Faces of Evil: Hextor temple
The session begins with the kobold adventurers locked away in the local jail. They are granted a short visit by Allustan who assures them he will do all he can for them and afterward they are left to stew for a day before Balabar Smenk pays them a visit. Meeting privately (through the bars of the jail cell) he promises he can have all charges "done away with"...if they are willing to do a small favor for him in return. After massacring his employees, after all, it's only fair. When they agree to hear his proposal he tells them about the secret temple beneath the Dourstone mine and that he wishes for the kobolds to raid that temple, destroying it if at all possible. According to Smenk it represents a grave threat to the town and one which the local authorities aren't going to take seriously until it's too late.
The kobolds, of course, readily agree, stipulating that they require all of the confiscated gear back. As it happens this is a minor detail as all of their gear was turned over to Smenk already as compensation for the loss of his employees. Smenk then leaves to arrange things with Lanod Neff.
By mid-day the kobolds are informed that they are to be turned over to Balabar Smenk to work in his mine, basically as slaves for the rest of their lives. When they object they are reminded that the only other alternative is simply to be executed at the town's earliest convenience. After being shackled and escorted from the building they are carried off in a covered wagon to the Smenk residence to meet with him there. Once away from curious eyes they are released, their gear returned to them (most of it, anyway) and reminded that they are legally Smenk's indentured servants now. If they leave town without permission they will become hunted fugitives.
Once Smenk has supplied them with whatever other provisions they request he advises them to remain in the covered wagon until nightfall, and then sneak into the Dourstone mine under cover of darkness. He warns them that if they are captured he intends to proclaim that they escaped and stole back their gear before fleeing, an automatic death sentence for the three kobolds. Grumbling, they acknowledge the warning and wait for nightfall to come.
Waiting until midnight before moving out, the team comes upon the stockade surrounding the mine. There they arrive just as a squad of four dwarf guards passes by but they remain undetected. After observing the patrols for a while the team simply sneaks over the wall and make their way to the mine entrance with no one the wiser. Once in the mine it takes them some to explore the place without being spotted, even though the place is relatively empty at this late hour. Eventually they figure out that the area marked with warning signs and barricades is probably where they need to be. Within a few minutes they have a couple of board loose from the barricade and shimmy through.
Finding the elevator down the long, sloping passage the team descends and then exits the elevator to examine the northern doors. When Gutter comes in sight of the two Tiefling guards one cries out a warning and the other makes to run down the passage they guard.
Gutter dashes straight for the hallway they're guarding to take up position there, provoking AOO from both of them, though both miss. Tiefling1 then attacks Gutter but misses. Toerag takes a 5-foot step to flank Tiefling1 and attacks, planting both blades in his vitals.
Rue fires at Tiefling2 but misses. Tiefling2 attempts to barrel past Gutter to reach the door at the end of the hall. Gutter slashes at him as he passes, scores a critical and drops him.
As Tiefling1 attacks Toerag, Gutter attacks him. Both miss. Toerag, however, slips through the Tiefling's defenses and drops him with one very well placed jab.
Searching the bodies reveals a key on one of them so he team then moves down the hall to try the key on the door there and find no discernable locking mechanism or any other way of opening the door from this side. They turn and rush back down the hall to check on the two Tieflings, finding one of them still alive.
Administering one of their healing potions to this Tiefling doesn't rouse him so the team cut a rope in half and use the two pieces to bind his hands and feet before giving him another. Now conscious, he refuses to answer questions until the team drag him over to the black pool and threaten to drop him into it. He immediately informs them of the secret knock used to gain entrance but Rue and Toerag discern that he is lying and dip his feet into the liquid as a warning. At his reaction it's clear to them that it's not a pleasant experience and the Tiefling quickly amends his statement, giving the correct knock.
Now at a loss for what to do with their captive they discuss the matter for some time until Toerag ends the debate by shoving him over into the pool. He doesn't die quickly or pleasantly.
A search of the chamber itself reveals some gold coins and a silver idol in a basket above the eerie black pool.
