After perishing on the field of battle somewhere southeast of the Southwood, La’Quel met her patron, the goddess Selune, in a dream. In this dream, she was charged with purging a nearby temple of Selune of the drow and spiders that had infested it, and turned it to a place of worship for their dread goddess Lolth. If she succeeded in this mission, she would be rewarded with the blessings of the goddess, but if she failed, she would be forever stripped of her powers. Selune then sent La’Quel back to her body in a silvery wagon, short in stature, which departed the surface of the moon and sped back towards Toril.
Once revived, La’Quel scouted around and tracked the group of drow and their spiders to a campsite, which looked to have been abandoned for a couple of days. She then returned to the scene of the battle and collected the body of the young bard that had been one of her wards, then returned back to Loudwater to explain her actions to Balasar.
Upon returning, Urgar gave her a sharp look and shook his head mournfully at her. Ender piped up, asking where the rest of her charges were, and by way of a reply, La’Quel dumped the slightly decayed body of the bard at his feet. He cursed and jumped back, then told her that she should go tell Balasar about this, and yelled at her to get rid of that body. She grabbed the corpse by the scruff of its neck and dragged it into Balasar’s study.
La’Quel told the story about the ambush and how she had run into some drow that she knew from her days in the underdark. Balasar grunted, puffing out a small gout of flame, and ordered the resurrection of the bard, to be paid for by guild funds. Virgil immediately went off in search of the components necessary, then finished the ritual and brought him back. Meanwhile, Balasar told La’Quel to take a group with her and kill off those drow, so that they may know the wrath of the Avengers. She agreed and assembled Virgil, Urgar, Conan, and Blaze, and a couple of others, and together they headed south, through the Southwood and past the battlefield where La’Quel fell.
Their search took them to a village called Astin Springs, which looked to have just ended its farmers’ market for the day. La’Quel asked one of the farmers that passed by if he knew of a place of worship nearby for Selune. He replied that he did not, but the hill on the east side of the village had some odd stone structures that might fit that description, and that they could check those out. So, still dusty from the road, they trudged towards the hill.
The group examined the hill and found that it could be used as a stellar observatory, and could predict when the seasons would change, when certain stars and constellations would align, and when eclipses would occur. Virgil noticed some symbols on the slab of rock in the middle of the structure that appeared to be acid-faded and scratched out. La’Quel took a look at them and recognized them as symbols depicting the phases of the moon, so she whispered a quick prayer to Selune, and the symbols glowed briefly, causing the rock slab to come out and slide away, revealing a staircase.
A quick search of the area at the bottom of the staircase revealed a skeleton, badly damaged by bites and acid, in front of a pictogram on the wall. The pictogram showed the cycle of the moon, and was a plot of the next few lunar eclipses. Near the corpse lay a ritual book with a few rituals in it, which the party took (ask later to find out which rituals were in the book). The party ventured further inside, where La’Quel’s sharp eyes picked up a poorly disguised greased pit trap. At the bottom of the trap was a swarm of spiderlings and some nasty-looking spiked sticks. The party easily jumped over the pit, and headed into the next room, which had a hallway at the end of it. At the other end of the hallway, outlined in the blackish-green glow of a portal, was a heavily armored drow flanked by two phaseweb spiders.
The drow, whom La’Quel remembered as Aelaon, a paladin of Lolth, yawned as the group approached and told them that they should leave, blah blah blah (yes, he actually said that). He then lazily challenged them to approach. Blaze was the first to take this bait, and as he entered the portal chamber, two swarms of spiders descended upon him from above.
Thus, the Avengers began a desperate battle for their lives. The spider swarms webbed anyone that came near them, then swarmed throughout their armor, biting and poisoning their victims. The larger phaseweb spiders moved to flank first Virgil, then La’Quel, who had become mired within a swarm. Aelaon proved to be the least of their worries, as a few quick attacks by La’Quel and Blaze (and area attacks courtesy of Urgar) were enough to dispatch him. This just left the (much larger) threat posed by the spider swarms and phase spiders.
The poison quickly took its toll, and even with the Avengers hacking away at both the swarms and their larger cousins, the battle was not going in their favor. Many times, either Blaze or Virgil succumbed to the poison, sometimes within each others’ arms, but they were always able to revive each other. Virgil, through sheer endurance and tenacity, managed to shake off the poison (as well as death’s grasp) no less than two times, proving himself a credit to the name of Balasar’s Avengers.
Eventually, with the party wearying, Urgar casted a few desperate spells: One, a wall of fire, forced the spiders to disengage from the group and killed one of the swarms outright. The other granted the entire party a heavy resistance to poison, which quite possibly saved all of their lives. Eventually, La’Quel and Conan chased down the last living phase spider, and the last living swarm fled from the temple, leaving the Avengers victorious.
The group decided that they needed a rest, and retreated temporarily from the defiled temple of Selune, back out into the village. They made camp nearby, as there were no inns or taverns to be found within the village, then rested and meditated on their heroic deeds for the night. (For this encounter, everyone involved received 800 xp and a bonus action point, to be awarded after waking from the extended rest.)
We will continue with this storyline in two weeks, as I will not be available next week Monday. Kimchee has volunteered to DM in my absence, watch for a forum post from either him or Kamunari on this. Oh, and I <3 swarms, especially ones with auras.