The action on 12/1 continued inside the spider cave. Aderian slid down the rickety ladder into the darkness, followed close behind by Jerker, Ferris and Azrak, who had shown up in the cave as the bugbears were killed.. Tienarth, still in dragon form, waited at the top of the shaft, uncertain how to descend without destroying the ladder and lower bridge. Nate waited with the dragon. Promiscuous left the cave to join Ollie. Ferris soon changed his mind and also descended.
Aderian bolted over the bridge, chasing a bugbear that called out. He found himself in small living quarters. Bugbears slumbered in straw beds next to cooling fire embers. The sleeping bugbears stirred as the guard called out to them. A few were killed before they could come to their senses. The rest were engaged in melee and quickly fell. Aderian had particularly bad luck during this fight, missing repeatedly, while Jerker found great success in bisecting a bugbear with his crystalline sword.
A rope hung down from a platform outside the bugbear quarters. Azrak descended. He saw the main cave extend to the west and another passage to the east sealed in webbing. Jerker and Aderian also climbed down. Azrak used a torch to burn away the webs, discovering several figures wrapped up and hanging from the ceiling. He cut them down to find groggy captives. One of them was a Genevieve de Guare, a merchant kidnapped and held ransom by Mettik, half-elf and half spider. The party rightly recognized the villain as the same sought by the party they met at the monastery.
Genevieve offered a reward of 5,000 gp if she was returned to her home village, a day’s journey to the west. Azrak exclaimed, “yes!” But before any more action was taken, an ettercap and two huge spiders crawled down the passage to the west.
Up top, Tienarth produced a plan for descending without harm. He cast a spell to allow passing through a wall, which made a pocket in the shaft next to the bridge. Then, he slipped into the shaft, grinding his dragon claws against the walls. Deftly slipping in and out of the pocket, he landed at the bottom of the shaft to face the spiders.
Meanhile, the spiders and the ettercap let loose webs that wrapped up a few of the party. Jerker was caught midway up the rope, but easily burst from it with show of giant strength. Ferris drank a potion of flying and began bringing the captive up the shaft. Nate came down to join the fight, as did Hocusbo.
Jerker assisted Aderian in escaping the webs and soon they all were slashing and biting the spiders. Hocusbo tried blinding a spider with a light spell, but only managed to illuminate the cave better than the lantern. A spider bit Jerker and he felt his health deteriorate, but he fought on. Tienarth as a dragon make easy work of the spiders, biting one savagely. It vomited green ichor as it died.
Soon the battle was over. Jerker took a dose of anti-venom to restore his health. The captives were all taken from the cave.
The next day (12/2), the party headed west into the mountains to find Genevieve’s village, Grayshade. She explained it was the easternmost edge of the kingdom of Steorid. Her family were merchants, and her father would gladly give the random he intended for Mettik to the party instead for her rescue. They wound through gray mountain peaks for a day before descending into a valley where they found a village surrounded by a palisade. The guards were happy to recognize Genevieve and the others.
The head of the de Guare clan, Genevieve’s father, asked them to rest and recuperate in this mansion. He also offered another 5,000 gp if they could bring back the head of Mettik. Again, the chance for earning gold was intensely interesting to all, not the least of which was Azrak. They rested for two days before going back to the cave.
On the evening of 12/5, as they set up a first watch, a group of explorer’s arrived, led by a human cleric. He began with an angry attitude, claiming the area as his own. Azrak was ready for a fight. The rest of the party was not, and they agreed to move out of the monastery for the night. Azrak still protested until Jerker lifted him over his shoulder. They spent the night in the trees near the mouth of the cave.
In the morning (12/6), they returned to the cave. From the top of the shaft, they dropped a rope as a hedge against the ladders breaking. Once at the bottom, they explored deeper into the cave. About 100 feet down the passage, rope ladders rose into a higher chamber where a spring filled a large pool of clear water. No exit was seen, so they retreated.
Along the passage, they spied a hole in the ceiling. Jerker tried tossing Azrak upwards. He barely managed to reach the hole, then came crashing down again. Ferris tried throwing his rock with continual light up the hole and saw that it went up a short way. Jerker tossed the stone with considerable force and it bounced out of view.
Still interested in the hole, they rigged a way to hang a rope ladder they took from elsewhere to a two spikes hammered in the wall of the shaft. This was aided by a levitation spell cast by Hocusbo. Then, Aderian began hammering more spikes as handholds. Presently, the faces of two Aranea appeared. Bolts of energy leapt from their fingers. One struck Aderian. He felt his natural strength wane, but the magical strength of the girdle endured. Next, magic missiles struck the former pirate.
Hocusbo brought Aderian back down with his levitation spell, and they all stepped away from the hole, out of sight.
- Treasure: 5,000 gp
- Combat 3,545 xp
- 7 Bugbear Guards 1,435 xp
- 2 Huge, Monstrous Spiders 1,750 xp
- Ettercap 360 xp
- Characters 506 xp
- Aderian (fight, leads) 567 xp
- Azrak (stubborn, suspicious, underground, fight) 526 xp
- Ferris 557 xp
- Hocusbo 557 xp
- Jerker (fight, strength) 567 xp
- Nate (fight) 562 xp
- Tienarth (inquisitive, wilderness) 516 xp