Mages have to study. Sorcerers need 8 hours of sleep. But priests and paladins with their huge spell lists and seemingly incredible repository of skills at their bailiwick seem to have it pretty easy with only an hour of prayer effectively needed each day.
Until they turn away from their god's teachings.
I have played the game where players go on and on about how they don't want to have to pick a god. What's wrong with agnosticism or just not believing in it? Well, in the fantasy world, the god's DO exist - and their miracles are seen often. From simple globes of light and the curing of wounds to purifying food that has been spoiled or identifying poisons or blessings or creating water. The indisputable proof that the god's do exist and affect the mortal realm is not up for interpretation.
But this means that priests and paladins and druids need to pay special attention to their deity's ideals for if they stray from it - they will be punished.
As our friendly templar Karis discovered at the end of this session. We'll have to see how this wrinkle affects the party from this point out.
Write up follows:
We returned to the main area of the Temple of Thor and broke for lunch; the druid and priest dispensing healing as needed after our fight with the vortex creature guarding the inner sanctum. The party discussed options and plans and settled on what had been decided earlier – making their way to the end of the side road here and see if through any of the alley ways that there was passage to the other side of the chasm.
There was another doorway in the temple – this one seemingly would lead to the alleyway beyond. Upon looking it over it was discovered that it was wedged from our side with 3 stone wedges. Each of them there for decades and stuck tight. Karis used his crowbar and began banging and working the wedges out one at a time. It was making quite a bit of noise, so Zoltan, wearing the wolf’s head cap, wandered out into the main road and picked his way quietly to the alley, peering down it.
And clustered at the end of the alley near the same door they were hoping to enter, two large and hulking owlbears were investigating the noises. Crud.
The gypsy whistled off a quick spell and sent a silent Message to Karis – telling him that there were two owlbears here and to be warned. Just as the last wedge was pulled free. Weapons were readied and Zoltan decided to make things a little easy for the party. Waving his arms and opening his Continual Light locket, he shouted down the alley and one of the owlbears roared out “HRROOO-HAA!” and came loping down the alley towards him. Zoltan turned and ran out of the alley mouth and back towards the temple doors.
Karis tore the door open and stepped into the alley – sword leading the way and engaged the rear owlbear, causing it to stop its charge and turn and engage the templar. Gwyn readied his crossbow and attempted to follow, but the tight confines of the alley made any further aid useless. Detheron and his animal companions made to run to the Temple entrance to help Zoltan who could be heard outside the temple running back with an owlbear charging behind.
Amal, realizing he would not be able to help, hoisted one of the stout stone pews and holding it in front of him like a battering ram, raced towards the other “stuck” door of the temple and smashed it open; the orcish warrior spilling into the street amongst broken stone and the cracked portal. Zoltan ran faster, the owlbear rapidly on his behind. At the end of the street just shy of the door he attempted to run up the wall and “flip” over the owlbear from behind for a backstab – but misjudged and slid to the ground, bounding up at the last moment and tried to meet the beast head on.
Karis struggled in the confined space to drive the other owlbear back, but the hallway was restricting his fighting style. Gwyn dropped to one knee and the dwarf fired up and through the knight’s legs, crossbow bolt hitting the ursine monster and staggering it. Coruth’tae stayed, hoping for an opportunity to add his strengths to the fight.
Amal pulled out his hand axe and hurled it end over end, but it missed the owlbear and slapped into Zoltan, knocking the thief back and hurting him. The orc apologized and instead drew a 2nd one and ran into the fight traditionally. Fodder and Smokey joined in the struggle with Zoltan and the two druid’s companions took some of the blows off Zoltan (who was doing poorly at this time) and helped to right the struggle against the owlbear. Smokey had been struck hard in the nose and stunned, the owlbear stepping on the bear’s right arm, pinning it to the ground as it met Amal’s charge with beak and claw.
Karis and Gwyn continued to beat at the 1st owlbear, a two count of deep wounds causing it to turn and run. And then they heard a THIRD owlbear charging closer from the dim reaches of the alley! Karis said, “This one’s yours!” to the dwarf and ran at full speed with no care of defense after the fleeing owlbear he had wounded so badly.
Detheron finally arrived on the scene with Amal, Zoltan, and the two animals, his boar spear stabbing repeatedly at the beast. Between the 5 of them, the owlbear staggered and slumped over dead, Fodder performing the coup-de-grace by tearing the bellowing monster’s throat out.
Gwyn stepped back and tried to ready a crossbow bolt but Coruth’tae touched the door frame and caused an illusion of the wall to appear – “closing off” the alley and buying the dwarf some time. Enough time to step back a few spaces, listen intently, and trust to his instincts before firing through the illusionary wall. And criticalling the owlbear behind! The monster screeched in pain as the bolt tore into it and the dwarf swapped to his shield and scimitar.
Karis charged out of the alley intent on getting the badly wounded owlbear – but ran full head long into a NEW one coming down the main road to investigate the battle noises! He slammed his sword at it but the blow was not effective, and then the beast plied claw and beak on the half-ogre, seriously hurting him as it tore through armor and mail.
