Keep on the Shadowfell
From the journal of Jherrith
4 days out from Fallcrest we're expecting to arrive at Winterhaven that morning, when we come across Kobold tracks in an old graveyard. Terribly predictably we're ambushed by a bunch of the little beggar's. We charge into the fray, and yet more of them appear, throwing sticky goo, balls of fire and appearing out of the undergrowth! At every opportunity they slide away from us before we're able to attack, drawing out the combat. We stumble around, unable to work together as a group yet.
Vex teleports around the battlefield, spectacularly missing with all of his attacks. As the final Kobold attempts to chase after the wizard again we discoverer the shifty bastards replaced Vex's d20 with a 20 sided d10!
Following the road beyond the graveyard we find the countryside turning into farmland, more populace than before. After a walk we arrive at Winterhaven. As we enter the town we're stopped by the guards, who question us briefly. They advise we speak to Lord Pedrage about the Kobold attack. Further into town we find the Inn, looking for accommodation. Vex enquires about Dove Stall, his mentor, with the Innkeeper Salvana. He stayed here briefly, leaving suddenly one night.
An old geezer tells us that Douven might have headed to the old burial site, south east of the town. He believed that could be the site of his dead dragon. A beautiful young elf enters, ordering a drink and sitting in the corner by herself - Ninneran, a hunter that has lived there for a few years. Vex tries his charm, and it works surprisingly well given her obvious distast for non elves. She knows nothing of Douven and is merely interested in Bek's cultist story, though Vex cuts her short before much can be revealed.
The town seer, Valthrun, sets into the common room and sits with the old geezer. He looks interested in us all, yet spills no more information than we had heard before. Eravan talks quietly with Ninneran, about the death cult, and she opens up - there's a kobald lair nearby she believes the cult is centered there. She also believes that some of the locals are involved. Lord Pedrage enters and celebrates us as heroes. He offers 100GP for removing the Kobald menace and 30GP for the goblin Irontooth. I attempt to trick the assemblage into showing that they know Draconic by offering 1GP for information on Irontooth, but I loose the gold to Valthrun not realising that he would speak draconic.
The next morning we leave bright and early, noticing an abandoned Keep that was hidden in cloud the night before. Ignoring the keep we move along the road. Not far from where we were attacked the day before we're ambushed again, surprised by the kobalds this time! They surround the wizard and charge Broc, damaging both of them badly. Eravan Teleports away, leaving an area of smokey darkness behind and Broc gets another pot of gloop on his, immobilising the fighter again. A nasty little kobald breathes acid on us. Again they shift away constantly, frustrating our attacks, though over the course of a minute or so we expend two thirds of our powers wiping them out.
We find an obsidian necklace in the shape of a dragon on the Wurmpriest, inscribed with a symbol of Orcus, so Bek tells us. We think its worth a good deal of cash. We decide to bypas the kobald lair and head toward the burial grounds, though we camp for the night as Eravan is very low on healing ability.
When we approach the burial ground there are two small drakes guarding the mound, a number of workers and a small gnome directing things.
From the journal of Rebecca Devires
The guard drakes attack. The workers drop their tools and join in the attack. The Warlock runs forwards and sets fire to the gnome who dissapears. The halfling rained stones on the warlock who looks badly damaged. The gnome reappears. Two workers are dropped by the wizard. The gnome hurls abuse at us. The others run to the warlocks' aid. The gnome backs off pointing his crossbow at the canvas and telling us to leave him alone. Broc runs and dives himself at the canvas hoping to save whoever is underneath. The gnome looses the crossbolt into the canvas. There is a groan. Broc bandages him up. The gnome is finished off. The halfling escapes. The amulet is given to the Vex. Vex tries to pick the lock on the chest. Eravan finds the key on the gnome. In the chest is a an old expensive looking mirror. Douven is glad to be rescued. He says he needs to head back to see his wife. We deface the runes around the dragon bones.
We head along a path in the woods. A small glade of tres heads towards a waterfall. Some of us notice kobolds through the trees. There are a load of them and we expect more are in the cave. There is some ancient power source. The dragon born heads towards them breathing acid. Four die in agony. Eravan drops another. Beks runs in. Broc charges in too smiting a kobold. The ranges drops another. Beks hits at last. Broc flanks him and is charged in the rear. We hear a horn blast from inside the cave. We finish the last kobold off and retreat. We discuss tactics. The fighter and paladin suggest walking straight in and attacking. Rebecca starts the killing. Eravan moves in and takes out a couple of kobolds with illusionary shadows. We stay in formation. A horn blast heralds the arival of a burly battle scarred goblin in a chain shirt and a with a battleaxe. A dragonshield breathes and Broc falls to the ground. Rebecca uses Avandra's rescue to swap places with the Draconborn lays on hands to Broc and engulfs a kobold in searing ribbons of radiance. Broc leaps up and attacks the goblin. Eravan casts a spell to send the enemies to sleep. Jeris bolsters our defence and smites a kobold. The goblin strikes Broc and Jeris who falls down injured. Two dragonshields fall asleep. Eravan uses two flaming strikes to hurt the goblin. We concentrate damage on the goblin. A dragonshield and a wormpriest attacks. The ranger shoots him and Vex finishes him off. Calarel and Lord Orcus prepare my way. The kobolds start to run. A dragonpriest finishes Jeris off with a fireorb before running. We search around finding a chest with a note talking about a spy in Winterhaven and an attack on it, a suit of magical chainmail (+1 Dwarven).
