- Patrice, playing Marm Jo'a, a 2nd level cleric
- Luke, playing Andy, a 2nd level fighter
- Brian, playing Core, a 1st level dwarf
This week Jason was unavailable so Mixahâm bowed out; we decided he was spending a few days conducting more research into monster-organ-based alchemy.
The session started with the players back in Riverfork, licking their wounds and keen to get revenge on the Cronus cult on the River Magos and the people of Lithakia. But they were also brainstorming ways to kill Sir Iannis; Andy came up with the idea of trying to insert explosive chemicals into his horse. They went to the Guild of Sages to ask about this, and Iappas told them that in the town of Armstead (quite far to the North) they might find dwarves who could provide such chemicals. But reasoning the journey would take weeks, the PCs decided that this was a dead-end as far as killing Sir Iannis went. But they also asked Iappas what he knew of Cronus. Iappas told them that Cronus was the father of the Gods, who Zeus and his family had imprisoned thousands of years ago. But since Cronus was the God of time, he could exist in the past, present and future simultaneously, which meant his prison was only at best contingent. It could be that he had worshipers in the area - and the sages agreed to pay money for proof of this.
The PCs came up with a new plan for attacking the river fortress, which meant Marm and the bulk of the hirelings swimming up the river, against the current, and entering the side cave which Mixahâm had previously discovered. In the meantime Core and Andy, the heavy mob, would travel up the river bank and get across once the entrance to the complex was secured. This worked well - Core and Andy were able to kill a lookout, while Marm and the hirelings entered the caves and killed another.
However, enough noise was made to alert the inhabitants of the caves, and a brutal fight ensued, with the PCs and their mini-army storming a hive of Cronus-cult acolytes, armed to the teeth with spears and bows - not to mention a priest of Cronus. This cost the party dear. Andy was paralyzed early on by a Hold Person spell and completely incapacitated, while Marm was seriously wounded. Eusebius and Loulia, the hirelings, were both killed - although not before Loulia had dispatched 3 or 4 cultists and won the hearts of the men through her warrior prowess. And finally, we had our first PC death - the cowardly Cronus priest outflanked the party at one point and was able to kill Marm with his sickle; Andy, nearby, was only saved by swift action of the river pirates.
Nonetheless, they were ultimately victorious - all the cultists were apparently killed, although one of the priest's two well-armed bodyguards managed to escape; the other was the only captive (victim of a Fear spell cast by Marm). By the end of the fight Core had 1 hit point remaining and was the only PC still able to actually move -they were a sliver away from a TPK. But they prevailed. In the cave complex they discovered 4,000 sp in clay pots, but more interestingly they also found a large bronze statue of Cronus: an old man with a sickle in one hand, and a set of completely castrated male gonads in the other. Around his feet were arrayed a beautiful copper shield and bronze short sword, of exquisite quality, and an 18" stick of pure black wood. The PCs surmised this was a wand, although they were unable to identify it.
Returning to Riverfork, they reported back to the Temple of the Elements and received their reward - 3,000 gp, which, split between Core and Andy, was a sizeable chunk. Just enough, indeed, for Andy to go up to level 3, taking into account all the kills and a reward offered by Iappas the Sage for the captive bodyguard (who the sages intended to torture for information). There are advantages to the deaths of party members after all...
They also met up with a new PC (who Patrice rolled up to replace Marm). This was a first level female elf with STR 3, called April, who has long blonde flowing locks and a thin blonde moustache but "oddly is not so bad looking". We used the Why Does The New Guy/Girl Know the PCs? table and discovered that April had begged Core and Andy to join them, because she needed 17,000 gp to ransom her lost love, an elf called Elendil.
Thus ended the session. Fun as always, although it was sad to lose Marm - it looks like we'll never know how the geas to kill Sir Iannis would have worked out. We now have a dwarf and an elf in the party, though, and it wouldn't be Basic D&D without that, would it?