Halaster's Lost Apprentice

It Begins at the Yawning Portal
Episode 1: Back Alley Brawl

The Cast
Brian T as Magumba the Tiefling Sorcerer
Collin as Gwenn the Human Paladin
Brian S as Brandis the Human Wizard
Scott as Eldritch the Human Warlock not named after the bolt
Alex as Orsino the Human Rogue
Lance as Algernon the Human Invoker
Tim as DM

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A group of adventures find themselves arrayed around a table in the Yawning Portal by the hands of fate. Gwenn had been sent to investigate the rumors of Undermountain by her superior Paladin Drack. Orsino found himself on the bad end of a con gone wrong. Eldritch was on the lame and Brandis was out to prove himself a great wizard.

As they all sat at there, contemplating the recent news of a newly discovered chamber in the Undermountain, a few of them notice the half-elf lady on the next table completing her negotiation with a dwarf and tiefling. It becomes apparent to Magumba that both the dwarf and tiefling plan to rob the lady of her coins and perhaps her life as well.

Magumba rises from her seat and tries to impress upon the lady that she might be hiring the wrong sort of people. She brushes off Magumba’s concerns and leaves the Yawning Portal with her two new hires. Magumba is confused as to what she should do next and she finally decides that she needs to check on the lady. “Come on guys,” she says to the table of strangers, “the lady needs our help.” Amazingly, all the strangers at the table follow Magumba out the door.

Outside the Yawning Portal they find the dwarf with a few of his friends assaulting the lady across a sewer cannel. The cannel is bridged by a small rickety bridge, but that doesn’t stop Gwenn from rushing across the bridge, only to discover how rickety it really is by almost falling into the sewer.

Brandis get hit with Hedgefire from the tiefling, he ducks back into the Yawning Portal and douses himself with beer to extinguish the fire before returning to the fight.

Orsino jumps on the sewer spout and gets hit with a dizzing curse by the tiefling.

Maguma and Eldricth blast spell after spell at the tiefling and his crew.

Finally they manage to kill all robbers and the adventures rushes over to heal the fallen lady. Suddenly, she jumps up and begins to clap. “Wonderful!” she exclaims, “You are just the sort of brave adventures I was hoping to find. You passed the test of your fighting skill with flying colors!”

What? The adventures stare at her dumbfounded. Who is this lady that just had them slaughter these peoples? Well, they did think they were bad guys robbing a lady.

Fayne.jpg“My name is Fayne and I have a job for you all if you’re interested. Come, let’s return to the warmth of the Yawning Portal.”

The strangers look at each other over, shrug, then rifle through the bodies before pushing the dead into the sewer. Fayne barely registers any of that and crosses the bridge back to the inn. Orison picks up 6 additional daggers and the party splits 60 gp that the find in a pouch on the tiefling.

Once settled at their old table, Fayne says to them, “My patron is interested in discovering what’s in the newly rediscovered chamber in the Undermountain. I am willing to pay you a lump sum of 200 gp when you return with the information and anything you find there of importance. Your first assignment is to complete the map and the second is to retrieve any magical treasure you find. You will likely be able to keep most of what you find after my sponsor examines and catalogs everything.”

“What can we expect to find in the Undermoutain,” asks someone.

“Oh, the usual riff raff that inhabit the first level. Some down and out humans, some animals, and maybe some monsters,” Fayne replies.

“Anyone else that we should be keeping an out for while we’re down there?”

“Oh, yes! Xeres is my competitor. He’s a swordsman, a wizard, and an all about scoundrel. He’ll want to steal your treasure.”

Orsion slicks his hair back and tries to diplomatic skills, “My lady, 200 seems like such a small amount considering how this venture is a low risk and high rewards for your, but high risk and low rewards for us.”

“Well,” she says as she does some mental calculations, “I can go as high as 250 gp.”

“Done,” sighs Orsino, clearly hoping he could squeeze more from Fayne, “250 gp for the returning members.” Orsino clearly thinking ahead realizes that not everyone has to survive the return trip. Not if he has anything to do about that.

“Great,” she says as she gets up from the table and heads for the portal in the floor, “why not leave now?”

