Campaign of the Month: June 2021

Curiosities and Acquisitions

Penultimate Perceptions
Entrance to The Fortress of Conclusion

We rejoined the Legion of Hope just as the Phantom Flyer arrived at its destination.

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There was an immediate battle that started upon arrival.

It turned out that Haldir had been subject to a Magic Jar spell. All Haldir could see was grey, featureless surroundings. He could sense nearby lifeforms and he gained some sense of how powerful each one was.

In the meantime, Brie, with her ability to detect evil, had noticed that Haldir was detecting evil. Brie also detected another smaller source of evil that was on the phantom flyer with the party.

Luckily Haldir was able to act first. As people began to disembark from the flyer, Haldir called upon his divine ability to produce Silver Fire. This immediately expelled the evil life force that was inhabiting his body. However, it also created an inter planar rift. A large demon noticed and began to come through the rift. GASP!

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Safwin the Bold took flight and flew out to attack the foul demon. In the mean time, an imp tried to attack Quintus’s familiar, Sniper.

The party made short work of both demons. Brie was able to detect that the Amulet of the Void, worn by Haldir, was the source of the evil presence. After some discussion, you tossed it in the cloudy void and it disappeared into the negative energy plane.

Imagine a cut scene as the Amulet drifts endlessly through the negative energy plane. What is the ultimate fate of this being?

You gathered together on the small platform at the entrance to the Fortress. In front of you you could see

A pale stone face of fiendish expression and massive dimension stands out from the immense black wall like a piece of flotsam on a vertical sea of frozen oil. A stone ledge protrudes from the lower portion of the mouth like a thick tongue. At the rim of the ledge an iron post holds aloft a rusted lantern from which gleams an emerald light. The mouth overhangs a closed door of rusted metal; a pull ring hangs on the portal’s right side. Upon the door the following words are inscribed:

Fortress of Conclusion

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An image of an hour glass appeared over the phantom flyer that looked like it would take about a month for the sand to run out.

The party turned toward the door. The rusted iron door pulled open easily. It was unlocked and un-trapped. You stepped into a square chamber.

The interior is covered with a smooth plaster, upon which various scenes pictures, and glyphs have been painted. These paintings not only adorn the walls but also the floor and ceiling in a disorganized visual jumble: insectoid dragons fly through scarlet clouds while doing battle with immensely long tentacles that rise up out of a dark seascape below; worms whose size is measured in miles squirm across the countryside mindlessly laying waste to wilderness and civilization alike; a dozen man-sized insects flee a horde of thousands of wriggling, swarming inch-tall humans. These and many other disquieting images blend in, one to the next, so that it is sometimes difficult to determine the boundaries of each particular scene. To one side a single open exit also serves as the gaping maw of a rampaging worm.

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You moved on to the next room. You entered a small square chamber with unadorned walls. A metal hook has been affixed to the ceiling here. A human shape dangles from the hook on a leather strap. The figure wears only the tattered remnants of a robe, and so it is possible to see that its arms have been sewn to its sides and that its legs have been stitched together and, most disquieting of all, the same bulky black thread has so been used to sew the man’s eyes closed and lips shut. A low, inarticulate groan of pain issues from the dangling figure.

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As the party approached the figure, Winter recognized the hated figure of Desatysso, the former employer of her old adventuring party and the reason for her ill fated visit to the original Tomb of Horrors.

Those party members with a high enough wisdom could hear Desatysso projecting his thoughts. He says in hoarse mental words, “Release me from this horrible bondage, I beg you: kill me! I’ve lost all track of time, but it seems an eternity since I, Desatysso, entered this most accursed of places!”

After you promised to release him, Desatysso related what had happened to him here, in the fortress.

When he arrived to the fortress on the phantom flyer the ledge was not deserted; instead there he met a gaunt figure in a concealing cloak tending to the lamp. The figure watched Desatysso dismount from beneath its hood and stood mute for a few seconds after the mage first hailed it. It then said, ‘’Only one? I’ve no use for just one. The investiture of my consciousness into the Void requires more; I’ll have to wait a bit longer, I see. Now, then, what’s to be done with you, eh?" The figure then raised skeletal arms and began to cast a spell, but Desatysso was quicker. To his surprise, a single lightning bolt was enough to demolish the creature; it seemed as if it were nothing more then a simple skeleton.

After this, Desatysso’s recollection of events grows sketchy. He vaguely remembers entering the Fortress through the door, and remembers further navigating through many rooms and facing several dangers, although he can’t quite recall all the details. He does recall a pit filled with animated bones, an entity of abyssal power kept bound and controlled, a dark laboratory dedicated to the production of foul wights encased in ice, and lethal traps everywhere. The last thing Desatysso remembers is coming to a huge crystal sphere with many facets. Phantom faces crying in anguish were visible within many of the facets, but before the mage could investigate further a darkness came upon him and he remembers no more.

At this point Winter mercifully dispatched the suffering mage. Unfortunately, this triggered a horrible trap, the stitches throughout Desatysso’s body animated and began moving to Winter. Fortunately, Winter made her savings throw and was not stitched and hung on the hook.

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Now following Haldir’s divine Find the Path footsteps, you discovered a secret door behind Desattyo’s corpse and continued forward.

You followed the footsteps north (technically compass directions aren’t really applicable in this dungeon) until you came to a chamber on the right.

Wisps and tatters of vapor visible in the 20 ft. wide the corridor seems to give out to a larger area. It is impossible to determine the size of this chamber because it is filled with a a silvery mist shot through with delicate streamers of ebony. The mists slowly writhe and rotate, glowing internally with a sliver radiance. The sound of a periodic whimper, groan, and even a shrill but faint scream can be heard emanating from within the shrouding mists.

In the center of the chamber, you discovered a dretch, a type of low level demon, chained to the floor.

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The footsteps lead to a point in the room near the wall where they ended. As you were investigating, you were attacked by the Overseer.

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You made short work of him of course. After finding the secrety secret trap door in the floor of this room, you followed the footsteps into a narrow 4 ft. wide crawl space leading west.

The crawl space opened into a larger corridor which you followed north and eventually came to another place where the footsteps stopped.

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You could see a gargoyle at the end of the southern corridor.

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You decided to ignore the gargoyle (how disciplined) and Maxwell pointed out another secrety secret trap door. It opened into another narrow crawl space. This one opened into a chamber with a glowing portal in it.

This chamber is tiled almost completely with sections of dull black stone about a foot square. An archway framed in rough stone pierces one wall. Whatever might lie beyond the archway is obscured by a thickly roiling orange-hued haze. As your gaze lingers upon the arch, the keystone at the top of the arch begins to glow a hazel color, while the left base stone emanates a jade light and the right base-stone glows pearly white.

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Haldir’s footsteps went to all three stones and then to through the archway. You wisely pressed all three stones and the clouds in the archway cleared to show another room.

