Chosen by the Gods

Navigating the Well of Demons
and spiting our own faces

- Fighting off more gnolls, hyneas, and a Barlgura
- Asking a few questions
- Looting and the tome
- Ghosts!
- Mirrors and disappearing men

As the group was relaxing to catch a breath after freeing and calming Veronica as well as interrogating a gnoll, a loud bang was heard on the door that had Hold Portal cast on it, and suddenly it burst open. A large demonic beast (Barlgura) lumbered through and stopped in the hay bales which hyenas and gnolls flowed in from the other door. Narata and Sabin leapt quickly to action but Lia sized up the situation just as quickly, instructing everyone to conserve their most powerful attacks and fall back to the hallway. Reeyith teleported across to the door the Barlgura had come through to prevent anything else from coming through and was met by two tieflings, one of which disappeared in front of his eyes.

The group fought and slowly fell back into the hall, but once one of the tieflings made its way into the room Narata forgot the battle plan and charged. Fortunately the team was ready to let loose their most powerful tactics and attacks, and gnolls and hyenas fell one after another. The Balgura responded to each attack in abyssal that no one could understand. Lia took an opportunity to teleport everyone further into the hall to shore up their positions, using the brief tingling sensation of the spell on Narata to briefly overcome his single-minded effort to slay tieflings. It didn’t take much longer to bring down the rest of the enemies, though there were many.

After this the group knew they had to rest, but time was running out on asking the 2nd and 3rd questions of the hand of fate. As they were contemplating their options, a quasit appeared before them. The small demonic creature identified itself as a spirit emissary of the den of Yenowa and Baphomet, willing to answer 3 questions for a price. No one quickly offered their gold, but Narata immediately gave up a healing surge when the quasit suggested that as payment. The questions asked related to the Sun Sword, slaves, and tieflings, and the answers were all, “To the southwest!” The quasit disappeared and Lia questioned the Hand of Fate to ensure the quasit was not lying. Indeed it was not, though with a final question Lia asked whether worthwhile treasures lay in the other direction, and it confirmed that there were some.

So the party went looting, and determined as they expected that all of the monsters from the other halls and rooms had come for them. On the way they found a fair amount of gold, some nice treasures, Shadowfell gloves, a cloak of resistance +2, and a tome entitled “Book of Wrath Unveiled”. This was likely the tome mentioned by the faces on the columns in the first room. Then the mask, bell, and blade remained to be found.

It was quite late and everyone was rather tired, so Lia cut a large hole in the wall with the Exodus Blade, and the group settled down for a long rest. Lia cast fastidiousness on Veronica before entering to deal with the smell. It would be close quarters after all. Half an hour in a spectral minotaur appeared and disturbed their rest, but after that everyone was able to get a full rest.

The next morning Lia cast Comprehend Language with abyssal in mind in the hopes of understanding what the Balgura had said and possibly in preparation for similar creatures ahead. The group continued southwest into the as yet unexplored section of the Well of Demons and were met suddenly by 3 ghosts: a female elven mage named who called herself Mandara, a dwarf paladin of Pelor named Sir Terrace, and a human cleric of Kord named Valdrog. The ghosts explained that they had come to rid the Well of Demons of the threat of Baphomet, but had ultimately failed. They demanded the adventurers prove themselves worthy in return for aid. Arioch responded that the heroes were there to save the world, though with a fair bit of condescension. Reeyith remained somewhat haughty, Sabin attempted to intimidate the ghosts, and Malagar and Lia were simply at a loss for handling the situation amidst the chaos of the moment. Attempts were made to prove themselves, but ultimately the ghosts were none too happy. They decided to give a few hints but no more, saying that all 4 items, blade, bell, tome, and sword needed to be placed on the runes at the same time, and good luck with it, and they disappeared.

The group decided to go East first, finding a blood trail and an alter with two figurines representing Baphomet. There was also a circle of runes on the floor, likely one of those mentioned by the ghosts. The group went back to the central room, searching for evidence of where the blood came from, but found nothing of note. They then continued north.

