On April 25th, Monday, Rovert and Conan take Dohasan’s rubbing map and set out toward the South Kingdom again. This time, they intend to search for the three northern strongholds indicated on the map, assuming Feyguard to be the fortress where they obtained the map the week before.
- Rovert (TrS): Level 16 Human Necromancer
- Sidriss, Level 6 Black Dragon-Infused Lizardfolk Monk Henchman
- Drej, Level 5 Psuedodragon Familiar
- Animated Elf Eater, Level 5 Skeleton
- Animated Giant Ape, Level 14 Mauler
- Zengiff, Talking Rock
- Conan (MiM): Level 12 Elf Vampire Magic-user
- Skar, Level 6 Hawk Familiar
On Tuesday night, they see dogs watching them make camp from the woods that vanish when approached, so they leave them alone. During the night, an ogre attacks, but the ape and the wolf control it long enough for Rovert to finish it off. In the morning, when Sidriss goes to get their breakfast from the wolf’s rib cage, he finds about 5 days (of 14) of their rations missing or destroyed. They conclude it was the dogs (which they were afraid would have stolen the bones from the skeleton).
Wednesday morning, they cross the bridge the ogre magi showed them the week before and follow the east bank of the river, keeping an eye out for the East and West Riverguard fortresses. Conan’s keen eyes (6 levels in Perception) and Skar’s 18 on the Perception check pick out unusual rocks that look worked along the shore where water is bubbling out and they inspect them to find stairs into mostly flooded basements. A water logged wine cellar offers them little of note and they use Conan’s floating carpet to cross, seeing a deep dark pit at the middle of the river as they go.
On the other side they find a more rubble filling a stair. They spend some time clearing it out until they can open the rusted iron door at the bottom, finding a vault there with shattered chests and gold and copper scattered over the floor. They use a hungry coin to gather them all up, taking an hour or so. When finished, they go back out on the carpet to investigate the pit in the river. Sidriss is the only one among them who can swim, so Rovert casts an air bubble spell on him to provide 12 minutes of air.
He dives down with Conan’s lantern and on the first dive returns and reports having explored relatively little for the 30 second delay on the lantern lights, but describes a maze of flooded tunnels. On the second dive he also takes Rovert’s chalk that can only be erased by itself to mark where he has been. On the third dive, he returns in a panic, being chased by a purple dragon that grapples him near the surface. Rovert and Conan quickly slay the dragon, saving Sidriss from its drowning grasp.
After catching their breath, they send Sidriss down again to collect coins from the dragon’s hoard. He describes a hole in the dragon hoard chamber to a higher level and they send him a fifth time to investigate it and he reappears near the east shore, having found a tunnel to there. This route leaves them less exposed, so they use it to send him in a few more times before sun set. With 12 minute dive times and a minute or two there and a minute or two back and Sidriss not wanting to cut it too close, it takes significantly longer to gather this hoard (the missing silver and platinum) and Sidriss has to finish in the morning.
Before they bed down, Rovert sends Drej back to his tower to bring his three other maulers to help the ape and the mauler safely carry the dragon corpse back to the tower so he can animate it there after recovering his stronghold power.
In the morning, Thrusday, Sidriss finishes gathering the last of the coins and jewelry with most of the morning and they set out to the west looking for Northguard, leaving the ape and ogre to wait for Drej and watch the dragon.
They know generally where Northguard should be, and hope to find it in as good condition as Feyguard. They spend the afternoon searching, with Skar overhead, but don’t find it before dark. They are, however, attacked by a pair of giant lightning bees which they handle easily.
Friday morning, they continue their attempts to follow the ancient, rough map. They soon come upon a castle ruin in the woods, but it is swarming with bees. Rovert encharges Sidriss’ brass knuckles with 12 charges of Wild Fire each and they approach and draw the bees’ attention. With Rovert and Conan fireballing each wave and Sidriss cleaning up what survives the curtain of flames, they soon force the bees back. They gather on the front of the castle, working together to call down frequent bolts of lighting that strike in the general area while Rovert and Conan think of what to do next.
Rovert decides to hit them with a powerful death burst that engulfs the whole castle, hurting himself severely when he fails a magical intuition check to exclude himself from the area. With all of the bees killed, they enter the castle courtyard by the sally port, finding every interior room to be filled with honeycomb.
While the skeletal wolf gets started gnawing through the electrically charged honeycomb wax and honey, they spend the afternoon hunting woodland animals, which Rovert animates into skeletal deer, wolves, squirrels, and rabbits. They stay in the castle courtyard through the night and in the morning set out back to Rovert’s tower. Saturday night, Rovert senses that many of his woodland undead at the castle are destroyed. He knows this will slow the progress, but intends to spend at least a week in rest at his tower anyway and expects them to make good progress without him. They arrive back at his tower at noon on Monday, finding that Drej and the maulers have already arrived with the dragon corpse.
They split the dragon hoard money. Conan levels up.
Underwater is very dangerous. They might not understand what they’re getting into in the South kingdom, but hopefully today made them think twice about having a henchman dungeon delve on his own.