Adventures on the Blacktooth Ridge

The watchtower

Swordsday, 23rd Uthdain, 1097 md

After running away, foraging and setting camp, we spend the night and go on another goblin tracks.

As you walk along through the trees, you begin to hear the murmur of flowing water and you spy a small stream meandering along nearby, flowing from the direction you are heading. Further down the path, the splashing sound of falling water comes to your ears. You can see the stream coming from what seems to be the base of a cliff ahead of you. As you come into a clearing, you notice that the water that feeds the little stream is falling from an opening in the rock face about 20 feet above the valley floor, less than halfway up its height. The opening through which the rivulet falls is a circular hole about 8 feet in diameter. Though the rock face is vertical, there are plenty of handholds between the ground and the cave opening. There also seems to be a shallow stone shelf next to the opening itself. Near the stream origin is the remains of a watch tower.

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Aerran and Baldar go scouting, finds the entry a tunnel with flickering torch light.
Seeing nothing more the rest of the group rejoin and we go into the tunnels, taking left at the first fork.
We hear running water on the right.

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At this point the passageway begins to rise rapidly, ending in an ascent slope of nearly 60 degrees. Handholds and footholds abound because of the rock formations and small stalagmites on the floor of the passage. There are spots where the ceiling of the passage lowers to less than 3 feet on the climb. The footing is treacherous in places because of the water seeping and dripping from the roof in spots.

Aaaand … we roll for initiative at this point, as some goblins show up.

After winning this easy fight (thanks to the … magic users !) we go west and tumble on a strange room :

Here, glistening blades of reddish brown stone protrude from the walls, ceiling, and floor. They are shaped variously as disks and like short broadbladed weapons. They are irregular in size and shape and appear to have grown naturally rather than being carved. The stones are sharp and very strong and must be moved around rather than through. The patches of these “blade-stones” vary from a couple feet across to the size of a small flower garden.

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We head back, not confident enough in the flour’s stability, and go north, then west, to encounter other goblins in their barracks.

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And we fight again … and win.

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We win and search the room, and fin a belt pouch with 18 crowns and 2 pyramids (triangular coins of white gold) from Outremerre kingdom, from 30 years old.

THen we follow the tracks to the west (after avoiding a room with a spider web to the south … traumatized you say ? ;) ) and come into a kitchen with 2 more goblins and a blood bowl (don’t ask).

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We kill them and search the room for food.
Gefilte find a vile of purple liquid, smelling like lavander, and Beska detects that it’s magical.

Before resting, some of us decide to fo check on the spider web, wich contains a small body.
But as Gefilte throws a torch in the dark cave to see what’s there … a hideous giant spider gets out of tiny hole in the ground !

Let the difficult fight begins (as we are used to with these 8 legged foes …)

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20140330_01.JPGOnce more, we fail against a giant spider, even though it flees, but us too, dragging the unconscious bodies of Dargal and Baldar back to the kitchen.

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At the tower

Thunderday, 21st Uthdain, 1097 md

In the early morning, we arrive in the ruins of the glowing tower : tombs and arches, crumbled walls and a tower.
We note that only the base of the tower is glowing.

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We found some decades old skeletons of globlins and orcs, but no recent activity from humanoids, but from large “cats”, larger that a lion !

The bottom of the tower is older (which is glowing) is older than the rest of the buidlings and remains.
Beska casts “Detect magic” and finds out that it’s a very old fainting magic/spell that exists there. Gefilte doesn’t detect evil in the stones.

Suddenly (and silently) a big kind of winged, horned lion (with jewels),
Its name is Nethretil (?)
Nethretil has lived for a very long time and he’s looking for information, that’s why he’s here (regularily) and fight evil also but in his own way.

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It says that the ruins are named “Kuthrad Ondal”, and predates the Winter’s Dark, and predates even the coming of men.
It’s build on the base of one of the elven towers that guarded/circled the Tree Of Life.
One says that if you find all the towers, you can find the Tree of Life (and Nethretil is looking for it apparently). The elves thought that the Tree of Life was the source of all their powers.

Nethretil knows about “Baelon Nakt”, the evil/Horned One’s temple that Gritznak seems to use (and has unscealed recently), but it has never been there.
During the WInter’s dark, the Horned One’s minions tried to destroy every elven artefact/building, but the powerfull magic in there prevented that.
To find the temple, we have to go north, along the Imperial road, and look for the tracks of the evil servants.
He knows that evil is gathering power in the temple (and elsewhere ?) …
Nethretil knows and speaks with the fey we’ve met. If it has more information for us, it will tell them (feys) for us.
After the conversation, and our many thanks, it flies away.

