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Part 5,

Tears for Twilight Hollow

(Dungeon #90)


Party Members


Brillock Stoneweaver, Male Human Fighter/Wizard/Spellsword
Darius Darkhammer, Male Dwarven Fighter/Cleric of Moradin
Dzindra (Dizzy) Daggersmith, Female Human Monk
Paks, Female Half-Elven Paladin of Yondalla

with

Artol Underhill, Male Halfling, Ranger of Yondalla/Rogue
Stoney, Earth Elemental, Familiar to Brillock Stoneweaver

What has come before:

In Ossington, the party met the Warlord Saithner, an earth spirit, laid to rest the soul of a slain Paladin, and defeated the plans of the Wizard Dyson to raise an army of faux humans – animals transformed into humans. Unfortunately, Dyson, Henwen and the Cuckoo – a Vrock - escaped.

To prevent Dyson from using the standing stones to create another army, Darius destroyed them and reduced Dyson’s tower to a pile of rubble.

While Darius vented his frustrations, Brill summoned a familiar – a 2-foot tall earth elemental named Stoney. One of the runes from Saithner’s tomb always appears somewhere on Stoney’s body.

Brill also identified Paks’ magic whistle Night Caller. When blown, the whistle casts an animate dead spell (at 5th level) on one creature. Brill thinks it may have been crafted by evil dwarves.

While still in Ossington, a halfling, Artol Underhill, arrived from Brindinford. He was sent by the clerics of Yondalla with a letter to give to Paks. Part of the letter was damaged and unreadable; what could be read follows:

Dear Cuz,

I pray this missive finds you well. You may or may not remember me. I am Valkoris … If indeed … you have sworn to fight all evil in this world, then I beg you to come to Twilight Hollow on the western slopes of the Sunset Mountains … Our troubles overwhelm us here. The soul of a great lady sleeps amid nightmares. I am a mere cobbler. I can do nothing. Perhaps you can.

With deep regards,

Valkoris

Artol decided to stay with the party and serve Paks, Faithful Servant of Yondalla. The next morning, the party sets out for Twilight Hollow in the nearby Sunset Mountains.

Tears for Twilight Hollow, Day 1 Fifteenth Game Session

Village of Twilight Hollow

The party has been traveling further north and east towards the Sunset Mountains. Most of the peaks are snowcapped, but there are some smoking mountains – volcanoes – in the range. It has been snowing more regularly recently.

The party finally arrives at the village of Twilight Hollow. A temple to Illmater (T5) dominates the village. The village is primarily human with a few gnomes. It is near mid-day and a cold rain is falling. The party locates the inn – the Double-Bolt (T1) – by the smell of cooking roast. Stoney stays outside, hidden in the earth, to keep watch.

A shield with the symbol of Illmater hangs on the wall. The innkeeper is a human named Okrush. The party takes two rooms (25 sp per night per room). A 16-year-old boy leads us to our rooms; Paks asks him why no one will speak with us. He seems frightened but Paks manages to get him to speak with us; he says that they don’t like strangers. He suggests that we speak with Andress, a priestess at the temple. He also tells us that the mayor is insane. The party returns to the common room and has lunch. Brill asks the innkeeper is there is a blacksmith in town; he replies that there is something of a blacksmith in town and gives him directions. There are two other guests – a married couple by all appearances – in the common room; they are very quite, but Darius thinks he notices a strange look from them.

Stoney notifies Brill that there is a large gathering of people outside; he also tells Brill that the people in the village are suspicious. Stoney thinks that someone or something may be blackmailing the town.

The party goes outside to investigate and finds a black clad woman leading a funeral procession through town. The woman leads a glass coffin containing a woman clad in the garments of a Paladin of Illmater with her armor and weapons. Diz tries to ask a local who has died, but the individual just ignores her and walks away. Paks notices an elderly (70+ years old) man; he is well dressed, but appears very nervous. Paks learns that he is the mayor of Twilight Hollow, but little else. He seems very confused.

The funeral procession passes by and the party follows. The procession continues to a tomb (T4) behind the temple; an inscription on the tomb in common reads, “Shaunnra.

As the party heads for the smithy, they met up with a gnome – named Dhokkel – heading in the same direction. He is wearing a strange contraption upon his head. It appears to be an upside down umbrella. Ever few feet he stops and pulls on a cord and water drains out from one of the sides. Dhokkel calls it a combumbolater. Dhokkel says he is the smith. He says there used to be a dwarven smith, but he died a week ago. He said the dwarf - Rog Hammersong - tried to find out what happened to Shaunnra, but didn’t return. When we ask what happened to Shaunnra, he says that she was killed and that her soul has not gone to her final rest. Dhokkel says the smithy is his now. He offers us the use of the forge – for a price of course. Darius and Brill look at it; the forge is obviously of dwarven make and is truly fantastic.

In the village square is a life-sized statue of Illmater (T3); a short distance away is the temple. It is an imposing fortress-like building built of black stone.

A white robed woman approaches and bows to the party. She says her name is Gwennel and that the priestess Andress invites us to the temple. As she leads us to the temple we learn from her that Andress is the new head of the temple, that Shaunnra was the previous head, and that the town has had some trouble with brigands.

Andress tells us that some creature is tormenting Shaunnra’s soul and that she is stuck between life and death; the creature is feeding on Shaunnra’s life force. Shaunnra’s horse brought her body back to the village, but Andress was unable to raise her because of what the creature is doing. Shaunnra was looking into the problem of the brigands Harular Claws when she was slain. The brigands have been hiding in the ruins of an evil temple dedicated to Talos. The temple of Illmater was originally built to fight the evil of Talos.

Shaunnra’s squire, a human male named Marthos, went with her. Andress has determined via divination that he is also dead. Four people were sent out after Shaunnra’s soul, but they did not return; Andress has also learned that they are dead.

Andress asks us to help her and we agree. Darius gets names and descriptions of these individuals as well as a description of Marthos. Andress offers us the services of the temple and its acolytes. She says that Paraster is the temple’s record keeper, Kendra is a seer, Galen is fairly strong and could help us, and Relx maintains the temples stores. We can purchase scrolls and potions from Relx.

