The Gates of Thralldom

Session 17

Our adventurers decided to explore a cave entrance to the west. The cave is dark, but they here footsteps approaching. The group tries to hide, but one party member is seen and battle ensues. It turns out to be a group of gnolls that were excavating in the cave. After defeating the gnolls, the party finds another obelisk room and a revently excavated door further to the west.

Through the newly created door, the party find a square room with a brazier in the center and a stone slab door and 4 plaques on the southern wall. Each plaque has a riddle on it. The party quickly solves all the puzzles and the stone slab slides open.

The party enters the next room to discover another gnoll warband. This one includes a leader of some sort and two large gnolls holding the leashes two giant hyenas apiece. The leader convulses and speaks words that do not appear to be his own. He informs the group he grows tiresome of them and that he will feast upon their brains. With that, battle ensues.

The leader attempts to Hold the adventurers but is thwarted. Arthur rushes the spellcaster while the giant hyenas are let loose. Zeki, seeing the situation may get out of control, puts up a Wall of Force that traps a gnoll and two of the giant hyenas.

Despite reducing the number of enemies to fight at once, the party finds the leader is quite powerful with both spells and sheer strength. Arthur’s attempts to trip him fail and the leader responds by unleashing massive amounts of damage. Arthur goes down, Zeki retreats into hiding, and Teela is currently in the grips of the leader gnoll…

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Session 16
The adventurers decide to explore a cave to the west inside the canyon. The spot and skirt around an area of quicksand only to run into a cave dragon. They defeat the dragon and subsequently find several round rooms with an obsidian obelisk in them. The plinth has an image of a laughing mask and an inscription that reads “Tell Me a Joke.” The party tells some jokes and at one point the obelisk shimmers and the inscription disappears.

Heading further south in the canyon, the group comes to a ruin henge guarded by a large hyena-like fiend. He convulses and seems to be channeling someone else’s words. He accuses them of being the ones that have been giving him trouble and that he will enjoy seeing them die. With that, he attacks. Zeki ends up exiling him back to his own plane. However, Enzio gets surprised by a Sand Wrym hidden under the soil and it trapped by it’s cage-like spikes on its back. Zeki polymorphs Enzio into a T Rex to break him free and the group defeats the dragon.

THe Henge itself consists of 5 tall standing stones, each inscribed with an indecipherable script. A raven lands atop one of the standing stones and begins speaking. We learn a Dragon Born Warlock named Kira Darkscale is also exploring the canyon. She came here through investigating the Illithid after finding her sister, Nezira, dead from an Intellect Devourer. She is several hours further south of the party’s location, but she can see and speak through her raven, Majeus. The party agrees to allow the Raven to travel with them while Kira makes her way north to the party.

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Session 15

The group travels back to their “home” stone ring in the abandoned temple.

Upon arriving, the group find a message from Whispin:

“Greetings fellow Seekers! We have successfully negotiated with the Githerzai and have been granted access to the stone base of the Ring outside of Tammerland. We have people heading out to get the glyphs off the base as I write this, so depending on when you read this, we should be able to travel through the ring within a few days.

Gratian is back in power and Hadran is under house arrest. The situation here will be delicate as Gratian decides how to handle his brother and those soldiers and politicians who backed him. But that is not our biggest concern at the moment…

The Githerzai have filled us in on what the Illithid have planned. They want to use the Stone Rings to psychically link an unknown number of Elder Brains. They believe that if enough Elder Brains can be linked, a sort of psychic flare will occur, giving them almost unlimited mental powers. The Githerzai believe they are trying to achieve their goal through the rapid production of tadpoles, using the tadpoles to create more Illithid, and then immediately sacrificing those Flayers so that the brains can be used to form new Elder Brains—all of which would need to be near a Stone Ring in order for their plan to work.

There is so much more to say, but we will have to leave it until we can come to Astil. In the meantime, you must do what you can to secure or take back any Stone Rings that you know of. One less stone ring in the Illithid’s control means one less Elder Brain linked.

I have a few more things to look into here, but I will see you as soon as I can.