From the journal of Rebecca Devires
We head back to town and find Siless, a beautiful half eladrin waiting for us. She has a letter of introduction for us that contains a warning that the person running the town shop is probably in woith the cult.
When we show the mirror to the shopkeeper he immediately becomes very interested in it. He opens with an offer for 300 and raises it to 450! Even I find that suspicious!
We find the temple, and seeing my holy symbol the priestess is happy to make healing potions. She is very nice and doesn't want paying until later but I insist on paying her for 2 up front. She takes me to one side and lets me know that she knows the raise dead ritual.
We find the flower seller who runs the market. She tells us that the far keep is hunted and populated by goblins, but nothing useful. She gives Siless and I flower for our hair for luck.
The sage gives us some information about the keep - it was built over a powerful rift to the shadow realm, to the evil realm of Orcus. The last owner, Sir Keegan, went mad and killed his entire family and most of the keeps guards before being driven down and locked in the cellars. They say his ghost still haunts the tower, but there is teasure down in the cellars.
Vex tries to get Lord pawhatever to fund a mission to the keep to deal with the goblins, the Lord says there is no goblin problem. I say we should investigate anyway to help the town!
A boy dilivers a note to Vex - the merchant has found someone will pay over the odds. Vex writes back that we can't sell the mirror, he wants to see the merchants reaction. Chandros and Eravin follow the boy back - when the marchant reads the note he looks very angry and almost hits the boy! He's definately mean but we can't say for certain he's part of a cult.
We expect to be ambushed in the night and make watch preparations. During Vex and my watch we hear footsteps coming up the stairs so we slide into the room and wake people up. We listen at the door as the footsteps get closer, then some shadowy wraith figures slide through the walls behind us! We are split between our 3 rooms! Eravin and Siless are both hit by the wraiths and immobilised. We hear from outside "They've attacked, move in!" and my door is pushed open, there is a pale human in there who I attack. The men try to force themselves into Vex and Chandros room but are unable to force the door.
I am fighting the men through the door, My holy power lets Silless free herself and help me. The wraith from our room goes through the wall into Vex and Chandross room. They keep the door shut to keep out the men and focus on it. Broc and Eravin battle the wrait in their room.
The shopkeeper appears in the corridor behind the cultist and gestures at me, I am struck blind! Then feel the cultists dagger hitting me - they are using dark necrotic damage! Such evil men!
We continue to fight, I am able to break the curse of blindess, Sil uses bastion of defence to bolster us all as the shopkeep unleashes a wave of darkness that throws her across the room. The cultists shove me back and onto the bed, Sil is able to impale one with her glaive but the other stabs me!
Vex's power kills one of the wriaths and he moves into the corridor to engage the shop keeper, but his eldritch bolt misses. The shopkeeper flees, the cultist still fighting me retreats into the corridor to block Vex. Broc forces the wraith back away from Eradin with his shield and the wizard lets rip to further damage it. Vex runs after the shopkeeper, the cultist attacks her but is burned by my holy damage then impaled by Siless. Chandross bursts into the final room and shoots the last waith.
We call the watch - the shopkeeper fled the town, they don't believe that he was a cultist but as sure that the ones we killed were - the pale skin and the orcus tattoos give it away. In the morning we are allowed to the search the merchants shop - there is a trapdoor leading to an orcus shrine. They believe us at this point. Vex tries to blag the some of the merchants money off the lord, who agrees begrudgingly to make recompense for our losses.
Eravan helps the priestess make potions for a day and she allows him to copy out the ritual into his book. The following day we head off towards the keep.
We descend into the keep and spot a goblin who runs off hissing. Goblin snipers shoot at us and I charge at them, but the floor collapses under me and I drop into a pit. AH! It's filled with rats! Broc charges, dodging the pit and attacks one, Chandros shoots another one. Vex advances.
The rats swarm over me biting, Siless throws a rope down to me. Another goblin appears from a cross junction and throws a javlin at her. The snipers retreat away from broc and shoot again. My hands slip on the rope as I try to climb out. Vex goes forward to help Broc fighting the guard and 2 snipers. Chandros, Eravan and Silless fight the goblin soldier that had attacked with the javelin.
