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Pointer-left Investigator__male_2_thumb
Lhynard
Posted by the GM
De Exilio
Chapter 5 — The Back Door
~ sixth-day, 6th of Hammer, The Year of Rogue Dragons, afternoon
Sea of Swords


The spelljammer splashed down in the waves west of great cliffs that formed the edge of Calimshan. Nearby was the remains of a shipwreck, its rotting mass still jutting out of the water, a sign of the rocks hidden below. Kytharrah dropped their anchors. Solisar did not have the power to make the whole vessel invisible; they prayed to their gods that the dragon would not patrol over the ocean while they were away. Ilthian, who remained aboard, would be safe from scrying below deck, but she would be helpless if a dragon landed on the deck and crashed its head and neck through the planks to find her. Belvin wanted to stay aboard, having little interest in the fire genie, but the others convinced him to come. He agreed, provided that they would return to the boat and Kamil soon.

   As they had done last Mirtul, the six adventurers all crammed into one of their small rowboats and began making their way toward the shallow entrance of a sea cave in the cliff. The tide was relatively low, and there was a narrow strip of land at the base of the cliff leading to the cave entrance. When last they had come to this "back door" to Yrevkethend's lair and Allu's palace, they had had to find a small inlet under an outcropping in the cliff to wait out the tide. Tymora had worked things out better for them this time, and they did not need to wait long before there was a walk-able sand "pathway". They tied up the rowboat in the same lee as before and set out.

   Ducking, they entered the cave entrance, which was only five feet high but about thirty wide. At first, the floor was covered with sand, sloping downward, before being replaced with endless barnacles, which crunched under their feet and hooves. The passage narrowed but also grew higher, so that even Kytharrah could no longer touch the ceiling.

   It was chilly in the cave, and water was dripping on them from the ceiling, as if it were raining. Kytharrah sniffed, taking in the smell of crabs, dead sea creatures, and salt.

   Each noisy step was disturbing to Szordrin, who was well aware that a dragon, with exceptional hearing, lived deeper within. "Remind me why we are even here again?" he asked. "What does this have to do with Walker or Samber?"

   "We have discussed this numerous times," said Hakam. "Finding Allu may be a good way to find Samber or at least learn what connection they have."

   "The Rock of Bral would have been a safer bet."

   "We will go there soon enough," said Hakam. "I have my suspicions that Allu is allied with or was summoned by Samber. We know that he has summoned other evil fiends, and we know his great interest in experimenting with other genies. We now have the power to find out and should not waste our opportunity."

   "The dragon never detected us when we last came this way," said Leokas, "if that is your concern. She lairs much deeper in the cave."

   "Sseth told us that Allu's palace is at least a mile from the cliffs," said Solisar. "This cave is massive and we have a long way to travel."

   "It is growing darker now," said Hakam. "Recall that I cannot see as well in the dark as the rest of you. If I recall, that means the fork in the tunnel should be soon where we can head up to Allu and away from the dragon's lair. We need to decide on a plan. Do we boldly march in and demand an audience? Or are we trying to remain undetected?"

   "If we were demanding an audience with the efreeti, would we not have used the front door?" said Solisar. "We are scouting things out first, especially if this mummy of which you have spoken to me has her forces here. Shall I turn all of us invisible?"

   "We should wait until we encounter any enemies, rather than waste the magic," said Hakam.

   "We cannot use any light if we wish to remain undetected," said Szordrin.

   "The corners of the cavern will block the light from traveling far, provided that it twists enough," said Leokas. "These walls are not very reflective."

   So they had Kytharrah withdraw his everburning torch. The light revealed a fork in the path ahead, just as Hakam had remembered. One tunnel went up, while the other twisted down. The tunnel that ascended was significantly narrower than the one leading down. They knew that the smaller tunnel led to Allu.

   Szordrin poked his head up the smaller tunnel and saw that it actually grew larger rather quickly after a short distance to be about a dozen feet in width and nearly twice that in height.

   "I will scout ahead, then," said Szordrin, looking back at the others, "walking on the ceiling. Kytharrah can follow a distance behind me, since he can also see in the darkness. If I spot any activity, I shall signal back to him, and then the rest of you can take action to hide any lights."

   This seemed as good a plan as any. So Kytharrah handed his "guiding light" to Solisar, and Szordrin cast his spell and climbed the wall up to the ceiling by his four limbs and began moving forward among the stalactites. "Tracks," said Leokas, bending down and noticing a pattern in the broken barnacles that none of the rest of them would have been able to spot. "Hobgoblins stepped on these barnacles."

   Kytharrah bent down and sniffed them.

   "Minotaur, you are supposed to be following behind Szordrin, not sniffing things," said Hakam.

