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Adventures in the Midnight Tower (D&D5e)

mikeawmids1

Explorer
This story hour is based on an ongoing campaign, using the D&D5e roleplaying system and the series of adventures produced by Midnight Tower at
Adventure #0: Adventures in the Night

Introducing our four heroes;
Enost Stormbraid (Dwarf Wizard 1)
Lone Song (Tabaxi Bard 1)
Addan Dawnmane (Elf Ranger 1)
Shenk (Dragonborn Fighter 1)


The party are on the road to Buckbridge, having heard the village seeks heroes to deal with an incursion of vicious gnolls. Dusk has settled over the forest and the heroes make camp for the night, expecting to complete their journey the following day. Wary that their may be monsters abroad, the heroes take turns watching over their sleeping companions.


Shortly after midnight, Addan hears something creeping around the edge of the camp. A young, half-elven boy with bare-feet and unruly hair emerges from the undergrowth, hands raised to show he is unarmed. Addan rouses the camp. The boy's name is Mans and he needs the heroes' help; goblins have kidnapped his sister Luna and are holding her captive in a nearby cave. Song accepts this story at face value and immediately agrees to help, whereas Enost and Addan are more sceptical. Shenk doesn't care either way and tries to go back to sleep.


Enost and Addan roll Insight, both roll under 10.

Mans seems genuinely concerned for the well-being of his sister. The party quickly break down their camp and follow the boy into the dark forest. Soon, they reach the edge of a moonlit glade occupied by a circle of overgrown statues. Mans clings to the edge of the clearing, urging the heroes to hurry. Addan suspects this was once a druidic enclave, although the site appears long neglected.


Suddenly, a huge bundle of hairy legs and venom-dripping mandibles leaps out of the shadows! The party are surprised! The giant wolf spider bites Song (nat 20!!!) and she collapses under the spider's weight, poison coursing through her veins!


Initiative: Addan > Spider > Shenk > Song > Enost


Addan draws his twinned shortswords and lays into the monstrous spider scrabbling over Song's prone form (8 dmg). The spider turns on the ranger and sinks its venemous fangs into Addan's leg. Addan is hurt and poisoned. Shenk swings his flail at the skittering fiend and it pops like a hairy balloon full of spider goo! Addan stabilizes Song, but she shows no sign of regaining conciousness anytime soon.


The only party member with any healing spells is Song.

Mans is insistant that his sister cannot wait. Shenk and Addan go ahead with the boy, while Enost waits with Song, promising to catch up as soon as she wakes.

The reduced party continues, deeper into the wood. Soon, they spy firelight flickering from the mouth of a cave. Mans stops and explains he can approach no closer, due to an unholy effigy the orc shaman has erected inside the cave. Hold on, nobody said anything about an orc shaman!! Shenk and Addan glower at the boy distrustfully, but he pleads with them to defeat the goblins (and the orc shaman), destroy the effigy and save his sister.

Addan is down to 4hp, so he plans to hang back and provide ranged cover from the treeline, while Shenk wades into melee. This is fine with Shenk. There are two goblin sentries guarding the cave mouth. They are not particularly vigilant and somehow fail to notice the hulking dragonborn fighter edging closer, until his flail comes crashing down atop the nearest goblin's skull. Addan takes a shot from the bushes and the second goblin collapses, an arrow piercing his neck.

Shenk is about to charge into the cave, when he remembers the plan is to draw the remaining goblins outside. He starts yelling some pretty choice gobbophobic slurs into the cave, earning immediate aggro from the remaining hostiles.

The half-orc shaman emerges, along with another two goblins.


Initiative: Shenk > Shaman > Addan > Goblins


The two goblins charge toward Shenk, who spins his trusty flail around his head and takes out the foremost goblin in a spray of bone shards. The shaman casts Burning Hands, not realising that Shenk is resistant to fire damage. Addan takes a shot at the shaman, but misses - alerting the bad guys to his presence. The one remaining goblin grits his teeth and swings for Shenk - he beats the Dragonborn's AC and rolls max damage with his scimitar!


Shenk is not impressed and grudgingly expends his Second Wind ability to recover 5hp. The shaman casts Burning Hands into the bushes Addan is hiding behind. He makes the Dex save, but even half damage is enough to take him out. The ranger bursts from the flaming foliage, beating at his burning britches, before collapsing in a smoldering heap.


Addan immediately rolls a Nat 20 on his first death save, recovers 1hp and jumps to his feet!


The shaman stares at the still-smoldering ranger in disbelief (not a million miles from my own expression as the GM).

Addan grabs his bow and shoots the shaman in the leg (4 dmg).


