Lord of Shadow & Flame

The Hunt for Gothyl
The adventurer's current quest

The adventuring group (still nameless) was by this time now made up of Bolder (human cleric of Mystra), Cyrien (elven sorcerer/fighter/bladesinger), Gaz-Borg (half-orc monk/ninja), Hawke (half-elven cleric of Lathander), Nazool (ratkin rogue/alchemist), Obsidian (human paladin of Torm), Thorgrimm Grimmaldus (dwarven barbarian) and Woz (half-elven wizard).

The group met with Elminster to discuss the threat the sorceress Gothyl posed and agreed she must be destroyed. Elminster shared some of her history. Gothyl had attempted to complete the ritual to become a Lich some one hundred and fifty years ago. The process failed leaving her as an undead creature Elminster dubbed a ‘Shade’.

Whatever the ritual was that she’d recently completed by draining Ilthond’s soul (Randal Morn had been her original target), she had now become even more powerful than before. She would be extremely difficult to destroy. Elminster postulated that Gothyl would indeed have a phylactery, a receptacle holding her soul. It must be destroyed to truly end Gothyl’s wretched existence.

The group would need a weapon powerful enough to strike down the incorporeal Shade. Elminster knew of just such a weapon – Vindicator. Lost within the ruins of Myth Drannor by its last wielder, a paladin who was believed to have been slain, Vindicator had been especially forged to not only slay undead, but incorporeal undead. The plan was thus – the adventurers must recover the weapon from Myth Drannor, travel to the Plane of Shadow, locate Gothyl’s secret bolthole and confront her there. The group departed Dagger Falls for the elven town of Tangled Trees, agreeing to meet back up with Elminster in twenty days time once they had the weapon in their possession.

During the group’s journey eastward along the River Ashaba they were attacked by a trio of wyverns, which they swiftly destroyed. Arriving in Ashabenford, the group learned of the many drow raids being carried out against Mistledale by several drow clans that now occupied the forest of Cormanthor.

Cyrien was accused of the murder of a wizard named Malrien Redfen. Apparently the wizard was murdered by an elf looking very much like Cyrien but with white hair. A strange symbol was burnt into the victim’s forehead, one which Cyrien recognised as the same symbol which was burnt into his old master’s forehead who had been murdered decades ago. Malrien’s spell tomes and magical items were missing. He was also in possession of a book titled ‘The Tome of Infernal Lore’, a book detailing the nature of demons, which Cyrien took and later deciphered. After some questioning and with the word of the paladin Obsidian to back him, Cyrien was let go free as clearly it could not have been him who’d committed the murder.

The group also caught word of a mysterious figure known as ‘The Black Archer’ who seemed to appear from nowhere to slay the drow raiders with great skill and zeal.

Entering the ancient forests of Cormathor, the group made for the elven town of Tangled Trees. There they met Durin, high priestess of Sehanine Moonbow. She arranged for the group to meet with Tristan Morningstar (also her lover), a ranger and drow slayer who would guide them via a secret entrance into Myth Drannor itself.

Judging by his reputation, the group was fairly sure that Tristan must be ‘The Black Archer’ they’d heard of in Mistledale. The adventurers met up with Tristan who led them onwards towards Myth Drannor and the weapon they would need to destroy Gothyl…

25/11/10 – Tangled Trees
After picking up a few last minute items in Tangled Trees, the party has set out into the depths of the forest of Cormanthor. In the morning they came across a dark section of forest and were attacked by Shadows, which the group promptly dispatched. Unfortunately Brennick was ganged up on by two Shadows. The enemy got in a few lucky hits on the Fighter and drained his strength. The ex-Zhent was killed… and raised as an undead Shadow! The group quickly put the restless dead down.

The group has met with the ranger Tristan Morningstar and after sharing some info on the ruined city and discussing a plan, the group headed for a secret entrance to the ruins of Myth Drannor itself. While travelling Tristan came upon the trail of a drow raiding party which he believed was heading for Mistledale and Ashabenford. The party pursued and engaged the drow. We finished up part way through the battle.

2/12/10 – Drow Raiders
The drow have been defeated, preventing them from carrying out a potentially devastating surprise raid on Mistledale to the south. The group’s bravery and skill in defeating these powerful foes earns everyone +1 Hero Point.

Thorgrimm received a Ring of Communication from Tristan. It allows for verbal communication for 3min/day and is linked to a ring, which Durin of Sehanine wears. She’s the High Priestess of the Temple of Sehanine in Tangled Trees, the same Temple that is ‘unfriendly’ towards Woz and Thorgrimm. It should make for an interesting conversation and she hears Thorgrimm and not Tristan’s voice on the other end.

