The Alliance of Daylight & Darkness

March 8, 2017
Activating the Runestone

8th day of Marpenoth 1375 Maneegah studied Halaster's notes further in preparation for her first attempt at activating the control panel. She cast a divine insight spell on herself and spent eight hours poring over the Mad Mage's half-insane, half-ingenious wall scribblings across all three caves, making sure that she had the correct combinations out of over seven hundred nonillion permutations the 36 runetiles would make when inserted into the 24 carved slots. As soon as Maneegah finished with her research, the whole party trudged the path up to the hilltop.

        As the group looked on in anticipation, Maneegah anxiously selected the first set of tiles from the satchel. With a silent prayer to her goddess Mystra, the archivist carefully inspected each slot on the control panel while admiring Halaster's creativity and cursing his ability to confound, all at the same time. In what seemed like an eternity, Maneegah carefully placed the chosen tiles into the panel. The party waited with bated breath for any sudden release of magical energy that could either grant them control over the whole of Undermountain or spell doom for the entire Sword Coast North.

        Nothing happened.

9th day of Marpenoth 1375 Repeating the previous day's routine but with much less enthusiasm, Maneegah afterwards attempted another combination. Although she could observe no effect, she was convinced that that combination was supposed to open a new portal (as teleportation circle) or close an existing one (as seal portal) anywhere in Undermountain, as long as the portal is known to the user. However, something else was holding the Runestone back and could not manifest that power on that day.

        She also noted that the areas the party occupied (Shadowdoom, the Lost Level, and the Runestone Level itself) were excluded from this effect (and probably other effects as well). What differentiates them from the rest of Undermountain was unclear.

10th day of Marpenoth 1375 Maneegah was able to successfully disrupt a portal (as scramble portal) using another combination. She also noticed that the control panel automatically communicated the Runestone's approximate power level to its user, which is useful in determining when it might discharge its excess magic. It could also alert the user when any portal is used.

11th day of Marpenoth 1375 Another successful attempt by Maneegah to activate the control panel. This time she was able to use an analyze portal effect on one of the portals known to her.

12th day of Marpenoth 1375 Maneegah was able to determine the combination which grants a greater spell immunity effect that is centered on the control panel. But since the Runestone was on low power, she was not able to manifest the effect. The party then deduced that the Runestone stores and expends power as spell levels, but they could not tell its rate of recharging with certainty.

13th day of Marpenoth 1375 To make use of their time more efficiently (and there seemed to be no immediate threat anyway), the party decided to split up. Keli and Seth escorted Maneegah while she studied the writings, while the rest went back to Halaster's cave-quarters near the entrance of the cavern in order to engage in some magic-item-crafting activities.

        The second group had barely begun with their crafting when three earth elementals earth-glided out of the cave walls, similar to the initial encounter in this area a tenday prior. Rokh and Kiira each engaged an elemental in melee and Anya trapped the third inside a resilient sphere. As soon as the two clerics were done with their respective opponents, they turned their attention on elemental number three promptly destroyed it. However, the rocky debris left by the destroyed elementals merged into a single but much larger version. The group left the cave in haste but the guardian did not pursue them. Anya sealed the cave entrance with a wall of stone.

        Rokh deduced that Halaster's automatic security system probably had the guardians respawn after ten days of being destroyed, and that included the earth elemental-stone golem hybrid that guarded the control panel. They regrouped and made plans to formulate a new strategy.

        The group decided that, since the control panel only had very few charges left at this time, they would let it recharge for ten days before Maneegah made another attempt to unlock one of its powers. In the meantime, she would focus on studying Halaster's notes within the caves. Seth set up a new base camp at the foot of the hill, creating stone chairs and tables for the benefit of the item crafters, with his lyre of building.

Reminder Make a list of magic items created by your character during this 10-day period.

23rd day of Marpenoth 1375 After 10 days of preparation, Maneegah returned to the control panel, escorted by Rokh and Kiira. Rokh had prepared a gate spell and scribed two summon elemental monolith scrolls that he gave to Maneegah, one of which she cast just before entering the depression around the hilltop. The plan was to have the summoned earth-element monolith push the stone golem guardian into a gate and leave it adrift in the astral plane.

        The trio waited for the guardian to appear. Rokh wanted the earth monolith to glide into the hill and seek out the guardian, but since none of them could speak Terran, they could not instruct it to do anything. Kiira attempted to taunt the guardian by tapping the control panel lightly with her warhammer, but the creature was still a no-show. After 17 rounds the earth monolith's stay had expired and Maneegah proceeded with her experiment.

        The control panel indicated that the Runestone was moderately charged. And this time, Maneegah's combination of runetiles resulted in a create undead effect. However, since there were no viable corpses around the cavern, the effect could not be directly observed.

