Created May 30, 2001
Father Ignacius Falzal—Half-Elf Cleric of Pelor—currently in seclusion within the Temple of the Rising Sun
Kelrynlis “Kelryn” Kell the Red—Half-Red Dragon Ranger/Sorcerer/Holy Liberator—currently on the road with Milo Wimby
Milo Wimby—Halfling Rogue/Sorceror—currently on the road with Keryn the Red
Sarfilin “Filin” Owlfeather—Human Bard/Wizard—current ruler of the Kingdom of Adlund
Seraphina Highhill—Halfling Rogue—Kingdom of Adlund Chamberlain of Intelligence
Stilgar, Captain of the Shadow Guard—Human Fighter/Devoted Defender/Monk— Kingdom of Adlund Chief Kingsguard
Phae of Pelor—Human Cleric of Pelor—currently on a quest for Pelor
Brother Grimlock Bonehammer—Human Monk—currently staying at the Slug and Lettuce mourning the loss of his friend, Thorogard
· “By the Blood of Adlund”—the time-honored cry of the royal line of Adlund.
· “Strength and Honor”—the motto of the Shadow Guard.
· “Come Get Some”—the unofficial battle cry of the Knights of Adlund.
Near a score years ago, the Mageking of Adlund, Finelein the Wise, fell ill in the halls of Witching Castle. He was the victim of a strange and powerful curse cast upon him by an ancient and evil red wyrm, Fyrblud. As the strength of Adlund is mystically bound to its rulers, the realm and citizens suffered as well. King Finelein dispatched his four sons to find a cure. Shortly after the princes began their quest, Queen Meretheril died giving birth to Nilifras. Or so it was said in the magical kingdom of Adlund. In truth, both Nilifras and his half-twin Kelrynlis were born on that night, the draconic nature of Kelrynlis killed the Mystical Queen.
Kelrynlis and his brother had both been conceived within a day of one another, Nilifras by the Mageking of Adlund and husband to Meretheril, while Kelrynlis had been fathered by the evil red dragon Fyrblud, disguised as the Mystical Queen’s lord and husband. Mordrin, the traitorous royal physician, spirited the “abomination” Kelrynlis away from the midwife and nurses, leaving Nilifras with them. The evil chiurgeon took Kelrynlis from the castle, planning to give him to Fyrblud, but the ranger, Hound Kell, waylaid him. Hound Kell had been the captain of Adlund’s royal Shadow Guard until Mordrin had him branded traitor and made him a hunted man. Hound and the sorcerer fought ferociously and Mordrin still bears the scars of that battle on his face to this day. The necromancer fled, so the ranger scooped up the babe in swaddling and fled into the woods. The youngest prince, Nilifras, was given to a wet nurse along with the orphan, Phae.
At the same time Stilgar, the youngest Captain in the Shadow Guard was assigned as the youngest prince's chief protector. The royal guard of Adlund is a special order of warriors. They are chosen by the Mageking and captain of the guards at childhood and are then removed from their families and taken to the compound of the royal guards where they live and train for the rest of their lives. They are taught from then on to think of the royal family and the guards as their family and are widely known for they’re fighting skill, tenacity, and ability to smell a trap. As the children grow up they are given increasing responsibility with the guard. Their duties start simply with cooking, cleaning and tending for the mounts used by the royal guards. As they reach their teens they are given minor responsibilities with the royal family, messengers and the like. Once they reach adulthood they are assigned a position within the guard commensurate with their skills. Only the very best are chosen to guard the family itself, these elite guard members are commonly referred to as the Shadow Guard and also fulfill the role of trainer for the young royal's fighting and riding skills.
Shortly after the twins birth one of the king's former advisors, a sorceress named Morag, who's talents in the art of magic could rival any in the kingdom, sought to take advantage of the king's illness, destroy the royal family, and rule Adlund herself. There were many attempts on the lives of the royal family until the sorceress was finally destroyed. Morag had developed a wealth of coconspirators within and without the castle it was obvious this coup had been planned for some time. Of the entire royal family Prince Nilifras was the only one whose life was never placed in any real danger, save once, thanks to the skill and cunning of Stilgar. Assassins were discovered and dispatched with amazing speed and all but one of the traps laid for them was discovered well enough in advance to speed the prince away to safety. The unlucky participants in the trap that was not discovered in advance found themselves battling a small group of the Shadow Guard that fought with a ferocity seldom seen, with Stilgar at the forefront.
As the years passed the king and Adlund suffered, withered and weakened. The four princes had been gone for many years and the people feared the worst. Phae and Nilifras grew up together, taking lessons in the Temple of Pelor, reading in the Royal Library, playing in the tunnels under the Witching Castle, and oblivious to the tragedy and turmoil around them. In the summer of their thirteenth year, Nilifras began his wizardly studies in the Royal College of Magery and Phae took her vows as a cleric of Pelor. The two friends were growing up, but in their spare moments they remained inseparable.
Meanwhile, Hound raised the half-dragon as his own, calling him Kelrynlis for his own son whom he had lost many years before. The ranger instilled a strong sense of good but a fierce distrust for laws and rules. Kelrynlis grew rapidly in strength and cunning, taking to his adopted father’s ranger ways and developing his own magical talents. The dragon-boy lived as a wild animal, happy and free developing his innate abilities and honing the wilderness lore taught to him by his adopted father. Kelrynlis never knew of his heritage in the royal blood of Adlund and never assumed that the draconic abilities were anything less than normal.
As Nilifras reached his eighteenth year his brothers had still not returned. His father was a broken skeleton of a man, bone white and withered like a husk. Adlund was suffering with the kingplague, pestilence, and famine. Meanwhile, Fyrblud had spent two decades luring the princes of Adlund to their doom, drinking their magically infused blood and drawing their power into him. No one is certain if Fyrblud simply overwhelmed the Shadow Guards of the four slain princes or if there was a traitor in the ranks who betrayed all needed information to trap and destroy the princes and their guards. A man who always assumes the worst, Stilgar is of the belief that the methods of his fellow guards were not flawed and that a traitor must exist.
Before fall of Adlund, Fyrblud found his son, Kelryn. The evil dragon wanted to know if the mix of dragon blood and the mystical blood of Adlund was the solution to forming his hordes of draconians, to use this young man as a tool in controlling the throne, and as a final nail in the coffin of King Finelein’s living death. Fyrblud eventually caught the trail of Kelrynlis and Hound as they were hunting in the Grimfir Forest. The fell old wyrm tried first to seduce Kelrynlis to join him, offering him the tale of his birth and heritage, telling him that his weaker human half-twin Nilifras had “usurped” Kelrynlis rightful place as heir to the throne of Adlund and that Fyrblud could help him reclaim what was “rightfully” his. In the end the dragon’s offers of wealth and power tempted Kelrynlis’s but could not sway his good heart. Seeing his son wasted, Fyrblud made ready to take the young dragon-man by force as he had the physical attributes that Fyrblud so craved in his draconian warriors, if not the right moral inclinations. However, Hound came upon the two and seeing his adopted son in peril, he attacked the vastly more powerful dragon. The battle was magnificent and ultimately futile. As Hound lay crushed and broken in Fyrblud’s cruel maw, he prayed to Ehlonna to save Kelrynlis and avenge him. As the goddess whisked Kelrynlis to safety, the last thing he saw was Fyrblud devouring his adopted father.
Finally, Fyrblud revealed his presence; he flew from his lair with a mighty army of creatures both hideous and foul. Through his arcane magic and murderous compatriots, Witching Castle fell quickly to Fyrblud and King Finelein was slain, mercifully ending his tortured existence. However, Nilifras's sworn protector, Stilgar, had secretly prepared for such a disaster and had equipment and mounts waiting with his friend Seraphina outside the city. During the battle, Nilifras escaped with his companions Stilgar and Phae through the tunnels under the Witching castle. However, they were split up when a band of draconians came upon their party. Stilgar and Phae held them off while Seraphina led the weaponless Prince to safety. After a bloody melee, Stilgar and Phae were victorious, however an errant spell had caused part of the tunnel to collapse forcing them to exit near the harbor. They quickly found a small dinghy and made for the Isle of Lenore. Meanwhile, the Prince and Seraphina rode for the Barony of Eor to the North to ask for assistance.
His Draconic Highness, Fyrblud wasted little time in establishing his rule. Adlund became a grim realm, evil prosperity driven by the great beating heart of its cruel ruler. The beautiful and magical land is no longer respected and admired, rather it is cursed and feared. There has always been power in Adlund, but now it is hungry, malicious and spreading.
