Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Retro Session 2 Waking the Sleeper

Once More into the Void

Another retro session from last year. When last we left the heroes in episode one, had taken on a mission to rescue a missing young man from the Village of Hruelin’s Post. The young man, Cynric, had entered the nearby Tomb of the Sleepers. They found the young man just inside the entrance but then continued on into the tomb with the sleeping boy slung over the shoulder of Mukah the half-orc.

Retro Session 2 Waking the Sleeper

The heroes decide not to continue south through the rough-hewn tunnel. Instead, they return to the Preparation chamber. As they walk down the hallway Talrek spots a secret door in the south wall. Peering into a chamber at the end of the hall they see several corpses lying on stone biers. The heroes assume these are undead. Since they are low on health they decide to ignore the chamber and the secret door and instead decide to head back to the broken tomb and follow the rough-hewn tunnel.

However, as soon as they enter the broken tomb three troglodytes attack with surprise from the shadows. There is a long struggle (4 rounds) and the heroes prevail. Alcor is badly wounded by one troglodyte after being hit twice (down to 2 hit points). They pause to rest.

The heroes continue south entering the rough-hewn tunnel. Talrek notes that the tunnel is a rougher construction than the rest of the tomb but not natural. In the distance, Thyrell hears the sound of running water. Entering a cave they see that a swift-moving underground river is passing through its center. The river is 20 feet wide and too wide to cross. They discuss the possible method of crossing the river. Alcor notes fist bones lying on the cave floor. The bones are gnawed on but the fish heads have large jaws and sharp teeth. Suspicious of what is in the river, Talrek, and Mukah pick up a troglodyte corpse and toss it part way into the river. The carcass is hungrily attacked by a pool of quippers.

They decide to not cross the river and head back up the tunnel to explore the rest of the tomb. Talrek operates the secret door and a 5-foot wide section of the wall slides back into the wall revealing a tomb. Inside is a stone sarcophagus and very little else. Thyrell and Talrek work together to lever the stone lid off of the sarcophagus. As they slide it back it reveals a withered corpse of a man in a long robe.

While Thyrell and Talrek still have their hands on the stone lid the corpse's eyes open and it springs up attack Mukah. The heroes fight a quick battle with a wight. The wight strikes Thyrell but the dark elf manages to save against the attack. The wight is eventually destroyed by Talrek using multiple castings of Sacred Flame. The rest of the heroes were unable to hurt the wight.

The Sleeper is revealed

With only one chamber remaining the heroes decide to draw out the corpses in the chamber they passed over. Thyrell fires several arrows at the corpses but they just do not move. As soon as Thyrell enters the chamber, two corpses rise up and attack. The fight is fairly short with Mukah easily overwhelming one zombie and aiding in the destruction of a second zombie.

The heroes head back to the Preparation Chamber (the first chamber entered with the 4 stone pillars and the statue of Selune) and examine the statue closely. They realize that it can be shoved backward on tracks. Working together they shove back the statue and reveal an opening below holding a leather sack. But when the statue moves back all of the stones in the entrance hall slide into a position blocking the way out.

The sack is opened and it contains 200 ancient silver coins, 1 potion of healing and 1 unknown potion. Unable to figure out how to move the stone blocking the hall they try to move the statue back into position. Once the statue is moved back into position the stones move to allow the heroes to leave the tomb and head outside.

The heroes head back to Hruelin’s Post, Mukah carrying the still sleeping boy Cynric. Reaching the Inn, which is still open, they enter and are greeted as heroes by the villagers. Still, no one is able to wake Cynric. Eventually, the village herbalist is summoned and she realizes that the unknown potion the heroes found is a sleep antidote. Once Cynric is given a draught of the potion he wakes up.


Sunday, 17 June 2018

Once more into the Void Retro Sessions

The online D&D 5th edition campaign I am in is on hiatus, so I thought I would post the first few adventure session reports. I started posting reports at session 6 so this gives me 5 extra session reports I can post. I was the Dungeon Master for the first two sessions. Our chosen DM needed a few weeks to prepare so I stepped in and ran a short, starter adventure.

I had written a short adventure that was designed to be an introduction to a Phandelver Campaign. So it takes place on the Sword Coast just north of Neverwinter along the High Road.

