Clem's D&D Encounters

Infiltrating the Raider's Camp
Tegan's Ballad: Week 4

After recovering from our touch with death, we recovered our wits and prepared ourselves for the trials ahead.

Upon the next morning, Governor Nighthill and the leaders of Greenest’s defense met with us seeking to comprehend the identity of the town’s attackers and why it became their target. A blazed trail left by the raiders runs off to the southwest from the town’s margin. We were called upon to stealthily scout the enemy, collect information, and return back to report. More specifically, we were to answer the following questions: 1) where is the raider camp located, 2) what is the strength of their forces, 3) who are their leaders, 4) what is the motivation behind the raid(s), and 5) what is the probable site of their next attack. If we succeed, we were offered a 250 gp a head payment. Given our prior experience, we undoubtedly should have asked to be better equipped and provided with a handful of potions of healing.

Supplies were gathered and we broke camp. We were approached by a young monk, limping on a bandaged leg. The young man, named Nesim Waladra, asks us to also investigate the disappearance of his master, Leosin Erlanthar, during the battle. He notes the monk was investigating the raiders for months. He may hold many answers to our questions about these attacks.

Setting out we tracked a muddy avenue of tracks. Upon inspection, we noted the tracks appear deeper leaving the settlement than those approaching it – suggesting they left carrying great treasure burdens.

Traveling south 12 miles, we entered a landscape of gently rolling hills and rocky plateaus. We noted in the distance a cooking fire rising into the sky from several miles ahead. Using boulders for cover, we snuck up to the margins of a straggler’s camp. We observed four human cultists and eight kobolds. Both groups were intent on bickering, with the humans bullying the kobolds. The kobolds narrowly held back spiteful curses at their “superiors”. The cultists had stacked their weapons in a pile, while the kobolds hold theirs in belted scabbards at their sides. We divined we might be able to split allegiances and, at minimum, get the drop on the cultists.

Seizing the initiative, Sal assuming an invisible form, gathered the set aside weapons and shields. Speaking telepathically, he stirred the ire and distrust of the kobolds for the humans, leading them to abandon the cultists in disgust.

Circling the four, we quickly captured the defenseless fools, binding their hands. Sal and worked them over, he employing intimidating words, while I plied them with persuasion. They revealed the presence of a powerful rearguard to the raider’s camp. They provide a description of the camp and its layout. They confess they were collecting treasure to contribute a hoard to honor Tiamat (gold, gems, and other valuables). Finally, they begrudgingly spilt the name of the camp’s leaders: Rezmir (the Wyrmspeaker), Frulum Mondath and Langdedrosa Cyanwrath. Knocking them out, we gathered their robes and 28 sp.

Moving with stealth and gained knowledge, we circled around and avoided the rearguard force.

With simple cult robes donned, we approached a horseshoe-shaped plateau. Spread across this large area of the vast camp where a large number of circular huts, constructed of wood / bone poles and hide, sod, and mud. Huts on level one appear more crudely built than those on the higher level two. Set apart at the back of higher level was one singularly large hut.

We cautiously approached at first, quickly noting security appeared quite lax. Residents seem tired, but enthusiastically still celebrating their triumphant raid. Becoming emboldened after not being challenged, we strode about as if we belonged, smiling and joining in the revelry – while being observant. We counted roughly 100 kobolds and a mix of bandits, guards, mercenaries, cultists (numbering roughly 80 total). The larger tent appears guarded by four standing guards and four guard drakes.

Talking with gusto and sharing our rations, we spoke with several people we met. We learned the group next mean to mount a raid on the more distant town of Elturel, located far to the north on the banks of the Chionthar River. Discussing the previous night’s attack, we learn that the commander Frulam Mondath persuaded the adult Blue dragon, Lennithon, to attack the keep of Greenest. Thus, we had a name for our nemesis, to be dealt payback for slaughter in the future. We also learned a cave near the rear of the settlement, known as the nursery, where Rezmir hopes to hatch a clutch of dragon eggs. We also learned a second cave contained the cache of loot gathered during past raids.

Most importantly, we asked where prisoners were being held, that we might take out a bit of our “aggression” as payback for a few injuries we sustained. We learned they were being held near camp’s rear amongst a group of stables. Many are employed as laborers.

As night fell, we traveled to the camp’s rear, in hope that we might locate the monk. We were met with the vision of weak, beaten, undernourished half-elf affixed to a stake. Moving about, I moved within 60 feet of Leosin, quietly singing a healing word. Donning my hood, I crept behind the stake whispering we were friends, intent on rescuing him. At first, he tried to beg off rescue, stating he meant to be imprisoned, he has learned much, and seeks more information about his captors. While slightly refreshed by my spell, he still can barely hold himself upright. I whisper our insistence, noting the details of the camp’s plot would likely perish with him. Acceding, despite half-muttered protest, he leaned back against the stake in defeat.

Meanwhile, I moved back to my brethren. We quickly formulated a plan. We would notify the fellow prisoners that we intended to free them, mount and release several horses, and flee the camp together. Iluna crouching behind a stable wall, assumed the form of a horse. The others quietly gathered and informed the prisoners and secured several horses.

Meanwhile, I cut Leosin’s bonds with a dagger. I had him don a spare Cult robe, and draw up its hood.

We released several horse, slapping their haunches to cause them to bolt around, unmanaged, and even topple a tent or two. Amidst the bedlam, our group and the prisoners rode little heeded away from the camp, before a challenge could be mounted. We turned away to the south, before circling wide beyond the camp. In the dark, we turned to the northwest to head back to Greenest.

There we hoped to get further answers from Leosin. That and seek a means to further assault and investigate the camp and the Cult’s plot.

The Folly of the Drake
Tegan's Ballad

Continuing our night’s endeavor, the group had captured a half-orc Cult initiate / guard when we reached 11 PM. Governor Nighthill interrogated the zealot, sadly learning little. The cur, under duress, identified himself as a Cult member who goal was collecting loot “for the great hoard that will usher in the reign of the Queen of Dragons.” As yet, the agenda of returning the fiend Tiamat to this world – as I have already discerned – remains veiled. To what end? We are left to question further ends.

Nighthill gathered us help shore up an imminent breach to the keep’s sally port perpetrated by a battering ram. It seems the serpents finally decided the lion’s share of gold might be found within the keep itself. We rushed to the port as an alarm sounded. A mass of foes forced a breach: an acolyte, four kobolds, and an ambush drake. With time, blade and spell we defeated these foes. With full concentration, Peren noted a sizable breach in the door.

A call was made to a resident mage to fix the damage. In the meantime, a guard, three cultists and four kobolds pushed through the breach. Poison breath, boarding ax, magic, and my rapier cut down these intruders. With skill, our group held its own, while a wizard mended the fractured bolt and brace. No further foes would invade.

