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GREYHAWK 2000 - Stories
ADVENTURE 6 - Beyond the Ancient Doors

We returned to Longspear after the harrowing battle with the hideous ogre. In Longspear we took about a month off. Damoni and I spent the time researching new spells (I added hold person, lightning bolt, vampiric touch, invisibility, and spectral hand to the spells that I knew). Virgil found out that his wolf charm was cursed, and we think (hope) that he had the curse removed. Zensun spent the time learning ancient Suelese. He found out that the seal on the ancient doors that we had found in the back of the Hideous Ogre's cave told a story. The short of it was that when the Suel first came to this area they found an ancient ziggurat haunted by demons and devils. The suel sorcerer named Xanthias put a seal on the entry to the ziggurat so that none would approach it. We thought that the door we found in the hideous ogre's cave could somehow lead to the ziggurat, so we decided to see if we could get through it. We also deciphered a note that we found on the ogre. It was from our old nemesis Aerifon. The note said that if the ogre were to find the "book of all knowledge" and return it to Aerifon he would be set free. We decided to be on the lookout for that book.

3/16/592 Longspear - We decided that it was time that we add another warrior to our group. While the rest of us were busy studying, Virgil and Feanor went out looking. I figured two elves would come back with an elven fighter. Boy was I wrong! They brought back the ugliest, smelliest, and most scarred half-orc I had ever seen. Grock Axgrinder was his name. He was loud, obnoxious, and generally hard to be around. Luckily, he reminded me of Bonecrusher.

3/18/592 Longspear - With our new companion downwind, we set out for the ogre's cave and the ancient doors.

4/1/592 The Ancient Doors - The trip was uneventful and we found ourselves before the ancient doors. No manner of physical force was able to budge the doors so I was forced to resort to a knock spell which I thought would have little chance of success. Immediately after I cast the spell, the seal fell to the ground and the doors swung open, slowly grinding the seal to dust as they did.

The complex beyond was like nothing we had ever seen. There was room after room with colorful statues and mosaics which we did not recognize. Statues of warriors were brightly dressed with ornate armor and ceremonial decorations including feathers, animal hides, sea shells, etc. Some of the statues were of creatures that resembled the hideous ogre. Many of the rooms were half filled with water and there were traps everywhere.

One room had a pile of rocks on top of which was a huge conch shell. As we tried to move past it, a huge crab claw reached out and attacked us. We were able to kill the crab demon pretty handily.

Another room was mostly filled with water. There was a landing, however, with two statues of squid-headed men standing at the edge of the pool. When we tried to cross the pool we were attacked by a giant squid tentacle. We quickly got out of the water and let fly all sorts of magic and missiles at the tentacle, if fact, this is were I cast my first lightning bolt spell. When we though we had killed it, Grock went back into the water (Unfortunately, the swim did not lessen Grock's stench level). He soon found out that we had not killed it and we decided to retreat and explore other areas.

We quickly found a secret door. We followed this secret door and, low and behold, it lead to the other side of the room with the giant tentacles!

That is as far as we got that day. We decided to spend the night at the sand trap. Our rest was fitful and we seemed to be the worse for the night. Many of use were suffering from nausea, cramps, and muscle aches.

4/2/592 In the Ancient Ziggurat - The first thing that we did on our second day in the ziggurat was try everything we could to open the ancient doors which had sealed us in this accursed place. Nothing we did would open them, however. Resigned to our fate, we set out to find the Book of All Knowledge and any sign of Xanthias. We discovered many strange rooms in our search, too many to mention all of them here. I will, however, describe some of the strangest or most dangerous rooms. Hanna's find traps spells were invaluable, as almost every room we came to was trapped.

