Buried Secrets

Chapter 17: Tainted Temple

Sad tidings of woe! The mighty heroes have been dealt a crushing defeat. And yet, this black day started so innocently…

Our intrepid band of adventurers had just returned to Sunvale from their misadventures in Starwhisper. Wrathy and Ragnar discussed arcane rituals of protection that might prevent further mischief from the Lord of Mirrors within their home base. Regild, the dwarf steward of Sunvale, stopped by to drop off a map. Their friend Kelsis had tired of waiting for the party’s help, and had gone to search for the moon wells without them. He had left a map behind in case they wished to follow after him.

Regild also remarked that he was surprised to see Batal at home, since the local shrine of Bahamut was hosting a holy festival of the Silver Feast. This news disturbed Batal, as he knew all of the holy festivals of the church of Bahamut … and the “Silver Feast” was not one of them. Batal went to investigate with Wrathy and Elzin, while Ragnar stayed home to work on his studies.

En route to the temple, the party encountered one of the congregation members, stumbling and clearly wounded. He told Batal that the priests had started slaughtering the worshipers! In falling to the ground, his unusually-large holy symbol of Bahamut had snapped, revealing it to be hollow. Nestled inside was an icon of Tiamat!

Enraged that Tiamat-worshipers would defile his god’s name, Batal rushed to the shrine, Elzin and Wrathy hot on his heels. At the shrine, he discovered four sinister figures, who threw off their cloaks to reveal dragonborn temple guards of Tiamat! In a brutal battle, the heroes vanquished these monsters and their foul human servants. Investigating the murder site afterwards, they discovered a trap door behind the altar. It revealed a spiral staircase, which led to an ancient temple to Tiamat … specifically, the white head of Tiamat.

On the next level, the party fought a pair of Dragonborn sorcerers and their horrific pack of frost hounds. They narrowly avoided a trap which encased the victim in solid ice, and defeated the sorcerers and their beasts. The door exiting the room was sealed by magic, but clanging on a nearby gong opened it.

Inside the inner sanctuary, the heroes saw a group of cultists engaged in a dark ritual. Two burly dragonborn gladiators were observing a scrying pool as the ritual progressed, through which they saw a silver dragon writhing in pain. Their leader was a massive dragonborn cleric of Tiamat, who had tattooed his scales in the many colours of the chromatic dragons in her honour. Seeing the heroes, he shouted a challenge to Batal, the champion of Bahamut, and attacked!

The heroes were immediately bombarded by the breath weapons of the dragonborn, and the unnatural, foul gifts of Tiamat. While the others fought the dragonborn, Ragnar attempted to disrupt the cultists. However, they seemed to be protected against his attack! He identified a nearby basin filled with blood as the source of their protection. Charging fearlessly into the room, he was able to disrupt it with a Mage Hand spell. He and Batal were able to make swift work of the cultists. The dragon was saved!

Unfortunately, the heroes had lowered their defences with this reckless assault. The dragonborn killed Ragnar and then Batal. Wrathy feigned conversion to their cause to give Elzin a chance to slip away, then tried to break away himself. They knocked him unconscious and took him prisoner.

Some time afterwards, Elzin retrieved the bodies of Batal and Ragnar, and took them to town to be raised. But Wrathy was gone…

View
Chapter 16: In Defence of Angels

Having concluded their meeting with the Eladrin, the party checked in at the Temple of Bahamut to see if Father Soltis had news. He passed on a letter recently delivered to Batal by a Warforged. The letter had a very structured script, suggesting an extremely steady hand, which led the party to believe that the Warforged penned the letter. The letter advised the party to stake out a dark part of the slums after midnight if they wanted to save two lives.

The party chose to obey this mysterious summons, surveying the area during the day before retiring to eat. An hour before midnight, Elzin took a roof position while Wrathy and Batal hid in shrubbery around nearby buildings. A gang of suspicious characters began to patrol the area and take positions themselves, before a roguish looking fellow arrived with a cloaked prisoner he led with a chain. Shortly after his arrival, a woman arrived and negotiations began.