The group entered a series of secret tunnels leading to Myth Drannor, passing through a large ancient burial chamber and into the lower crypts of an elven family by the name of Starym. We finished off with Nazool, Thorgrimm and Hawke using a combination of Perception, Disable Device and Detect Magic to scout out the corridors and some of the rooms of the Starym Family Tomb. This allowed the group to avoid several potentially deadly traps. However they missed one trap and swinging open a set of double doors a Summoning trap was triggered. With a burst of magical energy and large creature appeared before the party ready to attack…

The group is now in a tomb underneath the Burial Glen, basically underneath the western edge of Myth Drannor itself and almost at the end of their journey.

9/12/10 – Arrival in Myth Drannor
Following the triggering of a Monster Summoning trap, the group defeated the tomb’s guardian (a huge Fire Elemental) before proceeding up through the tomb, disabling traps as they went. In the main crypt the group came across the bodies of three tomb robbers. It looked like they had been trying to open one of the sarcophagi when a trap killed them. The sarcophagi turned out to be that of Josidiah Starym, a famous Bladesinger. Cyrien secured the lid of the tomb back in place and the party searched the dead before moving on.

As the group prepared to exit the tomb an argument broke out between Cyrien and Woz. Apparently Woz was trying to take gems from the shrine in the entry to the tomb. Cyrien attacked, slashing the Wizard twice with his sword. Woz finally relented, leaving the gems behind. The stone doors at the front of the tomb apparently unlocked and opened before the group, before closing and locking behind them as they left.

After moving through the Burial Glen towards the east, the group ignored the trail to Myth Drannor itself, instead striking out through the dense, overgrown forest, which made travel slow going. Stepping out from the edge of the woods, the group entered the ruins of Myth Drannor itself.

The group finally gets its first glimpse of Myth Drannor through the shadowed eves of the forest. The first thing you spy are the many tall, graceful and yet cracked spires pointing skywards. The ancient crumbling stone buildings of the city are interwoven with great trees which still thrive in the depths of the ruined city. Much of the landscape is overgrown, signs that many gardens once grew in abundance here. Fragments of beautiful pillars and statues are scattered about, hinting at the city’s lost majesty. An eerie silence hangs over the city, occasionally broken by the sounds of falling rock, the flap of wings or a growl or roar in the distance.
After your long journey, you have finally reached the legendary ruins of Myth Drannor.

Thorgrimm decided he’d like to search a ruined building for loot, however the group spied a large building further north, marked on the map as being a Temple of Lebelas Enoreth and decided to investigate that instead. The party had only travelled a few hundred yards along the ruined streets before they were ambushed by a group of four demons. Cyrien and Hawke identified the creatures as ‘Babau’, thanks to information gleaned from The Tome of Infernal Lore. Knowledge from the tome also proved valuable in determining the demon’s resistances and weaknesses.

A battle ensured in which the group struggled to inflict much damage on the enemy because they appeared to resist most forms of attack. Only the late arrival of Bolder and Obsidian spared a number of the party from almost certain death! One of the Babau swore vengeance and managed to open a portal and escape, the rest were slain.
As the battle finally came to a close, the group heard footfalls coming from the southeast, rushing their direction. Grabbing what loot they could they instead set off for the Burial Glen where Molostroi was supposed to be located.

16/12/10 – First Foray into Myth Drannor
Following the near disastrous battle with the Babau Demons, the party moved quickly eastwards and arrived at the second burial glen which Molostroi was supposed to inhabit, leaving their pursuers behind. After some searching of the overgrown graveyard the group came upon two rows of elven family crypts that were larger and more impressive than the rest. At that point several party members felt like they were being watched, Woz was the only one able to pinpoint the strange feeling, spotting a ghostly image watching the group from the roof of a nearby crypt. This being turned out to be none other than Molostroi, who (after some questioning) invited the group down into the noble family crypt he was sworn to protect. He spent a few minutes speaking to Cyrien in elven and gave a stern warning to anyone stupid enough to defile or try and steal from the resting places of the dead.

Once inside and after Thorgrimm explained the nature of the group’s quest, Molostroi rendered magical healing, cold iron and magical weapons with which to harm demons and a wealth of information on Myth Drannor, all on request. According to Molostroi, the ruined city has several factions including Demons, Yugoloth, gargoyles, dragons (green and red) and a powerful Ilithid sorcerer known as Zaxaris.

Molostroi did not know of the whereabouts of Vindicator, but suggested speaking to some of the city’s well-informed inhabitants, the chief being a gargoyle named Fritz and Zaxaris, the Mind Flayer. The latter he warned was his nemesis, but not above trading information. He also confirmed that a powerful magical sword has been seen in the area of desolation in the south of the city. In return for all his aid, Molostroi requested info on current events in the city and also books, maps or other sources of lost knowledge, as he couldn’t leave the burial glen itself, which the party agreed to return with later.