The Sleeper Wakes Session 1

The players are caravan guards who are between jobs returning south to Neverwinter. They have worked the High road for more than a year becoming good friends and becoming known to the people of the small villages along the road. This is a good thing because first impressions of this group are important.  You almost all of them are a little unusual.

Alcor Renn is a tiefling monk with red skin and red eyes, Mukah is a half-orc barbarian prone to rages, Tyrell Beam Catcher is a dark elf with dark skin and white hair and rounding out the group is Talrek Ironblood a dwarven cleric. They are used to fearful glances as they enter new villages, but the small village of Hruelin’s Post has grown used to them and accepts that they are not a danger.

Traveling from Icewind Dale they reach a favorite Inn, The Llast Post in the late afternoon. Knowing that they can reach Neverwinter with one more day of travel they decide to stop for the night. Just as the four companions are sitting down to a good meal an old woman races in the door. The woman is hysterical and crying out for help. She spots the heroes and immediately rushes to their table asking for help. Widow Demelza’s son Cynric has entered the Sleeper’s Tomb and has not returned!

The heroes calm her down and ask a few questions, it seems her son, who is a clever boy, told her that he had figured out how to enter the Sleeper’s tomb. She forbade him from entering of course but he slipped out after yesterday’s chores, took a lantern, a mirror and grandpa’s sword and set off. When Demelza got up in the morning and found him missing she ran to the Vale of Selune where the tomb entrance is located. There she spotted the missing mirror lying on the ground but no sign of her son.

A few questions to the locals reveal that the Sleeper’s Tomb is in a low valley in Neverwinter forest. It is a doorway flanked by two statues of Selune. The heroes volunteer to find Cynric and return him to Demelza. One of the local farmer, Egerton, volunteers to show them the way to the Vale of Selune.

The heroes are taken to the Vale of Selune by Egerton who points out the valley and then takes his leave. From this vantage point, they can just make out a stone wall at the end of the valley. The sun has set and the moon rises.

The Vale of Selune

The heroes approach the entrance with stealth and see two worn statues of Selune. One statue is missing its head. Searching the area Thyrell spots recent tracks going back and forth, an “X” scrawled in the dirt and a mirror lying on the ground. Mukah tries bashing in the stone block that blocks the entrance without success. Talrek notes that Selune is a goddess associated with the moon. After thinking it over for awhile they decide to reflect moonlight onto the entrance. Nothing happens. Finally, Mukah reflects moonlight onto the face of the Statue of Selune and the massive stone block slides slowly to one side. A stair leads down. They see a broken lintel over the door with an inscription. The only part of it can be made out, “disturb the rest of he who sleeps”.

Talrek leads the way down and triggers a switch on the second last step before another stone block. The block slides to one side revealing a small chamber. In that chamber, Cynric lies on the floor apparently sleeping. Another stone blocks further passage into the tomb. This one has the symbol of Selune on it with seven raised starts and two sapphire eyes.

Mukah is unable to wake up Cynric despite giving him a good shake. The stone block behind the heroes starts to slide shut but Thyrell is still on the other side and he steps on the trigger causing it to open again. Working out the trick to the door Thyrell walks back outside and comes back with a heavy rock. Putting it on the step it seems to hold the door open (thus bypassing my cleverly designed gas trap).

Talrek and Alcor realize that the stars on the next door can be pressed in. Nothing happens when they press the various starts. Eventually, Alcor, Talrek, and Thyrell work together to press in all of the starts at once and the stone door opens. There is a brief discussion of what to do with the sleeping boy. Mukah ends the discussion by slinging the boy over his shoulder.

Finding Cynric

More steps lead down into a deep, underground chamber. The chamber roof is held up by four stone pillars carved to resemble an open-mouthed worshipper of Selune. On the north wall is a six-foot-tall statue of Selune wearing a stone necklace with 7 sapphires in it.

Thyrell and Talrek decide that clearly, the open mouths are traps. Mukah is instructed to climb up and investigate and he sees copper tubes in the mouths of the statues. Climbing pitons are used to block the copper tubes. The group decides to head west down a passage. They pass a hole in the south wall of the passage and enter a chamber that is clearly a tomb. Six skeletons lie on stone platforms. As they enter the room three of the skeletons rise and attack. It is a quick pitched battle and the skeletons are killed but Thyrell is badly injured. Talrek uses his Cure wounds spell on the dark elf using up all his healing spells.

