Legend of the Leviathan

Session 28: Hickson et al.,
"Surrender! Lay down your arms and we will take you to vigil."

"These two people… they're not dead!"

When we last left the party: 

  • They defeated one of Alkahest's members when venturing deep beneath the former Well of Dragons, discovering an ancient Dwarven complex. They interrogated a dead gnome and learned some information about what Alkahest might be looking for. They decided to head back and try again to raid the complex.

In Brevitis:

  • The party filled in the agents about what was going on.
  • They tried again to invade the Dwarven complex, but got caught in a trap and had to bail out of the battle. 
  • They found out that neither Ta'vin nor Arentian are presently dead, or in a resurrectible state.
  • They put the dragon egg into the room from where the fire giant came.
Session 27: Hammer, meet face
"We wanted to take her ALIVE!"


When we last left the party: 

  • They had recruited 8 agents from either the Harpers, Order of the Gauntlet, or freelance markets to accomplish various tasks, then transported the flying Netheril city to the Troll Mountains, aiming to head to the Well of Dragons in pursuit of Gwennys' message. While scouting out the city, they found a valuable collection of texts and maps and a workshop to create quasi-magical items, made by the Netheril. 



In Brevitis:


  • The party tried unsuccessfully to communicate with the Treant occupying their floating island, and noticed the wilderness smothering it to be suffering; the foliage was losing its color.
  • They started settling into their new home, and got information from both Four-N and Dumbledilp about the egg and more. 
  • Harshnag was aged by the Epoch Engine, though it didn't seem to affect him physically aside from an extensive increase in his hair and beard length. 
  • They headed down into the Well of Dragons, where they discovered a hidden tunnel that eventually led to a hidden dwarven complex, where they discovered Alkahest was searching for something. 
  • They sprung a trap on a member of Alkahest named Talia and her gnome companion – or at least, a giant in a gnome's body – while the gnome's spirit remained trapped in the stone giant body. 
  • They annihilated the gnome and dwarf, fleeing after being discovered by an invisible duergar, thinking that the Stone Giant was leaving the tunnels to head to the surface, where he would intersect with their arriving agents. 
  • They encountered the Stone Giant en route and engaged him, though he got away.
  • After meeting their agents, they interrogated the dead body of the gnome using the spell Speak with Dead and learned that according to the spirit of the stone giant: 

    • The Vonindöd's construction is complete
    • The giants require only a fire primordial to activate it
    • And some other things, that were hard to decipher given that the body had no teeth left.
  • Bree went with the diaper-clad Yao-Min to the top of the massive stone Cathedral. There, Yao-Min became ecstatic about the Mithril Dragon Egg and induced a spiritual experience in Bree. She then found herself conversing with a Bronze Dragon atop of Mount Evereska.


"You have three more questions."


"Where's my boyfriend? Have you seen my boyfriend?"


"No and no…You now have one more question."


"Oh… shit."

Session 26: Decisions, Decisions
So where do you plan to go first?

"We could tame the Roc? Who's in favor of taming the Roc? Raise your hand." – Kay, during a discussion on how to get to the floating Netheril city.

When we last left the party, they…

  • Saved Ravenstone and uncovered a plot to rouse the giants and construct the Vonindöd
  • Discovered a link between the giant activity and a shady guild, named Alkahest
  • Joined the Lord's Alliance and banded together with Lady Silverhand to stop the guild
  • Blew up the inside of the House of Wonders and a Waterdeep Inn, and received a chilling prophecy
  • Traveled North to drop off orphaned children from Ravenstone (3 originally; 1 captured & 1 killed en route) at a monastery, then head further North to follow-up Alkahest leads.
  • Roused up some Calimshani and recruited a battlerager-cleric named Alamathar 
  • Met and recruited an ally bladesinger, Zephyr Zanzibar, son of one of the Alkahest members and – supposedly – of the Zsass Tam, Lich-King of Thay.
  • Were attacked by assassins, whom they defeated, but whom also successfully poisoned Arentian and Alamathar with the Mark of Bane.
  • Healed Arentian at the Monastery, and agreed to help them find two missing monks in the Sword Mountains, in exchange for a diamond to cure Alamathar.
  • Lost T'avin in the ruined and desecrated temple of Shar when looking for the monks.
  • Discovered the giants had taken the monks, and set out to reincarnate T'avin with the help of Drothakk, a new Orog ally.
  • Met the brother of Thaldrak, Benthran, and an academic, Dr. Pilgrim, who led a digging expedition to find the tomb of the Orog high shaman, where he believed a map to one set of the Nether Scrolls laid.
  • Swapped out Drothakk for Dr. Pilgrim (to the displeasure of the Orog) and set out in search of the tomb, which had already been raided. En route, they met a stone giant who sought a long-lost Dwarven kingdom of Shanatar.
  • Saw Dr. Pilgrim get killed in the tomb by a trap, and the party escaped to the surface, empty-handed (save for a lot of platinum they found in a vein nearby).
  • Uncovered that the Dwarves were killed by the rampaging Stone Giant, which the party discovered upon re-emerging from the mountain.
  • decided then to head toward the hideout of an Alkahest member, Haxiris, where they uncovered the truths concerning a horrific disease decimating the draconic population known as the Draconecrogen. Haxiris blamed Silverhand for releasing the disease.
  • encountered Haxiris in the hideout, as well as Zalara and Virro. They parlayed, and learned much about the guild from the Wizard, who had reincarnated himself as an Orog from a Dragonborn to avoid the necrogen.
  • Took part in a horrific battle between the Guild and faction leaders, whereupon they slew three of the guild members, but Silverhand and Hector, a leader of the Order of the Gauntlet, were both slain by a Death Knight that had appeared.
  • Defeated a horrific monster in the hideout, but not before Benthran was horribly killed.
  • Discovered a Mithral Dragon egg in the monster's lair, and the bodies of many individuals, including Gwennys, a missing charge of Thaldrak, and T'avin/Siras' younger brother.
  • Met up with Dumbledilp, whose corporeal form was trapped in the Astral Plane, but sought to still help them in the fight against Alkahest. 
  • Learned that Silverhand was supposedly still active in Waterdeep, and assumed it to be an imposter.
  • Reincarnated Hector, and tried to reincarnate Benthran… but he came back as a Dragonborn. Knowing the necrogen would do it's work, they put him back to rest.
  • Pulled from the Deck of Many Things, resulting in Arentian being Donjon'd and a Netheril City being plucked from another plane of existence.
  • Went to the nearby gnome town of Ierithymbul, where they sought to fix a small airship tied to a device from Mechanus known as the Epoch Engine. 
  • Met a new ally in Ierithymbul, Bree Hodge, the (pregnant) girlfriend of Arentian who joined them until they could find the silver-haired sorcerer again. 
  • Fixed the Epoch Engine, though this resulted in Kay growing 120 years older, and flew off to investigate the Netheril City that had appeared.
  • Were attacked by a Roc Bird and nearly lost their lives as their airship was destroyed, crashing into the side of the flying island. The epoch engine was tangled in the vines and foliage descending from the floating mass.
  • Met Ioun, who asked them to lift a curse from the island.
  • Released a Frost Giant, Harshnag, and a Fire Giant, Ephestimus, and took and defeated a Dracolich. The fire giant was killed, but they imprisoned the Dracolich in a magical blue cube they found in the House of Wonders, known as the Octochoron.  
  • Lifted the curse after finding the Earthbinder, a mysterious magical entity that oversaw the use of the Mythallar in the Netheril City. 

Most Netheril cities cameth crashing down aft'r Karsus' Folly, but a few did escape to the Shadowfel. We did escape to the feywild. But this wast our doom. – Ioun


In Brevitis: 

  • The party decided on agents to recruit and dispatch for specific tasks and missions, diversifying what they can accomplish across the Sword Coast. Some were from the Harpers and some from the Order of the Gauntlet, a few were even free agents:

    • Anael Aeraloth – Diviner stationed at the Netheril City (ETA 3 Days)
    • Dr. Viktor Kray – Doctor / Aberration Hunter
    • Hannah Ellerslie – Mastermind
    • Robin Skavo – Cleric
    • Emerish Amsalumani III – Diplomat
    • Sir Chadwyck – Paladin
    • "Dusty" – Giant Hunter
    • Yao-Min Fa – Spirit Guide
  • Kay received a message from the Zhentarim, demanding an in-person meeting within 17 days.
  • They decided on a plan of action, aiming to first head to the Well of Dragons to investigate Gwenny's message, and taking Dilp's teleportation circle there to Waterdeep, where they could attend to the imposter Silverhand.
  • Foreign was instructed to teleport the city to the area above the Troll Mountains, Southeast of the ruins that are the former Well of Dragons. 
  • The party investigated the city thoroughly, finding:

    • The Treant, who could only speak Sylvan
    • A forge that was used to make tools and ceremonial weapons, which was decapitated and overgrown
    • A massive interconnected study area containing ancient books, maps and calligraphy was available for them to study and examine.
    • A magical workshop the Netheril used to manufacture and enchant quasi-magical items, which only retained their magical properties while within proximity of the Mythallar. 
  • Prepared to head down to the Well of Dragons.
Session 20-25: Netheril

When we last left the party…

  • They saved Ravenstone from the experiments of a terrible, mad wizard, and set off to Waterdeep to warn of a giant attack on the town.
  • In Waterdeep, they uncovered a greater plot by a Wizard's guild, which they would later learn to be named Alkahest, linked to the giants. An explosion in a wizard's academy and local inn resulted in many deaths, but before the party could set out, they tied themselves to the various factions – Mainly, the Lord's Alliance and Lady Laeral Silverhand, herself. 
  • Silverhand asked them to investigate to the North – they were headed there, anyway, to drop off some orphaned infants from Ravenstone at a Monastery – to investigate the hideout of one member of the guild – Haxiris. Too, they were asked to investigate rumors of giants around the town of Triboar, and a Hill Giant occupying the town of Longsaddle. Then, onward to Luskan, where the bread crumb trail seemed to lead to two to three of the wizards. 
  • Along the North Road, the party had many unfortunate and fortunate adventures. They lost two of the children – Midge Nesper and Grim Agganar - and had a rather unfortunate run-in with a passing Calimshani caravan in Amphail. Later, two assassins tried to spring upon them, but despite all of this, the party remained steadfast on the trail to the monastery.
  • Along the road, they made a new friend in a bladesinger wizard named Zephyr Zanzibar who covered his face, as well as a dwarf battlerager/cleric named Alamathar. 
  • Poisoned from the assassins, Arentian and Alamathar found themselves clinging onto the delicate threads of life as the group rushed onward to the monastery in the Northern Sword Mountains. There, they healed Arentian, but did not have the resources to help poor Alamathar. So, they set out on a quest to help their new companion, leaving Enthoril behind, who wished to stay and aid the dying dwarf. They began a quest to find two missing monks in the mountains, with the hopes of earning the use of the monk's most prized possession – a diamond known as the Oculus Eye.
  • Gone for naught but two days, tragedy befell the group: T'avin met his demise at an abandoned temple of Shar, which they learned was cursed by an ancient and mysterious diety named Ghaunadaur. 
  • Continuing along the trail for the missing monks, the party headed south, following tips from an Orog that they rescued from the temple curse. Drothakk, the orog, led them to where he had seen the Frost Giants heading, knowing well that they had taken the monks from the cursed orc-kin. Along that route, they also ran into T'avin's sister Siras, who was sent to rendezvous with them on behalf of Lady Silverhand. 
  • Once they came before the Frost Giants, it was clear that the party was outmatched. They chose instead to follow a legend told to them by Drothakk, speaking of reincarnation magics buried beneath the mountains that once belonged to his shaman leader, Uthuk Urkrypt. West, they went, their hearts heavy as they understood that it was likely already too late for the poor monks, and for poor Alamathar. 
  • Eventually, they arrived at the site of where the tomb would be buried, deep under a mountain and at the exact site of a dwarven dig site. There, they met Dr. Pilgrim, a gnome archeologist and academic who was searching for the same tomb as them, as well as the brother of Thaldrakk, Benthran. Benthran had supposedly undertaken a spiritual quest to find his brother, which led him in advance to the mine, whereupon he had worked for months, waiting for fate to bring his brother forth. 
  • Dr. Pilgrim and the party struck a deal whereupon they could help one another – clear out some baddies from the dig site, and the party could look around. During their discussion, they learned that Dr. Pilgrim truly sought the tomb because of a legend that the high shaman was buried with a map to one of the sets of Nether Scrolls, powerful, ancient artifacts tied to the origins of magic, itself. 
  • While helping Dr. Pilgrim out in the dig site, the party incidentally discovered the entrance to the tunnels, which presumptively led to the tomb! Excited, they began the arduous journey down to find it. En route, they discovered a mysterious giant who roared about a personal quest, but eventually made their way through to the place… only to find that someone had already been there.
  • The traps of the tomb were discharged and the sarcophagi looted; Dr. Pilgrim and the party were too late. To make matters worse, when trying to get out of the tomb, Dr. Pilgrim was killed in one of the traps, and both Kay and Arentian suffered terrible diseases from the same. 
  • Finally, they emerged from the tomb onto the surface, only to discover that the giant they had encountered had laid waste to the digsite, killing most of the dwarves. 
  • They continued on to the hideout of Haxiris, where they learned a horrible secret – a disease known as the Draconecrophage was ravaging the draconic populations of the Sword Coast, eliminating them entirely or placing selective pressure to induce the birth of new varieties. 
  • Then, resting in the hideout, they were discovered by none other than Haxiris himself, as well as two other known guild members… Virro, the mother of Zanzibar, and Zalara. Thankfully, there was room for negotiation, and the party learned much from the group. Most disturbingly, that Haxiris thought Lady Silverhand to be behind the release of the necrogen. Suddenly, though, they were faced with a terrible choice. Silverhand was on her way – with three others – and didn't know about the guild's presence! They chose to await her arrival.
  • When Silverhand arose, Haxiris confronted her, and a combat erupted. When the dust settled, three guild members and one of Silverhand's paladin allies were dead, one Alkahest member – Virro - as well as Zanzibar and the leader of the Harpers, Dumbledilp, were unaccounted for. Silverhand herself was slain… by a death knight. 

The combat was over. Many were dead; many enemies, indeed. Though, it was not clear who had won. Silverhand was dead, reduced to a pile of ashes by a horrific undead creature, a Death Knight, as well as one of her greatest allies. Her only other remaining ally, a wizard and leader of the Harpers, was unaccounted for. Though they weren't the only ones. Zalara, Salsalaniir, and – for better or worse – Haxiris were also no more. Though Virro and her son – and the party's former companion, Zephyr Zanzibar, were also unaccounted for. As the group looked over the carnage, their halfling rogue stood on the second floor of the hidden mountain hideout, now a literal stone graveyard.

Kay stood over the corpse of Salsalaniir and pulled out one of the darkened bottles of Mortu, a terrible magical acid that, when poured upon the eyes of a corpse, sever the spirit's connection to the material world and prevent reincarnation. As the evil gelatinous goop dripped out of the vial and sizzled onto the disintegrating, dead eyes of the black tiefling wizard, the halfling did what only came naturally – he eyed the possessions of the wizard. Taking what he deemed valuable, the major peculiarities were the red jacket and spellbook of the wizard, a black, leathery tome chained to his belt that felt uncomfortable – almost sticky – to touch. 

Down below, the others began to do the same with what was left of the dead from their combat. Silverhand's staff was nowhere to be seen, but they managed to produce quite a magical arsenal of equipment, weapons and clothing. Arentian nearly met the same fate as T'avin when he approached the body of Zalara, a tentacled rod whipping out at him, propelling itself forward to the sorcerer with it's own ravenous hate and otherworldly consciousness. Thankfully, though, Thaldrak was there to tend to his friend's wounds as Siras destroyed the thing. "That's what killed your brother," Thaldrak added, as the rod shattered into thousands of obsidian shards that sprinkled across the stone cobbles. 