   Kytharrah bounded forward.

   Thankfully, they soon climbed above the level of the water at high tide, and so the barnacles vanished. The ground was still a bit damp, but the "raining" also ceased.

   The tunnel continued relatively straight for what seemed like forever, reminding Belvin and Leokas of one of their earlier adventures together. They walked perhaps thirty minutes at a gradual incline. "So much for twisting tunnels blocking our light," said Belvin. Finally, however, the tunnel did begin to curve to the right and then again to the left, and Szordrin disappeared from their sight around the corner. Hakam took this moment to call on Anachtyr to grant him the ability to sense his environment without the need for his eyes, just in case Szordrin signaled back that they needed to douse their light. It proved to be a wise decision.

   The tunnel finished its ess curve and then made another. Kytharrah was just about to round the second corner, when Hakam could "hear" the incorporeal shape of someone or something next to the minotaur.

   "Minotaur! To your left!" he shouted.

   Leokas reacted to this before even Kytharrah did, loosing two arrows to the left of their friendly beast in hopes of striking whatever invisible enemy Hakam had sensed. The arrows were deflected into the wall of the passage as if blown by a strong gale. Moments later, two gusts of wind in rapid succession struck Leokas with an extreme force, knocking him back and nearly off his feet.

   With a firm command, Solisar enchanted his own eyes, and Belvin yelled out a jungle call, followed by pointing toward Leokas. The wood elf began to glow with a red aura. So did his invisible opponent, an only vaguely humanoid shape. The red-glowing foe was struck from above by several bursts of magical force from Szrodrin's fingertips.

   "Anachtyr protect us!" shouted Hakam, while holding his shield ready.

   Now able to see the outline of the foe, Kytharrah charged with his axe to rescue his elven friend, swinging into the red aura. He struck something at least partly solid, almost spongy. Whatever it was, it had no odor at all. It moved quickly. He hit it a second time with his axe, but when he swung his large head down to catch it with its horns, it had moved too far away. Two arrows flew wildly, as Leokas jumped backward and tried to fight back, but two more blasts of invisible force struck him, and he dropped to his knees, with the wind knocked out of him, and gasped for air.

   Solisar waved his arms, sending a magical burst through the tunnel, and the red aura vanished, or rather dissipated, into nothing. The short battle was over.

   Kytharrah helped his red-glowing friend to his feet, and Belvin and Hakam rushed over to heal him with their magics.

   "Thank you," said Leokas. "I can breathe now. What manner of creature was that?"

   "An elemental from the Plane of Air," said Solisar. "To me, it appeared like an amorphous cloud. Belvin's faerie fire was a brilliant idea."

   Belvin nodded.

   "A stalker," said Szordrin. "Did not you others face one before I joined you?"

   "I would rather not recall it," said Hakam. "It broke my leg."

   "Was this an accidental encounter then?" asked Szordrin. "Or has it been stalking us this whole time?"

   "We would have noticed earlier," said Belvin. "It was guarding the entrance."

   "The last one certainly had been stalking us," said Hakam. "It spoke as much in its tongue. Mythlos could speak Auran. It was sent by El Sadhara."

   "It is at least possible that it is in fact the same one," said Solisar. "You cannot kill such a being unless on its native plane. It may have come back to finish its mission or been summoned by her a second time."

   "I agree that it is probably one of the mummy's minions," said Hakam, "but I suspect that Belvin is correct that it was here to guard the back entrance, not to pursue us in general. She only followed us to get to Samber, and she has him."

   "If that is the case," said Solisar, "it suggests that she has conquered the hobgoblins and Allu."
Session: 94th Game Session - Wednesday, Aug 30 2017 from 11:30 PM to 2:30 AM
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Pointer-left Chance_thumb
DM Jon
Posted by the GM
Champions of the Coast
Episode 004: Dragon Doors
Campaign Date: Flamerule 30 & Midsummer Holiday 1489 DR
Adventure Date: Saturday, July 28, 2018

Episode Recap:
The heroes were unable to wake the unconscious male and female by shaking them or using magic, so they fed them the fruit from the Gulthias Tree and waited. Their efforts appeared to have no effect, so after an uneventful 8-hour rest, the companions bound the pair and set off to investigate a few unexplored areas before heading back to Oakhurst.

The adventurers came upon another stone door with a rearing dragon carved into it. This time, instead of a keyhole situated in the dragon's open mouth, the carving featured an image of a small, curled up dragon. Delg withdrew the crystal whistle they found a few days earlier and hesitantly put it to his lips. He drew in a deep breath, pushed the air through the whistle and fell to the floor coughing and retching. When the heroes turned their attention back to the door, they noticed it had disappeared! The small room beyond contained a strange, tattered Cult of the Dragon banner, a rusted statue of a five-headed dragon and a metallic cylinder with a half-dozen movable rings. The metallic cylinder and each of the rings were inscribed with dwarven runes.

