Thursday, October 27, 2016

West Marches session 6

We only had the Friday session this past weekend. While everyone was keen to play again, a moment of lucidity came upon us regarding having things that needed to get done in the real world.

Rested and resupplied, the party set out to meet the farmers to see if the thefts had stopped, and of course to ask about the reward. There were several farmers together having a lively discussion as the party arrived at Grint's. With reward in hand, the farmers expressed their thanks for tackling the problem. For several days no livestock had been stolen. Then discussion turned to the reward.

Grint asked if the party would consider donating some of the reward to the families of the volunteers that were slain by the giant hornet. After a short discussion it was agreed that the full amount of 50 silver would be given.

Announcing that they were going back to the goblin cave for a further look, the party journeyed west. Arriving at the caves in the evening without incident, the investigation began. The cave was busy with flies and other insects, many feasting on the giant hornet corpse. The smell of decay in the air proved no deterrent for the explorers and they delved further into the cave.

Deeper within was a flowing stream amid stalactites and stalagmites. Cautiously the group moved along the path of the flowing water. The stream led them to a descending stepped area, the water tricking down into a pool. Between two small Stalagmites they stumbled upon a small pouch containing a vial containing a cloudy blue liquid which Rae pocketed for later examination. Ahead and to the side was another opening leading to a narrow crevice.

While Dorrak and Rae explored the pool, Zena crawled head first into the declining fissure while Mira prepared to follow in the event of trouble. Zena's senses were assaulted with horrific smells and the awareness of insects everywhere. Dorrak tried to get a clearer view into the pool and noticed some odd lumps on the bottom. Rae determined that the basin was nearly 4 feet in depth and it was decided she would wade in to try loosening and moving the larger lump.

Zena stood up into a larger space foul with the smell of sour milk, rotten meat, urine and feces. A mass of disgusting goo filled the cavern floor before her. Calling up the shaft Zena informed Mira of her findings then began rummaging through the bone strewn, sticky accumulation. Moving aside bones, thousands of maggots, and flies, she reached elbow deep seeking anything of value that might lie hidden beneath the midden. Despite the description given by her companion, Mira ventured into the narrow opening.

Retrieving the marble trophy from the water, Rae passed it to the dwarf. The back of the statuette was thick with a mineral crust, the front revealed a humanoid in robes though the face had been vandalized beyond the possibility of recognition. Dorrak regarded the find, noting that even in its current state there may be some value to justify keeping the figure, a point to which Rae agreed.

Fox had been keeping watch and grown bored. Calling to the others she suggested they explore toward the source of the stream. The party, split into different parts of the cavern agreed to try to meet up after Zena and Mira finished exploring the chamber above the waste. Climbing up into a makeshift bedroom Zena examined the dried grass mats about the floor. She discovered a small, cut diamond of some obvious quality.  Fox decided to move a short distance upstream and noted that the passage curved to the left. Not wanting to be any further separated from the group she waited and watched for activity.

Having identified the passage out of the sleeping chamber as the place where they slew the injured goblin, they hurried to rejoin the group moving through the entrance chamber and back around to the stream, and the others.

The party moved upstream, across slippery rocks, to the source. The water flowed in through tiny cracks and holes in the cavern wall. Another recess loomed beyond the tiny falls.

Moving to explore the dark corner, Fox met with a hungry large spider. The fight was tense with both the party and the spider unable to connect with their attacks until Fox brought it low with a magic missile spell.

Exhausted by the investigation and lateness of the hour, they set camp in the passage between the stream and the entrance chamber. It was restful until the last watch when Zena noticed movement of the giant hornet corpse and quickly woke the others.

Bursting from the hornet's abdomen several giant centipedes rushed toward the groggy crew. Zena and Mira held them at bay, slaying two of the venomous insects and casting sleep on the writhing remainder. The companions grabbed their belongings and ran from the cave into the early morning light before the other centipedes could fully emerge.

Avoiding pursuit the party marched back to town. Fortunately Zena and Mira made their poison saves to avoid disease from their exposure to the midden goo.

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