The First Roluthian Crystal

Accidental Subterfuge
and the Performing Mage

Following their adventure in Aldain’s house, the party is told that the nearby town of Greenest would be the best bet for finding any information on this Falwyn character. Shortly before leaving for the next leg of their journey, Talon promises to meet them in town in a few days, for he had some “errands” to run. Parting ways, the remaining party members embarked for Greenest.

The first day’s travel seemed to be pretty uneventful. Clear weather, a warm sunshine, and a slight breeze were welcoming the party as a last vestige of Fall. The party followed the road toward Greenest and passed through field after field… until they came upon a small patch of trees. While passing on the road, Amranth heard a faint commotion nearby. The party stopped and warily went toward the sound, which seemed to be originating behind one of the trees. As they reached the other side of the tree, they saw a travelling chest, and it seemed to be rattling.

Staring at the chest, they saw it jump. It appeared that something was trying to get out. Letting curiosity get the better of them, they decided to open the box. Or at least they tried, for it appeared to be locked. But of course, having a rogue in the party has its advantages, as Amranth quickly unlocked the chest.

Immediately a man erupted from the chest ran away from the party. But it appears the man was not prepared for Zealster, who was prepared for the worst. Zealster immediately sprinted after the man, tackled him, and with little effort subdued him.

After some initial distrust between the party and this man, they learned that his name is Nicodemo. But not just any Nicodemo: Nicodemo the Magnificent, a magical entertainer from the Imperial City. He wows the audience with his magical box and chest act by teleporting from box to box with his specially crafted boxes. The party wondered what he was doing in the region of Amn, to which Nicodemo also wondered, for the last thing he remembered was testing a new box trick in the Imperial City just an hour or so ago! (For those not versed in the regional geography, the Imperial City is roughly 2 weeks journey by horse from this location).

Upon learning this, Nicodemo munched on a pickle, and offered some to his familiar rabbit. Confused, the party asked where he got a pickle from, and he told the party that his basic travelling good were in the bag when he came to. Not knowing what else he could do, Nicodemo decided to join the party for the time being.

The party continued along the way, and by evening were ready for a good rest. They stayed the night in a peaceful grove and rose early in the morning to get to the city of Greenest. Along the way they passed some travellers and even a pair of alchemist apprentice Gnomes from the town of Yonder Village. With no further encounters, they quickly found their way to Greenest.

As they approached the town gates, they saw the gates welcoming in travelling merchants and other travellers. When it was the party’s turn to provide papers, both Amranth and Nicodemo had their papers, but Zealster nor Idrhenel had their!… but this was no issue. The guard simply wrote down their names and gave them directions to the registrar’s office.

Into the city of Greenest! Though a bustling city, it was not yet one of the major cities. However, it appeared that construction could be found throughout the city and travelling merchants seems to be flowing through as the blood of the city. But the party did not stare at these sights for long, for some of them needed to get registered!

The registrar’s office was not far from the city’s entrance. Inside the office was a simple room with a desk and bookshelves filled with books and scrolls. In the back was another door, and a guard stood by the main door. Zealster and Idrhenel asked to be registered, and the registrar began asking them the basic questions about their heritage. After taking their fees, the registrar gave them their new registration papers, but not before trying to remember where she had seen this mage before…

With a grand introduction from Nicodemo, she recognized Nicodemo the Magnificent! Extremely impressed with her and her wife’s experience at his show in the Imperial City, she asked if he was performing here. Thinking “why not?” Nicodemo agrees to a show in the city center, where performers were free to entertain in the evening! However, he failed to think through the fact that he had no boxes…

Bidding the registrar goodbye, they hit the town. It was still early enough to shop, and Nicodemo needed to find some boxes! They found a general merchant who had some chests. After some successful haggling, they got the price of one fine box down, but then decided not to purchase it. Yet.

As the hours drew late, they decided to look for a place to stay. They were quickly steered toward the local tavern and inn, the Stein and Wine. As they walked the streets, the party started to get the feeling that certain guards and townsmen were paying them particular attention. Regardless, they located the tavern with no trouble at all. Inside they saw the usual mix of patrons: a couple mixing drinks at a table, some merchants sitting, some of the handy men drinking and singing, and in the corner a cloaked Tiefling and dwarf talking quietly in the corner. The merchants cast the occasional glance at the party, but otherwise no one paid them much mind.

It is at this point the reader should acknowledge that the only known fact about Falwyn at that time was that this person commanded two men to go and poison a wizard to try to acquire a rare artifact from him. Would it be appropriate to use tact and discreetly gather information, lest the wrong people know you are looking for them?