After resting the night in the crypt, the party set out for the tower where the gargoyle Fritz was supposed to lair. Just before leaving, Molostroi told the group that using some of his divination magic he’d detected at least two other groups in the city at present. One, a ruthless group of mercenaries named the Red Eagles, the other an all female group of adventurers.

Skirting the northern edge of the city, the group found Fritz perched on the side of the tower Molostroi had described. The gargoyle turned out to be obsessed with gems and traded information for a good sum of gems. From Fritz the group learnt that the last wielder of Vindicator had been ambushed and killed by undead. The sword had been taken to the north of Myth Drannor, just beyond the edge of the city proper to an area called ‘The Polyandrium’, which just happened to be the area in which Zaxaris lairs.
The group made a deal with Fritz who agreed to meet with them again in one day’s time to trade again, this time gems for what healing potions he could find.

The group then continued circling the northern edge of the city towards Blackstar Tower. However they saw another large building that caught their eye – The House of Song – a Temple of Oghma, and decided to investigate that instead. As they approached all the magic users in the group noticed the lack of magic in the area – the party had entered an area of Dead Magic, the first of many they would encounter in Myth Drannor. After some experimentation with the Dead Magic zone, the group approached the Temple cautiously.

Stepping inside they found that the interior was free of the Dead Magic zone and they weren’t alone. Another group of adventurers had arrived before them, an all female group. Following short standoff the two groups got talking. The leader of the strangers, a beautiful human female Wizard named “Webb” explained that her party was called ‘The Company of the ready Shield’ and that they were from Tantras, a city to the east. The group was in Myth Drannor searching for a magical artefact named ‘The Hand of Light’, which they hoped would stop a terrible plague that has stricken their home city. The two groups spent some time searching what was left of a vast library in the temple, before the party moved on towards Blackstar Tower.

Turning a corner on the ruined streets, the group came face to face with a war band of fifteen Hobgoblins. Battle ensued in which no magical healing was possible due to the Dead Magic zone. The heroes made short work of the goblinoids, however as Nazool (who was already sorely wounded) recklessly dashed through the fray, one of the Hobgoblins landed an attack of opportunity, criting and killing the ratkin!

Leaving the weapons and armour on their fallen foes, the group retreated back to the Temple of Oghma and met back with The Company of the Ready Shield. The party asked if The Hand of Light, once found, might restore life to the dead. The other group replied with a ‘maybe’ as they weren’t sure of all of the artefact’s powers. Regardless, the two groups decided to meet up again in two days time at the same place to trade any information they might discover. Poor Nazool’s body was stuffed into Thorgrimm’s bag of holding. Once the party had re-grouped, they headed once more for Blackstar Tower, finally reaching it in the early afternoon.

The tower appeared severely damaged from attack and the passage of time, with only the lower half remaining, sawn-off at an angle half hay up. Under Cyrien’s hand, the double stone doors to the tower magically opened, allowing access. The group set about exploring the ground floor of the tower, which appeared safe but in decay. Thorgrimm, Gaz-Borg, Nazool and Woz all seemed intent on grabbing what riches they could. Cyrien claimed a large Blackstar Clan tapestry (somehow preserved from damage) from the Great Hall and a magical elven sword from the armoury.

23/12/10 – Blackstar Tower
The group continued to explore the ruins of Blackstar Tower and met the ghost of Tyvar Blackstar, a wizard of House Blackstar and ancestor of Cyrien. Apparently he was killed defending the tower during the invasion and later returned as a spirit to continue to protect the location. He spoke to Cyrien and the rest of the group, questioning their intentions. Eventually he agreed to allow the group access to the clan’s hidden treasury, map room and library in the hope they’d use the contents for good. The group gained a bunch of treasure including magic items, cash and gems. When questioned about the possible resting place of the Hand of Light (the artefact The Company of the Ready Shield was searching for), Tyvar said it used to be kept in the Temple of Sehanine Moonbow, but that he doubted that it would be left there and that it would have been moved before the city’s fall.

The party stayed the night safely below Blackstar Tower before moving on the next day and making their rendezvous with Fritz to trade. He charged a high price for the healing potions he’d scavenged within the ruins. The group moved on again, this time deciding to head towards the Temple of Sehanine Moonbow at the centre of the city in the hopes of finding The Hand of Light which may or may not be able to bring Nazool back to life.

On the way there they were attacked by swarms of rats and easily dispatched them. Rounding a corner close to their destination the group passed near the shadow of Castle Cormanthor at the heart of the city. Some of the group spotted flocks of demons perched high on the battlements and towers, clearly on the lookout for prey. Before the group could hide themselves, one of the winged demons spotted them and flew down to investigate.

