The Isle of Adraan

From giant spiders to gargantuan scorpions!
A monster battle

The party rest a moment and then begin to search the bodies of the giants. They find some gold, and also a slip of paper. It is written in neat calligraphy in the script of the Giants, which only Haleth can read. He roughly translates the message to say: ‘Kill them all. You will be payed 2000 gold each. Return with their heads to the transport.’ Clearly, someone had been anticipating the heroes and had tried to ambush them.

Everyone still feel weak after their trip through the cold tunnels, so they decide to have a longer rest and pitch camp upwind of the giant corpses. Naram takes the time to send a telepathic message to Elgold, informing him that the place they have come to does not resemble the Island of Fire and Ice, and that they were ambushed by giants. Elgold’s response is confused. He is convinced he sent everyone to the right location. But he asks Naram to try and map the positions of the constellations for him so that he can work out where they are. Naram agrees to do this and that night, with Enna and Ilwyn’s help, he does a crude map of the stars that he broadcasts to Elgold in the morning.

The night is relatively uneventful, except that some party members are woken by the noise of large animals near the camp. Ilwyn goes off to investigate and returns, reporting the presence of a large beast grazing nearby. He does not try to provoke the animal.

In the morning the party wake. Enna, now that it is light, can see something in the rock a hundred feet away. She steps closer to see a door in the rock. It is almost unnoticeable to anyone else but clear as day to the elf’s acute fey senses. The rest of the party take a look, clearing out some of the overgrowth and dirt hiding the door. It is a dwarf door, as can be seen from the glyph inscribed on it of a swaggering dwarf lord, leaning on an axe. Naram reaches out with his arcane senses and realizes the door is magically locked. No amount of pounding or force can open it. It is incredibly powerful magic that seals the door and requires a key. Naram tries all sorts of magic and passwords but can’t budge the door. The rest of the party grow tired of this and decide to leave.

Having decided to move on the party packs up camp and heads towards the east, away from the sea shore. Enna, as usual, takes point. They don’t get far when suddenly they hear a great noise. Then over the crest of the hill ahead they see a bellowing Behemoth appear and thunder down the hill towards the elf. It has an arrow sticking out of its back and bloody gouges along its flanks.

Enna sees the thing coming and decides it is a threat, so strikes it with one of her arrows. The beast crashes to a stop in front of her and stamps the ground, knocking her over.

The rest of the party rush in to deal with the monster, which already appears to be weakened by the arrow. But as they do so another creature crests the hill: a huge Dire Lion that seems to have been chasing the Behemoth. The lion bounds down the slope and leaps onto Ilwyn. It starts to maul him.

Enna backs away from the melee towards a patch of sandy ground, firing arrow after arrow into the fight until the weakened Behemoth falls. Then she notices the sand begin to shift beneath her feet. Haleth sees this too and watches as a great insect pincer pokes up from a whirl of sand in the ground. Something has been attracted by the fight!

Haleth shouts at the pincer, only enticing it to rise up further and in moments a massive scorpion, many times the size of a man, hauls itself out of the sand. Enna, who is standing next to the beast, rushes up on top of a rock, only to be beaten down by the scorpion’s pincers. The rest of the party have their hands full with the enraged Dire Lion, which is still making a mess of Ilwyn.

Fortunately, the scorpion is lashing out at all and sundry around it, including the lion. Soon the dire beast falls, leaving the party to hack at the great arachnid. Having picked herself up a couple of Enna’s arrows mark the creature for death. Soon it slumps to the ground and expires.

Experience

Experience b/f 25600
XP Gained : 900 each (skill challenges and combat)
Experience c/f 26500 (LEVEL UP!)
Treasure : Shaman Giant’s note (no monetary value)

Kills

1 Behemoth Beast Runner
1 Dire Lion
1 Legendary Scorpion

=Congratulations, you have now all entered the Paragon tier!=

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Well this Isle of Fire and Ice isn't hot or cold at all!
Lost in space

Everyone picks themselves up from the floor. Ilwyn grabs a sunrod and a light flickers on, banishing the darkness. The party has fallen into a crevasse. There is no sign of the golden thread that had been leading them before. The rock around them is strange; soft and crumbling. Enna sees four passages going off from the pit they had landed in, and some of them have strange sharp roots sticking out from the walls that could be a hazard.

Worse still, the place is deadly cold. Everyone can feel the life leach out of their bones. There is some eldritch power sapping their strength; something magical that will kill them if they stay here too long.

Realizing the place could be a labyrinth, the group cast around for clues as to where they should go. Naram has a rough sense of where the golden thread may be found and Enna can feel that some passages seem warmer than others. They elect to head south and east.

It is tricky to negotiate the passages. There are climbs and difficult terrain to be negotiated and a wrong step could lead to harm. Enna’s acute fey senses help guide the group, though others are able to provide help to those whose strength is beginning to fail because of the eldrich cold.

Eventually, they sense they are travelling uphill and they emerge, tired and in need of a rest, from a hole onto a beach, with water behind them and a line of trees in front. Whatever this place is it is neither freezing or fiery.

However, there is no time to explore. From the forest in front a band of giants, maybe six strong, bursts from the trees and charges at the party. They are led by some kind of shaman who incants in a voice similar to that which interrupted their trip through the dark.

“There they are, KILL THEM!”

The party pile in, with Haleth front and centre, tackling a pair of giants who try to flatten him with great tree trunks. They make hard work of trying to catch the fighter, who manages to step and avoid the worst of the blows. Caecius charges and takes down another giant who skirmishes from the edges of the fight. Naram grabs another giant with his psionic powers and hurls it around like a ragdoll, knocking down the shaman and throwing other giants off-balance. With the help of Ilwyn’s blade and Enna’s sure arrows, the giants begin to go down. The shaman fights back, blinding several of the party with bolts of electricity. But soon even he succumbs to arrows and sword edges.

The fight is over…

Experience

Experience b/f 24795
XP Gained : 805 each (skill challenge and combat)
Experience c/f 25600 (LEVEL UP IN 400!)
Treasure : 7 × 200gp in pouches (1400gp total)

Kills

1 Hill giant High Shaman (Leader)
2 Hill giant smashers
3 Hill giant Grunts
1 Hill giant Rock thrower

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More Goblins? Shards? Where does it end?
Enter a shardmind, exit a wizard

“Is there an Illwind here? Or a Billwyn? A goblin?” The mine foreman’s eye alights on the heroes. “Someone is looking for him!”

Breathlessly, the foreman spies Ilwyn and the others. He lowers his head in a rather subservient way. “It’s going to be easier to show you than it is to explain”, he says.

A huge pile of rubble covers the entrance to the mine, as if half the mountain had collapsed. In front stands a rather snappily-dressed goblin. He wears fine-cut clothes, a glowing red amulet hangs from his neck, and as he moves he clearly limps on his left leg. A hat sits on his head at a rakish angle, and he wears a sheathed dagger at his side. His eyes light up when he sees the party.

“A-ha! You must be Ilwyn, and his… servants? followers?” A goblin of your repute must have quite the army of followers by now!"

Strangely the intrepid heroes stay quite quiet at this, though Enna appears to fume.

“In any case I expect”, says the goblin, “you’re wondering what this is all about! Well in Baldur’s Gate we hear of your heroic exploits here on Adraan, but… well… I didnt quite expect to end up here. I’m Dreck Bigbane… and I am what you might call…”

(Dreck signs in the secret rogue cant that Ilwyn must translate for the others)

“…a master weaver of daggers. They knit the future of their enemies, and the fabric is cut short like this… SWISH!”