The party visited Paraster to see what she could tell us. We learned that the forces of Illmater destroyed the temple of Talos; that the dragon cult of Ashardalong is an offshoot of the worship of Talos; Dyd the wise, companion of Saithner, is credited with the slaying of Ashardalong; there is a rumor that Nightfang Spire is the home of the dragon cult; and that a strange swamp surrounds the ruins of Talos’ temple. The swamp is always warm with pockets of poisonous gas and quicksand. Paraster also provides us with a general map showing the location of the swamp. She also told Darius that Rog Hammersong was from a major lost dwarven city; the city withdrew from the world and Rog traveled here through a series of underground passages. Paraster doesn’t think that the brigands are at the heart of the problem.

The party goes to Relx to purchase some supplies. Diz purchases a potion belt, five potions of cure light wounds, one potion of cure moderate wounds, one potion of delay poison, and one potion of aid. Darius purchased a potion belt (1 gp), two potions of cure light wounds (100 gp), and two divine scrolls of water breathing (750 gp). Darius also purchased a potion belt (1 gp) and four potions of cure light wounds (200 gp) for Brillock. Artol and Paks both purchased three potions of cure light wounds.

Relx says that more is going on than we know. He says that Andress is not as good as Shaunnra. Relx doesn’t think that Andress understands people well; she is too trusting. A new priest, Dyrch, recently arrived. Relx doesn’t trust him. He was invited along time ago, but only arrived recently – the same day Shaunnra died. Dyrch is severely deformed. Relx also says that he doesn’t trust seer Kendra.

Brill and Artol have Kendra perform reading for them; she tells Artol that there is “negative energy” in his future.

The party returns to the inn and rests for the night.

Tears for Twilight Hollow, Day 2 Fifteenth Game Session

Tempest Tower Valley

The trip to the valley containing the ruins of the temple of Talos takes several hours. The party passes a number of farms on the way.

The valley is much warmer than the surrounding area; a dense fog obscures most of the valley and blocks visions beyond 10-20 feet. The ground here is very wet and soft – it sucks on the feet.

Artol notices some hoof prints; he thinks he can follow them. The party sets off and has been following the tracks for a short while when a 12-foot tall man-shaped bush – a shambling mound – attacks the party (V2). Brill tries to use a flaming sphere against it, but it doesn’t seem to have any effect. Darius cast spiritual weapon and directs the hammer to attack. The shambling mound attacks Paks and tries to grab her, but she manages to escape. Brill casts lightning bolt and the creature appears to get stronger. Darius casts searing light; the shambling mound appears to be a little worse than before Brill cast his lightning bolt. Paks and Diz attack the creature while Brill casts magic missile; Diz strikes the killing blow.

After the battle a withered crone appears; she says her name is Skriku. Paks says that she senses evil from the woman. The woman has a stirge on her shoulder; she says they are her pets. After a short discussion, she gives us directions to the temple ruins and departs.

Tempest Tower Dungeon

The party follows her directions and after Brill and Stoney fly the party over a 50-foot wide river (V3), the party arrives at the ruins of a stone wall. The party locates the moldering corpse of a half-elf (V4); the body appears to have been looted. The party continues on into the ruins and sees dim yellow light coming from a very small tunnel leading into the ground (V5). Stoney goes down into the earth and reports that there is a flight of stairs at the end of the tunnel leading to a room with two light sources. Brill and Diz crawl through the tunnel. Darius tries to follow and becomes stuck in the tunnel. Once Stoney pushes Darius through, Paks follows, and also gets stuck. Stoney works on pushing her through. Two will-o-wisps attack the party on the stairs. Paks finally gets through the tunnel and Artol follows. The will-o-wisps only become visible briefly when they attack. Once Darius reaches the stairs, he casts invisibility purge revealing the two attackers. Once they are visible, Diz stuns one and Darius slays it. Paks strikes the other a devastating blow and Artol finishes the creature.

Tempest Tower Dungeon, Entry Chamber (V5a) and Western Chamber (V5b)

The party continues down the stairs into an octagonal chamber with four passages leading from it. Three carrion crawlers rush out of the west passage and attack the party. Brill casts fireball killing them. The party investigates the chamber to the west and finds an octagonal chamber. A number of small streams enter the chamber from the north through small, low tunnels; the streams exit the chamber through similar tunnels on the south side of the chamber. The party cannot see anything in these passages and decides not to explore them at the current time.

The party returns to the entry chamber. Stoney searches behind the walls and finds a secret door in the southeast wall. A cave in blocks the passage to the north, but Stoney reports that there is a chamber beyond it. The eastern passage is a dead end.

Tempest Tower Dungeon, Hall of Skulls (V5g) and Mummification Chamber (V5h)

The party passes through the secret door and finds a long hallway lined with alcoves. Each alcove holds a skull and a pile of bones. Each skull is marked with a symbol – a stylized lightning bolt. There is a door in the southern wall of the passage and at the end of the passage. Artol finds a magical trap on the southern door; Brill determines that it’s a glyph of warding and he believes that it is linked to the skeletons. Darius casts dispel magic and disables the glyph on a few of the skeletons. Artol disables the trap, a very difficult one, on the door. The party finds a collapsed room with four stone biers with tattered shrouds. Artol does not believe the door at the end of the hall is trapped. He opens the door and another glyph trap is set off; the skeletons arise and move to attack. Paks calls upon the power of Yondalla and destroys nine skeletons.

Tempest Tower Dungeon, Hall of the Mechanical Beholder (V5i)

Behind the door the party finds another octagonal chamber. Floating in the center of the chamber is a large spherical creature with a large central eye and ten other eyes at the end of short stalks. Darius recognizes the creature as a beholder and yells for the party to close the door. When the creature does not come after the party, Stoney looks into the room and says he doesn’t see anything. The party again opens the door and the creature is still there, but it isn’t moving. The party investigates and finds that is it a metal mechanical construction. The eyestalks are attached magical wands. The metal beholder has a locked hatch. Artol unlocks the hatch and Brill spends several hours deciphering how to use it and shows the rest of the party. The party rests in this chamber for the evening.

