Against the Cult of Chaos

The Root of Evil

Party
Game Notes

Both the players of Brek and Brother Carell Gaunt were unable to attend this session.

Session Summary

After exploring the tunnel, the party returned to the Golden Grain Inn. Upon entering the common room, they found Kevin sitting at the table with the unconscious Brek, Shiellapho, and Brother Edmund. He had Brek's battleaxe next to him as he enjoyed a bowl of pudding. When he saw Martiris, he explained that he had barred the inn's door after Ernesto left and had been guarding the others ever since.

With the help of Brother Carell, both Shiellapho and Brother Edmund regained consciousness. However, Brek seemed to be having a bad reaction to whatever had been added to the drinks by Derek Desleigh. He was feverish and drenched in sweat. Brother Carell moved him to his bedroom while the others explained to Shiellapho and Brother Edmund what had transpired. Shiellapho had heard tales of frog-like denizens of the swamp and was able to identify their non-human opponents as bullywugs.

As they pondered the riddle of the names in the found ledger, Shiellapho hit upon the idea of speaking with Vilma Merridie, the grandmother of their travelling companion, Carjo. Carjo had told them she had lived in the village for over a century; she might recognize the names! Leaving Brother Carell to tend to the ill Brek, the group hurried to Vilma's cottage.

Although the hour was late, once Vilma realized whom they were, she welcomed the party to her home. She answered their questions about the ledger, and although she didn’t recognize all the names, she did recognize most. The party determined that the individuals listed included both followers of the Old Faith as well as the Lawbringer. Those whose names were circled could still be found in town, but anyone whose name was crossed out or unmarked had disappeared or was thought to have moved away. The group thanked her for her time and returned to the inn.

Eventually, everyone decided they needed rest after the battles of the day. They blocked the cellar door with furniture in order to be alerted to any trouble from below and retired to their rooms. (Normally, the priests slept at the Temple of the Lawbringer, but for tonight, the clerics found a spare room for themselves and shared shifts caring for Brek.)

The party decided the next morning that they should investigate the temple and determine exactly where the iron door was located. Unfortunately, Brek was still terribly sick. Brother Carell agreed to stay and care for the dwarf. He would also perform burial rituals for the bodies in the cellar (intended to ward off undeath).

Once at the temple, the group was greeted by Sister Euphema. When they asked to speak with Sister Devi, the acolyte explained that Sister Devi was upstairs praying over Sir Moonbrook. Sister Euphema agreed to escort them to see Sister Devi.

The found the door to Sir Moonbrook's chamber standing open. Inside, the paladin lay on sheets soaked with his own blood. He was clad only in a nightshirt and vicious cuts rent the garment. Sister Euphema swooned from the horrible scene as Brother Edmund raced forward to check the poor Sir Moonbrook. Unfortunately, the paladin was beyond any aid he could give. The body was already starting to chill. Despite the terrible way he must have died, Sir Moonbrook had a serene smile, his glazed eyes staring out into the distance.

Brother Edmund noticed a message scrawled in blood on the floor next to the bed. Blood on the paladin's fingertip suggested he had left it. Unfortunately, it didn't appear complete. It read: "PRAY BACKW."

Sister Euphema was in obvious shock and didn't understand what had happened. She suggested the group find Sister Devi. The party agreed and had their own suggestion: begin the search in the lower levels of the temple. The acolyte was somewhat confused by their suggestion. She admitted that the temple had a cellar but didn't know why Sister Devi would be down there. For the past month, a group of monks had been using the shrines and prayer cells in the cellar for an extended meditation. She and the other acolytes had been forbidden from disturbing them. When pressed, the sister admitted that she had not actually seen the monks but had been told about them by Sister Devi. Since the group was so insistent, she agreed to lead them to the cellar.

As the group descended the spiral staircase into the cellar, they noted two shrines to the Lawbringer in the large stone chamber. However, instead of the normal crossed swords of the Lawbringer, the shrines were decorated with two mummified snakes. Wooden shelves between the shrines held tomes, flasks, and other religious artifacts. Kneeling before the shrines were the hooded forms of Sister Philla and Brother Abramo. A short, bulbous human (almost frog-like in appearance) decked in green armor and armed with a warhammer resembling a snake's head stood over Brother Abramo next to the far shrine.

Priestess Devi suddenly ran up from a wide corridor to the south. "Thank the Lawbringer you are here!" she proclaimed in a frightened voice. "We are being invaded by terrible swamp creatures. That fiend conjured them forth!" She pointed at the squat figure in green armor before the shrine.

Something about this scene did not add up for the group and as they prepared their weapons, it was obvious that they considered Sister Devi a potential threat as well. Once the priestess saw this, a wicked smile spread across her lips. She said, "So, you are not as idiotic as I first thought. Bravo to you." She then nodded to the human before the shrine. "You should leave, Garath. Tell the Reptile God that it shall have more sacrifices shortly." Mumbling as he went, the frog-like figure stepped into the fire of the shrine and disappeared right before the heroes' eyes! Fortunately, the sharp ears of those party members at the bottom of the stairs heard the words spoken by this Garath: "Worlds all in established be word your may, law of giver." This garbled phrase was an inversion of the common Lawbringer maxim: "Giver of Law, may your word be established in all worlds."

As battle was joined, the party couldn't help but notice that both Sister Philla and Brother Abramo looked extremely ill. Their eyes had dulled, and their skin seemed desiccated and pulled tight against their bones. They entered combat with no weapons other than their fists, but their mighty blows could be felt even through armor. Additionally, the priestesses and priest were not alone. They were quickly joined by three bullywugs from the meditation cells to the south.

The battle was hard fought and not an easy victory for the group. Sister Devi called upon several clerical spells to assist herself and her allies, and the bullywugs' natural agility and vicious nature posed a dangerous threat. However, the party's foes eventually fell before the group's combined might.

The party even managed to capture Sister Devi. During the battle, she had been severely wounded and fell to the ground unconscious, but Brother Edmund managed to stabilize her condition. The group bound and gagged her before awakening her with some of Brother Edmund's healing magic (cure minor wounds cantrip). They verified she was calm and not trying to madly strike out at anyone before exploring the rest of the cellar.

They made the disturbing discovery that the meditation cell doors had locks on the outside. In one of the cells, they found an unconscious man and woman. Once again calling upon Brother Edmund's healing skills, the group awoke the pair and learned that they were Ranson and Scira Klought, the missing leatherworker and his wife. The couple remembered being attacked and drugged after leaving dinner at the Golden Grain Inn, but had little information beyond that.

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