“The fee is 10 gp per person to have us work the winches to lower you down,” bellows the inn keeper as they near the portal, “or keep your gold and work it yourself, but don’t blame me if you fall.” Laughter fills the room from the regulars of the bar.

“You should cover that,” points out Orsino to Fayne.

“Okay, I’ll cover the winching costs and give you all some help,” she says as she pass out a few potions if minor healing.

“Any last questions before you all go down? No? Good luck adventures, I’ll be waiting for your return.”

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Into Downshadow
Episode 2: Lost in the Dark!

The Cast
Brian T as Ardoare the Tiefling Sorcerer
Collin as Gwenn the Human Paladin
Scott as Eldritch the Human Warlock not named after the bolt
Lance as Whyrun the Dragonborn Bard.
Tim as DM

The staff of the Yawning Portal straps the adventures into harness attached to a winch and pulley, then lowers them through the great well into the gloom of Downshadow, the shallowest depth of Undermountain. They journey down, trying hard not to think too much about the creaking old leather on the straining ropes.

Finally, it is all over and their feet touch cool, wet stone. From here the adventures slowly makes their way through Downshadow by avoiding large threats and dealing with small ones. (DM note: I changed the Encounter module by pushing forward 4 of the Skill Challenges from the next session.) Their first mishap occurs when Gwenn overloads her back pack with supplies but falls into stagnant pool and spoils some of their food rations. (Collin fails on his Endurance skill check and loses two healing surges.)

Things start to get better as Eldritch recalls some street info he picked up the week before when he overheard some thugs talking about some common markings that Downshadow residents use to mark safe passages and traps. (Scott succeeds on his Streetwise skill check which also opens the Diplomacy and Intimidate skill check options.)

The hours slowly past as they continue to follow the map given to them by Fayne. When they come upon a small camp of Downshadow residents Ardoare rush up to the largest one and grabs him, pulls him up close to her face and yells, “Are you going to help us or die right here?!!!” The old man nods vigorously as does the rest of the camp. (Brian succeeds on his Intimidate skill check.)

By shepherding the campers in from of them, the brave adventures are able to avoid being caught in several traps and being eaten be several monsters. They same can’t be said about the campers. After the last camper is impaled by a spear trap, Whyrun rolls up his sleeves and starts to chant. Using his vast Arcane knowledge, he stretches his senses until he feels the flow of magic and the possible direction to the chamber. (Lance succeeds on his Arcana skill check and earns a +2 bonus for the next Dungeoneering check.)

The adventures have been unable to find a safe and secure place to rest, so they continue their way through the Undermontain. Suddenly, out of the darkness they hear a voice, “Xeres was right, here they come now.” The team finds themselves facing off several humans and a giant scorpion on a leash.

Doppelganger.jpgAs they fight to the death, the adventures realize that one of the humans isn’t a human, but a doppelganger! It slides up to Gwenn and assumes the appearance of Gwenn! (Cue Star Trek music!) But Eldritch isn’t fooled, he been walking behind Gwenn for hours and he knew which ass as the real Gwenn ass, no doppelganger could match that jiggle. (Scott succeeds on an Insight check.)

Eldritch.jpgThe fight also brings out all of Eldritch’s anger and he finally overcomes his metal block from his major defeat that led him on his downward spiral. “Die! Die! Die!” he screamed as he shoots spell after spell at the enemies. The final villain falls and the team search the bodies to find 40 gp.

The team picks up their belongings and continues on their way. At last they find a secure spot to rest and set up camp. They try their best to rest only to find the spot gets periodically overrun by bugs and roaches. No extend rest is possible. After a few hours, they give up and continue on their way through the Undermountain.

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Friends or Foes?
Episode 3: Gwenn's Shining Moment

The Cast
Brian T as Ardoare the Tiefling Sorcerer
Collin as Gwenn the Human Paladin
Scott as Eldritch the Human Warlock not named after the bolt
Lance as Whyrun the Dragonborn Bard.
Dave as Heretus the Tiefling Psion
Ty as Byster
Michael as Orsino Fortinbrsas IV
Tim as DM

We pick up with our hearty adventures as they continue their way through the Undermountain. Having rested in a small niche, the team was unable to get a full nights rest due to the bugs and roaches that periodically swarmed the area. (No extended rest for the team.)