The team then proceeds down the hall and tries the knock the Tiefling told them about. In moments the door swings open at the hands of two animated skeletons in rusty old armor who then return to their stations at either side of the door. The team cautiously enters and looks about the room, which is literally lined with armored skeletons. When none of them move to attack them the team takes the time to search the room, staying together all the while.
Before very long, however, the western doors open and several spear-wielding humans stroll through, clearly not expecting intruders. As they spy the team and see that the intruders are kobolds they don't bother challenging them and instead immediately spring to attack.
Several Cultists in the chamber beyond hear the ruckus and stand to grab their spears.
Rue fires her crossbow at the first Cultist out the door, Cultist1, and hits. Cultist4 rushes to take up position to defend the north exit and keep the Kobolds from taking control of it. Gutter recognizes what he's doing and immediately charges Cultist4, killing him in one blow. Cultist3 moves to attack Gutter hoping to reclaim the spot and lands a jab on the barbarian. Cultist2 moves to do the same, dodging a swipe from Toerag as he passes. He too manages to jab Gutter.
Cultist6 rushes through the doorway and attacks Toerag, landing a terribly stab with his spear. Cultist5 follows right behind to take up position to guard the north exit. He dodges Gutter's defensive strike and jabs at him in return, both of them missing.
Toerag attacks Cultist2, intending to take some of the heat off Gutter and drops him with both her blades.
Cultist7 moves into the room and takes up a position that places both Gutter and Toerag in his range. He jabs at Toerag and misses. Meanwhile several of the Cultists in the chamber find the doorway blocked by those that went before them and clamor for them to move.
Rue decides they desperately need to thin the ranks around here and casts two Magic Missiles at Cultist5, disabling him. Gutter then charges Cultist5, hitting and killing him.
Too close to Gutter for comfort, Cultist3 steps to the side and swings his spear at Gutter. Cultist6 moves toward Gutter but is foolish enough to move through Toerag's and Rue's threat space. Toerag drops him and then jumps directly into the Cultist1, Cultist3 and Cultist7's threat space. They all make a play for her but with her Mobility feat they all miss badly. Toerag plants a blade in Cultist3 while easily dodging another attack by Cultist1.
From the eastern room Tiefling1 runs in and spies the battle. He quickly casts Darkness on a coin and tosses it at Gutter's feet. Tiefling2 then runs in from the eastern room and moves to the opposite side of Gutter, preparing to flank him. Gutter hits him hard as he gets too close. Gutter then kicks the Darkness coin back at Tiefling1, along with some unmentionable insults, and maintains his position.
Cultist7 withdraws and makes for the north hall, still hoping to gain control of the north exit, but Toerag drops him as he runs by. Cultist9 steps up to take his place, attacking Toerag, and is soon joined by Cultist11 who likewise steps up and attacks. Both miss her and she presses her attack on Cultist1 with a strong two-weapon blow, killing him.
Rue casts two more Magic Missiles, both at Tielfling2 whom Gutter has just badly wounded. The combined force attacks drop him.
Furious at the death of his partner, Tiefling1 charges Gutter, spouting some choice curses of his own but miss. Gutter's answering blow nearly drops him.
Cultist8 finally moves to threaten both Toerag and Rue, clearing the doorway. He and Toerag both wound each other in the resulting scuffle and three more Cultists dash out of the chamber to join the fight. Cultist12 heads straight north up the hallway, sailing right past Gutter and Toerag, while the other two both close within range of Toerag and attack her. Rue casts two Magic Missiles at Tiefling1, killing him.
Cultist8 attacks Rue and scores a life-threatening critical. Rue takes a 5-step and downs a healing potion.
Cultist11 attacks Toerag, cutting her badly, and then moves toward the northern hallway. Both Gutter and Toerag takes advantage of his move to gang up on him and drop him dead. Gutter then charges Cultist12 down the hall and kills him with one blow while Toerag attacks Cultist8 near her and drops him.