From her perch on the roof, Elzin could hear the discussions below. The rogue appeared to be selling the chained humanoid, and after he removed its cloak the party identified it as an angel whose wings had been cut off. The woman and her associates seemed to value the creature for its blood – she cut the creature and had an ally drink its blood from the blade. When the ally retched, she accused the rogue of selling shoddy merchandise. The rogue replied that heavy drugs were required to keep the creature complacent.

Elzin’s absorption in the negotiations below nearly caused her to ignore the threats around her. One of the gang members had snuck up behind her and spoiled her cover! As he snarled through canine fangs, the party’s fears were confirmed – they were facing a gang of vampires. (Batal was quietly excited at this fact.)

The vampire on the roof quickly clawed at Elzin and grabbed her roughly. While his allies were quick to respond, they did not detect the other party members still in hiding. Furthermore, the suspicious natures of the business partners caused the vampires and the rogue to immediately suspect each other. Wasting these valuable seconds gave the remaining party members an opportunity to attack!

At this moment, Ragnar chose to announce his return to the land of the living with a Fireball at the vampire leader and the rogue. It caught them both in the blast, but also set the nearby buildings on fire, and severely scorched Elzin. Batal charged forward to engage the rogue, whom he discovered to be a duellist of considerable skill. Elzin struggled unsuccessfully against her rooftop foe, who began greedily drinking her blood.

Wrathy magically switched places with the drugged angel, and called upon Hacar to plunge the vampire witch and her follower into a cloud of hungry darkness. While the darkness immediately claimed the weaker vampire, the Night Witch was a creature of the shadows like Wrathy, and made of sterner stuff. What ensued was a most bizarre struggle, as the Night Witch and Wrathy used the various magics at their disposal to continually throw each other into the hungry darkness. Too late, Wrathy realized that the necrotic nature of the darkness was isolating the vampire from the full potency of the effect. With a final heroic heave, the vampire lifted Wrathy above her head and threw him into the darkness, which fed on its master and left him dying on the ground.

Batal and the duellist continued to square off in a clash of axe versus blade. Some of the vampire thugs attempted to enter the fray, but each was effortlessly dispatched as the true combatants focused on each other. Ragnar, after an unsuccessful attempt, was able to impale the vampire draining Elzin, saving her from a fate worse than death! After took a few seconds to recover, she quickly re-entered the battle, raining arrows down on rogue and vampire alike.

The vampire witch moved to engage Ragnar, hoping to use her dream visions to lure the fragile wizard into reach of her rending claws. Her attempts were narrowly thwarted by the defensive enchantments on Ragnar’s cloak, which instinctively teleported him onto a nearby rooftop. The vampire was frustrated, but that anger quickly turned to shock as she saw the dead rise – Wrathy had miraculously recovered from the hungering darkness, and had re-entered the fight!

Wrathy had learned from his errors in the first skirmish, and changed tactics accordingly. He now employed infernal magics to rain poisons upon the witch while holding her in place. She screamed for her servants to slay him, but when only one responded she knew the day was lost. With a curse she vanished!

The rogue had realized that he could not best Batal and sought to flee the engagement. Batal channeled the divine anger of Bahamut, who temporarily gifted him with a pair of angelic wings not unlike those the duellist had so casually butchered. Swooping upon his prey, Batal swiftly brought Bahamut’s judgement to the doomed criminal.

Using his knowledge of shadow magics, Wrathy realized that the witch had merely turned invisible rather than teleporting. However, he and his friends were unable to detect her, and she made her escape into the night.

Reunited with his friends, Ragnar quickly explained the circumstances of his resurrection, and his newfound allies in the Clockwork Rebellion. Seeking to avoid attention due to the fires started during the battle, the party fled into the sewers and Ragnar led them to the Rebellion’s hideout. The leader of the Rebellion thanked them for returning their brother 137 to them, and promised to deliver the details of the cortex reading when it was complete. In an ironic twist, the party learned that the golemsmith Grigor was a secret ally of the Rebellion, but he could not help them openly for fear that they were spies sent by the Mage Guilds.

