dungeons & dragons: episode 5.

Waking from well-deserved rest, our "dragon-slaying" heroes were roused from their beds by knocks on Simon's cabin door. The mayor's scout reminded them of their newfound mission to stop the cultist threat from spreading and the cult's meeting place: an altar deep in the woods. Gathering up their equipment, the adventurers left Simon to rest from the previous day's injuries. Shopping around for supplies and a horse was a thing that happened before heading east to the familiar woods.

Jonathan Jones, warrior elite, was stomping out his campfire and rolling up his fur mattress, grinning and ready for more action. Our adventurers Tim, Liz, Archie and Juicy informed the dragonman of the cultists and their meeting place in the woods. "As it happens," Jonny said, "I've been giving these jerks meat for a while," holding up half a goat carcass. Leading the pack, the sun rising overhead, Jonny lead everyone to a clearing in the thick forest, the bloody altar lying ahead. All agreeing to lie in wait to tail and/or kill whoever comes, Jonny left the goat on the altar and everyone fled to the edge of the clearing, peering between trees. The hot noon turned to cool evening as a single cultist entered the clearing. Picking up the goat, the cultist muttered something before heading back the way he came. Our heroes kept stride with the gothic figure, ducking and weaving through trees. Keeping out of sight of the cultist, Juicy split from the group to go hard on his trail, the rest of the group keeping a meandering pace. The cultist began running! So did Juicy! He launched an arrow, sinking into the small of the crazed runner's back! Not to be outrun, Juicy kept ferocious pace, the robed man slowing. Juicy did the guy in with one more arrow! Taking in some hot, humid air, Juicy took note of his surroundings: mossy cave walls, a stream running deep into the cave, torches on the walls, soft earth squished underneath his boots, a trail of blood leading to the dead fellow in front of him and his comrades approaching the scene having followed the blood trail.

Daring to venture further, Jonny lead the bravest warriors down a flight of slippery and smooth stone steps, their path ending before a large marble sculpture in a tall room. The room was well-searched and Liz found a secret compartment full of red dust. Tim put some in his pouch and threw some at the statue, activating it. It greeted the heroes as disciples of Vecna and asked them the four virtues of Vecna; knocking them out with only one error, the statue welcomed them and slid forward, revealing a rope ladder going down into an abyss. Juicy braved the dark first, going a long, long distance to the bottom. The warriors single-file made it down to pitch darkness, landing hard on a stone platform below. The mage lit it up; many bones surrounded the edge of the platform with a single door leading out. Listening intently and looking under the doorway, Juicy saw and heard murmuring and three pairs of robes. Knocking arrows, unsheathing swords and holding up wands menacingly, the heroes rushed into a dark room blindly! Hearing spooky whispers reverberating all around, Juicy lit up a sun rod and chucked it! The blindingly bright light revealed the room as a balcony overlooking a massive chamber, and nine cultists chanting in unison. Filling the room with holy energy, sword gashes and arrow wounds, our heroes slayed seven red-eyed evil priests, but two were able to complete their ritual. The remaining priests' skin melted, falling to floor as a bubbling teal goo; their skeletons still standing came at our heroes swinging! Battling the living dead and their wicked staves, the heroes bashed them to second death with ease. With the defeat of their enemies and the burning of a found Necronomicon, sinister laughter rang out through the chamber...


...Nah. Our heroes kept going. Leaving the gooey, gory balcony with hardly a scratch, the foolhardy fellows lit torches and tore through a tunnel with leaky walls. The stone walls and floor were slick with slime and water, sewer grates partitioning their descent deeper into the temple. Once again finding a door with no light pouring out, the compatriots burst through it in formation! They found themselves in a passage with rafters, carved stone lining the walls, whispers echoing off walls, and skeletons and clerics with arms aflame lay before them. The battle quickly became a war, fireballs hurled and necrotic power swirling throughout the hall, raising the undead. Timothy and Lizette were dealt too many blows to fight. The three remaining champions managed to kill the burning unholymen and destroy the cultists in the rafters, bringing an end to the onslaught of undeath. With the noxious cloud lifted, Tim & Liz were revived. Realizing the true danger of what is to come of ending this cultist threat, the party retired for the evening at the cave entrance, hoping to regain their strength and collect their wits before plummeting once more into the depths of an evil god's fortress...


Adam Papes