Just then, a piercing yell went up. We recognized the voice as that of Governor Nighthill. The great wyrm circling the keep was moving to assault the keep’s roof. Wiping sweat and a stray lock from my brow, my voice and lute mustered our group to battle – whatever its outcome.

As we rushed up the stairs, the beast’s icy cold breath fully encased four guards, while leaving two others moaning as they were covered head to toe in hoarfrost and frostbite. An unexpected occurrence gas the giant wyrm featured dark blue scales. Hm? Without hesitation, two warlocks, a paladin, a druid, a cleric, and a bard stepped across the flagstone roof into sheer folly.

With daunting odds, we engaged our missile weapons and spells. Drawing forth my lyre, I plucked to quick songs in succession: one to rally our paladin’s bow and a second to assail the beast with a discordant melody. As it rushed toward us, the beast shook its head and turned to restart an attack run.

Beshaba be damned! Tymora did not shine upon us this midnight. The dragon spread its jaws. The last I recall was being lashed by a great cone of cold. Then darkness.

A bright backlight outlined a massive scroll lit by candlelight. Writing on the scroll seemed to become readable, to a degree. Then a flash of a five-headed huge dragon surrounded by soaring flames and bodies.

Then I awoke. I weakly raised my frame, seeing a white cot and a benevolent cleric smiling warmly at me, “Milady, thankfully you have returned. The beast is gone. Your actions speak of your courage. We seek to engage your bravery again.” Around me, I saw my companions lying on cots.

Yes, I time has not come. To haste, my friends, to great deeds. Our presence is demanded. To battle and intrigue again. The Cult must not triumph!

Garrety's Journal (3)

Day 22

This is the time that the days bleed together. First chance I’ve had to find a corner, a candle stub, and time to set ink to paper.

We infiltrated the Glasstaff’s hideout, but Reed suffered what looked to me like a fatal blow. I see him and long for home, but his own nature betrayed him. He had no business getting that close to a bugbear, especially with Voljenog in place to keep the big bastards in place.

One of his loyal wolves dashed into the room and dragged him away, but there was no time for me to monitor the wolf’s activity, what with things three to four times my size looking at us like breakfast. We took them down, but it had hurt.

Something odd happened while we were there, but we had been warned. Something is in that hideout, something we never found, but it could have caused some unseen damage. Just have to hope the others don’t put it together. That thing in there somehow knew something about me. Though, to be fair, it might be someone else those whispers were about. I doubt it. I don’t think anyone else in our group was forced to kill their brother.

Fratricide, it had whispered. And, yes, I could talk my way out of it…deny and make counterclaims since the thing never said WHO the subject was…because I don’t think any of them would understand. My brother wanted to surrender to the newest slavers that came to make us objects for their use and profit. He said it would save lives in the long run. He said better enslaved and alive, where there is hope, then the finality of death.

Some of us listened

Some of us didn’t.

I led the revolt. I took up the bow from the first slaver I killed, my simple kitchen knife jutting from his throat. We hit the slavers hard and fast. Never staying still, not giving them a target. We hid and rested during the day, making them hunt for us on our territory. Stalked them at night. Taking one or two. Not letting them sleep.

We were winning. Breaking the spirits of those still alive with our silent shadow war.

Then he betrayed us. My brother betrayed his own kind. Betrayed me.

I watched four of my group go down before their hands could touch their weapons…a married couple who wanted nothing more than the freedom to start an herb farm and raise six children, and cousins who thought they might, just might, be good enough tumblers to join a traveling carnival…or start their own. Four dead in less than four seconds. Dead because the larger ones wanted to pick on the weak for the coin they could get…and because my brother was a coward.

I whistled, the signal to scatter, and scatter they did. I sprinted, spun, and tumbled through the ambush, making damn sure the slavers, and especially my brother, kept their eyes on me. I was ready to die alongside my brothers and sisters instead of letting those manacles slam around my wrists. Arrow after arrow sang from my bow, some missing their marks, but my job was to distract and harry them until they finally got to me and killed me; to buy the halflings I loved time to flee into the shadows that had become our shelter, our aegis.

Quiver empty, I stood with my last arrow knocked, its tip steady and aimed at the last enemy standing: my brother. Dead slavers littered the stained ground between us. My group had not only outmaneuvered the larger enemies, but our actions had inspired those halflings who had thrown in with my brother. They had fought back, determined to live free or meet Tymora on their feet.

My brother, the bigger brother who had kept me safe from the monsters lurking in the bedtime shadows, died with a smile of pride for his little brother on his face…my arrow snuffing him out like a candle’s flame.

Now, all halflings are my family.

Seeing Reed so grievously injured was more oil on the fire. We took the rest of the hideout one plan after another. Clockwork precision to make a gnome jealous. Glasstaff never knew what hit him. Reed’s wolf took out the wizard’s familiar as efficiently as an executioner. Glassstaff in custody, we were one step closer to the Black Spider.

I learned I was wrong about the dwarf, Voljenog. His offer is one my group cannot turn away. It is too good. Though there will be eyes on the proceedings. Voljenog may have good intentions, but a merchant…and someone with those connections…warrants a trusting, if cautious approach.

The next link in the chain to the slave trade and Rockseeker’s whereabouts was Cragmaw. As usual, Netheron motives were unknown, but the elf kept with us. Ayani was just as set against the slavers as I was, I just don’t know her story. Maybe she’ll reveal it at some point, but not to me.

We picked up a couple of spellslingers and another priestess along the way. Bad time to join us, as I was more concerned with getting to Cragmaw than picking up more possible traitors, but resources are resources.

Cragmaw was before us, after taking out a hunting party carrying parchment bearing the Black Spider’s symbol, and the plans were being made. Voljenog and I discovered a side door, with a lock so easy to pop that even a paladin could do it, and were on our way back to solidify the plan when the gnome gods-botherer alerted the keep’s defenses to our presence.

With the defenders’ attention focused on the front, a number of us surprised a group of goblins in the kitchen. We tried to make as quick work of them as possible and crush the bastards between two groups, but were too late getting to Fasa, the gnome, before the goblins and bugbears overwhelmed her and the eldritch caster. Ayani tried her best, but the numbers were against her.

We cleared the rest out and made our escape before more could come to kill us. We managed to convince a druid to tend to Fasa, as we would need every blade, arrow, or spell we could get. While the others rested, again Voljenog and I scouted ahead. We determined that the keep’s occupants were still trying to figure what had happened. There was still some time before their confusion coalesced into action. We gathered ourselves and set up a kill box in front of the keep entrance. Voljenog got their attention…and we proceeded to cut them down.

The rest went quickily…blood froze or boiled in veins from arcane power, bones shattered under the dwarven maul, and my arrows ended their lives from the darkness.

