Saturday, November 13, 2010

Into the Dordrien Crypts

Characters: Dusk Revin, Gallipolas & Fig, Lazbin, Rathgillian, Trizoon & Nilmith

NPCs: Council of the Divine, the Divine Hammer, Calimir Hightower, Brickle Tabbot, Delle Merritobo, Kooruk Coldrock

Synopsis: The Defenders haul their captured enemy into Cedarspoke. The blind giant is heckled as he is brought to the stockades for interrogation. Dusk administers the talks directly, bluffing the giant into believing he is a co-conspirator working with the giant kind. Spilling his guts, the frost giant identifies his cult’s leader, Spirit Speaker Loktouk. They are a splinter group of a larger clan that was assimilated by an elf wizard that promised glory for their service in Ice Razor Palace. Loktouk’s control was usurped and the giant fled with a handful of followers to an isolated shrine in the mountains. The Spirit Speaker was charged with protecting something great and would not let the elf take it.

In order for the giants to survive they have been trading with the drow of Szith Rijun, a settlement below the Dordrien Crypts near the banks of the Cedar River. The giants traded dead bodies in return for fresh meat and food from the Underdark, as well as a fortune in gems. Dusk convinces the giant to lay low and wait for his signal for freedom, a signal that will never come. The half-drow reports his findings to the council and the Defenders, where they discover that the attack of the frost giants had two fronts. The second attack was just as furious and damaging, occurring on the opposite side of the river. Those giants also fled to the hills at the sounding of the horn.

Arguments erupt from the gathered council members as the interim Secretary General Calimir Hightower, High Priest of Torm, attempts to corral consensus. Shouts come from multiple directions, including the human cleric Brickle Tabbot, the dwarf cleric Delle Merritobo, and Kooruk Coldrock dwarf ambassador to Ironfang Deep. Some voice their opinion of asking the Defenders to return to Skarwall Keep to see if any other members of the Divine Hammer have survived. Yet others demand vengeance upon the frost giants by raiding their stronghold. As the snow continues to fall, the location becomes more obscured and might become undetectable. But the prevailing worry is the involvement of the drow, believed to be the assassins of Zalaznos Crinios. With the lead provided by the blinded giant, the Defenders choose to investigate the drow beneath the Dordrien Crypts.

Calimir Hightower accepts their decision. The Divine Hammer will remain at Cedarspoke to help protect the city. The Defenders will receive every expendable resource that the Council has to offer for their investigation. But the Council stills as the interim Secretary General extends an offer to the Defenders. For their repeated actions in helping Cedarspoke, Calimir offers the coveted seat of the Council of the Divine to one of the Defenders. Without hesitation, the group nominates Gallipolas, who retaliates by saying the ways of the Council will not deter his motives once the Gulthmere Forest is settled and restored. With everyone in agreement, the group departs the council chambers to prepare for the expedition.

The following day the group departs with Dusk joining them. The half-drow may become beyond valuable should the trek continue into the Underdark. Travel is slow; the snow drifts coming off the barren mountain steppes merge with the light falling snow. The effect limits their vision, but the Defenders follow the river’s edge for the better part of the day. Without the sun, it is difficult to determine when they arrive at the crypts. Two individual mausoleums stand in the shadow of a small mountain. A carved out niche cradles a large pair of stone doors leading into the mountain itself. They have arrived at the Dordrien Crypts.

Of the two freestanding buildings the group detects wicked evil emanating from only one of them. Battering down the door they find two decrepit vampires preparing to assault, but the true evil remains invisible and begins to attack the invaders. Lighting and fire blast throughout the room and the evil is destroyed. The entrance to the crypt is locked, but easily accessed through Lazbin’s magicks. Just on the interior is a grizzly sight; five decaying bodies permeate the still air of the hallway. A drow squad lies still, stripped of their armaments and clothing; their wounds indicate they were cut down from behind.

Gallipolas summons a mouth from the stone and begins to question it. The experiences of the hallway are cryptic, but it relays that other drow cut down these drow of the Spider. These other drow have passed back and forth in the crypts carrying the bodies of dead humanoids to the lower levels of the crypts. As the Defenders move further into the depths, Gallipolas summons mouths from other stone doors, who warn of violating their interiors. Adhering to the calls of the stone mouths, the party continues into the lower levels, leaving the crafted section and entering the hewn stone that provides carved holes for the deceased.

One chamber houses a statue of Jergal, guardian of tombs. But the sentry remains still as they pass. Trizoon spots the first deception, identifying an illusionary wall. Behind it massive spiders stir, awaiting their prey. A wall of fire springs into the layer, sending the creatures scurrying. Rushing into the fray, Lazbin is the first to detect the otherworldly nature of the beasts. They are not spiders but bebilths, extraplanar demons. With the creatures split, the Defenders concentrate their attacks and destroy them one at a time. As the battle vanishes, Trizoon’s quick surveillance reveals another false wall. But behind it a single female drow lies slumped against the wall of the adjacent chamber, weeping uncontrollably.

Encounters: two vampire spawn, vampire master Chahir, two bebiliths

Achievements: learned of the dealings between the drow and the frost giants, secured a seat on the Council of Divine of Cedarspoke, and discovered the abandoned Dordrien Crypts.

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