In the meantime, Nilifras (calling himself Sarfilin “Filin” Owlbrow), Phae of Pelor, stealthy Seraphina, and Stilgar fled. Knowing that Fyrblud could never have complete power over Adlund until all of Finelein's line was dead, they remain on the road and under constant threat of capture. Filin and his companions now seek a way to stop the unstoppable and return Adlund to its rightful rule.
In Eor, Filin and his companions heard rumors of a lance, Dragonsbane that could be a useful weapon in their fight against Fyrblud. The lance had vanished into the Great Marsh, part of bandits’ loot. Filin and his companions made their way to the Tomb of Sakatha, the Lizard King in the middle of the Great Marsh. They explored the ruins, delving deep into the Tomb. They found the remains of the famed adventurers, the ranger Daeceos Volfblood and his lover Szera Catshade. Filin took Daeceos’ blade Foefinder and has used it with great honor. Eventually they found the heart of the Lizard King’s tomb, past a perilous trapped staircase that became a slick ramp depositing the intrepid adventurers in a pit of fire and an illusory subterranean river the nearly cost Filin his life.
Past these tortures the four came upon a barrows guarding Sakatha’s resting-place. The barrow hills were crawling with undead. Only Phae and the light of Pelor could preserve them as they fought their way through the hordes of undead. The Lizard Kings tomb was guarded by two great doors, and Seraphina found the “word key” to pass the doors. Inside Filin and company dealt with several grave traps and fought monsters conjured from the very mosaics on the walls. Finally, they dined at Sakatha’s table and gained entry to the undercrypt. In the undercrypt, they fought Sakatha, raised as a vampire. After defeating the undead fiend, they went to claim their prize, the lance Dragonsbane. However, the lance was an illusion that Mordrin used to trap them behind a portcullis and using magic to knock the party senseless.
The Quaking Tunnels
When they party awoke, they were lying stripped and naked in unfamiliar dark tunnels; Tunnels that shook and looked ready to collapse. The battered quartet gathered what simple tools and weapons they could while they looked for an escape. Through piercers, giant crayfish, badgers, ropers, undead and giant ants the party fought. Eventually the Mushroom King, a great myncoid showed them a way to escape to the surface. They climbed out of the tunnel into a park located in a ruined city hidden in a bowl-like valley. Here they were ambushed by a horde of draconians bearing the mark of Fyrblud. In the midst of the battle, some even hissed “the Prince” at Filin. Clearly the draconic despot was on the four’s trail. After a hard fought battle, Filin and his friends triumphed over the lizardfolk. They also recovered Filin’s blade Foefinder and his cloak, as well as Stilgar’s enchanted shield.
The Forgotten City
The group collapsed in slumber and that night Filin had a grim nightmare: Fyrblud was calling to him and pulling at his heart since now the same blood beat within their veins. Fyrblud came closer and closer as Filin was drawn to him, only to be roused by Phae as he sleepwalked out of the camp.
The following day the party began the exploration of the ruined city, which turned out to be south of Sakatha’s tomb and Waycomb. Also Snowfall returned to his master. The little owl had been missing while the party was trapped in the tunnels below. First, the party came upon a tasloi village. They were promptly attacked by the small but cruel beastmen. The party fought valiantly, with Filin firing spells and even engaging a giant spider by himself. The adventurers claimed the treetop village for themselves and bedded down for the night. Once more, the vile dream with Fyrblud appeared, but Filin seemed better at fighting it off. On the next day the party continued their exploration, only to come upon an outline of Pelor in the dirt of the road. This turned out to be a trap, striking Phae dead and conjuring forth near a dozen misshapen lizard men. The party fought with desperate need, with might Stilgar destroying most of the evil reptilians. Following the battle, Pelor angered by the desecration of his holy symbol, restored Phae to life with a message: Protect the prince at all costs, beware that Fyrblud must take the prince alive but that his companions are not so blessed, and Mordrin was behind the trap in the ruined city. The slain abominations were carrying remnants of the four’s gear which they also recovered. The four decide to pursue Mordrin in hopes that he will lead them to recover Dragonsbane.
Kelrynlis had been looking to settle his score with Fyrblud since the death of his adopted father. He spent months finding Fyrblud, eventually making his way to Adlund after the death of King Finelein. Only by the most daring of escapes did the rash dragon-man escape that dark kingdom and its draconic overlord. As Filin magical abilities grew, he managed to contact his half-twin in a dream. In this dream, Filin told his brother to follow his owl familiar to join him, Stilgar, Phae and Seraphina. Kelryn did this, following the small owl to the Forgotten City where the brave companion sought to find Mordrin and Dragonsbane. Here Kelryn tracked the party to the ruins of a manor with horrid frogmen and other foul beasts.
When Kelryn came upon the party, Filin had vanished! He had been tunneling under the manor walls when he was whisked away by means unknown. Stilgar, Phae and Seraphina had just been fighting their way through ogres and worse when the dragon-man appeared. They questioned his motives and grudgingly decide to let him help them recover Filin. The party attacked the central manor of the compound, but only after Kelryn’s draconic nature was revealed to them all when Phae slipped on the helm of true seeing in order to destroy a Mordenkain’s hound. In the manor, the party came upon Horan, an evil wizard conversing with Mordrin through a crystal ball about the five keys necessary to defeat Fyrblud. Trapped in a giant ruby was Filin, unfortunately this gem was in the clutches of giant demonic humanoid, trapped inside a circle of power. As the party made to free Filin, Horan stumbled and broke the circle of power, freeing the demon, which instantly slew its former captor. Cackling the demon and ruby vanished in a puff of vile smoke, the demon’s last cackle implied that it was taking it’s treasure, with Filin inside, to its master in the Temple of Set, east in the Empire of the Serpent.
Saddened by the loss of Filin the party left the manor house of Horan and came upon a group of mongrelmen. Stilgar challenged the chief to hand-to-hand combat for leadership. The mighty captain won the fight but lost an eye, a portion of his cheek, and contracted a foul disease. This tribe of mongrelmen was holding a fair if salty sorceress named Sylara who chose to escape the Forgotten City along with Stilgar, Kelryn, Phae, and Seraphina. Stilgar commanded the mongrelmen to show him the exit from the city, which they did under much protestation. Eventually the party left the mongrel tribe and surveyed the way out of the ruined city.
Two paths now faced the party, either an ascent of 300 feet using the vines along the crater wall of the Forgotten City or through the tunnels. The walls of the crater seemed guarded by great wasps of unknown number, so the party chose the tunnels. The tunnels were guarded by a broken gatehouse, which the party explored. Inside they found a man being sacrificed to a huge snake and smote half man/half snake parishioners and their false god. The sacrificial victim was a young plainsman named Zura, who pointed out the only cave that led out of the valley.
Several more snake-men guarded the tunnels and using some simple spells Kelryn masqueraded as the degenerate snake-people’s avatar. The beguiled guards let the party past. Inside the tunnels the party came upon a calm pool with three canoes. The pool connected with a large subterranean lake, and upon disturbing the canoes the party was attacked by several crocodiles. These were quickly dispatched by the party’s combined might. Across the underground lake the party disembarked and entered a short corridor. The corridor entered in a room with several walking undead shrouded in billowing clouds of golden spores. As the yellow musk zombies attacked Kelryn flamed them to a cinder with his breath weapon. The only exit from this chamber was a large cavern with a winding ledge underneath a waterfall. As the party crossed the ledge, a group of bullywugs dropped a vat of oil and lit on fire. Spring to action, the party attacked and slew the foul frog people.
Above the waterfall the tunnels opened up to overlook the Forgotten City. Several crow’s cages hung suspended above the deep gorge, guarded by a multitude of immense angry wasps. Inside one of the cages a beautiful maiden cried for help. The party, Zura, and Sylara sprang into action and dispatched the oversized insects and freed the imprisoned lass, Mae Li. From the sky prison a long tunnel lead to the plains above. As the party was leaving the caves a tribe of the bestial tasloi attacked them. As the party faced of against the tasloi, Mae Li metamorphosed into a long thin dragon, and struck from behind. A furious battle ensued and tasloi and Eastern dragon fell before the spell and blade of Seraphina, Phae, Kelryn, Stilgar, Zura and Sylara.
The Crypts of Khaibar
After escaping the Forgotten City, the party, Kelryn, Phae, Seraphina, and Stilgar, and Sylara accompanied Zura to his village. Here they rested and learned more about the Desert of Desolation. On the Eastern fringe of the desert lay Khaibar, a desert town populated by followers of the snake-god, Set. Zura’s father, the chieftain of the village, warned the party of the dangers of Khaibar—they had little need for infidels and anyone not of Set’s faith would be killed on sight if they wandered the city after dark. As Snowfall had bolted in that direction, the party knew it must follow. Zura’s father gave the party the Horn of Heroes and fresh horses from the Iron Steppes. Sylara elected to stay with Zura’s people, with the intention of eventually making here way north to the Barony of Eor. Saying their good-byes, the party proceeded, without incident, to Khaibar.