At this Dreck makes a rather colourful motion with his hand as if slitting the throat of a much larger creature. Then he laughs and points at Enna, who is looking increasingly annoyed.

“Like her… she’d be a perfect example. But I jest. She is a friend of yours I am sure.

“I should explain myself. We, my friend, have a problem. it concerns the goblins, the whole of the realms, and something even more important: your desire to embrace the weave of the dagger.

“I’ll need to tell you a story. There’s something we need to do here, but ha… ‘he’ isnt going anywhere for a moment.

“Let’s sit by my tent, I have a little goblin ale to share for those with the stomach for it.”

Dreck pokes Haleth in the belly.

“I spy an embittered campaigner, who maybe likes one too many ales? It’s good stuff… dragon blood makes for a bitter brew, but invigorating.”

At this Haleth nods, and the party gathers near Dreck’s ragged tent to hear the tale. The fighter helps himself to Dreck drink and swills down some of the dark but delicious jug of ale. The goblin continues.

“I head up the chapter of the Dagger Masters in Baldurs Gate… not an easy thing for a goblin, but you’ll know that being a hero isn’t something that everyone quite trusts-”

At this he winks at Caecius.

“-at least those of us who are from this plane of existence.

“But there have been… Aha. Hmm. Let me be as discreet as I can. ‘Strange disappearances’. Not least of which was a piece of the shard. You know… the shard?”

Dreck leans in close to Elgold.

“The shard”, right?"

Elgold searches his memory but knows nothing of it. He doesn’t admit it though and urges Dreck to explain for the others.

“Suffice to say,” says the Dagger Master, "the shard itself keeps the balance between the powers of life and death. Too much shard and one can start crossing into the Shadowfell. Good at times, but who knows what might come back through? I’ve sent a few there, but I dont want them popping back up to see me in the wee hours, grey-faced and with vengeance in mind, you know?

“Well, one of the pieces of the shard has long been an important part of the trappings of my goblin city. In common it would translate as ‘Big Home’, but in my own tongue it is something more visceral and… well… it doesnt help the common acceptance of goblins as little more than sneaky buggers. And we both know that… wait what am I saying…” Dreck winks and shares a smile with Ilwyn.

“In any case, it disappeared a few years ago… as did some of the leaders of the city. We covered it up. What harm could it do? The Shard has many pieces and who would know where they lead and what it is for? But then strange voices were heard in the heads of the goblins. Those sleeping were troubled by visions of scary creatures: elves and the like.”

Enna bristles.

“Ha! I jest,” the goblin goes on. “The undead… the end of the world. They were filled by a desire to dig in the centre of the cave. The voices told them the shard was calling them, that it needed their help. So dig they did. Not all of them. There was a schism between the tribal shaman. Some left and many wept as the caravans departed with the hordes of goblin children. But those who stayed dug the cave at the heart of the city and found a rather strange creature. Like a creature of living crystal. The shard was made of the same substance, and he had long searched for the lost piece of it, to try and keep it from ending the world. Well… he can explain more. or at least he will if you can help?” Dreck pauses for breath, before continuing.

“This crystal creature studies some magic, and he and I we went back to Baldur’s Gate to consult the brotherhood of mages. He opened a portal to get here, as we sought help from a group of powerful adventurers friendly to the goblin cause. But as we arrived there was a sudden loud bang and I found myself on this side of the mine entrance. My friend is on the other side and his mind tells me he is quite annoyed. Shall we go dig him out before he starts throwing miners in the air to make his point?”

Cautiously the party returns with Dreck to the collapsed mine and try and free him from the rubble. Haleth and Caecius start the backbreaking work of moving the rocks, while the others advise where best to move the rocks. It doesn’t go smoothly, however and soon they start another rock slide. They are battered by falling rocks and rubble. Eventually they free the crystal creature and he climbs out from the hole.

The creature is tall and humanoid and made, as Dreck had said, from living crystal. It (or ‘he’) speaks to the party through telepathy. He explains that he is Naram, a rather distant but very intelligent member of his race, the shardminds, who seek the shards to prevent any damage they could do to this plane. Naram is keen to pursue his quest and singlemindedly asks the party to help him.

“Alright”, says Dreck. “Well, Naram here tells me the piece of the shard is on the Island of Ice and Fire, far to the south. It’s a fun place.”

Caecius has heard of the island. He wracks his brains and remembers that it is cold but with occasional bouts of heat… mountains that explode into gouts of flame and pour molten rocks.

Dreck nods, “There’s a goblin outpost there, Frostridge, or at least there should be. We haven’t heard for some time, and now Naram says the shard is there somewhere.”

Enna remembers her studies with the elven elders, and recalls that this legendary island is a place of some interest. Strange creatures, demonic and elemental, lurk near the cracks in the realms where fire pours forth. Otherwise it is a cold wilderness where little roams.

Dreck continues, “It’d be far too long to get us there by boat but could you perhaps go hunt this down? I must return to Baldurs Gate, to monitor progress on the shards. But here… this will help.”

Dreck appears to remember he carries a Ritual transport scroll which also includes way to send message back to the caster of the transport.

It requires a willing arcane specialist to hold it open, and 200gp per person of components. Elgold, like the over-excited bookish wizard he is, snatches the scroll and is eager to incant the ritual. He also suddenly remembers that a blood mage he knows of, Mondrar, lives on the Island of Ice and Fire. Elgold wants to go, but only he has the necessary ritual power and magic to get the party there. So he convinces the others to visit this Mondrar while they are on the island. He wants to learn about blood magic, and Mondrar is a famed and powerful practitioner. It seems however that Elgold has not really been particularly forthcoming as to just what Mondrar is famed for.

The party is wary of this quest, but Dreck appears to be telling the truth, at least partly. (He is a goblin after all!) However, the risk to the realms is great. Dreck also sweetens the deal with the offer of 10,000 gold. He was however quite shifty when he was talking about offering everyone 10,000 each and Ilwyn noticed an experienced blagger.

Before departing, the party borrows layers of furs and lined cloaks and hats from the mining stores.

Elgold sits the party down and starts the ritual, chanting and reading as the components turn to a fine mist. A large dark portal swirls opens and the party steps in.

Elgold waves at the party as they disappear from sight. Inside the portal all is black save a golden thread going off into the distance. It should be a walk of just a few hours and they should arrive at Frostridge.

The parties walks and walks. While following the golden thread the party is a little creeped out by the horizon-to-horizon darkness. Dark ground, dark clouds on a dark sky. Only Naram is bemused that his companions seem little nervous. Caecius lights his floating lantern to give everyone the comfort of light, but it seems to glow dimly in the impenetrable gloom. The party discuss briefly whether to stop and wait as they are tiring rapidly, more than they should. They decide to press on before they are exhausted completely by this strange place.

Suddenly there is a shattering white flash of lightning and the otherwise featureless sky is split by an arc of lightning. There is a crash of thunder, reverberating time over time in the featureless plain. There is just one word, spoken very loudly

DIE.

