Monthly Archives: August 2010

SOW Chapter6: The Shattered Barracks and the Lesser Sanctum

They get the hag’s book

They rise and fall many times
The hag steals it back

THE SHATTERED BARRACKS AND THE LESSER SANCTUM

Running from the trolls, the Brigade flees through the broken crevasse, an uneven cave-like structure of rough cut stone—clearly a result of the cave-in that had occurred when Black moon fell to earth destroying the people that had lived in the heart of darkness rather than the work of any deliberate construction. Throughout rubble litters the floor, making footing precarious and movement treacherous.

Mountainroot Temple mapAs they move deeper into the tunnel, it becomes apparent that some construction has taken place beyond providing a possible escape up ahead where they spy light filtering into the passage in the direction they were traveling. Several broken walls and sharp corners suggest that the cave-in reshaped what was once a part of the temple. and the faint glimmer of light, almost invisible, shines from the east.

Behind them, clearly the group can still hear the deep sonorous voices of the trolls as they discuss pursuing the heroes.

"CAN YOU SEE EM?"

"NO, BUT I SMELL THEM, LEAST ONE OF THEMS DROPPED A LOAD IN IS PANTS, HAH! "

"HOW MANY OF THEM IS THERE SIX? … THERE’S SIX OF US … ONE FER EACH."

"YER DAFT, COUNT AGAIN … THERE’S SEVEN OF US … WE’VE TWO HEDS"

"YOU’VE ONLY GOT ONE STOMACH."

"LIES! WE’VE AT LEAST TWO … I AM TOO HUNGRY FER JUST ONE."

"E’S RIGHT ABOUT THAT!"

"FACE IT YOU BOTH HAVE ONE FAT BELLY, I WILL GIVE YOU THAT, BUT YOU STILL ONLY COUNT ONCE." 

"WE’LL BUST YOUR ARSE … THEN WILL SEE HOW MANY SHARES WE GET." 

"HEY IF WERE GOING IN THERE WHERE’S ME GOGGLE SNAPS? IT’S MY TURN TO BE WEARING THEM."

"OH, YOU LIAR".

"I AM NOT FIGHTEN THOSE BLINDY DWARVES WITHOUT MY SNAPS."

"THEIR NOT YOURS … I FOOUN-ED THEM. YOU CAN SHUT YER EYE’S."

"JUST LIKE YOU CAN SHUT YER LOUSY TRAP, I’M STILL NOT GOING WITHOUT MY SNAPS AND YOUR BREATH STINKS."

"BRING UP THE LIZARD!"

"Am I wrong in thinking we just got our asses handed to us? And I don’t know about you all but I don’t have too much ass left!" says Bairdyn.

"I’ve plenty left and I want the two-headed troll, he’s mine." answers Shaden.

"We could make a stand here in this crevasse." points out Bhenedict. 

Not paying attention to the others Bingus buzzes through the tunnel astride his ebony fly stopping when the tunnel end engulfed in light, a chamber opening up overhead prompting him to rise twenty feet to the point of the egress.

CyclopseRising up from the crevice, Bingus has a brief instant to look around. He finds himself in a cathedral or religious sanctuary, far smaller than the main one they had left behind, and the hall boasts a dais at the far end, behind which looms a great relief of Moradin at his forge. A line of columns runs down both sides of the room; and two of the great pillars have fallen, apparently toppled in the same cataclysm that created the crevice. And then as the gnome’s brief moment of observation has passes, as a cadre of one-eyed giants, axes held high, converges upon him!

Having no coverage Bingus dodges as giant blades sweep at him from either side of the crevice. Even so he spies a handful of gnome-sized fey skulk in the shadows and around the various pillars just before he blacks out tumbling back into the tunnel.

Unseen an old man, ancient beyond belief, sits atop the dais, almost blending in to the relief beyond and not far from him, another of the insectoid fey crouches at the base of the dais stairs.