Recognizing that the Illusion Guild would soon arrive to question them about the whereabouts of 137, the party moved to the Temple of Bahamut under cover of darkness to deliver the angel to them. Father Solstis identified it as an Angel of Pelor, and quickly summoned the high priest of the from their nearby temple. The priest took the angel into his care, and gave the party a meticulously-ornate treasure known as the Pendant of the Dawn. While it is not magical, the priest explained that it is only presented to the greatest allies of the church of Pelor, and would guarantee the heroes aid and sanctuary from the church wherever they travel.

Having quickly outworn their welcome with the Whispering Blades, the vampire gang and the Illusionists’ Guild, the party stole out of Starwhisper at first dawn and began the slow journey home to Sunvale.

View
Chapter 15: Ghosts of Ragnar's Past

Ragnar awakens after being resurrected by a dark cleric. He is quickly knocked out by the third party that commissioned his resurrection.

Upon awakening, Ragnar finds himself a prisoner of the Whispering Blades assassins’ guild, of which The Lord of Mirrors claimed Ragnar was once a member. The guildmaster Vorkith believes that Ragnar – or “Halden”, as he names him – was spying on the guild for some outside agency, and this new identity is part of another ruse. Ragnar assures him it is not. Vorkith then brings Marianne into the room – a woman who has appeared in Ragnar’s dreams, and is possibly his wife – and threatens to kill her if Ragnar doesn’t talk. Ragnar talks Vorkith down from immediate violence, and Vorkith decides to leave Ragnar in his cell to reflect on his crimes. Vorkith tells his lieutenant Burrick to remove Marianne to a safe place, and to take the runestones they found in Ragnar’s effects to another room for study.

Ragnar interacts with the other prisoners in the room. Dariel is a Warforged and a member of the Clockwork Rebellion, a group that opposes the enslavement of Warforged bu the ruling class of Averdi. He was captured while spying on a new slave-trading operation that the Whispering Blades are embarking on. The other prisoner was the object of that transaction – an angel that had entered the realm through the Sigil gate that Ragnar’s allies had opened a few months past. The angel had been overpowered by the Whispering Blades, its wings were cruelly amputated, and now they kept it in a drugged stupor in advance of its sale.

Using some of his simplest magics, Ragnar acquires his Spellbook from his stash of gear across the room and discreetly begins to prepare spells for his escape. The lieutenant Burrick enters the room with a roguish lackey, and transfers the angel into his care, with instructions on where to meet the buyer for a post-midnight rendezvous. But after the other guild members leave the room, Burrick quietly palms a cell key to Ragnar, giving him directions to an exit and telling him to listen for a distraction! He also indicates that Ragnar was once his mentor, to Ragnar’s complete confusion.

When Ragnar hears an explosion a half-hour later, he quickly frees himself and the Warforged Dariel, regaining his freedom and his gear. Exiting the brig, he realizes that the runestones have been triggered, summoning the loathsome Foulspawn into the assassins midst. Rangar follows his benefactor’s advice, evading detection and finding Marianne in the process. Burrick joins the group, admitting to Ragnar that he triggered the runestones to create the distraction, figuring that summoning monsters into a den of killers was poetic justice. The group uses a secret exit into the sewers to make their escape.

After travelling in the sewers for some time, Dariel announces that he can lead Ragnar and Marianne into the Clockwork Rebell’s secret hideout, but he cannot trust Burrick as a member of the Whispering Blades. Ragnar tells Dariel to take Marianne to the hideout and return for him, as he has many questions for Burrick.

Left alone, Ragnar quickly discovers that Burrick’s answers are not to his liking. Burrick says that Ragnar was once a powerful wizard, and the head of an order that guarded the dangerous words embedded in the runestones. Ragnar had recruited Burrick into the order as an acolyte years past. When the order decided it should use the power of the words for its own ends, Ragnar betrayed them and fled. He then began destroying his own memory, creating a cycle of amnesiac cover identities to hide the knowledge of the Unspeakable Words from his fallen order.