The morbid deed was tainted a bit by the appearance of Astrus, Haxiris' pet Void Dragon, who emerged from the Smoke Room together with Max when the silver-haired sorcerer went to check on their safety. Astrus wailed and moaned in sorrow as he saw the corpse of his former master, the orog laying crumpled in a heap on the ground among the scorchmarks and bloodstains that marred the otherwise pristine stone entrance. Siras offered the Dragon a few words of sympathy before heading upstairs, closely followed by Thaldrak and Arentian. 

Once reunited with Kay, Siras took notice of the book in the halfling's hands. Immediately, she took it up and opened it, but something wasn't right. Her mind began spinning and her chest became cold and hollow… she felt a change, deep within her. The others took note, as her face blanched and her eyes rolled back, for a split second. But her tone became sharp and scolding as she dismissed their concerns, and urged them onward to explore the rest of the hideout. They shrugged, presuming her change in attitude to be due to the trauma of the battle, and the loss of her own master, Silverhand. They inspected the nearest two doors in one side of the hall and found only one to be locked and trapped. On the opposite side was a small closet with extravagant clothes, whereas a large door was locked with an impressively intricate lock mechanism. "I can unlock this, but it will take me some hours," Kay said, aloud. 

Huffing, Siras uncharacteristically shot an insult their way and opened the unlocked door opposite the one the halfling inspected. Immediately, a click resounded as she looked into the artfully painted room, but saw it only for a split second as a green-acid bolt slammed into her chest and propelled her into the door opposite. She slumped unconscious, a scalding concaved wound showing her sternum and ribcage sizzling beneath acid-burned skin. Thaldrak rushed toward her and bandaged her wounds, doing his best to keep anyone else from dying in that place. She came to after a few minutes, though her chippy dark sarcasm was replaced by a bitter blame directed at her companions. They, too, levied loud voices her way, chastizing her choice to enter the room unbidden, when they started to notice an abnormal manner to her tone and behavior. Clearly, something was influencing her. Clearly, it was that book she still held in her hand, despite her brief lapse in consciousness. They tried to take it from her, but she refused, and among a tirade of words, they had to resort to restraining the woman as she flailed about, doing everything in her power to stop the – in her mind – unjustifiable assault. Faces tight with concern and frustration, the group decided to knock her unconscious and remove the book from her hands, stashing it away in the bag of holding where it wouldn't be read by anyone else, anytime soon. 

For the third time that day, Thaldrak tended to the wounds of his friend, and Siras came to. She felt lighter and fatigued, not recalling anything since the moment before she opened the book. Needless to say, she was shocked and apalled to hear their account of what had transpired in the recent minutes… never mind the horrific scalding upon her chest. Thaldrak helped her up as Kay offered some chipper words of comfort, and they agreed to enter the room, then… this time, together. 

As they entered the room, they came upon a breathtaking sight. Opposite where they had entered was a masterful mural painted upon the walls of the room, stretching from left to right, each wall depicting one of three different scenes.

  • On the left wall, a pale, long-haired and robed individual stood alongside a werewolf, posed mid-howl as the moonlight reflected across a glean coat of fur. They stood parallel, looking from a cliff-face over a foggy and decrepit landscape of wilderness and ruins, while the blanket of night stretched atop them. 
  • On the right wall, a raging sea storm tossed about a massive caravel, the wooden ship being crunched apart by great, purple tentacles that reached from the angry waters to bind the vessel. Sailors leapt or fell overboard as parts of the ship crunched and crumpled under a brown sky, dark clouds split by veins of lightning and a curtain of rain.
  • Finally, on the wall opposite them, was depicted a single eye, from which yellow sun-like beams emitted alongside shadowy parallels. The centered eye was unlike anything they had ever seen: a literal microchasm of a clear night's sky sprinkled with stars and adorned with a single, twinkling, pupil-like ball of white light in the center. Nothing about the eye seemed benevolent or peaceful; on the contrary, it was overbearing and penetrating, like a metaphor for every aspect of the feeling that "someone is watching".

The hairs on their backs stood on end as they investigated the room. Thaldrak walked about with his hands running along the smooth, stone walls, inspecting the mural, while Siras took note of the runes inscribed on the floor. She recognized them as those of a teleportation circle, and pointed this out to her companions. They all agreed that they should disrupt the circle, rubbing aside the runes once Siras inscribed them onto some parchment. Kay, Benthran and Siras then started outside as Thaldrak ran his hands along the far wall, and suddenly a voice entered his head. It seemed low and probing, uttering impossible, layered words of nonsense not ever pronouncable by the dwarf's tongue. He shuddered as he rushed to join his friends in the hall. 

They continued along then, moving a few dozen feet to the right, where an identical, locked door awaited them. Kay got busy with the contraption, breaking out his tools and slipping them into the crevasse. Easily, the lock gave way as the mechanism became clear to the halfling, and the door unlocked. Cautiously, this time, they formed a plan to open the door, Thaldrak running downstairs to grab a table (while Benthran sipped… or chugged wine) to use as a barrier. Though despite their caution, no danger awaited them in the empty room, beyond. These walls were undecorated, though the floor was adorned with a similar teleportation circle. As they did in the previous room, Siras noted the runes and smudged the circle, and they continued on, again. 

On the opposite end of the top floor was the smoke room – which they had already entered – and a room that they had yet to explore. Opposite that was a small closet stuffed full of ceremonial clothes from various regions and countries of Faerûn. Benthran wasted no time in dressing with a feathered hat and ceremonial tribal garb of leaves tucked about a harness… all of that beneath a massive fur coat. His brother could only roll his eyes. 

As Kay got to work on the lock mechanism for this final door, they prepared themselves with the propped-up table and readied positions. The lock sprang, and they opened the door… but no trap awaited them. Inside was a large, double-bed with fanciful furniture and artwork; a bedroom. They entered, taking special care to eye any traps or out-of-place objects, and looked around the place. The only thing of note were some small paintings of Dragonborn children beside the bed, and a family portrait of sorts above the bed. In the portrait, a blue Dragonborn family stood – likely that of Haxiris – with man, wife, and two children. A tragic tale unfolded in their minds as they realized that Haxiris' wife and children were likely killed by the necrogen, and they sighed with a heavy heart as they thought of his reincarnated Orog corpse, downstairs, knowing that despite his efforts, his family line was at an end.

Benthran explored the far side of the room as Kay and Thaldrak thumbed about the portrait, searching for some hidden compartment. Benthran discovered only the toilet, but the others found a hidden indentation in the stone wall, hiding a sack of treasure, scrolls and gemstones. "His getaway bag…" Kay explained, doing a mental tally of the treasure before him. As they looked in the bag, Benthran walked over to the bedside. Before the bed was a wide, low chest that stretched from his new friends to the wall… nearly ten feet. Must be nice stuff, inside! Benthran thought, as he reached down to open it. "Wait, don't…!" Kay, Thaldrak and Siras shouted in unison, noticing just too late as the druid grabbed the clasp and pulled. Immediately, dark runes surrounding the lock puffed out a black, negative energy that quickly expanded and exploded, bursting out in a cacophonous FWOOM that enveloped the druid. He quivered as it stretched through his body, shaking his head when it finally stopped. His friends gave him quite the verbal lashing, then, as they shouted at him for being so stupid and risking their lives. Kay bent low to examine the chest, unlocked the clasp and saw a second trap, within… linked to a circle of death spell. 

"Alright, so if you open this, I'll kill you!" Kay said, pointing his finger into Benthran's chest.

Siras looked down at the pair, and sighed, "Can we please get some rest before continuing to open trapped things…" 

They agreed, and headed downstairs to find a safe place to rest. Astrus still laid atop Haxiris, where he now slept, occasionally muttering Draconic pleas of sorrow for Haxiris to return. They checked out the remaining rooms, being careful to not open any chests or wardrobes, finding one such chest in a hidden room along a storage of wine. The last two remaining rooms were an abandoned alchemy laboratory and a living room, of sorts… an eternal fire burning within the fireplace lighting the furniture in the room. Cots lined the perimeter as exotic sofas and tables filled the center. They decided to rest there, and set up camp for the night. 

Before they rested, though, Arentian asked Astrus if it would be better to give the dead man a proper funeral, offering to fulfill Astrus' wishes. The dragon agreed, and the pair dragged Haxiris' corpse to the fireplace room, where Astrus obliterated it to ash with his dragon breath. They then set up to rest.

That night, their rest was troubled by eerie moaning and humming sounds coming from the second floor. Thaldrak told the others about the voice he had heard in his head, and they all agreed that the mural room was a troublesome place. Thaldrak went upstairs during his watch to have a look in the keyhole… and a bloodshot eye lowered to look at him, back. Withholding his shriek of surprise and slight terror, the dwarf rushed downstairs to tell the others. However, none could validate his claim, as they saw nothing in the keyhole, and nothing in the room. Thaldrak shuddered and shook his head, thinking that he only needed some extra sleep, and that the duress of the last days had begun to wear upon him. 

Things only intensified during the watch of Benthran and Arentian. Benthran heard an eerie laughter in his head that echoed from up the stairs. At first he ignored it, but it began to beckon to him. Again, he tried to ignore it, going instead to the abandoned alchemy room in an attempt to mix up some potions or poltrices from the rotten ingredients. He had no success, however, and the voices only continued… one speaking with a whisper right in his ear. He spun around and saw a ghost of a little girl Dragonborn in the doorway, calling out to him. When he refused, she shrieked, shattering all the glass in the room. Thinking a fight with undead to be at hand, Benthran rushed out of the room to retrieve Arentian, but when they returned, they saw all the glass intact. Nothing had been broken, and Arentian did not hear the voices. 

Benthran continued his watch, then, walking alongside Arentian. As they made their way up the stairs, the voices intensified. They came from the bedroom, and when Benthran checked inside, he saw a trio of ghosts… a female Dragonborn and two children. They bid him to enter, and could seemingly physically touch him. Arentian saw no such thing, though, and encouraged Benthran to leave the room and ignore the voices. Though the dwarf, now curious, let them lead him into one of the wardrobes, that depicted a painting of Haxiris with seven female wizards and one terribly old male wizard. As the ghosts disappeared behind the painting, Benthran moved it aside and saw a small tunnel, leading onward into deep, ultimate blackness. 

He shook his head, though, and pulled away from the ghosts, joining Arentian and telling him what he saw. They agreed to check it out the next morning, after a good rest and with all of their friends. 

They did so, returning to the room to finish their exploration, for one, and tend to their druid companion's claim, for two. They all saw the hole in the wardrobe, and the tunnel that led down to the blackness. Even with Razzik's Eye, Kay saw nothing but a spinning void, an eerie black emptyness. The ghosts remained, but none could see them save for Benthran. They did as they had the previous night, and led him on into the tunnel. Feeling that this was somehow important, Benthran complied with their urges, and climbed into the tunnel. They all watched as Benthran crawled further and further, but twenty feet into the congested space, when Benthran's hand reached out into the blackness, he felt a terrible vaccuum tug at him and a searing pain from his elbow as he howled in surprise and pain. He backed up as fast as he could, the others rushing forward to pull him out, as he looked at where his hand had used to be… a stump was left behind, bleeding and torn like it had been obliterated in an instant. Suddenly, realization came upon Siras and Kay as Thaldrak freaked out, grabbing at his healing kit and tending to his shocked and bleeding brother… who had just survived a near-death encounter with a sphere of annihilation. 

Once all was said-and-done, they ensured that Benthran was alright to continue, and continued to explore the place. They wouldn't know it yet, but it was only the first of many terrible things to happen, that day. Kay set to work on the large, intricate lock mechanism that adorned the two doors they had yet to open. It took him a few hours, but when it was done, the door slid back into the wall, a thick iron slab that revealed a second iron door, with a simpler mechanism. Upon this door was depicted a strange, blobby outline of a peculiar shape. None of them could make anything of it, and they decided to unlock the next door. As they did so, and it, too, slid into a recess of the wall, it revealed a terrible sight. A horrific, tentacled creature – as large as a dragon - burst out from the room beyond which stank of dereliction and death. It crunched the bones and bodies of dead that lined the floor as it's four legs rushed toward the group, and it's mouth tentacles reached out to snatch or lash them. 

A cone of mental energy first fell upon them, then, – FWOOP – as they staggered with the blast. Weapons were drawn as they flung into combat, trading blows with the thing. Benthran transformed into a bear as they slashed and jabbed at purple tentacles that swooped out to wrap onto Benthran and nearly onto Kay. Thinking Benthran tough and safe, they were shocked to see the tentacle crush the bear into submission, as the form reverted to the one-handed dwarf. Desperately, they worked to free their companion, rushing onward to slash at it more, as milky white blood poured out onto the floor and mixed with their own. 

They could only watch in horror, though, as the longest tentacle of the thing tore a hole under Benthran's cheek and jabbed into his face, sliding under his skin and penetrating the cheek of his skull. He shrieked in agony and fear as the loud crunching of bone stopped and was replaced by a sucking and slurping, as his face went blank and his thrashing body quivered, then stopped moving. It consumed his brain. 

Tossing aside his body, the creature met a raging Thaldrak, who cried out in emotional agony and denial, screaming to the gods for tearing away his brother, at this creature for killing him, mere days from being reunited. He rose his weapon and jabbed or slashed, backed up by the quickening from Siras and daggers that sailed above his head and into the creature. Siras and Kay unleashed their own magical or thrown fury, respectively, but neither could match that of Thaldrak. They took blow after blow, but soon emerged victorious… the creature's head lopped clean off by Thaldrak's blade as white, thick blood sprayed out from it's neck. It writhed about, jerking in the spasms of death as Thaldrak fell to his knees in grief. 

When he did so, as the battle rage ceased, his eyes fell to the ground, at the decomposing bodies that littered the room, of which his brother's was one. There, his grief was multiplied logarithmically, as he saw a second corpse that he recognized… Gwennys. For months… nearly a year… he had been searching for her. Desperately, trying to right an incidental wrong. Long ago, he had been charged with escorting her – a diplomat – from Mithral Hall to Waterdeep. However, after a few drinks at an inn en route, he slumped into an unusual slumber and when he awoke, she was nowhere to be found. Since then, he had seen no sign of her, and had been stripped of his honor, his dignity and pride. All of that felt torn from him, lost to the winds of fate by this terrible creature and those who had kept it, as he wept for a long, long time. 

Kay, Arentian and Siras moved into the room to comfort their friend and take full inventory of the terrible sight, then noticing behind the creature a peculiar sight. A massive silver egg – the size of a human being – laid upright in the center of the room. It shone as if a light glimmered upon it, revealing it's various metallic contours. It looked almost as if it were a metallic statue cast from a forge, with contours and textures resembling that of hardened molten metal. Arentian examined it from a distance, knowing full-well what it could imply. Though Siras placed her hand upon it, recalling that her prayers to Bahamut had in recent days gone unanswered, and felt the warmth of life. Before pointing it out to the others, she, too, looked about… and she, too, noticed a corpse that triggered recognition in her mind. Her brother… her other brother… laid dead on the ground. She searched his body, immediately, finding some papers hastily etched in an unfamiliar language. She pocketed them and moved alongside Thaldrak, who continued to weep, his shoulders shaking.