We decide to visit the tower, which is a hollow shell now, except for the remains of the second floor, build in stones.
The elves and Dargal look for hidden entrances but found nothing.
In the afternoon, Aerran and Baldar go foraging and hunting, and we set camp in the tower.

Fireday, 22nd Uthdain, 1097 md

We go on the road again, and the terrain gets more marshy and lacks forest and game trails, so we have to walk along or on the old Imperial road.

We come upon an area with lots more foot traffic to the east, leaving the imperial road.
Those footprints seem to come from goblins.

Aerran and Baldar go on scouting for half an hour on the trail, which is build and dry among the marshes.

The group goes on the trail and … is attacked by giant spiders !

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The paralyzing poison of the (3) spiders is too much for us and we have to flee and set camp elsewhere.
We need to decide if going further to the temple or back …

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To the tower ?

Towerday, 19th Uthdain, 1097 md

(After a nice night of rest in a camp, we start our trip again from the question mark on the map below : )

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The day is uneventfull. We don’t encounter anything and keep walking.
As we are approaching the West Fallow Hills, Kiint stops here, as he explained before, because he fears this north region that he don’t know that well.
He spends the night with us, and will set us up on the right direction in the morning, before leaving. We pay him 2 crowns for his good work.

During Baldar’s watch in the night, he heard a strange noise, and while trying to wake the others … Goblins attack !

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We defeat them pretty easily, thank’s to Andesa’s and Red’s magic, and manage to capture 2 of them and interrogate them.
The only thing valuable that we can get from them is that they are from Gritznak “army” (they insist of that term), and that
“Gritznak often travels to the north along the banks of the Drunderry, accompanied only a few guards, where he meets others of his kind to discuss business”

We hide the bodies, clean the camp site, and finish the night here.

During his watch, Aerran , notice a blueish glow on the horizon (north). Very faint and far away.

Windeay, 20th Uthdain, 1097 md

We head north in the morning, after Kiint started us off on a game trail.
After 2 hours of walking, Aerran (who’s leading) the party, disapears in a hidden pit (10 feet deep) ! And it looks like it magically appears from nowhere !

Gefilte heals Aerran and but nothing much appears. It’s not an ambush.
Could it be an ancient magical trap from the old days of the Horned One’s empire ?
We’ll never know.

We go back on our track, but around noon, an scary unatural darkness falls upon us. Gefilte detects that it comes from magic.
Aerran steps out of it do discover that it’s just a dome of darkness upon one of us.
Walking one by one out the dome, we discover that Gefilte is the victim of the dome of darkness.

We decide to tight a rope around Gefilte waist and guide him (the famous “reverse blind dog trick” it is ;) ) and go forward, surrounding the dome, wich disappears about after an hour.

Then everyone smells something rotten along the way … an evil stench as Beska might have said. All our food has turned bad suddenly.

So we decide to walk another hour and then go foraging and hunting to find some food.
But suddenly, we heard an horn that frightens everyone except Beska and Baldar. Our affraid companions ran like mad for 10 minutes ! Beska and Baldar follow them, not undestanding what’s happening.

After that eventfull day, we decide to make camp and rest, as we should not be far from the source of last night blueish glow, wich might be the evil tower the pixies told us about.

Aerran and Baldar manage to forage some foods for tongiht and next breakfast.
We set a camp withtout fire (just for cooking) and use Beska’s hooded lamp at night to avoid beeing detected.
Aerran goes scouting the tower on his own, at night, as his elven eyes and ranger’s skills makes him the best for the job among us.

During night, a flying serpent (an illusion) appears and warns us to not go further !
After repeating the message several times for a few seconds, the serpent disappears.

Later Aerran comes back and say he went 600 yards close to a ruined castle, with a tower glowing blue at the top.

During the night … Golin zombies attack ! The ones we killed before perhaps ?

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Gefilte divine power makes those undead run away, so we profanes can unleash our fury on those running evil creatures.
And that’s all for the night, sleeping to Thunderday, 21st Uthdain, 1097 md.

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Scounting to the evil temple

Saintsday, 17th Uthdain, 1097 md

We head out of town and met with Kiint north of Malforten.

This is a high point located about a mile north of Malforten. It offers a decent view of the river valley leading down to Malforten. One can easily see the town from this vantage point.

Kiint will take us north but as far as the West Fallow Hills. Then we have to follow the imperial road north.
He manages to avoid the bridge because he knows of a ford north, so we follow tracks and game trails and sometimes the road, going north but avoiding to be too close to river.
Until we access a beach, where the river’s wild but an easy ford is there.

