Real World Info
The latest session introduced the party to the first examples of strangeness to be found beneath the Chateau d'Ambreville. The three who have formed the core of the Company of Crossed Swords the last two sessions, Karvenn, Martin the Black, and Handsome Hans, were joined by Thoroughgood the halfling and a cleric of Dionysus named Aron.
Almost immediately upon delving down the stairs our group encountered a trio of dark-shrouded, suspicious dwarves who claimed they had come up from the unseen lower levels via the strange pit/statue room. Their armor battered, their weapons caked in strange blood, they were veterans of fights with subterranean creatures. They were cut off from their leadership and were unsure of where they were. The party let down their guard and invited a meeting of arms, with the dwarves receiving a share of treasure and first dibs on mundane artifacts shedding light on the castle's nature.
The party continued past the pit room, finding some bedrooms smashed to bits and ceiling-covered with spiderwebs. The second chamber spat two spiders at them of the giant kind — large as a man's head. The first dropped on Karvenn's head and dug its fangs into his neck and the second injected its poison into one of the dwarves, but the party managed to survive the encounter without any meeting a green winking poisoned death.
Down the corridor resided a much larger surprise. Cautiously breaking open a set of double doors, they found a large circular room filled with sunshine and grass. Circled by walls of prickly brambles, one side dropping into a ravine, and a large tree rising in the center, sunshine poured in from a blue sky far overhead. Enormously suspicious, the party could make nothing of this bizarrerie. An arrow shot into the air clinked against an unseen ceiling. A door mapped from the other side proved to not be there inside the brambles. An egg taken from a nest disappeared when taken outside. At last, they tried dropping into the ravine but discovered no ravine was there, only invisible floor. With the dwarves' help they sensed vibrations somewhere behind the walls and decided, quite rightly, to circle back around to find what far river or chugging machinery was its cause.
Plunging on, one door opened into a dark space of foul, animalistic odor, of mangy fur and stale urine, of snuffling sounds. Light showed a white skinned ape upset at the visitors. Hunks of furniture came flying from his hands, even a small garderobe, before the horrendous animal charged, unhappy with the arrows twacking into its side. One of the dwarves had gotten hit in the face with a huge glob of monkeyshit. His bad luck continued when, after the ape-thing bodyslammed his brother, he accidentally buried his ax into his dwarf fellow, ending his life. The ape's life was snuffed not long after, but we were left with the dwarves grieving their own, and Karvenn, who thought the ape had no malicious intentions and did not deserve the wickedness of blades (and Martin's very deft hara-kiri finishing maneuvre), mourned the animal's death. The ape had been wearing a gold-studded collar and its middens contained bones and feathers of bird-like creatures no doubt nearby.
Further on was a chamber no doubt the cause of the shifting vibrations. Pipes and panels and tubes abounded in a long chamber, with strange Glantrian writing on buttons and dials. At the far end were shelves of rat-eaten books of the arcane, and a pile of corpses that came to life! These figures, dressed in the livery of the contraption's keepers, were put down to a second death, not before nearly clubbing poor Karvenn to death, confirming his recent knack for taking massive damage in sudden bursts. Books made their way into sacks, a locket bearing the picture of a likely long-dead sweetheart was pocketed, and Thoroughgood began prying on one of the panels of a machine section that seemed broken. This caused a swirl of smokey blackness to swirl out as sigils were broken, and a demonic thing of shadowy substance attempted its revenge. The party ran. Alas, some faster than others.
Laden by armor and dragging the dead dwarf on his shield, Martin and the dwarves were no match for its swiftness. Fearfully they hacked at it, remembering the halfling's cry when the thing's chilling touch numbed his arm. The dwarves valiantly slashed, their weapons passing harmlessly. But Marvin's marvelous sword was to the purpose. He fended and danced, able to avoid the fey strikes, his every slash and cleave vanishing part of the wicked darkness. Upon its destruction his shoulders sagged and even he had no clever quip to give.
Crossed Swords promised to bury the fallen dwarf for his shit-stained friend, but racial animosities between the earth-dwellers and the green orcs was too threatening, and so they returned to Malinbois. They sold off jewelry and items of brass and ate some more palatible food in the human settlement for once.
Losses & Loot
The party defeated two large spiders, an albino ape, five zombies and a creature of living shadow. They acquired a crude leather collar with gold studs, a fine gold locket containing a painting of a pretty girl and a few strands of pale hair, a fistful of metal wires and crystals, and a brass bust, with a total value of 760gp.
For creatures defeated and wealth acquired over the course of the session, the party members each received 205xp.