The first people through, Quintus and Brie, were immediately assaulted with a foul stench and attacked.

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Another demon met a rather quick end at the capable hands of the Legion of Hope.

At this point, as the party readied themselves to continue, the camera zoomed out and we concluded the adventure for the session

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Be sure to join us for the conclusion of the campaign next episode!

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The Flying Phantom
Farewell to the city

We joined the Legion of Hope as the intrepid band of adventurer’s prepared to enter the Icy Tower. BUT WAIT, first there was a different tower to enter.

During our hiatus over the summer I forgot a number of things. Sigh… oh well.. It’s all good. Plot immunity was granted to and from the Icy Tower.

The party approached the entrance to the Dreaming Tower.

The party bridge led south into a 20-foot-wide arched opening on the sleek side of a tower of gray stone and metal. The lintel of the arch was inscribed with a half-moon of inlaid silver, with a sprinkling of stars picked out with small gemstone flecks, although the layer of frost covering the carving made it difficult to see clearly. Beyond the arch, darkness and silence prevailed.

Following the footsteps of a Find the path spell, the party entered the tower

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The glowing blue divine footsteps led you directly to the center of the tower and you chose to follow the right-hand hallway.

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When you opened the door, you saw a massive chamber that was dimly but erratically lit through a wide opening in the wall to the south. You could see that some destructive force had smashed a rough hole in the stone floor. Cracked, splintered edges of the hole trace a chasm more that 100 feet wide from east to west, and perhaps half that north to south. The chasm lays bare the massive support column of iron and stone occupying the center of the tower.

Your eyes could trace the line of the wide column down into the lightless shell of the lower tower – truly a Stygian plunge – until darkness swallowed its lower extent completely. Revealed through the shattered remains of the floor was a small, circular platform 30 feet below the level of the rest of this chamber, attached to the side of the support column. The light is insufficient to provide positive identification to the dim objects just visible upon the platform.

You cautiously entered the chamber. Your caution was needed as you noticed and avoided the structurally unsound edges of the large hole in the floor.

Within a moment or two, you noticed a bizarre river of fog that poured in from the opening in the south wall. You began to hear the whispers of many tortured souls as it approached.

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Fortunately, the whispers and wails did not affect anyone adversely and the party made relatively short work of the fearsome Vestige. Although it did get a few hits on Brie, partially dissolving her flesh on each hit.

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At this point, the party turned its attentions to the platform.

This platform of stone jutted out over the black abyss below, attached to the tower’s central support column only on its northern end. The extensive edges of the shattered chamber above are picked out by flickering light, but below the jagged edge there is only chill darkness. The platform is traced with various decorative inlays of red stone, surrounding a 3-foot-tall stone dais. Securely fastened to the stone dais is an hourglass filled with blue sand. A message is engraved into the stone next to the hourglass in the same red stone a decorates the platform itself.

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On closer inspection by Quintus, he could read the message, “When the sands run out, bring the glass-about.”

Quintus used a spell to create a much larger and safe platform so, everyone in the party could join him.

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Quintus reached out and turned the hourglass and the blue sand began to pour through from top to bottom. It looked like it would take and hour for it to complete. After an hour of waiting, Quintus flipped the hour glass the other way and once again the sand poured from top to bottom. However, you felt an inaudible CLICK . You believed that this was the final puzzle and returned to the entrance to Tower 16.

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Once again you stand at the entrance to the Icy tower. The landing allows entry into a 20-foot-by-20-foot horizontal shaft bored directly into the ice of the spire. To either side of the ice tunnel stand what appear to be crude ice sculptures of jackal headed humanoids in robes. Centered over the top of the passage is a large eye carved in bas-relief. Only complete and utter darkness is discernible from within this ominous passage.

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You entered the opening. The corridor presses in on you like an icy sheath. Suddenly revealed by your light source are dim shapes caught within the translucent walls, floor, and even ceiling. As you move closer, the shapes resolve to the point of recognizability: humanoid forms are caught in the ice in a variety of orientations and contorted positions, like insects trapped in amber.

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At this point several party members felt the frozen winter wights begin to drain their life force, sucking away a few hit points. Brie, thinking quickly, began to sprint down the hallway and quickly discovered a pit trap. Luckily, she managed to grab the edge of the pit. With Winter’s help, Brie climbed safely up to the corridor. Meanwhile the rest of the party began to move forward, avoiding the large pit.

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At the end of the corridor you found that it terminated at a concave wall of slick ice. Bored into the center of the wall was a 4-foot -diameter shaft leading down at a 45-degree angle into the darkness. Carved in bas-relief around the circular hole was a clutch of writhing snakes. The serpents were entwined in a many-segmented circle. The eyes of the translucent snakes seem to gleam with a cold, blue light.

Haldir cast a fireball to destroy the snakes.

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This was successful. However, the true trap was revealed when a 60 foot long length of the ceiling collapsed trapping a few party members. Quintus cast an Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere and protected himself and Brie.

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Haldir, after freeing himself, summoned fire elemental which began to work it’s way through the collapsed tunnel.

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Eventually, everyone was freed and you examined the opening at the end of the corridor

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After some discussion, Brie jumped in the hole and, with the help of a levitation spell, began a controlled slide down the chute.

The slide empties you out onto a platform that overhangs a vast pit of roiling black vapor. The platform is slick, very narrow, and has no railings ‘or projections to’ grab as you skid across and toward the yawning abyss beyond.

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Fortunately, Quintus loaned Brie the immovable rod and Brie activated it to stop her slide. She also grabbed her brother, Safwin the Bold, who next came hurtling out the opening.

At this point, the Winter Wight that was lying in wait ambushed the siblings.

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Brie and Safwin made short work of it. The rest of the party safely slid down to the lower platform.

You found yourselves in a large chamber. The floor of which was filled with roiling black vapor. You could see:

A 30-foot-by-30-foot landing juts over the roiling black mist from the vast plane of ice constituting the eastern wall of this huge chamber. Flush with the ice face of the wall are a set of glowing red bars sealing off a 20-foot-square opening. Behind these bars are a horizontal set of green glowing bars, and beyond these can be made out a final set of coldly glowing blue bars, running vertically. In spite of all this light, shadows pool thickly in the void beyond.

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Above the bars, a message has been inscribed into the ice. Suddenly, you spy movement as the bars retract and a creature of two wings, a horse-like back, and two black tentacles can be seen in an icy chamber beyond the platform.

Using various means of flying and levitation, you traversed the chamber above the eerie mists and arrived on the landing. The message reads:

When the bars fall away,
The flyer stands revealed.
It can bring you my way,
By the route once concealed.”

Ahead, in a chamber you could see a creature immobilized within. There were golden manacles bonded to the far wall hold the creature in stasis.

