Arantus

Epilogue
A New Point of Light

Traveling through the Underdark, you arrive safely at Forgehome. Balasar is already living in Forgehome when you arrive. Balasar tells you that he left the adventure party because he had discovered that his destiny was to act as the guardian of the Platinum Egg until it hatches.

In time, the egg hatches and the Platinum Dragon, Sariant, Exarch of Bahumut, is born! Dog Boy and Sariant grow up together in Forgehome, with Prince Graid raising his long-lost son while Balasar continues on in his role as guardian of the Platinum Dragon wyrmling.

The presence of Prince Galerant and Sariant in Forgehome creates a new Point of Light in a world quickly being swallowed up by Darkness. Though it lies many years in the future, one day Prince Galerant and Sariant will be ready to accept the torch that you pass to them. Prince Galerant will rule the Lighted Realms with chivalry and justice while Sariant defends their borders with courage and power.

Meanwhile, if and when that day arrives depends on you, dear Adventurers, and what you achieve during the remainder of your adventuring careers. For there remain many foes to be fought and adventures to be sought by you — the followers of Avandra’s Paths of Power, the keepers of the Light, The Company of the Black Wagon, the Torchbearers!

End of Campaign

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Junantus 18-20, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Days 78-80

You leave the Oracle of the Gate and begin traveling back to Ardwen.

Along the way, a party of golden-skinned Kobolds from Cantalore approaches and they engage in conversation with Ki’mat. The Kobolds are representatives of King Cantarell of Cantalore, the Gold Dragon King, who is summoning Ki’mat to advise and counsel him on the political situation in Ardwen. Cantarell is aware that The King’s Council in Ardwen has split into three factions, one of which has asked Cantarell to assume the throne of Ardwen. Knowing that Ki’mat is well versed in the current political situation in Ardwen, Cantarell wants to consult with him before making his decision.

Ki’mat tells you that he will leave the adventure party and return to Cantalore. He will advise King Cantarell not to assume the throne of Ardwen. As it turns out, Cantarell is a very ancient gold dragon well into the twilight years of his life. He is dying and he has no clear successor. For this reason, Ki’mat thinks that Cantarell should decline the offer and instead support the one faction that advocates for Ardwen‘s self-rule, the faction led by Ward Marshall Arbrand and Ward Marshall Huxor. Ki’mat departs with the gold-skinned Kobolds.

You travel two days to the Kog’s Bane Hills in northwest Ardwen. Arriving at the entrance to the Mines of Kog, you are attacked by a Dwarf Dark Arcanist and four Dwarf Bolters. They light off flares and are soon joined by three Orc Harriers and an Orc Troll Shaman mounted on a Snaketongue Wyvern. Fighting through a long battle, you overcome the enemies. Agapanthus mounts the Obsidian Steed and fells the last remaining foe, charging at the Orc Harrier while shooting his greatbow from horseback.

At Felgrim Cornerstone’s urging, you quickly gather parts from the junk heaps outside the mine shaft and assemble a mining cart with wheels. You mount the mining cart on the tracks and begin a wild ride through the mines. With Felgrim steering and the cart gathering inertia, you bowl over numerous evil dwarves along the route.

The cart enters a room with a circular section of track. An evil dwarf is whipping a badly injured mule with violet eyes. The mule defiantly looks back at the dwarf and speaks, Foul dwarf! Thou hast broken my body, but thou shall not break my spirit! Dog Boy screams Stop the cart! I recognize that voice! That is my father! Felgrim slams on the brakes, stopping the cart abruptly. The dwarf scampers off, while Hypatia tends to the injured mule. She administers the special potion that was given to you some time ago by a giant black raven, an emissary of the Raven Queen, who instructed you to use the potion on the mule with violet eyes who toils in the land of giants. After drinking the potion, the mule transforms into Prince Graid, son of King Gwenyk, father of Prince Galerant (Dog Boy).

Taking the unconscious prince with you in the cart, you resume you high-speed descent into the mines. The dwarves pursue in their own mining cart and a high-speed chase ensues.

