May 28, 2016

8th Day of Planting, CY 579

Pontus, Sarril, Athan and Delvin return to the moathouse, determined to find Lareth the Beautiful and bring down his operation. They manage to smartly and carefully clear out everything on the lower level, saving Lareth for last. All that was left were some zombies, ghouls, a giant crayfish, and some green slime on a staircase that the party had previously avoided. They realized that with a druid in the party, they could use the Affect Normal Fires spell to light-up the staircase and get rid of the slime and use spears they found in a storage room to keep their distance and kill the crayfish. The zombies were no problem, and neither were the ghouls so long as they worked as a team (Pontus got paralyzed, but it wasn't permanent).

After fighting the ghouls, Athan discovered a tunnel dug out of the side of the wall that led to a nest of bones. Probably where the ghouls took their victims. The nest had dirt tunnels going in every direction, small enough that a skinny elf could barely crawl through. Athan knew such tunnels must lead to treasure eventually, and decided to crawl through. After a few hours of crawling, he became hopelessly lost. The rest of the party decided he must have suffocated, and moved on to deal with Lareth on their own.

The party came up with a plan, which involved using the new found Scroll of Stinking Cloud to disable Lareth's men. It worked pretty well, and the party was able to quickly dispatch everyone but Lareth, who ran into his personal room to get away from the cloud. But Sarril was ready. As soon as the cloud cleared, he charged into the room with a Silence 15' Radius that he cast directly at Lareth, disabling his spellpower. While he was unable to cast, Pontus engaged him in melee combat and overwhelmed him. When all was said and done, the party looked down on the one called Lareth the Beautiful, priest of Lolth. The term "beautiful" must have been a sarcastic insult, because Lareth's face was horribly disfigured. The skin over his entire mouth, lips, chin and throat were terribly burned, as if by fire or acid.

Inside Lareth's office were ledgers, journals, letters, scrolls and other documents that needed to be sorted through. The party then found another exit down a long tunnel from Lareth's den that opened up on the side of a nearby hill. This is how they were operating and getting supplies in and out without going through the moathouse above. The party decided to go back to town and make a deal with the village that they would get a share of all treasure if they could arrange to bring it all back. Soon, several of the town militia had secured the moathouse and started packing.

Sarril informed Jaroo of the unfortunate fate of Athan. Jaroo said he would help look for him in the tunnels and let them know if he finds anything. The party then rested for several days while sorting through all of the paperwork from Lareth, seeing what they could find out about his operation. Here is what they found out.

Lareth the Beautiful was one of several clerics establishing outposts for spying, recruiting and collecting supplies for a growing cult of Temple followers
Rannos Davil was part of the spy ring, and was helping to supply the cult, through Lareth.
Lareth kept a lot of records, but not much in the way of personal notes.
There is one journal uncovered which seemed to belong to his Lieutenant. Most of the pages were illegible, but the following stood out.
"Lubash informs me that the gnome doesn’t know anything about Lysander or his whereabouts. I have no reason to believe he is lying as not all gnomes know each other. But Lubash does so enjoy his work, so I am letting him keep his new pets. That should keep him satiated for a while.

But I do not trust Lubash with Gareth. The information he holds is too important to risk death at the hands of that brute. I gave Gareth to the master himself, and I shudder to think about what cruel and hideous things he was subjected to during his interrogations. While I never saw a mark on him, the screams I heard coming from the master’s room were enough to make some of my men soil their pants. I’d rather face the ghouls in the crypts than hear another night of that.

But this man is impressive. Even the master’s unique methods could not break him. I am told he is being sent to the tower, where they have some “special” ways of making people talk. I’m just glad to be rid of the screaming."


  1. Did the Silence spell come from a scroll or had the guys leveled up by this point?
    Ghouls are nasty--I'm impressed that they handled them so adroitly.

    1. When the party first started, to give them a chance, I distributed experience at the end of each session whether or not they accomplished any objectives. Later I changed that to only distributing it at the end of a major "chapter" of an adventure. So yes, they had leveled up a little by this point.

      But you know, I still would have thought the ghouls would have been tougher. In the early adventure, the elf thief with the bow was doing the most damage - two shots per round, bonuses to hit, etc. And elves are immune to ghoul touches, so did wind up easier than they might otherwise have been.

      Keep in mind that at this point, I was still a new DM. I wasn't using the monsters as cleverly as I should have. I tried to start with a small group to give myself some experience. The group has gotten larger since this session, and I have become a smarter DM. Monsters aren't as easy as they were in the beginning.

  2. Also ... I trust you and your players have seen this:

    1. I showed it to them after they completed the Moathouse. Writing about the antics of inexperienced first-level adventurers is so much fun, and I think that cartoon sums it up nicely.