Lord of Shadow & Flame

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.

View
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.

View
27/1/11 – Deal with a Demon

Thorgrimm with help from several of the others, managed to track the slimy trail back to a large open ruin. Within was a large open sewer leading down eighty feet to more tunnels and filled with fetid water. It was clear the creatures must have headed down below. It was at this time that several group members spotted Woz following them at a distance and doing a poor job of it.

Cyrien threw several rocks down covered in light spells to probe the area. This revealed at least one troll who raised its head just above the surface of the water to look up at the disturbance. The group made its way down the hole using a combination of flying, levitation and ropes. Unfortunately Obsidian slipped and fell down into the water below, sending the submerged trolls into a killing frenzy as they attacked! The adventurers managed to overcome the two aquatic trolls with sword, axe, spell and bomb, before heading down a tunnel to the west to explore the ancient sewer further.

Entering another chamber they were ambushed by two more sewer trolls which they swiftly dispatched. Nazool found a chest of treasure submerged below the water and partly buried which the adventurers recovered. Deeper into the sewer the group discovered a narrow tunnel which they all entered, crawling still deeper. The pipe deposited them at the dead-end of another larger sewer tunnel leading down to a larger, water-filled chamber.

It was then that each of the adventurers heard a fiendish voice in their mind. The voice called itself ‘Ghada’ demanded to know why the group was in its lair. Ghada explained that the sewer was its home and they’d killed his minions (the trolls). The adventurers pleaded innocent, saying they were ‘just passing through’, looking for an artefact of great power and making their way southwards underground. Ghada demanded ‘tribute’ and began negotiations with Hawke. The group discovered that Ghada’s troll minions had found the other piece of the armour and returned with it to him.

Before the diplomacy could go any further, Bolder and Obsidian spat a tirade of insults at Ghada, saying they would kill him for the piece of the artefact and that he was a coward for not showing himself, ruining the groups chances of negotiating with the creature. The fiend rose up from the water and attacked saying that they were fools for interloping in his domain and that it would feast of their souls. Before the group could inflict any real harm on Ghada, the fiend spoke blasphemous words of pure evil sending a black wave of energy outwards over the adventurers. The result was devastating, paralysing everyone in the group except Cyrien! Woz and Gaz-Borg managed to pull free of the supernatural paralysis faster than the others, but things looked dire indeed! Bolder and Obsidian were attacked by Ghada and two of his troll minions and very nearly killed, being knocked unconscious and seized by Ghada and his trolls.

Ghada paused and again gave the rest of the adventurer’s the chance to negotiate, saying that he would take Bolder and Obsidian and devour their souls as payment, or if they kept fighting, kill everyone!

The diplomacy began anew, with Hawke, Thorgrimm, Cyrien and Nazool doing much of the negotiations with Ghada. A deal was finally struck, Ghada took Obsidian’s piece of the armour (the rerebrace) also, the adventurers would recover yet another magical treasure from the dragon’s horde – the bejewelled skull of a long-deal half-orc shaman and bring it to Ghada. In return, and Ghada wouldn’t slay them outright! The group has three days to return with the skull. The party left the sewers, alive but minus one artefact.

From there, Cyrien wished to return Blackstar Tower to seek advice from the ghost Tyvar, Nazool wanted to speak to Fritz and try and rouse the gargoyles of the city to war with the demons (such as Ghada). The group’s next goal was the lair of Narlgathra the red dragon and Vindicator.

View
3/2/11 – Into the Dragon’s Maw

As the adventurers climbed the open sewer tunnel back to the top, Bolder and Obsidian received the following challenge from the demon Ghada, via telepathy… “I know that you two fools will one day return to try and kill me and I welcome it. Know that I shall be here, ready and waiting for you. It is then that I shall deliver on my earlier promise of feeding on your souls! I look forward to your return mortal fools!”

Returning to the surface, the group of adventurers were met by a familiar figure. Tristan Morningstar was waiting for them along with their old companion, the gnome druid Kipah and a human stranger. The newcomer was introduced as Owen Acreman, a human ranger/sorcerer who himself sought to destroy Gothyl for his own reasons.

Tristan explained that he’d received a message from Randal Morn, via Elminster to escort the two new adventurers into Myth Drannor to meet the group to aid in their quest. The pair met Tristan after being teleported several miles from the edge of Myth Drannor by the wizard Keldar.

Following a brief exchange of information, Tristan left. The group then moved to The House of Song to take refuge against the night, which was by now fast approaching. The two new comers also shared some much needed magical healing with the group, restoring several member’s lost life force and vitality.

Cyrien and Kipah decided to break-off from the rest of the group and make a dash for Blackstar Tower, making it there just as the sun set. Within they found the ghost Tyvar. Cyrien questioned the ghost of his ancestor further about how to awaken the Moonblade Shaeveril and also accessed the tower’s library for more information. The two stayed the night there and were awoken during the night to the sounds of fighting outside.

Cyrien and Kipah moved to a window from which they witnessed a large group of goblinoids fleeing down a ruined street. They were quickly set-upon by a trio of vicious, bat-like demons with glowing eyes. The three demons made short work of the weaker goblinoids, their furious red gaze striking down many where they stood. The demons paused only to feed on the fallen. Those goblinoids that had been slain by the demonic gaze attack rose as ghoulish undead creatures.

The adventurers met back up in the morning and decided to head for the lair of the red dragon Narlgathra in the south of the city via the tunnels Ghada had told them about. Thanks to Thorgrimm and Nuzool’s excellent sense of subterranean direction the group traversed the darkened sewer tunnels without getting lost.

The exit of the tunnel network deposited the adventurers in the basement of a dwarven workshop that, sadly, had been looted long ago. As the group climbed the stairs, several of the party heard movement in the ruins to the northwest. Taking a closer look through the windows of the ruins, the group saw a war band of perhaps ten orcs searching a nearby ruin.

