The Blade of the Raven Queen

Two shall Fall, One shall Flee.
Wait ... it's not a Fire Giant!

2 days ago …

Manto Sotirelis returns to The Iron Ravens compound shaking off the lingering effects of the transportation glyph she’d been hit by. The other Ravens have left several hours ago to deal with the giant in the pass while leaving Oghren there to keep an eye on things. With some confused banter back and forth she learns what she can and heads off.

Meanwhile

The Giant is facing off against Jurgen Frostbeard and Sascha Øksdóttir. Arrows are firing through the thorns as Aldonis “the Grey” takes every shot he can.

  • The giant attempts to cast web and is counter spelled by lucius.
  • Elrik Bjornsson casts Silence right above the wall of thorns which envelopes the giant and the party members clustered around him
  • Eevi Ptolomy Viciously Mocks him causing him to falter in his attacks.
  • Sascha and Jurgen are hammering home mighty blows
  • Aldonis fires his arrows through cover and deals good damage.
  • Lucius unleashes a flurry of magic missiles from his wand.
  • The giant teleports 30ft closer to Aldonis and Lucius and attacks Eevi and Lucius with his glaive
  • Eevi casts Dissonant whispers forcing the giant to flee. It flees UPWARD as it begins to fly away.
  • More arrows and another bolt of fire from Lucius
  • The Giant flings a fireball at the ground beneath it catching everyone in the blast.
  • Jurgen is protected by the wall of thorns and his shield.
  • Elrik moves to the base of the thorn wall to be in range of the party to heal.
  • Lucius uses a scroll of earth bind to try and bring the flying giant down. It fails.
  • More arrows and vicious mockeries occur.
  • Manto arrives, having finally made up the distance. she hangs back as she sees this combat going.
  • The giant flies up, as it seeks to escape combat.
  • Arrows follow it.
  • Eevi unfurls her wings and follows it up to a well hidden cave. It is hidden in the darkness beyond, just barely seen.
  • The giant casts earthbind on her, it fails.
  • Eevi flies closer and casts dissonant whispers, it fails.
  • The giant rushes her, grapples successfully and drags her back into the cave.
  • Eevi thunderwaves hoping to break his grip. fails.
  • The giant strikes her twice with his glaive, grievously wounding her, she fails to escape his grasp.
  • It casts sleep on her as she falls into a deep slumber.
  • Meanwhile, realizing that Eevi is getting in over her head, the group begins a harrowing climb effort to get to her.
  • Elrik and Manto do a slow and steady, Jurgen uses his boots of leaping, Sascha attempts to climb quickly. Aldonis does not climb and keeps an eye out for the mounts and any possible interruptions, Lucius casts spiderclimb and easily scales what the others have trouble with.
  • Sascha saves Jurgen from several tumbles as his Leaps up the mountain sometimes come on loose stones that dislodge and roll out from beneath his feet.
  • Rocks tumble from the ledge threatening to dislodge people from their precarious perches.
  • Jurgen hits a bad spot and rolls back down the mountain without too much damage
  • Elrik tumbles from the mountain but hits hard.
  • Manto and Sascha make good progress.
  • Lucius makes it to the top and in a tone of voice that brooks no argument declares this engagement over.
  • Lucius sees Eevi lying on the ground and thinking her dead uses a scroll to Cloudkill within the cave breaking his Spiderclimb concentration. At first nothing happens and then Eevi staggers to her feet coughing and cursing.
  • “Eevi” directs “her” Elemental to attack Lucius.
  • Unknown to Lucius the real Eevi dies from the Cloudkill poison.
  • Jurgen makes it to the top and stands on the ledge. He readies his shield to engage.
  • Jurgen is promptly Shoved off the ledge by the Elemental and will hit the ground hard if not saved.
  • Lucius casts Spiderclimb on himself breaking his Cloudkill concentration to crawl down the mountain as Jurgen falls to cast a Featherfall on him allowing him to land softly and unharmed.

(( Some Discussion as to the nature of the Concentration part of Cloudkill ))

  • Sascha makes it to the top and sees nothing in the cave.
  • Lucius joins her and way below Jurgen gets onto his Giant Ram mount to trust in it’s surefooted ability to scale the cliff face.
  • The Elemental emerges from a wall and strikes Lucius twice, each blow rocking the Wizard before merging back into the stone.
  • Not seeing their target Lucius casts Wall of Fire from a scroll, lining the inside walls of the cave, and immediately “Eevi” once again comes out on fire roaring profanities in Giant.

Shedding its disguise the Giant reveals itself to be slightly shorter than when originally met but still nearly ten feet tall. Its skin is a light blue instead of red and its hair is long and white. It has two horns growing from its forehead. It clenches huge fists and roars as its clothes catch fire. Pointing down the tunnel mouth it casts a Cone of Cold catching Sascha and Lucius fully. Lucius falls to the ground unconscious.

  • Sascha, normally calm in the face of adversity, sees her friend fall and loses the tight grip she holds on her rage. She charges into the cave, her Greatsword rending great gouges in the creatures flesh.
  • The pain of the wounds cause the Giant to lose its concentration on the summoned Elemental as it reappears and strikes once at both the Barbarian and the Giant enraged at having been summoned to the Prime Plane.
  • Jurgens Mount makes it to the top and he dismounts, charging into the cave to help Sascha.
  • The Elemental attacks again targeting Jurgen and the Giant this time.
  • The Giant casts Evard’s Black Tentacles targeting the tunnel, catching both Sascha and the Unconscious Lucius. Sascha is caught and restrained.
  • Sensing she has no time to escape AND revive/retrieve Lucius, Sascha attempts to disrupt the Giant’s concentration but is unable to do so.
  • Jurgen is to busy fending off the Elemental creature to be able to respond.
  • With a vicious grin the monster watches as Lucius’ is broken and killed by the grasping tendrils of darkness.
  • With an Elemental, a Paladin and a Raging Barbarian attacking it, the Giant decides now would be a good time to leave. It casts Gaseous Form and begins to float past and through the heroes.
  • Manto joins the fray finally.
  • Unable to do enough damage Jurgen, Manto and Sascha watch as it floats out and up.
  • Sensing its Original Summoner to have left the Elemental sinks into the ground once more and relinquishes its hold on the Prime Material plane.
  • Arrows fly from Aldonis as soon as it’s misty form can be perceived by his eagle eyes but it is quickly out of his reach as well.

