Finding themselves trapped in a dungeon labyrinth, the party starts to explore their surroundings. The walls and floor in this dungeon are cleanly worked, with well-trimmed vines along the lower half of the walls that are thorny and that seem to move to follow anyone that gets too close to them, but that are also obviously trimmed and well-maintained by someone.
They find more traps and quickly come across a pack of starving wolves and, hidden in a pit trap, a grotesque, tentacled scavenger of some sort. All the while, the party has to deal with occasional archer squads that come after them with powerful longbows made of a black wood and whose arrows made a bright flash when they fired and tore through stone walls like paper.
While exploring, the party comes across a simple locked chest made of wood. Wary of traps, Zaku inspects the area surrounding the chest before he moves in to inspect the lock. He unlocks the chest skillfully, but the chest hides a second trap that springs out at him when he opens it! The blade deals little damage, and the heroes move in to inspect the contents of the chest: a small, rectangular package wrapped in paper. Curious, they pick the package up, but have trouble determining what it is. Julian takes the package and unwraps it to reveal a bar of soap—but he has little time to admire the irony of his discovery, for the bar was laced with a powerful contact poison that made him violently sick. He threw up his dinner and the alchemical potions working in his stomach and stumbled away, cursing the villagers under his breath.
At a dead end, behind a decayed corpse with an arrow in its back, Julian found a secret door that led to a bare tomb with a lone sarcophagus resting on a dais. The party took the room as a refuge and decided to encamp within its cramped walls for the night, but Julian wasn’t satisfied.
What was the odd room? Was it really a tomb? What was hidden inside the sarcophagus?
And what were the strange lights that flashed out of the sarcophagus onto the back wall for less than a second before disappearing without a trace?
Stretching his magical senses, Julian determined that there was something unusual about the pedestal, and with a wave of his hand he discovered exactly what it was: for the pedestal wasn’t a sarcophagus at all. As he focused his will on the pedestal and interacted with it, the relief of the dead man melted and a map of the dungeon level rose out of the stone to replace it.
Julian played around with the map, finding several hidden rooms they’d missed and opening a portal to another part of the level that had been hidden before.
One of the hidden rooms, which opened off the first room into which the bandits dropped the party, proved to be an armory, with suits of arcane field plate forged from a dense white metal and mail as light as leather. This room proved to be hidden and defensible, and the weary adventurers decided to spend their next night here.