themselves in a dusty and obviously abandoned barracks of sorts, a thick layer of dust covers everything as the continue up the stairs, soon finding themselves on the top of the ruined lighthouse.

In the center of the platform is a raised area that contains an altar of sorts in its center.  Barundar again calls upon his ability to identify stones and can tell that this stone also came from the Moonshadow Mountains and was worked by Dwarves, but the height of the altar would indicate that it, too, was made for use by humans.  The altar consists of a smooth stone column with a platform on top.  In the center of the platform is a [basketball sized] half spherical depression.  No other typical lighthouse apparatuses are present and the altar does not seem to have housed flames.  Amon and Ash [obviously somehow both contributing to the gene pool that spawned Sherlock Holms] provide insight that the lighthouse must be of arcane or divine power.  As the party inspects the altar in more detail Myles looks over the ruined edge of the lighthouse and, far below can make out the form of nearly a dozen furious townsfolk and guards beating at the frozen door below.  Having no other option of progression, the party quickly returns to the basement door that Ash found with his face a few minutes prior.

Ash raises his righteous boot and, still fueled by the hatred of the Chaos Cult, swiftly unhinges the door with a single kick [this time managing to not fall in after it].

Descending into a seemingly naturally formed cavern, the party is soon face to face with a 10′ wide chasm of indeterminate depth.  Myles tries to kick a rock into it to figure out how deep it is, but he is unable to hear the rock hit, as he turns to recommend another way across, he sees Amon, a fire in his eyes, whispering to Renaldo, stoking the flames of pride in the barbarian.

...only instead of falling on the stage, he fell 40'...

…only instead of falling on the stage, he fell 40’…

Without hesitation, Renaldo sprints for the chasm and attempts to launch himself over the divide.  His foot slips at the last second and the party is left in horror as he plummets out of sight.  His screams fade until a very solid thunk echoes through the cavern.

Finding no clear path forward other than to cross the chasm, Myles prepares himself to jump the gap.  He carefully plans his path forward but, in fails in execution and also falls.  He falls for about 40′ but luckily is not hurt that badly.  At the bottom he finds Renaldo holding onto life by a thread.  He calls up to the party topside that the fall “isn’t that bad” but that he “wouldn’t recommend it….”

The sounds at the door back in the chamber above are growing louder as the assailants are slowly breaking their way through the ice.  Amon returns to the chamber and does his best to re-freeze the doors.  He thinks that he’ll be able to buy a little bit more time by doing so.  [As he does this, Renaldo and Myles take what is quite possibly the worst short rest in history, rolling 1’s on EVERY hit dice, for a total healing of 3hp.]  Barundar affixes his rope to a stone and he and Ash use it to descend into the chasm the easy way.   Amon attempts to descend the rope, but his strength falters about half way and he falls [hitting the ground before Barundar even made it down].  Barundar and Ash reach the bottom to find their three companions in mangled states of disrepair, Renaldo and Amon are near death and Myles is still writhing on the ground.  A quick spell from Ash heals the bulk of Amon and Renaldo’s ailments.  [Amon fell into the chasm while Matt was AFK, discovering this fact upon his return, Matt let out a cry of, “YOU FELL IN TOO!?!” before face palming…]

Dwarves are used to climbing in caves, I guess.

Dwarves are used to climbing in caves, I guess.

Barundar channels his Dwarven ancestors and climbs back up the other side of the chasm, driving pitons into the wall along the way to allow for easier climbing for the others.  Everyone climbs up with ease except for Amon, who, being so close to death after his fall cries to be pulled up.  Ash rekindles his fury and drags the wizard up the 40′ length of the pit with ease.

The now-worse-for-wear party stumbles and drags itself through a narrow passage and into another chamber.  The sound of running water fills the stagnant air and light emanates from a platform across the cave.  Upon closer inspection the light is coming from a large [basketball sized] gem lying on the ground across an underground lake that feeds into a waterfall near the edge of the cave.  A small stone bridge connects the area the party stands on and the platform containing the gem.  The party notes that the bridge is quite narrow as it spans the water.

Before anyone knows it [and apparently having learned nothing from Renaldo and Myles’ enthusiasm], Barundar rushes across the bridge for the maguffin.  As he reaches the halfway point, a figure leaps from the water and shoots through the air towards him.  With no time to react, Barundar soon finds himself held in the arms of a large fishperson as he falls towards the water….