Haldir used the silver key recovered from the Brine dragon’s lair to open the manacles and free the beast. Now released, it carefully moved out onto the platform and stretched its wings like some grotesque butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. It then squatted down in a manner suggestive of taking on riders.

After everyone mounted up, it lifted off. You watched as poor Sebastion, the green lizard, remained, abandoned on the platform. You could hear it exclaiming, "Consternation, mortification, irritation, desertion,…

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The wings of the phantom buffet the air with insane strength, bearing you high above the languidly boiling deck of cloudlike black vapor. The flyer pauses for a moment, then folds its wings, diving straight into the center of the Last Chasm! You plunge through opaque mists that whip past your face with an icy chill, soaking you with freezing condensation… but thankfully nothing worse.

For a timeless moment you seem suspended in a void of shadow, darkness and mists. Your extremities are beginning to lose feeling, and you seem to be having trouble remembering your own names, when suddenly the phantom flyer breaks through some interstice. Your faculties rally, and you perceive a vast wall of utter and complete blackness, stretching up, down, left, and right to the utmost limits of your vision; its scale is truly staggering. The flyer seems to be beating towards a barely visible sparkle of light, a solitary imperfection in an otherwise perfect void.

At this point, the camera zoomed out and we concluded the episode. We will pick up on Episode 79 as the phantom flyer arrives.

You can see a pale stone face of fiendish expression and massive dimension that stands out
from the immense black wall like a piece of flotsam on a vertical sea of frozen oil.

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A stone ledge protrudes from the lower portion of the mouth like a thick tongue. Your eerie beast of burden lights upon the platform and bends low, allowing you to dismount. At the rim of the ledge an iron post holds aloft a rusted lantern from which gleams an emerald light. The mouth overhangs a closed door of rusted metal; a pull ring hangs on the portal’s right side. Upon the door the following words are inscribed:

“Fortress of Conclusion”

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Weaving in the Dark
The last clue

Way back in June we joined the Legion of Hope as they studied Acerak’s rhyme in the safe room in Tower 2.

“The darkweaver endures the cold in her lair;
Grasp your fate with consumate care”

Once again you set off in the frigid City that Waits, traversing the icy bridges between tower entrances.

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With Haldir’s Find the Path spell you made your way to another Icy tower.

The tower at the end of the bridge was windowless and featureless, a dark finger of black stone was unadorned with even the simplest of designs. Unlike many of the other towers, a door of rough granite blocked the entryway. On the door, carved in bas relief, was what appeared to be the head of a horned ram. You could see a carved message scratched into the stone below the ram head. But the omnipresent frost blurred the image so much the message was unreadable.

You wiped off the frost and found that you were confronted with the visage of Orcus

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Below the face the scratched in message was revealed:

“Ware the weaver in her lair. – D.”

Fria, with a gentle shove, pushed the door open.

You stepped in the dark gloomy hallways. The darkness pressed in upon you like a palpable mantle. Two hallways diverged here. One straight ahead and the other to the right. You followed Haldir’s now hard to see glowing footsteps forward.

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It was impossible to see more that 15 feet ahead of you. Your vision seemed to be almost physically restricted by strands of tangible darkness. An eerie, oily chill caressed your face and hands as you proceeded through the cords of shadow.

As you moved further into the maze of corridors you could feel the twining strands of web-like darkness press closer. Where before the oily cords writhed into shadow under the application of direct light, they now teemed against you like a coarse sackcloth of umbra. It now became an effort to breath through the thickening cords of shadow. The shadow webs skimmed across your skin like the half-felt legs of scurrying insects of ice.

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As the party approached the center of the tower, still following Haldir’s dimly glowing find the path footprints, the webs of darkness grew even thicker.

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It was becoming difficult to move in any direction and your every movement drags against the darkness as if you were mired in ebony molasses. Suddenly, you heard a sound like dry leaves scraping on a stony surface: something was stirring in the very heart of the darkness. Sibilant whisperings accompanied the shape that briefly resolved from blackness before once again disappearing – something large, dark, and many legged.

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A tricky battle ensued. Quintus (and/or Haldir?) guessed roughly where the almost invisible foe was and managed to strike it with several bolts of lightning.

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gm- Alas, this was three months ago and I’m a little fuzzy on the details

Alas for the poor dark weaver, it succumbed rather quickly to the spells and melee attacks.

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The pressing darkness faded to the normal, chilly gloom of unlighted tower hallways.

You noticed a design on the ceiling 10 feet above you.

A lever of dark metal that rests nearest the position of a “-” that is carved in the stone. At the other possible lever position , a “+” has been carved into the stone.

Next to the lever is a plaque that reads in common, “This is the mechanism you seek. Permanent activation will not only achieve one of your goals, but also set in motion events of great magnitude.”

After a couple of experimental moves, you moved the lever to the “+” position and then back to the “-” position. The “+” lit up with a green glow and you felt an inaudible CLICK. You are sure something has been unlocked elsewhere in the city.

You moved on from this tower and followed Haldir’s footsteps to a distant tower that looked different from the other towers.

This tower was a spire of Black Ice. Unlike the rest of the towers in the city, this tower is square, and it rises to a sharp peak. More exceptionally, the Spire is constructed completely of a darkly opaque ice.

The spire reaches up from the murky obscurity below like a single finger stretching vainly for purchase it will never discover. The tower is perfectly smooth, almost like a very large but thing crystal. It rises to a bitter point far above your heads.

The bridge connecting the spire to the surrounding towers ends on a small landing built from the same slick, black material as the tower itself. The landing has neither an entrance nor any other means of ingress. In fact you cannot see a single window opening over all the visible surface of the spire. From the landing, it appears that a set of steep narrow stars has been cut into the outer wall of the spire, descending down the side of the monument toward some questionable destination below. The far limit of the stairs is lost around the side of the tower.

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The black line of the spire’s side cuts the horizon both above and below you, differentiated only by its absolute darkness from the dim, unenthusiastic light flickering through the empty space beyond. The stairs are only about 3 feet wide, and no curb or rail guards you against a misstep; a slip would send you cartwheeling into the abyss that awaits below.

You gathered you courage and began to descend the spire. You fought off a murder of negative fundamentals about halfway through the descent, avoiding being knocked off to certain doom. The entire trip down took over an hour.

The stair finally spirals down to its end, where what passes for the floor of the city exists: misty expanses of black-on-black vapor, roiling away in every direction from the foundation of the spire of black ice. The last step of the stair is just part of a larger landing that seems to skim just above the churning mists.

The landing allows entry into a 20×20′ foot horizontal shaft bored directly into the ice of the spire. To either side of the ice tunnel stand what appear to be crude ice sculptures of jackal-headed humanoids in robes. Centered over the top of the passage is a large eye carved in bas-relief. Only complete and utter darkness is discernible from within this ominous passage.

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At this point, the camera zoomed out with the party looking into the dark passage.

