Common Year 579

0. The adventure begins
3 Coldeven, 579 CY

You’re leaving Verbobonc for the village of Hommlet. Not exactly a cosmopolitan hub. But the inns and alehouses of Verbobonc are full of songs about Burne and Rufus, two local heroes and soon-to-be legends. It’s said that they’re establishing a fastness in Hommlet, so you might get to meet them, if the stories are true.

1. His name was Godfrey...and he was my brother!
From 5 to 7 Coldeven, 579 CY

After surviving an ambush by goblins and an assassin named Zarbo, the Raoist acolyte Dominco (Dom) Tenuto and the dwarvish scrapper Uvogin (Gin to his friends) arrived in the village of Hommlet.

Dominco had been tasked to deliver a shipment of medicine and six casks of wine, as well as a note from the ruler of Veluna, to Canon Terjon at the Church of St. Cuthbert. With him went Godfrey and Lancet du Laird, twin brothers and templars of Rao. Zarbo had been hired to murder them all before they reached this destination. He might have succeeded but for Uvogin, who burst fighting mad out of one of the wine barrels. Apparently the dwarf had been turned to stone and delivered to Zarbo for transport south, but the spell wore off just as the goblins attacked—suspicious timing, and unexplained. By battle’s end, Godfrey was slain, but Lancet lived on to avenge his name.

In Hommlet, the companions formed an adventuring party to explore a ruined moathouse not far from the town. Rumor has it that the moathouse was once the outpost of a cult, perhaps related to the spider cult that Zarbo might have been mixed up with.

2. Now that's how you deal with a zombie
From 7 to 8 Coldeven, 579 CY

On the way to the ruined moathouse, the party encountered a half-elvish magus tied to a post and left for dead. He gave his name as Devil Pancake and said that he’d run afoul of orcs while traveling cross country on personal business.

The party took him with them for his safety, but he quickly proved his value in combat.

The ruined moathouse was far from abandoned. Giant frogs, brigands, giant snakes, green slimes, and zombies poured out of pools and rooms and piles of rubble at different times during exploration. Very little treasure has yet been brought out.

The party regrouped overnight and prepared for another expedition.

3. When Uvogin met Lubash; and Devil makes pancakes (out of gnolls)
8 Coldeven, 579 CY

The party pressed further into the dungeon and crypt beneath the ruined moathouse. Treasures have been found, including magical items, but collecting them has come at a cost. Battles with ghouls, gnolls, and a giant lizard and crayfish have chipped away at the party’s strength.

Yet the group’s ingenuity is coming into its own. The party discovered a trap door in the ceiling and decided to pile up rubble beneath it, thus preventing the trap from cutting off their escape.

Then Uvogin befriended the ogre Lubash, speaking to him in his own tongue—and defusing a fight that would have surely been fatal. Whether Lubash will accompany the party after his masters, the “yellow eyes,” have been destroyed, as Uvogin has promised him, remains to be seen.

Likewise, when the party encountered a band of gnolls, Devil Pancake, speaking gnoll, convinced the creatures not to attack. The party played upon their greed and led them to Lubash, who devoured three of them, while the remnant scattered. But they regrouped and launched a sneak attack when the party was overrun in the chamber of the ghouls. Devil made his single spell count by using it to slay the gnoll leader. Terrified, the gnolls threw down their arms, which freed the rest of the party to press hard against the ghouls.

In all the party’s successes so far, Dominco has played a vital role. His steady moral guidance has served his teammates well.

4. Kill them!
From 8 to 9 Coldeven, 579 CY

The evil power in the ruined moathouse put forth its strength in a final push. It began by summoning zombies in the night to bleed an already weakened party. Then robed zealots in the depths of the dungeon fought the companions relentlessly and would have rejoined the battle as ghouls, but for the party’s foresight to burn their corpses.

Devil Pancake sacrificed a spell from his scroll to incapacitate the champion of the yellow eye, who died at the party’s hands, while Dominco withstood the power of the cult’s leader, Lareth the Beautiful, and made the dark priest yield to Rao. The party took Lareth prisoner, and Uvogin brought him to the ogre Lubash, but Lareth commanded Lubash to attack. Lubash, compelled to serve his master, obeyed.

The party executed Lareth and slew Lubash.

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, Dominco suggested that they empty the ruined moathouse for goods to sell to Otis’ smithy.

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.

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.

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.

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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