Saintsday 22nd Sun’s Rise yr 2534
Summary: Astrology tower, Tiamat’s Tail, Master’s tower, giant spiders, crumbling buildings, west wing, the ghost in the wet lab, shark pit, dark room. Regroup in Lake Town, parley
Continuing through the ancient complex, the party decide to head upstairs to the roof and try the glyph seals they found in the door to the north tower (astrology tower). To their surprise, the seal works and the doors slide open, closing securely behind them as they enter revealing the inside of the tower and a narrow spiraling staircase ascending through the hollow tower to a short balcony 60feet above them.
Carefully climbing the stairs, they reach the door and open it, entering a large library room filled from ceiling to floor with tall wooden bookshelves crammed with books. Another spiral staircase ascends further to the highest level of the tower. As they explore, the PCs realize that the structure has been weakened by the many years of neglect and each footstep causes masonry to crumble and fall away from the walls. Dashel,Mikhail and Folkvar decide to wait on the initial stairs in the safety of large support pillars while the lighter folk explore the higher levels. Alhena and Rosilee help themselves to a few books from the shelves before following Carlos up the stairs to another balcony at the top of a hollow circular tower built above the library.
Opening the door at the top, the three step out onto the flat roof of the tower, the morning breeze a refreshing comfort from the stuffy interior of the complex. Taking in the commanding views of the surrounding area including Lake Town, The Plain of Salamon, Lake Pechwe and Greenwood Vale, the PCs notice that a bunch of lit torches are visible in the early dawn on the far side of the island at the center of Lake Pechwe in the distance, the PCs are unsure of what they could be but decide they must be Lizardfolk massing for another attack on Lake Town and make a note to warn the town on their return. They also notice that Tiamat’s Tail, the star which had disappeared is now back- and much larger. Alhena deduces that it is approaching Orithia at speed and that it will impact within hours! Unable to do anything about the approaching star the PCs decide to press on with exploring the complex and hurry back to town as soon as possible.
Before they leave, the PCs notice strange spheres, dots and spirals carved into the roof of the tower, some set with precious gems. Alhena deciphers (with Carlos’ help) that the symbols represent stars and other celestial bodies and that the carvings indicate a prophecy which will come about at a time which seems centered around the movement of Tiamat’s Tail! Either that time is now or the impending approach of Tiamat’s Tail IS the prophecy. The group quickly pry as many stones from the roof as they can then head back down the tower to the roof and share their findings with the others.
Heading south over the roof of the complex as the sun starts to climb over the Diamondstar Mountains to the east, the PCs open the door to the south tower (Master’s Tower) with the glyph seal. This tower is laid out much like the north one except that it is in an even worse state of repair. Carefully making their way past fallen masonry and up crumbling steps, the party reach the top of the tower and open the door revealing a room similarly shaped to the north tower’s library- except that the ceiling of the room- and all the ceilings of the rooms above have all collapsed inwards, apparently caused by the fall of a great bronze pyramid which once capped the top of the tower but has since fallen through the upper cylindrical levels of the tower. The rooms are open to the air and elements and this has taken its toll- patches of damp mold are everywhere and insects buzz through the air.
Warning the party to step lightly lest they risk even more structural damage- Rosi carefull picks her way through the debris, marking a safe path with chalk which the rest of the party follow. Before long however, Rosi turns a corner and walks straight into a giant spider’s web! She is stuck fast and screams for help but as the party rush forward to her rescue the web’s builder crawls silently into view at the top of the stairs and a second spider ambushes the party from behind- spinning a web around Folkvar at the rear of the column. The spiders get the drop on the PCs- Rosi getting bitten and Folkvar receiving a grievous wound from the beasts. Battle is joined and the party splits in two to deal with both threats- Dashel and Carlo coming to Folkvar’s aid and driving off the rear spider while Alhena and Mikhail rush forward and injure the front spider with spell and steel.
Eventually one spider is killed and the other driven off- escaping through the open roof. Searching the rooms, the party find little of value as most of the furnishings have been destroyed by decades of rain and wind. However Folkvar discovers a stout chest hidden under a bed and he and Carlos hastily opening it- neglecting to check it for traps. Folkvar is injured in the resulting fireball explosion but Carlos escapes unscathed. Inside the chest is another glyph seal, this time with a much more complex rune on the front as well as a magical scabbard and lots of coins.
As the PCs descend back towards the roof, Mikhail slips on the uneven stones and falls into the stairwell. Rosi manages to catch him with a feather fall and he begins to float to the ground as the building starts to crumble around them! The party rushes down the stairs with Mikhail floating gracefully down, shield raised to block the falling masonry and they all just manage to get out and seal the door before the entire inside of the tower collapses, shaking the whole complex.
Dusting themselves off, the party make their way back over the broken bridge to the west wing of the complex.
