The Journey to the Sunken Temple in the Moors
Thomas Ackerman of Beech Town was instruced to investigate possible mysteries in the frigid Moors in the North. After some research Thomas discovered there was likely ancient blood magics to be discovered deep in marshes. He contacted Ahnri, whom he believed to be knowledgeable on such things. Together they set off tward the frost swamps.
After trudging into the swamp for a few hours Rakshada the Lizard-Folk appeared from the trees into the clearing looking like she had an important message to pass on. But before she could start a mysterious rustling came from the trees. Thomas and Rakshada tried to spot any threat while Ahnri tried to frighten the mysterious menace away, promising to summon horrors the unseen upstarts had never seen before! This had the opposite of the desired effect and a flurry of arrows flew towards the group!
Ahnri dropped to her knees in the mud, narrowly dodging a rough wooden shaft flying past her. Thomas tried to run for the opposite bank of the clearing but tripped and fell in some deeper water. Thinking quickly he held his breath and stayed submerged to avoid the missiles above. Rakshada fearing for Thomas in the deep water shape-shifted into a crocodile and swam underneath him, raising him to the surface and then sprinted using the crocodile-form speed to the trees on the edge of the clearing. Ahnri tries to summon some blood sprites to protect her from the arrows. The quick summoning drains her mentally as she stumbles after her team mates. The trees go quite as the three leave the clearing and no more arrows fly.
After making it to safety among the trees with Thomas on her back Rakshada placed a crocodilian foot in a trap! Thomas quickly noticed and used his telepathically warns Rakshada against moving. While Rakshada held stock still Thomas tried to carefully slide off her back. However the weight difference set off the trap and Rakshada had to push Thomas out of the way as a pie of logs rolled into her, taking the brunt of the force in her more robust crocodile form. Ahnri’s bad timing meant she arrived just in time to have to jump out of the way as well.
After such a debacle the group wandered further North keeping to the cover of the trees. As night set in they decided to make camp. Ahnri decided to go and collect firewood. Unfortunately no one had thought to bring sleeping gear. Thomas thought to try to communicate with a spirit to get advice on how to survive the night in the swap. He manage to call forth a spirit that looked like a man holding a sack over his head as if to protect himself from rain but he had the legs of a heron. Thomas asked if he could help them make camp. The spirit didn’t speak but simple started stamping down some of the reeds near by. Thomas understood and began stamping down the reeds too. After considerable stomping and stamping a decent reed mat was created that would stop the damp ground from reaching the party members during the night. Ahnri return with some firewood and tried to light it with by weaving a spell. The spell went ary and the small logs and tinder gave sudden pops as they exploded. Down trodden Ahnri slumped on the mat, out of ideas. Thomas thought he could use the prestidigitation cantrip to dry out some fresh branches pulled from trees, so he pulled some down from nearby vegetation and gave it a try. In the cold weather his spell failed too, resulting in mildly warm sticks. Rakshada was a bit shocked that Thomas would tear fresh branches off living trees but didn’t mention it. The party decided to try to get some sleep and Rakshad had first watch.
Remaining in her crocodile form Rakshada slid into some nearby waters to keep a stealthy eye on the area around her. After a while she started to feel a burning in her toes. Realising this was frostbite setting in she quickly left the water and reverted to her normal form and tried to warm herself. She woke Thomas so he could start his watch, who also woke Ahnri because he wasn’t sure he could handle watch duty by himself. Rakshada pointed out how vicious the cold was and that she needed to warm up her fingers and toes. Thomas figured he try prestidigitation again to warm up the sleeping mat. This time the spell went off without a hitch and the mat kept everyone warm for the rest of the night.
In the morning Thomas looked through one of his books to try to help discern what the party was looking for as the Institute had been quite vague in its instruction. One of his tomes revealed some information about the cultures that lived in the Moors, both present and past. Thomas paraphrase the wordy text, informing Rakshada and Ahnri that Medusi and “Mudmen” made solitary homes in the Moors but Kobolds and similar creates have tried to make vast worship sites in the past. With this in mind Rakshada shape shifted in a bird, similar to a pelican that is native to her home marshes, and flew above the tree line to try and spot anything that matched Thomas’ description. She spied in the distance a clearing with a lake, and in the middle of the lake were what appeared to be unnatural standing stones. Before Rakshada could return to the group she spotted a “mudman” and a swarm of insects. Before she could communicate a warning to Thomas the insects started to swarm towards Ahnri and Thomas on the ground!
The insect swarms were moving towards Ahnri and Thomas on the ground but the Mudman remained hidden between the trees. Rakshada quickly swooped out of the air and gobbled up half of the insects with her expansive pelican bill. This made the mudman quite angry. Ahnri quickly dispatched the other half of the swarm by causing their blood to expand, exploding from the inside. Seeing his swarm defeated the mudman disappeared into the mud! Ahnri check out where he had sunk and could discern the direction he went, however it was in the opposite direction to the path Rakshada found to the clearing with the lake. They decided to leave the mudman to his devises and headed to the lake. When they arrived Rakshada change form into an large amphibious salamander and ferried the weaker swimmers to the island in the middle of the lake. Among the standing stones on the island was a dark hole in the ground full of water. Rakshada swam down it, her amphibious form allowing her to see in the dark waters,while Thomas cast a light spell on his staff. Rakshada found a room that had air in it with some water trickling through it. She went back to the surface and guided Thomas and Ahnri down to the room while they held their breath.
