Session 1: Web of Fear

This tale began as so many others have; in a tavern. While the rain and wind of summer’s final storm beat down upon the Black Stag Inn, in the small town of Keen, three strangers’ destinies were about to become entwined.

While a trio of would-be adventurers poured over a map promising riches and fame, a thief, a monk, and a scholar listened intently. Lemaia; a tiefling rogue, Merle Stonefist; a dwarven Monk of the way of the Mountain, and Era; an air genasi bard from a far-off land each made an attempt to get near the map, steal the map, or otherwise join the party, if for nothing more than a share of the plunder. Each met with failure, save for Era, whose silver tongue and intellectual curiosity calmed the increasingly paranoid trio. They revealed that they were searching for the lost dwarven mines of Dhol Kuldihr.

The trio accepted Era’s offer to investigate, and-after finishing their drinks-retreated upstairs for some much needed rest. Lemaia, who had managed to snag a peek at the map requested some parchment and a charcoal pencil from Gimnar, the Innkeeper, so that she might sketch what she had seen from memory. Gimnar sent his daughter, Fella, downstairs to fetch it. She was gone only a moment when a scream let loose from the cellar. Fella burst through the door with six cat-sized spiders following her.

The remaining patrons fled of hid as the spiders descended on Lemaia, Era and Merle. Era used her training in the arcane arts to put the advancing arachnids to sleep, and the three commenced slaughtering them before they could wake. The taproom secure, Gimnar rushed to his daughter’s side to console her. She, however, had some rather unpleasant news; every barrel of ale that had been in the cellar was gone.

Gimnar was beside himself with grief. In a week the town of Keen would be hosting the Many-Partings festival. Without the ale, the effect on Gimnar’ business would be catastrophic. While the innkeeper wallowed in his woes, Merle, Era and Lemaia had a plan. They offered to track down the ale, to which Gimnar graciously offered 100 gold pieces for the return of.

The newly formed trio took some time to dress their wounds and gather their supplies before venturing into the basement. Once there they investigated the area, attempting to deduce how eleven large barrels of ale could have vanished from the cellar without anyone noticing. It was Merle who thought to check the wall. It wasn’t long before he discovered loose stone. After a moment he removed a set of stones from the wall to reveal a tunnel leading off into the darkness. Intrigued, the three companions ventured off into the shadows.

They traveled for sometime through the strange tunnel before coming to an opening. Squeezing through, they found themselves standing in a tunnel system, with wooden supports lining the walls. As they moved in, they were ambushed by a small band of green-scaled kobolds. The companions banded together to defeat their foes, and managed to capture one.

The kobold captive, terrified of the three companions, confessed that this area was claimed by his tribe, and that they were ruled by their God-king, Verolax. After some coaxing, he agreed to take them to him. He led them down a dark tunnel, where the insidious little creature tripped a trap, collapsing the entire corridor upon himself and his captors. Era and Lemaia managed to escape to safety but Merle was buried beneath mounds of stone.

Frantically the genasi and tiefling sifted through the debris, searching for Merle, who was clinging to life. Thankfully they managed to reach him on the very edge of death’s door, and Era supplied him with some of her healing magic. The three emerged from the tunnel, somewhat battered, and somewhat disturbed that the kobold would rather kill himself than face the wrath of his master, who or whatever it was.

They pressed on, discovering a few precious gems along the way. After traversing thee winding halls, the trio discovered a natural cavern with a hot spring of sweet-smelling clear liquid. The three investigated the pool, surmising that it was perhaps teaming with some kind of healing magic.. After some experimenting, they found that they were right, and if one were to rest in it’s waters for a short time, their wounds would begin to close, of not completely heal over.

After a refreshing dip, they pressed on, soon finding themselves in what looked like the central hub of the complex. Mining supplies lined the wall, and five tunnels lead off into every direction. One tunnel was blocked with rotting shelves and chairs, stacked floor to ceiling. Curiosity got the best of them, and they removed the obstructions. What they found beyond was not what they were expecting.

A chamber of prettified carcasses-several of which were kobolds and other unidentifiable animals-swinging in cacoons of thick, silky webs from the ceiling. Standing motionless on the far side of the room were a pair of spiders the size of men, and one bloated arachnid the size of a heavy horse, bearing contless scars. This was the lair of Gorgoroth, the many-eyed king, a monstrous spider of untold age. They attacked first, moving faster then they appeared they were capable of. Gorgoroth plunged his mandibles into Lemaia, his burning poison dropping her to the floor, paralyzed.

Era, thinking fast, through her lantern at the great spider’s feet, burning him and forcing him to back away. Merle then leaped into action, staff in hand, a flurry of blows against Gorgoroth’s unholy spawn. Era too met with one of the hideous man-sized spiders, who bore down upon her, razor-sharp mandibles clacking inches from her face.

Merle dispatched on of the spawn before turning his attention towards Era’s foe, and ending it. The dwarf’s victory was short lived, as the moment his back was turned, the great Gorgoroth plunged his mandibles into him. Merle too succumbed to the elder spider’s venom, and slumped into a heap next to Lemaia. Era was the only one left. She timidly held he rapier up. She could abandon her friends, but she knew the awful fate that would have awaited them; being devoured alive.

Summoning all the bravery she could muster, Era rushed forth, but the many-eyed king knocked her feeble attempts of attack aside. It rushed her, pushing her back to the wall. As it reared up to deliver a final blow she plunged her rapier into the beast’s black heart. It lurched back, seared and bleeding, and tumbled to the floor, finally dead.

In a daze, Era quickly started dragging her companions back to the healing cavern, praying that the magical waters there could revive them. After a very long hour under her watchful eye, Merle and Lemaia began to stir. Slowly they regained the full use of their appendages, and returned to Gorgoroth’s lair to search it for any valuables. After many desiccated corpses, they discovered a lone dwarf skeleton clutching a vial of green liquid. At his side were an axe of exceptional quality, and a battered mug.

Beaten, bruised, bleeding, and half alive, the three decided that a rest was necessary. Together they huddled in the cavern of the healing waters, unsure and unaware of the dangers that lurk in the dark tunnels beyond the edge of their torchlight.

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