At Khaibar, the party entered the city without incident (Kelryn was disguised), and were directed, as infidels, to the only inn that would serve them: The Slug and Lettuce. The guards also told them to remain inside after dark, upon pain of death, and to stay away from the Haunted Grove in the northeast corner of Khaibar. Here, Phae and Stilgar acquired rooms, while Kelryn and Seraphina gather intelligence. Kelryn changed his guise at that of a local and visited another tavern, the Sign of the Rising Camel, while Seraphina inspected the Sultan’s residence and the Haunted Grove.
Back at the Slug and Lettuce, Phae and Stilgar met Brother Grimlock Bonehammer, a monk of the Meatshield School. Grimlock had come to Khaibar two weeks earlier with his rogue associate, Thorogard, in search of a legendary crypt, containing vast treasures, hidden in the sewers of Khaibar. Grimlock had last seen his friend in the company of a darkly dressed cleric, with scraggly black hair and scars on his face, a man who appeared to be Mordrin! This priest had a mithril dagger, which Thorogard promptly “liberated”. Grimlock said a change overcame his associate, he became more confident, and vanished with the map to the crypt that same night.
Meanwhile, Kelryn was drinking strong and strange wines at the Sign of the Rising Camel, seeking gossip from the locals. He learned that the Haunted Grove had been abandoned for many centuries, since the sorcerer Crane had died. Crane had a tower in a clearing at the center of the Grove. Now, the locals feared and shunned the area due to the great hulking beasts patrolling its environs.
Seraphina found the Sultan’s chalet well guarded, with high walls and many patrols. The guardsmen gave her suspicious looks and she quickly went on to the Haunted Grove. Shortly after nightfall, she entered the Grove and a feeling of great dread overcame her. She almost fled in terror but the held her ground. In the end, the better part of discretion over valor made her return to the Slug and Lettuce. As she traveled back, she found that the Khairbarans let snakes loose upon their streets after dark! With great skill did she return to the inn.
The next morning, the party now joined by Grimlock, decided to search the sewers for the crypt. They hoped to find evidence of Thorogard and perhaps Mordrin. The party left the city and entered via a sewer grate near the city. The sewers were dark, wet and foul smelling, who knew what follow beasts lurked in its depths. First, the party came upon a misshapen mound of filth that sprouted many insane eyes and slavering mouths. The gibbering mouther attacked the party but was rapidly dispatched by Stilgar and Phae. Venturing further into the putrid dark, the party came upon a mound of bones and treasure. Sensing a trap, Seraphina crept forward and was almost felled by a flailing mass of tentacles. Retreating, she was pursued by three great wormlike beasts with a many waving antennae. The carrion crawlers proceed to engage the party. Phae called upon Pelor’s might and made three large rats to fight the crawlers. Kelryn, unafraid of the dire vermin’s paralytic touch attacked. Along with Stilgar and Brother Grimlock, the beasts were destroyed as Phae’s cleverly wrought rodents engaged the crawlers. Kelryn found some magical leather armor, which he donned. Further into the sewers, the party came upon a dry patch, and started following this path. In the distance they heard growling, which turned out to be a three-headed chimera. This thrice-damned abomination attacked the party. Phae used Pelor’s might to drop a great stone on the beast. Only though the brave efforts of Sera, Stilgar, and Phae did Grimlock and Kelryn survive the fray. Kelryn did finish the beast with his fiery breath. Near the chimera’s meal, the party found a map and using the map they found a secret door.
The door entered into a trapped corridor, which Seraphina nimbly and ably guided the party through. A lavish crypt was laid out, with mounds of gold and precious gems overseen by a crowned skeleton. Using the helm of true seeing, Phae spotted the yellow mold masquerading as the treasure. Except for the crown, all was a horrid death waiting to happen. Kelryn retrieved the crown with his magic and Seraphina disabled the traps with the crown-key. Then Kelryn slide back the throne to reveal another door to unlock with the crown. As he did, he disturbed the yellow mold that was inhaled deep into his lungs. As the mold spores began to kill him, he inhaled a flaming mass of oil, killing the spores. Kelryn’s draconic heritage prevented the flame from killing him. Turning the crown-key revealed a secret door in the northwest corner of the room, and steps down.
At the base of the stairs, the party was attacked by a glowing red apparition of a devil, D’spayr, guarding a silver door. Stilgar charged the crimson demon, only to run full tilt into wall of spikes, dispelling the demonic and door illusions and revealing another passage. Following this passage, the party came upon a room of five bridges over a pit of unidentified (but probably lethal) ooze. Fearing more illusory insult and injury, Kelryn detected magic and discovered a powerful source deep in the organic muck. Using his magic he tried to lift it to the party, but the goo was too strong. Phae used Pelor’s light to heat the metal, freeing it from the ooze. The item was revealed to be the mithril dagger carried by the late Thorogard. The dagger was mithril silver, with a talon at the tip. Seraphina took the dagger and it was revealed to her as Dragon’s Claw, a piece of the Dragon’s Bane lance. Seraphina now bears this powerful weapon. Stilgar then levitated across the span and anchored a safety line, allowing Seraphina to find the only stable bridge (the north most), with a safety line.
Past the five bridges the party found twin adamantite doors guarded by a magical lock. All efforts to open the doors were in vain, so the party rested the night. The next morning, Phae dispelled the magic on the door and Seraphina was able to pick the lock. The next chamber was the crypt proper, an octagonal room filled with many riches and four magical items: a spear, a ring, a bone scroll case, and a vial with glowing blue liquid. The party loaded their stash and retrieved the magical items. Sera found a secret door leaving the crypt, but as she opened it, eight damned creatures, wrapped in tatters, exploded from each corner. The mummies attacked the party, Phae destroying two of them with Pelor’s light. The rest of the party engaged two of the undead and held the doorway until Phae and Seraphina could escape. Once everyone was clear, Kelryn called upon his fiery breath and torched four of the remaining undead. With Pelor’s might did Phae turn the rest and the party quickly dispatched the rest. Following the conflict, unable to bear the loss of his comrade, Grimlock left the party and returned to the Slug and Lettuce.
Behind the secret door was a library stocked with tomes of an ancient tongue. The exit was a metal door with an engraved pentagram, set in a wall of folded resin. Phae used the light of Pelor to read the ancient tongue and discovered a scroll describing a trapped room, somewhere in the party’s path. Meanwhile Seraphina used her skills to examine the door and the strange walls into which it was set. The party passed through the door into a metal corridor, as Seraphina examined an identical pentagram engraved door, the door to the library began to swing shut. Phae tried to brace the door with Kelryn’s assistance but the door could not be stopped. Kelryn pulled Phae through the opening, just before the door swung shut, trapping the party in the metal corridor. Two clicks were heard and the party proceeded into a metal room with four identical pentagrams engraved doors, one in each wall. After examining identical corridors in each direction and doing some backtracking, Kelryn deduced that the metal hallways and room were turning, like a great spoked wheel. The revolving metal corridors ended in four identical stone corridors each with a wooden door and a warning "Look Up!" in Akkaren. Three of these passageways were trapped, while the fourth had a secret door that led into another passage. This passageway turned our to be a branch of three identical corridors each with an identical wood door and carved warning. Sera and Stilgar detected another secret door off of the central branch.
This secret passage led into a great room tiled alternatively by large black and white squares. Using the directions obtained in the library earlier by Phae, they deduced a mostly safe route across the room. Except for a few of Kelryn’s electrifying false steps, the party made it safely across and into the chamber beyond. This sunken room had a large pool with stepping stones across. Kelryn, being of suspicious nature, shocked the water with magical energy from his hands, rousing a giant parasite, masquerading as the stepping stones. The bloodworm was dispatched with Kelryn’s flame, Stilgar’s might, and Phae’s divine magic. Beyond lay a pentagonal crypt with the sarcophagus of a portly man. Inside the sarcophagus lay a portable hole and the mystical scimitar, Blood on the Sand. When the scimitar was touched, a skeletal, hooded figure emerged from a secret chamber in the adjacent wall. The crypt thing, outraged at the desecration of its tomb, made Kelryn vanish with a wave of a withered hand! The rest of the party attacked, only to have Stilgar also summarily dispatched. Calling Pelor’s glory, Phae turned the wicked undead, just in time for Kelryn, who had been teleported into the trapped tile room, to return and have at the crypt thing. In his charge he collided with an invisible and petrified Stilgar. Recovering their composure, the party dispatched the fell creature.
