the Goblin King and the Lord of Werewolves have renewed their ancient alliance beneath the Howling Tower;
and the secret treasury of the ancient Bronding Kings is said to lie somewhere behind the Brokenbrand Falls, haunted by enchanting naiads ...
Eden Littlethorpe (halfling druid 1, name pronounced "e-DEN"; also, brother of Enzo Littlethorpe of Galtshire, an as yet little known halfling artist who's greatest work so far is an intriguing image of the lizardman eye-licking ritual of homage)
Foz (free goblin 1, has been to the Glimmervaults once before)
with Proz (a boar hound dressed in armor)
Okuda (bushi 1, bushi being from the Oriental Adventures book)
with Shield (another boar hound pet in armor)
Roland (dwarf cleric 1, got a spell at first level because of AD&D)
As noted above, the party acquired two dogs while also acquiring equipment (Eden and Roland needing to equip themselves as newly minted characters).
They decided to head for the Glimmervaults, because Foz had been there before (and had acquired a musty old map, apparently, from some other adventurers from years before, which indicated the presence of great treasure behind a "fire tornado of doom" as the map seemed to indicate).
Nothing molested them on the way there; there are two entrances to the Glimmervaults, an eastern entrance higher on the slope, with myriad humanoid heads on spears outside the doorway--and Foz spied rather more heads than before, many of the new ones being orc heads; and a western entrance through a natural stone grotto that leads into a kind of cave network.
There was some confusion as to which entrance the party was using, some electing for orcs, others saying the western entrance, and because I started describing the cave features, that's where the party ultimately ended up. They passed through several chambers and corridors already familiar to Foz (behind a secret door in a flowstone formation), and went to check doors left unchecked on that previous expedition.
In the room with the several defaced statues and the plaque on the wall reading a curse, "Galad's tribe is destroyed root and branch ... may this place be accursed," the party was surprised by ... a wandering troupe of cave locusts. These semi-docile creatures were startled by a thrown rock and started leaping every which way in their panic, and one struck Roland, but his stolid dwarfness allowed him to just shove off the large locust without injury. Beyond that, the creatures simply retreated back up the corridors.
|This, but giant-sized ... like labrador dog sized|
Continuing on, the party first opened an eastern door, which led into a semi-long east-zagging corridor with two southern doors and a dead end to the south east.
Behind the first door, the party found three sarcophagi, labeled ALDARES, GALADON, and BALEARES. Inside the first sarcophagus (ALDARES), which they had to unseal by prying plaster away with a dagger, the group found a gold torc, a ring, and a nice chain of office. When they opened the second tomb, however, marked GALADON, they got only a glimpse of a gold deathmask, inlaid with wonderful jewelry, before a second horde of locusts burst through the door, creaking and sawing and making a great din. Because of the danger from their leaping all around and running into things, the party fled back into the corridor and further along.
The next door opened onto another tomb, this one labeled HORUS, a great sarcophagus dominating the room's center and decorated with carvings on every side, all of battles against phalanxes of spearmen, war elephants, and chariots. Inside, the group found a pair of scrimshawed elephant tusks with further images of battle.
In another tomb leading off the chamber with the defaced statues, the party also discovered walls depicting a gathering of semi-barbarous Getae under their kings, one crowned with red, the other with black; while on the other wall was a bas-relief of Brondr, first Bronding King, being acclaimed by being lifted on a shield by the people, wearing a white crown.
In the dead end corridor, the party found a secret door leading back out into a cave system; Foz, sticking his head out first, saw a half a dozen figures passing by in darkness beyond, and quickly hushed the party and dimmed their light; after some conversation and waiting by the party, the figures passed silently on into the darkness north, and the way was clear. Down the stairs on the other side of the door, the party discovered an ancient stalactite/stalagmite column carved to show an Elfin male descending from a ceiling glinting with reflections like stars down toward a human female.
Several side passages included one to the south that leads to the second level of the Glimmervaults; and one to the east that breathes a colder air than even the cave is naturally heir to.
But, D&D character that he is, Foz eyed the glimmering ceiling and took up a rope, and climbed the column Mulan-style.
|Especially when you have an 87% climb skill as a thief,|
+10% because the referee likes your idea
From the top of the column, he managed to pry out from the ceiling several of what were indeed ultimately gemstones, cut to reflect light and seem like stars. With these pieces of loot in hand, Foz suggested a return to town, and the party agreed--they seemed to have gathered enough loot.
On the way back, they stopped to pick up the elephant tusks (they'd left them behind as fragile things, meaning to return to pick them up), and listening to the door from that tomb, they heard a horrible skittering of insectile legs. Out of an abundance of prudence, the party waited; listened again; heard nothing, and found the corridor beyond empty. But at the next door, to the statue-room, they heard the same creepy skittering. This time they braced the door as they waited, and briefly felt pressure from inside attempting to get out; but this subsided, and the party retreated to another tomb to wait. When they returned back that way, heading again for the entrance/exit, the source of the weird skittering was gone.
Beyond that, the way back out and back to town was free and clear (again, no wilderness encounters, alas).
The party did manage to find a merchant especially interested in artefacts from the Glimmervaults. He bought the tusks and a signet ring for far more than their market value, and furthermore offered a bounty, collectible by anyone, for rubbings or drawings of the battle-tomb of Horus, some hundred to several thousand gold, depending on the quality of the product returned. His name is Kors Langbard (he's also a little bit racist against short people like halflings, goblins, dwarves, etc).
Lastly, the party must needs go carousing! At the newly established local drinking hole, the Black Dragon's Meed, Roland spent exorbitantly and hit on a woman at the bar, only to find too late that she was in fact a witch--fortunately for Roland, the hex she attempted to curse him with failed to affect him. Eden got into a bit of a scuffle with the law, and ended up having to pay a small fine for attempting to free a tree from the confines of downtown back to its true home in the woods; and poor Foz, well, he fell in love with a brief romantic dalliance--one Rosy Nettlebrer, a halfling woman already engaged to an upstanding halfling from Hopshire.
And thus ends a prudent adventure, well rewarded for caution.