The Rod of Seven Parts

Into the Vastest Bog...

Eleint 4, Year of the Shield

After a brief respite in Marsember, the Guardians of the Dawn began the trek east along Bluemist Trail on the Northern shore of the Dragonmere.

The pull of the Artifact led them into the Vast Swamp at the eastern edge of Cormyr.

After days of traversing the mist-shrouded cypress trees and muck, the group found a small island situated roughly in what they could only guess was the center of the bog. It did not take long for the companions to discover that the island was inhabited. In fact, it was the lair of an ancient black dragon — Acydikeen.

As fate would have it, the 2nd piece of the Rod had teleported to the lair of this greay wyrm and was now part of its treasure hoard.

With little choice, the group descended into the depths of Acydikeen’s lair and a mighty battle ensued.

Dragon

Once again, through the grace of Lathander, the Guardians of the Dawn triumphed, but not without cost. Bjorn Slatecutter had fallen in the battle with the ebony wyrm and many others in the group were grievously injured.

Through the divine magics of Valeska and Durrant, the group was healed and ascended once more to the surface.

Wishing to put the Vast Swamp behind them, the group paddled eastward as quickly as they could. Alas, speed was not the problem. The group was beset by two illithids and a beholder. While the companions slew the mind flayers, they acquiesced to the death tyrant’s demands that they leave the skin of Acydikeen within the confines of the swamp.

Having lost a prize, the group exited the bog, thankful to have the piece of the artifact they sought as well as their lives.

Once free of the tangling cypress and willow trees, the group headed south, towards Urmlaspyr…

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From Here to There... Part 2

Eleasias 1, Year of the Shield

By Lathander’s grace, the dawn arrived and the group made its way to Starmantle.

Based on the pull of the artifact, they booked passage on a ship to the city of Westgate. In that bustling trade city, the group decided to spend the rest of the summer while Lemuel, Valeska, and Durrant performed the necessary research to learn the secrets of the mystical glyphs needed to bind the broken pieces of the Rod back together.

The rest of the party kept busy with work and weapon-crafting.

By Highharvestide, the group was ready to once again set sail, this time their destination being none other than The City of Spices, Marsember….

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From Here to There...

Kythorn 20, Year of the Shield

With the aboleth dead, the party was able to find the second piece of the artifact in short order as well as other treasures.

Making quick haste, the group crawled their way through the dark caverns back to the surface world, emerging as expected in the Orsraun Mountains. The group decided to try to join the two disparate pieces of the artifact to disappointing results. When brought next to the first piece, the second disappeared. Geoffrey was able to confirm that the second piece was once again pulling him in a direction. This time, Northwest.

After being reunited with Marinthel and Mouse, the group noticed a silk tent, its banners flapping in the wind, where none had stood before. As Geoffrey sensed no evil, the group entered the tent.

Once inside, the heroes found a succulent feast prepared for them. Surprisingly, the table bade them sit, and eat. Slightly alarmed, the group did as they were asked and were finally greeted by their host, a Ki-Rin by the name of Chodei-rin Ake. Ake expressed an interest in the party’s intentions concerning the artifact which they sought. He also informed them that a group of Spyder-Fiends had destroyed Ravilar’s Cloak shortly after the heroes’ departure.

Once the group assured the extra-planar creature of their noble intentions, the Ki-Rin offered them a piece of its mane, explaining that the hair from a Lawful and Good creature and the hair from a Lawful and Evil creature would be required to create the brush needed to scribe the glyphs on the broken pieces of the Rod necessary to reassemble it. The Ki-Rin also warned that the hair must be freely given.

Ake also directed the magic-using members of the party to find a suitable laboratory or library wherein they could research the steps necessary to prevent the Rod from scattering again in the future. He then departed, leaving the masterwork tent and its furnishings as a gift for the heroes, but not before instructing the party to watch for a dwarven champion who would be able to aid them in their quest.

As fortold, a warrior by the name of Bjorn Slatecutter joined the Guardians of the Dawn shortly thereafter and began journeying with the group as it made its way north and west through the Orsraun Mountains.

