We were unable to wrap up Thunderspire Labyrinth last week but the completion of the final battle seems to be close at hand. Can the party defeat the Bronze Warder? What other secrets may yet lay in the Tower of Mysteries? Can the party then find their way home?
With Paldemar and his minions - except for the Bronze Warder - all dead, the party crept in for the final kill. Krstic, Bogar, Oester, and Eldred stood toe-to-toe with the warder, while the remainder of the party continued to cast their ranged effects. The warder was obviously taking some damage, but even after a few more rounds he had just become bloodied. Meanwhile the sweeping axe of the warder kept delivering solid damage to those within range. Akta managed to swap/teleport himself with a severely weakened Oester, and the other nearby party members were now all bloodied as well.
Jenneth had finally decided that wearing the control amulet and yelling was not sufficient for being able to control the warder, so she took a turn to analyze the amulet. She first determined the amulet required a control word, but then had to spend yet another turn before the control word could be determined. The Bronze Warder took yet another mighty swing, delivering his mighty blow once again, when Jenneth finally blurted out the proper word and followed up with a command for the warder to attack the statue of Vecna instead.
Party members tried to remove themselves from the vicinity of the warder, although the daze spells from the statue continued to hinder their escape. All of a sudden the warder turned and flashed his great axe in the direction of the statue, the sound of the clash of metal upon metal filling the room. The statue was easy to hit, but not so easy to damage, and the daze affects on nearby party members continued unabated.
Now safe from the attacks of the warder, Renny inspected the room to the southeast, where the Bronze Warder had originally been hiding, and found nothing more than an empty room. Akta further inspected the corpse of Paldemar, found a magic staff, and then removed the head of the once mighty mage. Miave inspected the dead Enigma of Vecna, although no further magic was found.
With the Bronze Warder now ordered to stand guard, the party prepared to enter the room located in the southwest corner. Both doors were locked, and were locked by something more than mechanical. Jenneth determined a Knock ritual could overcome the Arcane Lock spell, but the ritual would take ten minutes to prepare and cast. At the other door Oester was able to use his thieving skills to unlock the door, and Krstic opened the door and marched in.
The room contained a desk with several books and papers strewn about on it, a glass globe on a wooden tripod stand, and a large curtain that hid something in the back corner of the room. Krstic strode forward and pulled back the curtain to reveal a bed. Further inspection of the room revealed that the globe, several of the books on the table, and the curtain were all magical.
It was determined that the curtain was able to provide some sort of defensive bonus to whoever cast the spell, but Krstic pulled the curtain down and began to prepare it to take it with him. Jenneth inspected the globe and was surprised to see it was able to scry directly into the great hall. This was no doubt how Paldemar was able to keep track of the comings and goings of his former acquaintances in the Mages of Sauron.Jenneth then made a second attempt to use the globe to scry, only to have it fall and smash to pieces - and deliver a bolt of psychic damage to Jenneth as well.
Oester and Eldred inspected the books and papers on the table. Most of the books gave off a feeling of evil when touched and any pages looked at were blank, similar to some of the books found in the library on the previous level. One ritual book was not otherwise protected, and was found to contain the following rituals: Arcane Lock, Brew Potion, Leomunds Secret Chest. A partially completed scroll gave hint to a ritual that would allow a mage to effectively siphon off the spell ability from another magic user. It wreaked of evil and necromancy and was quickly set aside.
A crude map was also found. It contained the picture of a pyramid, and contained the words "much power" and "Karavakos." The map was kept by Eldred, but the evil books and the partially completed scroll were scraped into a pile and bundled in a blanket from the bed, there which a chest with 1600 GP was found under the bed.
With the level now cleaned out the party began to spend some time to use what healing they had left and took a short rest. Jenneth determined the magic staff was a +2 Staff and claimed it for herself. Without much healing remaining the party considered taking a long rest, but only about four hours of dungeon time had passed since they took off from the great hall that morning. No one was sure they wanted to stay in this temple of evil for that long, so the next step was to determine exactly how to get out of here. As the party looked around they saw:
4 Norker Slingers, each wearing leather armor, wielding a sling and a dagger and carrying 20 sling bullets
1 Enigma of Vecna, wearing robes and wielding a dagger
1 Norker Berserker, wearing leather armor and wielding a flail
Paldemar, wearing a mantle (a type of loose garment usually worn over indoor clothing to serve the same purpose as an overcoat) and wielding a staff
The party inspected the remainder of the level and found no other secrets or magic, nor did they find some way on effecting their exit. With no other obvious exit, the party approached the glowing teleportation circle at the south end of the level. Jenneth gave a command and the Bronze Warder moved onto the circle and after a brief second disappeared. Jenneth and several other party members stepped up to the circle and they too quickly disappeared. Oester, Renny, and Eldred then discussed the benefits of taking an extended rest instead of leaving, but as the others before stepped up to the teleportation circle and they too disappeared as well.
The warder appeared on the second level and as ordered stepped off the circle and prepared to protect the party members that were coming behind him. The first group arrived, and seeing nothing of danger began to hightail it for the other magic circle. The last set of adventurers appeared, and they too began to run toward the other circle, although Eldred detoured through the library and started a fire of the gathered evil books.
Something had previously appeared in the summoning circle and it had knocked a door off its hinges just as the last set of party members had moved up to the third level, but whatever it was wasn't apparently around any longer. As an oily smoke from the fire began to fill the level the warder stepped onto the magic circle and disappeared, followed by the Jenneth, Miave, Akta, Bogar, and Krstic. Oester, Renny, and Eldred stepped on to the circle for their turn, but just as they did an Imp appeared and attempted to use a tail sting on Eldred.
