Play Report: The Temple of Craith (Stormguard Session 4)

Our intrepid adventurers have just won a battle beside the Broken Bow orcs during their third day shipwrecked in Stormguard. After resting and resupplying in the Broken Bow town, they prepare to set out for the ancient Temple of Craith. The party is:

  • Hilbrent Firebrand: Human Magic-user, Level 2 (Fire Spellbook)
  • Talia Stromborne: Human Cleric of Vardor, Level 2 (Healing Spellbook)
  • Benquil Barrison Del’Armgo: Half-Drow Thief, Level 2
  • Algaeir Ashbow: Human Druid, Level 2 (Tracking and Archery)
  • Lamila Umdril: Half-Orc, Half-Elf Fighter, Level 2
  • NPCS:
    • 13 Sailors (10 level 0, 1 level 1, 1 level 2, 1 level 3, all human soldiers)
    • Myron, level 0 human merchant
    • Irion, level 0 halfling musician
    • Elba, level 0 human herbalist

Though the sailors and Myron initially resist leaving their course (Irion is interested in history and Elba is a closet worshiper of Craith), promises of treasure sway them to stay with the party. They head North, in their standard formation with Algaeir in the lead and Benquil taking up the rear. Around noon, the ground collapses from under Algaeir.

Algaeir finds himself in a large room, apparently once above ground but now buried completely. He had fallen through a sky light in the room and wide entryways to the room flooded with earth or lead into darkness. Light flooding in from above reveals a faded map painted on the ground with orcish labels to the rooms. The orcish is an old dialect and Algaeir, though he speaks some orcish, doesn’t think he can translate it.

When the others arrive, they use ropes to descend into the room and Lamila and Talia begin to translate, Lamila with her native orcish and Talia with her academic study of orcish. Their translations vary, but do not conflict directly. The see they are in the Sun Room, that the two main connecting rooms contain the Pool of Washing and the Fount of Anointing, and that there is a Pool of Earth, Altar of Gifts, Altar of Receiving, and Place of Thought elsewhere in the complex. This is clearly the Temple of Craith.

They first move to investigate the Fount of Anointing. The corridor is partly collapsed, but they are able to get passed and reach the fount. The fount is a small spigot dripping a golden fluid into a pool. Benquil puts his finger under the drip and a drop lands on it, burning him like acid. Talia is able to translate writing above the pool: “Those who have first been washed shall be anointed to approach the altar of Craith.”

Realizing what this means, they all proceed toward the Pool of Washing. In the dim light eking in from the Sun Room, they can see the pool and a highly ornamented pitcher floating at its edge. Benquil approaches, prodding it with his scimitar. Suddenly it leaps up on a long neck made of water and water arms reach out, pulling him in. In a panic, Lamila leaps onto the creature, grabbing the pitcher and throwing it against a wall, shattering it. More arms grab her, pulling her down into the bottom of the pool where she tries to reason with the creature in a desperate stream of bubbles. Meanwhile, Algaeir splashes his flask of alcohol onto it, trying to light the highly watered down alcohol with his flint and steel. The creature grabs him as well. Talia’s instinct is to flee the room, but Hilbrent begins casting a death spell as the others try to wrestle free from the creature’s grasp. Seeing the fracas, the sailors rush from the Sun Room, hacking at the watery creature with their short swords. Hilbrent’s spell finishes, destroying the creature and freeing the others before Lamila drowns.

Figuring he has been washed, Benquil goes to the Fount of Anointing, anointing himself and feeling a light flow through him. Hearing his report of the feeling, Hilbrent runs and jumps into the Pool of Washing before returning to anoint himself. Algaeir, meanwhile, fills his now empty alcohol flask with the golden liquid. The others are still leery and do not participate in the Craith rituals. They continue toward the altars, finding that the main doors to the Altar of Receiving have been buried in collapsed earth and that the stairs to the Pool of Earth have also been blocked, though they can reach the Altar of Gifts. Rather than approach the Altar of Gifts, Benquil opted to search the rooms of the priests, finding a fallen wall leading into the hall that holds the Altar of Receiving. He calls the others before proceeding into the room, where giant stone statues of wolves stand around the approach to the altar. Across the room, a whole in the floor seems to lead to a space below.

As Benquil approaches the hole, Hilbrent follows. Lamila, too enters the hall and suddenly the stone wolves begin to move, rounding on her. She rushes form the room and they return to their places, again lifeless. Relenting, Lamila asks Algaeir to use his flask of liquid to anoint herself. Meanwhile, Talia runs to bath in the Pool of Washing before anointing herself as well. Benquil and Hilbrent find that the hole leads into the room the map labeled as the Pool of Earth. It is a raised pool, filling a well-like recess in the center of the room. On one wall is an inset section with a rough, indistinct outline. Within the inset area are shelves, each holding a small pot. Benquil takes on the of the pots, finding it to be filled with earth. He rashly tosses and pinch of earth into the pool and vanishes. Now Lamila arrives at the pool and between them, she and Hilbrent realize that the inset wall is shaped like the Isle of Stormguard.

Algaeir, who knows the most of the shape of Stormguard, continues to refuse to anoint himself in order to approach, but Talia joins them and joins in the discussion about what to do about Benquil’s vanishing. They all agree that the pot from which he took the dirt was on a shelf located in the swamps south of the elves on the rough map on the wall.

Testing a theory, Lamila picks up some dirt from the floor, dropping in the pool. Even as she regrets the action and the others reach to stop her, she vanishes…

And appears in a hilly region. She seems to recognize it and on a little investigation, sees their tracks and finds the hole Algaeir fell through with the sailors’ voices coming up from it. Excited, she again descended and relays the information, now sure that Benquil is in fact in . Talia returns to the sailors, convincing them to wash and anoint themselves in order to use the pool of earth. While the sailor’s prepare, Talia and Lamila bundle up samples from each of the many pots of dirt and soon they all pass through, including the unwilling Algaeir, who for some reason wanted to go last, but the others would not allow him. Talia went last.

They all find themselves in a swamp, hearing the ocean not far off to the East. Benquil has investigated and found a single stone block like those in the temple of Craith in the mud, but nothing else.

This Saturday we’ll be playing again with the party in a swamp, presumably the one on the border of Elven lands.

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