Sessions 36 happened Tuesday, July 13, 2011.
This campaign used the Dyson’s Delve dungeon pages on A Character for Every Game as a starting point, but has now moved on to new material from the DM-in-training. I heartily recommend Dyson's Delve as a beginning adventure.
Harkaitz of the Red Soul (male human cleric of Ra)
Wednesday (female elf rogue)
Tre-ba Bel a sheer (female elf alchemist)
Frankie Hu, Master of the Distracting Fist (male dwarf monk)
[Brek'nok's player was absent]
Aziz of the Light (male human paladin, cohort of Harkaitz)
Sarisvati the Suntouched (female Ifrit oracle, cohort of Aziz)
Midnight (female half-elf witch, cohort of Frankie Hu)
Short John Copper (male halfling expert, hireling)
The Red Keffiyehs (human warriors, followers of Harkaitz)
Morning, June 17, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who grants life to all equally.
Last night we arrived at the village of the lizardfolk. We approached openly and when their guards approached us, I held forth the amulet of friendship we were granted for assisting their brethren back in the delve. While I did not show it, I was very greatly pleased when they accepted it. We were escorted into the village, where we drew curious stares. The guardsman leading us brought us to the largest hut in the village. We were escorted in, where we found a single lizardman reading a scroll. He turned to face us and we recognized the one who gave us the amulet of friendship!
Now that we knew Draconic, the conversation was much easier and did not require us to draw in chalk on his walls. His name is Ashias and he is the warchief of these people. We spent several hours talking and catching up. We explained our errand to save the world and he quickly agreed to help us. He told us the grippli (a frog-like race of humanoids) from the west have been encroaching on the lands of the lizardfolk, but not in any dangerous way. Strange lights had been seen in the sky to the east and he had sent a scouting party to see what they could see; they would return in a day or so. Finally, he told us that there were indeed caves under portions of the swamp and it was quite likely that the gate would be in one of those and be accessible with some swimming – depending upon how long we could hold our breath.
We accepted his hospitality to spend the night in his home. We kept watches, hoping to see the lights in the sky, and we were rewarded. During the second watch, Wednesday, Tre-ba, and Frankie all spotted a strange light flash in the sky, far to the east. They woke me up and in time to see a second flash of light. It is possible that it is from some sort of spell effect, but there was not enough to see for any of us to even hazard a guess.
While waiting to see if a third light appeared, the remains of the scout party returned. They first talked with Ashias (as is proper), but after that we were called in to hear what they had discovered. They had travelled east and found nothing until they arrived at an old abandoned manor house. They found the grounds of the manor house swarming with zombies of various races, being led by a vampire. They had been discovered and had to fight to get free of the area. Only 4 of the 12 scouts made it back alive.
At dawn, I cast commune to ask Ra for enlightenment. I learned that the flashes of light were something we need to investigate and they are related to undead in the area. I received confirmation that we should be able to reach the swamp gate without teleporting, that there are underwater tunnels we can follow. Ra told me the grippli are not involved and that the 4 lizardfolk scouts were not under vampiric control. The last thing we learned was the most disturbing – the lich was now tracking our movements.
I shared this with Ashias (along with the answers to questions I asked on his behalf) and we made a deal: he would send scouts to look for the cave entrance to the gate area and we would go investigate the zombie infestation at the manor house and possibly solve the riddle of the lights in the sky, which seems to be connected. We are spending the day in town preparing before setting out. Wednesday, Sarisvati, and I have contributed resources to have Midnight brew three potions of silversheen, which Tre-ba said would would help against the vampire. They will be done this evening and we will set out tomorrow.
I plan on spending the day assisting the lizardfolk however I can. Ashias and they are helping us greatly and I would help them back in return.
Evening, June 18, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who guides us where we are needed.
It is dawn and I am tired.