When they opened the door, they found a black curtain. Narata and Reeyith were the first to enter the room. Both immediately disappeared, though Reeyith could be heard farther away in the room. Lia suggested Arioch go in with his eyes closed, which he did. Sabin followed as well, but then decided to attack one of the mirrors he had caught a glimpse of, thinking they might be responsible and thus best destroyed. Before he could complete his attack, he too was teleported away, fortunately right next to Reeyith. Malagar and Lia closed their eyes and followed the walls to either side,

Reeyith found himself back where he started and mentioned something about mirrors and leering faces on the columns above them. Arioch attempted to open his eyes but keep them on the floor, and suddenly he was gone. Reeyith decided to try Sabin’s idea and attacked a mirror. He was again teleported to another part of the room, but succeeded in smashing the mirror where he appeared. Lia and Malagar continued along the walls. Reeyith found himself looking at a curtain across the room where he stood. He ducked under and found a table with a mask, and on either side a bone shard skeleton. Reeyith attacked and froze one in place, taking a hit from the other. However he took the mask and ducked back under the curtain expecting to be teleported back to the start of the room. Instead he disappeared along with the others, finding himself in a room with Narata, Arioch, and a gnoll.

The gnoll was dealt with quickly enough, but the 3 could find no way out of the relatively small room. This was rather disconcerting. At the same time, the freely moving skeleton was making its way towards the others in the room. Hearing the shouting of Reeyith the others were ready when they heard the clanking of bones approaching. Lia decided to open her eyes and cross the room towards it to turn it away with he power. Sabin also went to attack it, though he was less lucky and found himself with Narata, Arioch, and Reeyith. Only Lia and Malagar were left in the room with the skeletons. They struck at the skeletons hard, particularly as the second one caught up with the first, backing up and slowing the creatures down. Malagar was being hurt by the magic of the mirrors though, and it was anyone’s guess when either might disappear. The skeletons they could probably handle, but unless they could solve the puzzle of the room, they would likely find themselves elsewhere. Of course they didn’t know how bad elsewhere was, a place certain to lead to a slow, painful, and thirsty death…

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The Well of Demons

- To the Well of Demons
- Battling some strange creatures
- Vision of the Abyss
- Calling upon the Hand of Fate for guidance
- We found Veronica!
- Trouble is coming…

After defeating the tieflings and bronze warden in the cavern, the group rested and discussed next steps. Arioch cast a silence ritual and Malagar played lookout. Lia decided to dig a fill a hole, marking it with an arcane mark, to possibly trick someone into thinking the Skull had been hidden there. It wasn’t much, but it was something.

They all then decided that they must go next to the Well of Demons which one of their maps led to. So they walked back to the 7 Pillar Halland to the southwest entrance to the Labyrinth. After less than an hour they arrived at a place where the cave walls opened up, and Narata was the fastest to react to the scene. Several of the others saw the ghoul hiding behind a column, but Narata was the only one who saw the sneaky cavern chokers hiding in holes in the ceiling above columns. The columns themselves had faces carved into them from which they spoke, “Seekers of Baphomet’s glory, you shall be claimed as slaves, but those worthy will be granted great power…” and something about “mask, bell, blade, and tomb.” Of course Narata didn’t hear any of that; all he heard was the blood pumping through his body as he charged and leaped into the air to jab one of the chokers which wasn’t quick enough to withdraw. The attack cut into the choker and blood dripped down the column.

The ghoul ran to attack Narata as he was landing, but what everyone noticed was the vibrations in rock. Suddenly several tentacles rose from between cracks in the rocks, and Lia was able to recognize it as a phalagar. The tentacle creature and the chokers were frustrating, but the team rallied. Arioch sent the phalagar in fear back into its hole and the others struck out at all of the enemies. In the end one of the chokers got away, but all of the rest were slain (1050XP).

During a short break to catch a breath, everyone had a dark vision of the Abyss. It shook Lia’s will, but with some help from the others they were able to piece together the details of the place. The Well of Demons was a monastery to Baphomet, demon lord of berserkers. A series of chambers was designed to challenge those who came, kill the weak and give power to the worthy. The division between the place and the Abyss was thin, explaining the vision which was unlikely to be a one-time occurrence.

Knowing that they had best get through the place quickly, Lia for the first time called upon the Hand of Fate which would answer 3 questions within 10 minutes about what they should do next. The hand pointed them to the southern exit of the room rather than the eastern exit, so they followed it. The passage split, and the group decided to check the eastern door before using up another question.

