- Bing Bong
We gathered around our usual table in the public room of the Tasty Pig. By this point, we’d left several open threads of investigation across the continent, and needed to close a few so as to restore peace to some part of the world. How we transitioned from “take everything that isn’t bolted down,” to “perform this good deed… and take anything that isn’t bolted down,” eludes me, but I think it has something to do with exposure to the plight of others. We’re not bad people, just differently motivated.
In the midst of our planning, we were approached by two adventurers – a elven sorceress and a dwarven barbarian. They had heard of our hijinks (apparently the townsfolk had started referring to us as the Adventures of Aiwan) and wanted in. We sized them up. They sized us up. Apparently both sides were okay with what they saw, because they joined forces with us on a trial basis. Honestly, I was really happy to see people with their skills – having offensive spells, and someone heavy on muscles and a short temper is great for dealing with the more… hands-on parts of adventuring.
We decided to finally clear that accursed chapel. We had wasted countless days on the moldy, festering passages that zagged beneath the property and desired closure, while Rost, who I believe was motivated by more spiritual needs, wanted to cleanse this once-holy site of its taint.
We set out and encountered no enemies on the grounds of the church. I hadn't explored this level, but Rost, Ducky, and Bing Bong seemed very familiar with it. Apparently they cleared large portions of it one day, but retreated back to Aiwan once they realized they were outclassed. Our numbers were far greater this time around, so hopefully the odds would be a little more in our favor. Rost and Oz led us toward a door they had barricaded last time around. We opened it and wandered into the dark beyond.
As we approached the end of a hallway, we realized that there was something in the darkness. The same darkness unnaturally consumed the light from our lanterns. We engaged the shadowy creature. After a few puny attacks, including a whiff from your’s truly, the one-two punch of Rost and Oz came down on the poor sod with great efficacy. The hulking monstrosity collapsed before us. Whoops. Being the experienced group of adventurers we are, the body and room were quickly liberated of their wealth. We marched on.
Not too soon after dispatching the fiend did we arrive upon a dark hallway. Thinking there might be additional fiends waiting for a beating, we sent a dwarf down the hallway (solely because he could see in the dark). Of course, dwarves are as graceful as a stubbed toe, and two ghastly visages set upon him and we had to to jump to his rescue. Of course, we dispatched of them.
That’s not the interesting part, however. As we were inspecting their hiding spots, someone (not I, otherwise you, the reader, would know it) discovered a lever in the wall. Upon pulling it, a portion of the wall slid aside and we were presented with a dark room containing a faint moaning. Nothing could be seen, so we followed Oz’s lead and barged in. We were immediately confronted by what later analysis classified as a Shadow. Many attacks fell short as our blows dealt no damage. However, our new compatriot Fenor proved her worth by launching magic attack after magic attack at the gruesome specter. Eventually they fell, and we weighed down our pockets with more gold.
We moved on. Apparently the next room we were to enter was a special one – Rost and Oz even had a sword that was designed to open the door. What madman invented a door that used a sword as a key? I’ve seen quite a few locks in my time, and none of the secure ones use a blade as a means to open. Well, anyway, we put the sword in the door and rushed in. Almost immediately, I was stuck by a sense of fear.
Now, halflings don’t get scared. Or so mother told us. But what I felt was the most excruciatingly bed-wetting of sensations – it was as if my mind shut down for over a minute. During said time, while I was a prisoner in my own body, I witnessed several members of my party face down a giant fied with burning eyes. As if that wasn't enough, he (it?) was accompanied by skeleton warriors.
I was finally able to channel my fear into rage and charged forward at the skeletons (a few had started to cower despite not being attacked – it was later revealed that Bing Bong cast Turn Undead). Everyone started slashing, stabbing, poking and casting. Snorri was rocked several times by heavy blows and required healing. Finally, after much effort, the shadow fell, mercifully taking his skeleton horde with him. We felt that we had finally almost rid this portion of the chapel of the evil that inhabited it, so we ventured on.
Almost immediately after exiting that chamber we hit a suspicious blind corner. Cursing my lack of low-light vision, I was forced to encourage Oz to move forward. While he was silent, this time around, his oz-tentatious armor caught the light and drew the attention of a hellhound that was guarding an adjoining room. After we killed that, we were immediately set upon by a goblin, which we, too, killed.
Eventually, we encountered a ramp that led up a level. Ye gods, we had (almost) fully explored the chapel! Some of our more spatially-oriented party members informed us that there were only a few more small chambers to go. We decided to venture forth and rid the chapel of evil once and for all.
On this new floor, I snuck forward and found an altar not dissimilar from what we had encountered a few weeks back. This time, however, there was fresh blood spread all about. I also heard the clanking of armor not too far in the distance. I retreated back to the party to inform them as to what I discovered. We moved forward and, eventually, fought a party of several goblins. They were no problem for us, and were promptly reduced to several gory puddles on the stone floor. As we moved past we discovered two additional creatures, hobgoblins, lying in ambush while threatening violence against a prisoner (?) that sounded like a goblin. At this point, momentum was in our favor and we were able to dispatch of them quite easily.
Rather than calling it a day and heading back to Aiwan, Ozymandas, motivated by his unilateral alliance, and me, motivated by my desire to rid this plane of a thing that would displease Elhonna, marched forward to challenge the creature imprisoned within. It turned out to be a goblin shackled against the wall. After some discussion with him (my first after completing the “advanced” level Goblin courses in Aiwan), he revealed himself to be a member of the Broken Axe Clan, not explicitly allied with the Blackfoots (Oz’s buddies), but not opposed, either. After we received his assurances that he wouldn't attack us, we cut him loose and shepherded him to the surface. We then parted ways, the party headed back to Aiwan, while the maroon mistake scurried back into the woods, hopefully never to be seen again.
We returned to Tasty Pig Tavern after an uneventful trek, and decided that these new warriors weren't too bad. We could always use more firepower, and they definitely brought it!