Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Stonehell: Expedition 5

The Party
Casterfo Hearthwood - Fighter (Lane S.)
Orin Smee - Fighter (Chris H.) - dead
Thorold - Fighter (Mathieu V.)
Markus Ironfist - Dwarf Fighter (Greg) - dead
Seer Elofinde - Magic-User (Frey)
Black-Eyed Sonya - Elf Thief (Wright J.)
Yonder Dirkwater (Spooner)
Magnus the Acceptable - (Greg)

The Crawl
At the Mug, a soldier tells his story.  He was part of a military escort from Breyheath taking a payment to the outposts in the Reach.  His band was set upon by orcs and slaughtered.  The soldier was gravely wounded and left for dead.  Coming to, he followed their tracks to Stonehell, but lacked the strength to go in.  Now a deserter, he cannot return to Breyheath empty handed.
Casterfo recalled meeting some orcs to the south of the grand staircase entering Stonehell.  The party elected him leader and set out to retrace his steps in hopes of recovering this military treasure.  Moving through a room carved with dwarven figures, Markus was able to identify them as avatars of strength, virility, and cunning.  Examining the avatar of cunning, they found a secret door which opened into an orc guard post.  In the ensuing battle, Markus was slain by orc arrows, but Seer Elofinde was able to charm two of the orcs.  The orcs agreed to lead them to the captain and said that if any could best the captain in single combat, the orcs under his command would join them, but if they tried to outnumber the orc captain, the tribe would fall on them and tear their limbs off.  Approaching the captain's room, the door burst open and the largest orc beast any had ever seen roared with rage, swinging a massive bone-hilted battled axe.  Casterfo and Orin ducked his attacks but were certain the strength of his blows would easily cleave any one of them in half, and the entire party fled from the orc outpost with the tribe's jeers and taunts echoing behind them.
After a quick trip back to the Mug to recruit the Magic-User Magnus and the cleric Yonder, they decided to make back for the crypts, where Elofinde had so much success before.  On the way back to the crypts, they explored a room they'd passed by before.  Covered in mildew and rot and full of broken furniture, they did find a secret compartment in an old wardrobe that held a jewelry box, long missed by other explorers.
In the crypts, they chose southern halls this time, quickly falling back into their proven strategies of clearing crypts.  They found these halls to be more dangerous, however.  Horrendous, flesh-eating ghouls were found in the first, but Yonder was able to banish them.  The second crypt opened into a cold, ominous darkness that their lanterns could not penetrate.  Across the floor they could see a set of gold and gem encrusted jewelry gleaming.  As they argued whether or not to go after it, the darkness spilled out of the crypt and formed into two malicious shades in the corridor.  The fighters swung their blades at the shadows but they passed harmlessly through, while the shade reached out at Elofinde and she felt an icy claw rake through her, sapping her strength away.  Yonder splashed holy water around the corridor, missing the shades, but the party was able to flee and choose another hall.  Here the first crypt they opened spilled out undead skeletal warriors, and although they defeated them, Orin was slain in the melee.  With another slain and most of the party licking wounds, they decided to end this expedition and return to the expedition.  The jewelry box and some gold found in the ghoul crypt more than paid for the expedition in, but the body count in Stonehell continues to rise.

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