Tears for Twilight Hollow, Day 3 Fifteenth & Sixteenth Game

Tempest Tower Dungeon, Tomb (V5d) and Treasure Vault (V5e)

The party returns to the entry chamber and decides to explore the southern passage. Brill is piloting the metal beholder. The party descends a short staircase into a large chamber; the floor is covered in a few inches of water. Thirteen sarcophaguses line the walls of the room. Artol finds a magical trap on the sarcophagi in the center of the southern wall. Artol thinks he has disabled the trap. Diz retreats to the top of the stairs in case he hasn’t. Darius opens the sarcophagi and lightning arcs to the floor and water; the trap catches Darius, Paks, and Artol. Behind the sarcophagi the party finds a treasure vault. Paks and Darius investigate. They find a +1 small wooden shield of lightning resistance, a +1 shock half-spear, and eight potions (potion of heroism; potion of spider climb; potion of protection from elements, fire; potion of fire breath; potion of bull’s strength; potion of darkvision; potion of sneaking). When Darius takes the shield from the wall, he sets off a trap that fills the room with a cloud of ungol dust. Luckily Paks and Darius both avoid the effects of the dust.

Tempest Tower Dungeon, Entry Chamber (V5a)

Brill, in the beholder sphere, and his familiar Stoney return to the entry chamber and attempt to clear the northern passage.

Brill has been working on the cave-in for approximately a half-hour when he suddenly has the feeling he is being watched. He turns the mechanical beholder around and sees a dark haired young man, with no expression on his face, leaning against the wall. He is bare chested and wears a coat with red dragons on the collars.

Brill uses one of the beholder sphere wands to cast hold person on the stranger. Brill can’t tell whether the spell had any effect, so he has Stoney poke him from within the wall. The stranger looks at the wall and steps away from it.

Brill pops the hatch on the beholder sphere to confront the individual, and when he looks out the stranger is just gone.

Tempest Tower Dungeon, Tomb (V5d) and Passages (V5f)

In the meantime, the rest of the party explores the small passages leading from the tomb. The floors of the passages are covered in several inches of water. The party finds a small, dry ledge. On the ledge is a skeleton covered with yellowish ooze.

The ooze suddenly attacks. Diz strike the creature with her nunchaku and it splits into two smaller creatures. Darius calls upon the light of Moradin’s forge and casts searing light upon the ooze; the spell seems to injure it. Paks throws a flask of oil onto one of the creatures. One of the creatures strikes Darius. Diz drinks her potion of fire breath and breathes fire on the creature Paks hit with the oil, setting it on fire. Paks throws oil at the other creature lighting it on fire; this creature also separates into two creatures. Between Diz breathing fire on the creatures and the damage from the burning oil, the three creatures are destroyed.

Paks recognizes that the skeleton belongs to a creature known as a meazel. The party recovers a +1 magical dagger with the ability to turn its wielder invisible (as the spell cast by a 5th level sorcerer) once per day.

The party returns to the entry chamber to check on Brill.

Tempest Tower Dungeon, Hall of the Mechanical Beholder (V5c)

Just as the rest of the party rejoins Brill, he breaks through into the next chamber. In the chamber the party finds a non-functional metal mechanical umber hulk.

As the party turns to leave the chamber they see Brill’s stranger and two other individuals: a tall, stately, bald-headed elf woman with a pinched face; and a bare chested dwarf with grayish skin and curling black serpent tattoos on his arms. The stranger addresses the party, “I have nothing against any of you. There is no reason for you to die at my hands.

The party shocked at the sudden appearance of the stranger his words - and not knowing who he and his companions are - allows them to depart without challenge.

The party departs the temple ruins and returns to the valley above. On the way out, Artol traps the beholder hatch and the entrance to the tunnel leading into the ruins.

Head of Talos, Entry Chamber (V6a) & Centipede Lair (v6b)

The party continues its exploration of the valley and finds the head of the statue of Talos lying on its side in a pool of water. One of the statues eyes is below water level, the other is above.

Darius walks up the statue to the eye above water level and looks in as Diz climbs up to stand on the nose. Brill casts fly and prepares to join them. Darius walks inside on the ‘ceiling’ of the chamber (V6a). As he enters, a 60-foot long gargantuan centipede emerges from a rear chamber and attacks. As the centipede battles Darius, Diz jumps the gap in the ‘floor’ and lands on the ‘side’ of the curving staircase. She attacks the centipede and stuns it. Suddenly, the withered crone Skriku, a green hag, leaps from the water below, lands next to Diz, and attacks. Brill flys into the main chamber, casts haste on himself, and attacks the old crone. The centipede hits Darius and injects him with a poison; Darius’ equilibrium is thrown off and he feels clumsier. Brill strikes Skriku twice and channels a spell – shocking grasp - through his sword during one of his attacks. Darius casts searing light and strikes the centipede – cutting of the beast’s head. Diz strikes the crone a final blow and kills her. Darius explores the centipede lair and finds it empty.

Meanwhile, outside, Paks and Artol kill a stirge and drive off two others.

Head of Talos, Skriku's Lair (V6c) & Treasure Vault (V6d)

Darius breaks through the ‘wall’ of the staircase and enters the circular staircase. Off of the staircase Darius and the party see another chamber. Hanging from the chamber’s ceiling are the remains of four humanoids – the remains of the previous party looking for Shaunnra. Below the poor souls the rest of the chamber is flooded.

Darius cast water breathing upon himself and, with a rope tied about his waist, jumps into the water. He explores the submerged portion of this chamber and the one beyond. In the next chamber, Darius finds a chest balanced upon a submerged beam. Darius takes the rope from around his waist and ties it to the chest. Darius returns to the stairwell and pulls the chest up. After Artol determines there are no traps, he opens it. The party recovers 326 gp, 125 sp, a potion of darkvision, a potion of delay poison, a potion of levitation, an arcane scroll inscribed with the spell claws of darkness, a divine scroll of dominate animal, and a bag of holding (type I). The bag of holding contained a +1 suit of studded leather, a suit of masterwork half-plate, a silver basilisk statue whose eyes are two beads of force, a golden chalice with an amethyst inlay, a grappling hook with 50 feet of silk rope, a healers kit, three bedrolls, three backpacks, and 15 days of trail rations.