The group dashed towards where the temple ruins were supposed to be and instead found a huge pile of rubble – it seemed there was nothing of the structure left standing and the group was trapped out in the open in view of the demons! However, several of the group saw through the illusion over the temple, which disguised the building as a huge pile of rubble. The group dashed inside just as three winged demons landed outside. The demons seemed physically unable to enter the temple, despite their attempts and the group appeared safe… for now.

The party set about searching the temple and discovered some remarkable glowing moss on a large wall behind the altar and a secret door with a ladder leading down into a hidden chamber. Within the chamber the group found more treasure including a cache of potions. The Hand of Light was nowhere to be seen.

30/12/10 – The Prophecy
Using a combination of invisibility and other illusion spells from Woz, the group developed a plan to leave the temple, escaping from under the overwatch of one of the winged demons that had seen them enter.

Just before the group left the Temple of Sehanine however, the strange Blueglow Moss on the rear wall of the temple began pulsing and glowing even more powerfully then before. A strange script of symbols appeared, moving across the surface. At first the adventurers couldn’t understand the writing but slowly, they formed sentences that could be read in each character’s native tongue. The script was a prophecy…

The Prophecy of Alaundo – Lord of Shadow & Flame

Lo! When the righteous man doth breath the seal of iron, the Herald shall be released once again from darkness. So shall begin the ascendency of the infernal kindred. The Weaver of Shadows, a master of demons, a man who would be a god, will wage his war.

In the Fallen City, his shadowed army shall seek the power to release the Dark Prince. Unbridled, unfathomable power unleashed. A great battle shall be fought upon the skycastle.

Three signs come to pass – fire and frost, tear of the goddess, day becomes night. When innocent blood is shed on sacred ground, only then the Gate to the Abyss shall be opened.

Woe for the fate of the world! The Prince of Shadow and Flame shall be unleashed upon the world once more. He shall walk Toril and the heavens will burn and the earth shall tremble. Darkness and desolation shall follow in his wake.

So sayeth the Prophet Alaundo.

Obsidian touched the bluish-silver glowing energy, which moved to cover his whole body, filling him with vitality and power (granting a Divine +1 to one Ability Score of your choice and +1 Destiny Point), before slowly fading. Each of the characters followed and did the same, with the same effect.

The group headed north, away from the centre of the ruined city. As they circled back towards Blackstar Tower, the group was met by a gnome named Tarbash. He explained that he had been a part of a group of treasure hunters that had been ambushed by demons and he was the only survivor. He joined the group in resting back at Blackstar Tower in the afternoon. A few members of the party scoured the ruins around the tower for treasure and found a few bits and pieces.

After resting the night the group travelled back to The House Song to meet with The Company of the Ready Shield. On the way Obsidian saw a glint coming from a large pile of rubble – the remains of a fallen building. Approaching he found the hand of a skeleton clutching an ancient leather satchel, the glint was coming from within. Reaching inside he produced an adamantine rerebrace (the upper-arm section of a suit of full-plate armour) – clearly it was powerfully magical. So powerful in fact, that none of the group could identify the item.

Arriving at the Temple the party met with the female adventurers who had good news, they had located The Hand of Light and were willing and able to use it to resurrect Nazool. Nazool was returned to life and after exchanging some info on the goings on in Myth Drannor, the groups finally parted ways, Tarbash left with the ladies.

Next, the group decided to head northwards to the Polyandrium in search of Zaxaris in the hope of cutting a deal for Vindicator. Arriving at the Polyandrium, Woz and Nazool spotted a group of goblins accompanied by a large humanoid creature. Knowing that Zaxaris was served by a clan of goblins, Nazool followed the patrol back to their hideout which appeared to be a fairly non-descript looking elven crypt.
Obsidian approached to negotiate with the goblins, who (after many insult slung from each side) escorted the party down into the crypt to meet with the Mind Flayer Zaxaris himself. The group saw several large, hideous abominations standing guard within – flesh golems.

Zaxaris welcomed the group to his lair and confirmed he was indeed in possession of Vindicator. He made a deal with the group, he would hand over the magical weapon in exchange for another magic item – an artefact known as The Crown of Stars. The Crown was apparently atop a column of trophy skulls deep within the lair of Narlgathra, a powerful red dragon. Zaxaris suggested that sneaking in and stealing the Crown was the only option. He suggested using a ‘rear’ tunnel used by the clan of orcs that serve the dragon, instead of the main entrance. Both entrances were marked on the group’s map. He also warned that red dragons are particularly obsessed with treasure, so they should fear reprisals if/when the dragon discovers the Crown is missing.

Chained to the wall was an emaciated elven prisoner – apparently Zaxaris’ supper. When Cyrien asked to trade for the prisoner, the Mind Flayer claimed that he was willing to trade the elf for three living humanoids, NOT goblinoids however.