24th day of Marpenoth 1375 Maneegah, Rokh and Kiira returned to the control panel. The stone golem guardian was still nowhere in sight, so Maneegah cautiously approached the control panel to try out another combination. Unfortunately, her attempt misfired and caused her to become dazed [or staggered]. That's when the guardian decided to show its ugly mug.

        The stone golem-earth elemental hybrid emerged from the ground as Kiira helped Maneegah stagger back to the trail, the dwarf taking a couple hits from the monster's stony fist. From the edge of the hilltop they executed the plan: Rokh placed a gate right beside the guardian at the edge of the hilltop and Maneegah summoned an earth monolith on the opposite side and instructed it to push to guardian into the gate.

        The two gigantic earth monsters pushed at each other for several rounds, each one barely making any headway against the other. Eventually the monolith proved the stronger with its Gargantuan girth and pushed the golem guardian slowly into the gate to the astral. The divine trio cheered on until Maneegah realized a flaw in their master plan: gates have no effect within an active dimensional lock spell, such as the one present on the hilltop.

        Seeing no other recourse, Rokh and Kiira engaged the guardian in melee. With the earth monolith's help, they were able to defeat the guardian in a couple of rounds and, once again, its debris was absorbed by the ground.

                Then suddenly, they fell upward.

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December 6, 2016
Halaster's Puzzle

Still the 3rd day of Marpenoth 1375 The rest of the Alliance regrouped on the path below the caldera and prepared for their ascent. Keli piggybacked on Kiira; Kendor produced two greater floating disks through his shadow conjuration spell, he rode one and had Rokh and Maneegah ride on the other disk (and warned them not to disbelieve to illusion or they'd fall).

        On the way up, Keli spotted the drow—three with dragon wings, hovering near a fourth one who was still hanging onto the steep hillside while being attacked by Seth's shadows. She cast finger of death on the one still grounded and instantly killed it, and arc of lightning on two of the flyers. The flying drow immediately dispersed in different directions.

        The party flew up to the hilltop to face the Huge creature sitting on top of Anya's resilient sphere. They saw a 12-foot monster made of stone with crystals jutting out from its body. According to Maneegah, it was a unique stone golem, one that possessed the abilities of an earth elemental, and probably Halaster's most powerful guardian on this level. Keli cast a disintegrate spell on the golem but it was blocked by a ward. The group decided to go after the drow instead and face the monster later.

        Rokh, Maneegah and Kendor pursued one of the wounded drow and the Tymoran killed it with a searing light spell, and the other was chased down by Keli and Kiira, and the Shade killed it with another finger of death. As the second dark elf fell more than 100 feet to the cavern floor, the third swooped down to her companion; Keli and Kiira caught up to the drow and saw her retrieving a satchel from the corpse. Keli slew the third drow with (you guessed it) finger of death.

        The group retrieved the dark elves' belongings after 5 minutes of thorough searching, including the mysterious satchel which contained small tiles with etched runes (they would later realize that the tiles fit the control panel on the caldera). Then they flew back up the hill to engage the stone golem guardian.

        Rokh and Maneegah flew onto the caldera first but the aasimar cleric missed his attack. Then Kiira air walked in, dropped Keli near the edge, and hit the rock monster squarely with her screaming warhammer. Keli attempted to cast another disintegrate but it was somehow counterspelled. Both Rokh and Kiira were able to deal lots of damage to the golem with their adamantine weapons, but the golem in return also dealt deadly attacks with its rocky fists. With a couple of much-needed healing spells from Maneegah, the two clerics were able to defeat the stone golem after a few rounds.

        Reunited, the group investigated the satchel of tiles and the control panel. There were 36 tiles, each one bore a distinctive rune; and all around the control panel were 24 slots for the tiles, plus 6 cylindrical slots of different sizes that had no obvious purpose. Even with their bardic knowledge abilities, Seth, Rokh and Maneegah could not determine the nature of the runes [each one rolled 23 on their checks—a feat of probability]; but Kendor, the real bard of the group, surmised that they were not of any known language, magical or otherwise, and truly unique.

        They descended the path around the hill and investigated the caves. They found three shallow caves filled with runic writing on the walls, and Halaster had left nasty exploding glyph traps in each cave. After Keli dispelled the glyphs, Maneegah proceeded to study the seemingly random and direction-less scribbles. She estimated that it would take her a full day to study each cave in order to decipher Halaster's code.

        The company made camp inside the uppermost cave.

4th day of Marpenoth 1375 The company was attacked by three flameskulls. They were easily dispatched by Keli's disintegrate but not before nearly killing the two female cohorts inside the cave, Anya and Maneegah. In order to protect themselves from further surprise attacks and maintain Maneegah's focus on her research, Anya sealed themselves, along with Kendor, inside the cave with a wall of stone while the rest stood guard outside along the path.

        With time on her hands, Anya resumed her identification of the magic items they had found.

