The Rest Day
21 December 2010
by GM (Louis)
Day 11 – Midday
The party decided to clear out the rest of the tower, and so continued up to the third floor. Kantalar scouted ahead, spying the goblin boss and the remainder of his posse, before retreating to discuss a plan of attack. A fierce battle ensued, and for a moment it looked as if the party had overextended themselves when Erik the Paladin went down in the face of some coordinated melee.
With Erik bleeding out on the floor, it was a race to the death. Kantalar was caught outflanked, and nearly went down before beating a hasty retreat to the stairs. Things looked grim, but Adaris combined with Tabiel to take down the softened-up enemy.
Alas it was too late for Erik, however. The Paladin had lost too much blood, and passed into the beyond to join the holy host of Kord. The party paid their respects to their fallen comrade before looting his body and burying him outside the tower with his shield for a headstone. Then they rested.
Day 11 – Evening
After recuperating, the party opened up the trapdoor on the first floor that they had found earlier, revealing a narrow stone staircase spiraling down into pitch blackness. Adaris used his magic to provide light, and the remainder of the party ventured into the musty dungeon. It was soon evident that this dungeon was more of a crypt, however, when zombies attacked from the dark.
The zombies had their arses handed back to them on a plate. From there, the party continued exploring the other rooms of the crypt, taking on skeletons, rats, stone warriors, a shadow bat, and a couple of pony sized spiders. Kantalar disarmed a potentially deadly trap, Adaris discovered the secret of the misty barrier, and the party recovered three of its keys. Oh, and two adventurers, Thoradin and (insert name of cleric) that had been secretly following party since Hanreth caught up with them, lending a hand in some tight spots.
Finally, confronted with the puzzle of the four oddly-named monster statuettes on a pedestal, the party decided to solve it by having Thoradin hit one of them with his hammer. Unfortunately something went wrong between the time he lined up the swing, and when he delivered the blow, and the hammer came down on all four statuettes, which promptly disappeared. The creatures they depicted manifested within the room, setting the scene for a dangerous battle to follow.
The Defeat of Anarus
27 February 2011
by GM (Louis)
Day 12 – Morning
Upon defeating the odd assortment of nasties in the room with the statue, the last part of the key was revealed. Ready to take on Anarus in the final room, the party decided instead to investigate the dark hole in the lair of the Deathjump Spiders. They positioned a table over the hole and tied a rope around it that they used to lower themselves into the cavern below the hole. A single naturally formed tunnel led away from the cavern, and the party made their way into the pitch-blackness.
The main tunnel forked, and there were other smaller tunnels leading away to no one knows where. The party came upon a small shrine to Torog propped up against one wall of the main tunnel, which they promptly destroyed. A subsequent investigation into one of the small side-tunnels (involving throwing fireballs down it to ignite the spider-webbing within) provoked an attack by a large and nasty spider with blades for legs. They defeated the spider, but were quickly routed by a dual-blade wielding dark elf who appeared from the cloak of shadow during the fight.
After obtaining the party’s surrender, the dark elf seemed more interested in the amusement of the encounter, than the killing of anyone, and chose to instead take one of their magic items and send them back to the surface with their tails between their legs.
Could this have been one of the many entrances to the legendary and terrible Underdark?
Day 12 – Afternoon
Back in the crypts of Anarus, they found Traevus waiting for them at the top of the hole, Kantalar noticing the telling smirk on his face. They confronted Traveus and, using much duress, extracted the truth of his treachery. It was him who had killed Anarus, poisoning him in his sleep with some nightshade from Kalton Manor’s own gardens. He also revealed the rest of Anarus’ story of necromancy, and the attempt to raise an undead army (perhaps the dark fantasies of a crazy man?).
They tied up Traevus, and while licking their wounds and resting, the party formulated their plan to take on Anarus. Through the swirling purple glow of the magic gate they went, finally entering Anarus’ inner sanctum. It was clear that Anarus (or at least his headless ghost) only wanted them to hand Traevus over and leave, but there was more incentive to defeat Anarus himself. The battle that ensued was hard fought, but karma seemed to have returned to haunt Anarus (rather ironically), and luck was heavily against him. The party was victorious, but Traveus was killed, having taken heavy damage from Anarus’ allies, and a final force orb from Adaris.
Oh, and at some point during the battle Morgana made her final appearance, but also tasted the kiss of death. That was not before making her delivery of Anarus’ head.
