Castle Xyntillan Hexcrawl 3: The Cave in the Alkaline Mountains

2/10/21

Players: Mordan, Wolfram, Ozor, Faffringer, Rytgar’s Duergar Azar.
Retainers: Armand

Downtime – Asking around town about Nim Badur to the West tells us that it was abandoned centuries ago. Originally a large underground complex inhabited by dwarves. Supposedly there was a powerful wizard that had something to do with the dwarves leaving. Now sorcerers and cultists are rumored to be the only people left there. There is also supposed to be a large chasm that runs for several miles that is a thousand feet deep named Balor’s rent. Supplies purchased.

Day 1 – Traveling to (P27) via (Q-25)-(P26). Many bear claw scratch marks on trees. A small gravel path off from the road leads to the site of the Cosmic Helix. A group of standing stones made up of stones in various sizes and pastel colors. Our camp is disturbed by a family of bears crashing through. Ozor and Armand quickly mount their horses to prepare to flee. Everyone else shimmies up trees in hopes they’ll take what they want and leave. A sleep spell puts the cubs to sleep and Faffringer dumps a weeks’ worth of iron rations onto the ground. The bears eat their fill of the rations, wait for their cubs to awake and then trundle off without incident leaving us to break camp at night for a penalty.

Day 2– Is spent resting.

Day 3– Cloudy. Travelling to (P30). Foraged some small snakes that have been cooked and left behind. Encounter at camp. In the distance we hear the call of a couple of mountain lions. We added extra fuel to the fire and readied weapons but they stayed away.

Day 4– Moon day. Strange astrological phenomenon where the sun is dim for a time. Exploring (P30) from the top of the ridge we saw a large 13ft tall creature with two heads running to the North and brushing itself off almost like it is being chased by something we can’t see. We quickly dipped back down the ridge to hide to avoid both of them. We also found a trail leading to an 8 ft natural cavemouth. Our duergar scouts ahead and finds a 150 ft wide cavern with hundreds of bats. Opposite side of cavern has a faintly blue glowing door. The duergar finds that the door is shaped solid ice and putting his ear to the door he hears faint dwarven whispering. Camped just outside of cave.

Day 5– Raining and cold. Penned the animals inside the mouth of the cave to explore further inside. The bats are largely indifferent to our presence. Those with infravision lead the party through the dark to the door. Detect evil reveals silhouettes on the other side gliding around. Chipping the door ice for examination makes it seem very old. (The next day we found that the ice melts after being chipped off, albeit slower than seemed ordinary.) Collected two small sacks of bat guano to sell. While rooting through guano Ozor finds half submerged, a shiny old sword. It is clearly of old dwarven make, unusually preserved and glows faintly blue. Also under the guano is a the remains of an old campfire and a couple of broken arrows. Camped near the mouth of the cave again.

Day 6– Still raining, Travelling East to (P32). We spotted a group of people traveling Southwest. They look like some kind of nomads in foreign garb dressed for the mountains, some armed. We opted to avoid them and then curved and went East.

Day 7– Cloudy, the rain has stopped. Exploring (P32) making our way up the path we see another small cave along the way with various bear prints around it and intermingled with them are pairs of paw prints, maybe something bipedal. In the distance towards the peak and carved into the side of the mountain is a giant snake head with its jaws open. Most of us position ourselves on the slope above the cave for an ambush while the duergar goes to scout the small cave. Once inside he hears sniffing, loud and low growling. Then hears a much louder roar. A 12ft tall at the shoulder bear is home and unhappy about us dropping by. Wolfram pried loose a boulder from further up the hillside to try and block the entrance as the duergar comes racing out, but the rock crushes a few trees and doesn’t land over the mouth of the cave. Then we carefully left on up the path. At camp that night we see the silhouette of many people carrying torches up to the carved snake head. We decided to follow the people up the mountain in the dead of night, Armand stayed behind at the campsite with the mounts. It takes an hour to make it up to the snake head clambering off the path uphill in the dark. The procession makes it inside the mouth of the snake and a couple stand at watch on the outside and stay very still. The figures are reptilian, equipped with leather and spears, and a nauseating smell follows them. The duergar slips past the guards to and finds a chamber just inside the snake head with a mossy door and a pair of statues. The architecture also stands out as originally dwarven. Decide to forego the remainder of our rest for the night to see if the procession would come back out but they never did.

Day 8 – Cloudy and it storms for a couple hours. Rested to get rid of exhaustion from going up the mountain in the dark the night before.

Day 9 – Like in the few days before, the sun is dimmed and the moon is bright again. Travelling back to town we have to deviate from our path. Along the Northern side of (Q27) is a large wall of thorny briars. Turning in two maps to the Ashbarrel Dwarves of the Alkaline mountains for 600 gp a piece split 5.5 ways 218 gp 1090 xp and a magic items. Two sacks of guano 60 gp and a Magic dwarven sword.

-written by TheLoamRanger

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