Sphynx throws his dart at Cultist #3, who is still reeling from the Scorcher spell, still writhing in pain, and still completely unprepared to defend himself. The dart lodges in his throat, sparing the party from further screaming; the Cultist collapses in a heap, gurgling, choking on his own blood as he bleeds out to emptiness. Strangely enough, the Cultist welcomes death, his dedication to Set being absolute, and his pain being too much for even a fanatic like him to bear.
Cultist #3 is down and dying [-5]
Cultist #2 get slammed by Quixt's Magic Missile spell, but despite the painful onslaught, his determination to stay in the fight overpowers all other desires, and he remains standing... for the time being.
Hawke charges Cultist #2, looking to end this fight quickly.
Hawke ends the Cultist's life in a matter of moments, as he charges his un-prepared opponent, leaping into the air, and coming down on him with a whirlwind of blows, which has the result of inflicting more than one grievous injury, the worst of which is Hawke's trademark cracked skull.
Cultist #2 DIES. [-18]
Almost as quickly as the ambush begun, it is over. All of your foes are either dead or dying. Everyone: What do you do?
Speaking quietly to himself.
"This isn't going to go unnoticed. We should move quickly. Hopefully, no one else is coming up from the caves."
He listens carefully down the stairs to attempt to hear anything that might have been alerted to their presence.
(Listen Check = 11)
Not hearing anything, he moves quickly from tent to tent, careful to avoid magical alarm traps that may have already been set. If the tent flaps are ajar, he peeks inside to make sure that there are no surprises. He then checks the cultists for magic items and perhaps rose gold, but otherwise leaves the bodies where they died. Anything remaining alive receives their dispatch from Oerth quickly and quietly.
"I'm concerned about magical alarms being set inside as well. We caught them in the middle of the preparations. We should use that to our advantage. Let's come back for their equipment later."
The whole party follows Sphynx, because everyone agrees that time is of the essence, and that the party should strike now, whilest they have the advantage.
Hawke re-iterates, "Good, good; I still think that their forces must be waning. There's no way they can guard every entrance, with the losses we've inflicted so far."
The party goes down the stairs for a second time, finding the landing zone empty and silent. They advance forward (north) and it is obvious that this section is deserted; however, people HAVE recently been here. Where the Cultists fell in battle, are now bloodstains, which have seeped into the porous, unworked, stone floor.
See Battle Map Below.
The party knows that the northeast tunnel leads back outside, to the switchbacks on the edge of the ravine. Directly north, there are a pair of doors which stand ajar; you are fairly certain that the room in question is where the Cultists came from, possibly their sleeping quarters. The hallway also turns left (west) and continues onward, into unknown territory. There is also a closed door on the northern-most section of the eastern wall.
Moves to G21 and looks for traps on closed door on eastern wall, looking west down the hallway and through the door on north wall (ajar) to make sure nobody is watching beforehand. (Trapfinding Search = 13).
The hallway, and the other hallway it connects to, seem to both be deserted. From the south, coming from the area marked as 55 on the map, there seems to be flickering torchlight, reflecting off of a highly reflective surface. To the north (on the connected hallway) the passageway continues beyond the range of sight. But it appears to be well-lit the whole way. It is obvious that this part of the cave complex is occupied by Humans (the Wendol.)
Hawke and Nimbar return, apparently not having attracted any unwanted attention. As they return, Quixt has just finished checking the door. There don't seem to be any traps. Because of his magically enhanced shielding, Hawke volunteers to open the door. He turns the knob carefully, and opens it. The door opens outward. In front of the party is a lit stairwell, going down to what appears to be a sub-level.
For speed of gameplay: The Wendol, believing themselves superior, have not bothered to trap the hallways in this part of the complex; however, there may still be Alarm spells in place. Basically, the party can explore this part of the complex in any order they choose. Just make sure to tell me whether or not you all are trying to detect magic in any way, and then let me know by number (55,60,61,62,63, or 64) which area you'd like to explore first.
Sphynx listens to the information provided by Hawke and Nimbar. "At this point, I am thinking that we close this door as if it has not been disturbed and finish exploring the rest of this level before descending further into this modified cave system."
Quixt, your Detect Magic isn't showing anything within the spell's range; the doors to the north look normal. (i.e., there are no magical auras within 60 ft. of you, so there is no need to spend more than 1 round looking in each direction.)
Hawke nods, smiling. He likes the idea of being the battering ram. He casually walks into the room.
This is obviously the barracks for the Cultist Acolytes. Their room contains 4 hard pallets, a brazier, a table, 4 stools, a wardrobe cabinet, a water pail, a waste bucket, a flagon of wine, and four cups. There is nothing of any real value amongst these items. But it is useful to note, that you faced eight Acolytes, and this room seems set up for four occupants. That means that there is probably another room somewhere else, which is identical to this one. A quick, 1-round sweep with Detect Magic reveals a complete absence of magical auras. Not even an Alarm spell. Either, they figured no one would be brave or skilled enough to get this far, or they don't consider this part of the complex a priority.
Giving the room the once-over, he wants to efficiently use the detect magic spell. He moves west down the downgrade and to the corridor running north-south perpendicular to the corridor they are in.
he looks left and right, looking for abjurations or straight up traps that will alert the Wendol or ensnare him or his comrades. He summons the others with a simple hand signal. Depending on what he sees, he’ll either turn left south or go right north.
Sphynx takes the flagon of wine and smells it. If it smells okay, he takes a sip of it. If he likes it, he will keep the flagon and attach it to his utility belt. "What? They are not going to need it anymore."
Sphynx begins walking with his usual quiet stealth toward the room that looks like a shrine. He jerks his head in that direction trying to encourage the others to come along.
Sphynx, the wine is drinkable, not foul or contaminated, etc., but it is VERY LOW quality, probably homemade, and has a bouquet that is reminiscent of wheat grass. If you were grading it, the grade would be D-Minus.
As the whole party cautiously makes their way south to the shrine, they hear nothing; all is silent.
Upon arriving at the doorway, they discover the following:
This place is of red stone, the floor being a mosaic checkerboard of black and red. The south wall is covered by a huge tapestry which depicts a black landscape, barren trees, and unidentifiable but horrible black shapes in silhouette--possibly demons of some sort--holding aloft a struggling human. A gray sky is torn by wisps of purple clouds, and a bloody moon with a skull-like face on it leers down upon the scene.
Four black pillars support the domed ceiling, some 25' overhead. Between these columns, just in front of the tapestry, is a stone altar of red-veined black rock, rough-hewn and stained brown with dried blood. Upon it are 4 ancient bronze vessels: a shallow bowl, a pair of goblets, and an ewer, a vase-shaped pitcher. They are also blood-stained, but obviously worth a great deal of money.
Hawke spits in disgust, "Vile, necromantic, devil-worshipping wretches! They have been performing Human sacrifices here! These Wendol are abominations. They must be DESTROYED."
The bowl, two goblets, and pitcher all have magical auras. You won't know more until you spend some more time concentrating.
Whispering, he says “Don’t touch the bowl, goblets, or pitcher. They appear magicked. Keep an eye out to the north. I need to look more closely.“ He focuses the bulk of what’s remaining on the Detect Magic spell on the objects.