DM: Rick Smith
Hex Cade lvl 1 Barbarian lvl 2 Psion Earth Genasi – Dan Forrest
Falkner lvl 2 Barbarian lvl 1 Rogue Tiefling – Barbara Kalberg
Drachalt lvl 1 Druid Silver Half Dragon Half Elf – Tom Blossfeld
Gunnar Kelson lvl 3 Fighter Aasimar – Jon Rosen
Zohi lvl 4 sorceror half-elf – Ken Marin [in absentia]
The party gathers at mid-day outside the tavern. Drac does not show, as he is in the Druid’s grove healing mentally from his brush with death. Zohi is also absent, nursing a nasty hangover and having one of his patented “black spells.” This leaves Gunnar, Falk and Hex to adventure further for now.
After some discussion the three adventurers return to the moat-house. Each character takes 2000 gp from party treasure into their “care.” The party brings along some oil to quiet down the pulleys in hopes of not attracting another grell… this plan succeeds, and the party reaches the base of the obelisk once again without incident. Hex shivers coldly, recalling his brush with the dark God Tharizdun.
The black sun makes people feel distressed, off-kilter. Burning the incense and using the torch, Falk sees a purplish light ether, with a special emphasis on the obex. There is a very bright glow coming from just beneath the obelisk. There is a gem in the exact spot that Hex passed his hand. Falk touches the obex and feels very unsettled and fearful. Hex steps onto the sun and feels darkness seep through his soul. He walks across the room and touches the archway, and a grell emerges from the archway! Hex immediately smashes it with his mace, and Gunnar shoots an arrow across the room, critically hitting the grell, wounding it badly. Hex, in the midst of 10 tentacle attacks, manages to fend them all away. Falk tries with his bow but the string snaps. Hex smashes the creature’s beak, driving it directly into the creature’s brain. After messing around with the ceremonial objects and stuff some more, the party rests in a corridor, with the intent to head to Nulb the next day.
The party travels north on the unused track. Falk finds some gnoll tracks, but he is uncertain as to how old they are. At night, the party camps. Falk is on guard when a spectral ice-cold hand reaches out of the darkness and closes around his throat, draining his strength! Falk yells out, awakening the ever-alert Gunnar. Hex remains asleep. Falk strikes back at the dark shape accosting him, but his weapon passes harmlessly through it! The monster hits Falk a second time, causing him to scream loud enough to wake the slumber-full Hex. Gunnar moves to flank the dark shape and attacks from behind, but his blade passes through the dark shape, catching nothing. The shadow misses Falk this time as the bedraggled barbarian-thief falls backwards. Falkner misses. Hex, now awake, strolls forward and smacks the creature with his mace. The shadow claws at Hex, just missing his eyes.
Falk hits the creature, but his blade passes through with no effect. Gunnar misses again. Hex smashes it a second time, this time collapsing. Hex manages to transfer most of the strength drain from Falk to himself. The night passes otherwise uneventfully.
up around , the party approaches the town of
The first building on the right, just after the bridge, looks like one of the most intact… an inn. As Falk attempts to listen at the door, Hex knocks. There is no response, so they open the door. It is the ruins of an old inn. In the kitchen there is a trapdoor heading down into a root cellar. Falkner leans over and sticks his head into the hole, scanning the room… there are old sacks and piles of rotted vegetables. Hex drops into the basement and prods around with his mace for 5 minutes. There are no living creatures… no ants, spiders or other vermin, a fact that bothers Falkner to no end. Suddenly there is a yell of abject horror from above, and Falk and Hex hear Gunnar flee from the room, crashing to the floor in his clumsy attempt to escape from the kitchen. Hex and Falkner grip their weapons, staring at the ceiling.
Falkner climbs up the ladder and into the kitchen… there is nothing there of note. Hex natural armors up, and climbs the ladder, to go back-to-back with Falkner, warily checking the room over for any sign of danger. Outside, Gunnar quoffs a healing potion with trembling hands, regaining some of his strength. Falkner and Hex move defensively back into the main tavern room. Falkner can’t get the door open, so the two spin, and Hex yanks it open with no trouble, revealing Gunnar standing in the street, terrible gash across his chest. As the two head out the door, Falkner sees the apparition of a human male carrying a longsword, and a terrible fear swamps his being. The door slams shut, causing Hex to turn and see nothing interesting. The experience drains Falkner in strength, dex and constitution… a brush with ghosts can be traumatic. After some arguing, the group heads a mile out of town and makes camp.
The next morning the party returns to Nulb and takes a look around the streets, searching for signs of life. The main street does seem to be traveled. There is only one other building in town that has an intact roof and 4 walls. It is an herb shop. Hex knocks at the door. Lareth the beautiful answers the door. This is a crazy dude who serves Tharizdun. He and Hex have a genial conversation. He has a shield with the Elemental eye. He is sort of ornery. He also has a marred face.