The party formulated a plan. They wanted to know more about the dragon and its lair before launching a mission to infiltrate and steal the Crown of Stars. Perhaps one of the leaders of the orc war band could given them the knowledge they sought?

The group prepared an ambush for the orcs. When they were ready, Thorgrimm stepped out into the rubble-strewn street and offered a sharp challenge to the orcs, taunting them into attacking and sure enough the orcs came charging!

The fight was short and fierce, with the adventurers dispatching the green skins with ease. Gaz-Borg managed to grapple an orc shaman to the ground and tie him up, figuring he’d know more than the warriors of the war band.

Dragging their prisoner into a near by ruined house, the party took refuge and interrogated the shaman for information. Woz placed a Geas on him, forcing the shaman, ‘Gnarleye’, to divulge everything he knew. Gnarleye and the rest of his clan, the ‘Burning Talon’ appeared to worship the dragon as their god, believing her to be all-powerful. He gave a rough description of the lair and its two entrances, as well as the trophy column of skulls upon which rested the Crown the adventurers sought. Narlgathra sometimes left her lair to hunt and often slumbered for weeks or months.
The orcs were tasked with searching the ruins for treasure and returning to the lair to add to her massive treasure horde. Gnarleye told of the orc’s shift schedule, which would aid with timing the group’s incursion. Also, the dragon had apparently forged a truce with the demons of the city. Their respective territories were now clearly set, however they had fought in the past.

Thorgrimm executed Gnarleye, then the group set to formulating a plan to get into the lair and get the Crown. After much discussion, the final plan was agreed upon – Nuzool (along with Woz’s scorpion familiar) was to go in to the rear entrance of the lair by stealth, using a combination of invisibility and fly spells/potions. He’d make his way down to the chamber with the dragon, steal the Crown and hopefully the half-orc skull (which Ghada sought) as well, then return to the surface.

The group positioned itself within view of the rear cave entrance to the lair. Mingling around the cave were nine orc warriors who looked quite alert. Nuzool made his final preparations before flying into the cave mouth, cloaked in invisibility.

One of the orcs on watch noticed something was a miss, and, glancing around, took a few wild swings through the air, narrowly missing the orc standing next to him who turned, grunted a complaint and slapped its careless companion. What started as an argument, quickly turned into a brawl as the two orcs set upon one another, giving Nuzool the perfect opportunity to slip inside.

The rough-hewn tunnel was pitch black making progress quite slow as Nuzool was forced to feel his way along as he had no light to go by and didn’t want to give away his location. Half way down Nuzool felt the tunnel curve away from his hand to the right. He used his light magic to look around and found a small sleeping cave off the main tunnel. He made his way deeper and several minutes later, the tunnel opened up into a larger corridor, clearly not of orcish make.

The long corridor led deeper into the earth, several corridors led off to the right and left, all lit by smoky torch sconces on the walls. A group of orcs stood guarding the corridor further down, Nuzool quickly bypassed them by flying up close to the high ceiling. Again, one orc felt the presence of something, but this time managed to alert his friends who set to searching the large, shadowy corridor.

Nazool skirted by the guards and was soon gone, leaving the orcs to search in vain. Nuzool flew deeper, finding himself in a huge, long chamber. To his right was a crude altar around which three shaman’s chanted, to his left, a large forge had been constructed for making steel weapons. Six orcs were at work there. Ahead he could hear the sounds of rushing water. Without pausing he forged onwards, coming across a huge rift that cut across the large chamber from east to west, below an underground river rushed by.

Meanwhile, up above the rest of the group hid within the shell of a ruined building watching the rear entrance. The larger, tough-looking leader of the orc warriors split up his brawling men and sent them back to their posts.

Thanks to the information gained from Gnarleye the shaman, Nuzool had his entrance to the dragon’s lair mapped out in his head. He flew down just below the edge of the chasm and headed westwards, deeper into the darkened lair.

The rift quickly narrowed into a tunnel just ten feet wide and the water was rushing even faster here. Further in Nuzool spotted a small side cave with a sandy bank on one side. Flying deeper still, the chasm finally opened up again, this time into a huge chamber, which was so long Nuzool, couldn’t make out its ends that were cloaked in darkness. To the southeast Nuzool spotted his goal – a thirty-foot tall column of skulls, atop which glowed a powerful magical radiance – the Crown of Stars. Beyond the column was a raised area, on top of which a huge red dragon slept, curled in around it self. However Nuzool didn’t pause to look but he could feel its heat and hear the rhythmic breathing of the great beast.

Using the column as cover, Nuzool flew over. Taking a few moments to look over the skulls, he spotted the bejewelled half-orc skull, but decided to leave it for now – the Crown was his first priority. Ascending the column, Nuzool reached the top. There was the Crown, twelve of the finest quality gems of emerald, ruby, sapphire and diamond, floating in harmony in a tight circlet, glowing with an intense magical aura. Reaching out, Nuzool carefully took the Crown and slipped it quickly into his pack. Descending, he grabbed the half-orc skull and did the same with it.

It was at that moment that Nuzool noticed that the dragon’s steady breathing had fallen silent. The dragon was awake!

Up in the world above, suddenly, everyone felt the pebbles on the ground shudder, as the ground shook slightly. Deep within the earth there could be heard a deep roar…

Nuzool sped through the air, back towards the chasm. The air was filled with a deafening, bestial roar. A wave of heat washed over him. Narlgathra was awake and furious to find her most valuable treasure missing!

View
10/2/11 – The Dragon Fooled & Two Brothers Reunited

Without even pausing to look back over his shoulder at the dragon, Nuzool made his escape. A gush of hot air washed over him as the dragon took flight, close on his still invisible heels. As Nuzool flew down the chasm, the dragon unleashed a sheet of flame which only just fell short, singeing the end of his cloak and his tail! Due to the narrowness of the tunnel the dragon could pursue no further.

Narlgathra shouted a threat after the thief “You dare steal from the great Narlgathra? Wherever you go thief, I shall hunt you down. You will suffer in agony before your inevitable death!”