The party cuts the bodies down and buries them in the valley with appropriate rites.

Tempest Tower Valley

Continuing their exploration of the valley, the party encounters the spirit of Shaunnra squire. The party asks the spirit where Shaunnra is. The spirit replies, “Under twilight hollow, in the catacombs, beneath a blanket of earth.” When asked how we can find her soul, the spirit replied, “It took her to the catacombs, the realm of the dead. Search there and you will find her.” When asked what killed Shaunnra the spirit said, “An undead devil. It has no name.” When asked how Shaunnra died, the spirit moaned, “It came from the fog with death in its eyes. My Shaunnra … my teeeeeacher… She drew her sword and calllled upon Holy Illmater to fight beside her. I diiiiied. Shaunnnraaaaa. Shauuuuuuunnraaaaaaa. The evil stole your soul. It took you away. Shaunnra … I will find you.” The party asked where he died and the squire pointed to the south and replied, “Here in the valley, near the sunken cauldron.” When asked why the creature took Shaunnra’s soul the spirit replied, “He feeds on it even now, as we speak.

The party heads south and locates the sunken depression (V7). Nearby are the squire’s body and that of his horse. The party buries his body and that of his horse.

The party sets up camp for the night.

Game Note:

For shattering nine booby-trapped skeletons with her divine might and other great deeds, Paks the Paladin of Yondalla is awarded 1750 XP.

For bringing fiery wrathful death to three pitiable crawlers and other magical finesse Brillock the Spellsword is awarded 1750 XP.

For making an unseen menace visible and triggering every trap (oh, and some other heroic stuff too) Darius the Priest of Moradin is awarded 1750 XP.

For fighting one-on-one with a vegetative giant and other deeds of speedy spectacle Dizindra the Monk is awarded 1750 XP.

Artol is awarded 1000 XP.

Tears for Twilight Hollow, Day 4 Sixteenth & Seventeenth Game Session

Tempest Tower Valley & the Village of Twilight Hollow

In the morning the party leaves the swap and heads back to the village. As they travel back, the sky darkens and becomes overcast. A strange lightning streaks from the clouds. Diz notices the dwarf with snake tattoos watching us from a distant mountaintop.

Our gnome friend, Dhokkel, greets us when we finally reach Twilight Hollow. He tells us that our assistant, Jothamus, has arrived and negotiated with him for the purchase of the smithy on our behalf. Dhokkel says the agreed upon price is 50,000 gp. He will require a 20,000 gp deposit and the rest of the money can be paid over time. He also tells us that Jothamus has stated that he will oversee the smithy for us when we are away. When the party and Dhokkel reach the smithy he points out Jothamus, a dark skinned human with black hair; the party realizes that this human is – was – the quasit Jot. The party tells Dhokkel that they will consider the price for the smithy and discuss it with him later, but first they need to worry about Shaunnra’s soul.

After Dhokkel departs the party questions Jot and learns that he “stole” the standing stone spell from another faux human and was able to become a faux human himself.

Darius is shocked by the turn of events. Jot, a quasit demon now in human form stands before him. Darius had vowed to slay the creature and send it back to the abyss. Darius charges Jot – Jothamus – as he utilizes his phylactery of faithfulness and prays to Moradin for guidance; he learns that Moradin does not want Darius to harm Jothamus at this time. Darius swings his waraxe past Jothamus and into the ground beside him. He growls a warning to Jot, “Behave yourself, or feel the bite of my axe.

Brill sends Stoney looking for the catacombs while we head to the temple to speak with Paraster. She tells us that she doesn’t know anything about any catacombs, but she has gained some information about vampires. She says that to truly slay the evil creatures, the party needs first needs to kill the beast and then stake it through the heart while it is resting in its coffin, cut off the creature’s head, douse it in holy water, and then burn the body and head. She says that once we kill the creature, we need to accomplish the rest of the necessary action with an hour. She also tells us that vampire spwan can’t create other vampires. The party donates a 100 gp to the temple in exchange for her help.

Stoney returns and informs Brill that he hasn’t been able to find anything.

The Double Bolt Inn (T1j and T1m) & Under the Double Bolt Inn (U1)

The party decides to return to the Double Bolt Inn. When the party enters their room, they see a man – the man from the dining room their first night in town – going through their belongings. The man casts a spell and steps through a dimension door; Diz jumps through the door after him and they disappear.

Suddenly, the party hears Diz yelling out to them from behind the walls of their bedroom. Brill rushes upstairs to question the innkeeper. Darius decides to take a more direct approach and charges into the wall where he heard Diz’s voice; Darius crashes through the wall and finds a passage and a ladder leading down. Diz has already descended – she jumped down the chute and used her skills to prevent herself from being injured. Artol runs after Darius and starts down the ladder; suddenly a rung breaks free and Artol begins to fall, but he manages to catch himself. Artol continues down and catches up to Diz. Paks follows Darius through the hole in the wall and joins Darius at the ladder. Diz trips and stuns the wizard and is then confronted by a muscular man in his mid-20’s with a scar and six other brigands. Artol charges the leader and attacks. The leader counters and the other brigands attack. Diz pummels the wizard, but he turns and flees. As he runs, Artol strikes him and knocks him unconscious. Three other brigands arrive: the wife of the wizard, a woman with bruised arms, and a man with a red cap. Brill finally arrives and casts a lightning bolt killing the man in the red cap and three other brigands. Artol continues to battle the brigand leader while Diz tumbles past the brigands and subdues the woman with the bruised arms. The wizard and his wife dimension door away and Brill and Artol kill the remaining two brigands. The party captures Ghosgor – the man with the scar – and Sestra. Ghosgor tells us that we have incurred the wrath of Harular’s Claws. The party does learn that the wizard and his wife arrived hear a few days before the party did and that they know Harular. They claim not to know anything else about them.

