Adventure Log 2 (AV2, AV3)

Adventure Log 2 (AV2, AV3)

Session 24 (2022-04-02/Starday Rova 22, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Carina, Erik, Lars, Molle))

(This session description is also in Adventure Log 1)

After an intense fight they finally brought down Volluk, after which they returned his vaporized body to the ghost Chandriu, finally allowing her to rest.

In Volluk's room they took care of his bodyguard and, um, bath-leeches, after which they found a circular chamber where Lasda Venkervale - a seemingly normal dwarf with an astonishing regeneration capacity - was being constantly torn apart by necromantic energies and restored to perfect health by his regeneration. They killed the wisps that guarded it and freed Lasda, eventually bringing him back to his overjoyed mother, Brenda Venkervale. They convinced the two to leave Otari lest Lasda be brought back to once again power the Gauntlight. Lasda had always dreamed about going to Absalom, so that is where they went.

With the Gauntlight shut down they first went to the room where Lasda had been kept captive for several months and slew the Velstrac that had been his warden. They also destroyed the receiving end of the teleportation trap.

After that they managed to take out the Voidglutton and plunder it's lair. Turns out that five level seven characters are indeed more than three.

They made a contraption to put the relics onto the altar without triggering the hands and openened the entrance to the fifth level.

Once they were down the stairs they found a couple of Grothluts and another amorphous monster of some sort that they managed to destroy.

When they looked down the central shaft they saw - and were seen by - a Seugathi Guard. They hid and waited for a while but noone came up the stairs.

When they gave up on waiting they went west and found another room guarded by a Velstrac that they eventually defeated.

We ended here.

Session 25 (2022-04-12/Starday Rova 26, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Erik, Lars, Carina))

Initially joined by a passing adventurer named Valeros (who left after the first fight as there was obviously no gold to be found) they found some cells with Shanrigol Heaps that they cleaned up, then on to a dissection room where a specter attacked them. After dispatching it they found that the tables could be used as chutes down a lower level where they saw an ooze absorbing the corpse they had dropped down to it.

Heading east over a walkway they saw a corridor with murals of monsters fighting each other and several broken statues leading to what appeared to be an arena. They bypassed that and found a loung of some sort where moving a display case led them to a secret passage from which one could spy on several cells of some sort and a pool filled with dirty and stagnant water. A larger room turned out to be trapped, but Druzzt managed to disable them. Temporarily as it turned out, for when they left the room there was a 'click' behind them as the trap reset itself, just after they opened the door to the next room where a huge undead monstrosity and some skeletons attacked them. In that room there were a number of broken tables, and another teleportation circle, this one marked in red, not silver.

They rested a bit, then we ended.


Session 25 (2022-04-16/Starday Rova 26, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Carina, Erik, Lars, Molle))

North of the room with the teleportation circle they found a barricaded room. When they opened it they saw another teleportation circle on the floor, and a mummy named Chafkhem. It turned out to be a wizard that had been trapped in there in the chaos after Belcorra died and had mummified himself before he died due to lack of food and water.

They negotiated a deal that he would be allowed to go back to Osirion *without* hurting anyone near Otari, they would kill a Seugathi named Jafaki that ran the labs on the floor below this one that Chafkhem suspected was the one that had locked him in, all those years ago. He also wants the imp Szek dead (unless he's not guilty of orchestrating Chafkhems inprisonment).

In return he would provide them with a map of this level, the passphrase to the trap (shish-kebab) and a scroll of 'Freedom of Movement'. He magically checked that at least Kantou intended to keep the deal. He said i would take him a week or so to prepare for leaving (arranging his notes).

In a room to the north of that they found a couple of mimics guarding a storage closet with aquatic magical items. Further proof of the lower level having large amounts of water was had when in the room beyond that some bouncing monsters pushed Cackle down a hole into a large body of water on the level below. They got her up with no trouble though she saw a Seugathi and a Grothlut behind a glass wall and suspected the presence of monsters in the water.

After that they headed back to the arena where they fought and killed a gargantuan shanrigol behemoth and noticed something watching them from the lower tiers of the arena, but didn't see what it was.

Searching the security checkpoint next to the arena they were attacked by a shadow named Siora Fallowglade, killed her and took her items from her room.