As Bingus falls his friends rush to climb out of the fissure. Shaden attacks a pair of cyclops in the center of the sanctum while Bhenedict makes a move on the west side of the chamber; alone Notaku rises south of the fissure, and Maxyzne bringing up the rear and Bairdyn rushing to Bingus’s aid.

The cyclops guards tower over Shaden and the swing their axes with deadly skill  and power but they can’t match Shaden’s sheer speed and skill, all-in-all their battle starts as a bloody draw but end with Shaden standing over two dead giants. Bhenedict finds his progress halted in a collision with first one than two of the fey gully dwarves.

In the southern end of the chamber Wolf and a cyclops trade blows, the cyclops gaining the early advantage and then the fey, a banshrae projects a challenge in Shaden’s mind,

"Come my way my nimble prey, or run and run you’re still undone" 

Traveling fast the creature crosses the sanctum in the blink of an eye just missing the half-orc. Shaden shouts back, "Is that it, let me show you how a warrior fights!" Spinning fast he cripples a leg, spinning again, he takes an arm … then dropping low and striking high Shaden takes the banshrae’s head and the creature falls dead.

Behind Shaden, Maxyzne slays a third cyclops but their victories are short lived as the old man cracks open an even more ancient tome, The Incunabulum Primeval … his voice rise filling the chamber like a rogue god shaking the very stonework of the sanctum as the man gives voice to curses written in a forgotten language freezing Bhenedict and Shaden where they stood.

Having aided the gnome wizard, Bairdyn climbs out of the fissure in time to see Bhenedict flying backwards through the air, having been batted into the air by one of his opponents. Looking to the sprawling battle Bairdyn thinks quickly and shouts out, "Hey aren’t these the guys the trolls want to help us kill!"

Both Maxyzne and Bairdyn launch attacks at the man reading from the book but as the shots go astray, missing wide on either side of the old man as he utters yet another curse causing ancient parchments to appear in a cyclone around the pair buffeting them with the circling parchments in tightening circles trapping and befuddling the heroes.  

In the rear of the chamber, the remaining cyclops pauses in his pursuit of the shifter Notaku long enough to grab and shake one of the chamber’s pillars breaking it free from its mooring and causing the ceiling of the chamber, a mix of large rocks and blocks of stone, to fall upon Notaku burying him in debris.

Turning his attention back to Shaden the old man uses the Incunabulum’s curses upon the half-orc, the books irresistible power worming its magic into Shaden’s very thoughts causing him to lose himself momentary, forgetting even where we was; Shaden staggers forward with meaningless steps as a second hurled curse brings a wave of depth and blackness … Shaden collapses to his knees  and then falls forward his face meeting the stone floor of the chamber. As the old man is distracted Maxyzne loads a magical sling bullet, the bullet crafted with an enchantment of transit … firing she strikes the man and the magic of the bullet’s enchantment takes hold teleporting Maxyzne adjacent to her enemy.

Bhenedict regains his feet and shouting a challenge he pulls his foes, a pair of the gully dwarves to him.

The cyclops hunches looking through the large rocks admiring his handiwork glancing with his solitary eye at his fallen foe when suddenly Notaku rises skewers the cyclops on the sharp metal spike topping the shifter’s axe. Without additional utterance the last cyclops falls and Notaku rises.

Hag with Evil EyeIn the front of the sanctum, the old man turns toward Maxyzne shifting form as he spins, his face melting and shifting revealing the face of a hag.  The hag howls, her voice thundering with enough power to cause Maxyzne to stagger backward, the power of her shout hastening the demise of the chamber and causing more of the ceiling to crumble. Using the space created by her howl the hag closes the large tome and vanishes only to reappear across the chamber near the door on the west wall as another pair of gully dwarves charge into the sanctum.

Forgotten in the fray, Bairdyn rushes to Shaden’s aid as the spinning parchments disappear, he turns back to the crevasse and hollers, "Wow, the trolls aren’t going to know what hit them, they aren’t going to expect to be ambushed by all of us!" giving the trolls reason to pause as the move through the crevice.

