We picked up our game with Aeli (my wife's fighter) back at the Inn after a particularly brutal trip into the dungeon beneath Zenopus's Tower. Some conflict had also erupted between Aeli and my (so-far) main NPC, Tironell the mage. She had committed to performing a task for the local priest in exchange for resurrecting a hireling. He didn't want to perform this task (yet) because of his worries that someone else would plunder the tower of it's treasures before him.
Aeli arose on Day 5 and met Tironell to discuss the treasure they'd found. Tironell was convinced that a scroll recovered was penned by Zenopus himself and would allow someone to float (levitate). Aeli agreed to keep the fine sword and armor.
They then brought out the golden bejeweled belt they had recovered from the fighter-slave, and a hush came over the entire Inn as everyone gaped at it. It was truly a thing of beauty and not something a simple fighter should have had! They asked the Berlbur the Innkeeper whom in Westport might be able to price it for them. He directed them to Ulmnys, the Mayor's assistant, who might be able to advise them with such a remarkable item.
At this point, Aeli and Tironell made their way back to the temple to see if the priest had resurrected the hireling. Unfortunately, the goddess was not willing to return his soul, so the attempt had failed. Turchao, the other man-at-arms, had been fully healed. Once again, Aeli agreed to fulfill her end of the bargain and investigate the issue at the Keep which prevent the poor from getting supplies.
Tironell pleaded with Aeli to return to Zenopus's Tower first. He persuaded her to go see what the job was about - she would be keeping her promise to begin the job. He agreed to go with her later. She reluctantly agreed and they parted ways - he to get the belt appraised, she to speak to the Captain of the Guard. (NB: I had really wondered if she was going to tell the NPC to take a flying leap. I was prepared for that, and half expecting it. This just gives me yet another hook for her backstory...)
So Aeli walked to the Keep and had an amusing encounter with a guard in which Aeli had forgotten who had sent her. She managed to persuade the guard to take her to the Captain and much the same thing happened. After some talk which had Aeli looking like a mad woman, she finally 'remembered' that the priest was Worlale and she was here to help. He looked at her askance - "You've come alone?" but took her to see what was going on.
The Captain took her deep into the Keep, explaining that it was built on the remains of something ancient. There was a series of tunnels below the Keep that were very old, and part of those tunnels were used for food storage. Something had come from the locked off part of the tunnels, killed two squads of guards and was preventing them from getting to their food. The remaining guards had barricaded the Keep from the tunnels, and whatever this was, it kept attacking the barricade. Nobody could really see it, but it didn't like fire or being poked by large polearms through the barricade. The Keep's Knights were off on maneuvers (*coughDesExMachinacough*) so the Captain was happy to have any assistance.
Aeli promised to return the next day with more men and walked back to Westport to wait for Tironell. After they met, and he gave her half of the 1000 gold he'd sold the belt for, they waited for more hirelings to go with them to the Tower. At this point, Aeli found herself mesmerized by the fine sword she'd recovered and she spent 3 hours cleaning and sharpening it, almost in a trance.
Once the hirelings had arrived (and Aeli roused from her "trance"), they made their way back to Zenopus's Tower and through the previously mapped areas to the door they believed led to the tower itself.
First, they faced a Giant Snake. The DM chose to make this a teaching moment and had one of the NPCs suggest they back up to the previous room to be able to surround the snake. Aeli agreed and they did so. A couple of rounds later, there was one dead snake.
They made their way back to the snake's room and found it to be part of the tower itself! They made their way up the stairs, through a trap door to a kitchen, then up more stairs to another trap door.
Aeli popped the trap door (without listening, *laugh*) and took the evil mage by surprise. He jumped to a table and pulled out what looked like a rock stick. It was at this point that my wife invoked her own Rule of Cool and scored a natural 20 on a bow/arrow shot at the mage. Result? He dropped the wand and went diving for it. The next round, Aeli moved out of the trap door, allowing two other of the party up. Tironell used up his wand that disintegrated in his hands but hit the mage with it's magic, then the NPC fighter finished the evil mage off.
THAT was cool. Tironell, the NPC mage, was in awe. Here was an untouched library of Zenopus himself! Tironell started loading up the porter and anyone else with books and notes.
Aeli: Where's the treasure?! You said there was a treasure room!
Tironell (the happy mage): Are you kidding? This IS the treasure room.
So the party left the dungeon, with everyone alive this time! Now on to the Keep to see what the creature is that has the Keep paralyzed.
-- notes --
I wanted to make a big deal of a 1000gp belt, which is why it had such an effect on the inn patrons. Someone carries in something that is worth roughly 10 -12 months of salary, it's going to attract attention. I wonder if rooms will start getting robbed?
My 22 year old stepdaughter jumped in midway through the session to take over one of the hirelings. I just handed her the sheet for that fighter and she had a lot of fun, helping to kill the snake and playing along with the party. She got to kill a wandering monster giant rat by herself and really enjoyed that.
This was a nice ending point to the Holmes intro adventure. There is still more to find there! My wife hasn't explored it all and that will fit nicely with a possible adventure hook.
We've also talked about my wife's storyline and I've reminded her that she hasn't asked or actively investigated it herself and that unless she does, the story will not come to her, she needs to go find it. I'm going to drop a few more clues.
My wife is really starting to get the hang of how this goes. We're starting to run a bit more complex combat sequences now, and she's getting the hang of thinking tactically. That's really neat and I'm looking forward to the next session.
And dang it, I forgot to take pictures for the TARGA site. Hopefully JeffR can still use this write up.