As his tides of his tears began to stem, Thaldrak wiped away the wetness of blood and sorrow from his face and growing beard, then began the terribly morbid task of investigating Gwenny's corpse. She was nude, but in her hand clutched a single pebble-sized object. He took it, and examined it more carefully. It was a note wrapped about a seemingly inconspicuous stone, but Thaldrak immediately recognized it as a Diplomat Stone; an object kept by dwarven diplomats to leave one-time verbal messages for themselves or others, activated by a codeword. He read the instructions on the note, and spoke it aloud. The stone warmed as it glowed bright red, and he heard the message in his mind.

Once finished, Thaldrak stood, thinking to tell his companions about the message at a more appropriate moment. He examined the egg, which he recognized to look nearly identical to Mithril, a precious nearly-magical metal found deep in the most rich of Dwarven mines. Siras explained that it was a Dragon egg, and likely that of a metallic dragon. They agreed to keep it safe, and together rolled it to a far corner of the house.

They then decided to finish the task of exploring the house, before moving to take another rest. They headed to the bedroom, and Kay set to the task of defusing the Circle of Death spell. As he did so, he saw in the chest a single, massive, unimpressive tome, as well as a few other objects, among them a bottled potion and two scrolls. Siras identified one of the scrolls, etched with white ink on paper black as ash or obsidian… a scroll of Power Word: Kill, the most evil and deadly spell known to magic. She then took the book, written in Draconic, and began to read it, as the others investigated the black box that was also in the chest. They found a music box atop the side table, and Kay assured them that it was not trapped. As he opened it, a song began to chime. They shrugged, looking at the little aquamarine, mechanical draconic figurines that danced about atop it, and continued to explore. While they did this, Siras read the book, which apparently documented Haxiris' life story, thus far. 

She didn't get far, though, as Kay grabbed the music box and lifted it, the bottom gave out, and a familiar stone plummetted onto the ground… "Oh no," Kay said, under his breath, as the room suddenly filled with a raging inferno, fire exploding outward from the pearl-sized stone that hit the ground. Everything non-magical and flammable was incinerated in the blast, including the book and all of their clothes and hair. Siras and Arentian went down, nearly gripped by the firey hand of death, but were thankfully saved by Thaldrak's healer's kit. Shaking off the pain of their misfortune, they gathered their senses and looked about the charred room. 

"Dammit!" Kay shouted, "Not this, again!" 

Siras, too, bit back her frustration, her face flushed with the heat, but also the frustration of knowing that she will never read the book they found. 

Then, they continued downstairs, investigating the last, remaining chest of the hideout. There, they uncovered a pair of magical boots and other various items, of which included a magical staff that appeared as an icicle topped by some kind of tribal beads and ceramics. As Arentian gripped it in his hands, he sought to figure out what it did, and pointed it at a corner of the room, willing power out of the item. 

Unfortunately for them, this power arrived… as a storm of ice and wind lashed out of the staff and into their faces, filling the room with a plume of cutting iced glass and frigid, biting wind. It stopped as suddenly as it started, though, as Siras and Arentian went down, again, for the second time that day. 

Cursing audibly at the absurdity of the situation, Thaldrak rushed to them to tend their wounds. "You… stupid!" He shouted at Arentian. "Stupid! I have only enough bandages for one more of these!" 

Their rest began, Thaldrak took watch. Not long after, he heard activity when the front doors of the hideout began to move. Fearing the worst, he awoke the others and prepared for combat, thinking that the Death Knight had returned to finish what he'd started. Thankfully, that was not the case, as a spectral wizard – Dumbledilp, by his word – emerged. Dilp explained that during the battle, Virro had triggered a magical tear that sucked her, Zanzibar and Dilp to the Astral plane. Once there, Dilp saw no discernable sign of the pair, but took immediate notice of the disarray and chaotic organization that was the astral plane. He tried to explain this succinctly to Thaldrak, but the abstractness of it all detracted from the purpose, as Dilp rounded to the point to explain that when he tried to teleport back to the Material plane, his corporeal form remained behind. This left him unable to interact with the physical world outside of magical objects and divination spells. He pointed then to a bag of holding that hung from his shoulder, and explained that he had returned to bring the party aid, knowing full well what had transpired in the hideout and seeking answers of his own. 

Satisfied with this, Thaldrak brought him in to speak to the others. There, they informed Dilp about their story from beginning to end, being careful to leave out details that he needn't need to know. In turn, Dilp informed them of something that Siras had learned, herself… Silverhand was supposedly alive and well, or at least someone posing as her was, in Waterdeep. Siras learned this as she magically contacted her mother. 

By the end of their long, exhausting conversation, the group agreed on a few things. First, they needed sleep. Next, they had some planning to do… A LOT of planning… as too many things needed their attention. 

The next morning, Dumbledilp produced the sack and showed them what he had brought. In addition to what they had found on the dead combatants, Dilp produced a small arsenal of his own. He distributed the items and investigated or identified those they had found in the hideout, laying everything out so they could decide who would weild what. What caught their attention most, though, was the black box. 

"A deck of many things!" Dumbledilp shouted, his spectal voice echoing in the room. He explained what the item did, and the various risks and potential rewards that awaited those who would choose to draw from it. "This is one of the most powerful magical artifacts in existence… yes, an artifact!" Dumbledilp cautioned. "Drawing from it warps the very fabric of time and space itself, as the weave enacts to induce the fate called upon by the card! I know only of the most terrible and the most incredible of these … the worst is the Donjon, a terrible card that, when drawn, traps the drawer somewhere unbeknownst to all; sealed away in a limbo for all time! But the best… the best card yields unto you up to 3 uses of the spell Wish… which can, upon it's casting, alter reality and re-weave the fates, themselves! You could wish an entire being into or out of existence… think of the possibilities! There are many of these such decks, with differing numbers of cards. I count… 53, here? So that's 51 possibilities that I could never tell you." 

As Dumbledilp explained how the deck was used, they felt the tingle of the possibilities. What if they drew something that would help them in defeating the guild… or what if they got use of that wish spell?? The prospect was too enticing to miss… and they did draw. 

As they finished their draws, the effects happened simultaneously… a sudden lightening of Thaldrak's pack and then, POOF, the disappearance of Arentian. "Oh no!" Dumbledilp cried aloud… "The Donjon!"

As they recovered from the theft of their companion from their party simply by the cruel hand of fate, the group took inventory of what had happened. Thaldrak lost all of his wealth, and all the wealth of the group had also disappeared. This meant the pounds and pounds of platinum that they had found! They cursed aloud when realizing this, feeling as though Tymora herself has twisted this luck against them. 

After the shock had worn off, they tried to think of a way to recover Arentian, but the disbelief of the situation was real; there was nothing they could do. Distraught, they moved on to the next order of business… reincarnating Hector, the only dead person whose body remained, intact. Dumbledilp had granted them three reincarnation scrolls, and they intended to use at least one to bring back the mighty paladin. Unfortunately, upon the first casting, he was brought back as a Dragonborn. Realizing the implications in light of the necrogen, Dilp ordered him killed and a redo… as they used a second scroll. This time, Hector re-emerged as a halfling, stout and Kay-sized with dark, long, waivy hair and a glorious moustache. 

Needless to say, the paladin wasn't overly pleased with his transformation. He loudly bickered with Dilp and Sirus for a while before the group brought him up to speed on what was happening.

"Okay then, so…" Hector looked between them, "What next?" 

"Well, we have a number of threats," Dumbledilp began, 

"And no easy way of getting to any of them," Thaldrak said.

"We could go to my mother?" Siras suggested, openly.

"Siras, your mother is in Luskan. So far as we know, that is where this guild is based," Kay began, "It took us nearly a month to get here, it would take twice as long to get to Luskan, or more!" 

"Right, we have a problem of transportation," Dilp nodded in agreement. "And I might have a solution. The gnomes nearby, in the village named Ieirithymbul, they have an airship. That's the short story. They're shipwrecked explorers from Lantan, an island far to the south that worships Gond, the God of invention and innovation. They owe me a favor, and if you can get their airship working again – which I know how to do – then maybe they will let you use it. Or if not, at least you can sail with them to Lantan and purchase a new one." 

"With what money?" Siras asked, exasperated, "we lost all of our gold!" 

"Well, one thing at a time," Dilp responded. "So?" 

They agreed, and set off to the village. Once there, they were greeted by a fairly grumpy old, black gnome. All the gnomes were black, they noticed. And not black like those from the southern lands, but black like a drow. Deep gnomes; svirnebli! 

Their village seemed largely built underground, with only the tops of the structures protruding from the ground. Each of them were interconnected by large, rotating logs which eventually led to string of massive water mill buildings. They went through the typical process of being vetted by the gnomes, checked for security reasons and brought over to the town inn, where they had gathered to discuss "serious matters". When they entered the large, packed inn, though – and it was packed with at least 80 of the gnomes – they immediately noticed something odd. And not the conveyor belts that sent drinks and snack flying across the room, nor the gears spinning on the walls or the peculiar bottles of liquor that seemed to litter the shelves randomly placed in blank spaces between them. Standing in the center of the inn, drinking from the bar, was a familiar red-haired woman. Fair-skinned and donning only simple armor, she wore a belt made of beast hides that was far too large for her waist, and her muscles seemed to bulge beyond what they would expect… yet they thought it was… Bree Hodge? 

"You guys! I've been looking for you fucking guys for weeks!" The woman arose in a fury and slammed her glass onto the bar table, smashing it into pieces. 

What ensued was a tirade of curse words and ranting by Bree, who had been searching for Arentian. Apparently, the young, silver-haired slick had knocked her up those weeks ago in Ravenstone! She was upset that he had never communicated back to her with the ring he had supposedly picked up from the masked Lord in Waterdeep; little did she know, however, that it had been taken by the Garrote. As the tirade neared it's end, the wrinkled svirfnebli leader spoke up and demanded answers concerning the flying island – yes, island – that had appeared above the mountains. 

Flabbergasted by this claim, the group refused to believe that such a thing had appeared; they had never seen it, after all! But Bree affirmed the claim – a floating island, complete with an overgrown city, had appeared above the mountains before being obscured by clouds a few short hours later. Having lived through a metaphorical, magical rollercoaster ride in the last day or two, the party collectively moaned and thought back to the Deck of Many Things. 

They agreed to help the gnomes investigate the island, but first had to undergo a kind of test to permit their free traversal around the community. Kay and, surprisingly, Bree, both passed the test of knowledge, but Thaldrak and Siras were unable to answer the gnome's questions. Thus, Kay spent his time in the town bar, aiming to get ahold of the bottle Dilp had earlier referred to (while pocketing something for himself) as Siras helped him with a few songs to distract what gnomes remained. Meanwhile, Bree and Thaldrak visited the shrine of Gond, built by the gnomes to the God of Invention. 

Having completed his task, Kay then turned in for rest before the others joined, as they discussed their plan of action. It was here that Bree decided to follow and help the group – so long as they would find Arentian, so she could punish him herself, of course. After a restful night in the gnomish town, Kay headed with Bree to attempt to repair the gnomes' fallen airship. According to Dilp, the task shouldn't be too difficult. Dilp had informed Kay that a

  • Kay fixed the ship, but activated the Epoch Engine, which physically aged him nearly a century
  • The group departed together with the gnome leader to investigate the island. 
  • En route, the party was assaulted by a gargantuan Roc, together with a flock of smaller birds
  • Their ship was nearly destroyed, and they crashed into the side of the island. The epoch engine became tangled in the vines overtaking the place, but they managed to climb to the safety of it's floating surface.
  • They explored the small ruins of the city on the island, which was over-run with living plant-like creatures. A giant treant occupied the center of the city. 
  • They entered the largest building in the center of the city. There, they saw a massive white globe, and met Congenio Ioun, a Netherese Lich and creator of the famed Ioun stones.
  • Ioun asked if they would lift the curse of the island, but was vague about what this was and how it would be accomplished. He sealed the doors of the cathedral behind the party and undead attacked them.
  • The group defeated the undead and learned from Ioun that they had to descend to the bowels of the city beneath the cathedral and find his phylactery, then destroy it. 
  • They headed down and decimated another group of undead in a close fight whereupon they incidentally summoned a unicorn named Heather from the Beastlands, and nearly became the victims of a horrific banshee. 
  • In these catacombs, they encountered five differently-shaped doors which were marked with different runes. They discussed which they should take, and recognized one of the runes as matching the same on the Oculus Eye stone in the center of the Lockridge Mine near the monastery. 
  • They investigated each door. One was triangular and led to a small passage down, either circle doors were both frigid cold or scalding hot, the massive rectangular door was heavily fortified, and produced loud banging noises as Kay approached. The final door was unremarkable and held a humid atmosphere.
  • They decided to head toward one of the square doors that felt humid. Kay opened the door easily, and behind it they observed the decrepit remains of a jungle overflowing with undead dinosaurs. 
  • While investigating, the party mistakenly lured a zombie T-rex out of the wooded area. Siras attacked it with a fireball, and it engaged them in horrible combat. They easily defeated it before quickly investigating the area before it burned down – Siras stopping briefly to channel T'avin, decimating a group of a dozen Velociraptors with a single Fireball spell.
  • They then opened the warm circle door, where they encountered a Fire Giant named Ephestiphus. He emerged naked from boiling lava, attacking them. They defeated him rather easily, however, and he told them that a dragon was kept behind the rectangular doors, and that a Frost Giant was kept behind the other circular doors. They made him promise to help them fight the dragon, reasoning that it likely guarded the phylactery.
  • Following this encounter they confronted the Frost Giant, who was named Harshnag ("Hashtag"). He formed a bond with the party almost immediately, thanks to his carefree, agreeable nature… with a healthy side of overconfidence and aggression. He, too, agreed to help them fight the dragon.
  • After a rest to prepare, they headed to the large door and initiated the hardest fight of their lives, so far… against a Dracolich and nearly two-dozen of his skeleton cronies. While they nearly lost both Harshnag and Bree – and Ephestiphus died – they decimated the skeletons and defeated the Dracolich, capturing it in the Cubic Prism, the Octochoron.
  • Their victory was bittersweet, however, as they did not find the phylactery in the room the Dragon obviously guarded. Instead they found a single piece of parchment, that seemed to contain a code or puzzle. Siras and Kay immediately took interest.
  • They headed down to the final layer beneath the place, then, where they encountered a peculiar individual of unknown origins and make named the Earthbinder. He was bald and muscular, with spectacles dangling at the tip of his nose. His skin was a leathery brown, rough and textured, covered in red, swirling and thorned tribal tattoos. Purple strips of fabric dangled from his collarbone with no visible way of physically hanging from his body, giving the impression of a shoulder-less robe. He was surrounded by wispy creatures of various elements and makes that seemed to giggle and cackle while they spoke in high-pitched, jittery voices, in an unknown language. 
  • They learned that the man – or being – was some kind of representative of an ancient being known as the Terraseer. The Earthbinder told them that the Terraseer foresaw Karsus' Folly and advised many Netheril cities to flee to other planes of existence. Several fled to the Shadowfel, but Ioun instead directed the Earthbinder to send them to the Feywild. There, their magics did not work, and while the island remained suspended, they could not leave to retreive food or water. Eventually, the population started to starve, and Ioun asked the Earthbinder to enact the curse – turn them undead, and Ioun into a lich. It was meant to be temporary, reversible for up to a century, but much more time than that had passed, and it was too late. He directed the group to the Phylactery, which he kept above his bed, and Thaldrak destroyed. 
  • The Earthbinder claimed that he was responsible for controlling the Mythallar, the large sphere in the cathedral that suspended the city from the ground and gave it it's magic. He explained what the city could do and how he would permit ownership of the place to the party. 
  • Furthermore, the Earthbinder agreed with the party's cause and offered to help, telling them that the Netheril did not, in fact, pen the Nether Scrolls, but merely found them. They were written by an ancient race – one of the first sentient races on Toril, a "creator race" - known as the Sarrukh.
  • The party told him about the Epoch Engine and asked Harshnag to retrieve it, and asked the Earthbinder to teleport them down to Dumbledilp, so that they could explain their situation. 
  • Once below, they explained what had transpired to Dumbledilp, who had informed them that he had penned a list of trusted contacts that they could hire or recruit to accomplish more than one task; forming strike teams of agents while the party took care of the most pressing objectives. 


