Dyersville D and D

the Trial of Ember Part 2
innocence and old foe...

With the night spent in the town of Ethren, the adventurers who wished to search for clues to their innocence (accompanied by a few of their other allied guild members who were nearby) departed for the destroyed village of Ember.

Upon arrival, the group searched the town for any clues out of the ordinary. Tharivol tried searching, though found the contents of his spell book to be far more inticing. The half-orc barbarian searched with all his focus, though only discovered badly dried grass around each of the burnt frames of house. As Sam took a closer look at the bodies and found that key organs were missing.

With a second attempt, Tharivol searched the body of the shop keeper. Finding the log book next to him, Tharivol discovered that the trade in the village had been suddenly halted about 2 weeks before. As Sam searched a body, he noticed a trace of green powdery residue. There was too little left among the bodies to identify.

[close enough visual]

Hearing a dripping sound coming from the well, the Elven Ranger called to the others, “I hear something in the well!”

The human mage cast light on a rock, tossing it down the well and into the water. The Ranger grabbed onto the rope and tried to climb down. The wet fibers slipped through his fingers as he plummeted and belly-flopped on the pool below. He struggled for the surface, soon realizing the water was only hip-high. As he looked around, he found a young boy standing behind a nearby rock formation. He called up to the others, informing them about the boy [in the bottom of the well.. no reference to Timmy from the Lassie series.. what a wasted joke].

Sam effortlessly repelled down the rope, at the end of which, performing a backflip, landing flawlessly at the bottom. Recognizing the blind boy, he approached and asked what he was doing down there. Erik climbed down the rope, as Tharivol and the half-orc remained at the top. Upon seeing a familiar face, the boy said “Now I understand what I saw in my vision! They were like you in appearance, but they weren’t you!”

Sam asked if the rope would be alright or if an enemy was nearby to destroy it. The boy assured them that nothing would happen to the rope. The mage turned around, trying to ignite the rope. The wet fibers were barely scorched, though the rope remained. Frustrated, the mage cast Ray of Frost at the top, freezing the fibers and some of the stones at the top.

Sam asked what the boy was doing down there. The boy responded, “I had a vision of me hiding in the well, so I followed the vision and learned what my other visions meant!”
“Could you tell us what you saw?”

“I could tell you, but it would make more sense if I showed you.”

The boy leans forward and touches the water with his clenched hands. The chasm goes dark, then gradually everything around you becomes illuminated; you are all standing around the well in the village; the boy grasping onto the edge, peeking out above its stone platform. As you look at each other you notice that you are all transparent; the buildings beyond each of you look only slightly blurred through your presence. The last of your group is walking up the bear trail into the forest and the villagers are hastily finishing their errands before retreating into their homes.

Several minutes after your group is out of sight, you return; walking into the village at a quick pace. The straggling villagers stop what they are doing and some even approach your likenesses. As the villagers draw nearer, the human mage casts Magic Missile, dropping three of them instantly to the ground where they stand. Tharivol’s likeness walks up to the closest one, draws a dagger, and attacks the closest villager. The monks race for the nearest house, bashing in the door and racing in; the screams of those inside crying out in pain, and then silence from the household. Sam’s likeness draws forth a silver great sword, attacking another nearby villager; the silver lettering “The Fist of Fate” glimmering in the sunlight.

The witness from the village races out of her home; charging right at you and the well. Before you can react, she has passed eerily through you as if nothing were there. The likenesses move from house to house and person to person, felling every villager where they stand. One of the villagers races toward the Sam’s likeness, driving a spear through the likeness’s right knee. The likeness looks down at his impaled leg and drops the Fist of Fate down through the man. With a loud crack, the back of the blade splinters, revealing a twisted, gnarled core.

A clapping sound starts coming from behind the abandoned house as a black robed figure walks into view. “Marvelous, just marvelous.”

Sam instantly recognized the menacing voice from years ago; floating backward, away from the hooded form.

The man who led your group to his village emerges from the first house on the right near the entrance of town. He stumbles out into the line of sight of the hooded figure saying “Wait! You were the being in my dream! You showed me where to go to find the saviors of our village!”

“Why yes, indeed I was!”

You feel another being pass through you as the elven mage races past the well, stopping in front of the man. He raises his arms, casting Burning Hands; igniting the man and the house behind him. The likeness of Sam breaks the spear off just to the inside of his knee; dropping the remainder from his hand onto the ground next to its wielder. The hooded figure approaches, putting a hand on the False Sam’s shoulder, saying “Marvelous work!”
The false group grabs torches and begins passing flames from building to building and collecting key organs from the fallen villagers. A small shudder from the well breaks the action around it. The cloaked figure turns ordering, “There’s one more in the well. We only need one survivor and this one knows too much! You there, AFTER IT!”

The darkness fell quickly again. The hooded figure’s voice outside still echoing through the well, “The rest of you, come with me; they should be returning shortly from their adventure. Best not leave a trail to follow.”

The quick sound of cutting on a reed suddenly stops. With several loud splashes, three of the adventurers land with a splash in the water. As they step into the shadows, they begin to glow with a strange demonic aura. Their forms change as the magic in the shadows reveal their true form; white glazed over eyes, skin rotting and falling off their bones. They search around for a few moments and continue down the channel and through a tunnel at the far wall.

Slowly, your group returns to normal; the boy still standing where he was, still dripping wet, drawing the dagger and reed back out of the water. With eyes wide and jaw dropped, Sam dropped the “F Bomb.”