Descending to the Underdark, the rail ends and you leave the cart behind. You reach a large three-way intersection in the tunnels. Felgrim Cornerstone informs you that the left fork leads to Trollgard, the right fork to Forgehome. His plan is to detonate explosives in the roof of the tunnel, collapsing the intersection and blocking access to invaders from Trollgard as well as to pursuers from The Mines of Kog. You boost Felgrim to the tunnel ceiling where he embeds numerous explosives that he has engineered for just this purpose.

Meanwhile, as the evil dwarves close their distance from behind you, a band of three Trolls and an Oni Mage approach from the left tunnel ahead of you. Mounted on pikes are the decapitated heads of King Gwenyk, Madame Duffington, Fiddleback, and The Toothless Tiefling. Two of the trolls carry a large banner that reads:

All obey Malevicious, Conqueror of Kings!

Felgrim lights the long wick to the explosives and you run with reckless abandon down the right tunnel. As the hoard of dwarves, the trolls, and the Oni Mage enter the intersection in pursuit, a massive explosion detonates, killing them all under the flames and rubble of the collapsed tunnel.

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Junantus 17, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Day 77

Dog Boy tells you that Lady Ryselka had been acting more and more strange since she started to read her mother’s (Queen Valorianta’s) diary. She claims that The Tomes of Power should be controlled by the Eladrin of Galiencedor. She tried to convince Cookie to send Dog Boy with her to Galiencedor and turn the Tomes over to the Eladrin. She persisted in trying to persuade Cookie to her point of view, knowing that he might in turn help persuade Hypatia to approve her plan. Cookie refused to cooperate, saying that Hypatia knows best about the Tomes and doesn’t need any persuading from a humble Hobgoblin cook. As Lady Ryselka became more insistent, Cookie stubbornly continued to disagree with her. Then she became belligerent and insulting toward Cookie and Dog Boy, saying that she could never understand how her half-brother, Prince Graid, could have so disgraced the Royal Family by mating with a savage, uncouth Hobgoblin woman. Enraged at the insult to his daughter, Cookie came at Lady Ryselka with a butcher knife and sliced off the tip of her little finger. Lady Ryselka ordered the Centaurs to behead Cookie and imprison Dog Boy. Using his teleport ability to evade capture and escape from the Castle, Dog Boy ran to the Temple of Ioun for sanctuary.

Felgrim Cornerstone tells of turmoil among The King’s Council. The six members are split along three factions:

Chancellor Whitemoat and Ward Marshall Vortina (South Quadrant) want to bring the Tomes to Cantalore and turn them over to Cantarell the Dragon King. They believe that Cantarell is the only being powerful enough to protect them and to see that they used effectively.

Lady Ryselka and Ward Marshall Warwick (West Quadrant) want to bring the Tomes to Galiencedor where they think the Eladrin will use them more effectively than anyone in Ardwen or elsewhere is capable of doing.

Ward Marshall Huxor (North Quadrant) and Ward Marshall Arbrand (East Quadrant) believe the Tomes are the rightful property of the people of Ardwen and ideally they should remain in the Temple of Ioun under Hypatia’s care. However, because of the number of imminent threats to the Tomes’ safety and security, they believe the Tomes should be relocated to a hidden sanctuary until the internal strife in Ardwen has abated. Huxor and Arbrand have a plan that they explained to Felgrim and asked him to convey to Hypatia. Felgrim was on his way to the Temple of Ioun to brief Hypatia on the political intrigue and to reveal Huxor and Arbrand’s plan to her. The centaurs arrived at the Temple just after Felgrim got there. They were trying to confiscate the Tomes but Dog Boy, who had run to the Temple for safety from Lady Ryselka, had already retrieved them. They asked Felgrim questions. Refusing to cooperate, the Centaurs beat up Felgrim and left him for dead. Dog Boy found the black pyramid. Having heard the story of the Black Pyramid from Ryselka, he knew its powers. He rubbed Felgrim’s hands on it to send him to safety, and then did the same, bringing the Tomes along with him to the Pyramid of Shadows. When he appeared in the charnal pit with zombies grasping at him, he screamed, but teleported out of the pit then tried to haul Felgrim out by tying a rope to him. That’s when the adventure party arrived.