Bhenedict swings his hammer in a wide arc crushing his foes, both dwarves falling at his feet. Notaku dusts himself off quickly then runs and leaps the crevasse racing to assist the others. Maxyzne races towards the hag, who reacts with shriek of pure pain which causes Maxyzne’s ears to bleed as more of the ceiling crumbles in her path causing the half-orc to veer away to avoid being crushed under tons of stone. Even as the ceiling falls, new groans and fresh cracks spread making clear that the entire chamber was endanger of caving-in. The fresh dwarven combatants join the melee one attacking Shaden and the other intercepted by Wolf, freeing Bhenedict to chase after the hag.

The hag howls forcing Maxyzne back and causing the ceiling to crumble over Bhenedict. having broken away, the hag races through the door with the half-orc Maxyzne on her heels. In the backside of the sanctum Shaden and Bairdyn work together quickly slaying one gully dwarf while Wolf battles the second which is suddenly engulfed by a conjuration of tome bound ooze, a jellied acidic mass summoned by Bingus. Having taken cover beneath his shield Benny digs out of the rumble as more of the ceiling comes down elsewhere in the chamber burying the final gully dwarf still engulfed in the corrosive mass. 

Together Benny, Wolf, Bairdyn, Shaden and Bingus leave the chamber moving west through the door. A low groan reverberates through the sanctum, sending new dust raining down from above. And then the rain is far more than dust, as bits of rock begin to shake loose throughout the chamber. As they leave the sanctum they find themselves within a small chamber that has clearly seen better days. Whatever furniture was once here has long since either been removed or crumbled to dust, and the walls are webbed with cracks. Directly west of the doorway Maxyzne has made up the distance between herself and the hag, beyond them there is more wreckage and ruin. Clearly, old cave-ins have reduced what was once a series of carved chambers to broken rooms, twisted passages, and the occasional freestanding wall. There are thick heaps of rubble standing here and there on the floor. Seeing the other approaching the hag drops to knees hold the large tome out towards Maxyzne announcing, "Enough, I surrender … spare me if you will, my life is yours."

Turning to Shaden, Notaku whispers, "Watch Maxyzne."

Racing in front of Maxyzne, Notaku says, "We’ll hear you out, but its up to you to make it worth our while. We are not fools, and we’ve no reason to trust you."

"I can help you."

"Will you fight the trolls?"

"Better, I can stop them."

Handing the Incunabulum to Bhenedict, Notaku answers, "Do it, but we are watching you and we won’t hesitate to slay you at the first sign of deceit."

Walking past the Brigade the hag heads back toward the sanctum closing half the distance she screeches burying the doorway in tons of rock with the thunderous power of her voice completing the collapse of the sanctum’s ceiling.

Hag - HethralgaHer voice somewhat weakened and parched, power still evident, she says, "We must leave quickly, I can lead you past the trolls but we must go now!"

"Why are the trolls here?"

"They are with ‘the others’ … we can talk later, we must leave now."

"Who are you?"

"More questions? … Hethralga, follow now!"

Seeing the urgency in her demeanour the Brigade does follow and the hag leads them west and south until they come to a break in the wall leading back into the crevasse.

"We must pass through the crevice before the trolls return. We will pass through the cathedral back to the chambers of doors … We will find shelter there in the broken halls … Keep your tongues still. Now follow!" 

Hethralga words prove true bypassing the troll she leads the Brigade back to the entry chamber and into the broken passages on the east side of the chamber. Passes through the chamber of doors she takes note of the dead fey dwarves and harpies bemoaning the loss and waste while bearing no specific grudge and acknowledging that they had been her servants.

Hag with coin

"A pity, such a waste … at least they could have been gathered. Would of fetched a pretty coin."

Once settled Bhenedict passes The Incunabulum Primeval over to Bingus who examining the book draws the hag’s attention. He finds the book is written in Dwarven, but also in a sort of cipher; blocking the gnome’s attempt to translate or understand the tome’s functions.

