Apologies for not posting a recap of the last session; I'll give a very abbreviated version of that session and then get into the one we completed tonight.
Last time, the party returned once more to the Castle of the Mad Archmage. Present were Ardo, the human cleric of Pelor; Mongo, the half-orc fighter; Theric, the human paladin of Pholtus; Vellis, the gnome bard; Abo Thistlestrike, the human magic-user; and Ehrandar Dawngreeter, the elf mountebank. They first investigated some of the upper ruins, determining that the bandits they had previously encountered had indeed fled. More entrances to the underground were discovered and eventually explored, and although several scrolls and some other treasure were discovered, the party was driven out of the dungeon by determined and deadly ambushes by some foe that remained in the shadows. The paladin, Theric, was dropped below zero hit points, but his wounds were bound, and the party made for the city with the as-yet-unseen enemy at their heels. Thus ended the previous session.
Once there, having placed the paladin in the inn to recuperate, the party happened to notice that all but Ardo were feeling slightly unwell. They were constantly thirsty, their skin was dry, and they all suffered a decrease in their charisma of 1 point. This had an immediate effect on the paladin, who lost his paladin abilities, and the bard and mountebank, many of whose abilities suffered because of the decrease. Immediately, the party's thoughts turned to the frog statuettes that mysteriously and persistently appeared some weeks before.
Through direct investigation, they were able to determine that the frog statuettes were indeed both magical and evil in nature. Consultation with the church of Pholtus confirmed that a curse was most probably at work, but unfortunately the church was in need of a new roof for its steeple, and although they were willing to do a "buy four, get the fifth free" deal for the group, the fee for casting remove curse was beyond their means. The now-fallen paladin was then admonished that such curses could well be the price for cavorting with those not yet brought into the Light of Pholtus. The church of Pelor was of little help.
Reputable sources exhausted, the party resorted to those less so. The Thieves Guild reiterated their stance that the cult of Wastri and itself had an understanding that neither was to interfere with the other, and that those places under the protection of the Guild were clearly marked to those who were familiar with such signs. A confab with Ehrandar's contact in the Beggar's Union, who usually works a corner near to the warehouse wherein the party located the cult, but which the local constabulary declared empty and harmless, begged to differ with the official report, and insisted that the place was as active as it had ever been.
Clearly, a nighttime visitation was called for. After careful planning, Salvomar, their erstwhile hireling, was stationed behind the warehouse with oil while the rest of the party entered through the front. They found 13 separate numbered "cages", each with different loads of goods from such lands as Sunndi and Idee. They soon found the warehouse office, and started to look through the various ledgers and files they found within. They sought some sort of secret door or false floor in the office, to no avail.
Theric, however, keyed in on a vital clue (and an excellent thought by his player, I must say). One of the numbered storage cages, number IV, seemed to not have any entries in the records. No goods were moved in or out of that particular area in at least a year. (One of the few times when forensic accounting was used to advance the plot of a D&D game, no doubt!) Sure enough, one of the crates in Area IV concealed a staircase leading down.
Beneath the warehouse was some sort of waiting room with an attached cloak room. Unfortunately, Ehrandar set off a trip-wire. There was no immediate effect, so it was obviously some sort of alarm. And indeed, when Mongo opened the door leading out of the waiting room, he was immediately impaled by a frog-man of some sort with a spear. More could be seen behind him in some sort of corridor. Mongo made short work of the frog-man, but its compatriots disappeared into one or more of the two doors in the corridor leading away from the waiting room. The party explored the closest, and discovered a chamber with not only a table and chairs, but a shallow pool in one corner. Adjacent to that room was an obvious armory, with scores of weapons, and many obviously missing from the racks.
Unfortunately, we had to call it an early night this session for a variety of out-of-game reasons. Everyone was left in situ, which is not something I like to do normally, but tonight's players are all coming back next time, so hopefully the continuity will be maintained. What will happen? What else lies in the chambers beneath the warehouse? What are those frog-men? What further effects might the curse of the frog-statuettes have?
We'll find out in but a fortnight.
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