Shenk deflects the goblin's second attack with his shield and caves in the little bugger's skull with his flail. Realising she is in trouble, the shaman wastes her action casting Mage Armour on herself, then starts limping away from the danger. Addan smirks, lines up his shot - and misses. By, like, miles. It was kinda' embarrasing. The shaman casts one last, hateful glance over her shoulder, before melting into the dark forest. Shenk shakes his head in disappointment and goes back to looting the dead goblins.


Yzork (the shaman) may yet return as a recurring villain with a massive hate boner for the party....


Addan and Shenk explore the cave. They find and destroy the orcish effigy of Gruumsh. They also find a caged she-wolf, but their is no sign of Mans' sister. Shenk begins poking through the firepit for human bones, but he doesn't find any. Soon thereafter, they are joined by Mans, Enost and Song (still looking a little worse for wear after her near-death experience). Mans thanks the party for saving Luna. The party stare back at the boy in confusion. Mans claims that the she-wolf is his sister! Shenk narrows his eyes and reaches for his flail. Mans hastily explains that he was cursed with lycanthropy at a young age, but his gran gave him a charm to help him control his bestial urges. When gran died, he went to live with a family of wolves.

To thank the party properly, Mans offers them the witchcharm from around his neck - he doesn't need it anymore. The charm grants +1 to all Strength, Dexterity and Constitution saving throws and allows the wearer to cast Animal Friendship once per day as a 1st level spell. Addon takes the witchcharm and hangs it round his neck.


After releasing Luna from the cage, Mans shifts into his lupine form and the two young wolves lope off into the night together. The party hear grateful howling in the distance. The heroes decide to rest in the cave and continue on to Buckbridge come the dawn.


Party Plunder from the goblin cave: 5gp, a silver comb worth 2gp and a barrel of mead, which Shenk immediately cracks open.


The heroes all gain half a level.


TBC...!
 
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mikeawmids1

Explorer
Adventure 1: Call of the Wild

After a somewhat disturbed night, the party rise late into mid-morning and resume their journey toward Buckbridge. They reach the village shortly after noon. Most of the fifty-some buildings are simple log cabins, enclosed within a low stone wall that wouldn't withstand a stiff breeze, let alone a horde of savage gnolls. Two tough-looking hunters guard the road into town, both men are wearing swordbelts and grim expressions.

"Don't get many travellers this far east," one of the hunters growls suspiciously, "What's your business in Buckbridge?"

The heroes explain they came seeking adventure! The hunters grunt and step aside, directing them to the Grey Hare tavern in the centre of the village. Entering the two-storey blockhouse, the party are welcomed by the wonderful scent of roasted meat and good mead. The innkeeper is a friendly lass by the name of Rosie Tanner, she greets the party at the door and directs them to an empty table near the fireplace.

"Are you here for the Hunter's Moon festival?" Rosie asks, as the party peruse the drinks menu. She goes on to explain that the festival is a three day celebration, thanking the gods for bountiful hunting.

The heroes explain they are looking for work to fill their quest log, but will happily stick around for the festival afterwards.

Rosie tells the heroes how the gnolls have attacked outlying farms and isolated homesteads. She is particularly worried about her friends at Apple Hollow Farm. She offers a reward of 10gp each to visit the farm and deal with the pesky gnolls. She also recommends the party speak with Bjorn Amberclan before they head out, nodding toward a scholarly dwarf half-hidden behind a precariously stacked tower of books.

Enost is only too happy to converse with a fellow dwarf and heads over to introduce himself, followed by Song and Addan. Shenk stays put and orders another drink. The party learn that Bjorn is an archeologist from the town of Winterhold, visiting Buckbridge in search of dwarven relics. He explains how this entire region was once ruled by a dwarven queen, before her rule ended under abrupt and mysterious circumstances.

Bjorn offers an additional quest; strange lights have been spotted across the moors and he will pay handsomely if the heroes investigate.

The situation unfolding at Apple Hollow Farm seems the most pressing and time sensitive, so the heroes naturally decide to investigate the moor. Only joking, they head straight for the farm to kick some gnoll butt!

The party are halfway to their destination, when they are attacked by a sleek, snow-white wolf with shimmering eyes and misty breath!


This is a Frost Wolf, a new CR 1 monster included with the adventure.


Initiative: Addan > Enost > Frost Wolf > Shenk > Song


Addan tries to cast Animal Friendship, using the witchcharm he was given by Mans the wolfboy in the previous adventure. It's just a dumb wolf, right? Wrong, the Frost Wolf has Int 5 and the spell automatically fails! Enost casts Firebolt and deals 7 fire damage. The Frost Wolf responds with a blast of its icy breath, which chills the dwarven mage to his marrow. Shenk charges in, swinging his flail, but the nimble wolf darts out of his reach. Song takes a stab at the beast with her rapier and succesfully jabs it for 10 damage.