"That is a book of curses older than man’s place in this world … Older than men if not dwarf nor I. I. Knowledge carries its own curse. Ever mind the Rule of Three. Three times what thou givest returns to thee This lesson well, thou must learn. Thee only gets what thou dost earn!"

 "Speak plainly hag, who are you and who are the others" asks Notaku.

"They call me their lady, the lady of the deathly song. I was sent to this foul place by Cachlain, the Stone-Skinned King. (Bingus recognizes, Cachlain as an infamous fomorian king of the Feywild.) The King sent me in search of a valued prize, the parchment voice you call Incunabulum Primeval, a tome of great power that he has sought for some time. Only recently, its retrieval has become urgent. Divinations revealed that the parchment would be located and the new counselor—someone named Sovacles, spoke against this but the King would not be dissuaded or deterred and remained desperate to get the book. Alas, when the book was finally ours we could not leave because “the Others”—a band consisting mostly of trolls—appeared and took the Caretaker prisoner, thus cutting off any exit. They are organized and serve some higher master, but I know not who. Perhaps they are the reason Cachlain felt we must retrieve the parchment voice so swiftly.”

Reliquary Map

The Reliquary

After some necessary rest the Brigade makes ready to take on General Z’s forces directly.

"So what do you know of these ‘others’ and their leader?" asks Wolf.

"Not but what I have already said. They have the look of mercenaries, mostly trolls, but there are dwarves, and a dragon-man among them, their leader also is man-like but tall (for a human) and thin; he wears a hooded cloak, and the combination armor and harness that hide his features."

"As you have said yourself, your life is forfeit but you may yet survive but for now you must serve us. We also came here seeking the book and pursuing someone called General Z, what of you?"

“Now? Now I seek only to escape the temple, just as you should. The others are too many … There is a portal to the Feywild standing at the base of the mountain, where the waters flow from above to reach the plains. I would return home—with the Incunabulum if possible, but at least with my life, I will do as you ask.”

"The book is forfeit, it is ours now but we will return to you your life if you aid our escape. Tell us about this book."

The Incunabulum

"The Incunabulum indeed has great powers, but the parchment voice is scribed in curses and bears a cipher beyond the knowledge of man … printed in a time of greatness when the world was young. It tells stories of men in their infancy at the time of all beginnings such that there is power in its voice, the power to brings all back to which they were …  

The first age of ages, time primeval
Details last days of the King’s evil
Medieval, upheaval
Of scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witch’s mummy, guts and gullet.
Of Yggdrasill,
Rooted in death, dug in dark,
Felled in the moon’s eclipse,
Nose of beast and fairy’s lips,
Finger of birth-strangled lord,
Ditch-delivered by a whore:
And dost with a god’s entrails.
The voice will create what in entails."

Handing the enormous book, nearly 2 feet tall by 18 inches wide, and at least foot thick, its pages an incredibly heavy parchment, its cover consisting of thin planks of wood bound and hinged in iron, "Bingus, can you read the book?"

"I can barely lift it, but yea, with time, I think a could."

"Look at him jump, hark wolf’s howl!
Pinch your elbow and still your bowel!
Cover your eyes and pull your hair,
Then out again in the musty air!
Flutter canaries in their sheltered nests,
Plucked down from evils breast,
Steal the eggs from the clucking hen,
Ride the pigs round and round their pen!
Mischief enough to share for all —
Come hither and hear its call!"

"Well, regardless … We don’t have time now." answers Notaku. "I will keep the book for now."

Looking diminished – withered Hethralga agrees reluctantly to lead the Brigade to ‘the others’ even agreeing to fight at their side.

Moving out of the broken passages, back through the wide hall and into the cathedral, the hag leads the heroes slowing towards what she calls the reliquary. With her every step a squeal of discontent, a whisper of pain; the hag limps along with a faltering gate, crippled by age and wretchedness.