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Spiders and Webs
Fireball delight

As the camera zoom in we rejoined the Legion of Hope. The New Jersey Devils teleported away after recovering the Crown and Scepter from Fria.

Winter (or was it Marg?) rushed up to Fria and attempted to revivify her. Alas, that magic is not enough to revive someone who is missing her head.

Marg took a deep breath and cleared her mind. She began to pray to Ilmater. After establishing a familiar divine link to her deity each party member added their entreaty to call Fria’s soul back to her body. Marg then touched the Rod of Resurrection to Fria’s body.

Fria was walking in a verdant forest when she heard the call. Game was plentiful. The forest and meadows were beautiful. She felt at peace. But, here was the call, from her friends, and she realized there was still unfinished business. It just wasn’t time to give up on the mortal world. And she chose to return.

The party healed up and spent some time resting and identifying the loot from the brine dragon lair.

Paying attention to the next clue from Acererak’s rhyme,

“Beneath webs of glowing emerald
Hangs a riddle-box, ripe to be solved.”

With the help of a find the path spell, the party made their way to the entrance of yet another tower.

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The bridge led to an opening on the eastern side of a silent spire. You could see an arch that allowed entry into a hollow tower. However, you see a greenish fluorescence shinng up from below, highlighting the edges of the arch with a sickly hue.

You could see a mass of green-glowing webbing stretching throughout the entire diameter of the tower, starting ten feet below the entrance.

On closer inspection, you see Gossamer strands of gleaming emerald weave impossibly delicate designs against the dark. Space is tight between the strands, the largest openings the mass are no more than 5 feet wide. There is nowhere to stand except upon the glittering web-lines themselves. The pale light of the webs seems to chill rather than warm; heat is only a fading memory.

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The party cautiously made a few attempts at entering the tower. Soon there was a audience of the many legged variety.

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Using the Armani-Versace solution, the Quintus and Haldir went to work on the webs with fireballs, effectively burning away larges swaths of the webs and spiders.

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The remaining spiders were quickly dealt with and more fire balls blew through the bottom of the webbed expanse. This allowed Safwin enough space to fly down through the opening. In the distance he noticed a large square box, about ten feet per side, suspended beneath the web canopy.

As he approached it Safwin could see a ceiling consisting of an expansive mass of glowing webbing. There was a thick braid of luminescent webbing hanging many feet down from the central mass, suspending a black cube. There were strange designs etched in red, decorating the surface of the box.

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As soon as Safwin landed on the box, the Winter Wight, concealed on the far side of the box, scuttled around it and attacked.

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The rest of the party began to fly and levitate after Safwin. But, it was quite a distance to cover.

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Eventually, most of the party began to arrive and proceeded to beat up the Winter Wight.

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After the fight, you found something of interest on the bottom of the box. The underside of the cube had a riddle engraved in the ten by ten area. It was picked out in the same red stone that decorated the rest of the cube. Beneath the riddle were three plaques. Which you figured out, could be pressed.

The plaques depict
1) A mighty oak tree with many roots reaching down into loamy soil.
2) a cat with many hissing snake-headed tails.
3) a rope with one end frayed and partially unraveled.

The riddle was in common and could be easily read:

“Many tails have I,
or many a beginning.
If I fail people sigh;
wails mark their passing.”

After some discussion, you decided to press the plaque with the rope on it. When you did so, you heard a click. Nothing else happened. However, you have the strong feeling that somewhere in the city, something had become unlocked.

Just by happenstance, you noticed that the wight had been wearing a ring which remained on the cube’s top surface.

This turned out to be a ring of universal movement.

You returned to your safe room in Tower 2 and, as the camera zoomed out, studied the next part of Acererak’s riddle:

The darkweaver endures the cold in her lair;
Grasp your fate with consumate care
,”

View
The Price of Being Queen
The New Jersey Devils

We rejoined the Legion of Hope on one of the arched bridges in the City the Waits.

Behind you is the opening to the briny depths of the Aqueous Tower. You have the Silver Key mentioned in Acererak’s riddle in your possession and the memory of victory of defeating the powerful brine dragon fresh in your minds.

After an out of time sequence period of identifying Brine Dragon Loot you noticed some figures moving towards you in an unhurried fashion. As they drew closer, you could see that they were humanoid forms and appeared to be wearing overalls and hard hats. They looked like some kind of maintenance work crew.

However, as the strange work crew came into view, you could see it consisted of a variety of devilish beings. You heard and order from one of the larger devils in the back, the Chief. He sent a representative ahead to meet with you. Brie stepped forward to talk with the creature.

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It told you that they were duly authorized work crew sent to recover the crown and scepter from the throne room in the Tomb of Horrors.

Well… hmphh! Fria boldly refused this request and the situation quickly devolved into a battle. Devils began to rush forward to engage the party and fireballs began to detonate.

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With each enemy dispatched, another one was ready to take its place. And the larger devils in back continued to pelt the bridge with AOE attacks.

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Haldir and Quintus responded with lightning bolts while the melee fighters moved up and engaged.

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In the mean time, Quintus moved up but remained out of direct line of fire by remaining below the level of the bridge.

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As the melee group began to tear apart the New Jersey Devils more AOE spells were exchanged and Quintus continued to avoid damage below the bridge.

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Haldir got off another lightning bolt …

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While Quintus moved up and attacked with cone shaped (a spell I don’t remember). This spell did heavy damage and incapacitated several of the foes.

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Unfortunately for Haldir, the captain did not like Haldir’s spells and teleported right next to him… uh oh!

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In the mean time, Fria and Stick had fought through the legion of devils and engaged the Chief. Brie turned to engage the Captain to protect Haldir.

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A couple of devils came up behind Fria and Stick. AND somehow, through the longest of odds, one struck Fria with such force and precision that she was decapitated. EEEK!

There was a momentary pause in the action as the the Legion of Hope looked upon the scene of Fria’s demise. Fria’s head landed at the feet of the devil who cried out in delight.

Those close could only watch as the quick thinking creature grabbed the scepter from Fria’s corpse. It touched the gold ball on one end of the scepter to the crown which was still attached to Fria’s head.

The crown fell away and the devil grabbed it and said, “I got it boss!”

He said a word in a language that you don’t recognize (unless you speak Infernal) and you watch as each of the New Jersey Devils wink out as they teleport away.

The camera zoomed out as Fria’s blood gushes out, quickly freezing on the bridge.

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Into the Briny Depths
How to Brine a Dragon

We rejoined our adventure with the now, fully rested, Legion of Hope at the entrance to the Aqueous Tower.

Quintus was still fond of his idea to drain the water out of the tower. He protected himself in a magical sphere and levitated to a location he judged well below the water level.

It seems that any flying has a chance to attract the attention of a number of strange bat-like creatures that you can see flying around. Several swooped in towards Quintus. Safwin took flight and began swatting them out of the sky. You easily beat up the creatures.