Emerging from the mountain range on the southern side of the Dragonmere, the group entered the Gulthmere Forest on the holiday of Midsummer. Celebrating with wine and song, the heroes began to wonder how far the second piece of the artifact had teleported. If they needed to travel beyond Starmantle on the Dragonmere, perhaps the city of Westgate would have a library suitable to the needs of the spellcasters. Plus, this would bring them very close to Cormyr once again. It would be good to visit home…

Their reverie was unfortunately interrupted later that evening by an attack perpetrated again by the minions of the Queen of Chaos, the Spyder-Fiends. Luckily, the battle prowess of the group persevered once again, though the fight once again reminded the group of the seriousness of their quest…

They now await the dawn, determined to continue their sojourn…

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Spelunking - Part 8

Kythorn 11, Year of the Shield

Having successfully defeated the skum guardians, the group warily moved southward towards the next submerged chamber. They found their way blocked by a huge crayfish and a purple worm. Thankfully, the group was able to identify the purple worm as yet another illusion created by the aboleth. Unfortunately, the crayfish was quite real as Lemuel quickly discovered.

After slaying the crayfish guardian, the party once again moved southward. Finding their path blocked by an iron portcullis, Rory successfully opened the bars, and the group was free to continue.

Entering a large cavern to the south-west, the group was once again set upon by a purple worm, yet another aboleth-created illusion. After several fake battles with illusory aboleths, the group was able to finally face their true foe. A mighty blow from Geoffrey felled the foul beast, leaving the heroes to only find the next piece of the rod and then escape these deep caverns….

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Spelunking - Part 7

Kythorn 11, Year of the Shield

After a short period of rest, Kelaria and Charla remember that the slime excreted by an aboleth can grant water breathing temporarily if smeared upon one’s body. Using the excretions from the dead aboleth in the pool allowed the party to preserve their own magic for a later time if needed.

Once suitably coated in slime, the group descended through the sinkhole at the bottom of the pool and continued their search for the next piece of the Rod of Seven Parts and its elusive owner.

The party found that the giant crayfish at the bottom of the sinkhole did not attack them, a lucky side-effect of being coated in aboleth slime.

Journeying farther, the group found that the Skum guards had no such compulsion, and the party was ambushed. The grace of Horus-Re was with the Guardians of the Dawn however, and the heroes were able to emerge victorious.

Continuing deeper into the submerged realm of their adversary, the adventurers were once again waylaid by the illusory powers of the foul aboleth. Cut off from their attackers by walls that were not there, the group was besieged by more skum. Only through their own mental fortitude were the heroes able to pierce the illusion and vanquish their foes.

Surrounded by murky water tinted by their own blood, the group now readies themselves for whatever awaits…

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Spelunking - Parts 4-6

Still miles beneath the Orsraun Mountains, and electing to move on, the Guardians of the Dawn inevitably found a passage leading even deeper into the depths. After a nasty brush with some very large leeches, they made their way down.

Successfully dispatching a Cave Fisher which had set a trap over a treacherous chasm, the party was able to make their way to a strange area of the Aboleth’s lair.

The heroes encountered numerous human and bugbear slaves. The slaves had little will of their own and seemed to be mining rock for an as yet undisclosed purpose. Even though the Guardians made short work of the slaves’ overseers, they were unable to snap the prisoners out of their lethargy.

It was at this time that an emissary from the Emerald Enclave, Durant, appeared to make an offer of aid in the quest that the heroes currently faced. The group readily accepted Durant’s offer, as two of the party had chosen to part ways. Akela, having suffered ill effects from the chaos magic she wielded, had elected to leave the caverns to try and rectify her ailment. Dreshen had chosen to accompany her.

Shortly after that, another wayward adventurer joined the ranks of the Guardians. Rory, a human treasure-seeker arrived, claiming he had been guided by one of the Wind Dukes to the party’s current location. Not being ones to turn away aid, the group readily accepted his offer to help as well.

Once introductions had been made, the group moved eastward. Scouting ahead, Rory found a rough-hewn chamber containing 3 small pools of water. Exploring further east, he and Kelaria discovered a large chamber dominated by a pool of indeterminate depth.

Shortly after that, a line of Kuo-toan sorcerers emerged from the pool and began to attack with arcane lightning. Luckily, the combined wisdom of the party was able to quickly determine that this was an illusion perpetrated by the submerged aboleth in the pool.

It was quickly revealed that there was an actual kuo-toa in the water as he peppered some of the group with Javelins of Lightning. Making quick work of the kuo-toa, the group was able to focus on the aboleth. A judicious use of lighting by Lemuel allowed for a quick victory.