Session 19: End of an Era
"The Age of the Seven Sisters has come to an end!"

"I feel like we have to choose the lesser of the two evils. If Silverhand doesn't deny releasing the necrogen, then I am with Alkahest." – Siras

When we last left the party…

They had emerged from the Tomb of Uthuk Urkrypt to find that the Stone Giant had wrought havoc upon the area above ground, slaying many dwarves and decimating the dig site. They held a short funeral ceremony for the dead Dwarves and found a way to tend to the sicknesses of Kay and Arentian – using a potent Gutbuster liquor that cost them a day of drunkenness. They set off, then, making their way to Haxiris' Hideout. There, they encountered his pet Saber Toothed Tiger and a Stone Golem guard, both of which they dispatched. More disturbingly, however, they uncovered Haxiris' notes, which detailed a horrible plague that was wreaking devastation across the land called the Draconecrogen. It was killing off all the Draconic species – Dragons, Dragonborn, Kobolds, Lizardfolk, Yuan Ti… and causing the speciation of new Dragon types. They received a message from Silverhand that she was en route with allies to check on their progress… and that Triboar had been utterly obliterated. Distressed by this information and worn by their recent fights, the party took rest in the hideout. Not long after, they had guests. These guests were not Silverhand, though; an Orog made his way down into the room… and appearing beside him was a wood elf with long, braided, white hair – Virro – and a Drow – Zalara. They had come face-to-face with Alkahest, at last. 

<Work in Progress> 

In Brevitis: 

  • The party negotiated with the wizards after Virro had re-united with Zanzibar, insisting on talking rather than fighting, despite Zalara's urge to attack the party.
  • The party learned the following from Haxiris: 

    • Haxiris had reincarnated himself into an Orog using the magic of Uthuk Urkrypt to escape the Draconecrogen.
    • The guild has 12 members and then Vigil, to a total of 13. They did not learn who Vigil was, but Haxiris had vaguely implied that he was "the speaker" of "Magnum Opus".
    • Magnum Opus was portrayed as the leader of Alkahest, though it was unclear as to whether Vigil and Magnum Opus were the same person. 
    • The guild is associated with the giants, using them as a distraction while they search for the Nether Scrolls, great artifacts of the Netheril responsible for magic as such, today.
    • The giants were already restless, Haxiris said, because their social ordning had been broken. He did not know why. He said that the Guild was helping the Giants build the Vonindöd while they searched for the scrolls, using them to aid their search, where possible. He insisted that the Vonindöd was not real and could not be animated; that it was simply a metaphor for the Thousand Years War between Giantkind and Dragons, long ago. 
    • Haxiris said that he was in Alkahest because he wanted to use the scrolls to cure the Draconecrogen and reverse its effects. He said that Virro wanted to stop Thay, and Zalara had said that she wanted to destroy Menzoberranzan. Haxiris said they would establish a new world order, replacing the factions, politicians, leaders and groups with a mageocracy like the Halruaans had, before they were destroyed by Amn.
    • Haxiris offered the party a place in the guild when they told him about their quest, and about Salsalaniir. He knew nothing about Salsalaniir's brother, Leduc, and the tiefling's supposed hit on the party via the Garrote. 
    • The party confessed to Haxiris that Silverhand was en route, though they came to an agreement that the party would hang behind and listen to Haxiris confront her about the Draconecrogen, though Haxiris insisted that he would kill her if she admitted to releasing it. He said that if everything went OK, he could perform the reincarnation magics to get back their dead friend, T'avin, though he could only return as an Orog. 
  • During their discussion with Haxiris, they met his pet Dragon Wyrmling, a Void Dragon named Astrus. Astrus could communicate with Max, Arentian's Tressym, though it was not clear how. The Dragon did not seem to like the party, at first, but grew more curious about them as the night passed on, seemingly forgiving them for killing the Saber Toothed Tiger, Lathie. 
  • The next morning, the party hung back on the staircase when Silverhand entered alongside three others: a beautiful bearded man clad in magestic plate mail, bearing the gauntleted symbols of Torm and the Order of the Gauntlet, a robed wizard with short brown hair and a goatee, wielding a green glass staff, and an older man wearing purple robes with the symbol of a boat floating on water. 
  • Silverhand and Haxiris spoke, the Lady asking for the location of the party, though Haxiris refused to answer her until she talked of the Necrogen. She tried to calm the Orog, but his rage grew out of hand, and in their discussion, she said that she tried to contain the Draconecrogen and failed, but did not release it.
  • Their discussion was interrupted by the Paladin, who spoke of "Two undead", before a blade pierced the chest of Silverhand and she begun to fall to the ground, writhing in pain as the creature behind her spoke – a great death knight – "The age of the seven sisters has ended, silverhand"
  • Salsalaniir appeared then, flanking the party with two of his great raven Flesh Golems, and combat erupted. 
  • The party defeated Salsalaniir, and Virro and Zanzibar escaped somehow together with the wizard, Dumbledilp. The paladin died in combat with the creature that appeared – a death knight – who also slew Silverhand, reducing her to ash. 
  • Zalara killed Haxiris and Siras killed Zalara, then the Death Knight fled, departing the hideout only after saying the ominous words "The end of magic comes, are you ready for it?" Before laughing, deviously and disappearing behind the stone doors of the hideout exit. 
Session 18: Alkahest, We Meet at Last
"All we did today was get drunk"

The Story so Far:


A ragtag group of would-be adventurers arrived at the inn, close to the town of Ravenstone and not too far from the Trade Way, huddled in front of a fireplace in shelter of the storm outside. Thunder boomed, sounding as if literal boulders were smashing into the ground not far from the roadside inn. Aside from that, the tavern was empty, save for an old human woman who silently scrubbed at permanently stained steel pots and pans, doing her best to seem busy so as to be left alone. The place smelled of old, wet wood and, while certainly squalid, the warmth of the fire and the sight of fellow travellers gave the shack a comfortable, cozy feel. United in this common circumstance, they took up chairs next to one another, then words, and quickly learned the serendipity of their meeting. Each of them were headed to Ravenstone, though each for their own reasons. Introductions were exchanged, and a party was formed:

  • Arentian, a handsome, silver-haired human sorcerer
  • Enthoril, a very young, but confident and outspoken human paladin of Torm
  • Kay, a halfling who claimed to be a merchant – though he donned a certain roguish charm.
  • T'avin, a fiery young sorcerer with a sharp tongue and quick wit, who was already travelling with Thaldrak.
  • Thaldrak, a sturdy and decisive dwarf fighter who travelled with T’avin, and seemed to be filled with equal parts ire and companionship from the sorcerer.

Though they did not yet know it, their party was headed for a serendipitous crash-course with destiny. A summary of the subsequent major plot events follows, in chronological order:

Warning: This is not a comprehensive summary, just a selection of memorable moments and events!


  • The party learned that Ravenstone had been attacked by Cloud Giants, and defended it from Kenku bandits, Zhentarim agents and a substantial orc raiding party. The Giants had removed a stone known as the Nighstone from the center of the town. While exploring Ravenstone Keep, they found that Lady Velrosa Nandar – leader of Ravenstone – had been killed, and Arentian found an abandoned Tressym, which he adopted and named Max.
  • Thereafter, the party ventured into the Ardeep Forest to retreive the villagers, who were held prisoner by a tiefling wizard and his band of Kenku. Their first assault, spearheaded boldly by Enthoril, failed, and in their hasty retreat, most of the party ended up being captured by the orc tribe known as the Ear-Seekers. They struck a deal with the orc Shaman, named Lo’dukk, or “The One-Eye Enlightened”, to kill the wizard for them. T’avin lost his ear in the exchange. The orcs never found out that the party were the ones who had killed their chieftain in Ravenstone, a few days earlier.
  • In the Nandar Hunting Lodge, the party defeated the wizard named Leduc and his band of Kenku, and also saved the villagers of Ravenstone. They found that the wizard had been experimenting on lycanthropy, and was somehow tied to a guild. He seemed to be obsessed with a woman named Virro, who had stolen something from him, and his retribution inadvertently had him removed from the guild. The tiefling had a mirror that appeared to be a two-way scrying and sending / magic mouth device, and through it, the party met Leduc’s brother, Salsalaniir, who swore revenge on them for killing his brother. They learned a little about Leduc's brother Salsalaniir from letters that they found hidden in a stuffed saber-toothed tiger:

    • He was one of 12 others in the guild, including Virro and their leader, someone named Vigil. 
    • He sought the creation of Raven Flesh Golems to serve and protect him.
    • He worked underneath a King Ignitus – a giant – for some purpose of the guild. 
  • Hidden in a cave beneath the lodge, the party rescued Charles Nandar, the former Lord of Ravenstone who had disappeared years earlier. They learned that he had transformed into a lycanthrope, and convinced him to hide his true nature to the people but return to lead the town. Once the townsfolk and Charles were reunited, the party brokered a deal with the orcs and headed out of the forest to Ravenstone, before celebrating their victory. In this celebration, Arentian found a would-be girlfriend, named Bree Hodge.
  • While spending time in Ravenstone, they – with the help of the newly instated Lord Charles Nandar – searched for clues about why the giants sought the Nightstone. They found a book about something called the Vonindöd, the Nation-Killer – an ancient giant colossus used to fight dragons in the Thousand Year's War. Their hearts collectively sank into their stomachs as they came to the same hypothesis: were the giants trying to rebuild the Vonindöd?
  • After this, Morak Ur’grey, the Dwarf patron of the Ravenstone Inn, asked the party to accompany him to Waterdeep to buy new supplies, and to escort three orphaned children of Ravenstone, Grim Agganar and Nincy and Midge Nesper, to Lockridge Monastery. They agreed, and they set out on the road to the City of Splendors. En route, they met a peculiar travelling gnome who claimed to sell magical trinkets, and Kay began to learn the mysteries behind his treasure map.
  • Once in Waterdeep, the party split up to take care of personal business. When they rendezvoused later, they heard that Salsalaniir had magically duped an urchin to attack Enthoril in front of Clothes Contact, an infamous store in a shadier part of the city. That was the least of their troubles, though, as they were framed for a theft from Blackstaff Tower, home to the Archmagi Laeral Silverhand and Aurunsun Blackstaff. This led to their meeting Lady Laeral Silverhand, who accompanied them to a council with the knight orders – including the Order of the Gauntlet – to debrief about the giants and the wizards.
  • During this meeting, Arentian, Thaldrak, T’avin and Kay became agents of the Lord’s Alliance – a strike team to investigate the connection between guild and the giants. Enthoril joined the Order of the Gauntlet. They decided first to head to the House of Wonders to investigate a connection with two wizards – Manion and Zalara – who were linked to both Salsalaniir and Leduc.
  • Their investigation proved to be catastrophic, however, as the rooms of the wizards were trapped with spells of delayed fireball, which nearly decimated the party and killed a dozen wizards – including a close relative of Grand Duke Portyr of Baldur’s Gate – and destroyed countless amounts of research material. Furthermore, the headmaster of the wizard’s academy – Hanlon Razor, both a name and title – was poisoned and killed. When investigating his office and bedroom, Kay and T’avin were nearly incinerated a second time, and they discovered several very powerful magic items, that they would later learn as: The Octochoron (Cubic Prism), a dichotomy wand, and Shardalon, the sixth baneblade undone. As if things couldn’t get worse, the guild had apparently used the distraction to break into the vault of the House of Wonders and remove its most prized possession – a demodand from the Far Realm known only as “The Discoverer”.
  • Before that horrible day ended, though, they headed to an oracle where they received a mysterious and ominous prophecy before she was crushed to death in front of their very eyes, a booming voice echoing “do not interfere”. Later, they held a debriefing in the tavern the Flagon Dragon Inn with Silverhand – who had just become the Open Lord of Waterdeep – and she brought them the corpse of Hanlon Razor, who could be potentially reincarnated with the dichotomy wand. Unfortunately, though, Tymora was not with them that day, and Hanlon Razor reincarnated as a Kenku. They got what little information they could get from him, but ultimately decided he was best reincarnated as another race. They lopped off his head and tried again, but the wand backfired and unleashed a circle of death spell upon the tavern, decimating the patrons inside – 21 fatalities in total. Silverhand arranged that the two incidents – at the inn and the House of Wonders – would be blamed on a Thayan terrorist cell, attacking innocents in the city. They decided to depart the city at once, but before they could, they learned that the Tiefling child, Grimm Agganar, had been kidnapped by another Tiefling – likely Salsalaniir.
  • All was not doom and gloom, however. They had gained much valuable information, including many names of the perported 13 guild members: 