The warder had moved forward and prepared to defend as he had been ordered, and the first set of party members started to move toward the other teleportation circle. There were two small rooms that had not inspected when the party was here the first time, so Jenneth ducked into the southeast room and after some inspection found a bag of gems (800 GP Onyx, 600 GP Ruby, 600 GP Quartz in the shape of an eye) hidden underneath one of the three beds.
When the final three party members appeared - with the Imp in tow - Eldred was still a bit discombobulated from the affects of the teleport and the missed attack and didn't give off a warning. The imp promptly went invisible, and with no enemy in sight the party began their race toward the other teleport circle. Jenneth left the corner room and then ran directly into the path of the invisible Imp. Jenneth managed to give a proper warning and decided that it might be better to run then fight and began to charge in the direction of the other circle.
The adventurers tuned their senses toward finding the imp, all the while continuing to move closer to the circle. First the warder stepped up and disappeared, then a group of four party members, and as they disappeared the Imp reappeared yet again, but the remaining party members were able to deliver several quick and hardy blows, killing the Imp. Krstic grabbed the dead Imp as he and the remaining party members stepped on to the teleportation circle.
The entire party, including the Bronze Warder and the dead Imp, then found themselves back in the original teleportation circle that initially had allowed them to access the Tower of Mysteries. No apparition of Vecna was there to question them this time, so the party followed the hallway out and back into the labyrinth and then quickly retraced their steps to the northern door of the Great Hall.
Once inside the hall the party was surprised to see normally placid hall was in an uproar. Several Enigma's of Vecna lay dead on the floor, the towering presence of the Bronze Warders standing mute guard over their fresh corpses. Several other bodies, undoubtedly the bodies of some of the denizens of the great hall, lay about the floor as well. Several of the Mages of Sauron ran back and forth across the hall, their black robes flowing as they hastened toward their destination. The sudden presence of the party caused all the commotion in the hall to come to a complete stop. Every eye of everyone in the great hall turned towards you.
The first voice heard was that of Rendil Halfmoon yelling "The heroes! They've returned. The heroes!" As Rendil ran across the hall toward you so did many other of the halls inhabitants. You quickly found yourself surrounded and overwhelmed with babbled questions. You answered some questions, and tried to ask a few of your own, but the situation was chaos as people pushed and shoved to get close.
Finally several Bronze Warders started to push through the crowd, bringing behind them several of the Mages of Sauron. The first Mages to arrive took a step back as an obviously older mage stepped forward. He held up a hand to bring a silence to the crowd around him and he spoke, saying "Greetings friends. My name is Altam, Dane of the Mages of Sauron. Orontor has told me of your intentions to find and defeat the evil Paldemar. We have deduced that you have been successful, although the details are unknown to us."
As he waved his hand about the hall he continued. "Apparently your attack triggered Paldemar's minions to attack us here in the great hall. The attacks were weak and quickly quashed. We can only surmise that further delay would have only served to strengthen Paldemar and these attacks. Your efforts in defeating the scourge of the Mages of Sauron has earned our eternal gratitude. A reward has been promised to you, and you will be forever regarded as Heroes of Sauron."
That night a great banquet was held in the midst of the great hall. Foods of all kinds were prepared, and various selections of ales,
wines wine, and whiskey's helped create a mood of merriment. It seemed as though all the party members had their back slapped or hands shook by absolutely every occupant of the hall, plus none of the adventurers would be surprised if maybe a few revelers from outside the hall might have slipped in for the free food and drink as well.
The next morning the Mages of Sauron kept their promise and as their reward they upgraded via enchantment one item of each of the party's choice (a single mundane item improved to a level 8 magic item). Rested, fed, healed, leveled, and duly rewarded, the party exited the hall and returned to Fallcrest.
Upon return to Fallcrest the party met with Menos and told their mentor of their adventures within the Thunderspire Labyrinth. Menos listened intently and absorbed every detail, occasionally interrupting to ask a question to fill in details. After your story was completed Menos stated "You have done well my friends. The Nentir Vale is a safer place for your efforts. The bandit king Gharash Vren, the dragonborn marauder, and his band of thieves have recently been driven off from this area. The Vale has entered a period of peace."
With a pause, Menos continued. "Peace can sometimes be a deceitful apparition to those who desire it greatly. I have no doubt I will have need of your skills once again. Until then go, return to your homes, resume your lives, and hope that our period of peace will outlast you." And with a wry grin Menos finished by saying, "But do not be surprised if you find yourself seated in these same seats some day soon though."
DM Notes: For defeating Paldemar each member of the party earned 410 XP, and finishing the adventure earned another 300 XP. Each member of the party also earned 100 XP and 100 GP for the "private" quests they were able to complete. To simplify the Gold/Gems distribution all were converted to GP and divided, with Renny getting a half share.
Score Card: With the completion of the Thunderspire Labyrinth adventure the party had accumulated an additional 2164 GP and 2300 GP in gems. With some minor rounding Renny's share was 300 GP and the other party members earned 600 GP. With the 810 XP earned during these encounters the party had accumulated 10800 XP (10,000 needed to reach Level 7). Including the previous encounters Renny was sitting at 7500 XP (7500 needed to reach Level 6).
We may yet see these characters again, so I suggested that each player wait to determine their gifted magic item and their additional power from leveling up until it is time to dust these characters off. I will update each of the character sheets as is and will send out the updated copies to everybody, but then will just store my copies until it is time. The third adventure of this series, Pyramid of Shadows, is quite a hoot, so I do hope we get to complete it.
Next week: We will start Mark's dungeon next week. Mark has his own blog (here) started to document our next adventure. We will meet at R and J's and Roger will bring snacks.
I will be posting a couple of post-mortems on our year of playing 4E over the next few weeks. I will also be playing DnD Encounters on Wednesdays, so I will be blogging these sessions as well.