Finally, Rockseeker was in sight. Fasa went down under the assault of a drow, Ayani barely able to drag the gnome to safety. Using the distraction, the drow used some manner of magic to disguise herself as the injured Rockseeker. Not willing to let the dwarf bleed out, or let one of our own fall victim to a trap, I stepped from the shadows and made the drow the best deal of her life.

“If you play this out and Rockseeker bleeds to death, I guarantee you’re next,” I said, arrow set between the identical dwarves, ready to fire at the first sign of aggression. “Surrender now and we’ll take you to the authorities. You’ll have a chance to escape, but you’ll be alive.”

The irony of my words was not lost on me.

The tiefling warlock stepped forward as Nethinon, the other warlock, and I held our aims. As expected (as I know that I would do the same), one of the dwarven bodies attacked, yelling last words in praise of the Black Spider. The tiefling was injured, but survived. The drow, or what I thought was a drow, was not so lucky. Spells and arrow struck the thing down. It shifted again, into what I was informed was the true form of something called a doppelganger. I have taken notes on the creatures and will pass it along to the group.

The slave caravan is crippled, but not destroyed. Rockseeker is now alive and well, his map returned to him (not before I took a surreptitious glance for myself) and ready to seek out the mine he so desperately wants to find, as well as discovering the fate of his two brothers. He has offered us all a stake in his mine once it is up and running.

With this monetary offer and Voljenog’s deal through the Lionshields, I have established what I hope is enough to expand the group’s influence and finally catch the attention of the Harpers. There is more for me to do. More that has nothing to do with searching for a mine. Every bit of me wants to stay.

I look at them now, the ones I worked with through this…

And I don’t want to go.

Garrety's Journal (2)

Day 17

A step closer to the identity of this Black Spider, just had to go about it all sloppily.

I’ll back up some…

We were resupplying when a wild-haired dwarf walked into the shop. Now, I’m not easily surprised by the eccentricities of others, what with being a halfling and having dealings with many gnomes, but this dwarf is insane.

Donk…yes, that’s his name…has a fascination (obsession!) with dragons. Everything is somehow connected to dragons. Okay, I understand the need to make connections with available information, it is what I do for my fellow anti-slavers, but what this dwarf does is too close to mania.

We left the shop, Donk following us for some reason with his pamphlets waving, and delivered the supplies to the Lionshields. The dwarven matron was also appreciative for the return of goods…and also corroborated something the previous shopkeeper had said: Stay away from the Redbrands.

They are, apparently, some group of local thugs running low-scale protection schemes in Phandalin, threatening local merchants in the typical way. I always have a hard time feeling sorry for the larger races when they’re being victimized. Yes, I want to help, and often do, but I won’t deny that there is always the part of me screaming to let them suffer since they should be able to fend for themselves, especially knowing the brutal, horrible things they do to my people.

If you want to find a specific criminal, find more criminals. Specialties, such as slavery or racketeering, lead to territorial boundaries. Step across one and a stern lecture is the very least of the worries coming down. Most often, it means death. Because of this, criminals need to know who the players are, what they’re specialty is, and where the boundary lines are drawn. This survival instinct and territorialism makes for, usually, easy pickings for information gathering.

We learned that the Redbrands littered the Sleeping Dr (NOT DRAGON) Giant Alehouse. Obviously, Donk’s constant dragon chatter is getting bothersome. My plan was to get into the Sleeping Giant and ingratiate myself to whomever called the shots for the Redbrands, but I wasn’t allowed a chance. No sooner did we arrive than four of them attacked after a few quick barbs. Knew I should’ve gone alone.

One Redbrand dropped almost immediately. I couldn’t here what Donk was saying, but I believe the dragon talk put the Redbrand into a mind-numbed coma. Didn’t mind at all, seeing that I wanted at least one alive…just as long as he could be revived without too much brain damage.

The other three Redbrands proved to be troublesome. They were good with their blades, managing to beat a steady rhythm on Voljenog, but we managed to bring them down with Ayani’s aid and the sometimes wild castings of Reed and Nethor (I will learn that elf’s name someday, dammit). Hated killing them, but Voljenog’s wounds weren’t some bruises from a street fight. These Redbrands had murder on their minds.

I bound the last as he slept. Upon waking, he started with the bluster one would expect from a street thug, but that was soon tossed aside as he stared down either my nocked arrow a foot from his eye or at Voljenog’s very irate, blood-covered face. I’m pretty damn sure the dwarf’s maul factored in, what with it stained by the blood of the thug’s former friends.

I will say that my arrow came close to shifting targets with Donk and his placement of illusory yellow dicks on the thug’s face even as the dwarf asked for confirmation that this was all a part of a dragon conspiracy.

It all worked out, though, as the Redbrand revealed the involvement of Black Spider. Not only is Rockseeker being held in a place called Triador (I botched the spelling, I’m sure, as thugs are not known for their literacy) Manor, but he is one of many being held; Rockseeker for the knowledge he holds, the rest for selling to the highest bidders.

As it appears, the Redbrands are taking their orders from a wizard called Glasstaff who, in turn, is taking his orders from Black Spider. One step closer.

We coaxed more information from the Redbrand, mostly tactical information regarding the manor and its defenses, before taking him at arrow-point to the town mayor for official arrest. It’s was at this point that my distrust of the taller races was once again justified. According to the over-stuffed and assuredly over-moneyed peacock, the Redbrands were local peacekeepers.

At that point, I knew the bastard we brought in would be released as soon as we were out of the mayor’s sight. He assured us the Redbrand would be incarcerated, but I saw no fear in the thug’s eyes since he knew we’d delivered him right to someone who would let him go without incident. I slipped away as the others, including Donk (thank you, Tymora!), stayed behind and tried to convince the mayor of the thug’s wrongdoing. If there wasn’t going to be justice from the authorities, which is not a surprise…as any halfling or gnome can tell you, I would try to instigate some from the very people the Redbrands had victimized. I almost laughed when the dwarven matron got the news about a bound Redbrand in custody at the town hall. Never seen a dwarf move so fast.

We prepare for an assault on Triador Manor. There are people being held there. Regular people who just want to live quiet lives of proud work and simple pleasure. Scared people who just want to go home.

I sharpen my arrows tonight.

Lost Mines of Phandelver Week 2
Avoid the Redbrands!

The group made their glorious arrival in Phandalin carrying the cargo they were being paid to bring, as well as the cargo they had picked up from the goblin hideout in the caves.

Upon arrival in the town Sildar, who the group had also recovered from the goblin caves, took his leave to go rest in the local inn.

The first stop was the local trading post, where the majority of their cargo was to be dropped off. The trader was a relatively jovial fellow, who seemed genuinely excited about the work the Rockseekers were doing to rediscover the Lost Mine. His enthusiasm quickly disappeared when he was asked about how business was doing.

