Monday, March 31, 2014

"The Lair of the Serpent Lord" Chapter 11 of the Xanthus River Campaign

Our party consists of:
  • Valerius (Level 2 Warrior)
  • Absalom (Level 2 Cleric)
  • Gwen (Level 2 Elf)
  • Sausage (Level 1 Dwarf)
  • Babu (Level 1 Thief)
  • Jilani (Level 1 Cleric)
  • Knott (Level 1 Warrior)
  • Wheezy (Level 1 Halfling)
Last week, the party had explored the lower level of the secret base of the cult of the Set, the god of serpents. They were nearly wiped out by hybrid snake-humans but were saved by Valerius and Cake the Rat. 

They had just found a large natural cavern flooded with water. The cavern was supported by eight tall phosphorescent pillars emerging from the middle of the lake. A small flat-bottomed boat rested on the shore.

It's a big dark cave!
The party boarded the boat and poled across the deep lake. 
Boarding the boat
They heard a hissing voice from the darkness, "Who dares disturb the fane of the lord of serpents? Who dares disturb EXPLICTICA DEFILUS?? Tell me your names that I might know you!"

The party engaged the sibilant voice in the darkness by answering its questions. Explictica Defilus recognized Valerius, "YOU! You are the one that killed by mate!"

Valerius was confused and consulted with his companions, "Um.. I am?? I don't recall."

Enraged, Explicta rose out of the darkened depths, revealing a large red and black snake with the head of a hideous human! Explictica was a Naga, one of the noble god-kings of the ancient empire of the serpent men!
Who dares disturb EXPLICTICA DEFILUS??
Valerius cautiously ordered the rest to pole the boat back to the muddy shore and disembark. There they waited as Explictica arrogantly closed the distance, unsuccessfully attempting to cast fireball spells. Gwen called upon the aid of the King of Elfland, imbuing her arrows with the spell of slumber. Her arrows failed to find their mark and she found herself under the enchanted charm of the naga queen. 
The naga approaches!
Explictica attacked the party, biting Sausage who survived the naga's venom by luck alone.  Explictica was soon overwhelmed. As a final act before dying, Explictica disappeared into a sulfurous ball of fire, leaving no trace behind and knocking everyone to the ground. 

The party soon regained their wits and poled the skiff to the far side of the cavern where they found the naga's treasure horde. After gathering up the treasure, the party decided to leave the dungeon and return to Wince to rest, divide loot, and resupply. 

On their way out, the party encountered a small pack of giant rats which were quickly dispatched.

Outside of the dungeon, the party saw that it was midday. They began hiking back through the swampy terrain. While passing near the sunken ruin of an ancient colossal statue, the party was attacked by a giant snapping turtle! 
Okay, an ankylosaur is the closest thing I had to a giant snapping turtle.

Does anyone else notice the humongous statue?
The turtle posed little threat and was soon killed.

The party arrived in Wince at sun-down, covered in mud and gore. A large crowd of villagers, nearly the entire town, had gathered in the town square to hear a message from Archon Hadrus. The villagers were much confused as to their state. It seems nearly everyone in town had amnesia and could not remember the last six or seven weeks!

Archon Hadrus appeared with his magistrate and Father Wethis, priest of Justica. He reassured the town, informing them the town had been placed under the spell of an evil warlock named Kn'Tor, and that he had sent his finest warriors to hunt down Kn'Tar and dispatch him. Kn'Tor will be made to pay for his evil crimes! The villagers were dubious but trusted their leader. They returned to their lives.

The party attempted to book a room at the Green Tiger Inn but were turned away until they had bathed and acquired new clothes. They were directed to the bath-house next door. After refreshing themselves, they returned to the inn and ate dinner and rested. Gwen decided to sleep in the forest instead and Knott returned to his own home (he is from Wince).

Absalom overheard some merchants exchanging rumors about Kn'Tor. Absalom contributed a rumor of his own, that a naga had placed the town under its spell and that the naga had been killed. 

That night, while sleeping in their private rooms, Absalom heard a gentle knocking on his door. The knock was the secret code used by clerics of the holy order of Justica. He answered it and was greeted by a young acolyte carrying a paper lantern. The said that Father Wethis wished to see Absalom in private and that Absalom was to follow the acolyte to the meeting. Absalom did so. 

The acolyte led Absalom to a darkened chapel in the village basilica. The hooded and robed Father Wethis stood on the raised dais in the apse, illuminated by a candle. Wethis asked Absalom about his travels and where he was the past few days. Absalom answered evasively. Wethis said that he has heard that Absalom was spreading rumors of a naga, thus undermining the Archon's story and authority. Absalom was to stop immediately. In addition, Absalom, being a traveling mendicant, should be on his way, unless he has in interest in settling down and joining the hierarchy here in Wince. Absalom answered that he planned on leaving soon. Wethis replied, "Good". With that, Absalom was escorted back to his room without incident.

The next day, the party spent the morning dividing loot and treasures. Absalom was able to identify each magical item through intense prayer. Afterwards, the party consulted with a local alchemist on the properties of various potions they had obtained. They then purchased additional arrows, torches, food, and other equipment and prepared to return to the dungeon.

Before they could leave, they were met by representatives of the town guard who informed them that they were invited to an audience and lunch with the Archon. They politely agreed. 

The Archon was a gracious host, talking up the towns trade facilities and many services. Apparently, he had heard that the party was flush with coin and was hoping to get them to spend it in Wince. He gave a tour of the village's defensive capabilities while his younger sister provided a tour of the dock and warehouses.

Afterwards, they were brought into a fine dining hall equipped with many victuals for lunch and conversation. Each of the party members were poured goblets of wine and offered a toast to their good fortune. Valerius politely declined, creating a breach in etiquette and offending his host, the Archon. Everyone else drank to the toast. Sausage and Wheezy immediately passed out. Everyone else became groggy and disoriented. Valerius drew his sword as men-at-arms rushed into the hall with halberds brandished.

A dry hissing voice came from behind a curtan, "Foolish mortal! It takes more than that to kill EXPLICTICA DEFILUS!"