Malagar listened and heard the sounds of nasty voices, arrows, and the squeals of a very large boar. The group didn’t need to ask the Hand any questions to know that must be Veronica, the dire boar belonging to the owner of the Deep Gem Mining Company. They burst into the room and found hyenas around a cage containing Veronica, and 4 gnolls firing arrows at it from beyond hay bails. The battle was not exceptionally dangerous, but one of the gnolls escaped out of one of the doors (1300XP).

After the battle Lia and Malagar attempted to calm Veronica, calling its name, making boar-like motions and noises, and providing it some food. As she calmed down they let her out of the cage. Knowing others might try to come in soon since the gnoll got away, Lia cast Hold Portal on the door he had escaped through. She then gave a try mounting the boar, which worked rather well and would give her an excellent position from which to cast.

Arioch, Malagar, and Sabin questioned the one gnoll they had allowed to live. He would say nothing but when asked about the slaves and where the mining was going on, he couldn’t help but occasionally glance to the southwest from where they had come.

The group needed a short rest, and they hoped they’d get it before the certain response came. Another vision appeared, this time not so troubling. A minotaur specter appeared and seemed to be chanting, worshipping Baphomet given the way it was dressed. While this wasn’t enough to disturb their rest significantly, it wasn’t but a minute or so before there was a loud bang on the held door. It did not break or open, but more hyenas streamed in from the second door. The group would have to engage battle again, potentially against much worse odds this time, or else flee the room…

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Deaths in the 7 Pillar Hall
Where is Malagar?

- Return to the Hall
- Run-in with Serena
- Arioch gets testy with a priest
- Sabin looks for intel and gets into trouble
- Narata goes nuts on some tieflings (and the mages are back)
- Reeyith gets uncursed
- A plan (of sorts) for the skull is devised
- Cavern rumble (more tieflings)

As the party made their way to the 7 Pillar Hall (with Malagar’s location unknown and Sabin having gone ahead to keep a low profile) they noticed a dead woman’s body on the ground near the hidden exit of the duergar trading post. The group had the rescued slaves go ahead, having given clear instructions to only tell Markelhay and Stockmer the true story of their rescue, and they provided the funds to hire transport back to their respective homes (Fallcrest and Riverdown in Harkenwold).

Arioch studied the dead woman’s body and found fang bite marks on her neck. The party agreed that he should decapitate her to ensure she would not rise again as a vampire. Arioch did the deed and then sewed the head on again so as to not make the decapitation overly obvious. The party also discussed the idea of creating one or more fake skulls. They snuck back into the duergar trading post and Arioch again used his skills, this time to skin the and clean the skull of one of the dead duergar.

Upon finally returning to the hall many eyes were on the party. Lia noticed Serena ascending the steps to an alehouse and the motioned for the group to meet her. Lia suggested they speak inside without so many eyes and ears on them. They told Serena that the duergar of the Horned Hold were dead for their sin of being slavers. Serena was very glad and asked that the group join her in her holy war to rid Thunderspire of all of the evils ones, including any other duergar and all Drow. The group suggested that should Serena’s goals coincide with theirs, perhaps they could work together, but they did not commit to anything.

After leaving, the group came across a priest named Father Miles, and a man loading bodies onto a cart. Arioch spoke to the man to ask what was happening, how the people had died, and what was being done with the bodies. The priest tried to hide the bodies from view and deflect Arioch’s questions, but Arioch persisted, offering to help. He ignored the priest and went to “help”, knocking over the man collecting the bodies and getting a good look at more bite marks on necks.

Arioch eventually walked on and Reeyith came up to speak to the priest to find out if he could assist in removing the cursed armor. The priest said he could and agreed to meet in an hour to perform the ritual.

The group continued on as Malagar and Sabin each separated watched in secret. Sabin decided to ask some people why they were paying so much attention to the heros, and kept getting the cold shoulder. A man he was trying to intimidate into talking called over a guard and in order to try to get the guard to go away told him about “bandits” who he had supposedly seen in the passages southeast of the Hall. Sabin was unsuccessful in getting the man to talk, and as he was going to try another person the guard came back with others. They hadn’t found any bandits but they did find a dead body and wanted to ask Sabin some questions. Noting Sabin’s trouble, Arioch screamed out that he saw a “giant bat-shaped man”, and Lia cast pyrotechnics to illuminate the cavern ceilings and provide additional distraction. Unfortunately this wasn’t enough for Sabin to get away.