Whispin”

From here, our heroes head out to find the second gate they learned about from the Azlanti/Tuathan complex under the Everkeep Harbor prison. They are attacked yet again by a group of drow. They dispatch their foes in a hard-fought battle and eventually arrive in Hills Edge, a small village that is essentially a lumber camp.

The adventurers visit the tavern and learn that the city is about to bar visitors due to an outbreak of a laughing disease. The outbreak has shut down the commerce of Hills Edge and its sister town, Duskmoon. Travelling near Laugher’s Gorge hear laughter coming from the canyon and many have been attacked by bands of gnolls. Coincidentally, Laugher’s Gorge looks to be roughly where the Stone Circle should be.

While in the tavern, the party is approached by none other than Zerowyn Etronis. She confesses she knows what the Illithid are up to but that she also has a plan to stop them. She reveals that there is a “master gate” and that she is working on a crystal that will overload all the gates when they are interconnected. She tells the Seekers to come see her at her tower if they find the location of this master gate.

The adventurers head out to the gorge and descend 400 feet to the canyon floor. They encounter a patrol of gnolls with a mammoth. The party does battle with them and then prepares to strike out deeper into the canyon.

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Session 14

After defeating Ruknar, the adventurers search the rest of the goblin compound and then head deeper into the complex. They spot four lizardmen-like creatures hoisting a large metal kettle while a MInd Flayer supervises. Our heroes decide to attack. The din of battle attracts two more Illithid from another room from the south.

The Royal Seekers ably handle their opponents and then backtrack into a large, columned room. Here they find humanoids in various stages of ceremorphosis—the process of transforming into a Mind Flayer. Distracted by the strange sight, the group is attacked by an Invisible stalker. Our heroes dispatch the stalker and then kill the caged humanoids.

The adventurers head further south into a large cavern with a naturally occurring pool. This room contains a large detachment of lizard men and some Illithid. The Seekers engage in battle with them and overcome their enemies, but not before a Mind Flayer teleports out of the cavern.

The heroes realize the pool of water is teeming with thousands—possibly millions— of Illithid tadpoles. It appears they were breeding the tadpoles here and then transporting them in the large kettles to somewhere else. Zeki brings down lightning on the pool and kills all the tadpoles.

Continuing to the next room, the group finds a Stone Ring. THey note the address on the stone base and then use the Ring to transport to their home base in the abandoned temple.

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Session 13

Arthur is confronted with a basilisk in the pit. The party makes quick work of it while they shake off its petrifying effect. They continue further south into the complex, meeting resistance from goblins and bugbears. The adventurers come to a prison area, but the goblins killed the prisoners before the heroes could get to them. Further south they come to what looks to be a “church” of the goblins. There are a horde of goblins listening to an apparent leader goblin. Battle ensues and the goblin regulars are dispatched. The leader goblin tries to strike a deal with the adventurers, but they strike him down instead.

Finally, at the end of the hall, the heroes face off against Ruknar, the Hobgoblin Chieftain of the Blood Moon goblins. Our heroes must battle his concubines and hobgoblin guards. Once they kill Ruknar himself, they realize he was being controlled by an intellect devourer. With quick thinking, Zeki turns it into a frog and throws it in their bag of devouring.

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Session 12
Old Friends

The party’s rest was interrupted when they are attacked by the reconstituted skulls. They deal with them, leave the vault and close the door. The adventurers decide to head back to the ground floor to get to the staircase that leads into the goblin lair.

Upon reaching the first floor, however, the party is attacked by the Drow assassins whom they had clashed with before. They must have been able to track the party here. Our heroes manage to defeat the Drow and capture one for interrogation. All they can get out of him is that he was commanded by his Mistress to kill them. He is rather recalcitrant as he assumes he is dead either way—killed by the battle’s victors or his own Mistress. The party decides to let him go.