Burrick had been stationed in the Whispering Blades as a mole, as it was Ragnar’s last known association and the Order thought he may return. Originally, the plan had been to return Ragnar to the Order for questioning, but a sudden research breakthrough during Ragnar’s brief death has made them realize that his cooperation is unnecessary …

Recognizing Burrick’s insanity, Ragnar moves to engage. What follows is a spectacular – if brief – wizard’s duel, as Burrick unleashed fiery magics while Ragnar summoned an infernal succubus to his aid. Whether due to instinct or some long-forgotten memory, Ragnar threw up defenses that blunted Burrick’s fire attacks, and the insane young wizard fell. Ragnar quickly killed his former student, and left a warning for any assassins or mages who might follow him.

Dariel returns a short time later, unaware of the vicious battle that had been fought here. He leads Ragnar to his hideout, where Ragnar encounters the Clockwork Rebellion, a commune of warforged and other constructs living in freedom underground. Dariel informs the leader of the group, LZ-1, about the plight of the captured angel, who was removed from the assassins prison before the Foulspawn attack. LZ-1 also notes that the Brotherhood faces potential discovery, as a group of adventurers has loudly announced to the powers of Starwhisper that they have the body of 137, a former member of the Clockwork Rebellion. If the Mage Guilds were to access his cortex, they would gain valuable information about the Rebellion.

Ragnar recognizes the descriptions as matching his adventuring companions, and he assures LZ-1 that they are mostly honourable and can be trusted. LZ-1 proposes a test, and sends the party an anonymous and mysterious note about the slave trade scheduled to occur later that night…

View
Chapter 14: Skullduggery in Starwhsiper

Moments after defeating The Lord of Mirrors’ beholder, the party discovers that Ragnar has died. His body fades away, leaving only his staff. The staff also fades away, but the party grabs it and prevents it from vanishing.

After taunting the heroes one last time, The Lord of Mirrors banishes them. They awaken in a strange city, which they quickly determine to be Starwhisper, capital of the province of Averdi and the primary seat of magical learning within the empire.

The party gained lodging at the Dragonlight Inn, and then investigated the Temple of Bahamut. Batal requested aid in discerning the whereabouts of Ragnar. Met Father Solthis, a silver Dragonborn cleric of Bahamut. Solthis recognized Batal as a member of the Sons of the Dragon and promised his full cooperation.

Investigated both Grigor’s Golems and Living Weapons to determine who would be the best vendor to approach for a cortex reading. Established that Living Weapons engraves an eye above the sword hilt as its insignia, whereas Grigor’s Golems uses a magical aura to inscribe a stylized shield with “GG” inscribed. This led to the conclusion that the Warforged “137” had been built by Grigor.

Grigor inspected the damaged 137 and quietly noted the manufacturing number. He demonstrated that the cortex had been booby-trapped after manufacturing, suggesting that 137 was modified by the Clockwork Rebellion. He suggested that the party leave the matter alone, but they asked for the identity of the original owner.

The party then moves to the Hall of Phantasms to request an audience with Assistant Guildmaster Raleigh. There they meet Acolyte Jonas, who wears a tag assuring visitors that he is real. Jonas took their information and promised to send word to the Temple of Bahamut.

With no immediate task to complete, the adventurers chose to research the fallen Eladrin Kingdom. They presented themselves to the Eladrin community within Starwhisper and met Quin’al, who considers herself the ambassador of the Eladrin Kingdom-in-exile. She explained that the capital city went during the King’s marriage, and no attempts to contact it since have been successful. Furthermore, a great swamp has grown around the city, and a monstrous creature is said to prowl it.