Meanwhile, on the surface the rest of the group stayed hidden and waited tensely for Nuzool to re-emerge. Hearing the rumbling in the earth, the orcs guarding the tunnel mouth looked around in confusion. Their leader sent two of his warriors down the tunnel to see what was going on.

A few moments later the huge red dragon shot up into the sky out of what must have been the main entrance to the lair. It banked left and flew down to the rear entrance tunnel, landed and positioned its head just inside the tunnel… and began breathing great gouts of fire down the tunnel!

Fleeing back into the massive hall, Nuzool could see more orcs pouring out of side corridors, alerted by the dragon’s roars. The ratkin flew easily over their heads undetected and began his ascent back up the rear tunnel entrance of the lair. He flew over a patrol of two orcs, before seeing the flare of fire up ahead as he neared the surface… Realising the dragon had already flown around to cut him off and knowing that the only other exit was guarded by a demon, Nuzool took out the Crown of Stars and placed it on his head, accessing its arcane power.

Rushing forwards, Nuzool unleashed a hail of meteors that struck the dragon in the chest, causing it some harm, but far from devastating. The fire from the blasts washed over the beast without effect. The orcs who were standing guard weren’t so lucky, most being killed in the explosions. The rest of the adventuring party saw the explosions, but continued to wait and see what would happen.

The dragon lowered its head and unleashed a burst of fire down into the tunnel, this time catching Nuzool with its full force. Nuzool’s unconscious, scorched body fell to the ground and the dragon chuckled with pleasure. Two of the remaining orcs went down to retrieve the body and Crown.

The rest of the group acted quickly. Gaz-Borg made a hasty disguise and dashed out to try and bluff the dragon into leaving so they could secure the Crown and save Nuzool. Bowing down before Narlgathra pretending to be one of her orc minions, Gaz-Borg explained that demons had attacked him and were heading for the main entrance to the lair. Narlgathra seemed to buy the story, assuming that it was demons behind the theft. The dragon took to the skies and circled westwards.

The group emerged, killed the remaining orcs, rescued Nuzool and gained the Crown and jewelled skull.

The adventurers proceeded back through the tunnel network below the ruined streets, returning to the north of the city. Shortly after emerging, while discussing their next move, the group spotted what at first looked like another adventuring group speaking to a demonic-looking bird-man close to a tall stone archway.

Cyrien recognised one figure, the group’s leader – it was his brother Renack! Cyrien cried out in rage and, drawing Shaeveril charged to attack him! After a brief confrontation between the brothers (who hadn’t seen each other in over 60 years), the two groups conversed, although the strangers seemed on edge and secretive.

In respect to being accused of betraying his own people and carrying out genocide against the Blackstar Clan, Renack passionately claimed that it was not his intent to wipe out his people, but instead a tragic error. He claimed that the ruling council of the clan had become corrupt and that certain members had attempted to assassinate him. He made a deal with powerful mages capable of summoning demons, which he planned to use to kill the traitors in the ranks. Renack did indeed lower the village’s defences to let his allies in, however something went horribly wrong. The mages lost control of the demons, which poured in in greater numbers and set to slaying everyone.

Renack seemed to show genuine remorse for what had happened all those years ago and admitted he was ultimately responsible. He too wanted to re-build the clan anew, as Cyrien did.

Cyrien and Renack also spoke in private for a short time. Cyrien could see Renack was wearing his father’s magical Starsteel breastplate. When Renack went to examine Shaeveril, upon touching it, his hand was horribly burnt. Cyrien offered magical healing. However his Celestial fire only caused Renack even greater pain, confirming his evil to Cyrien. Renack was furious at his wounds, but said he wished to speak with Cyrien further. They both agreed to meet again in ten days time back at Cyrien’s inn in Daggerdale.

Gaz-Borg identified one symbol, which several of the strangers wore on their belt buckles – a version of the holy symbol of Shar, the Dark Goddess. One of the female members of the other group (a rather flirtatious woman in dark make-up) inspected Woz’s cursed arm with great interest. She also had a great deal of bad things to say about ‘the pathetically weak goodly deities’ of the Realms.

The two groups alluded to their respective missions in Myth Drannor. Renack explained that his group was in search of a particular ‘pool’ but gave few details. Thorgrimm and Cyrien told him that they were in search of a weapon with which to slay an undead shade. The two groups then finally went their separate ways.

Making their way further northwards, the group spotted three fresh corpses lying face-down in the street ahead, close to the foot of a huge stone statue of an elven warrior. Approaching cautiously, several of the party could make out fresh blood on the statue’s blade and shield. Sure enough, the statue animated and attacked. The adventurers managed to take it down. The statue crumbled to pieces to reveal a shining jacinth at its heart.

The party continued northwards towards the Polyandrium and Zaxaris, intent on using the Crown of Stars to destroy the insidious Illithid.

View
17/2/11 - Fight to the Death

The group reached the northern edge of the city and prepared to delve into the forest along a narrow trail that would eventually take them to the Polyandrium. A voice greeted them from somewhere in the canopy of trees “Aren’t you forgetting something?” it asked.

The voice belonged to a creature claiming to be a servant of the demon Ghada. It explained that its master wanted the magical skull the group had agreed to recover from the dragon’s lair, delivered sooner rather than later.

The adventurers explained that they would deliver the skull in due time, but that they first had to complete their quest. The messenger was sceptical and said that he would inform his master thus. He added that Ghada was growing impatient and that he would be most displeased should they fail to live up to the agreement.

Entering the burial glen of the Polyandrium, the group quickly spotted a patrol of a dozen goblins accompanied by one of Zaxaris’ monstrous Flesh Golems. The group waited until the patrol approached, then attacked suddenly, catching the goblins by surprise and swiftly slaying them before any could escape to bring word back to their master.