The final room on this level they found contained a pair of bickering sibling poltergeists that had been trapped in there. They beat them down and left a note to them explaining how they could leave Gauntlight. With that Cackle and Druzzt had to head back to town and were temporarily replaced with a passing adventurer named Seelah who accompanied Eladrin and Kantou in a foray down to the level below after they had unpetrified and slain two Urdefhans. . There they found a rather arrogant Seugathi researcher who made them fight some sort of screaming abberation and asked if they got here via the 'Warped Brew'. At the end of the fight he said he'd learned enough and perhaps they could grab a beer together at the Brew after they calmed down the Confused Seelah?

Alas, he was lying and restarted the fight when it appeared that Seelah had made the rest of the group weak enough, but was slain for his treachery.

The group headed back to town for rest after that, and we ended the session.


Session 26 (2022-04-26/Wealday Rova 29, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Carina, Lars))

After a night's rest part of the group headed back to the Gauntlight, again joined by Seelah.

When they got back to the Testing Grounds they headed down the corridor that bordered the arena. At the end of that they found a well-locked door that they eventually managed to pick.

Inside a pair of aberrations awaited them, one apparently another kind of Seugathi, the other some kind of insect-centaur creature. The Seugathi didn't say much beyond 'You fools! Die!', while the other one looked in consternation at Druzzt while saying "What are you doing? I was sent here!"

With that, a fight broke out, ending with both the aberrations dead. The group tried to rest, but before long a large creature, apparently some sort of Flesh Golem, came running from the direction of the arena. It didn't say anything, but was clearly intent on killing everyone.

Once it was downed, the group rested in the locked room for a short while before heading back to town for a rest.

There we ended. 


Session 26 (2022-05-11/Wealday Rova 30, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Carina, Erik, Lars))

After a night's rest part of the group headed back to the Gauntlight, again going down to the arena level. After exploring a junk room that had some not so very junky magical items in it they headed for the water room. Just as they were going there a Sarglagon attacked them from below a grate, which apparently woke some Hydras that attacked Groot (he walked in the water room while the others walked behind the glass barrier). Their attempt to have the group buff Groot as he alone fought the incessantly regenerating hydras turned out to be a failure, Groot just couldn't keep up a high enough damage output. They have just started to send in more of the group (starting with a Spiritual Weapon from Cackle) when we ended in the middle of the fight. The current Hydra has not yet acted.

There we ended.


Session 27 (2022-05-21/Fireday Lamashan 1, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Carina, Lars, Molle))

Realising that they couldn't handle the Hydras they let Groot disappear back into the realm he came from and retreated. After a debate about what door to open they headed down to the lower observation deck where Seugathi and it's two Dreshkan bodyguards attacked them, but were soon dispatched. After that they headed up to what turned out to be the Warped Brew tavern. Alas, any chance of a quiet beer while listing to the local band Shadow Malice vanished when Eladrin started a bar fight by attacking the bouncer, a Drider named Lallizanx. A huge fight broke out where the party vanquished not only all members of Shadow Malice (Gulzash, Kragala, Nox and Ryta), but also the Morlock bartender and his pals, the tavern owner Vischari (a rather scary Urdefhan) and a pair of guards (a Grothlut and another Seugathi) that Lalllizanx found while fleeing the rampaging party and ordered back to protect the tavern.

Alas, she was fooled by the groups illusion of Vischari, so Lallizanx was eventually slain while trying to apologize to her 'boss' for what had happened in the tavern...

After rather a lot of healing - the group was in a *very* bad shape - a through round of lute-ing (quite literally, the group found, among other things, a +1 Striking Battle Lute) and a return to the town for a night's rest they found a muscular Skulk named Murschen lamenting the death of Vischari as he had very much looked forward to facing her in the arena. Murschen turned out to be a martial arts afficionado exile Skulk that had come to beg Jafaki to rebuild him as he had the technology to build the world's first fleshwarped Skulk. Murschen would have been that Skulk. Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster.

Alas, with both Jafaki and Vischari dead, and the Arena fights thus presumably shut down for good, Murschen left - with the group's permission - and was last seen heading for the surface after telling them what he knew of the other inhabitants of the level (warning them away from the Hydras and telling them that he had noticed some devils hiding in a room to the southwest.

So, they headed down to what turned out to be the torture chamber where they found three devils of some sort, and killed them.

There we ended.

