Last weekend, I met with most of my regular group for a Stonehell session. They began by using one of the magic books they discovered in the Hunter's Hall to identify the key they recovered from the jack-in-a-box on level 2. They determined that the key opened a pharmacy on level 2. They determined that they wanted to use their first trip into the dungeon to complete their exploration of the southwest quadrant of level 1.
They started their trip by making their way to the repaired, and newly disturbing, stone head. The stone head gave them several answers that were either repeats or impossible to make sense of. On the final answer, there was a weird effect where the whole world seemed to stutter as the stone head answered. They decided to not push their luck and headed south to explore.
They determined that there were three areas they needed to explore and started with some rooms in the south east first. While most were empty, they discovered the few remaining warriors of the Wolf Pack goblin tribe huddled in a room. After some negotiation, they decided to let them go on the promise that they would not return. They then headed to the center of the area where they has been led to a room full of cannibals by a creepy ghost girl on a prior excursion. They caught the cannibals unaware and made quick work of them. Finally, the headed to the north east portion of the quadrant to open the one room they had left unexplored. They found the room full of goblin women and children and decided to leave them alone. Having completed the exploration of this quadrant, the characters each received a 500 XP bonus. They headed back to town to rest.
They decided to continue their exploration of the Conquistador's Tomb for their second trip. On their way, they stopped by the stone head, but got another glitchy answer they could not decipher. The party entered the Conquistador's Tomb through the cistern entrance, this put them down near the west end of the tomb, next to the door marked with a great ship. They made their way to the middle of the room and touched the water in the fountain to make the large gems in the ceiling light up. They saw that the topiary were still there, though they suspected that they were not quite where they last saw them. The opened the door marked with a ship and headed in.
The large chamber on the other side consisted only of a bit of stone floor that lead to a dock extending into an underground river. Tied up to the dock was a giant ship, named The Golden Dawn, that bore three masts and 70 cannons. They made their way on board and headed for the captain's cabin.
Inside the cabin they found goods totaling about 500 GP in a chest as well as several books. Most were ledgers detailing trade in gold, silk, and tobacco. One was a diary. A quick look at the final entry revealed that it recounted the captain's final voyage back from a land to the west, returning with the ziggurat and mummified corpse of a savage king he had conquered there.
They found that the hold was still full of silk, gold, and tobacco. They estimated the value of the treasure at 700,000 GP. A detect magic spell revealed that both the masts and the wheel were enchanted. Determined to get out with as much of the treasure as possible, they filled their sacks with gold and headed back to the main chamber.
As soon as they stepped through the large double doors, the topiary sprung to life and attached. They fell back through the doorway and fled towards the ship. at the foot of the ramp, they used Rope Trick to conceal themselves and make a new plan.
After a few hours, they peered out and saw that the topiary were still stalking them below the rope, but had not ventured onto the ramp itself. They slid down and made a beeline for the boat, the topiary did not follow them up the ramp.
After waiting a while longer, they began to experiment with the cannon. After a few mishaps, they accidentally hit the fountain in the main room and destroyed it. The earth began to shake and the ceiling rained down in large chunks. Seeing no other way to escape, they cut the boat free and the assassin grabbed the wheel. As soon as she touched it, a wind picked up out of nowhere and the sails unfurled. The boat began to accelerate down the dark, underground river.
As the boat picked up speed, they heard the sound of water falling ahead. Fearful, they grabbed on for dear life as the ship plunged over a fall. Slethard, the mysterious, lizardwoman monk was swept overboard and lost. The ship did not break up and they were able to guide it down river where it entered the bay near town. They dropped anchor and rowed ashore to collect their 700,000 XP reward (I only allow one level and XP up to one away from the next level to be gained in one trip).