Evermelt question

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My group will be traveling to Evermelt this week and I'm trying to figure out the sequence of events that allow them to get to the Waterfall Cavern. From what I can tell, the only way into this place is by braving the waterslide chute. I have a hard time believing that this is how the Shaman got down there, not to mention all of the prisoners and women dressed up as animals... (hot spoiler alert).  


Anyway, how are people handling this? They mention other passages that go on from there, but none that offer an easy way for them to get from the camp to the cavern. Just seems weird is all. I guess I can create an alternate passage that bypasses the 30 ft drop, but they can use it only if they make the Strength check just before the waterfall. Once they are down there, they can find an easy out passage. That's probably going to be my plan unless someone chimes in with something I have missed.

Perhaps the Shamans used a secret entrance comprised of a concealed door and the waterfall one is a trap used to ambush people who try and enter unwelcomed? They could have a rock or boulder that moves if a command word is spoken or it could even be an illusionary rock. That’s how I’d run it but I wouldn’t necessary want/allow the party to find that entrance.

Taking Shoopful's idea a step further, how about an ice portal similar to the one Dracula uses in the Van Helsing movie? If the command word is known the user can "melt" into the ice, re-appearing in the lair. PC's can find the command word by use of capturing a follower of Auril, arcana/religion checks etc.

"Well that encounter was easy....er, guys, why is the DM grinning?" (party members last words)

It's not a party till the screaming starts!

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