"Oh, I knew not the price of reading the cursed parchment … its voice bears a price ‘pon both body and soul. I fear I am not that which I was before, my bones have grown brittle and joints bristle with complaint at every step; low my vision fogs, my own voice feels tremulous and weak … Yet I will fight … as best I am able though you should not expect me last long, nor that I might long survive any battle."

Hag

"And so I expect you think we should just hand you the book, do you suppose?" asks Bhenedict.

"I’m Born a hag, a bitch’s daughter.
Fatherless, I’m led to the slaughter.
Black arts taught me when I was young.
Promises so darkly sung.
Now I’ve no spells to bind or hold.
No hope ‘gainst enemies, I’m too old.
To damnation I march, my memory to fade.
As I cast myself deep into the shades."

Hooded figure

Beyond the broken doors at the height of the cathedral the Brigade finds themselves at the entrance of a wide corridor. Ahead there waits two flights of stairs, separated by a long landing, leading to a platform high above. Two figures stand atop that platform, apparently conversing. One is a green-hued dragon-man clad in heavy armor. The other is a slender figure, features hidden by a hooded cloak. He is clad in a sort of leather-and-steel harness that looks less like armor than like the creation of a maddened surgeon—a full-bodysuit version of a brace designed to hold a broken limbs in place. The heroes see the hooded figure only for a split second, for before the door tumbles falling free of the broken hinges even before it is fully opened the gaunt man steps away and out of sight while the dragon-man steps up front and center upon the platform.

Dragon-Man

Rising into the air upon the ebony fly Bingus gains an overview of the vast chamber, and beyond the dragon-man he spies that four stone stairs come together at the center of the chamber, forming a small platform about 20 feet above a much larger, circular surface. That surface appears to be made of glass or crystal and it allows a full view of the various chambers below. Some of these chambers extend out from beneath the crystal roof standing open-roofed. These rooms beneath the crystal top and those that extend beyond the central structure are built in such a way that the gnome can see within them from his overhead position. The stairs in the enormous chamber extend to the north rising upward, rather than down, culminating in a large set of double doors several dozen feet above the level of the center platform level, and in  both of the north most corners of the chamber stand massive statues of Moradin. In the chamber southwest corner stands a pair of small buildings—the only structures in the entire cavern that appear to have a roofs. Throughout the enormous room there is an array of humanoid creatures standing scattered about the chamber, both on the platform or stairs, and down on the ground level, some beneath the crystal ceiling. Not a one of them looks especially thrilled by the Brigade’s intrusion within this ‘reliquary’.

Throughout the chamber the creatures race, here and there, dwarves in abundance, below on the chamber’s floor huge cave trolls, and other things, a fearsome minotaur warrior among them, and at the back of the crystal landing, great glowing statue, a giant dwarf of bronze riddled with runes carved everywhere on its body. Seeing the numerous for Bingus yells "Give the hag the book!"

Give the hag the book!

Seeing concern bordering on terror scrawled on Bingus’s features, Wolf complies with minimal hesitation, handing the hag the Incunabulum Primeval and instantly she open the tome, expanding her form, towering above the other members the party, taller and more massive than even Wolf. She immerses herself within a mystic power of the great tome setting parchments a fly about her. Then she begins to chant, speaking in an ancient tongue giving voice to the curses upon the parchments they fly one after another towards the dragonborn giving voice to written words slaying the stunned warrior where he stands in short order.

The Brigade surges forward, Shaden leading the way, followed by Maxyzne, Bhenedict, Wolf, and Bairdyn in that order but before they can reach the first landing, the living statue appears on the center platform, an eidolon. It climbs from the steps on the far side of the platform rising like a bronze dwarven god, and in its hand it carries a rod topped with a brilliant star-burst. Once arrived the statue taking an assertive stance in the center of the platform lifting the rod high above it, and fixing its position, the statue holds firm.

