Player Characters:Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 302 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 373 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 368 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 356 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High-Elf Wizard, 390 points
Drow Groaning Spirit
Alrux, Dwarf Armorer
The group started in Cillamar. The big news was that the Ashwood Bandits that had taken out a merchant caravan to Galaron had been Dealt With by the Magn'gard, the elite guard company of the Patriarch of Cillamar. There was also a rumor that Hugin had been with the caravan that was attacked, and was injured.
Zaber heard that Lord Flitwick had left town, after his bodyguard died in prison. Zaber cased Flitwick's town house, and it was indeed dark and empty.
Quintus was around, so they brought him the 42 lbs. of mushrooms they had collected in the fungus forest to see if any were particular valuable. None were. They asked him if he was looking for troll, stirge, or dire bat parts, but he was not. (He informed them that troll parts are illegal in town, which is why he uses trollhound muscle instead in his healing potions.) The PCs then discussed stirges with Quintus, to see if he had any useful information that might help them eradicate the stirge swarm menace in the huge cave. He let them know that stirge colonies have a queen.
Seépravir (Research) and Elias (Hidden Lore: Undead) both found more information about Groaning Spirits. Seépravir brewed some expensive potions (two Greater Healing and one Flight) just in case the fight against the Groaning Spirit went poorly.
Then the group brought the orichalcum they found in an underwater chest to Alrux, to see whether he could make armor with it. He said that he could, but the PCs were not ready to commit to ordering any armor, so they took their orichalcum back.
Seépravir cast the usual batch of travel spells (Flight, Invisibility, Lighten) and everyone set off for Castle Whiterock, though the wheelbarrow full of random junk they brought along meant they were travelling at walking rather than flying speed. They reached the castle without drama, just missing some thunderstorms. Seépravir cast a new batch of spells (Dark Vision on everyone except Zaber, who had enough Night Vision to see fine in the big cave, See Secrets and See Invisibility on Zaber.) Polly cast Keen Vision on herself and Zaber, critically failing one roll but without any horrible effects. They took their new elevator from the surface down to the Clockwork Academy, then walked through a couple of former troglodyte levels to get to the underground river level, which Garreth rowed them across using a skiff.
Once they reached the huge cave, the group flew over to the fungus forest, north of where they fled from the groaning spirit last time. The plan was for Elias to cast Affect Spirits on his flail and Polly's rapier, then for Seépravir to cast Silence a bit north of the blighted clearing, and everyone except Garreth to hide in the quiet zone, which they hoped would provide them immunity to the groaning spirit's deadly keening. Then Garreth would Kiai-lock the groaning spirit, and Polly and Elias could run up and kill the spirit.
It seemed like a pretty good plan, but they failed to execute the part about everyone staying in the Silence spell. Zaber wanted to scout ahead and find the spirit. Elias wanted to charge and kill evil and didn't wait for his cue. Polly wanted to stay with Elias. So, the Silence spell ended up not really being used.
What happened instead was Seépravir cast Great Haste on Garreth, and Garreth charged into the clearing where the spirit was waiting. Garreth resisted the spirit's fear aura, then was lucky enough to finish his turn outside Keening range. The spirit moved but wasn't fast enough to get into Keening range on her turn. And then Garreth ran up next to her and Kiaied, and managed to stun her. Elias used Divine Grace to raise his DX to heroic levels, and then Elias and Polly charged. Seépravir Great Hasted herself.
The next turn, Garreth Kiaied again. He failed to stun the spirit, used Luck, and stunned her on the reroll. Elias and Polly both reached the edge of the clearing where they could see the spirit and had to roll versus Fear. Elias resisted, but Polly failed, and went running back into the mushrooms. So Elias was the only one who could hurt the spirit.
Garreth stepped closer, and stumbled over something invisible (it was the rotted corpse of a female drow), but didn't actually fall. He Kiaied again, and the spirit rolled a 17 on her resistance roll. For his second maneuver from Great Haste, he waited for her to appear to recover, so he could immediately Kiai again. Elias got into All-Out Attack range, and flailed the stunned spirit 3 times, achieving one maximum damage critical hit and two regular hits. The spirit failed to dodge either of them, with the -4 for stun, and the combined damage of three blows from the holy flail inflicted a death check. The spirit failed it, and that was the end of her. She never managed to get a Keen attack off this time.
Polly eventually recovered from the fear effect, and returned to the group. Zaber, who had See Invisible, could see the corpse that Garreth had almost tripped over. It was a rotted, broken body of a drow female, wearing some tattered clothing, some bracers, and an invisible ring. And it had a curvy-bladed large knife in its back.
Zaber removed the ring, and the corpse became visible. He smashed the body, causing his existing Invisibility to be dispelled. He put on the ring, and turned invisible again. He smashed the body again, and became visible again. He took the ring off and put it back on, and did not immediately turn invisible again, but after a while started fading away. So, while he was no wizard, he was pretty sure it was an Invisible Ring of Invisibility. He tied some twine to it to make it harder to lose.
