Common Year 579

14. Good news and bad news
From 1 to 3 Planting, 579 CY

Good news: In response to Father Dominco’s request, the Church of Rao in Veluna sent a High Inquisitor to Hommlet to investigate Canon Terjon’s indiscretions. The High Inquisitor paid good coin to stay at the Wretched Hen.

Bad news: The High Inquisitor was murdered in the night.

Good news: The party returned to Hommlet and correctly deduced the identity of the killer. Sir Richarde, a knight from the city of Greyhawk, committed the deed under the control of a succubus. The party drove the succubus out of the knight.

Bad news: The succubus then possessed Canon Terjon.

Good news: The party destroyed the succubus without killing either Canon Terjon or Sir Richarde. Canon Terjon repented and agreed to submit to the judgement of Veluna, while Father Dominco installed Calmert as the new priest of the Church of St. Cuthbert.

Bad news: The lower level of the Temple of Elemental Evil invited the party to enter. The party nearly died at the hands of a lamia.

Good news: The party found and defeated a powerful assassin and wizard.

Bad news: The assassin and wizard were worshipers of the Demon Queen of Spiders.

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13. Loose ends and a drunken dwarf
From 6 to 7 Growfest, 579 CY

The party cleared out the rest of the Temple of Elemental Evil — or as much of it as they could access. According to a bugbear, the lower levels of the temple are closed unless by invitation, suggesting that perhaps the demon imprisoned in the temple is not as restricted in her actions as the viscount’s agents might want to think.

Otis seems to believe that the legendary Slave Lords are perhaps more than a legend, and that they might have something to do with the reactivation of the temple. He said that Burne had gone out seeking information about these slavers, but he did not know when — or if — the warlock would return.

While these events transpired, the party’s dwarf remained behind at camp in a drunken stupor with his new friend, the pirate Jack.

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12. The chattering skulls of Prefect Alrrem
5 Growfest, 579 CY

While the much-missed Zarra and her raven Void gained proficiency with the poisons that Murfles made, the rest of the party descended into the temple to seek out and destroy the final priest. This they did, after an encounter with werewolves, self-professed angelic beings, and six talkative skulls in the Temple of Fire.

The ceremonial robes of the fire-temple’s priest, whose name, the party learned, was Prefect Alrrem, enabled Father Dominco to converse with the skulls — and inadvertently summon the temple guardians after refusing to provide the required sacrifice. The subsequent fight with the guardian salamanders was not as difficult as prior encounters, perhaps because the Temple of Fire has been significantly weakened since the Battle of Emridy Meadows and the exile of Lareth the Beautiful.

Buried in the coals of the sacrifice pit was an intelligent magic sword. The sword tried to become the property of Uvogin, but the party wisely intervened, fearing that the sword would possess their companion.

While freeing prisoners, the party met Countess Tillahi of Celene and her military attache. They explained that they had been captured and sold to the temple as eventual human sacrifices by the slave lords of the Wild Coast, a whispered name of terror and half-believed rumors that bears further investigation.

The countess promised to reward the party handsomely for freeing her, and she also asked if they knew of the whereabouts of Murfles. Murfles is the countess’ youngest daughter, but she was imprisoned for habitual theft. Eventually she escaped, perhaps to join the circus, or perhaps to become an adventurer. Justice demands that she finish out her sentence, according to the laws of Celene.

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11. When the elephant in the room is a kraken
From 2 to 5 Growfest, 579 CY

Canon Belsoming, evil high priest of the Temple of Water, is dead. His under-priest is dead. His other under-priest is now Zarra’s puppet. The Temple of Elemental Evil is falling.

And yet… and yet…

The party faced several difficult battles against one horrible monster after another, including a juggernaut and some drelb guardians, not to mention a kraken, from which the party fled. But is the kraken plotting with cold intelligence for a second encounter with the monster slayers, from which there will be no escape? It seems to possess strange powers of mind and a body made entirely of water. The water-temple worshipped it as a god. How can weapons hope to prevail?

And the Temple of Fire has yet to be found…

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10. The old bugbear trick
From 28 Coldeven to 2 Growfest, 579

While searching for both the Temple of Water and the Temple of Fire, the party instead encountered the bugbear soldiers in the employ of the Temple of Air. Several skirmishes with these creatures led the party to Prefect Kelno, high priest of the Temple of Air. The party fought a desperate battle against him, which was ultimately successful.

The remnant of the air-temple’s bugbears fell prey to Father Dominco’s strategizing, while the increasingly effective teamwork of all the companions is enabling Zarra to strike with deadly precision from the shadows.

The party returned to Hommlet to replenish supplies and learned that one of their new barmaids has been paying for Canon Terjon’s religious instruction with certain personal favors. Father Dominico called Terjon out and sent word to Velnua for an official investigation.

To help the villagers forget about the grisly murders that had occurred at the Wretched Hen, Zarra put on an exclusive performance, and Uvogin and Devil Pancake reenacted the party’s adventures.

Revitalized, the party returned once again to the Temple of Elemental Evil.

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9. Trollhair
27 Coldeven, 579

The party put forth a sustained assault on the second level of Temple of Elemental Evil.

They slew many evil humanoids in the service of the Temple of Water—and Uvogin earned the name Trollhair from the temple’s terrified bugbear guards after he waded through their ranks wearing the hair of Oohlgrist, the hideous troll-wife queen. Despite steady progress, the party has not yet found the water temple’s altar or any of the evil clerics that serve it.

Careful exploration revealed that the Temple of Fire occupies the same level as the Temple of Water. The two sides do not appear to be in open conflict.

