When the party checked the door out of the room, it seemed innocent enough…
But once they entered yet another long hall with columns running the length, there, at the edge of the light from their sunrod, stood another large bugbear and two skeletons. Behind them were some tables laid on their sides and three small shadowy forms moving around behind them, getting their weapons ready. Clay let out a surprised yelp and instinctively fired his crossbow, taking the bugbear up high. Gwen let off a sleep spell, a drowsy yellow cloud settling over the enemies and the goblins behind the tables were out of the fight. With a blood-curdling yell, the bugbear charged across the flagstone floor, murder in its eyes as it swung a mighty blow at Clay’s head. Rak, standing next to Clay, shouted, “Get away from my friend!” and thrust his sword through the monster, spilling entrails on the floor.
The skeletons shambled forward, trapping the party in the doorway, but unable to land a blow. Clay dropped his crossbow and grabbed the nearest skeleton despite the grave-cold flowing off it. Gwen said from behind him, “I need to get a quarterstaff.”
“No kidding,” Clay answered, in a strained voice, struggling with the bones trying to reach his throat. Rak dropped the one in front of him with one swing of his sword, then missed both Clay and his wrestling partner with a shield bash. The skeleton continued to press into Clay as Gwen tried to help Clay. Rak was able to take a second and place his next swings carfeully yet strongly and make another pile of lifeless bones on the floor around the corpse of the bugbear. Clay was left holding the arms of his foe, Gwen held on onto a femur for several minutes longer in case she needed to thwack something.
Rak was seriously considering finishing off the sleeping goblins behind the tables, but Gwen’s sensibilities dissuaded him and they just left them laying there while they searched and looted. DM NoteYes, this is a change from Rak impersonally slaughtering the sleeping little balls of evil. They managed a pretty good haul, with Rak getting a new shield, albeit one that needed a thorough cleaning. Coins and a few objects, including a nicely carved box full of teeth, rounded out the prize.
It looked like whoever was running things down on this level had set up the defensive position in the long hall because the next several rooms were empty of inhabitants. The group found lots of equipment for growing plants, even down in the dark. One room had been a library at one time, probably for the dragon worshipping cult that had built the place. Most of the books and papers were soggy or torn, but the group did manage to find two scrolls of spells for Gwen and book full of lore about dragons still in good shape. Another room seemed to be a study, and two more scrolls that could be used for Dearborn’s fee for this trip were found. Also found was a journal with explanations of what is going on in the Sunless Citadel.
“Isn’t a supplicant like a prostitute?” Clay asked. “The tree has whores?”
“You got kicked out of school way too soon,” Gwen observed. Clay paused.
“I am aware.”
Heading on, they found an underground grove where it appeared more of those saplings had grown. Through one large cavern and into another, where they found Belak and his two Supplicants, Sharwyn and her final companion, the paladin Sir Braford, and a few saplings. The battle was furious. Braford and Rak tore into each other while Clay maneuvered around behind Belak. Gwen tried to hit Belak with a seeking ray, but missed at first. Dearborn had to rush forward to cast a cure light wounds on Rak after a particularly strong strike from Braford. Belak cast a spell that covered his hand in flame, then threw gouts at Gwen. Clay managed to steal a spell from Belak with a surprise hit. Sharwyn moved away and let loose with a magic misssile at Clay and Gwen finally hit with the ray, having to use one of her scrolls to do so. Rak finally dropped Braford and moved on the saplings cluttering up the battlefield. Belak was not able to hit Gwen with any of his little balls of flame, and she finally turned him to ash with a scorching ray. Rak finished the saplings and Gwen yelled that they shouldn’t kill Sharwyn. Clay fired off the entangle spell he stole from Belak and Gwen was able to put Sharwyn to sleep. Dearborn used an orison to stabilize Braford, they were both tied up and then they group went to work destroying the Gulthias Tree.
DM Note and possible spoiler I changed what happens to the Supplicants when the Tree is destroyed so I could give Gwen a friend and the party more renown in the future, using it to draw them into more adventures. We’ll see how it works out.