We open our tale upon the town of Grassblade…
In the country of Amn, among the many fields of The Greenfields resides the city of Grassblade. Our adventuring party of Talon Blackthorn the ranger, Idhrenel the Druid, and Zealster the paladin wander into the local tavern (big surprise) after travelling all day. After asking the bar keep for some refreshment, they take note of the other patrons. At a couple of tables, some farmers are clearly relaxing after a day of hard toil. At the bar itself lies an old man in dusty wraps. Zealster, out of the corner of his eye, notices something strange about the old man: it appears the dust beneath his feet moved without his moving! Curious, the party sits near and begins to converse with the stranger.
They learn the man’s name is Aldain, and the barkeep knows him as a seasonal resident of Grassblade. Aldain engages in some light conversation while drinking his wine. It appears that Aldain is not have heavy drinker, as he begins to nod and sway at his stool. Suddenly, he sits up, muttering, “This is not right… this is not right!” and abruptly stands up and makes for the door. By his stride, it appears the man is quite drunk, swaying this way and that, but once again, the party notices some dust kick up that was not his own. After he leaves, the party decides what to do. Talon, being the sneakiest of the group, decides to tail the man.
Being a small town, it was not a difficult task. Talon overhead Aldain continue muttering to himself, “This should not be happening.” and, “I must get back” as he continued to sway and stumble more and more toward a small hut-sized house in the distance. He opens the door and stumbles in. Talon, very cautiously, moves up to the door and peeks inside. To his astonishment, the house was much larger on the inside than the outside! Marble floors and smooth hewn walls stretched out of his sight! Unsure if he was going mad, Talon investigated around the hut. The outside was indeed small, but the inside was indeed large! Unsure how to proceed, he returns to the party for aid.
After hearing this news, they decide to investigate. The run to the hut and cautiously enter. Inside is well lit with torches every few paces, and they see a door ajar. As they approach the door, they hear an unnatural crackle, immediately followed by an unpleasant, reptilian growl. Confused, they open the door to find a bedroom. Inside, Aldain can be seen passed out on the floor, reaching for the bed. But more interesting to the party, is the 4ft long lizard-like creature hovering over the man, which is now staring at the party. However, before the party can react, a voice floats into their minds, “Who are you, and what are you doing here?”
The lizard-creature can talk telepathically! Through conversation, they find out that Aldain is actually a wizard, and the lizard-like creature is his companion named Xephorset. Aldain vacations here every summer, but his current stupor is not natural. Xephorset had tried to revive him to no avail! The lizard-thing was going to try to find help outside, and asked if the party could look inside his house, for he thought he remembered something that could help residing somewhere in his summer home. At a quickened pace, Xephorset rushes out the door into the closing night.
As a last thought, Zealster tries to telepathically ask for any more specifics. As a distant memory, he hears Xephorset say, “check the vault on the lower level.” So with little guidance, they begin to search the house. First they find a den, where they find a manuscript of Aldain writing a book titled, “On the Domestication of Dragons,” and where Talon finds a platinum in a chair cushion! Further along, they find the kitchen where a mysterious force is stirring some form of stew for later in the evening. At the back of the kitchen, they find a pantry. While searching around the pantry for who knows what, suddenly they are beset by rats!
Rats seemed to materialize from a sack lying under a shelf in the corner! After a couple of swings from the party, a dart flies over Idhrenel’s head and kills a rat! From inside a jar of pickles erupted a halfling who helped slay the rats. After some evasive maneuvers, they were able to grab the rat bag, sealing the remaining rats inside. The halfling rogue Amranth introduced herself as someone who often sampled Aldain’s food. So their party grew and they continued to explore.
In another room, they found mysterious items on display, such as the Key to the Elemental Maze, Dust of Doom, Band of Nightmares, and others. They were each upon a pedestal, but were protected by invisible walls of force. With nothing that looked like it would help, they continued on. Next, they discovered a library! And then, another library! Filled with books, they searched to cause, and discovered a book lying on a table about traps and secret doors for amateurs, that was bookmarked to a page describing how grass is excellent to hide a secret door.
At this point, there was only a set of double doors unexplored. As they approached, however, a giant centipede appeared right in front of them in a cloud of smoke! It quickly charged, and they fought a short battle. Unsure where it came from, they cautiously opened the door and found sunlight and grass! There were animals lined around the huge room, and a fountain poured in the middle. They saw bears and eagles and tigers, but none attacked them. Talon tried to approach a tamer animal, and hit his face on an invisible wall. It appeared this was Aldains personal zoo. But there were no more doors they had found to explore.