The party tried to run to Karis’ aid, Zoltan going slower and then stopping, his wounds too painful for him to chase after and help. Between everyone’s effort the beast the templar was fighting was beaten down and slain, and then the half ogre ran down to help the dwarf who was putting the last blows against the badly hurt monster and the battle was done.
Most of the party was pretty hurt and we had now faced 4 of the owlbears. In ones they aren’t so bad, but in pairs right after one another it taxed the group’s ability even though we had won. And there was going to be no rest (enough for sleep) for at least 5 hours – so holing up might be an option but we would be wasting valuable dungeoneering time. Detheron had an idea. Taking out Heimdall’s Bulwark, he placed the staff on the ground, had the party gather around him, and exerted his will to have the staff enact ‘Last Stance’.
The guardian weapon peeled off a crack of thunder while a prismatic shower of lights sprung up around the group in a 10’ circle making a rainbow ward and a final rumble seethed through the area and healed everyone in the party 20 hit points. Very nice! Yeah it uses multiple charges but it seemed effective.
Until we realized that the “show” just attracted every monster, creature, and beastie in the nearby vicinity. The tongue of a cave fisher shot out of the darkness rebounding off the rainbow ward, a half dozen dog sized spiders skittered towards us, and the “HRROO- HAA” noise of 2, no 3, no FOUR owlbears coming to investigate made the group shake their head and verbally rebuke the druid. We could not get out of the shielded area and the enemy couldn’t get to us. The wards last between 2 and 5 minutes before failing.
And then we would be swarmed.
So Detheron called on Frey and dropped a billowing cloud of fog over the party and the nearby area – blocking our view of the approaching beasts and their view of us. We heard some fighting out there as owlbears and cave fishers and large spiders began tearing into each other. And a few minutes later, hidden by the fog, the rainbow ward dropped and we ran into the Temple of Thor again – piling pews against the entrance and waiting for the sounds of the fighting to end outside.
We stayed inside quiet for almost 15 minutes before checking out the main road again. It was empty. Just spider bodies and some blood smears. The group still wanted to look at the back of this road as well as the alleys – there was hope for finding another way across. So we carefully picked our way from building to building (the first was some sort of dwarven glassblowers, but long ago smashed and destroyed.). We waited and watched, hoping to be ready for any sign of trouble.
The stink of owlbear was getting real strong and the last two places on the left side had been the most demolished of all the shops we had seen so far. We peered in and saw long dead bodies (cave fishers, gigantic bugs, goblinoids) and the wall between the two shops had been compromised, movement heard from the other place. Zoltan crept up to a shattered window and peered in, seeing at least 5 adult owl bears (one of them a female), maybe more, and 4 juvenile ones in some sort of ransacked and piled up den or nest.
Then he picked his way silently down the alley until he got close enough to the end to verify that, yes, there was a corridor that went in the direction of the rest of the Warrens on the other side of the chasm - before returning to the group and they moved back to discuss our options.
The decision to go past the owlbears and hope we could all sneak was discarded as we would most likely not be able to do it as a party. And fighting a lot of owlbears in the narrow alley would be difficult and eventually suicide. Possibly fighting the owlbears here in their own nest, with young nearby, would also be uncommonly foolish and risk the party being wiped out. We dickered over this for a bit until Zoltan postulated that the dwarves seemed to have built this place symmetrically – so if there was a “back way” in on this side – then there might be a “back way in” on the OTHER side of them complex! We had to this point in time, only looked over the North streets of the Warrens and none of the South ones.
Karis made a snap decision for the group and we were going to leave this area and the dangers of the owlbears and head towards the south halls to check them out instead. It was a bit of a shock for the group, but we figured it was a good call and we left the hall, crossed the Great Hall, and found our way to the third side hall on the other end.
It was designed the same as the others we had seen with old and long unused gates that could have closed once upon a time. There was a door on the corner edge of the hall and beyond it a fountain with some sort of red tinged water (Detheron investigated it, telling us it was full of minerals but safe to drink), and then beyond that shops and homes and alleys on both sides with the crystal veins overhead reflecting our lantern light all the way down.
We listened to the 1st door and Zoltan heard some staccato “clacking” sounds within. Popping it open, he saw it was a large and one time metal storage area with huge bins and shelves from floor to ceiling. A door was in the back of the dark warehouse, and there were easily a half dozen rust monsters in here and they were turning towards the noise the party was making…He shut the door.
The group wanted to go and see what was beyond the door in there and Karis and Gwyn began taking off their armor to go and do it – when the party realized – rust monsters do not “clack”. At all. There was something ELSE in there. And we hadn’t seen it. Hmmm…You know what? Taking off our armor to go into the rust monster room with the unknown baddie might not be a good idea!
We wanted to go further in and check out the place, it seemed to be a quiet section of the complex – but the first thing they wanted to know was if the “back door” corridor was here as well to get past the Chasm. Zoltan was volunteered (lucky gypsy!) to go down the alleyway and look. So he replaced the wolf’s head cap and walked along quietly. Staying in the alleyway, he walked about until he was able to make out that yes, there was an extended corridor here as well that went behind the complex and beyond.
