The Isle of Adraan

The Dwarven Way
The larger they come, the harder they fall

Naram thinks that the history of the dwarven lands inscribed on the sarcophagus will take a considerable time to decipher. He taps on the block, reaching out a crystalline hand and banging his fist. It sounds solid.

Red and blue shield of energy still surrounds the statue of the Dwarf. There is no heat, but it is as if it is covered in flame.

Ilwyn throws a piece of scrap metal from his thief’s tools at the statue’s head. It hits the aura, then fizzes and falls to the ground. The statue’s eyes light up and in a booming voice it intones four words in Dwarven. No one can make out what they are so Naram performs a ritual to understand the foreign words.

The ritual done, Naram bids Ilwyn throw another piece of metal at the statue. It speaks again and Naram now understands its speech. It says: ‘This door is closed’

Naram replies in broken dwarven, ‘How may I open the door?’

The statue replies: ‘The first made me. None shall pass but those who honour the fallen. The tomb is closed to those who do not follow The Way.’

Naram does not know what The Way is, but starts to study the text on the sarcophagus. Ilwyn and Enna help. Enna spots a pattern that might be an incantation and draws it to the other’s attention. Naram looks and sees that it is a passage that refers to the dwarven gods. Within this part of the text that talks about the ‘Dwarven Way’.

Sensing that Naram’s researches might take a while, the rest of the party starts to rest.

Only Enna does not sleep or trance. Rather she helps Naram, looking for copies of the phrases about the ‘Dwarven Way’. She determines there are three parts to ‘The Way’ but cannot find any more information than that.

What she determines is that the first part of the dwarven way is something about the name of the first maker. The second part is about an honour secret to the dwarves. The third part is a symbol or genuflection or gesture.

Under Naram’s direction Enna points out the symbol mentioned in the third part and spots a corner where the gesture is described. He determines that this is a deep bow from the waist whilst twirling one’s beard. The text gives a detailed description of the manoeuvre.

With further study of the text, Naram also discovers the first part is the legend of how the first dwarfs were carved from stone when the world was young.

Naram soon figures the second part that identifies the secret honour. It is described as ‘Release us through honour from the fear of the dark’. It is honour that allows the dwarves to stand in the tunnels and mines against the monsters and horrors there.

Naram ponders a while, asking Enna to give him some insight on the religious aspects of the puzzle. He soon realizes that the three parts need to be performed in a particular order. The honour is to be spoken first, followed by the response, then completed by the bow.

Naram stands and faces the statue and performs ‘The Way’ in his fractured Dwarvish.

‘The nameless one carved me from stone when the world was young,’ he says. The blue energy on the stone dwarf glows brighter and then fades, leaving only the red flames.

The he performs the honouring, saying: ‘Release me through honour from the fear of the dark’. At this the statue’s red energy glows and fades.

Finally Naram performs the bow from the waist and mimes the beard twirl. He holds the bow long and slow.

This done, the statue comes to life again, eyes glowing. Then it steps one step to the side, leaving the stone door unmasked.

Naram puts his hand upon the door. As he does so the statue’s eyes glow and it says: ‘For what I must do I am sorry, but I cannot allow elves and goblins to pass.’ It raises its axe and attacks.

Now that the thing is animate, Haleth recognises it as a dwarven treasure golem. A very tough opponent.

The party charges, with Caecius and Haleth in the vanguard. The Dwarf is knocked down. Enna dances in furiously and thuds four arrows in rapid succession into the golem, cracking its clay.

The Dwarf construct gets up, its eyes aglow. It releaes a magic that does something to people’s hearts, trying to make their greed overwhelm them. Most of the golem’s victims resist, but Enna is dominated by it.

Then the golem roars, turning into a swarm of flying stone fragments that reassembles next to Naram. It reforms slowly, so that for a while it is insubstantial. Naram teleports out of the way and tries to distract the treasure golem with an anomaly.

Enna, now dominated, fires an arrow at Ilwyn. Caecius slashes at her in defense, cutting her. However, Enna’s arrow finds its mark against the goblin. Moments later, her head clears and she realises with regret what she has done.

Caecius then uses his grasping spear against the still-insubstantial statue to grab it. Haleth surges forward, using his bedevilling assault to hurt the golem. Then Ilwyn rains more blows. But against the reforming creature it is like fighting fog. Nevertheless, the golem is clearly hurt.

Naram’s swirling, psychic anomaly envelops the Dwarf construct and dazes it. The object tries to dominate Haleth this time and succeeds, stopping the fighter in his tracks. Then it slams Haleth, knocked him briefly off his feet. The dominated Haleth gets up and strikes at Caecius.

Meanwhile, Ilwyn jumps off the wall and slashes at the statue, knocking it prone. It tries to break free of Caecius’s grab. It succeeds, hurling Caecius and Ilwyn through the air.

Picking himself up, Caecius directs Enna’s shot, which hits the construct and digs deep into it. Haleth, having shaken off the effects of the golem’s domination, launches a tide of iron against the creature.

Ilwyn makes a great leap across the chamber. He lands next to the golem, makes a deft strike and cuts a lump off it. Haleth supports the attack with a strike that makes a solid hit. Naram’s psychic anomaly follows-up and dazes the construct, dropping it to the ground.

From the floor the golem strikes back at Haleth and Ilwyn, doing little damage but inviting more blows from the fighter. Enna steps lightly in and strikes at the heart of the construct, dealing a telling shot. The golem is now so badly injured that it goes berserk, striking out at the heroes next to it, connecting with Ilwyn and knocking him back.

Ilwyn gets up and rushes back, deftly striking the monster, finishing it off. It’s head is knocked off and its body crumbles into a pile of rubble. The centre block glows.

