I've updated the blog again with a rather detailed campaign journal entry. I guess it pays to write it down the next day (rather than 2-3 weeks later!). I'll post the entry in this thread for the edification of all.
Cast of Characters Inigo, Human Bravo (Swashbuckling) played by Jeremy Gwydion, Human mercenary fighter (henchman of Inigo) Loralask, Human Elementalist (Geourgy), played by Mike Morpheus, Human Ecclesiastic (Theurgy), played by Carl Phylus, Unordered Gnome (Physique), played by Chad
Saturday, 6 October - 3:00 p.m. We begin this chapter with the Avatars in the same place where we left off the last session. The Avatars had entered the most westerly of the caves on this level of the ravine (about 25' elevation) and were accosted by a powerful stench. The floor of this small cave complex was covered with bones, sticks, fallen leaves, and whole and partial corpses. Upon closer examination, the Avatars saw that the remains were those of humanoid creatures (goblins and the like). Poking around the trash on the floor for a few minutes, however, uncovered only 3 large copper pieces (each about 1 ounce in weight and each worth $1). They entered a passage running more or less northeast-southwest.
They tried the southwest passage first. Two cave entrances could be seen on the western wall of the cave, but the Avatars ignored these and continued down the passage until it terminated in another cave. This cave was about 20' x 20', and as the party crept into the room they saw the large figure of a sleeping bear atop a mound of bones against the southern wall. Inigo stepped forward and aimed a sword thrust at the back of the beast's neck. The sword barely pierced the creatures hide, and it was roused from its slumber and on its feet in seconds. It was an owlbear, with cruel claws and a hooked beak! The other party members immediately raced forward to engage the beast -- Phylus, the two air elementals (Devati) conjured by Loralask, and the Destroyer summoned by Morpheus. These four and Inigo had little trouble in dispatching the monster, but not before Phylus suffered a moderate amount of Harm from the creature's claws and beak! Once the creature was dead, the party searched through the mass of bones upon which it made its bed. Morpheus found a sealed tube made of bone. He broke the wax and pulled out the stopper to reveal a piece of rolled-up parchment. It was a plaque of Protection against the Living Dead.
There were no other ways of egress from the cave, so the party returned to the northeasterly passage. The two caves to the west revealed nothing but the same reek of decay. They continued northeast along the passage for another 20' or so until it turned to the northwest. Another 10' and the passage opened up into another small cave, perhaps 20' x 20' in size. The cave was very damp and the walls dripping with moisture; in the center of the cave was a shallow pool with a few blind fish. In the center of the pool, however, was a gleaming chalice set with precious stones! Loralask thrust his staff into the pool. Immediately some sort of ooze snaked up the staff and lashed at the geourge with a pseudopod. Loralask dropped his staff into the pool before the ooze could strike him. The staff was dissolved almost immediately; then the ooze and two similar creatures started to move out of the pool at the Avatars. Phylus rushed forward to attack and found his arm enveloped by one of them. The Destroyer and the two Devati made quick work of the other two, but by the time the one on Phylus was slain, the gnome was unconscious, with severe acid burns on his arm and all of the armor protecting that arm dissolved. In the midst of the battle Inigo leapt into the pool, lost his footing and fell face-first into the shallow water. He managed to keep his wits about him, though, and picked up the chalice and put it into his pack.
Morpheus laid hands on Phylus, and he was brought back to consciousness -- barely. He then activated his "safe haven" once more and pulled all of the Avatars inside.
The Avatars, now safely in their haven, decided to do a bit of scouting. Unfortunately they found that they cave entrance they had hoped to explore was now blocked. They could not "touch" anything from their haven, but neither were they able to walk through the rock choking the passage. The party decided to return to the Keep, and reached the gates around 5:00 p.m.
Once back at the Keep, Phylus returned to the party's apartment while the others returned to the Chapel to talk with Melchior, the resident priest. They showed him the chalice they had found at the caves. Melchior said that although the chalice had not been stolen from the Chapel, he would be happy to accept it as a donation. The party demurred. Morpheus angrily muttered something about Friar Simon. Melchior asked Morpheus what had happened with Friar Simon, but the ecclesiastic would not reply. Melchior then ordered Morpheus to tell him what was going on, but Morpheus still refused to respond. Finally, Melchior reminded Morpheus that it was within his power to excommunicate him, and that if he didn't respond to his questions then he would be forced to take action. Morpheus, still angry, told Melchior that Friar Simon had stolen a gem from them worth 200 gold ($2000) and had only pretended to perform the ritual of exorcism. Then he reminded Melchior how highly the latter had recommended Friar Simon to the party, insinuating that Melchior and Friar Simon were in cahoots! Morpheus told Melchior about Friar Simon's "disappearing act," but Melchior averred that he had seen Friar Simon that afternoon, and that if the party wanted to see him they could go to his apartment. Then he bade the hot-headed Morpheus and his companions to leave the Chapel.
Inigo went out with the chalice to see if he could get it appraised. First he went to the jeweler, who offered him 800 gold ($8,000) for it. He then went to Paul, the banker, who offered him only 500 gold ($5,000) for it. Both offers were refused.
Morpheus, Loralask, and Inigo then went to the friar's apartment. The priest opened the door and welcomed them inside. Melchior openly accused him of stealing the gem from them, and it wasn't long before a sword was drawn. At this point Loralask started moving back toward the door. Friar Simon insisted that he had done nothing wrong, that sometimes the exorcism ritual doesn't "take," and that the gem was consumed in the ritual. He told the Avatars that if they wanted it, they could have all the money (50 gold - $500) he had collected for the poor. The Avatars wavered, but ultimately refused. But Friar Simon was adamant. He walked over to his lockbox, opened it, and pulled out a bag full of coins. He threw the bag in the general direction of the party; it hit the wall and its contents (gold and silver coins) spilled on the floor. Melchior then rudely attempted a divination to see if the friar was telling the truth. Twice he tried, but no answer was given either time. The cleric then stormed out in a huff, but Inigo, in an act of magnaminity, opened his pack and presented Friar Simon with the chalice they had found in the caves, asking him to give it to the Chapel! Friar Simon accepted the chalice gratefully, and gave Inigo his blessing.
The party returned to their apartment and tended to Phylus. They decided to wait until he was fully healed before setting out again for the Caves of Chaos. In the meantime, Inigo paid a quick visit to the Chapel to ensure that the chalice had been delivered into Melchior's hands. It had been. On Thursday 11 October the party set out from the Keep again.