Quintus painted a trap door of sorts, a circle, in the side of the tower with his magical paints. He could see that the circle was successfully created. However, even using his immovable rod for leverage, he was unable to pry the door open. Looking closely in the gap in the metal tower walls, he could see solid salt crystal.

Alas, the makeshift trap door was solidly stuck to the salt and would not come free.

After much discussion, the party came up with a plan to attempt to get the key mentioned in the riddle. You protected yourselves from the cold and water with spells. But, only Winter, Fria, Stick, Brie, and Safwin proceeded into the dark, briny depths. Quintus, Marg, Nails, and your companions stayed behind.

Sniper, who was snuggled next to Quintus for warmth, provided on ongoing series of profanity and griping about the cold. He makes it clear to Quintus that he owes him bigtime for this.

Elysia and Jennierissa doubled up their cloaks and huddled together underneath them. They seem to becoming friends.

With the preparations and spells completed, the party descended into the depths.

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You headed towards the cave entrance and entered. You survived an encounter with a symbol that dispelled some of your magical protections with out too much trouble. When the cave forked you somehow managed to choose the right hand path towards the dragon’s lair.

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Moving further in, the salt tunnel opens up into a very large cavern. Unlike the barren, salt-enclosed expanses encountered up to this point, this room was occupied: sprawled on a mound of glinting coins, gems, sculptures, and other finery was a massive beast at least 50 feet long! It is a colossal serpent, with a thickened central body bearing huge flippers. Its head is unmistakably draconic, and its oversized teeth make it appear to be grinning even though its eyes are closed in slumber. Its hide is rough and mottled, ridged and craggy. The scales are irregular and do not fit together well. Huge clumps of salt encrust its saurian length. Every half-minute a burst of bubbles from the creature’s snout attests to the fact that it is a living, breathing being. At the serpent’s opposite end, its tail is wrapped loosely around a salt pillar. Atop the pillar, gleaming with silver radiance through the water, is a large key.

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After a quick discussion, you sent Safwin the bold (I think) in to get the key while the dragon continued to slumber. He successfully swiped the key and returned to the group. As the party began to retreat, their luck ran out and the dragon awoke. A furious battle ensued as the dragon pursued the party. The beast immediately used its acid breath weapon, catching several party members in the area of effect.

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Wisely, you continued to retreat. But the dragon continued to pursue and continued to use its breath weapon.

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Seeing no alternative, you turned and began to engage the dragon in combat.

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After two breath weapons and several powerful blows, the ground beneath Brie’s feet erupted with an acid blast and she succumbed to her wounds.

Fortunately, Winter was close enough to call upon Pelor to cast a Heal spell which restored three quarters of Brie’s health later the same combat round.

Brie didn’t even miss a action much to the chagrin of the DM.

The party eventually dealt enough damage to the fearsome beast that it stopped attacking and sank, bleeding, to the salt encrusted floor and slid off of the edge into the briny depths.

With relief. the strong looting instincts of the Legion of Hope kicked in and they descended onto the dragons treasure horde.

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After looting several items, they exited the caverns and returned to the rest of the party.

The camera zoomed out as the party collected together at the Aqueous Tower’s opening.

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Chilly Considerations
The City that Waits exploration begins (what is it waiting for?)

We resumed the campaign in the City that Waits. The intrepid band of adventurer’s find themselves standing on a bridge crossroad.

The camera zooms in as the party is contemplating the obelisk in front of them. Acererk’s riddle is written on it.

As you began to look around, Quintus spotted a faint green light approaching.

It turned out to be a large green lizard

It ran up to you and introduced itself as Sebastian.

Sebastion, using only words that end with tion, guided you to Tower number 2.

You followed Sebastion along the bridge. The end of the bridge lead into an arched opening on the sleek side of a tower of gray stone and metal. The lintel of the arch was skillfully carved with what appered to be a fancifully rendered sunrise (although it initially was covered by a layer of frost).

When you removed the frost, you got the impression that it was a sunset rather than sunrise in the image. Unfortunately, gazing upon the image invoked a powerful sleep curse. Fria missed her saving throw and succumbed to the curse. she collapsed to the ground in a peaceful slumber.

It took two remove curse spells to revive her. Fortunately, she made the saving throw on the second curse removal and woke up.

You briefly explored only one or two rooms in Tower 2. Then Haldir called upon his divine spell abilities to cast a Find the Path spell.

The blue footprints led the party through tower four and to the entrance of tower 5, The Aqueous Tower.

There were no symbols or glyphs marking the entrance to this tower. The bridge ended at the dark opening in the side of the tower. You could smell an briny odor emanating from the tower opening.

When you approached the opening, you found that there was no bridge or support beyond the tower portal. There was just a black chasm of the tower’s interior. You could hear the sound of waves lapping against a shoreline that echoed up from the darkness below with a relaxed rhythm. The sharp odor of salt hung heavy in the air. Immediately to the right of the portal you could see an iron ladder bolted to the interior of the tower. The ladder, pitted and rusted in spots, lead down into the blackness below.

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Safwin the bold flew down into the darkness and skimmed over the surface of the dark waters. He dropped a couple of continual light copper pieces into the water which provided some illumination. He activated his cloak of the manta ray and dove into the water.

The murky depths seemed to pull the heat from Safwin’s body as he descended with powerful strokes. Continuing down, he found that ahead of him the rough, white expanse of the salt floor ended with a jagged edge to a still deeper section of the submerged tower. Looking over the edge of the abyss, he spied what appeared to be a wide cave mount in the wall of the rough salt crystal.

At this point Safwin fortunately did not succumb to the bone numbing cold and returned to the surface. He flew up the party, chilled to the bone and tried to warm himself.

Quintus, recognizing the danger of the below freezing water, decided to try to drain the tower. He cast a disintegrate spell on the tower wall. Eeek… The purplish black rays of disintegration struck the tower and reflected back at the caster with unerring accuracy. Luckily, Tymorra was looking favorably on poor Quintus and he made his saving throw to avoid self disintegration.

The Legion of Hope returned to Tower 2 to find a place to rest.

You previously had looked into Room 2.4 The Chamber of Attractions. This time you entered it. When you stepped inside chamber you found a room that was apparently once filled with statuary of all shapes and sizes. Time or some other more destructive force had toppled them all upon the ground; only shattered stone remained. Crumbled and broken torsos covered the floor. The omnipresent rime of ice coated everything.

There was one shape that was not broken on the far wall. As soon as you moved towards it, it drained a few hit points from the party and animated.

You quickly smashed it and moved into the next room.

Frost covered every available surfacein the chamber except for a patch of bare stone that in a humanoid shape.

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You set up the insta-fortress which smashed through the ceiling of the room… oops.

After during your rest, the Moilian zombie reconstituted and attacked.

