We picked up from where we left off with the party on the first floor of the defiled temple, after having smashed the skeleton sentries.
All of the indecision of the previous session seemed to have dissipated and now, with concrete evidence of the temple being a place of evil, the elvish boys showed admirable determination and action.
In quick order they discovered a library where the original scrolls were still stored, along with a few more significant scrolls relating to the original goddess of the temple. These were stained with blood. In a small interview room they found a secret door but it had been locked form the other side. They busted through and found goblins at the ready, but their strength pushed the monsters back. The monsters fled, leaving more than half their numbers dead.
The party pursued the creatures and easily slaughtered them, but not before one of the goblins became reanimated as a zombie and the Paladin was overcome by fear. Someone was casting spells at them. A previously unseen door hid the evil cleric, but neither a crossbow bolt or a ray of frost harmed him.
The thief charged forward and kicked in the door and a brisk battle ensued. In this tussle the cleric retreated and got off another spell, blinding the monk, but it did him no good. Soon after he was cut down as he tried to flee. Through this Ghath interspersed words of inspiration, fine sword work, and a one stage a fine trumpet solo.
In the final exploration the boys found scrolls covered with black speech, and a vile room dedicated to some kind of Naga goddess, or possibly a demon. Also in the room was a woman in a cage who had been brutally mistreated by the now dead evil cleric. She told the party a harrowing tale of kidnappings and abduction to a place in the swamps where a monstrous half-snake half-woman called Explicitus Defilus charmed the captives. The girl herself proved to be immune and was returned to the village rather than fed to crocodiles.
And so, with the remaining acolytes bound and gagged, and with the girl dragging the head of her tormenter behind her, the party retreated to the cottage of their recent allies, the elvish investigators. Their intention was to hand over the charmed acolytes to the Mayor.
Threads for future investigation and potential development from this session:
- The jade statue of the Naga is large and valuable, something like 7,500gp (roughly $150,000 in today money) and heavy. It would be a worth a lot to get to back to Parsantium – not just for the money, but for study as well. If left there they boys concluded that a liberated townsfolk would probably smash it
- What is a Naga? Who is Explicitus Defilus? Into what demonic pantheon does she fit? Is this related to the Daeva case?
- The demented scribblings of the mad cleric would be valuable for research purposes also, to those groups and institutions that specialise in translating such works
- The defiled founding scrolls of the original temple could be returned to some authority for restoration/purification
- What exactly did Octavian the paladin see that scared the piss out of him?
- Where did the charmed goblins come from that were being used as guards? Remembering: goblins and hobgoblins are essentially refugee species. They were displaced by the mutated orcs, swept out and sacked Parsantium, but were defeated and driven into the inhospitable wilds.
Thoughts on N1:
- Again it becomes obvious that the D&D of our youth was written by kids. Where does anyone attend to the call of nature? No lavatories. No chamber pots. No windows though which you could hang your arse, and definitely no reeking piles of excrement about the place. Where do they wash? Where does water come from? Where does the smoke from the cooking fires go? What are they even eating?
- And there is the perennially laughable question of how the monsters get in the rooms and how come they are all deaf to the sounds of battle outside the door. For this adventure I am correcting this by having creatures in the next room becoming alerted and signalling the alarm. But in the normal run of things it’s almost as if each monster filled room is in a state of waiting for the surprise party. No matter how much adventurers smash and clatter in getting there, all the monsters are saying, “Sshhhh,” and reminding each other to look surprised when the door gets kicked in.