[B/X] Adventures on the Iron Trail: In Search of the Unknown, part 3 + 4

Sorry for the extreme delay.  I’m doubling up the last two episodes, there was lots of cave crawling involved in these…

After resting for a while, the party continued their exploration of the first level.  The mapping was crazy, especially when they reached a section with some disappearing passages and identical rooms, like they were part of some sort of magical loop.  The adventurers were on the lookout for troglodytes or vengeful members of the Greenleaf Gang, but neither faction opposed them during their investigations.  When examining a hole in the floor of one room, the party was attacked by a small flock of hungry stirges.  Two stirges latched onto Detmar and Carnas but luck was on the side of our heroes; the group managed to slay the bloodthirsty critters without taking much damage.

Further along in their exploration of this strangely quiet complex, they entered a cross-shaped room that was lit by a sinister red glow.  Fearing a trap, the adventurers cautiously made their way around the chamber to examine the contents of the tables.  A pack of rats swarmed out of a divan and mobbed over Calveric and Carnas, nearly killing the latter.  After defeating the vermin and healing their wounded comrades, the party continued their examination of the room’s valuable contents: several books, a cache of magical scrolls, and a small box with a spherical indentation for some sort of key.  Meeiria was excited to see this, claiming that the “rain box” was the key to healing the Elven life spring.  Now if only they had a key…  But where to find it?  Ransacking the cross-shaped room and the bedrooms of the complex’s former masters were fruitless, so the party decided it was time to descend to the second level.

Descending the stairs, the party found themselves in a room containing old mining equipment.  Not much was salvageable, so the group moved on.  During their exploration of the cave system, they had several interesting encounters…

  • a finished room with frescoed walls
  • a sealed stone door
  • a cave with glowing mold on the walls.  Here the party was ambushed by a giant lizard but slew it without difficulty
  • an amphitheater filled with junk
  • a cavern with an unpleasant mix of sulphurous and “bovine” smells — not wanting to fight any “hell cows” the party retreated for the time being
  • a large cavern, apparently home to a colony of bats.  The party fought and turned some ghouls and zombies, then also slew a carrion crawler
  • A cave with a large glowing rock in its center, surrounded by the corpses of humans and demihumans.  Too late did the party realize they had blundered into a troglodyte warren, and it was only through Calveric’s fortuitous use of sleep spells and scrolls that the party emerged at all.  [I had pretty lousy dice for most of session 4, but this encounter was probably the worst…]  Rowley the fighter was slain, and several other characters were badly wounded.  Meeiria claimed a shield +1 from the trog chieftain, and a search of the warren turned up a chest loaded with coins.  The chest had a false bottom, beneath which was a map — apparently of this cave system, perhaps written by one of the corpses back in the glowing rock room.  Comparing their own map with this new find, the party backtracked to some areas they had previously avoided, such as…
  • the sealed stone door.  As the party pried out the lead sealant, they heard some maniacal laughter coming from the other side.  They opened the door to see a floating, ghostly form of a female elf, who spoke of death to any who did not flee from the room.  Seeing a passage on the far side of the chamber, the party decided to bolt through the room.  Most of the group failed their saving throws and fled back into the main tunnel, so Detmar and Blodgett had no choice but to follow their comrades.  Closing the door, the party moved on to…
  • The hell cow room.  The group was still nervous about encountering some strange monster, but since the new map indicated a secret door here (ultimately leading to a hidden chamber) they decided to go anyway.  They succeeded in accessing the door without disturbing the beast.  Once inside the hidden cavern, they found several large knobbly galls on the ground and a statue of an elf warrior.  Picking up one of the galls prompted the warrior to animate and blast magma at the party.  Fortunately the adventurers managed to close with and dispatch the warrior quickly.  Once cracked open, two of the galls contained treasure and the third a blue spherical stone — the key to the Rain Box.  The party decided to depart the cave system and return to town.  They made their way back up to the entrance, nervously wondering if they were going to have to face off against the Greenleaf Gang again.  Thankfully, they were greeted by a blanket of snow on the ground and no halfling bandits in sight.  At session’s end, the party was setting off on the trail back to Dragonsfoot to rest, recover, and research — Meeiria informed the party that the clerics of the Morning Lord sought the Rain Box because it was the only effective weapon against the “Undead Battalion” and the evil clerics hoping to harness that evil power…

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