The party recovers a +1 longsword, a +2 cloak of resistance, 187 gp, eight bloodstones (50 gp each), a ring made from an orc toe bone, a necklace of brass dragon wyrmling teeth, and a potion of spider climb.

Brill and Diz tie up the prisoners and escort them back to the temple of Illmater for imprisonment. While there they learn that Andress is gone.

Under the Double Bolt Inn, Harular's Hall (U3)

The party continues to explore the subterranean chambers. The party encounters a large hall with several doors. The party examines the two rooms along the southern wall (U4 and U5). The first room is comfortable with a cot, quilt, a wolf fur cloak and an alchemist’s lab. The second room contains a wooden dummy with painted black eyes pierced by needles and hooks. The dummy holds a small portable shrine to Loviatar.

As the party continues north up the hall they come to a stream that bisects the chamber. As the party reaches the stream, Harular’s Claws attack: Harular, a male half-halfling, half-green dragon; Dyrch, the deformed human who works for Andress; Olipur Shatterstar, male gnome; a pair of giant lizards; and a pair of howlers. Artol uses his dagger to become invisible and silently jumps across the stream. Brill moves forward, but is attacked by an invisible human – Glaster, a sorcerer. Brill survives the attack and casts a lightning bolt that kills Dyrch. Diz attacks the sorcerer and they trip each other – Diz is shocked that a mere sorcerer could trip her. Darius cast a silence spell on the area across the stream to prevent spellcasting and the howler’s trademark ‘howl’. Paks slays the sorcerer and moves across the bridge. Artol attempts to attack Harular by surprise, but fails. Harular breathes a cloud of corrosive greenish gas on Paks and Darius. Brill casts magic missile at Olipur. Darius casts air walk and prepares to cross the stream. Harular and the howlers attack Paks and slay her before she can retreat from the bridge. Artol slays a lizard and Diz kills Olipur. Brill moves across the bridge and slays Harular with his sword and a channeled shocking grasp spell. Diz slays the two howlers and the remaining lizard.

Between the defeated Harular’s Claws and the remaining two rooms (U6 and U7) the party recovers 360 pp, 152 gp, 18 sp, a suit of +2 leather armor, a +1 ring of protection, +1 keen short sword, a +1 dagger, a mighty (+4) short bow, 22 +1 arrows, boots of speed, a gray bag of tricks, a potion of resist elements (fire), an ivory horn (15 gp), a key, a masterwork short sword, a suit of leather armor, dust of disappearance, a vial of poison, +1 bracers of armor, an arcane scroll of expeditious retreat, a wand of sleep (23 charges), 100 tinder twigs, an ebony box (225 gp), a green cloak (45 gp), a set of six platinum bracelets (900 gp total value), a set of masterwork thieves tools, and a pair of collapsible stilts.

Game Note: Brill, Darius, and Diz are awarded 3850 XP. Artol is awarded 1925 XP.

Village of Twilight Hollow

The party prepares to return to the village. Diz feverishly constructs a makeshift stretcher to carry her good friend Paks in. Diz says, "I hope they don't give us any trouble when we ask them to resurrect her. I know their head cleric, Andress, is not to be found at the moment - we were told that when we took the prisoners in." Diz pauses, asks Darius about the state of the party funds, and then says wryly, "We may have to spend all of this to get Paks back. If any of you need some quick lessons in detachment from material possessions, I'd be happy to give you them."

Darius and Diz carry Paks back to the village on the stretcher and the party heads for the Temple of Illmater. Gwenned meets the party at the temple gates. She tells them that Andress is not in the temple and that she is the only one who can return life to the dead. Kendra arrives and says that we might be able to tap into the power of the spell that Andress cast to raise Shaunnra. The party follows Kendra and takes Paks’ body into the temples inner sanctum. She says she needs some items of value to help power the spell. The party sacrifices a +1 dagger, a +1 longsword, a suit of +2 studded leather armor, and a suit of +2 leather armor. Paks is placed on the floor and the party forms a ring around her with their hands linked. Kendra tells the party that they can’t break their ring until Paks is back or she will be lost forever. Kendra lays out her cards and begins casting her spell. The spell takes a while to cast.

Paks is in a white misty location. The halfling goddess Yondalla appears to Paks and tells her that this was her correct and proper place to die, but she is still needed. Yondalla tells Paks she is going to restore her to life, but in doing so Yondalla opens the possibility of another doing something similar. Yondalla tells Paks that she must protect one of her party members – this person must not die. Yondalla says she cannot tell Paks which party member must be protected, for that could unduly change things. She tells Paks that if this party member dies, Paks will also die - immediately.

Game Note: Paks is reduced to 36,000 XP, the start of 9th level.

Darius and Diz carry Paks back to the village on the stretcher and the party heads for the Temple of Illmater. Gwenned meets the party at the temple gates. She tells them that Andress is not in the temple and that she is the only one who can raise the dead. Kendra arrives and says that we might be able to tap into the power of the spell that Andress cast to raise Shaunnra. The party follows Kendra and takes Paks body into the temples inner sanctum. She says she needs some items of value to help power the spell. The party sacrifices a +1 dagger, a +1 longsword, a suit of +2 studded leather armor, and a suit of +2 leather armor. Paks is placed on the floor and the party forms a ring around her with their hands linked. Kendra lays out her cards and begins casting her spell. The spell takes a while to cast.

The party can feel Paks drawing closer. She is almost back when explosions suddenly occur outside. Paraster runs into the inner sanctum and informs everyone that bandits are attacking the village.

Several of the bandits – a half-orc in plate armor, two priests with scourges, and the ‘prisoners’ Ghosgor and Sestra – enter the inner sanctum and move to attack. They bandits easily defeat Kendra and Paraster. Stoney and Jothamus arrive and they attack the prisoners; one of the prisoners battles Jothamus while the other runs off. Paks finally returns and the party can now move to subdue the brigands. One of the priests attacks Diz, but misses. Diz slays the half-orc and Brill summons a flaming sphere killing the two priests.