Everyone take a rest after fighting the epically constructed creature. The centre block is inscribed with the rune ‘K’. It is the heart of the golem. Naram estimates that it is highly valuable.

Having rested the party slowly pushes open the door the golem was guarding.

In the room beyond four magically lit braziers occupy the corners. They roar with a flame that circles around a central square. It is a barrier of superheated cinders and incandescent heat. In the centre and surrounded by a red aura is the mummified form of a dwarf, stood on eternal guard. At its feet sits a coffin.

Naram looks down and can see more words carved in the stone at the feet of the heroes.

Beneath the earth
prove thy claim
at the last
speak my name

Four verses follow:

You were taken First In Cold and Dark Burned by Flame As the second Mark
You breathed my Third Where you did part My ancient form From stoneclad heart
Carved deep inside I placed my last My hidden name Forgotten past
These four remember Who I am In blood soaked pool Where it began

Ilwyn, sharp as a razor, quickly figures out the riddle and says ‘Drek’. On saying the words the Mummy seems to speak.

‘Who disturbs Drek from his slumber?’ The mummy says. ‘Has darkness descended once again? Are you here to rob the tomb?’

‘No,’ says Ilwyn, though he cannot stop himself from asking the mummy what its deathly possessions are.

The Mummy shrugs. ‘Do not dishonour my tomb by taking my grave goods. The curse of a thousand dwarves will fall upon your houses. It was goblins that betrayed me with their greed, long ago.’

‘Those were my ancestors,’ says Ilwyn. ‘I don’t represent them.’

Then the goblin lies. ‘I was brought up a Dwarf,’ he says.

At this, Drek responds: ‘Long long ago I stood by the goblins before it went wrong. It brings back memories I’d long forgotten; memories of when we fought together.’

At this, Naram steps forward to ask the mummy about the shard that may destroy the world.

Drek seems gripped by great sorrow.

‘The shard you say. I had long forgotten it,’ it says. ‘The goblins stole it from me. The shard was once the strength and power of my house when we stood against the darkness.’

Naram tells Drek he wants to recover it to prevent it being used for bad purposes. However, the mummy seems to have something else on its mind.

‘Tell me,’ it says, ‘many years have long gone. Are the tales of the Tide of Blood still spoken?’

‘Yes,’ says Naram. ‘The story is still known and so is your heroic death.’

‘Would you hear more of the tale?’ says Drek. His voice is almost whispery. Naram nods that he would.

’Ah, the Tides of Blood.  So that legend is still told?  The world was young, I sense that many thousands of years have passed since I swung an axe in the dawn of the world.  Ere long its tranquility was disturbed by those who would hunger for the light.  Those who would drink the blood of the fallen simply to take it from those who were blessed of the gods.

’It fell to me, in small part, to stand.  My house was in fragments, my stronghold scattered to the seven winds by the incursions.  We knew not why, but undead forces were leeching to this world from what you call the shadowfell, to us the dishonourable darkness.  Not the usual hatred and mindlessness of energy stuck between worlds, but driven by a hunger for some passage to our world.

‘The remaining dwarf elders sought to close the closeness of the worlds, and made for me an axe. One to unite my people, those fragments that had not blown on the wind and stood short and proud against the enemy. It was powered by the shard, a fragment of that most ancient of artifacts imbedded in its handle.’

Naram replies to the mummy of the Dwarf king: ’The younger of those may forget, but we remember and want to prevent the shard being used to create a rift between the world and the Shadowfell.

Drek’s eyes light on Ilwyn again and he asks: ‘Have the goblins returned to their wicked ways?’

‘We are not sure,’ says Naram. ‘But the goblins enlisted us on this endeavour.’

‘In the dawn of the world it was the trust between our races that allowed us to fight the undead,’ says Drek. ‘The races united, for the fear of endless death was greater than all the old emnities.’ The mummy pauses, looking solemn: ’I see there is an elf amongst you. And, yes, even a goblin.

‘It was the goblins who betrayed me with their greed. As we fought the endless legions, until the very hills were stained red, we drove them back. Sensing my weakness as the other dwarves fell, and standing alone counting the cost of our victory, the remaining goblins took their chance. They attacked me unawares, and smashed me down. The axe was broken by my fall but not all was lost, the goblins fled with their shard, but my work was done. The attacks had stopped.’

Ilwyn speaks up. ‘Do you know of a goblin named Drek?’ he asks. ‘He sent us to search for the shard.’

‘It would surprise me not if they use my name in vain,’ replies Drek. ‘It was they who betrayed me. Seek out the pieces of the shard, if you would.  It surely holds some significance in the days to come.’

At this Ilwyn bows like a dwarf.

‘So honour is not forgotten,’ smiles the mummy. ‘Take my worldy goods, then. Let them help you in your search for the shard. I must return to my rest.’

He points to the coffin and the fires fall low. Then Drek returns to his rest, becoming immobile.

The group shuffles forward to look in the coffin. Inside they find a great dwarven spear: an aura killing spear of the indomitable dwarf. There is also the iron ring of the dwarf lords. Next to this there is a pair of goggles: the Eyes of the deep dwarf. Finally there are Mithral and silver grave goods worth thousands…

Experience

Experience b/f 32730 (adjusted slightly to correct numbers) (level 12)
XP Gained : 1120
Experience c/f 33850 (level 13 at 39000)

Kills

Dwarven Treasure Golem

Quests

Deciphering the Sarcophagus
Solving the Tomb

Treasure

Heart of the Golem
Epic Magic power source, worth 15,000gp

Aura Killer Spear of the Indomitable Dwarf (Uncommon)
The dwarven magic embodied in the spear shuts down your enemy’s subtle spells and instinctive powers.

Iron Ring of the Dwarf Lords (Uncommon)
This solid iron ring bears the geometric patterns of the dwarf lords.