Loot

  • 4 wands (from previous session) – fireball, lighting bolt, bear's endurance, shatter (25 charges each)
  • wands of fireball and lighting bolt
  • bag of holding (deuter)
  • ring of wizardry I
  • 2 kyo crystals
  • 3 spellbooks

        Meanwhile, Rokh found the corpse of the first drow that Keli had killed the previous day. His true seeing spell revealed that the creature was actually an aranea—an intelligent race of spider-like creatures that could shapeshift. Rokh figured he might as well ask the dead creature some questions on the next day, before the body decomposed further.

        Three more flameskulls attacked later that day. Keli disintegrated one but the other two flew away after Rokh inflicted some serious damage with a flame strike.

5th day of Marpenoth 1375 The company moved to the second cave and the entire day was otherwise uneventful. Anya studied her new spellbooks and Maneegah thoroughly scrutinized Halaster's madness-induced writings.

6th day of Marpenoth 1375 The flameskulls returned en force. There were six of them this time but were still more like a nuisance than a real threat to the player-characters. Keli chased them down using her shadowstride ability and disintegrated them one by one while the rest of the PCs sat back and watched.

        Rokh cast a speak with dead spell on the aranea corpse. Not much information was gleaned from the creature's answers, but the drow researchers were apparently not affiliated with any outside group but their own house, and they did not get very far with their research. The party then moved to the lowermost cave.

        While scouting around the cavern, Seth's shadows found no living creatures but there was a large pile of humanoid bones on the far side. Rokh deduced that it must be where all the flameskulls were being spontaneously spawned by Halaster's magicks. They flew over to the bonepile and smashed each skull to bits.

7th day of Marpenoth 1375 Maneegah was now ready to present her findings.

        The writings told of a story that, sometime in the past, Halaster detected something dangerous for/to Undermountain and, naturally, sought a means to keep his domain safe from whatever it was. He laid multiple magical traps and made the place easily defensible, but it was not enough.

        One area of Undermountain was unique—it was inaccessible to teleportation and contained a power source, which Halaster called the Runestone, that he could link to other areas of the dungeon. He learned how he could control its flow of energy by using the rune-etched tiles, direct its effect, and distribute it to other levels.

        However, the Runestone was unstable; if not regularly maintained, it could explode.     And so, once a month, the Mad Mage had to expend the Runestone's potential energy by repairing a teleport cage, reformatting portals, and the like. He could also use it to recharge magic items.

        Halaster's goal before his unexpected demise was to use this energy to power epic-level spells as well. How far he was able to take this part of his research was unknown, but it was most likely what caused his death. (But it should be noted that, according to Fidelio, something had interrupted Halaster's casting that resulted in a deadly explosion.)

        At this point, the group was still uncertain on how to use the runetiles and the control panel even after Maneegah's lengthy exposition. She needed more time to study everything, so the company will be spending a few more days of downtime while the archivist does her thing.

        Meanwhile, Keli has noted how sturdy and comfortable her new deuter bag of holding is, and would like to thank her drow sponsors for providing her with such a wonderful product. deuter bags are available at most sporting goods stores Faerûn-wide.

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November 26, 2016
Into the Runetone Level

Still the 2nd day of Marpenoth 1375 Anya's analyze portal spell revealed a couple of limitations imposed by Halaster's portal to the Runestone Level: (1) users are only allowed to equip up to 10 pounds of metal each, and (2) each user must possess a ring of wizardry. Since the party has only one such ring, they decided to return to the surface to procure one more. Keli bought one from Aurora's and everyone headed back to the portal room to get some rest.

3rd day of Marpenoth 1375 As a last-ditch effort to gain additional information, Anya cast stonetell to ask the surrounding bricks questions about the portal and its users. The stones knew nothing of a switch to turn off the stasis trap, but they did reveal that a number of dark elves had entered after the old man used the portal, and they have not come out since.

        As the group prepared to make their jump, Anya cast Rary's telepathic bond on the player characters and herself, while Rokh and Kiira removed their suits of armor and other heavy metallic gear, stored them in Rokh's portable hole, and took a ring of wizardry each. Everyone cast their buff spells and, except for the two clerics, climbed down the portable hole. Kiira also cast a grasping hand spell in case Rokh got stuck in the stasis trap.

        Both clerics successfully made their saving throws against Halaster's multiple traps (feeblemind, levitate and, presumably, temporal stasis). They found themselves in a large cavern where human bodies lay dead on the ground, and eight pairs of feet were levitating above them within the light beam of the portal trap. The human corpses look liked adventurers in life, and had died within the last couple of days from whatever made the puncture marks on their bodies (probably drow crossbow bolts).

        The rest of the party climbed out of the portable hole, and Rokh and Kiira donned their armor. Kiira used her grasping hand to retrieve one of the levitating bodies from the stasis trap—it was a dark elf wizard. Anya cast probe thoughts while it was grappled but nothing could be gleaned from it as, apparently, he was under the effects of a feeblemind spell. Kiira grabbed the rest and all were under the same effect. The group was able to loot a ring of wizardry from each of them, plus eight wands, 24 kyo crystals, and eight arcanabulae.