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Aerran looks for tracks and find some crocodile tracks !

We prepare for fording : one third of us go scouting (Aerran and Dargal) while Marshall, Gefilte and Baldar stay back. Andesa, Beska and Red go second.
Once done, we gather on a small sand beach.
It’s noon, there’s fresh water, we decide to take a break and eat something.
On the other side, Aerran find tracks of 5 or 6 goblins, heading south by a few days ago.

We go north from here, on the old imperial road with is damaged, but we can see that huge stone blocks were used to build it.
The workmanship must have been made by a race larger than human …

Everything goes well until night time, where we camp in a safe place Kiint knows.
Aerran and I set warning traps around the camp as it seems to be used by a number of travelers.
We take turns for the night, but the night goes without incident.

Saintsday, 18th Uthdain, 1097 md

We go back on the road, led by Kiint.
Mid morning, we noticed that strange little creatures are watching us in the trees.
The elves among us recognize them as Feys (Pixies) !

They wave at us (thus they made themselves visible to us, as they are usually invisible).
We explain to Kiint, who’s kind of surprised, that Amanda the Wenafar priestess is their friend and must have told them about us.
So we decide to go to them.
As we approach, some more appear, all around us.

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We talk with them. They can’t help with war against Gritznak but are willing to “take side” with the humans of Malforten if we send them the message that the Pixies don’t want them east of Drunderry River, expanding their domain.
We ask about the Temple, but they don’t know about it. But they tell us about a tower, along the imperial road, that some goblins use as a camp site.
They also agree to be our eyes and ears when possible, and though they can’t heal Kiint, they say that they might help in the future, in this concern.

After the pixies gone, we ate lunch and went up north again.
At dusk, we arrive to a fork and are attacked by a small pack of wolves.

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We win the combat easily and make camp.

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An evening in Malforten

Fireday, 15th Uthdain 1097

Evening. The party enters the Empty Flagon inn in Malforten.

“The Empty Flagon is a single story wood structure with a thatch roof. The front of the building is a large common room with a dirt floor, stone fireplace and a single bar. Numerous tables are spaced about the room. In the rear of the Empty Flagon is a series of small rooms that let for 1ry a day.”

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“The Empty Flagon is usually empty during the day, but in the mornings and evenings it fills up as people come to enjoy about the only brew to be found in town. Kerrywyn’s brew is not the best to be had, nor even really good, but his potato flapjacks and sausage links are praised for their taste. The food is good and plentiful, with a breakfast costing 5tl, noon meals 10tl and evening meals 5tl. The brew he offers costs 1tl per cup. He often trades food and beer for favors as most of the townspeople have little coin to spend.”

Dargal, Beska, Aeeran and Baldar get to the bar, order some meads and ask a few questions to ???, the bartender, about Gritznak.
Except things we already know : he sends his flunkies every few months to ask to a ransom to “protect” Malforten. It has last for 4 or 5 years, but the villagers don’t seem to bother that much…
Although, since Amanda, the priestess of Wenafar, has been here, she has tried to “smooth” things up between the villagers and the bandits.

A patron tells us (discreetly) that Gritznak might have a spy in town who tells him if anything foul is a foot.
This patron and his friends The spy is perhaps Ifon, a bard coming from one of big cities in the West, who asks a lot about everything in town.

Swordsday, 16th Uthdain, 1097 md

We spend the night at the inn, have a nice breakfast and … pay a visit to the bard Ifon.
The guy has an hangover. We invite him to the inn, offers him breakfast and ales …
In facts, he’s from the Court of Outremere, which he fled after charming to many married women. He does ask questions but for the sake of his songs.
So we ask him about Gritznak and how suprised we are that the villagers are so … soft about it.
Ifon says that the villagers used to gather to fight problems (like a band of ogres in the past), but now they are mostly ashamed to not be able to settle this “problem”.
Gone north along the river, previous adventurers were ambushed so there must be a spy …

Ifon suggests that we speak to Amanda, who manages in the past to make peace with the Feys around (with offerings), as Feys were angry at the settlers here.

So we head to Amanda’s house, across the street from Ifon’s.

Amanda’s concerned with the bandits and the Feys are too.
The feys say that a thousand years old temple, an unholly place, was abandonned for many years but Griztnak might have been using it as his lair now. This temple is dedicated to … the Horned One (Unklar) !