Stepping backward through the entry door, Hethralga cast curses at the eidolon but upon the great statue the curses fizzle having no effect other than draw out the divine wrath of the eidolon as holy fire erupts from the rod arcing back unerringly at the hag. Similarly Bingus own spell strike the eidolon, equally ineffectively, and again divine radiance bursts from rod striking the gnome in mid-flight nearly causing him to crash to the ground with the force of its blast.

As the balance of the Brigade drawing nearer to the center platform still other foes precede them, a spitting troll and a pair of dwarves, with many more enemies close behind them. Immediately they attack, their weapons taking on an odd glow, mimicking the radiance of the eidolon’s star-burst rod. They aim without fault, the dwarves targeting the approaching party members and the troll hurling a javelin at the gnome’s fly which is banished as the javelin strikes home.  Bingus falls, floating feather-like buffered by a spell. Shaden is the first to arrive leaping the final steps and attacking the eidolon in a fury of blows, each striking true, and after several such blows land in rapid succession the stoic guardian in destroyed but the dwarves having withdrawn, take aim with their fellows dropping the half-orc before he can celebrate. Shaden falls pierced by four dwarven crossbow bolts.

Coming up on either side of the platform two giant cave trolls take to the platform before charging down the steps pushing down towards the Brigade, the first ripping Maxyzne right off her feet and lifting her high into the air. Quickly curling her body she slices at the troll’s hand and the half-orc, she-warrior springs from the monsters grip landing cat-like from the hulking troll. Undeterred the troll scramble forward scoping her up again in another meaty fist. While the second troll tries to work its way around the first but is stymied in the congested corridor.

Frantic at the sight of Shaden fall, and fearfully that he might bleeding to death … Bairdyn employs the magic of his armor, the armor he’d gained of the mines of Karak, taking on a form like rippling water which he uses to whip past the enemies. The enemies strike at the halfling within the crowded hall but graceful he moves past in a steady surge racing to the half-orc’s aid. There amid a sea of enemies Bairdyn administers the last of his healing potions on the fallen warrior while pulling the bolts from Shaden’s body. The potion wakes Shaden from his forced decline sealing his wounds. As the power of his armor fades, Bairdyn stands with Shaden surrounded by foes, bravely preparing to meet his maker when suddenly a fireball explodes encompassing everyone on and near the center platform. Bingus, also having used the last of his own healing potions to recover, had unleashed a devastating fireball in the center of the great chamber. Bairdyn reacts instantly taking what cover he can behind the fallen eidolon but Shaden takes the spell full on blasting backward with its force falling again into an unconscious stupor, his skin roasted and peeling, dead foes lying in a smoky circle around the half-orc warrior.

Minotaur  with axe

The rear troll roars his discontent, his backside blistered by the flames. In front of him the lead troll dies a victim of the combined attacks of Bhenedict’s hammer and Notaku’s huge axe. Seeing an opening Notaku charges ripping past the remaining troll and pushing forward screening Bairdyn from the rush of the charging minotaur. With the minotaur bearing down, Wolf uses his remaining potions on Shaden, saving the half-orc again, then braces himself just in time to meet the rampaging minotaur. They collide like titans, but as strong and fast as Notaku is he immediately on the defensive, find his skill to be no match alone against the the man-bulls skill and raw power but then appearing at either side, the shifter is joined by his half-orc allies.

Hag nostrils

Still in the corridor Benny lays mightily into the surviving cave troll. And on the crystal platform Bingus duals with both the spitting troll trading spell for javelins and a single surviving dwarven opponent. As he fights, Bingus notices the disappearance of the hag, as she vanishes with the Incunabulum Primeval, sparing the gnome only a cold glance as her farewell. Engaged by foes, Bingus is helpless to stop her flight.

The battle with the minotaur is difficult but eventually the warriors three, stand bloodied and bruised but victorious over the slain minotaur. In the corridor and on the platform Bhenedict and Bingus combine their efforts to slay the remaining trolls; Bingus summoning both a cyclone and a creature of flame; using the magic cyclone to trap the spitting troll within a swirling wind, and using the elemental to incinerate both troll’s once Bhenedict has broken the monsters in combat.