Loot

  • 4 wands (unidentified)
  • 8 arcanabulae [spellbooks]
  • 8 rings of wizardry I
  • wand of magic missile (25 charges)
  • wand of protection from good (25 charges)
  • wand of ray of enfeeblement (25 charges)
  • wand of ray of flame (25 charges)

        Right outside the cavern, the company could see through the shadowy illumination that there was another cavern—but much, much bigger, wherein a small hill sits at its center. Seth bade his shadows to scout around this great cavern; it took a while for them to return but they did find a small cave nearby. The company marched on, found the cave, and investigated inside. It looked to be a makeshift bedchamber of some sort (probably Halaster's) but already looted of anything valuable, as evidenced by the many bootprints that Seth was able to make out on the stony ground. Just then, three large earth elementals slid out of the stone walls, one appeared by the rear of the cave and two blocked the entrance. Keli immediately used disintegrate on the first, while Rokh and Kiira slew the other two after a couple of rounds. And during the encounter, Anya had noticed that her overland flight spell would not work, possibly another limitation imposed by the Mad Mage in order to grant his guardians an advantage against intruders.

        After a few minutes of thorough searching, Seth and Anya found a small chest of magic items that the previous looters had apparently missed.

Loot

  • potion of owl's wisdom +2
  • potion of resist energy
  • amulet of natural armor +2 (Shadow Weave item)

        The company moved onward to the hill and found a footpath that wound around it at a shallow incline. Their fly spells and items still would not work; they decided to go up by taking the path instead of directly climbing up the steep, rocky hillside. Seth's shadows scouted ahead, with instructions to return immediately if they encounter a creature or a fork in the path. Moments later they returned, and Steve the shadow reported being attacked by a "flaming skull that shot magic out of its eyes". Rokh and Maneegah deduced that it was a flameskull, a type of undead spellcaster that looked like a flying humanoid skull wreathed in flames. Keli cast protection from energy (fire) on the vulnerable party members and marched on up the path.

        As they walked up, a spectral hand attacked Anya with a vampiric touch spell. Seth spotted a scrying sensor right above them and Rokh was able to dispel it easily. But before the party could walk any further, two flameskulls flew in and attacked the party with fireballs. Keli and Rokh were able to take them down with ranged spells but not before the skulls could damage Kiira and Kendor with magic missiles. Eight more flameskulls attacked (Rokh, who had an active true seeing spell, saw only two) and were similarly killed by the spellcasters.

        As they rounded the hill, Kiira once again was attacked by magic missiles, Kendor by two spectral hands, and Rokh by a ray of entropy from somewhere up at the top of the hill. Unable to reach their attackers, the party stood their ground—buffing, healing and shielding themselves from the attacks—hoping that the creatures would close in after their ranged spells have run out.

        Seth, hidden all the while from their enemies, instructed his shadows to go ahead up the hill and used his wand of dimension door to jump up to find Rokh's attacker. However, his attempt was blocked by some sort of anti-teleportation ward, so he promptly reappeared in mid-air right above and fell some 80 feet down the side of the hill (but still above his original jump-off point, which is nice). He continued his ascent by climbing up the loose rubble onto the footpath. There, he found another cave entrance but decided to ignore it for the time being and continued on up.

        Kiira cast air walk—the spell had unexpectedly worked so she immediately sought the source of the magic missiles that continually pummeled her to the point that she had to cast a heal spell on herself. She spotted another scrying sensor, and some distance behind it were twelve flameskulls. She cast true seeing and saw that, again, there were only two of them and attacked the closer skull with her warhammer. The skulls, realizing that they would not stand a chance against the dwarf, quickly turned their attention to Keli and unsuccessfully tried to hit her with their fire eye-rays. The sorceress cast firebrand on the skulls in order to get rid of the mirror images but she missed her disintegrate shot afterward. Knowing that they were outmatched, the flameskulls fled from the two women by flying straight up to the ceiling.

        Meanwhile, Rokh and the three cohorts dimension door-ed from Anya's Otiluke's resilient sphere up to the part of the footpath where Seth saw the cave entrance. They spotted something glittering inside the cave but, like Seth, they decided to investigate it at a later time. They initially thought of using Keli's shadow walk to get to the top quickly, but decided against it since there was a pretty good chance that they would overshoot their destination point. Seth telepathically communicated that another creature was climbing up the hill ahead of him, probably Rokh's attacker, and that it sensed that he was in pursuit. Not wanting to delay any longer, Anya cast invisibility and gaseous form on herself and made her way up the side of the hill. Kiira continued to air walk to the top, while Keli joined the rest of the group as they walked on the path (which would take them roughly 5 minutes).