It echoes loudly around, dazing Caecius and Naram and knocking them from their feet. The others are shaken but remain standing. There is a loud, and final crash of thunder, and everything goes silent. As silent as the grave. Darkness surrounds our brave heroes…

Experience b/f 24595
XP Gained : 200 each (skill challenge)
Experience c/f 24795
Treasure : None
Kills None

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Who's Wolf is That?
Grey-coated pathfinder

The fight with the Sahuagin intensifies. Haleth slashes at a raider and the Baron, gouging deep wounds. Enna peppers the larger monster with bowshot, making it totter. Then Elgold finishes the creature off with a cloud of fizzing acid that forms in the water.

This leaves only the two Sahuagin priests left, who try to use psychic magic to snap at Enna, injuring her. In fury, the elf dives down on the nearest priest, sending shot after shot bubbling through the water until he begins to float lifelessly.

Meanwhile Haleth, Ilwyn and Caecius swim down to the remaining priest, who is now cornered by a cliff face. A few chops later and the priest gurgles its last.

The party rest a moment, buoyant in the water and protected from cold and cramps by magic. Then they start to swim around the Sahuagin’s mean underwater dwellings. In crude chests they find a lot of gold there and another book, seemingly proofed against water, that might prove of interest to Elanni Oabeta. Finally they come across a silver standard bearing the symbol of a dragon. Elgold notes that it is a wondrous artifact and takes it.

Back on land the party discuss what to do next. Enna is sad that they didn’t find any clues to the Cave of Claws that her goddess had told her about. At this Elgold is inspired and digs in one of his grimoires. There, he finds a ritual to create a nature spirit that will lead him to any named place. Everyone agrees to give it a try.

With Enna’s help Elgold performs the ritual. Suddenly a wolf appears, summoned from some other place. It is still and stares intently at Elgold, who pats its head and asks it to lead him to the Cave of Claws. Then it turns with an upright tail and sets off in a direct line to the northeast. The party follow.

Over the next couple of days the party travel through the Silverfang forest and across two rivers. Periodically they summon the wolf to point the way. They realize they are being led to the Goldmoor mining outpost.

The wolf leads them in through the guarded gates of the outpost. They are watched by curious guards, who recognize them from their last visit and allow them to pass. The wolf accelerates, seemingly leading them directly towards the grey slag heaps of the Goldmoor mine itself, and then it fades, as if it had found its goal or its time had ran out.

Before the party can get to the mine a bunch of grimy miners stop them. They tell the heroes that they can’t go on any further as the entrance to the mine is blocked and it has to be dug out first.

The party stand, wondering what to do, when suddenly a foreman bursts out from a nearby hut, shouting.

“Is there an Illwind here? Or a Billwyn? A goblin?” His eye alights on the heroes. “Someone is looking for him!”

Kills

  • 1 x Kuo-Toa Marauder
  • 1 x Kuo-Toa Spearfiend
  • 2 x Sahuagin Priest
  • 2 x Sahuagin Raiders
  • 1 x Sahuagin Baron

Loot

Experience per Member

  • Encounter 1 – 720 XP
  • Bonus – 750 XP
  • Running Total – 24,595 XP
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Sea Strike
Under the Sea

That night the party waits and waits. There is no sign of an attack. Clearly the Sahuagin Baron is too smart to fall for that ruse a second time.

After some discussion everyone agrees that the only way to tackle the Sahuagin is to go down into the sea and face them. But without magical assistance they would be at a huge disadvantage against the water monsters. They eventually agree to return to Tendre to find some way to fight in water.

It takes a few days to return, but eventually the party shows up on the town. Ealni Oabeta is delighted with the gift of a book on making drowmesh, salvaged from the temple library.

Meanwhile, Elgold pays a visit to Rothem Alder to see what rituals he has. Eventually, the old scholar digs out a text for Water’s Gift and sells it to the wizard. This will permit the party to breathe and fight in the sea without penalty. Elgold eagerly transcribes and learns the ritual.

Once the party have rested and stocked up with essentials, they all set out again, ready to take on the Sea Devils in their own element.

Back at the coast, the party prepares for battle. Elgold performs the ritual, embuing each one of the heroes with Water’s Gift. Then they wade out to sea and begin to swim.

Enna is in the vanguard and as soon as she peers over the ledge to look at the sea-bottom she is spotted. A number of Sahuagin begin to swim up towards her and the rest of the party. With them are a pair of Kuo-Toa, loathesome fish people armed with spears and clearly allied with the Sea Devils. They rush up, but Haleth and Ilwyn intervene and a big fight breaks out. Elgold unleashes spells that make the water fizz with acid or boil with fire, while Enna launches bubble-trailing arrows into the beasts.

The baron rises into the fight, but Caecius manages to blind it long enough not to be a big threat. the Kuo-Toa are soon dealt with along with some Sahuagin raiders that were providing escort. However, a pair of Sea Devil priests are scoring hits from a distance and the fight is far from over…

View
The Bloody Baron
Striking back at the Sea Devils

The last of the gold in the orb chamber is collected and the party stumbles out of the dark temple into the light of day. Enna notices that the forest noises of birds and small creatures can be heard. Her fey senses tell her that the party are no longer being watched, that the presence she felt while traveling through the forest is gone.

“We have defeated Lolth and freed this forest from her,” says Haleth. Everyone agrees that good has been done this day.

Our heroes debate what to do next. Should they return to Tendre, or should they travel to the coastal location on the map found in the Sahuagin cave? The party agrees to carry on to the coast, since it is only a day’s travel away.

The trip is uneventful, though another night is spent close enough to the ocean to hear its roar carried on the breeze. Enna can hear the familiar far off cries of something in the water. They are the eerie calls of the Sea Devils.

The next day they reach the cliffs at the place marked on the map. There are pathways down to a narrow sea shore. The tide is out but it looks as if high tide would cover the shoreline, so the party much move quickly. Enna searches up and down the shore. At first she sees nothing but then notices the way the water colour changes out to sea, as if there is a shallow shelf that suddenly drops into deep ocean.

Warning everyone else to stay on shore Enna makes a running dive into the sea, and begins swimming out into towards the edge of the shallows. Caecius dives in after her, though has difficulties keeping up with the nimble elf.

Diving down, Enna soon sees that the shallows end and there is a deep drop beyond them. Looking over the edge her keen eyes see something: the shallows are a shelf that overhangs the sea bed around 150 feet below. Beneath the shelter of the overhang are some strange-looking dwellings and guarding them are some Sahuagin!

Enna believes she is unseen and so swims to the surface and signals Caecius to return to the shore. Stepping out of the water, dripping wet, the elf recounts what she has seen. None of the heroes feel like tackling the Sea Devils underwater and so they concoct a plan. They will set up camp near the cliff top with a bright fire, and establish an ambush for the Sahuagin. They will tempt the Sea Devils onto land and surprise them there.

The rest of the day is spent setting up the camp and resting. Enna and Ilwyn travel to the Shiverfang forest and come back with wood for the fire and for stakes that the goblin begins to fashion into traps. As dusk comes around everyone takes their positions: Haleth near the fire as bait; Caecius and Elgold hiding in tents away from the likely line of approach; Enna concealed in a tree and Ilwyn in a bush.

The first hours of night are uneventful, but then Ilwyn and Enna’s sensitive hearing picks up the approach of something from the direction of the sea. Suddenly there is an unearthly screech, as something impales itself on one of Ilwyn’s stake traps.