    • Vigil – was he their leader?
    • Salsalaniir - Leduc's brother
    • "Blue-skinned guy" – who was spotted with Virro at the House of Wonders
    • Haxiris - a blue dragonborn and former associate of Lady Silverhand's, whom herself reported to have personally seen him die at sea. 
    • Manion - A high-elf wizard and (together with Zalara) former member of the House of Wonders, kicked out for attempting to contact the Far Realm, and who was – according to a note they found in his room – recruited by Virro and Haxiris
    • Zalara - A female drow wizard, recruited by Virro and Haxiris.
    • Magnus Mortensen – A wizard who was declared as the new Hanlon Razor
    • Talia Ursmagmus – A large bear-sized dwarf woman who had been seen with Virro
  • Leaving anyway, they headed on the Long Road toward Triboar and Longsaddle, then eventually at the Arcane Brotherhood in Luskan, where Silverhand had bade them to continue their investigation. En route, they were reunited with Enthoril, who had become locked in one of the rooms back at the House of Wonders. However, this was not truly Enthoril, but a doppleganger impersonating the man. In a desperate struggle – occurring at the same time as a Hill Giant assaulted the party, the impostor killed one of the two remaining children, before being slain, himself. They buried the girl and were eventually joined by the true Enthoril before arriving at Amphail, the first town along the road.
  • In Amphail, there were many Calimshani merchants, who had come from the southern country to profit from the stimulated economy in the Sword Coast after the Dragon Wars. The patron of one of the inns asked Arentian to chase off some of the Calimshani, who he said planned to purchase one of the properties in town and turn it into a temple for a Calimshan deity. Arentian agreed, however, this plan did not go to fruition, as he was discovered and this resulted in a tense racial conflict between the locals, and the Calimshani, with the party as the catalysts in between. The Calimshani promised to spread ill words of the party ‘to every Calimshani across Faerun’. They left the town, but not before convincing an old dwarven battlerager-cleric, named Alamathar, to join them on the road.
  • As they travelled to Red Larch, the group fought back a group of trolls, and were sprung upon by two assassins. They snuck up on Arentian in the night and tried to extract anything valuable from him before cutting off his finger and warning him of their approach. The party travelled carefully, but it was only a matter of time before the assassins were upon them.
  • On the road, the party met up with a travelling bladesinger and worshipper of Lathandar named Zephyr Zanzibar, who travelled with his companion Air Elemental named Toot. They learned that – surprisingly – Zephyr was related to Virro; he was her son. He was looking for his mother, who had disappeared 10 years prior, and the party banded together with the man in pursuit of this common goal. They exchanged information with him, and in return, he told them that he was the son of Szass-Tam, Lich King of Thay, and was himself a half-elf and half-thayan human, which is why he wore his metal mask to obscure his face.
  • Not long after banding together with Zephyr Zanzibar, the assassins attacked. However, the party was ready, and together with their two new allies, they easily dispatched the pair and incapacitated them, ready for interrogation. One was killed, though, which led to a very heated ethical discussion as to whether the assassins should be kept alive or killed. While this was happening, the party learned a trove of information from the assassins’ belongings; namely, that they were from the Garrote, a guild of master assassins, and a contract was put on the party’s heads by Salsalaniir. They learned the contract would remain open until the assassins were killed, upon which time it would be closed – according to the assassin, at least. With this, the discussion to kill or not to kill the assassins reached a boiling point. Enthoril insisted they not be killed, and remained firm in his convictions. However, he could not stop T’avin, who, in the subsequent night, killed the woman. After this, Enthoril swore that the party would be held accountable for their actions.
  • All was not well in the party, though, as they learned that both Arentian and Alamathar had been poisoned with incredibly potent toxin known as the Mark of Bane, which can kill even the strongest man in a tenday. Seeing death in the faces of their companions, they rushed through Red Larch – a small hamlet in the process of rebuilding following a devastating attack by cultists a year prior – and onward to reach the Lockridge Monastery.
  • At the monastery, they were able to cure Arentian, but lacked the material components to do the same for Alamathar – a diamond. The monks offered them a deal: find and/or rescue two of their missing monks in exchange for their sacred stone, The Eye of the Oculus, a diamond embedded inside a golden idol. They agreed, and set off in pursuit of the two lost monks. However, Enthoril insisted on staying behind to care for the dwarf, and remained rather reclusive and distant from the rest.
  • Onward into the Sword Mountains – also the purported location of a guild wizard’s hideout (Haxiris) – the party came across an ancient abandoned temple of Shar – the goddess of darkness and loss. The temple was overrun with Orog, and they didn’t take long to figure out that the monks would have likely been captured by the clan. They slew a few of the beasts and knocked one out to be interrogated, and found him to be strangely detached and particularly stupid – he was cursed. Lifting the curse allowed the Orog – named Drothakk – to tell them what they needed to know. The monks had indeed been captured by the Orog to be ‘sacrifices’, but when the temple was discovered by a trio of Frost Giants, the Orog were forced to hand over all their prisoners and loot as tribute to preserve their existence. Drothakk also had memories of a blue Dragonborn, whom the party thought was Haxiris.
  • Starting down the track South in pursuit of the giants, the party saved another Orog, who fled North to alert her clan of the curse. Drothakk remained, however, claiming to owe the party a debt. En route, they came across a peculiar cave at the base of the mountain that contained the temple, marked with an open eye and shedding an eerie, ominous dread and maleficence. Despite his companion’s warnings, T’avin insisted on investigating the place, alone, concerned that whatever laid within was connected to the events they had experienced. Unfortunately for them, that was the last time the party saw T’avin healthy and whole. He emerged covered in blood and minus one eye, clutching a tentacle rod and insisting on ‘completing a final task’. He ran off into the woods toward the temple entrance, and though the party pursued him, they were already too late, for they came across the battered corpse of their companion, slain by the tentacle rod which still remained attached to T’avin’s severed hand, slashing and battering at the gore pile which once resembled the sorcerer. They destroyed the Tentacle Rod and wept for their friend.
  • Once the grief had needfully passed, the party continued onward to the South, where they rendezvoused with T’avin’s sister, Siras, a female bard and courtesan affiliated with the Lord’s Alliance and Laeral Silverhand, herself. They narrowly avoided a confrontation with a frost giant, and decided the pursuit of the two monks to be fruitless. More than a tenday had passed, and they knew they’d not return in time to save Alamathar. Similarly, they knew that a lot of time had passed since the monks were taken prisoner, and both the party and the monks would not likely last long in a den of the massive Frost Giants. So they instead turned to the tomb of Uthuk Urkrypt, the shaman of Drothakk’s clan, the Scarlet Scourge. Drothakk claimed the shaman had reincarnation abilities, and kept the secret to his magics as well as his former bodies entombed beneath a mountain, nearby. The tomb was long since abandoned, and the party thought it could give them a shot at reincarnating their recently-deceased companion (and for Siras, her brother). So, they set off… and not long after, arrived at the dwarven dig site.
  • The dig site was led by Dr. Pilgrim, an archaeologist and sage specializing in the orc clans of the region, but – as they’d later learn – mainly the Netheril. In the dig site, they had a miraculous encounter with Thaldrak’s brother, Benthran (Ben), a dwarven druid who had been following a druidic vision to find his brother, and awaited his predicted arrival at the mine. Ben accompanied the party as they ventured deeper to find the tomb, led by Dr. Pilgrim, though they left Drothakk behind (much to the Orog’s displeasure). They learned from the Doctor that the tomb may contain a map to one of the five sets of Nether Scrolls – something that Dr. Pilgrim hoped very much to find. En route to the tomb proper, they encountered a peculiar giant who was in search of “the Dodkong”, and sought to “awaken the sleeper”. Ben narrowly avoided death at the hands of this creature, but they successfully evaded its grasp.
  • Once at the tomb, the party was met with a rather disturbing and very disappointing surprise; they were too late, someone had been here first. The traps had all been set off, and the sarcophagi at the center opened. An altar to Baphomet stood at the center of the tomb – the chosen deity of the Scarlet Scourge – and through it, the demon lord spoke to Thaldrak, telling the dwarf to slay Dr. Pilgrim in exchange for T’avin’s reincarnation. Thaldrak refused, and in response, the demon lord laughed… and all the traps of the tomb reset. T’avin would not be resurrected, not here.
  • Thanks to the sharp eyes of Kay and Siras as well as the shapeshifting utility of Ben, the party made it out of the tomb alive, and began their arduous trek to the surface. On the way, they discovered a vein of platinum, from which they found over a dozen pounds of the priceless metal. They made it to the surface, and from there, decided to investigate Haxiris’ Hideout.
  • Once they arrived at the Hideout, however, they found it laden with traps and puzzles, as well as a saber-toothed tiger protecting the house carved into the mountainside. They slew the saber-toothed tiger, and destroyed a stone golem that guarded the place, before securing themselves in Haxiris’ study to rest. Here, they discovered his notes, where the spellcaster and sage wrote about his research on a plague – which he called the Draconecrogen – which was enveloping the draconic populations and wiping them out. He believed the plague originated in Maztica, a continent far to the West across the Sea of Swords, and knows only one person who has ever been there – Lady Laeral Silverhand.
  • As they digested this information, the party rested and Siras contacted Silverhand to tell her that they were at the hideout. The Archmagus claimed she was then “on her way” with “two friends”, one of which was Dumbledilp V, leader of the Harpers. However, before they could arrive, the party had other guests… an Orog… a very upset Orog, as well as Virro and another Drow. They had finally found Alkahest… or had Alkahest found them?

"You come in my house… kill my pet… destroy my image guardian… soil my research… you think I wouldn't know?! You think I wouldn't have runes to tell me, spells of alarm, hidden allies in this, my home?! You thieves, you tresspassers, you… dead men…" – The Orog, upon discovering the party in Haxiris' Hideout.

<work in progress> 

In Brevitis:

  • The party found a vein of platinum and spent 4 hours mining ~16 lbs. of the priceless, incredibly rare precious metal.
  • They fought and defeated some kind of demon which took the shape of a lithe rocky creature coated in gemstones.
  • Siras used sending to contact Nozzle, one of the dwarf diggers, who claimed to be a prisoner of a wandering giant who killed “the others”.
  • When they arrived at the dig site, the party saw that the giant had wrought havoc upon Dr. Pilgrim’s office and the site itself, killing most of the dwarves before departing southwest.
  • The group could find no sign of the diamond that the dwarves had claimed to have found earlier, and noticed a substantial portion of the gemstones missing. They also saw no sign of Drothakk, and suspected that the Orog capitalized on the giant’s mess before fleeing.
  • Kay and Arentian’s illnesses were cured using the Gutbuster Juice, though this intoxicated them for 8 hours. In response to this, Ben got willingly drunk and Kay and Arentian got drunker. Resigning to the situation, Thaldrak, too, took to the drink, and nothing was done that day.
  • They decided to head to Haxiris’ Hideout, next.
  • En route, they encountered a Kobold, which was deathly ill and cried out for help to cure his chieftain. Arentian killed the thing out of mercy.
  • At Haxiris’ Hideout, they solved a riddle to get in by shooting lightning at two series of double doors before fighting back a massive saber-tooth tiger, which was killed in the end by some supernatural force triggered incidentally by Ben or Thaldrak that dragged it to hell.
  • The party destroyed a stone golem that came to life once they entered the hideout.
  • They explored the first few rooms of the hideout, finding an old shrine to bahamut, as well as a lavish closet, kitchen and study.
  • In the study, they found a calendar with the dates Ches 30 and Tarsakh 30 circled in red, and countless notes written by Haxiris about a plague called the Draconecrogen.
  • Haxiris believed the Draconecrogen (necrogen for short) was released by someone who had visited Maztica, and he suspected Silverhand.
  • He was researching to cure the necrogen, and claimed to have lost his family to it, as it is decimating all the draconic populations as well as the chromatic and metallic dragons.
  • Siras contacted Silverhand, who wanted to come visit the party in person at the hideout after hearing that they had taken it.
  • The party was surprised by an Orog – who talked as if he owned and lived in Haxiris' hideout - and two other wizards – Virro, and a drow elf female.
  • The orog was pretty pissed off that the party killed his pet and destroyed his golem, claiming to have known about it using Glyphs of Warding.
Session 17: The Gauntlet
"More traps?"

"What if Dr. Pilgrim just gets on my back and I walk down the ramp?" – Ben, before Dr. Pilgrim was sliced in half while riding Spider-Ben.

When we last left the party…


The party had ventured into a dwarf dig site in search of the tomb of Uthuk Urkrypt, the High Shaman of the Scarlet Scourge Orog clan who had supposedly access to reincarnation magic. They searched the tomb because a companion of theirs, an Orog from the same clan whom they had rescued, earlier, told them about this magic, where they could possibly reincarnate their recently-deceased companion. However, when they had first arrived at the above-ground location of the tomb, it was beset by a dwarven mining expedition. There they met the brother of Thaldrak – Ben – who had been searching for Thaldrak, following a druidic vision which had led him to work in the mine. They also met the leader of the dwarven expedition, a gnome archeologist named Dr. Pilgrim. They ate with the man, after first hiding their Orog companion, Drothaak (fearing the dwarves would attack him or them while in the companionship of such a being), and in Dr. Pilgrim's office they met a dragon made of paper, named Vessuvithaxx, and learned that Dr. Pilgrim had sought the same mine as them. He sought it for a different reason, though; he believed that the bodies of the shaman were buried with an ancient map that led to one of the five sets of the Nether Scrolls, ancient written artifacts written on literal golden paper. The party and Dr. Pilgrim came to an agreement where the party would make the mine safer and in exchange, Dr. Pilgrim would let them look around. However, the next morning, when they set out in search of Earth Elementals guarding the lower level of the mine, Siras had discovered a false wall. This led them down a two-day journey into the bowels of the Northern Sword Mountains, along which they met a giant named Fribog, who could absorb objects, was traveling to Shanatar and sought to "awaken the sleeper". Eventually, they reached the tomb, but alas, they were too late! The traps had already been triggered; someone had been there, first. They followed a hysterical Dr. Pilgrim to the center of the maze, moving alongside a stream of triggered traps, eventually coming before four open sarcophagi, two piles of bones and a massive stone statue of Baphomet – a goat-headed, shirtless humanoid with two fingers raised to the ceiling. The statue spoke to Thaldrak, and requested him to find those who desecrated the tomb, and said that in exchange for reincarnation, Thaldrak had to kill Dr. Pilgrim. The dwarf refused, and as he did so, the altar's voice faded from his mind, echoing in laughter as the party heard numerous "clickclickclick…" – The traps had reset! 


In Brevitis: 

  • The party rested overnight in the center of the maze. Dr. Pilgrim was remarkably upset, and Kay asked him again about the Sleeper. Dr. Pilgrim said that it was a massive creature sleeping beneath the Anauroch Desert, a "walking apocalypse" that had only wrought havoc upon Faerun once in history, thousands of years ago, before returning to it's lair beneath the continent to sleep. Dr. Pilgrim said that a party of adventurer's had acquired a piece of the beast's pancreas for Karsus to cast his 10th level spell, which destroyed The Weave for long enough to end the civilization of the Netheril.
  • During their rest, Siras contacted Lady Silverhand, informing her about the potential theft of the map to the set of Nether Scrolls from the tomb of Uthuk Urkrypt, if it ever existed there, at all. 
  • In the morning, they set out through the maze, aiming to escape out the direction they entered. Thaldrak, Arentian and Zanzibar were all rather unresponsive after sleeping in front of the altar, and only responded compliantly to commands. 
  • Ben threw a bone onto the stairs, causing them to drop into a ramp with many thin, needle-like spikes protruding upward, dangerously. He shifted into a spider and the group decided to get Dr. Pilgrim down, first, instructing the man to mount spider-ben and ride to the bottom. 
  • At the bottom, a blade swung out from the side wall, slicing down the back of spiderben and splitting Dr. Pilgrim in two before slamming into the wall opposite, embedding deep into the stone beside a second similar gash. Dr. Pilgrim was dead. Very dead. 
  • The party made their way through the maze, doing their best to avoid the traps. One magical rune triggered, though, causing Arentian's eyes to start leaking this thick, bluish goop. Siras identified it as the Blight of Blindness, an illness afflicted by the dust used to make runes for certain kinds of frost magics, which results in progressively worsening sight until eventually total blindness sets in. (Curable with Restoration)
  • Once halfway, they approached a room with an Orog ghost. The ghost asked them four questions, to which they could answer two, and two ghosts attacked the party. They easily dispatched the things, but afterward, Thaldrak, Zanzibar and Arentian were still whipped up into a frenzy, attacking spiderben. The others calmed the trio and broke up the fight, and they continued on in the maze. 
  • Eventually, thanks to sharp eyes and quick feet, they made it out of the maze, alive… but not without their wounds. Two of the final traps were laced with some kind of poisonous liquid that infected Kay with an illness they later identified as Willem's Weakness, which made the victim progressively less healthy over time for a few days before stabilizing. (Curable with Restoration)
  • After their rest that night, the compliant, zombie-like mental states of Thaldrak and Arentian ceased, though Zanzibar continued to be sluggish and socially absent. 
Session 16: Baphomet's Bagatelle
"Kill him. WEAK! He is weak. Kill him!"

"SHANATAAAAAAR!" – Purple giant, shouting at the party

When we last left the party…


The party ventured into the dwarven dig site, where they sought the tomb of the Scarlet Scourge High Chieftain named Uthuk Urkrypt. The High Shaman had a legend of reincarnation, and they hoped to reincarnate their friend and recently dead companion, T'avin, killed mysteriously when they passed the ruined Temple of Shar. Prior to that, they had agreed to find two missing monks from Lockridge Monastery, though after the death of their friend and the discovery of Frost Giants in the Shivering Scar, they had reassessed their priorities. The monks had already been missing for more than three tendays, and Alamathar was sick with the Mark of Bane at Lockridge for nearly 7 days, and surely would not survive in time for them to return to cure him. Instead, they decided to prioritize the pursuit of T'avin's reincarnation, and after that, Haxiris' Hideout. 

So there they were, at the entrance of the dig site, standing just behind the head of the project, an old gnome named Dr. Pilgrim – and the brother of Thaldrak! 