As the group members turned to each other, saying how they would get the chance to face undead warriors, Sam turned to them saying uncharacteristically, “The villagers of Ember are dead; there is nothing more we can do for them. We need to LEAVE NOW!”

“But we haven’t proven our innocence!”

“That doesn’t matter anymore! WE NEED TO LEAVE!”

The boy turned to the group saying, “I do not sense the beings from yesterday anymore. The loud boom that you heard last night while you were sleeping wasn’t thunder; it originated from that cavern.”

Excited at the promise of adventure, the half-orc broke enough of the ice away to get through to the aquifer. Tharivol tied a new rope and they both joined the others. Reluctantly, Sam followed the rest of the group hesitantly through the cavern. Tharivol sent his familiar ahead to see what was before them, coming back with word of goblins speaking common.

The group approached as one of the goblins asked, “What are you doing down here?”
Sam asked, “Did you see any deformed beings pass through here?”
“The one we killed was sure deformed when the ceiling collapsed on him! Here, we’ll let you speak to the king!”

The goblins led the group to a nearby cavern filled with goblins. The king approached saying “Ah, finally freaks of the surface that wish to talk, rather than kill us on sight! What is it you wish?”

“What happened to the strange beings that passed through here?”

“One is over there” he said, pointing at three boiled human skulls on a rack. “It didn’t look like that originally; it was deformed and became human when we used a boom ball to collapse that cavern on it!”

The ranger asked, “What are Boom Balls?”

Pointing at gunpowder jars, the goblin king responded, “Boom Balls! They lie to us! They give us great glowstone and tell us they’ll kill the spiders in the adjacent cave. One week later, and the spiders still infest our cave!”

“Could you show us this glowstone?”

“If you promise to kill the spiders, we will show you our relic!”

The group accepted, and the goblin led them to a nearby chamber. Several goblins were kneeling, worshiping the glowstone. Tharivol could sense an evil aura about it; this was what was making the animals in the area [especially the bears] hostile.

Though most of the adventurers graciously spoke to the goblin king, the mage spoke of taking the stone outright. This offended the goblin king, and the attack began.

The goblins were quickly killed. The adventurers took the boom balls. One of the skulls trickled with the same green powder. Tharivol caught as much as he could and identified it as a transfiguration powder; used to make one being look like another, though in doing so, left too little to prove their innocence.

Sam walked up to the spot where the deadite had been killed, drawing the Fist of Fate from the rocks; the back of the sword still splintered, yet revealing the silver lettering on the side of the blade. As Sam drew the Fist of Fury to compare the two, he sensed the swords’ uncontrollable will to attack each other. Sam quickly stuck the Fist of Fate into his Bag of Holding.

The mage wanted to continue to the spider cave as Sam told them “NO!”

He explained about the evil wizard; Tim, and told them of the deadites. The mage ignored Sam and walked boldly to the spider cave. Upon seeing three giant spiders, he turned and fled for the aquifer, and the entrance.

They left for the town of Ethren with Thaven and the other evidence. They provided what evidence they had. Though there were a few missing pieces of evidence, the group was exonerated of the crimes of arson and genocide. They left the green glowstone in the possession of a high level Druid to dispose of. The mage tried to take on Thaven as an apprentice, though the boy wished to see his parents’ bodies laid safely to rest and learn magic through a less evil means.

Sam went quickly to a temple to try to seal the power of the Fist of Fate. The cleric worked as hard as he could. Though mostly sealed away, the powers of the enchantment were far too great to completely contain, though still manageable for the time being. The cleric also managed to enchant the Fist of Fury with a +1 bonus.

The adventurers left Ethren, knowing that though innocent of the crimes, there are now forces from the past coming back to disrupt their future; for reasons yet unknown…

Kidnappings in Dragonheim

Josh, Jeremy, Eric, Brian, Paul destroyed a horde of goblins who were kidnapping and killing the residents. Returned Kraig’s son’s body to Kraig the blacksmith. He is grateful and will provide information to them if requested.

Prisoner Transport
Imladris to Dunharrow

Tyler, Morgan, and Brian took part in a prisoner transport from Imladris to Dunharrow. They successfully transported the prisoner without too much difficulty. The prisoner escaped and with the helpful direction of a leader of a few villages they were directed to where the prisoner would be located. The leader was Berethor and he told the adventurer’s that he would tell them where to go so long as the adventurers would return the prisoner to him. In addition, they agreed that the villagers would be able to retrieve their gold from the stash while the adventurers would get any items that were there. The adventurers went to the stash first and took all the items and gold. Each character recieved 100 gold for transporting the prisoner and 250 and a magical item for raiding the criminals stash.

The Trial of Ember

With three days walk left to go on the return trip home from one of their endeavors, the group stops at a tavern in a neighboring village. As they sit around the bar in this sleepy town, a strange man wanders in, shaken with fear. One of the mages summons his weasel, commanding it to bite the fear-stricken traveler. With the stranger now shaken from fear and blood-loss, Tharivol approached the man asking what the matter was.

Spotting the weasel out of its environment, Sam Axe charged after it, chasing it through the bar; bashing tables as he tried to hunt the beast. The Halfling in the group jumped on top of a nearby table in order to help pursue the weasel, successfully keeping his footing as the Champion of Thor knocked the table on its side with a heavy swing of his sword.

With a final glorious swing of his sword, the weasel vanished into smoke and flame. The barkeep smiled and gathered his winnings from the various other patrons who had placed bets on the weasel, allowing them to leave without paying for the damages; having witnessed such entertainment and making enough profit in the impromptu endeavor.

With his once bleeding wound burned shut from the weasel bursting into flame at his feet, Tharivol ushered the nervous, scorched man out of the establishment and asked once more what problems the man was facing.

