Delving the Nentir Vale

SESSION FIVE: Investigate Ruined Keep

JOB

Investigate Ruined Keep

BOUNTY

250gp per member

Kmp ruins

SESSION

Heroes who answered the call: Gwenn; Kayleth; Lizzi; Patrin; Samson

The Assignment -

Rumors have been told for generations about a powerful magical staff that would give its wielder power over the things on the material plane. Until recently the whereabouts of this powerful magical staff have remained uncertain.

After studying the manuscript of a long dead Paladin, the accomplishments of a great sorcerer named Voran Earthmane was found recorded several times and each time it mentioned him having created a mighty staff that allowed him to freely travel between planes but ultimately having to abandon it and leave his laboratory. The manuscript tells of him leaving his home and his staff behind when “a great stone fell from the night sky leaving a path of destruction a mile long and turning the sky red for days and days.”

After putting together the pieces from several entries of this ancient manuscript, we’ve determined the stone was in fact the Chaos Stone. The very one that carved the Chaos Valley. Apparently destroying his home and laboratory.

Meet our informant in Restwell Keep at the Traveler’s Inn on the edge of the Chaos Valley. He is a young Halfling by the name of Rilkin. He says he has information about the possible location of this long-ruined keep.

Fee for this job is 4000gp. Rilkin’s fee is 800gp and must be paid from this fee.

Our group spent most of the day traveling to Restwell Keep where they did in fact meet a young halfling named Rilkin. After a few minutes of banter, Rilkin agreed to take the group as far he could but he would not take them all the way to the ruins. He said the place was haunted and smelly. The group wanted to leave immediately so they set out for the ruins with Rilkin in the lead.

Several hours later Rilkin stops just short of a crest on a hill. He then turns to the group and said “This is a far as I go. The ruins are just over this hill.” and then he jumps on a large rock near by and says “See, you can see the walls from here.” With that, he hopped down and headed back they way they came. Cresting the hill, the group makes its way to the ruins.

A soggy gloom fills the crumbling ruins of this keep. The few intact walls cast thick pools of shadows that obscure the jumbled mess of debris that covers the spongy wooden floor. A wet, boggy stench saturates the interior of the ruins, likely from the thick pits of mud that bubble up from some hidden reservoir below, creating wallows of slimy muck.

Patrin is the first through the doors quickly followed by Kayleth. Upon entering the crumbling building, the group come face to face with mud. Stinky, Slimy Mud.

Squatting in muddy wallows amid the ruined keep are half a dozen froglike humanoids. Some of them grip crude spears and javelins, while the others are naked save for a coating of filthy mud. A chorus of deep, reverberating croaks echoes off the walls of the ruins when the creatures see you.

Our group is quickly surrounded by croaking frogs (Bullywug) but manage to dispatch them with little effort. They begin to search the ruins and Gwenn discovers a hidden trap door in the Northwest corner. Opening the door revealed a ladder going down, not into darkness but onto a dimly lit platform with stairs leading south.

This stone chamber is bathed in a greasy, yellow glow from a pair of smoking braziers in the northwest and southeast corners of the room. The floor is covered in a thick viscous mud that adds a swampy stink to the pungent smoke issuing from the braziers. Toppled tables, bookshelves, and other bits of furniture thrust up from the muck in various places like islands in a muddy sea. Almost a dozen loathsome, froglike humanoids squat in the mud on the east end of the room, near a pair of double doors that are slightly ajar.

Everyone immediately noticed the large area in the center of the room looked a lot deeper than the rest of the mud elsewhere in the room. They avoided this area at all costs and were again quickly surrounded by frogs. Not much more difficult than the frogs upstairs, our group quickly dispatches these with a few comments like ’We’ll be eatin’ good tonight!". They waded through the deepening mud and pushed through the southern doors.

This large room is lit by more of the stinking, smoky braziers and seems to be even muddier than the previous room. A pair of large, L-shaped tables and a number of tall bookshelves, all made of stone and strewn with the broken remains of ancient alchemical equipment, mark this room
as having once been some kind of laboratory. The center of the room is taken up by a shallow pit filled with thick mud, and within this filthy wallow are two of the most enormous frogs you have ever seen.

“More Frogs!”

Most everyone noticed the bulky stone door, barred and shut, in the western wall. A steady river of thick mud flowing from beneath the door.

“….and more mud!”

These frogs turned out not to be the push-over that the last few had been. In fact, one frog in the back of the room was carrying some type of staff and every time he raised it up and croaked, the center of the room exploded in fire, burning party member and frog alike. It did not seem to matter to him that his buddies were burning to. He gave the party fits!

One of those enormous frogs kept lashing out at Patrin with his tongue and yanking him around. Several times he was even swallowed but guessed the frog did not like the way he tasted because he would spit him out and then do it all over again. That went on for several LONG minutes. The other gigantic frog even did that to Samson at one point until the rest of the group could fight through the smaller ones to finish off the larger ones.

That only left the one with the staff and he tried to make a run for it but without the support of all the other frogs, he went down quickly. Our group then turned their attention to the barred door. Opening it:

This stone vault is lined with shelves holding many strange devices. Some of them even appear to be intact and might be valuable. However, your most pressing concern lies at the
western end of the room, in a small alcove, where a thick, stone staff juts out from a swirling vortex of mud and spews forth a steady deluge of elemental muck.

“The source of the mud. Yuck!”

By the time our group enters this room, the mud in most places is knee deep. Content on just ransacking the room, Gwenn starts picking through the shelves of weird objects until Samson says “That is a magical staff over there and probably the source of all this mud. That’s probably the wizard’s staff that we come to collect. Let’s get that and then we’ll see what other valuable things are in this room.” By this time the mud had pushed the door closed again and the mud was filling the room.

Gwenn waded through waist deep mud until she was next to the staff but when she reached out and touch it, oh boy! Suddenly, the roiling mud rises up in vaguely anthropomorphic shapes that flail and batter at you with lashing, muddy appendages. 4 “Med Men” rose up and lashed out at Gwenn until the other members wadded in and took up the fight.

Samson was in the back frantically trying to remember ancient incantations that may help dislodge the staff from the mud. The rest of the group would fight off a mud guy and then try to dislodge the staff. This went on for several minutes with a pair of the mud men dispatched only to be replaced by another one only moments later…………….and the room was still filling with mud. Samson mutters one last word and yells for Gwenn to pull the staff. SUCCESS!! The staff is released from its muddy home.

With it’s release, the mud men disappear back into the mud which is then sucked back into whatever outer-realm world put it there. Our group pilfers through the jumbles of junk on the shelves and picks out the best looking items hoping to sell them for a few gold back in Fallcrest. They then make their way out of the keep and back to Fallcrest for a much needed bath.

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