The ambush is sprung! Haleth rushes out and dispatches two Sahuagin guards trying to collapse a tent on a non-existent occupant. Enna hits a distant Sea Devil with a perfect shot that kills it outright. Then she engages a nearby raider that has blundered into another of Ilwyn’s traps, instantly bloodying it.

Caecius charges down a second raider, knocking it over, while Ilwyn tries to edge around, looking to stab it from behind. Elgold uses a spell to finish the remaining guards.

The two raiders in charge of the Sea Devil party try to flee from the ambush, but Caecius hooks one with his spear, preventing it from running. Elgold hits it with a cloud of corrosive mist that dissolves its flesh, screaming. It quickly expires.

Haleth sprints after the second raider, attacking it before it can get away. Elgold again fires off another spell that fells the creature. The battle is over and the ambush was so complete that none of the party received so much as a scratch.

The bodies of the Sahuagin raiding party are piled up. Everyone debates what to do next. There’s a whole community down on the seabed, ruled by powerful priests or a baron. No-one is keen on fighting the Sea Devils underwater, so they wonder what to do to tempt them to the surface.

It is the goblin Ilwyn who has the idea of cutting off the heads of the bodies, weighting them and dropping them down to the sea bed. Everyone else nods agreement. That will get the attention of these evil creatures and draw them out of the safety of the sea.

In the morning the plan is put into action. Each Sea Devil head is cut off and a rock tied to it. Ilwyn, knowing that the Sahuagin worship the shark god Sekolah, carves the runic symbol of their enemy god, Deep Sashelas, into each forehead. The highly religious Sea Devils will not be able to resist such desecration.

Caecius, Enna and Ilwyn swim out to the edge of the shallow shelf. They are accompanied by Elgold’s fire spider, which is a magic beast that does not have to breathe. Together they drop the heads down into the depths and then turn and begin to swim slowly back to shore.

The reaction from the Sahuagin is almost immediate. Before our heroes have gone far there is a blood-curdling screech from below and dim shapes begin to swarm up from the depths. Before the party is halfway back, a squad of raiders, priests and a giant baron are gliding towards them at great speed, jabbing with tridents while the priests fire great bolts of water.

Ilwyn and Caecius are badly hurt and might not make it. On shore, Elgold waves a hand and cast a spell that creates a distracting noise above the surface of the sea. The Baron and its priests stop a moment, confused by the sound. However, a pair of raiders continue the close pursuit.

The genasi flies up out of the water to escape while Ilwyn finds a burst of great speed to outpace the Sea Devils. This leaves Enna taking the brunt of the attacks and soon she is bloodied. However, she is close to the shore and quickly scrambles back up on the narrow beach.

With everyone safe ashore, Haleth and Elgold are waiting to face the Sahuagin. The monsters bob on the sea surface, screaming angry noises. Elgold fools them by casting an illusion of a rock wall that conceals the party from view. As the priests blindly fire bolts of water at it, missing everyone behind, the swimmers take a moment to recover.

For a moment our heroes believe the Sea Devils will try to charge through the illusion and attack them, but they hear the Baron rattle off noises that sound like orders being given. With a hiss the monsters withdraw and slip beneath the waves.

The party makes their way back up to the top of the cliffs. Their plan to draw out the Sahuagin was not completely successful. What should they now do? Should they return to Tendre and try to buy some water-breathing magic from Rothem to go and fight below? Or should they try another ambush here?

In the end everyone agrees to try one more ambush, though figuring that the Baron would be smarter than his previous raiding party and try to attack from the different direction. they set their traps, take up positions and wait…

Kills

  • 6 x Sahuagin Guards
  • 2 x Sahuagin Raiders

Loot

  • 200 Gold

Experience per Member

  • Encounter 1 – 175 XP
  • Bonus – 750 XP
  • Running Total – 23,125 XP
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The Gods are in Attendance!
Please tell me that was the last spider!

The voice floods the minds and the very being of each of our heroes.

Enna knows in the deepest part of her soul that it is the true voice of the goddess Angharradh. Her faith begins to burn inside with something new and ardent. Even Elgold, who entertains a moment of doubt and suspicion, can tell that this is a benign presence. He can trust this voice.

Enna is on her knees, eyes closed and arms wide in supplication.

“My Lady, how may I serve you?”

THERE IS MORE YOU MUST DO, MY CHILD. THE ROAD AHEAD OF YOU IS HARD.

A wave of guilt washes over Enna. She remembers her moment of doubt in the fight against Eruwen. She recalls Ansrel Ambrarae snatching Boreas away. She bows her head as a penitent.

“I have failed, my Queen, so many times! Boreas has been taken from us. I could not prevent it! The Blue Court is in peril.”

THERE IS YET TIME TO SAVE ALL, DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST.

The gentle voice is forgiving yet firm. Then it seems to address everyone:

THERE ARE DANGERS AHEAD FOR ALL OF YOU FOR WHICH YOU MUST BE ARMED. WE RULERS OF THE ASTRAL DOMINIONS HAVE A BOON FOR EACH OF YOU.

Transfixed, the heroes watch as lights swirl and form in the space outside the orb room. Elgold feels the voice of Angharradh address him directly.

FOR YOU, MAGE, LORD CORELLON SENDS YOU THIS.

A small blue ball of light forms and floats stationary in the air, several feet away. Now Haleth senses the ethereal voice turn its attention to him.

MIGHTY MORADIN GRANTS THE WARRIOR THIS GIFT.

A red ball of light coalesces and floats next to the blue one.

TO THE SMALL ONE, MISTRESS SEHANINE OFFERS THIS GREAT POWER.

Ilwyn watches as a ball, with the glow of a silvered moon, joins the others.

THE WARLORD RECEIVES THIS BLESSING FROM PELOR THAT WILL HELP HIM IN HIS CRUSADE AGAINST THE UNDEAD.

A golden ball appears in formation with the rest. Then the voice seems to sweep its focus back to Enna:

AND FINALLY, MY DAUGHTER, TAKE THIS FROM ME

A fifth ball of forest-green light swishes into existence. The voice addresses everyone again:

ACCEPT THESE TOKENS. YOU MUST NOW TRAVEL TO THE CAVE OF CLAWS WHERE A GREAT DANGER AWAITS.

“But how do we find this place?” shouts Haleth to the air. There is a pause before the words start again.

YOU MUST GO-

At this moment the voice of the goddess cuts out and her presence is suddenly absent. It is as if a shutter falls. Enna opens her eyes and sees that the glowing green light of the great crystal orb is being invaded with a swirl of purple black. Now a new voice, a woman’s voice, urgent and sharp, drives deep into each person’s head.

ENOUGH OF THIS!

So harsh is the pain of the voice that no-one can move. Enna clutches her head, but manages to cry out: “What are you?”

I AM THAT WHICH WILL PUT AND END TO THIS. I SHALL BANISH THESE BAUBLES!

Something seems to explode from the orb, like a wave of force. It does not touch anyone, but outside, the coloured balls of light seem to shoot off in different direction, as if each had been kicked into a different part of the temple. Still in pain, the party watches as the glows disappear down corridors.

AND NOW TO FINISH YOU

Outside the orb room, where the lights had formed, something looking like spider legs starts to poke up from the floor and feel around, trying to find a purchase.

Back inside the chamber, Enna can see the black colour battle with the green light in the middle of the great globe. She realizes that this is the spider goddess Lolth, fighting for domination with her goddess. The orb cannot take the stress of the fight and cracks begin to craze their way across its crystal surface.

