SC11.02: Beneath Claw’s Cliffs

The level 11 Silvers for this session

In order of initiative

Garth, mountain dwarf fighter wielding the Ungart hammer;
Richlen, high elf paladin wielding the longsword Alagondar;
Dain, hill dwarf bard

Randomly assisted by Vernon, human wizard, wielding Surtr’s Scathe;
and Murcomb, half orc ranger

The Silvers begin on 160xp below level 12 and end on 136

The story so far

The Silvers are on the trail of a vision glimpsed at altar of Bahamut inside the lair of Lhammaruntosz the bronze dragon. A vision of the fall of Leilon, an ancient green dragon, the shadow of Ebondeath, and a ritual. Lhammaruntosz bade them venture into Kryptgarden forest to seek the lair of Claugiyliamatar, the ancient green!

You gotta keep ’em separated

As the echoes of Shatter are swallowed up in the dense greenery the Silvers look about and assure themselves that the Flame Skull, just destroyed, had no further ghoul minions. Dain sees Rich waving to draw their attention – the tall high elf is quite some way off through the dense undergrowth, toeing something.

The Flame Skull is slowly, piece by piece, edging back together!

“Ach, that’s a nuisance,” grumbles Dain. “Vern? What d’ye make o’ this?”

A couple of arcana checks later, Vern delegates spadework to Garth. Two holes are dug, and the visible Flameskull fragments buried well apart.

Rest now or push on?

Vern has been whining that he got knocked about a bit, but Rich – checking and finding the wizard has his spells still – votes to push on. Murcomb warns them that the going is getting really tough for the mounts. But the big half-orc notices something as he joins them to make this point:

“Those ghouls trod quite some trail – if we stick to it, shouldn’t be too bad.”

Indeed the undead invasion seems to have left a decent trail, despite the green dragon’s presence. Bringing the horses – all afoot for fear of causing their mounts to go lame – they press on.

Rattle of bone

The going is well for a couple more hours of vaguely north-easterly movement. Then:

“Laddies… we’re in the green dragon’s full effects… we must be on its doorstep, gi’e or tak’ a mile.”

Dain is right. The sky can no longer even be glimpsed. Now, thickets have tangled into solid maze-walls. Walls woven through with bones. Small venomous snakes wiggle underfoot. Thorns tear even tough leggings. Red-eyed squirrels peer from foliage. The cloying stench of decay is everywhere.

“Anyone else getting the heebie jeebies?” – Garth

“If we hoped tae s’prise yon dragon we can set the notion aside” – Dain

Pausing to consider whether they had best rest now or later, they spot warriors pushing towards them from the north. Some seem delayed by some kind of growth or vine, sprouting from within a thicket.

Garth stomps through the thick undergrowth and challenges the one he can more or less see:

“Stand! Friend or foe?”

Instead of a normal voice, an eerie hollow laugh rattles through the thicket. Garth’s knees shake a little and he finds he cannot advance – until like a large leaping biped, Rich bounds over to land beside him:

“Concentrate on the one in the open!”

“They’re undead! Vern, close on Rich!” – Dain

Wight

Both paladin and wizard blast the oncoming bony warrior, weakening it. As it reaches the shielded pair, Garth whirls the Ungard hammer about and slams it through the thing’s ribs, but his backswing is messed up by bits of rotting cloth.

“Ye’re looking poorly – have a wee lie down” Dain mocks which finishes the thing, just as its other four brethren burst past whatever it was trying to hold them back, and close on the group.

Vern lights up Surtr’s Scathe and clobbers the nearest one. A powerful blow! [crit] Dain once more summons gamboling fey Spirit Guardians. Then with many a crash and slam and screech of rusting blade the battle is on in full!

“Garth! D’ya see that?! I felled two with my quarterstaff! I’m a natural war-wizard!” – Vern

“Yep, yer in th’ front line now Vern!”

“Uh, no, that’s OK…”

Scouting ahead

With that survived there is much less opposition to Murcomb’s next observation:

“Ah ain’t contracted for it but we must be close, ‘cordin’ to Dain thar. Ah c’n scout ahead, see how the lair sets? Twenty more gold a’right?”

“I’ll gladly pay forty! You’ve been so helpful…” – Rich

The Silvers owe Murcomb 320 gold (total)

As they wait, since the undead battle has left the ground quiet for now, they are able to take a

Short Rest (Vern rolls only 1 HD and is near full, regains a spell using Arcane Recovery)

Murcomb takes the full hour and a little more. He has crept around a cliff, with three possible entrances. He spotted statues of folk that seem to be important folk from these parts. (Murcomb is from far parts and not that familiar with local lore, regardless of rolling a 20.) He sketches:

“Lotta bones, specially round th’ center cliff thar,” he adds.

“So… the mounts stay back where the land isn’t so dangerous, Murcomb guards them, we head on with what we can carry,” is the verdict.

“I say it agin: shoulda brung an axe,” Garth grumbles, looking venomously at a small green snake that flicks its tongue at him.

A distinctly hostile welcome

Carefully navigating toward the ground-level opening Murcomb noted, the Silvers ease through somewhat more open ground. Bones crunch endlessly underfoot.

All the cliff faces are vine clad. They can barely guess where the low cave mouth is, behind the vines. At least the ground is clearer: but those trees standing here seem to contain fragments of bone and leather.

Rich cocks an ear as they near the cliff, then scans along it. A couple of whitish pillar like things up at the central cave may be statues. He is pretty sure he heard something…

“That was an owlbear screech, huh?” – Garth

“Aye, nae doubt o’ it – owlbear” – Dain

But it’s not an owlbear they have to contend with to begin with! As Dain peers into the vine-wrapped cave, vines creep along the ground towards him! Then from among the trees south of them, Rich spots two or three moving… things… so well hidden by the undergrowth that it is only his height that allows him to note the approach.

Wood Woad

Three wood woads, strange creations of foliage and undead remnant, order themselves carefully then once ready, attack in force! As the Silvers form up, vines creep toward them from behind!

Vern flames on with Surtr’s Scathe again but this time his warrior-worth has deserted him, and after a couple of hammer-like clubbings he stumbles back. Dain, once again calling up Spirit Guardians, warns him of the vines.

Garth receives three whacks from the woads and Rich too is injured as he steps out of formation to hurl his Javelin of Lighting across two. As Garth predicted, the Ungart hammer does relatively poorly against these foes. The wood woads slowly succumb, but just as the last falls, two owlbears charge! They have clambered all the way down from the highest cavern entrance and one piles so hard onto Vern he is flattened!

“Halp! I’m in the front line! I’m under the front line! Saaaave meeee!”

Using his unimpressive Acrobatics Vern wiggles out from under and hides behind Dain. But the battle itself is never in doubt! The Ungart Hammer and Alagondar make quick work of even massive creatures like these. And as Dain lays the last one in the dirt with an unkind comment about its parentage, they are once again left to wonder how best to get into the cavern.

Vern drinks a Greater Healing and is slightly better than 1/3 health

Who guards the guardians that bow before the guardians?

Assassin Vine

“I hae it! Yon vines are harmed by mah fey guardians – watch!”

As Dain pushes his fey guardian circle into the cave mouth and waits for a few seconds, the vines writhe in pain and wilt, drawing away.

By this means, they move at about one-third pace, into the cavern. As they guessed, it is a tunnel or passage, leading up by shallow steps. And as Murcomb noted, broad enough to easily allow horses in.

At length the passage widens, and becomes webbed. As they stare about, strange semi-visible spider forms are seen. And what are those, moving just beyond?

And with that reveal, the session ends.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s