The guys arrived to a scene of the cultists capturing several of the escaped kids and another battle ensued. This time they knew what they were coming against, and with the help of the village ruins and some smart tactics, they easily defeated them, but not before the were-panther escaped with Edyth. They requested that their guide (who had stayed hidden throughout the whole thing) take the children they had rescued back to Lafonde ahead of them.
I based the design/architecture heavily on temples from Thailand.
Upon their return to the temple to find it eerily silent, the front gate partially opened. They snuck in, expecting to find traps, but instead found statues of various animals and a second gate that was closed. An easy Strength Check later, and they begin to hear a chanting coming from the main temple room atop a flight of stairs. Another door, opened this time, they peer in to see an elvish man prowling around the central dais, knife in hand and chanting loudly. Upon the shrine lay Edyth and three other children, all bound and unconscious, one on each side below a statue of a four-armed humanoid, its head a Janus-esc formation of four bestial faces. The statue wields a bow in its top left hand and a sword in its bottom right hand, all made from stone.
Suddenly, the priest speaks to them, warning against their path; “the god Contoo does not appreciate those who interfere in his plans.” As he says this, his body shifts slightly into a hybrid lion form and he plunges a knife down into one of the children. They could visibly see changes happening to the statue; a marble like pattern forming over the stone.
Then initiative! They rushed forward to attack and were caught unawares by an eagle in the rafters. The were-panther closed the doors to the left of the room, two elf archers closed a door each to top and to the right of the room, and behind them a were-snake stands, shutting the door behind them.
Two rounds later and another victim was taken, and this time the bow clatters to the floor, no longer stone. The (now) were-eagle has taken some damage and the were-panther hadn’t had a chance to recover from the battle earlier. The were-snake was causing a problem, grappling Dendrim so he couldn’t move forward to help. Meanwhile, Solena had taken out one of the archers and Kaden was turning his sights to the lion-priest.
Another two rounds later, Dendrim has broken free of the were-snake (who is now bleeding out by the door) and has gone to get in the way of the lion-priest, grabbing his arm to prevent another victim. The were-eagle is down, the were-panther keeping Solena occupied, and Kaden inflicting a LOT of damage unto the lion-priest, who manages to inflict a cut on the third sacrifice.
The next round, the were-panther gets blasted by Solena’s firebolt, the lion-priest is wiped out by a combined Dendrim/Kaden combo, and the remaining archer bolts out the door. They stabilise the third child, checking on the fourth (Edyth), and Kaden tries to take a shot at the archer but he has already managed to flee.
After a quick wrap-up, the guys loot the priests and take a long deserved rest (and get a level up). The next day, they decide to check out the outer rooms of the temple, which they soon discover three had been broken into by the cultists. Each of these rooms are completely different and laden with traps (they walked right into the anti-grav one, which was fun!), but they all had one thing in common: an engraved stone with a large crystal in the top. Leaving those alone (smart!), they decide to head back to Lafonde, but not before Solena secretly stumbles across the sword from the ritual, which called to her to be fed (this is her multiclass into Warlock).
This one was longer than I planned, and a LOT has been happening since! So I will carry on next week. Let me know if you’re interested in more specific details – I’m happy to delve deeper.