These posts are from our DnD group's latest game. The current adventure is a return to the world of Eberron, and specifically Xen'drik. With the Watchtower secure, the wounded dragons dealt with, and their repaired (and improved) ship waiting in the harbour, it was time for the party to be thrust once more into the depths of the earth, to explore another hidden dungeon.The Long Search
The remnants of the ruins were much of the same - cold, dark, but oddly clean. The reason for this was eventually found out, as the group came across a number of small warforged. These were not built for war, but rather for simpler tasks (perhaps they were needing a different name?). Ignoring the party, they went on with their century-old task of dusting, removing cobwebs, and replacing chairs that had rotted and fallen apart.
An hour or so beyond these workers, the group finally found the heart of the construction: a giant creation forge. Though it still was actively controlling its underlings, it didn't seem to be creating new 'forged. It did offer a strange chair interface, upon which Tvennr sat and tried to understand the ancient technology. He thought that perhaps he could control the soldiers, but apart from a nasty headache, he gained nothing.
A Battle of Minds
With nothing else left to do, Kami had to admit that they needed to retrace their steps, and delve into the corrupted part of the ruins. Pushing aside their fears, reciting old songs to aid their memory, and generally trying to stand tall and support each other, they moved through rooms filled with strangely coloured bricks, warped structure, and more than a little otherworldly slime. Finally, they broke through a door into a hall filled with foulspawn: almost a dozen dolgrims were camped out, with a seer watching over them, but the real threat was the giant brain encased in a jar, floating on a cloud of psychic energy. It lashed out with tentacles that seemed to be both physical and purely of Xoriat, and threatened to drag those nearby back with it as it retreated through a portal. But Hassan and the others held their ground, and rid the hall of its presence.
The Great Deceiver
The elder brain was not the worst of the entities that had slipped through the realms when the Deck of Many
Things had torn reality apart. That title went to the daelkyr lurking at the temple's heart. At first, it appeared as a gargantuan red dragon; when they had beaten it up (and rescued Tvennr from its jaws - again), the bones rose, and the daelkyr took on the form of a dracolich. Finally, after being severely weakened by Kami's insubstantial allies, its true form was revealed, and taken down. Even then, they were unsure if the creature was truly vanquished, and had to call on Ogg's knowledge to satisfy their fears: removing from its corpse three of the Cards, the sorcerer incinerated the remains, and destroyed the last hook Xoriat had on their lands.
Whilst the others took note of the collected wealth in the temple, Hassan noted the third of his sought-after sacred vessels, and collected the chalice. He was eager to hand it over to Sir Edric the Gauche. With it, the knight should finally be able to repair the damage the land had suffered from its time attached to Xoriat. Smiling, he turned to the others, noting they were all ready for extraction. And they waited.
Alls Well that Ends...
It took perhaps ten minutes for them to start to get fidgety, but they waited almost a full hour before they had to accept that something was wrong. The Kaapiots should have seen them by now, should have used the Watchtower's power to yank them back from underground and deposited them wherever Sir Edric was currently. But the teleportation never came.
It was Urquilla who first voiced what they were all thinking - they needed to find their own way out, rather than risk being trapped here forever. They had already scoured the other half of the ruins, and nothing moved towards any exit there, so they broke apart, ready to search the area more locally, and branch out as needed. A strict routine was created, so that if any should find a way out, the others would know about it soon enough. And then they split apart.
It felt like it was well into the night (but who could really tell the time, stuck underground for this long?) when Regdar reported what he felt was a fresh breeze to the others. If anyone could pick up on a tiny detail like that, it would be him, so eager and with much hope, they set off through tunnels untravelled for decades. Near early morning, they found it - a crack that lead out of the mountainside, and onto a precarious ledge above the sea. They worked carefully, with Ogg and Regdar taking turns to fly ahead and secure ropes, but eventually, they climbed the cliff face and made it back onto safe ground. The ruins where Sir Edric had set up camp were two hours to the north east - a distance they would normally leave until after a good night's rest, but concern over the quadruplets' well being pushed them onwards.
A Faithful Messenger
As the sun rose, they arrived at Sir Edric's camp, to find him awake and already completing his morning prayers. Taking hold of the vessels, he set about finalising his ritual, a new eagerness in him that they had not seen before. They had thought to help him out, but after travelling all through the night, no one had the energy remaining - indeed, most struggled just to stay awake whilst the knight was cleansing the ruins.
There was nothing flashy or impressive as the ritual was finished, and in some ways, they wondered if anything had happened at all. Sir Edric assured them that the place was far better now, and that the prying eyes of Xoriat would not easily find their way back. He was telling Hassan about how he had to return all the vessels to their rightful locations when a tell-tale flash of energy lit up the group. Normally, it signified the Watchtower's retrieval system, but instead of finding themselves in the scrying room, they found another person amongst them. It was Humalassa...or was it Juovaksiss? Almost immediately, the dwarf fell to the ground, clutching his side as blood pooled in the dirt around him. Juopunut (or Paightynyt?) wheezed badly as he reached out to Kami and, coughing, mumbled an apology. "Cap'n... sorry Cap'n....they took it...they have it, now..." Breaking into a bad coughing fit, the dwarf finally recovered enough to explain his words a little more. "Th' blasted elves...they took it all..." He broke down again, coughing and wheezing, and then he was silent.
Kami moved to his side, but there was nothing she, nor her spirit friends, could do. The dwarf (whichever one it was) was dead.