d20play house rules toren campaigns 01/23/02

GREYHAWK 2000 - Stories
ADVENTURE 7 - The First Cave of the Dark Suel Cabal

On the night of the next full moon, with the help of Kyvos at the temple of Pelor we finally cured ourselves of the curse of the werewolf charm and destroyed the charm in the process. The next day we set out on a long journey. We were heading to an ancient cairn in the Abbor-Alz Hills. This place was spoken of in a note that had been found in the book of infinite spells that we had sold to the mages' guild in Longspear. The mages shared with us what they had learned from the note in hopes that we would go on a quest for them. The note told a story that began many years ago . . .

  Murtaree a court wizard to the Malachite Throne of the Great Kingdom was planning a war to reestablish the dominance of the Suel people throughout the Flanaess.

He gathered together many allies; wizards, warriors, and clerics to prepare for the great war. They found a place that was perfect for their secret base. It had two great veins of rock running through it that would enhance certain types of magic. They hired dwarves to carve out great caverns for them to do their research. After this was done they cast forget spells on anyone who was involved. There were different sites for different research. One for spells, one for weapons, one for armor and so on . . .

One day Murtaree and all his allies were in one of the great caverns for a meeting. On this day a great meteor fell from the sky and struck the ground right above the cavern and all inside were killed and the site destroyed. To this day no one really knows how close they were to starting their war, their numbers were growing everyday. The only person who survived the destruction was a cleric of Boccob. His name was Thryn Dawin, the author of the note. Thryn decided the destruction of the cavern was a message from his god telling him that what was happening was not to be and he was spared so as to make sure such a plot was not hatched again.

Thryn made sure all areas were trapped, locked, and forgotten about. The note references great articles of power hidden in the caverns that if assembled in the wrong hands could destroy the one assembling them or make them the most powerful person alive.

Who the note was written for was unknown. Somehow, the mages' guild had determined the location of the first cavern. They offered to give us the location of this cavern if we would travel there, discover the locations of the other caverns, and retrieve the artifact pieces that were hidden within. In return, we could keep any other treasures that we found. We accepted their quest.

5/11/592 Longspear - We left for the Abbor-Alz. We had decided to journey overland through the Lortmills and Celene.

5/17/592 Duchy of Ulek - Just after leaving Niole Dra and the Kingdom of Keoland we had an unfortunate encounter. We learned of a band of adventurers who were a day behind us. Fearing that they were after us we decided to secretly gage their intentions and strength. The next night they passed by our hiding place. Their approach was ominous as they were riding on pale, ghostly steeds in the dead of night. There was a human leader, three halflings, a dwarf, and two dark elves! Thinking that they were obviously evil, we followed them and attacked them the next day. I cannot say what happened in the battle as I was turned to stone early in the battle by a wand wielded by one of the dark elves.

5/21/592 Tringlee, Duchy of Ulek - I was brought back to flesh in a temple of St. Cuthbert in the city of Tringlee. Unfortunately I discovered that the party that we had attacked were in the employee of the church of St. Cuthbert and we had killed all but one of their members! When the party discovered their mistake, they came to this temple and begged for the forgiveness of St. Cuthbert. The church agreed to forgive us and to bring me back to flesh if we would complete a quest for them after the one that we were on. We agreed. They also informed us that we would have a hard time gaining passage through the Elven Kingdom of Celene like we had planned. To help us in our journey, they gave us a gem that would act as a pass through Celene.

5/28/592 Enstad, Celene - The passage through the Lortmills was terribly hard but quite safe. The mountains have been ridden of most of the humanoids, ogres, and giants that are quite often found in other mountain ranges.

6/5/592 Narwell, Wild Coast - The journey from Enstad to Narwell took seven days. The Welkwood was beautiful. The trees were huge and majestic, some grew to over 100 feet. It is the only forest I have ever felt safe in.

6/9/592 Hardby, Wild Coast - The journey from Narwell to Hardby took four days. We laid low as much as possible so as not to attract the attention of any brigands or humanoids

6/12/592 The First Cavern - We finally arrived at the first of the secret caverns of the Dark Suel Cabal. The journey from Hardby took three days on foot. We were happy we left our horses in Hardby as the deeper into the hills we traveled, the more rough and precipitous they became.

The first cavern was hidden under a large cairn. Guarding an opening at the top of the cairn were four brigands which we easily overcame. We cautiously descended an old, metal spiral stairway into the cairn.

Near the top of the stairway were strange glowing runes floating in the air. One rune was of crossed axes next to a dot. The other rune was of a large letter "L" also next to a dot. The crossed axes were to the right and below the "L" and its dot. The rooms below were strange indeed. Each was carved out into the shape of a pentagram (reminiscent of the holy symbol of Boccob). The first level of the cairn served as a barracks for a large band of brigands. Luckily we ran across a priest of Boccob named Tarsa early in our exploration. Tarsa was serving as a healer for the brigands and was not interested in fighting us. He was willing to tell us anything if we did not hurt him. We found out that this group of brigands owed allegiance to two doppelgangers named Raxen and Donyar who made their homes in the City of Greyhawk. Tarsa told us that there were about 30 brigands in total living here and they were lead by a fighter named Rassin. The brigands used this cairn as a base for raiding caravans. They were also in the process of looting the lower levels of the cairn. There was a mage living here who was directing the looting. His name was Arnof.

