10th Day of the Fourth Month – 14th Day of the Sixth Month
Vladimir, Barrloff and Dashna leave the defiled shrine through the north door without turning their back on Ragnbjorn the ghoul, eventually closing the door behind them. They travel the dark hallways, passing through two more doors until they find themselves in a large, domed room. The floor reveals destroyed tile-work, mostly hiding what used to be a large crescent-moon design. A “tick-tick” from the ceiling gets their attention and they study the dome to find it lined in thin silver lines, punctuated by gems like stars. They soon realize that these “stars” are slowly moving along the lines. Dashna studies the intricate patterns and the arcane secrets they reveal. Meanwhile, Vladimir and Barloff use their iron spikes to climb the walls and pry out some of the low-hanging gems. Unfortunately, all of the banging of spikes draws the attention of a pair of skeletons. The battle is brief, but Vladimir and Barrloff get roughed up a bit, and the party decides to travel back to town to rest. But first, they pile some stones in front of the dungeon door. Just in case. What about the young girl and the infant? Well, they’ll probably be fine. Right?
Narrowly avoiding an encounter with giant weasels, they return to town to rest (and level) up and re-equip for a couple of days. They overpay for some healing potions, and then make their way back.
Returning to the dungeon, the party enters the first room to find Ragnbjorn the ghoul impaled upon a wooden pole as if to provide a warning. Unfortunate.
Deciding to go north this time, the party follows a few halls and opens a few doors before finding a room with an open pit in the center. Worried that there might be trouble (because), they tie a rope around Vladimir, and he creeps to the edge of the pit to investigate. As he sticks his head over the side, a pale, emaciated figure with long, black hair skitters up the side of the wall like something out of “The Ring” and slashes at Vladimir with her claws and teeth. Luckily, the she-ghoul can’t clear Vladimir’s armor. He backpedals and attacks as Barrloff runs to his aid. Two lucky weapon strikes and a Magic Acorn Missile later, and the big, bad, she-ghoul’s corpse topples into the pit.
Barrloff is lowered into the pit, which turns out to be full of assorted human bones, and digs around, finding the she-ghoul’s stash of black gems painted with skull icons. Meanwhile, giant rats wander into the room and attack, though they quickly panic and flee after the first one dies.
Pulling Barrloff out of the pit, the party continues through the crumbling halls until they find an old chapel. The heads of the statues have been replaced with skulls, and once Vladimir and Barrloff carefully poke them from their perches, the dwarves discover that the eye sockets contain more gems. Score! Up the stairs at the rear of the chapel, they find a sealed, metal sarcophagus before some sort of strange mural. There’s a central circle, bisected by a wide, horizontal line, and then three round depression above the line, and three below. Nobody can make anything of it.
Distracted by the mural, the party doesn’t see the eerily silent crowd of dusty skeletons that has found them. The skeletons attack, and the party fights back, but Vladimir takes a few hits. As they recover after the fight, a skeletal straggler wanders in, and they have to take care of that one as well.
Finally, they decide to try one more room. A few turns down a twisting hallway finds a magical circle made of loose finger bones. The corners of the room have skulls on the ground, and much to Barrloff’s delight, contain diamonds in the eye sockets! Woot! The fourth skull, however, was buried in the collapsed wall of the southwestern corner, so Barrloff and Vladimir get to work digging it out, and manage to find another diamond.
The party calls it a day, and backtracks toward the exit. Unfortunately, a crowd of giant centipedes is exploring the dead ghoul in the pit, and attacks when the party passes through. They cleverly back into the doorway to create a choke point, and it helps, but Vladimir is bitten and becomes violently ill. It’s slow going back to the stairs, where they find the giant rats that had fled before waiting for them. Barrloff’s attempt to scare the rats off only enrages them, but he and Dashna manage to kill them without much trouble.
The trip home is also slowed by Vladimir’s illness, and on the second day, they run into a pair of traveling halflings. There’s some tough talk from both sides, but in the end the PCs agree to take the long way around while the halflings keep an eye on them.
Returning to Machida, the PCs rest again, and level again (this time including Dashna). Dashna learns “Detect Magic” from the local Wise-Mountain School wizard’s guild, and then spends two months researching and learning “Floating Disc”. (Apparently encumbrance is still an issue).
What about the young girl and the infant still barricaded inside the tunnels below Moonhaunt? Common sense would suggest that they’re dead by now, but we’ll see, as the PCs intend to go back and find any loot that they might have missed.
Ooh, and Vladimir picks up three local noobs (Tang Qiang, Jumana, and Eanraig) as retainers. Somebody has to help carry all of this crap.
(Image from HERE.)
NEXT: Heading West