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This time you smashed it and burned it. It’s dead Jim.

After resting and regaining your spells, the Legion of Hope returned to the entrance of the Aqueous Tower.

At this point the camera zoomed out and we concluded the episode.

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Tomb of Anticlimax
Demi Lich - Demi Fight - Demi Plane

The camera zoomed in on the Legion of Hope. The band of adventurers cautiously edged their way into an amazing chamber.

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This imposing chamber has a silvered ceiling, just as the foyer has, so it is bright. The walls are of ivory with gold inlaid. The floor is polished (but common) agate. In each corner hulks a 9’ tall statue of black iron. That to the northeast stands with a saw-toothed two-handed sword raised to strike; that to the northwest a huge, spike-ended mace; to the southeast the sculpture readies a wickedly spiked morning star, and the one in the southwest has a voulge.

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Quintus began to examine the room with Maxwell his BFF. Although Jenierissa may have something to say about that.

First he examined the Iron Chests.

Each of these massive iron boxes is set into the stone and has triple locks set with poison needle traps. Neither can possibly be moved, and both show marks of prying, battering, etc. The eastern chest holds 10, 000 gems which will appear to be of not less than base 50 g.p. value each, no matter how they are tested in the dungeon. Each is actually a 1 g.p. quartz gem. The other contains 10,000 copper pieces magicked to appear as platinum until they are removed to a distance of 13 miles from the Tomb, when their true nature becomes evident.

After Quintus disabled each of the traps and picked the locks, Maxwell pointed out the magical trickery and you left the copper and gems behind.

Quintus moved on to an examination of the granite sarcophagus.

The huge outer shell has the glyphs spelling ACERERAK on the lid in platinum. The far end of the thing is stove in and shattered. Inside can be seen bits of a wooden inner shell, a few bones, destroyed jewelry (stones pried out), torn bits of robes and windings, dust, and a broken staff of the magi (evident from the runes upon it). A shattered skull rolled out as Quintus poked around.

You moved onto an investigation of the Bronze Urn.

This gold filigreed container is very large, and a thin stream of smoke issues from a tiny vent in its brass stopper which is sealed shut with gold fill.

Quintus wanted nothing to do with the urn so Fria stepped foward and pried the gold fill from the stopper. She steeled her nerve and, with a glance back at the party, opened the urn.

A loud hissing commenced as the vapor from the urn shot into the air. In mere moments a large efreeti appeared and towered over Fria.

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Fortunately, no party member had disturbed the urn. It turned out that the Efreeti was not angry and was willing to perform three services (wishes) for Fria.

Fria used her first wish to fix the broken staff of the magi. Since that wish was not for Fria, but for one of her party, the Efreeti granted it. This also pre-desposed the Efreeti to look upon Fria’s other wishes more favorably.

Fria’s second wish was to restore Winter’s memories. This wish mostly worked. However, there are a few things that Winter just can’t recall. Her mental anguish and trauma was that bad.

Fria’s third wish was for the strength of a Fire Giant (STR 22). Fria had used her first two wishes for others so, the Efreeti granted Fria this request without any penalty. There is one side effect; Fria’s white hair now has red tints and highlights.

The Efreeti blew a kiss to Fria and departed. Fria feels the warmth of the Efreeti’s kiss though the rest of you are sure that there was no physical contact.

Eventually, you started messing with the iron statues. Quintus pulled out his paint set and painted away arms and legs of the NW statue. Eventually you managed to move what was left and discovered a ring pull which will raised a small plug of stone and enabled the party to enter a small chute which took them 10’ down to the corridor to the west.

This corridor led to a intersection with a secret door on the south wall and a right turn to the north. Following the north passage, it turned west, then south and Quintus passed through two sets of doors. The next door to the south turned out to be a one way door.

Quintus circled back around. Luckily, there were three swords left over from the creation spell and Quintus was able to return to the party.

You began to examine the secret door. With careful inspection you discovered that the wall at this location had a small opening that is metal-lined — obviously a keyhole! You inserted the FIRST (gold key from 19) KEY and the door will sink into the floor, a stone sheathed adamantine slab of tremendous thickness.

The smallish 10′×20′ burial vault has an arched celling with a 25’ peak. There is absolutely nothing in the room, although there is a small depression a few inches deep and about 2’ square in the center of the floor. Careful inspection will discover a small hole in the middle or this depression — another keyhole!

After some experimentation and discussion, you inserted the SECOND KEY into the keyhole. It fit perfectly but, nothing happened. Eventually, you turned the key three times to the right and … gasp … Suddenly you could feel trembling throughout the room.

You all scrambled out of the crypt and avoided being squished. In the south half of the crypt there was now a huge mithril vault. There was a door in the center of the device, with an inset ring. With a hard pull it opened you could see inside.

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Nothing else happened at first. When someone went into the vault, the dust swirled into the air and formed a man-like shape. You started attacking it but, it didn’t do anything else. At this point Haldir cast a spell at the skull. Yes, this was the demi-lich of Acerak himself. Haldir had a VERY bad feeling!

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It rose up into the air and began to scan the party. You quickly started attacking it. But, most of your attacks were ineffective.

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Winter, having lived through this horror before, steeled herself and relied on her reinstated faith in Pelor. She stepped boldly forward and put forth a mighty command that turned the demilich!

Marg added her will and faith to the turn and the skull began to bump against the wall in the corner like a lost balloon.

Sigh… how anticlimactic. I rolled a ten on initiative, and none of the legendary reactions were designed to combat a clerical turn.

Quick thinking Safwin the Bold stepped forward and grabbed the loot

You fled the vault. After some discussion, a few rounds later you sent someone to pick up some more of the lich dust. Fortunately, the demi lich skull was just sitting there and didn’t do anything.

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You returned to the Devil Face in the beginning of the dungeon. Lich dust was distributed among the party members and with a leap of faith, you stepped through.

A little retcon, before stepping through the devil’s mouth the party returned to the bucket room where you rested before. Quintus and Haldir took the opportunity to identify the treasure that Safwin grabbed.

You arrived on a platform. You immediately feel the supernatural cold and are chilled to the bone within a few moments.

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City that waits

You stepped forward to examine the obelisk

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CTW Riddle

With the party shivering in the cold, the camera zoomed out and we concluded this episode.

Welcome to the Demi-Plane of Dread

We shall resume with the retcon of loot identification next time.

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Attention to De Tails
Juggernaut Jousting

We rejoined the Legion of Hope ready and rested in the Mummy Workshop (actual mummies not included).

Haldir’s newly regrown foot felt pretty good, but a little tender.

The party proceeded out the secret door on the west wall.

You quickly came to a left turn with stairs leading down to another passageway. Another left turn (now heading east) led to a 10’ deep, open pit completely filling the passageway and extending so as to make jumping across it totally impossible for most creatures.