The exhausted party comes upon a small encampment of Downshadow residents and Gwenn tries to use her diplomatic skills to negotiate safe passage. Success! They are willing to let them pass. (Collin succeeds on his Diplomacy check.)

Uplifted by their success the team continues their journey until Orsino notices a deadly spear trap in their way. Orsino carefully disarms the trap and the adventures continue on their way to the hidden chamber. (Michael succeeds on his Thievery check.)

As they near the Hall of the Sleeping Kings, Heretus recalls a session in class where the visiting professor explained the horrors of that room. It was a death trap room with falling floor panels and roaming zombies. “Hey guys, we shouldn’t go in there!” Taking his advice, the team bypasses the room and tries to pick up the trail on the other side. (Dave succeeds on his History check.)

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Turning a corner the adventures come across a gathering of goblins encamped in their path. (I’m making up collective nouns for monsters.) Gwenn steps forward and tries to talk to them. They respond very positively and ask for help recovering a holy relic that was recently stolen from them by some raiding skeletons. The adventures huddle up and debate what to do next. Some notices that the Goblins are bandaged and bruised and that might indicate a recent fight. Whyrun looks over the Goblin leader and proclaims that they’re telling the truth (Lance fails his Insight check, but fortunately they are telling the truth.)

They agree to help and the goblin leader maps out where they can find the skeletons. The adventures make their way up to a large cave where they find the shackle of skeletons. (Collective noun number two, how does this one sound?) They team fight, no DESTROY all the skeletons with Gwenn decimating them with her radiant damage from The Dead God Haramathur, The Guardian in Stone, the Eternal Watcher. Skeletons.jpg(The combat goes some thing like this: DM rolls an attack, miss. Collin attacks, add radiant damage. DM moves skeleton, radiant damage. DM attacks a different character, radiant damage.) They rest of the adventures help out Gwenn who has turned into a skeleton destroying machine.

The adventures return the relic to the goblins and they offer to bless three of the adventures with their relic that was just returned. (For their reward in successfully completing the skill challenge the chosen three get 1 one Healing Surge). In addition to the gold taken from the skeletons (10 gp for each player) the team get the final directions to the hidden chamber from the goblins.

At the outer chamber they find a circular door sculpted of stone set into the floor atop a dais raised on stone steps of varying height. The door is ten feet in diameter, of old black stone carved with ancient, dusty symbols. In the center of the door lies a circle of six hand-sized hallows that are free of dust. In each corner of the chamber stands a small statue, like a gargoyle, except for the one in the southeast corner that lies in smaller bits.

ATTENTION PLAYERS: SKILL CHALLENGE PART 2

Gwenn attempts divine an answer to the lock, but her Dead God Haramathur is of no help. (Collin fails his Religion skill check.)

Whyrun attempts the next lock by trying some of the more common arcane lock phrases, but to no avail, the lock remains locked. (Lance fails his Arcana check.)

Orsino studies the door and jimmies the lock until it clicks and a spot of blue flame lights one of the six hallows. (Michael succeeds at his Thievery check.)

Ardoare tries to light a second hallow from the first blue flame and burns herself in the process. Enduring the pain she manages to light the second lock. (Brian succeeds at his Endurance check.)

Heretus tries his hand at one of the remaining hallows by chanting some words of power, but he stumbles midway through! FAILURE! (Dave fails his Arcana check, which had a higher DC that the first attempt.)

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The magical wards are triggered and lightening strikes all of the party and everyone takes 4 points of damage. As the door slowly opens into a descending staircase, a small devilish creature appears hovering above the stairs and growls can be heard as the statues spring to life.
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The Guardians or Mr. Green?
Episode 4: Who's the Boss?

The Cast
Brian T as Ardoare the Tiefling Sorcerer
Scott as Eldritch the Human Warlock not named after the bolt
Dave as Heretus the Tiefling Psion
Ty as Byster
Michael as Orsino Fortinbrsas IV the Human Rouge.
Kyle as Kalla the Githzerai Monk
Cooper as Letham the Human Ranger
Tim as DM

The Guardians or Mr. Green?

