The Crystal Caverns

Continuing the adventures started in Boch’s Belfry.

Austin - Valoric the Cleric
Carly - Burke the Dwarf
Ian - Milo the Halfling
Jere - Dracen the Magician
Me - The Gamemaster

Last session our adventurers reached the Crystal Caverns after a slight mishap fording a river, and fought off some giant bats and the overwhelming stench of bat guano. When the session began, they heard the sounds of hooting and screeching approaching them. They quickly hid behind some stalagmites so that they could at least see what was approaching before it spotted them, and what they saw were white apes swinging from stalactites towards them. The white apes began investigating the source of the ruckus, and spotted the adventurers (failed Scout roll) surrounding them and waving their arms, baring their teeth, and screaming. Milo took the crabscorpion carcass that he had killed last session and gave it to one of them, which began sucking on it and then swung away with the other white apes in pursuit (good idea!).

The adventurers explored deeper in finding a rickety rope bridge crossing a chasm, and two other tunnels. They tested the bridge and found that the wooden steps were rotted, so instead of cross they explored the side caverns. In the first cave they found more white apes. One approached aggressively and the group tried to stay perfectly still to show they were nonaggressive. As a result, the white ape ripped off Milo’s satchel and swung away with it (failed Manipulator roll). The adventurers chased the white ape around the cave and finally got the satchel back, but not before it had eaten Milo’s rations (successful pursuit conflict, minor compromise).

They investigate the cave some more, and found scorch marks on a wall and some seemingly melted copper rods beneath it. While poking around a bit, Milo gathers some mushrooms that he’s seen the white apes eating (successful Scavenger roll) and made some food for the group. He even fed some to a nearby white ape which munched and then snoozed (successful Cooking roll).

The adventurers then decided to see where the other cave went to. As they entered, they immediately saw four white apes, larger than any others that they’d seen, and some broken and blood bodies. The white apes attacked and the adventurers fought back. They killed the apes, but Dracen was wounded in the fight (successful Kill Conflict, minor compromise). They then learn that the bodies are cultists! Members of the Cult of the Arcane Lord that Dracen once belonged to. They loot the room finding some treasure and some gear on the cultists. Milo is excited to find a crossbow, but then realizes that it is too large and cumbersome for a halfling to use. A small hole is in the wall with water trickling down from the stalactites and running down it. Dracen determines that it’s potable and the adventurers fill their canteens (successful Survivalist check).

Unfortunately the cave is freezing which makes camp rather uncomfortable (minor inconvenience). Dracen patches up his wounds, but is left a bit scarred by it (failed recovery roll, loses 1 point of Pathfinder). Burke tries to patch up his helmet that was damaged in the fight with the apes but his numb hands make him miss a few hammer blows and the helmet is ruined (failed Armorer roll). Dracen then tries to copy over one of the spells from Boch’s spellbook to his, and is successful but unleashes some sort of darkness from Boch’s spellbook which scuttles off down the hole in the wall. They hear a terrifying shriek, but Dracen assures them that everything is fine and that nothing bad has just happened.

The group breaks camp and investigates the room, and discovers that scorch marks and copper rods are in this cave too. He realizes that the rods form some kind of magical gate for travel (failed Lore Master roll). The group is so engrossed in this that they don’t notice the creatures worming up out of the hole until they turn and see blue fire burning in empty sockets.

Next session: Boch’s revenge!

This session begins with the party facing down four armed, dripping skeletons with burning blue flames in their eyes. Valoric returns just in time, holding forth his holy symbol and driving one of the skeletons away leaving three behind. The adventurers fight the rest of the skeletons, smashing them with their weapons and skattering their bones around the chamber. The lead skeleton, wearing chainmail and wielding a sword, manages to wound Milo before falling itself. (Successful kill conflict, minor compromise).

The adventurers then begin to make their way out a tunnel leading from the room their in. It’s a tight fit that they need to crawl through, and a trickle of water makes it slick and somewhat dangerous. Burke spots that there’s a dangerous drop-off and they plan accordingly (successful Instinct use, Dungeoneering roll to spot danger). The part splits up with Valoric and Dracen bracing the rope for the other two adventurers, and a curious Milo leading the way. He drops down to the bottom and finds a stream and a rock cliff ahead of him, and splashing around in the stream is another skeleton (failed Dungeoneering roll). Burke tries to pull him back up away from the skeleton, but the skeleton graps onto Milo’s ankles and drags them both down (failed Health roll)/

The two battle the skeleton and after a vicious fight they manage to drive it away, revealing another small tunnel in the rock face opposite where they came out. But the fight leaves them exhausted (successful drive off conflict, major compromise). Valoric and Dracen catch up, and they decide to crawl up the same tunnel the skeleton just fled up. Dracen leads the way, and eventually the tunnel leads to a room illuminated with torchlight, and they see cultists of Dracen’s old order including his nemesis, Branden, the Master of Mysteries! They are looting the room they’re in, full of shelves and furniture, of treasure. They find some copper rods that seem to open a portal to another dimension. The adventurers try to determine what they should do, and decide to step out pretending to have taken Dracen prisoner!

Next session: The Negotiation

Nothing bad just happened. Hah!

This session resumed with the adventurers holding Dracen hostage and negotiating with Branden, the leader of the cult of mysteries and sworn enemy of Dracen. Branden was successfully tricked into believing that the adventurers were nasty cutthroats who had stumbled on Dracen spying on the cult and had captured him (with some convincing snarling and barking from Burke the Dwarf). They traded him for safe escort out of the tunnel (successful Trick conflict, minor Compromise leaving Dracen Angry). They began backtracking, though Burke saw some of the glowing magical crystals for which the caverns were named. He split with the party and entered the neighboring cave, but the pulsing lights were hypnotic and entrancing. He ran over and hugged a huge crystal (such was his enthusiasm) and saw that it contained a corpse! When he looked around he saw several of the other crystals did as well. The glowing light of the crystals drew him in, but he realized he needed help and ran off to rejoin the party (successful Will test).

Meanwhile Dracen whispered to one of the members of his old cult, Elinor (while Circles is primarily for town, it seemed appropriate for Dracen here, but he failed so I invoked the Enmity Clause). She agreed to help, but only if they were wed and controlled the cult with their combined power! Dracen agreed, and while the rest of the cult was working to set up ropes to ascend a cliff, Valoric quickly and secretly performed the ceremony (successful Ritualist test). Elinor then stepped forward and challenged Branden for leadership of the cult, calling on those loyal to her and Dracen to overthrow Branden.

During that moment of distraction, Milo snuck around and stole some of the goods that Branden had plundered from the cave (successful Criminal test), then the party ran out of there leaving Elinor screaming behind them. She tried to hang on to Dracen, but he ripped his hand away from hers and followed the rest of the party (successful Health test) They ran down a stream into an unknown passageway, and facefirst into some giant bats. They tried to flee the bats but were swarmed and driven back in the direction that the came (failed Flee conflict, no compromise). They began to debate what they should do as the sound of shouting and footsteps pursued them, but argued for too long and Branden and the cultists emerged from the shadows, their knives bloodied and Branden enraged.

Next session: Enemies!