Absent – Phos and Toby
After retreating back to the Monestary and resting for the night the party decide on their next steps. They decide to cross the river at the ford to the east and then check out the two buildings on the far side of the village on their way to the old shrine shown on their map. Some knowledge checks revealed that it was a shrine to Nethys, the God of Magic, and was placed where it was because of something called the Breath of Nethys, which was rumoured to cause visions.
The party made it way along the riverbank to the first building. On investigation it was an old mill, its wheel still turning with the river’s flow, but the building roofless and abandoned. Raz scouted out in front and on approaching the building could smell something like wet fur. After confirming that it wasn’t the fur of a gnoll he opened the door. From the doorway he could hear a soft growl, like the growl of a wolf, but couldn’t see where, or what, it was coming from. At this point, Davor. secure in her abilities, strode forward into the room. As she entered something swooped from the interior towards her. The creature was a hideous amalgam of wolf, stag and vulture. As it swooped towards Davor, it shadow changed to reflect hers. The Peryton concentrated its attacks on Davor, and everytime it struck, Davor felt a shiver of fear. The rest of the party soon waded into combat, and within three rounds the creature was dead, leaving a frightened Davor behind. While Davor overcame her fear, Raz climbed up the wall to look out to see if the combat had attracted any adverse attention from the village. He noticed a Gnoll Patrol doing a circuit of the village, but they had not reacted to the combat. He timed the patrols movements and worked out that they had 5 minutes where the Gnolls couldn’t see them to cover the open ground to the next building. During this time, Tessare detected magic in the Peryton’s nest, and found a longsword (+1) and a Ring of Jumping.
The party successfully covered the open ground in the 5 minutes and, keeping the building between them and the village, aproached the building’s door. At this point, all of the party had noticed an awful reek to the air. Some were reminded of tanneries they had encountered. Raz checked the door and found it to be unlocked. Upon opening the door, he glanced in to see a Harpy concentrating on stirring something in a cauldron. The room was full of six cauldrons with their contents in various states of completion. She had not noticed the party opening the door, so they rushed her in the surprise round, with Davor successfully bull-rushing her and throwing her to the ground. The party all had a chance at a strike at the prone harpy, and at the end of the round, she cried surrender. In the process of tying her up she started to hum, and Tessare and Davor were absolutely captivated. Irizati tried to gag her, but Davor removed the gag. In the end Phos force missiled her, ending her song and her life.
The party then searched the harpy’s building and found a magical ring (a Ring of the Ram) on her, and a golden pectoral. Davor poured all the contents of the cauldrons onto the ground.
Raz then went to the corner of the building to let the party know when the Gnoll Patrol has gone behind the buildings in the village, giving them 5 minutes to disappear into the badlands near the river and make their way to the old shrine.
The shrine was about a mile away from the village through the badlands. At the front of the shrine there were two statues, their faces abraded by the wind into obsurity. The party went through the first room with no difficulty, but in the second room, Raz noticed some large spiders lurking in the corners. The party decided to take them out. Raz was the first in the room and was attacked by two of the spiders, but not hit. Tessare then entered the room and cast sleep on the other two spiders, one fell asleep, but the other spider attacked, doing damage and poisoning her. Davor then entered the room, and attacked one of the spiders attacking Raz, Tessare retreated towards Davor, and as she passed the doorway Phos force missiled her spider. Between Davor and Raz the two spiders were dispached. Tessare, getting progressively weaker, had her spider dispached by Irizati and Phos. The last sleeping spider was coup de graced by Raz.
The party then passed through to the next room, this was obviously a Sanctuary and the only roofed section left in the building. This room had carvings on all the walls showing Nethys doing good things. As Raz entered the room he was surrounded by ducking and weaving green lights. As he moved through them they popped like bubbles. Each party member got their own entourage of green light bubbles as they entered this room, but the bubbles disappeared as they entered the next room. The next room had four hawk-headed statues in each corner of the room, but the most obvious thing in the room was a large flagstone canted upwards, a no-longer-secret trapdoor.
Raz, to the party’s surprise, jumped down the 30 foot shaft revealed by the open trap-door. Of course, with the ring of feather falling, he gently floated downwards. The rest of the party took the old-fashioned way down. They tied a rope around one of the statues and climbed down. (DM edit, you ended up on the top of the short steps leading into the room, not into the centre of the room, stupid map). On entering the room they found a room with four statues, and three doorways with the doors hanging off. Examination of the doors revealed they had been ripped apart by something with claws. The party entered the larger set of doors and after a short dog-leg corridor entered a large Altar room, with 36 decorated columns and an altar at the very end. Irizati boldly strode toward the altar. Ten feet from the altar he noticed one of the stone snakes on the altars base appear to uncoil and strike at him, missing. The rest of the party ran to his defence, with the exception of Phos, who got distracted by the columns, realising that the room is basically one big spellbook, with each pillar representing a spell. The snake retreats back into the altar after a couple of rounds of combat, not having ever hit anything.
The party then looks at the small room at the side of the altar enclosure, finding it completely empty. When Raz is investigating the back wall of the altar enclosure the party notices a shimmery figure approaching with a cracked and ditrty goblet. The figure offers the goblet to Raz, and upon delivery disappears, leaving Raz holding a goblet. Raz, thinking that it may have some significance, cleans the goblet, and places it on the altar . Nothing happens.
As Phos is engrossed in studing the columns, the party decides to rest. The night passes uneventfully.
DM Comments: I love the way poison works in Pathfinder, it makes so much more sense. I hate players who go places I was only vaguely prepared for.