This adventure involved the band of adventurers led by Shale making their move against a cult dedicated to Hades that had been plaguing both the group -- including killing their friend Illiger and nearly killing other members of the party -- and the city of Agropthos during its Day of Change festival. Several members of the group began the morning of the third day of the festival intending to gather information from the cult's lair, north of the city in the Cardillic Desert.
Before the crawl
While Gilbert Sullivan stayed behind to occupy the party's performance space on the festival grounds, Maialen took on the job of distributing promotional material for the Carrolwood Entertainment District so that Dudex, a Halfling diviner of the party's acquaintance, could accompany the scouting team and cast a scry spell. To that end, the party went to the Eastern Palms Inn to meet with Dudex's superior, Lord Gairevander, with whom the party had worked previously. Gaire provided money for the deposit with which the group procured two flying carpets, one to be driven by Rin and the other by a hired hand named Lufo, and departed the city. They were accompanied by Rusus, who rode her bonded giant footpad lizard.
The party set up behind a sand dune about a mile and a half away from the ruins, erecting a tent so that Dudex could cast the spell. Although he was able to see inside the buildings, everything was dark except for a few faintly glowing objects, and heard only some running water and the sound of a door closing. At one point, Dudex also saw a shadow pass across one of the lights. Blaven noted that he'd heard about shadows who could actually attack people, which raised some eyebrows. Makoto went out to sniff around the area, but she too found little other than a small burrow in the sand.
As the party discussed their next move, Lufo shouted an alarm as a group of bandits came over the dune. As he left on one of the carpets, the party briefly bantered with the thieves, ending with the two sides exchanging missile fire. While most of the bandits charged into melee, one made a beeline for the other carpet. They carried it back behind the dune, but were unable to get it off the ground before Rin wrested it from them with the aid of a grease spell from Bardo. The party decided to retreat back to the city, where Emi and Shale escorted Dudex back to the Eastern Palms while Bardo returned to the School of the Sea to attempt to acquire another scroll from Allagaeira, her mentor. Meanwhile, the others settled in at the Dune Trail.
As the party discussed what to do next, they were joined by Hafsa, an Elven ranger of their acquaintance. She offered to guide them out to the ruins to help them avoid detection. Bardo returned, and after some inquiries decided to ask for a scroll of protection from fiends rather than another scrying spell. The party decided to try once more to gather support, so Klaven and Blaven went back to the temple of Laurent to seek out old friend Al Sha'in; Emi, Makoto and Solidus went to talk with Gaire; Bardo returned once more to her school, with Rin in tow, to research the demon that had been in the warehouse when Illiger had been invited to the cult's ritual; and Shale and Rakeor went to the temple of Nevis.
The Dwarven brothers found Al Sha'in eating dinner, and while she couldn't join them, she did give Klaven a luckstone. Gaire, too was reluctant to join the group, but invited the party to join him the next morning for breakfast. Shale learned a bit about shadows, including the fact that they are indeed undead, and secured another protective amulet. Bardo and Rin spoke with Allagaeira, who identified the demon as a rutterkin. She expressed surprise that the cult summoned a tanar'ri rather than a yugoloth, and gave Bardo a scroll which would protect against any type of fiend. After everyone exchanged information, they called it a night.
When Shale prayed to Perasin the next morning, he told her that the cult was likely attempting to summon an avatar of Hades. Before breakfast, the party purchased a vial of holy water, while Solidus acquired two of holy oil, and Gilbert cast armor on the remaining members who needed it. They all conferred with Gairevander over the meal, and after hearing the whole of their tale -- and after Gilbert volunteered to run Carrolwood's booth -- he agreed to accompany them to the ruins.
Approaching the ruins
While Gaire familiarized himself with the newer members of the group, the party picked up two camels from the temple of Sedric and headed out into the desert. They made their way to the same area where they'd camped the previous day, and Makoto went out to scout along with Emi and Bardo's familiar, Hecate. They discovered a large trash pile on the north side of the wall, and a tentacle snaked out of it toward Emi before they retreated to join the party.
After being filled in, the party decided to split up, leaving their mounts with Hafsa. The main group went around to the east as a distraction while Solidus went in to cast detect enemies with Rusus as a guard. The spell came up empty, and once they regrouped the party set out on their infiltration.
Inside the ruins
Emi went to the main door of the central building to check it for traps and such, with Blaven and Klaven along as guards. Makoto did the same at the side door on the west side while Rusus and Shale poked through a nearby pile of rubble. Bardo and Solidus waited at the corner of the building to keep an eye on both groups. Gairevander, Rakeor and Maialen checked out a smaller shed in the corner of the courtyard. Rin and Siege stayed on the keep wall, with Rin prepared to send up a smokeball at the first sign of trouble.
After Makoto had finished her check, she started to leave, but soon barking could be heard from inside the building. As the commotion increased, Rin signaled the rest of the party, but before anyone could come around the side door opened and a figure released two large, two-headed dogs into the courtyard. Solidus immediately cast sunscorch, and Bardo let loose Melf's acid arrow, seriously injuring one of the dogs. Everyone else soon surrounded the other dogs and they were quickly finished off.
Everyone returned to their previous positions, and the shed was discovered to be filled with barrels of lamp oil. Attempts to see through the window next to the side door uncovered some sort of magical concealment of the area within, along with some kind of magical fear-inducing effect. Once Emi told everyone that the front door was open, the group created a distraction by bringing two barrels of oil to the side door and setting them on fire.
Inside the temple
The party soon entered through the main door, finding themselves in a large foyer. While Hecate went to the far end of the room, Makoto went to the door across from the main entrance, but when she touched the door was blown back by an electrical jolt. Immediately, the floor opened up beneath everyone, sending them plummeting down a chute while the confused familiar watched with curiosity...
Cast of characters
This adventure is being run by Shelley Proulx. Below is a list of characters who have been involved at one point or another:
- Bardo - run by Syd Howard
- Blaven - NPC
- Dudex - run by John Proulx
- Emi - NPC
- Gairevander - run by John Proulx
- Gilbert Sullivan - run by John Proulx
- Hafsa - run by John Proulx
- Klaven - run by Syd Howard
- Maialen - run by Penelope Romero
- Makoto - run by Lou McLeary
- Rakeor - NPC
- Rin - run by John Proulx
- Rusus - run by Penelope Romero
- Shale - run by Lou McLeary
- Siege - run by Phil Vlasak
- Solidus - run by Phil Vlasak
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