Things went fairly smoothly for the first three loads but as we were bringing the third load to the temple, Taleth the ranger noticed a few very large creatures nearby that had not yet seen us. They were huge bull like monsters with red scales that stood over six feet tall at the shoulder and appeared to measure more than eight feet from snout to tail – they were Gorgons! We quickly made our way to the temple without attracting their attention and closed the doors. We debated what to do – we were safe in the temple for the time being but the creatures were keeping us from hauling our last load of loot from the labyrinth to the temple and if we tried to wait for them to leave, we risked our loot being stolen by something else within the labyrinth.
So after some debate and the formulation of a plan, we decided to go out and try to take them out. Our plan was to cast slow on them and try and keep our distance so we could pelt them with arrows and ranged spells. This had worked for us in the past outside, but the last time we tried it against the three Chimera in this very temple, it turned into a disaster since all three of those creatures made their saves and Teth-en-Aire had been killed afterwards though he was later raised. So of course, our plan went awry when both Gorgons made their saves and they came charging at us full steam ahead! We tried to spread out as best we could so they couldn’t unleash their petrifying breath weapon on a large group of us and let loose with our first barrage. Teth-en-Aire hit two with a fireball (but one made its save) and Gradwin hit one with a lightning bolt but failed to kill it. Asclepius cast mirror image as well and the other characters fired missiles but failed to bring either of the huge charging beasts down before they could reach the adventurers.
Taleth broke off in the direction of Beorn the Dwarven fighter and Lucias and Cyrcla were spread out to the right. This left Kalaneikos, Asclepius and Kaira in the center closest to the temple and Teth-en-Aire spread out a bit to their left. Of course the one on the left unleashed its stony breath weapon on both Beorn and Taleth, but both characters managed to make their saving throws to avoid being turned into stone. The second Gorgon charged straight ahead at the lightly armored Asclepius as it charged past Kalaneikos and attempted to gore the elf with its horns. Luckily for him, his mirror image spell saved him from a potentially deadly wound and the image disappeared as the beast tore through it and was clearly surprised that its savage attack met with no resistance and the elf still stood there off to one side - it was like he used his red cape in an expertly timed bull fighting maneuver or something.
The dwarf and the ranger quickly jumped on the heavily wounded Gorgon on the left and dispatched it with their swords and Kalaneikos attacked the other one with his spear while Asclepius hit it with a triple magic missile blast wounding it further. The rest of the group then came to their aid with more spells and arrows and Taleth and Beorn charged the beast bringing it down with their swords. The ranger then managed to track the bullish beasts back to their lair where we found a considerable sum of silver, more gold coins and several magic items including two rings, a battle axe, a potion, and a scroll.
We debated how best to transport the loot to Medea’s Gate since we had about 3-4 times more treasure than we could carry without seriously slowing us down. We decided to put as much as we could in the bag of holding and load up the newly animated grisly bear with a litter that was rigged up for the purpose and to make our way back to town through the woods as best as we could. The rest of the treasure was stored in the lower catacombs below the temple in the permanently darkened room and the secret door above was newly wizard locked as an added precaution. The main doors to the temple were already wizard locked from a previous foray so our treasure was theoretically safe behind two wizard locked doors and hidden in a permanently darkened chamber.
So, with our loot safe for the time being or loaded up and ready to carry, we set off once again through the wild and wooly forests between the tower of Zingalis and the city of Medea’s Gate. On a few similar trips in the past this had been a harrowing journey fraught with peril as we had to fight for our lives against the many vicious creatures of the forest. On other trips, it had been a breeze and largely uneventful aside from the occasional random encounter. This trip turned out to be both perilous and eventful for the group of bold adventurers.
The first night as we were looking for a suitable camp site, we started hearing loud noises off in the distance like the sound of trees falling and a slow “boom..... boom..... boom.....” at a slow but steady measured pace. We assumed it was a very large giant of some sort (or maybe King Kong) and our assumption turned out to be correct. Off in the distance we could see a huge giant knocking down trees and stomping through the woods accompanied by several very large dire wolves. It was even larger than the Cyclops we had encountered previously and the ranger identified it as a cloud giant – the largest of their kind. The giant paused for a few moments and appeared to notice the group and then said something in its own tongue as if speaking to his wolves. A few members of the group could speak giant and told us that he said “these little ones are not worth our time” and it resumed its steady and destructive march through the forest.
With yet another crisis averted, we resumed our march through the woods the next day with our burden and undead beast of burden. During the first watch of the second night spent in the forest, the group was accosted by a very large dragon like creature that had a whitish appearance, a lizard like body and tail and six legs - a frost salamander was attacking the group! Taleth, Asclepius and Gradwin sounded the alarm and the two spellcasters hit it with a salvo of magic missiles while Taleth engaged it in melee. It answered the attack with an attack on the ranger and managed to rend him and tear at him with a few of its four claws as it emanated the hoarfrost of the north around itself. The rest of the group scrambled to arm themselves with what armor and weapons they could as they awoke while those on guard duty attacked the creature again. This time, it turned its attention to Lucias and tore and rent him with all four claws and bit him as well ripping him savagely with tooth and claw! He was badly hurt and withdrew from combat as the others closed in and finally slew the icy creature with their swords.
So we searched the ruined tower for secret doors and actually found a hidden trap door on the floor that led down a set of steps into an apparent dungeon below! This was an unexpected find since we had traversed these woods several times in the past and had missed this place on every previous trip. We briefly scouted ahead down to the bottom of the stairs. The ancient complex appeared to have not been disturbed in quite some time due to the large amount of dust present. At the bottom of the steps was a large room with three statues in it that was otherwise empty. So we went back up and stashed the new loot at the top of the stairs behind the secret trap door to be retrieved on our return trip. We were within a day of Medea’s Gate at this point and made it back to town uneventfully. Once we arrived, we took our loot to a money changer to have it converted to gems and then went back to the giant’s lair to retrieve the other loot that was still stashed there.
TO BE CONTINUED…