Following the fight, a figure emerged from the forest nearby. She introduced herself as Giana, a human rogue and adventurer. Apparently the sole survivor of yet another adventuring group which had been attacked by a force of goblins and Flesh Golems, one of Giana’s companions, a half-elven ranger named Ryden was captured and taken into Zaxaris’ lair. The rest were killed and she only barely managed to escape. She asked the group to rescue her companion and offered a reward, should they succeed and bring him to Hillsfar where she would be staying. She declined a request to join the adventurers, saying she had seen quite enough fighting and death for one day.

Moving through the burial glen, the adventurers approached the front of the crypt that they knew led down to the Illithid’s subterranean lair. Inside they spied movement. In an attempt to dispatch the sentries swiftly, Cyrien donned the Crown of Stars and sent a Meteor Swarm through the doorway, immolating everything within in four deafening explosions. However, to the horror of the party, the Crown of Stars disappeared. The artefact was gone!

Cursing their misfortune, the group decided to see through their plan to slay the Mindflayer and proceeded down into the lower levels of the crypt. It was eerily quiet within, only the echo of goblin voices could be heard deeper down.

The party bypassed several traps before cautiously entering the lower level of the lair. Entering they felt the hair on the backs of their necks stand on end as Zaxaris spoke to them via telepathy. “Tsk, tsk, tsk. Tis rather rude to force your way into another’s lair and kill their goblin minions. I sense why you are here. You should have gone through with the trade. Such a pity, Vindicator could have been yours. I also sense that you have lost the Crown, and for that you will die as my next meal, or perhaps serve me as slaves! Come mortals!”

Zaxaris was ready for the adventurer’s attack, having assembled four of his Flesh Golem servitors as bodyguards and twenty or so of his goblin minions.

The battle was brutal. The Illithid’s Mind Blast power stunned most of the party, leaving them helpless. A lightning bolt, which miraculously bypassed his spell resistance, wounded Zaxaris but it was not enough. The lightning bolt fire by Woz also caught a prisoner chained to the wall in the corner, instantly killing him. It was the half-elven ranger Ryden that the group had only just learnt about earlier.

In moments, the Mindflayer latched on to Obsidian’s face with its tentacles and ripped out the paladin’s brains, devouring the grey-matter and instantly killing him! Woz was next to fall, slammed to the ground and stomped to death by a Flesh Golem.

Cyrien was also beset by two of the Flesh Golems. Realising just how grim the situation was, he appealed desperately to the Elf Shadow within the Moonblade Shaeveril, awakening the weapon. The spirit of the sword spontaneously manifested. In a hasty exchange, the spirit offered Cyrien the chance at escape, or instead, he could fall along with his companions. The offer came with a warning that his decision might determine his suitability to wield the sword. Cyrien choose to stand and fight to the death along with his adventuring companions.

A few moments later, he fell under their massive blows of the Golems. The elf lay prone and dying as one of the Golems raise a huge foot to finish off the Bladesinger. Suddenly there was a flash of bluish light as the sword pulsed with power, as it faded, Cyrien was gone leaving Shaeveril lying on the floor.

While stunned, Gaz-Borg was grappled and captured by two of the Golems and was then swarmed by goblins who struggled to keep the big half-orc at bay. Kipah decided to beat a hasty retreat, saying the fight was hopeless and that he’d go for help. Both Bolder and Hawke suffered the same fate as Obsidian, as Zaxaris devoured their brains!

In the end, only Thorgrimm, Nuzool and Owen remained. The trio beat a hasty, fighting retreat towards the exit. The battle was not quite over. Zaxaris, in his haste to try and prevent any of the adventurers from escaping, moved in behind the group, leaving the protection of his Flesh Golem bodyguards and exposing himself to attack.

Thorgrimm and Nuzool leaped to the attack and managed to strike through the Illithid’s many layers of magical protections and wound him.

Zaxaris wasn’t finished, rushing forwards he latched onto Thorgrimm’s face this time, his tentacles driving up the dwarf’s nose and latching on to his brain. In moments, the dwarf’s brain would be torn out! Drawing deep on his reserves of strength, luck and perhaps a little of his goddess Halea’s power, Thorgrimm achieved the impossible. Bringing his greataxe up into the Mindflayer’s guts, he drove it home deep into its flesh and simultaneously tore himself free of the aberration’s tentacled death-grip!

Zaxaris stumbled back, now sorely wounded and bleeding from the terrible wound Thorgrimm had dealt. Casting a hasty spell, Zaxaris disappeared from sight.

Thorgrimm slashed his axe through the air, guessing the Mindflayer was invisible. He was right and his axe struck home again. With a satisfying ‘thud’ the remaining adventurers could hear the body of the Mindflayer drop and a large pool of blood pooled on the floor.

Believing Zaxaris dead, Thorgrimm, Nuzool and Owen fled up the stairs. Gaz-Borg managed to slip free of the rope which had bound him, leaped over his goblin captors and dashed at full speed, escaping past one of the Flesh Golems. The four surviving adventurers made for the surface and freedom, sorely wounded, alive, but minus their slain companions.

Vindicator, the weapon they needed to destroy the shade Gothyl was lost.

View
24/2/11 – Annihilation, Life Anew and Ghada Slain

Thorgrimm, Nuzool, Owen and Gaz-Borg stumbled from Zaxaris’ lair to see a bird flying off into the distance. Could it be Kipah fleeing? None could tell for sure. Smoke could be seen rising over the ruins of Myth Drannor to the south.

The survivors quickly weighed up their options and finally, after sending a desperate message to Durin (via the ring of communication Tristan had given Thorgrimm), requesting aid, the adventurers quaffed their remaining healing potions and headed back into the lair.

A pair of Flesh Golems, fully healed and ready to fight, greeted the four. The remaining group swiftly downed one Golem but a squad of goblins and another Flesh Golem moved around behind them, cutting off any hope of escape – still the adventurers fought on.

