Players: Daniel, Lynn, Mike
Things had sort of come full circle. The party was back in Timber where they started, having accomplished the goals that led them into their first adventure and eliminated or been relieved of the reasons they had for being on the run later. Paneris had been called "home," wherever that might be, and his successor, Ghaerleth Axom the fiend-worshipping illithid, had been defeated. Their power base in Timber was gone. There was no real reason for the party to remain a group.
That being the case, the adventurers milled around a bit, then decided to go their separate ways, agreeing to come back together if any sign of Paneris or his organization was spotted. Horgic decided to return to study with his Tellar-worshipping barbarian buddies, but said that the others could leave messages for him with Angus, who usually hangs out at the Stony Gaze Tavern. Ashton was going to visit his mentor in Westgate before picking out a nice cabin in the wilderness somewhere to study the life-giving wonders of fire and acid. Devan was also going to Westgate to try to find out what happened to Meg. Charn and Reiko decided to return to the Sesrolwood Forest to see how the elves were faring against the Yuan Ti.
Although this meant pretty much the same route for all but Horgic, south to the Therno River, Charn and Reiko (eager to make good time) took off after only a short rest and left the others behind. Ashton, Devan, and Horgic, on a recommendation from a local (who must have been playing a joke on them), decided to visit the Black Begonia Inn (near where the Glimmer River splits and forms the Therno River) before moving on. While the Black Begonia had passable food and beer, the prices were high and its few patrons were sullen. The bard loitering by the hearth was depressed and couldn't sing well. Even Horgic had trouble breathing life into the place.
An adventure hook soon presented itself, though, in the form of an overheard conversation about the danger of "flesh-eaters" prowling the night. After some confusion as to whether the flesh in question was ordinray meat or, in fact, human flesh, the party began investigating. Outside, they saw some giggling kids, apparently having snuck out of the house, run past them into an alley. Shortly after, they heard the kids scream and ran after them, only to see them all clawed to death, and one being dragged into a sewer drain by a ghoul. Horgic quickly dispatched the ghoul, but then the bodies of the dead kids animated and attacked. Ashton called upon the power of Ash to blow them to bits, at which point a crowd of torch-wielding townspeople saw him apparently murdering the kids and chased the party into the sewer.
They wandered around and fought more ghouls. Some of them were in the middle of eating stolen corpses. Somehow Horgic ended up mapping. At one point, Devan was paralyzed and Ashton destroyed the pack of ghouls, leaving only the ghast that led them alive. Horgic pursued the fleeing monster, leaving Ashton to shout curses after him and try to revive Devan.
A collapsing floor plunged them into a rushing stream of sewage, which in turn dumped them into a huge underground lake. While struggling to reach the shore, they had to fight off a giant eyeless snake which turned out to be some sort of undead creature. When killed, its flesh melted away into slime and its bones turned to dust. On the shore, they found a man-made tunnel.
A little ways down the tunnel, they found a bronze seal etched in the floor. It depicted a stylized scythe which Ashton recognized as the symbol of Tharkhon, one of the elder gods said to have died millenia ago.
Farther down, they were ambushed by a pair of wights (which they feared might be liches). Before dying, one of the creatures managed to strike Ashton with its chilling touch and drain some of his life energy. Exploring further, they found a door ready to burst with water leaking under it (didn't open it), some more ghouls, a gray ooze, and a magical workshop where they were able to finish enchanting a magic short sword. Ashton named it "Flame of Truth" and gave it to Devan.
Moving on, they found a chapel, sleeping quarters, and meditation cells, all infested with wights, skeletons, and zombies. Ashton found his undead-turning abilities failing him because of the temple's evil influence. They also found a closet full of shrieking purple fungus.
Finally they found a round room with a dais in the middle. On the dais was an onyx altar where a dessicated corpse was pinned with a sword. A crack in the wall behind this led upwards. Oh yeah, and there was a spectre. The ghostly form wore black robes and a bone mask with oddly-carved, assymetrical horns, just like the corpse on the altar. While the fight went on, it sucked more and more life out of Ashton. Devan finally ran to the altar and yelled, "Hey spook, what happens if I pull out this sword?" The spectre flew across the room, rasping dire curses at Devan. As it turned away from Horgic and Ashton, Horgic was able to get in a parting blow that finished it off.
The fissure led back to a sewer tunnel near the surface. With the help of a hired priest (from a local Temple of Victor) they were able to destroy the monster-generating altar and restore Ashton's lost power. The priest also helped them clear up the misunderstanding that drove them into the sewers in the first place.