Session 27 (2022-05-24/Starday Lamashan 2, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Carina, Erik, Lars, Molle))

With the devils vanquished the group headed back to the Warped Brew to check a few doors they had yet to open. Behind one door they found a yellow mold of some sort that they burnt to a crisp. The kitchen contained three prisoners (the drow Falxi Orshendiel, the deep gnome Glashdrumdur and a non-communicative Skulk that had apparently been severely mentally tortured by “the man in colored rags who takes hands.”) that they rescued, healed and promised to bring back to town - by capturing them in a Dimension Pouch.

A couple of ooze they had seen from the floor above were quickly dispatched. In the cave that would lead to the hydras they found a few elementals that they used a ritual to free rather than fight, gaining Eladrin the 'Living Landslide boon' (tremorsense, 60 ft, imprecise) for a week. With that out of the way they proceeded on to the hydras, that turned out to be much easier to slay with the full group attacking.

With that done they headed back to town, brought the prisoners to the fishing camp to recover, did some more shopping, and then we ended the session.

(The second part of their talk with the mayor's daughter actually happened on this return to town. I.e. off screen your characters have again visited her, and noticed that she's sickly, and one of her hands has all but withered away. This was also when she showed you the image of her friend. ('dorianna_drawing' in the Journal Entries sidebar tab.)


Session 28 (2022-05-26/Starday Lamashan 2, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Erik, Molle))

Part of the group headed back to the Gauntlight, going down the double stairs where they found a pair of air aberrations that attacked them, one of them eventually running away to alert some fleshwarped in a nearby room. The trap was triggered, but eventually it and the fleshwarped were stopped. They found a secret door leading into a corridor they did not follow. The rooms seemed to be some sort of prison. In one of the cells a tiefling bounty hunter named Cynemi was trapped, on the verge of dying of dehydration. They revived her, but didn't trust her. She eventually told them she had been brought there by Urevian's devils after she had failed to capture Carman Rajani and bring him to Urevian (a contract devil that apparently resides in the Gauntlight. She claimed to neither know nor care what Urevian wanted with Carman, as Carman is a criminal he deserved whatever he got). She claimed to be a law-abiding bounty hunter, but Eladrin had seen a wanted poster of her. As she talked she apparently didn't give a good impression as they trapped her in a Dimension Pouch (and eventually turned her over to Otari's thieves guild instead of the local garrison as they had promised to not turn her over to the garrisson.

Instead theyheaded east from the trap room. There, just as they saw a barbed devil sergeant drilling some Grothluts Eladrin opened a door into a room filled with monsters in some sort of glass cages. Except that, as it turned out, one of them, a Witchfire Warden, was outside her cage... It attacked both them and the devil soldiers until they eventually fled back to Otari.

The following day they returned, and found that some devils had tried to set up an ambush for them, which didn't go too well for the devils. Just as they were leaving another more powerful type of air abberation came at them from behind, but was slain before it could flee.

There we ended.


Session 29 (2022-05-28/Starday Lamashan 4, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Carina, Erik, Lars, Molle))

On their next foray into the Gauntlight they first went down the hidden tunnel they had found in the guard barracks, beyond which they found the lair of Ysondkhelier, who failed to convince them of him being a good guy, and was, along with his giant hand bodyguard, eventually slain. While they were looting (and burning) his rooms his body mysteriously disappeared...

Then they went back to the room with all the monsters behind glass, there they managed to kill the Witchfire Warden, but realized that she'll return in a few days as long as there are monsters for her to guard. They noticed and talked to Szek who was hiding in the observation room. She told them how to get into Urevian's room and hinted broadly that she wouldn't mind all that much if he was killed. She also said that she was the one that had barricaded Chafkhem in his room.

When they went hunting for the pendant parts they first dispatched Azvalvigander and his stockroom workers, who brought in Barcumbuk who was more of a challenge.

With those pendants in hand they headed to the portal chamber where they fought the Erinys sisters, one of which unfortunately took her pendant piece with her when she fell dead into the lava and sunk below the surface.

They briefly talked to the Gug guest who promised to kill every damn one of them if they didn't bring Urevian to him, he was *not* in the mood to talk to any more damn servants of Urevian.

There we ended.


Session 30 (2022-06-04/Wealday Lamashan 6, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Carina, Erik, Lars, Molle))

The Gug was provoked into a fight, which it lost. With the potential distraction from their encounter with the boss cleared, they unlocked the door to Urevian's chambers.