The Body of Lucius is gathered into a blanket, the cave is searched. Platinum and Gold, Chests with emeralds and jewelry, a Steel jar with a silver seal (which is revealed to contain more Platinum), a silver plated scroll tube that contains a map to some underdark location.

In the large chest they find Eevi’s asphyxiated, poisoned, burned body stuffed within.

They find a Black Cloth that is later revealed to be a portable hole, two gold and begemmed chalices.

Gathering the loot and the fallen the Ravens make their way back to Cauldron. It is an uneventful journey back. Going to The Cathedral of Hades they arrange to have the bodies of their friends revived and are told it will be a few days before the Priests will be able to attend to the matter.

View
The Giant's Toll.
It's a Fight!

The Well Part 2

Retreating briefly, The Iron Ravens regroup and press back into the fray with the deadly vegetation. As Manto breaches into the cave with the whirlpool a sigil flashes and she disappears only to reappear in Cauldron. Disoriented she reaches out and touches Eevi who immediately disappears in a flash.

Manto then wanders off in a fugue state.

Meanwhile …

The Fight continues within the cave, Ravens retreat slowly while fending off grasping tendril vines. The Cavelight Moss reaches for Lucius, grappling him as he feels his vitality being leached, leaving him exhausted. The Shambler advances on Jurgen but the dwarf fends off it’s attacks.

  • Lucius takes a potion of gaseous form and escapes the life draining tentacles constricting him.
  • The Cavelight Moss retreats back towards the cave as the Shambler presses the attack.
  • The Ravens pour their firepower into the shambling mound of vegetation and Jurgen himself smashes his shield into it’s leg like structures causing it to fall into the swirling water.
  • Struggling to get out of the sucking waters, it is slowly pulled towards the center. It’s movement not enough to let it escape. More arrows and spells strike into it and it dies as it disappears into the darkness of the whirlpool.
  • The Group moves into the cave and kill the Cavelight moss
  • They find a few odds and bits, a black bastard sword, a jester coin and a comb.
  • They search the rest of the caves, don’t find much more.

Leaving they take a long rest on the surface and tell Overseer Harn about the Snake like Creature. Taking it’s head and the hide, they leave the meat behind which may or may not be used in the evening’s Cauldron of ‘Brown’

When they return to Cauldron they spend the night and Lucius guides the group towards his next objective the following day. The Giant that blocks the pass 2 days north.

Before leaving Jurgen sees a battered band of Human mercenaries and identifies them by their badge, a Black Raven flying on a Field of Yellow. When questioned by Jurgen its revealed that Banter is leading a force of Orcs down south near Trunau at the Ophir/Corinthian border.

Overriding Jurgens protests, Lucius pushes to take care of the giant in the pass.

But Laddie! The Steeroid is down South, it NEEDS to die!

Grumbling Jurgen follows the party north.

During the two day trip the group:

  • Meet a barbarian named Tyrin, who seems like a rough sort but speaks in a cultured voice, he tells them that he has been cursed by a Red Witch who has cut him off from his Primal rage.
  • Hear the sounds of a (Greatly reduced) sounder of boars crashing through the trees in pursuit of something but they decide to press on, making note that it is most likely the Lycanthropic Boar that has been chasing the White Hart
  • On the final morning as they begin to break camp they see three horses coming down the pass where they camped that night. These horses seem to be partially barded and carry equipment and gear that indicates their owners may have been fighter types.

Heading up the pass they eventually see what seems to be a wall of thorns that reach from one side to the other. Behind it stands a truly tall creature. A giant with flame red hair and jet black skin.

Hold Travelers!, Those who wish to pass must pay the toll! It booms.

Words are exchanged. The giant, after having looked them over, demands 100gp a person, Lucius offers to buy his relocation and the giant laughs, upping his price to 1000gp per head.

The giant is threatened but laughs it off while throwing a helmet with a head still within it.

Test me at your Peril!

Lucius Fireball the Wall of Thorns, the fire sizzles off of it and burns a path that his companions can follow through.

  • missiles fire through the gap created
  • The Giant crouches to take advantage of the Cover the wall provides as Sascha charges through, unable to scrabble up the side she instead crashes through the hole Lucius created.
  • Jurgen leaps over the wall to engage joining Sascha in the Melee.

It’s looking Grimm for the Giant…

View
The Well
Cavelight_Moss.jpg Shambling_Mound.png
Spirit_Naga-5e.png

Following up on some tasks that lucius‘s patron Máti Vhalantru has given him, the The Iron Ravens decide to tackle the reported disappearances of the slaves on the eastern slope plantations. The voyage there is uneventful, it’s simply a matter of traveling down 2-3 hours to Kingfisher Hollow.

In Kingfisher they meet Elder Nimo who briefs them on the odd disappearances that have occurred and sends them off to meet Overseer Harn.

  • They are introduced to the slave headman Babs, and he provides what information he can.
  • Settling in at the plantation Sascha quickly makes a scan of the surrounding area and with some help from the others narrows down most of the activity to the well in the center of the compound.
  • Dropping a rock with a Light cantrip cast on it Lucius and the others can determine that the well is approximately 60ft deep to water, but the shaft only goes down 50ft leaving the rest to a natural underground cistern cave.
  • Jurgen takes a few minutes to examine the well after Aldonis" comments that it isn’t shaped in the typical Ophirean style. He determines that it was originally a natural sink hole. It has a low wall surrounding the hole and two wooden pillars with a rope and bucket attached to a wooden crossbeam.
  • Lucius casts Spider Climb and disappears down the well. Quickly followed by the rest of the group as they use both the well rope and a newly tied off section of 50ft silk rope.