         Seth reached the hilltop. It was a 20×20 shallow caldera that had a sort of stone table which could be described as a "control panel," and had depressions of different sizes and shapes. He kept still while he was trying to sense where his target was. But in a matter of seconds, Seth was covered in faerie fire and hit by three rays of enfeeblement. He saw four figures, presumably dark elves. Seth's shadows attacked the drow while he lay there unmoving—but not helpless—and he used his darkness ability to cover the entire hilltop in a black globe. Anya arrived just in time, cast blindsight, and covered Seth and herself in a resilient sphere. Anya "saw" the dark elves flee just as a rumbling sound the other side of the hill came, like a humongous creature was trudging its way to their position.

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November 5, 2016
The Drow of Kyorlamshin

Still the 2nd day of Marpenoth 1375 The company came back to the drow temple ready to charge in, only to find its door walled up. They tried to use Keli's shadow travel ability, but the place was warded against teleportation. So the sorceress used a disintegrate spell to make her own doorway, and the group flew inside the large cavern within a sphere of invisibility from Anya. Keli, the only one still visible, stayed behind.

        Several Lolth-theme statues filled the central and rear areas of the temple, dimly lit with faerie fire. As the company neared the rear, a drow priestess appeared from behind one of the statues and cast invisibility purge on them. Kiira charged the dark elf but she spider-walked up to the web-filled ceiling after taking a hit. Rokh then cast firestorm on her, but she and every defender of the temple were protected from fire. Only the webs burned and down fell several monstrous spiders, with some landing on our heroes.

        Rokh and Kiira pursued the priestess, Seth went into stealth mode and scouted for more hidden opponents, Keli flew in and dispelled the forbiddance spell that prevented teleportation, and Anya cast Otiluke's resilient sphere to protect herself and her fellow squishy cohorts.

        The drow priestess called in a trio of drow soldiers to defend her, but Rokh killed them all with a heat drain spell. Seth found four minor priestesses hiding behind statues and killed one; Kiira killed two with one swipe of her axe each, and Maneegah captured one with a sarcophagus of stone. Confident that all the leaders of the drow band were dead (and one held), Seth called for the cessation of hostilities to the presumably still-staying-out-of-sight drow warriors, and told them to leave and never come back.

        Rokh opened the sarcophagus of stone at the chest level with a stoneshape spell, then Anya cast probe tits—err, probe thoughts. The priestess revealed the following information:

  • She belonged to House Tanor'Thal.
  • She came from the drow city of Karsoluthiyl.
  • Their mission was to secure Kyorlamshin.
  • Kyorlamshin is their occupied area of Undermountain.
  • Their goal was to protect their monopoly on the production of "kyo crystals".
  • Kyo crystals are those tiny crystals that can be found throughout the area, then went through a magical process which imbues them with beneficial spell effects, similar to an oil or potion.
  • The kyo crystals themselves are nonmagical, so they cannot be identify-ed. Only the maker of the crystal would know for sure which spell is contained in a particular crystal. It can be activated by crushing.
  • An elderly human male, most probably Halaster, passed through the area 3 days before.
  • They were not involved in his apparent demise.
  • Halaster used a nearby portal.
  • The priestess revealed the location of the portal, which was just south of the temple-cavern.
  • The portal leads to a place called the "Runestone Level."
  • What's in the Runestone Level? The Runestone. Duh.
  • The priestess' mind showed an image of a large cavern, at the center is a rocky hill with a giant crystal jutting out from the top. Energy shoots up to the ceiling and splashes around the area.

Loot

  • 4 rings of protection +1
  • 4 cloaks of resistance +1
  • 1,200 gold pieces
  • +1 breastplate
  • +1 light steel shield
  • wand of cure moderate wounds (30 charges)
  • gloves of Dexterity +2
  • periapt of Wisdom +2
  • various kyo crystals

    

        Anya polymorphed the drow priestess into a tiny spider, released her, and the party then proceeded to the room where the portal was. She cast an analyze portal spell on it and saw that the other side of the portal was covered in bright light. Suddenly, the ghostly Fidelio appeared to them once more.

        Fidelio needed the party to retrieve a helmet for him, and without further explanation he teleported them to a cavern with a small opening. The tunnel was big enough only for them to crawl through, so Seth sent his shadows to find an area that would be high enough for them to stand upright.

        After crawling for about an hour through winding tunnels, the party reached a small cavern. In it was the desiccated husk of a giant queen ant and a few of her maids. Seth searched around and found some footprints of a bare-footed humanoid, a shovel, and a recently-dug patch of earth. Buried about a foot deep was a small chest that contained about 5,000 gold pieces worth of various coins. Anya cast commune with earth and felt the presence of another creature approaching.

        Through one of the cavern walls appeared a greater shadow, wearing some kind of helmet, and it was angry (probably because the treasure was his and we dug it out). Kiira got in one strike of her spiritual weapon, and Rokh pursued it while ethereal and hastened. Eventually the aasimar cleric defeated it and retrieved its magic helm. The group crawled back to their starting point and Fidelio teleported them back to the portal room.

