Game 10

Black Earth Part 1

The Darkwinter Company are superheroes at the ranch! Although it is a bitter-sweet victory… Niki and Gorm help to dig graves for the dead while Gotha supervises. Gavaris helps with the rebuilding and along with Xaven ‘consoles’ the distraught villagers.

What is up next? Fire Elemental or the monks?…They discover that the druid and elves from Cryptgarden Forest have taken out the Fire Elemental so their choice is clear… Looking for the monastery. The DWC take a long rest at the ranch. Gotha dismisses Skorn and summons Skarp.

The next morning, waiting to take to the sky on their hippogriffs the DWC find themselves waiting for Xaven… He’s busy ‘consoling’ the bereaved. Gorm says “What? You could use Xaven as an egg-timer!”

When the heroes are finally assembled they fly up on their mounts. It doesn’t take long for them to locate the monastery on the southern edge of the Sumber Hills in a rocky vale.

On the clifftop (80’ up) the wind howls furiously as the party dismounts and spies on the structure. It is about 100’ E/W and 80’ N/S. There is a garden hidden behind it and walls of sandstone around it ranging from 20’ to 40’ high with a few gaps that lead to paths down into the vale.

The party lands about a mile away and sneak up to the cliff edge to watch… the only activity they see is someone doing some gardening for about an hour. Looking from the south they see the walls of the monastery has windows that are tall and thin, like arrow-slits. The wall surrounding the garden is 10’ tall.

Niki suggests going in from the garden… the 10’ wall is easy to climb and covers their approach and there are fewer windows on that side. Watching the place for 24 hours they see that there is no activity at night. Ok… so we’ll make our attack at night.

Leaving their hippogriffs tied to a stump they descend and approach the garden wall at around midnight.

Gavaris (22) climbs the wall. He sees some gargoyles and other humanoid statues along with some flowers but mostly veggies planted in the garden. He gives a ‘thumbs up’ signal and readies his bow.

Niki (21) gives a sign to Gorm and moves to him ready to take his hoist up and land on the wall. However, her boots are wet from the dew and her foot slips off Gorm’s hands. Niki face-plants into the wall, chipping a tooth and getting a swollen lip.

Skarp (21) delays.

Gorm (14) manages to stifle a laugh at Niki then steps back from the wall and jumps clear over it, landing amidst the vegetable garden, Bionic Man-style.

From a window beyond the garden they hear a voice say “Who goes there?”

Skarp (delayed) moves close to where Gorm landed and bursts up through the vegetation, flapping like a bird. Did she hear a clang from Gorm’s armour or did she fall for the bird trick? Skarp discerns which window the voice came from.

Sam (12) climbs over the wall.

Gotha (7) climbs over the wall and positions himself just west of Gorm. He notices a nearby statue is of exceptionally fine craftsmanship.

Xaven (6) pulls a piece of leather off of Niki’s armour, rubs it in between his hands and says an incantation. A magical energy field briefly appears around him then quickly disappears, as does the piece of leather. “See ya on the other side.” He’s over the wall.

Niki (26) swears at herself, shakes it off and collects herself. She quietly climbs over the wall and moves closer to the building drawing her bow… not so quietly. A twig snaps underfoot and she sees movement in the window but not in time to get off a shot.

Gotha (23) moves up to the door closest to the woman’s window. With gargoyles staring down at him he opens it and looking in with his Devil’s Sight sees stairs going up all made of stonework. He steps aside a bit for cover and beckons on his comrades.

Gavaris (21) drops down from the wall. He stows his bow and draws his swords while stealthily making his way up to Gotha. He readies his weapons.

Gorm (20) goes over to the other door to the building.

Sam (14) makes a bit of noise as she joins Gorm. She’s nervous about the statues and examines one closely. It is human, the detail is insanely fine, and the expression on his face is one of fear. Uh-oh… Flesh To Stone?

Xaven (11) moves near Niki. He produces a small length of copper wire and winds it around his finger which he then points at Gotha and whispers “What do you see?” Gotha replies also in a whisper. Xaven tells Niki, “He says it’s all clear.”