Eyes of the Deep Dwarf (Uncommon)
These heavy goggles gleam faintly with psionic energy, helping you see what lurks in the darkness.

Beautiful Dwarven grave goods
These burial items are beautifully made from mithral and silver, very rare and could be sold for 7000gp.

View
Burned, covered in crud, and skewered. All in a day's work...

Ilwyn keeps his mind focussed on the marble. Everyone’s weapons grow cold again. Enna manages to put out the fire on her clothing.

Haleth encourages a Flame elemental to rush him. He destroys it, shattering the thing in an explosion of fire.

Another fire elemental tries to slam into Ilwyn but fails to connect. Ilwyn strikes one of the elementals, striking true and extinguishing it. Naram disheartens the remaining two elementals. Caecius uses wolfpack tactics to grab one of them with his spear.

Haleth is still on fire, but shrugs off the flames. Smacks an elemental with a covering strike. Enna tries to help but all her arrows fail to connect with the fiery creatures.

Haleth extinguishes another elemental, and it explodes into cinders. Then Enna finishes off the last. It scatters its ashes in all directions.

Everyone takes a rest. The heat in the room seems to diminish.

Wheh the party picks itself up again it checks the far passageway of the cave. There is a clear space there containing a well-made wooden chest with a carving of a dwarf axe on the lid.

Ilwyn bends over to open the chest. At that moment a flap of leathery skin comes up and envelops the goblin. However, it misses a chance to grasp him and Ilwyn recoils to safety.

The creature is a Chest Mimic, an aberrant. It normally tries to camouflage itself as a wooden chest, but now it is now an amorphous, ooze-like lump of flesh. There are objects shining inside its translucent skin: a red-coloured pendant and a ring.

Ilwyn strikes it doing much damage. Then Haleth rushes in, covering Ilwyn’s retreat and striking another deep blow on the monster. Enna strikes a vulnerable spot with her biting volley. This allows Caecius to rush in and flatten it.

The filthy monster recovers. Forming its flesh into a mouth, it tries to swallow Haleth, who beats back the attack. At this the aberrant turns more liquid.

Ilwyn comes in to strike, but the Mimic grabs the goblin with its fleshy tendrils. With a deftly-fired volley Enna deflects some of the damage with its tendrils, but digestive acid begins to eat at the goblin’s flesh. Ilwyn strikes and knocks the thing down.

Then Naram summons an anomaly, which disheartens the Chest Mimic. Caecius spears it, causing it to explode, covering Enna in crud.

Lying in the fleshy mess where the Mimic stood is a red pendant and finely made ring. The pendant gem has moving flames within it. It is the Pendant of Undying Flames. The ring is a mithral filigree band: a ring of feather-fall.

Ilwyn compares the pendant and marble and it is clear they can be fitted together.

Gathering themselves together, the party heads back to central room.

The pendants and marble combination is carefully placed in the hole in the southern door. There is a clunk. The door mechanism releases. Now the door can be opened.

As they push the door back, they see a beautifully crafted burial chamber. Bowls run the length of the room, each of them burning with a magical flame. At the end of the room is what looks like a stone block, and on it is carved stone figure of a dwarf, laying with an axe across its legs. It glows a faint blue and red, as magical energy sparkles across its form. Magical words are written in runes in front of you on the floor. They read:

The last thing you heed
Is the first thing you need
Think quickly
Or eternally bleed

The great dwarf statue blocks a far set of doors.

Unknown magical energy infuses the stone block. It is covered in a wealth of notes, drawings and incantations.

Naram tries to manipulate flames the magical flames with his arcane power. Entering the burial chamber he approaches the stone sarcophagus and marvels at the fine writing that covers it. It clearly has a magical link to its surroundings.

Naram investigates the magic on the statue blocking the far doors. It has the power to be animated. He reckons the creator of the magic is very powerful.

Ilwyn picks up a bronze brazier with a flame in it and places it on a stone statue. As he does so, there is a swelling of magical energy in the room. The flagstones light up either red or blue. Flagstones to the east and west swirl with airy energy. The ones in the middle glow hot. The ones to the south seem cold.

Spikes appear in the ceiling and start to descend. A stone door to the chamber closes, falling slowly from the ceiling. Haleth rushes in and interposes himself beneath the falling stone door, briefly holding it open.

Ilwyn focuses on the rune beneath him but achieves nothing. Then Ilwyn springs and leaps to the wall. He can feel the breeze from the whirling magic below. But the spikes keep coming down. However, the goblin is cunning and can see a way to reduce the damage from the spikes.

Caecius comes and helps Haleth keep the door open, preventing it from shutting.

Inside the chamber Naram steps onto a swirling flagstone. A gentle breeze rises from it. The shardmind is now starting to take damage from the spikes. Ilwyn manages to bend and is only grazed by the spikes. The goblin climbs the spikes towards the mechanism until he is within reach of it.

Enna now comes in to help Haleth hold the door up. The fighter’s shield is being used to prop the door open.

To avoid taking any more damage Naram teleports and reforms his shards around the spikes.

Now the spikes are slowing up. Ilwyn tries to disable the mechanism in the ceiling. He finds a vulnerable place to strike the gears with a dagger and manages to reverse the spikes. As they rise the energy circles on the floor start to fade.

As the trap is unsprung, the magical energy in the room is diminished. The spikes eventually disappear into the ceiling.

Haleth encourages Ilwyn to hammer pitons into the wall to hold the door. Ilwyn is confident they will hold. Now Haleth can ease out the shield. The door stays wedged open, so Haleth and Enna squeeze through.

Now Naram can carefully examine the stone block for the first time. The writing on the sarcophagus is a history of the dwarven lands…

Experience

Experience b/f 31330 (level 11)
XP Gained : 1280
Experience c/f 32610 (now level 12 and level 13 at 39000)
Level up!