The man explained that he was a resident of Ember; a city a day’s walk from their current village. The village of Ember had been plagued by bear numerous recent bear attacks and was searching for adventurers who could help him. The group accepted and followed the man to his village.

As the group entered Ember, they noticed several houses along either side of the road, and to the far end of the village set a trading post. Only a handful of villagers dared venture out of their homes, the rest could be seen in the windows of the houses. As the adventurers would find, the farmers were too afraid to let their animals out to pasture or tend to their crops for fear of being attacked in their fields.

Before leaving town, the paladin approached the trading hub to search for some kind of improved gear, to find a +1 long sword that the merchant was willing to part with. One of the mages searched the town and discovered an abandoned house. Thrilled at the thought of some valuables, he approached; the remnants of the slashed and clawed door crumbling on contact. Reaching in a second time, the man knocked on the wall; dust and debris falling in the vibrations’ wake.

Under persuasion, the Halfling entered the abandoned one-story home to find a crushed bed at the far end of the room and a large red stain in the center of the room. As the group watched, a young boy appeared around the back side of the house saying terrified, “IT’S YOU! .. and yet it’s not you.”

Tharivol approached the boy wondering who the child was staring at. The boy’s white glazed eyes showed physical blindness, though Tharivol recognized a magical aura about the boy. Tharivol asked, “What is your name and what is it you mean by what you say?”

“My name is Thaven. I have seen all of you in my vision, and yet it’s not you. You will all play an important role in this village in the near future, though I know not when or how you will be involved. I have an uneasy feeling about this future; could I search your gear for something that could help me, like a dagger or something?”

One of the adventurers told the boy “You should go home to your family.”

Putting his hand on the abandoned home, the boy said “This was my home, and my parents are no longer in this world.”

The elven mage in the group handed the boy one of his daggers. The boy thanked them and disappeared into the village. The group followed the bear path out of the town to a small cave at the center of a glade in the forest.

The paladin walked slowly into the darkness, illuminated by the light of a spell cast by one of the mages. Soon into the cave, two large bears came into view along the nearby cave walls. The group slowly followed silently behind him. Breaking the silence, one of the mages fired a spell at a nearby bear, waking it and the others in the cavern. At that moment, the bad bear joke-fest would commence.. and the battle, of course…

The two bears charged at the intruders; one from their left and one from their right. Volleys of spells, swords, and claws flew between the opposing forces. The Halfling leapt upon the bear to the right as the Paladin dropped the Fist of Fury on the other.

Tharivol paused for a moment. Hearing heavy footsteps coming from further in the cavern, he cast Grease on a spot as far into the darkness as he could see. In response, the elven mage cast Web over the same general area. Barely within sight of the group’s few light sources, two of the approaching bears found themselves tangled in the thick webbing. A third bear slowly emerged into sight to the right of the web, getting closer by the second.

One of the human monks stepped forward, dropping Sam’s opponent with one last strike. Sam quickly turned to the monk and gave him a brief ‘that was my kill’ look.

As the approaching bear neared the group, it took a quick swipe at the Halfling, knocking him unconscious; the Halfling’s locked grip still managing to hold strong as the bear tried once more to throw its rider. Sam raced forward, finishing the first and cleaving the newly approached beast with one swing of the Fist of Fury. Tharivol turned quickly to heal the Halfling back to full health before turning his attention back to the approaching bears.

Each group member took in turn to whittle away at the nearby bear’s health. Though weakened by the numerous attacks, the monks managed to bear-ly miss their target. In one last attack, the elven mage cast Burning hands on the bear, igniting both the bear and a small portion of the webbing. As it fell, the two restrained bears burst free of the net, worked their way quickly to the edges of the web, and charged the group from either side.

The paladin charged the bear to the left, dropping the Fist of Fury and two damage spells upon it, though through all this damage, the bear still managed to stand. One of the human monks stepped in, punching at the same bear, though only dealing minimal damage.

The others focused their attention on the bear to the right, slashing and casting spells at the bear as the fires behind it spread across more of the web. With one last attack, the bear before the paladin fell in a heap. Tharivol raised his hands, igniting the last remaining bear, felling it in an instant. Smoke from the webbing began to fill the cavern and the group evacuated to the safety of the entrance. Whoever said “Only you can prevent forest fires” was never formerly introduced to this group [enough bad bear jokes now].

When the smoke subsided, the group entered the cave, passively searching for anything out of the ordinary. The group soon found three bodies at the far end of the cavern; appearing at a glance to have been mauled by bears. The human mage and several others searched the bodies for any personal belongings. Among the remains were 70 gold pieces and an ornately carved gold locket. The image within the locket resembled one of the other humans near it.

The group retired once more for the cave entrance. Tharvol and the Halfling decided to head back for town to deliver the news, while the others began to quarrel and brawl at the mouth of the cave. As the two approached the town, they began to see columns of black smoke rising high into the sky, coming from where the village was. They diverted away from the bear path directly through the woods, soon coming upon the clearing housing the village of Ember. Most of the buildings of the village were ablaze, the bodies of the citizens littered the clearing, though no trace of those responsible could be found at a glance.

The paced carefully just within the forest, stopping at the well-trodden path at the far edge of town. Staring in disbelief at the sight, they barely noticed a group of armed soldiers approaching them. The soldiers called to the two saying, “You there! Halt! We must speak with you!”

As the soldiers approached, they noticed Tharvol’s fine noble clothes. The leader bowed his head and said “Sir, we are guards from a nearby village; we saw the smoke and came to Ember trying to find out what was going on. Who may I ask are you and why are you here?”

