Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Averlorn Campaign: The Midnight Opal of Shadar

Recap from 1/15/2011

On the following day we met with our contact, Decula Aerulus at his Inn in Spirythol.  We told him that we were still injured from the pit trap and the fight with the Wight and hadn’t been able to fully heal ourselves because of the curse on the barrow mound.  He suggested that we should heal ourselves outside of the evil structure to avoid the curse.  He also helped us out by healing a few of us and even gave us a healing potion and urged us to continue our pursuit of Dirklok so that he didn’t have time to recover from his wounds.  So we set out after breakfast for the Barrow Mound of Gravemoor once again.

As we trudged through the swamp at the end of the road towards the ruined castle, none other than Richard Dirklok himself once again greeted us outside of the evil ruins.  He was on horseback this time and told us that we were soon to meet our end and that his army of the dead was on its way.  He sped off on his dark mount and soon we found ourselves face to face with a large group of zombies that attacked us in the swamp.  The cleric managed to turn a number of them and then the rest of the group quickly dispatched the rest.  We followed Dirklok’s horse’s tracks through the muck since it left an obvious trail.  Again, we saw him and he challenged our presence in his domain.  We responded with a hail of arrows aimed at him and quite a few aimed at his horse.  Miraculously, none hit their mark as his mount proved to be unnaturally fast and evasive.

Dirklok then disappeared behind the mound with his mysterious steed.  We followed and saw that the tracks seemed to lead into the side of the barrow.  We surmised that there was a secret door there and soon found it.  We opened it up and went in through the dark tunnel into the side of the mound.  It led to a cavern where three horses were stabled, one of which was the mount that Dirklok had just been riding.  It started neighing and whinnying and then tore free of its bridle and started bucking and snorting at us.  We decided that this could get dangerous so we were thinking we would have to have the archers shoot it when its true nature was revealed.

We watched in horror as it transformed into a Nightmare – a Hell Horse!  It looked at us with evilly gleaming red eyes and fire flew out of its nostrils towards the group in a choking black gout of smoke.  Everyone failed their savings throw except for Lykaos and Lucias and were temporarily blinded and weakened by the blinding and choking smoke.  The fighter and the paladin were not affected and stepped forward to engage the devilish creature.  A savage combat ensued but after fierce fighting the two warriors prevailed and killed the evil creature with their enchanted blades.  Both warriors were hurt though so we went back through the secret door beyond the barrow mound to heal ourselves outside of the range of the cursed structure to avoid the taint on our healing spells.

Once we were healed up, we went back inside and continued through the stable to a hallway beyond that ended in a door.  We opened the door and there before us stood Dirklok.  He stood ready with his two handed sword and challenged one of us to one on one combat.  The Paladin, fearing another pit trap on the floor in front of him, struck the floor with his blade in an attempt to set off the perceived trap.  There was a shower of sparks when his enchanted blade struck the flagstones of the floor but other than that, nothing happened.  Lucias then stepped forward with Hope Blighter in hand and after trading several mighty blows with the villain slew him there on the spot.  Upon closer examination, the cleric revealed that Dirklok was in fact a Wight and had been dead for some time!  That explained why our non magical arrows hadn’t hurt him previously.

So we searched his body and found that his Two Handed Sword was magical, his chainmail was magical and more importantly, he had a huge pearl in his belt pouch which also detected as seriously magical.  When Arceus picked it up he heard a voice in his head.  We found out later that it was the voice of the Arch Demon Prince of the Undead Orcus!  Orcus beseeched him to wear the pearl on his belt and he would be granted the unholy power of the accursed artifact to control the undead!  Arceus decided that maybe he didn’t want to carry this evil object after all and the Paladin agreed to carry the burden until we could figure out what to do with it.

So, with two major enemies defeated, we set about searching the place for more treasure.  We found three female prisoners in one room who we set free and later escorted back to Spirythol.  Across the hall from the prison chamber was a door that was covered with magical protection runes of some kind.  Arceus decided he didn’t even want to attempt to pick the locks on that door and risk the magical protections that were obviously on it and decided to burn it off of its hinges with some oil and a torch.  He set the door alight and the group and the prisoners had to retreat towards the entrance of the mound for about an hour until the door burned through and the smoke cleared enough to breath.

