A group assembled in Harrowfaust for the purpose of weakening the monster population quietly; not challenging the forces in power, but doing what they could to improve the lot of the commoner.
- Sunnhilde. (Kristy) A witch hunter.
- Andor. (Simon) A penitent zealot.
- Kael. (Michael) A questing knight from Scarabae, adding this round through Harrowfaust to his long travels.
- Maeve. (Iris) An assassin with fey ties from the Shae Isles, here by way of the Iron Principalities.
- Ragnell. (Shaun) A fighter with heavy armor, sword, and shield.
- Ty. A bandit from lands where the ephemeral Encroachment from the World Below is all too commonplace.
- Lady Vivian Bellwood. (Bess) A noblewoman, funding the expedition.
The Town of Gilbert
They arrived in Gilbert, which was rumored to be nearby to the ruined Abbey of Saint Tabitha. Gilbert was founded over 150 years ago as a hunting preserve, and the founders were generous church patrons who wanted to build a magnificent temple to the Lady near the town.
According to the tales, the abbey was built by humans with dwarven assistance, something about repaying the people for assistance rendered to the dwarves in the mountains nearby. It was buried by an earthquake a century ago.
Six weeks ago there was a minor tremor, then there were increasing reports of goblins, and people going missing. Duke Slaut didn’t want to have anything to do with it. However, Duin, a dwarf, put out word that he was willing to pay people to hunt goblins and put a stop to this. (His father worked on the chapel, and he’s wanted to see it since he was a young dwarf.)
The hunters arrived, and met with Duin, agreeing to take the dwarf with them on the expedition (and keep him alive so they’d get paid.)
They also checked in with the Chapel of the Sea, the tallest building in town, a fancy chapel to the Lady. They met with Father Hugo and Brad and Thom, and decided to take Brad with them as a torchbearer.
They stayed in the Green Maid Inn. There they interviewed the only survivor of the last group to head into the abbey; his morale was broken and his memories unhelpful.
They followed Brad out to the site of the buried temple. On the way they were ambushed by goblins, who they handily dispatched, and they found the first signs of the Encroachment. Upon reaching the site, they found several possible ways in; a hole that descended to a huge echoing room, or a more manageable tunnel-like entrance with some foot traffic. They chose the tunnel-like entrance, pushing through an overgrown courtyard garden following some strange footprints. By now it was clear the Encroachment was leaking up from this place.
Into the Abbey
A zombie had been left in the reception area, muttering at them to go back. The zombie matched the description of one of the last waves of adventurers to brave the site. They chopped it down and proceeded.
They reached the pilgrim’s chapel, mostly collapsed, and faced goblin ambush. Again they won through, and continued on to the common room, finding the goblin camp now abandoned. They also found a door with something monstrous behind it, and left it alone.
The Dome of Tabitha
They found a giant room (with a hole in the ceiling) and observed the eight stations of the Circle of Virtues, and found the room to be free of Encroachment.
They passed through rooms for preparing the dead, and finally came to stairs leading down to a winding corridor waist-deep in water. Steeling themselves, they waded on as carefully as they could, in darkness since the corridor was also full of flammable gas. This was INSANELY BRAVE, but they got away with it, reaching the far side with no branching to the corridor, and no pits or monsters.
At the far end, they climbed out on the landing, and as they were composing themselves they faced a metal door enchanted to stay shut unless the proper words were spoken.
However, goblins opened it from the other side, and the group swiftly killed the goblins and propped the door open before it could close.
The witch hunter Sunnhilde and the Lady Bellwood decided to stay here and protect the only way out, and the rest of them continued on.
They found a library where a female goblin shaman was looting the temple’s books with her elite bodyguards, and they had a savage fight (the shaman threw a cobra at them) and managed to slay all the goblins just as reinforcements arrived, with a tough goblin leader with paired weapons leading another mob. Poor Brad fell in this fight, his torch setting his body alight.
After a brutal hallway slaughter, they continued on to find the kitchen and pantry, and avoid going into an area where giant spiders got in. They burst in on the leader of the goblins and his massive hound monster, slaying them. They temporarily stored their loot in this area before continuing on to where goblins guarded the stairs along with their pet sewer dumpling. The stairs led much deeper; a quick spate of murder later, they descended the stairs.
They got down to an area with a deliberate pool and more digging machinery. Following the stairs down, they found a pump room that was partially collapsed and in poor shape; they also heard something following them from the pool. They went back to investigate, but it retreated into the pool and they did not feel it wise to pursue.
The corridor below had a Y intersection, and the central part was carved like the prow of a ship (in honor of the Lady, of course.) Having found the pump room down one direction, they noticed the goblin tracks all headed the other direction, so they followed that. They found a dark room full of water that they decided to ignore. Reaching the stern of the “ship” they saw there was another passage that led deeper still, and also a branch leading to tombs.
Monsters At the Bottom
The corridor leading deeper had been opened by the eruption, and it may lead all the way to the World Below. Goblins issued up from it, and monsters, and there was a mighty battle. After the intruders won, they examined the tombs, finding one to “Ares Rex II, Heretic, May the Saints Forgive Him His Curiosity.” It was burst open from the inside.
They found the corpse of Ares, infused with energies from the World Below and the Encroachment, turned into a powerful lich. He had a pit where he could toss the dead, and they would crawl out; or maybe it was a pit to the World Below. He could cause it to heave, vomiting masses of the dead, and the heroes chopped through them trying to reach him.
Ares dropped a curse on Andor, rendering him blind and deaf; the panicked zealot kept swinging his mighty blade, nearly killing Ragnell, who managed to calm him down.
Ares swelled up into a demonic form, and as Sunnhilde (who had caught up to them) smote the lich over and over with divine energies, Maeve managed to assassinate the creature with a magic blade.
Sunnhilde found Ares’ dark book of magic, the Magus Malificarum.
The Stern Shrine
As they were staggering out, sorely afflicted by their injuries and distressing experiences, they found a secret door at the “stern” of the ship corridor. It led in to an original shrine to the champion of the Luminous Hawk, Tabyth. There was a decanter with sweet liquid to simulate tears on the statue, and they applied it; the earth trembled, shutting the way to the World Below, and clearing all the Encroachment.
The cosmic moment also cleared Andor’s curse so he could see and hear again.
They escaped, and Duin paid them. They buried Brad, gave a brief account to the Father (omitting the part about the pagan shrine at the center, a shrine that the dwarves seemed to revere more in their craftsmanship than the Lady sections) and they were on their way.