Finding this chamber is a dead end they come back up the passage and step through the hole in the wall into another chamber. It is a badly damaged tomb. While poking through the rubble two giant centipedes attack. Talrek moves forward and kills one, Thyrell fires wildly and hits Talrek in the back with an arrow nearly killing the dwarven cleric. Mukah kills the second giant centipede.
There is another, more rough-hewn, tunnel entering the chamber from the south. The heroes paused to catch their breath. Mukah again picks up the boy and tosses him over his shoulder. The boy, Cynric, continues to sleep soundly.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Blackwind's Tower Chapter 2

Badger set down the heavy wheelbarrow with a grunt. He had asked for a cart and the wizard had produced a rickety wheelbarrow from inside his shop without a word. Then he had nodded at Badger locked the shop door and walked off at a brisk pace. Clearly, the wizard felt he had done his part. It had been up to Badger to drag and stuff the man’s body into the cart. He had furtively moved the body down a back alley before finding bags of garbage behind a butcher’s shop to pile on top of it.


At first, Badger had looked about for somewhere to quickly dispose of the corpse - garbage heaps, sewers or dark holes. But, it turned out, Pirn was pretty clean for a town of its size and clearly had no sewers. So Badger realized he was going to have to get the body out the gates to the garbage dump. Getting past the guards at the gates were not going to be easy.


As a stranger to Pirn, he was bound to attract some attention from the guards at the gate. Looking down at the load in the wheelbarrow Badger could see a loose arm dangling out from under a bag of garbage. Bending down he moved to push the arm back under the garbage.


“How do I get into these situations,” Badger thought as he carefully covered the body with garbage. Pirn was the end of the line for Badger. Located at the final stop on the edge of the Realms before the Wilderlands. Badger was a child of the cities. An orphan raised by a street gang in Shallowport. Chased out of Shallowport he had wandered further and further to the edges of the Realms. From here there was nowhere else to go.


“And now in my third day in the town, I am already disposing of bodies,” Badger mused with disgust. “At least this one was not my doing.” Still, depending on how he played it, the wizard should now owe Badger a favour. Of course, the wizard might not react well to being asked for a favour. “If I can just get this body out of here - and get back in.”


Ahead lay the Quarter Market gate. Two square towers with the gate between them. The gate was open and clear but three guards were on duty. Likely the gate would close at dusk. Looking about, Badger could see the shadows lengthening. Dusk would come soon.


Two guards had stacked their polearms against the wall and had their attention focused on a set of dice they were rolling onto the dirt just outside the gate. But a third guard was checking people walking in and out of the gate.


He needed a distraction of some sort Badger watched the gate for several minutes before he spotted his opportunity.  Approaching the gate leading a horse, was a man clad in worn armor, a sword swinging at his hip. The horse was laden with a half dozen full sacks. Just behind the horse came another, smaller man with a heavy sack slung over one shoulder. This pair was going to get the guards attention.


Badger quickly lifted the wheelbarrow and pushed it into the fading sunlight of the gate square. He had to time it just right. He approached the gate as far away from the alert guard as he could, timed for just as the two travellers approached. Badger ducked his head down and put his best “bored peasant” expression on his face. It was one of his best skills at avoiding notice. Look away but do not appear to be looking away.


“Hold and state your business!”


The guard spoke out, Badger kept moving assuming the guard was speaking to the incoming travellers. “Travellers looking to enjoy a clean bed in your fair town”, came the reply. Good, they have his attention thought Badger.


Surreptitiously, he peered toward the two guards to the right. Their attention was held by the dice and they did not even spare Badger a glance.


“Damn dice are against me today,” Badger heard one of the guards curse. Then as he moved off he heard one of the guards straighten up.


“Who is that with the wheelbarrow?” came a distinct voice. “Never mind him, throw the dice I mean to win back my coppers, Jadon”.


Badger relaxed his breath, his heart was beating a little faster than normal but he had things under control. He continued on down the road with a calm gait.