In Brevitis: 


  • Thaldrak was reunited with his brother, Ben. 
  • The party met the leader of the dwarf expedition, a clean-shaven gnome named Dr. Pilgrim. The Doctor wasn't keen on letting them explore the mine unsupervised, and they agreed to an impromptu dinner that evening to discuss the possibility of a trade.
  • During the dinner, the party learned that Dr. Pilgrim was an avid scholar of the region's orc tribes, but had taken a particularly keep interest in the Netheril since learning of a possible map to one of the five sets of Nether Scrolls – and that the map was buried with the High Shaman of the Scarlet Scourge tribe, when it was nearly wiped out by Svirfnebli many years ago. 
  • Dr. Pilgrim kept clockwork devices to protect himself, who he said was given by a wizard friend named Dilp, a leader of the Harpers who had travelled to the Plane of Mechanus, home of the Mordrons. 
  • Together, they agreed to take care of the 3 Earth Elementals who were present in the mine in exchange for being able to scope it out. They agreed to meet the next morning and go with the doctor to the Elementals.
  • The party also met a paper Dragon that the gnome kept behind bars in his office, and when Siras interacted with the peculiar creature, she saw that it had a propensity to changing ink on paper. The doctor complained that the Dragon had caused problems with his notes. The dragon could speak with Siras, and insisted on providing more parchment and ink, but the patterns produced by the drake had no discernable meaning to the woman. She narrowly avoided a spew of ink as the dragon breathed the black liquid all over that corner of the room… and Dr. Pilgrim.
  • Siras messaged Drothaak – whom they had instructed to hide nearby – that they would be proceeding without him. He did not seem happy about that. 
  • The next morning – after a rowdy dwarven celebration of the party's – well, of Thaldrak's – arrival into the camp, Ben and Zanzibar were awoken by the sounds of distant thunderous vibrations. None of the others had heard or felt it, though, and as it had shifted away from their current position, they were not overly concerned.
  • They went into the mine together and halfway to the Elementals, Siras spotted a false wall – the false wall, and the presumed entrance to the tomb. They entered and began an arduous journey into the depths of the mountain in pursuit of the tomb, together with a very excited Dr. Pilgrim, but without Drothaak. 
  • Nearly an entire day of travel went by when they had encountered a giant. The creature was massive and violet-coloured, lumbering from a left passage and absently singing to itself. It had various objects protruding from it's skin, including numerous recognizable dragon bones and skulls. The monstrous being spoke with Siras, who had gone ahead – invisible – to speak to the being before it could run into the party. They tried to hide from it, but it spotted them. It – loudly – asked Thaldrak, Ben and Kay about a place called Shanatar, and told Siras that it was headed there "to find the Dodkong and awaken the Sleeper". When Kay asked Siras to ask more about the Sleeper, the giant answered only "It is near my home, beneath the thousand sands." The giant gave it's name – Fribog – and was fairly insistent on taking Ben with him on his journey. the giant even took Ben's wooden warhammer and absorbed it into his chest, but the party convinced it to leave them alone while they backed down one of the nearby passages. 
  • When they learned from Dr. Pilgrim – who seemed particularly disturbed by the Giant's speech – that they had to pass the creature again to continue their journey to the tomb, Ben came up with a plan to speak to the being and distract it. He asked Siras to come with him and speak for him, and that he would pretend to speak while Siras did the talking. Miraculously this plan worked, though Fribog decided that Ben no longer had a say in whether he would become Fribog's travel companion or not, and the giant plucked the Dwarf Druid from the ground and took him along, continuing to march down the underground passages, in the direction of the dwarf dig site. 
  • Siras trekked after the pair, not keen on losing another ally so soon after he had just joined the party. And good thing she was there, for when Ben tried to shapeshift away from Fribog, the giant nearly crushed him altogether, coming just short of obliterating the druid before being held by a spell that incapacitated the giant, allowing the extremely wounded and exhausted Ben to flee for his life, in the shape of a Deer. 
  • When they finally caught up to the party, they sprinted away until they were certain that the giant's pursuit was no longer a concern. They rested, but not all of Ben's wounds healed; he remained incredibly exhausted from the encounter, and his leg still was displaced from his hip joint. He'd need another few days to heal up to normal, he figured. 
  • They continued onward and eventually reached the tomb, a place marred by strange designs and etchings in the stone of violent, beastly rituals and drawn goat's heads. Dr. Pilgrim had earlier told them that the Scarlet Scourge worshipped Bahamut to create Tanaruks, so they were sure they had arrived.
  • However, at the entrance to the maze, the party discovered that many traps had already been set. Immediately, Dr. Pilgrim began to panic, and sprinted along, following the trail of triggered traps with wails of "Oh no no no no!" until they reached the center. Kay tried to keep an eye on where they were going, but lost track near the end. 
  • When they reached the center, they saw a massive statue of a garguantuan humanoid, holding two fingers erect to the ceiling and donning a beastly goat head, horned and etched with demonic runes. The altar emerged from an opaque black circle, around the circumference of which were four sarcophagi, all of which had already been opened. Someone had beat them to the tomb. Someone had already been here. 
  • Immediately, Dr. Pilgrim began to wail as the rest considered what to do next. As Thaldrak stepped forward onto the black circle, aiming to investigate the open sarcophagi, a booming, beastly voice entered his mind – the voice of Baphomet, the demon lord, demanding that they kill Dr. Pilgrim in exchange for what they wanted — the resurrection of T'avin. Thalrak refused the demon lord, who asked them then to track down those who desecrated the tomb. When the demon lord didn't provide any information, Thaldrak refused again, to which the demon lord laughed, responding "you have made your choice…" and all the traps reset. 

    They had gotten to the center of the maze… but could they get out? 
Session 15: Passed the point of no return.

"We should make bringing T'avin back our first priority… We have been gone four days, now, we have to face the truth that it's probably too late for Alamathar…"

When we last left the party…

The party had departed Lockridge Monastery in search of the missing monks Brother Gee and Brother Nesper, in exchange for the Oculus Eye diamond that they could use to save their friend, Alamathar, who had been poisoned by the assassins with the Mark of Bane. On the Eastern edge of the North Sword Mountains, the party departed West, toward Shar's Summit, where the monks were thought to have headed two tendays prior. On the way, the party encountered an abandoned Temple of Shar, which was under Orog occupation. Defeating a half-dozen Orogs, the party spared one for questioning. They learned that the Orog, Drothaak, was under some kind of curse. When the curse was lifted, Drothaak was surprisingly thankful. He had told the party that the Orogs were a raiding party descending from the Scarlet Scourge Clan to the North, and had been cursed by "The Room" inside the temple. He insisted that a book was the key to unraveling the mystery of the curse.

It was from Drothaak that the party learned the Orogs had captured the monks, and planned to sacrifice them to The Room. However, some Frost Giants had encountered the group and took the monks – and their other sacrifices – away. Thus, the party decided to venture onward in pursuit of the giants and the missing monks. They still managed to save another Orog named Vapreek, who set off to retreive the Orog clan to help their cursed kin. 

However, en route to the location of the would-be giant captors, the party encountered a mysterious cave underneath the temple. Concerned, T'avin decided to investigate. However, once he had ventured deep into the mysterious abode, the stone seemed to swallow him whole. Investigating, the party realized that the cave harbored a dark connection to the diety Ghaunadaur, That Which Lurks, or "The Elder Eye". They found a way to open the stone again, but had to fight a drow-shaped abomination made from the shifting stone goop. Shortly after they defeated it, T'avin emerged… bloodied, and missing an eye. When they interrogated their friend about his condition – and the mysterious three-tentacled rod he held in his left hand – he gave only vague, nonchalant answers. They tried in vain to get information from him, or to convince him to rest, as he simply insisted "I have one last thing to do" before venturing off back toward the temple. 

Unfortunately, it would be the last they would see of their friend, alive. When they had finally caught up to him, they came across the very dead corpse of T'avin… smashed by the tentacle rod to bits and pieces. They destroyed the rod and grieved over the loss of their friend. Continuing after the giants, they stopped to have a funeral for the man. There, they learned from Drothaak that his people's high shaman, Urthuk Urkrypt, was thought to have reincarnated from previous bodies several times. The secret to his reincarnation lies buried with the old bodies, somewhere to the south. Drothaak offered to lead the party there, in return for saving his life. 

They continued onward, then, vowing to get T'avin back. They tracked the giants and climbed the mountain to overlook the Shivering Scar, defeating snakes and seeing for the first time, towering over the trees in the valley, giants. Frost giants. 

At the foot of the mountain, the party continued their conversation with Siras Invictus. She told them about the situation in Waterdeep, as per Lady Laeral Silverhand:

  • Several of Waterdeep's largest merchant vessel caravels were destroyed or have gone missing in recent days.
  • An attack on Waterdeep's Sea Ward has left two of the largest Noble Manors in ruins, killing a few servants and one Masked Lord of Waterdeep. There is no clear indication as to what caused the attacks. Boulders embedded in some of the wreckage lead the authorities to suspect giants, though the angle of attack from the sea to the top of the massive Sea Ward cliffs is such that throwing boulders would be nearly impossible, even for a giant.
  • Lord Neverember is making a political push back at Waterdeep with a campaign throwing SIlverhand under the bus for the attacks. This doesn't look good for Silverhand in the Lord's Alliance, particularly given that Grand Duke Portyr from Baldur's Gate has sent a battalion of Flaming Fist to investigate the death of his family member in the House of Wonders.
  • Increasing amounts of Amnian, Calimshani and Thayan immigrants are boiling racial tensions in the region.

Once finished discussing these events, the party agreed that Siras should travel with them. Siras was particularly upset over learning the death of her brother, but was determined to provide assistance in their trials and tribulations against the giants. 

With that, they set out to the south, marching in the direction of the frost giants earlier seen by Thaldrak… and slightly visible through the dim fog. Their feet crunched on the snow or dead grass underfoot, as the cold, musky air entered their noses. Dead vegetation and wet stone; aside from that, there was no other smell. Siras called out to the others, pointing that she had seen a peculiar blackened patch of ground a few hundred meters ahead. Zanzibar used his magical horn to summon Toot, his air elemental companion, and sent the being up above the fog to scout. Toot didn't seem too pleased at two new additions to the party: Siras and Drothaak, while the departure of T'avin was left unexplained. 

As they got closer to the odd patch of ground, they saw that it was not just a burned piece of earth, but in fact, a patch of dark moss surrounding the small entrance to a burrow in the ground, or cave. Immediately upon seeing this, they had a creeping, eerie sensation as the hair stood up on the backs of their necks. 

"Hey guys, I'm gonna go check that hole out, goodbye!" Kay laughed at the absurd thought, "I'm totally gonna go in that cave, there!"

"Yes," Thaldrak said, slowly, looking at the terrain. "yes, I agree with you. Best avoid that." The rest nodded in agreement as they circled the peculiar area. Suddenly, Siras had an idea.

"Can you communicate with him?" Siras inquired, as they circled a wide berth around the moss, gesturing upward and looking at Zanzibar.

"With who, Toot?" Zanzibar's masked face looked blankly at Siras, "Yeah, but only within a certain distance." His voice echoed inside the metal mask.

"Maybe you could have him take a look at that cave?" 

"That's a pretty good idea!" Thaldrak agreed. Zanzibar then looked upward, without making a sound for a few moments, before turning back to Siras.

"He'll do it. I asked him." Zanzibar continued, "He also said that he can see three of the giants, as well as quite a few small huts far to the East." 

But something else had caught Siras' attention, then. The giant in the middle of the Shivering Scar, who they could now see very clearly as the fog parted above the trees, was looking in their direction. Right. In. Their. Direction. 

"Oh, shit." Thaldrak said, under his breath, just as the thunderous footsteps began, and the giant head began to bob above the few trees that obstructed his body. The ground shook as their knees quaked under the tremors, and they turned back. They crouched to sneak, trying to avoid the giant's line of sight while Thaldrak tried to scrape at the snow and dirt behind them as they ran, covering their tracks. But alas, Drothaak and Arentian made quite some noise, Zanzibar, too. Drothaak fell, tripping over a root and landing on a large, dead branch – SNAP! Suddenly, the giant footsteps turned into running, and the sequential boomboomboomBOOMBOOM got louder and louder… they started to run.

As they ran, they discussed forming a plan. What do they do? Stand and fight? One option was raised that Thaldrak could stand and fight the thing, supported by Siras and the others, hoping to defeat it and force it to respect him. They shook off the absurdity of the idea, realizing Thaldrak was likely a tenth of the size of the giant. Arentian raised the possibility of tricking it, luring it near the cave and then ambushing it. But yet again, they decided the risk was too great. They were nearly at the blackened moss cave, then, Siras thinking to investigate whether it was very dangerous or not. As they stopped before the moss, the eerie feeling returned, compounding by the anxiety that came with a Frost Giant running in their general direction. She turned to Drothaak, then. 

"You, run south. Run! Unless you want to die here!" 

"But, but I… oh, oh you know best, then, I guess! You'll catch up to me… later?" Drothaak seemed confused by what was transpiring, but trusted the bard. After all, she seemed to know the most about Frost Giants, and there was something about her face that seemed so trusting to the Orog… Drothaak ran. 

As he ran, his armor clapped together, the sound of metal plates flapping against one another rang over the valley. As Siras kneeled to investigate the black moss – and determined that it held no magical properties – they heard the bellowing voice of the giant echo across the mountains.


"Dammit." Siras said, as the group turned to one another to frantically think of what to do. Do they leave Drothaak as bait and flee, or save their Orog companion and guide? 

"We need him to get to the tomb," Thaldrak reminded them.

"Right, we don't know where it is." Kay agreed. So off they went, running to intersect the giant and starting to think. 

"Wait, can't you distract him with Toot?" Siras suddenly thought. 

"That is… another good idea!" Thaldrak exclaimed, impressed. Immediately, Zanzibar turned to Toot, communicating with him in the whispy, windy language of the Air Elementals. While Toot but up a bit of a fight at first, Zanzibar seemed to convince him of the plan, and the elemental whisped away in the direction of the giant. They continued running, but with eyes on the fast-fading elemental… before they knew it, though, they could see the giant stopping, suddenly, swatting before his nose, greataxe in hand.

"WHAT IS THEES?!" The giant slashed it's axe forward as Toot whipped about his head. "YOU STOOPID WEEZARD! I HAVE TOLD YOU, NOW IS NOT THE TIME FOR GAEMS!" He slashed his axe again in an upward chop that sliced through Toot as the elemental dashed to the side and disappeared among the snow. The giant looked between the fleeing Drothaak and in the direction of Toot, then shook his head and turned back the way he came, jogging to the south. "I HAEF HAD IT WITH THESE WEEZARDS!" His voice echoed back across the valley as the party stopped in their tracks, silently celebrating their victory in the deceit. 

Toot caught up to them, half his size, and they were a bit perturbed to see that the giant had hurt the elemental. He showed no sign of pain, though, and floated to sit upon Zanzibar's shoulder, his legs crossed. 

"What happens if he… you know… dies?" Kay asked. 

"Nothing. Nothing really. He'll just be pretty pissed off and then I can't summon him again in a Tenday."

"Will he be alright?" Thaldrak prompted.

"Yea, yea. Takes him longer than us to heal, but he will be alright." Zanzibar nodded, his masked visage bobbing up and down. 