Diz and Brill chase the fleeing prisoner out into the streets where they are caught in a fireball cast by an unseen assailant. Around them the village is on fire and orcs are riding through town killing the villagers. Diz spots Dyson up on a rooftop across the street; she rushes across the street and climbs the building to confront Dyson. Standing on the roof behind Dyson is Henwen; she is holding a knife to the throat of a little girl. Dyson orders Diz to stop or Henwen will kill the child. Diz stops short and drinks a potion of protection form elements (fire) while she ponders what to do. Dyson casts a cone of cold at Diz, but she evades the spell. Next Dyson summons a howler on the rooftop. Diz, unable to attack Dyson because Henwen holds the little girl, drops off the roof to the ground. She races around the building and climbs up behind Henwen. Once there, she attacks Henwen by surprise, killing her and rescuing the child. Darius casts searing light at Dyson, but his shield protects him from the spell. Diz slays the howler and then picks up the little girl and flees the rooftop. Brill casts magic missile at Dyson, but his shield absorbs it. Paks finally joins the fight and reaches the wall of the house unobserved. Dyson is surprised when she steps back and throws a bead of force at him, encasing him in a sphere of force.

While Diz battled Dyson, Brill, Stoney, and Darius, defended the villagers from the orcs.

After Dyson was encased in the sphere, Darius heads for the rooftop to guard Dyson and the rest of the party finishes off the bandits and tend to the wounded and fires. As it nears the time that the sphere of force will expire Brill and Paks join Darius on the rooftop. Just as the sphere dissipates, Dyson casts darkness and tries to leap away; Paks and Darius miss, but Brill strikes Dyson and kills him.

The party recovers Dyson’s undying staff, a block of incense of meditation, a wand of non-detection, a +2 cloak of charisma, and a +1 battleaxe.

Only three villagers and ten temple guards were slain in the attack.

The party returns to the inn and rests for the night.

Game Note: Brill, Darius, Diz, and Paks are awarded 2300 XP. Diz is awarded an extra 50 XP for saving the little girl. Artol is awarded 1150 XP.

Tears for Twilight Hollow, Day 5 Seventeenth & Eighteenth Game Session

Under the Temple of Ilmater

The party returns to the catacombs beneath the inn and travel north from Harular’s Hall (U3). The party locates another large chamber bisected by a stream (U22) with a door to the north, a set of stairs leading to the west, and a hall leading to the east. The party heads down the hall to the east and encountered a total of 18 orc skeletons. The skeletons attacked in three waves. Paks called upon the power of Yondalla and turned the first and third wave, reducing the skeletons to dust; Darius called upon Moradin and destroyed the second wave.

Continuing on, the passage splits; one branch heads north and the other east. Heading east the party located a crypt (U18). As the party prepares to explore the crypt, Darius thinks he sees something in the next chamber (U19). In the next chamber, the party finds a stone sarcophagus; the lid has been shattered on the floor and the sides of the sarcophagus are covered in scratches as if something had been clawing at it. A rough 4-foot diameter tunnel leads to the east. Examining the tunnel, Artol finds a secret compartment containing six chrysoberyls (800 gp total), a malachite dagger (70 gp), and a block of incense of meditation. Examining the scratches, Darius realizes that they form a few words over and over again in undercommon: hungry, lonely, and mine.

The party follows the passage and it emerges in the center of a 12-foot high oval cave (U20). The floor of the cave is covered several feet deep with bones. Using his slippers of spider climbing, Darius walks in on the ceiling of the chamber and Artol follows using a potion of spider

climb; Diz jumps down to the “floor” of the chamber. Hiding on the ceiling is a choker. Upon spotting it Darius attacks. The choker strikes Darius but is slain by Artol.

Another circular passage leads out of the choker lair back to the main crypt (U19). As the party finishes exploring the crypt, Darius set off a trap and narrowly avoids a poisoned spear.

The party heads back and follows the northern passage to a bridge crossing another underground stream. Across the bridge is a lager chamber (U15) with three other passages heading north. A ladder on the east wall leads upwards. An unconscious male human in stained white robes is chained to the northern wall (L). When Paks is unable to rouse him, she calls upon Yondalla to heal him. Although the power of Yondalla restores the man to consciousness, he is still too weak to speak. While Diz heads up the ladder to see where it leads, Darius picks up the injured man and walks up the wall after Diz. When Diz opens the trapdoor at the top of the ladder she triggers a glyph of warding, but avoids any serious injury. Entering the chamber at the top of the ladder, the party find themselves in a 15-foot x 15-foot room with no other obvious entrances; one wall is dominated by a fireplace, another by a bookcase filled with scrolls and a desk and chair sit against a third wall, opposite the bookcase. Small statuettes of Ilmater and various saints of the faith lie about the chamber. The chamber appears to a small room within the temple of Ilmater. Artol locates a secret door located in the back of the fireplace. Darius lays the injured man on the floor and enters the next chamber – a bedchamber clearly within the temple. Darius throws open the door leading from the bedchamber and pounds on the wall with his armored fist yelling out, “Alarm! To arms faithful of Illmater! To arms! Aide is needed, faithful of Ilmater.

Relx responds to Darius’ call and brings two acolytes with him. Relx is shocked by the party’s sudden appearance within the temple. Once the party calms him down, they ask him to take care of the man they found in the catacombs. Relx recognizes him as a Cleric of Ilmater who visited a few weeks back; Relx tells us his name is Levetron. Relx has the acolytes take him somewhere where he can rest and receive aid. The party asks where Andress is, but Relx doesn’t know. They try to suggest that she may not be trust worthy. He doesn’t believe it, but the fact that the secret passage leads to her private chambers does cause him some confusion. Relx agrees to post a guard at the catacomb entrance.

The party returns to the catacombs and explores the passages leading north from the chamber where they found Levetron. Artol finds that glyphs of warding protect the passage. Artol disables one of the glyphs and the party continues on. The party encounters a trio of Gelatinous Cubes; Paks is enveloped by one of the creatures. The party finally slays the creatures and rescue Paks.