        This time, Fidelio was more amiable to the party and he answered their questions. As the story goes, he was once a Paladin of Tyr who boasted that he had defeated a monster by himself; but the truth was, he was almost killed if not for Tyr's intercession. For his hubris, Tyr turned him into a curst, a type of undead creature, who tested braggarts in Undermountain. Halaster twisted his curse and turned him into a unique form of incorporeal undead, which had slowly driven him mad. But his sanity gradually returned when the Mad Mage perished, and he was able to find Halaster's notes in the Runestone Level that revealed how he could break his curse—thus the need for the three items he sent the party to retrieve.

         Halaster was indeed very dead, according to Fidelio. He was killed while casting a powerful spell that was interrupted by someone or something while doing his research in the Runestone Level. Fidelio could not help the party go further; however, he did reveal that the light on the other side of the portal was a stasis spell, and the party should first find a way to get past this trap before going in. And after much convincing, he agreed to leave a note where he would leave his quest items (the swords, the cauldron and the helm) for the group. He then disappeared to perform the rituals that would break his curse.

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October 11, 2016
Down the Shaft

1st day of Marpenoth 1375 The company went back to Undermountain. They spoke again with Errya Eltorchul to share information about the encounter at the Citadel of the Bloody Hand, then proceeded to the Pyramid Room to check on its defenses.

        The party spoke with King Gyudd and realized that logistics were becoming a problem for the Melairkyn dwarves. They proposed establishing a partnership with the gnomes of Spiderhaven for goods (to which the gnomes later agreed to), but finding a method of transporting the merchandise would have to wait until the current quest is finished.

        Continuing on with their mission to find Halaster, Kiira led the party to the Shaft—the pit that led directly to the lowest levels of Undermountain. Using Keli's overland flight spell, they flew down to the bottom of the Shaft and followed an underground river upstream. They encountered a pair of minotaur fishermen who confirmed that an elderly human male used to pass though their level, but would not reveal more information without their leader's presence. The party waited 6 hours before the minotaur chieftain appeared, but he was willing to reveal everything they knew about the old man in exchange for 1,000 gold pieces, the complete elimination of their drow enemies, and for them to be left alone in their level afterward. The party agreed, of course (Rokh and Keli paid the gold), and followed the chieftain's directions to where the old man frequently disappears to, which was coincidentally where the drow had set up an encampment.

        The party came across a cavern full of crystals. Seth pried one out of the rocks and saw an image inside. Keli did the same and saw a fragment of Halaster's vision in it. Seth gave his piece to Anya and she saw another vision-image in the fragment. They went on their way but, after a few paces, Kendor suddenly disappeared. Maneegah determined that it was some kind of teleportation effect, and confusion was also active in the area. Anya cast commune with earth and saw that Kendor was back in the crystal cavern. The party found Kendor in a state of confusion, and could not walk out without the teleport trap affecting him again. Rokh decided to use dimension door to bring him out of the area.

        The group walked past a fungus farm with rothé grazing and eventually reached the border of the minotaur territory where two guards stood… guard. The minotaur guards knew very little of the area beyond, except that the drow occupied a large network of winding tunnels. The party went on their merry way when suddenly a ghostly figure appeared.

        The apparition introduced himself as Fidelio. He wore a battered suit of armor with a hole in the chest—where a holy symbol or insignia might have been. He said that he "used to test braggarts" and that he had need of us (presumably to put his soul to rest). Without the party's consent, Fidelio transported them to an unfamiliar hallway and told them to retrieve the swords held by some helmed horrors in a nearby room. He refused to answer any questions and just disappeared.

        Inside the small circular room were four helmed horrors, seemingly guarding a small pool of water on top of an elevated platform. Rokh entered the room and fought the closest horrors, and Kiira attacked the farthest ones by hopping on Kendor's dimension door. But after a few rounds, when there was only one left, the pool began to bubble and an elder water elemental burst out. It shoved Rokh out of the way, attempting to escape into the hallway. Anya cast a wall of stone to trap it inside the room and the two clerics were able to kill it with little effort, and retrieved the helmed horrors' swords. Just as soon as the party was reunited, they were whisked away by Fidelio back to the minotaur guardpost, sans swords.

2nd day of Marpenoth 1375 The party continued their quest and sought drow outposts to attack. Kiira and Rokh went on full beast mode and slew every drow that they could find. In one cavern, however, a group of drow held some 50 goblins hostage. Seth convinced them to just get the eff out, and the group let them leave without bloodshed and also left the goblins to their own devices.

        As they approached an area which could be described as a temple, once again Fidelio appeared. This time he wanted the party to retrieve a cauldron from a covey of hags and their ogre and giant bodyguards who lived in a small island. Like a bunch of roofied girls at a frat party, the Alliance was once again carried off against their will, this time on the shore of an underground lake.