Felgrim’s Plan

There is a place known to the Dwarves, a place I visited when I was a young dwarf and had always desired to return to before I die. It is a small underground city in the shallows of the Underdark; the dwarven mining colony of Forgehome! No one will suspect that the Tomes have been moved there. I will lead the party there. There are two other things I want to accomplish that are part of the plan. I have the tools and the engineering skill needed to accomplish them, but I need your help. The first of the two tasks can be accomplished very quickly if we leave the pyramid and return to the Teleportation Circle under Castle Ardwen. For the next two tasks, we must descend into The Mines of Kog and find a passage into the Underdark below the mines. Having completed these tasks, we will push onward to Forgehome, which will become our new home base.

Ardwen will not be safe for many years to come. The Wards are on the verge of collapse. It was a bad idea to tinker with them, but The King’s Council forced the Dwarven Engineers, over Ward Marshall Arbrand’s objections, to try to enhance them with the ability to suck the residuum out of magic items. This worked temporarily, but as the Dwarves had warned, it only heightened their instability and hastened their demise. It won’t be long before The Wards of Ardwen turn to pillars of sand and crumble in the wind.

Ki’mat casts Linked Portal and you arrive at the Teleportation Circle under Castle Ardwen. You battle centaurs and Lady Ryselka, who is slain by Agapanthus.

Adugrain’s Tale

Adugrain informs you that his time is running short. His purpose has become clear to him. He needs one more magic item, an artifact, and he will be able to accomplish his purpose. Adugrain mentions that his name is an anagram of his true name. He will grant a Divine Boon (Bahamut’s Protective Ward, Level 13) to the first of you to discover his true name. Ki’mat solves the puzzle, discovering the true name of Adugrain to be Guardian, and is granted the boon as promised.

Adugrain demands to be taken to the Oracle of the Gate. She must take him to a Dunn Grove to perform a ritual. Then Adugrain’s mission will be complete and he will wither and pass from this world.

You escape from Castle Ardwen with some difficulty, with Ki’mat breaking his leg while climbing out of the Adrmore city sewers. Eventually you leave Ardmore and travel west to The old King’s Gate just outside The Chaos Scar. Adugrain thanks the party for providing him with the magic energy needed to deliver Bahumut’s gift to Arantus. If there is any magic left over, as his dying act he will grant additional boons the party. He cannot say how much magic will be left over for this purpose.

The Oracle brings Adugrain to the Dunn Grove. He ejects the Platinum Egg that he has been guarding throughout his life and then dies with the words, I give you Sariant, Exarch of Bahamut!

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Junantus 16, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Day 76

Taking turns rubbing your hands on its shiny obsidian surface, you venture into the black pyramid, entering the extra-dimensional space known as The Pyramid of Shadows. You arrive in a pit of disgusting charnal carnage and are immediately attacked by an Ettin, two Carrion Crawlers, and three Zombie Rotters who you dispatch with after a long battle. You find four heads stuck on hooks – a Shadar-Kai, an Orc, and two humans. In a fifth sack you find an obsidian orb.

Meanwhile, Hypatia prepares to begin study of Chapter 13, knowing this will require two days of study. Just as the Deva begins to immerse herself in intense study, there is a polite knock on the door. It is Alderaminis, the quiet and reserved high priest of Ioun at the temple in Ardmore. He says, “Forgive me, Revelator, I know how vitally important your studies are. But I think you should should see something.” He leads her to the temple steps where a small clan of halflings are gathered. They are from Underton. They have started their patrols around Harefolk Glen, and on the very first day they were engaged in an intense battle. They have something in a sack. They dump it out on the temple steps. It’s a vile, monstrous head with fangs, and a pair of wings where you would normally expect ears. Research on this creature reveals that it is a Vargouille (pronounced var-GWEEEL). The Vargouille are thought to be native to the Shadowdark (the Shadowfell equivalent of the Underdark). They haven’t been seen in Ardwen since The Mines of Kog were sealed a century ago.

Alderaminis tells Hypatia that he thinks he remembers coming across an old map of the Mines of Kog in the temple’s map room. He retrieves a detailed map of the mines and gives it to Hypatia.

The halfings convey rumor: a gang of strangely uniformed Orcs with packs of vicious wolves have been attacking travelers in western Ardwen. They are led by a big, powerful wyvern-mounted Orc. There is a second rumor: a strange race of humanoid house-flies (Fly people) are entering Ardwen in the Blithewood region. They are making camp in the swampy site that was fomerly the home of Mother Gerd. But they have not interacted with anyone else or attacked anyone. They do stink rather badly.