The party returns to the large chamber bisected by a stream (U22) and determine that the door on the north wall is a guard station. The party rushes the guard station slaying one guard and a rapid wolverine; the party captures a second guard. Diz takes the prisoner back to the temple.

The party follows the stairway and passage leading to the west and discovers that it has recently collapsed - blocking the passage. The party decides to return to the inn and determine their next step.

In town, the young girl Diz saved from Dyson and Henwen approaches us and asks us to save her brother, Brenner. She says he went missing at the Uhlstan farm; that was where Dyson captured, after the brigands burst from the barn.

Under the Uhlstan Farm

The party travels to the farm, located to the northwest of town. Upon arrival, the party found the barn and silo empty and that the well appears normal. Within the barn Paks finds a trap door opening onto an abandoned well shaft. At the bottom of the shaft, the party locates a secret door leading into a new passage within the catacombs.

As the party follows the passage to the east, Artol pressure plate that is tied to a stone block trap; Artol disables the trap. The party locates a room (U10) – a guardroom – and at least two guards. One of the guards steps into the hall with a torch. As he returns to the guardroom, Artol and Diz try to sneak up on him. As they move in, the guard hears them and turns around. Artol and Diz try to attack him but fail. Paks puts an arrow into the guard’s head, slaying him. Diz moves into the guardroom and subdues the other guard, taking him prisoner.

The prisoner tells the party that there is a jail down the hall. Artol turns invisible and explores further down the hall. Artol finds a room (U11) with a large eye painted upon the wall. When Artol returns and informs the party, the prisoner tells them that the room with the eye is the orcs chamber, the jail is further on. The party ties and gags the prisoner before moving on.

Darius, Paks, and Brill stand guard near the entrance to the orcs chamber while Artol and Diz sneak to the jail (U12 & U13). When they enter the jail, undead orc skeletons attack Artol and Diz. The jailor – Sharloc – is dressed as a follower of Loviatar. Artol runs from the chamber calling for help; Brill runs to the jail and casts a fireball, killing Sharlock and eight of the skeletons. As Paks moves to help Brill and Diz, Darius calls out a challenge to the orcs and enters their chamber; Artol follows Darius in. Darius and Artol slay eight orcs while Diz, Paks, and Brill destroy two more skeletons and an animated copper urn. The party finds two people locked up in the jail: a young boy – Bremen, and a crazy man, a worshipper of Loviatar. Diz takes the boy back to the farm and sends him back to town and the rest of the party ties up the crazy man and leaves him with the other prisoner in the guardroom.

The House of Torment

The party continues to explore the passage leading to the east. Artol locates and bypasses a trap in the hall and the party enters another section of the catacombs. The hall turns to the south; there is an opening along the west wall and a strange door on the east wall. The opening the west wall leads to a chamber containing a forge (U25); there is a fire pit on the south wall and an anvil on the floor in front of it. As the party approaches the fire pit, the fire – in reality a fire elemental – attacks. Darius casts dismissal and sends the creature back to its home plane. The party recovers 250 gp, a potion of cure moderate wounds, and a potion of protection from elements, fire.

Game Note: Brill, Darius, Diz, and Paks are awarded 1000 XP. Artol is awarded 500 XP. Brill, Darius, and Diz advance to 10th level

The door on the east wall is fashioned from iron and stained blood red; there is no keyhole. The doorknob is located inside a gaping demon’s maw. Since there doesn’t seem to be any other way of opening the door, Darius garbs the doorknob and the demon maw bites down upon his hand. Although the “bite” doesn’t cause much damage it is excruciatingly painful – the worst pain Darius has ever experienced. Darius actually winces. But the door does open.

Behind the door is an octagonal chamber. A barbed iron candlestick rises from the center of the floor, four steel masks hang on the diagonal walls, and a metal coffin sits in an alcove to the south. Another “biting door” is on the north wall. As Darius enters the room, the floor suddenly tilts up towards the coffin and it opens. The coffin is lined with steel spikes. Darius avoids being thrown into the coffin – his slippers keep him “glued” to the floor. A wraith rises from the floor to attack, but Paks turns the creature and it flees the room.

Paks opens the “biting door” on the north wall – and suffers through the pain. The door leads to a short flight of stairs that leads to a large hall (U27). As the party explores the hall they find two secret doors. The secret door on the west wall leads back into the chamber with the metal coffin trap. The door on the east wall leads into another octagonal chamber (U28). A half-elf, his faced ruined by fire, is shackled to an upright X-shaped cross. Floating next to the half-elf is a creature with red skin, sharp teeth, and a dozen spindly claws hanging from its bulbous form; the creature is a rast. The party slays the creature and Diz then frees the half-elf from the cross.

The half-elf says his name is Darvain Evenhand and that he was captured by brigands a few weeks ago. He tells us that this place is called The House of Torment and Evelyth, an evil cleric of Loviatar who hides her face behind a spiked iron mask, runs it. When asked, Darvain tell us that his tormentor turned into a black cloud and seeped into the floor as the party entered; he also says that the cloak and scourge on the floor belonged to her. Paks attempts to determine Darvain’s intentions and is overwhelmed – stunned – by a complete sense of evil. The party attempts to subdue Darvain, but he resists and attempts to attack the party. After a short fight, Diz finally dazes and captures Darvain. Darvain turned out to be Bhell, a cleric of Loviatar.

The party debates what to do with their prisoner; we don’t dare leave him behind and we don’t have time to take him back to the temple – we must still save Shaunnra’s soul. We also can’t risk taking him with us. Some suggest that he be killed, but Paks resists the idea. She says that she isn’t a judge; the cleric’s of Yondalla perform that service. Bhell’s judgment should be left to the townsfolk or to the temple. Darius asks Moradin for guidance and makes a decision. He asks Paks to check the hall for signs of others, and as Paks steps into the hall, he beheads Bhell. Darius turns to Paks and says, “I’m sorry Paks. It had to be done. He was truly evil and he has faced the judgment of Moradin, as I am his servant. We can now continue our quest to save Shaunnra.” Paks is not happy. She takes Bhell’s severed head so that he can be questioned at a later time to determine if the judgment was just. The party recovers a +1 ring of protection from Bhell’s body.