My armour is too heavy, I can't get out and the rats keep biting me! I slip and land on my back, the rats keep biting me! owww oww oww! Another warrior enters and throws a javelin at Broc. Silless is in trouble against the warrior she is fighting, but Chandros drops the orc with a rapid quartet of arrows. Vex blasts one of the snipers into little bits. Siless tries to pull me out but I am too heavy. Chandros and Eravan move forward to fight the warrior engaging Broc and Vex. Vex is burning with eldritch fire and moves around the warrior to burn him. Broc finishes it off with a mighty blow and Vex teleports to behind the sniper and burns him.
Chandros runs up, grabs the rope and yanks. I come flying out of the pit so fast it's all a blur, I am left lying on the ground by the pit. Siless treats my wounds and I treat hers. Broc strikes dead the last goblin, given our wounds we decide to retreat to the city.
When we get back to town, the doors are closed and the men are on the gates: the undead in the cemetery have risen and villagers are missing.
From the journal of Rebecca Devires
Next morning we go to the graveyard to help see what is going on as the dead seem to be rising. We follow the path and approach the cemetery. Graves seem to be disturbed. There is an eerie glow from near the mausoleum. We approach through the side of the graveyard and then skeletons erupt from the ground as there is a wild call from some creature, it appears then to be the elf woman Nimoran. She was evil after all! There are also two hounds that come charging towards the party.
One hound charges Brock.
Skeletons appear and charge towards us. Chandros fires at Nimoran but misses, she shoots Vex with her bow. I slay a skeleton as Vex moves and blasts at her. The 2 hounds drag Broc to the ground but he springs back up and smashes one with his weapon. Chandros drops 2 skeletons at once as Vex teleports past into the middle of the skeletons. We're winning!
I duck between skeletons to heal Vex, one of the dogs pulls broc down and the other charges past him to attack Chandros. Broc gets up and trashes the remaining dog. Nimoran shoots at Vex again as the skeletons around vex are destroyed by the cold of her eldritch armour. Chandros retreats to outside the gates and I move to cut off the dog. It is not getting to my friends.
Vex teleports next to Nimoran, Broc charges forward and joins Vex attacking Nimoran. The dog disengages me and goes after Vex. I charge after it, ignoring the skeletons that attack me as I do. I strike it twice and challenge it to attack only me.
With the dog tied up against me Vex and Broc are free to attack Nimoran. She's got no chance now! With Vex's eldritch blast, Broc's hammer and Chandros arrows from the flank the evil ranger drops. The dog and remaining skeletons drop soon after. We search the body and find a sword, a magical bow which goes to Chandros and a strip of Velum with a message on it. She is an agent who was ordered to kill us. The scroll gave her instructions on the undead ritual and a password to gain access to the keep.
Vex tries to undo the magic symbol, Broc and me help her by pointing out what parts of the lines are key to the ritual. With a hiss the symbol disappears. We head back to town where the townsfolk are glad we have stopped the menace.
We head out to the keep the next day, Vex wanting paying but we cannot leave these people defenseless! We agree that the lord will pay for our healing potions in exchange for helping the town.
We descend again into the ruins of the keep, I very carefully go around the pit with the rats. I hate the rats! We find a torture chamber with 4 goblins and a hobgoblin. Evil goblins torturing people! I charge forward and engage the first goblin. Broc charges past me and engages the hobgoblin. As he goes past the goblin I am engaging tries to attack him, my holy power scorches him. Fight me and me only! Chandros lets lose 2 lightning arrows from his new bow on the goblins, one of which retaliates by throwing a spear at him. Others draw crossbows and fire at us. Vex enters the chamber last and blasts them.
I swing but the goblin blocks, Broc cracks the hobgoblin with a blow that swings through and wounds my opponent. Chandros loses another 2 arrows at the goblins. A door opens behind us and more goblins enter to attack Vex and Chandros. The hobgoblin disengages Broc, taking a blow as he does so and races round to Vex. Vex shifts away and unleashes witchfire against the hobgoblin.
I shift and attack the hobgoblin but miss, challenging it to battle me before it can get closer to Vex. Broc whacks the goblin I was attacking and it staggers, Chandros slides between the goblins attacking him and shoots the hobgoblin. Lightning arcs out from the hobgoblin and strikes the 3 around him. The goblins split and throw javelins to avoid more lightning. Chandros takes one through the gut and drops next to me! The cowardly hobgoblin backs off, afraid of little me! Vex is having none of it and blasts the abomination into pieces.
