Beyond the Vast

Red Shore Infected
Enter: The Avanck

After the experience with the magical apples, the party was looking forward to relaxing in an inn with a well-stocked bar and larder. As they approached the town, they instantly knew that something was very wrong. They could see small plumes of smoke rising from various parts of Red Shore. As they got closer, they noticed a particularly disturbing odor on the air: the odor of burning flesh. As they neared the gates, they saw two city guards battling two figures. It appeared that they were fighting two townsfolk. But on closer observation, it became apparent that the townspeople were undead zombies. One of the guards had already fallen before the assault. Instantly, Braf leapt into the fray, fending off one of the undead. Garhan pummeled the creatures with magical fire while Lora case a spell that weakened them. As the zombies fell, three city guards approached on horseback. They were delivering a message from the

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Up The Spiral Stair

Shea and Nebin were joined by Weary (female Tiefling Warlock), Nemeia (female Tiefling Cleric of the Raven Queen) and Kriv (male Dragonborn Warlord). Braf, Garon, and Erdan stayed back at the cave guarding the former captives, Andronsious and Sertanian. They passed down a lengthy corridor and came upon a curious room the floor of which was covered with a layer of sticky spiderwebs. Careful to avoid alerting whatever had created these webs, the party elected to avoid the webs and attempt to visually scan the room. Oddly, there was nothing present but the corpse of a recently deceased man. His hideously contorted face suggested that he had not passed into the afterlife peacefully. Though the party wanted to explore the room further, they could not determine how to do so without stepping on the webs and possibly alerting something of their presence. Kriv decided to use his fiery dragon breath to clear away some of the webs. The party readied their weapons in case of a reaction, and Kriv let loose his fiery breath upon the webbing. A large area of the floor was cleared away, yet there was no reaction to the deed. Kriv continued to clear away webbing until there were clear pathways to the doors and to the body. As they inspected the corpse, they could find no evidence of the person’s identity, but they determined that he was probably one of the captives. Clearly something had killed him and left his body as a warning to intruders.

In this room, there were three possible exits: the way they had come, a stairway going down, and a closed door. The party determined to listen at the door for sounds of life. Shea heard noises from the other side, though they seemed somewhat distant. It seemed likely that it would be safe to open the door. Nebin quietly stepped through the door and found an empty hallway. The sounds came from around a corner that was a short ways ahead. The party entered the hallway and began quietly making their way down the hall. They came upon another small room with a spiral staircase. In the room were three Ettercaps. Before the party had a chance to attack, Nebin was covered with webs, stuck in place. One of the Ettercaps jumped on him and struck him with his axe. The other slid in, flanking Nebin. Nemeia quickly moved into the room, striking the foul arachnid with a spell that injured the creature and aided Nebin. Shea fired arrow after arrow, but in the fray had trouble targeting her prey. Kriv charged into the room, aiding his companions and directing the attacks. The Ettercap leader saw the courage of Kriv and directed his underlings to attack him. He was bitten by one of the creatures and poison flowed through his veins. Another struck him with its axe, but Kriv endured. Nemeia prayed to the Raven Queen for retribution, and the poison in Kriv’s veins faded. Suddenly, one of the Ettercaps erupted into flame. Kriv turned and saw Weary uttering a foul incantation from the Nine Hells, rebuking the Ettercap and burning its very soul. With a flurry of his blades, Nebin killed the second Ettercap and Shea’s arrow found purchase in the leader’s forehead. As its blood and life ebbed from him, the others, now severely injured, lost the will to fight. The party made quick work of them. They had little time to rest, however, as the ruckus from the fighting had alerted something above to their presence.

Nebin was the first to climb the stairs, and as he peeked over the landing, he saw nearly a dozen hobgoblins and their drake companion. Though drained from the battle with the Ettercaps, they suspected that so many hobgoblins in one place probably meant they were guarding something of value. Kriv charged into the room, attacking their leader. He was immediately set upon by several of his underlings. Though they attempted to strike him with their swords, Kriv leapt and dodged out of the way, showing surprising agility for one so big. Shea charged into the room and seeing her compatriot surrounded, summoned forth her kindred elemental spirits. One of the hobgloblins was beset by the spirits, and he and those near him were were all engulfed by the elemental energy. All three fell, writhing on the ground in agony. Nebin and Weary quickly dispatched two others. At the sight of this onslaught, the hobgoblin leader attempted to make a move for the door, but Nebin cut him off. Nebin stabbed the leader in the leg and as he was wailing in pain, a monstrous, shadowy apparition appeared behind him. It shook him by the throat, draining all but the last of his life from him. Weary could only maintain her hold on the shade for a moment before it returned to the nether, but the hobgoblin leader was severely injured and could barely move. Shea aimed her arrow and the bolt flew true, catching the hobgoblin leader cleanly in the chest. Only the guardian Drake remained, and without anyone to direct it, its attacks were random, hurting various party members minimally, while taking painful wounds from all. As it breathed its last, the party began to survey the room.