Lady Ryselka uses the wondrous mirror to contact you, informing you that there has been some commotion at the Temple of Ioun. Ki’mat casts a Linked Portal ritual and you return to the teleportation circle in Castle Ardwen. You arrive at the Temple of Ioun as the halflings are leaving. Hypatia shows you the Vargouille head and informs you of the halfings’ rumors. You visit Felgrim Cornerstone who suspects that the trouble is arising in the Kog’s Bane Hills. He tells you that if you decide to explore The Mines of Kog, then he had something for you to take along. Instead, you decide to return to The Pyramid of Shadows, this time with Hypatia joining you.

In the pyramid, you explore a verdant room and defeat two Arborean Reapers, a Howling Hag, and a Dire Boar. In a second room, you defeat an Arborean Watcher, an Arborean Reaper, three Shambling Mounds, and a Satyr Piper. The Head of Vyrellis chides the party for slaying a Fey creature (the Satyr). Ki’mat agrees to honor Vyrellis’s terms: he will only disable, but never slay, any Fey creatures for as long as he carries the obsidian orb artifact in which the Eladrin female’s severed head floats.

After a short rest, Agapanthus ascends to Paragon Tier as a Shinaelestran Guardian. He is the first Adventurer in all the Lighted Realms to achieve Paragon Tier without turning evil. The Head of Vyrellis congratulates him on his ascendancy while his fellow Adventurers gape in awe at his miraculous transformation.

Hypatia and Krum find themselves being rooted to the earth. The Head of Vyrellis tells you that Adventurers who fall out of touch with their Power Source are likely to succumb to the powerful Arborean magic influences present in this sector.

Entering a large temple with numerous trees and an altar, you defeat an Arborean Plant Terror, a Cave Bear, and the Arborean Speaker, Camnor. Searching a side chamber, you find a Guardian Shield. Moving into a second rooom, you kill an Arborean Watcher and two Arborean Reapers, while a pair of pesky Quicklings slash at you repeatedly and eventually manage to escape from the room alive.

You return to Krum and Hypatia only to find that Krum has been totally entwined in the plant roots and has had all life drained from him. Adugrain, The Creature in the Cone, engulfs Krum’s body, telling Hypatia that although Krum’s life cannot be saved, the Creature will free Krum’s spirit by unbinding it from the powerful Arborean magic. After completing the ritual to free Krum’s spirit, Adugrain helps Hypatia break free of the plant roots. Wolvar objects to Adugrain’s interference in the party’s affairs and its consumption of the party’s magic items. Some party members mutter threats to slay Adugrain but before any action is taken the creature returns to its cone.

You assault the final room in the Arborean lair, an illusory outdoor forest of black trees, slaying Arboreans and Ettercaps. The pair of Quicklings from the previous battle dash in and out of the room, slashing away at you with their blades. You fend them off but do not manage to kill them.

Hypatia senses a powerful threat in the area to the north: allies of Vecna are devouring knowledge, a serious affront to any devotee of Ioun. Quickly leaving the Arborean lair behind, you travel north to the Library of Whispers, engaging in combat with shadowy beings called Eaters of Knowledge. With the battle turning against them, the Eaters of Knowledge take on ethereal form and merge themselves into the stacks of library books.

Lady Ryselka contacts you through the wondrous mirror. She asks Hypatia to instruct Alderaminis to grant permission to have The Tomes of Power transported from the Temple of Ioun to the castle in Ardmore where they will be guarded by the centaurs. Hypatia appears reluctant to grant permission to allow the centaurs to remove the Tomes from the temple.

While Lady Ryselka is speaking, three centaurs appear behind her in the mirror. The centaur leader says, We could not find the Hobgoblin boy, my Lady, but we have beheaded the old Hobgoblin cook just as you instructed. Agitated at the timing of the interruption, Lady Ryselka yells, “Not now, you stupid oaf!” at the centaur leader, after which her image disappears from the mirror.