The trap was sprung as the four were struck with another Mind Blast. Zaxaris was alive! Concealed with invisibility, the Mindflayer launched its attack, stunning everyone. “I’m glad you’ve returned, you’ve saved me the trouble of hunting you down myself!” he mocked before closing in and devouring Gaz-Borg’s brain as the half-orc reeled helplessly. Through great force of will and perhaps even a little divine intervention, Nuzool briefly broke free of the stun but was grappled by Zaxaris’ sinister tentacles before his brain was also extracted from his skull!

Owen was swiftly beaten to death under the massive fists of a Flesh Golem, also unable to defend himself. Thorgrimm was the last to die. Zaxaris devoured his brain, extracting revenge for almost being killed by the dwarf’s greataxe earlier.

Meanwhile, Cyrien had awoken inside the Moonblade Shaeveril itself. After a long, lonely wait, Cyrien spoke at length to Shaeveril, the female Elfshadow spirit of the sword and also his ancestor from long ago. She explained what had happened. As a last resort, she had somehow managed to draw his spirit into the sword as he was about to be killed. She stated that this had never been done before and might well have serious consequences for Cyrien in the future. It had also drained Shaeveril of much of her strength.

Shaeveril counselled Cyrien, pointing out that he and the rest of the group had gotten greedy and lost sight of the goal of their quest – to recover Vindicator. Fortunately she’d completed the quest for them. During the chaos after the group’s first attack on Zaxaris, Shaeveril managed to located Vindicator and steal it from under the guard of one of the Flesh Golems. She then hid it at the bottom of the Mindflayer’s spawning pool in its lair, along with the Moonblade itself.

Shaeveril spied on the enemy’s movements, later reporting back to Cyrien that two hours after the battle, Zaxaris and his minions had hastily vacated the crypt-lair. With great effort, Shaeveril returned Cyrien to the world of the living, although the transition was extremely painful for the young elf.

Cyrien awoke deep inside the lair. As he rose, still beaten and bruised, he spotted bright flashes of silvery-white light from the chambers where most of the fighting had taken place. Taking Shaveril and Vindicator with him, and after healing a little, Cyrien went to investigate.

Bolder, Gaz-Borg, Hawke, Nuzool, Obsidian and Thorgrimm all woke, lying right where they had been killed, sorely wounded but brains intact and alive! Standing over them was Tristan Morningstar and six other elven rangers, healing the adventurers with potions. Cyrien joined them and the group was reunited. Oddly, Woz still lay dead, strangely his magic items and the Spell Tome of Shraevyn were missing. Also, Owen’s body was nowhere to be seen.

The group spotted a glowing symbol on the backs of everyone’s necks (except Cyrien’s), resembling a pair of female eyes surrounded by seven silver stars. Those knowledgeable in religion identified this as the symbol of the powerful moon goddess Selûne.

The group wasted no time contemplating the miracle and instead set about looting Zaxaris’ lair of what was left in it. As night fell outside, the adventurers set up camp in the crypt along with Tristan and his rangers and planned their next move – to go back and destroy the demon Ghada. Tristan agreed to come and help slay the demon, keen to reap destruction on another of his chosen foes. The evening was spent healing, resting, planning the attack and listening to the tale of Drow Bane and the fall of the Morningstar Clan.

Early the next morning the group set out south, back into the ruined city. Reaching the edge of the forest the group saw much of the southern reaches of the city were ablaze, sending dark grey clouds of smoke skywards.

Re-entering Ghada’s sewer lair the adventurers fought its way past four scrag guardians before launching an assault on Ghada himself. Tristan and Thorgrimm led the charge (Thorgrimm being protected by Tristan’s headband of Spell Resistance) and drew the fire of Ghada’s most potent magic. Nuzool was briefly paralysed by the demon’s unholy magic and Tristan landed several terrible blows, severely wounding the demon. The rest of the group moved in, killing the two scrag minions. Although he managed to grapple and crush Thorgrimm in his mighty arms, the stalwart dwarf managed to break free. Finally, Ghada was brought low by a combined attack from Thorgrimm, Cyrien and Gaz-Borg. The demon fell cursing the adventurers, saying they would all burn in the Abyss!

With the demon finally slain, the group looted his lair, recovering the rerebrace and couter – two pieces of the mysterious, powerful magical adamantine armour, a cache of magical items and several chests full of gold and gems.

View
3/3/11 – Myth Drannor in Flames

The quest to recover Vindicator was finally complete and the demon Ghada slain. The now group set out northwards intent on seeing the Baelnorn Molostroi once more before departing Myth Drannor.

Circling around the city along the fringes of the forest, the adventurers saw the fires in the south of the city in the region around Narlgathra’s lair were burning brightly, more dark smoke rising into the air, choking the sky. The keen-eyed members of the group spotted the red dragon within the smoke, wheeling and diving. Flocks of demons were also present – it appeared a great battle was being fought between dragon and forces of demons.

Moving on, the adventurers heard the flapping of wings as the gargoyle Fritz approached, landing in the canopy of a nearby tree. He was a little upset that they were leaving without saying goodbye, he was also keen to hear news of their adventures and said that he knew it was them that ‘stirred-up’ the dragon. The party denied it, but Fritz didn’t believe them.

The adventurers traded with Fritz, selling much of their unwanted treasure for gems and gold. Towards the end of their meeting Nuzool produced the half-orc jewel-encrusted skull and asked Fritz if he knew anything about it. Fritz said it was clearly a demonic artefact and that the Lord of the Gargoyles would be keen to trade for it. He offered a starting price of 20,000 gold pieces for the skull saying the he could act as mediator between the Lord of the Gargoyles, Hermitus and the adventurers. The party declined, unwilling to sell the evil artefact.

Saying goodbye to Fritz, the group moved on to Molostroi. The elven lich welcomed them back into his crypt-home, noting that Woz was clearly absent. Thorgrimm handed over a wealth of ancient books and scrolls found during the group’s travels as the adventurer’s told of some of their travels along with a letter from Tyvar Blackstar from Blackstar Tower. The elven lich seemed pleased indeed. Molostroi rendered some magical healing before the group got underway to leave Myth Drannor.