The party then headed back into the ruined city, this time bound for the ruins of the structure known as ‘Onaglym’ or ‘The House of Gems’. Arriving in the area unscathed, to the south the party saw a huge area of devastation with groups of what appeared to be ghouls picking through the rubble. Approaching the building (which appeared to be a of stout keep dwarven construction), the group spotted a flock of gargoyles on the roof, which moved to attack. The fighting attracted the attention of some of the near by ghouls (which turned out to be their slightly more hardcore cousins, ‘ghasts’), which also moved to attack. The party dispatched the gargoyles and is now currently half way through dealing with the ghasts. There is currently 9 ghasts left, however Cyrien, Woz and Hawke are ALL paralysed! Most of the party has been ‘Sickened’ by their stench too ☺

5/1/11 – The Moonblade Shaeveril & the Soul Drinker
The battle with the ghasts continued. Although six more of the beasts joined the fray, the group finally defeated the last of them. Woz was paralysed and almost eaten alive by one ghast, only being saved by a swift Channel Energy from Bolder. Both Hawke and Cyrien were also Paralysed during the fight, but the group managed to cut the last few ghasts down in time to save them from being eaten alive. The entire group was sickened by their stench and many were suffering from stinging, weeping wounds.

The fight now over, Woz and Thorgrimm could see something far off in the distance, somewhere towards the centre of the area of devastation, beyond huge piles of skeletal corpses, there they saw a glowing blue-white light for just a moment. However neither bothered to share what they’d seen with the rest of the party.

From there the group split up, albeit briefly. Cyrien, Hawke, Bolder and Obsidian headed off into the large area of devastation in search of the Moonblade Shaeveril of the Blackstar Clan. They had not moved far through the rubble before they gained the attention of yet more ghasts scavenging the area that scampered in to attack the adventurers!

Thorgrimm, Gaz, Woz and Nazool all decided to head inside the ruin of Onaglym: The House of Gems. After entering, briefly exploring the courtyard and first level of a short tower within, the group found a corpse on the edge of the stairs leading down. The four headed downstairs and were met with an overwhelming stench of death. They decided to head back up and climbing the stairs to the upper level of the tower, the group looked out the arrow slits over the ruins. Nazool used his spyglass and spotted the other four group members out on the area of devastation being assailed by yet more ghasts. The four ran back to help their companions.

Gaz arrived first and was just in time to beat-down on the last of the ghasts. The others arrived a short time later. Reunited, the party moved deeper into the area of devastation.

A few more ghast scavengers saw the group’s approach, but stood and watched from a distance as finally the adventurers came upon a huge pile of skeletons, mostly elven and demon corpses. The air was chill in the whole area emanating a feeling of dread as the hair on the backs of everyone’s necks stood on end. At the top was a single dead elven warrior holding a mighty sword aloft – Cyrien recognized it as the Moonblade Shaeveril and swiftly began climbing to retrieve it. Grasping the blade, a powerful burst of white light filled the air, momentarily blinding everyone. Cyrien was met by a vision of his ancestor Aelemar, last wielder of Shaeveril…

Cyrien’s Vision:
A vision flashes before your eyes. Cyrien finds himself standing in the Myth Drannor of the past, a scene of utter devastation unfolds before him. In the distance the once thriving city of myth Drannor burns in ruin.

Cyrien stands on small hill at the centre of a five-way intersection. A group of perhaps two hundred warriors stand with him, weapons at the ready, a mixture of sweat and blood covering their faces and armour. Encircling these brave warriors is a massive ring of monsters, orcs, demons and other goblinoids.

Cyrien, or rather Aelemar is in the thick of the soldiers, shouting commands to the men, elves and dwarves around him, preparing for the inevitable battle to come. Despite the fact they are vastly outnumbered, the defenders stand strong in the face of death.

The enemy horde stalks forwards through the ruined terrain brandishing blade and spell. Slowly but surely the circle closes until the enemies are finally face-to-face. With deafening war cries and clash of steel, battle is joined!

Several of the sigils along the blade of the weapon glowed powerfully blue – the blade appeared to accept its new wielder.

At the bottom of the huge pile of skeletons, Nazool, Gaz-Borg and Woz spotted movement – the rubble and bone in several places heaved upwards. Suddenly fourteen skeletons of the elite elven warriors rose up to attack! Battle was joined and soon another creature emerged from the bone yard – a ten-foot tall undead monstrosity. Not a skeleton but an unholy abomination. In its open chest were the souls of its past victims, silently crying out for mercy and clawing for freedom!

13/1/11 – The High Price of Victory
The group battled the ‘Soul Drinker’ and its skeleton minions. After smashing the skeletons to pieces the group set upon the unholy abomination, slowly grinding it down. The Soul Drinker attempted to devour the souls of several of the party (Cyrien, Obsidian and Thorgrimm), but still drained a great deal of life (Levels and Hit Points), healing itself in the process. The party finally triumphed before moving back across the area of devastation to the ruins of Onaglym. A pack of Ghasts followed the group at a cautious distance but did not attack.