I call on holy power to heal Chandros then leap over the table to engage the a group of goblins. Broc drops his target with a mighty swing then leaps over the table to guard Chandros. Vex teleports in next to him. Chandros gets up and shoots the goblins. The group of them focus on me! Picking on the girl! Their spears hurt badly. Vex drops a blast against the goblins.
I grit my teeth and battle through the pain to attack them, they slide away from my blows. Broc charges next to me and drops one of the trio, allowing me to slide in and pin a second in the corner, no getting away this time! Chandros nocks 2 arrows and slots a goblin in the throat. One goblin leaps past Broc and flees. Vex teleports next to one in a corner and blasts him.
I stab the goblin attacking me while Broc runs after the fleeing goblin but it manages to dive through the door before he can stop it. Chandros nocks a pair of arrows and shoots into it's fleeing back - it pitches forward dead before it can escape. That leaves just 2. The goblin in the cell surrenders, the one fighting me doesn't, so we take him down.
Now we have a prisoner to question. Broc mentions the iron maiden and it spills the beans. The goblins are the digging for treasure down one passage, the cult is down another guarded by their walking dead. The goblins are being paid by the cultists - their leader is called "the fat". Vex blasts him with the eldritch bolt! That was evil! We had him in a cell and could have left him! I scold the warlock for his evil behaviour!
We go down a side corridor and walk into a guard room. There are 2 surprised goblins playing cards, we all reach for weapons and one of them reaches for the alarm bell.
From the journal of Sil'ess Quarren
After a week convalescing from a muscle strain, incurred trying to pull the useless Beks out of a rat filled pit, I manage to rouse myself from bed with the knowledge that Kaarl (the bad pirate dwarf) should be arriving this morning. Sure enough he turns up, disheveled and irritable. We dump his gear in the room I share with Beks and chase off after the others...
Elsewhere... Broc stomps up to the table, steals the bell away from the goblins with one hand while slamming his hammer into the nearest one. Vex sends eldritch fire to engulf the same goblin that Broc pummeled, then takes the bell from the fighter to free up his shield arm. The second goblin stabs at Broc, scraping a minor hit, right as Chandros sends two arrows flying into the same javelin gobbo. Broc misses his next attack, as does everyone else, distressingly.
Broc starts his pile of minions to one side, clubbing two into instant death with back handed strikes. Swinging back around the fighter cleaves through the first goblin and into the second, ending the life of the first. Vex follows up with a blast of energy, that sadly goes wide of the mark. The goblins flail ineffectually and Chandros peppers them with arrows again. The curtains covering the passages billow in an unseen wind, exposing a horde of gribblies.
Vex teleports out of danger and Chandros cuts through another goblin with his arrows. The goblins swarm in, leaping onto the table and past it. Vex survives with a minor hit and Broc takes a glancing blow, while remaining the center of goblin attention. Kaarl and I charge in, taking out a minion and a wounded goblin, rallying the group. Broc stands strong, under a harsh crossbow bolt from a huge goblin that appears between huge double doors off in the distance. Chandros dominates again, arrows flying all around. We surge forward as a group, mostly missing our targets. Chandros again shows his awesome bow ability and lets loose with a flurry of arrows, Vex following up with an eyebite. The huge goblin strikes a vicious blow with his crossbow to Broc, which forces the fighter to invoke his armour's magical power, healing himself.
Kaarl cleaves the last remaining warrior with his axe, clearing space for Broc to re-engage the huge goblin. Suddenly we get a series of good hits, dropping every remaining goblin other than the Huge one, who runs off, slamming the doors behind him.
We move up and open the doors, to see a huge curtain, surrounded by beds. Inside the curtain we find a chest and a bed, obviously hiding a secret door. Vex fiddles with it, failing to open it on the first try. Kaarl finds the chest is locked, but tries to open it with the butt of his axe, leading to a huge explosion of flame. It washes over Vex and Broc, but takes Kaarl full in the face.
We give up for the moment, resting up. Broc finds sig ns of a goblin learning to write by the discarded parchments on the nearby desk. Vex opens the chest, finding a stash of gold and a wand, that he eagerly claims, then opens the secret door, finally. We head down the stairs behind, which lead to a blank wall, obviously another secret door, that's thankfully easy to open from this side. Across the corridor we can see rough cut stairs leading down, to our right stairs up that we believe head back to the entrance. We move out into a huge excavated chamber, and the goblin shouts "They're here! Get them!" and they unleash a barrage of crossbow hits on Broc and Kaarl. I charge over the gap to the nearest goblin, leaping it easily, but the landing jars my aim and my shield rush misses its target. Vex teleports over and destroys the sharpshooter next to me. Broc charges in and narrowly escapes a fall by clutching to the ledge. Dropping down into the pit he joins Kaarl in attacking the drakes in the pit.
