Ranza (Changeling 5)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 5)
Thrax (Fighter 4)
The party entered the caves, passing down a short passage and into a chamber with two exits. There was no obvious better choice, so Gnarl sparked up his light spear and everyone headed down the northern route. This led into another chamber with multiple exits; north, south and east. Scattered on the floor were bits of broken stone, obviously debris from the stalactites hanging overhead. Moving into the room, suddenly a number of the stones rose up from the floor. Thrax tried to brush these away with his shield, but with no success. And then the stones started to hurl themselves at the party, while at he same time ghostly voices could be heard chanting: "Molest not the garden creatures"; "Climb an oak tree if the garden creatures chase you". The stones started to impact, and on each hit a strange terror briefly washed over the victim. Then one hit The Dude, who bolted in terror for the northern exit. The party followed after it, only to find the poor mule dissolving in a pile of ochre jelly. Unable to save the creature, Thrax (still giant sized from the earlier potion) reached over to save his bone harp from the baggage, and then everyone followed Hobbs and his stag out through the rock room and into the eastern passage.
This led by twists and turns into another chamber, larger and with a pool of mud at the far side. Next to the mud were two strange pillars or piles, and a slow trickle of water entered the pool from a cavern entrance beyond it. On closer exemption, the pillars proved to be piles of dried mud. Gnarl started chipping away at these, while the giant Thrax waded into the pool to try and reach the exit on the other side. This provoked a response, as six vaguely humanoid shapes rose up and started to hurl balls of mud at the fighter. Several hits later and the fighter could feel his joints start to tighten up and his movement slow drastically from the clotting clay. He backed away out of the pool, and which point the six forms subsumed back into the mud. As Thrax scrapped off mud, Gnarl and the others had successfully deconstructed the two pillars. Each hid a human form, mummified by the mud. It appeared each had died as they were crawling away from the pool. Recovering a few bits of treasure and useful items from the corpses', the party then decided to turn around and look for another way into the secret garden.
Moving back through the twisted tunnel, Gnarl hauled out the Greenstone of Earthseeing to see what lurked at the end of some of the bypassed tunnels. He mostly observed dead ends, one of which contained a body. There was also a tall cylinder of a room back near the entrance, which suggested to the party it may be an elevator up to the garden. So they rushed back through the stone throwing room and, first, into the occupied dead end. It was full of a deadly mass of stalagmites and stalactites sticking out into the tunnel, on one of which was impaled the skeleton of a long dead adventurer. Once more they looted a bit of coin (and a magical amulet) from the body before moving back through the stone fusillade and back to the entrance cavern. From there they entered the cylindrical room. On the floor was written a single word: "Ask". So questions poured forth, most of which went unanswered. Ranza asked about getting into the garden, and did get a reply. And was told the entrance was deeper in the caverns beyond the mud pool, and they would need to use all their skills to get there.
Now apparently having no choice but deal with the mud men, the party first choose to rest in this side tunnel for the night. Then next day headed back though the stone room again and into the mud chamber. After trying to think of an easy way to get over the pool without attracting the mud men, they finally decided brute force would have to do. Thrax and Hobbs (on his stag) stepped into the pool and once more the mud men emerged and starting flinging mud, and also hurling themselves bodily at their foes. Soon both Ranza and the baby she carried were suffocating beneath layers of caked mud, as was Hobb's stag. Gnarl rescued the baby and Ranza, wiping away the encasing mud from both, while Hobbs took a moment to help his mount the same way. And in the end, a steady rain of blows took out the mud men one by one and the party's path was clear ...
gold ring (30sp)
Amulet of Weather Prediction