Skarp (6) moves to the top of the stairs 10’ up. (Can’t read my notes here, I think is says more stairs go another 20’ up… is this right, Jeff?) The hallway continues another 20’ with a door on the west about 15’ along, with other corridors further in going east/west. There is also another door about 40’ from Skarp. He moves up to the west door and sees the woman from the window coming this way. She is wearing monks robes and a mask. Skarp relays this through their telepathic link with Gotha who tells Gavaris “Go!”

Gavaris (22) moves up the stairs and engages her in the hallway just outside the door. She ducks under his first swing with ‘Talon’ but he manages to pierce her with his off-hand and the second attack with his magic blade. (14 pts all together) She screams “Intruders!”

Gorm (17) books it to the other door and up the stairs to join the fray beside Gavaris.

Niki (16) dashes into the building and up the stairs trading her bow for her blades and joins the melee.

Gotha (16) moves to the top of the stairs. His first Eldritch Blast crackles into her (8pts) but the second flies wide.

Sam (14) looks at another statue which is also a clearly frightened human. She heads to the building and up the stairs to watch their backs.

Xaven (11) moves in and up the stairs.

Skarp (9) moves further down the hallway. He sees another corridor and at least 4 doors.

Monk Lady tries to disengage and move away, however, much to her surprise Gavaris is ready for that and uses his Sentinel training to make an Opportunity Attack which not only hits her (10pts) but also stops her retreat… she can’t go anywhere. She shouts in surprise and frustration.

A door is heard opening from the south-west corridor.

Gorm (21*) first swings wildly at the monk who easily dodges, but he then anticipates her back flip and hits her square in the stomach (24pts) but she still seems feisty.

Gavaris (22) moves 5’ to flank her with Gorm. He puts an end to her with two jabs to her midriff (22pts). As she falls to die on the floor her mask slips off and they see she is human but she has no eyes. Creepy!!! Gavaris turns and moves down the corridor.

Niki (16) drags the body into the room she came from. It is a bedroom with a bed, a desk and a table.

Sam (15) and Gotha (14) both move into the bedroom.

Xaven (4) moves into the bedroom and creates a Light.

There is torchlight and footsteps approaching from the south-west corridor. Three monks who scream “Intruders!” when they find themselves 10’ from Gavaris.

Gavaris (22) “Three more! I’m on it! This one is for you, Gorm!” With an aggressive flourish of his swords he says a prayer to Meiliki imbuing his attacks with her radiant power. He strikes down a monk with two hits from magic blade (23pts).

Monks 2&3 move to flank Gavaris. 3 misses but 2 clocks him good with a roundhouse kick and again with a fist. (2 Crits 18pts)

Gotha (19) moves out into the hallway and catches 3 in midair with Repelling Agonizing Eldritch Blasts. He gets knocked back 20’, his mask spinning off his face (13pts).

Xaven (18) moves out and sends two Eldritch Blasts at 2. The first nicks him (3pts) but he manages to duck the second.

Niki (12) moves out and slashes her scimitar at 2 who goes down holding his neck (15pts) then moves up to 3. She can see down a hall that goes 40’ and ends in an open door to the west.

Skarp (11) moves and checks out the hallway near Gavaris then moves east and sees a hall going south and some doors.

Gorm (7) moves up to Gavaris and chucks a javelin at 3 (5pts).

Sam (4) moves out and brings down a Sacred Flame on 3 who drops, burning.

All seems quiet.

Niki (28) moves up to the south door and listens… nothing. Opening it she sees inside a Scriptorium. She moves back to everyone and says to Sam and Xaven “You guys are gonna wanna check that place out.”

Gotha and Skarp (22) go into the Monk Lady’s room and check out her desk and table. There is an unlocked chest under the desk. Gotha uses Mage Hand to open the chest. Inside is coins (1200sp, 100pp) and a cowhide wrapped around 18 semi-precious stones (10gp each). On her desk is meditation notes on the power of stone, earth and rock.

Xaven (11) goes to the bedroom and loots the monk’s body, finding a key.

A key is also found on a door jam (both keys M12). Niki has both keys. She surmises that if there is something here that turns people to stone maybe the monk lady was its caretaker and that was why her eyes were taken out.