You hear a scream coming from the entry chamber to the south. Returning to the charnal pit, you find Dog Boy holding a sack containing The Tomes of Power. Beside him, badly beaten and unconscious, is the dwarf Felgrim Cornerstone. You revive Felgrim and rest the night undisturbed in the Arborean lair.

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Junantus 13-15, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Days 73-75

Hypatia immerses herself in intense study of the second volume of The Tomes of Power. Hypatia learns Level 11 of the Paths of Power on Junantus 13 and Level 12 on Junantus 14. Hypatia realizes that her limit is twelve hours of study in one day and that she will sometimes need a full day of rest between levels. She spends a day of rest and recovery on Junatus 15. She is visited by Dog Boy who helps her with her housekeeping in her quarters and brings her a big platter of food prepared by Cookie. After Hypatia finishes her meal, Dog Boy asks her to tell him tales of the adventure to Grey Marsh and the battles with the Lizardfokk and the Black Dragon. Then he asks, (1) Was the old sunken tower that the halfling Toes led you to inside Ardwen? (2) How did the Black Dragon get inside Ardwen’ s wards? (3) Can Mungo teleport? (4) Are Mungo evil? (5) How do the Mungo get inside Ardwen?

Lady Ryselka invites you to the castle for a festive dinner to celebrate your defeat of the Demon of Betrayal and your acquistion and restoration of The Tomes of Power. Cookie is in the kitchen as head chef, while Dog Boy is seated at the dining table by Lady Ryselka’s side, excited to hear of your latest adventure, though a bit saddened for not having accompanied you on it. Lady Ryselka is obviously very fond of her nephew, and he of his Eladrin aunt.

After dinner, Lady Ryselka takes you on a tour of the royal family’s living quarters. She eventually brings you to her mother’s (Queen Valorianta‘s) study chamber. Most of the chamber is roped off with a thick, red velvet rope. Only Lady Ryselka is allowed to enter the room, by orders of the King. The queen was apparently a pack-rat; the study is crammed with tomes, parchments, baubles & trinkets, art objects, maps, etc. Lady Ryselka looks for a particular volume, finds it, dusts it off, and hands it to the party. The tome is titled, Queen Valorianta’s Book of Rituals. She hands it to Ki’mat, “I believe my mother would have liked for you and Hypatia to use this, if she had had the pleasure of knowing you.”

Lady Ryselka goes on to tell her guests that the Queen was an 8th level cleric of Corellon. She was an eclectic collector of maps, scrolls, rituals, and art objects. She also craved knowledge of strange and exotic destinations, especially those that could be reached through portals or teleportation circles, though she never had the opportunity to explore most of the places she had researched. Queen Valorianta wrote copious notes about these locations, but they are scattered and disorganized (as is her study room). Lady Ryselka offers to pore through her mother’s notes and diaries, writing down all the sigil sequences she finds for potential portal destinations and any accompanying notes about the destination site. It may take her weeks or months to find all of the sigil sequences researched and collected by her mother. Lady Ryselka shows you to a small storage room with a lock-box on a table. Lady Ryselka has a key to the lock-box and she hands a duplicate key to the party. You can visit the room and open the lock-box from time to time to see whether Ryselka has added any new sigil sequences to the list. She recommends memorizing the sigil sequences in the same way that you master a ritual (with 8 hours of study).

Lady Ryselka hands the party an art object. It’s an obsidian pyramid, about the size of a pair of hands formed in the shape of a tent. She says her mother called it The Pyramid of Shadows. It’s a portal to an extra-dimensional place that’s rumored to serve as a prison for a powerful Tiefling wizard, who happened to be the husband of Queen Valorianta‘s sister, the Eladrin princess Vyrellis. It’s rumored that both the wizard and his wife were trapped inside the Pyramid, held there by a special magic crafted by powerful devils. Though a deadly place, the Pyramid is also thought to be brimming with treasures, far beyond any than can be sought after in Ardwen. According to Lady Ryselka (as told to her by her mother), you only need to place your hands on any two sides of the pyramid for a few seconds and you are wisked away into its extra-dimensional space. Queen Valorianta had always hoped to have the chance to rescue her sister, but she was discouraged from doing so by her husband, King Gwenyk. She died before ever having a chance to venture there. Lady Ryselka hands the obsidian pyramid to you. “It’s yours now. Do with it as you will.”