Unexpectedly, a boss fight did not happen. Instead they accepted his offer to leave the Gauntlight and reopen the way to the next level in return for Carman Rajani's soul. Which they delivered by going up to Otari and convincing the town council (mayor, cleric, constable) to release him into their custody for the express purpose of sending him straight to hell. Once Carman was delivered Urevian opened the way to the next level and left the Gauntlight via the gate, promising to never return, but, also saying 'See you later...' as he left.

With the way to the next level open they headed down the rickety old lift (I did it wrong, there's a DC 5 flat check the lift breaks permanently each time it is used as you've fixed it as far as it can be fixed without a rebuild).

On the lower level they found four undead repairing some skiffs. They fought those, some creatures that were caught in large cages and a few reptilian monsters that came out of the lake's water when Groot checked out the water and some more undead that ambushed them out from under a giant reptile corpse.

After resting a little they headed into the the rooms behind the lift where they found some more of the undead - playing cards - that were swiftly dispatched. In a side room they encountered someone who proclaimed themself to be the mighty Gorsalthith, in the process of becoming a demi-lich, and a fight started. The party is inside a Cloudkill he just cast, and Druzzt is the next to act.

Session 31 (2022-06-21/Wealday Lamashan 7, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Carina, Lars))

Unfortunately for Gorsalthith, he was not a demi-lich. Barely a semi-lich even. The party, ever helpful, turned him into a lich. (In the original meaning of the word...)

They recalled they had seen some caves across the water so headed in that direction. There they found á chamber with four small streams flowing through it fed by a dark pond against the west wall. The streams divide the chamber into islands, each covered with lichen, mildew, and mushrooms. Bioluminescent fungi and strange motes of light bathe the place in eerie illumination, playing off the water to form odd shapes on the cavern's walls, like humanoid apparitions gliding through the air. Water flowing along the sides of the islands echoes off the walls in weird ways, like harsh whispers.

"Haruvex has risen. There is nothing you can do," the overlapping echoes say. The sound is hypnotizing, and strangely calming.

Some of them heard more whispers, and Cackle realized that what they heard where Truths, and the longer they stayed, the more Truths they would hear.

Before they could ponder that further they noticed a Gug, sitting down in a meditative pose clutching a crimson lens. Druzzt shot an arrow at him, that missed, but the Gug was disturbed enough by this that he defended himself by attacking the group, which eventually took the Crimson Fulcrum Lens from his dead body.

Getting back onto the topic of Truths, the others retreated from the room, leaving Cackle to listen. She heard:

“The lenses. She knows the secrets of the lenses. Three are within reach, one very close. The other lost by Yldaris. One held by the blood eaters.”

“She keeps them apart while she works her petty vengeance, but the essences shall become one.”

“Find the lenses and place their essences together within a host.”

“Join the essences within Haruvex, and she can fall again. This is a promise of the Empty Death, a promise of empty death.”

After that, with Cackle severely Stupefied, they left for town.


Session 32 (2022-07-02/Wealday Lamashan 8-Fireday Lamashan 22, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Carina, Erik, Lars, Molle))

Before returning to Gauntlight they spent a fair amount of money at Otari's shops.

On returning to Gauntlight they decided to check out what was behind a heavily barricaded door. There they found a roper which didn't quite manage to tie them up long enough to win.

While resting up after that fight Groot headed out over the water to check out a few caves, which turned out to be populated by several Death Bodaks that were keen on killing the party. But not successful. Groot had seen a shark-eating monster of some sort further down the waterway, so they decided to not head in that direction just yet.

Instead they headed for a room with several alcoves that turned out to be guarded by some sort of burning will o wisps, and, had a number of swamp-water filled basins not unlike the one that had made Belcorra notice Eladrin earlier. This turned out to be significant, as just when they had defeated the burning will o wisps, Belcorra stepped out of the door at the other end of the room. She told them to run away and never return, which they started to do. She followed them, splitting the group by moving through walls. Before she had time to do much more the combined strikes of Groot and Eladrin surprisingly quickly disposed of her.

A powerful Chuul of some sort had been attracted by the sounds of the fight, nearly dragging Kantou and Eladrin off for a watery meal before being slain.