Gavaris (9) and Gorm (8) are checking doors in the hallway. Gavaris finds a Dojo training room with a triangular symbol on the wall. Gorm finds an old unused laboratory with dusty alchemical equipment.

Sam (5) finds an abandoned bedroom off the lab.

Gotha flips the monk lady’s bed but finds nothing. Xaven takes a quick look in the Scriptorium. It is full of books on Elementals. Gavaris checks a door and finds stairs going down to the west, then turns south. Niki checks the double doors just north of the Scriptorium. Beyond is a courtyard heading west for 120’ and 40’ wide. It is made of redstone and there are big copper-sheathed double doors each 10’ wide in the middle of the north wall. There are four statues, two on either side of the copper doors. There are some windows on the south wall.

Scarp flies into the courtyard while the rest of the party go through the door between the Scriptorium and the courtyard. It is the main entrance and it is made of basalt. The main door is to the south and there is another door to the west. Skarp looks through the windows further west to look beyond the door the DWC is currently behind. He sees two doors side by side directly opposite him on the south wall and one to the south-west corner. He returns to the party.

Opening the door they see a hall with the doors that Skarp saw. Skarp flies in and sees the hall turn north ending in a door. Niki moves in to the first door and Gavaris to the second. Niki hears chanting but all is quiet behind Gavaris’ door. Niki gestures that she hears noise behind the east door and listens at the door in the north hallway which is also quiet.

The DWC position themselves outside the east door with the chanting behind it. Gotha says he has a surprise for them.

Gavaris (21) opens the door and steps in. He sees a 20×30′ room with bunkbeds. There are at least a dozen sleeping figures in the beds and three monks are sitting cross-legged on the floor in masks and robes, chanting. He steps back out and readies his blades.

Niki (19) delays.

Gorm (14) delays.

Gotha (11) produces a pickled octopus tentacle and steps up to the doorway murmuring arcane words. A bitter cold blackness envelopes the room filling it with a cacophony of soft whispers and slurping noises. All those inside are blinded and in difficult terrain. Otherworldly tentacles reach out harm them. Gotha steps back and closes the door, concentrating. Gorm grabs the handle.

Niki (delayed) opens the west door and sees four monks waking in their beds. One is in different robes so Niki targets him. She moves in to assassinate, slashing and piercing with both swords (40pts). “Surprise” she whispers. Then she retreats out the door.

Gorm (delayed) holds the east door.

Skarp (8) moves and hangs with Gotha.

Sam (5) moves into the west doorway and brings a Sacred Flame down on Niki’s mark and he dies burning in bed.

Xaven (5) sends two Eldritch Blasts at a waking monk, one missing, one hitting (1pt).

Screams come from the east room… the tentacles…(11pts)

Sam (21) Sacred Flames again but the monk shakes it off.

Xaven (18) shoots a Ray of Frost at the other monk, slowing him down (6pts).

Niki (14) moves back in and slices the non-slowed monk (10pts).

Gotha (12) pins the non-slowed monk to the wall with an Repelling Agonizing Eldritch Blast (18pts). More screaming and a panicked tugging at the east door. Gorm holds it.

Skarp (12) hangs with Gotha.

Gavaris (10) moves into the west room and attacks the slowed monk… blades swirling, all three jabs find their mark (20pts).

Gorm (9) still holds the door against the monks trying to escape the Hunger of Hadar.

The monks move to flank Gavaris. He dodges one but takes two nasty knees to the gut (Crits 11pts). One also hits Niki who manages to uncannily dodge most of the hit.

Gotha (24) sends one Repelling Eldritch Blast at the monk on Niki but narrowly avoids hitting Niki (crit fail) but the other Blast sizzles into the slowed monk, knocking him back and unconscious (11pts).

Gavaris (21) targets the monk who hit him with three good hits (26pts) but the monk stays on his feet.

The monks in the east room are no longer tugging at the door.

Gorm (17) lets go of the door and moves into the south west room, swings his maul first at the monk Gavaris just hit, slamming into his hip and he crumples (14pts). He then brings it around puts down the last monk too (14pts).

Niki (14) moves to the hallway and listens… hears footfalls.