Finally, Lady Ryselka leads you down a number of hallways and stairways leading to the dungeons under Castle Ardwen, arriving at a double-door guarded by a pair of centaurs. They open the doors for her. Inside is a chamber with four more centaurs standing guard around a circle of arcane symbols inscribed on the floor: a permanent teleportation circle. Only the royal family, The King’s Council, and the centaur guards know of its existence. Lady Ryselka tells you that using the teleportation circle will aid you in your use of the Linked Portal ritual. The centaur guards are given orders to allow your party to depart from the circle, and also to arrive at it as a destination. Anyone other than the PCs will be challenged by the guards, and killed if they appear threatening. Ki’mat should commit the sigil sequence to memory. But the PCs must keep the sigil sequence and knowledge of the existence of the teleportation circle itself a closely guarded secret.

After a satisfying dinner and a full evening at the castle, you return to your quarters in Ardmore, the deceased Queen’s ritual book and black pyramid in hand.

You spend the next day shuttling between Harefolk Glen and Underton to negotiate a new arrangement between the Harefolk and the Halflings. You propose that the Harefolk resume their tradition of growing their own vegetable gardens instead of acquiring their food from the Halflings in exchange for black truffles. The Halflings will help guard the Harefolk warrens so that the Harefolk will feel secure enough to work above the surface, tending to their gardens. The Halflings will be paid with black truffles in exchange for their services to the Harefolk. You sweeten the deal by giving Constable Trueberry a magic longsword at his request.

You spend the following day, Junantus 15, traveling back to Ardmore and then explaining the new arrangement to Lady Ryselka. She thanks you for your innovative solution, saying that The King’s Council will be pleased to learn that a troubling issue – the recent food shortages in Ardwen – may now have a genuine resolution.

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Junantus 12, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Day 72

The Halfling raftsman Luko appears at your door, accompanied by Gabbie, who says, “Go ahead now, Luko, tell these nice people the same story you just told to me.” Luko tells you that his Halfling kin, who make their living as fishermen along the southern border of Ardwen in the region known as Grey Marsh, have gone missing in recent days, and whole families have disappeared from their houseboats. Luko has come to the characters hoping to find someone brave enough to mount a rescue or deliver vengeance if any ill has befallen his missing kin. There have also been sightings by the Ward Guards in the south quadrant of a dark flying beast which occasionally emerges from the swamp. Luko appeals to your party for urgent help to investigate the disappearances and to rescue his fellow tribesmen if possible. Working together, Gabbie and Luko will take you by raft to Grey Marsh safely and speedily, but the rest is up to you. With Ki’mat, Rook, and Wolvar away at an annual sporting festival in Overton, it falls upon Agapanthus, Hypatia, and Krum to take on this challenge as a trio.

Gabbie and Luko bring you downriver past River’s End and into the Grey Marsh. Luko introduces you to a young Halfling named Toes, who believes that a tribe of Lizardfolk known as the Snake Eaters have been capturing Halflings and taking them to a sunken tower that sits on Ardwen’s southern border. Following Toes on a long and arduous walk through the bogs and swamps of the Grey Marsh, you arrive at the sunken tower. There you defeat numerous Lizardfolk, including an albino Greenscale Marsh Mystic named Ssluryth. Also among your foes is a young black dragon, Sarkis, who manages to evade your killing blow by diving into a water-filled network of underground tunnels, escaping with her life. You free numerous Halfings and return to Ardmore with the young black dragon’s treasure hoard neatly stuffed in your backpacks.

View
Junantus 9, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Day 69

In the morning, Hypatia appeases The Creature of the Cone by feeding it another magic item.

Although Gabbie is not present in River’s End today, you find another raftsman, a Halfling named Luko, to bring you safely upriver and back to Ardmore. You bring along six children from the Shifter tribe who, as you promised the Shifters, are to be enrolled for adventure training at the school in Ardmore.

