Moonday 3rd Sunfane yr 2534
Summary: Medical breakthrough, Mordreth’s manor, Arrow Demon, Folkvar dies, Elementals, Ruby Chalice, Sewers
Reading Dr. Lavergne’s note:
“I have made a breakthrough on the cure. Hurry, there isn’t much time!”
the PCs decide to hurry down to the medical centre at the blockade surrounding the quarantine zone and see what he has to say.
When they arrive they are shown through to the gnome’s tent where they find him dishevelled and busy working at a desk covered in notes, bubbling potions and surgical tools. Strapped to a number of beds nearby are the dessicated corpses of plague victims. One of which is still thrashing and groaning in a zombie-like manner. The sight of this is too much for the delicate constitutions of Carlos who empties his stomach into a nearby bucket and Mikhail who steps outside. Unperturbed, Dr. Lavergne explains his breakthrough. He says that he has proved that the virus is indeed controlled by a psychic connection- the bacteria he has isolated from corpses ceases to function when in a psychic null-zone (although they aren’t destroyed and continue to multiply immediately upon leaving the null-zone). To this end he has created a vaccine (as well as a more powerful version) which contains anti-psionic agents which will temporarily cure the victim by ‘freezing’ the bacteria in the body. As soon as the agents wear off however, the disease will continue to progress. In order to create a proper cure, a more powerful anti-psionic reagent is needed such as Aethyrum, an incredibly rare metal found only deep in the Underdark or at the heart of fallen stars.
This is not the primary concern however because Dr. Lavergne believes someone or something is controlling the bacteria psionically from somewhere in the city. Taking out the source is the most important priority now as this will prevent further spread of the disease, allowing cures to be found for any victims remaining. Dimitria Runetongue steps in at this point with a useful piece of advice. Apparently a Wee Jas Investigator for the Seekers named Mordreth Silverflame has been working on the case of the cult behind the plague outbreak and is bound to have lots of useful information about them. She recommends visiting his manor in the Palace district and seeing if there is anything he can help with.
Arriving at the manor in the Palace district of the city, the PCs find the front door open and no-one answering the doorbell or their calls through the lobby. Carlos and Rosi head inside whilst Alhena and Folkvar head around the back to see if there’s another way in. As Carlos and Rosi explore the house, they are suddenly attacked by fiendish earth elementals! Tumbling away, the acrobatic pair make a stand on the fountain in the lobby where the demons’ control of the ground is lessened as Mikhail runs to get the attention of a nearby Iron Fist patrol and Folkvar and Alhena sprint back towards the front door. Folkvar is charging through the door and barrelling into the earth elementals as Rosi and Carlos fight their way back towards the door and Alhena provides cover with her spells when a new foe appears on the balcony- a hulking four armed arrow demon! Able to weild two large bows at once, it sends a fusilade of spear-sized arrows down at the party causing injury and forcing them to keep their heads down. Noticing Mikhail and the guards at his back, Folkvar hunkers down behind the fountain where the fiend can’t hit him an awaits backup. The others stay outside and fire their ranged weapons and spells through the door but the arrow demon is hard to injure, Alhena literally mops up the remaining earth elementals with her watery aqueous orb spell, anathema to the earth-based creatures. Mikhail joins Folkvar behind the fountain before stepping out and covering the Northlander with his shield, taking several hits from the mighty arrows as Folkvar lunges up the stairs to face down the arrow demon- only for it to teleport across the room and shoot more arrows at him! Feeling the rage build up, Folkvar moves across the room so fast he catches the demon by surprise and manages to land a vicious blow with his hammer, but not enough to fell the demon. Mikhail fails to reach Folkvar before the demon’s bows train on him at point-blank range, piercing his body seven times.
As Folkvar dies, the summon spell ends and the arrow demon disappears.
Filled with grief, Mikhail launches himself up the stairs and falls to his knees at Folkvar’s corpse.
This battle over, the PCs and guards secure the manor and find no more enemies so they send for clerics from the Cathedral- to take Folkvar’s body back for interrment and to investigate the appearance of the interplanar foes. Searching the house, the party find a secret door in a library with stairs leading down into the cellar. Dashel arrives, having heard the group were in trouble at the manor accompanied by Paladins of Zuoken. Together they venture down and find a series of rooms dedicated to arcane study and a further set of stairs leading down. Before they can continue, the walls and earth around them rumble and grind with an ominous vibration, causing pillars to fall and the ceiling to crumble in places. Sensing they are running out of time to find out what is going on, they hurry down the final stairs and emerge in a short corridor leading into a vast cavern full of stalagmites and glittering with veins of ore. At the centre is an earth elemental weird, a mighty elemental spellcaster- likely in charge of the creatures they have faced thus far. All around them, the walls and floor are churning with elementals as they burrow through the rock and earth, causing the vibrations felt earlier- they are trying to collapse the manor! The weird wastes no time in attacking, ordering her fiendish elementals forward to attack. The corridor is cramped however and the PCs are forced to come forward one at a time, preventing any sort of strategy. Coupled with the fact that the elementals can attack through the walls then melt away again and the PCs find themselves beginning a very long, grinding battle.