The Quarter Gate

Pirn was built on top of a hill. The path from the gate moved down the side of the hill at a gradual angle. To either side of the road, Badger could see small piles of garbage carelessly dumped. Mice and rats darted amongst the refuse.  It would be best to move further to one of the pits where the garbage was supposed to be dumped, Badger thought. He straightened and looked in the direction of the setting sun. He figured he only had a short time before the sun dropped beneath the distant hills. Unless he wanted to be sleeping outside he needed to move on quickly.


Up ahead, off to one side of the road was a large pit, a natural formation formed in the side of a hill. Piles of refuse filled the pit. A few wild dogs ranged amongst the garbage. Badger levered the wheelbarrow to the edge of the pit. He looked about to make sure no one was in sight. The towers of Pirn still had a clear view of him but he reasoned he was too far away for anyone to see what he was doing. He removed the bags of garbage and set them down then dragged the body from the wheelbarrow. The corpse was heavy but not something Badger could not manage. Too big to run in the street gang back home anymore, Badger was quite strong. That strength that had scared the gang leader and led to him being chased out of Shallowport. Badger grabbed the feet of the dead man and dragged him well into the garbage. Then he made two trips to drop the bags of garbage on the corpse to hide it completely.


As he checked that the corpse was covered, Badger heard a low growling. Looking up he saw a mangy black dog glaring at him from 15 feet away. Four other dogs edged forward behind the black dog.


“It's all yours, I was just leaving,” Badger said and waved toward the corpse with his hand. Time to get out of here. Badger carefully walked back up out of the pit to the cart.


The sun was setting. Grabbing the cart he lifted and pushed at a brisk pace back toward the gate into Pirn.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Guardian


“It can also be found in the very ancient murmurings of the ancients of even the First Age that there was a bird-thing called the Feeniks. It was a creature which was immortal - dying in a burst of flame, then rising up from its own ashes to live again. So say the writings of Garon and Deldayna of Cairn; it also appears as an analog to the prophecies of Narin, who told of the rebirth of the killer of the Riken. Perhaps the world still waits for that might one’s return…
-Monologues of Poule VI”
- Guardian, Thomas F. Monteleone, 1980.



One of the books that influenced my Dungeon & Dragons campaigns the most was Guardian a book by Thomas F. Monteleone. Published in 1980 I can across it in 1982 when I was developing my first game world for a B/X campaign.

The story in Guardian is interesting but not the best. Not even one of the best novels written by Thomas F. Monteleone. The plot is a late middle age or early Renaissance fantasy setting in which a group of adventurers travels the world on a quest to find the Guardian. A super-computer that was a protector of a nation. They are set on the path by an android. The interesting thing about the novel was the map in the front of the novel and the prologue.

The prologue went on for several pages and detailed the nations on the map with a few paragraphs each.

“And so it is possible that Pindar and Eyck shall never be at peace. The claims of rightful borders are always a delicate subject, especially among nations who have a not-very-tenacious grasp of their true self-image. Such is the pitiful state of Pindar, and of Eyck. Neither possesses a governmental system that is much removed from what one might call “musical assassinations.” In fact, one of the perennial political jokes in G’Rdellia a neighboring country of some culture, asks the question: Who’s running Pindar this week?
 And since the only viable exports of these two nations may rightfully be termed unrest, hate, and distrust, it is easy to ignore them when considering the general state of the World. Pindar and Eyck are thus the clubfooted stepchildren of a world that is only marginally more fortunate but chooses not to recognize that basic truth.”

- Guardian, Thomas F. Monteleone, 1980.

The prologue is written in the style of a historical text or not unlike an early game gazetteer. I ended up using some of the details and the basic outline of the game world map. My first game world was a mash-up of the map from Guardian and the map from the Expert rules book.





Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Town of Pirn

For adventurers’ in a Stillwater Valley campaign, most of the places they can go for goods and services are limited. Padotan is the largest settlement in the valley and it only has a population of 200. Even with Padotan’s reputation as a place to buy and sell goods with no questions asked, the three or four merchant shops located in the village can only provide the bare necessities.

However, the town of Pirn, located just off my Further Afield Map to the east is an ideal location for adventurers to spend their hard-won gold on goods and services including a fair amount of simple magic.