The Tower of Three Horns
Following their triumph in the Crypts of Khaibar, the party returned to the city. Here they partitioned their treasure, most notably Dragon’s Claw the fragment of Dragon’s Bane. The party healed at the Slug and Lettuce while preparing for their next attempt at recovering Filin. While at the inn they heard that Mordrin had been residing in the Tower of Three Horns within the Haunted Grove in the northeast corner of Khaibar. Seraphina reminded the group of the guard’s dire warning about the grove and her own intense fear as she approached the area. Desperate to find Filin, the party knew they must seek out Mordrin. The next morning the group approached the Haunted Grove, and despite the intense feelings of doom entered into its evil environs. Within the grove rose a great black tower, with three horns of differing height. In the distance Seraphina detected the thrashing of some great beasts. The party decided to investigate only to be set upon by two great constructs of dead flesh. The mighty golems attacked. As Stilgar engaged a single golem in combat, Kelryn, Seraphina, and Phae threw themselves at the other. Like a caged storm did Stilgar let blade fall upon the shambling artifact. Meanwhile, agile and deadly, small Seraphina did wicked damage with Kelryn, who unleashed blade and breath weapon with bestial savagery. Phae, stout of heart and blessed of Pelor, used her divine might to smite her foes and heal her friends. The brave four slew their animated foes and removed strange icons from their chests.
The party could find only one entrance to the Tower of Three Horns, a long tunnel, stretching some 50 paces under the base of the tower. Many dead things, some humanoid, some not lay scattered in around the tunnel entrance. Kelryn used his sorcerous gifts to see magic: The tunnel itself exuded a dark aura, as did a small item on the tunnel floor. Entering the tunnel with or without the icons brought nothing but life draining torment. In the end, Stilgar used his shield to fly up the tunnel only to collide with an invisible grate. He retrieved Seraphina, who used the Helm of Pelor’s Light to see the grate and open its lock. A poison gas trap was tripped forcing the two to beat a hasty retreat. The following day, Kelryn climbed into the portable hole, and Stilgar, carrying Seraphina flew up the corridor, retrieved a magic ring on the tunnel floor, and entered the base of dark Tower of Three Horns. In the meantime Phae left the party and followed a mysterious vision from Pelor that might further aid their cause.
The basement of the Tower turned out be a storeroom filled with casks, sacks, and chests. Behind one of the chests, the party heard a voice calling for help. Moving the chest revealed a narrow tube into a prison cell. The owner of the voice was Father Ignacius Falzal a half-elven cleric of Pelor who had been imprisoned by Mordrin. After searching the chest blocking the tube, Seraphina found an amulet within a sealed vial. The amulet within the vial resembled an imprint in the wall above the tube to Ignacius’ cell. Kelryn broke the seal and was attacked by the ooze within the vial. Stilgar with some quick thinking threw alchemist’s fire on the ooze killing it, without harming the dragon-man. On the ground floor of the tower a lavish sitting room was arrayed, attempting to spite Mordrin, Stilgar and Kelryn placed most of the fine furniture in the portable hole.
The second story of the Tower of Three Horns was an extensive alchemist's lab. Using his sorcerous gifts Kelryn detected magic in a safe behind a locked cabinet. The safe was doubly trapped with acid and cloudkill, both of which Seraphina tripped. In order to escape the fatal fumes the party quickly climbed onto the next story into a lavish bedroom. On the bed lay a beautiful woman in rich attire, fearing an illusory foe, Stilgar donned Helm of Pelor’s Light and saw the damsel revealed as a foul demoness. The succubus charmed Stilgar into attacking his friends and only Seraphina and Kelryn’s quick thinking saved the doughty captain from serious harm. Seraphina threw a tanglefoot bag at Stilgar’s feet while Kelryn’s quickly cast truestrike disarmed him. Then Father Ignacius, Kelryn, and Seraphina dispatched the succubus and her devil compatriots with breath-weapon, spell, and blade.
The party went back and ransacked the safe in the alchemist lab. They found a few miscellaneous magical items, most interesting of which was a dragon pendant made of the same stone as the tower with ruby red eyes, Kelryn donned this item to no ill effect. The succubus also had a ring, which Kelryn also claimed.
The fourth floor was a pyramidal and bare, only Stilgar’s quick observation of the special spring-loaded nature of the trap door saved the party from death by a vacuum trap that sucked all the air from the room. Seraphina located a secret door that hid a glowing red portal. The party hastened through it to another round room, similar to the tower rooms previously. A single hall exited this room and ended in a sealed stone door with runes engraved upon it. Brother Ignacius illuminated the door with the light of Pelor and was able to comprehend some of the strange tongue on the door. When Stilgar touched the runes they glowed, so Kelryn decided to trace the runes, causing them to glow more brightly and the door to open.
The next room was trapezoidal in shape, the party entered via one of the acute angles of the trapezoid. Two doors exited this room, in the other acute angle and the short side of the trapezoid. Two ornate statues of pouncing cats guarded the door in the short side. With his sorcerous eyes Keryn saw the magical strongly glowing from the feline icons. Fearing a surprise attack the rest of the party used tanglefoot bags on the statues and then guarded them while Seraphina examined the two doors. When the icons attacked the party quickly dispatched them.
In the room past the door in the short side of the trapezoid a sword of black stone floated in the passageway. As soon as Stilgar entered the room it attacked and the party wasted little time in engaging and destroying the item. However in doing so, Stilgar tripped a devastating trap that poisoned the party and killed Seraphina. Fortunately, Brother Ignacius had a divine scroll that could raise the wee halfling. Seraphina found a secret door from the Floating Sword Room and the party entered the corridor beyond which led into a large rectangular room. In the center were two minotaur statues within circles of red marble. Two doors exited this chamber, one leading to a long hallway with a deep pit trap and a magically locked door with an engraving of a sun, and the second to another hallway. This second hallway branched to a second door and into a room with eight iron statues. The statues were guarding one quarter of a gold plate that looked like a sun and would fit on the magically locked door.
Using his magical gifts Kelryn grabbed the sun piece remotely from the hallway—setting off a massive fireball which badly hurt the party and waking one of the iron statues. Thinking quickly Stilgar started searching for the tube of rust dust while Seraphina, Kelryn, and Brother Ignacius tried to hold off the dread golem. Keryn’s furiously attacked the massive construct while Brother Ignacius healed him. Seraphina tumbled into the room to retrieve the missing fragment that Keryn had dropped to engage the beast. Meanwhile, Brother Ignacius created an obscuring mist as Stilgar readied the rust dust. The party retreated as the golem got lost in the mist. As the mist cleared, Stilgar attacked with the dust, which the golem narrowly avoided. Kelryn sensing that the party could not defeat so mighty a foe cried for the party to retreat to the hallway with the deep pit trap. Just then Father Ignacius and Kelryn were overcome by the aftereffects of the ferrous construct’s initial attack. Stilgar used his shield to carry Kelryn and the party limped back to the hallway, the golem in lumbering pursuit. Seraphina reactivated the trap and the golem went crashing through—only to catch itself on the far side. Seraphina and Stilgar started hacking like maniacs at the stone around the metallic monstrosity’s fingers. After long seconds the stone gave way and the living statue fell to the bottom of the pit and away into the Astral Plane. Wounded, weary and depleted the party set up camp and decided to rest for the night.
The following morn, Father Ignacius used healing magics and restored the battered party to health. The four heroes decided to investigate the other door in the Trapezoid Room and entered a long corridor that opened up into a small room, filled with hanging glass shards. Fearing a trap, Seraphina detached a single shard and Kelryn used his sorcerous gifts to drop the shard remotely from the party. The shard magically exploded spreading poison gas and crystalline shrapnel. The party then used a rock to shatter the remaining shards at range, then waited for the poison gas to dissipate. The room turned out to have a windtrap, which the party removed as well as a secret door in the ceiling. This secret chamber had a ruby staff with a blue bridge on it. Also, another door with the sun symbol exited this room.