“Business has been awful of late. This group of ruffians, the Redbrands, if they’re not extorting you for protection money, they’re scaring away your customers. Bunch of savages they are. If you don’t want to run into them, you’d best avoid the Sleeping Giant Tap House”

The group still had some cargo that was meant for the Lionshield Coster, weapons, armor, and other adventuring supplies. Linene, the leader of this detachment of the Lionshields was extremely grateful for the assistance of the group, and offered whatever help she could give to them while they remained in town. She echoed the trader’s warnings about the Redbrands, including the instruction to avoid the Sleeping Giant Tap Room.

Of course, being warned away from the place by two different people meant that our heroes absolutely had to visit. Just outside the tap room, they were harassed by a group of four thuggish humans in ratty red clothing. Bingo, Redbrands.

Donk managed to put one to sleep before being stabbed in the gut by another. Garrety tried his best to fire shots into the melee while keeping his distance (and not hitting his compatriots). Reed made his way to the top of the bar in the tap room and fired spells from his “better” vantage point. Ayani did her best to keep everyone standing and to eliminate the threat the four Redbrands posed. Voljenog tried his best to bash every single one of them in the head, but eventually succumbed to their rapid and superlatively accurate blows.

Once the three Redbrands that were still in the land of the waking were dispatched of, the group took a moment to ensure that everyone was hearty enough and woke the sleeping Redbrand. Donk made sure to give him the extra surprise of an illusory dragon while Voljenog took the lead questioning him about the activities and organization of the Redbrands.

Their captive revealed a few secrets to them.

  • There is a tunnel in the woods that is a secret entrance to the Redbrand Hideout in a local manor.
  • The hideout is guarded by a “creepy eye monster that talks inside your head”
  • The Redbrands have four captives, two human women, a human boy, and a dwarf.
  • The Redbrands’ leader is called Glasstaff, and he has been hired by the Black Spider to make trouble in town.

The group decided to sit and recover fully before advancing on the Redbrand hideout. They took their captive to the Townmaster, who did not seem too keen on holding him in a cell for very long.

Garrety's Journal

Day 15


The city was where I might find a contact to the Harpers. If not them, then their trail…or more resources and funds for the organization. I ended up speaking to a dwarven merchant, Gundrin Stoneseeker, who needed escort work. Said he knew some information that I could use to contact the Harpers and get my distress call out to them, not that the dwarf needed to know why I wanted to contact the group. He can continue to think I’m another mercenary with a heart of gold looking to get myself a shiny pin.

He didn’t tell me he booked more or the job. Not surprised, though. Treacherous roads. Stoneseeker set off a day ahead with his bodyguard. We were to meet in Phandalln, where he would take the goods back into his possession and pass me the information I wanted. He said there’d be a monetary reward, but that would be sent along to the organization for more food and equipment.

The group is…diverse.

There’s an elven wizard who is, as his kind always are, full of ephemeral thoughts and inscrutable motives. I believe he is named Nelthis, though I could be wrong.

The dwarf, Voljenog…I do not trust him. He slings a huge hammer like a warrior, but has the eyes of a yet another merchant. One more interested in the coins in his coffers than the ones whose works put them there. He warrants a keen eye.

A cleric, human and female. Where I see the love of material things in the dwarf’s eyes, I see in hers the reason I’ve taken on this life away from my family and home. While I can only guess the particulars, all who have suffered under the slaver’s lash share that tormented look, no matter how deep they bury it under rage, purpose, or apathy.

Now we come to the other halfling, Reed. A spellslinger, and much like many of my kind: affable and engaging. He’s certain to make me stand out by comparison. I’m not going to appreciate how much his presence will remind me why I can’t join in the fun.

I could be jovial and trusting. I have the capacity. Even the desire.

Many of my kind are in chains. Reports have reached me, and those I work with, about entire halfling settlements and villages conquered and enslaved, either through violence we’re not strong enough to turn aside or malevolent workings of fell priests and wizards who warp the minds of my naïve, trusting brothers and sisters.

Day 16

We made for Phandalln, the others staying with the cargo as I kept to the flora. Granted, I am much more comfortable within city walls, but I can manage in the wild as well as any other halfling.

The goblins set up an ambush. Reed went down. Two black arrows hit me as I was aiming my own. Black crept around the edge of my vision, slowly devouring the light. My death was not going to stop my work, as another would pick up where I left off, but that doesn’t mean I was happy about my predicament.

Then, light and life. The woman, the cleric, called down a surge of life that had me back on my feet. I took aim again, but the shot went wide, my senses still adjusting to near death and new life. My next shot was perfect. The goblin’s head didn’t even snap, my arrow punching straight through its eye and out its skull.

The ambush thwarted, I pieced together what had happened. The horses used to form the blockade had belonged to Stoneseeker and his bodyguard, with drag marks leading away from the road. The lack of blood suggested that they were taken alive. Arrow nocked, I scouted ahead, finding a couple crude traps along the way, until we came upon two goblins doing their damndest to be the worst lookouts in history. They didn’t last long.

We entered their cave and quickly found ourselves confronted with three wolves wild from hunger and tethered to the ground. I drew an arrow, the familiar strain of wood and sinew granting me a moment of peace, and readied an end to them before they could attack or raise an alarm.

An arrow that Reed damn near took to the back of his head. He approached the wolves with portions of his own rations. Within moments, he had those three wolves as tame and friendly as puppies. I would have sworn magic was involved if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.

We found what I can only describe as a garbage chute and climbed it. While dignity is not my priority, especially when there’s a mission, the taste of garbage is not something I’m ever going to expound on in these pages. We came out of the chute to find a couple goblins, a wolf that seemed too far gone to save, and a damn bugbear.

Taking them unaware, the bugbear fell first and fast to maul, arrow, and holy flame. The goblins, true to form, were stupid enough to try and run past the dwarf to get to the cleric. The dwarf made quick, and dirty, work of one. The other goblin managed to get by the maul, but my arrow brought it down before it could hurt the human.

Voljenog rifled the treasure, with some of the goods bearing the same symbol as his clasp, and counted out the coin. I didn’t pay much attention, as information is my currency. I will take my share of the job, of course, but it has other purposes.

Two goblins, most likely attracted by the sounds of maul and spells, came into the room and immediately ran back out, screaming something in that gutter trash they call speech. As though having worked together for years, the elf mage and I took them down with deft precision, his fire and my arrow.

The rest was more an exercise in extermination. Goblins that didn’t run fast enough were sent to rot, though no one would be able to tell the difference solely by smell of the rancid things. It didn’t take long before we discovered the bodyguard, Hallwinter, beaten and chained. We released him while he said that some entity called Black Spider wanted Stoneseeker alive. There is some connection the dwarf has to a magical forge. What I know for certain, those willing to throw in with goblins to achieve mysterious power will use that power to dominate people like my kind who just want to live simple lives.