With that dispatched, and having checked out the room with the pit surrounded by a powerful field of necromantic energy that Belcorra had apparently come out of, rising up from one of the two dungeon levels they could just notice far down the pit, they headed back to town for a week's well-needed rest and recuperation. As well as some potion brewing.

On returning they headed up the stairs that led up opposite the place they had found the crimson fulcrum lens. That turned out to be guarded by some sort of draining will o wisps, and, scryed upon by Belcorra, who joined the fight when her two guardians had been slain. She was more successful this time, driving the group off after killing Eladrin, though they managed to bring his corpse back with them. She told them that next time she would not be so merciful.

Back in Otari they sold off all excess gear and headed straight to Absalom to get Eladrin resurrected with the proceeds. This was successful, though, he came back somewhat changed. Specifically, he now has a third, vertical, eye in the middle of his forehead. The cleric that raised him mumbled something about not having been hired to resurrect some spawn of lamashtu before leaving.

With that done they returned to Otari.


Session 33 (2022-07-05/Wealday Lamashan 8-Fireday Lamashan 22, 4721 AR)

((Carina, Erik, Lars, Molle))

This time they decided to try to avoid Belcorra, instead heading down the waterway they had seen the previous time. Halfway down it they found a dock where they attracted the negative attention of a dread wraith, some more children of belcorran and finally a snake-like creature with a human head. Once they were dealt with, on searching a messy office they found a hidden treasure room with much treasure. They brought their loot back to the surface, selling some and doing more shopping.


Session 34 (2022-07-19/Fireday Lamashan 29, 4721 AR)

((Carina, Lars, Molle))

Continuing down the waterway from their last visit (accompanied by a passing Cleric of Abadar) they found another dock, and the Froghemoth that lived under it... After a fierce fight it was finally put down after not quite being able to swallow anyone whole.

Southeast of the dock they saw some houses and a bridge over a deep chasm, with a huge iron ladder going down the chasm. They decided to avoid that.

Instead they opened the secret door they found when searching the dock. Beyond it they saw an apparently befuddled snake-headed woman archer. She didn't respond until Eladrin shot her, at which point she shot back, and revealed that her gaze could petrify... She was soon joined by a strange sloth-like aberration from the room behind her. A fungus that resided in a corner also decided to try to eat the group. But, their combined efforts were not enough to end the group, which emerged victorious. Just in time to be noticed by *another* resident of the caves...

There we ended.


Session 35 (2022-07-30/Wealday Neth 03, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Carina, Erik, Lars, Molle))

After the goliath spider had been slain and it's stored food (one urdefhan and two drow) had been brought down to the ground, a group of drow appeared, asking what the group was doing. They told their story and said they'd be back with Falxi the next day.

Once back from Otari they accompanied the drow to the outpost of Yldaris where they met with Quara and her twin seers. They learned of Quara's grandfather and father who had carried the Ochre Fulcrum Lens. Unfortunately it had been lost in the lake when the Urdefhan warlord Khurfel had killed her father and her sister. The lens had been lost, and was somewhere dark and wet, most likely in the lake. She told them what little the drow know of the area beyond (black dragon to the northeast, caligni in a house to the north (probably a vault), urdefhan to the soutwest, and beyond them the lake where the lens most likely lies.)

The Drow showed them the secret way to the rest of the level, and they headed off. After they defeated the Daemon and it's fog that blocked the way Shrieky accidentally alerted some Ceustodaemons that were apparently guarding the house in the middle of the cavern. The Ceustodaemons attacked the group, while off to the right side first a lizard of some kind, and then a black dragon watched impassively as they fought. The other watchers, some Urdefhan guards, joined in the fight just as the Ceustodaemons were defeated, but didn't cause much of a problem for the group.

After that the group retreated and rested for the night, hoping to return the next day.


Session 36 (2022-08-02/Oathday Neth 04, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Carina, Erik, Lars, Molle))

The following day they went back the same way, encountering the fog again, but this time two Reaper Skull Puffballs had taken up residence, their abilities apparently synergizing well with that of the fog. After a brief struggle the group retreated, deciding to instead take the ladder down from the level above.

Once at the ladder they saw new Urdefhan guards, but ignored them and the building they were next to, opting to instead continue up the shoreline. When Groot did some diving to see if he could find the lens, a pair of Deepwater Duthorex attacked (the same creatures Galeg had seen earlier), doing their best to eat the group, but eventually failing. Feeling the need to rest they retreated north of the round building, but, alas, another predator had heard their earlier fight and decided that it could need some more food...