Mikhail manages to break through to the main chamber along with one of the young Paladins but they are cut off by a well-placed wall of stone from the weird. Alhena responds with a wall of her own, dazzling the weird and burning her with icy star-fire. At the rear of the column, the Paladins fight off a flank from the elementals but one breaks through and attacks Alhena, causing her to lose control of her wall. But before the weird can unleash her spells, a colossal noise blasts through the chamber, blinding the party with its’ intensity. When the dust settles, the elementals are all gone and standing at the opposite end of the cavern is a Dashan man wearing high class clothes and carrying an ornate looking katana. He lets the remnants of his maximised heightened shout scroll fall to the ground and introduces himself as Mordreth Silverflame.
Mordreth is an Investigator with the Seekers and explains that he had summoned the weird in order to get information on a case he is working on, but things got out of hand and the weird broke free and began attacking! Mordreth managed to escape to his warded safe room and was hiding there when the elementals decided to bring down the house around him and suffocate him but not before redecorating his summoning room with a chunk of the elemental plane of earth. He thanks the PCs for causing a big enough distraction for him to escape and bring his magic to bear properly. The PCs explain that they are here for information themselves- information on the cult behind the plague. Mordreth offers to share what information he has but in return, the PCs must let him accompany them to defeat the cult as he has worked for many months on pursuing this case and would like to be there when the culprits are killed or brought to justice. The group agrees and Mordreth leads them to his safe room where he tells them everything he knows about the Ruby Chalice (this information is summarised on the Ruby Chalice wiki page) and also equips them with weapons and items from his personal armoury to help combat the undead they are likely to face at the cult’s HQ. Mordreth has a map which leads to the cult’s base- a secret passageway through an abandoned section of the labyrinthine Salamonis sewer sytem.
The Ruby Chalice
The party first go to the Cathedral of the Great Wheel to see Folkvar’s body and give their respects. But when they get there, they are surprised to find that he has already left! According to a priest of Kord, Folkvar was resurrected by the church (an act which requires a hefty tithe or the use of a precious arteface). The priest elaborates and explains that a man named Aermund came by with an heirloom of some sort and was able to sell it to a collector in the Market for enough money to pay for the miracle. Folkvar and Aermund quickly left with a handful of other Northlanders who were all armed to the teeth. He sent a message to some friends of his to an address at the Dead Quarter but mentioned something about ‘not enough time’ to meet them properly. With Mordreth in tow, the PCs hurry to the Golden Circuit to enter the sewers and track down the Ruby Chalice- investigating Folkvar’s third coming will have to wait until the city is safe and the cult brought down!
Following Mordreth’s map, the party descend down through the sewers until they come to an ancient door with a dwarven inscription reading:
PUMP STATION 86-D
Opening the old door, the way leads down into an old section of the sewers which aren’t in use any longer. Dashel notes that there is still water flowing through some of the rusting pipes and some sewage even leaks down into the area despite it not being pumped out properly- they should tread carefully. They arrive at a large door which Mordreth explains marks the beginning of the Chalice’s domain. Searching for a way to open it, the party is attacked by a gang of ooze mephits who flit around, breathing acid on the group before hiding in the pools of water and sewage which lurk under the slimy walkways on which the group tentatively advances. Pushing forward, Mordreth fights off more mephits before one launches a stinking cloud attack which forces the group to split- Dashel and Carlos run back the way they came, chasing a fleeing mephit as Mikhail is attacked by a Troll which was hiding in a conrol room while Rosi and Alhena find their way into the back of the control room and take shelter from the burning acid cloud. Mikhail and the Troll wrestle each other back and forth, neither landing a conclusive blow but both almost falling into the sewage below them. Mordreth continues to battle the mephits and Alhena and Dashel join in the fight against the troll, rendering it unconscious before setting it alight and burning it to death.
Rosi manages to get the rusty controls to work and opens the giant door but inadvertently causes the water level to begin rising, filling the room with reeking sewage! The party run through the door as the water begins to lap against their boots and slam it shut behind them. As they catch their breath they hear the water rising against the door behind them.
Now with no way out, the PCs have no choice but to continue along the dark cavern before them and defeat the Ruby Chalice before they can pack up their operations and flee Salamonis with clues about the cure to the Slavering Death!