Our Jurisdiction Ends Here
After dealing with the improv zombies, the group decides to pull out of the caves and hustle to catch up to Chopster and the muttering Father Elias. Veladrin is eager to write a paper on his experiences, while Ander Brightwood complains of a headache, so both of them split off once reaching Red Larch.
Father Elias goes in search of the Constable, to ask about missing people in the area. Meanwhile, the rest of the group goes to the Inn to inform Kaylessa that Lance Rock is only plagued by ZOMBIES! She’s shocked, and encourages the group to deal with the problem. Thogal asks if there’s any other adventuring types in town, and she suggests checking the Tavern.
Unsurprisingly, the Tavern is home to a new adventuring type – DirKkhan, a drunk genesai bounty hunter. Father Elias has already started an unofficial drinking contest with the bounty hunter, who is persuaded to join the group in returning to the zombie cave by the suggestion that it might help him find the flame-haired murderer he’s hunting.
Rock You Like a Hurricane
When Dirkkhan decides to go to bed and indicates he’s going to camp near the edge of town closes to the Quarry, the rest of the group discusses the rumors of strange masked people watching the quarry at night. It’s decided to camp out by the quarry that night, keeping Dirkkhan company along with investigating the reports. While everyone else settles in for the night, Chopster and Thogal decide to do a patrol.
Chopster’s keen eyes spot someone on a low hill overlooking the quarry – a cloaked figure keeping to the shadows (but not doing a good job of it). A quick plan is hatched – Chopster will sneak around behind the figure, and Thogal will confront him or her. The goal is to take a prisoner to question. Against all odds, the plan works!
(Editor Aside: our successful ‘tricky shit’ ratio is pretty high at this point)
The figure bolts, running straight into Chopster whom he attacks with a scimitar. Unfortunately, the man is wearing a stone-mask, which triggers Chopster’s memories of the death of his family. With a loud “DIE!”, the elf sinks his shortsword into the chest of the mysterious figure, ending the man’s life.
A quick search of the body reveals it has sand-covered skin, a cheap scimitar and a stone mask. Thogal suspects the man might have been a elemental cultist, but isn’t sure. He carries the body back to camp, and it’s agreed to take it to the Constable in the morning after a good nights rest.
In the morning, the body is brought to the Constable. Chopster takes some pride in announcing he killed the man (“He attacked me. What was I supposed to do, let him kill me?! chuckle”) and the Constable hand-waves away the possibility of charges, while suggesting the man looked familiar and could have had a room at the boarding house. It turns out he did, and a search of his room turns up papers with notes about the comings, goings and progress of the Quarry. More importantly, a strange emblem is turned up, possibly confirm the cultist theory. That investigate ended, the group gathers up Father Elias from breakfast and heads back down the Long Road to the Rock.
At the entrance to the cave, the group runs into two zombies and makes fairly short work of them. This time out, Father Elias doesn’t Bless the dead, and when Chopster gets smashed, actually steps up with a Cure Wounds spell. The presence of new undead at the entrance suggests the “Lord of Lance Rock” has been busy, so the group plays it extra-careful going back into the cave.
For the most part, covering the parts of the cave already explored is peaceful. A room with two chests is discovered, but the chests prove empty. A pair of peepholes are discovered looking in on the chest, but no secret doors. (It will later be clear that the peepholes are part of a room overlooking the chests with a lever. Pulling the lever would release a rock fall trap on anyone by the chests.)
Down a different winding passage is a huge cavern, nearly 60’x 180’. This place has a zombie in robes, who gets dropped fairly quickly. The crawling hands that swarm out the baskets he was standing by prove a creepier fight, but are also swiftly dealt with, thanks to a Bane from Ander Lackman and some nasty tomahawking by Dirkkhan. Clearly, the group is on the right track.
At the farthest end of the cavern, guarding an exit, is four skeletons. Father Elias’ belaying pin is handy here, as is another Bane spell, and the skeletons are unable to stop the group from proceeding. Going through the exit leads the group to room of tapestries and a glowing orb on a stand. The orb contains a strange symbol that Thogal recognizes as another, different Elemental cult sign. What is going on?
You’re Under Arrest
Movement from behind a tapestry alerts the group to trouble, and when they check it out they find a very small, old human hiding. “My life’s work! The eye watches all!” he says. Clearly, the “Lord of Lance Rock” is, like all men behind curtains, less than he appears. As the group prepares to take him into custody and shackle him with Dirkkhann’s manacles, the old guy whips out a wand.
“Drop it! If you hurt my friends I’ll kill you!” shouts Chopster, just seconds before stabbing the old man. With that, the fight is on … for about two or three seconds, as axe blows rain down on the old guy. He drops the wand, tosses his hands up, and surrenders.
Ander Lackman does a quick questioning and finds out where the old man keeps his treasure, which the group confiscates as the proceeds of necromancy (civil forfeiture is a harsh mistress) along with the wand of magic missiles. The orb, now no longer glowing, is tipped into a tapestry, and the group departs the caves to return to Red Larch, prisoner in tow.