Tristan Morningstar and his band of rangers chose to stay and speak with the Baelnorn further. Tristan added that he was planning a raid on a new drow outpost believed to be beneath the forest of Cormathor, so he might not see the group back in Tangeld Trees. The adventurers said they were keen to join him on his next raid into the Underdark, Tristan said he’d consider it.

The party’s journey out of Myth Drannor was much less eventful than their arrival, slipping back down the forest path to the western burial glen, the group re-entered the Starym Family Crypt.

Within the crypt, the party felt as if they were being watched. Casting a Detect Magic spell, Hawke saw a whitish glow coming from a small circle on the western wall of the main crypt. Investigating closer, the adventurers found a small spy-hole. The white glow moved – there was something behind the wall.

Cyrien secretly sent Shaeveril (the elven spirit within the Moonblade, which the rest of the group still didn’t know about), out through the walls of the crypt to look for the creature. She soon reported back (via telepathy) that there was a male elven ghost within.

Cyrien spoke to the ghost, who was apparently the undead guardian of the crypt. Cyrien promised that their group was just passing through and didn’t seek to loot the crypt and he guardian spirit gave the group safe passage.

The adventurers passed back through the tunnels beneath Myth Drannor, the ancient elven burial chamber and finally ascended, returning back to the surface in the forests to the north of Myth Drannor. Circling around the ruined city, heading southward, the party set out on its return journey, making of Tangled Trees first of all.

A few hours into their journey the group heard several deep roars echo from the west and the rumble of large creatures moving rapidly in their direction. With his knowledge of the natural world, Thorgrimm identified the roars as belonging to a bear, or rather several very large bears.

The group readied for battle and a few moments later three massive bears came crashing through the forest, seemingly running from something and in a wild rage. The fight was brief, the adventurers cutting down the wild beasts with little trouble. On closer inspection, the group could see burn marks of the bear’s hides, the fur had been melted and singed. The wounds had been inflicted by acid. Several of the adventurers took teeth and claws from the bears as trophies or to sell later.

The remaining journey through the forest of Cormathor pass uneventfully and the group arrived in Tangeled Trees (complete with elven escort) on day fourteen after setting out from Daggerfalls.

The adventurers spent the rest of the day in the market, buying and selling items, re-stocking and improving their own enchanted items.

Thorgrimm headed to the Temple of Sehanine Moonbow to return the Ring of Communication to Durin. At first he was denied entry by the sentries (due to his last visit), but after laying aside his weapons he was allowed in. There he met with Durin, handed over the ring and told of Woz’s demise. Durin said she hoped he’d found peace.

Cyrien caught up with Durin also and passed on much information as well as making a few requests of his own. Durin was keen to know more of Cyrien’s brother, Renack ‘the Betrayer’. She said that such a traitor should be cast out from elven society. Cyrien considered going before the ruling circle of Tangled Trees to have Renack declared an outcast, but he still had unfinished business with his brother and decided to wait. Cyrien and Lianna were reunited. Lianna was very overjoyed to see Cyrien return safely. That night Lianna invited Cyrien out to a fancy dinner at one of the local taverns.

Nuzool spent some time climbing to the top of the highest tree in Tangled Trees, joining two scouts on watch in their roost. He later tested out his Ring of Feather Falling but floating all the way back down to the ground.

It was early on day fifteen when the group set out from Tangled Trees for Ashabenford. Cyrien decided to stay a little longer to spend time with Lianna, saying he would catch the group up (via Teleportation) in Daggerfalls in a few days.h6. Your title here…

View
10/3/11 – Return to Daggerfalls & The Hunt for Gothyl

The adventuring group set off from Tangled Trees for Daggerfalls. Cyrien elected to stay behind to spend some more time with Lianna. A few days later he paid for a teleport to Daggerfalls, arriving a day before the rest of the group.

By night just one day after leaving Tangled Trees, the group was awoken by Nuzool, only to see the beautiful spirit of the wizard ‘Hidistrin’ standing on the edge of the camp – this spirit they knew was a guise of the evil shade Gothyl.

The undead wizard was rather friendly, saying the group had been very hard to find of late and inquiring as to their recent whereabouts and adventures. The adventurers were far less friendly and very tight-lipped. Gothyl took note of the magical weapon Hawke now carried – Vindicator. Gothyl mentioned that she knew Elminster wanted her dead and accused him of being a senile, manipulative old fool. She said she’d be in contact with the group again soon before departing into the forest.

The group travelled via Ashabenford to return ‘The Tome of Infernal Lore’ to Captain Harkan of the Mistledale Guard, who Obsidian also informed that Renack Fellblade (Cyrien’s evil brother) was responsible for the murder of the wizard Malrien Redfen. Renack would be meeting with Cyrien in Daggerfalls in five days time. The Captain dispatched letters (via Obsidian) to both Cyrien and Lord Randal Morn.

Obsidian had a strange dream while camped one night on the return journey. He saw a large chamber with a domed roof – everything was cast in black and white and completely without colour. The floor of the room was a fantastically detailed mosaic. At the center was an iron disc inscribed with strange, detailed arcane symbols. His vision shifted beneath the portal, within was a small camber housing a bejewelled black urn. His vision shifted back to the chamber above, there hung a glowing platemail fist – the symbol of Torm his god. The fist slammed downwards, smashing the iron portal and the urn with in an explosion of magical force of destruction! With that, Obsidian awoke to find it was dawn.

The remainder of the journey home to Daggerfalls was uneventful.

On arrival, Thorgrimm was informed that his uncle Grimjaw had been murdered and his cave-home sacked. He met with Randal Morn and Dulwar (who was leading the investigation) and told of what they’d discovered so far. Tracks of three dwarves in metal-shod boots and one human were found outside the cave. A fight had taken place within, Grimjaw had put up quite a struggled, despite his great age, and had been stabbed to death. Still, he’d managed to wound at least one of his attackers. Also, strangely, nothing had been stolen from the cave. Thorgrimm told Randal of the map his uncle had entrusted to his protection. This map showed a secret entrance to the ancient dwarven stronghold and mine of Tethymar and depicted a magical key needed to open the way and which would also gain access to the Royal Treasury within. Grimjaw had been given the map by the last King of Tethymar who he’d served for decades.