The adventurers once again head back down into the goblins’ lower level lair. They fight some more goblins as it appears they have discovered many of their numbers missing, including the gnoll emissaries. The heroes head down the southern hallway to where they know a pit exists, thanks to the use of Arcane Eye. Arthur, leading the way, springs a trap and is catapulted forward into the 30’ deep pit. As he stands up and dusts himself off, a large door in one wall of the pit begins to open…

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Session 11
The Last of the Tuathans

The party decides to go south and fight the goblins. As there are two other doors out of this room, the party plans to block those doors so as to isolate the goblins from help or warning others. Oredoth moves to guard the east door. Zeki’ casts a web spell to block the west door and catch some goblins in it. Teela uses hail of thorns to damage several goblins. The party discovers that these goblins are stronger than goblins they had fought before. Never the less, the party was mowing the goblins down. Then Zeki’ decided to burn the web. Unfortunately, this allowed some goblins to escape to the west. Zeki’ cast another web spell to trap the goblins once again. Problem was that the goblins had moved around a corner and out of line of sight. Arthur waded into the web to try and reach the goblins. Because of the narrowness of the corridor, no one else could do the same. But, no matter; Arthur killed them before they got away. The party found a message on the goblins. It said something about the bleached skull tribe coordinating with the bloodmoon tribe to move the master’s cargo.

The party then checked out a door in the west corridor. The room was some type of armory. They found a secret door which led to a secret room. This room did not look like anyone had been there for a very long time. The party to the chance to rest. While there was some noise in the armory, the party’s rest was not disturbed. The party decided to go east and up some stairs. Oredoth activated a trap while climbing the stairs. It largely only affected him. The party came to the door leading to the court yard of the keep. They found another pair of doors locked and chained. They unlocked the door and chain. They entered the room prepared for a big fight. At first they just saw webs, Spiders they thought. They started shooting arrows with light on it to try and find the spiders up in the rafters. They also discovered that the webs did not burn. The spiders knew their craft and managed to surprise the party. Luckily there were only two. After some heroics from Arthur – climbing up into the rafters to kill one spider and then jumping down to severely wound another – the fight was soon over.

After searching through all the spider webs and finding just skeletons, the party moved upstairs. The party found three large bedrooms with the ghost of a young boy in one. Enzio persuaded the boy-ghost to answer the party’s questions. The boy-ghost told the party that this was the last outpost of Tuathian descent. He also said that there was a secret portal nearby. The party did find the boy’s parent’s remains and buried them in the courtyard under a tree. This brought peace and closure to the boy and his ghost left.

Finding the secret door was a major challenge. The party threw all the upstairs furniture into the main hall below. After much searching, a door was found leading down in the wall of the castle. Near the bottom, the party came upon a strange door. It had what appeared to be a wood replica of a demon’s head above it. It gave off a strange chant. While Maelen and Enzio were prepping Arthur to brave the mystical chant, Oredoth impetuously went forward to investigate. Oredoth froze with a blank stare on his face. Arthur just took a step around the corner and met the same fate inspite of all the protective spells. The rest of the party pulled Arthur back and was able to slap Arthur out of it. Zeki tried several ways to try and understand what this was without success. All this did was summon a fire elemental. As Oredoth was too far away to be rescued, the fire elemental set him ablaze and headed for the remainder of the party. Zeki turned the fire elemental into a toad and then had the brilliant idea to throw the toad down the bag of devouring. With some flame and a puff of smoke, fire elemental was gone. finally, Arthur smashed the wood replica which ended the chanting. Once awoken, Oredoth doused himself with water to put out the flames.

The party now opened the door to face three floating skeletal heads. The combined fire power of the party quickly ended this threat. The party decided that this was a good placed to rest after a long day of adventuring.

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Isstik Magical weapon Legacy Upgrades

Through bonding and using these magical items, some new abilities are unlocked.

Darkstring

Current Abilities:

Magical. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon.
Conjure Ammunition. By pulling upon the bowstring, the weapon magically conjures an arrow, nocked into place, ready to shoot. You can choose for an arrow fired in this fashion to deal cold, fire, or lightning damage instead of piercing damage, determined before the attack roll is made.
Alert. While holding this weapon, you have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight.
Warded. While holding this weapon, you can use it to cast protection from evil and good targeting yourself only. This ability cannot be used again until the next dawn.