Within the well they find themselves in waist deep water and find movement difficult. The well bottom is covered in green algae and moss slime making any quick movements difficult and dangerous.

Spreading out they begin to explore the cave system. Heading North and West they see blood in the water. As the group rushes off to see what may have caused it, Sascha who was the last to climb down, is attacked from beneath the water. She is bitten and venom burns in her veins.

  • Sascha Rages but is not attacked again. Her rage ends the following round.
  • The group returns to see what happened though before returning Jurgen and Lucius see that the blood in the water is from numerous small blind fish, floating by quite dead.
  • More cat and mouse games follow, as those in a vulnerable position get attacked from something swimming in the water. At first it’s thought that it might be a snake, then a giant snake.
  • Jurgen is attacked and fed up with the whole thing lunges to get a grip on the creature. He pulls it partly from the water as large snake coils thrash in the water and sees that the creature has a humanoid face with distended jaws and razor sharp teeth.
  • Grumbling to himself he begins to pull it towards the party. Resisting it’s Suggestion to let it go. All the while calling to the others and warning them of it’s strange features.
  • Once at the group it’s thrashing stops momentarily as vile words of magic hiss forth
  • Lucius tries to counterspell but the spell is too strong and a fork of lightning strikes out, burning a path through 4 members of the group. Aldonis is shocked senseless and falls into the water.
  • Maintaining his hold Jurgen Heals himself with a Lay of Hands
  • The creature fails to escape his grasp.
  • Aldonis sinks beneath the water and as he breathes it into his lungs survival drives him back to the surface sputtering and coughing it out. (Nat 20 Death Save)
  • The creature is hacked and crushed to death. It’s head is chopped off and both parts are brought back to the well rope to be tied there.
  • Traveling deeper into the cave system they find a path blocked off by a natural rock fall, backtrack and approach the eastern end. The water here pulls a little harder at their feet and they become aware of a rushing/roaring sound low and rumbling before they enter a large cave that has a whirlpool. Across from the where they are they can see two exits. One glows as though torchlight were within it and the other is dark.
  • Carefully swimming the group moves into the rushing waters, sticking to the edges of the cave to help prevent being sucked into the whirling center. Elrik elects to stay behind, his sailing experience warning him not to enter with his heavy chainmail.
  • Jurgen, relying on the buoyant properties of his Darkwood Shield, follows Aldonis and Lucius towards the lit cavern.
  • Within they see that all is covered in moss and that the light comes from the hanging tendrils within. In the far corner something seems to gleam in a pile of rocks and moss.
  • The tendrils seem to dim when first entered but as Aldonis quickly moves in and ducks to the side they glow brighter and reach out to grab him, missing. The moss in the corner rises up into a vaguely humanoid shape and begins to shamble towards them.
  • Lucius sends a Firebolt towards the grasping vines and singes it. He is quickly grabbed and crushed within it’s grip. He feels himself drained of energy as the touch of the ceiling plants Exhaust him.
  • Taking his potion of Gaseous form he slips from it’s grip as Aldonis makes a hasty retreat.
  • Jurgen enters only far enough to take a protective position in front of the Rogue

(End part 1)

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The White Hart
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  • The players spend 2 days collecting Giant Bee Honey and Wax, lading their two wagons almost to capacity.
  • Jurgen Frostbeard buys out the Sunnygrass Nook’s alcohol supply and the Nordheimer’s (Elrik, Sascha and Jurgen) begin to drink to the departed Sigfrith almost immediately.
  • lucius Invests in the local winery when he leaves them enough honey to brew a season or two worth of Mead for a percentage of the profits and control of the distribution.
  • Aldonis watches and partakes a little of the alcohol and helps with the Honey and Wax. He and Elrik also overhear that a little firther south there are farms experiencing troubles. People missing and dead Pigs coming back to a horrid semblance of life.
  • Eevi Joins the Northlings and is taught some Norheimer songs.
  • Elrik casts Speak with Dead to see if Sigfrith wishes to be Raised back to life but finds that he does not. He then casts Gentle Repose on the body.

When they have all that they wish to take with them, they thank the inhabitants of Lindley and head back towards Cauldron. Near the end of the first day they, only a couple hours out from The Lucky Monkey Inn, they see a Wondrous White Hart burst from the trees. It is injured and before it disappears across the road they are using it stops to stare at them intently. From behind it a sounder of Boars come crashing out. Aldonis is the first to react, an arrow notched and ready he injures the nearest Giant Boar while calling out to his allies to “watch the trees!”. Sascha, remembering what Aldonis had told the group the last time they had encountered wild boars, turns to face the trees. Surprisingly the other boars don’t stop as they continue intent on catching the Hart they seem to be chasing. Lucius drops a ball of fire in their midst and all the smaller boars are instantly killed. Three of the Giant boars continue and crash after the Wild Hart. The other is quickly taken down.

Eevi is struck with a crossbow bolt from the trees near her. She retaliates with a well placed Shatter spell. Sascha springs into action charging across the road and into the trees, she sprints through till she finds her target. It is a Humanoid Boar creature!

  • A Cave Bear is summoned
  • Aldonis takes a lot of Bear Inflicted damage and retreats to a safe distance.
  • Eevi casts Dissonant Whispers and the bear flees towards Aldonis.
  • The Were-Boar finds itself quickly outmatched.
  • The Bear attacks Aldonis!
  • Jurgen (after dealing with a Giant boar that had lingered) charges the bear and kills it. Giving Aldonis a quick pep talk.
  • The Lycanthrope decides that this day is lost and breaks a charm tied around it’s neck, popping out of sight and disappears completely.

Recovering the group continues on and at the end of the first day spend some time at The Lucky Monkey Inn. They trade away the location of the Boar carcasses to the new owners and tuck in for the night. The drinking continues.

The next day finds them almost to cauldron when they encounter a pair of travelers who recount how their party of 8 was waylaid by the giant in the mountain pass. Pleasantries are exchanged and then finally they arrive at Cauldron.