Entering the courtyard of the ruined fortification, the party made its way over to the tower that Thorgrimm, Gaz-Borg, Nazool and Woz had briefly explored earlier. Climbing up to the second level the party barricaded the entrances and got some hard-earned rest.

The group’s rest was interrupted during Nazool’s watch in the early hours of the morning. The Ratkin noticed the hair on the back of his neck stand on end and the temperature dropping rapidly… he woke Thorgrimm who was just in time to see a dark shape dart through the wall to attack Nazool from behind! Six Wraiths emerged through the walls to attack the group. After another desperate struggle, five of the Wraiths were destroyed and one fled. Many of the group were drained of their vigour (Con drain) by the touch of the undead.

In the hours before dawn, Obsidian reported seeing several Ghouls wandering around, searching the courtyard outside, however none seem to have found the groups resting place. It’s now 9am on Day 11 since the group left Dagger Falls.

20/1/11 – Onaglym: The House of Gems
• Killed two ghasts, which found the group’s hiding place in the tower.
• Explored the lower reaches of the tower, discovered portcullis winch and water pumping controls.
• Discovered the lower levels of the structure were flooded with filthy water.
• Attacked by 11 ‘fish men’ (Skum), slew 9 and 2 escaped down below.
• Cyrien and Gaz both swam (with Water Breathing) down deeper to see what they could see. Entering the lower level of the tower they were attacked by at least 12 more ‘fish men’ wielding javelins and so beat a hasty retreat.
• Above in the ‘control room’, Bolder and Nazool spotted the ghost of a dwarf spying on them through the wall. The group managed to coax him out and converse. The dwarf’s name was Harldain Ironbar, apparently a guard sergeant killed in the defence of Onaglym.
• After some negotiation, Harldain agreed to tell the characters where two hidden stashes of gems were in the keep, only if they would ‘put his men to final rest’.
• The group spent some time digging graves in the gardens outside, collecting up the skeletons of the slain dwarven defenders and burying them. Harldain was last and gave the locations of the hidden treasure. He also mentioned that a large shipment of gems was still in the vaults below Onaglym when the place was deliberately flooded to prevent the enemy looting the treasure, before he finally faded away.
• Following talk amongst the party of handing Woz over to Zaxaris the Mind Flayer as food, or just killing him and talking his stuff, Woz went into one of the privies in the courtyard, saying he was going to ‘check them out’. Thorgrimm, Gaz-Borg and Nazool were suspicious and followed. They heard him chanting a spell within and throwing open the door found he was gone.
• The group left Onaglym and made its way back northwards to The House of Song (Temple of Oghma), following their clues and hoping to find the next piece of the armour Obsidian had recovered.
• In the temple, some of the group spotted a slimy trail of large, wet footprints. The trail led them to a side chamber where some of the stone floor had been ripped up. Beneath was a hidden chest that had been smashed open and something taken from inside. The trail led westward out of the temple and into the ruined city.

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The Sword of the Dales
The first book in our epic story

NB: This adventure was converted from the 2nd edition AD&D adventure series ‘The Sword of the Dales’, ‘The Secret of Spiderhaunt’ and ‘The Return of Randal Morn’ for Pathfinder with extra, tasty plot and colour thrown in for good measure by me!

Our story begins with a group of adventurers meeting in the famed Old Skull Inn in Shadowdale. The party then consisted of Cyrien Blackstar (elven sorcerer), Darius Thule (human paladin), Gaz-Borg (half-orc monk), Kiph (gnome druid), Maresk (wood elven ranger), Nazool (ratkin rogue), Rayne Ricardo (halfling bard), Thorgrimm Grimmaldus (dwarven barbarian) and Woz (half-elven wizard).

While drinking in The Old Skull the group was approached by Lhaeo, the scribe to none other than Elminster of Shadowdale. He informed the adventurers that he had an ‘urgent matter requiring immediate attention’ for which he wanted to hire their services. Lhaeo wanted the group to rescue Randal Morn, the rightful ruler of Daggerdale (which was currently occupied by the Zhentarim) who appeared to have been captured while leaving the crypt of a long-dead weapons mage known as Shraevyn. Randal and his group had recovered a magical sword known as The Sword of the Dales and were leaving the tomb when they were ambushed by force of Zhents. During the battle a number of undead rose from the ground to attacked the Dalesmen and an odd emerald light struck Randal, knocking him to the ground. A paladin by the name of Ariton Delmas was the only one of Randal’s group to escape and it was he who brought word to Lhaeo in Shadowdale.

After hearing the nature of the job and after some negotiation over payment, the group agreed to rescue Randal. The group set out for the tomb the very next morning.