Returning to the Glass Shard Room the party proceeded down the corridor to an odd shaped room, like two mated diamonds, with a slight swirling breeze. In the center a great mass of metal lay with a menacing aura of magic. The party used tanglefoot bags on the junk pile, but when they entered the room, the wind kicked up and started scattering the pile in a frightful metallic tornado. Thinking quickly, Father Ignacius used the Hands of Pelor to reshape the stone of the floor to cover the pile. The bladed death was contained, but only momentarily. A single door exited the other diamond, but Seraphina uncovered secret door, which the party hastily exited through. An ancient cavern, far older than the rest of the Tower, greeted the adventurers. Through the cavern a river of blue slime guarded a hulking, ten-handed, unnamed wargod. The statue loomed over a pool of red fluid. Stilgar suggested that the staff might bridge the river of blue ooze, so Kelryn waved the staff over the river, and a bridge appeared. The party crossed but as they approached the statue it shot electrical bolts at Kelryn and Stilgar’s feet. Only Father Ignacius could approach the statue and he was able to retrieve a second quarter of the sun medallion. The party also discovered a chest disguised as a stalagmite. Within it they uncovered several potions, a wand, and several eggs that made animal noises when shook.
Upon returning to the Mated Diamond Chamber the metal maelstrom escaped the bonds of its stone prison and attacked the party. The first pass inflicted vicious wounds, but Silgar’s might and Kelryn’s well placed lightning bolt lessened the demonspawned blades attack. The party eventually vanquished the many times damned cutlery. The other door exiting this chamber entered a long mirrored corridor, capped by another door engraved with the sun. The party fearing magical assault from the mirrors, started smashing them, as they did so, Kelryn vanished, but Stilgar immediately destroyed the mirror he had been standing in front of. This released Kelryn and several other captives into the midst of the party; two undead, a maniacal mage, a human near death, and a great amorphous black pudding. The undead were driven away by Father Ignacius and Pelor’s light. Seraphina and Kelryn dispatched Mad Meldeth of the Violet Brotherhood. Then Kelryn turned his dragonfire fury upon the disgusting blob. Seraphina and Stilgar threw alchemist fire but the pitch abomination snagged Keryn, tearing open his belt pouch, the eggs broke releasing two dire bears and giant iguana, also Kelryn’s wand of lightning fell to the floor. As the oozing menace started engulfing him, Kelryn, snatched the wand from the floor and turned it on the beast, destroying it thoroughly. The dying man gave the party the third piece of the sun medallion.
Their way blocked, the party returned to the hallway where they had engaged the iron golem and proceeded to the Hall of Pools. Their way was through a twisted corridor made of a strange red spongy material that emitted a reddish gas. The party held their breath through the passage and entered a great hall filled with pools of viscous ooze all emanating from a massive door at the opposite end. The party saw a bas-relief of a scepter in the door and slot for a scepter immediately next to it. Searching the pools, Seraphina managed to dredge up the scepter with a hook and line. After inserting the scepter next to the door, the doors opened and the scepter vanished. The next room had a covered pit in the center, inside was the final quarter of the sun medallion.
First Father Ignacius, then Kelryn were injured when they attempted to insert the icon in the doors in the secret room and the pit trap. Finally Stilgar inserted it in the mirrored hall and the door sung slowly open. The next chamber was massive and full of a foul haze. As the party entered three devils stopped them, the lead devil said, “You are not my master!” and went on the attack while the other two vanished.
Father Ignacius dismissed this creature by the might and glory of Pelor. But just then more demonic warriors gated in, the party went into battle. After Kelryn had dispatched three of the damned outsiders he was engaged by one of the original devils and both of them vanished. As Stilgar fought valiantly against several devilspawned warriors, Seraphina engaged the other devil, while Father Ignacius used Pelor’s Light to seek out the invisible Kelryn and his abductor. Just as Seraphina’s opponent critically injured her, Father Ignacius freed Kelryn with a celestial harrier that attacked the devil grappling him. Meanwhile Stilgar faced overwhelming odds as he fought the remaining warriors and the devil that had dispatched Seraphina, without yielding a finger’s breadth of ground. Father Ignacius went in aid of Stilgar while Kelryn hurled blasts from his wands upon the netherspawn. The battle looked grim and the end near, until Stilgar called upon the Horn of Heroes and summoned the ancestor’s of Zura’s village. Father Ignacius used Pelor’s blessings to save both Kelryn and Seraphina. The dragon-man struck down his hellish opponent with a mighty blow as the doughty Captain and his spiritual comrades laid waste to the remaining hellspawn.
The only thing left in this room after the battle was a statue of woman holding a short rod. Using magic they transmuted the stone to flesh, and freed the young woman. The girl said she could not remember anything, not even her name, but gave them the second piece of Dragon’s Bane, the rod she had been holding. Kelryn recognized a map in blood on the girl’s thigh as leading to Fyrblud’s lair. She seemed to recognize his black dragon pendant. The party decided to call the girl Shale until she could remember her name. She also appeared oddly, as if shimmering when viewed by the Helm of Pelor’s Light.
As they were leaving the Haunted Grove, the party was arrested by the city guards of Khaibar and exiled, under pain of death, from the city on the Eastern side into the Desert of Desolation. Exiled along with the party were two brothers, Ali and Hassan Al-Ziira, with their camel, and shifty rogue named Akbar Al-Alazain. Snowfall returned and was eager to head Easterly and find his master also the new piece of Dragon’s Bane also pointed them in this direction. The party, eager to find their friend Filin and be rid of the City of Khaibar, entered deeper and deeper into the Desert of Desolation.
The Desert of Desolation
As the party followed Snowfall into the desert, Akbar and the brothers Al-Ziira told tales of this cursed land. In ancient times, a strong and proud empire lay within the fertile confines of what was now the Desert of Desolation. A powerful pharaoh, Amun-Re, brought down a curse upon the land turning the very earth to ash. All that was of this great land was gone save a few settlements scattered in a barren wasteland. Under Kelryn’s guidance the party traveled at night, all walking save the girl, Shale. During the first night’s travel a hungry worm of great size attacked the party. The mauve invertebrate was dispatched with haste, but not before it almost swallowed doughty Stilgar, who finished the beast from inside its gullet.
The next few nights’ travel was uneventful until the party came upon a wondrous oasis. In the oasis, Kelryn spied two great almond eyes peering from the depths of the water, a voice told him that he could ask any three yes or no questions. Telling his traveling companions, Kelryn asked three questions:
Is this path we travel the way to finding Filin? YES
Are all in the party to be trusted? NO
Can we trust Shale? YES
Upon asking the third and final question, the oasis vanished but left the party refreshed and supplied with food and water. Now fearing a traitor in their midst, the party suspected Akbar.
The next night’s journey brought a change in the land as twisted rocks jutted from the landscape. As the party entered this new terrain, strange clouds approached, smelling of rain. Suddenly a torrent broke from the sky not of water but of flesh burning acid. The party retreated to a cave in the rocks but was unable to fit the camel, fortunately Father Ignacius used Pelor’s might to protect the sturdy animal. After the storm had passed, the party continued their journey only to be intercepted by an apparition in the torn raiment of a king. This ghost said he was the spirit of Amun-Re cursed to wander the ruins of his kingdom by Osiris himself. Amun-Re had been so avaricious in his acquisitions for the afterlife that his mighty empire had crushed many cultures and despotically tormented his people in looking to the benefits of his afterlife. Upon his death, Osiris cursed the pharaoh to look on his life in death as he had looked on death in life and to watch the fall of his once mighty empire. This curse would only be lifted if the tomb of Amun-Re was plundered and the Staff of Ruling and Star Gem of Mo-Pelar were removed from the pyramid. The apparition gestured in the direction the party was traveling to indicate his final rest and faded from view.
A few more nights’ travel brought the intrepid caravan to another oasis, this one surrounding a small island of worked stone. Five sand-scarred columns surrounded a cup like depression, the walls covered by crystal beads. Upon inspecting the curious arrangement the party agreed that it looked like it was collecting or focusing device for the sun. Feeling safe in the night’s embrace Sera and Stilgar were lowered into the pit to investigate further. Sera found a panel of black rock with a single red ruby in the center. Written around the ruby was a cryptic message: “Beware the noontime sun if you know not the puzzle behind RAS EVIL GRIN, which is tossed in the center of stone.” Sera also noticed some silver dust around the o in stone within the message. Stilgar was the first to see the anagram within the message and the party quickly fashioned some silver rings. The ring was fitted in the slot around the o and the party waited until noon the following day. The sunlight was focused from the ruby revealing a phase door within the wall. Leaving the brothers Al-Ziira, Shale (with instructions to place rings within the o on the first, third and sixth day if the door closed) and the camel. The party, with Akbar along, entered Ra’s Evil Grin.
