One player is in Brazil, another is sick, and a third can’t come. It’s just Marco and Claudia! All three of us went to the same bakery to get croissants and bread or cake, and we spent two hours on the balcony eating breakfast and basking in the April sun. Good times.
Belflin and Corian decide to investigate the missing body up in Bostwick and with Flax’ help they discover the secret passage down into an old crypt. Behind a secret door they find the bones they were looking for, a fresh corps, and four ghouls. An easy fight!
Behind the double door they find an Unholy Blight trap and two wraiths. They retreat as fast as they can, organize Jeffar and “mayor” Wycheck (even though the two don’t seem to like each other). Together, they beat the wraiths and discover the amazing Rod of Death. This rod would be worth about 75,000 gp to a priest of Nergul, god of death.
A 150 ft drop into the Underdark is ignored.
The party then turns south and decides to investigate the missing workers in the Thorfax mines. I had planted this seed myself in order to introduce a beholder outpost. But with only two characters in the party (a ranger level 7 and a sorcerer level 8), I had to switch plans. I had already been toying with a cloaker outpost, Belflin already hated cloakers with a passion, and KoboldQuarterly #4 featured a “Cloaker Ecology” – I hadn’t really read the article, but there it featured stats for a so-called dread cloaker. Cool.
So I quickly invented some caves and let the party know where five miners had disappeared in the last few days and weeks. I figured that these miners had been kidnapped (“grappled” by a cloaker and carried away) and they had tried to drop some of their items, trying to lead their fellow men to the cloakers. It turns out that the end result was too confusing and I pointed them towards the caves with extra high ceilings. Corian knows the Fly spell so finding a tunnel leading towards a separate set of caves with the five miners and five cloakers was no problem.
The party fought one cloaker guarding the access to the caves, another cloaker guarding the miners, and three cloakers pursuing them. The last fight was a very close call. When one of the cloakers had the archer paralyzed I wondered what to do – coup de grâce? Then I figured that it would try to enslave Belflin instead. It carried him back to the slave pit, took all his gear, and moved away. Beflin was unable to stop it.
In the mean time, Corian was fighting the last cloaker with the help of his fourth level cohort. The sorcerer prevented the cloaker from grappling him, withstood a stupor moan, and brought the cloaker down with some Magic Missiles and Flax flanking. Who would have thought that we have such a tough sorcerer in our party?
The party brings the miners back to safety, get an ordinary longbow and some arrows for Belflin, and the next day they go looking for some cloaker butt to kick. It doesn’t take them long to find the dread cloaker in his lair. They beat him eventually…
Challenges overcome: Four ghouls CR 1, two wraiths CR 5 (XP shared with two NPCs), trap CR 4, five cloakers CR 5, a dread cloaker CR 7.