Monday, August 8, 2016

Session 2: Ipso Cocklorum

Picking up where we left off, the party entered the next room and immediately came upon a kobold staring down at them from a ledge 10-20 feet above. When the little bugger didn't immediately run to raise an alarm, the party realized the kobold was already dead, though the rogue put an arrow in him for good measure. Upon closer examination, we found that the kobold had actually been ritually crucified, with his heart, eyes, and tongue removed. Very grisly indeed. We later found the organs in a bowl before a slab of black stone in the center of the room, where it appeared the organs had been harvested from the victim if the large knife there was any indication.

I'm still not sure how but the paladin somehow noticed a secret door to a hidden room. Inside, we found a small bedchamber. It was meager by any civilized standards but rather luxuriously appointed, with a bed, blankets, and a small chest, for a kobold. After a bit of a mishap with the spring loaded needle trap on the chest, the rogue was able to crack it open. Inside was a silver dagger, a gem, and a scroll written in some unintelligible undercommon tongue.

As the coterie was about to ascend the stairs at the far side of the room, we were ambushed by a pair of kobolds who appeared at the top. After a brief scuffle, the rogue managed to dispatch the two in short order.

Ascending the stairs, we found a set of cages where 3 of the farmer's chickens cowered. Unfortunately, several more cages were already empty. All indications, from the blood and feathers around the area, were that the missing chickens had met with some unfortunate end. Continuing onward, we found a corridor leading a large set of double doors. Contrary to the primitive construction in the rest of the cavern, the doors were well made and somewhat ornate. The paladin was good enough to alert us all to a pit trap en route to the doors by falling into it but came out of the pit relatively unscathed.

Reaching the doors, we opened them to find a long corridor lined with columns. At the far end, in a rectangular chamber, a kobold shaman chanted over a large sarcophagus and altar while fondling a terrified chicken. Five kobolds attended the shaman's ceremony along with what appeared to be 3 mutated, demonic chickens. Horrifying beasts.

No sooner had we entered the room than the kobolds and demon chickens began an all out assault. The dwarf, stalwart as ever, moved forward to engage the infantry while the rogue fired an arrow that caught the shaman in the shoulder. The shaman, in retaliation, croaked a spell to try to chain the rogue in place with his will alone. Luckily, the rogue was able to resist the shaman's feeble spell and kept his wits about him. While one of the demonic chickens pecked at the ground rather menacingly, the other two moved forward to attack the dwarf. As strong as steel he may be but the dwarf was nearly brought low by one of the chicken's talons that landed fortuitously against him. Acting quickly, the paladin managed to save the dwarf from the brink of oblivion by laying hands. And then I intoned a quick spell that managed to send all but one each of the kobolds and the demon chickens into magical slumber. The party quickly dispatched the chicken and kobold still conscious before putting an end to the others, save the shaman, who was bound for questioning. Approaching the altar, we were overwhelmed by the feeling of evil emanating from the shrine. While the dwarf set about desecrating and dismantling the altar, the paladin and rogue questioned the shaman and I comforted the terrified chicken rescued from the shaman, whom I have named Svetlana. It seems the shaman had been dedicated to some obscure demon which he was trying to summon into our world using the chickens as conduit. The three demon chickens we destroyed were failed subjects but the shaman was adamant that dear Svetlana would have been a fitting vessel for his abyssal patron had we not interfered. The shaman related that he had learned the bizarre ritual from the scroll we had obtained, which he said he received from an orc slaver in trade. We dared not ask him what he traded for such a foul instrument. On the shaman we found a note, telling him to return to Vulture's Roost.

Following his interrogation, for his crimes, we ended the shaman and withdrew from the cavern, Svetlana and her sister hens safely in our keeping. The farmer was overjoyed at the return of his flock, and though it was difficult to part with Svetlana, we could rest easy that she was in good hands. Staying the night at the farmer's homestead, we recounted our adventure and also inquired after reports of slavers in the area, as both the scroll and the attack in Neufeld seemed to be pushing us to address the slavery problem in the area. Unfortunately, the farmer was able to give no further guidance beyond stating the orc slavers were to the north.

Returning to Neufeld, we made further inquiries into the slave trade in the area and also heard rumors of another nest of kobolds to the west or southwest. The rogue managed to fence the gems and make connections to the local thieves guild in Neufeld, who had no great love for the slavers in the area. Unfortunately, so far, we have been unable to uncover much information about the slave trade but we're seeking the kobolds in the meantime.