Against the Cult of Chaos

Snakes in a Cave

Game Notes

The players of Brek, Honourable Martiris of Drayke, and Tarryn were unable to attend this session.

Session Summary

As the party examined the temple cellar after the battle, they suddenly realized that they didn't see the iron door that had brought them to the temple. After a quick double-check, they decided to save the door puzzle for a moment and interrogate the captured Sister Devi.

As the interrogation was about to begin, Brother Carell arrived. He explained that although Brek was still unconscious, his fever had broken, so the priest had hurried to the temple to aid the others. He also informed the group that while he had been ministering to Brek, Kevin had heard several people try to open the inn doors. The priest worried that the villagers may soon investigate the failure of the inn to open. Honourable Martiris, being a nobleman and skilled with the blade, volunteered to return to the inn and handle any curious authority figures or possible foes. The group wished him well as he departed the temple.

The party quickly filled in Brother Carell on their activities and the interrogation of Sister Devi began. Once her gag was removed, she claimed that the essence that had possessed Sir Moonbrook had possessed her as well. She had no control over herself and could only vaguely remember her actions. She believed the shrines led to a place of darkness, but could remember no more. She offered to lead the party through the portal and confront whatever evil was found on the other side to redeem herself, but the group did not trust her. They asked Sister Devi about the iron door but she only remembered that the door was somehow related to the wooden shelves between the shrines.

Brother Edmund and Brother Carell carefully searched the shelves. Brother Edmund found two vials of holy water while Brother Carell found a hidden switch. The switch allowed the shelves and a fake stone facade to swing open, revealing the iron door to the inn tunnel.

With the iron door mystery resolved and no more information remembered by Sister Devi, the party prepared to travel through the corrupted shrines. They felt it would be unwise to leave the shocked Sister Euphema alone at the temple to watch over Sister Devi and await their return, so Tarryn was chosen to remain as a guard. Saying their good-byes to the acolyte and monk, the rest of the group spoke the inverted prayer and stepped through the flames of a shrine.

The party emerged in hot and humid darkness. Shiellapho and Tawnka could dimly see that the group was in a tunnel of damp earth. (Thank you, low-light vision! – Ed.) There was no obvious mechanism for returning to the Temple of the Lawbringer. The group could hear the sound of lapping water, over which faint moans and cries of pain and fear could be heard.

Before continuing, Brother Carell lit a torch to provide light for the human priests. They cautiously followed the tunnel and discovered a large chamber containing the black waters of an underground lake. A sturdy wooden raft and long pole rested on the rocky ledge outside the tunnel. The sounds of suffering were louder but their source could not be seen.

With little choice but to continue, the group piled unto the raft. Tawnka took control of the long pole and quickly began pushing the raft across the dark waters. Worrying that any foes might see their light approaching, Brother Carell actually extinguished his torch, leaving the priests blind.

As Tawnka maneuvered the raft around a corner of the large cavern, she and Shiellapho saw another dry rocky ledge ahead. A group of roughly a dozen bound prisoners huddled in the dark. A shadowy, enormous shape rose up from the prisoners' midst. It had a large serpent-like body topped with an almost-human female head. The brow of the creature was adorned with a black circlet set with seven dull, green gems. A mouth full of sharp teeth could be seen as the serpent-woman spoke: "Only fools come before me willingly, but even fools can serve me, either as minions or as a meal." It seemed that the party had found the Reptile God.

Tawnka quickly drove the raft onto the rocky ledge-shore and a vicious battle ensued. Brother Carell once again lit a torch to allow him and Brother Edmund to fully participate. With their sight restored, the priests recognized the serpent-woman as a naga, an immortal guardian that protected knowledge, rituals, magic items, and/or magical locations. Unfortunately, this information did not help them considerably when the naga breathed a cloud of poison at the group (killing two of the prisoners who happened to be in the area of effect). An ill-aimed lance of faith from Brother Edmund also killed one of the prisoners. With the prisoners huddled around the naga, it was better to enter into a melee with the naga. Of course, fueled by her berserker rage, Tawnka wasted no time before doing this while Brother Carell engaged the slimy evil priest, Garath, who had been trying to hide amongst the poor prisoners. Tawnka's mighty blows combined with Shiellapho's magic missiles quickly laid low the great naga, but her priest would not let her fail so easily. He managed to call upon magic to heal his god before being defeated by Brother Carell, bringing the naga back from the brink of death.

Meanwhile, a new foe entered the fray from the dark waters of the lake. An obviously dead and bloated corpse pulled itself up to the rocky shore. Brother Edmund recognized it as a dangerous wight, an intelligent undead creature with an intense hatred of the living and the ability to drain their life force. Fortunately, he was able to avoid its draining attacks until finally destroying it with radiant, life-giving energy from a cure light wounds spell.

The others were just as successful in battle, although there was a moment of doubt when the naga magically mesmerized Tawnka and commanded her to attack Shiellapho. The dwarf managed to shake off the magic of the charm just as Brother Carell removed the naga's head from her body.

In the aftermath of the battle, the priests examined the poor prisoners who had obviously suffered both mentally and physically. Many were in a dazed stupor, having repeatedly been targets of the naga's magical charm. One prisoner who was physically weak but still mentally strong was Canoness Yeeday. She helped to organize the freed prisoners and warned the party that the circlet worn by the naga was a powerful evil artifact.

Two other prisoners were of particular interest to the heroes: their missing halfling adventuring companions, Corbin and Chef. The group had wondered about their fates after finding their names in Bertram Beswill's book. The halflings were weak from captivity, but they had not been prisoners long and tried to help with the other prisoners as best they could.

Although warned by the canoness, Shiellapho could not help but be interested in the magical circlet worn by the naga. After all, what secrets might it reveal? What powers might it provide? As he removed it from the severed head, he felt the same dark, repugnant aura around it as he did from the Scroll of Final Words.

No sooner was the circlet removed than mocking laughter emerged from the artifact. The walls of the cavern began to collapse, forcing the party and the rescued prisoners to race through a nearby tunnel. The heroes led the prisoners to freedom, avoiding falling rocks, swamp gas, and fissures along the way. They had barely reached the outside world before the tunnel collapsed behind them.


Aahz Aahz

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