After the battle is won, the heroes are finally free to search the vast chamber. Taking stock of their resources they find their potions are used, and their body’s weary and their morale having lost The Incunabulum to the hag.

At the top of the high stairs in the farthest north wall Bhenedict moves to check the double doors finding them covered in all manner of abstract carvings and flowing runes. Opening them for an eternal instant, the world fades away from his thoughts as Benny stands taken upon the precipice of infinity. An ocean of pearlescent silver stretches ever onward, its tides and crests all but invisible as they slowly traverse a great expanse. Beneath those waters, stars and constellations twinkle with almost blinding clarity, and far in the distance, the great peaks of an unknown isle protrude from the endless waters. The sense of vertigo over takes the dwarf, standing at the edge of the world, is overwhelming, striking not merely at the body but at the mind and soul. Falling forward he is caught, coming to his sense … Like the portals within the chamber of doors, Benedict finds the way is blocked as if by an invisible wall.

Searching the various rooms beneath the crystal platform. In one they see pedestals and podiums scattered across the room, as well as hooks and shelves along the walls, suggesting that this first room was once a display chamber or gallery. Though the room most hooks are empty,a few still boast old tapestries and paintings, while the occasional podium displaying a small sculpture but it looks as though the vast majority of the artwork has been gone for a long time.

In another room alcoves lie along the walls and great stone sarcophagi scattered across the chamber indicate rather dramatically that this area was once a sepulcher, likely for particularly holy members of the temple. Most of the sarcophagi appear to have been broken into, ransacked, and desecrated. The air here smelling stale and dusty, but any scent of decay has long faded away.

There is also what looks like a sitting or study room, this chamber containing little but old, decaying chairs and a few small tables barely wide enough for a large tome. A nearby room has specially carved racks and concave shelves suggesting that this was once a repository for scrolls of various sizes. 

They also find a rather sizable room boasting a smattering of large statues, idols, and carved pillars. Their random placement around the chamber indicates that they’ve been moved, and the great empty spaces suggest that this room once held many more such relics than it currently does.

Finally they search a room that was obviously a library at some point. The shelves are mostly empty now, but they are large enough to have held several hundred books. A few heaps of molding parchment and leather are all that remain of those books that were dropped and left behind when the temple was abandoned. One of the piles of books has recently been disturbed. It looks much like something was removed from the bottom, allowing the rest of the heap to crumple inward.

Eventually the Brigade turns their attention to the southwest corner of the vast chamber. There a building and its attachment, are the only two structures in this cavernous chamber that have full roofs, and they are clearly of far more recent construction than most everything else within the chamber. The walls are made of thin stone and they do not match the surroundings, and the floor is covered haphazardly with a thin rugs. Several tables and chairs sit scattered about, and a cooking cauldron occupies one corner. Further along what was once a bedroom has been transformed into a chamber of horrors. Old blood has matted the carpet into a thin film that crunches beneath the party’s feet. Dull blades and needles protrude from the surface of a desk, where they were apparently stuck for safekeeping. A wooden bed frame leans against the wall at an angle; chained to it, dangling by his chafed and bloody wrists, is what appears to be a dwarf with hair and beard of writhing flame! Despite its touch, the wood of the frame shows no evidence of burning.


Cast: Bingus (PC/Josh), Bairdyn (PC/Tom), Bhenedict (NPC/Josh), Wolf (PC/Mart), Shaden (PC/Van), Maxyzne (NPC/Van), Hethralga – the hag (NPC/Mart)

Summary/Goals: Having discovered the doppleganger infestation of the priests of Overlook (lead by General Zithiruun) the heroes freed the dwarven high priest Durkik before he was killed. Durkik tasks the party with retrieving the tome–Incunabulum Primeval–and discovering and preventing whatever the goals of General Z are, who has preceeded the party into the temple.