We reached Phandalln after loading bodyguard and stolen goods into the cart, which was now close to collapsing under the weight by my estimation, but better the goods make their way to civilization than go to rust and ruin in a brigand hideout full of dead goblins. No sooner was the transaction complete than I was off to the underground. Whispers came back to me that while this Black Spider was carving his name into all manner of shadows, no one knew who or what the bastard was, or his possible endgame.

I hired a courier to take the bulk of my earnings back to those who would use it to procure much needed supplies. I’m back at the inn with the rest of the group. Maybe our motives are different, but I’m not stupid enough to turn away from resources when I’m up against a ghost.

Final Assault on the Liches' Phylactery Vault
Threskel's Dispatch - Week 10

After resting and gathering supplies, our group was confronted by the image of the cowled Red Wizardess we recognized as Syranna. She expressed surprise that our groups managed to so successfully disrupt experiments and operations within The Doomvault – without taking causalties. Yet, wards still prevented our teleportation from the dungeon. We were tasked with an assault on the phylacteries stored within a chamber located deep beneath the dungeon. Their destruction would destroy several high-ranking liches and severely curtail Szass Tam’s strategy for the future of Thay. Having heard these instructions, a few of us quietly grumbled, suspecting some treachery remained afoot, and anticipated a great final battle. After a moment of contemplation, we walked through the Black Gate.

We materialized in an ominous tetrahedral pyramid whose walls, floor and ceiling were made of white marble. Around us we noted three white marble sepulchers at the floor’s points. Each featured two, four-armed sword-wielding gargoyles carved into its surface. Short white pedestals dotted the floor. The only other feature notable in the room’s center was an churning, amorphous opaque black pool. The highly upward sloped walls featured similar features, yet slightly redistributed. A short pile of rubble marked each wall’s edge.

Zawadi, moving an arm back toward the wall, felt a pulling sensation, seeming to suggest one could walk on each wall as though it was the present floor. Tyr spoke haltingly, “In my life, I never read, nor seen such an odd place. Prepare yourselves. I sense strong magic afoot.” I similarly felt tell-tale auras emanating around the room: the pools (necromancy), the sepulchers (necromancy), and the marble pedestals (radiant energy). “As much as I disagree with your arcane focus, Tyr, it seems to me you might revel in this chamber as a laboratory. I wouldn’t take up residence just yet though,” I said.

Seeking insight in to what we faced, Aldrik called upon Whelm to detect gold and gems within the chamber. His consciousness was pricked and heightened – each sepulcher was stuffed with them both. Walking up to a sepulcher’s door, I tried the handle. Locked. “My turn,” I said rolling out my leather strip of lock picks.

What are we waiting for?" he grunted and charged forward toward a second sepulcher’s door. He battered it down using Whelm’s head. “The impatience of dwarves,” I clucked. As the door crashed down, the gargoyle’s leaped to defend the entrance. Artrious swung his sword over Aldrik’s head cleaving into one gargoyle’s stony flesh, but missing the second.

Meanwhile, behind them both, Tyr crushed a tiny strip of squid tentacle and chanted. Squirming black tentacles appeared and grasped both gargoyles. “No Threskel. My turn.” Tyr chuckled. The tentacles proceeded to squeeze and dash both into the ground twice. Gaining its feet, one gargoyle landed a sword slash that grazed Artrious’ armor. “Not good enough, beast.” Artrious snarled.

The glowing blessing of Bahaumut empowered us all. Wave, with force, pierced the first gargoyle’s neck. Cordius withdraw the trident and jabbed it the second beast. A deft slash by Quinley prevented the second gargoyle from recovering. Both fell.

Quinley and Aldrik crowded into the sepulcher. Shelves ran floor to ceiling along each wall. Arcane energy pulsed off of leather bags, amulets, daggers, gems, scrolls, symbols and other objects. “Truly a shame that this small fortune is ensorcelled as phylacteries. Imagine the good deeds that might be done with these objects,” I whispered. “Aye lad. Sadly they are all made good only by crushing!”, Aldrik lamented, swinging Whelm at the closest object. The hammer contacted an unseen force and tossed Aldrik back into the wall. “Durn it,” he said, shaking away dizziness.

Tyr entered the chamber. He had a far-away look and seemed to focus his mind. “I am disable the protecting ward. It will take some time and focus, but we shall then be able to destroy the phylacteries.”

Fountains of black wisp energy burst forth from the a vortex that formed above the pool. A black gleaming skull emerged from the vortex. Each of its eye’s contained a ruby, while eight large diamonds stood in its jaw in place of teeth. “That’s quite a gawdy display, the likes of which I’ve not seen on most nobles.” A piercing sentience screamed into our minds, “Interlopers. I am Kazit Gul. You dare? You will not leave this place!”

The skull rotated towards Tyr, making eye contact. He suddenly shuddered and his body fell, seemingly lifeless. I noticed one of the formerly dull ruby “eyes” wink to a bright glow. My memory finally clicked: “That skull is a demilich. We have to hurry and destroy it, else Tyr’s body will wither and his soul will remain trapped inside the gem. The foul abomination will consume his soul at its leisure. Only the destruction of the gem in proximity to Tyr’s body will reunite his soul and body.”

Zawadi rushed across the shallow dark pool, yelling in pain as it sapped life-energy. Standing behind the skull, Zawadi lifted Bahaumut’s symbol, which blazed brightly, turning the demilich. “Away with you.”

Meanwhile, Aldrik scratched his head, laughed, and proceeded to upend his knapsack. Done he slid for cover, rolling Tyr’s body over his to hide from the skull’s gaze. Quinley and I stood atop two pedestals anticipating the upcoming attack. Neither of us could fathom what Aldrik was planning. Artrious gesturing in a circle around Quinley, cast protection from evil. The skull slowly drifted into range of whole group.

Leaping upward, Quinley viciously hit the skull with a barrage of 5 swiping and piercing attacks. A brutally accurate throw of Wave left it hanging from the skull, which caused it to momentarily spin. I launched a subsequent piercing attack with Fang. A melodious second blessing of Bahaumut echoed across the chamber.

Aldrik suddenly rolled out from cover and leapt into the air. Remarkably he opened his bag of holding wide open, sacking the skull. He hovered in the air before lifting himself atop the bag and jumping repeatedly on it until they both hit the ground.