Pirn Map


PIRN

Pirn is a small town with a population frequently in flux but rarely dipping below 1,200 or more than 1,600. There are about 200 buildings on a hill surrounded by a 25 foot stone wall. The town is at the westernmost terminus of the King’s Road and is the furthest extent of the reach of the Kingdoms known as the Realms. The Lord Mayor of Pirn is appointed by the King but the King makes his choice from a list of candidates sent to the King by the guilds of Pirn. Usually, the list has only one name on it. The Lord Mayor of Pirn is in complete control of the town in all but name.

Development

I envisioned a town laid out similar to late medieval towns in Tuscany. Situated on a hill for protection with a number of merchants maintaining lofty towers. The towers were originally built for defense before the stone walls were constructed. Now the towers are built for prestige. Each merchant wants to have the tallest tower. The towers on the town map are represented by the dark blue squares.

The area where the town is located is on the edge of the wilderness. Stillwater valley is relatively safe but goblin warbands have still be known to attack Pirn. The most recent unsuccessful attack occurred just 8 years previous. For this reason, there are few farmhouses located outside the walls of the town. Most farmers live in the town and maintain a small shack on their plot of land. There are also some farms located inside the walls of the town.

Modeling

I started off with a render of a market square. I was not following any plan at all. So I created the town map to use as a guide. I have completed most of the buildings around the Quarter Market a few of the side streets and a section of the wall including the Quarter Market Gate. It is doubtful I would ever model the entire town because it would be a lengthy undertaking.

The Quarter Market and the Black Witch Inn

One of Pirn's Towers, Blackwind's Home


Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Once More into the Void 27 The Big Finish

Oto watched as Thyrell stumbled back yelling struck by the Necromancer. The drow struggled to hold his ground and appeared about to fall. Instead, it appeared to be a feint he lunged forward with his other sword. The Necromancer clutched at the sword in his belly a look of astonishment on his face. He appeared to gasp something to Thyrell and then fell to the ground.


We did it Oto thought and was promptly struck by another stone falling from the ceiling.


“We have to get out of here!” Oto yelled. The portly wizard ran as quickly as he could manage toward the archway through which they had entered the chamber a few moments ago. Oto looked at the collapsed archway buried under a pile of huge stone blocks and quickly realized there was no way they could exit this way. Turning back to the chamber, Oto could see Thyrell helping Alcor to his feet. Talrek was standing near Mukah who was carrying Tinda.


“It's blocked!” Oto shouted. Everyone turned to look at Oto. Then all of the heroes turned to look at the swirling mists of the portal. Without a word spoken all of them began running for the portal. Oto heard a huge crash behind him, as more stone crashed to the floor. Oto realized that the chamber would collapse in a matter of seconds. Pausing for a second, he leaped through the portal.


As Oto passes through the portal, one thought passed through his head, “I hope this is not a one-way trip to Hell!”


Oto stumbled from the portal and looked about rapidly for threats. There appeared to only one. A robed figure sat before him on a stone throne covered in runes. As his eyes adjusted to the dim light he could see it was an unmoving, dust-covered skeleton in a robe, the skeleton of a giant of a man.


Looking about Oto saw the other members of the party had made it through as well. No one was talking. All stood in awe of the skeleton on the throne. Alcor stood near a window.


“You have to see this,” Alcor gasped. Oto walked over to stand beside Alcor. Outside was a city of towers stretching into the distance, where it then bent perpendicular and more towers ran up the horizon to the sky which was not a sky but another plane of towers but these pointed down at him. Oto struggled with vertigo.


“We are in a pocket dimension,” Oto gasped. Amazing he thought. It is a cube curved back in on itself. He had read of such marvels but could scarcely believe it.


“Why? Why have you come!” A dry, rasping voice echoed through the chamber. Oto whirled about, the head of the skeleton was turned toward Talrek who had approached the throne.


There was stunned silence before Oto found his voice, “ahh, we had no choice, you see..” he stuttered out before being cut off.


“You have created a way out. You opened the last portal. It will know. It will perceive you,” the creature said.


Thyrell approached the guardian, “Who,” he said, “Who will know?”


“It is the destroyer, we are the guardians! We moved the city here to this plane.”


Oto looked at his companions. Mukah stood like a stone holding the unconscious wolf Tinda, seemingly unconcerned by the words of the creature, Talrek appeared to be deep in thought, strangely Alcor had turned and was looking back through the portal. Oto was drawn to the direction Alcor was looking. The portal appeared to lead somewhere new! The swirling mists looked out on a snowy, rock ledge on the side of a mountain. Maybe they could take the portal again, wherever it led.