Arriving at Castle Ardmore, you drop off the Shifter children at the school of adventuring. Next you make a full report to Lady Ryselka and the rest of The King’s Council who are pleased and relieved with the outcome of your efforts to rescue The Tomes of Power and thwart the Demon of Betrayal in her efforts to bring an age of Darkness and Evil to the Warded Realm of Ardwen. Chancellor Whitemoat, however, cautions his fellow council members to keep ever vigilant, since it is now recognized that Ardwen has made a powerful enemy in Pazuzu, who may not yet be done with his plots and machinations to one day oversee the kingdom’s downfall.

Lady Ryselka commends Cookie for his assistance to the kingdom over many long years. His patience and quiet determination in protecting the safety of The Stone of Avandra, the secret of The Puzzle of the Seventeen Stones, and the accompanying knowledge about the corrupting influence of the demon Hethica, all of which was entrusted to him years earlier by Prince Graid, are to be heralded in Ardwenian song and legend for many an age. Lady Ryselka entices Cookie to retire from Adventuring by offering him a position as Head Cook at Castle Ardmore. Cookie gladly accepts the offer on the condition that his grandson, Dog Boy, now to be addressed by his proper title as Prince Galerant, should also be allowed to dwell at the castle with him. Lady Ryselka exclaims that she would have it no other way, adding that she will be overjoyed to participate in the care and tutelage of her beloved nephew, the young prince.

With heavy hearts, Cookie and Prince Galerant depart from The Company of the Black Wagon, telling you that it has been an honor to serve as your torchbearers. They ask that you visit Castle Ardmore often to regale them with fresh tales of new adventures, sparing no detail in the telling. Cookie also requests that if you can find the courage in your hearts to do so, that you one day soon set out for the Trollhaunt Warrens, at the eastern edge of Trollgard, to attempt a rescue of his daughter, Yaeva, mother of Prince Galerant, who is thought to be held in that forlorn place as a slave of the wicked Mind Flayer, Blackmourn. Cookie believes that you have now advanced to the point where you could take on such a challenge with a nearly even chance of success.

View
Junantus 8, 1010 A.G
Campaign Day 68

Making your way out of Avandra’s Sunken Temple, you are attacked by the corrupted Angler fish while crossing the wooden bridge on the way out of the temple. With Agapanthus using Spot the Path, you manage to traverse the rickety bridge without incident.

Your efforts to leave the temple are thwarted by a group of dwarf and human bandits who destroy the ladders and brick-up the exit. They place a note in a bucket on the ground demanding 10 gemstones or 1000 GP or any combination thereof that they judge acceptable. The notes says that the PCs can comply by placing the loot in the bucket and tugging on the rope three times. If the bandits don’t like the treasure, they will seal the exit 100%. If they are satisfied with it, they will unblock the exit just wide enough for the PCs to squeeze through one at a time. You successfully break through the brick blockage and chase off the bandits.

The female Dragonborn, Surina, tells you that she has a small gig that could prove quite lucrative for both her and you. There’s a small clan of Shifters who claim that they’ve discovered a rich vein of Fireheart Moss. The problem is, it’s buried under an old pile of dragon bones that are blocking a shaft that leads to the moss. The Shifters hold strong superstitions about the dragon bones and won’t go near them. The Shifters will pay you 82 gp, 44 sp, and 210 cp to clear the bones out of the shaft (it’s all their clan could raise). Surina asks for a 10% commission as a finder’s fee, but she will gladly round down to 8 gp.

You accept the job and are led to the dragon bone pit. As you approach the bones at the base of the pit, they assemble themselves into a massive Bone Mongrel Dracolich. You make short work of the Dracolich and collect your fee from the Shifters, who are duly impressed by your demonstration of prowess.

Returning to River’s End, you rest the night uneventfully at the Bogger’s Bend tavern.

View
Junantus 4-7, 1010 A.G.
Campaign Days 64-67

For several more days you attempt to complete Avandra’s Challenge of Adventuring Knowledge, finally succeeding. The voice of Aasterinian congratulates you and grants you permission to pass through the blue-stone archway. You proceed down the broad stairs leading to the chamber doors. A face of Avandra appears in the lintel above the massive double doors and tells you that before entering you must solve The Puzzle of the Seventeen Stones.

Hethica offers to loan you a Stone of Avandra which she says, according to Glyph, will allow you to solve the puzzle. Cookie tells you not to accept anything from Hethica, saying that she is attempting to deceive you. He, too, offers you a Stone of Avandra, which he claims Prince Graid instructed him to keep safe until it could be handed to the Revelator of Ardwen in her moment of crisis.