Ra’s Evil Grin
The party entered the door within the stone and passed along a long passageway until they reached a T. To the left did a door block a short corridor and to the right the passageway curved back the way they came. The party chose the door first and Sera unlocked it to reveal a frightful walking corpse wrapped in the rich but tattered vestments of a foul priest gibbering to the profane altar of some despicable frog god. Instantly the hall fell dark, followed by a plague of stinging insects. Knowing that death waited for no man, Kelryn charged into the room hoping to exit into the light, he was followed by the brave Father, Sera and Stilgar. As the party regrouped around the grotesque mummy-cleric, the cursed penitent summoned three demonic dretches. Kelryn unleashed his dragon’s breath upon the creature, but magic stopped the flame. Father Ignacius unleashed Pelor’s Searing Light and dispelled the darkness and injured the creature as Sera and Stilgar engaged the slobbering dretches. Using spellcraft the good father and the ferocious dragon-man held the evil undead at bay until Sera and Stilgar, having dispatched the dretches, helped send that unholy mockery of life back to the netherhells, but not before the abomination cursed Kelryn with mummy rot. The party recovered numerous magical items including the Eye of Doom and a Helm of Awareness.
The party left this accursed chapel and proceeded down to the other passage. The passage turned to the left and had great gouge marks in the floor. A switch next to this turn, when pressed revealed another passage in the opposite direction. Leaving Kelryn as rearguard the party examined the left tunnel revealing another room with an altar atop that lay a familiar red gem, one that looked like it contained a human figure. Many skeletons lay on the floor, deep scratch marks in the walls showed where these poor wretches had tried to claw their way out of this deathtrap. Father Ignacius found a magical jeweler’s hammer amongst the corpses as Sera uncovered a pressure plate guarding the altar. When Sera tried to retrieve the gem the illusion vanished.
Next the party went along the other passage, the one revealed after the switch was hit. Father Ignacius stone shaped the surrounding rock to cover the switch, protecting this passage from closure. These tunnels lead into a maze. The party decided to always follow the left wall and discovered another false prisongem as well as dispatching an ochre jelly and recovering four keys, one of brass, one of bronze, one of lead, and one of silver. A seeming dead end in the maze revealed a secret door that hid a large room blocked by two great iron doors reinforced by adamantite bars. Upon the left door was written, “I fall first the heaviest, and then heaviest from a man’s purse” above four locks of brass, bronze, lead, and silver. Conferring the party used the lead and silver keys to unlock the left portion. The right door had three riddles on it: “(1) One man makes me, does not need me, (2) One man buys me, does not use me, and (3) One man uses me, does not see me” over four locks: a brass table, a bronze coffin, a lead sword, and a silver diamond. Through some trial and error the party discovered that all the riddles’ answers were coffins as each coffin lock was opened, it revealed another of a different material.
The massive doors swung open and revealed the remnants of a great battle; corpses and skeletons lay strewn about, Kelryn found a magical shield in the rubbish of war. A crack in the opposite end of the hall shone with a sickly glow. The fissure revealed a large dome above a room guarded by two prismatic doors. A rubble slide led down to the sandy floor below. Impatient to find his brother, Kelryn slid down the debris only to be attacked by five giant spiders. As the vicious arachnids attacked, the mystical robe that Kelryn had taken from the mummy revealed its curse as thousands of biting flees attacked him from its confines. Kelryn countered by igniting a fireball next to him vaporizing the cursed garment and singeing several of the poisonous spiders. Sera dispatched one with Whisper as Stilgar and Father Ignacius trampled two more. The spiders were no match for the Knights of Adlund.
Reaching the bottom revealed two passageways in addition to the doors. Searching these passages showed that they were mostly blocked by sand but an ancient cracked stone tablet explained command words for opening the doors and bypassing the guardians beyond. Using these words, the party opened the doors and used the successive words to bypass the mighty stone icons guarding this enormous chamber. At the end a ruby containing a figure resembling Filin lay upon a dais. Sera found no trap so Father Ignacius struck the gem. The crack of thunder and a peel of laughter signaled the freedom of Filin and the efreeti prince that was served by the demon that had taken the Prince.
Overjoyed at recovering their companion and friend the party made ready to fight the mighty otherworlder. The efreeti prince merely chuckled and cursed the party to share in Amun-Re’s curse. With that he vanished leaving behind a six-armed merilith spoiling for a fight. The party engaged the snake demoness. Her six blades and foul spells almost finished the party but Sera’s and Stilgar’s steel coupled with the arcane might of the twins, Filin and Kelryn, and Father Ignacius divine boons made short work of the creature. As she engaged Stilgar in melee, Father Ignacius called upon Pelor to send this bitch demon back to hell. Filin unleashed the electrical maelstrom contained within the Blue Dragon Staff as Kelryn magically augmented Stilgar and Sera. Sera was caught in the coils of the merilith’s tale and used Whisper with wild abandon to free herself.
When the party had dispatched the multiarmed menace, the efreeti’s curse engaged, sapping them physically and withering their abilities. The party collected the merilith’s blades, including the chaotic blade Xpathias, now carried by Kelryn. The party exited Ra’s Evil Grin and traveled onward to Amun-Re’s Tomb, the twins awkwardly reunited for the first time.
As they crossed the desert the sky and ground became one, floating in the middle lay a mighty pyramid surrounded by a sea of glass. An intense heat brought on by the reflection billowed from the shores of this dry gleaming sea. By the shoreline, a small figure engaged some giant crabs. The group, lead by Filin’s cry of “By the Blood of Adlund” swept down on the silicon crustaceans. After the crabs were dispatched, the small figure introduced himself as Milo Wimby, nephew of Seraphina. He had wanted to find Sera and Stilgar after they had vanished from Witching Castle and the shaman of his village had teleported him here.
The party investigated the shoreline and found a skyship half buried in the sand. They decided to cross the sea of glass on the ship. During the crossing to Amun-Re’s tomb they discovered the remains of some other adventurers, one of whom still had a map of the tomb. At nightfall they also discovered an ancient and larger skyship lying derelict. Kelryn, Milo, Akbar and Father Ignacius crossed the cooling glass and investigated the ship. Much to their fright, the ship came to life and try to strangle the life out of them. After many a solid blow, the animate objects were dispatched. In the hold, they found a magical roulette wheel that granted favors and misfortune. All but Akbar took turns at the wheel, mostly to their benefit. They returned to their skyship to wait the breaking day.
The Tomb of Amun-Re
The following day the doughty party completed the crossing to the pyramid in the sky. The pyramid lay resting on a small island, surrounded by a high wall. The only entrance was through a temple guarding the walls. From the skyship, several humanoid figures could be seen guarding the temple. The party decided to land on the opposite end of the island and unloaded Akbar, Father Ignacius, Filin, Milo, Kelryn, Seraphina, and Stilgar. Shale and the brothers Al-Ziira (and their faithful camel) remained on the skyship with instructions to return when fetched by any one of the party except Akbar.
Following their skilled halfling scouts the party skirted the pyramid's wall until they reached the gate. Kelryn and Milo used their mystical powers to put the dervish sentries in a deep sleep and they were quickly tied up. The party proceeded into the antechamber where Seraphina spied upon the dervishes high priest and acolytes praying to the statue of Amun-Re. The party entered the temple and tried to get past the dervishes, who refused. Kelryn made more intemperant by the efreeti's curse attacked the dervishes. The party quickly dispatched the dervish band, knocking them unconscious and healing any that were wounded. The dervishes were imprisoned in the barracks adjacent to the temple, and trapped there by one of Father Ignacius' stoneshape spells.
Kelryn and Stilgar questioned their captives and learned that the dervish chieftan and some of his men had disappeared into the pyramid and had not been seen for days. Meanwhile, Filin and Father Ignacius examined a large ivory book bound in platinum and thought it to be the Tome of Amun-Re. The halflings Milo and Sera used this time to discover a secret chamber behind the statue of Amun-Re. This was believed to be a one way teleporter, as they could not activate it, it was believed that this was the destination end and that the departure end was somewhere deeper in the pyramid complex.
The party continued into the pyramid, exploring several ransacked rooms and an empty sarcophagus. Eventually they discovered that this plundered tomb was a façade over Amun-Re's secret tomb. Impatient with their progress and under the influences of his curse, Kelryn jumped into a large brazier illuminated by illusory flames and vanished.
Kelryn materialized in a cylindrical room with eight exits shrouded in red mist. There was a single lever on one wall. Pulling the lever engaged an incredible magnet field in the ceiling that pulled Kelryn from the floor by his metallic gear. Kelryn freed himself from his trapped equipment and fell to the floor. He then retrieved his equipment by disengaging the lever. Meanwhile, the rest of the party teleported in through the false sarcophagus in the plundered tomb. The reunited party then turned to face the red mists of the maze of insanity.