Meanwhile Garreth played with the curvy-bladed knife and decided that it was both fine and balanced. He asked the elves it if was magical, and they said no. So it was merely a nice mundane knife.
Polly checked out the corpse's bracers and clothing, and determined that the bracers were magical and the clothing was just tattered rags.
Looking at the crumpled body, Garreth had an idea, and gazed upwards. He saw several huge stalactites on the ceiling of the giant cave, hundreds of feet up. The biggest one was directly overhead. At that point the whole party wanted to fly up and check it out, but Seépravir needed to rest first. Polly and Zaber weren't patient enough to wait, so Garreth and Seépravir and Elias stayed on the ground resting, while Polly and Zaber flew up to investigate. Zaber was invisible, so he and Polly held onto a piece of twine so she could track his location.
The stalactite overhead was truly huge, probably 100 feet wide at the base and 150 feet tall. Zaber flew up to it looking for anything interesting, and found a couple of arrow slits in one wall. He peeked inside, and was a passage hollowed out, but nobody inside and no obvious way in. At that point his investigation was interrupted by motion to his right. He looked over and saw a 40' lizard/snake creature, climbing around a smaller (but still huge) stalactite nearby, toward Polly. Zaber started flying back toward the ground, pulling on the twine. Meanwhile Polly pulled out some food and waved it at the huge lizard.
As Zaber and Polly approached the ground, Zaber looked up, and noticed the creature was following them down, falling not climbing, at high speed. About 10 yards from the ground, it abruptly slowed its fall. Polly threw the ration to it, but the lizard seemed to think this was an attack rather than a treat, and dodged it. Zaber fast-drew a couple of knives. Garreth fast-drew a katana and started concentrating on Power Blow. Seépravir Great Hasted herself on general principles and rolled a critical success, for double duration. She yelled out that anyone next to her could also have a Great Haste, which attracted Garreth and Polly.
The huge lizard lined up Elias and Polly, and breathed lightning. Polly dodged it. Elias blocked it with his shield, but this was ineffective and he got zapped. However, the damage roll was rather puny. Elias had to make a stun check, which he failed.
At this point Polly decided the lizard was an enemy not a puppy after all, and started shooting arrows at its eyes. It dodged four in a row, appearing to be supernaturally fast. Zaber, still invisible, flew above the huge lizard, preparing to descend onto its back and backstab. As promised, Seépravir cast Great Haste on both Polly and Garreth.
Garreth rolled his Power Blow, failed, chose not to use his luck. Then he flew up next to the huge lizard and made two rapid deceptive katana strikes at a foreleg, the only part he could reach. It failed to dodge, and he crippled the leg, then hit the crippled leg again to pile on some damage. The combined effect of the two hits had the lizard reeling from its wounds, and at half Dodge. For his second maneuver, Garreth flew forward to get in range of the lizard's torso, and unleashed two more deceptive rapid strikes. With its dodge reduced, the lizard didn't stand much of a chance to avoid them, and did not, taking enough damage to need a death check. Which it rolled a 16 on, and that was the end of that behir. With its death, its Slow Fall effect was dispelled, and it crashed to the ground, but fortunately nobody was under it. Garreth apologized for killing it too quickly before anyone else got to hit it. Polly said this served it right for being a shocker lizard.
The behir didn't have any obvious treasure, but of course that didn't deter the PCs, who immediately started extracting teeth and scales and looking for mana organs. They didn't find any mana organs, but decided to take a few teeth and scales to town to see if they had any value as weapons or armor.
Garreth suggested looking for the stirge lair. Zaber is very good at finding things, so he turned invisible then flew around the cave for a while, until he spotted some stirges feedling on cave lizards in the southeast corner of the huge cave. Then he watched the stirges fly back to the south wall of the cave and disappear, so he figured their lair was in there somewhere. He reported back to the group. Then everyone decided to head back to town.
Using Silence to avoid the groaning spirit's Keening attack was a great idea, but the party didn't have the discipline to stand still long enough to benefit from it. Fortunately for them, Garreth repeatedly Kiaied the groaning spirit so effectively that it didn't matter, as she never got a Keen off. The groaning spirit was definitely a glass cannon, with only her insubstantiality providing much protection. Once Elias smacked her with a flail with Affect Spirits on it, she was doomed. The combination of Great Haste and Flight was extremely tactically powerful, providing way-too-fast movement.
Splitting the party to go check out the giant stalactite overhead was probably not the smartest move. Flying right back down to the party when they spotted the behir was. Polly and Zaber probably didn't expect it to follow them, though. The behir was a cool monster, but not quite tough enough to handle a Great Hasted Garreth in its face. Being SM +5 is bad for you, as it lets opponents take huge Deceptive Attack penalties and still hit.
The group wanted to follow the stirges back to their lair, but we were running out of time in the session, so they decided to go back to town instead, and take on the stirges another time.