Tharvol introduced himself as Tharvol Davarol III and explained that he was part of a group that had been asked to dispatch of some bears that had been terrorizing the village. Satisfied with the answer, the guard asked if there were any other travelers with him. Tharvol nodded, telling the guard that the rest of his group was up a bear trail near the cave where the bears had been. They walked quickly up the bear trail and soon rejoined the group.

When the adventurers were reunited, the leader of the guard asked them to accompany him to their nearby village so the matter of Ember could be deliberated. The adventurers accepted, following the guards back to the nearby village and gave the locket and coins they had found to the authorities.

The group awaited word in the village’s temple for quite some time. Suddenly there was a loud commotion outside. Armor-clad soldiers wielding great swords burst into the room, surrounding the group. The circle of soldiers parted as a village elder stepped forth asking “Were you recently in the village of Ember?”

Tharvol stepped forward and responded, “Yes we were, why do you ask?”

“I have a witness; a survivor of the destruction of Ember, who claims that you committed arson and genocide of the entire village. I don’t know what happened to our sister village, though at a glance I don’t believe ones such as you could have done such atrocities. I have heard your accounts and believe in the possibility of a mis-accusation, though of any of this, I cannot be sure. It is customary that we hold a trial to prove guilt or innocence; though strangers to this area, this custom shall be granted unto you. We will allow you a few days to gather physical evidence as proof before your trial.”

The paladin inquired “May we also speak to this witness?”

“I will have the witness called to this temple so you may speak with her, though remember, we will be watching out for her safety.”

A soldier standing behind the village elder left and soon came back with the middle-aged human; a woman who the group had seen in front of her house when they first arrived in Ember. She screamed in terror, turned, and tried to escape back past the guard yelling “It’s THEM! They slaughtered everyone in my village!”

The elder put a hand on her shoulder saying calmly “Easy, easy now. No harm will come to you.” Turning back to the adventurers, he said “You may speak with her now if you wish.”

Over the next few minutes, the group asked various questions of her. As proof of their sincere gesture, Sam gave the Halfling a potion, claiming it was a Potion of Truth. The Halfling swallowed every drop of the strange potion, instantly believing that every word uttered would be the truth. As the questions continued, the elven mage and Tharivol asked what weapons and spells they were suspected of using; though the mage knew Mage Hand and could perform it, Tharivol seemed perplexed that the weapon he was supposed to have used was a dagger.

Sam stepped forward and asked, “And what weapon was I supposed to have used?”

“A magical Great Sword!”

“Was this great sword silver?”

“Yes, and inscribed with a name!”

“What was the name on the sword?”

“I couldn’t tell; I was running for my life!”

Sam tried to disprove the story as being false, by claiming that it couldn’t have been him, though the elder seemed unconvinced. With nothing more to add, the woman was ushered away. The elder turned to the group and said “We will allow you to search the area in and surrounding Ember for any information of your innocence, though we will have to put a tracer spell on all of you. If you should run, we will be forced to hunt you; do you understand?”

The group agreed to the terms, the spell was placed upon them, and they were allowed to spend the night in the village to rest and gather supplies for the coming days. In the local shop, the group members who wished could purchase each one Bag of Holding to help them on their quest…

Food For Thought

There are many quests that I can’t remember every detail on or missed out on some details in.. here’s a listing of some that might jump-start someone’s memory.. these are just the ones I or the group I was/am part of have been involved in…

Rescue the Farmer’s Daughter (mission fail / Muttins shack) – Paul
Salt Marsh Part 1 – Troy
Salt Marsh Part 2 – Morgan
Water in the Desert (Late Summer ’13) – Brent (off site)
Stone of Multiplying (Sat. Feb. 22) – Ben (off site)
Invading Army (Jan. / Feb. ?) – Tyler
Prisoner Transfer (Sun. Mar. 9) – Josh (off site)
Missing Townsfolk (Mar. 17) – Troy

and other various stories I wasn’t part of… And if there are any details I missed that the group believes I should add from that given campaign, feel free to tell me or leave a message in some media or in the comments section…

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The Passing Caravan

Early one morning there is a knocking at the guild house doors. A local emissary by the name of Tharoo has led a passing caravan to the doorstep of the guild asking for the group’s assistance. As Tharoo explains, the caravan of five wagons is hauling goods from the kingdom of Stifen [far to the north] through Salt Marsh, and to their home kingdom of Socron [several days to the south]. Tharoo has heard rumors of a group of thieves going by the name “The Burning Blades,” which have been hitting passing caravans south of Salt Marsh and asks for the guild’s help in getting the caravan safely through.

Three adventurers accept and join the five carts as they traverse the hostile area. Questioning their cargo, the mage summons his familiar; a weasel, to search the carts. The rear cart houses boxes of grain and other assorted foods. As the weasel tries to investigate the second to last cart, one of the riding archers sees the animal digging into the cargo and kills it with a single arrow.

A few miles south of Salt Marsh the caravan is attacked by twelve bandits. Though most of the first wave falls easily, a second wave is soon to follow. Ishmail: the leader of the archers tries desperately to fend off his wagon, while Mylus: the accomplished swordsman of the caravan, raced off into the woods to take on the bandits head on. Seeing that the group is outnumbered, he orders the wagons to make a run for it. Before they can react any further, the adventurers and Tharoo are shot down.

