On March 17th, a party of adventurers answer the call restore the flow of the West Confluence that was blocked upstream during a recent storm. Without its flow, Kite is in danger of running out of fresh water. They are:
- Agon (HuS): Level 2 Elf Magic-user (Fear and Stealth)
- Aronis (WaB): Level 3 Human Magic-user (Fire and Wind)
- Bill (PaT): Level 2 Human Fighter (archaeologist)
On the 17th, morning hail and heavy rain though the day keep them from departing and they remain in Citadel House until evening, deciding at that point to wait until the 18th to go. That night, they witness with many others in the city a moonbow in the South.
In the morning, they depart with 4 days of food each. They take an early lunch in Kite before continuing up the trickle of a river. They briefly combat three wolves which they come upon scavenging fish and other prey from the mud of the river bed. Bill kills one at range with his bow and Agon unleashes a powerful spell when they come into range that drops the remaining two.
Soon, the muddy berm blocking the river comes into view and Bill takes the lead while Agon and Aronis consider what spells they might be able to construct to clear the dam. He leads them up a hill opposite the one where the mudslide seems to have originated from, on their side of the muddy river bed. There, they have a clear view of the lake forming behind the dam and by the lake shore in the hill side, apparently exposed by the mudslide, a stone maw over 10 feet tall. Bill also sees some movement out in the lake out of the corner of his eye.
They cross over the muddy dam to the stone maw and see that it is an entrance to a tunnel leading back into the hill.
Darkness soon swallows the wide, short tunnel, so Agon makes Bill’s sword to glow, allowing them to see both walls and a little way ahead as they crouch down the tunnel. Not far in, they come to a spiral staircase down which a trickle of water from the lake cascades. They continue down it and find themselves in a room where the ceiling is higher and their light can only illuminate a small corner of it.
Here, the water pools up to their ankles, and as they make their way around following the wall, Agon feels a snake swim past his foot. Reaching the wall opposite their point of entry, they come upon a bronze bowl and their light reveals that the inside is shaped as if it had been molded over a ball of snakes. Unrecognized letters ring the While Agon investigates the pedestal on which the bowl sits, he feels another snake, which he manages to grab, getting bitten for his trouble.
They believe that the bowl is intended for sacrifices, so Agon holds the snake for Bill to cleave in two, throwing the pieces into the bowl. After a few moments, nothing happens and they shift their theory to needing live offerings. Agon clears the dead snake from the bowl and casts a minute-long light spell bright enough to illuminate the whole room. They splash around searching for snakes and soon have 5 of them in the bowl. As they place them in, each freezes as if paralyzed and upon adding the 5th, the ground beneath the bowl and pedestal shudders. The floor lowers, producing a ramp down into darkness down which the water in the room flows ahead of them.
Down the ramp, they come to an octogonal room which makes their light look small, though it does touch upon each of its walls. Inspecting the walls, they see again the letters from the bowl, which they do not recognize. At Bill’s urging, Agon uses his book of knowledge to briefly learn to read the language. He reads a dedication of the structure as a temple to the “Knowing Dragon” who can provide a great deal of knowledge in exchange for payment. He also returns to read the bowl, learning that it says something like “fill with the living.”
With only limited power available to keep their light going, they proceed down the next ramp, soon coming to a large room where the ceiling flees from their light.
A few steps in, with Bill taking the lead with his glowing sword, a dragon head appears from the darkness overhead. It is made of stone, but as they examine it, a voice comes from its open maw. They do not understand the language, but as Agon responds in elvish, it answers in the same tongue.
They soon learn that the voice claims to be a god of knowledge. It was once worshipped by the Kobolds and offers to answer questions in exchange for tribute paid. He scoffs at their theoretical tribute offer of one gold coin, but agrees to trade knowledge for knowledge, on account of being cut off so long from the world.
Though they have little to offer, and the voice questions the accuracy of their knowledge about the conflict between the orcs and the lizardfolk, they learn a little, including that Aronis’ rod (taken from the anthropterist) is probably currently active and how to use it. Eventually, after extensive arguing and having to recast Agon’s light encharge, the voice considers their exchange finished and dismisses them.
Returning to the surface, they remember their original mission to restore the river’s flow. Aronis is eager to use his rod, but before attempting to shrink the dam with it, he tests it on a small tree and is immediately knocked to the ground as a burden comes upon him and the tree shrinks to the size he had imagined. As he rises, he feels a heavy weight on his shoulders and decides to grow the tree again to remove it. This does not work as intended, and as the tree grows he is thrown to the ground again by a sudden increase in his burden. He can barely stand.
Not daring to use the rod on the entire dam, Bill instead transforms his arming bracelet into an excellent shovel and quickly digs a trench through the dam. Though the flow from the lake over the berm is meager relative to the river’s previous stream, they hope its swift flow will erode the dam over the next few weeks to restore the river.
As they return, Aronis can barely walk with support from Bill and Agon. Even with their support, he requires frequent rests. It takes them a few days to return to Kite, by which time they see that the river has grown more clear, though still a trickle compared to its prior volume. In Kite they are able to catch a ride to Citadel by cart, after great effort lifting Aronis into it.
Do your players hunger for information about the world? How do you deliver it? Comment below!