The consensus was that the map must have been the motivation behind Grimjaw’s murder. Randal gave his guarantee that he would see the murderer’s brought to justice. Thorgrimm added “Not if I find them first!”

Hawke was also summoned before Lord Randal Morn for a ‘please explain’. The cleric Andes he’d sent to infiltrate the Temple of Haydren Lord of Loss had been discovered and brought before Randal. He’d admitted he was there to gather information on the mysterious new religion under Hawke’s instructions. Hawke explained his reasoning behind the infiltration attempt, saying that the new religion was disturbing but also admitting he had no real evidence against them. Randal warned of the dangers of such spying and that tension between religions was the last thing the Dales needed. Randal decided he wished to try hosting a meeting between the leaders of each religions in an attempt to smooth things over. Hawke agreed to the meeting that would be held after he returned from the quest to destroy Gothyl.

Letters were delivered to Cyrien and Randal from Captain Harkan of the Mistledale Guard by Obsidian, informing both of the need to bring the murderer Renack Fellblade to justice. Cyrien met with Randal to discuss his brother. He condemned him and explained that he wished to meet with him to try and learn more about the evil religious group dedicated to Shar that he appeared to be allied with. Randal was supportive of the plan but expressed concerns about the threat Renack posed to the people of Dagger Dale. Cyrien requested that he send a spy to come keep an eye on Renack during the meeting. Randal decided to send Dulwar to keep an eye on things.

Randal also informed the group that a half-elven ranger named Maralana had arrived in Daggerfalls. She was also on the hunt for the shade Gothyl and was keen to join the group to see the shade destroyed.

The adventuring group met that night for drinks at the Twelve Barrels. It was now day nineteen after the group had left for Myth Drannor in search of Vindicator. The party met with the ranger Maralana, who told of how Gothyl has assassinated her master and that she now sought revenge.

Later that evening Elminster entered the tavern. It was a day before their scheduled meeting, but apparently the Old Sage had been keeping an eye out in case of an early return by the party. The group only had time to give a brief run down on their adventures in Myth Drannor. Elminster was genuinely amazed to see the two pieces of adamantine armour that Obsidian wore, saying that they were pieces of an extraordinarily powerful artefact known as ‘The Arm of Valour’. Forged by five arch-mages, it had been worn by Fflar, the last commander of Myth Drannor and thought lost during the fall of the city. He warned that an artefact of such magnitude was something arch-mages would kill for, kings would wage war to obtain and even the gods would keep an eye on.

Elminster took the jewelled skull artefact from the group (the item Ghada sought from the dragon’s lair) explaining it was a ‘Skull of Orcus’ – one of a set of three which, if combined could open a temporary gate to the Abyss. Elminster said he would destroy the evil artefact.

Elminster stepped out to try scrying on Gothyl’s apprentice. Returning, he said there was no time to waste. Synd was alone in a tavern on the Plane of Shadow and vulnerable. The adventurer’s must capture him and discover the location of Gothyl’s hiding place. Elminster gave the group a single magical stone, which would allow them to Plane Shift back to the Prime Material Plane once their quest was over.

Finally it was time to hunt Gothyl down to her lair and confront her.

Elminster cast a mighty spell, Plane Shifting the group to the Plane of Shadow, just outside a small town named Shadowglen. Within, they found Synd drinking in a tavern inhabited by a strange race of shadow fey people.

Thorgrimm and Obsidian seized the wizard and dragged him outside before he could do much more then protest and curse. Taking him to a tree just outside of town, the adventurers interrogated the wizard. At first, he was rather uncooperative, but after some pummelling a deal was struck (his life and freedom for Gothyl’s current location and plans), Synd talked.

He said Gothyl’s bolthole was an ancient temple named ‘The Atrium of Shadows’, just a few miles to the south of the town in a valley in the hills. She was holed up there doing extensive research. Synd claimed Gothyl sought to be mortal again and hated her undead form. He also explained that her Phylactery had been stolen from her and sealed in a chamber beneath the Atrium itself, a large room with a domed roof – the same room which Obsidian had seen in his dream-vision a few days earlier. She knew that her Phylactery was her greatest weakness and so was desperately trying to open the chamber but had thus far been unable to do so.

The group let Synd go after stealing his gear and set out south for the Atrium. After a few hours walk they came across the valley Synd had spoke of. Within stood a tall, imposing gothic-style temple of black stone. The ground around the building was cracked and lifeless. Ravens circled above the valley as the group approached the structure and ascended the steps, weapons at the ready. Entering the archway entry, the group spotted and disarmed a chamber of blades trap, which if triggered, would have filled the corridor with whirling blades.

Before they’d even passed through the entry hall, the party was ambushed by a team of eight Wriaths, which attacked through the walls to either side of the group. The undead were vanquished with only minor injury to the group.

Beyond the corridor, the group entered a large octagonal chamber with a mosaic floor. It was extremely dark within as only a little light filtered in through the tall, dark gothic windows. Flocks of dozens of ravens roosted in the rafters overhead. A corridor led south, deeper into the Atrium and two others to east and west wings.

The group prepared to move out and explore the ancient temple of shadows further.

View
17/3/11 – The Herald Released

As the party decided which way to go a group of six ghostly, robed monks wandered out into the octagonal chamber and past the group before fading out of existence. The party chose to head down the western corridor next. Cyrien (with the help of the elfshadow Shaeveril) found a young fairy girl named Tyra hiding beneath a bed in the ancient sleeping quarters. The fairy had wandered far from home and become lost. Cyrien guided the young pixie back to the entrance. The rest of the western wing here was cold and empty, everything was covered in a layer of grey dust.