As the after images of the magical lightening fade, the team find themselves facing a small impish creature standing above the stars. “You,” it says. “You serve the Master?” The small winged devil glances from adventurer to adventurer, trying to determine who is in charge.

ATTENTION PLAYERS: SKILL CHALLENGE TIME!
Available skills:
Arcana
Bluff – Limit 1
Diplomacy – Limit 1
Intimidate – No limit, but…

Ardoare and Eldritch quickly grab Orsino and step forward, “We’re here to escort this dangerous prison,” bluffs Ardoare. The devish imp cocks his head and stares at them. “Yeah!” growls Eldritch, “the master wants him now.” (Brian succeeds at this Bluff check with an Assist from Scott.)

“Well, maybe you serve the Master, but I’ve never seen you before,” replies the Imp.

Byster steps forward intending to intimidate the devil, “Fool, let us pass or you will burn in the master’s Arcane fire.” (This was supposed to be an auto failure unless they party had already to successes, but I missed that part. Ty succeeds at his Intimidate check.)

Orsino flails his arms and tries to look like a dangerous mad man, “We don’t have time for this, I’m dangerous!” The imp is skeptical at best. (Michael fails at his Intimidate check.)

Letham (not having any choices left) uses his Arcanic knowledge to identify the Imp’s weakness. “You, Imp, have a four wings and four feet, and have a weakness against garlic, crosses, and saltwater! Begone!” (Cooper fails his Arcana check.)

Kalla, with an Assist from Eldritch, attempt to further Intimidate the Imp. “Move Imp, the Master summons us now,” says Kalla. (Kyle succeeds his Intimidate check with an Assist from Scott.)

“Enough!” yells Ardoare. “Yeah, get out of our WAY!” echoes Eldritch.

(Four Successes and 2 Failures)

“GRRARAWWWW!!!” a loud voice says from the tunnel the adventures came through earlier. “Fe Fi Fo Fum! Xeres said to eat some,” says a young green dragon as it steps into the light.

The adventures find themselves bottled in the Hidden Chamber with the Guardian Imp. They take a few shots at it before it unleashes it’s breath attack, blooding half the party. But these hearty adventures do not go gently into that good night. Letham is lethal with his two weapon attack, hacking and slashing at the dragon.

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Kalla attacks the dragon by jumping off Letham’s face, causing Letham to stagger and almost go unconscious. (This is something I picked up from DM Andrew. It is either from 13th Age or from the DM Ash. “How badly do you want to hit the monster? Are you willing to hurt an ally?”)

Later Kalla gets struck by the head of the dragon as Byster knocks at the dragon. Letham deals the most damage to the green dragon before falling unconscious. But finally the team brings down the dragon.

“IMPressive,” says the imp. “You must serve the Master. Rest here and we will guard you as you rest.” And the party has their first extended rest in the Undermountain.

(DM Notes: This Encounter was originally a short skill challenge for either 4 Successes or 3 Failures and both results would have led to a fight with the Imp and Guardians. I felt that there needed to be a reward for the Success and I added the fight with a level 5 green dragon with some power downed attacks. Ideally the dragon would do much harm and if the party was near death the Guardians would rescue them. A failure would have resulted in a fight with the Imp as written.)

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Home Invasion
Episode 5: Rat Scratch Fever!

The Cast
Brian T as Ardoare the Tiefling Sorcerer.
Ty as Byster.
Cooper as Letham the Human Ranger.
Pat as Hesken the Dragonborn Paladin.
Jen as Beliela the Drow Warlock
Jeff as Maelar the Human Death Cleric.
Lance as Whyrun the Dragonborn Bard.
Tim as DM

After taking their first extended rest in the Undermountain, the adventures make their way down into the Hidden Chambers of Halaster’s apprentice. The spiral staircase ends in an odd-shaped chamber that lights up with blue-burning candles as you enter. Doors to the north and east walls are sealed shut while the door in the south wall stands slightly ajar.

As they take their last step off the stairs, an ancient spell buzzes active and a cherry female voice speaks, echoing around the chamber. “Welcome and well met, honored visitors-unless you be intruders. Speak the Master’s Blessing to find the way, or else you’ll not leave this place.”

