The following was written by our DM James.
So, an auspicious day. The resident Overlord of the Universe has decided to take mortal form, and influence events from there, the shady a slightly suspicious character known as “Stone” has disappeared with some party loot, just when a Paladin of Pelor has joined the group, and the party lost, then found its courage. Maybe these are all connected.
Just as our adventurers were resting up before descending once more into Jzadirune Kristof Jurgensen (recently head of the Church of Pelor in Cauldron) asked to see Aria the next morning. That same evening Aria found out that her old friend, Rhysalis, has returned to the city. They meet up and share a few drinks in the Drunken Morpoth. It turns out the Rhysalis has been learning the craft of a Paladin, and has only recently returned to Cauldron, on an urgent mission.
When the morning arrived, Aria found out that the news from Kristof was already known to her, the return of Rhysalis. Kristof has appealed to the Church of Pelor (The Hall of the Sun) in Sassarine to send assistance, following the strange and worrying disappearance of his three superiors at the temple. The response was to send Rhysalis, Paladin of Pelor, to investigate the matter. The Hall of the Sun sees this as a (difficult) test of the new Paladin, and a neat match, with her already familiar with the city of Cauldron.
Kristof explains that he knows that Issal Phenor, Ember Malach and Pirius Starshine have all recently been murdered, though where and by who is not known. Another Paladin of Pelor, Alec Tercival, is also missing, and given the news of the other members of the church, this can only be seen as a worrying development, Alec had hinted that he known something about the deaths. Rhysalis has vowed to assist in this matter, and is pleased that she has found a ready made group to investigate this matter with her… she just needs to sort out this problem about some missing orphans first… As an ex-Lantern Street Orphan, Rhysalis feels a close connection with this trouble, and is keen to resolve this, before pursuing other matters. Certainly Rhysalis has brought some focus to the topic, and moves the quest on at a good pace.
The adventurers return to Jzadirune. They suspect that they know where the lift to the realm of “Kazmojen” is, and are keen to go there as soon as possible. Some members of the party have other ideas though, sensing the possibility of easily achieved treasure in some unexplored areas. A brief exploration into the underground city find the terror that had caused the Skulks and Dark Creepers to seal off part of the dungeon, a filthy and dangerous creature, a Grell. The Grell was nearly too much for one of the smaller members of the party, Wim was mortally wounded by is vicious 10! attacks, however Rhysalis quickly proves her worth with a timely “lay on hands”. Borg gets his loot, (1 x cure light wounds, 1 x black inky potion, 1 x masterwork dagger, with poison, 80cp, 32sp), and the party learns about not shouting in dark rooms. Luckily for the party, the Grell was starving and angry enough to charge in, rather than using its more normal sneaky approach.
The party decides to focus now on locating the lift, and do so quickly, once they set their abilities to it. They encounter no more trouble. Unlike with the Grell, the Skuls and Dark Creapers have found no suitable way to trap the party, and they have simply abandoned the Gnome city for safer parts. Some new evil will certainly replace them in time…
The lift down to the Malachite Fortress is a long way, 200 Feet (~65 Meters), and at the bottom our friends encounter a gloomy but well built marble city. Some of the marble is quite active, and they have not gone far before encountering 2 Stone Spike guards, mistaken for statues. The stone spikes were bad enough, but the noise of the fight drew the attentions of Xukasus, an Ogre in charge of the guards of the fortress. The Ogre senses a chance for some nice new food, to rot down to filthy smelly food, Yum Yum! Showing rare mercy, (maybe our Paladin is having an effect…) the party captures not kills Xukasus. He is ordered to take them to the leader of the fortress, another repulsive character, known as Kazmojen. Xukasus senses a chance to escape, and in the very next room orders 4 hobgoblin guards to attack. All the enemies, even Xukasus, are quickly overcome, though another captive is taken, a hobgoblin known as Grag.
Grag is charmed by Fenyael, and tells asll, including the fact that some children are going to be sold as slaves very soon. Grag offers to take the party straight to Kazmojen, to speak with him directly, however the party declines and heads home to rest up. On the way home, Grag stages a dramatic escape, and disappears… maybe to report to Kazmojen.
Back on the surface as crisis of conscience occurs, as some of the party realizes that they have missed a precious chance to locate the children. After much soul searching and a discussion with Jenya Urikas, Rhysalis convinces the party to return that very night to confront Kazmojen. Despite being drained and tired, everyone agrees, Yay!
At 2am, the party stage a raid on the Malachite Fortress. An elaborate plan involving drilling machines is foiled when it turns out that the occupants of the fortress have lowered the lift to the bottom, preventing the drilling machines being brought to play. The party climbs down the dark lift shaft on the chains, and makes their way to the lair of the slave lord.
One the way the party finds the secret armory and also the forge room. Here they find:
2 x chain shirts, 1 x half plate, 2 x spiked gauntlets (1 pair), a masterwork Great axe, 15 x short spears, 10 x throwing axes, ten x hand axes, five x battle axes, five x heavy picks and 5 x war hammers.
Finally the bad boss if found. Our intrepid adventurers confront Kazmojen, 6 of his hobgoblin minions, and a mysterious durzagon. An epic battle ensues, but victory is eventually achieved.
Just as all is settling down following the battle, a momentous shock! An eye tyrant appears! This beholder startles the whole party by demanding that one of the slave children be handed over to him. Recognizing a power that they could not hope to face, the party accept this, and allow one of the children to be taken.
So, the evil slaver is slain, the enemies in the fortress defeated, and the terrors of Jzadirune faced and overcome. It only remains to return the children, collect the rewards, and drink a few beers in the Morpoth. Surely this will be all the trouble faced by Cauldron for now.