With are newfound information in hand and Tarsa securely bound and gagged in his room we set out to kill the brigands and their leaders. We soon ran into a large group of brigands eating dinner. To my eventual misfortune, both Rassin and Arnof were among the diners. A fierce battle erupted between our two parties. Feanor, Damoni, Virgil, and Grock made quick work of the lesser brigands and closed on Rassin and Arnof. Arnof cast a quick spell and disappeared. We quickly closed the only door to the room, hoping to trap Arnof inside. As the battle raged, I grew more and more nervous. Had Arnof escaped or was he preparing some horrible spell. Our fighters had overpowered Rassin and were killing the last of the brigands when a horrible flash of light and a deafening thunderclap filled the small room. Lightning seemed to ricochet off of every wall hitting most of our party and some, including me, more than once. The lightning burned my skin terribly and knocked the breath out of my lungs. Many of my belongings and many of Hanna's were destroyed. Even worse, Arnof only became visible for a second after he cast his spell. We began to quickly file out of the room expecting the next lightning bolt to hit at any second. As we were leaving, Zensun spotted a secret door open and close at the far end of the room. The chase was on!

Zensun quickly found the secret door that Arnof had fled through and took off down the narrow passageway beyond. Just a short distance down the passage Zensun stepped on a trigger plate on the floor and a huge stone block fell, blocking the passageway. He was nearly crushed under the block but his quick reflexes saved him. We were not foiled for long, however. We quickly made our way to the exit of the cairn hoping to catch Arnof on his way out. When we got to the entry chamber we could hear the old spiral staircase creaking. Someone was ascending the stairs! Zensun and Feanor gave chase. I cast a fly spell on myself and flew after them. We all got to the top of the stairs just behind our invisible foe. Feanor lashed out with his longsword and cut into something besides air. Arnof was wounded and we could track his blood trail. Arnof decided to make a final stand. Another lightning bolt erupted from thin air in front of Zensun and Feanor (luckily I was flying well above them and was not hit by the lightning this time). Zensun and Feanor both dodged most of the blast and were just barely singed. I retaliated with three magic missiles which felled Arnof. With the deed done, I landed next to Zensun and Feanor and we began to search the body of Arnof. I hoped to find some valuables that would replace what I had lost in the first bolt of lightning.

Once again we spotted a set of glowing runes floating in mid-air near the top of the stairs. The two dots and the "L" where there, but this time the second rune was of the letter "O" and it and the second dot were to the left of and below the "L" and the first dot.

Now that the leaders of the brigands were dead, we decided to see what was on the lower levels of the cairns. We knew the stairway down was trapped and after some monkeying around we learned not to step on the second step. As we started down the stairs we spotted another set of glowing runes floating in mid-air. Again there was An "L" and a dot but this time the second ruin was of two wavy lines. This ruin and the second dot were to the left and above the "L" and the first dot.

The second level was the current home of nine brigands. We killed these handily and were free to explore the rest of the complex unmolested. We found two teenagers who were being held for ransom by the brigands. We found an alchemical lab and a secret hallway that had obviously been the scene of some horrible battle. The lab was smashed up and full of acrid fumes. In the secret hall just off of the alchemical room was a horrible monster held by magic in some sort of stasis. The thing was nearly 8 feet tall and over 5 feet wide. Muscles bulged beneath its thick scaly hide and its powerful arms and legs all carried great claws. It had no neck to speak of, but the head featured a powerful maw with rows of triangular teeth and 8 inch mandibles. Most peculiar of all were the four round eyes, spaced evenly across its forehead. The thing was black, shading to a lighter shade of yellowish gray on the front. Its eyes were blackened dots each the size of a small coin. I was very happy this thing could not move. Finally, we went down the last flight of stairs to the deepest level.

Once again we spotted a set of glowing runes floating in mid-air near the top of the stairs. The two dots and the "L" where there, but this time the second rune was of the letter "O" and it and the second dot were to the left of and below the "L" and the first dot.

The floor of the room below was covered by 5' x 5' black and white tiles arranged in a checker board pattern. As long as we stayed on tiles of the same color we were ok, but if we tried to change color we felt a slight shock. The room had no obvious exits, so we searched for secret doors. We found three but we were only able to get two of them opened. Inside one were many weapons. There was another secret room beyond this one, with a large fountain in it. The fountain had writing in Suel goading the reader to toss a coin into it and make a wish (we did not). Inside the second room off of the checker board room was the first of the artifacts we were seeking, the gem tipped rod. This room was trapped and Feanor and Grock barely escaped it with their lives and the rod as fire erupted all around them.

With all our spoils in hand we decided it would be a good idea to get some rest. We set up a camp outside posititioned where we could see the entrance to the cairn. After about six hours of rest we were ambushed. Seven brigands, a spellcaster (possibly one of the doppelgangers), and two griffins attacked us. Things were looking so desperate for a time that I even had to get into the melee with my staff of striking, and believe me, I did not spare the charges. We killed all the brigands and both of the griffins, but the spellcaster got away. With Grock, Zensun, and myself the only ones not on death's door we decided to head back to Hardby.

Once back in Hardby, we did some research and found out where the rest of the artifacts that we were looking for were. We made a daring raid on a large brigand fortress. Inside we fought an evil necromancer and his undead minions along with many brigands. In the end, we won through and found the remaining artifacts. When we got back to Hardby we gave all three artifacts to agents of our employers and, even better, Damoni was able to rid us of the St. Cuthbert spying gem with the help of his church. At last I felt free again.

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