Kills

Flame Elemental x2
Fire Elemental Firestorm
Fire Elemental x4
Chest mimic

Quests

Opened the Ice/Fire door
Survived the Airy Spikes Trap.

Treasure

Pendant of Undying Flames

Wondrous Item
A beautiful teardrop of ruby, this pendant is like fire incarnate. It glows red, and deep inside the jewel can be seen the flames of a dragon ever burning. It has a clip at each side and on the top, for fixing to some unknown stand.
Level: 12
Price: 1,000gp
Property: Minor Action At Will. When the Pendant is being held, A minor action allows all allies within 10 squares to replace their attacks for this round with the keyword fire.

Ring of Feather Fall (Uncommon)

Item Slot: ring
With this airy mithral filigree band, you and sometimes your allies need not fear a fall even from the highest cliff.
Level: 14
Price: 21,000 gp
Property: You take no damage from a fall and always land on your feet.
Power (Daily): Minor Action. Allies within 5 squares of you also benefit from this ring’s property until the end of the encounter.

View
I-see Dwarves

Issuing a challenge to the Dwarf constructs, Haleth manages to coax one of the statues into climbing down from its plinth. Caecius charges one of the statues, which explodes as he impacts it.

Just outside the door Ilwyn throws another dwarf off its plinth, down a cliff. Naram gets into the fight against a dwarf which is climbing out of the pit and ego whips it with his mind powers. Ilwyn rushes over to push it off the edge again. He drops it into the pit where it breaks into pieces.

Inside the chamber Enna can’t hit the remaining dwarf on the plinth, which is hiding behind the cover of the plinth’s battlements. However, Naram is able to manifest his dream form behind the construct, flanking it.

Eventually the dwarfs fall, with Naram switching off the last construct.

Inside the room, the heroes examine the altar. A cloth runner hangs across it. Two bowls with illusory magical flames sit either side. Approaching the altar, Naram thinks there is something magical about the area between the bowls, beneath the cloth runner.

As everyone steps well back, Ilwyn pulls the cloth off. There is a recess in the altar, about a foot across. It is similar in size to the book Ilwyn had discovered earlier in the pit.

There is an object in the recess. It is like a picture frame without glass, approximately 6-7 inches across. It is made from marble stone similar to the dwarf constructs. Ilwyn reckons it is the same size as the rectangular hole in the stone door to south of the pit chamber. The item glows with a blue light.

Naram thinks the object is a focus for the mind. He picks it up. It is very cold. The shardmind then asks Ilwyn to concentrate his mind on it. As the goblin does so, everyone’s weapons ice up momentarily.

Naram identifies the object as a Marble of Infinite Cold. It is a wondrous item. It can convert the attacks of allies into freezing damage.

With Ilwyn handling the Marble, the party heads back to the pit chamber and the south door. They look again at the words written there:

My second warms the fire
But chills not the ice
Find me next
Or light thy own pyre

Ilwyn tests the Marble. It fits within the door receptacle. It clicks and sits within the door but nothing further happens. Ilwyn removes the object, but notices tiny indentations in each face of the marble frame.

The group then heads through the east door. After opening the door there is a set of stairs. Beyond this is a rough stone passageway that curves away to the south. The air feels warm, almost stifling. The ground is unnaturally warm.

The group pads forward with Enna and Ilwyn in the lead. They soon outdistance the rest of the party. The passageway curves around. Soon the elf and goblin can see a chamber with molten rock in it: a small lava pit near the centre. The whole area is wreathed in hot smoke.

At the far end of the chamber appear to be passageways that go further away. The magma seems to be bubbling.

Naram, still some way behind, makes mental contact with Ilwyn, who updates him on what he sees. Areas like this are rife with elementals of fire, warns Naram. But they are vulnerable to cold.

Ilwyn and Enna sneak forward. The centre of the room is very hot. Now they can make out a passageway out to the West.

Behind them the rest of the band catch up. Sadly, Caecius is not particularly stealthy and makes a racket as he stomps into the cave. At the noise a flame-wrapped humanoid form rises up out of the magma crack. It seems to be focussed on Naram.

It is a firestorm elemental, wreathed in fierce flames. Standing too close to it will cause people to burn.

Ilwyn focuses on the marble to bestow cold powers on everyone other than himself. Then he strikes. The elemental calls out something in Primordial then two more flame elementals appear. They begin throwing balls of fire around.

Naram responds with balls of lightning that start ripping into the fiery creatures. Enna backs up Naram’s attack and destroys the firestorm elemental with a couple of well-placed shots. It disintegrates into four pieces that ricochet off the walls and form into fire elementals.

Haleth, who has a limited resistance to the heat, performs a tempest dance, dancing into the flame and going dangerously close to the magma. Then one of the flame elementals fills the cavern with choking smoke and hurls globs of fire at Enna and Ilwyn.

An elemental charges Caecius and sets him on fire.

Then Enna splits the tree, taking down a flame elemental and fire elemental. The flame elemental explodes, setting Enna on fire. Then another elemental ties to slam into Enna, but it misses…

Experience

Experience b/f 30590 (level 11)
XP Gained : 740xp
Experience c/f 31330 (level 12 at 32000)

Treasure : Marble of Infinite Cold
(minor action, at will, must be held in hand, all allies within 10 line of effect change keyword of their attacks to cold until next round)
Value unknown.

Kills

6 Ice Dwarf Statues

View
Dust to Dust
Falling for the oldest trick in the book

The door is now open. Ahead is another door with a purple/lilac light glowing on it. Naram believes this is some kind of perpetual light spell. here are more words written on the door:

My second warms the fire
But chills not the ice
Find me next
Or light thy own pyre

The group ponders the riddle for a while. It seems as if another gem is needed to pass this door safely, but which one? Eventually Caecius goes off to find the Amythyst where he’d left it amongst the bodies of the slain zombie goblins. He brings it back and gingerly steps into the light and pushes through the door beyond. The others follow.