The group awakens with a start at the side of the road; their wounds bandaged and healing. A group of six humans stand in a circle around them. Though initially startled, the faces of some of the local farmers [seen many times visiting Salt Marsh for goods or visiting with its residents] stand around them. They explain that their group was deceived: The caravan was not intended to be a peaceful trade between the two kingdoms, but rather the pillaging of one by the other. Socron had been in a famine, so they decided to attack the peaceful kingdom of Stifen; well known for its rich, bountiful harvests.

The thieves themselves were just Socron soldiers in disguise. They ask the group to help them stop the caravan before it gets to the border of its home kingdom. Though food is part of the cargo, the false thieves also stole weapons and treasure which should be returned to its rightful owners.

They ask where Tharoo is and one of the farmers points to a crumpled heap, covered with a blanket, saying “That’s him over there. We could do nothing to save him.”

As they rise, the adventurers ask where the caravan is, finding that it had only gone a few miles before making camp. Under the cover of darkness, the group catches up to the caravan. The six farmers stay further behind, saying that if the adventurers need assistance, they will be shortly behind.

The human mage of the group re-summons his familiar, sending the weasel in to investigate the caravan and himself taking up a safe hiding position far from the encampment. The barbarian charges in, startling the rear guards. The ranger takes similar measures, eventually finding the thick underbrush of the forest to be of greater use.

The mage uses his ranged abilities to take out as many enemies as possible from his safe distance, the ranger takes whatever chances he can to take on opponents one at a time, and the barbarian soon finds himself swarmed by countless opponents. Two of the farmers, seeing the dire straits the barbarian is in, charge in: one with a bow drawn, fending off the opponents, the other using what healing kits they have to repeatedly get the barbarian back on his feet.

Before long, the bandits are no more, as are two of the six farmers. The farmers thank the adventurers for their assistance, turning the wagons back in the direction of Salt Marsh and hooking them up in line. As a final thanks, the farmers find some gold pouches hidden among the fallen bandits, rewarding the adventurers and bidding them farewell as the farmers endeavor to deliver the wagons at least as far as Salt Marsh, and to have its cargo delivered back to where it belongs…

The Wizard's Tomb

While wandering the nearby roads one day, a panicky rogue runs into the group. Falling backward, horrified and gasping for air, the man almost incoherently mumbles something about the dead rising and chasing him. Behind him, a slow procession of zombies creep ever closer to the group.

The human mage summons his familiar: a crow, to fly overhead and oversee the area. Not wanting to be directly involved with hand to hand conflict with the undead, the rogue races ahead several yards, scaling the tallest tree he can find along the road. The other mage bides his time, waiting for the zombies to come into range. At the last moment, the elven mage charges forward, casting web on the narrow road. Entangled by the webbing, the elven mage tosses a few lit torches into the sticky threads, igniting the zombies where they stand.

High above, the rogue loses concentration on the zombies, seeing instead, a small annoying crow flying around his head. With a single crossbow bolt, the crow disappears. Satisfied with his work, the rogue looks down only to find that the lower branches of the very tree he is hidden in high above is on fire.

With the zombies quickly dealt with, the mages put out the burning branches and rejoin the stranger; still curled up in the middle of the road. “Why are you running from those zombies?”

“I heard tell of a wizard’s tomb in the area with treasures beyond imagining. I sought it out, worked my way through the vault, and found this book. When I removed it from the pedestal the zombies came back to life! I’ve been running for dear life ever since!”

The thief reveals an ancient artifact to the group; the Book of Seals. As one of the mages tries to decipher it, he realizes that the book is a complex spell, written in eight known languages and many more that have been lost to history, and as such cannot be transcribed or copied.

The adventurers soon agreed to return the book to its rightful place. As quickly as the thief had appeared, he had vanished down the path at an amazing pace. The adventurers continued to the graveyard, finding several freshly raised zombies patrolling the grounds; dirt still crumbling off their corpses. In no time, the stragglers had been dealt with. For good measure, the elven mage walked over to an undisturbed grave. Pouring water on it, he bent down, casting shocking grasp on the wet ground at his feet (forgetting that graves are dug 6’ deep and that the water he was standing in was the very conductor for the electrical spell he wished to cast).

Moving forward into the crypt at the far end of the graveyard, the group noticed a ceremonial altar to their left and a stone stairway heading down into the darkness of the crypts. The thief raced blindly down the steps, stopping short of a deep pit. the mages followed cautiously down, meeting the thief at the bottom.

To the right and left were two cobblestone bridges. The thief walked casually across the one to his right with no problems. The human mage stepped onto the left bridge, promptly falling through the loose stones, thirty feet into a moat of sewage.

Crossing quickly, the elven mage tossed a lit torch into the chasm, igniting the stagnant sewage where it landed. The rogue drew his crossbow, dipping the bolt in a healing potion, before firing it at the unconscious mage at the bottom.

Healed back to consciousness, the mage looked around for a way out, finding a ladder nearby. As he drug himself slowly toward the ladder, the mage at the top of the pit tried to help his fallen comrade. Stirring the sewage with Mage Hand did nothing to douse the flame, instead making it burn much hotter and faster. The mage at the bottom of the pit frantically scrambled up the ladder just as the flames enveloped the sewage he was just crawling through.

Finally safely across the gap, the adventurers found themselves walking along an ornately crafted iron fence. Walking toward the left, they quickly found the gate, with several zombies awaiting them. The elven mage cast Shocking Grasp on the iron fence, severely injuring three that were touching the iron fence. The others quickly dealt with the last of the opponents. Beyond the gate, another series of cobblestone bridges lay, spanning a wide chasm.