  • Lucius delivers some wax, honey and the wagons/workers to his Patron Vhalantru and finds out there are slaves going missing in the plantations on the east side of the mountain..
  • The group go to the The Cathedral of Hades and inquire about them being able to handle the burial rights. For a fee they agree.
  • Jurgen, Sascha, Elrik buy out the Drunken Centaur Inn and begin truly bringing honour to their departed friend. (At the end of seven days Jurgen awakens beside a truly horrendous human female (who knew human women had beards too?), Elrik buys a truly ugly Doublet and Sascha finds that at some point within the last day or so she was sick all over herself and didn’t really notice)
  • Eevi hires a shifty human named Artus Shemwick for the The Iron Ravens Investigative agency and hires a Surly, speaks his mind Dwarf named Oghren as a caretaker for the Shop/warehouse.
  • Aldonis continues to seek information on the Last Laugh guild and is approached by a female bearing the jester paint of half black half white. She and he bluster a little as they warn each other off. He recognizes that he has seen her when he first met the group.
View
The Hive
When Asgard Fell.

Downtime: 10 days.
Aldonis “the Grey” Provides for the Poor in the lower Avenues of Cauldron, finds the Headband of Intellect is not Cursed.
Elrik Bjornsson Sells his Khitan Silk and Carouses. Awakening on the Shores of the Cauldron lake absolutely naked with drink in hand. Found by Aldonis and Sigfrith.
Eevi Ptolomy Unknown
Jurgen Frostbeard Spends Time in Tahn Buhldir and trains with them to become hardier and donates 1000 gp to the dwarven community.
Sascha Øksdóttir Joins the Gymnasium of Herakles and begins training as a runner. (Retrain feat to Mobility)
☠ Sigfrith Bakkerson ☠ Spends time helping Aldonis with the Poor.
lucius Gains a Patron Máti Vhalantru who gives hims several leads.

  • Máti Vhalantru tells Lucius that there are Halflings in town seeking aid with a Giant Bee Infestation. He also tells him that there seems to be a Giant in the norther passes that has set up shop and has been waylaying traveling merchants.
  • They learn that there is a Mercenary group called ‘The Tirades of the Raven’ is in town staying at the Drunken Centaur. These Argosseans are heading down south to a town called Trunau, hired to help deal with an Orc Problem on the rough borders between Ophir and Corinthia.

Traveling to Lindley (2 days) with the two halflings Alexus and Allan Oakpad, they are well received as the sun begins it’s downward slide. Gathering some small info and subtly snubbing the town mayor’s (Appletop) offer of rest and refreshment they head straight to the bridge that has the infestation. It is a large 100ft long, 20ft wide bridge that crosses over a 40ft deep chasm.

  • Much talk about what to do
  • Sigfrith lights up with an idea and asks that he be allowed to speak with the bee on guard
  • he is attacked and during the fight ‘Trespasser!’ (the group joins in) 5 more bees come from the hive
  • Sigfrith, undaunted, tries again but this time manages to secure entrance (nat 20, wth)
  • managing to confuzzle the bees he makes it all the way to the queen where his honeyed words seem to fail to make an impression. sensing imminent danger he retreats.
  • ‘Intruder!’ The bees attack! Sigfrith wild shapes into a tiny spider and escapes through a crack in the bridge floor.
  • There’s a fight at the entrance, Things go well, Sascha charges into the hive raging, the queen starts to escape, the group manages to bring her down, Sigfrith is swarmed and STUNG TO DEATH. ☠

End part 1.

View
Zee'Niht Shpehntrahshad
  • Find
    • The Kuo-Toa guard isn’t as formidable as they thought he was.
    • Zenith in a room full of hanging twitching undead on a throne of made of skins.
    • Lucius FIreballs the hanging undead and sparks the battle after Jurgen attempts to reason with a clearly insane Dwarf.
    • Zenith goes into a ‘Defensive Stance’ as Shadow Mastiffs appear, he boosts their abilities. Jurgen feels the pain.
    • Zenith is defeated and falling to his knees, his black helm comes off. He stares at his hands and whispers his final words “What have I done?
    • Aldonis shoots an Arrow at the Helm and combat is continued as the creature that was possessing Zenith materials from it.
    • After a dangerous fight Aldonis crits it and Elrik drops it.
    • Zenith is catatonic and won’t respond to words but can be guided and is quite docile so the group take him to return him to his Father.
    • They make it almost all the way to Kingfisher hollow and are beset by another sound of swine. This group of boars does not drop Jurgen as expected.
    • Aldonis is attacked by a hybrid man boar who threatens him and Sigfrith with a thumb across the throat and a silently mouthed “Next time!” before it disappears into the jungle.
    • They meet Varric at Kingfisher Hollow and Aldonis is reunited with Bridge.
    • Back in cauldron they see crowds moving in the streets and much complaints about taxes being raised
    • Bring Zenith to Argyle who congratulates them and takes the Fallen Champion off their hands. They are rewarded.

We’ll see our heroes when next they gather.

View
The Eye in the Darkness Part 3

The group

  • encounter strong undead in the Kuo-toa’n torture room.
  • Cross to where they think the dragon might be but then decide to head back to the priests chambers to search the things they left the last time.
  • Encounter what Lucius believes to be the Spawn of Rottun and the Kuo-Toa.
  • Find Rottun’s ‘lair’ to be empty save for a few coins and baubles. The Dragon has Left.
  • Jurgen falls into a Spiked 40’ deep pit. Is attacked by a Wraith and dropped to 0hps.
  • Ascend to the upper levels, find a room full of Fungi that Lucius believes may harbor some that will be dangerous to the party.
  • Enter a vestibule? Where a single Kuo-Toa sits in meditation before standing to greet the party, twirling his staff around in an impressive display of martial skill.
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The Eye in the Darkness Part 2
Getting Chased by a Dragon is Never Fun.
black_dragon_by_benwootten_2.jpg


And at last from the infinite seas came
The strange dark One to whom the fellahs bowed;
Silent and lean and cryptically proud,
And wrapped in fabrics red as sunset flame.