Xaven (13) delays.

The west door opens but they see nothing… invisible?

Xaven (delayed) moves towards the door and bumps into something. An enormous (10’ tall) white-bearded, grey-skinned titan appears, wearing scalemail and armed with a warpick.

The titan tries to come through into the hallway but Niki is in his way so he swing his pick at her. She takes the hit but manages to partly dodge to lessen the blow.

Xaven (13) conjures two Thunderous Chromatic Orbs and hurls them at the titan. One hits his shoulder, the other right in his chest… the energy convulses him and he drops to one knee.

When Sam’s (8) Sacred Flame takes him (10pts) he falls, transforming into a 3’ dwarf.

Gorm (17) moves up to the door and sees 6 monks. Gotha says “Don’t go in there.” Gorm shudders and readies his maul.

Gavaris (15) takes a healing potion (up to 33) and steps out of the south/west room.

Gotha (15) moves up to behind Gorm with his pickled tentacle and the cold blackness rises again in the north/west room.

Niki (14) tries to shut the door but something she can’t see is blocking it. Another transformed dwarf appears.

Gorm (readied) brings the giant to one knee with a mighty swing of his maul (15pts).

The giant dwarf (13) tries to fight back but misses.

Two new threats suddenly appear as they attack Gavaris (10pts). More Enlarged dwarfs?

Sam (11) moves up behind Gavaris and heals him (up to 43).

Skarp (10) is sticking close to Gotha.

Xaven (7) moves into Skarp’s area and slows a new giant with a Ray of Frost (9pts).

The monks in the north/west room are blind and in difficult terrain. Terrified, they make their way to the door only to be blocked by the giant dwarf there.

Gorm shouts “This is for the Rockseekers!” and slams his maul into the giant in the doorway (13pts) and pulls the door shut.

Gavaris (21) in melee with one of the new giants, scores two hits (14pts).

Sam (18) takes him out with a Sacred Flame (12pts).

Xaven (18) moves to see the last enemy standing in the hallway and bloodies his nose and sends teeth flying with an Eldritch Blast (13pts).

Screams come from the north/west room as the tentacles start their gentle caress. Gorm holds the door.

Gotha (15) sends an Eldritch Blast right through the eye of the giant in the hallway and he crumples (12pts).

Gorm holds the door until they stop trying to get out. Gavaris Lays Hands on Niki (up to 27).

Gorm and Sam search the priest’s room and find a locked chest. The key is found on the priest’s body. It is not locked and inside they find 180gp, 135cp, cloth of gold priestly vestments (60gp), a leather pouch with two gold bracelets (45gp each), and three scrolls: Earth Bind (2nd Druid/Sorcerer/Wizard), Maximillian’s Earthen Grasp (2nd Sorcerer/Wizard), Transmute Rock (5th Druid/Wizard).

Gavaris and Niki search the Duregar room. It is very spartan. The monks did not seem to own anything. The dwarves had some coin on them though (80gp). Lots of gear and weapons and doors have the triangle symbol on it… Ogremach… they called out to him when they died.

Pressing on, Niki listens at the north door at the end of the hallway. Hearing nothing she opens the door to 50×40′ empty dining hall. There are two doors on the northern wall. One is quiet. From behind the other they hear some whistling and scrubbing.

Niki (26) opens the door and sees 6 shocked monks. She moves in with Advantage and nearly slices one in two, “Surprise!” (28pts) but she fumbles her second attack and drops her short sword.

Gavaris (20) jabs at monk with “Talon” twice (19pts) but sprains a finger on his off-hand as his attack goes awry.

Gotha (17) slinks into the kitchen and fires two Agonizing Eldritch Blasts. One takes out the one Gavaris already bloodied (12pts) and the other crackles over another monk (5pts).

Skarp (16) hangs with Gotha.

Gorm (14) moves in and smashes the one Gotha injured making him drop to one knee (16pts).

Xaven (8) steps in to the side of the door and finishes off the kneeling monk with an Eldritch Blast. The second Blast gives another monk a flesh wound (1pt).

Sam (7) moves into the kitchen and sends a Sacred Flame to the monk that Xaven nicked (13pts).