        The party used dimension door to hop onto the island. Once there, Seth scouted ahead to look for their targets. He found two orcs guarding a cave entrance, and told Rokh and Kiira that they could easily take out two orcs with a frontal assault. The clerics attacked and, to their surprise, the orc guards were tougher than usual. When Rokh felled one, its corpse turned into a hill giant's, so he activated his true seeing ability to prevent any more surprises.

        Eight ogres came rushing out of the cave. Most of them surrounded the squishier targets, Maneegah and Kendor, and both were hit. The archivist was able to dimension door out of the melee but the bard took a beating before Keli was able to firebrand the ogres to ashes. And just as Rokh and Kiira were cleaning up, a trio of annis hags (disguised as ogres) put the dwarf cleric in a forcecage and attacked, once again, the squishy cohorts. Anya used tactical teleportation to put the two favorite targets securely within the forcecage and placed Kiira in melee distance of two of the hags. Kiira had little trouble hacking her opponents to death, while the third hag was fingered to death by Keli's finger of death.

                The group found the cauldron that Fidelio was seeking inside the cave, which was then being used by the monsters to cook humanoid stew. They emptied the cauldron of its gruesome contents and cast analyze dweomer. The big cooking pot was called Grema's cauldron (Grema was apparently one of the annis hags), and it gave its user the ability to brew magic potions as if he or she had the Brew Potion feat, or halve the brewing time if he/she already had it. The cauldron was certainly a neat item to have, but Fidelio suddenly returned them to the same spot from where he took them and kept the pot for himself.

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September 15, 2016
Pursuing the Visions

        This recap also includes the events of the short session we had in May.

30th of Eleint 1375 [continued] The group climbed up to the first level of Undermountain hoping to find parties that might have some knowledge or news of the recent events. In one corridor on the northern side, they encountered a mercenary group that had staked a claim on the area and charged a toll for passage. Not wanting to pay up (on principle), they made short work of the mercs but one, who revealed that they were employed by Errya Eltorchul, an exiled noblewoman from Waterdeep.

        The party released the survivor and went down the corridor where he fled. They found a large chamber with pillars, guarded by more mercenaries but were cordial enough to accept a parlay. After a few minutes, Errya Eltorchul herself appeared and was willing to negotiate. The party offered to spearhead the exploration of Undermountain vis-a-vis Halaster's apparent death in exchange for any information that she and her "partners" have gathered so far (we assume she's but an errand girl for some larger organization). She bade the party to return after 24 hours as she would have to confer with her group.

Highharvestide 1375 The party returned to Errya. She agreed to the party's terms as long as their claim to the northern section of the first level is respected. She provided maps of a few known sections of the first level, and of particular interest was the entrance to a sublevel called the Citadel of the Bloody Hand. The Citadel was once the hideout of the Shadow Thieves and currently occupied by the City Guard. It had great strategic value as there were three exits to the surface in addition to being a defensible underground redoubt.

        As the party approached the stairway leading into the Citadel, they encountered a group of badly beaten City Guards who spoke of magical effects that defeated their unit and expelled them into the dungeon. Seth and Rokh healed their wounded, after which the soldiers provided directions on how to navigate the interior of the Citadel safely. Seth's shadows scouted ahead and reported that there were indeed three "huge spheres of lightning, fire, and another of unknown make" guarding sections of the sub-level.

        Kiira and Rokh charged the first guardian, the electricity sphere, which was at the top of the stairway. The ceiling collapsed as they ran up, totally blocking the passage and separating them from the rest of the party. They easily defeated the electricity sphere in a couple of rounds. Seth attempted to remove the rubble with his lyre of building, to no effect. One of the guards informed them that that trap was merely an illusion, and the adventurers hung their heads in shame for falling for that stupid trick.

        Maneegah the cohort informed the rest of the group that the sphere was a "living spell," a magic spell given life but no sentience, and possesses the characteristics of an ooze. The party assumed that these were the creation of Halaster himself and were now trying to reclaim the dungeon after their creator's demise.

        Kiira and Rokh defeated the second and third guardians, the fire and sonic living spells, with no hassle. Then another one, a similarly Huge-sized sphere with an outer shell of webs, appeared with a retinue of several smaller-sized living spells. It blocked the party from going deeper into the Citadel, but otherwise did not attack. Keli and Anya, the party's arcane casters, felt a sense of familiarity from this particular living spell, as they believed that it had also appeared in their Halaster-induced visions. They touched its outer surface, and it gave them a soothing, tingling sensation.

        Inside the web-shelled living spell was a glowing blue light. Rokh attempted to reach for it, but the light turned red. After much cajoling, Keli hesitantly agreed to reach inside a seemingly harmless but obviously powerful glowing sphere of magic. After realizing that she had not been annihilated, she felt inside the lightsource and found a small metal loop. Deducing that it was a ring, Keli grasped it firmly in excitement and felt that spikes surrounded the object. Immediately after retrieving the ring, the remaining living spheres herded everyone though one of the exits and into the city sewers.

