Following a brief hiatus to resolve some technical issues (new headsets, yeay!) with our game, the intrepid explorers of the Ruined Tower finally returned the the Patriarch to see if the books they brought back contained any important information.
The Patrician welcomed them in with enthusiasm, as his study was covered in all sorts of papers, maps, and other books and scrolls. The Patriarch seemed to have had a busy few days, but was extremely excited to announce that he had made a major breakthrough with his research into the history of the Vale.
The Patriarch gave the group a brief history of the Vale, detailing the role of Alaxus, the fabled Minotaur Mage that once ruled the region. He was called the Minotaur Mage, not because he was a Minotaur himself, but rather he used his magics to enslave Minotaurs as his servitors and enforcers. The Minotaur Mage used a bull’s head for his symbol, and this was the symbol that was found on the Ruined Tower, one of the Minotaur Mage’s many towers that once helped him control this region.
The Patriarch quickly revealed why he called for the heroes once again. It turns out that thanks to their exploration of the Ruined Tower and recovery of valuable books and scrolls, the Patriarch had finally discovered the location of Alaxus’ Tomb, hidden in the east of the Vale. It was rumoured to be the final resting of the famous mage, with his followers having spirited him away after a conclusive battle with a long forgotten hero that ended the Minotaur Mage’s reign over the Vale. Thus, the party’s goal was simple, they were to find and explore the Tomb, and report back with anything they find.
The New Guys
The Patriarch stated that he couldn’t spare any of the guards in town, but that a new bunch of adventures that he had been mentoring had just finished their training, and might be able to help them with your task. With that, Patriarch brought in and introduced Michifer, Sunblayze, Thordar, and Peregrine.
Michifer was a Cleric of the Church of the Holy Defender. A new initiate, he had been trained under the Patriarch directly as part of his studies. Peregrine was a Paladin of the Church of the Holy Defender, a new recruit to the military order of the church, who had also been trained under the Patriarch with regards to his holy duties. Sunblayze, an Elf maiden, was a Spellsword who had recently finished her apprenticeship with the Patriarch. Finally, there was Thordar – a Dwarf who had been apprenticing under the town guard of Haven.
The Patriarch suggested that the group pool their resources and prepare for an expedition to the Tomb of Alaxus. However, as a precaution, he suggested that a contingent of the party remained behind to help protect Haven should anything arise. The dangers of the Vale seemed to be increasing in recent days, and whilst the guard could protect the town, they would be unsuitable for protecting the rest of the region.
With this, the group departed the Patriarch’s study with the new recruits, and prepared for their expedition. Between them, it was decided that Elanna and Thaddeus would explore the tomb with Michifer and Thordar, whilst Darkblade, Niles, Sunblayze, and Peregrine would remain behind to protect Haven and the Vale. The neccessary supplies were bought, including a mule to carry any treasure recovered from the Tomb.
When the adventurers were ready, including having named their Mule, which Thordar decided to call “Berliner” for some reason, the party of Elanna, Thaddeus, Michifer, and Thordar set off with their map to the location of the Tomb of Alaxus. The journey took three uneventful days following a stream up into the mountains to the east of the Vale.
Finding the Tomb of Alaxus
They arrived on the supposed site of the Tomb early in the morning, and entered a clearing besides a large cave in the mountainside. The cave served as a local camping site for travelling shepherds in the Vale, who would often travel with their flocks across the mountains to richer meadows for grazing in the north of the valley.
The party came across one such shepherd that morning, who had just broken up camp in the cave, and was about to release his goats from a makeshift pen formed from an improvised barricade of branches and bushes placed in the back of the cave. Wary at first, the shepherd pointed a loaded crossbow at the party, inquiring as to what they were doing there. The party quickly defused the situation, revealing that they were looking for Alaxus’ Tomb.
The shepherd introduced himself as Macques (pronounced “Max”), and stated that he wasn’t interested in such nonsense, as he was focused on protecting his herd from the Kobolds seen in the region. However, having been satisfied that the party had no intention of robbing him, Macques asked the party to assist him in taking down the barricade, and after they did so, the shepherd left with his flock.
Alone in the cave, the party explored the area. Although the cave seemed empty, Thordar quickly spotted a depression in the back wall, which was revealed to be the symbol of a bull’s head once the moss was cleared up. Two bluer pieces of granite made up the eyes, and when they were pressed, the entire slab moved upwards… about three inches. There was a dark passageway beyond, and with a concerted effort, the party forced the door the rest of the way to gain access to what was presumably the Tomb of Alaxus.
The party decided to make final preparations, including replacing the makeshift barricade across the back of the cavern behind them, so as to hide the new entrance from casual discovery, and to serve as a form of protection for Berliner. The passageway went forwards about thirty feet, up to wooden door ahead of them. Thaddeus lit a torch, having learnt from the Ruined Tower, as the party braved themselves to press ahead… next session.
Note: The shopping expedition actually took most of the session, but I have skipped it for the recap, since I am not sure how fun it would be to read. It was enjoyable, as my players considered what they might need for an expedition into the Tomb of Alaxus. I explained that preparing for an expedition like this was an often overlooked part of the game, and that many of the more “old school” adventures would feature the players preparing to explore such sites in this way.