7 weeks have passed since the defeat of the underthing. 7 weeks of reflection. 7 weeks of wonder. Zog has been gone for a long time, no word can be found. Jenar inquired both in Artemis and with the Elves. Benn, Jenar, Ramahut decide an answer must be found, so they set off. Having learned from prior adventures, this time they bring along some help. Henchmen are hired, as are 5 hirelings (henchmen get half shares of gold and XP, hirelings just are paid, no matter what gold you gain). They are:
- Lappoy the loyal, a 2nd Level Elf (5 hp, AC 3, detect magic, ventriloquism, invisible) has +1 sheild
- Fencig the fickle, a 3rd level Elf (9 hp, AC 4, read magic, light, detect invisible)
- Cleric Tassit Servant of Brūūn
- Moog? (need to find details)
- and the 5 hirelings are: Pook, Tok, Vort, Gorm and Stuk.
As an added bonus, Smokey the Werebear joined us as well.
Scouts had previously followed the trail of Zog to a cave to the south that “smelled of fish”. We travelled south by horse for one and a half days, finding the cave marked by the scouts. (On the way we encountered a giant throwing boulders, but chose not to engage it). Entering, we immediately encountered a body of water. 3 swam ahead to see if there was an exit, and there was, the cave switched back to a second chamber behind us, but access was only underneath the water. We all swam, soaking our bows and crossbows, rendering them innoperable.
Upon exiting the water, the path forked and we took the right path due to the Werebear’s insistence that the right “smelled of fish”. Which in fairness it did. We found a large chamber strewn with discarded and broken items (pots, clothing, weapons and so on) along with other garbage. An ancient corpse, too old to be Zog, lay in the far end, with 5 magic scrolls still good in his sachel. They were (later) determined to be part water, lower water, and 3 breathe water spells. There was nothing else of interest in the room.
Returning to the fork and heading left, into which water was trickling, we came upon a smaller chamber, really just a widening of the corridor. 6 pairs of eyes met us from the far end, and attacked due to us invading their lair. 6 giant rats lined up 3 astride, which was the widest we could disperse. We made short work of them and were lucky to find 2 gems.
Later we find another lake, which drains out a vertical hole in the far wall. This hole leads to a vertical drop into another lake. We secure a line, climb down, and find a “beach” from which to continue. The only exit from there is a river leading due east. One of the crystals is tugging, but faintly, as if there is much distance between us and its destination. Nearly ready to go swimming, Benn uses his innate river senses to tell us that we cannot swim this river. Instead we hatch an alternate plan, as our Light spell was nearing its halfway point.
We returned to the surface, sent 3 of our men back to the keep to obtain pitch, water-tight leathers (to keep our bows in while underwater), provisions and more rope. On their travels they encountered an Ogre who took a swipe at them, but they rode by quickly and only took one hit.
Meanwhile, at base camp, we cut down trees, hauled them into the bottom cave of the river, and used our remaining rope to build 2 rafts capable of bearing 7 people each. Since we were 13 strong, this was enough. Since it was 3 days to obtain and return with the supplies, the Elves identified all the scrolls using read magic. Completing the rafts we set off down the river. A crocodile attacked one of our rafts, but Jenar Webbed it and, unable to swim (swiftly) the river quickly took us beyond its reach.
The river ride was longer than any had guessed. 2 days of travel by swift river, underground, to the Northeast brought us to a huge underground chamber. Which would have been pitch black except for what seemed a small hole in the ceiling, but the chamber, being so large, dwarfed the mansion sized hole.
The lake in this chamber though was not deep. In it swam pale, nearly albino fish-men, who seemed oblivious to us. Sailing into the chamber eventually brought us to another “beach”, where two fish-men stood, again ignoring us, and staring deep into the waters. They reeked of evil.
The crystal was pulling again at the center of the lake (as always) at some glowing structure. Using the part water spell, a 10’ wide path was made, and the party entered. The egyptians followed, and the israelites… Oh wait wrong story. We followed the path, 2 astride, down to the temple. There we found Zog. A Zog who was not quite a zombie, not quite a ghost. He was decidedly worse.
We attempted parley, but to no avail. The cleric and the paladin were obviously underpowered to turn undead Zog. Four fishmen joined in the combat, and were soon defeated, but it became painfully obvious that only magical weapons could hurt this echo of Zog. Zog attacked Ramahut and missed. Eventually Benn makes a run for the crystal planting spot, some of the henchmen follow. Zog attacks Benn in defense and hits. 2 levels drained. Benn fights again, and again Zog hits for 2 more levels drained. Ramahut uses flametongue to defeat Spectre Zog before Benn
lost all life.
The temple begins to rise to the surface, eventually pushing through the hole we saw from below. 3 of the hirelings who fled, Vort, Gorm and Stuk, died in the chamber below as it deformed and flooded. When it reaches the surface we enter and find Zog’s corpse, bloated and rotted. We take some of his kilt to show we found him, and burn his body. We were far far east, between Lake Benn and Lake Zog, and use the crystals to return to the keep.
Some of the henchmen returned to the cave mouth to retrieve the horses and found it was now a river mouth, no longer an entrance.
We returned home, and the mystery of Zog disappearance has been solved, but Benn has paid a terrible price. Will he continue adventuring? Seek magical recovery? Go on a monster hunt? Or retire and become Steward of the Blue Dragon Keep?