Within the mists of the maze of insanity were many traps and foul creatures. Sera found a cursed ring within a trapped chest, later the party fought two gruesome minotaurs in their putrid lair and recovered a magical wand. They also found a cursed blade stuck through the torso of a slain warrior who lay in fatal triumph among his dead foes. They came upon five elves that turned out to be duplicitous dopplegangers intent on splitting the party up and murdering them separately. They also found the dervish chieftan and three of his remaining men, they joined the party. The party also came upon several trapped rooms: a javelin trap that pinned several of the party to the all, a pendulum blade, a robber press that was destroyed by Filin's magical cloak (which also destroyed the cloak), and a pole forest that killed one of the dervishes.
Finally to escape the maze, the party encountered an androsphinx and asked for directions to the exit. The ancient creature posed a riddle in exchange for answering this question. The riddle was: "All of the people who live in the west-side of Bindon lie all the time; all the people from the east always tell the truth. During the day, you can't tell the difference between them. If you get lost in Bindon, what one question could you ask that would tell you correctly which side of town you were on?" Filin and Father Ignacius arrived upon the answer together: "Do you live here?" The androsphinx, told party that the way to the next level is through a well in a previous room. The brave band entered the well and climbed the shaft into a corridor with an aqueduct running alongside. They followed the aqueduct into a lush garden hall with an enormous bronze bowl. The garden was filled with harmless but magical fruityflies.
In the next chamber, the Dome of Flight, four great palm trees grew and the source of the aqueduct could be found, a waterfall cascading from the mouth of a carved lion's head. The party harvested the deadly fruit of the grenade palms and then used the handprints found on granite altars and uttered runes to control the gravity in the Dome. Through their experiments, the party found a concealed door behind the waterfall. A later investigation of this hidden crypt uncovered three ghostly wraiths that were bent over examining the mystical blade, Bar-ethel (True Death), now carried by Kelryn.
In the area near the crowns of the grenade palms, Stilgar and Sera found a door in the south wall and heard faint but steady rapping noises from behind a large cut stone in the wall on the east side. Removing the stone led to an encounter with Prit, a little gnome with a propensity to shout "Spoon!" Questioning Prit led to little information, other than his love of spoons.
Deciding upon the door, the doughty band entered the grand hall of pharaohs a well-lit hall with four flights of stairs connected by three landings with rushing water thundering by on both sides. At the top of the stairs, a gigantic bronze fist was clasped atop of a bronze forearm. Suddenly Munafik, Amun-Re's fallen high priest, began casting spells down upon the party, as the party bravely fought past the mud chabang men. These fell creatures split into two when struck, so the party finished them by driving them into the flowing torrent. The middle level had a walls of fire and stone, both of which turned out be illusions. The top level had mirror images of the party attacking themselves. Kelryn was first to gain the top level and engage Munafik in hand-to-hand combat, but without success. This one sided melee ended when Father Ignacius called upon Pelor's celestial harrier and it went in the other direction to attack the source of Munafik's apparent invulnerability. Kelryn then tackled the undead Munafik driving him into the torrent. Meanwhile the rest of the party followed the harrier. Inside Prit's tunnel they found, Munafik's heart contained within a glass bell jar. The jar was protected by a misshapen clay statue that animated upon the harrier's attack. The clay golem was destroyed and the heart smashed ending Munafik's unnatural life.
Within this rough cavern an elevator made from a reversed pillar of water rose to the treasury of the pharaohs. A reed boat was found along with a large painting of a similar boat sailing through the clouds carrying a large and beautiful gemstone in its bow. The painting was actually a portal that opened 30 feet from a reed boat suspended 10,000 feet above the pyramid. Stilgar used his shield to fly a rope to the boat and it was hauled back to the portal. Thus the Star of Mo-Pelor was recovered.
The next room contained a great sarcophagus with a golden staff lying across it. Suddenly Akbar betrayed the party and tried to take Filin hostage and steal the staff as well. Akbar knew that only the person retrieving the staff would break the curse, the rest would still be afflicted. Akbar's foul plan was thwarted and he was taken prisoner using the ring of gaseous form and trapped within a glass bottle. The party decided that Seraphina should reap the benefits of the removed curse. Then the sarcophagus was opened to reveal a hideous mummy, which was immediately destroyed. Afterwards, the party found a secret teleportation room which returns them to the hidden chamber behind the statue of Amun-Re within the temple. As they leave the pyramid, the spring before the temple comes to life and water beings to flow. Amun-Re's curse upon the desert of desolation is over and healing can begin.
The Oasis of the White Palms
At this point the doughty Knights of Adlund decided to split their forces. One group would continue to the Oasis of the White Palms and try to lift the curse while the other tried to obtain the last piece of Dragonsbane and solve the mystery of Shale. Filin, Stilgar and Sera chose to lift the curse while Father Ignacius, Kelryn, and Milo returned westward to the Tirash Sea for the final piece of Dragonsbane.
As Filin, Sera and Stilgar journeyed deeper into the desert they came upon dunes stained with the blood of battle, a great army of dead men lays upon the churned-up grounds, the sun baking their lifeless bodies. A single bloody warrior tells the party that a "sudden tower of fire soared into the sky, taking the shape of a huge man. His voice shook the ground and he raised his hand and the ground opened and out poured his army of undead and we were slain." Before expiring, he passes Filin a medallion to bring to the Sheik Kassim and asks that they tell the Sheik about his slaughtered army.
Shortly after passing the battle, the party was overtaken by a flight of White Palm Airlancers on pegasi who escorted them to the Sheik. The Sheik relates a tale of woe about the kidnapping of Shadalah, a young noblewoman from their tribe who was betrothed to the Sheik's first-born son, Hassan, and he begs for help in recovering her. He gives Filin a special amulet that has been handed down for generations, an amulet with code messages upon its surface. After questioning a slave girl, the party uncovers a plot to assassinate the Sheik and Hassan. This would pass the rulership of the clan to Korus, the second son, this rouses the Stilgar's suspicions. Also, the manager of the Sandvoyagers Warehouse, Tolnus Granicus, has not been seen for some time and it is believed that he is a victim of foul play.
The party proceeded to the bazaar to purchase some items and search out Tolnus at the main warehouse. After breaking into the warehouse, the party encountered Thurnas Netmaster a slavemaster and has imprisoned Tolnus in dungeons below. Filin obtained this information by bespelling the slaver, he then writes and letter to the Sheik and sends it with Thurnas to the Sheik, naming him a slaver and asking for reinforcements. The charm and the letter sends Thurnas Netmaster to his doom. Stilgar and Sera rapidly and fataly overpowered the rest of the slavers in warehouse. Sera then uncovered a trapdoor to the dungeons below. In these slave pens the party was beset by a group of bugbears followed by some treacherous drow, all of whom fell before the bladed might of Stilgar, the stealth of Seraphina, and the arcane powers of Filin. Amongst the slaves in the pens, is Tolnus. He states that the bride Shadalah had been taken to the Crypt of Badr Al-Mosak. The party also found a map of the Oasis and its surroundings as well as a note from the archmage Martek.
One of the interesting sites on the map is a 25-foot tall by 7-foot square monolith with a secret entranceway. Based on the Sheik's amulet Filin guesses the words for opening the secret passage. These words actually activated a mummy who raised and lowered the door. Beneath the sands a chamber of wading pools which were carefully avoided. Unfortunately as the party left the room of pools they were struck by some well-hidden glyphs of warding. Within this chamber the party found the conspirators Corga, the clan's high priest and Korus. The party slew these miscreants and Stilgar took their heads for the Sheik. Then the party started feeling a great weakness as the tainted vile nature of the area began to drain them. Pushing on they found a cavern filled with pedestals suspended over a river of foul liquids which they flew over using Stilgar's shield and a secret door was found. Upon opening this door the hall was filled with smoke and a ghastly pale undead strikes from the mists. The wight falls before the party's blades. Corga's inner sanctum has been found and the Skull of Garath is recovered for later destruction.
Next the party proceeded to amphitheatre described on the map. At the amphitheater Filin is struck by a great dread and flees while the Sera and Stilgar push aside a large stone statue to reveal a 10 foot wide shaft. Using the Stilgar's shield the party drifts safely down the center of the shaft narrowly avoiding a scything blade that would probably have sent us to a cold welcome far, far below. Some fifty feet down four tunnels exit the shaft in the cardinal directions. All four tunnels have trapped statues (blades, fire, and arrows), that were disabled by Sera's cunning. A secret door is found behind one of them, leading to an altar which requests a sacrifice for Seker. The party placed a magical blade on the altar. The weapon was transformed into the Harness of Seker, death for the undead. The next room is right out of a madman's worst nightmares, filled with seemingly endless undead from mummies to wights to shadows scurrying and crawling from the darkness below onto the narrow walkway occupied by Sera, Stilgar and Filin. The harness' might is rapidly depleted and the three heroes use their last resources to stop the unrelenting undead swarm.