Not willing to waste any more spells Rue wields her crossbow while Toerag dodges an attack by Cultist10. Gutter moves back into the room and engages him, dodging his defensive strike and swinging at him. Toerag lunges forward and stabs him deeply while Rue plants a bolt in him from across the room. Together, they've killed him.
With no further threat evident the team take a moment to down most of their healing potions before looting the bodies and searching the chamber, and adjoining chambers, as well.
The Team found the Chamber of the Beast irresistible with the thick chain and padlock on it, so they tried the key they found on the Tiefling on the lock and opened. They soon wish they hadn't and, once the Dire Boar was defeated, used all but one of their remaining healing potions to recover.
Moving stealthily down the hall they managed to catch the Tiefling guards in the Inner Guard Chamber by surprise and dropped one of them in the room. The second one fell in the hall outside by a crossbow bolt from Rue and a charge attack from Gutter. The third Tiefling made it into the Priest's Chamber to warn them, though they had already heard the noise. Their clerical spells were taking a heavy toll on Gutter and Toerag by the time Rue caught up with them (and two Troglodyte Zombies were just coming through the door) so Rue used her scorching rays for the first time to kill one priest and badly injure the other. After that it was short work clearing the room.
Rue and Toerag worked together to search the Chapel of Hextor and found the secret panel. Toerag was able to evade the trap as well and they looted the contents. Theldrick's Chamber wasn't spared either and the team took great pains to be sure they didn't miss anything. Rue was even able to detect the magic aura of the scrolls and determine there was some for of magic writing on them (though she couldn't read it).
[My notes from these few battles have completely disappeared, so my apologies for the lack of details. My apologies. Weird things happen when you stay up gaming all weekend.]
The team even managed to bump into Theldrick himself on their way to the temple, as he was returning from there. When challenged he could only gawk for a moment at the trio of kobold who had somehow invaded his demesne. Not seeing them as a threat (not yet having realized they had already slain everyone else in the temple) he threatens them, attempting to take them captive.
When the kobolds inform him that they've already cleared out everyone else from the temple and that it is he, in fact, that should surrender he reconsiders (having finally realized these kobolds wouldn't be standing in the Chapel if they hadn't gotten past just about everyone else to get there). He begins to cast Sound Burst in preparation for a tactical retreat. Not having surprise he isn't automatically able to act before the team does and, in fact, comes in last in initiative.
Gutter charges Theldrick and scores a hard hit while Toerag moves in from the side, landing one nice hit herself. Rue tops it off with a Scorching Ray leveled at Theldrick. Theldrick takes a 5-foot step back and casts Sound Burst, hoping to stun someone long enough for him to retreat safely back into the temple. All the Kobolds are injured from the resounding attack but only Toerag fails her save.
Gutter takes a 5 step forward and attacks Theldrick but misses, while Toerag is stunned. Rue ends things with another Scorching Ray, though. Theldrick surrenders.
When the team demand that Theldrick drop his weapon, he does so. When they instruct him to get on his knees and Rue digs rope out of her pack to bind him, he turns and attempts to flee. An AOO attack by Toerag drops him dead, though.
The team gives the entire complex the once-over to be sure they haven't missed anything before leaving. They notice the fist-sized gem in the forehead of the statue in the Battle Temple and decide they aren't leaving without it. After Toerag gives the structure a solid examination they determine they determine they'll probably have better luck tipping the statue over than climbing up it, so they do. Taking 20 on a Strength check, with Toerag and Rue aiding, Gutter manages to topple the great statue over and onto the northern balcony. Toerag quickly runs back around and up onto the balcony, prying it loose and returning in short order.
With that they move out and along the way notice that there's still a small army of undead guarding the entryway (Chamber of Guardians). Testing a theory they exit the temple, allowing the doors to swing closed behind them, then give the secret knock they got from the Tiefling (still floating in the black pool). It works as expected and two rust-armored skeletons again open the door for them and resume their places at either side.
Testing their second theory they trot across to the other side of the elevator and try the stone key they picked up in Theldrick's room on the door there. Sure enough it unlocks the door and the team step cautiously inside the survey what manner of place it is.
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