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Safwin took flight and easily cleared the pit. Nails looked this and pulled out her magical shield. She created a long ladder and laid it across the pit. This allowed for a successful crossing.

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The corridor continued west until it dead ended. However, QuinMax discovered a secret door in the north wall. This led to a small room with a regular door to the north which opened into a larger room.

It appeared to be filled with funerary offerings and furniture.

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There are 4 rotting sofas, several throne-like chairs, vases, and urns which are denied, chipped and broken, stands, small tables, and braziers, all jumbled together, Only the rather plain tapestries hanging upon the east and west walls appear to nave been spared a rough looting. There are 6 locked trunks and 24 locked coffers amidst the general havoc.

After the first round, the room periodically begins to shake. The shaking continued for the full round and then subsided. Brie, much to her brother’s amusement, landed on her posterior several times.

All six trunks turned out to be empty. The 24 coffers had several surprises. First there were wasps. Then there were gems, and there were also a number of platinum pieces discovered. Altogether, the Legion of Hope killed 24 wasps, recovered 288 platinum pieces, and 34 gems of 10gp/ea value.

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Quintus found another door that led nowhere and shot a spear at him. On close inspection, Maxwell noticed that The tapestries, which appear to feature weed-grown rocks and green and golden tan scenes of undersea life, are specially antimagic treated creations of green slime and brown mold.

This was a cause for much concern and everyone but Safwin left the room. Eventually, Safwin managed to safely look behind the tapestry and Maxwell noticed a secret door behind the curtain on the west wall.

The party all safely exited the room through the secret door. The subsequent passage circled around heading eastward and down some stairs. Next you came to a 4-way intersection with a pit trap in the middle. The south corridor terminated in yet another door that led nowhere and a spear that shot Quintus … again. The northern passage led to a secret door.

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The corridor to the east continued to pit trap in front of a door. You opened the door and followed the passageway until it turned south and led into a room filled with mists. The mists are silvery and shot through with delicate streamers of golden color. Vision extends only 6’. There is a dim aura of good that Maxwell senses.

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You began to cautiously explore the misty cavern. At the center of the cavern, you discover a beautiful grotto and the beautiful siren that dwells within.

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Quintus invited her to join the party and she gratefully accepted. By doing so, Quintus has broken the curse that had been placed upon the beautiful Siren. Quintus gains inspiration for this act of kindness and mercy. The Siren introduces herself as Jenierissa.

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Jenierissa has joined your party and will travel with you through to the end of the adventure. She considers herself friends with Quintus for life.

The party returned to the secret door in the north corridor and opened it. It appeared to open to a blank wall but, Maxwell quickly noticed that there was a secret door there. In addition, Maxwell spotted the secret trap door in the floor immediately after you opened the secret door.

However, the party decided to follow the north passage. You found a door on the east wall and a set of stairs that led up to a dead end. You opened the east door and moved east. Quintus opened the north door at the end of the passage. Immediately the party heard a hissing noise. With quick thinking, as the party began to fall into an immediate slumber, Quintus activated his immovable rod ..

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This prevented a TPK. Thank your merciful dungeon master who suggested that Quintus might want to do that.

The next thing that happened none of the party actually saw because most were in a deep sleep. What happened was a stone Juggernaught emerged into the northern corridor and began rumbling down the hallway. Fortunately it bumped into the immovable rod and the party was saved.

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Sometime later you all awoke from your slumber, unaware of how close to death you had been. The party returned to the secret trap door in the floor and opened it. This opened to a steep flight of narrow stairs which spiraled down to a 5’ wide passageway. The passageway meandered north and then east to terminate at an adamantite door.

There are 3 slots in the door at about waist height. After some discussion, you cast a spell that created six swords. Although the swords are temporary, they were completely real for the duration of the spell. by sliding three of the swords into the three slots the adamantite door slid into the floor. The very next round it began to rise again. The party quickly hurried into the next room. The Adamantite door is now closed with no way to open it.

You found yourselves in the Pillared Throne Room.

There are scores of massive columns in the huge chamber, and each of these 3’ diameter pillars radiates magic.

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You began to explore the large chamber.

On the middle of the east wall you see cinders, ashes, charred bones and skulls, the crisped and blackened remains of clothing and gear, arms and armor – a thoroughly awful and frightening sight – encircle a huge, glowing orange gem.

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Maxwell detects that the gem is sending out pulses of wickedness and a strong aura of dweomer. It’s so strong that Maxwell reports that that the magic is wish connected.

Haldir stepped up to the gem and picked it up. His weave based sensing confirmed that there was a powerful dweomer that was probably wish related. Haldir proceeded to wish to be more wise. At this point, the hair on the back of his neck rose as his danger sense kicked in. Everybody near the gem started running away. Haldir dropped the gem and fled as the gem began to pulse with reddish lights growing progressively stronger, brighter and hotter.

At the end of a count of 10, the gem exploded with a wave of searing radiations and flames. Fortunately, everyone managed to get out of the absolute kill zone of a 15’ radius. Outside of the kill zone, there was still a substantial damage effect which struck the party.

After some healing and recovery, the party continued to explore the large chamber. In the south side of the room you discover an Ebony Dais and a Silver Throne.

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Contrasting with the pastel colors of the floor and pillars of the hall is the stark blackness of the huge dais atop which rests an obsidian throne inlaid with silver and ivory skulls. Upon the throne rest a crown and a scepter, both of which will give off an aura of magic. The crown is made of gold with elaborate symbols and markings while the scepter is of electrum, with a gold ball at one end and a silver knob at the other.

Fria stepped up to the throne and picked up the scepter and donned the crown. You all admired the newly crowned drow queen. But, nothing else happened. Fria then took her rightful place upon the throne. “ALL HAIL QUEEN FRIA

Eventually, you began looking around and closely at the throne. You found a small replica of the crown inlaid in silver upon the lower front panel of the seat.

After some experimentation, Fria touched the silver knob on the scepter to the silver inlaid crown and the throne sank into the floor revealing a 5’ wide passageway.

As you moved on through the passage, Fria found that she is unable to remove the crown.

The narrow passage behind the throne leads to a landing and steps which funnel out to the south as they ascend. The 6 steps are made of onyx, pink marble, lapis, black marble, serpentine (golden) and malachite. The walls of the chamber are copper (untarnished and gleaming) panels set between rare woods inlaid with ivory. The ceiling is silver, formed so as to reflect and multiply light within the place. Upon the 4th step is a large, cylindrical key of bronze (the SECOND KEY) for all to behold.

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Unfortunately, the key has an antipathy spell cast upon it, and any creature touching it must save versus magic at -2 (due to the strength of the dweomer). Those who fail the throw will never touch the key or allow it within 2’ of their person under any circumstances. At the head of the steps are a pair of huge doors, and the key found upon the stair appears to fit these valves.