Perplexed, they suddenly remembered the book in the library. They scoured around the zoo area, but to no avail at first. Then, Talon used his tracking ability. There appeared to be a trail that led to the fountain, and then to one of the holding areas with no animals. As they walked cautiously forward, they found there was no invisible wall here. After Amranth searched, they found a hidden door beneath some grass! But alas, there was a keyhole in the door, and they had no key! But thankfully, Amranth never really bothered with keys, and quickly unlocked the door. And they found some stairs going down… to the lower level.
In the lower level, they found a large hallway with tables and dissecting tools, and cells appeared on their left, containing live monsters. The doors seemed shut, so they continued along. Suddenly, one of the cell doors opened! The beast, surprised as much as the party, quickly escaped his cell and immediately attacked the nearest lifeforms. Zealster placed himself between the monster’s sharp claws and his party. However, the monster was no match for four adventurer’s, and quickly fell, with only minimal injury to party.
They continued to explore the lower level, and discovered a room with alchemy equipment everywhere and cabinets of potions. Whilst rummaging among the items on the desk, they found some healing points… but not before almost knocking over a mysterious blue flask! I say almost, for Amranth’s quick reflexes grabbed it in mid-air. The flask was conveniently labelled and read “Gelatinous Cubeling”. After much debate about what in the world that meant, they decided to unstopper the flask. Immediately a gelatinous substance oozed from the flask and onto the floor, where it formed itself into a small 1ft cubed cube. It simply sat there, quietly gurgling. Amranth, feeling attached to the thing, threw it some food, which it quickly absorbed and gurgled happily. Then it started following her, and the party’s first pet was acquired.
But the moment was short lived, for outside the room they heard a cry of, “By the Divines, what sorcery is this! Who goes there?!” The last statement came out with more of a roar than a yell. When they exited the room, they saw nothing but fog… fog inside! They cautiously approached where they heard the sound. As they moved, they heard, “Aldain, is that you? What is this?!” The party, thinking this must be a friend of Aldain’s, announced themselves and their intentions. As they spoke, the fog began to lift and they could see the individual. What looked like a hairy, muscular man… except that he had a dogs head.
After some explaining (and poor Charisma rolls by Zealster), they found that this was Bartholomew, summoned to guard Aldain’s vault. After sensing no evil in them, Bartholomew decided to believe them, and let them through the door. However, the door only led to another door with an embossed dragon and was locked. Above the door was a carving saying, “The Password is Sorcery.” Then the embossed dragon came to life! It was a merry door, and just enjoyed having someone to talk to. The party said Sorcery and every variation they could think of, but nothing opened the door. The door himself could not open the door, and could not remember how Aldain opened the door, since that memory was always erased when the door was opened. After many minutes arguing and conversing with the door, they finally got the idea to get door to say the password. After many more minutes, they finally convinced the door to do so, and the door opened.
In the vault were only three items. Two of them were ornate, and very old looking cloaks. But on the far end of the room lied a white crystal mounted in a platinum base. The crystal glowed in the already lit room. Zealster cautiously went forward and picked up the crystal. Instantly, he felt renew (and healed). Knowing this was the correct item, they quickly left to return to Aldain, leaving Bartholomew to continue guarding the vault. They rushed up the secret door towards the entrance, just in time to see two men in matching leather armors enter the front door.
Spotting the gem in Zealster’s possession, the taller said, “Ah, thank you for finding that for us. We will be taking that now.” And as he said that, he drew his longsword. Idhrenel recognized them as two patrons of the tavern! Knowing there was no avoiding it, they defended the crystal from the two intruders. The two were skilled, and quickly began attacking Zealster, and quite successfully. However, they had underestimated the skill of the party, and after a lengthy battle, fell beneath their swords. They searched the bodies, finding one set of armor fit Amranth (for the second intruder was a halfling) and the man had a nice sword. Further, inside an inside pocket, they found a letter, instructing them to drug Aldain and obtain a white crystal. The instructions were signed by someone call Faelyn. Oh yeah, Aldain!
They took the crystal to Aldain and laid in on him. There was a flash of brilliant white light, and Aldain began to wake! For the next few hours, the party helped Aldain gain his strength and explained all that had transpired. Then, Xephorset arrived, brining with him a cleric named Elaan, who helped him regain the last of his strength.
Aldain helped thanked them with gold and some items, including letting them keep the bag of holding (after helping them kill the remaining rats and discovering his lost trap door key!) He tells them that he does not know who this Faelyn person is, nor how she knew of the existance of this Roluthian Crystal, but was determined to find out. After Zealster tried to woo Elaan, Aldain, determining this was a capable band of adventurers, pointed them in the direction of Greenest, the nearest large city. Maybe they would find adventure and riches there, and possibly clues to this Faelyn character. Thus, the party headed in the specified direction, and their adventure had finally begun.