Opening the bag a crack, Artrious pierced the skull twice with a downward stab twice. A grand puff of black ash floated out of the bag as skull crumbled. Artrious quickly grabbed the glowing ruby and crushed it with his sword pommel. A momentary white flash preceded a gasp from Tyr’s body. Aldrik bent to sweep the remaining ruby and diamond into his bag. I shook my head, “I doubt you would wish to possess such gems after we witnessed their use as prisons. Besides, I expect you would not want to be visited by this One again.” Looking down, the second ruby twinkled and we momentarily noted a small skull floating inside. “Damn it, elf! I hate it when you are right.” Aldrik growled before he set to smashing each with Whelm. A distant wail sounded.

Our party proceeded to destroy the two remaining phylactery sepulchers around the room.
Thinking ahead, we blasted the inanimate gargoyles with spells, before I picked each locked door. Zawadi bent to disrupting the second vault, while Tyr disrupted the third.

As the third sepulcher was disabled, the white pedestals began to crumble away and the pool dried up into ash. The vortex collapsed, spilling ash and diamonds onto the floor. As the chamber shook, Aldrik swept a handful of the stones into his bag – unbeknownst to all. The glyph keys began to pulse faster in rhythm. “Time to go all. I, for one, do not wish to become a permanent resident of such an unsavory locale.” I said with a twinkle in my eye. Leaping through the Black Gate, we appeared in the Gatehouse.

Surrounding us in the Gathehouse we found crowded arounds the individuals we had saved from the Doomvault and our companions: the group of human prisoners from fighting pit, the rescued the Chosen (of Ilmater, Rillifane Rallathil), the halfling minstrel Drevin, Jekk, Hadarr, Curran, Shalendra, and Kelson Darktreader. Likewise, shackled, Mennek (gagged) and the Chosen of Auril stood hatefully glaring at us. Syranna walks through their ranks, congratulating us.

She turns to Tyr, telling him she has monitored his actions. She invites him to stay in Thay, promising him power and influence if supports her efforts in the civil war against Szass Tam. He accepts, bidding us goodbye. The large group teleports away to Daggerford.

As we materialize near Daggerford’s gates, we encounter Sir Isteval and Darfin Floshin. They are both relieved to see our return of the companions and the Chosen. A town guard quickly takes custody of the manacled Mennek and Chosen of Auril. Isteval congratulates our thwarting of the Thayan threat to the Sword Coast. Yet, he advises we take care to beware the vengeance of Baazaka. He is troubled as we relate Szass Tam’s attempt to collect and weaponize the divine essence of the Chosen.

He finally relates in detail a looming threat to Faerun. The Cult of the Dragon has become increasingly active, moving and manipulating events across Faerun. Factions are now recruiting adventurers challenge these threats, including the Harpers, the Order of the Gauntlet, The Emerald Enclave, the Lord’s Alliance and…the Zhentarim.

Time will tell what events await us…. Keep safe, friend. Call upon my companions and I when you are in need. I, for one, shall answer. You have my word.


Field report to Allistair Talloak

The Temples of Suffering, Pain, and Poison
Threskel's Dispatch - Week 9

The two squads regrouped after returning from the Seclusion Crypt. We entered the Temple of Suffering. Stripes of blood red, swirling mists coiled through the air. Upon entry, we confronted Mennek. He screamed vengeance against us, though he deserted us! Flanking Mennek were two Thayan apprentices, a dread warrior, and four wights armed with longbows. Glancing forward, I noted Mennek appeared glaze-eyed and not acting of his own volition, forced to fight us. Before we counter, Mennek and the others rush to attack.

Our party rushed to attack. Quinley quickly stabbed Blackrazor into the Dread Warrior’s leg pinning it to the ground and then twisted its helm backwards to block his vision. “Now you don’t see so well, eh?” The warrior, counterattacking, swung and missed.

Two of the wights nocked arrows, fired, and narrowly missed their targets. The final wight dropped its bow and opted to bear hug Aldrik, chilling his blood with necrotic energy. He yelled, “Ach! Get off me, you damned bag of bones!” In response, Zawadi called upon Bahamaut – casting a Beacon of Hope over our group.

The two apprentices directed spell attacks at Zawadi and Aldrik, launching and hitting both with Melf’s Acid Arrows. Artrious, singing psalms celebrating the duty of Helm, swung his flame tongue sword visciously, smiting and destroying two different wights at once. Meanwhile, I, taking advantage of their distraction, somersaulted between two apprentices, rose, and skewered both through their throats. “I’ll have no more from you two!,” I shouted.

Mennek directed a bluish pulse of energy at Quinley, weakening him. He, however quickly shook off the stupor, after feebly attacking the Dread Warrior. Sloth punches Mennek and the Dread Warrior. Mennek was knocked unconscious.

Quinley next takes subsequent hits from one of the wights and the Dread Warrior, sneering at both. Artrious swiftly attacks both wights. I slipped behind both undead piercing them both through their skulls, thereby ending their undeath. Sloth punched the head off the Dread Warrior.

Chained to the altar was Kieran, a Chosen of Ilmater, whom we freed. Zawadi quickly shackles the unconscious Mennek and then casts Spare the Dying on him. We have decided Mennek shall face justice, after betraying us to Bazaaka and abandoning our mission. We recover from his pockets a Wand of Binding, skeleton key, and glyph key. We send the Chosen back to the Gatehouse with the chained Mennek.

Our group proceeded through the door into the next chamber, where were met by a strong feeling of unease and discomfort. Within the chamber, a death lock wight, a wraith and four shadows rushed our party. Standing imprisoned was a half-elf Chosen of the Lady of Pain, Loviatar, on the altar.

Quinley speedily dispatched the wight with a slash of Blackrazor. He then hammered the wraith with multiple attacks before it dissipated. Zawadi directed his lightening breath weapon at the shadows, wounding two at once. Magus, losing his patience, dropped a fireball on the four shadows and, unintentionally, the Chosen. All five were quickly burned to ash. Undoubtedly, we shall face the wrath of Loviatar and her minions for failing to save her Chosen.

Moving to the next chamber, we enter a room whose very air causes our eyes to burn and our throats to cough. Looking around we note a circle of runes and onyx fragments, which swirl with shadow energy and smoke – another black sigil. A Red Wizard and two apprentices are at work within the room. A yuan-ti Chosen of Zehir kneels, imprisoned on a shrine at the room’s center. As we enter, A pile of plate mail armor arises between us and the Thayans. It floats off the ground, displaying red glowing pinpoint within its visor and lunges toward us.

Acting with supernatural speed, Magus quickly casts Evard’s Black Tentacles. The tentacles constrict around everyone besides our party, including the Chosen. They bash and restrain each enemy on the ground. Artrious launches two javelins, wounding the Red Wizard. “Watch this, my fellows,” Quinley gleefully yells. He skillfully weaves between the tentacle, lands a hard hit on the Helmed Horror, and leaps back out of the fray.

Meanwhile, I eliminated the threat from the The Red Wizard, by firing an arrow into his side. The only item he left behind was a glyph key.

