After almost a month away, we reconvened!
Johann Borscht, Dwarf Fighter 3
Baphomohawk Jones, Elf Wizard 3
Yngwie Magnusson, Dwarf Thief 3 (deceased)
Brunhilda von Sass, Elf Fighter 2 (deceased)
Skogul von Sass, Elf Fighter 2
Turkman Price, Human Cleric 2
They quickly learned that Vathek the Diviner is still offering a reward for the iron-bound Book of Necron, which he has seen in the caves via his crystal ball, guarded by corrosive slime creatures. They also learned that another adventuring group, the Scofflaws of Renown, ventured into the cave of the Sloth-Toads to retrieve the magic sword of Delos the Throat-Slitter and never returned. The appeal of a magic sword led them to decide to enter the cave of the Sloth-Toads themselves, even hiring Vaako, the former torchbearer of Delos, as a guide.
Their first foray into the swamp that fronted the cave proved less than successful, as a monstrous hybrid of swan and scorpion rose up and promptly sliced off one of Yngwie's legs with its claws, then slicing and stinging Brunhilda von Sass to death before Johann could hack the monster apart with his ax.
[Game Master aside: Brunhilda von Sass is played by my girlfriend, and was her first RPG character ever. I count myself blessed I'm not sleeping on the couch for the next week.]
Retreating and recruiting, Johann and Baphomohawk picked up Skogul von Sass, Brunhilda's bitchier sister with an eye for getting people in her debt, and Turkman Price, a cleric of Nyarlathotep bedecked in plate armor and a particularly stupid corkscrew hat.
Their second trip was much less eventful, until nearing the mouth of the cave, when numerous giant frogs surfaced from the swamp muck, their bodies coated with mangy patches of greasy black hair, some of them with extra eyes - they didn't harass the adventurers, just watched. Baphomohawk recalled that these mutations were likely a sign that the area was consecrated to the Dread God Kzadool-Ra.
Fortunately, the adventurers had come prepared, having been warned of this creature by Vaako, and only Turkman was blinded by the light. Shielded behind a welding mask, Johann threw the horns, eager to discover if his Cosmic Ray Cannon, now positioned on a ledge outside the Sagoth cave, could target the creature.
It could, and in a moment everything within 30' was splashed with the flesh of this creature, the light gone. The Toad-Sloths, seeing this grumbled and slouched out into the swamp. Forcing open the bronze doors, they found themselves in a long hallway, the walls polished and carved into detailed reliefs, which Skogul took the time to examine, determining that they told the story of this temple - that a heretical sect of Serpent Men turned their backs on Father Set to worship Kzadool-Ra, set up shop here, and were cursed by Set, transforming them into the dull-witted, non-sorcerous Sloth-Toads.
At the end of this hallway, a second set of doors led into a football field-sized chamber, with two doors on the left and three on the right, and a 30' tall statue of Kzadool-Ra, appearing as a gigantic sleepy black toad, covered in fur, with large batlike ears, reposing in a Buddha-like recline. The statue's eyes consisted of a pair of giant yellow-green gems, carved into spheres and enchanted to glow, illuminating the room faintly.
Investigating the rooms on the left revealed a pair of treasure vaults; Johann began shoveling coinage, much of it belonging to empires long fallen, into their Bag of Holding, while Skogul found the magic sword they'd been looking for. One of the doors on the right opened, with a pair of sword-carrying Sloth-Toads emerging, but they were quickly dissuaded, and investigating the other two doors revealed Sloth-Toads that simply refused to acknowledge the adventurer's presence, even when Johann hacked apart one of them that was wearing a hat resembling a bishop's miter. And stole his hat.
Returning home, they made a stop-off at the Sagoth cave to return the Cannon to storage and to arrange for the Sagoths to loot the cavern of the Sloth-Toads in its entirety on the adventurers' behalf.
A cursory examination confirmed the enchantment on the sword - a +1 Shortsword, +3 vs. Diurnal Mammals, granting the wielder Darkvision (or, if they already have it, doubling the range), and on a natural 20, a swarm of Giant Vampire Bats descending on the target for one round - and also revealed an enchanted ring in the treasure gathered by Johann.
As Turkman held the heavy platinum ring, set with an enormous amethyst and a dozen tiny diamonds, he heard a whisper in his mind to place the ring upon his finger. Considering this no more ominous than the usual voices he hears in his mind, he slipped the ring on, instantly being aware of its power - three times a day it could fire a bolt of crackling eldritch energy, and could do much more when reunited with its "other half," ensconced in the Temple of Zygak-Xith on the Purple Islands far to the west.