Siras then sent a message cantrip to Drothaak to tell him to return, and once the Orog had rejoined them, they put their heads together to make a plan. What should they do, and where should they go? Haxiris' hideout was to the West, as was the tomb… and their closest shot at getting T'avin back. But, if the monks were imprisoned by the Giants… they'd be leaving them – and consequentially, Alamathar – to their dooms. But what could they really do? They asked each other. At least three frost giants, maybe more! They'd be hard pressed to fight one, nevermind three. And besides, it had been nearly four or five days since they left Alamathar at the monastery… the chances that he'd be alive if they returned would be slim. With heavy hearts, they decided to abandon the monks – for now – and head toward the tomb. They travelled along the Northern edge of the mountains along the Shivering Scar, keeping an eye on the many caves in the region. Eventually, they reached one where they could rest, and they stopped to have a look inside. 

The cave was cone-shaped, and wound into the mountain some eighty or ninety feet. The ceiling was full of medium-sized boreholes, like lava rock once it hardened. Siras made some noise with her flute in an attempt to bait out any danger, so Kay and Thaldrak could ambush it while Arentian and Zanzibar pelted it with spells… but nothing came. Thaldrak went further in, and had a closer look. There, he saw four dangling, white threads, drooping from four of the boreholes. To boot, he saw a peculiar stalagtite that seemed to hang from the ceiling at an odd, unnatural angle, and it looked different than the other stalagtites that crowded the region. 

"Oh, no. There. See that?" Thaldrak pointed at the thing and the hanging threads, alerting the others. 

"I can light it with Faerie Fire," Siras offered, and played a short tune to line any would-be creatures in purplish flame. Immediately, the stalagtite outlined with the purple fire, and they also saw four of the ceiling tunnels light up, as well. The tunnels bored horizontally into the stone, so they could only make out the glimmering, flickering light from within… but the four threads were similarly lined, and retracted quickly to the ceiling above. 

Shortly after that, combat erupted between the party and a piercer and four cave fishers, scorpoin-like hunters originating from the underdark. Thankfully, the party made easy work of the things, and killed them all. Only Zanzibar went down, but he was stabilized by Drothaak. 

The fight was surprisingly difficult, and it had taken a lot out of the group. As they settled down to rest in the cave, being sure that their fire was hidden from the outside valley, Kay took his position near the entrance, idly watching for any movement or activity… particularly that of giants. As he did so, he saw a peculiar sight… a clawed creature with milky, pupil-less eyes skittering about, looking much like a cross between a humanoid and lobster. It moved from tree-to-tree, and even disappeared a few times, only to reappear in the shadows of behind another trunk, leaving behind faint traces of a blackish smoke. It seemed to be searching for something, pattering back and forth as it reached a collection of shrubs, leaned down and gathered it. As it did so, the shrubbery leapt up – literally, it leapt up – and started walking behind the thing. The odd pair then seemed to march back to the East, neglecting the cave and not seeming to notice Kay or anything else. Blinking many times to be sure that he hadn't incidentally fallen asleep, Kay quickly whipped out a piece of parchment and sketched the thing: 

The next morning, once the night had passed without incident – giant or otherwise – Kay heard from Zanzibar that the creature was called a Meenlock. One of the few evil beings from the fey who possessed a poisonous toxin in their talons that could paralyze opponents. They often ambushed and dragged their victims back to their dens, and the victims would never be seen again. What the Meenlock did to the victims was unclear, but they were considered one of the most evil beings of the natural land by many wood elves. 

Glad that the Meenlock didn't disturb them, the party then continued off to the West for some hours, before beginning a rather difficult climb up the mountains, to get to the location of the tomb. By nightfall, they had reached a high point midway up the mountain, an improvised trail between a smattering of fragile boulders and cliff faces. But a storm was brewing, hard rain and dark clouds from the south. The party looked among the possible resting places nearby and opted for a covered slate, stacking up their sleeping bags so that they were protected from the Southern winds. The storm that followed was one of the worst that anyone in the group had encountered; violent winds and hail violently assaulted the group as lightning crashed on distant and close-by peaks, like spears from the sky impaling the stone as the thunder roared angrily above the curtains of rain. They could barely sleep, but with the natural protection from the storm they had chosen, had enough rest between each of them. However, one bolt of lightning landed not 60 feet away, shattering one of the boulders that they could have otherwise chosen as their rest spot. It was good that they didn't, they realized, as they watched the crumbling stone tumble down into the blackness, falling along the mountain's edge.

That next day, the stone was slippery, and climbing was particularly arduous. They eventually made it to the excavation site – a stretching, cubic web of scaffolding among odd shacks and railway tracks protruding from the mountain – but had taken two significant tumbles down the mountainside, eventually landing hard at the bottom nearly a hundred feet below. 

Two dwarves approached them, then, members of the digsite, no doubt. Thaldrak rushed over to greet them, and led them away from the tangled mess of bodies as his friends collected themselves and assessed the damage from the fall. Thaldrak learned from the duo that a Dr. Pilgrim – a gnome archeologist – was heading the digsite, and allowed the Dwarves to keep any precious metals or gemstones that they found in exchange for diligent work and deep digging. He was looking for some kind of artifact or long-lost mystery, they said, but didn't elabourate. 

The party ventured forward, coming to the entrance of the cave, where they saw the back of Dr. Pilgrim as he barked commands to the dwarves "I don't care if there's gold in Mine 2b!…"  


In Brevitis

  • The party made it down to the Shivering Scar, where they discovered a Meenlock cave den, and were nearly spotted by a patrolling Frost Giant
  • The Frost Giant tried to pursue the party, and spotted Drothaak, but the party had the genius idea to distract him using Toot. When Toot distracted the giant, he cried out, angrily: "Stupid wizard, now is not the time for games!" before heading back to the other two giants.
  • The party decided to reassess their priorities, deciding that after four days from the monastery (and two days still if they decided to return that moment), that it was too late to save Alamathar. Instead, they decided to head West along the Northernmost mountains of the Shivering Scar, toward the Tomb of Urthak Urkrypt, led by Drothaak. There, they hoped to find magics to reincarnate T'avin. 
  • That night, they rested inside a cave. In the cave, they encountered a Piercer – a creature which mocks the appearance of a stalagtite before falling on it's foes – and four Cave Fishers. They obliterated the creatures and had a restful sleep… though during his watch, Kay spotted a creature they later learned was a Meenlock, an evil being from the Feywild. The Meenlock took an animated shrubbery back with him to the East, and didn't seem to notice the cave or the halfling on watch. 
  • As they continued west, they then ventured to the North, cutting back over the mountains in the shortest route toward the tomb. Once atop the mountain, they noticed a storm brewing on the distant southern horizon. There were few places to rest, and they chose a rocky outcropping protecting them from above, then shielded themselves from Southern winds. That night, they were pounded by a vicious storm of hail, rain and thunder & lightning. One lightning bolt struck within 40' of the party, triggering a rockslide in one of the rocky outcroppings they could have otherwise rested at. Thankfully, though, they were well-protected from the savage storm, and lasted it out the entire night. 
  • On their way back down the mountain, the party slipped on the wet stones – the rain continuing to fall and the wind continuing to blow – falling a total of 100 feet in two painful slides down the mountain. Thankfully, they all survived, sporting only occasional injury from hard and sharp stone. 
  • When they reached the bottom of the mountain, they were in a small valley before the Dwarven Dig Site, and presumably where the Tomb of Urthuk Urkrypt was. Among the fog they could clearly see a few shacks and buildings, as well as a simple cart and rail system and the beginnings of what was undoubtedly a large, complex scaffolding that crawled about the mountain like a cubic spider's web. They were greeted by two dwarves, named B(?) and Nozzal, miners of Dr. Pilgrim's archeological expidition into the mountain. They explained to Thaldrak that the doctor was looking for a great cultural artifact or archeological relic, and allowed the dwarves to keep any precious metals or gemstones they found in the dig. They had been there a total of 6-8 months, and were pretty happy with their situation. They mentioned that they had expected a shipment of half-a-dozen more dwarves with supplies that never arrived, and mentioned that there was Wyvern breeding grounds nearby. They said that they had to scare off a pair of Wyverns by urinating on a hankerchief, the stench of which – according to Dr. Pilgrim – revolted the creatures and sent them packing. 
  • Drothaak - turned invisible by Siras - told them that they had to go into the mineshaft to take the shortest route to the Tomb, which would be hidden behind a false wall deep within the mountain. 
  • The party headed into the mine shaft, entering the core of the archeological dig, where they saw Dr. Pilgrim, the white-haired gnome who was leading the expedition. 

Session 14: Tragedia Endogonidia
"T'avin, noo!!!"

"He's… he's gone, Thaldrak. There's nothing you can do." – Zanzibar to Thaldrak, when the group came upon T'avin's dead corpse, beaten to death by the incorporeally-controlled Tentacle Rod

When we last joined the party:


The party had agreed to help the monks of Lockridge Monastery – where they had travelled from Ravenstone to bring orphans, en route to deal with giants near Triboar. The monks had two of their order missing – Brother Nesper and Brother Gee – and were willing to give the party their diamond – Eye of the Oculus – to cure Alamathar from the Mark of Bane. Enthoril remained behind to tend the poisoned Battlerager-Cleric, while Thaldrak, T'avin, Arentian and Zanzibar ventured toward Shar's Summit to find the monks. Stopping near the abandoned temple of Shar West of the monastery, the party learned of some Orogs residing in the mountainous ruins. After combatting the creatures, they learned the Orogs were under a curse, and saved two of their kind, Drothaak and Vapreek. From Drothaak, the party learned that the Orogs had captured the monks, but they were given to Frost Giants who had come across the temple before heading South. Knowing then that they needed to head South, the party departed in pursuit of the giants. Camping underneath the ruins, the party rested near a cave marked by a strange symbol they knew to be engraved across the abandoned temple and upon the cursed Orogs – the symbol of Ghaunadaur, That Which Lurks, Elder Eye. Sensing a deep disturbance within the cave, and was concerned that it had something to do with recent events. 

As T'avin's darkened form became featureless within the arms of the darkened cave, the party watched him disappear into the blackness, silently. Moments became minutes as they waited, when suddenly, the stone swallowed the darkness at the same time that the eye carved above what was the cave, shut. What was once a gaping hole in this ruinous mountain was jutting, veined stone. Thaldrak cried out in surprise as the party ran forward to examine the stone, hastily running their hands about the jagged edges, desperately searching for a crevasse or opening. Nothing. Though as they calmed and began to search more thoroughly, they noticed a pattern in the jaggedness. The texture reminded Kay of his map, when spun about the leather ball. Qualith! As he ran his fingers about, Kay translated the message for the others to hear: 

Name one of my subjects…

Immediately, the group began shouting names at the stone, expecting it to give way. 

"Manion!" Nothing

"Zalara Arkenlyl!" Nothing

"​​​​​Eartharran Neirdre!" Nothing

Salsalaniir! Haxiris!" The stone remained, like a silent curtain of slate draped about the mountain and seamlessly blended into it. If there was a door here – and they were sure that there was – it was nearly undetectable. Minutes continued to pass as they discussed how to proceed, thought of more ideas. Suddenly, Kay spoke out of intuition, "Drow?" 

The stone immediately began to quiver and pulse like a jelly being prodded, it sucked into itself as the group leapt back in surprise. The passageway was visible beyond the amorphous mass, but their gaze was transfixed to the thing, now hovering in mid-air as the sludge made a "shloop" sound, pulling away from the stone and ground around it and sucking into a tight, bulbous ball before blasting into a shape – a humanoid shape. The hovering sludge turned black as two prods stretched to make contact with the ground and two others stretched forward, like pulsing, gelatinous arms and legs. The ball stretched vertically into an oblong shape as it suddenly seemed to segment into detailed bits, rhythmically dividing into the recognizable features of a humanoid. First the head, then the features of an arm, a hand… and shortswords! In a matter of three to four seconds, the stone shifted from a blockade to a ball of ooze and back into… a Drow! Standing before the party then, only a few eyeblinks later, was the gritty malice of a one-eyed dark elf, it's facial features warped and sloppy, as if they were dripping mud that had yet to dry. It wore black armor that was similarly slipping away into large droplettes, but the swords in it's hands looked as deadly as real blades… and they were. The thing leapt at Zanzibar and thrust both blades in, tucking its elbows to its torso and pushing the blades in a lower abdominal pierce, slitting easily through the Bladesinger's armor into his body as he cried out in pain from behind his metal mask. Blood dripped down the weapons and spattered the floor beneath him as combat erupted.

Thaldrak leapt in, then, slashing at the thing, followed swiftly by Arentian, Kay and Drothaak. As Thaldrak's weapon sliced into the thing, cutting a line of blacking ooze, Drothaak leapt behind it and tried to grapple it down. It was too fast, though, but not fast enough to avoid the daggers of Kay and frostbolt's of Arentian, both of which smashed into it's chest. They kept at it, as it slashed down at Zanzibar a second time, and the man fell hard to the ground, dying and unconscious. Kay was upon him, though, quickly stabilizing him before tossing another dagger into the side of the abomination. Thaldrak hacked a third time, slicing off it's left arm as it fell with a "SMACK", immediately dissolving into millions of little liquid beads that bounced and further divided, sinking into the unseen cracks and pores of the ground.

"What the fuck?!" Thaldrak cried out, as Drothaak failed, yet again, to grab the thing. But two well-aimed frostbolts of Arentian smashed into it's neck as it raised it's blades to cross-slash at the shocked dwarf, freezing a fair bit of it as the rest splintered into infinitesimal marbles of darkness, scattering across Drothaak and the stone around, splitting until they were the size of dust particles that simply disappeared on the light air or into the walls and ground. The bit that was frozen simply began to melt, slowly, the oozing liquid seeping downward. 

They gathered themselves and watched the last bits of the thing melt away, only realizing after some moments that wet footsteps could be heard echoing down the passage, within. Thaldrak moved a dozen feet into the cave to get a better look, squinting his eyes. In his darkvision, he could make out the blurred silhouette of T'avin limping toward him, and he called out, worriedly. 

"T'avin! T'avin, everything alright?" 

As his sorcerer friend approached, his question was immediately answered. All of them – Thaldrak, Kay and Drothaak… then, eventually, Arentian, gasped in shock as T'avin came into view. The whole left side of his robes were red with blood, the fabric stuck to his skin and drenched with his crimson life. His hands were painted the same colour all the way down to his elbows, but what was most shocking of all was the gaping, gorey hole where his left eye once was. A grizzly gnash across his face stretched from his eye across his nose and to the opposite corner of his mouth, and back, and his right eye was red with blood, bleeding down his cheek and neck. He seemed surprisingly – shockingly – calm, though, as he walked forward, rather slowly. It was only then, in the light of the morning, that they saw what he held in his left hand. A staff as long as his torso, black and twisted, with three tenticles that protruded from it. The tentacles writhed about as if on their own volition, seeming to smell the air and lick the stone, or the blood from T'avin's robes. 

They took many steps back from out of the cave as T'avin departed, and Thaldrak broke the silence, crying out, "T'avin! What the hell happened?! What happened to your eye?! What happened to you?!" 

Kay, too, cried out, more softly, "Jesus, man… what happened?". Arentian simply shook his head, staring blankly beside Drothaak, who continued to step further and further away from the sorcerer. 

"He is taken! He is cursed! Cursed by the woman! Cursed by The Room! Do not trust him, friends!" Drothaak picked up his maul and continued to back away. 

"T'avin, answer my question, what happened?!" Thaldrak insisted again, as T'avin only gave a weak smile, and shrugged. 

"Well, nothing good, obviously." T'avin shrugged again.

"Stop being vague!"

"I… encountered something. And I handled it." 

"But where's your eye?" 

"Yeah, and what's that thing in your hand?" Kay pitched in.

"This, is… nothing. I have to do something, but I am almost done." T'avin continued again, with eerie calmness. 

"He is taken! He is cursed! We have to fight him!" Drothaak shouted again, louder. 