After several days travel, meeting a merchant caravan, running into a kobold ambush and battling a flock of stirges, the party arrived in the valley known as ‘The Giants Craw’. Within they explored a huge black bolder that glowed with a soft magical light. Travelling deeper, they found the entrance to the tomb and at the same time encountered a patrol of Zhentarim soldiers. A brutal battle ensured from which the group emerged victorious, taking two prisoners whom they later questioned released ‘on parole’ after making an oath to the paladin Darius. However several of the group were less than happy with letting the enemy go.

The group entered the tomb itself after solving a riddle, which sealed the door shut. Inside they were faced with more magical puzzles and finally battled a large force of undead, smashing the undead to dust. In the coffin above which an illusion of the long-dead mage Shraevyn hung in mid-air, they found The Sword of the Dales itself with a note attached. The note simple read: ‘Seek me in Spiderhaunt. The survival of Daggerdale depends on the return of this blade to my hand. Send word to my sister, Silver Morn, of whatever should befall me. – R.M.’

The group also recovered a cache of treasure from a secret hidden study, including several of Shraevyn’s books and even one of his spell tomes, which Woz kept to use.

The group next travelled to Spiderhaunt Wood in search of Randal. It was at this time that all members of the party started having a strange dream. They found themselves as a bird flying high above a great, dark wood. A lake came into view, and then an ancient ruined tower and they heard a voice crying out for help.

Shortly after the strange dreams began, the group met the ‘spirit within the Sword of the Dales’ who introduced herself as Hidistrin. She claimed to be helping the group towards their goal of finding Randal Morn and explained that she believed he was being held within a ruin tower in Spiderhaunt Wood. She also confirmed that it was she who had been sending dreams of the very same location. In some of their later battles, ‘Hidistrin’ would appear to help the group, however Thorgrimm remained suspicious of her true intentions.

After encountering several Zhentarim patrols, battles Zhent wizards and giant spiders the group met Madarn Spiderhunter who took them to his home village deep within the wood where the party rested, traded with the gnomes and were treated to a feast in their honour. They also spoke to the village elder, Telimas Dreamweaver who seemed to be experiencing the exact same dream as the adventurers. The group also confirmed the existence of a ruined tower (the one from their dreams) with the gnomes, located in the southern reaches of the forest.

The village was attacked by undead ghouls and skeletons, which seemed to be focused on killing Telimas. The group along with Madarn and some gnome warriors fought off the undead before departing for the ruined tower with Madarn in the morning.

Making their way through the dark, dense woods, the group encountered a pair of leopards, which they managed to bypass without bloodshed, before entering a large clearing in which the ruined tower stood.

With only a short delay, the group managed to bypass the aura of sleep surrounding the structure and made their way inside. Entering the underground level of the tower via a winding slide-tunnel, the party found Randal trapped within a glowing green sphere of magical energy and a side chamber within which rested eight skeletons each with a magical green pendant around their necks. Before the group could do much more a force of Zhents entered the chamber and attacked including their leader the wizard Ilthond.

During the ensuing fight the spirit of Hidistrin appeared and implored the adventurers each touch one of the skulls of the skeletons with the green pendants saying that doing so should release Randal from his prison. All members of the group did so and suddenly found themselves under mental attack from evil spirits trying to possess their bodies! Nazool, Woz, Thorgrimm, Kip and Cyrien were all briefly possessed by an evil sprit from the skeletons and one of the lesser Zhent wizards was also taken over but and later fled. Ilthond smashed Randal’s magical prison and seized the unconscious Dalesman. However before he could steal the Sword of the Dales as well, the blade struck the Zhent wizard with a bolt of lightning and he teleported away with Randal’s unconscious form.

The group’s next move was to travel northwards towards Dagger Falls in search of Randal at the Zhentarim H.Q there. Following the battle below the tower and despite her pleading innocent, the adventurers were all now much more suspicious of the spirit Hidistrin, despite her offers of spell-protection. During their journey they were harassed by yet more Zhentarim soldiers. Finally, while travelling on the Tethymar Trail heading north, the group was met by a female ranger name Mestin ‘Troll’ Durmark and a patrol of Freedom Riders.

The party was taken back to the Freedom Riders camp where they met with Ariton Delmas, the soul survivor of Randal’s group from the tomb and current leader of the Freedom Riders in Randal’s absence. The group told of their adventures and Ariton informed them of the current situation – Randal was being held prisoner in the dungeons of the garrison H.Q in Dagger Falls and the Freedom Riders planned to attack Dagger Falls in just three days time. Seeing as how the group’s quest was to save Randal, Ariton offered them another important mission that would help achieve their ultimate goal as well as the Freedom Riders. Their mission was simple – sneak into Dagger Falls, assess the location and strength of the Zhentarim occupying forces and (if possible) rescue Randal Morn.

