This was the wrap up of Candlewick Keep for the party, involving them crawling over places they couldn't get to before and maybe getting some questions answered. There was some treasure to be found and the group did so without issue - nothing overpowered for a group of 2/3/4th level players. And certainly nothing that'll get them rich. Should have enough to pay off the retainers, train, re-equip, and get a few small cool items and then off again.
The followers of Hestia were left alive (wounded of course) @ the end and in the long term, I am going to use that bit of crumpet. And for the paladin, there was the continuous defiling of the Chapel of Zeus which also will have its own impact @ some point.
Write up follows:
It was 10 to 10 on Birthmonth the 25th when we left the Chapel and made our way back to Candlewick Keep and made our way to the now seemingly silent 2nd floor. After all the people and life we had seen and experienced, it was disturbing to walk around the keep with it so quiet.
We checked the eastern corridor, still blocked by the barricade of furniture the yuan-ti had set up some time ago. We felt no presence of evil, and saw no easy way through. We then decided to look over the door there. Fist’al assured us it was free of traps and unlocked, and after opening it, saw it was at one point an armory for the keep, now abandoned. Translucent snake scales the size of coins abounded but other than that, there was nothing in here. A 2nd door led to the north.
We opened it and looked carefully. We exited on the other side of the barricade in a 5’ wide hall that ran to the east ending at a door (which we assumed would lead to the eastern side of the parapet). There were two corridors here running north, both of them with doors on both sides, reaching off into the gloom. According to our map, it seemed this was originally servants’ quarters.
We wanted to check them both out, but after going back and forth, felt very uncomfortable about either. So Bill summoned a monster, getting a giant, 15# rat to appear. Marcus applied a light spell to the rat and then the Halfling sent it up the closer passage first, where it ran about half way and then stopped, refusing to go past the 2nd door on the left. Bill called it back and then did the same to the other passage, where it went almost to the end and stopped again.
The spell ended and we went over our choices, deciding on the right most corridor. We proceeded with caution but a touch with calamity befell us when coming from one of the right hand doors, a 5’ asp slithered out and bit Fist’al on the leg. Luckily it only struck his boot and then the reptile raced under the adjoining door on the left. We hit at it, but the snake escaped.
No longer wanting to risk this, we left the corridor and returned to the armory room. Here we all put on boots if we had them, and thought about how we can block the base of the doors so no other snakes could come out and bite us. We went back to Kronig’s room and took the bedding from there, estimating we had enough to block 3 doors. We were going to need more.
We searched over the former half-elves area, nothing of use. We did go back to the crazies/Hestians area and found some very soiled clothes, nut no sign of the Hestians. We guessed we had enough now to block off 8 of the doorways so went to head back to the former yuan-ti side, opting this time to check out the barricade closer to Kronig’s room.
It was here we saw a change. The barricade had been dismantled and spread to either side, offering a narrow passage through to the room beyond. An internal portcullis was down here, preventing anyone from getting in. We looked around for a lever to lift it and found none. So Fist’al crept up to the bars and used his mirror to look around the corner and see if he could find a lever.
He did so. Along with less than half-dozen of the followers of Hestia. They were crouched there, each one naked, covered in dried feces, and sporting very old ceremonial weapons they took off the wall.
We had conversation with them, Borthek (the speaker) was complaining that we ruined everything. We tried to counter that the Crimson Sanctuary was probably never supposed to last 15 years and it degenerated to snarls and complaints and then outright violence as we tried to physically lift the bars and they sent two of their men forward to stop us with spear thrusts. We countered with arrows and they fell back screaming.
That was when Marcus cast Charm Person on one of them and begged him to lift the gate. The remaining Hestians tried to stop him and a struggle ensued. At this point Ben and Marcus each grabbed one of the bars of the portcullis and began wrenching left and right, the metal squealing until they snapped off. We were in.
The battle (was it even one?) after that was short and brutal as we killed one of them and wounded the others. The fight out of them, Borthek moaned and railed against us but we came in, took the statue of Zeus that we wanted (as well as some other treasures!) and then left. The Charmed Hestian, Geld, came with us and wanted to get cleaned up and wear clothes again. We detoured to the former Bullywug area and used their baths while the majority of us then went down to the main hall and dismantled the goblin door mechanism…especially since it was built on top of a cart!
It was going to take many hours and Fergus was going to be doing much of the work. Meanwhile we then explored Tindoreg’s area, hoping he had left something behind we could use. Some of it was there, but anything of serious use was taken. There were some books about Candlewick and some of the bugbear’s notes filled the margins. In our reading we learned about other doors that were hidden that hadn’t been able to open, as well as one of them in Sisspak’s area that the frustrated yuan-ti had liberally had his minion spit poison all over it until it was deadly for anyone to touch.
We went to the goblin secret area first and behind the midden was another door. We opened it and discovered: 2 bags of food and 2 water skins (empty each), Medium metal shield, 3 broad swords (1 ornate), 4 daggers, 2 footman maces, 4 scroll tubes, and a small wooden box with healing draughts, potions, and potions of rejuvenation. Whoo hoo!
As for the upstairs door, we wanted some new spells ready and Marcus offered to study while we got our items ready. A few of us continued to explore and discovered that one of the tower’s bases did lead to the moat itself, but it seemed dangerous to cross (diseases). By dinner time spells had been restudies and Fergus was done with the cart, assuring us it would need to be pulled, but would carry 500 lbs without danger of falling apart, more than that it began to get dicey.
We went up to the 2nd floor to the door we expected was marked with poison and was locked. A Detect Poison showed it was VERY poisoned and we did not want to touch it. What was inside? Was it worth the risk of dying? We weren’t sure and then had an idea. We drilled a hole in the wood with our auger, but could see nothing. So Marcus drilled three more holes close to each other in a square pattern and then smacked the weaken wood off with a hammer.
It was a small room, only maybe 5’ deep. There was some armor visible in the hole and some words above it. We decided to risk opening it, but again, the door was very poisoned. So we got another brainstorm. Bill went up to the door and cast summon monster through the opening…and this time he summoned a Zombie!
It took some work but he made the zombie understand it had to open the door (after is staggered around for a bit) and we were in! We found Lord Candlewick’s royal armor: Bronzed-steel banded mail, helm, large metal shield, trident, and steel broad sword, all chased in royal blue and bearing a candle crest on them. On the wall was a large stone semi-circular plaque that read, “Even the darkest night is broken by a single candle’s flame.” A candle sconce was just below it.
We took the armor and then decided to put a candle in the holder and light it.
The entire Keep seemed to lift beneath our feet and shake briefly. Light was streaming in from the outside windows. We raced to the windows and looked – the top of each of the towers now sported a 10’ tall bonfire flame of yellow and white. A beacon, probably visible for miles around.
We extinguished the candle and went back to the 1st floor where we rest and ate.
Flimflam and Fist’al went to go and talk to Davers, the dryad, but on seeing the comely elven scout, it was Flimflam who had the desire to walk away and the elf was taken to the dryad where they had a very enjoyable night together.
On the morn of the next day, Flimflam tried to go to Davers to get her to give up Fist’al, but the dryad said she would tire of him in a few years. Eventually Flimflam had to do a favor for her, she handed him some acorns from her tree and told him to plant them and then press his hands to the ground and make the plant grow. They would grow and eventually each tree would have dryads of their own. She the mother, him the father.
He agreed and Davers let Fist’al emerge from her trunk, happy, dirty, sated, and dully responsive. He guided the elf back to the party and we began the process of putting our affairs in order and finally leaving Candlewick for the long journey home.