Gavaris (24) engages an uninjured monk. He scores three hits, even with his sprained finger (Disadvantage) (18pts). He’s still up but bleeding badly.

Monk 4 (19) kicks Niki (6pts).

Xaven (19) finishes off the monk he previously damaged with another Blast and sends his second to finish off the one Gavaris started on.

Niki (17) is on the last monk. She slices her (6pts) and draws a dagger in place of her dropped short sword and stabs (5pts). A big swell of blood seeps from her side but she’s still conscious.

Gorm (13) jumps over to the monk and grabs her “We have some questions for you!”. He ties her up.

The monk does not break under interrogation nor does she succumb to Gotha’s Charm spell. She is dispatched. There is a door on the west wall of the kitchen which is a larder. There are also a set of stairs going down from the kitchen. In the middle of the monastery there is a huge empty shrine. There are 4 large columns and a wide set of stairs going down. Also in the north-east corner of the shrine they find a lever. Niki cannot determine what it might do so they leave it untouched.

They rest for an hour in the Scriptorium. While there Xaven looks at the weave and finds two scrolls: Dust Devil (2nd Druid/Sorcerer/Wizard and Erupting Earth (3rd Sorcerer). There are lots of books on the Elemental Planes. Something called “the Fane of the Eye”, “Visions of Earth Walking”, “Ironfang Holy Implement of Earthen Power”. Five copies of the same text in a safe storage box “Testament of Marlos Urnrayle, Prophet of Earth”. Marlos was drawn to a place called “the Fane of the Eye” by powerful visions. There he found “Irongfang, the Holy Implement of Earth Power,” and took it for his own. Marlos established the Temple of Black Earth in the ruins of a long-abandoned dwarven stronghold that exists below the Sacred Stone Monastery. He nurtures something called the Black Geode, and when all is ready, "the Evergrowing Mountain shall come and remake these lands in his own image. The book collection is valuable… 2 bookshelves of books worth 25gp each.

Proceeding down the middle staircase (I think that means the one between the Scriptorium and the monk lady’s room) they find some buckets… empty but wet. At the bottom of the stairs there is a 20’ corridor ending at a door. Listening, Niki hears a lot of loud snoring. Cracking the door she sees an oddly shaped room with two doors, a well and 5 sleeping brutes (1 ogre and 4 half ogres).

The plan is to sneak in and kill them in their sleep. The DWC position themselves, each taking a sleeping form with Xaven in the middle ready to clean things up. As Gorm quietly approaches the ogre his maul starts to glow blue and the lights casts eerie shadows as the party all raise their weapons over the sleeping forms (Nazgul in the Prancing Pony).

SURPRISE (all crits)
Niki does 36pts… still alive “Surprise!”

Sam does 10pts… still alive.

Gavaris does 32pts… still alive.

Gorm does 53pts… still alive.

Gotha does 23pts on the ogre… dead! And 10pts on Niki’s…still alive.

Xaven does 8pts + 2 poison on Niki’s… dead.

Niki (22) jumps on top of one of the waking ogres and puts her short sword through his eye “Surprise!” then slashes out at Sam’s who is barely up on one elbow (9pts).

Gavaris (21) stabs one to put it down and further injures Sam’s.

Xaven (20) steps up “Bye” and Blasts the last one dead.

Exploring, they find corridors with cave-ins and rubble and finally come upon a cell. There are human and dwarfs in rags behind the bars. There are three pens with 17 commoners and one not-so-commoner. Bruldenthar, an historian, was a member of the Mirabar Delegation. The delegation was ambushed by earth cultists south of Beliard, who slayed most of the guards. The cultists and their captives were ferried across the Dessarin River by pirates who received the books on mining as payment. Those books were to be a gift to the Rockseekers. Bandits flying on giant vultures ambushed the earth cultists somewhere in the Sumber Hills. The bandits captured the Prince. Bruldenthar and the rest were brought to the Sacred Stone Monastery. Rhundorth and Teresiel were taken below to an unknown fate, while the historian and the other local captives were made to mine sheets of sandstone.

Hmmm… some of the Feathergale Society rode vultures…

There are a set of dwarven-made stairs going down.



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