The group agreed and entered Dagger Falls. Entering they made contact with Dulwar the leather worker (a Freedom Rider agent) and gathered info on the Zhentarim defences. However they didn’t get any further as they were ambushed by a group of Zhent soldiers led by a brutal half-orc named Toren and a powerful Zhent wizard named Tierimar. The group refused three chances to surrender (the Zhents seemed to want at least some of them alive), Cyrien and Hawke were incapacitated and later killed as hostages of Toren when Thorgrimm refused to lay down arms and continued attacking. Gaz-Borg, Nazool and Thorgrimm survived but were taken prisoner. Woz escaped thanks to an invisibility spell.

Gaz-Borg, Nazool and Thorgrimm were imprisoned in the dungeons of the garrison H.Q and interrogated by Constable Guthbert Golthammer who turned out not to be the sharpest of tool in the shed. The group managed to trick the imbecilic Golthammer into saying the word ‘Merrydale’ as he held the Sword of the Dales, activating its power to unlock all chains and manacles within 30 feet! At the same time Ilthond teleported into the room, cursing his foolish minion for being so stupid. Simultaneously a spirit emerged from the sword, not the beautiful Hidistrin, but an evil-looking undead hag-sorceress. The sorceress seized Ilthond by the throat and proceeded to suck out his soul! An evil chant could be heard in the chamber as the skulls from the ruined tower danced about the sorceresses form as some dark ritual came to its completion.

The three surviving adventurers made good their escape, killing Golthammer before receiving few brief words of thanks from the evil spirit whom called herself Gothyl. The evil spirit revelled in her success saying she had finally achieved her goal and that they would meet again, then disappeared.

Meanwhile, Cyrien and Hawke awoke in a tent back in the Freedom Riders camp. They had been resurrected and were being sent back into the fray with two other adventurers working for the Freedom Riders – Bolder, a human cleric of Mystra and Obsidian, a human paladin of Torm.

Their new mission was to get the gates of the town open to make way for the Freedom Riders charge at dawn. Along with the help of Woz, they succeeded and a desperate battle was fought within the streets of Dagger Falls itself.

Thorgrimm, Gaz-Borg and Nazool escaped the dungeon in time to finally rescue Randal from a group of Zhentarim solders who attempted to make a get away with the Dalesman in a wagon. Woz put the driver to sleep and the wagon crashed; luckily Randal was thrown clear and saved.

The Freedom Riders and adventurers were victorious, re-taking Dagger Falls from the Zhentarim forces. The group managed to save a large group of slaves being held by the Zhents as well as tracking down the half-orc Toren and extracting justice.

Everyone’s troubles were far from over however for no sooner had the dust settled on the battle than word reached Randal from his scouts that a large orcish army of the Shatterstone tribe (in the employ of the Zhentarim) were amassing on the edge of town under the banner of their chief and preparing to attack. To make matters worse, the group of adventurers had learned that three war machines had been wheeled into position on a hill over-looking the town ready to rain destruction on Dagger Falls.

Randal had two missions for the adventurers to choose from – flank around to the orc war chief’s camp and slay him before the attack, thereby weakening the enemy force by removing its strongest leader, or to strike the war machines and prevent them from firing on the town. The group took the mission to kill the chief and Randal had ‘Troll’ Durmark and her rangers take care of the other mission.

The adventurers succeeded in killing chief Gulab of the Shatterstone tribe and freeing a young moon elven cleric named Lianna who’d been enslaved by the brutal orc chief. Troll and her troops disabled the war machines with only one catapult shot being fired – the battle was won!

A huge feast was held in honour of the Heroes of the Battle of Dagger Falls. The adventurers were richly rewarded with gold, titles of land both in Daggerdale and Shadowdale, brooches bearing Randal’s coat of arms and building materials. The group later had a meeting with Randal and Elminster to clear up several matters, during which they told of the evil spirit Gothyl. Elminster knew something of the evil sorceress who had tried to ascend to Lichdom some one hundred and fifty years ago. Elminster and his apprentice had attacked and cast down her tower with her inside. It was assumed she had perished in the aftermath. Elminster explained that she was clearly a threat that had to be dealt with and that he would do some more research and get back to the group once he’d found out more.

Over the next three months of rest many of the adventurers built homes, inns/taverns around Dagger Falls or bought businesses in the town itself and became established. Many of the adventurers completed training in their chosen fields.

Just a few months after the Battle of Dagger Falls, a young blue dragon attacked Daggerdale. The dragon demanded a virgin sacrifice from the people of Dagger Falls before destroying several buildings (including some of the adventurer’s properties!) and flying away. The group pursued the best back to its lair a slew it, however Thorgrimm was killed during the fight and had to be transported to Shadowdale to be resurrected at the Temple of Lathander.

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