The Room of the Mummies - This room was about 50' long and 30' wide. It had two stone divans, each with a mummy lying on it. Between them was a low stone table with a flask and two goblets made of crystal. Hanging from the ceiling was a lit brazier. When we entered the room, a strange glowing ball flew out of the brazier and attacked us with bolts of lightning. As it attacked, the mummies sprang to life and attacked also. The mummies were perfectly preserved, in fact they could have been live humans. We beat back the mummies and slew both of them, but we could not hurt this strange glowing ball with any of our weapons. I tried a magic missile spell on it which seemed to hurt it. It definitely angered the thing as it left who it was attacking and came straight for me. The shock of its lightning bolt made my heart stop for a second and burned my skin badly. I turned invisible to get out of its reach and close to Hanna who could heal me. With Hanna by my side able to heal me, I once again attacked the glowing ball with magic missiles. While we did that Zensun tried to catch it in his pouch, or man-purse as he has started calling it, to no avail. Damoni and I both cast every magic missile we had into the thing before it dissipated.

The Room of Intense Evil - This room had a large diorama of a city. In the middle of the diorama, floating on a river of mercury was a tarnished copper boat carved like a dragon. At the side of the room was an alter with a baby lying upon it. The baby was impaled with an obsidian dagger. From somewhere in this room Damoni could detect an intense evil, but he could not pinpoint the location so we left the room alone.

The Room of the Evil Tree - In the center of this room was an old, leafless, withered willow. It sat in a pool of brackish, oily water. Damoni could detect that the tree was evil so we avoided it.

The Room of Xanthias - We finally found who we thought was Xanthias. He was in the very highest room of the ziggurat past a horrible stone guardian which left many of us with horrible, lasting wounds before we overcame it. The room appeared to be some sort of temple. The far wall was covered by a bas relief of a giant bat. Xanthias stood before this facing the door. He was surrounded by a shimmering, translucent wall. From what we could make out he was reading a book which floated in mid-air in front of him, the Book of All Knowledge. We spent almost a day here trying to decide what to do. Finally Zensun mustered up the courage to touch the shimmering wall with his bare hands. When he did, the shimmering wall disappeared and Xanthias looked up at us with a wry grin on his face. That grin soon changed to a look of abject horror as Xanthias began withering with age before our eyes. Xanthias died horribly as he aged a thousand or more years in a matter of seconds. His remains crumbled to the ground and the book fell with a thud beside them.

Zensun went to pick up the book. Damoni cast a detect evil spell on the remains and the book. Something there was evil and gaining strength. When Zensun touched the book, he was shocked badly and took a step back. In front of him rose the ghost of Xanthias, grayish and incorporeal with that final look of abject horror still upon its face. The sight of it filled all of us with fear. The fear was so strong that it overpowered Zensun, Hanna, and Feanor and they each ran back into the trapped ziggurat rather than face this thing. Virgil, Grock, Damoni, and myself were left to try and banish it for good. The ghost was flying around the room and through us. Each time it passed through one of us, we felt a terrible chill. We tried to attack it but our weapons and our spells went right through it. Then the thing stopped and began to take material form. Again we assaulted it with our weapons and spells and now they seamed to work. We were slowly killing this thing when it reached out and touched me. Suddenly years of my life were drained from me and I stumbled back from its touch. It touched Virgil as well but had less affect on the elf. Finally we slew the ghost of Xanthias.


The Room of Intense Evil

The Room of the Evil Tree

The Bas Relief Behind Xanthias
The Trip Home - We returned to the doors of the ziggurat and found that they were open. Outside we found Teroth and his companions. He had been in the woods the whole time and had quite a story to tell and so did we. Wounded, sick, diseased, and haggard we made our way back to Longspear. The ghost had aged me 16 years and Virgil even more. Zensun, Hanna, and Feanor were each aged 10 years. Many of my companions had wounds that would not heal or sicknesses that would not go away. When we returned to Longspear, we sought out the aid of Kyvos and also gave him the good news that his brother was still alive. He could not help many of my companions but he was able to direct us to someone who could. We spent all of the non-magical treasure that we had found to cure our wounds.

As a final, lighter note, we learned some very valuable information . . .
You cannot put cursed items in the man-purse (This should be in the Book of All Knowledge according to Zensun)
Things you can put in the man-purse: cologne, deodorant, flower petals, arcing balls of lightning

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