Addan takes a shot with his longbow, but misses the mark (again). Enost was quite pleased with the outcome of his last Firebolt, so he decides to just spam the same cantrip over and over again, for the rest of the campaign. The Frost Wolf bites Song for 6 damage. Shenk has another go with the old flail and hits for 9 damage. Song attempts to finish the job, but her attack is off target and the battle enters its third round.

The Frost Wolf bites Song again and she is down. The Frost Wolf grabs her ankle in its jaws and starts dragging her off. Shenk rolls a Nat 1/Fumble on his next attack and clouts himself round the ear with his own weapon.


Song passes her first death save.


Addan finally manages to hit his mark; an arrow strikes the Frost Wolf for 4 damage. The beast releases Song's leg and tries to slink away. Enost hits it with another Firebolt and the Frost Wolf becomes a hotdog. Addan stabilizes Song and Shenk slings the unconcious bard over his scaly shoulders until she wakes up 1d4 [1] hours later.


The party take a short rest on the outskirts of Apple Hollow farm, to recover lost HP. There is a messy, slobbering noise coming from the adjacent orchard. A solitary gnoll is devouring a raw rabbit. It pauses to choke on the tiny bones. The party take it out in the surprise round.


The party approach the farmhouse. It is in a right state! Many windows have been broken and destroyed furniture litters the ground outside the house. There is a lot of growling and barking originating from the kitchen, where two gnolls struggle to open a wooden cask of preserved and salted pork. The party burst in through the back door and attack the gnolls!

Gnolls > Pack Leader > Enost > Addan > Song > Shenk


Shenk and Addan are first across the threshold. The two gnolls have a bit of a stab with their spears. The heroes don't realise yet, but the sound of combat has roused the gnoll pack leader in the next room. Enost casts Burning Hands, catching both gnolls in the flaming cone. One ducks behind the sealed barrel for half damage, the second gnoll is not so lucky. Song stands in the doorway, hurling knives into the melee with little effect. Shenk flails his... flail, missing his gnoll but successfully demolishing a freestanding kitchen unit.


The gnolls roll a Nat 20 while rolling to hit the dragonborn fighter. Shenk collapses to the kitchen floor, impaled upon a dirty spear! Emboldened by this victory, the gnoll rampages over to Addan and bites the him too for good measure. The situation deteriorates further as the bedroom door bursts open an the hungover pack leader joins the fray! Even intoxicated, the pack leader lands a fearsome blow against Addan and takes the ranger out also!


At this time, I made a decision to 'forget' about the gnolls Rampage and Incite Rampage abilities for the remainder of the fight.

"Get doon!" Enost cries, because of course he has a Scottish accent.


he casts Burning Hands through the door, catching all three gnolls still inside the kitchen for 11 damage! The two garden variety kobolds flee. Song casts Tasha's Hideous Laughter at the pack leader, who drops to the floor in a fit of helpless giggles.


Addan passes his first death save, whilst Shenk fails his.


Enost drags Addan out of the now flaming farmhouse, then tosses a Firebolt through the doorway to further spread the flames. Song grabs Shenk beneath his arms and hauls the dragonborn out of harms way, just as the farmhouse roof collapses on top of the still tittering pack lord. His hideous laughter is soon drowned out by the roar of the flames.


The party survived and drove away the gnolls, although the farm they were supposed to be saving was burnt to the ground in the process. The heroes find no loot, anything of value was destroyed by the fire. Bloodied and streaked with ash, the party return to Buckbridge to deliver the 'good' news to Rosie Tanner.


TBC...!

Call of the Wild presents three quests for the players to engage with and leaves it up to the GM how many they actually run. As written, the adventure assumes that the locals deal with the other two jobs, while the players deal with whichever quest they opted for. Initially, the plan had been to run qll three quests, but following what could have very easily become a TPK with the gnoll fight at Apple Hollow Farm, I decided to wrap up Call of the Wild ASAP and advance the characters to level 2.


When the party return to Buckbridge, Rosie Tanner pays out the promised coin and advises the heroes that the spooky lights over the moors turned out to be nothing more than grave robbers looting an old barrow mound. Also, a lost girl was rescued from a pack of wolves by her adopted father and returned to town relatively unscathed.


The heroes are invited to join the Hunter's Moon Festival. Each hero is presented with a finely spun fur cloak, made from the pelt of the fearsome Frost Wolf they slew on the road to Apple Hollow Farm. The cloaks grant Advantage on saving throws to resist Exhaustion from cold weather and +2 Stealth in wilderness environs.


Rosie's husband Dave also offers the party a medallion that belonged to his father. Bjorn Amberclan identifies the piece as a dwarven relic worn by important members of the Ironshield Clan. Addan wants the medallion, but he already got the witchcharm, so it goes to Enost instead, being an important dwarf in his own estimation.

The Hunter's Medallion scales with the character wearing it, with higher tier abilities being unlocked as the wear gains higher levels. At tier 1, the medallion grants +1 to all Dexterity-based attacks with ranged/finesse weapons.