These Valves of Mithral are 14’ wide and 28’ tall. They are made of solid mithril, 3’ thick, and impregnated with great magicks in order to make them absolutely spell and magic proof. Where these valves meet, at about waist height, is a cup-like depression, a hemispherical concavity, with a central hole. The latter appears to be the keyhole for the SECOND KEY. However, when, it was tried they took a few points of electrical damage.

Eventually, Fria noticed that the concave depression in the door was about the same size as the gold ball end of the scepter. When she inserted the gold ball into the socket, the mithril valves swung silently open.

You entered the next room…

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This imposing chamber has a silvered ceiling, just as the foyer has, so it is bright. The walls are of ivory with gold inlaid. The floor is polished (but common) agate. In each corner hulks a 9’ tall statue of black iron. That to the northeast stands with a saw-toothed two-handed sword raised to strike; that to the northwest a huge, spike-ended mace; to the southeast the sculpture readies a wickedly spiked morning star, and the one in the southwest has a voulge. The visage of each of these iron statues is most fearsome and terrifying.

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At this point, the camera zoomed out as the episode came to a close. We will pick up the end of the Tomb of Horrors and, if you survive, perhaps the beginning of the next stage of the adventure.

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Tricky Travels in the Tomb
Determined Dungeoneering

We resumed the adventure with the Legion of Hope looking on, stunned as Haldir looked at his foot. It was cleanly missing half of it.

You gathered your wits and resumed the exploration of the tomb with Haldir hobbling along. You returned to the gargoyle room.

Quintus and then Safwin navigated through a series of small rooms. Each room had a secret door that required a specific method to open it. Some doors slide up. Some pushed to the left. Some opened by find a purchase and pulling it open. The problem was that each round, a magical spear apparated and unerring struck a target in the secret door area.

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Eventually, Safwin made to the last door. He was beginning to feel the effects with rivulets of blood staining his feathers. He and Brie managed to get the last door open and you found yourselves in the Great Hall of Spheres.

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This area actually seemed similar to the first hallway in the tomb. The floor consisted of inlaid tiles and the walls and ceiling are painted with figures of animals, strange signs and glyphs and humans and human-like creatures with spheres of different colors. These globes are 2-dimensional, of course, and their significance and pattern are described below. From north to south, with the west wall being the first column, and the east the second, the figures and spheres appear as follows:

GOLD held high above head PALE BLUE at shoulder
ORANGE held waist high SILVER at feet
PURPLE at feet GREEN held high above head
BRONZE held waist high YELLOW of shoulder
GRAY at shoulder PINK held high above head
BRIGHT BLUE at feet BLACK at feet
WHITE held high above head PALE VIOLET at shoulder
TURQUOISE at shoulder RED held waist high
SCARLET held waist high BUFF at feet
PALE GREEN at feet INDIGO held high above head

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Quintus, with his BFF Maxwell the talking skull, you discovered a small, rough cut corridor that opened into a smallish room. Inside the room you could immediately see a broken, 8’ tall statue of a 4-armed gargoyle with a broken off 4th arm on the floor nearby.

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You took a close look at its open and outstretched hands, and detected that a large gem (a 100 g.p. blue quartz one fits perfectly) will fit in a carved depression in each of the 3 remaining hands, while the broken one has no such concavity. You placed three of the 100 gp blue quartz gems within the hands, the stoney digits closed and crushed them to powder, dumped the grains on the floor, and returned to their normal positions.

You gave up on the statue and continued your explorations.

Further south in the hallway you encountered another glowing archway. The space in the arch was clouded and veiled. The three glowing stones in this archway glowed: lower left, OLIVE; keystone, RUSSET; lower right, CITRON.

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Eventually, with Maxwell’s help, you discovered that the illusionary black sphere you discovered a crawl space that meandered south, There was secret door at the end which you opened. Everyone followed and you found yourselves in in what is obviously some form of temple area – there are scenes of normal life painted on the walls, but the people have rotting flesh, skeletal hands, worms eating them, etc. Yet there are also depicted various religious symbols of good alignment. There is a mosaic path leading to the altar, and to either side great wooden pews face the worship area. (All of these benches have hinged seats).

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A wooden railing divides the room, and south of it is the altar, a tiered dais with a wooden chair (nicely carved and podded but unremarkable), 2 large brass candelabra holding 5 white candles each, and in each corner a large white pottery urn stoppered with a brass and wood plug. A human skeleton in black chain mail (badly rusted and torn) points to an archway of glowing orange.

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Front and center there is an Opalescent Blue Altar: This block of strange material glows with an inner light.

MaxQuint also discovered a small stone gate that is only 2’ wide and 4’ high in the south east corner (east wall). After careful inspection, you noticed that there was a small slot with an O inscribed above it on the gate.

You wisely remembered one of the clues from Acererak and inserted a magical ring in the slot. AND the stone block sinks slowly into the floor.

The corridor quickly widened to 10’ and turned south with some steep steps down to a corridor to the west. In the western corridor, you found three doors, each with a pit trap behind it. MaxQuint easily avoided the pit traps.

When you reached the third pit, Winter recalled that the Band of the Hand had discovered a secret passage within the pit. Under her instruction (by her I mean by divine Dungeon Master guidance) you easily found the passage and continued south.

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QuintMax quickly discovered a secret door on the east wall of the south leading passage. The party followed the subsequent east passage which turned south. The door there opened into a Laboratory and Mummy Preparation Room.

You see a totally plain and cluttered place. All of the walls are lined with shelves, and upon these are old jars filled with dust and impotent ingredients of all sorts. There is a large desk and stool, 2 workbenches, and 2 mummy preparation tables. Clay pots and urns on these tables and the floor obviously once contained unguents, ointments, oils, perfumes, etc. Linen wrappings are in rolls or strewn about. Dried herbs of unidentifiable nature, bones, skulls and the like litter the work benches. In the south are 3 vats of about 7’ diameter and 4’ depth which contain murky liquids.

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After some limited exploration Maxwell commented that there was something shiney in the center vat Quintus searched it with a magical hand and it came out with half of a golden key. Maxwell again commented that the key seemed magicked. The west vat turned out to contain nothing but dirty water. However, the east vat contained an ochre jelly which attacked when you disturbed it.

One little Ochre Jelly is just an annoyance to the Legion of Hope and you quickly smushed it. At the bottom of the now vacant vat you found the other half of the golden key. When you held up the two key parts next to each other they literally jumped together and transformed into a single golden key. This is the FIRST KEY.

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At this point Winter recalled that the Band of the Hand had rested in this room. So, the party took the opportunity and rested. This allowed Winter to memorize a regenerate spell.

In the morning she cast regenerate on Haldir’s foot and it magically grew back in less than an hour.

I think Haldir owes Winter a drink

At this point the camera zoomed out on the rested and ready adventuring band, the Legion of Hope.

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