We spent all of yesterday hiking through the swamp to the manor house. Ashias accompanied us to show us the way. Rather than wait in the area at night, we used one of the wands of darkvision on those who cannot see in the darkness and approached the manor house with no light. Wednesday scouted the way and we entered the back entrance, across an attached gazebo [we did not attack the gazebo]. The structure of the manor house is heavily magiced to be resistant to the effects of the swamp and flame. This was disconcerting as it indicated the owner had access to significant magics.
The inside was sparsely furnished, but what furniture was there was high quality. The first floor was empty of people, so we made our way upstairs. The upstairs was also empty of people, but contained a sizeable library of books. Suspecting a trap, we had Wednesday check the entire library. She discovered multiple triggers to a massive fireball trap. I cast detect magic and identified several books that registered as magic, all of which were triggers to the trap. Wednesday spent some time disarming all the triggers. She has a strong nerve and nimble fingers – the rest of us waited in another room until she finished.
Once the bookshelves (and several of the books) were de-trapped, Tre-ba and I went over them to see what we had. The critical books (which we carefully packed away) were a manual of stone golems, a manual of bodily health [+1], and two books containing detailed notes on research into becoming a lich. These last two were also coated in poison (each a different poison), which Tre-ba was able to identify: terinav root and black lotus extract. She carefully scraped the poison off and then treated the books with nullifying agents she keeps handy. Alchemists carry the strangest things, but they are very handy to have around. Even conceited ones. (I am curious if this is an alchemist attitude or just specific to Tre-ba. It does not seem to be an elven general attitude as Wednesday and Luna do not seem so full of themselves. Maybe it is something that happens to elves when they get over 200 years of age? There may be no way for me to tell in my lifetime and it seems too trivial to ask as part of a commune with Ra. Sigh.)
Many of the books indicated that they belonged to an individual named Lucien. Is the lich’s name Lucien? The notes seem to be his, although the name does not appear in them at all. What is the vampires part in all this? Too many questions and not enough answers.
With a definite connection between the lich and this manor house, I wanted to torch the place, reducing the number of his safe locations. That said, most of our spells that could do the job are fire-based and the building is fireproof.
But not the furniture.
We packed away all the critical books and as many others as we could fit into one of the bags of holding. I then started applying oil to the shelves and remaining books (mostly blank trap-triggers), plus beds in nearby rooms. While I was doing this, Frankie was scouting the outside of the house and realized there should be an attic, but we found no way to it from inside the house. Perhaps this was where the vampire was laired?
Using ropes, we all climbed onto the roof and proceeded to smash through the roof tiles to gain entry. (Frankie’s fists are extraordinarily hard and well suited to this.) Under the roof was an attic, but it was empty, with no doors. Searching carefully, Wednesday found no traps, but Frankie worked out that there was a two foot gap between the ceiling of the rooms below and the floor of the attic. Wednesday detached her shadow and sent it to go look (it is incorporeal). It found a locked coffer and a concealed door providing access to it from the attic.
(As a note, her detached shadow is a result of shadow dancing magics Wednesday has been studying and not any form of necromancy. This is something Aziz and I quietly verified on our own before asking Wednesday about it. She is a good and true companion and it would be sad to see her fall to dark arts.)
The coffer requires two locks to open and the lich key from the tower fits one of the locks. Wednesday was able to pick the other lock while we opened the first with the key. The coffer remained sealed. There is a magical seal holding it shut in addition to the locks – most intriguing.
We packed it away and the group prepared to leave. I went back inside and opened all the shutters. Once the interior was burned, swamp creatures will be able to take up residence here. As a final touch, I poured oil on the floor upstairs to form the words “Your move. SuperRat” in goblin. When the oil burns, it will leave the message in the form of scorch marks. I then used produce flames to ignite the materials inside the manor house and we fled the area.
I could still see the flames when we made camp, but they are mostly out now. It is late now and I am tired from the day’s efforts (and the early evening’s efforts as well). Tomorrow we head south, following the trail of the zombies to see what we can learn.
*End of Session*