Kaarl hits a mighty blow on the drake attacking him, followed by Broc on the other drake, pushing it back. I leap the final two gaps to stand in front of the lead goblin, Chandros fires at the goblin near me, then immediately after lands two solid arrows into the final sharp shooting goblin. Vex teleports over and blows up the nearest goblin, prompting Balgaron to run away from me and loose a bolt my way, hitting me hard. Broc and Kaarl spar with the drakes, Chandros yet again fills a goblin full of arrows, and I jump again into the fray, catching a glancing blow to the last goblin. He grabs me, so Balgaron can hit me point blank with another crossbow bolt. Chandros saves me with an arrow to the brain of the goblin pinning me.
Kaarl takes his drake out and helps Broc with his drake. Vex blasts Balgaron with eldritch energy, doing impressive damage to the goblin. Balgaron grabs me and leaps from the ledge, hurting us both. I stand, taking a hit. We spar as Chandros peppers him, Kaarl running up to engage. Seeing the dwarf Balgaron runs for it, rounding a corner to taking arrow to the heart from our own sharpshooter. Broc handily finishes the final drake. Breathing a sigh of relief we take a quick rest and search the excavation.
Digging around in the earth we find a shiny new glaive for me! Picking it up I'm able to make it burst into flame. Huzzah!! We venture down the rough steps and back out slowly, as we can see giant rats all over. Walls, floor, ceiling. We head back into the large room to rest up. During the night Vex spots 6 hobgoblins in a patrol enter the room, however seeing no sign of the goblins they leave to report back.
We head down the only remaining direction that doesn't contain rats for certain. Three steps inside, dripping water all round and darkness, we find a pair of zombies! Kaarl dispatches them and Vex lobs his ever burning torch into the room. More zombies! Broc charges in, killing two but getting grappled in return. Two nastier zombies smack Broc viciously, as I neatly slice the arms off the grappling zombie with my new weapon. Chandros and Vex finish off a zombie between them, Vex teleporting away as the zombie dies a second death. There are a few sarcophagi in the room, though we ignore them for now to finish off the final zombie. More moans of undeath come from the other direction as we investigate the sarcophagi, ten of them. From the eastern end there's some starry light emanating forth. Broc wanders down the center of the room, all of the doors open with clattering bangs and skeleton's begin wandering forth toward Broc, while we linger behind in the shadows....
From the journal of Eravan
My research on the tower has borne fruit. There are many undead in this ex-temple to Bahamut the platinum dragon. Also the spirit of the fallen previous keeper, Sir Keegan, may be seeking redemption.
Now we know one part of the puzzle Becs and I make our way to the tower on the hill to provide our valuable assistance to the party. As we enter the tower we hear sounds of combat and rush to assist. Our compatriots are beset by undead skeletons, some look decrepit others look quite dangerous, it looks like it is going badly.
My opening burst takes out a dangerous looking skeleton though the other four in the burst somehow escape damage - Becs charges in and takes out one of the others. What did they do before we arrive? Then my next burst catches another four skeletons, but fails to take any out. Hmm, these skeltons are agile. The part slowly drops the remaining foes.
Then just as we are about to drop the last one the sarcpophagi lids all slam shut and a palpable arcane charge can be felt building in the air. Here we go again. Then a sliver glow sweeps down the room and the tense feeling vanishes. Vex has worked out how to stop it! Apparently he prayed to Bahamut at his altar - damn I would have paid good money to see that.
Searching the place we find an altar to two platinum dragons. Another door leads of. Opening the double doors reveals a cobweb covered skeleton sitting on a throne. We guess it is Sir Keegan. As we enter the room the skeleton stands up and challenges us. He wants to know why we are here and are we friend or foe. He says he will kill us now if we cannot convince him. We all speak in turn and amazingly we convince him.
He gives us some information about the location of the portal down below but says he cannot leave the room. However he offers us his sword Aecris to help us.
Heading on we encounter arcane symbols on the floor ahead. I identify them as contact terror runes. The thief says he can erase them safely. We look at him aghast and back away quickly. He sets about his work and immediately a ghostly scream rings out and Vex comes running towards us afraid for his life. Now that was worth seeing. Answering groans echo down the corridors! We ready for combat.
Eight decrepit zombies appear from the gloom in two directions and we unleash our prepared attacks. Five of them are dropped before they can attack. Then four more solid looking zombies appear out of the gloom and full melee begins. We drop more and more appear. Here we go again. Then two zombies appear to approach and then head off down a corridor. That's odd. However we are doing well and we immediately finish off all visible foes. Beauregard goes exploring for the wayward zombies and of course finds them. Smashing the first ones brains in with his first blow.
Others head off doing quick explores of the other corridors. I move in and burn the last one. Then we rest though we are now split into three groups. Stupid.