A thin bird-like beast of some sort jumped among them, it's warbling song inciting them to attack each other rather than it.

We ended just after the start of a turn, it has done two actions (singing), and has one remaining.


Session 37 (2022-08-02/Oatday Neth 04-05, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Carina, Erik, Lars, Molle))

The bird took a peck at Galeg, instantly realizing just how tasty his flesh was, and picked him to death while the rest of the group took it down. Soon after it was downed two drow shootists passed by, checking if the group was ok. The same pair checked in on them later. Seems the drow were keeping track of them, at a sufficient distance that they weren't taken out by whatever horror the group was currently fighting.

Bringing Galeg's body with them they headed back to town, where they found his cousin, eager to get revenge.

On returning they headed for the boathouse they had bypassed earlier, finding a monster called a devourer inside. It tried it's best to stock up on their souls, but was soon dispatched. After looting it's sea chest they again headed back to town to sell and redistribute their newfound loot. On the way back the head drow warden and one of his wardens escorted them back to Yldaris, from which they found their own way to Otari.


Session 38 (2022-08-20/Oatday Neth 04-05, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Carina, Erik, Lars, Molle))

Once back in the Hunting Grounds the group headed for the vault using the boat found in the boathouse. The new group member, a Champion named Taldor, handled the trap at the door by simply taking the blast to the face when entering.

Inside, a clay golem shaped like Belcorra attacked, soon followed by a Grave Knight from the room beyond. Once those were dispatched the vaults were thoroughly looted. Like with all the other portals, they decided to not awaken the one in the vaults. Among other things they found Belcorra's notes and journals, from which they learned:

    "This is Belcorra’s most protected vault, holding her treasures and secrets of her past. The books that have been most recently shelved here—as evidenced by the trails in the dust—are research journals Belcorra penned when she was alive. They’re centuries old, but careful magical preservation has kept them from falling apart. These journals describe four fulcrum lenses (in crimson, ebon, emerald, and ochre) that focus Nhimbaloth’s soul-extinguishing gaze across space and time.

    Belcorra’s journal details how she built Gauntlight and created a special framework called the Fulcrum Lattice to fit the four lenses and harness their power. A diagram of the Fulcrum Lattice makes it clear that the device is the very one sitting here. Belcorra expresses some trepidation at using the fulcrum lenses; they each contain a sliver of Nhimbaloth’s essence, and bringing them in close proximity can be dangerous. More specifically, the lenses impart Nhimbaloth’s essence into those who use or are touched by them. Having all four essences imbued at once is sure to bring Nhimbaloth’s dreadful scrutiny. Belcorra had her talented apprentice, Volluk Azrinae, fashion mundane lenses that would allow Gauntlight to function at a diminished capacity until the Fulcrum Lattice and the fulcrum lenses could be installed, on the eve of Belcorra’s assault on Absalom. The Fulcrum Lattice allows all four of the large, heavy lenses to be carried with ease.

    Belcorra’s journals explain that she used only the Ebon Fulcrum Lens in the Empty Vault at Gauntlight’s base, deeming the essence within one fulcrum lens a minimal risk. She gave the other lenses to trusted groups in the lower vaults: the emerald lens to the urdefhans, the ochre lens to the drow, and the crimson lens hidden where her undead gnome minions could protect it. She trusts that the groups won’t work together, much less learn that bringing the lenses together to imbue a single creature with all four splinters of Nhimbaloth’s essence would impart total annihilation.

    The other books are aging tomes full of occult knowledge; they’ve been in the Haruvex family for generations. They hold a wealth of occult lore about ghosts, Nhimbaloth, and the Haruvexes. A hero who peruses these tomes for at least an hour gains a +2 item bonus on checks to Recall Knowledge on these subjects when using the Investigate exploration activity here."

On the way back from there the Urdefhan guards saw an opportunity and struck the group, which quickly wiped them out with no survivors.

Unfortunately, the noise from that fight attracted the attention of Ravirex, who strafed the group repeatedly before finally being killed.

Taldor convinced the others that if they wanted the dragon's hoard, they had to act fast, so despite their depleted abilities they headed towards Ravirex's lair. This, however, was guarded by a giant lizard of some sort and a couple of snake-like spellcasters that used Wall of Fire to great effect. The group was close to running, but as one of them was trapped behind the wall of fires they instead surged forward and somehow managed to slay the guards and take the hoard. They noticed more snake-tracks up the southern tunnel, so presumably there are more of them in that direction.