The continued chaotic thrashing of the tentacles pulverized and slayed the two apprentices and the Chosen. The Helmed Horror manages to escape the tentacles, but its armor scatters as it is simultaneously bashed by a flying Whelm and magic missiles.

Our party disrupted the black runes before returning to the Seclusion Crypt.

Fighting Through The Temples of Extraction: Forest and Winter
Threskel's Dispatch - Week 8

With so much time spent underground within the Doomvault, the concept of day and night has lost all meaning. I long for a canopy of trees above my head, not the cursed machinations of the Red Wizards. Our company prepared for further battle after stowing our supplies in packs and breaking our fast. Magus and I broke our fast with bread and cheese, debating our findings and where we might proceed. We agreed we would return to the Temple of Plagues and explore temples to the south. Aldrik quietly sang a mournful tune, his whistling axe head accompanying his voice. Zawadi stoically finalized daily prayers to Bahumat.

Upon appearing in the Temple again, we immediately noted two small figures throwing cards before the door leading south. I crept stealthily scouted. They were both female: one a dwarf and the other of an unrecognized race, though comparable in size to a halfling. I listened to their conversation for awhile and divined they could become allies.

I boldly spoke, “Well met, fair ladies”. The second chattered, “Well met. My name is Addy. Are you in league with Sir Isteval too? He noted we might encounter reinforcements somewhere in the Doomvault. By your look, I can see you have never encountered a kender before.” Before I respond, the dwarf stated, “Addy, here, noted your approach and presence for the last 5 minutes. Glad to see you decided to introduce yourselves. My name is Ferrik.”

Favoring them both with an embarrassed, bemused expression I stated “Galad [i.e. I’m impressed] at your keen ears. Indeed we are. Great tidings!” Behind me, everyone relaxed from defensive stances and formal introductions were made. Aldrik, producing a flask from a belt sack, handed it to Ferrik, before taking a long pull himself. Aldrik pointed to the door with Whelm, “Enough pleasantries. We’re wasting valuable time during which we could be breaking skulls. We must carry out great deeds before I can sing of them.” “We concede your point”, Magus’ deep gravelly voice issued from under his cowl and hat.

Opening the door, we saw an irregular-shaped cavern – featuring a rough soil floor and ceiling. The air around us was humid, likely the result of spell craft. Gnarled vines stuck out of the floor, while roots hung from the ceiling, swaying against a nonexistent breeze. Sloth, proceeding the group into room, was confronted by three hazy will o’ wisps. My father spoke of these tiny fey undead spirits and their hunger. They circled the golem for five seconds, then separated to target our front ranks. Sloth slapped one before it sped towards Zawadi. The second made contact with Aldrik, sipping his life-force, and left a bluish-black mark on his skin.

As Zawadi chanted, a fourth silvery holy beacon of Bahumat’s power blanketed our group. Sloth caught the third in a huge bear hug, extinguishing its glow. Ferrik launched a ray of frost at a wisp, with seemingly little effect. The kender cleric thrust her holy symbol toward both wisps. One winked out, destroyed, and the other fled back toward Sloth. The golem clapped its hands together destroying it.

Taking a breath, we all began to advance toward a dais near the back of the room. The roots and vines quickly grew outward, wrapping around the limbs of Zawadi, Magus, Aldrik, Addy, and Ferrik. I managed to contort out of the way and pin one vine to the ground with Cat’s Fang. Meanwhile, Sloth tore entwining vegetation from his body. With luck, Ferrick managed to flick a ball of guano and sulfur. A fireball scorched the vegetation within area, freeing the entangled.

We began to advance again, but encountered a shadowy wraith. Zawadi hit the shadow with a singing lightning bolt. Aldrik swung Whelm back and forth, connecting twice with its fore- and back-swing. In quick succession, a ray of frost and sacred flame tore across the undead. Lunging forward, I jabbed into the center of its shadowy form and it faded out of existence.

Chained to the dais was Eira. She is a wood elf druid Chosen of Rillifane Rallathil – the Elven God of the Woodlands and harmony with Nature. Eira revealed she was wounded by a rite wherein a Chosen of Talona, the Maiden of Poison, was sacrificed. The powers of the killed Chosen infused her. I freed her from her bonds. Zawadi healed her wounds. She requested to assist us in our quest; we happily agreed, glad to have another ally. We proceeded through the door at the room’s south end.

A blast of cold wind and ice crystals lashed our faces as we entered the Temple of Winter. The walls of this irregular-shaped room were encrusted in thick ice. The room contained two blazing braziers and a now familiar four-pillar adorned dais. Our presence interrupted the experiments of a Red Wizard and her apprentice with a human female Chosen of Auril, The Frostmaiden Goddess. She cackles and yells, “You fools. You have the pleasure of being destroyed by wizard Aduna. My pets, kill them!” Suddenly we faced off against four loping yeti bodyguards. A set of magic missiles cracked into Aldrik; in response he grunted, “Durn you” and spit on the floor.

Magus flung a fireball directly on top of the Red Wizard. As the flames cleared, the wizard stood unaffected. On closer inspection, I identified this form was simply an illusion.

Approaching us for melee, the yeti remained in a square formation. One swiped at Sloth, but missed him. Aldrik calling upon Whelm’s powers, slammed its hammer head onto the ground. A powerful shockwave radiated outward stunning two yeti and the Thayan apprentice. The second yeti missed in a swipe attack on Magus. Brilliant sunlight scorched two yeti, as Addy cast Radiance of the Dawn. Next, Ferrik sculpted a fireball blast to burn the targeted yeti, but miss Sloth, Magus and myself. Stepping forward, Eira wove her hands in passes, a thunderclap sounded, and a bolt of lightning hit the fourth, already burning yeti – causing it to uncontrollably spasm. Provided an opportunity, I pierced the jerking yeti with my rapier.

We continued to battle the strangely hearty yeti bodyguards. Sloth crushed and killed one in a massive bear-hug. Magus blasted and pushed two with a thunder wave cube of force. My rapier and scimitar connected with a stunned yeti as it was pushed backward. One yeti managed to slash a few scales off Zawadi’s torso. Ferrik hit the remaining yeti with another Thunderwave spell. Sloth punched the final yeti to death. Meanwhile, Aldrik rushed forward to grapple the Thayan apprentice. While his action was unsuccessful, it distracted the Thayan, allowing Eira to channel a lighting bolt into him. He staggered for a moment. Drawing my bow and nocking an arrow, I yelled, “Hold still, Aldrik!” and fired the shaft over his head to slay the apprentice.

At this moment the Red Wizard reappeared. I would surmise that Magus had counted upon this. Pointing toward the illusionist, his eyes blazed and he crushed a small cocoon. The wizard’s form shrank to a minuscule ant. He strode forward and ground the ant with his boot heel.

