Having dispatched with the winter wolves the party decided to make camp in their mountain lair. Shielded from the elements and easily defensible it made a good temporary base. During the night while on guard duty Glee heard the sound of some falling rocks not far from their location, he awakened Romulus and the two of them stared out into the night, scanning the area for the source of the noise. They spotted a lean, muscular figure climbing across the face of the mountain opposite where they were, several hundred feet on the other side of the valley. Before they could react the figure disappeared into a small cave opening on the side of the rock.
The next morning Glee and Romulus filled the others in on what happened during the night. Packing up they traveled along the mountain tops with the goal of ultimately winding up above the cave opening that they had seen. After being on the move for about an hour they came across a herd of mountain goats, they were doing goat like things. One of the goats seemed larger than the others and had a long black beard. Immediately suspicious of anything even slightly abnormal the party attacked the strange goat, sending arrows and fireballs it’s way. The goats did not last long; some were pierced by arrows, others done in by a fiery ball of destruction, and others leapt to their death in the confusion. Expecting to find the corpse of a wild shaped druid the party was somewhat surprised by what appeared to be body of an ordinary goat. Suspicious indeed.
Continuing to skirt along the top of the mountain the party noticed two figures scaling the sides of the rock, based on the description from Glee this certainly could have been one of the people from the previous night. They also noticed two cave openings in the mountain that the pair seemed to be headed towards. Wasting no time they laid into the two figures. Henri launched fireballs at them, while the rest of the party fired arrows. Neither figure made it to their destination and soon enough two corpses lay at the bottom of the ravine. During the course of the one sided fight the two figures were revealed to be medusas.
Atop the mountains they also saw the far off Temple more clearly than ever before. And for the first time they noticed a series of smaller buildings at the base of it. An entire mountain community perhaps? Eventually, with Romulus leading the way, the party descended the mountain side and entered into one of the caves that the medusas seemed destined for. It appeared to be a natural cave that ran through the mountain. It was thin, low in height, and extremely dark inside. Nervously the group moved through the small tunnel which seemed to go on for hours. At one point another similar tunnel fed into the one that they were in, the group theorized this may be the second cave opening they saw from the outside (they were correct in their assumption). Finally they came to a circular chamber that had about half dozen tunnels all feeding into it. At the far end of the room was a stone pedestal against a blank stone wall. Romulus and Mgabwe cautiously crept up to the pedestal, aware of how vulnerable they were with all the passages facing them. And they were right. A volley of arrows came out at them, doing little damage but drawing their attention. It was on! The combat did not last long and in two rounds a pair of dead medusa archers had been added to the death roll. Examining the pedestal they saw on the top of it a shallow outline of a snake. Using the snake shaped necklace they had recovered previously from the medusa sorcerer, they inserted it into the pedestal and the ground began to rumble. Suddenly the blank wall began to rise up, revealing a large passageway behind it that seemed to twist further into the mountains.
At the end of the tunnel light began to creep in and a cold wind gusted down the corridor. They faintly heard the sound of a ringing bell coming from outside the stone tunnel. Exiting the tunnel they found themselves atop a mountainous plateau and the long sought after temple was just several hundred feet from them. Looking at it carefully they saw that at the top of the temple steps was a large golden harp, but there seemed to be no one around. There were several stone buildings around them, and a large tower with a bell in it. A cloaked figure stood near the bell. Prepping for battle they started to cast some spells and formulate a plan, unfortunately the over eager Henri couldn’t control his bloodlust and fired a bolt of lightning at the figure in the bell tower. Everyone groaned and rolled for initiative.
Usually a very quick bunch they wound up getting pretty low rolls all around, the opposition was going almost entirely before they had a chance to act. From the buildings several medusa archers and guards emerged and began to fire on them, including the still living bell tower guards. A medusa wearing one of the snake necklaces appeared behind them and struck out with dual wielded short swords, fighting in a dance like fashion. From the stone of the mountain a black shadow appeared and grabbed at Henri, draining several points of strength from him and setting him running. It was clear that they had a fight on their hands, and that was before the strikingly beautiful medusa appeared on the temple steps and began to strum the harp, causing sonic booms of energy to strike the PC’s!
They dealt with those around them first, dropping the short sword wielder first due to the combined efforts of Mgabwe and Glee. Lela fell into her buffing role and got the party going with some inspiring whistling. Romulus was eventually able to take down the shadow, drawing it’s attention away from Henri (who had been struck again and was hovering near a coma with a 2 STR). The medusa hit the group with a Song of Discord, which had the result of having several of them attack each other. They fired on her with arrows, only to have them batted away by a Wind Wall. Mgabwe used his new Evard’s Black Tentacles (or Papa Gueda’s Skeletal Fingers) to keep the charging medusas in check while they picked them off, unfortunately Glee was Dominated by the head medusa and reduced to a non factor for the rest of combat. With only one opponent left they began to close in on her. Mgabwe was leading the charge and was repeatedly being hit by sonic booms from the harp. By the time he got to her he was barely alive, in single digit hit points and greatly depleted of resources. He finally struck her with a Vampiric Touch and gained some valuable hit points and pushed her to the brink of death. This whole time Henri had been bombing on her with Fireballs and he continued to do so, even after Mgabwe reached her, resulting in some friendly fire and damage. If Mgabwe had not gained some hit points from his necromantic mastery he would have been toast, instead he was just close to it. The next round the medusa went down for good and the battle seemed to be over.
I was hoping to be able to make a pretty formidable combatant out of a high level bard (which is what the main medusa was) and I think I sort of succeeded. Once her crew was dead, however, she did not have much going for her. She needed a magic item that did sonic damage to really stand a chance. Her medusa Hit Die gave her staying power but she did not have a real reliable way of dealing damage or incapacitating her foes. In the end it did her in. Glee was taken out of the fight and once again two of them were almost killed, but I think this should have been a tougher fight. Oh well, there’s always next time.
Exploring the area they learned that the surface of the temple was very warm and shielded from the elements, they also saw a bunch of bedrolls set up around the center of the temple. It seemed as if the medusas may call it home. There was a slightly raised stone section of the floor that had the same indented snake form that they have seen previously in the tunnels. Eager to explore, we nonetheless called it a night there…