The ancient ward flickers into slumber again and party moves further into the chamber. A close inspection (DC 15) reveals a tattered magic cloak that hangs on a dusty coat rack near the stairs. (The Mantle of the Apprentice, a Level 4 neck slot item.)

The adventures continue down the hall to the door on the south that leads to a bedchamber. They find a bedchamber that is large, as such things go, but little of it is reserved for creature comforts. The cluttered room is a mess of discarded books, withered scrolls, and melted candles, all hidden under a think coat of dust. Some of them have been crinkled and placed in odd piles like small huts. The small feather bed has been torn open and most of its contents stuffed under the frame.

As they enter, cold seeps across their skin as they see two shadowy forms on the bed: one a lithe female composed of blue mist, lying beneath a formless creature of black smoke. At first, they appear to be romantically embracing, but then it becomes clear that the female ghost is struggling to escape while the other seems to be drawing her essence into itself-feeding on her.

Hesken, Letham, and Byster enter the room and try to make verbal contact with the shadowy figure. Maeler, the death cleric, steps into the room and attempts to exercise the black spirit instead of exorcising it. The shadowy thing jerks its head up and hisses soundlessly. It fades away into the wall, abandoning its prize, which collapses weekly onto the bed and lies there as though exhausted.

On the wall above it, letters begin to form, written in dripping blood: “M-A-E-R.”

Rat_swarm_by_jayodjick.jpgSuddenly, rats appear from under the bed and the pile of books and attack the party. There are giant rats, dire rats, and a swarm of normal rats. The adventures fight bravely, unknowingly walking past the clay scout sitting in the back of the room. While the adventurers fight off the rats, the scout suddenly attacks the back of the party. The heroes finally finish off all the rats and the clay scout, suffering some blood loss and with a few of them infected with Filth Fever.

A thorough search of the room reveals two scrolls-one containing the Magic Mouth ritual, and the other contains the Purify Water ritual. They also discover what appears to be the Lost Apprentice’s journal, which is largely indecipherable. The parts that are legible speak of an arrival in Waterdeep and apprenticeship with the legendary Halaster, who was impressed by the author’s arcane potential. The Lost apprentice was – apparently – a spell casting prodigy of sorts. Also, the book contains notes regarding a necromantic ritual designed to sap energy from other creatures, but no instructions for casting the actual ritual.

Also, the adventurers find an insightful passage. “Over the last few days, my servant has grown oddly…forward. This requires castigation, which I shall dispense at the first opportunity… Lyn.”

On the bed they find a magically glowing key and a collection of gold and silver worth 10 gp in the nest of the rats.

Filth Fever
Stage 0: The target recovers from the disease.
Stage 1: Initial Effect: The target loses a healing surge.
Stage 2: The target takes a -2 penalty to AC, Fortitude, and Reflex.
Stage 3: Final State: The target takes a -2 penalty to AC, Fortitude, and Reflex. The target loses all healing surges and cannot regain hit points.
Check: At the end of each extended rest, the target makes an Endurance check if it is at stage 1 or 2.
11 or lower: The stage of the disease increases by one.
12-16: No Change
17 or higher: The stage of the disease decreases by one.

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Weekend News Update

Letham.jpg

Ah Letham, we knew you so shortly. You were able to fight off a young green dragon, yet fell to a bunch of rats.

May you rise again to fight another day!

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Eldritch vs eldritch
Episode 6: Collateral damage

The Cast
Brian T as Ardoare the Tiefling Sorcerer.
Lance as Whyrun the Dragonborn Bard.
Jeff as Rhyn the Human Avenger! (Avengers Assemble!)
Collin as Gwenn the Human Paladin.
Scott as Eldritch the Human Warlock not named after the bolt.
Michael as Xian the Drow Archer.
Aurora as Ancana the Dark Elf Witch.
Tim as DM

As the party steps close to the northernmost door, the key they discovered in the Apprentice’s bedchamber resonates with a cheerful hum, and begins to glow warmly. Without being touched, the door slides open with a deep grinding sound.

