Nov 20, 2016

1st Day of Flocktime, CY 579

Starting the morning of 1st Day of Flocktime, the party began by searching the water temple clerics' room and picking up some small treasures, including some clerical scrolls. Once done searching, Jarrus, Pontus and Delvin donned water temple robes, strength spells were cast on Jarrus and Pontus, and the party set out to explore the temple, deciding not to spend time searching for traps or secret doors along the hallways in order to maximize the time during which the strength spells were in effect.

The group went back up through the curtain into the altar room with the hideous aquatic statue and offering basin they ignored earlier. Athan started to reach into the basin to collect the coins and gems that were there, but Pontus stopped him, noticing that there were track marks on the floor heading from the statue to the altar, indicating this thing moves. The statue also emanated magic, so the party began investigating what was going on. Sarril decided to "pull an Athan" and toss a coin into the basin atop the altar, which triggered the statue, which was actually a Juggernaut, to come to life. Juggernauts are mythical constructs ("mythical" in the sense that they are rumored to exist but no one has ever seen one) that roll over their victims, crushing them to a pulp. The good news is that they aren't very maneuverable and they take a couple of rounds to pick up speed, so the party was able to stay away from its crushing attack for the first couple of rounds. At the same time the juggernaut came to life, the four gargoyles in the corners of the room awoke and moved in to attack. Jarrus went after one of the gargoyles and did enough damage to reveal that it was actually a zombie wearing a gargoyle cloak. Sarril then turned the zombies, allowing the party to focus on killing the juggernaut, which wasn't too much of a problem given that Luapan had gained a Rod of Smiting from Prefect Belsornig, which automatically does triple damage to constructs. He managed to deliver a killing blow one round before the thing would have crushed Jarrus.

The group finished off the zombies and headed east through the double bronze doors, across a long wide hallway and through another set of double bronze doors into what was obviously the fire temple worship area. This large room contained a diamond shaped pit in the floor in front of a wall full of jeering skulls. The pit was full of burning hot coals and Pontus detected some magic buried under the hot coals. Knowing this was the fire temple, Delvin had cast Protection from normal fire on Pontus and Jarrus and, since the hot coals were considered normal fire, the two of them were able to enter the hot coals and retrieve a buried iron box, inside of which were discovered a Frostbrand longsword, ring of fire resistance and a potion. Jarrus reached into the box to pull out the longsword and had his left hand removed by a scythe trap that was spring loaded to go off when the sword was lifted from the bottom. He screamed in pain until Sarril cast cure light wounds to close the stump and stop the bleeding. Unfortunately, the noise alerted a guard captain and a few bugbears who came through a concealed door to the north to investigate. When the guard captain saw the water temple robes on Jarrus, Pontus and Delvin, he yelled loudly for Allrem, proclaiming that the water temple was attacking.

This small group was easily dealt with, but they summoned 5 more bugbears and a half-orc cleric, followed by Prefect Allrem, chief cleric of the fire temple, and another lesser cleric. The party easily dealt with the bugbears and half-orc (while Athan pickpocketed the guard captain, who happened to be held at the time), before Sarril used his Staff of the Serpent to crush the life out of the captain. The party attempted to briefly parlay with Prefect Allrem, claiming that a new order was in place from the greater temple and that he is to submit. Allrem argued that such an act was unprecedented, and wanted to know why Hedrack was favoring the water temple, which would be a betrayal. Some additional attempts were made to convince him, but when he saw the frostbrand sword that Jarrus was carrying, he got angry and attacked. Of course that was his mistake. Some back and forth Hold Person spells were cast by multiple clerics on both sides, ending in the party's victory over the second elemental temple (that's two down).

At this point, the party started to slow down and search rooms, collecting small treasures, scrolls and magic items and heading north until they came to a long hallways that wrapped around the outer perimeter of the temple. Not wanting to go too far without having thoroughly explored the areas where they had been, the party decided to go back to the main fire temple and search the altar room. Around the room were bowls of hot oil with continual light cast on them. Each bowl has copper ladles by them. This time Jarrus decided to "pull an Athan" and started playing around with the hot oil. Someone (I don't recall if it was Jarrus or Sarril) poured some of the oil into the coal pit, which triggered the start of a sacrificial ceremony. One of the skulls on the altar began speaking to the party, telling them to place a sacrifice into the pit. Four small salamanders (creatures from the elemental plane of fire) appeared in the coal pit , and started growing in size. Pontus ran back into the other room and grabbed the dead bodies of Allrem and another cleric and came running back. While he was doing this, the rest of the party was getting fire resistance spells cast on them. At round four, the salamanders had grown to full size and multiplied into 16 salamanders. Pontus threw the dead bodies into the pit where they began to burn, but this was not the correct sacrifice (though not a bad idea), and the salamanders attacked.

This was the only real difficult battle the party had, and Jarrus' new frostbrand sword proved to be a really effective weapon against the salamanders. As a matter of fact, Jarrus was starting to show his real capabilities, as he is double-specialized in the longsword and this Frostbrand just happened to be a longsword. The party didn't miss Gareth quite so much anymore (and jokingly referred to Jarrus as Gareth 2.0). The fire protection everyone but Pontus now had on them probably saved them as every attack the salamanders made carried additional fire damage. It turns out there were only four salamanders, each with three mirror images. This kept Jarrus from completely owning them for several rounds, giving them the opportunity to do some damage. Athan got caught by one of the salamander's tails and started getting crushed to death, taking damage every round. He was knocked unconscious (below zero HP), but Sarril, Delvin and Luapan all kept hitting him with heal spells every round until someone was able to kill the salamander holding him. That was probably the only close call the party had. Once the salamanders were killed, the party thought it would be best to rest and recover spells before continuing, so they spent the rest of the afternoon and the evening locked inside the fire priest's bedroom.

1 comment:

  1. A shame they couldn't "recruit" Allrem to go bash all the baddies in level one or something. I wonder if they'll keep trying to spark inter-faction conflict. Also, while reading, I kept waiting for someone to say, "Everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked."