Real date: 8/26/17 In-game date: August 28, EY632
Ambrose (Veteran – Fighter L1)
Asher (Apprentice – Thief L1)
Ustos (Acolyte – Cleric L1)
NPCs: Gruk – (Barbarian – Fighter L1)
Hirelings: Thom (torchbearer)
Ambrose, Asher and Ustos explored beneath a ruined tower some six leagues southwest of Frostmark. They were accompanied by Gruk, a Barbarian from the Wild Northlands who had a map showing the location of th ruined tower, and Thom, a hired torchbearer. Asher was on a secret mission from Rake at the Empty Purse to recover a statuette from an adventurer said to have disappeared exploring the ruins.
The party descended a long stair beneath the ruins to a damp entry hall, where they were pelted with broken rock fragments from the cracked walls, seemingly flying of their own volition. Dodging serious injury, they continued exploring and discovered a curious room with seven demon idols lining the walls and a pentagram on the floor. The statues displayed evil grins full of gem-encrusted teeth. Several of the gems were freed by Ambrose, but after freeing each one, the statues delivered an electric shock and some small quantities of silver coins from their mouths.
Not wanting to tempt fate, the party continued on to a cold and damp corridor haunted by floating torches, all emanating a blueish light. The torches came at anyone within striking range, but stopped short of following Ustos into a room beyond the corridor, an old library. There Ustos discovered a scroll (invisibility) and two books still in good condition, however one of the books (titled “Burg’s Lament”) was cursed and, when examined, remained stuck to Ustos’ left hand no matter what he tried. He was joined by the rest of the party after he knocked away the floating torches with his cursed tome. Once in the library, Asher searched an area of wall between some bookshelves and discovered a secret tunnel leading from the library out to the hillside beneath the tower ruins.
Returning inside, the party continued exploring, coming upon a room with a locked portcullis, and a crumbling wall above a deep pool of dark water. “Secure the Amulet” was written in Gnomish on one wall in coal-black lettering, as translated by Ustos. The lock on the portcullis eluded Asher’s skills, so Ustos bravely swam under the wall and thankfully emerged on the other side of the portcullis unscathed. The others soon followed. The corridor beyond led to a crypt, where the party disturbed an enchanted skeleton warrior, which they were able to defeat and afterwards secure its magical shield and a treasure hoard of gold coins. The party loaded up and headed back to town to enjoy their spoils. Ustos visited the local Temple of Soldra, where the Patriarch Sunamel took possession of the cursed book, in return laying a quest upon Ustos.
DM notes: Some of the ideas for this came from the Zenopus’ Archives Holmes Ref, specifically the one-hit point monsters list. I used them to add flavor, as they were not any great threat to the party.
The cursed book added a bit of humor when the player of Ustos decided that if it was stuck to his hand, he could use it as a weapon. Why not? I ruled it would be a bit clumsy in his off-hand but still do 1-3 damage on a hit.
The locked portcullis proved intractable to the party with some bad lock-pick rolls by the thief. I’ve learned from past sessions never to have just one way to do something, especially when doing that something relies on chance. In this case a bit of exploring allowed the party to proceed onward, even though the perceived risk was high (swimming blindly under a crumbling rock wall into murky water).
Back in town, because the party did not have enough gold to pay for the remove curse spell, I thought of the cleric casting quest instead. That eventually leads the party on another series of adventures.