Lia, Reeyith, and Arioch followed the guards and Sabin to the jail and explained the situation to Brug. Brug was very unhappy to hear that they knew about the vampires, but they promised that they would keep quiet and not get him in trouble with the mages. Brug agreed to let Sabin go.

The party continued on to the Deep Gem Mining Co and asked the owner about mining operations. The group recalled the gods’ message of the Sun Sword, that miners were looking for it. They found out that the operations were going on the direction of the Horned Hold, and that the owner’s dire boar Veronica was still missing. He said Veronica is striped and has a harness. A reward would be in order for whomever returned her.

As the group walked around in the direction of Gindar’s trading post, they noticed some conspicuous tieflings eying them. They continued walking around, eventually stopping just around the corner of a building. When the tieflings followed around the corner Arioch and Reeyith stepped up to them, demanding they explain why they were following. The tieflings lied saying they weren’t following at all, and went on their way.

A minute later as the group had found Traevus and were trading some items with him, they heard a large commotion. Narata had seen two of the tieflings and was attacking ferociously. Guards and a bronze warden came to try to break up the fight, but Narata would not be separated by the tieflings. He killed one tiefling and the guards started to surround him. They were eventually able to subdue him when the mages appeared in the hall ready to turn him to dust, but not before all three tieflings had been killed, at which point Narata gave himself up.

Someone in the party found a message with a map about getting the barbarian, suggesting that the tieflings were trying to recapture Narata. After Reeyith had finally gone and gotten his cursed armor uncursed, the group went to Gindar’s. They sold him the skull scepter and then came up with a plan to put the skull box inside of a lock-box inside another lock-box. They also got an almost-matching box for the fake skull which they decorated with various oils and colored markings. Lia kept one key, Reeyith another, Malagar the real box, and Arioch the fake box.

After they’d all had a chance to get some rest and somehow Narata was freed. The group followed the map and came across a small cavern with a large boulder blocking the entrance. Narata jumped up and engaged with the tieflings while Lia teleported the others up on top of the rock and the battle was joined. There were 2 tieflings and a bronze warden. Eventually all 3 were put down and the group was able to rest and plan their next steps.

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Lost in the Labyrinth
Maloreth Returns

- The group is lost
- More dreams from the gods
- An ancient temple is found
- Maloreth and the skull!
- Return to the 7-Pillar-Hall

On their return from the Horned Hold, the group became lost. Narata decided to go his own way and only Malagar followed. The rest went just a short distance and stopped in a wider section of the Labyrinth to wait to see if Narata and Malagar would return. They eventually did, and Malagar explained that they likely had gotten lost because some of the walls were Living Stone.

During a rest, several members of the group dreamed again of the gods. They warned of Maloreth, the skull, and the Temple of Bones which is near. They also explained that Maloreth was not working with Kas/Vannyk. The second artifact is a book that together with the skull could destoy the world. The third artifact, which is in the Labyrinth, is the Sun Sword, which could be used to kill Kas and Vecna, having been used to kill Vecna during his life. The Sun Sword is being sought after by miners somewhere in the Labyrinth.

The group continued on for a bit when Malagar noticed the smoke from their torch rising higher than usual. The group stopped and upon further inspection found that there was an opening in the roof of the cave. They ascended and found themselves in a ruined temple.

In the first room were several wraiths, as well as a gelatinous cube. The cube might have been a native, but the wraiths may well have been placed here by someone as a defense. The group brought up the freed slaves and told them to wait as they continued on. This might be the place that the gods mentioned that held one of the artifacts.

While crossing a bridge, the bridge collapsed over a large stream. Sabin, Malagar, and Narata, were able to get back up with some assistance. On the other side, Lia used Hold Portal to prevent anything from surprising them from behind while they went down a spiral staircase. Malagar went to scout down the stairs, but Narata decided to follow him rather than wait with the rest. He knocked on the door and was met with magical attacks. Hearing the battle, the rest of the group hurried down the stairs to see what was happening. There in the room was a Lich, one that spat and cursed Lia when it saw her. The Lich was the undead form of Maloreth, and upon a table was a box eerily similar to the one that had held the necromantic skull Lia had once before taken from him. During the battle Narata unexpectedly opened the box. He looked into it and froze. Malagar, seeing the strange reaction, closed the box wtihout looking, and Narata shook himself free of the effect and fought on.