Inside is a square room built of smooth, polished stone. The stonework speaks of fine mason work. There are doors to the east and west. They are un-ornamented, similar to those found in the brazier chamber. There are also a great pair of doors to the south. These have a rectangular space in them into which an object can be fitted. Clearly some form of ‘key’.

Of equal interest is the space in the centre of the room. Some flagstones are there that look as if something large had been set on them and dragged away to the south, to the big doors. As Ilwyn and Enna creep forward the elf notices that the ground around the centre flags tones is not stone at all but well-compacted Earth.

Then Enna notices a faint glow in a gap by one of the central flagstones. She points it out to Ilwyn, who immediately gets his crowbar out and tries to prise up the stone. Enna instinctively backs off to the edge of the room, sensing something might go wrong.

The goblin cannot lift up the flagstone on his own and calls for help from Caecius, who helps him lever the great stone up. As it rises Ilwyn can see a dark void underneath the stone. Beneath is a rectangular space. The thief can make out the edge of a large book with scrollwork on its binding.

Suddenly the centre of the floor gives way.

Caecius and Ilwyn plummet out of sight into a dark pit, falling through piles of dust and dirt. Th goblin barely has the presence of mind to flip the book up onto the flagstones as he falls thirty or forty feet before impacting the bottom of a pit.

Both he and Caecius find themselves swimming in a sea of silty dust. They are submerged in it and can’t breathe.

At the top of the pit, Haleth manages to avoid falling in to the pit. He and Enna look down and can see nothing but the top of the silt and dirt, but think they can hear the struggles of the two adventurers below. The fighter grabs some rope and throws one end down, but it drops limply to the top of the pile of dirt.

So Enna ties a line to an arrow and shoots it deep into the dirt, to where she thinks she can hear the two heroes struggling. She and Haleth take the other end of the rope and brace themselves, ready to haul their companions up.

Eventually, Caecius and Ilwyn find the rope and pull themselves out to safety before their breath runs out. They are covered in a thick layer of dirt, though Enna notes that makes little difference to the goblin’s appearance.

Now the party is safe, Enna hands the volume Ilwyn found over to Naram, the shardmind. the book is ancient but well-preserved, held shut with a silver clasp. The shardmind can detect the book’s arcane nature and the faint presence of magic. Maybe a preservation spell keeps it intact.

Unclasping it, inside the book are twenty big thick pages. On each one, in a different language, is a four line rhyme. From the languages Naram recognises it is the same rhyme:

Warnings not read
Lessons not heard
Choke on the dust
Where you are interred

Clearly the flagstones and the book are one great trap. And Ilwyn in his greed had fallen for it.

Once everyone had recovered the party makes the decision to head through the east door. Caecius barges the door open. Beyond are some steps.

Ilwyn and Enna lead the way down the steps. What they find at the bottom is a bridge across a great void. The bridge is old and many spars have rotted and disintegrated.

At the far end of the bridge is a door, which is glowing with a magical blue glow. Naram says there is another perpetual light spell cast on the door. Dwarf statues sit on pedestals six feet high each side of the door. The statues are finely crafted full-size figurines with long beards and heavy armour.

Enna decides to go across the rickety bridge first. With her perfect balance and graceful movement she can traverse the bridge easily. Haleth, who is coming up with her, must take the bridge very slowly or risk an accident.

Half way across and suddenly the Dwarf statues start moving. Each raises a crossbows. They appear to be animated constructs covered with a sheen like ice, as if they were propelled by some kind of frosty magical power.

Both Dwarfs take aim at Enna.

As he sees the movement, Haleth tries to rush forward to join Enna, Caecius urging him forward. Bolts of stony ice fire at the elf. She somehow manages to dance out their way and lightly trips over to the far end of the bridge, but the ice explodes near Haleth instead, partly encasing him in ice.

Now Ilwyn is trying to somersault across the bridge, dodging past the explosion. Ahead of everyone the blue glowing door begins to open. Enna, desperate to get to safety, tries to squeeze through doors and with her lithe frame she does so easily.

Inside the doors is a chamber with wour more dwarf statues on pedestals. Enna must avoid a shot.

Outside, as Caecius tries to rush forward parts of the bridge begin to collapse beneath him, so the Genasi flies over the bridge and through the gap in the blue door.

Inside the chamber the floor is marble. Enna and Caecius can make out an altar stone ahead of them with runner fabric laid across it. The dwarf statues fire crossbow bolts of cold at the intruders.

Now Haleth, still trying to move at a safe speed, makes it across the bridge. As he rushes through the door, Ilwyn runs up an exterior wall with his wallwalker boots and topples one of the constructs over and into the pit below.

Back inside the chamber, Caecius and Enna engage the icy dwarf statues with arrows and spear. Then Haleth dashes in and tries to grab the attention of the statues. He pulls the dwarfs to him and hacks one apart. Enna dances around, shifting targets and badly damaging another statue. Caecius charges the statue down.

Outside, Ilwyn tries to topple second dwarf construct outside. But fails, though he damages it. This distracts the statue enough that Naram gets across the bridge, having carefully picked his way across, and is now in the fight…

Experience

Experience b/f 30390 (level 11)
XP Gained : 200 each (Silt Pit Trap and solving puzzle to new area)
Experience c/f 30590 (level 12 at 32000)
Treasure : Ornate Trap Book 250gp

Kills

None

View
The Wight Stuff
I don't want my mummy!

The group decides to head East and come across another unadorned door. Going through they walk across a short pathway between two pits and then come to a further door.