The thief casually walked ahead as the mages cast Mend with every step they took. Near the end, the thief tripped on a section of loose stones, responding back to his allies “Be careful guys, this bridge isn’t safe!”

At the last bend in the bridge, they notice a group of zombies approaching them through the darkness from a large concrete balcony. Casting web once more, and using what bolts and torches they can, they find the zombies as little more than trivial matters to contend with.

At the left side of the balcony, another iron gate bars their way. Picking the lock, the group enters the burial chamber. Four stone sarcophagus line the walls to the left and right of them. At the far end of the chamber, a book pedestal stands before a more massive sarcophagus. As the thief approaches the book pedestal, the stone lids slide off to the sides of each sarcophagus. Four warriors on each side wielding ancient long swords stumble out of their resting places and charge at the group.

The powerful mage begins to rise from the crypt at the far end of the room. With a quick jolt, the thief lunges forward, dropping the book back into its original place. The lids on the sarcophagus slam shut, knocking the mage back down into his entombment.

After dealing with the warriors, their attention focuses on the mage. The adventurers take turns picking up the Book of Sealing, letting the lid rise enough to cast a spell or fire a bolt, before replacing the book with a heavy slam as the sarcophagus lid simultaneously slams shut beyond it.

Unable to attack in return, the great mage soon falls victim to the repetitive sequence. Upon his death, the adventurers search the tomb for anything of value, finding 200 gold pieces hidden among the sarcophagus and a solid gold candlestick, worth 100 gold alone. Seeing just a fraction of the Book of Sealing’s potential, one of the mages takes the relic, and they leave the darkness of the tomb for the light of the late afternoon sun.

With another adventure behind them, they leave the graveyard for the comforts of home.

Neverwinter Nights
Prelude / Chapter 1

The Frozen North: the name given to the stark and unforgiving frontier that lies beyond the High Moor of Faerun. A bleak wilderness where barbarian clans and tribes of giants roam the land and fierce dragons rule the skies. But amidst the frozen savagery stands a bastion of civilization of civilization: the City of Neverwinter, Jewel of the North. Behind the city’s high walls, those both hardy and brave carve out an existence under the guidance and protection of the legendary hero, Lord Nasher Alagondar. Yet there are some things that all the courage in the world cannot stand against.

A virulent plague swept through the city, a terrible affliction that began in the Beggar’s Nest. Soon, all of Neverwinter would feel the touch of the Wailing Death. The disease could not be cured. Panic ensued; the streets of Neverwinter erupted into violence. The Jewel of the North was brought to its knees. To save Neverwinter, Lady Arabeth de Tylmarande, Paladin of Tyr and Lord Nasher’s right hand, put forth a call for a champion. A rush of would-be heroes answered her call: some drawn by the promises of grandeur and glory, others by the lure of gold. Those with the greatest potential were initiated into the Academy to train and study under the greatest minds of Neverwinter, all in the hopes a champion might emerge to save the city from the Wailing Death.. and whatever sinister force might be behind it.

Given the experiences you have all been through, you were all accepted without question. Within a short time, you had far surpassed all the others and to the will of your instructors have been granted your final challenges. On the morning of your final challenges you wake and find yourselves in your quarters…

After lighting the curtains of the small commons area ablaze, only to be extinguished by the vigilant guards and their water buckets, the elite group of students descended their tower dormitory to briefly speak with a dwarven weapons merchant at the bottom of the steps. The students followed their orders and completed one challenge of their choice each to graduate:

The melee challengers faced a powerful undergraduate who had bragged to all of being a formidable foe; finding soon that he should not have volunteered lightly for the position that day.

The mage challengers were given three scrolls with which they could imprint one level 1 spell of their choice, and use magic to destroy portrait busts in the likeness of the leader of the challenges.

The cleric challengers were asked by a disgruntled elven cleric to complete a healing challenge on a man at the far corner of the room. The cleric asked them to hastily complete their challenge of healing or in some manner silencing the annoying sod in the corner so his headaches would cease; upon which the man in the corner shouted “I’m not Dead! I’m feeling better! I Feel GIDDY!!” .. and upon healing him, the man wished for the brave healer to escape out the window… yeah, Monty Python and the Holy Grail jokes intended…

Upon the last hero’s completion of their trials, they were allowed into the South Assembly Hall for their graduation ceremony to commence. Lady Arabeth began the ceremony, though was interrupted by the slowly growing sounds of screaming from other corridors. The screaming ceased and a group of goblins and humans burst through the door, though were quickly destroyed.

Lady Arabeth hastily informed the group that she had just returned to Neverwinter with four creatures that held the cure for the Wailing Death, and that the city’s enemies must have somehow tracked her location. With the safety of the Waterdavian Creatures at risk, Lady Arabeth asked the students to find the creatures and protect them. The adventurers tried squeezing through the thin windows and trying to break through the ceiling to create a shortcut, though were unable to break through the ancient walls of the college.

The students sent the guards who had survived out of the room to see if the coast was clear, only to hear the painful screams and clanging of falling armor moments later. Seeing no other way around it, they left the room, finding three goblins digging through the remains of the fallen guards. The goblins fell within the first two rounds. With more cackling coming from the main training hall, the group followed the passages away from the noise; using the key to gain entrance to a series of passages.

Making their way through a storage room (of which one of the mages lit the straw ablaze on the way through), through a small library (leaving the copies of Applied Mathematics for Battlefield Tacticians), and sneaking around a room full of goblins, the group found a room in which a professor lay cold and motionless. At the far corner of the room sat a door leading down a hallway to an oblivious human standing guard outside a room; the hallway making a right angle before the door, leading down and further away.