Satisfied he turned and began to walk back when he felt something tugging on him. He pulled forward and slid his arms out of backpack and turned. His pack was hanging there in mid air, sort of shimmering like it was covered in something like glass or water. And the leather was dissolving away.
Crud – Gelatinous cube.
Figuring it was a lost cause, Zoltan returned to the party and informed them of the hungry alley sweeper that sucked down his pack as well as the corridor that kept going to the other side of the complex.
The party then wanted to check out the shops and see if there was anything of interest. Many shops but on a few standards were still hanging: Axesmith (runelocked doorway), Shieldsmith, Arbalests, and Temple to Odin. Nice. The party entered the temple. It was laid out similar to the Temple of Thor, except this one had felt the ravages of goblin or kobold searches and most everything in here had been taken and removed or spoiled. There was a runelocked door in the back of the place. The group decided to search the place completely.
Gwyn discovered some ancient dwarven papers hidden in the bottom of the pulpit which he gave to the druid and mage to decipher.
It was when Zoltan climbed the 20’ statue of Odin and spent considerable time fiddling with the All Father’s eye patch that he was able to lift the patch and reveal a hollow behind. In which was a 3” diameter red and black faintly glowing gem-like sphere. He brought it down and although it did glow the equivalent light of a candle, there was nothing else about it. The group guessed that it was roughly the same size or a tiny bit smaller than the opening in the 8’ tall iron and copper finned thing they had seen in the guard room. Would it fit in there? What would it do?
With still some time to kill the party wanted to have Detheron use his magic to bypass the runelocked door in the back of this place which most likely lead to the inner sanctum here. So the druid softened the stone wall and Amal, Karis, and Gwyn worked their shovels/picks/crowbars until a hole had been smashed through the stone wall.
They watched as a wind swept through: righting up objects and blowing away dust and lighting candles and chandeliers. And then in the back wall two stone panels slid up, revealing 3’x5’ openings in which oversized black stone raven statues were sitting – staring out into the room. What to do? The consensus was that if we took anything from here, the two statues would come to life and attack.
Then Zoltan remembered that he had picked up two vials of Brittlerock oil on the layer upstairs. Carefully he walked in, Gwyn and Karis standing with him, and poured the contents of the two vials on the statues – the stone becoming discolored and porous looking. Then he stood back and the two fighters readied weapons to swing – and the two stone ravens flew out to attack.
Talons tore through armor with ease and ripped flesh below. Gwyn swung and hit – and the raven statue exploded into rubble! Karis missed and the statue winged over his shoulder and assaulted him there. The party ran forward to help, Karis taking a surprising amount of damage – but the half ogre was able to sight his swing and the 2nd raven was struck and destroyed! Well done!
A quick detect magic followed and the party sorted out what they found. Some jewelry and items of interest like that. The pillow on the bed was magical – which was strange and the party had fun whacking each other with it (it DID hit with a loud “Pfft!” and really rock a head back – but what was it for?), as was a strange bone like spear that had the word “Hydra” upon it and pictographs of dragons and wyrms. There was a scroll of Mass Cure Moderate Wounds discovered amidst the desk too. And finally a ram’s horn with agate and feather fetishes that read “Clarion’s Call” upon it. When Gwyn had it it felt like nothing, but in Karis’ hand it felt warm.
We pocketed our gear and wandered out, hoping to hit a few more places before holing up for rest for the night somewhere safe. Upon going to the Shieldsmith’s though, the party heard goblin and kobold voices inside faint and laughing. Karis wanted to race in and exterminate them. A few of the party members went behind the shop to try and seal off the back door but the floating remains of a pack and the belongings once inside of it near there told them the gelatinous cube was still in the area and if the gobos went that way – they would have a problem.
So we gathered up and followed Karis in slowly. In the back of the place were a dozen or so of the goblins and kobolds, wearing simple homespun and eating a small collection of mice. They were not surprised at the party, in fact they called out to Karis in their language as if asking him something.
The templar wasted no time, running one of the goblins through and then whirling around and cleaving another one – slaying it outright. They humanoids stood up and began protesting and shouting and Karis was feeling a bit strange, but he swung again – killing a third one before it felt like something burst behind his eyes and he fell over knocked out.
To the rest of the group – as his sword clove the 3rd goblin, a spectral image of a buxom Viking woman with a horned helm appeared behind the knight and placed her hand inside his head – pulling something away before rising up and through the ceiling like mist.
The goblins and kobolds began running and the party let them go – watching them shout and clamor and run down the main road and back to the great Hall and gone. The party spent a few minutes waking up Karis (even smacking him with the magic pillow!) and when he woke up he felt different, like there was a haze over his heart or something. As he got to his feet, his holy symbol slipped from his neck – the mark of Tyr, god of war and justice, was cut in twain. His first words were, “I guess my god abandoned me.” Which earned him a terrible headache.
So he tried to say it again, and felt more pain – until it occurred to him that it wasn’t Tyr that turned from Karis – it was Karis that turned from and angered Tyr.
With the new wrinkle in the party’s makeup and wondering what we must do now, the game came to an end with about an hour or two of oil left in the lantern and the group getting weary.