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When Gritznak not in the temple, he’s leaving in a moving camp of some sort.
The road to the temple is the old imperial road to the north, to a bridge, because we have to cross the Drunderry river.

We ask her to buy healing potions but as we are supposed to (and said that we will) fight evil, she gives us a jar wich is the equivalent of 6 healing potions (that she charges for 500 crowns normally).
We thank her for this nice gesture.

And Amanda tells us that a Wizard lives in town Blodwyn, and she has an apprentice who would go adventuring perhaps.

We go the Blodwyn’s : she used to be an adventurer, and her annoying young cousin Menlaus and apprentice keeps her from studying as he always wants to go everywhere and “do this and do that”. She’s more than happy to let him accompany us.
And after we checked : yeah, he knows some magic … So he’s preparing to go with us adventuring.

Then, while Aerran and Baldar go around looking for the rangers Aerran heard about from Amanda (rangers who used to meet once a month at the inn and now are gone missing), the rest of the party goes back to the inn, to rest or study (Beska’s still working on the new spells she found in the bandits’ lair).

Aerran finds the tracks of a human heading south-east, who tried to hide his tracks and move silently.
He’s a ugly (ugly !) man, disfigured, who was hiding (like he’s hunting).
He’s name is Kiint and suffers leprecy (gah !).
He says that packs of goblins (sometimes small, sometimes larger) wander up and down the east bank of the river, and he’s willing to guide us up north, avoiding goblins.
In exchange, we offer to ask Amanda if she can cure him.
We agree to meet the next day at dawn.

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On the road again

Towerday, 14th Uthdain 1097

After retrieving Beska’s spellbook (and a few others), we head back to the village to collect our reward.
Shortly after, we hit the road again, intending to go to Malforten.

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Around noon, we met a lonely elven ranger named Aerran Silver-Leaf, who’s going after Gritznak too.
Despite Dargal distrust towards elves, Aerran joins us and the travel goes on for the rest of day.

20140202_02.jpgBut as we were starting to look for a nice campsite along the dusty road, a swarm of stirges (blood thristy insect-looking birds) attack us !

The combat goes fast even though Baldar goes down (again) and we rest for the night. In the morning, Beska learns new spells, Gefilte prays and we hit the road to Malforten.

Fireday, 15th Uthdain 1097

“The West Way is a dusty track leading across the grassy plains of western Outremere. It passes through several small villages before ending at the settlement of Malforten. Here, two dozen or so wood and stone houses with thatched roofs are huddled closely together on the upper banks of the Drunderry River.”

“Large willows and oaks are clustered along the river’s banks and around the town, while fields of grain spread out north, south and west of the village. Cattle graze fretfully even further afield. Amongst the cattle and fields are several herdsmen who spy the comings and goings of travelers to Malforten. They call out sharp warnings in the direction of Malforten when anyone approaches, while their large cow-dogs howl and bark guardedly.”

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As we approch, a bell begins to chime.

As we arrive in the center of the village, near the well, we discover some sort of warning bell hanging in a frame, and a gentleman standing near it : tall and thin, short breaded hair, bearded. When he saw us, he walks toward us (limping), not looking happy.

The larget building is an inn. A prison is also not far.

20140127_07.jpgThe man, Errol, greets us and ask what business bring us here.
Baldar explains that the group is looking for the Gritznak reward, and that we already took care of some bandits along the road.
Errol asks if these bandits were from the Gritznak gang …
“Do they have a distinctive mark or sign ?” we ask.
Errol says that all of thel have a mark, (3 lines with … something).
It doesn’t ring a bell.

Two previous group of adventurers have tried to stop Gritznak … and never came back.
If we bring back the head of Gritznak, Errol will give us a ring that we can bring back to ??? to be paid.

There’s a shrine of Wenafar around (godess of Nature), a shop called the “Rope & Barrel” and an Inn, “The Empty Flagon”.

We enter the shop.
“Rope & Barrel : This is the only trading store in town. It is always stocked with rope, barrels, salt and lamp oil. He rarely has any but the most common of weapons such as daggers and a few short swords and axes. He never has any armor nor the more exotic of weapons.”
The patron tells us that Gritznak lives in a tower in the swamps and is raising an army of the dead !

We buy some things and then head to the shrine, south-east of town, not to far, to meet the priest Amanda, while Errol keeps an eye on us.

Wenafar.jpgA pagoda like shrine made of wood, with a statue of Wenafar sitting in a buddha like position :
“On the outskirts of Malforten is a pagoda-like shrine to Wenafar, the goddess of the fay. Two sides of the structure are open to the elements, while the other two are constructed of planks of wood. Atop this is a rickety wooden roof. Within is a statue of the goddess Wenafar sitting down with her hands out.”