The room had several sarcophagi in it and the party members removed one of the lids. The treasure inside led the others to each push a lid off of them. A huge amount of treasure was found, including two sets of armor, a magical bow, a wand, a mace, and several other items. The party divided up the loot and began working out which direction to go next.

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Continuing into the mausoleum

Having cleared the hallway of vermin, the party (Nebin, Shea, Garon, and Braf; Nemeia and Erdan stayed back to guard Andronsius in the cave) passed into a strange room that was empty except for a floating picture in the middle of the room. Nebin checked out the picture and found that it had no substance and appeared to be a projection of some sort. Suddently, the picture shimmered eerily and an Ochre Jelly came slithering through. Apparently, the picture was some sort of portal to another realm. The party battled the oozing creature. As they made headway in killing it, they were suddenly attacked from the rear by two spectres. Under the combined attacks of the four heroes, the creatures didn’t last long.

Passing through another corridor, the party found themselves in a room with alcoves on the walls and bodies (skeletal remains, really) in the alcoves. Mysteriously, as they surveyed the room, one of the doors swung open. A few seconds later, two terrifying creatures of fire and molten rock passed through the door. Summoned from some nether region, the creatures immediately attacked the party. Their heat was overwhelming, but Braf and Garon showed no fear as they leapt into the fray. Shea sat back and fired arrow after arrow into the hellish creatures. Though they were injured by the scalding beasts, Braf and Garon continued to battle heroically. Nebin stealthily attacked from the rear, flanking one of the beasts and quickly dispatching it with a flurry from his dagges. Suddenly, two cowardly gnomes appeared from nowhere and beset Garon and Shea. After they killed the second fire creature and one of the gnomes, the second gnome disappeared and was heard scurrying away, yelping in pain. The party heard a call for help from beyond the door that had mysteriously swung open. They found anohter prisoner in this room. Nebin picked the lock on the door and released the man named Sertanian. He was quickly identified as a “pain in the ass” (as Garon put it.) The party elected to remove him to the cave and let him rest up there. Though he complained and disputed this decision, he ultimately relented. Before they left the mausoleum, they searched the remains of the bodies in the alcoves. They discovered some very useful items, including a Leather armor set and a very nice magic shortsword.

After taking a lengthy rest and eating some of their provisions, the party returned, well rested, to the alcove room of the mausoleum.

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Entering the Mausoleum

10/26/09 Following their successful victory over the goblin vermin in the entry chamber, Nemeia, Shea, Nebin, and Erdan were joined by Braf (Dwarf Fighter) and Garon (Half-Orc Barbarian). The newcomers explained that Councilmenber Troyas had sent them after the others because he wanted to ensure the party’s success. Sending reinforcements would improve the likelihood of success, despite the apparent simple-minded nature of the Half-Orc.

The party elected to head down the corridor that read “Von Jallach Crypt.” After descending a short flight of stairs, they came upon a room with a large square bounded by glowing runes. No sooner had they entered the room than they were accosted by two swarms of needlefang drakes and 2 gnomes. Garon and Braf leapt into the fray, attacking the gnomes. As the Needlefangs started to attack, Erdan cast a spell, killing off several of the creatures. Meanwhile, as he attempted to flank one of the gnomes, Braf stepped on one of the runes and was jolted by an surge of power. All party members avoided the runes for the remainder of the battle. Shea and Nebin sat back and fired their weapons at the gnomes and the needlefangs, causing the gnomes to wail in pain, and killing off more of the needlefangs. Despite taking damage, Nemeia petitioned the Raven Queen to intercede on the behalf of Braf and Garon, healing nearly all their wounds. With a final magical word, Erdan caused a cloud of daggers to appear near the two gnomes, killing one and seriously wounding the other. At this point, something very disturbing happened: the wounded gnome disappeared from sight. None of the party members could see the villain, so they began to focus on the needlefang creatures. By chance, one of Erdan’s spells, cast at a swarm of needlefangs, also caught the skulking gnome unawares, nearly killing it. Braf immediately attacked the gnome, killing it. The remaining needlefangs did not last long under the focused attention of the entire party. With the room emptied of the threat, the party began to explore. Other than the runes and some inscriptions above the doors, there was little of interest in the room. Soon, they heard sounds from an adjoining room. After being surprised in the room of runes, they were very careful to thoroughly inspect the room before proceeding in. Once in, they found Andronsius the Alchemist chained to a wall. Before anyone could say anything, Garon swung his sword and broke the Alchemist’s bindings, freeing him.