  • Events
    • Set upon by a Black Dragon as group is preparing to leave.
    • Escape with a little trouble, Group split up temporarily.
    • Rest back at the Hydra Pit
    • Return to fight way back in, find alternate passage way.
    • End at water filled room – Initiative.
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The Eye in the Darkness
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Know, O thief, that these things are mine,
For I am the Dark Pharaoh, the crawling chaos.
Take what is mine and your blood will boil,
As I reveal to you my other faces and true glory.

Watching the canoe slip back into the mists the Iron Ravens examine their surroundings. The stairs are wet and slick, covered in phosphorescent moss making it Difficult Terrain to climb. The maw of the fish structure is not blocked and with Jurgen and Sascha leading the way they enter the first chamber. There are double doors ahead and halls that lead both left and right. To the left is a rotted old curtain, moldy in the humid air. To the right are portcullis bars with what appear to be cells further in. The air is filled with quiet croaking noises.

Jurgen complains about the light spell on his shield but understands the usefulness in having the rest of the party being able to see what he fights or what might be coming from the front. Sascha on the other hand quite likes the light emanating from her Wolf Mask.

Jurgen stomps his way over to the left, hearing the sounds of stirring creatures. His shield is the first thing to part and push the curtain aside, the light from the face of the shield illuminating the inside. Hisses and warbling cries erupt as the inhabitants are near blinded by the light. Spears and shields are grabbed and combat is joined.

Jurgen bears the brunt of it. His hammer getting stuck to shields as he strikes at them but he manages to keep hold of his weapon. One of the fish men makes a break for the stairs at the end of the room and descends into the darkness. Sascha quickly comes over to support and with spells and melee the Kuo-toa are quickly dispatched. Unwilling to follow the one fleeing creature Sascha simply stands watch over the stairs as the rest of the Ravens check out the passage with the portcullis.

From the darkness beyond come two voices pleading for release. Finding the control, Jurgen raises the portcullis and enters slowly. ready for anything. He finds three cells, two of which are occupied. One is a small halfling male and the other a skinny human. Both begin begging to be released but it quickly turns into accusations against the other as they warn the party to not trust The other guy. Sigfrith wryly asks them if they might be a True or False puzzle. When asked the halfling says his name is Cherrit, he calls the other White-Eye in a derogatory tone of voice.

When one starts to accuse the other of being a spy or a Kuo-Toa sympathizer the other immediately retaliates with similar accusations. Not much is learned from them as when one offers information about the complex the other immediately calls him a liar. When asked if they’d like to be simply left in the cells they both say “No…

Jurgen opens the cells and White-Eye asks if anyone has a spare weapon that he might be able to borrow. He assures the group that he can get himself out of here on his own and thanks them for helping him. When someone mentions the bodies in the other room he heads there to pick up a spear and shield. Cherrit simply stands among the taller folk and mutters about letting his former prison mate go. On his way out White-Eye once again points at the halfling and repeats his deep distrust of him. Jurgen growls out a warning that if he finds either of them dead on the way out he will make sure to find the one responsible.

Lucius meanwhile has been examining the double doors leading north. During his time looking he sees that the walls are decorated in fish men frescoes and that one of the designs to the right of the door is a new painting of a squat figure in plate mail. The only thing off about it is that the head of this figure has been replaced by a black sphere. He Arcane Locks the door in case anyone thinks of coming this way but makes sure to include the full party in the password.

Once White Eye has left Cherrit summons up a small ball of light and salutes the group, cheekily winking that they should have trusted him as all halflings are trustworthy fellows. He then slips out of the maw and down the stairs.

Aldonis mutters something about Pokey going missing but no one seems to take it seriously.

Deciding to not use the stairs the call Sascha back to the main hall and have Aldonis check the double doors for traps. Satisfied that there are no physical traps in place he picks the lock and Lucius opens the door causing the ­_Glyph of Warding_ to go off. Twisting to the side Aldonis avoids the vast majority of it while Lucius is saved by his Arcane Ward.

Moving forward the group enters another hall and find another pair of doors. Jurgen makes a helpful “Check for magical traps this time Laddie!” comment even as Lucius and Aldonis both examine the door and find no traps. Magical or Physical. Opening these doors reveals a large room over a hundred feet wide and long. It also seems that they are on a middle level as the room itself opens up in the center beyond a railed balcony going thirty feet further down into darkness and up another thirty feet. When Jurgen enters and approaches the edge his darkvision can dimly see four Kuo-Toa’s at the bottom facing a Large Statue, easily seventy feet tall with the shape of a woman but having the head and claws of a lobster. As he looks up the eyes of the statue go from a very dim glow to a brighter red radiance that lights the entire room in dim red light.

Entry_Level.JPG

The four figures at the bottom immediately brandish their pincer staves and start to make their way to stairs on the bottom left and right. Each seems to be suddenly surrounded by a glowing aura of protection. Splitting up Jurgen and Aldonis go left while Sascha and Eevi go right. Sigfrith and Lucius stay near the double doors and begin to sling spells. The fight at either set of stairs becomes a bottleneck as only one creature can fit at a time. Even as Jurgen smashes his hammer into one and Sascha slices another they find that the Kuo-Toa behind their partner reinvigorates them with healing spells making it a slow process.

Aldonis notices that near the waist of the statue, on a platform that surrounds it, a door opens and another Kuo-Toa peeks out, wondering what the commotion is all about. Seeing the adventurers it immediately points a finger at Lucius and Sigfrith and summons an Insect Plague . Lucius staggers out of the buzzing stinging cloud moving towards Jurgen and Aldonis while Sigfrith falls out nearly collapsing. The Kuo-Toa then ducks back behind the door. Meanwhile the fight on the stairs continues grinding slowly, Sascha and Jurgen slowly getting the upper hand. Sigfrith Cures himself, Lucius ­_Fire Bolts_ while Eevi Viciously Mocks. The next time the caster comes out from behind the door he decides to leap the small gap onto the balcony Jurgen and Aldonis find themselves on and casts a Lightning Bolt! Lucius and Aldonis are caught in the line of effect. Aldonis once again seems to make an Uncanny Dodge but Lucius takes the brunt of it. For it’s efforts that caster gets an arrow fired at it and it soon flees back towards the door. Before it slips back behind it though it points at finger at Aldonis and yells something in a croaking, warble voice.