Then suddenly, the orb shatters. Not outwards where it would send shards flying, but inwards, in a way that causes the orb and the golden statues that bear it to crumble and fall into fragments on the floor.

As the orb is destroyed, the pain in each person’s head evaporates and they can move again. Almost instantly Ilwyn, his lust for riches overwhelming him, rushes into the chamber and greedily begins to grasp at the mass of golden fragments. There is more gold here than any man can carry. Great wealth beyond the imagination.

The rest of the party looks warily at the spider legs as they find a grip and begin to haul a huge and terrifying body up through the floor.

“What is it?” shouts Haleth.

“It’s a Drider!” cries Elgold. These are the hideous servants of Lolth, half Drow elf and half spider. They have undergone a great ordeal to achieve this transformation and are fearsome warriors.

Enna, stepping lightly out of the chamber, notches her bow and fires an arrow that misses the thing. Now the great body of the Drider, its Drow half brandishing a fearsome sword, appears.

Both Haleth and Caecius rush the monster and swing at it. But as they connect a black force seems to stop the blow. It is invulnerable! The drow seems to have some eldritch protection!

The beast laughs cruelly.

“Without your trinkets you cannot hurt me!” it sneers. Enna suddenly realizes what is happening.

“We have to find those gifts!” she shouts as she pelts down a corridor. “We cannot harm it without them!”

Caecius tries to hold off the Drider with his spear, demanding that the beast ‘bring it on’. As he does so the rest of the party scatters, scurrying off into the dark down dank corridors.

Ilwyn is the first to find his gift. He follows its glow. It floats nearby as a silver-grey light in the dungeon where Boreas is kept. As he touches it, it seems to disappear. Something flows into him, a new power: Sehanine’s Mark of the Dark Moon.

With new determination, Ilwyn skitters out from the dungeon and rushes to join Caecius, who is being pushed back down the corridor. As the goblin begins to jab at the Drider, Caecius thanks him and backs off in the direction that his gift had gone.

Enna runs through the temple at full pelt. She can remember her steps from the last time she was here, but sections of corridor are pitch black and periodically she bounces off walls, grazing herself. Eventually she picks up a faint green glow and locates the chamber where her gift is hidden. As she touches it, she absorbs a great gift: Angharradh’s Boon of Escape. With clarity she grasps how she can slide her way out form a press of attackers and even step briefly through the feywild to escape a foe.

Thus armed she begins to rush back, guided by the noise of the fight. She arrives in time to drive a flurry of arrows into the Drider and save Ilwyn from a punishing blow. The goblin has been fighting a desperate rearguard and has little strength left.

Moments later Haleth appears, now armed with Moradin’s Blessing of Iron that permits him to hold his ground against the strongest blow. The light from Haleth’s shield illuminates the Drider monster, giving Enna a clear shot. Using her new power the elf steps through the feywild to a point behind Lolth’s servant, flanking it. With a great fervency for her goddess burning in her breast, Enna marks the creature for death and drives an arrow into its vitals at point blank range.

The monster screams at the attack and lashes back at Enna. This gives Ilwyn a moment to collect his breath and recover. Then, using his Wallwalker boots, he runs up the wall and starts jabbing at the creature from the wall!

The battle in the corridor gives Caecius time to find and grasp his light, which grants the boon of Pelor’s Sun Blessing. So empowered, he races back to the fight and charges the Drider, dealing heavy blows.

The monster, discovering that it is now surrounded, tries to walk up the walls to reposition itself. But fierce attacks from Halth, Caecius and Ilwyn dislodge it and it falls back to the floor. Enna, inspired by her encounter with the divine, keeps launching arrows into the thing with vicious accuracy, finding the soft spots in its defences.

Elgold appears, puffing, armed with Corellon’s Boon of Arcane Might, just in time to see Caecius try a spectacular vault over the Drider and fall flat on his behind. There’s no time to laugh as the mage befuddles the monster with his magic, trying to impede its attacks.

As Ilwyn stabs and Enna piledrives another arrow deep into the Drider, the thing finally slumps to the floor, twitching its last before crumbling to dust. Everyone takes the opportunity to collapse to the floor or lean against a wall, getting their breath back. Ilwyn, the worst hurt, binds himself up.

Then, as if drawn by the call of wealth, they all drift to the orb chamber to survey the mass of gold mixed in with the shards of crystal. Without a word they begin to pick the riches out and shovel it into Elgold’s bag of holding…

Kills

  • 1 x Drider Deathspinner

Loot

  • 125,000 Gold

Experience per Member

  • Encounter 1 – 700 XP
  • Bonus – 1000 XP
  • Running Total – 22,200 XP
View
That Is A Big Tree
A Treant is no treat

Gravely, Enna turns to the Genasi.

“Caecius? I need to ask a favour.”

“What do you want?”

“Ansrel Ambrarae is out there with her allies, ready to ambush and kill us. I can feel it in my bones.” The elf takes a deep breath. “Look… if I fall or I’m incapacitated, I need you to kill Boreas!”

“What?” says Caecius, startled. “Don’t insult me! You’re not going to die. Not if I have anything to say about it!”

“I know that. But if the worst happens I need to know that Boreas won’t be allowed to pass on any secrets.”

The Genasi looks stunned.

“Look Caecius, it’s important you understand,” speaks Enna, softly. “This is all I can tell you… The White Way, it is a path to a… ah, a certain place. It’s large enough for an army to march down.”

Caecius looks quizzically at the elf. “What would happen if this secret was discovered?” he asks.

Enna glances away. “A lot of my friends and loved ones would die,” she says, with a quiet voice. Then she turns back to Caecius with eyes like blued steel.

“I can’t tell any of you the secret.” Enna’s voice is now firm and strong and will brook no argument. “We know that the spider goddess is after it. She’s gone to extraordinary lengths to track down Boreas and kidnap and torture him. Who knows what she’d do to any of you if you possessed this information?”

“Then why keep Boreas alive?” asks Caecius, sharply. Out of the corner of his eye he notices Elgold is shaking, clearly distressed by the raised voices.

“I keep him alive because I’m not a monster like Lolth,” Enna spits. “I made a promise to him. I will take him back to captivity, a comfortable confinement. He’ll live the rest of his life in ease. But if he tries to escape, or I am killed, then he must die to preserve the secret.”

The elf purses her lips, closes her eyes and takes a deep breath before asking: “Caecius, will you agree to do this for me?”

Caecius hesitates. “I promise to kill him if you fall,” he says eventually.

“And not to try and wring the secret from him?”

Reluctantly, the Genasi says, “I shall not try to get the secret from him… But I can’t speak for the others.”

Enna, noticing the hesitation, hisses: “Whatever you do, don’t let the goblin try to get anything out of Boreas!” She glances at Ilwyn, who is trying not to look as if he is eavesdropping. “He would sell the information in a twinkling!”

Enna pauses, then looks about at the party, assembled in the Temple entrance. “Ansrel’s waiting for us out there. Are we ready to face her?”

*

The party steps outside into the damp forest air. Caecius and Haleth are at the front. Enna stands with Boreas at the back, protecting him.

In front of them, at the far end of the clearing by a great tree, stands Ansrel Ambrarae. She looks like a tall, beautiful elf in a ranger’s uniform, but all the heroes believe this is only a glamour.