Hethica fires back, alleging that Cookie is actually a demon who can’t be trusted. After a long stand-off, Hypatia points the hand of Nostone at both the Hobgoblin and the Gnome, asking the hand to tell her which of the two can be trusted. The hand oscillates from one creature to the other, finally settling on Cookie. Using the Stone of Avandra offered by Cookie, you solve the puzzle and the chamber doors slide open. Hethica screams out, “Dark Angel of the Four Winds, aid me!”

Hethica’s appeal to her Demon Lord does not go unnoticed. A misty image of the great winged fiend Pazuzu appears on the ceiling above. Pazuzu tells his demon underling that she has served him well, despite her failing to corrupt Hypatia. Pazuzu grants Hethica a boon of allies to assist her in the imminent battle, upon which three surprised Mungo appear overhead. After Hethica appeals for further aid from Pazuzu, White Crane and Ruby Blue join the battle, with White Crane wielding the Chaos Shard. With the battle clearly turning against her, the demon Hethica sprouts a pair of bloodied wings and attempts to escape but is slain. White Crane, and Ruby Blue are also killed, while the three Mungo, though wounded, manage to fly off to safety. Before her death, White Crane uses the Chaos Shard to afflict Krum with a nose made of gold.

Hypatia enters the Chamber of Tomes. She casts Make Whole on the three original volumes of The Tomes of Power, which were in a very fragile condition after centuries in the musty chamber. A fourth tome, entitled The Adventurers Vault of Alchemical Formulas and One Ritual, is found on the floor. Fearing that it may corrupt her, Hypatia decides to leave it behind, exiting the chamber with only The Tomes of Power in her arms. As she leaves the chamber, the image of Pazuzu appears before her again, this time offering a complete set of all known rituals in existence to her in exchange for pledging her soul to him. Hypatia ignores Pazuzu’s temptation and walks out of the chamber.

You rest the night uneventfully in the corridors outside the Chamber of Tomes.

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Junantus 3, 1010 A.G
Campaign Day 63

Early in the morning, Hypatia feeds a magic Shield of Eyes to The Creature of the Cone.

You travel a few hundred yards down a path leading to the small peninsula where the Shademore Home for Children once stood. A stone wall has been built to wall off the area. Four guards stand at the gate to prevent anything from coming out of the walled off area. The guards reluctantly open the barred gate to let you pass through, then quickly slam the gate shut behind you. They warn that they will not attempt a rescue should you need help.

A ravenous pack of hounds runs at you and savagely attacks Hypatia before they are dispatched with.

You find a deep shaft under some loose floorboards in one of the ramshackle buildings that was once the site of the orphanage. Krum descends forty feet down a ladder on the side of the shaft, entering a long tunnel. Traveling down the tunnel, Krum sets off a flood trap and is doused in water and rubble, taking minor damage. Agapanthus disables a pressure plate trap, then proceeds further down the corridor and sets off a ceiling trap that drops dust and rubble on him.

You enter a room with a caved-in ceiling that appears to be a former shrine to Sehanine. You proceed further into the temple are are attacked by several human cultist archers. In a second ancient shrine, this one to Melora, Krum is knocked unconscious by a life-draining seaweed creature.

You proceed down a wide staircase to the lower level. A rickety wooden bridge crosses a water-filled trench. A shark-like angler fish nearly lures Wolvar into the water below using its psychic attack, while across the bridge, human cultist archers fire bolts from a mounted arbalest. They are joined by a mystic cultist and several fish-like people. You overcome the enemies.

Further down the corridor, a blue stone archway with the face of a blue dragon carved in bas relief animates as you approach. Speaking to Hypatia, the blue dragon carving introduces itself as the voice of Aasterinian, loyal servant of Avandra. The dragon tells the Deva that before she can proceed through the archway and then down the staircase leading to the Chamber of Tomes, she must first succeed at Avandra’s Challenge of Adventuring Knowledge.

Hypatia and the party fail to complete the challenge successfully. The voice of Aasterinian invites you to try again the next day. You spend the night resting in the corridor to prepare for a second attempt.

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