While Maloreth was powerful, he was no match alone for the entire team. Once his bones were destroyed though, no one could find a phylactery. Undoubtedly the lich would return again at some point. Lia, Arioch, and Reeyith took to studying the box to see if it itself was magical or had any mechanisms related to holding the artifact. However, in just holding the box something called out to them and Lia felt compelled to open the box. All 3 stared lovingly at the skull contained therein. Malagar took it from them with a bag and once again closed it. He asked Narata for his bag of holding and tossed it in. Reeyith, Arioch, Narata, and Lia all wanted the box and the skull back, but shortly an argument ensued about who should hold onto it. Some might have been successfully fighting the urge to see the skull again, but it was not clear whom that was.

Lia tossed the ring of invisibility to Malagar and requested his amulet of health in turn to help her resist the effects of the skull. She suggested he use it and hide from them to keep the skull safe. Arioch accused Lia of wanting the box and coming up with a way to get it back. Sabin, unaffected, tried to help Malagar figure out what to do, at first offering to take it, but then realizing that there was no reason he should be trusted with that and so withdrew the suggestion. Finally, Malagar activated the ring and ran from the room. Everyone else eventually left, figuring it was time to rest and then return to the 7-Pillar-Hall.

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Taking the Horned hold
The Fall of Berend Pypesmith

This log covers the sessions of 12/21/13, 1/4/14, and 1/18/14:
- The fight against the roper and the death of Berend
- Taking the Horned Hold: killing Markelmore and rescuing the slaves
- Discovery of vampires, and Berend’s spirit rescuing the group in his last act

Items acquired:
- Exodus blade
- Flying hook
- Ring of premonition
- Greater ring of invisibility

Following the taking of the first section of the Horned Hold, the group moved on to the second section. They fought more duergar, taking down the duergar champion, preventing any escapees, and found some slaves. They then proceeded cautiously to the final section across a bridge only to be surprised by an extremely dangerous cave roper as arrows came firing from the final. Reeytih took advantage of a small arrow slit to teleport into the last section of the Hold and was able to open the door. The roper was intent on taking Berend, and when all appeared lost Lia teleported everyone into the Hold and closed the door. The battle continued to rage with several duergar and walking crossbow constructs, but the roper was not done. It ripped the door from the hinges and tried to take Lia, then succeeded in taking Berend again. Narata made a stunning and valiant move to swing around the bridge and up to the roper to grab Berend, but just as he was swinging up, the roper simply dropped Berend into the depths below. Narata, with backup fire from the rest of the team slew the roper, but they were too late to save Berend. Narata climbed down to take a few personal items, including his battle axe, and a few treasures from the roper’s body. Seeing some frightening eyes appearing around him, he quickly climbed back up.

A few of the group said a few words for Berend, but Lia was silent other than directing the others for continuing through the hold. Her face barely showed the intense anger welling up inside her. The team scouted and spied on a group of orcs and an ogre in a room beyond. They set a trap, using an illusion of the duergar champion silently urging them to his side, and the Hold Portal ritual. The ensuing fight, which might otherwise have proved a significant challenge, was over quickly and the team moved on.

Malagar spied on a door and heard Markelmore’s name and likely the duergar himself. Lia cast Hold Portal on the door and they continued into another room where it was clear slaves were being held. Some duergar slave masters and a couple of fiends were there which the group took on with urgency. In the midst of battle a strange man burst forth from a barrel, striking out with curses and spells against the slavers with great fury. Once the fight was over he gave his name as Sabin. Before unchaining the slaves in their pits, Malagar noticed a secret door in the wall. Behind it was fire, but no sooner had he and Narata come back the door began to open and Markelmore’s crew began to come through. The team tried to keep them holed up but ultimately they got into the room. Though the group had not had chance to rest, they were able to defeat Markelmore and his companions.

After finally taking an extended rest and providing for the slaves, the group decided to explore the rest of the hold. They opened to door to a room and found it covered in coffins. Arioch reacted quickly. Hating the unnatural undead with a passion, he ran in to rebuke the undead, but the vampires were quick enough to slash at him as he ran and he fell unconscious on his way back. The rest of the team did what they could, but the vampires were extremely strong and powerful and they flew out at the rest, striking some down and bloodying the rest. When it seemed all was lost a bright light flashed from the room blinding all. When they awoke the vampires were gone, and an glowing ephemeral form appeared. Berend was there, in spirit, and he spoke to his friends. He explained that he was given an opportunity by the gods to take one last action, to save his comrades one final time, before leaving the mortal realm forever. He instructed them to leave this place, that there was nothing else there for them. Then he was gone.