Evacuation of Fernwell
28 February 2011
by GM (Louis)
Day 12 – Night
Another rest, and it was time to leave the crypt. The party had gotten what they came for (kicking Morgana’s ass), as well as the recovery of her strange magical glowing blue rock, and Anarus’ dark book of necromancy.
About to make their way out, the situation changed abruptly. A great thud from somewhere above rocked the entire crypt, and the walls and ceiling became unstable. Was it an earthquake? Immediately the party ran for their lives before the whole crypt collapsed. Strangely chilled air filled the air, and the shrill shriek of some great and terrible creature sounded. Back in the tower, the building lurched, rocked by something on top of it, or hitting it. Stone blocks fell from the ceiling, and the party managed to dodge every one as they evacuated. Looking into the sky, they saw the horrific sight of a huge draconian creature flying away.
The rain was teeming, and icy cold, and the Lottie was a raging torrent. The party started making their way back to Fernwell. On the way there they came across a tense meeting between the draconic creature they had just encountered, and the three Avendi Striders that had been demolishing villages from Hanreth to So’ren. Kantalar snuck closer to listen in and gleaned that the dragon and Avendi had an alliance. The Avendi were looking for a marked boy in the surrounding villages, and had negotiated for the dragon to perform a ritual that was precipitating the escalating bad weather. But of most urgent concern was that Fernwell was next on the Avendi’s must-visit list.
The party ran to Fernwell to warn them. When they arrived, the villagers were gathered in the inn to discuss their response to the impending flooding of the Lottie. Eager to interrupt the debate, Adaris used a cantrip to get their attention, but the already spooked villagers panicked and mayhem ensued. They ran from the inn to barricade themselves in their houses. The party managed to calm down the innkeeper and get across to him their dire message. A plan was then formulated to evacuate Fernwell before the Avendi arrived. Adaris went to the northern-most farmhouse belonging to Jornis to watch out for the Avendi, while Thoradin went to the meeting spot next to Belin’s grain fields to light the way for the evacuees. Kantalar, Altais, Callum and his family ran from door to door convincing the villagers to abandon their houses, and join the evacuation.
The final villagers were gathered at the meeting spot as the Avendi were striding into town. Adaris spied their entrance and fled to Thoradin’s light, and the procession left before they could be spotted. The flight to the safe cave to the west was a nervous time as the villagers (men, women, children, the elderly, pregnant girls on horses) struggled to keep up their pace. But they reached the cave, only to find it being used as a lair by a pack of grey wolves, and their werewolf leader. The party fought the pack in the mud, and killed them all, finally dropping the werewolf off the cliff to his death on the rocks below.
Day 13 – Morning
Unfortunately, Thoradin had been bitten by the Lycanthrope, and contracted a fever. It was a harrowing time for all, waiting until day broke, and few got any sleep, least of all Thoradin, who fought the fever with the aid of Altais’ healing hand. By mid morning, thing were looking up again. The Avendi had not yet discovered their hideout, and Thoradin’s fever had broken. The rain had all but stopped. It was clear, however, that they had to move on. They were backed into a corner if the Avendi should discover them, so they gathered the villagers once again and struck out south, heading for Hugor’s Highway, and eventually Hanreth, trying to stick close to edge of the woods of Ashgrove Vale.
Day 13 – Lunch
Not long into the journey, terror struck in the form of a large gleaming white dragon, scouting the surrounds for something. At first the villagers hadn’t noticed, and the dragon was a mere passing shadow, but the dragon decided to double back, and at that point Adaris raised the alarm quite dramatically, and sent the villagers into another panic. Most broke and ran for the woods, still half a mile away across an open grassy plain. Some ran the other way in their blind panic, just as the dragon spotted the fleeing people. It broke into a fast swoop as some made an attempt to redirect those running away from the woods.
But the dragon was upon them before they made it to safety, and it swooped on two males from the village, trapping them under its great claws and tearing off their heads. Like a giant cat, it then pounced upon Altais, using claws and teeth and burning icy breath to quickly deliver him to death’s door. Rising into the sky, the dragon bellowed out a call across the hills, and then swooped down again as Kantalar and Thoradin attempted to rescue the unconscious Altais. The stalwart dwarf hauled the lifeless body onto his shoulder as Kantalar gave first aid to bring him back from the brink of death, and they dived back into the thicket of trees at the edge of the wood even as the dragon was tearing chunks out of Thoradin’s back.