Once in the room the group could hear some scabbling and arguing from another nearby room. Rakshada transformed into a frog and climbed up a wall and spied on the other room from a dark corner. In the other room Rakshada found a group of Kobolds rummaging through a pile of random metal items. After hearing about the Kobolds, Ahnri tried to hide in the shadows of the first room. She grew light headed and passed out after noticing a funny smell. Thomas realised Ahnri had passed out and dragged her from the corner. He identified the source of the illness as a magic fungus that was growing in the corners of the room. Rakshada returned and returned to her original form and gave Ahnri her a dose of antitoxin which quickly purged the fungus from Ahnri’s system and she woke up again.
After reviving Ahnri the group decided they wanted to investigate the pile of trash the kobolds were rummaging through. Thomas summoned and unseen servant and Ahnri gave it her dagger. Ahnri also readied a spell to blast any kobolds that might run into their secure room. Thomas cast an invisibility spell so he could guide the unseen servant through the room with the kobolds. Upon seeing the floating dagger several of the kobolds chased it down a hallway but two remained. Rakshada tried to sneak up on one of the remaining kobolds with her spear but it noticed her and went to stab her with a piece of metal. Ahnri reacted quickly and blasted the kobold into a wall, but as she entered the room she triggered a trip wire and the huge stone door closed behind them! Before any of the group could react to the door, tThe second kobold tried to attack Ahnri. She quickly turned around and used blood magic to close up the kobolds eyes and mouth. As the kobold wandered harmlessly, blind and mute, Ahnri walked up to it and collapsed it’s body with more blood magic. During this display of powerful magic Thomas stayed invisible, horrified at Ahnri’s abilities.
After the encounter Ahnri rummaged through the trash pile for anything of worth, finding a cool looking dagger. After some careful examination Ahnri figured it was a blood-ritual dagger that look like one from a set of four. Soon after two more kobolds come running back down the corridor. Rakshada shape shifted into a crocodile again and grabbed on in her might jaws, seriously injuring it. Ahrni tried to cast a damaging spell at the other but the kobold closed the distance too quickly. Luckily Rakshada smashed the kobold into the wall with her tail and then shook the first kobold to death in her mouth.
After collecting themselves the group continued down the hallway finding an immense chamber at it’s end. Filling three quarters of the room was an immense white dragon! It looked very unhealthy, it’s skin taut against it’s bones. There were two Kobold priests bleeding the dragon with ritual daggers, the blood draining down channels into a well in the floor. Surprising the priests the group quickly dispatched them. Thomas then questioned the dragon about why they were here and what the ritual was doing. The dragon responded that the blood was to raise it’s “kin” and it’s death would complete the ritual and told the group that there was a force in charge that they couldn’t comprehend.
Satisfied with these answers Thomas and Ahnri began investigating whether they could purge the blood magic from the ruins. Thomas deduced it would be a ritual that would have destroy the blood-drawing daggers used to begin the ritual. Ahnri pointed out that the group was supposed to be collecting artifacts for the Institute so Thomas thought to take pencil rubbings of the designs on the daggers before destroying them. Thomas and Ahnri started the ritual and after some chanting and line-drawing plunged the four daggers into the appropriate slots around the blood well. All of the blood draining into the well and in the channels around the dragon evaporated into magical dust.
Seeing his ritual ruined the dragon began to rage and roll around his cavern. He began to monologue about how the group had ruined everything and took a swing with his claw. The blow connected with Ahnri. After recovering from the hit and tired of the dragons ramblings Ahnri wove the dragons mouth shut with a quick spell. This enraged the dragon further and it thrashed about trying to destroy the intruders and destabilizing the cavern and temple. The group tried to flee, twice taking blows but eventually made it to the safety of the corridor as Thomas shared his healing potions with Rakshada and Ahnri. As they escaped down the corridor the dragon thrashed it’s arm around in the corridor, trying to catch one of them. Ahnri, quite annoyed at the dragon by now, blood weaved the dragons arm to stretch and fill the entire width of the corridor. With it’s arm now lodged in the corridor the dragon’s thrashing and raging only served to speed the collapse of the temple.
While Ahnri delt with the dragon Rakshada and Thomas had to figure out how to get the stone door to the first room open. Thomas had conveniently brought a book on trap-setting and flicked through it to a page he remembered about trap doors. With the insight from the book Thomas looked around for some way to access the mechanism of the trip wire. Spying an access panel in the roof, Rakshada lifted him up and he riggled in. Consulting the book once more Thomas analysed the mechanism of the trap door and found a level that would reset the counter-weight that would normally hold the door open. He pulled it and jumped out of the hatch as the stone door slid back into the wall. The party quickly ran to the water way they entered the temple through and swam to the top, having difficulty in the murky water avoiding the collapsing parts of the temple.
Once on the surface Rakshada shape shifted into a crocodile again and helped the other two back across the lake as the temple fell down behind them. On the bank of the lake they all breathed a sigh of relief and took a well earned break before heading back to Beech Town, certain nothing on the way home could be worse than what they had encountered.