Autumn. The party is making its way through the western Termecian forest, in the state of Skell. Since the repulsion of the Cadrian invasion in the Battle of Winter’s Night, the southwestern regions have been troubled; bandits, mercenaries, and ex-soldiers conduct cross-border raids from Cadria, which turns a blind eye, while the weak and disunited Termecian lords can do little to strike back. It is in this environment that the members of the party separately responded to a call by the baron of Benoin, Baron Amness, to drive out a bandit group that had destroyed a village. Lead by the baron’s young nephew, the group set out to destroy the brigands’ camp.
The party members were clearly more experienced than their fellow mercenaries and soon formed an impromptu squad, a lucky fact as their group was ambushed in the night by the brigands a day out from their camp. The mercenaries panicked and were routed, except for the party who held their ground and eventually beat the attackers back, inflicting heavy casualties. After finding the nephew unconscious under a collapsed tent, they pressed on and set the bandit camp aflame, killing the remaining rogues. The baron’s nephew was killed in the attack, foolishly jumping out into the open and giving a war cry, and falling to an arrow.
The heroes decided not to take the risk of reporting back to the baron; there is no law preventing an unhappy noble from stringing up those he blames for the death of his family, however innocent they may be. Instead, they decided to move further southwest, investigating reports of a deserted town.
2 days later, the party was traveling through the Termecian forest near noontime when a column of flame shot straight upwards into the sky 200 yards away from the path. The party approached cautiously and discovered a fissure in the ground, which they then descended into with a length of rope from Roondar’s pack. However, Glithas and Bjorin both suffered injuries during the descent, losing their grip and plummeting into the tunnel below.
There, the party discovered the charred remains of a tentacled creature and a tunnel leading downward, which they followed. The tunnel opened out into a chamber containing a ruined town, sitting on a crumbling hill, illuminated by other fissures in the ceiling and surrounded by a pool of water. The tunnel ended 90 feet above the water, so the party were forced to scale down the cliff face. Yunaan descended first and safely reached the bottom. Roondar was next and nearly had reached the bottom when 6 dire bats caught scent of the party and attacked. The small tunnel opening neutralized much of the party’s offensive power, pinning Bjorin, Torash, and Glithas at the top while Yunaan attacked from below with his bow and Roondar clung to the rope 20 feet above the water, battering the bats with psionic attacks.
A bat knocked Roondar from the rope and the gnome plummeted to the water below, where he expended much of his power in a flash of psionic rage, devastating two of the bats and knocking one of them into the water. However, this expended much of his power, and Roondar found himself struggling to stay aflot in the water. Torash summoned a spiritual hammer to batter the bats while Bjorin held the tunnel opening and Glithas pummeled the attackers with magic missile. After clearing some of the bats from the tunnel opening, Torash made a break for the rope but lost his grip almost immediately and began plummeting the nine stories to the bottom.
Yunaan summoned the rage of his ancestors while a desperate Torash managed to keep his wits about him long enough to call upon Reimar to grant Yunaan extra strength. In a great crash, Yunaan, now with the strength of a giant, caught the falling cleric in a massive splash. Above, Glithas and Bjorin cleared out the last of the bats in the upper reaches and Bjorin began his descent while Roondar, Yunaan, and Torash concentrated on the bats swooping above the pool. However, one of the bats which had been knocked into the water managed to struggle out far enough to launch himself back into the air. He rapidly approached Bjorin and with a buffet of his wings, knocked him from the rope. Again, Yunaan placed himself under the rope and with another great crash, caught the druid with his now-supernatural strength. Meanwhile, Glithas was gravely wounded by the bat and, near unconscious, managed to stagger backwards and fell his attacker with a magic missile. Below, the rest of the party managed to mop up the last of the creatures.
The party regrouped and healed, then proceeded into the ruined gatehouse guarding the entrance to the town. Bjorin, in the back of the line, managed to spot smaller versions of the tentacled creature they had found, before they could attack. The party, now ready for combat, nevertheless found themselves swarmed by 4 of the creatures. Torash and Yunaan, at the front of the line, were grappled by the razor-sharp tentacles of the monsters while Bjorin and Roondar found themselves largely cut off from the fight by a flanker. Yunaan managed to fling off his attacker while the beleaguered Torash, under two of the creatures, neared death. Bjorin rushed forward to provide healing while Roondar held off his attacker. Glithas summoned a flaming sphere but found himself bedeviled by its near-supernatural agility as it repeatedly dodged the fiery projectile. The party, low on magical power, resorted to physical muscle to wear down the creatures, with Glithas rushing forward with his bow to land the final blow.
Now, low on magical and psionic power and physically battered, the party faces a ruined town and an uncertain objective…