Some of us make a small prayer and offerings. But there’s no one.
The next full moon is in two days, and it should be a special day for the cult of Wenafar.

So head to the Inn :
“The Empty Flagon is a single story wood structure with a thatch roof. The front of the building is a large common room with a dirt floor, stone fireplace and a single bar. Numerous tables are spaced about the room. In the rear of the Empty Flagon is a series of small rooms that let for 1ry a day.”

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“The Empty Flagon is usually empty during the day, but in the mornings and evenings it fills up as people come to enjoy about the only brew to be found in town. Kerrywyn’s brew is not the best to be had, nor even really good, but his potato flapjacks and sausage links are praised for their taste. The food is good and plentiful, with a breakfast costing 5tl, noon meals 10tl and evening meals 5tl. The brew he offers costs 1tl per cup. He often trades food and beer for favors as most of the townspeople have little coin to spend.”

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Ambushes in an out

After resting at the village for two nights (without any chance to buy any usefull stuff as the village’s so small …), we head back to the bandit’s lair.

As Baldar is scouting ahead, looking for another entrance, he stumbles on some of the bandits, among them Jakeson (their leader), preparing an ambush.

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We fight them is the slope and trail leading to the lair, and though the leader and a wizard manage to flee inside, Dalgar the Dwarf and Andesa manage to capture one of them.

Once tied and woken up (an hour and a half later), he doesn’t tell much, except that there are few of them left, and no other entrance.

“Third time’s a charm” as they say, so we go back in, without subtlety, and are ambushed again !

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And on top of it, bad luck is still upon us …
Despite the low number of foes (Jakeson, the sorcerer and two other bandits with daggers), Gefilte, Marshall, Beska and Andesa go down before the final victory.

So we decide to fortified ourselves in the treasure room, to give them time to recuperate overnight.

Next, the plan is to finish exploring the place, loot everything of value, and head back to the village, before embarking on a new adventure to Malforten.

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There and back again

The party continues its exploration of the bandit lairs, and after “cleaning” the stalls (from the bandits), heads south.

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But before our “scout” Andesa could listen at the newt door, it flies open and we found out we are facing again the dreaded big bedroom where we fell before !

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And the Aristobulus, the god of luck, seems to be still mad at us, because after killing a bunch of bandits, the party and the two remaining bandits are left unconscious.

Everybody wakes up all together … and as faint as we are, we survive.
But we’re too weak ton continue exploring, so the party decides to “borrow” poneys, the already found treasures and head back to the village to rest.

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Free, free at last?

We resumed imprisoned. The women were confined in a room along with some women from the village, and the men are chained to the wall in a corridor near a mysterious door through which some prisoners and animals are sometimes moved. After the prisoners are led through the mysterious door, sounds of cheering are audible, possibly an arena.

Andessa finds some trash she can use to pick the lock on the door to their cell. Down the hallway from the cell was a locked door.

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They continue opening doors, and find a room with water barrels and a room with animals locked in cages. After going through the animal room, she finds the men chained against the wall. She frees them, and the party is once more reunited. She also frees the rest of the male prisoners.

We explored one of the other rooms, confirming the existence and brutality of the supposed arena, and found much of our clothing and minor equipment. In the same room, Andesa finds a hidden door, which leads to our erstwhile compatriot, Marshall, and a mage he had found, Red Dragon. In that room we found the rest of our equipment, and we took some time to get to know the Red Dragon.

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Another episode of a storied and fragmented histoire

The party is on the way to Malforten to capture a fugitive. In the late afternoon of the first day, we approach a small village. It has a small mill, a farrier, a small marketplace, and an inn.
We are approached by Dargal and Baldar, who wish our help in clearing out a nest of bandits in the area.
The next day, we find tracks that we think were used by the bandits, and we follow them to a small cave, at the back of which is a wooden door. The door is not locked, and Andesa hears some minor movements behind, but nothing major. We do see some light from under the door. Dargal pushes the door aside, and we see a muddy entryway. Two guards are asleep atop a pile of assorted loot.
Dargal charges in at the two sleeping guards. We quickly dispatch those two guards. We defeat some other guards who came out of a nearby guard room.
We explored a little more, and discovered a sleeping room full of resting guards. We quickly ran back to the entrance to hold a stand there, as there were too many for us to take on piecemeal.
Unfortunately, the fight did not go well. The final scene was one of all party members on the ground, unconscious and bleeding, with their victorious captors standing over them.

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