Following a lengthy trek into the Underdark in pursuit of a fleeing bugbear, the adventurers returned to the druid’s cavern and discovered the young male and female were no longer there. The heroes made their way back to the first dragon door and used the key from Yusdrayl’s treasure to open it. Beyond the door they faced several traps protecting an ancient burial chamber containing a large sarcophagus adorned with dragon imagery. The companions opened the sarcophagus and defeated the dragonpriest troll entombed within while his quasit guardian disappeared and presumably fled.

Episode Highlights:
  • None

NPCs Introduced:
  • None

PC Notes:
  • None
Session: Episode 004 - Saturday, Jul 28 2018 from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM
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Tags: Recap
Down under the Observatory, part 2
(Day 23)
We returned to the Observatory and began looking into the room adjacent to the "Catalogue of Days", which was the "Catalogue of Nights", a repository of deaths of ancient Wati.
A room across the hallway from that was full of sarcophagi and mummified animals, including an elephant.

Down the stairs, we found a room with blue tiles laid across the whole floor. These were a magical trap that flung the tiles with great force across the room. Amestri disabled the magic, and we moved on.
Beyond that, large doors led to an almost-octagonal room, very large, dominated by a 15'-tall statue of Pharasma as Matron. It had hieroglyphs on the walls, interrupted by floor-to ceiling curtains. Most of the curtains hid alcoves which contained shrines to different aspects of Pharasma.
One curtain led to a dormitory area. In two of the beds were deceased women, well dressed and not mummified. Magical and medical examination showed them to be young priestesses of Calistria, dead from exposure to the desert. Their corpses were preserved by magic, but they were not undead. Since Nebta-khufre had recently come from Tefu, perhaps they came through the desert from there? One large bed in this area had been slept in recently, and had many notes in his hand.
Another alcove hid a crypt thing, an undead guardian who told us to leave. He magicked away Khismia and Amestri, fortunately they did not go far, and then began to battle with us.
Khismia only went as far as the unoccupied dormitory. Amestri ended up in a long room occupied by a ghastly half-orc. She fled, and luckily ended up in the same room as everyone else.
Ostog held the ghast while the others dealt with the crypt thing, then Khismia moved to cast upon the ghast. Unfortunately, everyone's timing was off, and the ghast ripped Khismia apart before Sallah, Jes, and Novid could kill it.
We took her body with us, and returned to the Pharasman temple to request her return. Ostog sold off most of the magical cloaks and other items we'd collected to pay for the spell's components. We all rested for the night.

Day 24
When we returned to the room we had just left, the bodies of the undead had not been altered, and the tile-floor-trap had not only restarted, but had replaced the tiles destroyed in yesterday's attack.
Beyond this, and down more steps, was a silent room that had deep pits along both walls. These had once been fire pits, it seemed. A bubbly fountain lay in the center of the room, in front of a large statue of Anubis. This Graven Guardian fought us for a long time before I was able to finish it with a Ray of Acid.
After that was a Really Big Round Room with a pyramidal platform in its center, a walkway high around the outside of the room held up by statues of Pharasma. Bodies lay all around the room, but two mummies flanked the steps up the platform.
Atop that stood Nebta-Khufre, wearing a very magical golden mask. We fought. It was a LONG Fight. My spells kept him at bay most of the time, while the others fought two mummies and 6 zombies that he raised from among the many corpses on the floor.

After finally defeating him and his protectors, we took all of the magic items from the room and returned to inform the Pharasmins of our efforts. The mask was indeed that of the Forgotten Pharaoh, and was highly magical.

Days 25-26 We rested, and then escorted an eager Amestri (hopefully fully recovered from mummy rot?) into the Observatory's several genealogical libraries. There were no more monsters remaining in the lower levels.
There was an interesting room, with a miniature representation of Wati laid out on the floor, complete with running water, miniature people, animals, and buildings. The only difference is that a large obelisk (representing Pharasma's Judgement) arose from the site of the current Mausoleum.
Ostog busied himself with the spellbook of Nebta-Khufre, as well as any plans or other information he may have left in his papers.

Seti the Crocodile was busy with a 2-day-long ritual, intended to lay to rest the remaining undead who rose in response to Nebta's actions.

The Pharasmins had almost no information on the Sky Pharaoh, Forgotten as he was. They suggest the libraries of Tefu for future research.

