Real World Info
The adventurers explore the southern reaches of the cellars beneath the Chateau d'Ivernesse. Though their battles with vermin win them no wealth of note, a mysterious magical mask provides a clue as to where treasure may be found.
I: Rats Amidst Rubble
The party's new wealth stirs the interest of potential hirelings. While Clamdigger is unavailable, his hireling Clamato offers her services, but the party declines. Instead, Pog directs interested farmboys to wrestle one another and hires the winner, a lad named Derek. In Morten's absence, they also recruit Hamish, a slow-witted pilgrim with a checkered past, as a party priest.
Returning to the ruins, the party follows their prior route south through four different rooms, then heads west down a long corridor. A door partway down the corridor is barred from the far side, and silent; they worry that chopping it down will make too much noise. At the end of the corridor, another door is barred from their own side, with sounds of water beyond; the party fear the bar indicates danger beyond. Rebuffed, our heroes turn back to try another way.
The east passage from the southernmost room loops north to a chamber filled with rotten furnishings… and giant rats! Thinking quickly, the party splashes oil across the corridor and piles fresh meat from their rations in the middle. The rats soon spill forth — whether to eat the bait or the party — only to be immolated as our heroes set the oil aflame. The one surviving rat flees back to its lair.
Pog takes a few desultory shots at the rat with his crossbow while the rest of the party searches piles of trash on the south side of the room for valuables. Lack of success puts an early end to both efforts, and our heroes decide to try another route.
II: The Skeleton and the Spider
Heading west down another long corridor, the party finds two doors, each leading to a set of jail cells. The wizards wait in the hall with the mule while the others investigate the southern cells. Hamish finds a ring of keys; Pog investigates a skeleton crumpled in one of the cells, only to have it rise and attack! He darts out and slams the cell door, then prods at it with his sword until it almost pulls the weapon from his grasp. Hamish intervenes, and the thing gnaws on the cleric's shield until Pog manages to put it down with several crossbow bolts.
All this ruckus (including Pog stepping into the doorway to punch both wizards for daring to disagree with his 'leadership') distracts the wizards, so that they almost fail to notice a head-sized spider crawling towards them across the hallway ceiling! Black Water joins the group in the southern cells, while Immortus pulls the group's mule, Bill, into the northern cell block.
Unable to see the spider from the small grilles in the cell block doors, the party cannot determine whether the spider's still there. Eventually, Immortus opens the door and sends Bill out as bait. The spider immediately drops down from the ceiling onto the mule's back! Bill bucks it off, kicks up his heels and races back down the corridor. Pog and Hamish get in each other's way trying to smite the spider, only to see Black Water's crackling Magic Missile fly between them and shatter the spider's body, killing it instantly.
III: The Mask and the Cage
Immortus pursues the mule, followed at a distance by the rest of the party. The merry chase leads them south and west, back to the barred door emitting the sounds of water. Retrieving the winded mule, they decide it's time to try their luck; they unbar the door, entering a long room with doors to north and south, with rushing water noises coming from both. In the middle of the room is a bronze sundial on a pedestal; a bronze mask looms on the west wall, above a plaque with these words: "I answer questions, one, no more. I never speak till it be four."
After much discussion regarding the sundial's uselessness underground, it is the otherwise dim Hamish who intuits that holding a torch so the gnomon's shadow hovers on 'IV' will activate the mask. It comes to life! Pog is ready with an elaborate question regarding the direction of the largest nearby source of portable wealth; it succinctly answers "to the Northeast." It then shuts its eyes, and further attempts to waken it prove fruitless. The party concludes that even when deceived by torchlight, it will only answer one question a day.
Trying the north door, the party sees the source of the rushing noise: a river cuts through the middle of the room! A rusty bridge hangs from the ceiling by chains, just inches above the floor. Worrying ensues. Immortus tests the chains by running a rope through the bridge railing and having the party pull on it. This causes part of the bridge to fold up upon itself — it's a trap! Deciding that discretion is the better part of valor, the party turns back to re-examine areas already explored.
IV: Rats Redux
The party returns to the rat room. There, they're surprised by another pack of giant rats! Pog successfully weathers their attacks, though one of the foul creatures tears a chunk of flesh from his arm. Derek, who holds the front line at his side, isn't so lucky, as one of the creatures clambers up his armored chest and tears out his throat! Sickened, Immortus unleashes his sleep spell, rendering the animals unconscious. Pog crushes them beneath his iron-shod boots.
V: Losses & Loot
The party killed eight giant rats, one large spider and one animated skeleton. They acquired a couple of wine casks, with a total value of 80 gp, and a sharpened silver spoon.
For creatures defeated over the course of the session, each PC received 20 xp.