Carefully, Ilwyn checks the door and then opens it. Inside is a chamber with more but slightly larger coffins. As the group creep in they seem to trigger something, because a pair of Goblin Wights appear from two of the coffins, soon followed by a some kind of mummified goblin cleric.

The fight is quick and brutal, but soon the Mummy and the Wights all fall to the weapons of the party. Rooting around they find some more gems, including a Diamond.

Exhausted by all the fighting, the party then decide to take a lengthy rest before trying to pass the magically protected door. Ilwyn seems to think that the diamond is the key to the door, as a ‘D’ appears in ‘Cold’ and ‘Dark’.

The party rest for eight hours, only briefly disturbed by some zombies in another room.

When Ilwyn places the Diamond in the small door receptacle, the barrier of magical energy dissipates and an energy washes through everyone, refreshing and rejuvenating them.

The door is open!

Experience

Experience b/f 29650 (level 11)
XP Gained : 740 each (skill challenges and combat)
Experience c/f 30390 (level 12 at 32000)
Treasure : a Diamond (300gp) and an Opal (Not taken), and a silver dwarf’s helmet (Not taken)

Kills

2 Goblin Wight Bodyguards
1 Goblin Cleric Mummy Lord

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Dead AND Goblins, it's an elvish gift!
Braaaaains!

Enna looks inside the door. There is a set of steps going down.

Carefully, the party files inside. Enna takes the lead, finding that her elven senses have been opened by her divine connection to her goddess, Angharradh. She can now see in the dark, though she is aided by the illumination the other party members provide.

Travelling in single file through a corridor the group soon comes across an entrance chamber with a door. Upon it are some words in some ancient language. However, when Naram asks out loud what the words might be, they seem to shift so that they rearrange themselves into the Common tongue. There is a short rhyme, which goes:

Here lies my tomb.
This grave is mine,
If you rob it
It shall also be thine

At this, everyone looks at Ilwyn. Both Enna and Haleth caution the goblin not to steal anything. They open the door and move onwards.

They are faced with a great chamber with a fire burning in the centre. The fire seems to be some magical flame powered by great magics. At its base, around it, is an oily liquid. Ilwyn collects some of the viscous fluid and flicks it at the flame to see what happens. The subsequent radiant flash leaves spots before the eyes. Eagerly the party gather more of the fluid into whatever vessels they have around their persons.

The chamber has three doors heading off to the west, east and south.

The south door seems to be protected by some kind of lightning magic and there is another inscription, that resolves itself into the following riddle:

My first is in cold
My first is in dark.
Seek me out
Or die as foretold

No one had any idea what the riddle can mean. The door has a small receptacle in it that can accept an object and Ilwyn deduces that there must be some kind of key for this door. They will need to search for that key.

That leaves two doors to explore. These ones are plain and unadorned. The group decides to take the west door.

The party walks on along a passage before coming to a place where it opens into another chamber, with three paths leading to three doors. Two deep pits lies between the paths. The group decide to go through the rightmost door. Ilwyn opens it and Enna takes the first peek through. With the aid of her darkvision she can see a large underground chamber with number of coffins.

As the elf enters the chamber, something seems to be triggered. Immediately from the coffins and some patches of ground, ten small figures begin to rise. They are undead goblins and begin to shamble toward the heroes.

Immediately, the party starts to fight with Enna and Ilwyn quickly dismembering a couple of the fell creatures while Naram uses his magic to slow some others so that they cannot be flanked. However, closing with the zombies has problems. Hitting their vitals causes the undead to explode, showering everyone nearby with rotting goo and blinding them. Haleth gets caught like this and is forced to fight blind. Then Caecius is similarly blinded. At one point the Genasi warlord, on blind instinct, manages to charge one of the zombies and hits a critical spot, causing it to explode. Bravely, the party wears the zombies down until there none left.

Looking amongst the bodies and coffins, the party see a pair of jewels. A dwarf-cut ruby and a dwarf-cut amythyst worth some serious gold. Ilwyn wants to take them but the others are minded of the dwarf’s warning not to steal and caution the goblin not to touch anything…

Experience

Experience b/f 28950 (level 11)
XP Gained : 700 each (skill challenges and combat)
Experience c/f 29650 (level 12 at 32000)
Treasure : 1 flask 2/3 pint full of “radiant oil”. When lit it explodes for 2d10 radiant damage.
A dwarf-cut ruby (400gp), and a dwarf-cut amethyst (400gp) [not yet taken]

Kills

10 goblin goredeath zombies

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No Laughing Matter
Wildlife on One

The party leaves the boat and takes the opportunity to rest in the giants’ old camp. This gives Naram the opportunity to contact Elgold. Naram had found a chart on the ship that provided more clues as to the heroes’ location and passes the information on.

The night provides cold comfort. Animal howls can be heard on the night breeze, but nothing disturbs the party.

The next day the group begins to move back inland toward the dwarf tomb. Enna leads the file, as usual, her fey senses straining to pick up every detail of the environment around them.

Part way up a hill, Enna detects snorts from some creatures ahead. Motioning the rest of the party to stay still, she scouts forward to find a pack of hyenas. They look as if they have been scavenging and two of them appear to have some kind of abyssal origin. Normally graceful, the elf is unlucky enough to stumble at a critical moment and the beasts turn their eyes toward her.

Enna begins to back off to the rest of the party, but the hyenas begin to pad after her. They look as if they are going to attack, so the elf readies her bow. As the pack closes in she shoots.

The battle is over very quickly. As the smaller hyenas charge, Caecius and Haleth engage them and begin to grind them down. Slipping out to the flanks, Enna demolishes one of the Abyssal creatures with an impressive volley of arrow fire that keeps hitting its vitals. Taking down the leader shakes the other beasts, but they keep fighting on until they are soon lying dead on the ground.

