Guild, hopefully you are getting over the bit of return to school plague that always seems to sweep through the adult population this time of year. We were sorry to have missed you, but the run was a successful one. I'll give a somewhat brief synopsis as to what happened and some of the silliness that transpired.
When we left off, the party had just defeated the 6 'Bringers of Woe' that had tracked them down as well as a dim witted half-ork that they had seen in the town (Red Larch) who sold pickles out of a small cask. Not knowing the half-orc's name, they nicknamed him Pickles for the duration.
In the center of the room was the broken petrified statue of a dwarf that seemed to have been given some degree of reverence. Offerings of coins and low value gems had been tossed within a circle of white gravel from which the dwarf, Kleckhain, had retrieved a dagger that had the name Raszul inscribed on the pommel. Edra, seeing all of the coins and not noticing that the dwarf's soul had been consumed when he entered into the circle of gravel, followed and began collecting the masses of coins that were left on the ground. Once the loot had been collected, Edra arranged the bodies of the Bringers of Woe to resemble a scene from a Frank Frazeta painting with the bandits reaching up and trying to pull at the broken dwarves statue. Perhaps watching this with some concern, the group then continued towards the door that they were going to enter when they had been set upon by the 6 Bringers of Woe.
Opening the door they saw a 50 ft. passage where a lantern was staked to the wall over which was an elderly balding human who jumped up, startled at the party's presence. After being challenged, the old man introduced himself as Baragustas who attempted to ward the party off by insisting that they not disturb the Delvers. An interrogation of sorts followed and the information below is what the party was able to make out:
The Believers are a group of town citizens who care for and protect the Delvers. The Delvers are interred people who seem to protect or manipulate large stones (in the following room) that indicate portents or bad omens. Baragustas remembers the finding of the petrified dwarf that had been found in a collapsed mine tunnel that attached to one of the quarries in the city. Baragustas did not know how the stones worked, but that time had proven that the shifting stones indicated when bad things were happening in the town. An Earth Priest helps them interpret the signs and omens that the moving stones indicate and Baragustas admitted that the stones have been moving more often as late – further evidence to Baragustas that the omens are true judging from the chaotic weather patterns and bandit activity in the area.
When the party members decided to push on, Baragustas fled the tunnel as the party opened the door and entered into a huge stone carved room that held many pillars and dwarven made threshholds and lintels that were interspersed throughout. On the sides of the room were stone ledges but from where the party was they were not able to make out any other details. In the center of the room a lit lantern was set on the floor, giving some light and casting shadows throughout. As the party entered, an Earth Priest began casting spells at them starting combat. A shatter spell was centered on the party as they entered into the room. Larrakh (Ben had mistakenly interpreted the name to be of French origin which then allowed me to give the 'earth priest' an annoyingly disrespectful french accent), or Le Roche, had heard the party's conversation with Baragustas and had been hiding behind the stones, lying in wait.
My French is nil, so much of it was hammed up uh-huh's! and various nonsensical lines from Enigma's song Mea Culpa (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjK30nhy7CU) as exclamations to his amazingly failed rolls and ineffective spells. The party charged in, shrugged off a slow spell that had been cast on them to slow their charge. Le Roche managed to cast a shield spell that brushed aside the Bard's magic missiles that were shot out of his wand. As the party needed to dash their way to get to his person, this gave Le Roche time to use his earth based spells to summon localized tremors causing many of the party members to fall prone. Falling prone gives those on the ground disadvantage to any attacks that they undertake, which only seemed to make Edra more dangerous than he usually was – bad news for Le Roche.
Kleckhain was having bad trouble with this. He'd use his dash to get up to Le Roche, resist the earth tremor, miss on his opportunity attack and then have to spend his dash again to catch up to Le Roche as he ran away from the onslaught that sought his demise. After another earth tremor where Edra, Kleckhain, and Merrick (cleric) had fallen prone, Le Roche attempted once again to escape only to be hit by both Edra and Merrick (at disadvantage… again). Edra's blade brought Le Roche to zero, Merrick's hammer confirmed it with a massive slam onto the stone floor. Le Roche, and his mangled french exclamations, was no more.
After searching, the PCs found some Mirabar Trade Tokens (Dwarves currency from the city of Mirabar, an item rarely found or used outside of dwarves lands). They also found a small journal with a list of scientific data. After scouring through the data, the party discovered that Le Roche managed to figure out how to move the stones and basing this knowledge with what Baragustas claimed could see how the mysterious (and french) earth priest was able to manipulate the group of 'Believers' with the moving stones.
A secret passage was discovered that the party followed which eventually emptied out into one of the town's quarries (Mellikho's Stoneworks). Returning to town, the party sought out Harbruck, the town's sheriff/constable, to determine what he knew of the Believers and what lied below.
After believing that Harbruck had no knowledge of who/what the Believers were and that they claimed to watch over the Delvers (a local boogie man used to scare kids to bed and such), they party took Harbruck down into the passages they exited from and began showing him what they had found. Harbruck was incredulous that Grund (or Pickles as the party nicknamed him) and Baragustas would be a part of such acts. They entered into an unsearched room to find an 11 year old boy under a weight of stones. Harbruck recognized the boy as Braelan and found out that his father (a Believer) had put him here as a punishment for having lost a written message he was tasked to deliver to Master Waelver. Braelan also shared some of the same information that Baragustas had given and admitted to having been pressed for 2 days prior to the party finding him. The boy seemed to be scared that his father would be upset at him having been moved from his punishment. — It should also be noted that there had been many comments about corporal punishment and the rights of parents over their kids as to whether or not the party should intercede in this or not. Cruel and heartless players do we have. Edra also attempted to intimidate the boy by picking up one of the pressing stones to find out where the boy had lost the note, but the dice finally gave Ben a poor role and the intimidation failed along with a shocked and disapproving look from Harbruck.
After backtracking the way the Party had entered into the underground structure they found that the three bodies with the Black Earth symbol carved in the skulls had been removed. Evidence showed that the bodies were removed in the same direction that the party had originally came and that eventually led them to a tunnel that gave an exit from immense cavern where the sink hole had developed to a cellar door type of entrance that opened up into the back of Waelver's Wagonworks.
Harbruck is dumbfounded with the recent discoveries and moves to locate and question Baragustas. Grund was brought out of the passages with Harbruck and is being taken into custody for questioning. Lots of questions and accusations to follow.
The party advanced to 3rd level.