The party earns Quin’al’s trust by explaining how they laid the tormented spirit of Princess Yelena to rest. Quin’al reveals that she never trusted the King’s second fiancee, and that her suspicions led to her exile from the kingdom. She also mentions that she was very fond of the King’s first fiancee, Princess Yelena, and that although eladrin scouts were unable to find Yelena’s body, they did find her dowry chest. The heroes provide the key that Yelena’s spirit gave them … revealing a large pile of treasure, and a key to the Star Gate, the magical barrier that isolates the eladrin capital. With this valuable find, the heroes and Quin’al agree to begin preparation for a future expedition to discover what really happened to the Eladrin kingdom.

View
Chapter 8: Mysteries in the Basement

The party focused on exploring the Embassy. They have discovered that it is a portal to Sigil and they are the key holders.

Regild has encouraged the party to enter Sigil and assert their claim to the gate to give them bargaining power against the Empire. the Imperial Wizards will have sensed that the gate has been opened.

Wrathy and Elzin briefly explored the Embassy’s Sigil-side. They heard noises indicating some inhabitant on the upper floor above.

View
Chapter 7: Rumble with the Inquisition

When last we left our heroes, Wrathy had just dove for the runestone that had dropped from the cloaked stranger’s pouch. Elzin recognized the pouch as belonging to their murdered patron, so while Inquisitor Callifell appeared to be trustworthy his cloaked ally was most assuredly not!

Scenario_Start.jpg

Callifell drew his sword and demanded that Wrathy return the runestone. This decorum cost him dearly as Wrathy’s allies attacked his cloaked companion. The stranger then used his powerful mental abilities in an attempt to turn Batal against his allies. Batal’s iron will fought off this violation, and the stranger instead imposed his will on the nearby townsfolk, drawing them into the fray.

Although Wrathy threw the runestone into a nearby stream to keep it away from its bearer, Ragnar observed that the stone flashed each time their foe used his psionic powers. Suddenly, the stranger was pulled into the air by the runestone and enveloped in a column of green energy!

The alien will that created the stone now used its pawn’s telepathy to broadcast its dark magic throughout the town. All around them, the heroes saw innocent people being transformed into grotesque organic portals to the Far Realm. Ragnar was able to resist this magic after his previous exposure to it, and the other three party members found themselves strangely immune. Few others were so lucky.

Setting aside their differences, Batal and Wrathy teamed up with Callifell to dispatch the doomed townsfolk as quickly as they could. Despite their efforts, a number of Foulspawn were able to cross the threshold into the Prime plane. Furthermore, three unstable rifts had opened around them. If these stabilized, the Far Realm would quickly infest the region.

While Wrathy and Batal dealt with the bulk of the invaders, Elzin and Ragnar focused on the rifts. Exposure to the runestones had partially restored Ragnar’s memory, and he believed he knew a countersign to close the portals. He was worried it might take too much time however, so he decided to pit his magic directly against that of the runestone by casting Dispel Magic. He surprisingly(*) succeeded! The rifts shrunk to an non-useable size and the stranger fell to the ground with the powerless stone.

With enemy reinforcements cut off, Batal and Wrathy dealt with the remaining invaders. Callifell fell under a combined assault from the two most powerful Foulspawn, one of which had the towering height of an ogre. A quicker monster grabbed the runestone that had fallen to the ground, but Ragnar used his most powerful magics to burn it and trap it under an acidic ooze.

As Batal hammered away at the Foulspawn hulk, it and a new wave of minions managed to incapacitate Wrathy. Elzin sprinted across the field to heal her dying ally, and this distraction provided Batal with the opportunity to slay the hulk. The battle for Sunvale had ended.

The heroes immediately tended to Callifell, who had survived both the runestone’s corrupting magic and the horrors it had summoned. Ragnar ensured that the rifts were properly sealed while Wrathy, Batal and Elzin visited the old warlock Telsis. He had survived the attack without injury. Now the party has two runestones; dangerous to possess, but even more deadly in the wrong hands. They have learned that the rocks were fragments of a great meteor that struck the town of Moonshire several days ago. Telsis has suggested that they might be able to dispose of the rocks by travelling to a sub-dimension that connects to all mirrors … but this course of action may bring them into conflict with the Lord of Mirrors, a devil which Wrathy bargained with long ago.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.