Quickly convincing and restraining the human, they learned that he was guarding an important room. Half of the adventurers went into the small library, where piles of bones littered the exterior walls. The adventurers were beginning to get a bad feeling, when the rogue among them stopped outside the doorway, slamming the door with all his might with his allies still in the room. The skeletons retook their original forms and began their attack.

While half the group fought, surrounded by skeletons, the other half of the group went down the hall, confronting the goblins in an adjacent room. Though injured, both groups survived the encounter, meeting up once again at the room of dead goblins.

The group passed through a door at the far end of the room, to find a lavish commons with a pond at the center, surrounded by a row of stone benches. The human at the far end yelled at a goblin “What?! You’ve found them; this is good news! Where? Just through those doors! Go tell the others!”

Noticing the students, his tone changed from joy to disdain as he shouted, “I guess there are still some survivors in this college; though not for long!”

Summoning a group of skeletons and goblins, he yelled “Attack!”

One of the mages cast web on the area, restricting the movements of all in the room. From their comfortable distance, the students tossed lit torches into the webbing, igniting the sticky fibers and severely burning those in the room; taking ranged shots at those still alive.

Beyond the room, the group found the stairwell leading into a large stable. At the bottom of the steps, they find a group of goblins swarming an old human Priest from Helm’s Hold and an elven Priest of Tyr. The group engages the enemies, though believing the human and elf are being protected [instead of swarmed and attacked] by the goblins, one of the mages begins casting offensive spells on the human. From the far end of the stable, four creatures race through the open doors; a dryad yelling in a terrified voice, “No, I don’t want to die here!”

With the goblins soon dealt with, the human [going by the name Desther Indelayne] begins yelling “No, how could this happen! The Creatures are gone! All is lost!”

As several Neverwinter soldiers ran into the room, the human mage asked “If you were standing outside the door, why didn’t you stop the creatures from escaping.”

Exhausted, one responded “We tried to stop them, but the cocatrice turned two of our fellow guards to stone. The others escaped in the confusion.”

The young elven mage responded “Oh yeah, forgot about the cocatrice!”

The ally, Fenthic Moss, tries to calm his ally and ease the tense situation, being unable to put his friend’s mind at ease as Desther storms off into the academy to search for Lady Arabeth. Fenthic apologizes for Desther’s words and asks that the group accompany Boron of the Neverwinter Nine to the Halls of Justice in the Neverwinter City Core for their safety; regrettably having to race off to tell the mages to set up a barrier so the Waterdavian Creatures don’t get beyond the city walls.

In one brutal attack, the promises of those at the academy had been all but snuffed out. Hope disappeared with the Waterdavian Creatures, and the weight of the terrible sickness pressed down on the city once more, Even more chilling, the whispered rumors of enemies seeking to destroy Neverwinter from within had proved true, though the identity of those responsible for the slaughter was yet unknown. Still, a flicker of hope yet remained, for not all had died in the attack. From the bloody carnage at the Academy, a small group of survivors had stepped forward; a group of champions to carry the torch in this darkest hour….

Within the week, the group had reassembled in the Halls of Justice, finding that there was still hope in curing the Wailing Death. After quickly meeting Fenthic and Desther, the group sought Lady Arabeth, who quickly asked an important mission of the group; to seek out the missing Waterdavian Creatures that were still rumored to be within the city walls. The group accepted through their various means and proceeded onward to the main entrance for first sight of the City Core…

Mystery of Deadwood

Deep in the marshy woods, down a long forgotten path rests the gates of the Forgotten Village of Deadwood. The Halfling in the group takes a running start, trying to climb the bars, but soon finds that they are too high scale. As a group of adventurers wander through the rot iron gates, they see old weather-beaten houses along an unkempt dirt path. Gnarled trees grow hither and yon in a tangled mess. The people mournfully go about their daily business.

The adventurers approach one of the villagers, asking what is wrong. The villager answers sorrowfully, pointing to the small stone castle at the end of the road “One of the princes invited the children of our village into the palace yesterday and we haven’t heard from them since. We’ve tried visiting the palace to investigate, but there seems to be a barrier over the gate that we can’t pass through. Would you please find out what is going on in there?”

The group wanders up to the gate, warily testing the barrier, only to find that it doesn’t affect them. They pass through it, up a flight of stone steps, and up to a pair of massive oak doors. Inside the dark room, the newfound light ripples across the torn and tattered banners along either wall. The leaves and small rubble rustle in the breeze of the dirty stone floor.

Feeling unease, the Black Guard asks his deity “Are there any undead here.”
A low rumbling voice echoes “Yes.”
“Where are they?”
“Above you.”

The group walks cautiously across the low lit room. Soon a small orb at the far end of the immense chamber begins to glow more vibrantly. The form of a transparent hooded humanoid being emerges, and the group hastily charges at the apparition. With several quick swings, the group realizes that their attacks simply pass through the smoky image. The visage tells them, “I am the Spirit of Justice. It seems the Day of Prophecy has come. You now have a great task before you. This kingdom was once ruled by a fair and just king who had two sons. Before he could name a successor he passed on to the next world. In addition, a grave crime has occurred within the walls of this castle. Your quest is twofold: speak to the princes and decide who is the rightful heir, and uncover the events that happened within these walls. Behind me are two doors; one that leads to Boromir in the Northern Wing, and one that leads to Casimir in the Southern Wing. Talk to both, find the clues and answer the unanswered question that plagues this realm.”