The eastern wing was similarly empty, except for an angry spirit who wandered a large dining hall, shouting in rage. The group approached and managed to speak with the half-mad spirit. He claimed to be the Abbot Tharic, a travelling monk of the Draysuss Order that had once inhabited the ancient temple. Tharic believed he was murdered and sought vengeance. He also claimed he and the temple stood on the planet of Oerth on the Prime Material Plane and accused the group of being mad when they spoke of the Plane of Shadow.

The party moved on after saying they would inform Tharic if they discovered any clues which might reveal who had slain him. Moving southwards, deeper into the temple the party entered The Atrium of Shadows itself. The darkness here was unnaturally deep and the air was unsettlingly cold. The roof of the chamber was domed and the floor was covered in a magnificently detailed mosaic. At the centre of the round chamber was a large iron seal on the floor, resembling a disc covered in indecipherable, arcane alien symbols. A round dial lay at the very middle of the seal. The iron disc was rusted and covered in a layer of hoar frost, further obscuring the symbols. Corridors led east, west and south. A wall of what looked like liquid shadow blocked the southern corridor.

The party spent several minutes investigating the seal and deciding what to do next. However, the group couldn’t make sense of the symbols, not even with spells to aid them. As the adventurers prepared to move out, westwards, a small imp appeared, introducing itself as “Riddler”. Riddler explained that he was the keeper of the path ahead and to pass beyond the wall of shadow and into the Inner Sanctum of the Atrium, they must speak three secret command words. They could discover each word by answering riddles. Riddler gave the first riddle – “I come in many sizes and shapes. My mouth is full of wood. Often I am struck. What am I?” After some thought and a few guesses, it was Cyrien who spoke the answer. The answer was of course a door.

Having solved the first riddle the party headed down the west corridor, there Nuzool called a halt, having spotted a deadly magical trap. With some fiddling, the ratkin disabled the trap and the group arrived at a large hall some one hundred feet long, lined with more gothic windows. Looking up, the adventurers spotted a gargantuan, amorphous black blob hanging from the ceiling. The group easily destroyed the bizarre creature using fire from Flaming Spheres and Gaz-Borg’s Necklace of Fireballs. In the wake of the fight and human-like face appeared in some of the black goo, speaking the second riddle – “Light of sun do I hate. Darkness be my friend. I am a thief’s greatest ally. What am I?”

The group took several guesses before Cyrien answered correctly again – stealth, hidden, unseen.

Returning through the Atrium again, the group discovered another large hall to the eastern side of the temple. At the far end lounged a large serpentine creature with the head of a woman. In the rafters above fluttered six small winged creatures, covered in ice. Several of the adventurers identified the serpentine creature as a Naga. The lady invited the adventurers into her luxurious boudoir, offering them crystal glasses of dark wine and challenging the most cunning of the group to a game of chess. Cyrien was the first to meet the Naga’s challenge of wits, but was soundly beaten. Hawke faired better, narrowly winning and gaining the third and final riddle – “A golden treasure to hold. I have teeth but no bite. Turn me once and you may go where you please, turn me again and you stay where you stand. What am I?” Hawke answered almost right away – a key.

Now with all three command words, the party returned to the Atrium where the elfshadow Shaeveril reported to Cyrien that several incorporeal creatures lurked within the walls. Endeavouring to keep the elfshadow a secret from the party still, he said he sensed evil within the walls and told his companions to be on the look-out.

The group pondered the iron seal on the floor, trying to figure out a way to open it in the hopes of gaining Gothyl’s phylactery. With little forethought or warning, Nuzool spoke the three command words, thinking they might open the portal – the words didn’t. Instead the wall of liquid shadow withdrew, revealing a massive, exceedingly dark hall beyond.

Thorgrimm tried turning the central dial, then bashing it with his hammer, both to no effect. The dwarf remarked that in Obsidian’s dream it had been the symbol of Torm (Obsidian’s god) that had smashed the seal and urn within. With this in mind, Obsidian reached out and tried the dial. At his very touch the circular dial spun along with several other round symbols on the iron surface, making a mechanical clanking sound as they spun. A sudden hiss of air signalled the seal was released! Instantly an acrid black smoke boiled up out of the gaps in the seal and into the air. The iron disc split in two, sliding aside and revealing a dark hole below. A deep, exultant roar sounded below followed by the cry of “FREEDOM!!!” as a shadowy figure shot up out of the darkness. The Herald was free.

The creature hovered in the air before the party, surrounded by an aura of dread and thanked Obsidian for his release. Its lower body was composed completely of misty shadow-stuff, its upper torso and head was deathly pale, its body covered in thousands of tattoos of intricate symbols. Its fingers tapered to foot long black talons, in its pale skull burnt glowing eyes and a jewelled crown rested on his brow. The creature spoke “I have waited a millennia for my freedom. I have much to do…” When asked if Gothyl’s phylactery might lay within, it replied “I’m afraid not… it seems you have been deceived.” before shooting up through the roof and departing.

A mocking laughter could be heard from the darkness – it was Gothyl. “Ha, ha, haaa! Tricked again? Honestly adventurers, this is becoming truly embarrassing! Once again you dance to my tune!” the group had been duped into opening the seal. But to what end? The group had little time to ponder as they responded to their indignation by throwing insults back at their old enemy. Gothyl responded in kind “Fools. You’re in my home uninvited and unfortunately I have no more use for you. Time to DIE!” with that, the Atrium suddenly became supernaturally dark around them. Shadow Demons emerged from the walls to attack, briefly mentally assaulting several adventurers in an attempt to possess their bodies but only succeeding in possessing Nuzool briefly.

The fight was desperate, but as a little light slowly crept back into the Atrium, the Shadow Demons were destroyed, Vindicator and Shaeveril doing a particularly good job of destroying the monsters. The group was victorious but no closer to finding Gothyl’s phylactery and destroying her.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.