3/14/11: Had four tonight, worked out pretty well.. We dined on some delicious cold soup.
Eldeth - Dwarf Slayer
Merric - Halfling Thief
Tornam - Dwarf Cleric
Ozzirth - Eladrin Mage
The adventurers obtained the radiant water and made their way back to the keep. At the church of Zev, there were clerics ready to use the remove affliction ritual (which ended up doing damage to Merric and Tornam equal to 1/4th of their total hit points). Some of the other heroes had a more prolonged and painful recovery period.
The heroes slept at Restwell Keep. The next morning, a mage of Saruun wearing blue robes and a silver mask gathered Eldeth, Merric, Tornam and Ozzirth. He brought them to the guildhouse of Saruun, where a gift awaited them. It was a magic cube that, when opened, held magic items for the heroes. A floating scroll explained that Bolios Whittish and the copper dragon Moxulhar were travelling in the Desert of Desolation, and found a number of items while exploring a sunken city. They magically sent them to the keep, as they figured the heroes could make use of them.
Bolios re-iterated that the goal of his quest was to find some kind of flying conveyance - perhaps a spelljammer or an airship.
While at the guildhouse, the heroes met a young half-elf who claimed to be a servant of someone powerful in the Chaos Scar. He grabbed a sack from the mages, and ran off at incredible speed, leaving a glowing blue trail fading behind him.
The adventurers decided to check out the Pillar of Eyes, which is where they saw Warduke when they used the scrying pool. Warduke had the moonstone, and the heroes wanted to get it out of the hands of evil. Elessan, priest of Clarissa, knew where the pillar was located and gave them directions to it.
The heroes arrived there at mid-day...
"A monstrous pillar, crooked and spotted with lichen, rises from a crude pedestal in the middle of a green field. Bones litter the ground all around it, suggesting it might be an altar of some kind. The pillar has a lumpy appearance. Closer inspection reveals the reason: It is a giant column of stone eyes."
Tornam saw that the bones were of humans, elves and dwarves. He also saw that someone or something had been gnawing on them. Merricstared at the clouds above (failing his perception check in the skill challenge...). Eldeth realized that the pillar was depcting a creature - a gibbering mouther... an abomination from the Far Realm.
Ozzirth sensed an arcane aura about it. With further study, he realized that the pillar was actually a gibbering mouther that had been turned to stone. In fact, the ritual that had cured the heroes of fleshwarp could also be used to free the mouther.
As the heroes studied the pillar, goblin wolf-riders approached and attacked!
Merric ran forward and slid underneath a wolf, cutting it's stomach with his dagger. the wolf bit Merric as the other riders charged the other heroes. Merric tried to run over to help Eldeth, but a rider charged him and knocked him to the ground.
Another rider knocked Ozzirth back and onto the sharp bone pile. Merric was bloodied in the chaoti melee. Tornam broke away from his rider and healed the halfling. Merric raced to an empty part of the field to get his bearings.
Eldeth was surrounded by riders. She swung her axe in a deadly arc, killing two riders in a single motion! A third rider tried to knock her to the ground, but she stood firm (dwarves get a save vs. being knocked prone) and cut the goblin's head off! Two enemies remained.
One rider closed in on Tornam, the other on Eldeth. Their wolves bit into the dwarves. Tornam was wounded badly (it was a critical for 20 points! My dice started out real cold, but as the night went on my dice caught fire).
Ozzirth fired off a magic missilethat killed one. The other continued it's assault on Eldeth, its' wolf biting her and bloodying her badly (another critical). Ozzirth aimed, and used a final magic missile to finish off the last rider.
The adventurers bandaged their wounds and looked around. They did not see warduke or a "lair". They decided to try to track and see if they could find where the riders had come from. The heroes picked upon the trail easily, and then had no trouble at all crossing a dry riverbed filled with brambles. They emerged and saw a cave complex up ahead - the Wolf Den.
They saw a bugbear at the entrance. They crept close, and were able to avoid being spotted (with a group skill check!). Merric ran to the cave mouth and stabbed the bugbear! Then he stabbed again, bloodying the guard! Ozzirth dropped a fireball inside, scorching the cave's other inhabitants - another bugbear and three goblin archers!
Eldeth ran up and hacked into the bloodied bugbear. The archers took aim and plunged two arrows into Merric. Tornam healed the halfling.
The bugbear hit Eldeth with its' morningstar, dazing her and knocking her to the ground (she'd be dazed for most of the battle).From the ground, she swung her axe.. and killed the bugbear!
The other bugbear stood over her and brutally swung her morningstar, bloodying the dwarf slayer badly (a critical for 29 points!). Two more arrows hit Merric, and he fell to the ground, dying (1 critted him for 21 points).
Tornam healed Eldeth and cast consecrated ground, creating a healing zone that brought Merric back to the realm of consciousness. Eldeth, still dazed and on the ground, killed the other bugbear with a swipe from her axe!
The archers took aim at the dwarf healer. The dwarf dodged all three arrows! Ozzirth created an ice cloud that injured all of the archers. They retreated into a room with a campfire and bunks. The heroes followed them in and finished them off (they had come to room 2 on the map).
The heroes weren't sure which way Warduke was (I shamelessly told them that room 3 was "cool" and needed to be checked out before they headed to the final areas. They.. didn't think it was so cool...).
The heroes headed into a tunnel that lead to the southern cavern...
"The smell worsens in the dank tunnel, which slopes gently downward. The air is heavy with damp, and the ground is muddy."
Merric felt that something wasn't right. He looked up, and saw on the ceiling a quivering green mass! A green slime!
Two green slimes dropped down on the heroes. Two more would drop on them in a moment. And from the cavern came.. a rust monster!
A slime covered Merric and burned him with its' acidic nature. Merric was able to shake it off, but it came back and covered him again! Tornam blasted one with lightning while Eldeth stepped in front of Ozzirth to protect him from a slime.the slime covered the dwarf and began to burn him.
Merric shook his off and tumbled into the cave where the rust monster was. The rust monster had no interest in him, though It's feelers were pointing toward Eldeth and her metal armor. The rust monster hit her armor, which began to rust. She swung her axe and hit the rust monster, but looked in horror as her magic weapon began to rust!The monster then snatched her axe away.. and devoured it! Eldeth was beside herself.
Merric stabbed it and kiled the rust monster. A bit of residuum oozed from the wound.
Ozzirth cast a fire spell, and heard the green slimes squeal. They were vulnerable to fire! He scorched the slimes again and again. The dwarves each ended up covered in green slimes, the acid slowly killing them. The other heroes had to be careful - attacking the slimes would mean injuring their friends (the damage was split in half - taken by the slime and its' victim!). The dwarves said it was OK...
So Merric stabbed and Ozzirth cast scorching bursts... The slimes died before the dwarves did.
It was a brutal fight. Eldeth remembered that she could use one of the bugbears' morning stars. Ozzirth realized that the residuum from the rust monster's belly could be taken and brought to the mages of Saruun. They could use the residuum to recreate Eldeth's axe!
The adventurers rested and prepared to face off with Warduke...