HDQ2.01: Mission: Chauntea’s Temple

The level two heroes for this session

In alphabetic order

Brog Firebeard, Life Cleric of Chauntea;
Kalanar, Great-weapon style Fighter;
Lapis, two-sword Rogue;
Worm, Mobile Monk;
Zebedee, Bladesinger Wizard

The story so far

Greenest under attack! A dragon no longer wheels over the keep, but the streets are menaced by gangs of kobolds and armed dragon cultists. Now the dragon is gone, villagers flock to the safety of the keep and joining them is our team of heroes.

Greenest Keep

The keep’s flaring torches and braziers illuminate a roiling mass of confused and frightened townsfolk. As he tries to avoid being trampled Zebedee hears a description of humanoids that give one another a five-finger salute, and say things like ‘the queen that will rise.’ He files it away.

A little down the road, Worm loops back to check on the wider team: the mob characters are making their way out of the smoke-gusting town square, leading the ox and donkey. The animals are piled high with everyone’s pack.

Where’s the wagon? and cart?” – Worm

“We had to hide them” – Bella

Meanwhile Lapis has checked in with his Watch Commander who welcomes him back, asks him to get his team squared away, then report to Castellan Escobert. Only about a third of the Town Watch is visible along the walls.

Castellan Escobert

A mountain dwarf whose years of service in these lands have not quite rubbed the edge of his accent. His fiery tangle of red hair sprouts through his helm and gorget. He nods to Zebedee and asks if he is a magic user. Such being the case he asks Zeb to report to Mistress Bambine up in the tower.

Wizard Bambine

Legs aching from the stiff climb Zeb emerges onto the level below the turret itself. An elderly and rather ugly woman dominates the room with her presence. Her robe spreads wide as her hip width dictates, she bears a martial-looking stave, and ingredient pouches bedeck her person.

They each introduce themselves and Bambine welcomes the reinforcement. She gestures to an arrow-slit and asks the gnome to see what he makes out, to the south-east.

It’s the chanting that draws Zeb’s eyes to pinpricks of light, seemingly in a procession. Evil chanting, that gloats over the death by burning of all those within! There must be at least a dozen voices, and kobold yips mingled among them.

“It’s the great temple to Chauntea,” Bambine explains gravely. “I fear all the parishioners within will perish unless a rescue is mounted.”

Mission: Rescue the folk trapped in the temple

Lapis has by now organized his team (his by virtue that he is playing host, this is his home town after all) and they learn that since they are now here and fit enough, Governor Nighthill will need them. The man himself, advanced in years but still keeping his dark hair and commanding gaze, joins them and Escobert in the Warrior Hall. It is outfitted as a comfortable residence for the Castellan, though now being refitted for war.

The governor speaks stirringly of the heroism needed in times like these, then heads away saying he will leave the detail to Escobert. He half-checks as though thinking of another task, then mutters, “no, one thing at a time,” and carries on out to speak to the mob characters.

Escobert explains that they are needed in the south-east of town. A number of townsfolk fled to the great temple to Chauntea. But now they are menaced by fire. Zeb explains what he has heard and gives a wisely conservative estimate of number.

“There lies, under the keep tower, a tunnel laid to bring water from the stream in times of siege,” Escobert states. “It has na’ been used for a generation of man, but will let ye go safe and unseen. Once at the stream, keep to it and make along by the temple.” He sketches the relationship of outlet, stream, and temple.

The disused tunnel

Rats! Lapis has volunteered himself to go scouting and Brog is second, so that Kal can see over him. The lead two suffer as a wave of rats scrabbles over them! Followed by a second wave!

As Lapis and Kal splatter rat bodies, Brog learns that rats are harder to hit than he expects. He manages to severely chip the tunnel face, is all. A Fire Bolt crashes over his

head, then another zips past his ear. Fearing that Zeb’s “help” may be fatal, Brog hurls Guiding Bolt! Badly! It crashes over he and Lapis, killing all the remaining rats but laying Lapis low as well.

A number of seconds of jostling and re-positioning later Lapis is restored to the kind of fitness he used to enjoy as a level one, the party reforms, and Zeb takes the lead, Worm behind him.

“I got a plan for the grate, and it involves my boot” – Kal

The outlet and the searchers

Worm and Zeb halt the party then send it back a ways.

“Maybe half a dozen cultists, searching for refugees” – Zeb

“And the grate is corroded, it won’t be as easy as kicking it open” – Worm

Lapis produces his Thieves Tools and creeps down. Bit by bit he scrapes the rust away and adds oil, and some seven minutes later, with the searchers moving on, is rewarded by getting the lock free.

What we need is a distraction inside a distraction

Not long later the five push as quietly as they can up away from the stream bank and into the bushes near the temple. As Escobert has briefed them, a low stone wall surrounds the place. It is just there to keep stock out, and the taller among the heroes can easily see the heads and shoulders of about four men, and the tops of three or four kobolds’ heads. They are gathering sticks and trying to build a fire up against a doorway.

But that is not all! The procession Zeb heard is still going. A weaving, shouting, singing procession of kobolds, men, and four-legged dragon-like creatures, as large as the largest dog.

Kal grits his teeth and cools himself down. His father was slain by a drake – and his blood calls for vengeance!

The heroes make a plan. It revolves around an image, cast by Zeb, which will distract some of the burn-party. Hopefully at the right time for the parade to not be present.

Dumb luck works as well as anything

Not only do the members of the burn party not see the grisly image of an undead-like arm poking up from a bush near them, but the entire procession comes round again, and passes right by it, blind to it.

But then by good dumb luck, a kobold does notice! It yips and leaps back!

Worm pumps his legs and whips across the wall, lands by the kobold, strikes it dead with a knee, then leaps back over the wall into hiding.

None of the others of the burn party notice.

Kal flexes his shoulders and stands, drawing his longbow:

“They will notice this!”

He looses, a heavy arrow suddenly appears in a man’s neck, and he staggers around screaming.

“Where did that come from??!!” – other cultists

To help them, Kal drops the bow, vaults over the wall with a clash of chainmail, and stands erect, ready to draw hand-axes.

The fight is on!

Zeb yells mockingly at the kobolds and blows one’s head off with Fire Bolt. The other two scream in rage and race to the wall. This leaves them open to Lapis who pops up from behind it and murders one.

Brog, with a well-aimed crossbow bolt, drops the wounded man dead before he can get help. The other three men – obviously cultists – line up ready to fight the one armored man they can see. Worm suddenly appears again, uses a knee-elbow-fist combo to kill one and wound another, then retreats behind Kal.

Kal launches himself forward, and the fight is short and one-sided. Lapis and Zeb clear up the last kobold.

Chauntea’s Temple

The party assembles and hauls the burning brands away from what must be the back temple door. Kal hammers boldly with gauntleted fist:

“We are friends here to rescue you! Evacuate while the coast is clear!”

Kal uses Inspiration to get to Persuasion 22

Kal’s words seem to carry conviction and those within unbar the door and allow the party in. They are in a robing or withdrawing area behind the nave, and screened off from it. Only two parishioners are here, but the noise and smell of many fearful people beyond the screen is obvious. And as the priest is told what has transpired, the session ends.

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