Aldonis Disappears!

Lucius immediately calls out “Aldonis’ been Disintegrated!” Sascha looks over and seeing her teammate missing lets her fury spill over. Jurgen’s enemy goes down first, followed by the one Sascha is fighting. Magic and Hammer take out the next and Jurgen bounds over the gap between platforms with his Boots. He places himself at the door and readies an action for when the Kuo-Toa caster comes out next.

And he waits.

Sascha and Eevi chase the last on on their side to the bottom and kill it.

The eyes of the statue pulse red and flash a moment as three creatures form on the platform behind Jurgen. Two Gibbering Mouth Covered Aberrations and a lady in a White Hooded Robe with a scrap of white cloth covering her eyes. The ‘Veil’ has a stylized red eye marked upon it. Immediately an insane wailing is heard as the Gibbering Mouther’s lurch into motion. The one closest to Jurgen spits out a glob of chemicals at Lucius and Sigfrith that explodes in a flash of brilliant light before sliding towards Jurgen and biting him. Lucius is blinded and begins to crawl away hoping the railing will provide him with cover. The other does the same for Sasha and Eevi but both manage to avoid their eyes. It then rolls itself off the balcony to fall before them. It misses Sascha with its bite. The hooded figure calmly nocks and fires three arrows at Sigfrith, hitting twice and dropping the Æsir.

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Jurgen turns to disengage and help Sigfrith but the ground around him and the aberration shifts and oozes beneath his feet, preventing any movement as its wails overcome his senses and he attacks it once on autopilot. Sascha strikes hers twice before she too is overwhelmed by the cacophony that the Mouther shrieks. She clutches at her temples and wanders away from the fight trying to escape.

The hooded figure once again nocks and fires three arrows, this time at Lucius. Again two find their mark while one is deflected by the balcony banister. Lucius is pinned to the wall and falls unconscious.

The fight rages on. Sascha gets it back together and kills her target. Eevi takes stock of the situation and starts to climb the stairs she had just come down. Jurgen manages to regain his senses and leaps across the gap to get to Sigfrith and Lucius. He manages to deflect the things attack of opportunity. Sigfrith is slipping fast, his breathing shallow and skin pallid but Jurgen lays his hand on him and to stabilize and revive him. The hooded figure takes aim, only this time she goes for Eevi who is wounded but not out. Sascha charges up the stairs to engage the hooded figure, her sword finding its mark once, rending the robes. Jurgen heals Lucius who finds he has regained his sight but decides to crawl away from the fight anyways.

Jurgen returns to the main platform to help engage the Gibbering Mouther and the Lady of Arrows, smashing his hammer into the former. Sascha picks up on his idea to whittle down the number of enemies on the field and helps him kill it as the Hooded woman calmly reaches up to pull down her blindfold. Green Glowing snake eyes glare at the Dwarf and Vanir even as snakes begin to wiggle out from the hood. Sascha and Jurgen quickly avert their eyes which hampers their ability to strike her. She drops her bow and strikes back with a multitude of snake fangs and a wickedly sharp sword.

Sigfrith casts a spell but fails to avert his eyes. He feels her stoning gaze start to overtake him. Sasha and Jurgen continue to hold her attention in melee and she finally Disengages to get to the door and knock on it. At which point Jurgen barrels into her shield first shoving her off the balcony to fall thirty feet to the floor below and into the darkness. Sigfrith shakes off the effect and finds himself not turning to stone. Jurgen is peering over the edge but sees nothing but floor thirty feet below. Lucius readies a spell but can’t see into the shadows. Eevi rushes up the stairs and as she gets to the door that Sascha just drove a Rage driven shoulder into, realizes she didn’t see the bow that the Medusa dropped.

Aldonis picks the lock and Sascha enters the room, she finds the priest in a pool of water that covers the whole floor. She tries to strike the Kuo-Toa Priest but finds some magical effect prevents her from completing the attack. Jurgen rushes down the stairs and starts a frantic search for the Medusa but can’t find any trace of her. Eevi backtracks to see if she maybe missed the bow but finds it is indeed gone. Aldonis slips into the room and tries to fire arrows at the Priest and finds he also can’t finish his action. “Yea, of course” he spits. The priest moves to the door, protected by his spells, and closes it, placing his hand on a Glyph of Warding that Arcane Locks the whole thing. When Sascha fails to hit it a second time it raises its hands and with magical command Control’s Water raising the water level within the room twenty feet straight to the roof. Aldonis lets his bow float as he whips out his rapier. The ­Sanctuary the priest had is broken by its hostile act he sticks it with the pointy end. His magical ring allowing him to attack without difficulty. Sascha Recklessly attacks and together they corner the priest and begin to cut him down.

Eevi starts to hack at the stone door with her magical Shortsword as Jurgen scratches his head, searching the base of the statue. Lucius keeps his action readied to blast with a Fire Bolt should anything make itself visible.

Pulling his rapier free of the now dead priest, Aldonis looks at Sascha and both look up as the water level starts to drop, the power of the spell broken by the creatures death. Jurgen moves up to the platform, only Lucius is still on the Balcony. The Medusa fires three arrows at him dropping him again. Jurgen leaps down and engages her and as the rest of the party try to open the door for Sascha and Aldonis he fights her alone. But in his eagerness he looks right at her as his hammer connects and feels himself rooted to the spot, his limbs growing heavy. Taking advantage of his Restrained condition the Medusa breaks off, taking a glancing hit from Jurgen’s hammer, to get to a section of wall where she slides a hand over a panel and a secret door opens. Darting into the darkness she disappears again as the panel slides closed.

Jurgen closes his eyes, wondering if this is the end when he hears Eevi sing out “You can do Eeet!”, with her Inspiration he shakes off the Stoning effect.

