This session was played on 8/14.
Dietrich the Human Knight (formerly the Dragonborn Paladin)
Ander the Halfling Rogue
Barakas the Tiefling Warlord
Chan Lee the Human Monk
This session picked up immediately where session 2 left off, with the adventurers standing over the bodies of the duergar in Murkelmor’s chamber. Knowing that the recently released slaves were waiting for them near the gates of the Horned Hold, they only took a moment to make sure the chamber was properly looted before heading back to the gates.
The adventurers lead the ex-slaves through the twisting passages of the Labyrinth, heading in what they hoped was the right direction to lead them all back to the Seven Pillared Hall. Somewhere along the way they ended up making a wrong turn, and ran into troop of rotwing zombies digging through rubble in a large chamber. Unusual activity from the usually brain-focused zeds. Unfortunately with a large body of slaves, the party attracted the creatures attention, as well as that of the gaunt figure that seemed to b directing them.
Dietrich, having taken the lead was charged by 3 of the zeds who managed to cause some not insignificant damage. However aside from that initial charge, the battle was fairly one-sided. The creatures seemed to have little with them, though the wight was carrying an odd item. It appeared to be an arm bone, made of brass, with one end shaped into strange teeth, like those of a key.
A short time after that the adventurers and ex-slaves returned to Seven Pillared Hall. The adventurers arranged to have them all sent back home with one of the frequent caravans that comes to the Hall, and made sure that they were supplied with enough coin and equipment to make the journey safely. They then returned to the inn, and crashed!
The next morning they were approached by the Dragonborn Warlock Surim, a relatively new resident of the Hall. She has been watching the adventurers and feels that they are honorable. She points out a drow pair eating a quiet breakfast in the corner, and tells the party that she thinks they’re scouts/agents of chaos who are trying to take over the Hall. Without waiting for the adventurers, she walks over to the pair and attacks them. Pandemonium ensues, as bleary-eyed patrons are suddenly in the middle of yet another battle in the bar, and they make like rats on a sinking ship. The party leaps into the fray, and manages to quickly talk everyone down, limiting the collateral damage to a few overturned chairs and ruined meals. It turns out the drow actually want to talk with the mages in charge of the Hall to obtain their assistance, and while thankful to the adventurers for stopping the fight, not interested in dealing with them.
The party then does some shopping and investigating. They know that there are still a few slaves that need saving, and that their best lead is a note from “The Bringer of Change” to Murkelmor about clearing out a collapsed passageway. Putting together a few clues they get a general idea of where this might be, and head bank into the Labyrinth.
Their info proves remarkably accurate, and they find the recently excavated passage. Descending carefully, they emerge on the shore of a vast cavern lake. Their sunrods light up the surrounding area fairly well, revealing the skeletons of minotaurs, and the dark misty water... beyond that the immense darkness seems to swallow their light. As they begin to look around, shadowy insubstantial forms take shape in the mists, and with a cry that rends at the adventurer’s very souls, the specters attack!
This battle proves to be one of the most difficult that the adventurers have faced to date. The wraith’s ability to turn the party against itself costs Dietrich his life as Ander, sadly weak willed to begin with, turns his daggers against his friend. The battle is made doubly difficult by their opponents insubstantial forms. Blows that would have brought a mortal to their knees, merely rips a shred of shadow-stuff from the specters!
Victorious, but bruised and battered, out of daily powers and action points, low on healing surges, and with one party member down the group returned to the Hall. While there they spend some cash getting Dietrich raised, and also did a little more shopping, trading their Amulet of Health for a set of 6 healing potions.
Returning to the shore, they extinguished their lights, and looked into the darkness... and spied a faint light. Taking to the walkways that spanned the lake they made their way slowly towards the light. It was nervous going, as there were things in the water... shapes that followed them, and occasionally made a splash in the otherwise still black water.
The walkways eventually lead to a great stalactite in the middle of the lake where the light emerged from a window above. Climbing the path that wound around the spire up to the window, the adventures spied a witch, some weird black-eyed halflings, and a pair of shadow mastiffs, none of which seemed to have noticed the adventurers. Seeing as they had the room’s occupants at a disadvantage, they called out to them. It was a tense standoff, but eventually the witch came to the conclusion that the players were actually anti-orcus. This was helped immeasurably by displaying the head of Kalarel.
The witch tells the adventurers that the lake is a giant portal to the Shadowfell, and that someone is trying to open it up wide. Further out into the lake the mages from the Hall are bound and being magically drained to fuel a massive ritual that is opening a vortex. She warns that the ritual is guarded by a shadow dragon, and she gifts them an orb that may assist in the fight...
In the H2 conversion the Orb is a potent tool in this situation to fight the dragon. I hadn’t realized it, but no one in the party could actually use an orb! For some reason I thought the warlord could. I was wrong, so I decided that the monk could use it as a Ki Focus, and then between sessions we nailed down the specifics of the Ki Focus for the future.