The players confer and decide that the medallion is better suited for Addan, being the party's sharpshooter/two weapon specialist. Addan gets the Hunter's Medallion and gives the Witchcharm to Song.


The party level up! Enost chooses to devote his future studies to the School of Transmutation and picks up two new spells: Colour Spray & Grease. Song gets some new Bard abilities. Addan gains Fighting Style: Archery and the spellcasting ability. Finally Shenk gets Action Surge and a butt-load of HP!
 
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mikeawmids1

Explorer
Adventure #2: Deeper into the Woods

Part One

As the Hunter's Moon Festival winds down, but before the party leave Buckbridge, they are approached by dwarven archeologist Bjorn Amberclan. Bjorn has discovered an ancient map that he believes marks the final resting place of Queen Freja Swiftsteel. The queen lead the legendary Ironshield Clan, who were famed for their military skill and mounted warriors. The only problem is the tomb is sealed. Bjorn offers the party 75gp to recover the key from the Tower of Agatoth.


Once the heroes reach the Twins (a pair of stone monoliths fifty miles outside of Buckbridge), there are three roads the party can take to reach the tower;
1: under the mountain,
2: across the moor, or
3: through the forest.


After some discussion, the party decide to travel through the forest.


On route to the Twins, the party hear someone calling for help. Beyond a mossy hillock, they find a well-dressed dwarf stuggling to escape a waist-deep pool of mud. A stout pony stands nearby, watching the dwarf's plight with disinterest, whilst chewing on a tussock of grass.

The struggling dwarf notices the party gawping at him and demands that they help him out of the muck. Both Addan and Shenk have coils of rope in their gear. Shenk tosses the dwarf one end of his rope and hauls him out of the mire. The muddy dwarf introduces himself as Dr. Ian von Boulderstock, from the town of Winterhold. Enost asks if he knows Bjorn Amberclan. Dr. Boulderstock blusters a little and admits the name is familiar. Enost gets the impression the two dwarves are not friends. Boulderstock produces a sodden wallet and disdainfully counts out ten grubby couns, which he hands to Enost, recompense for rescuing him from the swamp. He assures the heroes he will be fine from here on.

The party reach what is actually a pretty pleasant, picturesque forest, filled with joyous birdsong and abundant wildlife. Addan finds the forest particularly pleasing to his elven sensibilities. It will take two days to traverse the forest and reach the Tower of Agatoth.

The first day passes uneventfully, although Addan spots thick, glistening webs strung between several sickly-looking trees. When the party bed down for the night, they are watchful for giant spiders scuttling around their campsite. Their heightened vigilance pays off, and shortly after midnight Song spots a horrible humanoid spider thing lurking in the overhanging branches of a nearby tree, surveying the campsite with all eight of its wide, unblinking eyes.

Initiative: Ettercap > Song > Shenk > Addan > Enost


The ettercap ejaculates a stream of sticky goo toward Song, who (thankfully) rolls out of the way. Song casts Tasha's Hideous Laughter, but the ettercap has heard that one before and it isn't as funny once you know the punchline. Shenk rolls out of bed and shoots the spider-thing with his light crossbow for 8 damage. Then he remembers he has a fiery breath ability and wishes he'd used that instead. There's always next round! Addan also takes a shot and hits for max (11) damage. The ettercap squeals and clings to its branch. Finally, Enost casts Grease on the tree and the ettercap promptly falls out of it, taking 6 damage as it hits the ground.


The ettercap hops right back up and attacks Shenk with fang and claw; the dragonborn fighter yawns and holds the monster off with his shield. Song darts in to poke the ettercap with her rapier, but is deflected by one of its many flailing limbs. Shenk clobbers the ettercap with his flail. Addan puts another arrow into the monster's swollen torso. Enost casts Firebolt, rolls a Natural 1/Fumble and sets Shenk's tent ablaze.


Shenk is distracted long enough for the ettercap to weave around his shield and sink its poisonous fangs into the dragonborn's shoulder! Shenk grunts in surprise and pain.

Song drives her rapier through the ettercap's back, ending the fight.


Song treats Shenk's wound, which is red and inflamed from the ettercap's venom. Shenk glares at Enost and grumbles about where he is going to sleep. Song offers to share her tent, as long as Shenk doesn't mind being the big spoon.


The next morning, the path ahead branches. One path leads on to their destination, the other route seems to gleam with otherwordly colours and strange, floating sigils. Enost, Addan and Shenk are compelled to take the magical diversion, Song resists the effect but decides to tag along anyway.


The new path leads to a sunny glade, where a beautiful dryad awaits. She introduces herself as Avyn Fernwillow and explains how nasty ettercaps have intruded upon her forest. She knows the heroes have slain one such creature already and promises a reward (and the eternal gratitude of the Summer Court) if the party defeat the remaining ettercaps. Enost breaks free of Avyn's influence, but agrees that the ettercaps should be exterminated. Addan and Shenk concur, still beholden to the dryad's charms.


