Title: Gueron's Cave, Part One
Date: Early Dalan, 1333 Avard
Synopsis: The Ducal Mage sends the party west, to the small town of Rustos. The only known supplier of the rare suppressor crystals has gone missing, and the party must find him. The locals in Rustos know only that the supplier is missing – and there are flying demons up in the mountain.
Afternoon of Dalan the 3rd, 1332 Avard.
After successfully returning to Chasadan from Valen's Manse, the party went out on the town to celebrate. Rather than hit their usual bar, they went to the Scarlet Armor – a very stuffy bar and inn. Sorsha and Murdock set out to rob a patron, and the four of them were spotted after the successful seduction and sapping. The next morning, the Ducal Mage informed them that only his authority had kept them out of jail. A bit of fun, he could understand now and again – but not in his city. Sorsha commented that there should have been no arrest warrant; her 'client' underpaid her. Sorsha decided that she might want to consider using an alternate name outside of Chasadan.
The only known supplier of the rare suppressor crystals was based out of the small town of Rustos. Several months had passed, and the man known as Gueron had not been heard from. Correspondence with the lord of Rustos validated that the man was missing.
A githzerai known as Greff was added to the party. Greff had a (literally) glowing recommendation from the artificer of Chasadan, Roswyn. Greff brought with him his own mount, a chestnut colored, laid back horse known as Buck. Introductions were made, and the four set out for Rustos.
Around noon, on the plains west of the city, they found the remains of a traveller's clothing, shredded and without blood. The remains of leathers and other bits of clothing all led the group to suspect a lycanthrope of some sort, but there was too little other information to go on, and no fur of any kind.
That afternoon, they made Rustos, a picturesque farming community centered on a twenty acre lake at the foot of Mount Breakhammer. The lord of the village, Sir Turon, welcomed them with their letter of writ from the Ducal Mage. After they freshened up a bit, they investigated Gueron's cottage, and learned what they could of the man with the lord looking on. There were odd burns on his winter jacket, and on Gueron's winter boots. There was a secret compartment in the rafters, where close to 700gp in 100gp purses was hidden. The gold was secured by the lord, but there were few other mysteries there. A spare climbing kit, rarely used, was sitting beside a blank spot where another climbing kit was often stored.
Sorsha obtained a climbing kit for the party, while they searched for more information on Gueron. There were rumors in the village, as well, about flying demons seen only at night, and only up on Mount Breakhammer. In the dwarven tongue, 'break hammer' was a foul curse, and so the locals believed it to be a place cursed by the dwarves, or cursed before they named it. The demons had never visited the village or the lake, but they were occasionally seen at night.
That night at the miller's, they enjoyed drink and conversation with the villagers. Sorsha found out from one farmer, whose back porch faced the mountain, that the demons tended towards one part of the mountain. Armed with a crudely drawn map from the lord, they were able to narrow their search window considerably – assuming the burn marks on Gueron's clothing was demon-made.
The next day they found the village's priestess, a young woman by the name of Petra. After some pressing, she admitted to tending a wound of Gueron's that could have been demon made, but she felt Gueron was still a good soul. He had been there long before she or they had arrived, and had shown them all where to hunt and where to hide from the weather.
The mountain itself proved difficult, and they spent a full day up there searching, before a night time storm nearly blew them away. In the morning, they continued their search – and hit upon an idea. Using the winter jacket of Gueron's, they worked with Murdoch's snowfell, finally communicating with it that they needed to track that scent. Able, an average snowfell of some 200lbs weight and white and gray hair, nearly yanked Murdoch off his feet as the leash was drawn tight.
Able led them to a ridge bounded by cliffs on the northwestern flank of the mountain, and a careful search yielded pitons driven into the cliffside. Despite at least two months' time and even the evening's storm, the snowfell had caught enough of Gueron's scent to lead them unerringly.
Using the climbing kit, Sorsha and Balasyr had to overcome their fear of heights before descending – while Murdoch and Greff dropped down each step of the way without fear to a half-hidden cave entrance. Up top, Balasyr's nasty mount was tied off to Murdoch's, along with Able's leash. The loyal and faithful warhorse Lethargo would ensure that the three animals were taken care of. The fourth mount, Sorsha's Obsidian, resided in her belt, its figurine a wondrous item that would keep the horse safe and portable until called.
The entrance to the cave had burn marks similar to those on Gueron's clothing.
They proceeded inward, using an enchanted lamp of Sorsha's to provide light. Further in, around a bend in the cave and out of site of daylight, they found a vertical shaft – and trouble. The light was dimmed, and hundreds of fire bats – each the size of a small man and half elemental in nature, were dimly seen like embers in the darkness overhead. Fire bats were dangerous, and hundreds of them could easily kill them all if roused. The light was extinguished, and quickly, so as not to agitate the fire bats even more.
Further down the shaft, the fire bat guano was so thick that they could barely breathe. Holding their breaths, holding onto a rope loosely tied between them, they let Murdoch lead them. Murdoch's eyes glowed like the embers of the fire bats, using his own elemental heritage to lead them through the guano and out the other side without distubring the fire bats with light. The guano was so thick in many places that Murdoch could 'see' the prints and tracks that Gueron had made.
Out of sight of the main shaft with the many fire bats, they proceeded cautiously, attempting to move past a smaller batch of fire bats. Only, one of the fire bats decided to attack them, while they were trying to hold their breath through the thick ammonia smell. Sorsha and Greff ran ahead, the enchanted lantern light back, as Balasyr and Murdoch were struck by the fire bat's anger.
A gelatinous mass, normally transparent, feeding off of heat and whatever it could find to digest slowly with acid, had been in the corridor. Sorsha and Greff ran headlong into the gelatinous mass, and it quickly began to freeze, sucking the life force out of them.
Greff used his self taught skills to fight free of the mass, as Murdoch helped Sorsha free of the half gelatin and half ice creature. One of them remembered that lightning dealt considerable damage to the beast, and they unleashed the anger of the sky into the mass, not doing nearly enough damage to it.
Sorsha, using another of Roswyn's enchanted items, teleported the gelatinous ice mass into the cave behind them, where the fire bats were still attacking Balasyr. The bats slammed into the mass, and it fed on their delicious heat.
The party cautiously moved further down the cave, hoping there were no more of the gelatinous masses. The creature had cleaned up most of the cave, cleaning it to shiny newness, digesting anything and everything, from cave moss to fire bat guano – and, apparently, Gueron.
They found a pile of coins, some buckles, a piton, the head of a hammer, and a pile of crystals. There was nothing else besides.
The crystals were amazing. Used properly, an arcane caster could make them absorb lightning and sound. The value of the crystals suddenly dawned on the party, and they wondered if the rest of the caves would lead to more of the crystals – or more of the gelatinous masses.
Noon of Dalan the 6th, 1332 Avard.
I hadn't intended the session to run so long, but the group had a great time role-playing at every step of the way. That means that the sessions may run more than 'one shot' length, but I think that'll be okay, provided that once the party's back in Chasadan, they can swap out for other characters if they choose.
I'm not 100% sure on the experience totals being an amount for 5th-level characters, as I'm wrote this while waiting on an ArcMap program to build mathematical pyraminds and stitch together seven USGS maps in the Lamar Geospatial center. Hoi.
Sorsha: 6433 (5th-level)
Murdoch: 6433 (5th-level)
Balasyr: 6433 (5th-level)
Greff: 6433 (5th-level)