Gnorm’s Puzzle Box

Current Abilities:

Arcane Focus. The item can be used as an arcane spellcasting focus. While holding it, you have a +1 bonus to spell attack rolls.
Labyrinthine. While holding this item, your spell save DC is increased by 1.
Magic Sensitive. While holding this item, you can use it to cast detect magic. This ability can be used twice and regains both uses daily at dawn.
Mindful. While holding this item, you have advantage on Wisdom (Insight) checks and you gain a bonus equal to half your proficiency bonus on Intelligence (Investigation) checks.
Reserve. You can use an action to cause the puzzle box to open and regain one expended spell slot of up to 3rd level. Once you use this ability, the box immediately closes and the box cannot be used in this manner again until the next dawn.

Heartcarver

Current Abilities:

Magical. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon.
Somber. While holding this weapon, you have advantage on saving throws against being charmed.
Lonely. While holding this weapon, you can use it to cast charm person as a 1st level spell (save DC 15). This ability cannot be used again until the next dawn.
Requite. Immediately after you make a ranged attack with this weapon, it magically flies back to your hand.
Lovestruck. While holding this weapon, you can use an action to force a creature that can see you to succeed on a DC 15 Charisma saving throw or be magically charmed by you for 1 hour. If you are of a species and gender the creature is attracted to, it regards you as its true love while charmed. This ability cannot be used again until the next dawn.

Viperkiss

Current Abilities:

Magical. You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon.
Poison. When you score a critical hit against a creature with the weapon, it takes an
additional 1d10 poison damage.
Poison Resistance. While holding this weapon, you have resistance to poison damage.
Dueler. While holding this weapon, you can use it to cast compelled duel (save DC 15).
This ability cannot be used again until the next dawn.
Venom. You can use an action to cause the blade to become coated in a clear poison that remains for 1 minute or until an attack using this weapon hits a creature. That creature must succeed on a DC 15 Constitution saving throw or take 2d10 poison damage and become poisoned for 1 minute. This ability cannot be used again until the next dawn.

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Session 10

Our heroes received their original copy of the Tuathan journal back, reassembled and pristine. All the pages were present. While waiting for other party members to return from Isle of Westley by boat, Zeki began reading the book. The book was written by a Tuathan scientists of sorts. Considered on the fringe for neglecting magic and focusing on non-magical technology, the Tuathan set up shop on the island at an old Azlanti site. He was fascinated by the Ones Who Came Before’s non-magical inventions, like the Stone Rings and the holographic map projector. The journal contains more entries, but will take time to read.

Once reunited, the party sets out for the Eastern most Tuathan ruin on the holographic map. Supposedly, it is the site of another Stone Ring. The several day journey was marred by the appearance of Drow one night. Arthur managed to spot about half of them, but many still laid hidden from sight. The hidden ones let loose a volley of poison arrows at the group but was thwarted by Leomund’s Tiny Hut. Arthur and Enzio took some arrows and retreated into the Hut, but not before Arthur took down one of the enemy. A Drow caster attempted twice to Dispel the Hut, but Zeki managed to Counterspell both times. The fight became a standoff until dawn came and the Drow faded back into the forest. The next night, our heroes could tell the Drow were out there yet again and attempted to cover their tracks the next day.

The party eventually came upon a remote hunting camp where trappers, hunters, and furriers work from. Talking to a huntsmen, the party learns the ruins are a couple hours to the east, but that the hunters give the area a wide berth. The ruin is a known stronghold for various goblinoid races. And recently, even stranger things have been seen. One trapper claims to have seen a giant flying snail, though he is known to be oft deep in his cups. Additionally, two hunters have gone missing.

Our heroes go to the ruins and recon the area around it. They find the ruins sit against an escarpment. Below, a small, treeless valley stretches out and in the center, what appears to be a large sailing vessel in the shape of a snail sits upon Y-shaped columns. The ship and a door into the escarpment are guarded by unusual-looking lizardmen.