"If you think you're a safe enough distance from me, you're wrong." T'avin said, eyeing the Orog, dangerously.

Thaldrak held up his hand, moving between him and T'avin, and casting a suspicious and concerned eye upon his sorcerer friend. "Relax! T'avin, you have to trust me, here, tell me what happened. How did you lose your eye?" 

"It told me to."

"To cut out your eye?! And you just DID IT?!" Thaldrak exclaimed.

"Yes. I have something to take care of. One last thing. You'll just have to trust me." 

"You can barely walk, man." Kay said, "For god's sakes, you lost an eye. And again, what is that thing in your hand?" 

"Oh this, this is just something… for that thing I need to take care of." 


Drothaak took a few more steps forward as T'avin responded, vaguely, again, "You will have to trust me. Have I ever given you reason to doubt me?" 

"Well, no, but…"

"So there. Trust me." 

"T'avin, you're being an idiot. Just tell us what's going on, we can help." Kay pleaded, Arentian standing behind him and nodding fervently in agreement. 

"You cannot help." T'avin said, matter-of-factly.

"Why? Just tell us!" Thaldrak shouted, again. 

"I have to go."

"To the temple?!"



"Thaldrak, you will just have to trust me. I have to do this. I have to do this, alone." 

"Look, T'avin…" Thaldrak pleaded, the frustration lining the concern of his voice.

"Trust me." And with that, T'avin turned his back to the group and began to quickly walk away, back toward the temple entrance. 

"By the gods…" Arentian said.

"Should we follow him?" Thaldrak asked Kay.

"I don't know, Zanzibar, what do you think?" Kay turned, looking for the wizard, and only then remembering that Zanzibar laid, still very unconscious, at the entrance to the cave. "Oh shit, Zanzibar!" 

"Shit…" Thaldrak rushed over to the man and busted out his healer's kit, laying out the various medical supplies and bandages and doing what he could to tend the wounds of the unconscious man. Moments later, Zanzibar sat up, groaning audibly. 

"What… what happened?" He asked with his thick accent, his voice hollow and echoing from within his metal mask. His featureless visage whipped about as he gathered his senses. "Did you kill it? The thing?" 

"Yes, but T'avin came back," Thaldrak pointed to T'avin, who now stood and appeared to be having a conversation with the staff that he clutched in his hand, and Thaldrak suddenly grew quiet as he listened.

"…you can't have both. Either I take you to the room or take them to you." The tentacles flailed about as T'avin sighed and continued to march onward, disappearing behind a thick brush. 

"By the Dawn, what happened to him? What happened to his eye?!" Zanzibar nearly shouted, quickly standing. "And what's that thing in his hand?!" 

"I don't know…" Thaldrak said, under his breath, his gaze still locked on where T'avin once stood, "but I think he means to go into the temple."

"Come on," Kay said to them, "we have to follow him. Quietly." The group ducked down and followed the rogue into the wilderness, making their way carefully back to the temple. Drothaak voiced his concerns a few times, saying "I only do this out debt. I will not let him kill my kin!" They did their best to be silent, but the armor of Thaldrak clinked about, as did the metal in Zanzibar's, but it was clear that their attempts to be silent were moot when the foreign man fell, and cried out in pain. "Dammit!" Kay hissed, "So much for silently following…" 

Nearly an hour later, as they continued after T'avin's trail, the silence of the frigid mountainous region was broken by a cry of surprise, followed by a blistering streak of light which illuminated the sky – a ray of fire. "T'avin!" Thaldrak cried, as he sprinted forward at a breakneck pace. The others followed, not far behind. They ran through the brush, snapping branches and kicking over small boulders as the terrain whipped them when the passed. The sounds of combat grew more intense, and were peppered with small explosions and cries of pain from their companion. After a minute, the sounds grew quieter, but they ran onward. Fifteen minutes of hard running and they suddenly heard a sickening sound – like a whip cracking the air and – SPLAT – spattering against something wet and soft. Thaldrak's belly flopped as he felt the blood drain from his face and arms, and Kay flinched, expecting what came next. 

They burst into the next small, rocky, slanted clearing to a horrific sight. The smashed corpse of T'avin, being battered and slashed by the three tentacles of the rod he held from his now-severed left hand, smashed from the elbow up. The torso was a concave pool of blood and guts, intestines spilling into a soup of gear, robes and gore. Of his face, only his eye, brow and hair were still visible, but painted entirely with his lifeblood. His legs twisted at uneven angles, severed at his shattered hips, and his right arm appeared broken in several places. And the tentacles kept pounding, with a quick, rhythmic – SPLAT-SPLAT-SPLAT

Thaldrak burst forth, tears and spittle flying from his face, pale with grief and denial. "T'AVIN, NOOO!!!" He rushed at the tentacle-rod-thing and slashed down at it, his sword clanging against the metal as T'avin's severed arm bounced about with the impact, remaining latched onto it. It was as if the rod held the severed limb, and not the other way around. The tentacles turned, then, seeming to recognize a new victim, and lashed angrily and violently toward Thaldrak, two of them missing him but one drawing a thin gash across his forearm. He cried out in surprise and leapt back, hysterically shouting to the rest. "Do… DO SOMETHING!" 

Kay scanned the scene, his adrenaline sending blood surging into his brain as he frantically looked for any positive to this catastrophic event. As Thaldrak shouted, he noticed, then – faint cracks, slivering up the metal bit of the rod. After Thaldrak shouted, Kay trying to get a better view of the thing, Arentian cried out a spell of Ray of Frost, sending two lines of icey blue smashing into the rod. Kay's eyes widened as he noted the cracks crawl further, splitting and branching across the metal. "It's… it's working. Keep striking at it, keep striking!" 

Arentian sent out half a dozen more rays in quick succession, each striking the rod cleanly as it finally began to splinter and audibly crack… then suddenly, with one last – SPLAT – as the final tentacle fell upon the dead corpse of T'avin, the rod shattered. Like a glass pillar, the rod itself exploded into shards that sailed across the clearing, many of which embedded themselves in T'avin's corpse, while the tentacles suddenly dropped, splashing to the ground into a wet mess, melting, it seemed, much like the Drow they had just encountered.

"T'avin… T'avin…" Thaldrak, still hysterical, ran forth and buried his knees into the bloody gravel, protruding his healer's kit with shakey hands. "No… no no no no… T'avin, wait, I can… T'avin…" His arms dug about the gore sickeningly as he – in shock – tried frantically to find something to fix the impossible situation. 

"Thaldrak…" Kay began, softly.

"He's gone." Zanzibar finished. "Mate… he's gone. He's dead." And Zanzibar stepped forward, placing two hands – one on each of the Dwarf's shoulders – as they began to shake violently with sobs.

"How could you do this to me, T'avin, why?! Why did he do this?!" Thaldrak raised his tear-streaked face to the heavens and shouted in pain. 

"Stupid…" Kay said again, "T'avin, you stupid, stupid, stupid…" 

And they stood there, silently, grieving for their friend.

When some hours had passed and they were finally ready to begin again, Thaldrak searched through the mess to see what he could recover. He took something personal from T'avin's effects to remind himself of his now-dead friend, and a piece of his body, knowing that resurrection was something they had seen – of the Hanlon Razor – and heard of, from the guild. He instructed Kay and Arentian to go through the rest, and take what they thought was useful. 

"I am sorry for your loss." Drothaak said, "But… I might be able to repay my debt." 

Thaldrak – who was crouched on a rock in silent sorrow, looked up from the divination card bearing T'avin's likeness that he had been staring at for the last fifteen minutes. "What?" He asked, softly.

"Urthuk Urkrypt." 

"What?" T'avin said, more loudly, and Kay, Arentian and Zanzibar lifted their heads to listen to what the Orog was saying. 

"Our high shaman. Urthuk Urkrypt. Of the Scarlet Scourge. He comes back, they say, now three generations or more. Reincarnated. Urthuk Urkrypt can reincarnate. I can take you."

"What?" Thaldrak said, again, "To your clan?" 

"No. To tomb." 

"How… how would that even help?" Kay asked him.

"Urthuk Urkrypt's first tomb. South. I can take you. Or to clan. Maybe you can pray, maybe Urthuk Urkrypt will reward you for saving our kin. But they do not like those who are not orc." 

"Wait… if Urthuk Urkrypt is your high shaman, than what is in his tomb?" 

"Old bodies. Previous bodies. His secret." Drothaak answered, quietly, looking over his shoulders with clear anxiety, as though he was uttering a silent curse that no one should speak. 

The group then began a tough debate – what to do? They had a responsibility to rescue Brother Nesper and Brother Gee, and, in turn, Alamathar… but what of T'avin? Was Alamathar doomed anyway? And what about Haxiris' hideout? And what would the orog do once they had rescued their kin? It was a difficult decision to make, but ultimately, after a tough discussion, they decided to continue onward to save the monks, contact the monastery via Zanzibar's sending spell, before letting Drothaak lead them to the tomb and then heading themselves to Haxiris' hideout. 

Off they went, then… trekking silently and thoughtfully back into the mountainous wilderness, leaving the damnable temple – and whatever abomination was responsible for T'avin's ultimate demise - behind them. They stopped only when they reached a fair clearing, to have a soft-spoken funeral for the fallen sorcerer. They burned his remains and Thaldrak said touching words. It was as if the sun itself had listened, as the firey ball disappeared behind a black cloud and never emerged again, dusk slipping quickly into a cold, cold night. A night for grief, a night for rememberence, and a night that only grew colder in their hearts, with the somber sorrow of funeral pyre before them. The adventurer's wouldn't soon forget the day of Tarsakh 23.

The next day passed quickly as they continued to follow the massive tracks and broken foliage of the giants. The funeral the night before had given them closure, and a renewed sense of purpose. They moved onward and upward, climbing the next few mountain trails with ease and, before they knew it, had reached a high point three-quarters near the summit, and a rocky indentation in the mountain where they (had thought that they) could rest, peacefully.

As Thaldrak set out for first watch, he look some time away from the group to look Southward, into the valley beyond this mountain. The sun set over a near-cloudless horizon, and the shadows Eastern mountains stretched like a blanket being pulled over the snowy mattress of the valley, peppered with dead trees… and… Giants? Thaldrak could see clearly, then, that there were at least three of the massive things, lumbering about in rhythmic patterns as if they patrolled specific areas. He scanned the valley more closely, stopping to examine the map he had been given by Brother Daweii from Lockridge Monastery. The Shivering Scar, this valley was called. He looked about again, and saw some strange creature moving near the foot of the closest mountain. It lumbered from tree-to-tree, moving swiftly and stealthily, it's claw-like appendages gripping the bark as it nearly leapt as if to avoid the snowy ground. It appeared as though it were a walking lobster, perhaps the size of Kay. But something else caught Thaldrak's attention – great soaring birds, their features obscured now as the sun continued to set, a pair of them soaring near the peak of the next mountain over, to the West. He couldn't make out any features of the things, but Thaldrak turned to look straight up, anyway, wanting to make sure that no such creatures circled their heads near this peak. He saw no birds, nor any other creatures, but dozens of little red flowers that peppered the summit, some two-hundred feat upward beyond an arduous climb. Immediately, the dwarf recognized the flowers. Female Dwarf Lillies, they were called. Rare flowers that grew only near the peaks of mountains with just the right humidity. He huffed to himself, and looked back to the group… just in time to see several lithe snakes skittering about the stones, above. They were small, but as Thaldrak moved closer, he saw that there were many… many of the things. The smoke seemed to be stirring them from a nest within the stone, as he called out a warning to his friends. They scattered about, aiming to distance themselves from the fire as Thaldrak shouts became muted by the static hiss of dozens and dozens of snakes that suddenly flowed forth from a thin gap between two mountain slates… and fell to the ground. Immediately, the snakes formed into three clumps that bit and hissed at anything nearby, and the party began stomping and slashing. The combat was quick and choatic, and over quickly. But close to the end, as Drothaak's maul slammed a pile of snakes into mush, the weapon sunk into the stone and a loud tearing sound – RIIIIP – split the sounds hissing and fighting. A sudden WOOSH of air sucked everyone forward toward the point of impact as the air shimmered and wavered, shifting into a coporeal form… of a hound. The thing had a goblinoid face and bright reddish-pink fur, as though it was some kind of a massive, deformed wolf.

"Whoooo summoned meeeeee!?" The thing slobbered more than shouted, as the nearest snake sank it's fangs into the wolven creature's haunch. "You daaare!?" It slobbered and gnashed at the beasts as the party didn't waste time in questioning the confusing occurence. In mere moments, the snakes had been defeated, none of them – aside from Drothaak – sporting any new wounds from the endeavour. 

"Whooo summoned meee?! Who dares interrupt the infinite war of Malglubiyet and Gruumsh!?" The creature's spittle dripped onto the pile of dead snakes as it looked between each member of the party, but no answer came. Kay recognized the thing as a Barghest, a lesser being from the plane of Gehenna.

"We are not your enemies. We don't know what happened." Thaldrak said, insistently, but still gripping his sword, tightly, unsure of what just happened. 

"I must feast! Must grow! Big enough to return!! Have you feasts for me, thennn?" But as silence greated the canine thing's words, it hissed, looking between the five companions, and dashed off to the North down the mountainside. 

Happy to be done with the fighting, they settled down, and finally got some rest. Barghest or not, they had greater problems on the horizon… Thaldrak had spotted giants.

As they headed down the mountain into the valley – now coated by a thick blanket of fog – they noted the few giants that seemed to lurk beyond, their heads protruding from the sea of white. Occasionally, they could even sense the faint tremors of the giant footsteps, a distant – boom-boom-boom. But they were in for another surprise, a hooded figure was making his – no, her – way down the mountain. She was clad in simple adventuring gear, leather armor, and had a deep hood pulled over her face. 

And, as the fates would have it, only a day after her brother's untimely demise, T'avin's sister had - finally – found them.


In Brevitis:

  • T'avin ventured into the cave and was swallowed by the stone. Vapreek left the party to warn the Shaman of the Scarlet Scourge Clan about the cursed Orog.
  • Outside, Thaldrak and Kay discovered a riddle upon the stone suggesting that they name one of the servants to Ghaunadaur. They spoke many things, including the names of some known associaties of Alkahest, but it did not open. Eventually, when Kay said "Drow", it opened… or rather morphed into a Drow warrior, who attacked the party. They defeated him, but Zanzibar was knocked out cold.
  • T'avin emerged from the cave covered in his own blood, missing his left eye and sporting grizzly scars slashed across his face. In his left hand, he held a long staff from which three massive tentacles writhed about, menacingly. T'avin refused to tell the party what had happened, saying only that "He had one last task to complete, alone." 
  • Thaldrak and Kay tried to dissuade the sorcerer, but he left them behind. They followed him quietly – or tried to – from a distance. 
  • Once upon the cliff-face, T'avin erupted into combat with the staff and the party raced to catch up to him, calling out. They were too late, however, and when they reached the source of the commotion, were greeted only by a spattered mess of gore … T'avin had been killed by the rod.
  • The party destroyed the Tentacle Rod and grieved over their dead friend. They took parts of T'avin's body in case he could be resurrected in the future. 
  • Once in a clearing South of their position, they held a funeral ceremony for the fallen sorcerer. 
  • They continued South in pursuit of the giants, traversed up a mountain and fought off some snakes. In the battle, a Barghest was supposedly – somehow – summoned from Gehenna.
  • Thaldrak spotted some Frost Giants in the Shivering Scar to the south, and the party scaled down the mountain in pursuit of the monks.
  • En route, they encountered the sister of T'avin, Siris Invictus, who offered to join the party – aid, sent by Lady Silverhand.

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