Gauntlet: Adventure review
This mission takes place 8 days after the death of Count Umbridge at the Straddlefort.
The part has been resting at the Straddlefort, in an apartment set aside by Lord Basil as a permanent safe house for them, while throughout the castle, the vast majority of Basil’s men are unaware that the group was involved with toppling the evil reign of the count.
Basil, presenting rewards to the party, enlists them in the continued mission to bring the gate crystal to Pallmoor Gates. Since the crystal cannot be teleported, and armies surround the city, the plan is to bring the crystal through the underground network of tunnels to the Nexus, the underground hall that serves as the base for the Night Rangers, a group of Knights that serve under the ancient city. This passage is known to the Knights as Gauntlet, and every new recruit must complete the Gauntlet before becoming an officer.
Bendron, a night ranger that was killed by the Master of Arms at the Straddlefort, has been raised from the dead in order to guide the party through the maze of tunnels. Armed with his map and (incomplete) memory, the party sets forth on boat until they are within a few miles of the city, where Bendron knows of some ruins that leads into an ancient town which is connected to the undercity of Pallmoor Gates.
Traveling downriver for two days, the party passes Fort Weatherall, a Tyrese base that never fell during the war and still flies the flags of Stout Lord Yerbin and Tyn. The party opts not to tarry and proceeds towards the ruins, but finds their way blocked by an unexpected goblinoid army. After a short encounter with scouts, the party skirts the army to try to find a way around, and comes to a surprise encounter with gnomes from the underground gnome village of Blumpkin Hollow. The gnomes, who haven’t traded with humans since the start of the war, trade with the party, providing some magic weapons in exchange for riches. The gnomes provider wicker boats and guidance via an underground river to the tunnels leading to the ancient town.
Traveling in the river, the party is ambushed by kobold traps, and Pat narrowly escapes drowning thanks to summoned celestial porpoises.
The party reaches the ancient walled down where Bendron exited the Gauntlet. The party explores an underground buried town and has a nasty encounter with a phase spider which nearly drags Porkins off to the ethereal plane to be devoured, but the party kills the spider. The party finds an aqueduct that leads towards Pallmoor Gates and travels through it, and is ambushed by strange, humanoid creatures that seem to be devolved humans the learned to live crouched underground in the dark. These creatures are killed or scared off. The party continues through a room which appears to contain an altar and strange carvings of ancient gods, which hides gargoyles that nearly kill Clinton. There are regular tremors under the city and the tunnels seem unstable, which renders Bendron’s map nearly useless due to collapses. At one point, the party proceeds deep underground in a huge cavern with a glowing crystal. Pat attempts to smash the crystal and is seemingly thrown off the platform into the darkness, but this is determined to be an illusion (as if the crystal is trying to protect itself and warn away intruders).
The party eventually navigates through more foul chambers and finds there way to a small room with an iron sarcophogus, locked with a puzzle box. The party solves the puzzle to open the coffin, which contains an emaciated mind flayer which tries to eat Porkins brain. Luckily, the creature is clearly weakened, chained to the inside of the sarchophogus for some reason. There is a tunnel behind the coffin that leads upwards where the tremors become weaker.
The chamber opens into a large room the size of a basketball court, with two small armies of terracotta warriors, these human sized, facing each other. One side of the room is blocked with bars of meteoric iron, far above which is carved the stone face of a giant.
On the other side of the bars, a girl’s voice is heard to say “I think I’ve found them” a girl appears from the darkness wearing a cloak of the Night Rangers, just as skeletal undead burst forth from the terra cotta warriors, and a giant skeleton burst forth from the wall, emerging from the stone carved face…