After Ungrid bashes in the wall, the party find another vault with yet another bronze statue of the dwarf god, surrounded by six locked iron chests inscribed with runes; and in an alcove rests another warhammer, fancy but not as ornate and clunky as the one Ungrid picked up. Expecting the statue to animate if the chests are tampered with, Halmary attempts to tie the statues arms with rope, but that actually triggers the statue’s animation and it wades in to attack: everyone retaliates, Xellos getting scorched by spraying molten rock as the bronze is cut, but even with that hazard, the statue falls to the floor in a puddle of melting metal; all over in a matter of seconds really.
Corvin checks the warhammer and chests for traps, disarming those he finds, breaking open the locks on those he’s unsure about; one chest’s trap catches him: a choking grip that almost kills him before he manages to shake it off, aided by a timely cure light wounds from Halmary. He piles the loot in the now bulging Bag of Holding, and everyone filters out and makes their way back to the broken corridor, intending on checking out the cavern. They use the Flying Carpet to get down, with ropes spiked into the floor of the corridor as a back-up, and spread out to explore. They find a river, with a giant catfish, and a ‘wood’ of coloured mushrooms: and a chimera that charges Ungrid, but is again easy prey to the combined efforts of the party: the multi-headed beast falls to a series of blows from Corvin, Hurin, Mim and a final stab from Sidni.
They leave the temple, cavern and mushrooms and head back out into the snow-covered mountain valley. They decide to head back to Hochoch, before taking the king back to the Dim Forest and his elves. They pack their bags, and hike for 43 days, taking the safer and well-trodden paths, arriving at the city towards the end of the first month of Spring in the new year.
And before the next session, this is what I sent to the players, as an update as to what has been happening during the months they’ve been away:
23rd Readying, CY 592,
It has been nearly five months since you left the Dim Forest to seek the elven king and bring him back to his people. Hochoch is crowded with soldiers, mercenaries, adventuring parties, and refugees. You manage to find a dormitory that you can rent for a few weeks, mainly because you have gold to throw around. Your drinking and merry-making has not gone unnoticed and there is a bit of bad feeling towards you from the other adventuring parties, and they shun you.
Here is what has been going on with regard to the war-effort:
- After allying themselves with the elves of the Oytwood the armies of Liberation, Retribution and their attached mercenaries liberated Preston, and with the aid of adventurers have managed to rout the giants and their allies from the forest. Preston was being rebuilt before winter fell;
- Midwood, a mist-shrouded fishing town, has a ‘friendly’ fog-giant that protects it in exchange for silver. After the townfolk warned adventuring parties off from killing him, the Duke has declared it off limits– for the time being– and has left them to it;
- The armies loaned to the Duke from the neighbouring countries Keoland and the Gran March have now left, sent back home to deal with their own matters. This has reduced the size of the army the Duke can muster to a rather pathetic number;
- The winter was harsh. Many more refugees managed to escape and found their way to the city, crowding its streets and putting pressure on the dwindling resources of the city;
- Last month, as the army was training on the edge of the city, getting ready for a Spring offensive, a mass of clouds that were overhead started raining boulders, decimating the army. The clouds moved off, against the wind, and divine prayers and wizardly spells say that it was a retaliation for attacks against the giant leaders…
It is near the end of the first month of Spring. Rumours abound that the giants are fortifying the towns they hold. The Duke’s army has been reduced to a mere 2,500 men (infantry and cavalry), and the mercenaries are starting to drift away, the gold the Duke pays them is running out, and the adventuring parties are heading off for pastures new, finding little profit in the slaying of giants.
Posters and notices, town-criers and heralds, are putting the word out that the Duke is looking for allies in the war, and that he is seeking people who are brave and willing to scout out the towns held by the giants, and report on the forces stationed there; so that a campaign against the giants can be planned.
Meanwhile, Hurin– the elf king– has sent word to his people, and a message has come back that they are now occupying the deserted town of Hocholve, awaiting his return. He has kept a low profile while in the city, not yet willing to form alliances with the Duke or anyone else.
A week has passed since you came back to the city, giving you a week to buy supplies, craft a level 1 potion or scroll; if you want to spend more time in the city, you can do. Hurin is willing to wait a month before he will leave for the Dim Forest to be reunited with his people.
He has also asked for your help: he wants you to act as his escort to his people, and might have a mission for them too, if they are willing…