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Confronting the Duergar

Following the party’s return from the Chamber of Eyes and the destruction of the Bloodreavers, they spent some time preparing more for their next steps. This included ordering a duplicate of the Tiefling dagger, speaking to Orontor, buying and studying rituals, and planning. In this time several members of the party had important dreams in which their respective patron god gave them important messages. Lia, Malagar, Arioch, and Reeyith each spoke of their dreams, though each also held a bit back for various reasons. All together it was clear that the gods were deeply concerned and had helped the party form. From Sehanine Lia learned that Lloth was using Vannyk (not his real name), a being far more powerful than they had believed, against the god Vecna. Selune confirmed to Reeyith that the Dark One of the Thalianth, cohort of Vecna, was a real threat and was responsible for corrupting Sidarlis. It was unclear whether this Dark One had escaped its prison or not. Malagar found out from the Raven Queen that the prophecy of “the one” and the Drow was real, and that he must protect “the one” with his life. She told Arioch that we must live to face Vannyk and that if we don’t stop him the universe would be destroyed. The party must find and protect a set of artifacts, including the Ice Scepter, from Vannyk and two of those artifacts are in the Labyrinth.

Once the fake tiefling dagger was ready the group went to the Drow named Gindar. He knew just where to look to discover it was a fake. Though it was easy to cast suspicion on Bairwin, he and Malagar had some unpleasant words. Eventually each discovered that they both were outcasts and both had turned away from Lloth. Gindar became an ally and provided the party, willing to give information in perpetuity for the 100gp and other reasons known only to him and Malagar. He also turned over the Drow stones once he received the real dagger, and offered 300gp for a nonmagical Skull Scepter he had once found in the Bone Chamber but which some Duergar had stolen from him.

After this the party decided to turn their attention to the Duergar and their slaving ways. The Duergar have a trading post in the 7 Pillar Hall, so Arioch and Reeyith attempted to infiltrate by presenting themselves as slave traders. The Duergar felt that they asked too many questions, never admitting their role in any slave trade. The rest of the group came up with a plan to try the slave trader ploy once more, using the fact that they’d killed Krand to their advantage. When the plan went nowhere, the group attacked the Duergar. One got away and one finally gave himself up (725XP, 70gp, 100sp, 8 gems each worth ~25gp, and a +2 orb). He provided a bit of information, including the name of their leader Markelmore and a bit about the path to the Horned Hold. A map of a substantial portion of the Labyrinth including a secret path to the Horned Hold was found in a desk.

The team decided to take the rest of the day off in the hopes that the Horned Hold wouldn’t still be on high alert the next day, and to get refreshed. Lia cast Comprehend Language in the hopes of overhearing some of the Deep speech used by the Duergar. With aid she did well enough to be able to speak the language. It took about an hour to get to the back entrance of the Horned Hold. Malagar scouted and saw a sturdy wooden portcullis with some guards behind it. The group crafted a plan to lure some out. She created a Silent Image of Kadhera, leader of the Duergar trading post, injured and dragging the body of Reeyith. Lia, hidden in the shadows, tried to imitate a hoarse version of Kadhera, demanding aid and assistance from the guards. This apparently did not work, as the lights dimmed and no one emerged from the building. A couple minutes later an arrow shot out.

The group waiting another minute but Malagar was getting impatient. He signaled to Lia and she activated her new Far Thought ability to speak to him telepathically. Malagar wanted to attack, seeing no other option. Lia turned her focus to each team member individually. Narata clearly wanted to attack and was barely holding himself still, while Reeyith and Arioch were against the assault. Lia tested the gate with her unseen servant, but with only 100 pounds of force the gate would not move. After another minute of discussion, Lia voted in favor of the assault since no other useful ideas had arisen. She timed the start of the attack and Narata and Berend charged the gate in an attempt to push it open. They failed in their first attempt and the enemies inside began using spears and crossbows on them.