Using their new glyph seal they manage to open the door down into the west block (the wet lab). At the bottom of the stairs, the PCs find a strange room, making up almost the entire size of the west wing. A great tiled room with a pit at the center so large that only a 10 foot walkway exists around the outside and a steel ladder at their feet running down the shaft. The other end of the room is lost to darkness and so is the bottom of the pit. Folkvar uses light on a copper coin and drops it into the pit- guessing at an 80ft drop before it ‘plonks’ into water.
The party begin cautiously making their way around the edge of the tiled pit, a strange mist starts to fill the room, seemingly from the pit. Carlos panics and shouts for everyone to run but before they have a chance, Folkvar is yanked by an invisible force into the pit! His shout echoes up the shaft followed by a loud splash as the party is gripped with supernatural fear- some dropping their weapons as they rush back towards the door and desperately try to get out. As Carlos fumbles with the door which no longer seems to open, an apparition materializes out of the mist with a deep, otherworldly laugh. Alhena gathers her wits and dispels the fear effect which seems to be emanating from the ghost. As she does this the panic drains from the others’ minds somewhat allowing them to regain their composure. Mikhail attempts to shoot the ghost but his arrow has no effect and Carlos declares that the door they entered by no longer works- they should try the one at the other end of the room.
Meanwhile at the bottom of the pit, Folkvar treads water and looks around the room by the light of his shield. A wooden walkway connects the bottom of the ladder with two doors across a room filled with deep, dark water. As he begins to swim toward the walkway he is grabbed by something in the water! A massive fiendish shark with glowing red eyes bites deep into his thigh and drags him underwater.
Hearing his shout, Dashel hurries down the ladder as the others continue to battle the ghost and attempt to get to the other door. Eventually Rosi manages to banish the ghost from the room temporarily by using her bardic oratory performance to shame the restless dead. Suddenly given some room to breathe, Mikhail quaffs his potion of touch of the sea and bravely dives down the pit to Folkvar’s rescue as Dashel continues down the ladder and Rosi and Alhena watch the battle from above.
Folkvar battles with the shark as he holds his breath and eventually manages to break free, despite his injured leg pumping blood into the water. Mikhail lands with a splash nearby and nimbly swims in to keep the shark at bay while Folkvar escapes. Dashel reaches the bottom of the ladder as the others climb out onto the walkway and the shark leaps out of the water to attack Folkvar, crushing him against the wall and attempting to drag him under the water.
Folkvar resists the creature as Rosi’s crossbow finds its mark from the top of the pit and Dashel leaps onto the creature’s back in the water below, skewering it on his greatsword and ending the monstrous thing’s life.
Folkvar begins to climb back up the ladder and Dashel and Mikhail explore one of the rooms connected to the water room. Meanwhile upstairs, curiosity gets the better of the others and as Carlos opens the second door, they enter and begin searching through the crates inside. A strange burning smell- that of burning flesh seems to emanate from the crates and suddenly everything in the room goes dark. Even darkvision and the group’s sunrod cannot penetrate the magical darkness and confused, the three try to back out of the room but bump around in the darkness and only Carlos manages to find the door. Inside, Alhena is bitten by some unknown creature and before she can back away, is paralyzed by its bite! Rosi follows Carlos’ shouts to the exit but when Alhena doesn’t show, she dives back into the pitch room in order to save her. By this time Folkvar has arrived and hurries into the room too.
Downstairs, Dashel and Mikhail find only strange journals and preserved creatures in odd jars so grab a few of each and hurry back up the ladder, following the sounds of Carlos and Folkvar shouting.
Back in the room, Alhena is mauled by the unseen assailant as she is frozen, helpless and starts to bleed out. As Folkvar gropes in the darkness to find Alhena, he too is bitten by the creature as is Carlos. Dashel and Mikhail arrive and rush into the blackness to find their companions and Dashel is also bitten! Rosi backs up and begins to fire bolts into the black, finding her mark once but hitting Alhena too! Chaos ensues as the party panics and desperately tries to get everyone out of the room and into the torchlight of the pit.
Eventually everyone hobbles out or is dragged out- everyone is injured but Alhena, Dashel and Folkvar are seriously wounded and the others divvy out magical healing (the last of their supplies) in order to save them from death. And all without even seeing the creature in the darkness!
Beaten, cut, bruised and tired the party decide enough is enough and leave the complex. They head back to Lake Town to rest for a few days and discuss whether to return.
Arriving in Lake Town later that evening, the PCs witness something truly terrifying. Tiamat’s Tail had been growing larger all day but as the town comes into view, the burning ‘star’ streaks overhead thousands of feet in the sky and disappears over the horizon towards Salamonis! A few seconds later a blinding flash of light marks the impact and is followed by a deep rumbling in the earth. Fearing for the city, the PCs hurry into town to ask about it.
Sun Day 23rd Sun’s Rise yr 2534
Tiamat’s Tail is the talk of the town and riders are sent north to find out Salamonis’ fate. Meanwhile the party take a few days to rest in Lake Town, enjoying the food at Hamfist’s Rest and the healing of the clergy as best they can despite the ever-present worry about Salamonis and Tiamat’s Tail. Meeting with Morgann Veldyncross, Raven and Nightshade, Mikhail warns them off the Talaire presence in Gloomwood and of the possible Lizardfolk presence on the island of Lake Pechwe. Morgann thanks him for the information and explains that reinforcements are on their way from Salamonis (if they haven’t turned back to investigate the star falling).
