Week 31 - Nomen and a spider in need!

After recovering from the effects of the spiders, the party continued looking for the Nomen Centaurs, heading off towards the part of the map marked with a series of parallel lines. Indeed, when they got there, they discovered a series of furrows and potholes scaring the ground. They even spotted the new furrow being carved straight towards them, and the steel like fin that broke through the surface of the earth, and worked out it was a land shark. However, they didn’t know about its incredible ability to launch itself out of the earth into the air and land on its prey.

Rudy was the unfortunate this time, and he was knocked unconscious by that initial assault. However Larran and Ox managed to distract the beast, while Robert healed Rudy (and the rest of the party) and Cassandra came in with a series of fire balls. They took the fin back as a souvenir, and a chunk of meat from behind the fin, because Rudy said that was the most tender, and headed for home.

However, they never made it, as they were spotted by a centaur patrol. Whooping and shouting the centaurs rode a circle around them, the settled facing inwards with their lances pointed at the party - ready to charge! It was hairy for a while but Rudy managed to sweet talk them into taking him (along with the rest of the party) to their leader. And they discovered there were a lot of centaurs in the tribe - they estimated that there was about a hundred hurts in the village. There were many more females than males – and all of the females were heavily armed. Even their leader was female, and Robert recognised her as a warrior-priestess and a follower of Desna.

After much discussion and the presenting of the bow they found back to the Nomen as a gift, she finally came around to offering counsel on their search for the missing villagers. After listening to their story, she identified Vordakai as an ancient ‘sleeping warlord’ and told of a pathway in the mountains that bore his name. It was entered from the valley of the dead and was a forbidden place for the centaurs. She also asked them to re-bury the centaur skins they had found among the burial mounds to the north.

However, the burial mounds had been taken over by a small group of manticores, who ambushed them and fought in defence of their territory. Two were killed, while the third escaped. Eventually, Robert was able to re-burythe skins within the grave yard.

Then finally back to Varnhold where they found their troops in the aftermath of a fight with a Chuul. The creature had been defeated but Harriet was almost lost in the conflict - it was only an intervention from one of her colleagues, with a healing spell, that saved her life. Robert investigated to find that Dick was a minor devotee of the River Godling Hanspur.

Next day it was off to investigate the Ghost Stone, to see if that was linked with the disappearance. Legend had it that the stone glowed at night and ghostly figures could be seen in the area. So the travelled for the day, camped overnight intending to complete their research the following morning.

It was during the second watch, Larran heard the buzzing voice, asking for help. But he managed to ignore it. However, Rudy went to investigate as soon as he was woken for his watch, then he collected Cassandra and Robert to help. Eventually they worked out that they were being petitioned by a phase spider called Zamaz, who wanted help freeing her home from some Xills. She offered a chest with ‘stuff’ in it, if they would help. So next morning the party approached the stone – very carefully to start with. Once they had worked out the magic and the aura’s Robert advanced towards the stone, only to be ambushed by a pair of Xill who suddenly materialised next to him.

A battle ensued - with a second pair of Xill phasing in to flank Cassandra the Sorcerer. The battle was fluid, and the Xill were contained - especially when Zamaz suddenly appeared in Ambush behind one of the Xill. The party manged to get three of them, with one escaping to the Ethereal plane. However, Zamas brought that one back a few moments later, already dead and partially wrapped ready for storage. She also bough a fine chest that she had found floating in the ethereal. It was difficult to unlock it, but when they did they discovered a mage’s spell book and a wand of Dimension Door.

Final investigations revealed that the stone was a fading part of an ancient ‘Permanent Gate’ to the Ethereal plane. With nothing they could do about that at the moment, they bade farewell to Zamas and made their way back to Varnhold to consider their approach.

But that was another week gone ….

Note – enough XP for another level.

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