The starving wolves surprisingly formidable opponents, especially once they remember to use their trip attack. Ezren has some luck bonking a wolf on the head with his magically animated staff. Galvor is able to stay mostly out of harm’s way, jumping in occasionally to chop off an ear or scratch a paw here and there. Valeros and Chastity engage the wolves at close hand and bear the brunt of the attack. Valeros has been pretty chewed up and Chastity used most of her healing magic by the time all three wolves are dispatched.
Chastity uses the rest of her magic to heal everyone, and they settle back down to sleep. The rest of the night passes uneventfully. During breakfast, the group debates who did what wrong in the wolf fight. Inexperienced as they are, the four companions find themselves unable to bicker and walk at the same time, and the frequent stops for arguing slow them down. It’s almost noon when they arrive at the shores of the Gray Lake.
The group finds a body lying on the muddy banks of the lake. Chastity is able to determine how and when the mysterious person died (snake bites, two months ago), and Galvor finds some gold and a masterwork sword. Valeros grabs the weapon and the others split the gold three ways. They continue along the path shown on the map.
The opening to Kassen‘s crypt lies at the bottom of a steep ravine, and the descent is dangerous. Galvor has little difficulty moving around on the unstable ground, so he goes ahead to rig up ropes from tree to tree that the others can use as safety lines. Ezren doesn’t understand why climbing is so difficult and doesn’t believe that it’s dangerous, but he uses the ropes like everyone else, and they all arrive safely at the bottom of the ravine.
The group discovers dead horses and bones at the entrance to the crypt. After some argument, Valeros agrees to move the dead horse, and they are able to examine the rather old human skeleton that’s been crushed underneath the corpse. Searching the saddlebags, they find blunt arrows and some nice soft pillows. They have no idea what to make of this. “Toy arrows and fluffy pillows?” says Valeros. “Was this a little girl’s slumber party?”
Galvor squeezes through the half-open door to scout the entrance hall of the crypt. He sees two bodies and piles of bones in the dim light, and as he looks the bones rise and skeletons move toward him. He dashes back out the door and hides behind Valeros. Chastity casts a protective spell on Valeros, then stands behind him, ready to use her divine magic against the foul undead. Valeros shoves the door open, smashing one skeleton, then holds the doorway as the power of Serenrae blasts into the skeletons, destroying another. Valeros’s two swords and Ezren’s Ray of Frost make short work of what remains of the undead.
Galvor identifies the two dead humans as friends of the mayor of Kassen. Galvor asks if anyone knows why they would be here, at the crypt. Ezren says “These people came here to mess with us, and something messed with them.” The apprentice wizard carefully scans the room for magic, and finds something interesting behind the door to the west.
Next door is a room with a statue of Kassen and a deep pool. Ezren detects a magic aura forty feet down, presumably at the bottom, and Valeros volunteers to swim down and grab whatever it is. He finds the bottom of the pool littered with dozens of keys. Unable to tell which one is magic, he grabs a handful and resurfaces. A quick check determines that the magic object is not in the group of keys Valeros retrieved, so Chastity jumps in the water, scans for magic, and easily identifies the magic key. They leave the room by the southwest door.
The hall to the south of the pool room is lined with statues of Kassen with swords raised over a central path. The four companions suspect a trap. Galvor walks carefully between the first set of statues, and when nothing happens, Valeros volunteers to go first. He draws his sword, holds it out at arm’s length, and nobly asks Kassen’s blessing on his safe passage. The swords fall and smack him when he steps on the pressure pad between the third pair of statues. “Somebody had to do it” he says.
His companions climb over and through the fallen blades to reach the door at the end of the hall. The next room is a large two-leveled chamber. There’s a big wooden statue of Kassen on the lower level, and two staircases leading down. Again, everyone suspects a trap. Galvor goes first, sneaking slowly down the stairs. Everyone else waits on the upper level, and so they’re not caught in the trap when the stairs turn into slides and the golem steps off its pedestal, swinging its shields at Galvor.
Another long, exhausting fight follows. The golem can’t climb the slides, so it can’t get villagers hiding at the back of the upper level, but it can slam anyone who comes near it on the lower level. Ezren tosses an alchemist bomb that does a good bit of damage, and Valeros gets in a few good chops before the golem slams him into unconsciousness. Chastity spots a keyhole on the golem’s back that looks like it fits the magic key from the pool room. Galvor spends the next few rounds attempting to turn the golem off with the key, but he can’t get a good grip for long enough to get the key in. Chastity moves in close to help him, and between them they are able to destroy the construct.
Chastity uses most of her remaining healing magic to get everyone back on their feet after the fight. There’s a door on the south side of the room that looks interesting, but Ezren argues loudly that they can’t afford to go anywhere else without more healing. Chastity doesn’t want to continue without restocking her healing, but she wants to find out what’s behind the door. She detects 4 small immobile auras inside the room, so Galvor decides to go in to investigate. He unlocks the door with the key from the pool room and finds a small chamber, empty except for a table. On the table are attractively wrapped gift bags with nametags, one for each of the group. Unwrapping their gift bags, our heroes find potions! Healing! Invisibility! All kinds of useful magic!
Feeling a little better about their chances, the villagers decide to investigate the stairs leading down from the upper platform of the golem room. Galvor scouts ahead. He descends a few steps and then climbs again after a short hallway. Sticking his head up above floor level, he sees a giant beetle feeding on a human corpse. It spits acid at him. Ouch. Galvor goes back to get the rest of his crew, and they all crowd into the beetle’s room to attack it.
Valeros and Chastity engage the beetle while Gavlor hangs back, nursing his burned arm. Ezren lurks by the stairs and keeps up a steady stream of Ray of Frosts. Valeros is fighting well until he aims a mighty blow and misses, at which point he keels over unconscious next to the beetle. It’s a bit strange, but the rest of the group is getting used to seeing Valeros out cold on the floor, so they keep fighting, and eventually they crack the beetle’s carapace and kill it.