As detailed in the e-mail "2nd Level Wereparty"

The Beginners:

We have been enlisted by Wittlese to retrieve a map. Said map would lead us to an ancient dwarven lair in which many magical weapons were made by a renown smith. The map to said location is believed to be in the mountains not far off. We meet with Philius, well-known to our Stronghold characters as the Steward of Brightstone Keep, in order to find out further information about the place we’re going.

Party dynamic seems to be this: Anytime we need a decision made, everyone stops and stares at Rayson. Mavin is a “Michele” character—an anti-social type who does her best not to be part of the group… so Michele will have to play something else ;-). Marcen helps himself to anything in the party that he needs. Pox waxes poetic (badly) while Mathius encourages it. Copan questions the strangeness of city customs. [Alan’s character] is all about studying death customs.

We eschew horses as we would have to leave them halfway up when the footing gets tricky. One night while camping in a cave, we are attacked by a dire weasel, which is easily dispatched.

Atop the mountain we find a large shelf upon which are constructed a number of buildings that have fallen into disrepair. We split into two parties for approach purposes (we’re all within sight of one another). As one party approaches a tower, they stir up a batch of stirges that proceed to suck the party. The two groups quickly recombine and beat down the things, with considerable injuries, though no one on the team falls. Lots of CON loss.

The next encounter is in a ruin nearby where we are assailed by two creatures that the team are unfamiliar with but that the players recognize immediately. Rust monsters! They claim Pox’s mighty sword and try to devour Rayson’s armor, but only get his dagger. Once they’re defeated we realize we’re an hour from dark and probably too injured to explore the cave that sits at the back of this mountain shelf. So we pull back and find a place to rest overnight.

Next day we invade the cave and find it is worked stone. Most of the rooms up front appear to be empty. We pass on exploring a small pool nearby, save that for later. As we go down some stairs, a trap is triggered causing some darts to shoot out. About this time there is a team of goblins who make themselves known by assaulting the party from the bottom of the stairs. Our muscle weigh in and start cutting them down. All in all, pretty effective against them. The problems really come from two spellcasters; one temporarily blinds a PC (Marcen?) and the other sends Mavin running away in fear, but only for one turn. There is a brief interlude of hack-n-slash as Pox and Ray use their big damage and cleave feats to great effect and Copan brings in his summoned wolf to chomp on ‘em. The two casters retreat pretty far.

We investigate all of the rooms between where the fight took place and an area that downslopes into a large room. Recognizing the difficulty there, we backtrack making a more careful search of the whole area, looking for secret doors. Once we’re back at the entrance, we decide to check out the pool. Upon approaching it, it tries to reach out and hug someone. I believe Ray managed to get back from it, but it’s definitely a gray ooze, as arrows going into it sizzle and die. Magic missiles do some very minimal damage. I don’t even recall what eventually took the ooze out, but we all stayed up.

So far, so good. That is, everyone has been up for all the fights. Well, that streak ends on the next door we find; a secret door next to the entrance. Seems the original inhabitants of this place, pre-dating the goblins, put a guardian skeleton of some type near the door. A troll skeleton charges out from the secret door. He starts whacking away at anyone within reach, ultimately taking down Mathius before he’s felled.

We need rest. So the idea is to bottle up the two ways that we know of that the goblins can use to come for us or slip out of the caves altogether. So we remove doors from some of the rooms and use those to seal up the halls. During the night we can hear the goblins trying both exits but that’s about all.

Next day we go to explore the one passage we haven’t been down yet. It does appear to filter into a large cavern that according to our hand drawn map, likely winds around and connects to the other area with a downslope that we were at earlier. Inside this area we find a cave full of goblins ready to wage war. They’re not happy we’re here. There’s a brief standoff during which our only goblin-speaker, Marcen, translates for us.

Eventually we negotiate a trade. They show us where the map is and we can examine it, and in return we leave them all the magic we took from them (3 things) and take off. They direct us to a map, which is on a wall, and Mathius scrawls a poor version of it and then we depart, leaving behind the magic items. (A scroll, a vial, and something else.)

We begin the trek back but naturally we run into some minor difficulties.

On the way back we are attacked by a rat and a rat-man as we sleep in camp. [Alan’s character] and Rayson are both infected by the rat-men. We try to figure out the best way to ensure that they too don’t become wererats, but we lack the knowledge. We head back to town and check in with the sage and the churches. Seems a high(er) level “Heal” or a “Remove Curse” will be enough to stop the action if we do it soon.

We need to head to Krestible. There we have the map looked at and speak with Whitlesse, and have the party’s cursed folks worked on.

There’s some discussion of going onward in search of the lost Dwarven city. Everyone seems to be in, but that doesn’t keep Copan from questioning the strange practice of taking all the risk and giving most of the proceeds back to Whitlesse. He has a point. But in the end we all want to go and Ray negotiates a slightly better deal; he gets some specific things he’s seeking and we get the rest. Plus he’s giving us some funds up front.

XP: 800 (Bringing the total for those who haven’t spent any XP on building stuff to 2001xp).

NEXT GAME: In two weeks, Saturday May 6th.