Apparently not.

Nicodemo jumped on the table and boisterously introduced himself as Nicodemo the Magnificent, grand entertainer of the Imperial City, and he asked for all information about the mysterious Falwyn. No one said anything about Falwyn, but he received many a scathing glance from certain patrons and the merchants. However, some of the town’s workmen were interested in the performance and promised to see him the following evening in the market square.

Zealster, thinking maybe a quiet conversation with the barkeep would yield better results, ordered a drink and struck up a conversation. Asking the barkeep where they could learn anything about Falwyn, he poured on his best charms. The barkeep knew nothing about a Falwyn, but suggested they ask the registrar. So simple: why didn’t they think of that?

Without further incident that evening, the party reserved a room, ate, and sleeps. Alas, no vampires in the window that night. In the morning they had a hearty breakfast and went to the registrar. When they entered, the registrar did not act as chipper as before and asked them to wait before going through the door to the back room. Then a man in leather armor entered from the back room, followed by the registrar. At the same time the guard moved to block the front door when directed by a nod from the man.

The man then began to talk, but instead of talking to the party as a whole, he only talked to Amranth, and asked what in the world she is doing so carelessly dropping Falwyn’s name while making such a spectacle. Amranth finally noticed the man has an insignia on his armor… that matched the insignia on her armor that she picked up from one of they guys who tried to rob Aldain!… so he thinks Amranth is part of… something.

And Amranth bluffed like she has never bluffed before. She cooly claimed that she had to pick up a band of amateurs for her last job. When asked which job she was now one, she claimed she was on job 23. The man is sceptical, but not completely distrusting. He vocally assumed that she must have just transferred to not know the basic rules for the Greenest chapter. He welcomed her to this local chapter and told her to keep the Falwyn references down.

Since she had just arrived in Greenest, he told her that she could have this new job that just came up if she needed some quick cash and especially if that band she hired was still under contract. Amranth, not wanting to raise any alarms, agreed to the job. The man then recounted how some orcs had been looting merchants travelling to Greenest over the past few month, and this was not sitting well with Falwyn. They had already sent two people to try to solve the problem, but their people had been missing for two days. Go and take care of it.

They finished their conversation, the guard stepped aside, and they all ran out of registrar’s office. However, they decided to do the job anyway, since now they were definitely in the thick of things. But first, they tried visiting the library to see if they could research the symbol on Amranth’s armor. After many hours, they found a symbol that looked similar to the one on her armor. It was in reference to hypothesized secret organizations, but the book held no further details. So after preparing for the journey, they went to where the man described the attacks happening, which was but two or three hours travel from the city walls.

After travelling the distance described, the party found a broken and ransacked cart a little ways from the town. Crates, cloths, and blood could be seen around the scene, but without a tracker, they could not follow a trail. Instead, they decided to try to wait in secret in the night and ambush the orcs when they attacked the next caravan. The section of road that the destroyed cart laid was surrounded on either side by the edges of woods. The party easily hid just behind the tree line, and Nicodemo decided to try hiding inside of the broken down cart (I mean, it is sort of like a box). Then they waited.

Time passed, and eventually the light of day gave way to the glow of dusk. Eventually they saw a cart coming down the road. They heard a rustling a few yards to the left of them. Suddenly, they heard a battle cry and a band of orcs jumped out of the trees just 10 yards away and tried to chase down the cart. In this band of orcs ran one orc that was significantly larger than the others. The large one quickly gained on the cart, but with deadly aim, Amranth quickly slew him with a critical, triple damage crossbow bolt!

The other orcs are stunned, and then start running away. But before they could escape, Idrhenel cast Entangling growth and trapped them all. The party quickly kills all but one of the orcs.

Start interrogating him. Learn that chief is dead. Now Skug chief. The orc tries to point them in the wrong direction for the clan, but Zealster intimidates him into pointing them in the right direction. They bound him and walking him in that direction.

Then Zealster killed him when they came to the cave (The divides are watching)

They find a passage and Amranth scouts ahead to where she sees lights. She sees two orcs, and tries to creep back to tell the party. But trips on some rocks and orcs come a chasing. Nicodemo tries to use ray of cold… but misses multiple times. One throws javalins and the other attacks with a falchion. And Zealster kills the melee orc. Seeing the threat, the other one runs back into the cave.