The group now pick their way down to the rock where the dwarf door can be found. Naram again ponders the carving of the dwarf on the door and the clues he’d found on the boat. He realizes that the secret to opening the door may have something to do with blood. In one smooth motion he grabs Enna’s hand and cuts it lightly, drawing a little elven blood. Swearing, the elf withdraws her hand as the Shardmind allows a few drops of the fluid to fall on the door carving.

The door opens, revealing only darkness inside…

Experience

Experience b/f 28300
XP Gained : 650 each (skill challenges and combat)
Experience c/f 28950
Treasure : 500gp worth of acid components, treasure from the hyenas.

Kills

4 Vicious Hyenas
2 Cacklefiend Hyenas

Note : quest xp not awarded due to inability to solve tomb entrance other than through luck (same thing happened to gandalf..)

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Oh Rats!

A low rumble eminates from the direction of the ship, as if its engines had just been activated. The party quickly move forward, still weak from their fight, to board the ship lest it begin to leave. They pass over the smashed bodies of the two goblins that had helped them, Ilwyn remarking that ’It’s alright. I probably would have killed them anyway’. A passing check of the poisoned giants reveals some more large badges, one of which Ilwyn uses as a shield.

Swiftly boarding the ship, Ilwyn hides himself among some barrels to keep watch while the rest of the party rest and regain their strength in a nearby cabin. The ship seems deserted, the only noise being the continuing rumble from the deeb in the bowels of the vehicle. Rested, the party proceed down to the lower decks. The odd rat scurries from to the corners as the heroes approach, but all is quiet. The bottom deck has a small room with two doors exiting from it. The door to the east opens into another room, also devoid of life. At it’s south edge are a set of double doors, similar to those on the west side of the ship. The party split up, Enna and Caecius taking the west doors and Haleth and Ilwyn taking the east. Naram takes up position between the party and uses his psychic ability to silently relay messages.

Ilwyn silently attempts to open the door, however Caecius has different ideas on the other side of the boat and he simply smashes his way throgh into the next room. Within is a large table covered in a banquet of food in which scurry many rats. An evil form turns to face the new entrant and explains that he will capture the party and take him to his master for a sure reward. Initially shocked that his guards have fallen he quickly recovers and seeks to kill them…

The Unholy Pirate Captain attacks, summoning swarms of his rat minions to harry the party. Haleth breaks into the room, charging past many of the enemies to perform a taunting shout that causes all of the foes to converge on him. He then deals many swift blows as they approach and raises his shield high to protect from the onslaught of attacks that will surely follow. Ilwyn follows, barraging the enemies with daggers which blind them and also critically wound the 3 rat swarms. Naram immediately begins infecting the mind of the pirate captain while also summoning his dream form, attempting to confuse his actions further while Enna releases flurries of powerful arrow shots into the fiend.

Suddenly the pirate captain turns to Haleth and for a moment their gazes meet, then without warning Haleth strikes at Naram’s dream form, dissolving its corporeal form. Haleth shakes his head for a moment then returns to concentrate on the fight, seemingly unaware of the action he had just taken.

The pirate captain regains his vision and summons more rats to aid him. He then strikes out with his mighty cutlasses, cutting deep wounds into Haleth. The party continue to press their advantage but again, the captains eyes meet with one of our heroes. This time, Ilwyn turns and throws a dagger at Enna, which thankfully misses. Enna looks with scorn at the goblin, who has already turned his attention back to the fight and is paying no attention to what just happened.

The strong bonds of the party fight through the confusion, Caecius now having to use his mighty bolstering powers to keep his friends from falling as more cutlass blows rain down. Managing to slip from the attention of Haleth, the captain charges the weaker melee combatants, slamming in some mighty shots onto Naram. Naram quickly explodes his body into swarms of shards which confuse the captain. He then reassembles his body many feet away from the reach of the pirates blades.

Finally some powerful shots from our heroes bring an end to the monster, who’s death causes the assembled rats to scatter to the dark depths of the ship. Bloodied and bruised the party rest, regaining their strength once again. The body of the pirate captain reveals a magical necklace which is given to Haleth. Meanwhile Naram notices something strange about the southern wall of the room. While the rest of the party discuss events, he studies the wall closely. The noise of the ship has stopped, but there is magic emanating from this area. Naram instructs Enna to use her elven eyes to search for a way through the wall, which she duly finds in the form of a secret door. Ilwyn comes to check for locks and traps before Naram pushes the door open. Behind is a small room with large orb floating in the middle of it. Naram immediately jumps down to study the orb which he identifies as the power source of the ship. However, much to his disgust, his powers are not great enough to control the object. He surmises that it would require power of epic proportions to cause the ship to activate. This causes his mind to shift to the tomb they had found earlier on the island. If his memory served him correctly, and it always does, the tomb had a magical seal on the door which was truly great in power. Whatever was causing this magic might be strong enough to activate the ship.

Leaving the room, the party then look over the bookshelf. One book looks of interest as it bears a resemblance to the image carved into the tomb door. In fact it details accounts of a mighty dwarf hero who single handedly held back a swarm of undead. There are many clues in the book which the party surmises must somehow grant them access. Naram decrees that they must return to the tomb and gain access, as this is their only chance of activating the ship and leaving the island.

The book teaches them of the tides of blood and its connection with the shard, and that in some way the tomb is linked to this legend…. it awaits the party….

Experience

Experience b/f 27700
XP Gained : 600 each (skill challenges and combat)
Experience c/f 28300
Treasure : Torc of Good Fortune +3

Kills

1 Unholy sea captain
3 rat swarms

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The giant's camp
Goblins and giants and poison, oh my!