The adventurers ascend the steps to the Northern Wing first. At the top of the landing, they find book shelves along the adjacent walls and two running the center. Each isle appears to have four to five suits of armor standing vigil along the book cases. As one of the barbarians approaches, he smugly pushes one of the suits of rusted chain armor over, only for it to react; catching itself before it can fully fall over.

As it stands back up, an empty skull stares out from under the helmet back at the barbarian. The other four down that isle turn and stare at the intruders. Drawing their long swords, they turn and attack. Quickly defeating the small number of low level skeletons, the group is invigorated and ready for more.

Instead of proceeding down the empty isle, they instead walk along the bookshelf ends, instigating a fight with the last two rows of rusted armor-encased soldiers. The nine skeletons prove more of a challenge to the group, as during the course of the battle one falls unconscious and a few others become badly wounded.

At the end of the battle, after reviving their fallen comrade, the barbarian who instigated shouts into the darkness beyond the bookshelves “Hey YOU GUYS!”

A clattering of armor slowly draws louder and nearer as eighteen armor-clad skeletons slowly march in formation, filling each isle. In no time, the group is surrounded and vastly out-numbered. Feeling the moment is right, the Black Guard uses an ability he had not considered up to this date; Turn Undead. Only two of the eighteen skeletons succeed their saving throw. In an instant, the other sixteen fall in a pile of ash and rusted metal. The surviving skeletons soon perish.

At the far end of the room, beyond an iron gate sits the remains of Boromir on a ancient stone throne. As the group approaches, he raises his skull. The group gets down to business, asking what happened to the children.

“My brother called the children into the castle to read them a story. I am unsure what happened in his wing, though I heard the terrified screams echoing from the children as they died.”

“Why do you see yourself as the better candidate for king?”

“I am the elder brother and rightful ruler over these lands! Why is there any need for trivial discussion?”

With Boromir focused on the Black Guard, one of the group members tries sneaking around behind the prince to procure something of value from him. Boromir draws his jewel-encrusted long sword, pointing it right at the thief saying “Do not tempt me.”

With their business in the Northern wing complete, the adventurers return to the main hall and ascend the stairs to the Southern wing. Still bearing the wounds from their last encounter, the group quietly slips past the rows of armor [encasing the half-rotten, fleshy forms of zombies; eternally standing vigil over their prince]. At the far end of the room, they slip through the iron gates and approach Casimir; flesh falling off his bones, and only a shadow of his former self. As they draw nearer, Casimir mumbles mournfully “The children: they’re all dead.”

The Back Guard asks “Could I stab you a few times?”

“Feel free to do so; I don’t care anymore. I will not die anyway, no matter how many times you strike at me.”

As the Black Guard repeatedly stabs the prince, the others ask, “What happened to the children?”

“I asked the children into my home to read them a story; I used to love seeing their excited faces as I wove the many fantastic tales… On that day, I was reading through a story I had just found. Half-way through the tale, the words began to make no sense. Suddenly, each of the children burst into a column of flame. I was horrified and could do nothing to save them. I accept my curse; my punishment for my crime.”

“Where did this take place?”

“At the reading room to the Southeast corner of this wing.”

With nothing else to discuss, the group made their way cautiously through the rows of undead guardians to the reading room. As they entered, they noticed a massive book, open on a stand at the far end of the room, surrounded by several semi-circular patterned scorch marks on the stone floor. The group carefully spread out throughout the room to see what they could find. One of the group members tried unsuccessfully reading the foreign script. Half-way down the page, he realized that the words were moving, as if reading the text through an ebbing pool of water.

As the group was leaving, one of them noticed the scorched outline of an adult figure near the door.

At the bottom of the steps, the group confronted the Spirit of Justice saying “We are ready to make our decision.”

“I shall call the princes down then.”

Moments later, both princes stood before the adventurers. The Spirit asked “What have you uncovered and which of the princes should have been named king? Need I remind you, your decision will have a lasting effect on the people of this kingdom. Choose wisely.”

The Halfling barbarian responded, “Bomir blame for deaths!”

“We have evidence that Boromir was the one responsible for the deaths of the children and that Casimir should be the true leader of these lands.”

The spirit responded, “Your decision has been made.”

Furious at the results, Boromir shouted “You fools! I am the rightful ruler of these lands!” Black arms reach through the stone floor, grabbing onto Boromir and dragging him down as he continues “Hell itself will not contain me! I shall return and have my REVENGE!”

The Black Guard holds up a middle finger at the prince as Boromir disappears into the stone floor. The Spirit of Justice vanishes as Prince Casimir’s appearances slowly return to their former glory. The young prince walks up to the adventurers saying “I am grateful to you all for your help. I shall become the best ruler I can be, I promise you. This may not seem like much, but please take this gold as a token of this village’s thanks, and farewell in your journeys.”

The group turns and leaves the palace. As they descend the stone steps, they feel countless cold presences passing through them. At the gates, they look out as the village returns to its former glory; the buildings standing new and proud, the well kept yards abloom with countless varieties of flowers. The parents drop to their knees as their children reform and race into their arms.

Moments later everything fades. The buildings now completely gone, say for maybe the remnants of an old foundation or a corner post. The castle behind them is now an undistinguishable pile of rubble and twisted vines. The great iron gates that separated the village from the palace lie at the adventurers’ feet, mostly buried and rusted away. At the far end of the village near the mangled iron gate stands the Spirit of Justice, beckoning the adventurers forward.

“The citizens of this village thank you sincerely for what you’ve done. The crime you have uncovered happened well over a century ago. Now after all this time, the villagers are at peace.”

Calmly, the Spirit turns and leads the group back to the well trodden roads, bidding them farewell in all their future endeavors.


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