Avyn leads the party to the ettercap's nest. Within a misty hollow deep in the forest, stands an enormous tree, festooned with sticky webbing and long strands of yellow slime.

Only one ettercap is visible, spinning more webs on the other side of the mist-shrouded dell. Enost suggests burning the tree down, but Avyn is opposed for fear of the flames spreading to the rest of her forest. Addan and Shenk immediately side with the dryad. Song can't think of anything better, so the entire party just wade in, weapons at the ready.


Initiative: Addan > Song > Shenk > Enost > Ettercaps


Addan shoots the visible ettercap for 9 damage. Song realises she really needs to buy a bow, she readies an action for when the ettercaps come within stabbing range. Shenk has a crossbow, so he takes a shot; he hits for another 8 dmg! Mulishly ignoring Avyn's protests, Enost hurls a Firebolt across the misty hollow. Avyn releases her hold over Addan and Shenk to focus her fey wiles on the dwarven arsonist.


"No fire!" she shrieks.


Enost fails his Charisma save and obedienly agrees, no more fire. Addan and Shenk stare around in surprise and confusion; where the heck are they and what the heck is going on?!


"No time to explain!" Song says, "Just squish anything you see coming out of that tree!"

The injured ettercap shoots a web at Shenk; but misses. A second ettercap emerges from a hole in the trunk of the giant tree and rappels down a long strand of webbing to land amidst the party. It lands a critical hit on poor Song, slashing her with its claws for 13 damage! Song goes down, blood gushing from a grievous cut along her midriff.


Addan brandishes dual blades and leaps to defend the helpless bard; dishing out 11 damage total.


Song passes her first death save.


Shenk turns away from the distant ettercap to address the immediate threat. Denied the use of his one offensive cantrip, Enost expends a spell slot to cast Magic Missile, splattering the injured ettercap across the forest floor. The one remaining ettercap attacks Addan and Shenk; Addan evades the bite, but Shenk is clawed for 7 damage.


Song passes her second death save.


Fighting through the pain, Shenk wallops the ettercap (his first attempt missed, so he used Action Surge to try again). Enost casts Magic Missile, dealing automatic force damage that is not quite enough to finish off the final ettercap.

Realising it is unlikely to survive another round, the last ettercap goes all out and bites Addan for massive damage, reducing the elven ranger from 18hp to 3hp with one attack (plus the additional poison damage). Addan raises both blades high and drives them through the ettercap's chest, ending the fight.


Song stabilizes on her own and comes round two hours later.


Having slain the ettercaps, Avyn rewards the party with a pouch of small green gems (worth 106gp) and a handful of goodberries that will expire after 24 hours. The injured heroes distribute the berries among themselves and agree this was a pretty poor reward for all the effort they've gone to. Avyn pretends not to hear their griping and sets them back on the path leading out of her forest.


TBC... when the party will explore the Tower of Agatoth!
 
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mikeawmids1

Explorer
Adventure #2: Deeper into the Woods

Part Two

The heroes emerge from the forest near the base of a craggy cliff. The Tower of Agatoth is perched atop the cliff, casting a long shadow over the weary party as the late-afternoon sun begins to wane. A series of stone steps ascend the cliff-face. There is no sign of life or activity from within the tower.


Drawing on his dwarven stonecunning, Enost casts a judgemental eye over the tower. Fierce winds and lashing rain have stained the stone black, but the walls themselves remain strong.


Addan looks to the sky for any birds he can interrogate about the tower's occupant, now that he can Speak with Animals. I consulted the Mythic GM Emulator to determine if there were any birds about, there were not.


Song wants to head on up and knock on the front door. Shenk follows, just in case the door needs to be broken down. Unbeknownst to the heroes, their approach is noted by unseen eyes....


The front door is locked. Song knocks loudly, but there is no answer from within the tower. Shenk throws his shoulder against the door and breaks it down with ease. The party enter the Tower of Agatoth.

The ground floor is unfurnished, with bare stone walls. The room smells musty, with a faint chemical odour originating from the upper floor. Beneath the staircase is what appears to be a simple wooden door, perhaps to some kind of cupboard.

The cupboard is locked. Shenk forces it open, revealing a dark staircase down into the basement. Ignoring the basement foe now, the party head upstairs.

The upper floor is part laboratory, part bedroom. One half of the area is crammed with benches laden with alchemical apparatus, the other side is dominated by a lavish, four-poster bed and gigantic mahogany wardrobe.