The door to Sascha and Aldonis is finally opened. The group are out of breath and almost out of magic. It might be time to retreat and regroup as loud crocodilian sounds can be heard coming from behind double doors on the bottom floor.

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That'll Learnean you.
It hurts Herc! It hurts!

Grimlocks and Quaggoths.
Troglodytes and a Troll.
The Pit and the Hydra.
And the ferryman poles.

With Varric and Moiraech gone after the morning’s breakfast The Iron Ravens put the morning’s fire out and gather their gear. lucius decided to keep his Mule as a pack animal and with him and his 4 legged friend taking up the rear the group begins exploring the tunnel leading from the giants former resting place.

The tunnels are rough carved, about 10ft wide and 12ft high. Jurgen takes the lead, a Light spell cast on his shield. Sascha follows him, eyes alert as Eevi provides a little more light in the middle with her Produce Flame. Elrik, Aldonis, Sigfrith and Lucius are next with a final Light spell having been cast on Pokey’s saddle.

A few hours in they come to a split in the tunnel. Unsure as to which path they should take the group stops for a quick rest while Sascha examines the ground for tracks and spoor. She determines that the tunnel heading left continues downwards and that there are faint tracks marring the dust on the ground. Unfortunately she is unable to identify those tracks. The tunnel to the right continues on a level course with mildly damp air and the faint sounds of water dripping. Both Jurgen and Aldonis vote for the left path.

In the pitch darkness of the tunnels, illuminated only by the softly glowing light spells and the flickering red glow of the flame in Eevi’s hands, a deep thrumming drum sound begins to be faintly heard. Elrik is the first to notice, followed by Aldonis. The Ravens slow their travel and begin to move forwards cautiously. Jurgen pushes ahead of the group, his shield illuminating the darkness for those behind. They soon come to a widening point of the tunnel, leading to a large cavernous room. Seeing no signs of activity he signals the group and enters. The room has several Stalagmites and a large column to the right. There are bone piles everywhere, extending out to the edge of the visible spectrum.

Elrik feels his skin crawl and taking a good look within notices faint outlines pressed against the rocky walls and columns. Blurting out a warning he fails to alert the group in time as shapes seem to melt from the walls and dark edges of the room. Eyeless humanoids rush forwards, aggressively wielding clubs. The group is swarmed and the only one to react in time is Elrik. Clubs slap into Eevi and Lucius but Jurgen seems to take the brunt of it, being in the front. He is struck by four of the five attackers and staggers from a particularly powerful blow. Elrik attempts a Sacred Flame but his target shrugs it off. More silent, eyeless figures come from the dark. The Iron Ravens are outnumbered at least three to one.

Aldonis slips to the side and clings to the wall. His bow out and arrow knocked. His first target falls with an arrow protruding from it’s throat. Sascha steps forwards, the tall Vanir drawing her Khitan Greatsword and laying into the enemy dropping two with a blow each. Jurgen smashes one to the ground with his shield but it takes two hammer blows to kill it. Spells are fired from the back. Sigfrith’s ghostly hand of necrotic energy missing one target even as a Fire Bolt from Lucius burns another to death. Eevi Viciously Mocks but her target shakes off the effects. Elrik grunts in annoyance and draws his Mace to strike at another.

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The next round finds the momentum shifting to the party’s favour but the clubs still rain down with vicious accuracy. Eevi and Lucius are struck again, Jurgen continues to hold the attention of the front line but pays for it as multiple clubs find their mark. From the tunnel beyond the column where the first reinforcements came from come three larger furred creatures. Growling they also throw themselves into combat. Eevi casts a Shatter into the largest grouping of the eyeless creatures dropping several with the painfully intense, loud ringing noise. Sascha and Jurgen continue to hack and smash, assisted by the enemy sprouting feathered shafts from Aldonis. Another Shatter goes off, the cave ringing with the sound. The tide breaks. Two of the larger furries go down to spells, arrows and Elrik’s mace while the last attempts to break off and run. It doesn’t get far. Jurgen Leaps twenty feet before landing and rushing the last ten to his target. His Warhammer quickly ends it’s life.

Taking a quick breather, heal spells are spent with Jurgen being the primary beneficiary and a search of the cave begins. Shifting through the piles of bones and furs the Ravens find that most have been chewed or gnawed and many still have scraps of flesh or dried blood. Along the walls are crude paintings and sketches that are commented on as being a visual interpretation of a volcano, piles of dung or an Island? Lucius Ritually casts Detect Magic and finds a soft glow coming from under a pile of bones. Coins are scattered everywhere and as the group begins to collect and gather their new loot Elrik and Aldonis detect a bitter, pungent smell growing in intensity. Alerting the others they soon discern that the smell is coming from the tunnel they themselves came from. It grows stronger with each passing moment. Voices are soon heard in the darkness beyond.

Lucius calls out in Draconic and the voices in the dark pause, something is replied in a language only Jurgen, with his native Dwarf language, recognizes as Deep Speech. A low rumbling growl comes from the dark and a shape begins to form at the very edge of the light shining from Jurgen’s Shield. The Iron Ravens quickly move into position, Jurgen taking the front at the mouth of the tunnel as a Troll rushes into the light. It pushes and at first fails to budge the Unyielding dwarf but after applying it’s considerable strength and bulk forces him back from the tunnel mouth. It is slammed down by Jurgen’s shield and even as his warhammer rains blows upon it’s downed form Sascha steps in to help, her greatsword cleaving deeply. It is Chill Touched and Fire Bolted while Eevi Viciously Mocks it. Aldonis drops his bow and using his Fast Hands equips his shield and attacks with his rapier.

From the darkness come savage lizard-like humanoids. Their warbling voices echoing in the space of the cave as the stench that was at first detected becomes strong and almost overpowering. The troll stands and lashes out with it’s claws and teeth but is quickly put back to the ground by Jurgen’s shield work. The Troglodytes also claw and bite scoring some nasty hits but soon find themselves overwhelmed by the party. The troll, suffering burns and necrotic chills fails to regenerate and while trying to regain its feet is killed by Aldonis, his Rapier piercing clean through the base of its skull. The remaining Troglodytes die quickly and the voices beyond in the tunnel turn to panic and flee unseen as the stench begins to lessen.