The ruin itself is in pretty good shape. It consists of a stout outer wall, a tower, and a two-story donjon. The outer wall creates an interior courtyard. The party scouts the courtyard and, seeing no people, decides to enter. The choose to check the tower first.

Hearing sounds from within, Arthur climbs the tower and the party enters from the very top. As they work their way through the tower, they skirmish with hobgoblins and bugbears. They spare no one except a female hobgoblin cook. Interrogating her, they find that their hobgoblin leader has struck a deal with “purple creatures.” this does not sit well with some in the tribe, but no one has yet stood up to Ruknar.

When the party enters the cellar, they find the missing hunters and release them. They also find a well in the cellar that drops down another 20 feet. They cast light on a rock and chuck it down the well, finding out that the water appears to be flowing rather than still. Arthur climbs down and finds a passable route further east that ends at another well. They climb up the second well and find themselves in a new area, estimating it is under the donjon. They know they have a group of gnolls to their northeast and a dozen goblins directly to their south. Zeki casts Arcane Eye to have a look around the complex they are in before the party decides their next move.

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Session 9
We Don't Need No Stinking Puzzles

Our royal Seekers had come to a metallic door with no visible way to open it. There was just an octagonal hole. The party tried to put one of their red crystals into the hole. The door opened. The party entered a room which had two doors on the left and two doors on the right with a tile mosaic on the floor which had symbols corresponding to those above the four doors. After trying various patterns of standing on the tiles, Arthur found out that the symbols above the doors could twist. Giving the symbol a half turn twist opened the door. The first door the party opened led to an illusion of a large room which actually held a trap. luckily, both Arthur and Enzio dived out of the way of a falling block in time instead of being crushed beneath it. The next door the party tried had noxious gas come out of it. Arthur shut that door quickly. The third also held a trap which the party disabled. The fourth door did not open at first. Once all the other doors were locked and its symbols in the right position, the fourth door opened.

This led to a hallway with two alcove in the middle across from each other, and another metallic door at the far end. another crystal poke and this door opened. The party entered into an elongated oval room. To the left of the doorway stood two horse shoe-like table with unknown symbols written all over it. Comprehend languages spell failed on the symbols. There was also something vaguely shaped like a volcano protruding from the wall. Oredoth checked it for traps. As it looked something like a porthole Oredoth looked into this contraption. The thing animated, grabbing his head, and filled his sight with flashing lights. Then it let go. While rather woozy from this mishap, Oredoth could now read the symbols on the tables. The symbols were Tuathian. The tables also had two octagonal holes for crystals. Placing the crystals into the holes caused a hologram to appear revealing the rough location of two other gates unknown to the party. Some other members of the party also decided to look into the device as well and suffered the same results.

The door opposite of the entrance from this room led to a combination study, laboratory, and workroom. The party gathered up some of the vials of unknown material and a lab note book.

Searching some more in the hologram room revealed some very small tracks in the floor. Maelen suggested that Zeki try his arm band that activated Tuathian teleport rings. Sure enough, the rings rose from the floor. The party gathered inside the rings and were teleported elsewhere.

A blade spider ambushed the party upon arrival. the spider’s initial attacks were unsuccessful. Enzio cast faerie fire which allowed Arthur to smack the crap out of the spider. Never the less, the spider gathered its legs and made a leap on top of Mealen. She took the full brunt of the attack and barely got out of the way of the poisonous bite of the spider. Oredoth ended the life of the spider with a well placed guiding bolt. With the battle now over, healing ensued along with butchering the spider.

The party now moved into the next room, finding a well furnished reading room. Their lantern of revealing disclosed a female elf by the name of Zerowyn Etronis. The party recognized this name as the person who had a large tower in Everkeep. After an apology about the spider, Zerowyn and the party had an exchange of information about both this lair, the past history of Astil, and current affairs. Teela and Arthur decided to take the warden back to the prison and get Teela’s cat, while the rest of the party teleported to Zerowyn’s tower. Here the party enjoyed luxurious accommodations while waiting for Arthur and Teela and for Zerowyn’s scribes to copy the lab notes that the party had found.

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