When last we left our band of plucky heroes they had descended below the depths of Malvern Manor in an attempt to locate a powerful artifact. At last, a second dungeon to warm the cockles of this old gamer’s heart.
Yolo and Gilgamesh elected to sit out the initial foray into the dungeon where the party easily handled a small squad of ghouls and purple molds. The party returned to the surface and escorted them to a small chapel of Torm where the group made a solid attempt at a long rest. The night was interrupted by four robed figures passing by the party’s rest area and deeper into the cave. Yolo, as a elf requiring no sleep and little rest, was on watch, followed the squad through the halls and through a massive cavern filled top to bottom with spiders and webs. The only was through was to sneak into a small cage and descend into a tunnel that bypassed most of the cavern. Too far from help, Yolo returned and let the rest of his friends catch up on their sleep.
|Lower right – sacred chapel of Torm for all your long rest needs.
The large open cavern is chock a block filled with spiders and webs of all sizes.
All together now, the party penetrated beyond the spider hall – most likely the source for the spiders that had taken over the surface portion of Malvern Manor – and squeezed through a narrow hall into a room filled with several large rodents and swarms of lesser vermin feasting on a corpse. Yolo leaped into the fore, and engaged all of the giant vermin almost single handedly. Bottled up in the hallway, the rest of the party shrieked like grade school girls at a slumber party as they swatted ineffectually at the swarms.
|Beyond the spider cavern. Yolo single handedly slays a swarm
of four giant rats while the rest of the party struggles with a few small
swarms of normal rats and bats.
The giant rats took advantage of their superior numbers to tear Yolo to shreds. (Read: Four giant rats attacking with advantage for several rounds guarantees a few critical hits. Yolo took five crits in two rounds.) Without the timely intervention of the half-orc paladin, Mordred, and his potent healing, Yolo might not have survived his fight. Which is all part of the plan, as a standard fighter, Yolo’s job is to take punishment and serve as a damage soak while the heavy hitters work their literal magic.
A brief look at the corpse revealed the last of the missing guardsmen, but no clues to the mysterious interlopers.
The next cavern in the complex proved to be a mushroom forest filled with deadly fungi of every variety. While each species on it’s own would be easy to deal with, having all of them in close proximity made for quite a conundrum. You couldn’t fight the violent ones without triggering the ones that spew poison spores. You couldn’t sneak past the ones that shrieking in bright light without getting too close to the ones that reach out and grab you. After puzzling over spells that might help, the crew hit on an easy solution – a silence spell and dousing all artificial light. The inhuman members of the party relied on infravision to escort their human friends out of the cave.
The next room proved to be the last – a large tomb inhabited by the surviving Malvern Brother, Lucius, and his undead minions consisting of two zombie ogres, a dozen human zombies, and a few skeletons. In a case of mistaken identity, the necromancer assumed that the party was sent by the Dragon Cult to kill him, and was angry that the Cult had betrayed him. Through a rage spittle filled rant, it became clear that this fellow was holding out hope that the Cult would resurrect a Dracolich, per the terms of his agreement, and their attempt to craft a hoard large enough to bring Tiamat to Faerun was simply not kosher in his book.
|The final confrontation with a betrayed Dragon Cult leader,
and his zombie ogre, zombie, and skeletal servants.
The colorful circles in the south chamber show the
mushroom maze of death.
Whoever he was, he wasted no time in summoning more skeletal reinforcements from the mushroom maze – their arrival preceded by a piercing wail from the shriekers in the previous room. The party elected to wipe out the crazed necromancer’s minons first – they were closest to the party after all. Once they were dispatched, Lucius went down hard and fast.
And that’s when the real trouble began…