The chamber within resembles a wizard’s workroom of sorts, albeit thoroughly scoured. Bits of dusty, crinkled paper litter the place, particularly around a shattered table, in the midst of which sparkles something metallic.

The splintered remains of an empty coat rack stand near the door cut in half by a magical blast. Several strange crystal rock formations stand near the end of the room, near a large pit about twenty feet deep.

At the southeastern corner of the room, a short flight of steps lead to a raised platform ten feet in height.

Gwenn steps into the room and moves up to the broken table. Rhyn sends his dog/bear up near Gwenn and tells it to get ready to fight when something attacks. Eldritch moves up near the crystal rock and examines it for magical energies and finds none. Xian and Whyrun also move into the room, exploring for dangers as they move. Ancana sends an eldritch blast at the closest rock formation, shattering a piece of it off and damaging Eldritch in the process. “Hey! Watch it!” yells Eldritch back at Ancana. Ardoare is the last to enter the chamber and she makes her way to the back and up the stairs towards the platform.

Their presences awakens a frenzied buzzing sound, and they see the air rippling as bizarre creatures like something out of a nightmare materialize in the chamber. The creatures are out of phase and seem transparent, perhaps insubstantial.

felltaint_2.jpg(Fell taints are beautiful, translucent orbs of wispy tendrils that flow and writhe as if in winds that aren’t there. They have a subtle iridescent glossy sheen and are about 2–3 feet in diameter. Adding to their strangeness is the fact that they don’t make any noise. Frequently their victims scream in agony or whimper in despair, but the fell taints themselves are completely silent no matter what they are doing at any given moment. A fell taint’s victim can feel a hit from the fell taint, but the fell taint’s tendrils continue to twist and flow undisturbed.)

The heroes seem to do less damage then they would expect to do when fighting off monsters. Their attacks seem to pass through the bodies. Ancana shoots off another eldritch bolt and watches as it pass through the monster, hit the iron maiden behind the monster, ricochet off, and hit Eldritch. “What? Again?” yells Eldritch as he fends off the Fell Taint Lasher next to him.

As they battle the beautiful, yet deadly monsters, Xian notices a dark figure standing on the platform. It is the dark ghost the saw the in the bed chamber. It doesn’t attack the heroes or seem to be controlling the monsters, but simply observing the battle. After a few minutes it fades away.

The damage the adventures take is not physical, but metal or psychic. Ardoare takes a harsh blow from the Fell Taint Pulsar and she recalls the time when her pet dog ran away and never returned. “Nooo! Fluffy!” she screams. Ancana recalls her first childhood heart break and blasts another bolt of eldritch energy at the Fell Taint Thought Eater. The bolt rips apart the last Fell Taint and partially hits Eldritch who is standing next it. “KNOCK IT OFF!” yells Eldritch as he wipes ectoplasm from his robe.

After defeating the Fell Taints, the party searches the chamber. Gwenn gets trapped in the iron maiden, but finds a secret compartment containing a potion of healing and two moonstones worth 25 gp each. Ancana is attracted to an old broom leaning against the wall in the corner. To everyone else it looks like an old stick, but to Ancana’s trained eye, it is the Staff of the Apprentice.

(New stuff I forgot to read in from the book) As Ancana studies the staff, the purple ghost from the bedchamber appears on the platform and emulates casting attack spells. No actually attack happens, but this continues for a few minutes before the ghost fades. (End new stuff.)

Amongst the scraps of dusty paper the adventures find several pages torn from the Apprentice’s journal. “My thoughts dwell on that poor creature in the hot chamber, caught in my master’s mad schemes to test my resistance to this ‘spellplague’ he’s always mumbling about. I only hope I can one day bring her peace. ~Maer…"

The last four letters appear to be part of a signature, which is mostly obscured, leaving only the beginning visible.

The adventures decide to rest up here in the chamber, but are unsuccessful in their attempt at an extended rest. Their dreams are fretful as the black specter haunt them whenever they try and sleep or rest.

