Session #116 – Mole Men and a Dwarf Named Grubbycheek

Two weeks after sending the ghost of Olofaren to his rest, several of the Raiders sat around the table in the parlor. Tienarth and Ferris discussed the many potions produced over the previous months, and some were handed out. Tienarth lamented two failed attempts at creating a new wand. He shared his desire to raise more funds for further attempts. Elgar stood nearby, patiently listening, as did recent recruits, Florida and Chad. Perhaps unnoticed, the two announced their full names to be Chadwick and Floridian.

Aderian and Jerker recently returned to the homestead, providing no explanation for their being away. It was assumed they’d spent months holed up in one tavern or another while the snow covered the ground. Now they were back and ready for more adventure.

Considering options, the group agreed to make their way back to Doukreg to complete their exploration of the Shrine of the Savior.

Doukreg

The journey took the usual two days of brisk marching, first to the ruined tower at the summit, then another descending into the valley. They reached the river camp at midday but pressed onward towards Tosasth, but giving it wide berth. On the far side, they turned east through rough hills to Doukreg. Molokotu still stood motionless among the ruined city. A bit of snow hug upon his shoulders. The rising moon glinted off his steel exterior.

They climbed down into the chasm to make a camp under the clear sky. No predators interrupted them.

In the morning, they pulled open the large doors to the shrine and contemplated where to explore next. Aderian pushed through the muddy gash in the eastern wall of the entrance chamber and turned right to observe a chamber carpeted by wriggling worms. On the far side of the chamber rested the skeleton of a giant with two heads. Jerker fetched two rocks suitable for throwing and hurled the first at one of the skulls of the giant. It splintered the bone into a shower of fragment, one of which sparkled momentarily in the torchlight before plopping into the pit of worms.

No expectations of the skeleton leaping to action were fulfilled. And a flask of burning oil destroyed a patch of worms then burned out in a completely normal fashion. The worms were perhaps ankle deep. Chad felt no fear wading into them and grasping for the sparkly bit, which he soon found to be sizable diamond, which he pocketed.

With no exit from the worm room, they backtracked and climbed up a muddy tunnel to another room filled with worms. In this room, a giant crystal produced a subtle vibration. Around it squirmed worms of various sizes, some of monstrous proportions. As before, the worms seemed harmless. The massive crystal was impossible to move, especially given the slippery footing in the earthen tunnels.

They moved onward to a room where many roots hung from the ceiling and the floor held several piles of ore. As they openly discussed the scene, they noticed hammering out of view that then stopped. Presently, the figure of a dwarf appeared. He introduced himself as Filmigar Grubbycheek.

Grubbycheek explained how he’d been mining for some time, having found a rich vein of gold. He admitted to no plan for refining the ore except that he’d later move it. Jerker offered to arrange for a wagon or some other method of hauling the ore to a suitable smelter. The dwarf agreed it would be interesting if Jerker could deliver.

The miner also informed them of the mole men who built tunnels in the area. He went on about his admiration for their unique and naturalistic approach to tunneling. He explained he had an understanding with the mole men but warned they were aggressive. The party took note.

Rounding out their exploration, they returned to the finished areas and the room adjoining several cells. A new search of one cell turned up a magical ring and a sack of coins. Aderian’s intelligent bag urged him towards the coins, compelling him to scoop them up greedily. Among the gold and platinum was a jeweled pendant in the shape of a unicorn.

Several tunnels poked through the jail area from muddy tunnels. In them, they encountered mole men guarding enormous worms. Covered in soft fur, they stood four feet tall, except for their leader who presented as a bit taller and more muscular. The mole men stood ready to fight and did not seem to understand human language.

After much debate, the party decided to leave the mole men alone. Some arguments were made about the low relative risk of slaughtering them, though nothing of particular value was seen to be gained from it.

The Vault

They left the shrine and climbed up to the surface again to take another look at the stele which described in dwarven runes various city locations. They had previously located a bank from this stone. Now they found the description of a vault which they picked through the toppled buildings to find rising above the street to a platform that held four columns.

The faces of two wolves appeared around a pile of stone, merely observing.

Up the steep steps, they found a 60′ square platform about 15′ above the street. At each corner was a column atop sat a menacing gargoyle. By this time, the sun had drifted below the horizon and they became acutely aware of a soft green glow from the statues. Though gargoyles were known to be savage monsters, these seemed to be statues only. At one time, each statue bore gems for eyes, but three of the statues were missing one gem, leaving an empty eye socket.

The menacing vibe around the vault platform communicated strong magic and likely devious traps. With darkness now descending, they retreated from the platform to find an unruined corner of a building where they could shelter for the night.

End Notes

  • Treasure
    • Diamond 1,200 gp
    • Magical Ring
    • 2,200 gp
    • 300 pp
    • Jeweled unicorn pendant 300 gp
  • Combat: none!
  • Characters 300 xp each
    • Aderian (human) 330 xp
    • Chad (human) 330 xp
    • Elgar (human) 330 xp
    • Florida (underground) 303 xp
    • Jerker (human) 330 xp
    • Tienarth (collect magic) 303 xp

XP awards represent the encounter with the mole men, since there was some risk but not as much as if combat had started.

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