12-13 Palesun, 200
The party began its journey immediately after The Council of Nightstone granted them permission to use the Gnome’s Passage up to the Distant Peaks. It struck several as odd that they’d need any sort of permission in the first place; they were asked to investigate the cause of boulders crashing into the town in exchange for a ton of raw iron, which the mining town has an abundance of. The Council’s stubbornness may be due to the pass’ relevance as a holy site, but it could just as easily be due to their general disorganization. Igan Dunndragon , who literally carted the party out of the city following the events of the Earthrain Address, decided to go along to assist, in his usual arrogant fashion; though he did certainly earn the right to brag. Abandoning Corvale in the chaos will surely cost him his position and perhaps more, should he return.
The first challenge was a bridge, which led to the Gnome’s Passage. A journey of two days, spent in relative comfort, saw you to the foot of the mountain the boulders were coming from.
The Door to the Mountain Pass
Once there, the party encountered A riddle-weaving door with a poor sense of what moral behavior guarded the mountain path. It tried to gauge the party’s reasons for climbing the mountain on some strange moral scale before giving you each a riddle to solve. They were generally very easy to solve with some thought. And though it did chastise the party (with the exception of Igan) at any chance it got, it eventually agreed to let you through. attempting to kick it open may not have been the best introductory action… But! When it opened, it revealed a massive stone staircase that bridged the gap between the start of the mountain pass and the ground below. Doubtless, the Gnomes have cast spells in the area to prevent would-be thieves from simply climbing up.
Spiders, Pillars and Stone Dwarf Faces?
The party continued upward for several hours before finally reaching the first point of note along the trail. Ancient stone pillars lined this pathway. The apparent age of the stone, combined with the party’s dungeoneering sense, led suspicions regarding its integrity. Igan, who was nothing if not eager to prove is heroism, walked through the first set of pillars at Aeson’s behest. Sure enough, the Captain of the Townsguard set off a tripwire that he didn’t notice, and that the party didn’t look for. The pillars came crashing down and would have killed him on the spot if not for Jamster’s intervention. *Be wary that these actions may have consequences in the future. * Exhausted, Igan decided to sit for a while to regain his strength. He seems to have no recollection of what happened.
Satisfied that the remaining pillars would hold, the party continued on. Several Spiders hid in the brush nearby, only to attack the party as they approached; however, they were quickly disposed of. These were the same species of spider the party encountered in a Corvalian alleyway, which nearly killed them. Before continuing on, the party examined a stone face of dwarven make that was mostly buried in the ground. Its left eye bore a sapphire, which Aeson quickly prised from it. Jamster also found a small cask of ale among the spiders’ ill-gotten belongings. It would seem the dwarves also have some history with these mountains.
A giant Boulder and an Angry, Strange Gnome.
An hour later, the party happened upon a door that was set into the ground along path. Treating it with some degree of suspicion, it took a while before it was finally opened. The door hid a small hole, in which an angry, dark blue-skinned gnome lived. He didn’t say much to the party. He spent most of his time complaining about his lack of sleep, with all of the giant boulders about. He also mentioned something else, offhand; Another group had passed along the mountain path a few days ago, an old Tiefling in attendance. * The gnome had a small treasure chest, bearing several *dark-colored crystals that create an impenetrable veil of darkness in a small radius when they are thrown to the ground. The party managed to pocket them thanks to Aeson’s quick thinking.
This time, they may have managed even without it: A giant boulder crashed to the earth just feet away from everyone, sending them flying Though the boulder felled several trees and generally made the party’s escape more difficult, they were able to avoid it. Ciraena’s quick thinking even saved the life of the Gnome, who was seconds away from being crushed. He was saved by means of a Thunderwave spell, which left him dazed but still alive. Any other information you may have received from him is lost, for now. When he wakes up, perhaps he would be willing to talk?
The Narrow Pass; the Hidden Door, and the Cave.
The party continued another hour into their trek up the mountain. At this point, the sheer scale of their climb became apparent. The lush vegetation was no more; replaced with stone, dust, and howling winds. When they came to a small gap in the pathway, the staggering drop to the ground below — easily more than a hundred feet — seemed to unsettle them. A careful mix of happenstance, and the investigative efforts of Jamster and Ciraena revealed a rather large set of tracks leading up the path ahead, which were covered by a thin layer of dirt It’s not certain what made the tracks, but with individual footprints large enough for Jamster and Aiko to stand in together, let’s hope you don’t run into it.
The gap was spanned by a thin, but sturdy bridge. Perhaps used to such perils, it took the party some time to decide to walk across it. They all managed without a bit of trouble — and some party members proved themselves to be unnaturally acrobatic in the feat. Battle-weariness and that stress aside, the party took a short rest, during which Aeson discovered a hidden door behind the rock he leaned against After the rest was complete, the party set about trying various means to open it. *Several minutes of prying with thieves tools, fingers and the correct end of an arrow saw the door open, * which is surely a feat. Whoever placed the door there certainly did not intend for it to be opened in such a way.
The party found nothing but darkness behind the door. Strangely, not even the light outside the opening of the cave pierced it Luckily, the party is adept at seeing in the dark, with the exception of Dio. For him, a torch works fine. Amidst a rather standard array of perils one might find in a dark cave, the party found *Round holes burrowed into the ground which gave off a foul stench. * A bit of investigation caused their owners to surface. Several large reptilian creatures stand, poised to attack. You may have encountered this sort of creature somewhere before…