After a week hiatus and a few minutes up recap, the party continued their quest to escape the second civilized location that they'd been to--in a row--where the locals were trying to kill them. Leaving the inn they heard a trilling drone that was difficult to describe as I'd probably heard it in the movie Cthulhu and otherwise referred to it as, "Dagon's call". They watched with a combination of confusion and temptation as the villagers walked towards the river, casting off clothes as they went, and briefly pondered the notion of robbing their homes since for better or worse they figured they weren't coming back.
After Moxie pillaged a house for about 2 gp worth of shit she could sell, Hawkeye declared that it was a fucking waste of time.
Heading towards the only major structure, ironically a shattered tower on top of a hill, Beth's character noticed that there was only one house with any light at all. Hawkeye posited that there might be a survivor, but that it was also probably a trap, and went there anyway. Remember kiddos, Good is dumb. The front porch was rigged with a simple spear trap, which Moxie disarmed easily. Inside the house was immaculately organized, and many furnishings were covered with dust that indicated prolonged disuse. Near the back they found a large metal door that was enchanted with a desiccating ward that, after disarming, revealed a shrine with numerous iconography, scriptures, steles, and so on depicting and/or related to Dagon.
Since a lot of it was gold, they decided to keep it after Randy's character figured out that they weren't tainted with the warping energy they'd found on the other golden relics back at Shardpit. There was a hidden passage behind a large statue, and with an hour or so of not getting ambushed by civilians their paranoia was reaching it's peak. Descending warped, wooden stairs, they found a small chamber with a dark pool and tables covered in notes written in jagged script. Beth's character recognized some of the diagrams as constellations, star charts, and planar orbits, and after decided to pocket it spawned a debate about how to best protect them from the elements. Something about mutant unicorn fish bladders which were coincidentally bags of holding. I dunno, I'm fuzzy on the details at this point. Hawkeye wrapped things up by freezing the pool with concentration Nature checks to channel his elemental spirits evocation, completing the task just in time to prevent something from surfacing.
That would have been all well and good, but they didn't stop there. It's wasn't enough that they desecrated a shrine dedicated to a demon lord, or that they lifted everything made of gold (and in Moxie's case, some nifty outfits), or that they reset the traps and changed the triggering mechanisms. Oh no, no no no. Beth's character and Moxie, using a combination of insanely high Thievery and Arcana checks, and Eberron dragonshards, added a Rick Roll into the mix. I'm all for slaughtering the indigenous dungeon life, even just to satisfy personal greed, but you have to draw a line somewhere. I'm considering shifting their alignments to Evil, or at the least reintroducing Chaotic Neutral.
Leaving the house they continued their trek towards the tower. Halfway up the steps Hawkeye spotted numerous crab-like creatures lurking about the buildings. They scrambled up the hill, momentairly crested with a barbican gate that due to a pair of extremely high rolls was subsequently relocated to the base of the hill where it can now be found cresting a foundation of battered crab meat. I'm not often a fan of allowing players to forestall or overcome a challenge with so few rolls, but these were minions anyway and it was a pretty badass idea.
Unfortunately, dropping a stone gate on a horde of monsters pretty much ruins your chance at surprise, and even through the rain, wind, and thunder the cultists holing up in the church were alerted. The party gathered up at the doors, booted them in, and started promptly kicking ass. One of the cultists, a wavecaller, summoned up a zone of water that trapped some of the characters, forcing them to use the swim rules which none of us had access to. Boo. Mostly I wanted to do this so that they could get to use their Aquatic trait, and it was a lot of fun doing 3D fighting with harpoons and scalding jets of steam. Things got a bit more hectic when a craud showed up, the highlight being when it smacked Randy's character unconscious with a single hit, knocking him back into the water, but Beth's character simply yanked him out with a majestic word. I try, I really do.
They explored the church and tower, finding a shit-encrusted grate that lead underwater that Hawkeye also froze up. He's so damned paranoid. On the second floor they got ambushed by a very, very big crayfish that seemed dangerous but after being forced over a large hole and getting locked down with a few dailies, it was mostly an exercise in dice rolling as they filed off hit points. The critical hits helped, especially the one Randy hit it with since it was an aberrant and he's got a byeshk scimitar. I really need to incorporate the dragon abilities from Essentials that automatically end daze and stun effects. Maybe I'd get to do something? Once they pushed it through the hole and splatted it on the ground below, they found a hefty treasure haul with a bow that Beth has been wanting for awhile, as well as a fishy figurine that will let them get into the grotto more easily during the next session.