Enost examines the scrollwork strewn across the laboratory, it appears to be advanced magical formula. Song starts bouncing on the unmade bed. Addan keeps watch, but detects nothing untoward. Finally, Shenk yanks open the wardrobe door, revealing a frightened looking human male cowering amid the hanging robes. The scrawny mage shrieks and casts Witchbolt, somewhow managing to miss Shenk, despite being at point blank range. Green energy arcs across the room and obliterates a workbench next to Enost. Shenk growls and grabs the scrawny human by the throat.

Suddenly, a tiny creature that looks a lot like a bite-sized beholder buzzes in through a window and heads straight for Shenk!

The tiny beholder scrunches up its central eye and shoots a (weak) enervation ray at tge dragonborn fighter. Shenk grumbles as he takes 3 necrotic damage and swipes at the peculiar creature with his free hand, batting it across the room. Addan pops an upturned bucket over the grapefruit-sized monstrosity and plants his boot on the top, to prevent escape.


"D-Don't hurt me!!" pleads the mage dangling from Shenk's fist.


"Who are ye?" Enost barks, "What are ye doing here? Why'd you try to fry my friend here?"


"E-Efrax Endertwig. This t-tower belonged to my Mistress, Octavia Dragonborn. When she d-died, I had n-nowhere else to go. I t-thought you were r-robbers, breaking in here to s-steal my research."


"Well, we did break in," Song admits, "But that's only because someone didn't answer the door!"


"We ain't here to steal your reasearch, lad," Enost says, motioning Shenk to put the trembling mage down, "We're looking for a lost key, supposedly hidden in this tower. Do ye know anything aboot that? Sooner we find it, sooner you'll be rid of us."

Efrax has not read about anything like that in any if Octavia's journals.

"Well then, you just sit tight while we have a poke around."

The heroes begin turning Efrax's tower upside down, ignoring the young mage's chagrined protests that they search more carefully. There is a crash of breaking glassware as Shenk flips over a workbench laden with alchemical apparatus. Enost finds a couple of rare books, but nothing resembling a key.

The party check the basement. The floor is trapped, triggering spears to be fired from hidden holes in the walls! Shenk is impaled for 8 damage! Shenk growls and breaks the shaft off where it protrudes from his scaly flesh. Still, the presence of traps is promising as it suggests there is something here that someone wanted to protect. A determibed search reveals a loose flagstobe that can be lifted to reveal a shallow cavity hidden beneath the floor. The cavity holds a dusty silver box, containing a large bronze key and a large red gem worth 300gp. This is surely the missing key to the tomb of Queen Freja Swiftsteel!

The party apologise to Efrax for breaking down his door and trashing his lab. They leave him with the big red gemstone to cover any damages from their visit.

The heroes return to Buckbridge, passing through the ettercap-free forest without further incident.


The heroes all advance to level 3!


Enost gains the ability to cast second level spells and adds two new spells to his repertoire; Ray of Enfeeblement & Web (sounds like the name of a law firm, lol). Song chooses her Bardic College (Lore) and gains a load of new skill proficiencies, she also picks up the Knock spell, in case there are any more locked doors on the road ahead. Addan takes the Hunter archetype and Shenk goes for Champion.


TBC....
 

mikeawmids1

Explorer
Adventure #3: Under the Black Mountains

Following the map given to them by dwarven scholar Bjorn Amberclan, the party find themselces at the entrance to the long lost tomb of Queen Freja Swiftsteel, matriarch of the doomed Ironshield Clan. Stone steps descend into the earth, it takes almost half an hour to reach the bottom. Shenk applies his shoulder to a large door, that swings open to reveal a large, square room. In the centre of the room is a circular pool, rising from which is the alabaster statue of a dwarven woman in elaborate splintmail. She is flanked by two smaller statues, depicting snarling wolves.

"Queen Freja Swiftsteel, I presume." Enost observes.

Song dips into a low curtsy before the dwarven queen.

There are three exits from the room. While the heroes ponder their choice, the temperature in the tomb plummets. Ice begins to form on the surface of the pool and the heroes' breath turns to mist. A short, skeletal apparition emerges through the floor, ashen robes billowing in an unearthly wind.

"Foolish mortals," the ghostly creature hisses, "How dare you enter my prison? I am cursed, condemned to stay here because of what I have done, even though I only tried to save my Queen. Now, you too are doomed!"

"Wait, who are you?" Song cries, "Why are you trapped here? Maybe we can help you leave this place."


The adventure states the undead creature attacks immediately, but it also provides some backstory that the PCs may never learn, so I allowed Song to make a Persuasion check (DC15). She rolled 19.


"My name.... My name was Balman Flintbrand," answered the spectre, "Long ago, I served as advisor to the throne of Queen Swiftsteel. We made war with the dwarves of Winterhold, but could not penetrate their mighty stronghold. In desperation, my Queen forged an alliance with the drow of house Druu'zel."