        The party was back on the surface. Rokh and Maneegah examined the ring and both deduced that it was a horned ring, an item created by Halaster. Further research revealed that it was a minor artifact, that only a handful were in existence, and most importantly, it allowed Halaster and his apprentices to teleport though Under-mountain unhindered by his teleport cage.

 

        My fellow members of the Alliance of Daylight & Darkness, I cannot stress enough the importance of this horned ring. In Rokh's words, it's a game-changer.

        Currently in our campaign, power groups are probably scrambling to carve out their own domains within Undermountain and claim its treasures, hindered primarily by their inability to travel freely between enclosed sections and levels. If these people find out that we have in our possession the key to Undermountain supremacy, well then, let's just say that we won't have any shortage of lethal random encounters.

        We will keep the existence of the ring a secret. No one, not even our Clan Melairkyn patrons, should know (which could potentially be a treasonous act for Kiira). Ironically, our greatest enemy is the goddess of secrets herself. So…

        I suggest that Keli and Rokh share possession of the ring. The two of you can only cast greater teleport once per day each, which means we can only travel unhindered through Undermountain twice a day. Also, it occupies no body slot so you can still wear your own rings.

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April 9, 2016
The Alliance Reunited

Hammer 1375 (Year of the Risen Elfkin) After retrieving the crown of the King of Clan Melairkyn from the depths of Undermountain, Kiira started to recruit a few dozen followers to her banner. Joined by her new friends Gyudd, Keeley, Baldrik Schwartzenberg and Waldorf "Warp" Warpath, Kiira worked as a mercenary leader and bought/rented a temporary headquarters north of Waterdeep.

Ches 1375 Rokh, Keli and Seth wrested control of the section of Undermountain called Vanrakdoom from the hands of Vanrak Moonstar and his new ally, Naneatha Suaril (in death knight form). After a quick cleanup of the dungeon, they contacted Kiira to offer it to her as a new, more permanent HQ for her company. Kiira accepted, but since Vanrakdoom had no convenient access, the group decided to build portals to link it to both Saharelgard (for access to the surface, away from the city) and Clan Melairkyn's "Lost Level" of Undermountain (Kiira's new clan).

        The reunited AD&D sought the counsel of Bandaerl, High Priest of Dumathoin and guardian of the Lost Level, regarding the crown and construction of the portals. Bandaerl confirmed that Gyudd was indeed heir to the crown, and both High Priest and newly-crowned King agreed to shoulder the cost of constructing the two-way portal to Vanrakdoom.

        King Gyudd married Keeley (yeeheeeee!) and made her his queen. Baldrik was now the clan's head of the underground military, Warp the chief scout, and Kiira the leader of the surface army. These events would mark the resurgence of Clan Melairkyn.

Eleasias 1375 After four months, the construction of the portals that link the Lost Level and Vanrakdoom (we really should think of a new name for this place) were completed through Rokh's efforts. Fifty of Kiira's new followers were magically ferried and stationed in her new HQ. The temple of Moradin was restored and, upon Kendor's suggestion, a "grudge stone" had been erected here to remind the dwarves of the sacrilege committed by the followers of Shar upon their chief deity.

Note Construction at Saharelgard had been largely completed but since there were no magical protections active yet (i.e., a weirdstone had not been found), it remained unoccupied except for the ghost of Lady Saharel who resides within her tower and the occasional traveling merchants who seek refuge within the outer walls. Likewise, the plan to link it to _________-doom is currently on hold.

30th of Eleint 1375 A strong earthquake rocked Waterdeep and arcane casters received visions of a dying Halaster at the same time, which, if accurate, could mean that the Mad Mage's spells might no longer be able to contain the horrors within Undermountain. The party headed back to the Lost Level to make sure that its protections were still in place. Upon Bandaerl's advice, the party decided to secure the pyramid portal on the second level and its surrounding environs, after which they would venture down to the depths of the dungeon complex to raid Halaster's resources (to keep it from falling into the wrong hands, of course).

        Upon crossing the second level portal (in the area they dubbed "the Pyramid Room"), the party met another adventuring party that had been trapped by a trio of large scorpion-like constructs called scaladars. Keli disintegrated the mofos while they were busy attacking Kiira and Rokh. According to Rokh's nerdy cohort, Maneegah, scaladars are the creation of Trobriand the Metal Mage, one of Halaster's many apprentices who reside in Undermountain, and that we should expect him or any of his henchmen to be nearby.

Note I, Seth, would like to point out that although Halaster's apprentices are evil-aligned, they are not necessarily our enemies, given the recent events. If we ever do meet them, I would like to parlay first since we need access to Halaster's spells that protect Undermountain. Failing that, you guys go ahead and attack but I got dibs on their spellbooks and any other wizard items.

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