A scream echoes down the corridor from one of the groups "It burns!" and then cries of help. We make all haste towards the cries. A large jelly like creature is atacking our errant party members who look well burnt. Then I cast a Grasping Shadows spell on the creature and it splits in two! Is it feeding off our powers? However our worries subside as our further spells work and after a long fight we best them. In the room is a magic shield and a scroll case. The scroll is a boring letter.
Continuing left we find stairs down and a secret door. Through the secret door we find a ragged piece of armor and a riddle. Solving the riddle the armor gleams and becomes whole.
We press on down the stairs. At the bottom is a large torch lit room. There are four hobgoblin guards and pony sized spiders in a cage a way away. The guards issue a chalenge phrase. We respond with the one we prepared earlier but they stil attack. I immediately sleep the two nearest guards. Then the spiders leap the length of the room and knock down our front line. Oh frak! Though at least both guards succumb to the sleep spell. Hectic combat ensues with the spiders shifting all over the damn place and causing havoc in the ranks.
From the journal of Kaarl
The spider jumps up, skitters on the ceiling and lands on Chandros. Broc strikes at a spider and black ichor oozes from the wound. Sil'ess uses an inspiring word to heal Kaal . Vex retreats up the stairs and attacks the spider. Rebecca strikes the sleeping hobgoblin. Kaal takes a breath then hacks at the spider which squeals, black ichor dripping to the ground. Chandros moves back up the steps shooting the spider which then falls down dead. Vex moves forwards while Eravan finishes off the spider with an illusory ambush.
The hobgoblins are fighting with flails and shields. They fight well together, obviously disciplined fighters. Vex Eldritch blasts one. The hobgoblins strike at us and then move back in perfect formation. Broc tries to bull rush a hobgoblin into the pit but it holds its ground. Vex finishes off a hobgoblin leaving a hole in the line. Spotting this weakness we rush forward and engage and then proceed to slowly whittle them down to size. Kaal 's axe slices into the hobgoblin which falls into the pit. We hear a splash. Another one runs and we give chase. Looping back the fleeing hobgoblin tries to push the mage into the pit but Eravan falls prone at the last second narrowly escaping this grizzly fate. Eravan teleports to safety and quickly drops the errant hobgoblin.
We search the bodies before retreating to the secret room to rest. Throughout the night we hear the sound of hobnailed boots searching around, but none find the secret door, and we have a restful night.
Heading down we find a brightly lit way and a dark way. Foolishly we take the dark passageway heading south, then take a door to the west, heading downwards and to the south. There is a barred doorway with “closed” written on the board in common. Kaal prises the board off. Beyond is a remarkably clean passageway - we fear jellies.
Investigating the passageways beyond Chandros sees a shimmer to his left and suddenly he is engulfed in a gelatinous cube. Acid burns him. Moments later Eravan is engulfed and immediately teleports away. We attack and it moves forward and swallows Kaal who desperately claws his way out, falling to the ground covered in goo. Eravan's summoned shadows grasp the jelly and Kaal charges forwards and delivers a crushing blow to the creature which looks badly damaged. Chandros shoots at it and it is now looking the worst for wear. Next Sil'ess and Kaal are swallowed however our concerted effort soon finish it off and the jelly collapses on itself. They emerge covered in gloop.
Heading on to the next chamber we see two sarcophagi which we immediately set about opeining with damage spells. Zombies emerge stinking chokingly. One throws rotting matter at Vex and Chandros peppers them with arrows. The stench of the zombies causes Sil to fall back. One zombie slams Kaal , the other threw rotting matter at Sil. Chandros missed! We all gasp in amazement. However we soon finish them off.
In the next room there are two small coffins and a chest. These appear to be the children of lord Keegan. In the chest there is a small gold medallion (250gp), a Safewing amulet and a platinum bracelet (200gp). However there is no way on, so this shortcut appears to have been in vain.
We head back and take the more travelled route. Through double doors we see the edge of a massive statue of a warrior, its base alone is 20 foot square. Dimly visible are more statues of dragons and cherubic figures with pots above their heads. Chandros sees that the dust around the statues has been disturbed. As Kaal moves in the room the gigantic statue of the warrior spins and its sword strikes at him knocking him prone. The door slams shut. Kaal is pulled back into the doorway as we desperately try to open the door. We soon open the door and tentative experimentation shows that we can avoid the statue by keeping to the very edge of the room.
Sil moves into the area bounded by cherubic statues and as he does so an arcane wall forms between them trapping him inside. Water rapidly flows from the cherub's pots filling and the area starts to fill with water. Kaal uses a crushing blow on a cherub to try to break the spell. As he does so force orbs shoot out from the dragon's mouths and blast him. Chandros shoots the same one and is also hurt by the dragon's blast. The mage and vex start to inscribe runes on the wall of force which rapidly disappears.