"Dwarves mekkin' deals with the drow?!" Enost spluttered in outrage, turning to look upon the statue of Queen Freja, "Ach, whut were ye thinking, lass?"


"We were betrayed. The drow had undermined and sabotaged all our major clanholds. Many dwarves died as their homes collapsed around them, and I cannot find peace while their bones lie forgotten buried in the rubble."


"What if we were to gather their bones and give them a proper dwarven burial?" Song asks, earnestly.

Enost clears his throat loudly. He knows Song means well, but the logistics of such a vast undertaking are simply unworkable. It would take years of back-breaking labour to fully excavate even one dwarven ruin.


Nevertheless, I allowed Song to make a Persuasion check, with disadvantage (DC20). She rolled 10.


The skeletal apparition loses its chill and attacks the party!


Initiative: Song & Addan > Greyshade > Enost > Shenk


Addan places Hunters Mark on the spectre and takes a shot with his elven longbow, the arrow passes through the creature as though it were made of air. Spooky ghost air! Song casts Minor Illusion, creating a lifelike copy of the statuesque dwarven queen, hoping this will trigger some reaction from the ghost.


"My Queen!!" the ghost howls, prostrating itself before the illusion, " Please, forgive me!! Please release me from this torment!!"


The ghost is too busy grovelling to do anything else on its turn.

Enost casts Magic Missile, using a second level spell slot, and inflicts 13 force damage on the wailing spirit. Shenk swings his flail at the ghost's head, meeting some resistance as it passes through and breaks a chunk of stone off one of the stone wolves.

The ghost realises it has been fooled and turns its Reproachful Glare on Song (and everyone else with 30ft, who can see it, which is everyone). Addan fails his save and is both Frightened and Paralysed by a wave of crushing guilt. Enost casts Magic Missile (first level slot this time) for another 14 damage. The greyshade is destroyed and Addan recovers his senses. Fortunately, he remembered to go toilet before entering the dungeon, so his pants are (for now) unsoiled with the brown shame of cowardice.

The party opt for the door in the northern wall. They enter a room with walls and floor made of burnished steel, embossed with the emblem of the Ironshield Clan. In the centre of the room stands a bronze statue in the shape of an oversized, armoured dwarf, brandishing a pair of large hammers. As the door opens, a brazier atop the statues head flares to life, bathing the room in bright, copperish light.

As the party approach, the statue jerks to life and moves to block their path.

"Halt your step." the statue commands, in a tinny, metallic voice, "Passing through here is only for those with the right to enter the tomb. Speak the password, or leave these halls."

The heroes mumble apologetically and back out of the room.

Next, they try the left path, via the door to the west. A short tunnel leads further into the dungeon. The party identify strange, slimy tracks in the dust. Addan crouches and dips his finger in the slime, before gingerly brushing the substance against his lips.

"Tastes like ooze," he says, while Song quiely gags in revulsion, "We should proceed with caution."

The party enter a room overgrown with large, purple mushrooms that glow in the dark. The mushrooms emitt a sweet smell that reminds Enost of his mother's baking. Even so, he's not so stupid as to start eating mystery fungus off the walls of a tomb.

Beyond the mushrooms, stone steps lead down to a fully flooded corridor. The heroes will have to get wet if they want to continue following this tunnel. Shenk is the strongest swimmer, he strips off his armour and Frost Wolf Cloak and dives into the cold, dark water.

The submerged tunnel has partially collapsed, requiring Shenk to shift several large blocks of fallen stone. Muscles straining beneath his scaly hide, Shenk clears a path for the others.


Reluctantly, the party enter the water. Song is especially unethusiastic about getting her fur wet. Steps at the far end of the submerged tunnel ascend into a dusty chapel, lined with rows of long wooden pews. The party decide to break up the benches and start a fire, to dry their wet clothes and have a short rest. As they are making camp, Addan smacks his lips and realises he is forgetting something....


"Ooze!!" Song cries, pointing to the huge, carnivorous jelly quivering on the ceiling above their unlit fire.


Initiative: Song > Shenk > Ooze > Addan > Enost


Song casts Faerie Fire, but the ooze makes it save and refuses to light up. Shenk swings his flail at the thing on the ceiling, hitting the ooze for 12 bludgeoning damage. The ooze retalliates by lashing out with long, gooey pseudopods, but misses. Addan backs up and takes a shot with his bow, surprising everyone (himself included) when he actually hits the monster! Enost casts Firebolt, burning the ooze for max (10) fire damage.

The ooze drops off the ceiling, scattering firewood and great dollops of greasy slime as it lands amid the heroes. Song stabs at the jiggling mass with her rapier, for 11 piercing dmg. Shenk finishes the job, bringing his flail down with such force that he splatters the entire room with a fresh coat of ochre gloop.

The heroes wipe the slime from their armour and complete a short rest.

There is one exit to the north. As soon as the door opens, a haggard spectre materialises from the shadows.

