Monday, December 27, 2010

Campaign Notes: DL 1-6

Title: The Cursed of Kiri-Jolith
PC Level: 5th

The synopsis for the previous adventure can be found here. The PCs make camp within the quiet escape tunnel for a day or two. Beam is told that Zurias is his father and the parchment from the mentor says to go to Solanthus within a week's time and contact the local apothecary there concerning the youth's test of high sorcery.

Healing, the group is no worse for wear as they study the book from the Academy--History of the Third Dragon Way (circa 2AC). The book confirms the information previously learned about the Promise Flames (lit by the Promise Hearth as a reminder of Queen Takhisis' promise to withdraw from the world after being defeated in that war and that the other gods were always with the people). The Promise Flames (great towers with fires burning atop them) were spread through Solamnia so, it is said, that no one in the country could not go anywhere without glimpsing at least one of their fires.

The book details that when the Hearth was lit, it was then sealed and the key to open it was split into three pieces (each one a different colored flame symbol) and given to a three individuals who were named Preservers. This trio, each of differing alignment (good, neutral, evil) to represent the Balance of all things, hid the flame icons in different parts of Solamnia--good in Lytburg (PCs have this one), the neutral in Tresvka, and the evil in Ulgurmere manor. Whether the other two icons would still be in these locations is a mystery. Only by possessing all three can the Hearth be reopened and the Promise Flames restored as a means to instill hope into the harried Solamnic people, besieged by the Dragonarmies. The book is careful to point out that only someone of appropriate moral character can hold the respective flame icons.

The adventurers eventually reach the end of their tunnel and find another secret panel in which to place Zurias' dwarven medallion. They then enter a dwarven-crafted ruin of some kind and begin to explore for a way back to the surface. The group soon discovers two statues, a dwarf shaking the hand of a knight, the latter's head having been knocked from his shoulders by ceiling debris. Gundar and Plaxus feel a strange familiarity with the chamber and Gundar places the knight's head back onto the statue. Immediately, the group hears the voice of Kiri-Jolith. In short, the god tells the group that they must undue a curse he placed upon this complex because a sacred bond of friendship was broken by the knights here centuries ago. If they can do this, the adventurers will receive more powerful weapons in their quest to restore the Promise Flames, and thus restore hope to the people and unite them in the face of the Dragon Queen's forces.

Two large bats are dispatched as the party moves deeper into the complex. They next arrive at some kind of receiving room, complete with (now dilapidated) table and chairs. On the ceiling is a glass mosaic depicting dwarves and humans fighting dragons together. Beam recalls something about that in the book they just acquired and researches while Gundar and Deedra move up a nearby staircase. These two find paintings of apparently distinguished dwarves and knights on the walls of the hallway before encountering a boulder which has smashed in the hallway's exit, but not so tight that one person cannot slip into the next area at a time.

Meanwhile, Plaxus guards the studying Beam who learns that the complex they are now in was once a waystation between the Knights of Solamnia and the Garnet Mtn. dwarves who were given the area in appreciation for their service in the Third Dragon War. The waystation was a neutral meeting ground for trade, etc. but one of the knights became jealous of the dwarves "easy" lifestyle and wealth and convinced his fellows to slay their bearded allies. According to the book, Kiri-Jolith was so enraged that he cursed the waystation and the knights therein, changing them into creatures who would forever work at the riches they so coveted, mining the area futilely for eternity.

Deedra and Gundar discover a slimy blob on the boulder which soon moves to attack them. They begin to easily dispatch the creature when another humanoid made of stone advances from an unseen passageway behind the minotaur. Plaxus leaves Beam to assist the embattled cleric and warrior and the trio makes short work of their foes. Beam implores the party to investigate a door in the receiving room they previously left alone. Inside is a refuse area. Fungus grows rampantly across the area and infests a corpse near the edge of the fetid pit. Beam uses his quarterstaff to try and move the body but is blasted by spores from the fungus. He is unaffected by the poison until a second blast hits him in the face. The group retreats as Beam immediately starts to lose health by the minute. Gundar's limited spell repertoire proves ineffectual but then Deedra remembers the water she bottled from Kiri-Jolith's fountain in their very first adventure. Beam drinks the elixir but feels nothing so, in a desperate attempt to rid his skin of some fast-growing mushroom on his neck, he magically burns them off. As it turns out, Deedra's holy water did the trick but the mage was happy to have taken some kind of initiative anyway.

The group returns to the area beyond the boulder and find yet another stony humanoid walking aimlessly with a handful of small gemstones. It is slain but then Plaxus notices something odd behind the stony face--a withered human face! Beam surmises that these stone monsters must be the cursed of Kiri-Jolith as written in his book. The party advances deeper into the complex and crosses some pits and debris-choked areas (apparently there was an earthquake or two in the centuries since the waystation's fall). A fight with some flaying manta-ray type beasts is quick but leads to another encounter with the cursed stone beasts. The group finds empty chambers where humans and dwarves slept but then discovers the quarters of the dwarven cleric leader and his chest of magical items (which are quickly appropriated).

A "evil" feeling hole in the ground of the armory gives way to water beneath (perhaps 60 feet below) as well as a wide open chamber of some kind. The group descends and discovers makeshift rock cairns as well as a large pile of gemstones. The grand chamber 9 exit passages which the party assumes were made by the eternally mining knight-monsters. Gundar approaches the gem pile and throws the gems retrieved from the stone-knight above onto the pile. Some other gems roll off the pile and immediately vanish. Suddenly, Beam is attacked by a dwarf skeleton as he was inspecting one of two shallow pools inside the chamber. Other dwarf skeletons emerge from the cairns and advance on those who would disturb their resting place.

As the skeletons are quickly slain, a stone-knight emerges from nearly every exit passage to attack! A fierce fight ensues but the party is more than up to the challenge, felling every monster without taking any losses. The group turns its attention to the gem pile once more, cleaning off the top layers. Beneath is a glass casket containing a single dwarf with a sword of Solamnic make in its chest. Gundar opens the casket and pulls the sword from the corpse, which gasps slightly, opening its eyes, and whispering, "thank you...."

As the dwarf corpse disintegrates into dust, so do the stony exteriors of the fallen knights, revealing glowing weapons and armor beneath. There is even a cursed white wizard among the fallen which Beam appropriates the equipment of. As promised, the group has gained superior arms and armor as reward for lifting the curse here. They are then encompassed by the light and power of Kiri-Jolith who returns them to the upper level of the complex. The group easily finds a way to the surface and sees Solanthus, their next stop, below their mountaintop view.

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