AiS 043: Screams in the Dark

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Fighting the undead monstrosity in the tunnels, the party pushed their advantage. As Thangrimm, Genobar and Orithur kept the thing from escaping one way, the rest of the party rushed back around the shack and piled down the stairs into the cellar. Warg—lusting after blood—flanked the creature and struck it a tremendous blow, but it wasn’t until Grogor struck it a well placed blow with this rapier that the thing collapsed into a mass of putrified, rotting flesh and bone. 

With the creature defeated, the heroes carefully searched the noisome burrow. Avoiding the brown mould, which they had no way to deal with, they nevertheless recovered a potion (later identified as levitation) and several shiny gems. Happy with their haul, they retreated to the surface and got back on their way to Woodridge.

The rest of the day’s travel was uneventful and as dusk began to settle over the land, the heroes began to think of finding a place to rest. Keen not to rest on the trail—who knew what foul, nefarious folk were abroad in the dark of the night—they searched for somewhere more secluded to camp. Grogor and Johann snuck into the woods and quickly found a small cave mouth that looked like it would accommodate the party. Returning to their companions, the party briefly conferred before heading toward the cave. The vegetation was thick and going was slow with the cart. Eventually, they reached the area and Johann looked around more carefully. Faint tracks of a light-footed small creature dotted the ground in the cave’s vicinity and the canny, sharp-eyed ranger spotted three vine-wreathed corpses lying just beyond the cave entrance.

Thus, the party decided to creep forward cautiously…all that is except Warg who stomped into the cavern intent on exploring its depths. Unfortunately for the brave dwarf, danger lurked in the cave. As he entered its outer reaches, vines and plants growing up along one wall began to writhe and twist. Warg shouted a warning, but before his friends could reach him the plant had slithered away from the wall and sprayed spores into his face. Warg was entranced and slowed began to walk toward the menacing plant-thing. As he did so, the three dead bodies rose from the floor and tottered toward the rest of the party.

A spirited melee broke out. Although the zombie-creatures seemed no real match for the party, they slowed the heroes down just long enough to enable the plant-thing (now identified as a yellow musk creeper) to latch onto Warg and start boring its tendrils into his brain! The thing seemed to be consuming his brain, but eventually the brave—and now dim-witted—dwarf broke free and struck the creeper a colossal blow. Driven by fury and vengeance the blow was a mighty one and destroyed the creature.

No matter this brief victory things seemed serious. Warg’s had suffered a serious injury that seemed beyond the aid of the party’s healers. Even worse than that, Genobar could not confirm Warg’s condition would not improve with time. Quickly discussing what to do next, the party decided it was time to head to Don Galir to seek the help of Vanatar Jarbek—high priest of the hold. While they discussed their plan, Grogor and Thangrimm explored a 15-foot wide crevasse separating the outer cave from a larger area beyond.

Seeing this obstacle, Grogor left the cave in search of a large log to use as a makeshift bridge. Not wanting to wait, Thangrimm threw a grapple hook across the chasm and then jumped across…only to miss-step and slam into the other side of the chasm. Thangrimm was strong however and managed to hang onto the rope. As he began to climb up, a small elf-like creature—its face plastered with a cruel smile—appeared seemingly out of thin air and tried to cut the rope. It failed, and zipped away with unbelievable speed deeper into the cave. 

Quickly Thangrimm climbed up the rope. As he reached the top, the thing returned—its form blurred by its otherworldly speed—and cruelly stabbed the dwarf. Only Alice could help Thangrimm and she repeatedly struck the thing with magic missiles. Sensing she was the only real threat in the cave, the creature easily jumped the chasm, stabbed her and rush outside straight passed Warg who had rushed off to alert Grogor and Orithur (the latter had stayed with the wagon). 

Unfortunately, Grogor who had heard the shouts and sounds of battle and was heading back to help his friends got caught too far from his companions for help. Although Alice struck it again with magic missiles, the elfling—now identified as a quickling—made a quick pass of the rogue badly injuring the seemingly-doomed half-orc…