Friday, again, we gathered. Short Degroat and Dal, we forged ahead into tacos courtesy of Hilgari. They were awesome. I was hungry and judging from the serious eating on all sides – everyone arrived with an appetite. There was also a cake by Ren. It was remarkable and good in all the fudgey-tunnelly wrong ways. There was also some foreplay involving a cordless drill and some screws that demanded Gau and Ren run off down the hill for a bigger drill and bigger battery. We were setting up the alpha version of our new digital overhead mapping system. The data projector hung suspended, perpendicular, from the side of an overhead beam. First we mounted it one way, then another, then slid the contraption along the beam, all toward getting the broadcast image centered on the table beneath. When we finally did, success!
You can see the shaded areas which were unexplored during our last play session (I built the mask to be up-to-date with current progress). We stayed on these two maps for the remainder of the evening so not a thorough test – but a good starting point.
The game picked up where we left off last time – Hilgari running out of the temple and into the street to join his waiting comrades. They stood around a bit and watched the temple respond to Hilgari’s intrusion. A big hulking fellow, Krant, came out and battered and berated the door guards for their ineptitude. Life appeared to return to normal at the temple and our team moved on.
Hoping to gather some more information, our team headed to a local watering hole, The Drooping Dagger. On the way however, you were distracted by three acolytes of The Temple as they appeared to “obtain” some female companionship for senior priests. A few sleep spells and a bit of iron-fisting later, the three masked acolytes were separated from their female subjects. With the help of a local textile merchant, Chagg, the three were rolled and delivered to Bakal for sale at the slaver’s auction.
Later, at The Drooping Dagger, conversation revealed that Vandemarghul was a city based on ownership and to the Neo-Gi (spider beings), ownership is everything. Allegedly, Sgubjugal-Jadub-Gura himself is Neo-Gi or owned by such. It isn’t clear who owns the Temple of the Living God. Later, at a conference with Estelwrath, it was determined that Markessa was leaving town soon, and that she had found what she was searching for at Erramun. Estelwrath agreed to stake our heroes in raiding The Temple and finding out whether or not Markessa was still in town and where she was headed with, possibly, the three parts of the “Key to Infinite Treasure.” One of the team said, “we’d like to burn The Temple to the ground,” to which, Estelwrath said, “well, you can do so right now!”
The basic invasion strategy was this: Alazne, Ren, and Lukin wore the three robes and masks obtained previously, Hilgari and Gao followed close behind invisibly – walked right up to the front door and started hacking. The first two acolytes went down silently, but things started to get a bit hectic in the inner courtyard. The inner guards went down quietly as well, but two at the overhead barbican saw what was happening – luckily, Gau was able to drop both of them with a Sleep – but that was the end of his invisibility. Right behind them was a Priest, who started yelling. Hilgari leapt to the battlements – and there went his invisibility as well.
Did I mention the donuts that Hilgari obtained? Possibly the best donut experience I’ve ever had. Ever. The butter gorge? The butter gutter! It was truly a moment.
Back to our heroes. They fought their way into the central interior corridor and fought there for most of the rest of the battle – Priests and Heralds attacked from the front, acolytes and Krant slammed in from the right side. Hilgari and Ren held the front line, with Alazne, Lukin and Gau firing from behind until Ren fell. Hilgari was badly wounded and had to retreat to heal. This was the first crisis. For a moment, all hung in the balance. Hilgari considered taking the fight to the Heralds and running into the final room, but was persuaded otherwise. Alazne ran forward with a heal for Ren, and snatched the giant club formerly wielded by Krant. Now, Hilgari took the battle inside the chapel.
One Herald, Rennec, held one door against the group – but Ren gave it the bull-rush and pushed him back. Soon, everyone was in the chapel and the group battled the three Heralds-in-black up and down the central staircase. Gau grabbed potions off their falling bodies and fed them into the front lines – then came Egarthis! He came with three hell hounds and their fiery breath put Alazne down. Then came a scorching ray, followed by fury of blows. But our heroes were able to concentrate on one opponent and soon he was retreating up the stairs – and finally took a desperate leap over the banister to the floor below. However, he was immediately flattened to the floor by Ren, who leapt after him. The rest converged and choked the life from Egarthis.
Levels all around. We decided to stop there for the evening – short of exploring upstairs, short of exploring downstairs, and short of distributing or even discovering the various material rewards stripped from fallen corpses. Is Markessa upstairs, as claimed? What lies in the Priest’s chamber of earthly pleasures? Is there a path for our heroes to find themselves with the “Key to Infinite Treasure?”