Trueday 25th Sun’s Rise yr 2534
After recovering their strength, the PCs decide to have one last crack at the Complex in Gloomwood and set off early in the morning after stocking up on supplies such as food and climbing gear and also a custom made- portable bridge, custom made by a carpenter in Lake Town, all carried on the back of their new mule.
Reaching the edge of the forest that evening, they decide to rest before pressing further so that they are fresh for the coming fights.
Weatherday 26th Sun’s Rise yr 2534
Reaching the Complex from the west as previously, Dashel calls for everyone to get down! He has spotted something on the roof of the building, just visible ahead through the trees. Alhena gets her spyglass out and confirms that two Talairen Arhcers are patrolling the roof. Folkvar quickly scouts further north and confirms that there are a few more on other parts of the roof. They are too late! The Talaire control the complex and have fortified their position. Storming the place suddenly got a lot more difficult.
The party discuss their options for a while and eventually Mikhail and Folkvar decide to approach the soldiers and attempt to talk to them. The archers shout when they see the two armed men approach out of the woods and fetch their commanding officer who appears on the roof with a bodyguard of two more soldiers, shields raised and a third warrior- a hulking brute with a helmet shaped like a fearsome toad and a great dao carried in one arm. A tense negotiation occurs, all the while Mikhail and Folkvar staring down arrow points. The PCs offer to help the Talaire explore the complex and kill monsters in return for a share of the findings, Mikhail adds that they have access to glyphs which opens most of the sealed doors. Declining their offer, the Officer demands that they leave the forest for the second and final time and not to return and interfere with Menephene’s business again.
Left with little choice, the party retreat back out of the woods to discuss their options- find some way to gain access to the complex? Or call it a day and return to Salamonis..?
We decided to continue our exploration of the ruins by heading up onto the roof. There were a number of towers that we think we may now be able to gain entry. The first tower is fairly uneventful. However, as we explore the second we are ambushed by giant spiders. As I was taking the rearguard I was suddenly overcome by one of the spiders that dealt me a critical blow. Fortunately the others weren’t to far ahead, and between us we were able to defeat the monsters. In the aftermath of the fighting I discovered an ornate looking chest, and with more greed than care, I opened it. I was caught in the ensuing firey blast. Inside there was some gold, a valuable looking scabbard and another key we have been using to enter the towers.
With 2 towers explored we head back over the broken bridge to explore the smaller building. We use the key to enter and decend the stairs into what has been labelled as the wet lab. It is comprised of a narrow walkway around a deep pit that is filled with water. As we make our way around I am siezed by invisible hands and dragged into the water. I fight for breath as I am not a very good swimmer. Also, I quickly found that I was not alone in the water. I massive predatory fish was in the water with me, and lauched itself at me. It manage to badly injure my leg, but I was able to break free before it dragged me too deeply. Mickael and Dashiel quickly came to my aid and the fish was soon dealt.
Back at the top of the pit, Rosi, Alhena and Carlos vetured into a room on the far side of the pit. The room was unnaturally dark, and inhabited by an useen creature that paralyses with its bite. Alhena was taken by surprise before she could flee and was stuck still inside the room. Dashiel, Mickael and I went into the room to rescue her, but we also barely made it out alive.
With this final travesty we agree to return to Lake Town to recuperate and regain our strength. I feel no remorse leaving the place. It has proven to be far more trouble than its worth. We found no evidence of the artifact we hoped to find and the fact that the others have had to come to my rescue, more than once, has sorely wounded my pride. I have always thought of myself as a fearless warrior, but I find myself increasingly aware of my inadequacies, and it shames me and my tribe. I should be better than I am, and I vow to redouble my efforts in the coming days.
We remain in the town for a few days, but while there a sight unseen occured. A huge ball of fire fell from the sky and soared overhead to the North. It crashed into the ground with a mighty bellow and we feared that it may have impacted Salamonis. My thoughts quickly turn to those still there. Hilda and Levine. I hope for their safety and quickly dispatch a message to Hilda to ascertain her safety and express my desire to see her well.
We also inform the townfolk of something Rosi and Alhena spied from the top of one of the towers. It seems there is a large gathering of Lizardmen on the far side of the island in the lake. We promise to help investigate once we finish our exploration of the ruins.
When we arrive back at the ruins we find others have taken up residence there. The men from the forest have set up camp atop the ruins so we must parley if we wish to enter. Mickael and I venture out to speak with them, but despite our best efforts at a diplomatic solution they stubbornly refuse us entrance. Since they outnumber us with a vastly superior position we have no choice but to retreat. We console ourselves knowing that we have the keys to enter the more secure sections of the ruin, so its greatest treasures will hopefully remain hidden unti our return.