The party proceeds to the boatyard. There is only one boat intact… although it is cocked to the side and the back of the boat is underwater. Hex jumps onto the half-sunken boat. Gunnar follows 10’ behind while Falk covers the two of them with his bow from the dock. Hex opens the cabin door. Half of the room is submerged. Hex listens carefully, and hears a slight rustling from behind the crates. Suddenly a globular jelly, resembling a giant dark-yellow amoeba launches out of the dirty water at Hex. The companions strike at the yellow amoebas, which divide into more creatures rather than taking damage. Furthermore, two wraiths appear out of the wall… the heroes yell retreat, and as they flee the boat Falkner turns and lights the boat on fire. The party watches the amoebas swim away… and then Hex jumps into the water and goes searching… he is attacked by a wraith, but the sunlight streaming into the water drives it away. Hex finds and recovers a box full of coins and an opal ring worth a heck of a lot of gold. With that, the three head SW towards the Temple of Elemental Evil.
Traveling off-road, the party reaches the Temple. It is just as hideous as it ever was. The gates at the front have been smashed open. Falk and Gun think they see gnolls hiding behind the temple walls. They inform Hex before he does something exceedingly foolish. The party decides to scale the wall on the side of the temple and look into the courtyard, checking to see if they can take the gnolls from behind. On the other side of the temple is a small building with an opening. Gunnar waits at the wall there as Hex and Falk snipe at the gnolls at the front of the temple. They don’t kill them, but certainly get their attention. The two characters run swiftly through the forest, Hex using his Pass Without Trace ability, and they join Gunnar at the far wall. The three of them pass through the courtyard and dive into the small building, opening a door… it is only half-sized, but Hex jumps into it.
The party is in a crawlspace, hunched over with a wooden floor… suddenly a sheath of flame springs upwards from below, catching Hex for half damage, but Falkner dodges. The flame is not a trap… there is something alive attacking the party. Gunnar enters the room and shuts the door behind him. The crawlspace is 60’ by 60’, with a trapdoor in the far corner. Gunnar heads for the trapdoor. Falkner pulls the trapdoor open, revealing a ladder dropping down 8’. There is a dirt floor below. Falkner drops through, and Hex joins him. There are 2 gnolls and a female gnoll priestess.
The first gnoll swings a battleaxe a Hex and just misses. The second gnoll misses Falk. Gunnar covers them from just above. Hex and Falk miss their targets, who are dressed in scale mail and carry shields. Hex is missed but Falk takes a hit from a battleaxe. Falk moves to attack the gnoll priestess and misses, leaving the two gnolls fighting Hex. Hex is missed by two gnolls, while the priestess pokes Falk for minimal damage. Gunnar drops into the room and attacks, giving the first gnoll a solid hit. Hex takes its’ moment of disadvantage and crushes its’ skull. The remaining gnoll misses Hex. Falk’s falchion strikes the priestess a dark blow. Gunnar decapitates the second gnoll with a practiced swing. Falk hits again as well, but the priestess still stands. Hex tries to finish her but misses. The priestess surrenders.
After some banter, Hex knocks her unconscious and Falk ties her up. The party follows the tree-line across the back courtyard and approaches the tower. The party causes too much noise trying to unlock the door, and goblins up in the tower drop alchemist’s fire on the party… Hex is missed, but Falkner is hit in the face… luckily he has fire resistance. Falkner picks the lock while Hex and Gunnar fire arrows at the visible goblins… Hex kills one while the other drops another vial, missing Gunnar. The lock springs open and the party forces its way into the base of the tower.
4 arrows spring out at Falkner, but only one arrow hits. A battleaxe slams into Falkner’s leg. Gunnar tries to tumble into the tower but fails, getting hit twice. In the room are 4 gnolls behind an upturned table and two gnolls guarding the door. Hex moves in and eradicates one of the door guards. Falkner dives onto the stairs and quoffs a potion of cure light wounds. 4 arrows bounce off the walls near Hex, while a battleaxe misses Gunnar. Gunnar strikes at the other doorguard and misses. Hex moves behind the table and STOMPS, knocking two gnolls off their feet. Falk fires an arrow from the stairs and misses. The gnoll attacking Gunnar misses. Hex is missed. The gnolls stand up again, but they lost their attacks. Gunnar misses again. Hex crushes another skull. Falk moves to get a better shot but misses again. Gunnar is surrounded on three sides and is hit once… Hex is missed by his last opponent.
Gunnar finally hits a gnoll, killing it. Hex goes to Gunnar’s aid, stomping a second time and knocking a gnoll off his feet. Falkner shoots an arrow at the gnoll who had been attacking Hex, killing it very dead. The gnoll stands, while his friend hits Gunnar again, bringing him to the brink of unconsciousness. Gunnar pops a potion. Hex steps between the gnolls and Gunnar, and strikes for a lot of damage, but the creature withstands it. Hex takes two hits, but shrugs them off. Gunnar, mad as hell, moves forward for a critical, and takes down the gnoll Hex hit previously. Falk misses with his bow and Hex critically misses, but Gunnar moves to flank the last gnoll, missing. Hex only does a glancing blow to it, and Falk misses with another arrow. The gnoll, crazed and desperate, misses again, but Gunnar finally kills the foul humanoid.
Gunnar and Hex move to the two doors on this level and open them simultaneously. Gunnar finds sleeping quarters. Hex is attacked by two dire rats. He kills them, but one bites him and the wound burns in that particular, dire rat manner that suggests F I L T H F E V E R. Oh well.
Falk searches the two downstairs rooms thoroughly as Gunnar and Hex go up to take on the critters on the next level. Hex and Gunnar dispatch the goblins with little difficulty.