The giant runs for it, making for the encampment on the beach near the boat. If the party let him get away he will raise the alarm. Ahead of him is a small forest.

Everyone sets off in hot pursuit, with Enna and Haleth making good progress, in spite of the lengthy strides of the giant. The colossus is hurt and winded, so cannot make the best of its speed. Reaching the forest Enna helps lead the party through the less-cluttered trails and makes up even more time on the giant.

Eventually, Haleth is able to get to the giant before it can break clear of the trees and tackles it, bringing it down with a thump. The rest of the group catches up and, after binding and gagging it, drags the giant back into cover where it can’t be seen. Naram starts to interrogate the creature with his psychic powers.

Enna sees they were able to catch the giant before it exited the treeline and was able to warn the giants in the beach encampment. She goes to spy out the encampment from the edge of the forest. With her keen fey senses she notices that there seem to be a number of giants camped there. At least ten of them and certainly more than the party could handle at once.

Enna also detects a couple of goblins coming out from the encampment. She tells Ilwyn about this and the Daggermaster decides to creep forward and check the goblins out more closely. They seem to head to a small camp nearby, with a tent and a fire. It might possibly be the goblins’ own camp, slightly away from that of the giants.

Ilwyn notices that the pair are weedy drudges, carrying a cooking pot. He watches them go out to a pond, fill the pot with water, and then start to cook a meal. Their speech indicates this might be a meal for the giants. Ilwyn begins to formulate an idea.

Back with the captured giant, Naram cannot seem to get much out of it. It is a mercenary of the Bronze Stars and is currently under contract, but doesn’t tell him much more than that. Having gotten as much as he can, the shardmind casually kills the giant by frying its brain, an act so callous that Enna is shocked by it and is visibly upset.

Back at the goblins’ camp, Ilwyn reveals himself to the goblins and awes them with his impressive physique and prowess. The goblins seem to be annoyed at the giants and soon Ilwyn has them on his side. However, they are afraid of what the giants may do to them, particularly the ‘master’ of the giants. Not wanting to have any responsibility for killing the giants they deviously make themselves absent for a short while so that Ilwyn can poison the cook pot with the poison sac taken from the giant scorpion they’d defeated the day before. That done, Ilwyn lets the goblins take the food back to the giant’s camp. Then he goes back to alert the rest of the party as to what he’s done.

While the giants eat the poisoned grub the party creep closer, to the edge of the treeline, to watch what happens. It doesn’t take log for the powerful contact poison to take effect. A couple of giants stagger out from behind the wooden palisade of their encampment, then collapse. Then they see the two goblins come out running, pursued by the three giants that still seem to be standing.

The party rushes out to help the goblins but cannot reach them before they are felled by a rock hurled by one of the giants. So the heroes settle for taking the giants apart, and soon the creatures are felled.

Experience

Experience b/f 27200
XP Gained : 500 each (skill challenges and combat)
Experience c/f 27700
Treasure : None

Kills

Giants landing party (by skill challenges, quest and short combat)

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On the receiving end of rock and claw

As the party sit, taking a long rest after the great battle, each member of the group is lost in their own thoughts, contemplating the great changes that had come over them recently.

Enna’s faith in her goddess, Angharradh, has been growing ever since the encounter in the temple. She feels infused by a divine energy, something that is changing her and expanding her senses. It is as if she has been charged by the Lady of Arvandor to wander the world and the planes as a holy agent of the goddess, never stopping, even when faced by ultimate darkness.

Ilwyn thinks about about the tricks that Dreck performed with his daggers and begins to practice. He soon finds himself mastering the dagger, as well as picking up some tips about shields from Haleth.

Naram has learned to project his mighty psyche into the world. The power of his thoughts have become so great he is able to manifest his form into the dreams, and even the realities, of others. He is a Dreamwalker and he stalks men’s dreams, and most importantly, their nightmares.

In the morning, Enna goes off up to the top of the ridge to see what she can see. She takes it cautiously, using the maximum of cover. On reaching the crest she can see she is on a tiny island, bounded by water on all sides. To the south and the east where she has come from there is nothing to be seen. But to the north and west she makes out other presences on the island.

In the north there seem to be a small group of giant creatures down by the beach. To the west there is some movement and the sight of what looks like a large boat. Naram thinks the boat might be some kind of magical construct. On shore by the bat is an encampment with figures moving about. Enna returns to the group. They want to look at the boat and see if it is a way off the island, but they all agree to first scout out the closer group in the north and see who or what they are.

Taking the covered route by the trees, Enna and Ilwyn help the party move stealthily. Soon they are at the treeline maybe a hundred feet from the large figures that Enna had seen. There, they can clearly see a group of three hill giants, each carrying a bag of rocks, and accompanied by bestial Girallons on chain leashes.

The party wonder what to do. They want to get to the boat to get off the island but these giants could only be trouble for them. Maybe it would be better to get them out of the way so that they couldn’t send an alarm.

Carefully, they stalk closer, and then Enna looses off an arrow at one of the Girallions. It is part of a plan to try and enrage the Girallons into attacking their cruel masters. However, the scheme doesn’t work and the ape-like beast attacks, its arms whirling.

It is a short but fierce fight. The Girallons, with their vicious claws, come bounding at the party, one of them even snapping its chain. But with Haleth and Caecius holding the line and the others snapping at the flanks, the beasts soon succumb. Even the giants quickly fall, leaving just one wounded giant remaining, who decides to make a break for it and run…

Experience

Experience b/f 26500
XP Gained : 700 each (skill challenges and combat)
Experience c/f 27200
Treasure : 3 Bronze Star mercenary badges (3 × 100gp value)
Contract of mercenary duty (no value)

Kills

3 Girallon Marauders
3 Hill Giant Rockthrowers

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