Sunday, May 1, 2005
Chapter 3 - Flood Season
The party hurries out to the roadhouse at the base of the volcano, only to find the site terribly quiet. After they begin to explore, they quickly learn that the ambushers are still looting the inn. They must drive off the bandits, who are led by a were-baboon named Tongueater. If they're quick, they can rescue the one survivor of the attack on the Lucky Monkey: a female half-drow named Shensen. She is a member of the Striders of Fharlanghn, a neutrally aligned organisation with several agents in the area.
Unfortunately, they are too late for the inn patrons, including Sarcem Delasharn. They can recover his body and return with Shensen to Cauldron, whereupon they can piece together the events at the inn and find out what might have happened to the wands of control water, which are desperately needed as the rains begin to fall in earnest. After a bit of investigation, the group learns that Tongueater was merely the cohort of a more powerful villain named Triel Eldurast, an ex-member of the Cauldron city guard who fled into the catacombs below the city many years ago after she murdered several of ther fellow guards. Triel led the attack on the Lucky Monkey and left her cohort Tongueater behind to finish the job as she fled back to Cauldron with the stolen wands of control water. After more investigation (set against the backdrop of increasing rain and rapidly rising floodwaters), the group finds clues that her base of operation seems to be in a large hidden cavern below town.
Access to this cavern is possible via a lengthy underwater swim (a lake in the cavern is connected underwater to the central lake of Cauldron), or via a lava tube that connects the cavern with a secret opening on the northern slope of the volcano. Arriving at the hidden cave, the party finds that it contains the crumbling ruins of several stone buildings... the last few remnants of an ancient city of a sinister race of creatures known as the kopru. Worse, it seems that Triel Eldurast has become a cleric of Hextor and allied herself with two other religious zealots. One is a halfling Vecna cultist named Skaven Umbermead, and the other is an undead gnoll cultist of Erythnul. They intend to ransom offthe stolen wands to the city above, and even intended to use some of them to worsen the flooding as necessary to provoke a more urgent need for them. The party must retrieve the wands and put a stop to the cultists (who work for even more powerful and mysterious masters) before Cauldron suffers extensive flood damage.