Taking a short rest, and staying clear of the smelly bodies, Lucius retrieves the Item that had been previously glowing in the bones. Finding it to be in the pouch of what once must have been an explorer. A Gold bracelet is found fused into the wrist of the troll and Sascha cuts the hand free for Elrik who first noticed it. Coins and gems are gathered and the rest completes without further incident. Breaking camp they move on.

As they travel further in and down they start to see the tunnel grow smaller and go from mostly natural to partly worked. The floor grows level and eventually flat. The roof goes from curved to actual arch. Jurgen begins to see the marks of Dwarf work and stops to admire the way the floor seems to naturally go from semi rough rock to absolutely smooth stone tiles. The now well made dwarven hall eventually ends in a collapsed section but before that pile of rockfall there is an arched entrance to the right. Jurgen boldly steps through and finds himself on a ledge overlooking a deep sixty foot pit. The pit is forty feet square, presumably made by Dwarves and has a rough metal grate staircase bolted to the walls going down fifteen feet per wall with a landing in each corner. Aldonis is asked to examine the staircase and he finds after checking it out that it seems to be not trapped but somewhat rickety. He and Jurgen also come to the conclusion that these stairs had been placed by someone other than the original architects.

Jurgen tightens the straps of his shield and moves onto the grated stairs. It creaks and squeaks loudly under his weight. It is decided that only one or two people will cross each staircase, waiting for the forward group to descend before the next comes. Jurgen reaches the third landing, forty-five feet down and waits for Aldonis to reach him. Aldonis checks the last set of stairs to make sure nothing goes wrong. Crouching and running his hands over the rusty ancient steel stairs he catches motion from the corner of his eye. Turning his head he watches as a large serpent head rises from the dark beneath. He hears Elrik shout a warning as, blinking, he sees another, then another and as the group finally all become aware of it there are seven heads weaving, their long necks disappearing into a fissure beneath the final set of stairs.

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All seven of the mouths open and a jet of Acid streams out striking Jurgen directly behind Aldonis and follows the stairs up just stopping shy of Sascha. Jurgen manages to get his shield up and deflects the majority of the acid, the only thing being damaged is the shield face and various spots of acid that managed to splatter onto his chainmail. He finds himself unharmed. The stairs however give a tortured shriek and come apart as the acid eats its way through the metal, falling to bits into the pit. Aldonis darts forwards, dashing down the remaining steps and into the far corner where he flips his cloak over himself in an attempt to hide. Several blasts of magic hit the heads, one of them burning into nothing even as an Arrow from the now hidden Aldonis disables another. Jurgen quickly follows and takes a stand at the fissure itself, the heads seem to retract into the darkness until they are weaving just above him, beneath the stairs above and mostly hidden from the others still climbing down. Jurgen is attacked by five heads, four of them find their marks and he is viciously wounded. Sascha rages and simply leaps into the pit, nailing a Super Hero Landing. Her rage lets her ignore the pain of the fall as she rushes to support the Paladin. The usual barrage of spells go off, a Chill Touch followed by a Fire Bolt and a Vicious Mocking from Eevi. Two heads grow from the Burnt stump and two more replace the one felled by Aldonis’ arrow. The heads though seem sickly and malformed as though unable to grow properly. Once again the mouths open and spit acid. Sascha and Jurgen take the brunt of it but manage to avoid the worst of it. Unable to regenerate the heads begin to retreat, but not fast enough as Arrow and Spell strike it. Sascha’s greatsword cleaving one head off the neck and Jurgen’s hammer crushing another. It shrieks a final time and falls limp.

It takes both Lucius and Sigfrith to convince pokey to follow them down. Sigfrith uses Beast Speech and Lucius casts Spider Climb on it.

Checking the bottom of the pit reveals piles of bones and acid melted gear but nothing of value. Crawling over the huge body blocking the fissure they find a small cave that fits the creature and a tunnel that would be just large enough for it to squeeze through. Within the cave they find coin and gems, the mostly eaten bodies of humanoids and a flesh free skull still bearing a sturdy leather headband.

Resting and healing they decide to make camp in the pit. Good Berries are handed out, nourishing the group as though having eaten for the day. Jurgen spends his Lay on Hands on himself and mends the tears and rents in his armour. Spells are refreshed and sleep is indulged.

Packing up they move on. The tunnel from the fissure leads down steeply and after a few hours of travel it opens out into an immense rift cavern at least a half-mile across and several hundred feet deep. Faintly glowing with phosphorescence at the bottom of the rift is a massive stone structure shaped like a prehistoric fish. A wide stairway is dimly seen leading up to the fish’s mouth. Water seems to cover the cavern floor. From where they are there is also a narrow ledge that slopes down, hugging the cavern as it descends in a series of switchbacks before finally ending at a narrow beach.

Once on the beach the group looks across trying to figure out what to do next. The water here is dark and it is impossible to tell how deep it is. A thin mist floats a few feet above its surface. Elrik and Aldonis are the first to notice something coming across the water towards them. A long canoe emerges from those mists, drifting slowly towards the group. Crouched in the stern is a silvery fish headed humanoid of medium size, holding a long pole with which it pushes the canoe forwards. The canoe stops about twenty feet from the beach and it looks at everyone. No one says anything for a tense moment until Lucius hails it in Draconic. It looks and responds “Seek ye the Eye in the Darkness?” When Lucius translates Aldonis immediately recognizes that phrase from the Diviner, Stefania Callas, that Kharden had hired through Persephone at the Cusp of Sunrise. Aldonis and Lucius both reply “Yes, we are” in Draconic and Ophirean respectively. The creature nods and poles the canoe closer, beaching it. Lucius hobbles pokey and leaves it with enough food for a day or two and the group all climb into the surprisingly roomy watercraft.

The trip over the water passes in silence. The creature poling the canoe doesn’t speak and no one speaks to it. The group are deposited at the base of the stairs beneath the great maw and the canoe slips back into the mist and darkness.

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