Geoffrey and Durant were able to scout ahead through a sinkhole at the bottom of the pool and have determined that the next leg of the group’s journey will most likely be under water. As the party takes a few moments to catch their breath, they are left to ponder the implications of this revelation….

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Spelunking - Part 3

Choosing to venture southward, the Guardians of the Dawn quickly met with those who had answered the shriekers’ call. While the group was beset on two flanks by more of the strangely silent fish-men, through their combined martial and magical prowess, the heroes were able to quickly gain control of the battle.

It was at that point that the questers noticed the beginnings of an extra-planar gate. Within seconds, the chaos gate had expanded to allow spyder-fiend minions of the Queen of Chaos to spill into the prime material plane, including a larger more powerful type of spyder-fiend never encountered by the heroes before.

Suddenly, the battle became much more intense. The arrival of the demons encouraged the group to engage their foes in earnest. Unsurprisingly, while the tanar’ri were willing to attack anyone in reach, many of them seemed to focus on Geoffrey Cormaeril. Even still, with the expenditure of some of the more powerful spells in the repertoires of Akela Kefira, Lemuel Blackthistle, and Valeska Havelock, and the fighting skills of the rest of the party, the demons were either destroyed (or in the case of one of them, driven off).

The party now finds itself with the decision of either moving on or waiting for the inevitable retaliation from the escaped spyder-fiend…

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Spelunking - Part 2

After catching their collective breath, the group continued on. After traveling for a short while, Dreshen Zet was able to determine that the path the group was following had begun to slope downward at an accelerated rate.

Geoffrey Cormaeril confirmed that the artifact was still indicating the group was on the correct path, so The Guardians of the Dawn delved deeper into the Underdark.

At the end of a rather long stretch of uninhabited tunnels, Dreshen, while scouting, encountered a small natural chamber. Detecting no traps, he and the group moved in. Unfortunately, the group was ambushed by a band of Drider raiders.

The combat was a bit harrowing (especially for Akela Kefira), but the heroes emerged victorious.

After looting the bodies, the group decided to take a much-deserved rest.

Once spells were regained and wounds magically healed, the questers continued their descent.

Encountering a series of natural staircases spiraling down, the party emerged into a small chamber inhabited by more shriekers. While the alert fungi were quickly dispatched, their noisome warning had already been delivered.

The group now finds itself in a large mushroom cultivation cavern, awaiting the inevitable answer to the shriekers’ call…

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Spelunking - Part 1

The party arrived in Ravilar’s Cloak under the direction of Saren .

They bid farewell to their guide, and after some brief information gathering which included a short audience with Albon Hammershale, the group decided to head west into the Orsraun Mountains.

While Kelaria Silverbow found evidence of orc movements, none were encountered.

Eventually through the guidance from the 1st Segment of the Rod of Seven Parts, the group found a cave enterance leading down.

Leaving Marinthel and Mouse to watch the horses, the group descended.

After traveling a short while, the group was able to determine that the caves seemed to be a deserted Goblin warren, most likely that of the Ancient Ax clan.

The party encountered the gnome adventurer Mazzel Quickblade and his giant badger companion, Thisbe. Mazzel indicated that he and some of his fellow gnomes had been searching the caves for treasure, but had been largely unsuccessful. The gnome did warn the party that in the deeper levels of the complex were some extremely anti-social fish-men. With that, the diminutive adventurer wished the party luck and left.

Traveling downward for miles, eventually the group entered a chamber whose walls sported deposits of quartz. When the illumination from the continual light amulet carried by Valeska Havelock hit the quartz, it reflected into one of the chambers beyond which disturbed a colony of Shriekers.

The baleful fungi released a hellish cacophony which echoed throughout the complex. Though the group was able to make short work of the shriekers, their presence had been announced.

Hearing noise from the passage to the south, the group investigated and were attacked by a hungry Umberhulk. While the party was able to inflict severe harm on the beast with concentrated attacks, the creature opted to cause a cave-in to cover its escape. Luckily none of the Guardians of the Dawn were severely injured, still, the passage to the south was now blocked.

Deciding to travel north and east, the adventurers entered a large natural cavern filled with cultivated mushrooms. The chamber was also home to 8 of the fish-men (now known to be Skum) described by Mazzel.

Once again, the group was able to triumph over the strangely silent attackers, but the lack of sounds from their opponents seemed to unnerve the stalwart heroes.

Catching their breath, Geoffrey Cormaeril noted that the artifact segment still indicated that they needed to go down and to the east…

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