Instead of progressing further the group headed back, exhausted.

They sold off and redistributed their loot, in preparation for eventually returning.

Over the next four weeks Eladrin trained hard, honing and changing his skills.

What do the rest of you do?


Session 39 (2022-08-30/Fireday Kuthona 03, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Carina, Lars, Molle))

After a few weeks spent earning and spending money, they headed back to the Gauntlight, heading straight for the Urdefhan camp where they soon vanquished the first set of guards, but when they tried to take a breather to heal up more Urdefhan showed up, accompanied by a Fiend of some sort as well as the Urdefhan warlord Khurfel. This fight has yet to be resolved.

Session 40 (2022-09-13/Fireday Kuthona 03-07, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Carina, Lars, Molle))

After a massive fight the group managed to kill Khurfel and his remaining troops. After looting their lair and freeing a captive gnome they headed back to Otari to rest and heal.

Session 41 (2022-09-17/Wealday Kuthona 07-08, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Carina, Erik, Lars, Molle))

On returning from Otari the group decided to continue beyond where they had fought the Cauthooj, first find a green slime that they left behind after searching around it, then on to a cave where they almost ambushed a Gogiteth, which was easily put down. They found Ebon double doors, but decided to leave those for another time. Beyond that they found bodies of monsters that turned out to have been killed by a burrowing beast of some kind that attacked them soon after. It too was not much of a problem. On reaching the lake they went back to checkout a small island they had found earlier, which turned out to be inhabited by an Ofalth, that was soon thrashed. They then headed for the crystal-covered islands, finding the Cauthooj nest, it's by now rotted eggs, and, the Ochre Fulcrum Lens.

After some debate they then headed for the building they had ignored earlier. After forceful knocking on the door the inhabitants answered, and eventually opened the door, saying that they were refugees from the darklands but had gotten caught here in this dangerous monster-filled area. An agreement to escort them to the surface - with some misgivings as they were recognized as Caligni - was almost negotiated when the Caligni brought out their 'elderly parents', who turned out to be a pair of undead. This was of course not agreeable to the groups paladin. After some discussion on whether elderly parents could just be left behind, Eladrin forced the matter by starting the fight. It was a long and *very* hard fight, Eladrin and several others becoming dying several times. But, at the end they managed to take down the group's leader after most of her family and friends had been slain.

After another trip to Otari to rest and heal they returned, ready to take on whatever was beyond the Ebon doors. This turned out to be a temple to Nhimbaloth, where they were greeted by a unique monsters called the Lady's Whisper (a Lesser Death variant). It greeted them with an invitation to follow it into the temple for their initiation into the the rites of Nhimbaloth. It took them to the temple level where it told them to go beyond an amber door it pointed them at, and told them to return once they had faced the challenge beyond.

Beyond that they found a room surrounded by a gallery filled with blowpipe-wielding undead that constantly attacked them. They fought them for a bit before realizing that the undead wouldn't leave the room. So, they entered the room to the north, beyond which they found several crystallic creatures that attacked them until they were smashed to bits.

There were numerous mostly defunct machines of some sort, three of them held crystals that contained trapped souls. Cackle smashed them while the rest were debating what to do with them. Some of the machines can - given several hours be dismantled for parts.

Session 42 (2022-09-27/Wealday Kuthona 07-08, 4721 AR)

((Anders, Carina, Lars, and an unnamed Barbarian mercenary))

With the realization that Eladrin and Taldor were unavoidably occupied with taking the soul-eating machines apart, the barbarian that had apparently been trailing the group from a distance stepped in to ask if his help was needed? It was.

With that established, and remembering that maybe Lady's Whisper had said something about them having to pass a challenge beyond the door it had pointed at, or at least it may have hinted that, or maybe not, opinions were divided (and the gm is forgetful...), they headed past the soul-eating machine room to a small room where three Soul Eaters immediately demanded Soul Crystals. As those had been smashed, the Soul Eaters tried to eat some living souls instead, but were instead slain.

Returning to the hallway before the soul extractors they found a corridor leading into a magma scorpion-crowded room where a long and fairly dull battle took place until the scorpions had been squashed.