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Hot Chamber
Episode 7: Lightening in a Jar

The Cast
Lance as Whyrun the Dragonborn Bard.
Jeff as Rhyn the Human Avenger! (Avengers Assemble!)
Scott as Eldritch the Human Warlock not named after the bolt.
Michael as Xian the Drow Archer.
Aurora as Ancana the Dark Elf Witch.
Nerisssa as Heretus the Tiefling Psion
Tim as DM

Just as the northern door did, the eastern door responds to the enchanted key and opens without being touched. It hesitates, opening slowly and ominously.

A set of sigils set into the stone in a 10 foot by 20 foot antechamber glow with a dull crimson light. Before you, just beyond the glowing sigils, the dark stretches twenty feet up a set of wooden steps into a room that is black as ink. Stale air sifts down the corridor.

The adventurers sense some sort of trap and hesitate near the doorway. Ancana declares that her darkvision cannot penetrate the darkness. Heretus determines that the sigil and the magic are powerful and beyond his grasp. Someone shoots off an eldritch bolt into the darkness only to see it swallowed up. Rhyn sends his bear into the darkness to explore, but only finds darkness.

As Whyrun steps on to the sigils, their glow turns suddenly bright blue. A shimmering barrier of blue force appears over the door, blocking all attempts to escape.

Up the stairs in the chamber, they hear a hiss that turns into a rapidly escalating buzz. A new source of light has appeared there, something that glows as brightly as the risen sun.

Light awakens in the center of the chamber, spreading fearsome radiance to all corners of the room. A ten foot orb that glows as brightly as a miniature star appears in the center, swirling with blue fire. It spins rapidly, then gradually slows, casting flaring arcs of blue fire from itself at random. This fire picks up along the walls, casting haunting shadows through the room.

They hear a voice screaming from within the orb, but can’t make out the words. Lightening and spellflames arc from the orb striking the adventures. The adventures try to break the orb with attacks or using Arcane knowledge.

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As the last attack lands, the sphere shudders in its wake. Cracks spread along the sphere of blue flame, and it splits open like an egg. Inside lies a frail eladrin woman, who blinks dazedly up at them.

“Save me,” she pleads. “Save me!”

Then her eyes blaze with the same bright flame, ripping down her arms, and she attacks savagely.

Rhyn realizes that when the eladrin says, “Save me,” she means, “please kill me.” Whyrun, on the other hand, thinks he needs to literally save her. (This is a mechanic called fail forward. Lance failed on his insight check and this gives him an option to make things more interesting.)

The adventures finally defeat the eladrin. The final blow falls, and she slumps to the floor, crying out in pain and release. “Thank you,” she whispers.

Then she speaks a command word in an ancient language you do not recognize. A distant growl of stone comes to your ears, as of something unlocking.

“The way below is open,” the eladrin says. “Go, and honor her.”

Finally, they see the shimmering wall of force fade from around the chamber.

After a moment, as silent as a breeze, the ghostly woman appears, kneeling over the fallen eladrin and cradling her head in her arms. The eladrin grasps a locket around her neck and whispers something then sighs for the last time. Rhyn is the only one close enough to hear her last words.

The ghost woman looks up at Rhyn, nods, and vanishes.

The team searches the room and body. They find the locket worn by the eladrin shaped like a pyramid set with seven starts. Someone remembers that the symbol belongs to the dead goddess Mystra. Inside the locket they find a small painted portrait of a pretty human girl of about twenty or thirty years with long dark hair that curls about her as though alive. The also find a level 5 magic item (players choice).

The adventures take a short rest, gather their things, and head out the door.

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Walking Dead
Episode 8: Tainted Servants

Brian T as Ardoare the Tiefling Sorcerer.
Drew as Beliel the Drow Warlock
Jacob as Kintama the Theif
Scott as Eldritch
Cooper as Eselda the Cleric
Ace as Quinaro the Elf Ranger
Jeff as Rhyn the Human Avenger
Tim as DM

Leaving the training room behind them, the adventures step into the entry hall, only two find two aspects of it altered. The first and less pressing is that the hatch in the northeast wall stands open, revealing a spiral staircase that drops away into darkness. Second, the amorphous shadow creature with eyes of crimson flame stands before you, pointing a long, accusing finger in your direction.

zombies.jpgIn response to his silent call, wraiths boil up from the shadows and several zombies limp down the stairs. Ardoare, staring at the zombies, realizes that the zombies are the animated remains of the dead adventures they encountered at the entrance to the hidden chambers. Had they disposed of the bodies or given some sort of religious relief to those souls, they might not now be fighting them.