We open the doors at the end of the room and smell rotten meat. Bodies litter the floor, some with bites taken out of them, some bit in half. Ahead we see a wide broken pillar. It is rough hewn at the top and doesn't quite reach the ceiling. Suspicious, Eravan uses a flaming spell to illuminate the room. Immediately a small winged creature hops around a corner and cheekily tells us that we shouldn't be here because “Calarel has started his ritual” and we are in trouble. Standing there we become aware of heavy breathing resonating from deeper in the chamber.
Vex tries talking to the homunculus, but Chandros gets bored and looses arrows at it. Following his lead Kaal charges it. It hisses and being hit moves away down some steps. Sil climbs up the pillar to survey the room and finds himself ion eye level with a black dragon! He cries out. Casually the dragon hops onto the pillar next to him.
Vex uses witchfire to blast the dragon as the dragon bites Sil and then turns its head to spray acid on us. Infuriated, Kaal charges it though he fails to connect and is battered by the dragon's tail for his trouble. The winged creature also blasts and dazes Kaal . Sil crazily leaps off the pillar striking at the dragon, but his enthusiasm exceeds his ability and embarrassingly he falls prone at the dragon's feet! Eravan mutters that dragons are bad news as the dragon disappears in a black shadow. Sil is looking in a bad way. The dragon advances towards us spraying us with acid and then charges Vex. Chandros misses again - he is having a bad day. The dragon turns and strikes at Vex and walks past him. Vex strikes it as it goes by and Kaal heals Sil who looking relieved gets up. It is not going well.
From the journal of Becca
The dragon bites Vex then leaps on the pillar and breathes avid on Kaal and Sil. Kaal charges in and smacks the dragon with his axe. Sil moves into the middle and attacks with her glaive. The dragon lets out a laugh "I've not had this much fun in half a century." It retreats into the shadows making it difficult to hit and breathes on Kaal and Sil again. Chandros shoots through the darkness and we hear the dragon roar in pain from the hit.
Kaal calls for a retreat and falls back, Sil stabs with her glaive then retreats as well. Eravan uses a sorching burst to catch it with the explosion before dropping back.
The dragon comes charging out of the darkness as I arrive with Broc and Praemor. We found Praemor in the dungeon - he's a bit shifty but agreed to come fight a dragon with us. Chandros hits the dragon as it attacks and wounds it again, but it breathes over them some more. Kaal retreats back. Broc charges in and leathers the dragon, Vex blasts it. I speak the holy words to let Kaal heal and blast the dragon with radient power.
It roars, the defening stunning Broc and I. The dragon speaks "You may be strong enough. If you will parlay I will let you pass."
Vex whispers to the party, "parlay until we recover then kill it."
Praemor steps forward, "explain your intent or die?"
The priests below are casting a ritual to rip open the Shadowfel, some time in the future I will cast it, now I am not ready." It backs off into the darkness, "come here if you want to learn about it." Broc goes forward an negotiates for a magic hammer. Vex moves into the darkness and attempts to blast it. The dragon snarls and leaps from the darkness into its cave at the top of the back wall.
Eravan casts a light spell and we move forward towards the cave entrance. I berate Vex for attacking the dragon. Broc climbs up to the cave and tried to negotiate with the dragon and tries to talk but gets a face full of acid. He hits the dragon back "I said I want to talk damit!" Eravan teleports up and ataches a rope so everyone else can climb after Broc. Praemor and I feel a breeze, there is a crack in the wall - a fizzure that Kaal squeezes through. It leads under the dragon and Broc to the dragons lair - a chamber with a pile of gold and loot in the corner. The dragons tail is swishing out from the upper cave entrance.
Broc whacks the dragon and drives it back, it is nearly falling off the ledge backwards, it's hind legs scrabbling for purchase. Vex slips off the rope and lands on me. Ouch! These tieflings! I grab the rope and climb hand over hand to join Broc as the dragon forces him back a pace.
Kaal tries to throw Broc a hammer from the horde but it bounces off the wall. Chandros shoots the dragon with his bow. Vex pushes his way into the treasure room while Praemor perloins a shiny thing from the floor. I attack the dragon but miss and it swats me with its tail then breathes acid on us. OUCH!
Kaal throws the hammer that arcs over the dragons head to Broc, but Broc fumbles the catch and the hammer bounces at Eravans feet. Eravan kicks the hammer forward then tries to climb down the rope but slips and cracks his skull falling to the ground. Praemor throws a dagger into the dragons ass to join the collection of arrows there from Chandros. Broc drinks a potion and swings back in.