The party chases in pursuit. He disappears around a corner, and they find two more orcs in addition to the first. The first orc flees to a discolored patch of ground while the other two attack. They land some blows on Zealster and Amranth, and Idrhenel swung her scimitar across the room. Somehow, they kill the two orcs quickly, and then they see that the first orc has opened a trap door!

He starts to finagle with something, and Nicodemo charges him. But he wasn’t thinking, and pushes himself and the orc down the hole. The orc was trying to secure himself on a rope, but the force of the grapple broke the rope. Conveniently for Nicodemo, he landed on top. More convenient for Nicodemo, he couldn’t possibly miss this time with ray of cold. Thus, the third orc was killed.

The party decides to investigate further into the dungeon, when they see another orc running away down a passage. They gave chase, but couldn’t find where it went. They investigated further into the dungeon and found a door and a hallway. Not sure which way to go, they went with the door. Inside they found the ruins of some sort of alter room. Instead of the old statue, now there was only a statue to the god of the orcs. Suddenly, through the very door they had entered charged a large orc in some form of robes followed by well armed and large orcs.

The fight was fierce. Zealster did his best to guard his comrades, and to the joy of his party, it worked. They were wounding orcs left and right, but the orcs were definitely fighting back. Nicodemo, weary from the previous encounters, fell while fighting one of the smaller, yet still large, orcs. Quickly Zealster became severely weakened, and in this weakened state the large orc, which they learned later was Skuld, grasped his helm between his hands and suddenly Zealster’s helm burned red hot. It was a mortal wound, and any warrior who had not trained to withstand near death injury would have fainted, but not Zealster. Zealster’s repayed the deed, and Skuld very bloodied and burning hands in the face.

Zealster laid hands on himself to see him through the rest of the fight. They killed the remaining orcs, forced a potion down Nicodemo’s throat, and looted the bodies. They searched the room, and found nothing else. The evening was getting on, but they decided to search one more room before settling down.

Inside the next room they found some bookshelves, a table and chairs, and a bed. After searching the room, they found a few scroll on the shelves and a chest under the bed. Amranth’s interest was piqued. She examine every square inch of the chest, looking for any sign of a trap. Satisfied that there was no trap, she tried to open the lock… and she tried again… and again… and failed to open the lock. Zealster, tired from the fighting, did not want to wait while Amranth tinkered, so he asked to smash it open. No one had a better idea, so he did.

He drew his sword and gave an accurate swing. The chest cracked open, and a mysterious needle jutted out of the chest, dripping with some form of poison. With the chest successfully disarmed, they recovered some magical goodies and a decent pile of coins. The party secured the room and stayed the night.

The next day, the party did a lot of exploring. (Out of character, it was getting late, so we began accelerating the pace). One of the rooms they found was a room full of dead bodies. Dead human bodies. Among the piles of bodies (some very decomposed) was a body in familiar leather armor. They had found one of the missing team members. But there was still hope for finding the second.

They explored some more. They found what looked like a training room. Next to it they found a door and Zealster’s paladin senses tingled he sensed evil. They kicked down the unlocked door into a room full or children and women orcs. However, instead of granting them a quick death, the party decided to close the door back and nail spike into the door, thereby locking the orcs inside the room.

The party explored room after room. Through all this exploration, they only passed one door. Eventually, they charged into a room with a couple of the bigger orcs. The party wasn’t taking chances and slew them quickly. And through the next door was the Chief’s room. Inside was… a regular larger orc, since the previous two chiefs had already been killed. He died as well, but they still found no sign of the missing team member. Then they decided to go through the one door they had passed, and found a kitchen. Inside was just a kitchen with a single orc stirring a pot with a club. He didn’t even stand a chance. Then behind the next door was the pantry. And in the pantry was a man, chained to the wall. Taking a key from the cook, they released the man.

The man gave his name (which I forgot) and they got out of the dungeon as quickly as they could. They safely made it back to the town. Shortly after ending, Amranth slyly let the man lead the way back to HQ, while the rest of the “hired hands” returned to the tavern. He led here deep into the town until they entered a large and official looking building. They quickly darted into side hallway after side hallway until they got to a door. He knocked, and they were let in.

Inside were a few others wearing the same armor. At a table sat the man who had cornered the party in the registrar’s office. He congratulated Amranth for her success and how she had made the Shadow Thieves proud and caught the attention of Falwyn. He told her to return to the barracks and her reward would be sent soon. As she left, she overheard the rescued man ask if his brother had returned from the retrieval mission. After being told that his brother had not returned, he left with Amranth…

And that was the adventure!

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A Hidden Mansion
The humble beginnings

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.

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