The group decided at this point to attempt to find a safe spot in the nearby wilderness where they could hide the dwarf. They were concerned for his health at this point, but didn’t want to make the lengthy return trip to Red Shore. After combining their various skills, and several hours of searching, the party found a small cave that was well hidden from sight. The cave was large enough for the entire party and certainly large enough for the dwarf to convalesce for a time.

The party returned to the mausoleum. Having explored the Von Jallach crypt, they elected to head down the opposite door, the one that read “Von Urstadt.” After passing through a short corridor, they came upon a small group of goblins and hobgoblins. They quickly dispatched these vermin and noticed a pair down a visible hallway that was blocked by a portcullis. While Shea attempted to pepper them with arrows, Nebin found a lever that raised the portcullis. Braf and Garon slipped under the opening barrier and raced down the hall to engage the goblins. Jumping across a small fissure in the floor, they attacked. Though one of the cowards attempted to escape, they were both dispatched before they could warn others in the crypt. Kicking the corpses into the fissure, the party noted that through the fissure in the floor they could see a large room. The floor of the room appeared to be sparsely covered with strange looking mushrooms. Nothing else could be seen.

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Red Shore and entering the Ruins

10/4/09 The party (Erdan the Wizard, Shea the Ranger, Nemeia the Cleric, and Nebin the Rogue) awakened after a good night’s rest. As requested by Councilmember Eophraim Troyas, they went early to his chambers. He told them that it was his belief that a group of adventurers was more likely to successfully meet the challenge posed by the Red Hand than were the city’s militia. However, he was not convinced that they were the right adventurers for this assignment. After much discussion, and the fortunate reputation of the wise Erdan, the party convinced the councilmember that they could manage any threat from goblins and their ilk.

Troyas then made an offer to them. If they would use the map provided by the captured goblin, they could travel to the ruins of Castle Rivenroar. There, they would enter the catacombs beneath the ruins and attempt to rescue the captive citizens and retrieve the city’s precious treasure stolen by the goblins. For this, Troyas said, they would receive 400 gold pieces (200 for the prisoners and 200 for the city’s treasure. After secretly bickering with Troyas, Erdan convinced him to give him (Erdan) and him only an additional 50 gold pieces. Troyas also said that the city and its citizenry would offer the party any assistance they might need.

The party left the councilmember’s chambers and went in search of a new weapon for Nebin, who was without a lightweight ranged weapon. At a local weapon shop, Nebin purchased a crossbow for a discounted price, and also picked up some Shirukin and a Sling. As Nebin was finalizing his purchase, a young oddly dressed boy entered the shop and asked for Erdan. He told Erdan that Gilliam, a member of the local Wizard’s Guild, had requested that Erdan come to see him. The party proceeded through town to the Wizard’s tower and were quickly directed to an upper level where Gilliam was working. Gilliam told Erdan that his quarterstaff was magical but that it had been damaged. Gilliam offered to repair the quarterstaff in exchange for some mushroom spores. Fortunately, the spores could be found in abundance in the ruins of Castle Rivenroar. When Erdan suggested that Gilliam repair the quarterstaff before going to get the spores, Gilliam lauged, but offered instead, as a show of good faith, to enchant one of his comrade’s weapons. Erdan agreed to this and Gilliam had one of his underlings enchant Nebin’s new crossbow.

The party then left the town of Red Shore. After a brisk 8 hour hike to the ruins, they discovered the doors ajar. When they peered inside, they saw a group of four goblins standing guard. Shea set two arrows into her bow and let loose on the two goblins holding crossbows. She struck one of the villains but missed the other one. As the first howled in pain, and an arrow flew past the second, the two goblin soldiers headed for the party, who were just inside the door. The injured ran to a door and opened it. But before he could call for help, he was struck again and had to engage the intruders. Two large braziers began to slide across the floor, releasing a gout of flame between them every several seconds. The two groups exchanged blows for a short time, with our adventurers clearly outfighting the hapless goblins. Despite this, Erdan was severely injured and required healing from Nemeia several times. In a genius move, Nebin positioned himself between the party and the Goblin Sharpshooters. From the very Drow blood in his veins, he released a cloud of darkness, obscuring the vision of the Sharpshooters. Unable to find their targets, they ran about the room, attempting to see. During the confusion, Shea let loose a flurry of arrows, each finding purchase in one of the goblins, ending their sorry lives. Erdan shone a light from his wand just long enough to release a shower of daggers that rained down on the Soldiers, ending one of their lives and severly injuring the other’s. With all four of our adventurers focusing on a single bloody target, he had no hope.

With the fight over, our adventurers spent a short time exploring the room. They found plaques on each of three doors. At the West door, the plaque read: “To Von Urstadt”. The North Door read “To Rivenroar Family”. The East door plaque read “To Von Jallach.”

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