The adventures battle with much radiant damage, destroying all the monsters without taking much damage themselves. The black specter darts to and fro, trying to kill the adventurers, but they are too powerful. As the specter and his minions fade away, destroyed, they hear a deep rumble as of the wards around the hidden chamber giving way.

As the dust settles, they see the female spirit from the bedchamber standing amongst the battlefield, like a specter of death herself. She surveys the devastation they wreaked, then – as they watch – her soft, gentle blue gives way to a deeper purple before erupting with the bright red of blood. She makes a sound for the first time – a terrible haunting cackle that shakes them to the bone.

Then – casting them a look that is both grateful and not a little bit hungry – she fades away into the air like dispersing mist.

Peace has returned and the adventures can take an extended rest since they have now defeated the black specter that was haunting their dreams. As they bed down, their thoughts go back to the female spirit that escaped when the wards came down. What was she? What have they unwittingly unleashed upon Faerun?

(Players take an Extended Rest and Level up to 2.)

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The Chase Begins!
Episode 9: Xeres Arrives

Scott as Eldritch
Cooper as Telhami the Human Ranger
Jacob as Kintama the Theif
Jeff as Rhyn the Human Avenger with Guthrie the Bear.
Drew as Ulvein the Drow Warlock
Ace as Thorn the Razorclaw Shifter Monk
Mike as Miles Edgeworth the pompous human male Lawyer
Frank as Pork’n’Beans the Pirate
Tim as DM

The adventures descend the spiral staircase down nearly a hundred feet before they open into a vast empty darkness. A bridge leading down connects the stairs to the ruins of an ancient dwarven tower that rises from a vast chamber of the Undermountain. There does not appear to be any way down into the tower.

The great cavern fills with the sound of rushing water. A dozen chilling waterfalls cut the darkness into shards, and standing on the creaking stone of the tower, they have a spectacular if unsettling view.

Nearby, they see a crackling blue portal bounded in rune-carved stone. Farther away, on the opposite side of the tower roof, a new-looking bridge leads to the north and east.

The team confers and determines (with a few skill checks) that the tower dates back to the Melairkyn clan of dwarves, who settled this area before even Halaster came.

The portal flickers to life, its hum announcing an imminent arrival. The adventures ready themselves for battle, but the figure that emerges from the pool of magic is none other than Fayne. She looks around dazedly for a moment, then beams at them, “You made it!”

Fayne chats with the adventures and informs them that she’s been trying to teleport into the hidden chamber sporadically and has only now been able to do so successfully. She informs the adventures that they must have dropped the wards that prevented teleportation into or out of the chamber. She has come to help them finish their exploration, and then leave by means of the very portal.

Fayne’s smile falters as the portal flares again, signaling the arrival of six figures. The first – a regal eladrin with a rack of curling antlers – strides forth, drawing a sward that gleams with bright crimson light.

“Xeres!” Fayne says, stepping into the man’s path. “Ware-”

The demon eladrin blasts Fayne with a spell from his sword, knocking her senseless. He points the blade at the group. “Kill them all,” he commands.

From the portal out steps a few elves, drakes, and a beholder runt. The fighting is furious and the first causality is Guthrie the spirit bear, mowed down by an elf. But because it is a spirit bear, Rhyn is able to resummon the bear.

Xeres picks up Fayne and takes off down the bridge on the other end of the tower. Pork’n’Beans the pirate, realizing he hasn’t been paid yet, takes off after Xeres.

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The beholder continues to damage the heroes and an elf slays Rhyn (DM: I rolled 3 critical hits in a row! Two attacks alone on Rhyn with a dual attack from the elf. This was my first player KO!) The elf turns form the dead body of Rhyn and intends to attack another hero, but Guthrie the spirit bear makes on last attack and kills the elf.

As the last elf falls, they hear, beyond the bridge, the sound of pounding boots and Fayne crying out for help. The bridge leads to another tower where a door hangs ajar.

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