We went back and went through the opening to find a laboratory full of lab equipment and a dozen or so zombie hands that were busy cleaning and performing odd tasks in the lab.  The hands attacked us but the cleric turned most of them and the group slew the rest.  The equipment was worth a lot of money and the Elf told us it could be valuable for making potions faster than normal so we decided to bring it back with us when we left.  We also found a traveling wizard’s spell book which Teth-en-Aire took.  There was a tunnel here that led into the darkness but it had a charnel smell to it so we decided to explore it later fearing there was something bad and hellish at the other end.

We went back into the hall and followed it to a room at the other end that contained a small reflecting pool, stairs leading up, and another hallway off to the left.  We followed the hallway and then Teth-en-Aire and Tarus were attacked by two Shadows which were very difficult to see.  Teth-en-Aire and Tarus could see them to fight back but the others couldn’t make them out in the dark room.  The cleric tried to turn them to no avail and the others never really saw them by the time the Elf and the fighter finally slew the evil spirits.  The room contained an altar to Apollo which had been defiled.  We searched it but found nothing.

We continued our search for loot and discovered that the reflecting pool had a tunnel leading out of it under the surface of the water.  Arseus tied a rope to himself and followed it a ways but got to the end of the rope with no change while holding his breath and decided to turn back.  So we decided to go down the hallway off of the lab with the fiery smell and entered a large black cavern with a dark hole in the center of the floor where the smell was emanating from.  That’s when we were attacked by a large bird like beaked demon that appeared out of nowhere in front of the group – it was a Vrock!  The group started fighting the giant Type I demon and managed to hit it a few times but then it attempted to knock three of the group into the dark chasm.  Teth-en-Aire and Lykaos avoided the sweep of its massive arm but Lucias was thrown into the pit and tumbled head over heel into darkness to disappear from view.

After a fierce combat, with the aid of the Elves, Arceus and Brummbar, the Paladin finally managed to land the killing blow on the vile demon and it was sent back to the plane from whence it had been summoned.  Then, out of the dark pit crawled another terror – but to the group’s surprise, it was Lucias.  He had fallen about sixty feet into the darkness but landed softly on the spider webs that acted like a net on one side of the pit.  He was stuck there and not sure how far down the pit continued so he opened up his bag of holding and pulled out a potion of climbing that was stored in there for safe keeping.  He quaffed the potion and climbed up the webs like a spider sixty feet to the edge of the pit above to the astonishment of the rest of the group.  Amazingly, he had no injuries from the fall and by the time he ascended, the demon had been dispatched.

We decided that it was time to return to town at that point after having exhausted most of our healing magic and failing to find any further loot.  We gathered up the alchemical equipment and the body of Richard Dirklok to bring back and set off to the Inn at Spirythol for a much needed rest.  When we arrived in town however, it was in a state of chaos.  There were zombies everywhere and dead people and burned buildings all over the place.  Apparently, before we defeated Dirklok, he managed to use the power of the Midnight Opal of Shadar to raise around 300 zombies from the site of the battle where his army had been defeated a week before.  We killed some of the creatures but there was no way we were going to kill them all.  The group decided that we had no choice but to use the power of the evil artifact to control the zombies and return them to their resting place on the battlefield.  Since Arceus was the only one that had picked it up prior to giving it to the Paladin for safekeeping, he volunteered to use it in this manner.  So he managed to call on the dark powers of Orcus to Control the Zombie army and send them back to their final resting place.

When the smoke cleared the next day, we were brought before the king and he paid us the 2,000 g.p. reward for killing Dirklok after we presented him with Dirklok's body.  The king then granted each of the five primary characters the title of Marquis in his kingdom and an estate and land as promised in the original offer.  We found out later that most of the manors on these lands, except for one or two, had been burned to the ground in the war and that their prior owners had perished as well.  Nonetheless, the five primary characters in the group of brave adventurers were now considered to be minor landed nobility even if it was in a backwater kingdom in the Gorgon’s trench.

We were convinced that there was more treasure buried somewhere in the mound and were determined to return to find it once we had rested up and the town had returned to some sense of normalcy.  We also decided that once we had searched again for treasure, rested up and assessed our new holdings, that we would journey back to Limus Town overland rather than wait another two weeks for the air ships to return for us.


No comments:

Post a Comment