Elmhurst Geeks of the Everflame

Shoemaker and Shadow

Session 2, part 1

Galvor, Valeros, Ezren and Chastity are standing in the room where they’ve just killed a large beetle. There are exits south to a burny barbecue smell, or east to the wailing they’ve been hearing since they entered the crypt. They go east. Sneaking carefully along the corridor, Galvor comes to a locked door. The wailing is coming from the other side, and now the party can make out words like “skeletons” and “they’re gonna get me”.

Galvor checks the door to see if it’s locked. The second he touches it, the wailing stops. Galvor manages to get the door unlocked but can’t push it open; it’s barricaded on the other side. Valeros steps forward and gives it a good shove, and as the door grinds open a few inches a crossbow bolt pings off his armor. Undaunted, he pushes again, and the next bolt bounces off the door frame next to his head. The third, as he slams the door fully open, goes wild. The room is pitch black, lit only by the glow of Chastity’s holy symbol in the hallway behind Valeros. An unkempt villager crouches in the corner of the room, clutching a small table protectively in front of himself and waving a crossbow like a truncheon.

He screams at the party to leave him alone. Ezren recognizes him as a shoemaker from Kassen. Chastity tries to calm him, but the cleric’s diplomatic skills don’t seem much use against the villager’s advanced case of crazy. Taking matters into his own hands, Valeros steps in close and shouts death threats until the freaked-out man drops his crossbow. Valeros grabs it. The shoemaker calms down enough to be comprehensible, introduces himself as Roldare, and starts cooperating with the party.

He explains about the tricks and traps, confirming Ezren’s suspicion that this quest is a haunted-house practical joke gone wrong. Roldare whines that everyone is dead and his sister was grabbed by “them”, “them” apparently being a “skeleton king” and his skeleton crew. Galvor asks “Is she hot?” and gets a general chorus of “Dude, not appropriate”. Roldare isn’t making a lot of sense, but the party is able to find out that they need to go to the lower level of the crypt (Ezren: “Aw, come on, there’s a lower level?”), they’ll need to swim, and they’ll need two shields and two keys…he can’t remember much more. He’s sure that Hugh had a key, and Hugh was in the room with the firepit. The adventurers escort him to the entrance of the crypt and promise him that he’ll be safe here while they go get his sister. Roldare tells Valeros to keep his masterwork crossbow.

The four adventurers go back through the known parts of the crypt to explore the room with the fire – presumably where the firepit is. There’s a pleasant bacon-y burnt smell coming from the room, although the scorching smoke makes it hard to breathe. Galvor advances cautiously into the room then dives backwards as a shape materializes out of the flame and smoke and swipes at him.

The flickering light and heavy smoke make it hard to see in the firepit room, and nobody wants to go in there and fight the undead whatever-it-is. Chastity steps forward to channel divine energy at the thing, and seems to injure it but is groped by shadowy fingers that reach right through her armor and her ribcage to steal her strength. She backs out of the room in a hurry. Galvor mutters something about getting water to put out the fire, and runs off down the hall. Alone, in the dark.

Ezren unexpectedly steps forward to lead the attack on the shadow. None of the others have a weapon that can hurt it, so Ezren steps into the room and stands his ground, casting cantrap after cantrip of Disrupt Undead. Valeros wants behind him, a sword in one hand and the other twisted in Ezren’s cloak, ready to drag him out of the room the minute he says he’s had enough. The shadow hits Ezren repeatedly, hides in the smoke, then comes back for more. Chastity uses her last channel energy trying to drive it back. Valeros steps into the room and takes a couple ineffective swings at the shadow, just hoping to distract long enough to give Ezren time. As he moves into the room, Valeros spots a key lying on the ground next to the fire. With a final blast of Disrupt Undead, Ezren vaporizes the shadow. He’s been seriously weakened, but he displays the same manly fortitude with which he faces his asthma, and makes no mention of it. Valeros picks up the key.

Galvor comes back with two leaky saddlebags of water and dumps them on the fire, causing a huge plume of ash and smoke. Everyone waits in the corridor until the smoke disperses through the chimney. Chastity restores some of Ezren’s lost strength with the scroll she received in her gift bag. Searching the firepit room, the adventurers find two corpses of villagers, one of which has been burned in the fire and is the source of the bacon smell. Galvor finds a magic dagger, which he pockets, prompting another series of “useless rich boy” comments from Ezren.

Galvor wants to explore the north part of the crypt, so the party goes back through the golem room and pool room to the crypt entrance. Galvor opens the door on the east side of the entrance chamber and finds himself in a room with a maze of pillars. He springs a pit trap, spots pillows at the bottom of the pit, flips a switch on the wall that does nothing, tries to pick the lock on the south wall, and then loses interest in the room. The adventurers know there’s one more door they haven’t been through, but they want to rest and recharge before exploring further.

The party goes outside, collects Roldare, and walks a mile down the valley floor before finding a campsite. They set their tents and eat trail rations, then settle down to sleep. During her watch, Chastity thinks she hears a rabid bear charging the camp, but it turns out to be a skunk. Other than that the night passes uneventfully. In the morning, Roldare is given Ezren’s old crossbow and the pieces of the map and told to go back to town and get help. He’s afraid to walk through the woods by himself, but he trudges away after being reassured one more time that the group will try to find his sister.

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