“You must go, it is coming!" the creature shouted. As Oto watched the skeleton hands began to move in arcane patterns. Oto realized it was casting protective spells. In the distance, all of the heroes could see dark mist forming in the city. Then the mist streaked across the city directly toward the chamber.


“You must go now!” the creature shouted again. Blasts of arcane energy shook the chamber and an enormous cloud of black smoke began to stream in. Oto scrambled toward the portal fell to his knees and crawled into it for the second time. He emerged moments later on a cold, snowy ledge above a valley. Mukah appeared by his side, still carrying Tinda. A moment later Alcor and Talrek appeared. Finally, Thyrell leaped out of the portal onto the ledge. Everyone was safe. Looking about Oto realized that the portal had not moved. The dungeon had just collapsed and slid down the side of the mountain. Below him, there was a pile of rubble from the slide. A portion of the old keep had also collapsed.


The heroes all burst into laughter. They had made it.


“Too bad about my Ring of Invisibility,” Thyrell mused, waving his hand about and gesturing to where the missing ring had been.


“Wait, it is still here, embedded in the portal,” Talrek said. “Let’s see if I can remove it without breaking it.” Oto looked over and Talrek began searching through his pack for his stoneworking tools. As Oto watched, three black tendrils of smoke emerged from the portal, spiraling about as if they were snakes!


“Smash it, smash the ring!” Oto shouted at Talrek and moved desperately toward the dwarf. Talrek looked briefly startled and then gathered his composure and swung his war hammer at the ring embedded in the stone. The stone cracked and the ring broke free falling to the ground. The light of the portal immediately flickered and then went dark. Where the portal had once stood there was now a bare expanse of stone. The portal was closed. Oto looked worriedly at the tendrils of smoke, cut off from the portal. They seemed to study him as well for a moment and then sped off quickly into the distance.

There were several moments of stunned silence. Then Thyrell bent down and picked up the ring and placed it on his finger.


“I think it still works,” he said with a hint of humor in his voice.

The Guardian

Once More into the Void Session 27
Confronting the Necromancer


This week our D&D 5th edition adventure had its big finish. All the players made the session which was nice as we were not actually aware this might be the final confrontation. When last we left the party of heroes was trapped by a rockslide in a crumbling dungeon beneath an old keep looking to put a stop to the plans of a necromancer. The stability of the dungeon had been increasingly suspect with cave-ins and rockfalls. The heroes came up before another pair of doors this time with light streaming out from beneath.


When the doors were opened the entire group, (Mukah the Half-orc barbarian, Thyrell the Drow Ranger, Alcor Fenn the Tiefling monk, Talrek the Dwarven cleric and lastly Otrovush Oto the human wizard), stepped openly into a brightly lit, large chamber blinking their eyes at the unexpected brightness.


The room was a classic evil ritual, an open portal of swirling mist on the north wall, huge stone pillars, a raised dais with an altar and a pool of blood in the center of the room draining by four channels into steel grates. There is also a statue of Orcus facing the gate. On the dais was a tall man in dark robes, clearly the necromancer we had been seeking to thwart. Surrounding him were a number of goblins.


Not really by design, we immediately split up widely. Some heroes heading north around the pool of blood (Thyrell, Tinda, Talrek and Alcor Fenn) and Mukah and Oto heading south. Oto ended up holding his ground near the entrance and attacking with long range spells. The spread formation ended up being key as the necromancer had a number of area effect spells. Unfortunately, we entered the battle almost completely out of spells and with several party members injured already.


Round 1
Thyrell shot a goblin with an arrow killing it in one shot, the goblins then dashed toward the heroes. Oto was struck by an arrow, then pulled out his scroll of Ice Storm and successfully cast the fourth level spell (being only able to learn 2nd level spells). The necromancer successfully passed his save but took a fair amount of damage from the spell. Alcor used dash and his monk quickness to sprint most of the way toward the altar. The necromancer made a speech about our stupidity of bringing the one object he needed to complete the ritual, with a gesture the ring of invisibility Thyrell was wearing dissolved into mist and reformed in the portal causes it to become active. The ring Thyrell took off the body of the necromancer’s assistant back in Winterton.