Lia had everyone change their tactics with the initial failure to attacking the portcullis. Reeyith teleported inside and attacked, taking the enemies’ attention away from those outside, at least some of them. The assault continued until the door was almost broken and a couple of the enemies, now clearly orcs, had fallen thanks mostly to Malagar’s precise arrows. Once the gate was down the party was able to push in and continue to tear the enemies down until only three were left. The two orcs gave up but the Duergar scout fought til his death (1775XP, 196gp, 206sp, Skull Scepter; behind loose stone: 13p, 93sp, 4 small emeralds worth 10gp each). The team tied up the orcs for questioning, searching the building, and prepared to figure out how to hold it until they were ready to proceed.

Arioch looked to take another specimen, this time a nose, but as he cut it off it hopped out of his hand and started bouncing across the floor as he chased after it. He caught up and stomped it, picked it up, and it jumped onto his own nose. He looked over to see Lia grinning and snickering. Reeyith turned up an eyebrow, “a cantrip I see.”

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Thunderspire Intel

Last session we found that we had been staying in Thunderspire for 2 weeks. We spent the time recovering from our previous battles, asking around for information, studying rituals, and planning our next move. While we had to pay for food (2sp/day) and stabling for our horses (3sp/day), our rooms were taken care of by the Halfmoons (because of the halfling boy we saved last time).

The group split up at times, as Narata and Arioch went out to gather intel and have a good time in the bars. They learned of a dragonborn named Surina who hated the Duergar and wanted them driven out of Thunderspire, and they caused a bit of trouble here in there (Arioch thought they might get the Mages’ attention with some trouble-making and then perhaps get an audience that way).

Malagar decided it had been too long since he’d had some time with a female, so he went to enjoy himself. Upon arriving the proprietor congratulated him as being the 500th customer winning a free hour with one of his finest ladies. As Malagar climbed up to the pigeonhole (used by the prostitutes) to receive his prize he found himself face-to-face with a half-orc. Lia couldn’t hide her amusement and bust out laughing once Malagar came back. Lia couldn’t tell if Malagar realized he’d been set up (by her) or not.

In addition to getting some action, Malagar did notice a certain Dragonborn (later confirmed by the others to be Surina) climbing into one of the pigeonholes. He also saw a kobold skulking around that Narata and Arioch later came across to get some information about the Labyrinth.

Lia, Reeyith, and Arioch decided to go together to talk to the Arcanus (current head mage). Cora helped disguise Reeyith in case Sedarlis was around or had agents looking for him. The three came to the teleportation circle and spoke aloud requesting an audience with Arcanus Orontor. He appeared before them and they introduced themselves. Arioch used his silence ritual so they would not be eavesdropped on. Orontor soon figured out that they had been responsible for driving out the Iron Circle and defeating the Winter King and thanked them. He also confirmed that he knew of the vampire and lycanthrope attacks and was concerned about the rise in bat numbers inside Thunderspire. Any one could be a vampire spy. Moreover outside in the Vale he explained that snow flurries would occasionally occur, as someone must be experimenting with the scepter and crown. Orontor knew of Lord Vannyk and suspected that he may be involved.

As the three gained Orontor’s confidence, he volunteered some additional serious information. He was the only mage in Thunderspire. The rest were all out seeking information on Lord Vannyk. However one of them, Paldemar, had gone rogue even before the party had gone to the Cairn of the Winter King. Orontor asked if the heroes would try to track him down and return him and any information on his activities. We agreed, though only after satisfying our goals in Thunderspire.

Finally the party found Terrlen, a guide recommended by many, sold some treasure and bought some fresh supplies, and then made their way into the Labyrinth and to the Chamber of Eyes. There we came across and fought some goblins and a bugbear. After winning we found some magical armor (two pieces) and a magical belt. One goblin got away though, so we might have some difficulties next session.

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Facing the Winter King

Plan A

It was clear that there was no way through the ice curtain without drawing attention. The team got together to consider their options. If they could draw their enemy out of the throne room they might be able to mount an ambush and set up some traps. They laid a carpet and cold-fire dipped poison darts in front of the door to the throne room antechamber, laid out Anger’s body in an adjoining room, and began to mock a battle in the hopes of drawing them out. Unfortunately this plan failed entirely.

Plan B

Assuming their enemies could not be drawn out, they laid a plan to come at them from two sides. Eldan and Malagar set up in the antechamber while Berend and the rest prepared to barge in the rear entrance. Berend slammed against the ice as Eldan prepared to open the doors on the other side of the room. It took a few bashes and kicks, but finally the ice curtain exploded into a shower of shards and the battle was on.