"Urgh, what now?" Shenk grumbles.

"Do not enter here!" the apparition wails, "We came seeking riches, but found only d - hey, do you mind?! I'm trying to do my thing here."

Shenk grunts and barges through the incorporeal being. He immediately triggers a magical sensor that unleashes a barrage of arrows from hidden holes in the opposite wall.

"I tried to warn you...." mutters the ghost, fading from view.

Shenk fails his DEX save and is riddled with arrows. Fortunately for him, I only rolled 4 damage on 2d10.

The two dead tomb robbers ahead did not fare so well against the arrows. Shenk pauses to loot their skeletal remains and finds 15gp and a silver ring worth 15gp.

The passage ends at a majestic door adorned with silver inlays depicting the emblem of the Ironshield Clan. Shenk gives the door a shove and discovers it to be unlocked. The room beyond is freezing, the floor treacherous with frost. Shadows are darker than they have any right to be and the slightest noise produces echoes that last unexpectedly long. Six freestanding columns depicting armoured dwarven warriors support the ceiling of the tomb. In the centre of the room lies a sarcophagus carved from a single huge piece of unblemished white marble, fitted with hinges and clasps of pure mithril.

As the heroes advance on the sarcophagus, an icy wind howls through the tomb. The door through which the party entered swings shut behind them. Enost cries out as the otherwordly wind knocks him off his feet. Suddenly, the stone sarcophagus cracks apart and the withered corpse of a dwarven warrior queen rises from the wreckage! She wields a flail in one hand and carries a shield in the other. What remains of her hair is braided into an elegant crown. The corpse-queen's eyes glow startlingly blue as she fixes the heroes with an icy, deathless glare.

"I am Queen Freja Swiftsteel," the being says, "Long ago, I conquered vast lands and swept aside vast armies that thought themselves invincible. Now this tomb is all that remains of my clan. But I will protect its sanctitude. You are trespassing and you will pay for this intrusion with your lives."


Initiative: Song > Queen Freja > Addan > Shenk > Enost


Song opens the combat with Faerie Fire, but Queen Freja makes her save. The corpse-queen follows up with a melee attack against the bard, she crits for 13 bludgeoning damage against Song! That's not a great start. Queen Freja is enjoying herself though.


Addan places Hunters Mark on the undead warrior queen and follows up with a shot from his (not so) trusty longbow. He hits for 11 dmg, reduced to 5 by Queen Freja's resistance to non-magical attacks. She barely notices that she's been hit.


Shenk wades into melee with the corpse-queen, unconcerned that their two flails could easily get hopelessly tangled with one another, like two phone chargers left in a drawer overnight. Enost ends the round by casting Magic Missile (second level spell slot) for 12 force damage.


Queen Freja whistles, calling two ghostly wolves to fight alongside her.

Song casts Cure Wounds (second level spell slot) on herself to recover 14hp. Queen Freja grazes Shenk for a laughable 2 damage. Shenk actually laughs in her dead face. Then her ghost wolves bite him for 9 necrotic damage, which is less amusing. Addan takes another shot at the queen and imparts another 5 damage. Shenk crits for 13 damage, reduced to 6. Queen Freja is starting to look a bit battered. Enost moves to a position where he can catch Freja and one of her wolves in the cone of a Burning Hands spell, unfortunately they both make their DEX saves for reduced damage.

Song considers casting Animal Friendship, but decides it probably won't work on ghost animals, and instead jabs Queen Freja with a bit of pointy metal, for all the good that will do. Queen Freja responds by clouting her upside the head. The ghost wolves continue harassing Shenk, but he holds their gnashing jaws at bay. Enost targets the corpse-queen with Magic Missile (first level spell slot) and ends her reign for good. With the defeat of their mistress, the two ghost wolves also disappear. The party are victorious!!

In the wreckage of the sarcophagus, the heroes find a thick, battered journal bound in coarse, dark grey leather. The pages within are covered with lines of indecipherable runes and hastily scribbled maps. Enost pockets the book, hoping Bjorn Amberclan can help decipher its curious contents.

Shenk claims the corpse-queen's flail (which turns out to be all kinds of magical) and her shield (which isn't).


The party exit the tomb and return to Buckbridge. Bjorn is delighted when Enost presents him with Queen Freja's journal and immediately begins poring through its dusty pages. Bjorn asks the heroes if they will accompany him to the city of Winterhold as his bodyguards. He believes the book they recovered contains information vital to defeating the drow who threaten the city. The heroes agree and advance to level 4!


Level 4 marks the first attribute increase, Enost bumped up his Intelligence and learnt two new spells; Sleep and Magic Weapon. Song increased her Dexterity and Charisma. Addan bumped up his Dex to 18 for that sweet +4 modifier and Shenk boosted his Strength and Constitution.


TBC....
 
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