That left the only the Chosen of Auril. While scattered in mind, the woman seemed ready to attack – as flurries etched our cheeks. I successfully intimidated her, “You are freed from the Thayans. Yield now or we will be forced to attack!” Seeing our might, she yielded and we placed her under guard in manacles. We then proceeded to search for treasure.

From the Predator Pools to the Temple of Plagues
Threskel's Dispatch - Week 7

Our squad continued our effort to clear out the Predator Pools zone. Moving with cautious stealth, we moved eastward into a vaguely L-shaped anteroom. Beyond the entrance, the walls expanded into an enormous circular chamber and a central pool. The swirling water is marked by a sickly, reddish-black water. Within the pool, eight platform – pillars surround a hulking, black stone shrine. Beautiful, bas-relief roses cover its surface along with dark crystals and black, seemingly smoking runes.

Unease raised the hairs across my arms, causing me to settle into a fighting stance. I quietly whispered, “I really don’t like the look of that shrine. Seems all too sinister to be welcoming.” “Agreed”, Zawadi growled. “Bah, you durn elf”, Aldrik grunted. A grayish skinned, armored undead human – a dread warrior – broke the water and climbed to attack. In its hands, it wielded an enormous great axe. Guttural, cracking Draconic syllables sprang from Zawadi’s lips, as Bahumat’s blessing was invoked upon us. “Right….You were saying, Aldrik.” Everyone, but Magus advanced to flank the advancing warrior.

Swinging Whelm, Aldrik landed a solid, bone-cracking blow to warrior’s shoulder. Almost immediately thereafter, three flaming rays (thrown by Magus) charred its torso. Meanwhile, the warrior swung its axe wide of Sloth’s approaching form. Sloth responded by dislocating its jaw and smashing is cheekbone. Whelm swung downwards against its leg, as Aldrik took advantage of the warrior’s imbalanced body. Somersaulting over to its side, my rapier sunk to its hilt into its lower back.

Our party continued rapid punishment of this fallen warrior. Zawadi leaned forward, emitting a forked line of lightening breath. A ray of frost bookended repeated blows from Whelm and one from Sloth’s fist. Its flesh tearing, the warrior turned toward me, scything the axe in a shallow cut against my leg. Emboldened by pain, I pierced its abdomen with Cat’s Fang as it fell to a knee. As it tried to stand again, Claw severed its head from its body. Aldrik, spitting on its body, ground its skull.

Zawadi advanced on the shrine, hoping to consecrate the foul structure. A powerful necrotic power encircled his (or her) head, seemingly a mind assault that nearly buckled the knees. Gritting teeth, a fervent prayer brought relief. As we steadied Zawadi, Magus destroyed the black runes. Suddenly things went black.

When awareness focus, we stood within a rectangular room. Teleported? Clearly someone had finally noticed our assault, and brought us here for…. Perhaps to stop our ceaseless meddling. A impressionistic flash, from seemingly nowhere, imparted our destination: the Temple of Plagues. Aldrik noted our fellows had likewise been teleported elsewhere. We were all seized by an oppressive ominous feeling that sought to weaken us. Another prayer to Bahumat brought us relief. I am unclear what fell wizardry that feeling was a symptom.

A yellowish green mist permeated the air and slightly distorted our vision. The floors, walls, and central raised dais – which featured the now familiar black runes – were all constructed of white marble. Likewise, we noted the presence of a black gate. An overpowering wave of naseau washed over Zawadi, Magus, and I, immobilizing us as we uncontrollably retched.

Four zombies advanced from on us in a line from near the dais. Thankfully, the combined effects of a wave of thunder and fireball obliterated them all – allowing us all to collect our wits. Striding from around the dais, a red wizard and a staff-wielding, Deathlock Wight appeared – unfazed by fireball’s blast. “You fools. Your continued disturbance has not gone unnoticed. I, Sutay, will make you rue this day!” “Wonderful, two casters. I have the Red Robe. Who wants the Wight?”, I barked. Magus quickly cast haste on Sloth. My companions engaged the Wight. Sloth rapidly punched the Wight and Magus blasted him with flaming rays. Thankfully, a final skull crushing blow from Whelm dropped the Wight.

“Care to dance?”, I quipped as I slashed the Wizard with Claw. In response, he teleported elsewhere. “I always suspected you Red Wizards were arrogant cowards.”

In his stead, a huge, crazed orc rushed our group, screeching in broken Common, “I am Bendragon, the Chosen of Yurtus. Prepare to die!” Sloth, still hasted, slaughtered the Chosen with ease. Meanwhile, the cowardly Thayan returned, just in time to see his “reinforcement” perish. Walking into our midst, he launched a fireball across the room to hit Magus. Our hearts seized as he was engulfed by the enormous blast. As the flames disappeared, Magus was standing, seemingly unaffected. The Thayan was brutally punched, bludgeoned and slashed apart. Sloth continued to punch the remaining pulpy gore, even after the wizard was clearly dead. I suspect Magus enjoyed this bit of payback. Sloth was called off after we disrupted another black rune gate.

Our party searched the corpse quickly. Sutay’s robes contained a skeleton key, a glyph key (attuned to this zone), and scrolls of Remove Curse and Speak with Dead. I can surmise the farruking bastard sought to slay us and question our corpses about our agenda, allies, and seek an opening to assault the Sword Coast again. Besides his robes, he wore a set of Bracers of Defense, which we gifted to Sloth for vicious attack.

Hm, so the Thayans are experimenting on, enslaving, or recruiting Chosen amenable to their cause. In this case, a Chosen of the stinking Lord of Maggots, the Orcish deity of death, pestilence, and suffering. A circelet transmission we received shortly confirmed this. Our companions had fought oozes and a Red Wizard. They also encountered a drow Chosen of Ghaunadaur – the until recently dead God of Oozes. This chosen killed himself, rather than spend more time under the yoke of Thay.

I would now propose a theory: The Doomvault itself as the setting wherein the Red Wizards experiment with monsters and harnesses Chosen’s powers to augment select monsters for use by elite Thayan units. Surely, those in the position to defend the good folk of Faerun must be privy to this underlying agenda. Likewise, a potential arms race may be brewing to bolster future attacks and cement Thay as a long-lasting supreme power.

I must speak with Aldrik about communicating my suspicions to the second group. I may prove essential to pursue two tactics: free any Chosen of the good pantheon and counter or slay Chosen of the evil gods. Certainly this strategy will further disrupt Szass Tam’s agenda greatly. With Erevan’s favor, we will soon be reunited to augment our disruptive effort.

On a lighter note, I heard our struggle is now being chronicled by a halfling bard. My hope is that his accounts does our deeds justice, and that it is colored by more comedy and valor rather than tragedy.


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