We shall head there, but after a week or so of preparations and recovery from our labors here in Wati.
Session: Game Session 15 - Saturday, Jul 28 2018 from 6:00 PM to 1:00 AM
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Pointer-left Purpledragonskull_thumb
Poppy
Posted by the GM
Sword Coast and Beyond
The Second Assault
22nd - 24th of Flamerule

After fending off a small pack of giant badgers and becoming fulling rested, the group decides to infiltrate the large cave again. They watched the traffic in and out of the cave for the two/three days of recovery and they were confident whoever was inside wasn't going to come out soon.

They repelled down the side of the plateau, again. Once inside, they were confronted with another two cultist soldiers. There number swelled as others further in the cave were alerted to the attack. Fortunately, the others were not as well trained as the elite soldiers. Although their numbers were overwhelming, their skills failed them. Not to mention, Tolly utilized his connection with the weave to his advantage. Large numbers of the guards fell asleep at the command of the small halfling.

Tolly and Cappy merciously killed the sleeping cultist, at the dismay of the honorable Elissa and Dray. Draak seemed unfazed. They questioned the last remaining cultist. True to a fanatics mentality, he refused to give them any valuable information. Elissa stepped in when the group was going to kill the prisoner. "At least give him the honor of death in battle." Although diffcult to slay at first. He eventually fell to the onslaught of the group.



Elissa searched the room while the others were tending to the last cultist. Spread open on one of the tables is a simple map of the Greenfields area showing the villages the cult attacked and looted. An arrow is sketched in from the Greenfields toward the west and the town of Beregost on the Trade Way, where the arrow turns north. A separate sheet of paper that is covered with numerals in columns contains the note, "Everything must be freighted north to Naerytar. Rezmir allowed us to keep some pearls, a ring, and a handful of small stones."

Satisfied these areas were cleared, the group decides to return the the main entrance and follow the cave deeper. Cautiously, they pressed forward. Looking for any evidence of more cultist. Captain Black hopped down the small escarpment and made his way through some thick fungi. The other moved down the steps. To their dismay, the steps were rigged to cause the uninformed to slip into a batch of Violet Fungus. This triggered four or five of these rotten creatures to attack. Their tentacles waving and attacking everyone.



During his attempt to silently move past these creatures, Captain Blackheart inadvertently ran into one of the vile fungi. It lashed out at the infamous pirate grabbing his hand. It sent a surge of decaying, necrotic power through the appendage. The hand immediately seized up, curling into a paralyzed claw.
...
Session: The Return to the Game - Tuesday, Jul 03 2018 from 11:30 PM to 2:30 AM
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Pointer-left Chance_thumb
DM Jon
Posted by the GM
Champions of the Coast
Episode 003: The Gulthias Tree
Campaign Date: Flamerule 29-30, 1489 DR
Adventure Date: Saturday, July 7, 2018

Episode Recap:
As the adventurers attempted to recuperate, angry goblins and their hobgoblin superiors harassed them repeatedly. The heroes prepared themselves for a full force attack, but one never came. While exploring goblin territory, the companions battered through a door that led into the kobold chieftain’s throne room. The kobolds defended their chieftain Yusdrayl and secured her escape despite taking heavy casualties. With the kobolds defeated, the adventurers eagerly removed the large metallic key from the jaws of the rearing dragon carving!

The heroes considered their options and decided to press on through the goblin infested portion of the citadel in search of the enchanted fruit the goblins were rumored to possess. The adventurers confronted the goblin leader, a nasty hobgoblin named Durnn, and defeated him along with his entourage. Durnn’s chamber held a circular shaft that pierced the floor and from it shined dim violet light. The walls of the nearly 100’ deep shaft were coated with strange white and gray vines which provided the companions with an easy means of descent.

The adventurers discovered a huge cavern in which a grove of sickly trees grew among a ruined structure. In the distance, a blackened, twisted tree bearing a large, ruby-red apple reached upward like a skeletal hand. Standing before the tree were three figures; a young male and female whose eyes were black, and their skin was gray with the texture of bark, and a middle-aged bearded druid. The druid spoke reverently about the Gulthias Tree and he informed the heroes they would make excellent supplicants. The companions overcame the druid and his allies by destroying the Gulthias Tree with showers of radiant fire from Delg’s Sacred Flame. The enchanted fruit was harvested, and the adventurers turned their attention to the young male and female that fought beside the druid.

Episode Highlights:
  • Balamin, Baltrex, Delg and Nym advanced to 3rd level

NPCs Introduced:
  • Durnn (male hobgoblin): Chief of the Durbuluk tribe

PC Notes:
  • None
Session: Episode 003 - Saturday, Jul 07 2018 from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM
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