For two weeks running now Basement Games has hosted a two-table night of Encounters, run by the father-son DM Duo Jason and Jackson Barnes. (of which I, your humble narrator, am the fatter, taller of the two.) The DM JBs each led a table of four through the night’s episode, with the same party make-up as the week before.
This week, we began with the heroes hurrying to catch up with the caravan with their new friend, the sage Faldyra. As they walked she told them what she knew of the history of the castle Inverness. She mentioned it was the sight of one of the three “ghost towers” of the region. Quinn had studied his history, and he knew of one other ghost tower, somewhere in a place called the Witchlight Fens, near the keep on the Shadowfell. Faldyra also mentioned that nothing ghostly has been seen in the area in over 100 years.
Ahead, the caravan was pulling to the stop at a rise in the ground. As the party made their way forward, they could see the ruins of Castle Inverness spread before them in all its faded glory. Where once stout walls boxed in a vast central yard with tall towers at every corner, now tumble-down stones showed the ruin the castle had become. Each of the towers were toppled, the southwest being the worst, barely pulling above the twenty foot high walls before it too was smashed in, leaving fields of stones round about. They could just glimpse what looked like a small cemetery, and Faldyra explained about a group of adventurers who died here some 75 years ago. The rumours spoke of them dying from their own stupidity.
Aldus Splintershield strode forward. “Isnt she a beautiful sight for a town?” he asked proudly. The party was not so sure. Was that an area of gravestones in one corner of the ruins? The party was very concerned that Aldus chose such a location for the new colony, but he assured them that it was the best possible situation. On the trade route, in a favorable valley, and look at all the pre-cut stone just waiting to from stout new homes and businesses. The thing about ghosts, why Aldus didn’t put much belief into the stories of the area being haunted.
On the other hand…. He would like the party to do a quick scout of the grounds, before him and his non-combatant ritualists performed a ‘cleansing ritual’ to drive away any evil that might be lingering. By this point, the group was very suspicious of the choice of locations for their new homes, but Aldus said that his name, and his families proud name were invested in the colony, and that he would never do anything to harm that reputation. They accepted his assurances, and with some hesitation and backward glances, they set out to investigate the ruins as the sun turned big and red behind them.
Making a circuit around the outside of the ruins yielded little in the way of information. The moat was little more than a weedy overgrown ditch, and eventually they crossed and came to the walls near the southwest tower. The looming, dark and foreboding walls loomed above them, dark and foreboding.
Erimikos was first up, climbing the twenty feet with ease. He crawled forward across the wide wall to peer down the other side. As he crawled forward, an unusual feeling of dread chilled his bones. He saw the grave site they picked out from earlier. From here, he could count the graves, 13 of them. As he crawled back to tell the others, the feeling of dread slowly dissipated. He motioned the others up. First Quinn, who pulled his heavily mailed form up the twenty feet. The cleric, though had trouble. Having spent many years cloistered with her habit, she had little real world experience, and though the men up top tossed her a rope, she fell the first time she tried to ascend. Jarren was worried, but cautiously made it to the top.
Luckily, getting down from the wall was much easier than getting up, if more painful. Thief, then knight climbed down. Then the cleric through herself over the edge. She would have slammed into the stony ground below had it not been for Quinn running forward to break her fall with his body. They both took damage. The wizard looked on aghast, wondering if these walls would be the end of them. Perhaps another four graves should be prepared. Looking down from the wall at the graves, Jarren began to understand the stupidity that might have killed him. Carefully, oh so carefully, he made his way down and into the inner square of the castle ruins. Never had the main gate looked so inviting.
They searched the graves, noting that the area around them looked well tended as opposed to the rest of the weed strewn courtyard. They passed the central area where the tower once stood on their way to the fountain, which the saw from a distance, also looked well tended, although for a different reason, muah hah hah.
SLURP! Only Valenae heard the subtle sound in time to react as amber slime spewed out of the fountain, formed itself into two large ochre jellies, and rolled out of the pool. She used her warning to inspect them, running through her memory any weaknesses they might have. She knew they were oozes, and thus were blind and deaf. She also had a sneaking suspicion that they were resistant to acid, and coated in the caustic substance. The amber jellies each moved to the nearest foes, Quinn and Valenae.
After a long day of fighting, some of the party members were low on health. Erimikos especially had to play it very careful. Below full HP, he spent the battle skirting the edges, and only ran in for a melee attack when he had to. Erminkos shifted, threw daggers, shifted more. At one point, he moved in for the kill against a jelly, and his dagger thrust cut through from top to bottom, neatly separating the ochre slime in two. This did not stop their attacks, and soon they were fighting one large and two medium slimes.
Knowing the party was below full strength, due to the long day of fighting, not to mention the encounter with the wall, Quinn stepped up between the two jellies, forcing their attention. He threw 3 flasks of flaming oil at the jellies, which damaged them, but no more than usual. Pulling his sword, he kept at them. He suffered for it, but his strong armor kept the majority of slime away.
Meanwile, a berserk fury entered the peaceful cleric Valenae. Perhaps it was her rage at the walls who dared to throw her off, or perhaps she hated jelly, but one way or another, her mace flew from side to side, battering the jellies into, well, jelly. She moved on to the large jelly, and smote it such a blow that it too was split in twain. Once, twice, three times she was coated in slime during the battle, the burning acid pouring down her collar as she fought to swick it away. The wizard poured water on her in an effort to help. Alas, just as the last slime, now diminished, was being finished off, the cleric fell from the numerous wounds she suffered.
Jarren meanwhile, was in his element. He too stood back and let the warriors handle the upfront stuff, while he cast spell after spell into the slimes. First arc lightning, then freezing burst, then the jelly moved too near, the cleric was down, the knight hard pressed, and the thief hiding and shifting as usual. He took a step back, cast his freezing burst, and hit both slimes. His burst allowed him to slide the slimes, but it melted into a pool of itself from the icy damage and instead became an ice smear.
The battle was won, the heroes victorious again. Albus thanked them and true to his promise, gave each character a healing poultice that would restore a healing surge if applied. (They needed it.)