Chandros loads up an arrow and lets fly, it arcs right back and hits it in the back of the head. It topples forward at Brocs feet, dead. Broc staggers to the other entrance of the cave and yells "VEX!" I shimmy down the rope to try and heal Eravan, Sil manages to stabilise him as I get there. We split the loot and hide in the treasure chamber while we rest and regain our powers.
We head on down and come to a chamber with a lush carpet at the end of the far door we hear a chanting. I recognise symbols as those of the Demon Lord Orcus. We hear a womans scream that is suddenly cut off! I kick open the door. Inside is are a pair of Orcus priests at the far end sacrificing people and a pair of tough looking beserker guards.
Praemor charges in and stabs one of the beserkers badly, before they both hack him brutally with axes and he falls to the ground, I run in to heal him, one strikes me with his axe and both priests unleash necrotic bolts that drop me to the ground instantly. The rest of the party debates running away, but Chandros strings two arrows into his bow and lets fly into both priests with electrical arrows. Vex unleasahes the cold of witchfire onto one of the priests then waits for swarming minions to surround him. Kaal advances and attacks one of the beserkers. Broc uses the healing word to heal me then attacks another cultist who has charged him. Both beserkers attack Kaal .
Both priests focus on Vex and blasts him with necrotic energy. I roll out from under the besker and use holy power to further heal myself some more and heal Praemor. Rolling to my feet I slash both of them across the back. They grunt as holy power marks them. Eravan uses grasping shadows to kill some of the cultists but one gets through and stabs Vex who explodes inl edritch power and dissappears. His crumpled body appears next to Kaal .
Kaal Brutally strikes the beserker while Chandros drops a cultist that came from behind. Broc cleaves both cultists that are attacking him in 2 with a mighty blow from his hammer. Not content to stop he charges another. Both beserkers turn and attack me but the power of the shield protects me. One of the priests blasts me but again the shield absorbs the worst of the damage.
I call down radient power and blast one of the beserks, stunning him. Kaal finishes him off. Vex is expiring in the corner. Broc misses with his strike, as does Praemor. The beserker attacks me as does the priest and I fall from the necrotic onsalught. Chandros shoots the priest with an arrow and he explodes in a burst of darkness that blinds Kaal. Sil heals Vex and I, I get up and smite the enemy, Vex gets up and blasts him. Praemor rolls behindthe beserker and disembowels him.
The priest blasts me again. This is getting VERY annoying and extremely painful. I move and attack Brocs enemy. Chandros moves and shoots the priest who is blasting me, Vex blasts him but misses. Kaal and Praemor double team our priest opponent and he goes down screaming, unleashing a final necrotic bolt against Praemor. We all attack the remaining priest.
From the journal of Eravan
Everbody died or:
We examine our options to proceed and find only four slick and bloody chains descending down the pit about fifty foot to a chamber below. Praemor scouts down one of the chains to discover a huge chamber below. The chains descend into a blood filled pool, ther are two skeleton warrions, a priest chanting at an altar, a huge statue of Orcus, a dark gatweay, a rune engraved circle, and other moving shadows are discerned.
We prepare and get a rope braced so that we can all descend together. Eravan and Chandros descend slowly as Broc, Sil and Praemor descend rapidly. Broc atempts to charge the skeletons but loses his footing in the slippery pool and falls prone covered in blood. The priest turns and fires a dark bolt at Sil as we all finish our descent and join the fray. A wight appears out of the shadows behind us and the priest hides behind a pillar. It's getting complicated.
As I dash for cover behind the arch a tendril of darkness lashes out at me from the rippling surface of the gateway. One of the skeltons is dropped and the combat moves to the priest. The wight moves towards me and into the magic circle. It waves its arms and the dropped skeleton rises back up. The priest also teleports into the magic circle. The magic circle seems to be invigorating the occupants. It looks bad.
A skelton moves and hits Chandros, he looks stunned at this unusual turn of events. The battle is fluid and moves from point to point as the skeltons move rapidly around. We are struggling to take down the priest and the wight and we are suffering because of that. Are we facing defeat? Praemor goes down, and then the tendril reaches out of the the gateway and drags him towards it. A few seconds later he disappears into the gateway the flesh visbly peeling of his bones. Though the wight finally lies dead.
Fortunately the skeletons are dropped a few seconds later so now it is four of us against the priest, though he doesn't look fazed. He seems to be beating us all by himself. He drops Sil next. Three against the priest and Sil is dying... Broc gets hit by a Tendril and is dragged towards the gate. Another hit by the tendril and by the priest and he goes down too. Two against the priest and Broc is dying. Then Eravan goes down and is dying. One against the priest... Go Chandros. A few rounds longer and Chandros goes down. The priest roars triumphant.
A few days later: Hordes of undead invade Winterhaven. Becs, Vex and Kaal die in the onslaught.