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8. Under new management
From 21 to 27 Coldeven, 579

The party fought bravely to rescue Goodwife Gundigoot, but the goodwife was already dead. She had been sacrificed in a terrible ritual to restore life to Larerth the Beautiful. But Father Dominco’s cleansing of the ruined moathouse prevented the ritual from completing in full, so that Lareth is now as hideous in appearance as he is depraved of soul. He has sworn to murder the false god Rao.

In the battle to escape the moathouse, Turuko, Zert, and the Trading Post merchants were slain, and Elmo’s militia was reinstalled. But when the party returned to the Inn of the Welcome Wench, Kobort murdered Ostler Gundigoot, the goodwife’s husband. Reluctant to slay Korbort, but knowing that it must be done, the party avenged the innkeeper and subsequently took up ownership of the inn. They renamed the Wretched Hen.

When the mayor appeared, asking difficult questions, Zarra bent her powers of persuasion upon him and put him entirely under her will. She also took Ostler’s seat on the Council of Elders.

The party returned to the Temple of Elemental Evil and found a number of captives. One of them, a gnome, tried to talk his way into the party, but Uvogin didn’t trust him and would have killed him preemptively if the party would have allowed it. The gnome fled, got lost in the maze of tunnels, died noisily by some zombies, rose again as a zombie himself, and was put to final rest by Uvogin’s axe.

The party also rescued three prisoners from the earth temple’s torturer. One of the prisoners admitted that he was a rapist, which led to Zarra exacting harsh — if fitting — retribution and instructing the party in the ways of the drow. The other two prisoners were aspiring prostitutes from Nulb. The party hired them to work at the Wretched Hen, but as serving maids, not as prostitutes, and Dominco introduced one of them to the Church of St. Cuthbert.

Pressing further into the temple, the party encountered Romag, High Priest of the Temple of Earth. Romag tried to bribe the party into murdering his rival, the High Priest of the Temple of Water. Uvogin beheaded him.

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7. Dust to dust
From 17 to 21 Coldeven, 579

The party found evidence of two cults operating in the Temple of Elemental Evil.

The first sacrifices living victims to the element of earth and appears to be the source of the ghasts and ghouls that the party has been fighting. The second, which worships the element of water, left a note for someone named Romag, commanding him to recognize the authority of the water temple or die horribly.

But the earth temple is not without power of its own, as Uvogin discovered to the near ruin of his friends. He tried to sacrifice himself on the altar of earth, hoping that it would open the bronze doors to hell, but it summoned an earth elemental instead. The party’s strength and ingenuity — and rope, and patience — were stretched to the limit to destroy the creature.

The party also rescued a group of humans who had been kidnapped by the earth temple’s ghouls. The party brought them safely to Hommlet and left them in the care of the Church of St. Cuthbert, but Hommlet was not as safe as anyone had hoped. While the party was away, the traitors Turuko, Zert, and the owners of the Trading Post captured Goodwife Gundigoot from the Inn of the Welcome Wench and dragged her bloody to the ruined moathouse, maybe alive, maybe dead.

The party converged on the moathouse, preparing for battle.

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6. That's why you bring a dwarf
From 15 to 17 Coldeven, 579 CY

When the annals of the great battles of the age are written, special mention will be made of the combat tactics employed by Father Dominco and the warrior-dwarf Uvogin to gain access to the Temple of Elemental Evil.

Bandits were found defending the outer wall and the courtyard surrounding the temple structure, although apparently they could not get inside the temple itself. Dominco, standing before the main gate, made himself an obvious target and withstood several volleys of crossbow bolts as the bandits struggled to lift the portcullis. They were so intent upon killing Dominco that they did not notice Uvogin, who scaled the wall with the aid of one of his hirelings. Uvogin cut down the guards on the wall with ease, then leapt to the courtyard and charged the remainder from behind. His brilliant surprise attack brought about a speedy surrender from the bandits, but no mercy was to be had from a newly hardened Father Dominco.

The party gained entry to the temple and the immense underground fortification beneath it, the full extent of which is not yet known, although some evidence has emerged that more than one cult might be operating there.

After an unexpectedly difficult battle with ghasts, the party decided to return to Hommlet and restock. While there, they met a sage named Master Finn, who had sought employment with Burne and Rufus. The party hired the sage instead, but not before negotiating a more favorable rate. According to Finn, and as verified by Otis, a sequence of four magical doors at the temple holds back a demon named Zuggtmoy. The party discovered one of these doors already, and they believe that they might have found two of the others.

With fresh supplies and healing potions, the party returned to the temple and prepared for another descent.

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5. Of fully clothed bards and barefoot druids
From 9 to 15 Coldeven, 579 CY

The party returned to Hommlet in triumph only to receive an urgent summons from the mayor to report on the events at the ruined moathouse. The mayor seemed willing to blame the party for the actions of spies and saboteurs, with whom the party had had some dealings. Zarra, a half-elf bard of drow descent, convinced the mayor otherwise. Zarra had recently rescued Jaroo, the town druid (and nudist), and she had not planned to stay in Hommlet for long, but as soon as she saw the spider scarab that Uvogin had taken from the assassin Zarbo, she decided to join in the fight against the cult. It was well that she did, because almost immediately afterward, she helped the party to repel a brazen attack on the town by undead cultists.

The companions had passed a quiet day in town, establishing themselves and trying to learn more about Otis, when Elmo, deep in his flagons at the Welcome Wench, told them that Otis was ready to meet them. Elmo led them a day’s march east to the town of Nulb, where Otis was living in secret as a blacksmith, working on behalf of the viscount of Verbobonc to keep an eye on the Temple of Elemental Evil. Many believe this temple to be the source of the cult, as it had been a decade ago.

The party agreed to infiltrate the temple and report back to Otis about what they find. To complete their disguise as merchants, Dominico suggested that they empty the ruined moathouse for goods to sell to Otis’ smithy.

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