|Nightal 4, 1371 (Continued)||Steady Snow. Northerly breeze force 1||Introduction:
When the session started the Party had explored the outer tower apart from the top level which was barred by a door that they suspected was magically locked. They had just entered the main Fort and looked around from the doorway:
The view from the door was of an area about 250'sq with line of buildings on the left and right, and with a large round building in the centre, (which had no walls only a roof). The roof on one of the buildings on the left, farthest from you had collapsed. The granite floor showed signs that the whole courtyard area had once been painted green, possibly as a form of camouflage to prevent the fort being seen from the air. Indeed the the building roofs were covered in turf. A stone watchtower, disguised to look like a tree was in the courtyard and Elrad climbed up to get a better view.
The first reconnoiter revealed that on the left the near building had been barricaded up from the inside and that the buildings on the right consisted of officers quarters, a mess hall and a kitchen, (that showed signs of having been in use about 10 days ago). In the main officer's quarters three Netherese bodies were found along with signs that the door to the room had been barricaded and smashed open. Scaramon discovered a gold ring and a small vial on one of the bodies. Therrion opened the door to a small room in the kitchen and the disturbance caused a dust of yellow spores to engulf him, an experience that left him visibly weakened. Unusually the central round building had a wooden planked floor that seemed newer than the wooden beams and supports of the round building itself.
An investigation into a smaller intact building at the back of the ruined building nearly turned to disaster as a carrion crawler was disturbed and attacked the party. It quickly paralyzed Elrad, then Scaramon, then Therrion before Caradel who was towards the rear of the action managed to inflict the killing wound with his bow!
While resting the party discovered a secret room in the Main Officer's quarters that contained a small jar and a small wooden box containing a brown candle with a gold eagle design on. A detect magic spell revealed that these and the earlier find of the vial were magical, (but the gold ring was not).
The Party investigated the lair of the Carrion Crawler to discover that there was some damage to the outside of the fort in this area and there was a large hole leading out to the steep hill outside the fort.
The barricaded building on the left of the courtyard was investigated next, and the Party discovered one entrance on the far side of the building had been smashed in. Inside were the remains of 7 Netherese warriors.
The Party then investigated the wooden area under the round building, (60' diameter). With much effort they managed to pry 2 planks up, enough for a person to squeeze through, and a person did, Elrad, although only after Scaramon had cast a light spell on a coin and dropped it into the room. From the inside, and armed with stone that gave off magical light supplied this time by Therrion, Elrad located some stairs leading up and a secret trap door in the floor of the wooden building.
Now the party had easy access to this hidden area they saw that on the floor was a black marble circle with a purple marble border, (about 45' across), in the centre of which is a silver skull surrounded by 14 "tear shaped" depressions, four of which were filled with "tear keys" of the same type as the one in the party's possession. Therrion pointed out that the Black and Purple design looked very much like the symbol of the Goddess Shar, and that the symbol in the centre, while similar to the holy symbol of Bhaal the skull was surrounded by 14 tears and not 16.
On the kitchen building was a large chimney disguised as a tree. Oddly it looked far bigger than the requirement for the stoves in the kitchen and the party surmised that is may lead to a lower level. Elrad resolved to climb the chimney and look in only to discover a large iron grate covering the chimney about a foot down on the inside. He touched it and received a magical electric shock and only just managed to hold on and avoid a nasty fall.
With late afternoon approaching the Party decided to break into the top level of the tower to find out what was being kept in there before returning to the campsite where Malastar was waiting. After many attempts to break the magically locked door, Elrad was finally able to smash the door open and peered into the darkness beyond. Suddenly a web shot out from the dark and trapped Elrad in it's sticky strands. As he struggled to free himself a Giant Spider appeared and came to attack followed by a second that made it's way towards him on the ceiling. On the winding stairs combat was difficult and only Caradel was able to assist directly with Therrion firing his crossbow at at the more visible spider on the ceiling. The first spider managed to bite Elrad and inject its poison into his veins before he could be dispatched. Elrad was weakened by the experience but his body's defences eventually shook off the poison and it will be a few days before he is fully recovered. In the room there were many bones and the bodies of an Orc and an Elf. Searching the debris turned up a quiver of 20 arrows and a set of bracers that both detected magic.
The Party returned to the camp to be greeted by a cold Malastar. They also brought the body of the Elf with them and buried him near the campsite resolving to pass the information of the body's whereabouts on to his kindred.
After a hot rabbit stew prepared by Malastar the party contacted Delfen with the Orb of Communication, only to discover that the Tear Keys left with him had been stolen! They informed him of their plans to follow the light beams further South and Delfen warned them to follow the beam that is closer to the Sword Coast and not enter the High Moor following the other beam.