Round 2
There is a lot of swinging and missing by the heroes and by the goblins, Mukah is struck once. Even the Necromancer missed twice with Eldritch Blast. The necromancer spots Alcor Fenn advancing and moves south along the dias to put some distance between them but the quick-moving monk closes the distance to melee. A rumble shakes the dungeon and debris falls from the ceiling striking everyone. The only one really hitting is Tinda the wolf who flings a goblin prone.


Round 3
Thyrell dispatches the prone goblin then peers through the enormous portal and sees a figure sitting on the stone throne. A goblin is crushed and killed by debris falling from the ceiling. The necromancer again yells out his plans telling the heroes that they will not prevent him from summoning his lord Orcus. The necromancer then casts Fireball hitting Mukah, Talrek and two goblins. Mukah survives but Talrek falls unconscious. Both goblins are killed by the blast. Tinda kills another goblin. Oto misses the Necromancer badly with Firebolt hitting the wall. The blast is still showy so Oto yells out “Fireball” hoping to convince the necromancer of his power. Mukah kills the last goblin then moves to help Talrek.


Round 4
Thyrell casts a crucial Ensnaring Strike and moves toward the necromancer. The necromancer casts Blight on Alcor Fenn and pushes him prone and unconscious. Oto hits the necromancer with Firebolt but he shrugs most of it off. Oto taunts the necromancer but still cannot get his attention. Thyrell closes to melee with the Necromancer and strikes him with his sword restraining the Necromancer. The necromancer uses his turn to break free of the restraint. Mukah locates a healing salve on Talrek’s body and applies it.


Round 5
More stone falls from the ceiling striking everyone. Tinda is struck and falls unconscious. The entrance to the chamber collapses and is blocked. At this point, all of the heroes still standing are at 6 hit points or less and things look grim. Talrek casts Sacred Flame but the Necromancer counters it. Mukah hurls a javelin at the necromancer and it misses. Thyrell strikes the Necromancer again and is then hit by Hellish Rebuke. On his last legs, Thryell strikes again and the sword impales the necromancer killing him. The dying necromancer whimpers, “Orcus.. You promised!” then dies. Thyrell moves to Alcor Fenn uses a healing salve and brings the tiefling back to consciousness. Talrek administers aid to Tinda stabilizing the wolf. Oto checks the exit and sees it is hopelessly blocked with rubble.


At the climactic moment of the battle, Thyrell stabs the Necromancer

At this point, the dungeon begins to completely collapse, stones falling and striking every round. Realizing they only have seconds to get out of the chamber they all run for the portal. Mukah scoops up and carries Tinda. Everyone runs through the portal blindly hoping for the best.


Through the portal is a large chamber. A skeletal figure sits motionless on a stone throne. The exits from the chamber are blocked but open windows let in light. Out the windows is the incredible scene of a deserted city of towers that is inverted in on itself. Oto realizes the heroes are not in hell, they are in a pocket dimension.


The skeleton, who is covered in dust, suddenly moves its head and speaks in a dry rasping voice, “Why? Why have you come?


Oto explains that they had no choice, the skeleton explains that he is one of a group of guardians holding some ancient evil trapped in this pocket dimension. The heroes have opened a portal that will allow the evil to escape. The guardian then tells the heroes that they must go - the ancient evil has sensed the open portal and it is coming. We see a dark cloud forming in the city and racing toward the portal, the guardian cast protective magic against attack. Looking back through the portal the heroes now see that it leads through to a windswept ledge above a snowy valley. The heroes leap back through the portal and emerge on a mountain ledge. The dungeon has collapsed down the side of the mountain and the portal is now perched on the edge of the mountainside. As the heroes stand their congratulating themselves they realize that the portal is still open and that three tendrils of mist have emerged, Oto yells at Talrek to smash the ring that is embedded in the portal stone. Talrek strikes it and it falls free to the ground and the portal collapses. The tendrils of mist fly off into the distance in the valley.


The heroes sit down for a well-deserved rest. Oto transcribes Feather Fall to his spellbook. Talrek cast Detect Magic on items stripped off the corpse of the necromancer. A magic cloak, magic periapt, a ring and a wand.


With that the epic quest is complete. Or is it. All the characters level up to 5th.