The ‘elf’ smiles. “The walls have ears, Enna,” she says, mockingly. “I overheard you. You know I can’t let you kill Boreas. Or at least, not until he tells me what I want to know.”

Boreas blanches. He is clearly frightened.

“Let us pass peacefully, Ansrel,” says Enna, with a face like thunder. “We are taking Boreas with us.”

“I think not,” smiles the woman by the tree.

Elgold draws himself up and shouts at the elf: “You are facing power of which you have no comprehension. You should bow down before us! You should beg our forgiveness!”

The elf-woman feigns surprise. “I face a power I don’t comprehend? I rather think you you do not know what you are facing!”

With that, Ansrel makes a deft gesture with her hand and the tree beside her animates into life. It shakes, pulling its roots from the ground, letting leaves and dust fall down all around it.

Enna realizes it for what it is: “It’s a Treant!” she cries as she pulls on her bowstring. Before she can shoot, Ansrel seems to walk into the tree, dissolving from view. And then the arboreal giant is charging the group, giving a terrifying cry as it stamps its roots across the clearing. It gives a great stomp that shakes the earth and causes everyone to drop to the ground, before swishing its branches out to cut at Haleth.

Harried by swinging branches our heroes pick themselves up from the floor. Enna is one of the first, trying to mark the tree for death with her arrows. But however much she tries, she cannot find a vulnerable point in the trunk of the great tree. Her arrows clatter off branches or stick harmlessly into thick bark.

Neither Caecius nor Haleth have any luck either. There’s just no way through the creature’s defences. The ground around the Treant is alive with its roots, making it very difficult to move. Then suddenly Ansrel appears, materialising out of the wooden trunk of the Treant right beside Boreas.

“Time for us to leave,” she says. Boreas screams and struggles as the fey woman wraps her arms around him in a vice-like grip. He flails an arm and smacks her chest. Something gem-like tumbles out of her tunic into the long grass. Ansrel makes a face at the loss, but realizing Enna is training her bow on her, she quickly pulls Boreas back into the Treant, and both of them disappear. Enna makes a desperate cry of frustration and tries to send an arrow into the spot where the man and woman vanished, but again it bounces off the gnarled trunk.

Now the party is in one of the most desperate fights they have ever experienced. The Treant lashes its branches at Caecius and Haleth. Then suddenly it gives a great roar, a cry for allies to help it, and the trees around the party begin to whip and cut with their branches too. Elgold has to throw up a shield of force to avoid the worst of the slashes. Unable to see any of his magic affecting the giant tree, he begins to voice the idea that the party should run.

“You may run”, snarls Caecius, grimly. “But I stand and fight here.” With that the Genasi leaps into the air and flies right over the crown of the tree, landing on the far side to flank it!

Now the tree is surrounded, Haleth, Caecius and Ilwyn are beginning to land blows, and find gaps between the dense bark to strike at the healthy sap inside. Elgold manages to beat the fiend’s reflexes with his magic to hurt it some more. Even Enna, lightfootedly tripping across the roots as if they were not there, finally finds her mark, delivering a telling strike at point blank range into the heart of the tree. Then the elf remembers some old lore about the Treant.

“It’s vulnerable to fire! Hit it with fire!” she shouts.

At that the wizard Elgold mutters an incantation and an orb of flame shoots out, catching the great tree and setting it aflame. It staggers, and then a final stab from Ilwyn finishes it. The great creature stiffens, then topples as if felled by a lumberjack.

Our heroes collapse to the floor, to get their breath back and patch their wounds. As they do so they see the shape of the tree begin to flow like water and shrink. In moments the great trunk and branches of the Treant are gone. All that is left on the floor is an old skeleton, clad in rags.

“What magic is this?” says Enna, looking at the skeleton. “A Treant is not supposed to do this!”

Elgold suspects some kind of polymorph magic, but says nothing. Caecius pokes about the bones. They look old and the few rags it has remaining are dusty. However, on its hands are a pair of intact Sure Shot Gloves. Also a pair of Wallwalker boots. After examining them Enna and Ilwyn accept them from the Genasi, gratefully.

Meanwhile Elgold finds the green gem that Ansrel dropped amongst the grass. It looks like the twin of the one he already possesses.

“Shall we head south?” says Caecius, hopefully.

“I need to find Boreas,” states Enna, flatly.

“But where?” says Caecius. “He could be anywhere in the forest by now!”

Enna walks over to a nearby tree and presses an ear to it, stretching her fey senses to see if she can detect where in the forest Ansrel had gone, but she cannot sense anything.

“Maybe we need to go back into the Temple,” she says. “Maybe that’s where Ansrel has gone.”

“And there’s the door there!” chirps Ilwyn. “The one with the holes for the gems!”

The party looks at each other. And then almost as one they resolve to enter the Temple. They rush in, making their way to the doorway as fast as they can. It stands solid, with the emboss of the spider goddess Lolth on the great doors. And there are the two holes that look as if they could accept the gems. Carefully, Elgold fits a gem to each hole.

There is a pause, and then the inexorable grinding of some ancient mechanism echoes along the passageway. There is a click and the doors swing open. Our heroes peer inside, their weapons at the ready.

Elgold’s magical radiance illuminates the interior of the chamber. It is not a large space and only has the one entrance into it. The walls are clean, unmarred by the roots that have broken through the walls of the rest of the temple. And in the middle of the chamber is a great orb of crystal, surrounded by elegant statues of an elf, an infernal and a human.

Elgold makes a sharp intake of breath. “It’s the orb in the book!” he says, his voice barely concealing his enthusiasm. “It’s an artifact for communicating with the gods!”

“Which gods?” says Ilwyn, curiously.

“Any gods!” says Elgold, his eyes wide. “The language of the book is neutral. I think you can communicate with any deity of any pantheon.”

“Like Lady Angharradh?” says Enna, her face transfixed by the sight of the great orb. Then she shakes her head. “Or maybe Lolth,” she says, ruefully. Elgold nods agreement.

The ranger peers around the chamber. “Look at the walls. Ansrel couldn’t have got in here,” she says.

Indeed, the walls show no sign of any roots or cracks or entry. “That means she was after the gems too,” continues Enna. “We know the dryad we killed had one gem in its possession, and Ilwyn found the other when he pulled the lever in the library. It looks like we got here first.”

“Then Ansrel will be coming here!” warns Caecius, starting to pull at the vines just outside the chamber, stripping them away as if to deny an entry route for Ansrel. “We should set up an ambush for her,” says the warlord, examining the approaches to the orb room with a tactical eye.

“Elgold, what about the orb?” asks Enna. “Can we commune with the Gods? can I speak with My Lady, the Queen of Arvandor?”

“Maybe,” says the mage, opening the book. “But look, the orb requires a sacrifice. It needs blood to be drained into this black vial…”

“The vial we captured yesterday?”

“I think so, yes,” says Elgold, nervously. “This vial transforms the blood and then we pour it on the orb…”

“And then what?” says Enna, eagerly.

“I’m not sure.”

“Use my blood!” demands the elf. Her face is flushed with excitement.

“Oh yes, let me cut her,” says Ilwyn with sly glee, almost capering at the prospect. “Let me slice the elf. I shall be so gentle with my knife…”

“No, not the goblin. You, Elgold… cut me as the ritual demands. Take my blood.”

“Um, no I’d rather not,” says the wizard, looking ashen-faced. “My hand would not be steady.”