Paks opens the “biting door” on the southern wall of Bhell’s chamber (U28) and is knocked to the ground by an invisible opponent; claw marks appear upon her body as a feline growl is heard. Darius casts invisibility purge and a large feline creature – a hellcat, a devil – appears on top of Paks. The party quickly slays the creature. As the creature dies, its evil energy dissipates and stains the wall.

The party continues south through another chamber and locates a short set of stairs that apparently leads to the Temple of Loviatar (U33). As the party approaches, an ancient, alien voice telepathically speaks to them, “Come, I am waiting. Shaunnra is waiting.

The party enters the temple and is confronted by two otyugh zombies, a rust monster zombie, four monstrous spider zombies, and another 15-foot tall undead creature standing behind a massive stone cauldron that emanates a strong sense of evil. The large undead

creature is gaunt and its ribcage is exposed; within the ribcage is the shriveled form of a woman – Shaunnra. The creature – a devourer – smiles and the woman begins to shudder and wail. Paks and Darius call upon Yondalla and Moradin and destroy the zombies. The devourer summons a spectral hand and strikes Darius, draining him of his life energy (Game Note: Darius suffer a negative level, He later recovers it through a restoration spell). As the party fights the devourer, a cleric of Loviatar and eight skeletons attack from behind. Darius destroys the skeletons while Brill slays the cleric. While Darius and Brill deal with the new threat, Paks, Diz, and Artol slay the devourer. As the devourer dies, the creature’s rib cage opens and Shaunnra’s soul floats free of its prison. A bright glow surrounds her soul and she speaks, “Thank you brave souls for freeing me. Please take these items as thanks and put them to good use.” A set of +2 half-plate, a +1 large steel shield of light fortification, and a +2 holy bastard sword appears in front of Paks. The shield bears the fading symbol of Illmater’s faith in its place the symbol of Yondalla’s faith begins to appear.

A balcony (U34) overlooks the temple and a pair of hallways with many “biting doors” leads from it. The party rushes to the hallways looking for Andress – they don’t want her to escape. The party locates a series of secret doors on the inside walls of the hallway. Artol open one of the doors and the party rushes inside. There they confront Andress and her cohorts: a Xill cleric of Loviatar and an animated iron altar. After a viscous struggle, the party defeats her, the Xill, and the altar. The party recovers a ring of mind shielding, a +1 spiked chain, a darkmantle cloak, a robe of fire resistance, a mask of silent casting, and +1 lawful short sword.

The party finishes exploring the House of Torment and recovers the following items: a carved bone statuette depicting a skeletal knight (30 gp), a gold bracelet (55 gp), a silver ewer (60 gp), a silver pendant set with four red garnets (450 gp), a rock crystal flask (100 gp), a black cloth mask sewn with four moonstones and dozens of tiny silver hooks (260 gp), a jade comb shaped like a green dragon (180 gp), a gold circlet set with a fiery yellow corundum (1,500 gp), a hollowed out minotaur’s horn set with bloodstones (300 gp), an azurite tube (25 gp) containing three doses of stone salve, a three-chambered flask containing three potions, a scroll tube made from a unicorn’s horn (250 gp) containing an arcane scroll of lightning bolt (maximized, 12th level). The flask contained potions of hiding, snaking, and wisdom. The party also recovered a letter from Gulthias and Andress’s diary. The letter discusses her continuing success in town, the coming of an imminent storm, and asks her to destroy any visitors and the diary tells how Gulthias originally corrupted Andress and that Andress has let Gulthias feed upon her.

When the party returns to the battle site with Andress, her body is gone.

Village of Twilight Hollow

The party returns to Twilight Hollow and is confronted by Andress; she is trying to incite the townsfolk again the party. Before the party can respond, Levetron arrives with several other members of the temple of Illmater. Levetron tells the town how Andress captured him and tortured him. He says that she is responsible for all of the hardships the town has been experiencing.

Andress sneers and says, “Despair, you blind and suffering fools! Your pain and sorrow is wine in my chalice. You sought refuge in a weak god, but it is Loviatar who now holds your fate. You have a choice: Embrace the hardship and misery of life, or suffer a painful death!

The townsfolk turn upon her and she dies laughing.

Levetron speaks to the townsfolk and the party, “The evil that threatened to consume this village has been defeated. Through tears and suffering, we have triumphed. Our faith in Illmater has made us stronger, and the next time evil shows its face, we will have the strength to vanquish it. We must remember the sacrifices of those who died to save this village, and the heroes who helped us through the darkness. They will forever be in our prayers.

Game Note: Brill, Darius, and Diz, are awarded 10,000 XP.
Paks is awarded 9,000 XP.
Artol is awarded 8,000 XP.
Brill, Darius, and Diz advance to 11th level.
Paks advances to 10th level.
Artol advances to 9th level.

Epilogue

The town gives the party the Uhlstan farm and the party decides to make this their home, at least for now.

The party destroys Dyson’s undying staff and the whistle nightcaller that they recovered back in the Sunless Citadel.

The party also decides to purchase the town’s smithy from the Gnome Dhokkel. The party agrees to his purchase price of 50,000 gp with a down payment of 20,000 gp and the rest of the money paid over time.

The party sells all gems, artworks, and non-magical items. The party also sold several magic items: +1 studded leather armor, arcane scroll expedition retreat, +2 half plate, +1 rapier of durgeddin make, +1 shock heavy flail, +1 battleaxe, +1 bastard sword of durgeddin make, +1 spiked chain. The party uses most of the money to pay 22,325 gp towards the smithy and divides up the rest. Each party member receives 1406 gp and Artol receives 703 gp. Jothamus, will oversee the day-to-day operation of the smithy.

Levetron, the Aasimar Cleric of Illmater, became the leader of the temple in Twilight Hollow.

Game Note: Brill, Darius, Diz, and Paks are awarded 3,600 XP. Artol is awarded 1,800 XP.