Past that a locked door led to another gate room, which was guarded by a statue construct of some sort that was soon smashed to bits.

This leaves another locked door to the east, or going back to the room with the spectres.

Session 43 (2022-09-17/Wealday Kuthona 08, 4721 AR)

Beyond the locked door to the east they found a room with a couple of bathtubs, and, a hidden door to the south. Most of the group entered the cave corridor beyond it, triggering a gas trap. They bashed their way out of it through the other end of the corridor, coming into first a corridor where the walls displayed all their good, pleasant and happy memories. Beyond that was a room that displayed all their bad memories, failures, disappointments etc, causing them pain as they walked through it. Next followed a corridor that showed them all their coming failures and disappointments. Towards the end of this Kantou realized that his only failure was that he hadn't yet experienced failure. :)

While the first part of the group was progressing through this Druzzt and Cackle finally managed to figure out how the secret door that had closed in front of them worked and proceeded through the first corridor. There the groups heard each other and the pair were escorted with closed through the corridors until the group was gathered in a calm little room at the end of the hall.

After resting up a bit they went through the door to the south where they found Lady's Whisper waiting for them. Apparently upset both that they had fast-tracked through the second challenge, and that they had survived at all. He pointed them towards the third challenge (through a swamp in a cavern), but Taldor questioned just why exactly they were doing what this guy was saying. The group agreed that he had a good point and it was time to stop playing along.

Shortly after eventually taking down Lady's Whisper and his two Dread Wisp guards Belcorra came through a wall, launching spells that slowed and damaged the group. After a hard fight they finally put her down, but, the Ebony Lens soon brought her back, aching for a rematch.

By now Druzzt had managed to get hold of and lug around the massive fulcrum, with the lenses mounted, and used it to strike her.

Soon, Nhimbaloth’s essence pervades the room.

A terrible, blackish-gray mist seeps into the room. It stinks of a fetid bog and leaves a layer of cloying, slimy water upon everything it passes. The mist twists in shape and form, with seven-fingered tentacles appearing and disappearing in the fog.

This misty incarnation can’t be attacked or damaged. It flows into Belcorra, who shrieks, “No! I deserve your power, not your attention! My death is full of rage and strength—it is not empty!” Despite these protestations, Belcorra’s form is pulled apart into the mist, and the mist vanishes.

An immense grinding noise comes from high above. Gauntlight, Belcorra’s greatest work, is collapsing, one level at a time. With each passing round, the artifact drops one dungeon level.

They first went through the door to the south, following the one surviving dread wisp, there they saw both the Maw of the Goddess ("The vaulted ceiling of this massive chamber reaches eighty feet high and is carved with intricate patterns of bones, swamp weeds, and misty swirls. To the south stands a huge dais, its stone carved into crooked, cracked teeth. Upon the dais rests a massive skull, its eye sockets empty and its visage menacing. A channel of filthy water cuts across this room, emerging from the base of the walls on the east and west side. Double doors bracket each channel outlet.")

And, to the west of that the Empty Vault. ("This strangely shaped chamber is humid and oppressively clammy. The room’s four wings each contain a massive pool of bubbling swamp water. Flickering motes of light and darkness play underneath the surface of the pools. The chamber’s center is partially blocked by a circle of towering black standing stones, which crackle with eerie energy that shoots up into a shaft in the ceiling. Seven narrow channels, as though dug into the stone by a seven-fingered hand, run from each pool and three of the walls to a moat in the center of the room. From there, the water flows under the wall to the east, between a pair of black stone double doors. An island in the moat holds a smooth altar no longer topped with a black lens the size of a fist.")

The soon realized that everything would come crashing down if they kept fighting, and they saw more horrible monsters coming out of the caverns to the south and east, apparently fleeing the Gauntlight, so, they decided to leg it.

Not long after that they *just* managed to get through the former lair of Ravirex out into the swamp, a massive dust cloud following them.

Back in Otari all were very happy to see that the tower was gone (and, as was later found, the entire keep was now a slowly filling sinkhole in the swamp). The party was feted and honored, but eventually normal life resumed.

The party spent time and effort both in the Fishery and on their fishing camp. It seemed their adventuring days were over...

Until, one night, Wrin came to them with a worried tale about another group of adventurers that had mysteriously disappeared before fully handling an ever *greater* threat to the Starstone Isles!

To be continued...