“I’ll do it,” says Caecius. Elgold nods and draws the black vial from his pack.

Enna removes a bracer to reveal her slim wrist. Gently, Caecius slices her wrist with the tip of his spear and blood begins to well up and drip downwards.

“Elf Blood!” chitters Ilwyn, with undisguised glee. As a few drops accidentally fall to the stone floor he dives down and begins to lap at the red spots with his tongue.

“You sick creature!” shouts a furious Enna, as she unstoppers the black vial, allowing her life blood to drip-drip into it. Slowly, the vial fills.

Suddenly the vial changes colour and becomes a brilliant green. As Enna begins to staunch and bind her wound Elgold takes the vial and examines it.

“Maybe I should pour this on the orb from the corridor?” says the wizard. “Just to be safe?”

“No, I have no fear of this thing. Let me do it,” says Enna, with calm grace. Plucking the vial of her transfigured blood from Elgold’s hands, she stands by the orb while the rest of the party huddle outside the chamber.

“I pray to my Lady of Arvandor,” says the elf, as she drips the green fluid onto the orb, which begins to sizzle.

Slowly, the orb begin to glow with an inner light and changes colour to match the brilliant green of the blood in the vial. Some force seems to explode out of the orb to fill the room, though it does not seem to touch Enna. The elf closes her eyes and continues her prayers to her god.

Then suddenly she, and each of the rest of the party hear a voice in their head. A woman’s voice: uncanny, majestic and yet friendly and full of warmth.

YOU HAVE DONE WELL, it says.

A great feeling of peace washes over all of them and they feel as if the weariness of the day is lifted, as if after a long and restful night…

Kills

  • 1 x Lesser Treant

Loot

Experience per Member

  • Encounter 1 – 500 XP
  • Bonus – 1547 XP
  • Running Total – 20,500 XP
View
Ahh, I'm Blind!
The goggles do nothing!

The party move out, looking to explore the rooms off the corridor outside the chamber. Carefully, they peek through the doors and, weapons readied, enter a dusty room. Like the rest of the temple, tree roots poke through the walls in many places and floor tiles are smashed, creating patches of earth.

The room is a library, with tall bookcases and dusty tomes. There’s no sign of enemies, so everyone relaxes a little. Elgold, in his element, busies himself poking around for any interesting or arcane volumes. There’s much that he is uninterested in, though there is one book about armour manufacture that he stows away, thinking it might be useful for the smith in Tendre.

Then Elgold’s attention is drawn to another book. His instincts tell him there is something powerful about this tome. It is written in Supernal and Elgold hastily performs a ritual that permits him to read the script of the angels. It seems to speak of a great orb, an artifact for communing with the Gods.

A diagram seems to show a priest or mage cutting the wrist of a supplicant and pouring blood into a vial much like the one recovered from the warded chamber. This blood is then offered to the orb and poured upon it. There is no further description of what happens next, but Elgold greedily pushes the book into his pack.

Meanwhile Ilwyn, looking about, spies a volume that is not covered in dust. He tries to take it, finding that it is not a book, but a lever. He pulls at it and a grinding sound starts behind him.

Everyone is startled by the sound. With Ilwyn apologising for grabbing the lever they turn to look across the room where a plinth is rising from the floor. It has a green gemstone atop it, the twin of the one Elgold found earlier, the key to the locked room.

As Elgold is about to make his way to the plinth to take the gem, something moves in the mass of tree roots behind it. The form of the elf Ansrel Ambrarae half emerges from the wall and smiles at the party.

“Thank you, I shall take this,” she says, and swipes the dingus off the plinth before anyone can react. “You will not be leaving here alive,” she adds. Then, just as swiftly as she appeared, she melts back into the tree roots.

Suddenly, Hamadryads and Vine horrors burst from the walls or rise from patches of earth. A pair of drakes appear as if from nowhere and the party find themselves in a fight for their lives.

These beasts have learned from the dryads’ previous encounters with the party. In short order Enna and Elgold find themselves blinded by acid launched by the Vine Horrors. Enna, triangulating by her fey hearing and the calls of her team members, shoots her arrows true, taking down the Hamadryads. But still blinded, she cannot unleash her most powerful shots. Meanwhile Elgold blindly fires off great magics, often missing his targets.

Between them, Haleth, Caecius and Ilwyn begin to wear down their enemies, forbearing the many blows and bites of their foes. One by one the monsters fall, and as Enna and Elgold’s vision clears the last of the creatures goes down.

Everyone is beaten, cut and bruised. Some have almost no strength left. Enna suggests they try and rest and get some strength back, but Caecius and Ilwyn, both relatively fresh, would prefer to push on. After some discussion everyone settles for taking a rest, if they can find a safe haven.

The heroes stalk back to the prison where Boreas is held and barricade the door. Boreas berates them for leaving him alone, but a curt word from Enna silences him. There they bunk down for a night’s rest. Elgold is asleep the moment his head hits his bedroll and while a watch is maintained the others doze off. During the night Enna can hear a rushing noise outside, but nothing attacks.

Eventually everyone wakes and breaks their fast. Enna tells Boreas that they are going to leave the temple and he’s coming with them. He seems keen to leave but uncertain what Enna wants to do with him. She promises him that he’ll keep him safe so long as he doesn’t try to escape or give anyone his secrets.

Ilwyn, Caecius and Haleth are intrigued about what secret Enna is trying to protect and begin to talk quietly amongst themselves.

The group dismantles the barricade and, unmolested, make their way to the temple entrance. Enna volunteers to go outside and scout around, leaving Boreas guarded by Caecius. Outside in the clearing she sees nothing, but suspects that Ansrel and maybe many of her allies are there, lying up in wait. Eventually, she returns to the temple.

She arrives back at the party just in time to see Caecius and Ilwyn threatening Boreas, trying to get information out of him. She grabs Boreas, shaking him and demanding to know what he said. He screams that he said nothing.

Caecius tries to fool Enna that Boreas had given him his secrets and that she should just ‘fess up, but Enna isn’t buying this. Haleth, though, is more demanding.

“What is this White Way that’s so important?” he demands.

“Nothing you need to know, it doesn’t concern you,” snaps back Enna.

“We’ve been attacked and nearly killed because of this thing,” Haleth says, truculently. “It does concern us. I think we’ve got a right to know!”

“Yeah, filthy elves and their secrets!” barks Ilwyn, in agreement.

Enna says nothing. She only looks to the door to the outside, where Ansrel lies in wait, ready to kill them…

Kills

  • 2 x Scytheclaw Drake
  • 3 x Vine Horror Spellfiend
  • 4 x Hamadryad

Loot

  • 300gp

Experience per Member

  • Encounter 1 – 500 XP
  • Bonus – 400 XP
  • Running Total – 18,453 XP
View
Two Legs Good, Eight Legs Bad
In the heart of the Temple of Lolth

Amongst the wreckage of the dryad attack sits a large green gemstone. As it seems to be glowing with magic, Elgold grabs it eagerly. He tests and probes the object with his arcane skills but cannot divine its purpose. Having made no headway he stows it away in a pouch.

Only a short way along the corridor there is a locked door. Ilwyn picks the lock and cautiously the party push the door open. There is a room filled with cages on both sides, with each seeming to hold at least one tortured or mutilated corpse. However, at the far end there is the form of a man, sitting upright in his cage, his slight motions indicating he is still alive. As the party approaches him his head turns and everyone can see that he looks like Boreas.

