RPG Recap: Beyond the Temple of the Abyss, 2011-12-17
Thursday, the 5th day of the Red Moon, 937
After being dispatched to the Gladwell place in the middle of the night, never again did anyone hear from Maxwell, Dave, Neptune, or the anonymous knife-licking fighter. Growing worried about the horses, Bellory led them from the pouring rain into the stables. (“It didn’t seem like the best place, but I couldn’t think of none better!”) By morning, the four were still absent, and their horses still present, so Bellory headed back to town to report on it.
Captain Horne assembled another party to investigate – this time one made of sterner stuff – and sent them out to look into the situation and report back before sundown. The four mounted up and rode to the farm where they quickly found the tunnel in the barn and headed down bellow.
The tunnel ended in a crude wooden barrier, but it was knocked down in no time and the crew emerged into a crude subterranean abattoir, startling a knife-wielding man-eater. Despite some initial panic, he was dispatched quickly and the party set about exploring the caves – the fighter had been badly injured, but was sure he’d be fine once he got all the blood out of his boot. The cleric was also interested in spilling blood and hacked a deep gouge into the golden font that was being used for draining the blood of animals slaughtered here. The blood was dumped onto the floor and the party wandered off east.
In a large room with several natural columns and a stream leading to a depressed pool, they found a long-extinguished fire and a very dead man-eater corpse floating in the pool. In his purse they found a few strange Dwarven coins. The bloody boot was drained into the pool and the wound dressed. Following the stream north, they found another large cavern with a big flat stone surface being used as a table by a group of quietly-arguing man-eaters. When the party entered, though, they put their bickering aside and set to work killing – or trying to. The elf felled two with arrows and the acolyte brought another down with a single blow from his axe. The thief had managed to circle behind the things undetected, but as he rushed to attack he stuck himself on the blunt of the man-eater’s pitchfork and was winded. Everyone rushed to finish off the surviving monster, and soon he was done for.
One of the elf’s victim’s had made a run for it, diving for a tunnel. The party made a note to check it out later.
Meanwhile, they were intrigued by the crudely walled-off passage to the east. Planks of mismatched wood were nailed or crammed into place, closing the passage. Smashing it, the thief and cleric headed through, along a bending passage, and down the tunnel at its end. They didn’t stay long, though: at the bottom, peering out into the next room, the thief spied a pair of pale purple legs sporting numerous deep lacerations and spotted here and there with patches of fur. When the feet began to shuffle toward him, he reversed direction, calling back at the cleric to get the hell out of the way.
The undead man-eater followed him out, grabbing at the thief and followed by more friends, but fled in screaming terror when confronted with invocations of Ibrim and the presentation of the sacred star. The mouth of the tunnel was seeded with caltrops and a new barrier erected.
Reassembled, the party clambered down the tunnel and into a small landing where another man-eater cowered, warding away the men (and the elf) with a stick. The party tried to communicate with him in a number of languages, including Common, Elven, and threatening yelling, but when he tried to turn and run in a panic, he was stricken down.
Further down the tunnel, the party entered another small room, this one with a half dozen tunnels leading out, each marked with a crudely painted glyph in the old writing. They went up the tunnel marked “king” and found a few sleeping areas and man-eater corpse, as well as a badly damaged stone idol. Out and to the south, there were more corpses, these scattered around a complex intersection where they also found a strange insectoid arm nearly two feet long. The walls were spattered with something yellow.
Further south, they found a long painted cavern terminating in a deep crack and a short ledge. Beyond there, a crude kitchen. Finding a barrel with a few inches of brackish water in it, someone dumped it down the tunnel at the west end of the kitchen area, only to catch a glimpse of a bright blue gemstone clattering down the now-stinking tunnel and out of sight.
Heading up another nearby tunnel, the fighter found a wooden door which, when smashed opened the tunnel into the long-disused chapel beside the house. The group decided to exit through the chapel and report back to Captain Horne… but not before the cleric confronted the elderly head of the Gladwell household, Agbert Gladwell, to demand that he restore the abandoned church. Agbert bristled at the acolyte’s tone and commands, and told him to get lost. The cleric laid hands on Agbert and had to be physically removed from the area by his party members and some nearby farmhands. Agbert yelled that if he was going to be abused by the Baron’s men, he’d just stop paying his taxes – and that he’d be interested to see who took the blame for that, Agbert or the cleric. The gang hit the road.
The report was straightforward: they’d found a large series of caverns beneath the farm, along with man-eaters both alive, dead, and undead, and evidence that there was something else down there. When Captain Horne asked, the party reported that yes, the Gladwells would probably be fine overnight before more extensive exploration could begin. Horne said he’d send the same crew back, and expected them to get busy mapping it out and figuring out just what was going on down there. He was also confused by the off-handed half-mumbled report about Agbert Gladwell not paying his taxes. Gladwell was one of the most heavily taxed landowners under the Baron’s protection, after all, and Horne would’ve heard if he’d stopped paying his taxes.
With nearly no treasure to show for their delving, the party retired to a modest dinner for the evening: no carousing.