Eldan threw open his door and quickly slung an dagger at the nearest gnome illusionist. Malagar lined up his own shots and hit with one. Arioch and Reeyith went in followed by Berend to try to engage one of the gnomes and finish her before she could create duplicates. The gnome was not felled so easily though and the battle raged on as the Winter King glided past his enemies striking at them with a strange icy grace. Arioch was immobilized as ice began to slowly form around him.

The owlbear entered the battle, but fortunately no one immediately attempted to directly confront Malagar and Eldan, so they were able to continue taking their deadly shots. They could easily have escaped in any case, but finally gnome duplicates lined up and turned their attention. Eldan effortlessly stepped over the icy stones and sliced through the two duplicates as Malagar stuck more arrows in the real gnome illusionist. Then the owlbear finally turned its attention towards Malagar but slipped on the stones and fell into one of the pools to the side.

Chandeliers fell from the ceiling trapping Reeyith temporarily and then another trapped Berend. Arioch was slowly turning to ice but no one could do anything to help him. The gnomes fell and then so did the owlbear with a final shot from Malagar’s bow.

The Winter King, having made much trouble for the lead force already, glided into the secret back room to attack Lia and Marko. Both determined they were no longer safe waiting there and stepped into the room. Marko spoke, telling the King that he was under his control now. His magic worked and the King was dominationated. Marko had the King throw the ice scepter to him, and he ran out of the room.

Malagar and Eldan saw tieflings making their way to attack from behind. One dropped in pain after running over the rug/poison dart trap. Reeyith teleported one away when he tried to attack, and he killed one of his allies. Malagar cut down another with an arrow at close range, and the fourth decided to make a break for it before he met his own doom.

The End is Nigh

Lia, realizing she could do little to help with her magic, decided to confront the Winter King with words. “Your forces have been fought off and your time here is near an end. End this winter and we will let you live.”

The Winter King was visibly unnerved by these words. He roared something in draconic that no one could understand. The others picked up on his distress and began to taunt the King as well, weakening his resolve and his power. He was even melting and cracking, exposing the icy crown atop his head that Marko had claimed gave him his power. Finally, Lia exclaimed, “The gods have revoked your power! You are finished!” In the light of Lia’s original spell which was still surrounding the King, he exploded into a million shimmering shards. The crown fell to the ground and was all that was left.

She then followed Marko, stopping him before he could leave with the scepter once again. This time it would be used to protect and not just to make some more gold.

Reeyith picked up the ice crown and realized that it might be able to unfreeze Arioch. He was indeed correct and the ice encasing Arioch melted and unfroze. Eldan, Malagar, and Berend looted the bodies. Eldan found a hat on one, and realizing its power (as a Hat of Disguise) took it for himself. The others nodded in assent. The ice all throughout the room was melting, so the entire party began to make their way to the exit. They heard sounds in the room where once there were many people encased in ice. There was danger there, and they would not be able to take Amarac’s body with them.

They raced past the room with the arcane circle portal where they heard a great rumbling. Behind them they heard an army. Aboard the ship, with the ice crown in hand, the ship spoke saying it could convey them for one last journey. They decided to return to Fallcrest as the army burst out of the doors and as the land thawed and plants magically began to bloom.

Return to Fallcrest

A great cheer erupted from the streets of Fallcrest as the ship landed in the beautiful summer weather. As the adventurers looked around they caught sight of a girl where Eldan should have been. She grinned, as did Lia as she realized the clever ruse the girl had played all along. “My real name is Cora,” she whispered to Lia. “I’ll fill you in on the details later.”

Others in the group were still confused when Warden Markelhay met the heroes. They stepped off the ship and it melted into the grass. “You succeeded!” he exclaimed. “I should never have doubted you would. You are heroes of the Vale.” He then pointed towards a tower on an island in the river. “That is the Tower of Waiting. I have instructed crews to make repairs. It is now yours. We hope you will continue to protect us and all the people of the Nentir Vale, and as you do you will always be rewarded.” With that he also handed over bags holding 500 gold pieces.

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Cold Fire Burns

More Exploring

Battle for the Fire Key

Anger

The Dwarven Cleric

Hidden passages

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Traps and Tribulations

A Very Icy Room

Trapped!

Escape and Treasure

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