Valley of Betrayal

(Partially inspired by "Valley of the Earth Mother" from Dragon magazine #102 by Lise Beakley)

The party has travelled long and hard through the early winter and finally returns to Verella in Tsaia. They are relieved to be back in familiar settings and a civilized area. Jozan and Kiriana pay tithes at the temple of Tyr, Cyrus trains at the Adept's school. Jozan also trains in new prayers. Antonio, Fenric and Ulayoth take some time to relax.

The Midwinter holidays are just over a week away and Tyr's Night a few days later. The party decides to lay over in Verella for the holidays. Antonio, Jozan, Kiriana, Cyrus and Ulayoth compete in some of the tournaments. Cyrus makes money by betting against himself while Kiriana does well. Once the holidays are past and the party is fully rested, they head south on the Opal trade road on their journey back to the Marches.

A couple of weeks south of Verella, they come to a town crowded with refugees. The locals explain they have been driven from their homes in the nearby town of Delonvale because the local priestess of Torre has gone insane and turned to evil. The party decides to investigate. Approaching the town by night, they see ahead of them four odd ivory glowing domes, almost like light shining through a thin layer of snow. They are attacked by two myrlochar, or spider demons, from behind, then the four ahead attack as well (the domes were the spiders' glowing abdomens). The party defeats the demons, their presence suggests Lolth is involved.

The party presses ahead to the village and they are attacked by a combination of arrows and Magic Missile spells. Jozan casts True Seeing and spots five invisible driders. Hampered by their foes' Invisibility spells, they manage to kill the driders, but they have been severely wounded by the two battles. They withdraw to the edge of the valley, Jozan heals everyone and puts up defenses, then they sleep.

The next day the party approaches the closed door of the temple, which is built into a hill, underneath a stonehenge style circle. They open the doors and Antonio smells driders. Cyrus uses Psionic Blast and stuns one of the drider door guards, but the other casts Lightning Bolt. The party attacks and finishes the second guard. They move inside and find a small shrine to Torre, with side shrines to her saints Garin (patron of bards) and Moreta Dragonrider (patron of healers). They clear the shrines of spiderwebs.

Moving deeper into the temple, they find barrows with pit graves for former priests. They are attacked by two more groups of myrlochar. Cyrus uses his Wand of Illusions to make a wall of rubble closing one tunnel and delaying that group of spiders. The party defeats first one group, then the other of the spider demons. Weakened by battle, they withdrew to the town to rest overnight.

In the morning, when they emerged from their shelter, they were attacked by Driders with bows and poisoned arrows with Paralysis Glyphs of Warding. Jozan was struck and paralyzed. Antonio and Kiriana charged into the buildings with driders, Ulayoth fired back. Two drow appeared down the street and fired Magic Missile spells at them. Fenric cast Monster Summoning and sent Firebats after them. Cyrus used Psionic Blast to stun the drow and the Firebats set them on fire. At the other end of the street, two priests of Lolth appeared and one cast Unholy Smite on them. Ulayoth used Fireball and Cyrus shifted into weretiger form to attack.

The party returned to the temple and found and defeated the Banshee of the former high priestess of Torre. Entering the former sanctuary, Gate spells opened and two more Myrlochar flanked the party. A Servant of Lolth, a monstrous spider demon, Teleported to the front of the party and attacked. The party battles the spider-demons. Fenric Summons Giant Frogs and a Huge Pedipalp. Kiriana gets in a hard strike on a Myrlochar, but is then Held. Ulayoth batters the Servant of Lolth with flaming arrows from Dragon's Fire and Jozan strikes the deathblow. Antonio is Held by the other Myrlochar as well, but Cyrus and the frogs finish them off.

They search the rest of the complex and find the body of the former High Priestess in a chest. They withdraw to town again for healing. Kiriana Teleports to Opal and returns the next day with a priest of Torre. Jozan and Kiriana help cleanse the temple and bury the former priestess of Torre.

Quotes and Smart Remarks
Matt "I'd just like to point out that I'm not the one doing the juvenile thing."

The party was debating going through the dwarven mountains or around:
Konrad "Look what happened in Lord of the Rings, there was a balrog!"
Kevin "Yes, but just one…"

Matt, about his character's henchman dying "Dibs on his stuff, because I bought it!"

Konrad "Why do we have 80's porno music playing?" (It was the soundtrack for Ladyhawke)

NPC Leander accidentally shot Cyrus:
Mike "Tell your underling to be a better shot"
Matt "Yeah, make sure you kill him <Cyrus> next time."

Matt "Go Team Spaniard!" Matt & Konrad rolled the same initiative two rounds in a row.

Antonio is bitten by the giant spider-demon and makes his saving throw vs Poison:
Matt "Take that Science!!…<slams his hand triumphantly on the desk> "…and I broke my pencil."