On May 23rd, Year 6, having received a report from Ragnvaldr and Rowan of an altar seemingly associated with the undead near Wraecliff castle, Rovert rides out with Dohasan in the rain to see what it is about.
- Rovert (TrS): Level 17 Human Necromancer
- Sidriss, Level 6 Black Dragon-Infused Lizardfolk Monk Henchman
- Dohasan, Level 4 Centaur Druid Henchman
- Drej, Level 5 Psuedodragon Familiar
- Skeletal Giant Wolf (Elf Eater)
Inspecting the altar, there is clearly some magic residue about it indicating that the place has been used for powerful rituals over time all the way to the present. The words on it in the dragon tongue read:
“Here those who die the dragon’s death live forever through dragon breath.”
“Having made the tyrants flee, heroes die to hunt them three.”
Verzelai is aware of it being used during his time, but mostly remembers stories of it being used before him to create powerful undead champions to penetrate remaining strongholds. He sends Drej to tell Wraecliff to keep and eye on it, as it is still in use and almost visible from his castle.
They return past Moaning Hill to where Rovert has stationed Sidriss with a half dozen undead to monitor the hill. Sidriss hasn’t seen anything coming or going since being stationed there the week before and Rovert has Dohasan take up his station while he and Sidriss set out to search inside the hill, which they have heard is a swiss cheese of passages. (The week before Rovert reached a deal with Wraecliff entitling him to loot coming out of the eastern half of the hill and Rovert wants to get down and in and find the good stuff before Wraecliff can hire adventurers to delve in from his half.)
It takes them an hour and a half, during which they are attacked by stirges (Rovert obliterates them), to find an ingress. They slay a hundred bats or so, including 11 giant ones and clear the three chamber network, finding nothing of value.
With a couple of hours until sunset, they search for another way in. It takes an hour to find one and as the lights get low Rovert has to see off a swarm of bats.
This crag leads into a chamber with various branches through the hill. They start into the northernmost branch, ambushing a bear, and then a ghost rat down an eastern branch. The ghost rat has a satchel of potions they take. They continue north, descending through a steep shaft and winding further east. They fight giant spiders and a lower half giant before finding some lizardfolk and kobold adventurers with some magical gear. Rovert animates the adventurer corpses and they spend the night in the half giant cavern. Drej and the new undead stave off some giant rats during the night and the unusual sounds (laughter, converstation and such) that have followed them are silent while they sleep.
Well rested, they pick the downward tunnel out of four passages off the half giant chamber. As they descend, giant bats attack, but Rovert and Sidriss fend them off with little damage. In the chamber the bats came from there are yet more passages and they press north again on an upward track, winding east then west to a chamber where they find what is apparently a monocle about 16 inches in diameter. It has magic and Rovert and Sidriss each look through it, seeing the other wreathed in green and gold (and blue in Sidriss’ case). With the monocle jammed in the skeleton fighter’s rib cage, they climb up a tunnel to the north. As the tunnel opens up, Rovert finds himself stuck to seemingly invisible spider web. Sidriss tries to pull him free, but Rovert is stung and goes rigid.
Sidriss tears him from the web and flees down the tunnel. Leaving the undead in the tunnel above, he drops down into the chamber to see to Rovert, who can communicate through Drej to let him know he was stuck and can’t move, but is otherwise okay. But the invisible spiders follow them! They attack the undead, nearly killing two of them before Sidriss joins them and slays the spiders.
It takes Rovert a couple hours to recover, and then they ascend again to burn the invisible spider chamber. Finding it empty with three more branches, they turn back, following Rovert’s rudimentary map to escape the caverns before Drej’s lantern oil runs out.
Rovert’s first (well, second) delve into the Moaning Hill got deeper than anyone else so far, but having explored 13 chambers he also left 13 passages unexplored. It’s definitely a promising hole to go back to whether to keep looting shallow or to try to get deeper.
I’m experimenting with making preparation documents available to supporters on Locals. I don’t want my players looking for this stuff, but non-players can get a look into my process and maybe some resources they can port to their own game.