“Careful!” shouts Enna. “He may be another false Boreas.”

“If he’s caged, I’m betting he’s the real one,” says Haleth, grimly.

“Help me!” croaks Boreas, shielding his eyes from the light of Haleth’s shield. Then he notices Enna and suddenly seems fearful. “What are you doing here?” he gasps.

The ranger, purse-lipped, says “The Lady Angharrad brought me here. What I want to know is why are YOU here?”

“It’s Eruwen. Or whatever Eruwen turned into… she brought me here and caged me.”

Egged on by Enna, Boreas haltingly explains that when he eloped with Eruwen two years ago they travelled far, trying to evade Enna’s hunt. Then around a year ago the Eladrin seemed to change in subtle ways. She began to ask Boreas about The White Way.

“That’s the second time Boreas has mentioned The White Way. What’s that?” asks Haleth.

“It’s a secret,” frowns Enna. “It is the reason I have been hunting down Boreas. It’s my duty to make sure he never gives those secrets away.”

“Are you going to kill me?” shivers Boreas.

Enna shakes her head. “Only if you try to fight or flee or give up the secret. I’d prefer to take you back alive. You’ll be a captive, of course, but I can promise you’ll be treated well.”

Enna pauses, head tilted to one side. “What I find strange about this story is that Eruwen already knows the secrets of the White Way. Why would she ask you for them?”

Boreas agrees. He found it odd at the time but however insistent Eruwen became he always managed to change or avoid the subject.

“You think that she was no longer Eruwen?” interrupts Enna.

“Maybe it was her and she transformed…” ponders Boreas.

“-Or maybe she was captured and replaced,” interjects the elf. “Which makes me wonder where the real Eruwen is.”

“I don’t know,” murmurs Boreas, glumly. “In many ways the Eruwen that brought me here was still the noble lady I fell in love with. She led me across the sea to this temple, urging me to come to an important place of fey worship. When I saw this place I thought it was an altar to Angharrad. And then they imprisoned me.” He groans. “As soon as I was caged, Eruwen laughed and mocked me. Then the glamour lifted and I was in this stinking place.”

“What happened to the other prisoners?” asks Haleth, gesturing at the bodies in the cages.

“They killed them or allowed them die from thirst or hunger,” moans the captive. “They gave me food and water. They wanted me alive, you see. They would come in here once in a while and ask me questions…”

“And what did you tell them?” asks Enna.

“Nothing, elf! I knew that my life depended on saying naught.” Boreas smiles grimly. “So are you going to let me out?”

“Yes,” wonders Haleth, “What shall we do with him?”

“I say we do nothing,” says Enna, flatly. She grabs some food and water from her belt and passes it though the bars to Boreas. “Let’s keep him here until we’ve cleaned out the temple of its corruption.”

“You can’t leave me here!” shouts the prisoner. “Take me with you!”

“We’ll be back,” says the elf. “Just as soon as this place is safe again.”

Then Elgold speaks. “Just to make sure you can’t get out, or no-one can get at you, I shall seal your cage lock with a ritual.” Enna nods agreement and with that the Wizard begins the brief ceremony that seals the lock and gives its key only to the party members.

*

Leaving Boreas sobbing in the small prison, the party begins to advance further down the corridor. At the end, is another door, sealed and locked. Enna and Ilywn notice that the approaches seem to have some kind of trap set in the walls that would fire bolts at interlopers. Gingerly, the goblin does his best to gum up the works of the trap’s mechanism.

Meanwhile Elgold is at the door. It seems to have a seal of the spider goddess Lolth on it. And there are two holes there that look as if they need to be filled with something. Instinct makes him reach for the pouch containing the glowing gemstone. Yes, it looks as if it would fill the hole. Elgold resolves not to try fitting the gem to the door until he has found a second such gem. Everyone agrees that they should search for the jewel’s counterpart.

Through winding corridors the heroes advance. The thief Ilwyn and keen-sensed Enna take the lead, alert to any threat. Ilwyn finds the triggers for the bolt trap and manages to disarm them.

Heading south, the party eventually comes across a small alchemical storage room. His eyes bright with an inner fire, Elgold enthusiastically rummages around, snaffling items of spell components that he secretes away in his pockets. He also finds some mysterious vials filled with bright-coloured pigment. There are five of them: red, orange, yellow, green and blue. They don’t appear to have any function, but thinking they might be useful the wizard stows them in his pack.

The storage room has an exit door and carefully the party open it. Before them is a chamber with three entrances, and in the centre of the room is a rust-coloured warding circle. Above the centre floats a small vial, similar to the vials of colour that Elgold found, but black. Around the circle are five small rust-coloured spots on the floor.

The mage ponders the problem, and quickly formulates a solution. Taking the pigmented vials from his pack he commands a magic hand to unstopper the red vial and gently pour a drop into the northernmost spot. Immediately it begins to glow the same bright red as the pigment. Going clockwise Elgold pours drops from the remaining vials on the other spots. Next is orange, then yellow, green, blue, as if forming a colour wheel. Each spot glows with the colour that is dropped on it. As soon as the last drop is in place the warding circle fades out of existence and the black vial floats gently to the floor.

Cautiously, Elgold leans forward to pick the vial up. He unstoppers it but there’s nothing inside. More poking and probing reveals nothing. It’s a mystery that the wizard will get back to later, so he stows the vial away.

Enna thinks they should leave by the east door to the chamber. There’s a corridor there that she recognizes from their last visit. There are a couple of doors down the way that she wants to explore.

As the party exits the chamber, they hear a rustling noise. Whirling around, they realize that swarms of Bloodweb Spiders are beginning to flow like water out from dark cracks in the walls. Then blocking their route in the corridor appear a pair of Flesh Spiders, clicking their mouthparts hungrily at the adventurers.

Haleth goes at the Flesh Spiders, thinking they would be easy to take down. But frustratingly they keep dodging out of the way or scuttling back beyond his reach. He can’t seem to lay a finger on them.

The rest of the group deal with the Bloodweb Spiders, stamping them out, but then they are surprised by a brace of Phase Spiders that wink into existence beside them, bite and wink away to safety. A second pair soon joins in, blinking in and out of existence around the party members. Attempts to charge the spiders only has the effect of teleporting the attacker away to a safe distance.

Battle is joined, with Enna shredding one of the Phase Spiders with her accurate shooting and Caecius lunging at the others. Elgold, ever helpful, drops great clouds of fire and acid onto Caecius, hoping to catch only the spiders around him. But Caecius suffers in the blast too and is badly hurt.

The Phase Spiders are tricky beasts. One poisonous bite makes Enna sink unconscious to the floor. Caecius manages to nudge her back awake, but then Elgold succumbs to the bite of another spider.

However, the power of the party soon begins to tell. A couple of good hits take out the elusive Flesh Spiders, while the teleporting Phase Spiders, fixated with trying to finish the fallen Elgold off, are themselves slashed at and pierced by arrows until they also fall. Surrounded by the remains of Lolth’s servants, the party gather themselves together, shaken but still in one piece.

Kills

  • 2 x Bloodweb Spider Swarms
  • 4 x Flesh Spiders
  • 4 x Phase Spiders

Loot

  • 100gp of spider parts.
  • Black Vial

Experience per Member

  • Encounter 1 – 520 XP
  • Bonus – 400 XP
  • Running Total – 17,553 XP
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