Beyond the pit of loathsome undead a tunnel stretched to a second shaft. At the shaft entrance a sword floated gleaming in the air. Sensing a trap, Sera asked Filin to grab the blade with his magic. This triggered a double trap that released an animated suit of armor wielding a flaming sword and a foul undead. The undead repeatedly fell in the shaft, the everfall trap, while the armored hulk was supposed to drive the party into the trap, fortunately Sera's foresight prevented this. The party dispatched the metallic manthing and then Stilgar casually stretched his blade into the everfall trap and let the unholy living dead destroy itself.
Using the everfall trap the party floated to the next room, a domed chamber with an incredible number of light webs. Some experimentation by Filin almost lead to disaster but a finally detect magic was used to determine the exact locations of the four harmful beams and levitation is used to avoid. In the next room the efreeti prince reclines on an obsidian throne but the amulet glows and fires a cold blue ray striking him in the chest. Unfortunately, Filin is given the full brunt of the evil one's spells and falls lifelessly. The efreeti vanishes and Stilgar reclaims the shattered body of his liege. Sera found a heavy glass bottle that when opened is found to contain the bride, Shadalah. Sera also found a cruelly trapped treasure chest that she triggers from the door of the efreeti's chamber bring down the ceiling. The chest is unharmed and the contents were secured.
Stilgar and Sera travel to the City of Phoenix and utter the word "Atmopryeetno" to release the mighty djinni king who brings Filin back to life and goes off to defeat the evil efreeti prince.
Intrigue in the Depths
As Filin, Sera and Stilgar lifted the curse of the efreeti prince, Father Ignacius, Kelryn, Milo and Shale traveled westward following the path pointed out by the handle of Dragonsbane. They traveled many miles over the Steppes of Iron without quarrelling with the orc tribes infesting this region. Eventually they arrived on the edge of the Tirash Sea in the town of Mishral. Mishral was a small fishing community that traded with the mermen indigenous to the region. Up until recently trading had been brisk and profitable, until a tribe of sea elves started disrupting the trading on a reef just offshore. In addition the handle of Dragonsbane indicated that the shaft was somewhere beyond the reef beneath the waves.
Kelryn, Milo and Father Ignacius supplied themselves with magical items to brave the depths and then sailed out the reef. From the reef they slipped beneath the waves and sought out the mermen. The mermen chief was slightly suspicious of the surface-dwellers, but was at a loss as to why the sea elves had started disrupting trade. The two tribes had lived amicably for years. The party decided to travel to the sea elf encampment to settle the dispute and gather more clues as to the whereabouts of the last piece of Dragonsbane.
At the sea elves encampment, their reception was less than hospitable. The sea elf chieftain, Avatis, accused Father Ignacius, Kelryn, and Milo of conspiring with the mermen to enslave the sea elf people. His claims and paranoid beliefs began to swing further and further out of proportion, as if Avatis was mad. In the end, he accused the three adventurers of kidnapping his son, Vereculon, for the merfolk and had them imprisoned.
As they lay waiting their sentence, execution by drowning, one of Avatis' advisors came to their cage. He promised to free them if they would find Vereculon and return him to help with his deranged father. The party fled back toward the merfolk encampment to seek Vereculon. As they were making their way back, they came upon several sea elves battling large amphibious humanoids. The sea elves sought to protect a prone form lying in the seaweed. The great toad-like creatures were rapidly destroying the brave but vastly overmatched sea elves. The horrific wounds inflicted by the sea elves were rapidly regenerating when our heroes entered the fray against the scrags. As the sea elves fell the scrags turned their claws and fangs upon the party. Thinking rapidly, Father Ignacius called upon Pelor to clear a cylinder of water exposing the scrags to the air and preventing them from healing. Kelryn and Milo rapidly polished off the aquatic trolls.
The only surviving member of the sea elf party was the prone elf lying in the kelp. This elf tuned out to be Vereculon who had been captured by the scrags. The other sea elves were a patrol that had set him free from the scrag lair, but they had been ambushed by the returning mertrolls. Vereculon had also noted the change in his father's personality and his insanity. The young sea elf said that the change had not been gradual but occurred after Avatis visited a cave near the sea elf encampment.
Deciding to investigate this mystery, Father Ignacius, Kelryn and Milo journeyed to the cave, which dropped precipitously into the depths. As the group entered they cave they were caught in a thick mucus that was emitted by a gigantic piscine horror with a head full of tentacles. The slime covered aboleth swum to the attack, attempting to use its powers to subvert the minds of its brave foes. The party would have none of that, so using blade and spell Kelryn laid waste the beast while stealthy Milo slipped in for the kill. Meanwhile Father Ignacius called down Pelor's punishment on the acquatic abomination. In the end, the three prevailed and they recovered much treasure as well as the last piece of Dragonsbane.
Father Ignacius, Kelryn and Milo split the treasure amongst the folk of Mishral, the mermen and the sea elves in an attempt to foster a new trade agreement among these three people. When they departed toward Fyrblud's lair a new era for the region had begun.
Fyrblud’s Lair and the Liberation of Witching Castle
After a brief detour to slay a marauding bog mummy, the combined party traveled south deep within the Dragonmother Range to the active volcano called Earthrage’s Peak, also the secret lair of the draconic despot Fyrblud. The party approached the eastern reaches of Earthrage’s Peak to the Breathing Tunnels. Great was the terror and trepidation of the doughty band at the grim inspirations emanating from the depths.
As they entered the hot breath of the Tunnels, the two statues guarding the entranceway sprang to life. With silent malice the granite giants bore down on the party with enchanted blades and rods. Mighty Stilgar, brave Ignacius, and grim Kelryn engaged the animated guardians as the sly halflings, Milo and Serafin attacked with spell and blade and clever Filin worked his arcane might. The battle was fierce and became fiercer yet as the rod wielded by the sinister simulacra revealed their anti-magical nature. In the end the heroes prevailed and they continued into the depths only to discover a foul magical trap that conducted heat to all metal items. Some quick thinking by Stilgar bypassed this trap and the party used his mystical shield to float their weapons and armor over the trapped area.
Beyond the trap a large tiered room opened up, three vast levels descended into the gloom. The intrepid band descended using ropes and cunning to the lower tiers. As they approached the second level an invisible monstrosity attacked. As they battled their unseen foe, the spell casters scrambled to safety on the level above before wielding their arcane might. When the creature was dispatched it slowly materialized revealing a gigantic undead crustacean. The party descended the remaining tiers more carefully and discovered a passageway exiting the oversized arena.
The next chamber was a roughhewn cave filled with a shallow pool. Kelryn, paranoid of more unseen foes used his enchanted gauntlets to electrify the water, killing a crystalline pudding hidden within its murky depths. Across the now steaming pool the dauntless companions descended a flight of stairs and entered a long tunnel, as they exited the other end they came upon Fyrblud’s innermost sanctum, guarded by the foul cleric Mordrin guarded by a living statue of lava. As they engaged the creature and its vile master they found to their dismay their magical might diminished. Neither spellcraft nor arcane weapon functioned, and the molten stone man bore down on the brave band shrugging off their futile mundane attacks.
Unable to defeat the diabolic heresy of Mordrin’s dark god nor the burning fury of the magma idol they fled back down the passage. Filin and Milo where able to discover that the passageway itself was draining the magical might from their spells and weapons. Unable to dispel the effect, Filin used magic to make a second tunnel, parallel to the first, thus the cunning knights of Adlund were able to take Mordrin by surprise. A more equal battle ensued and the lava golem was destroyed and Mordin subdued.
Following the battle they discovered a glowing statue of Shale that was actually her soul and memories trapped by vile spellcraft. When Shale touched the statue there was a blinding flash and Shale was revealed in her true form, that of an adult silver dragon, progenitor of the line of Magekings of Adlund. Enraged by the knowledge of her imprisonment and torture at the hands of Mordrin, she obliterated him with her draconic breath. The party also recovered the Amulet of Merging, that would allow a human of the line of Shale and Shale herself to become one to battle with Fyrblud. In addition they recovered the final piece of Dragon’s Bane as well as a Deck of Destiny. A lucky draw by Milo granted him black-feathered wings and the gift of flight.
Departing from Fyrblud’s lair, the party again decided to part ways, half of the party would guard Filin and Shale while they underwent the Merging and the remainder would infiltrate Witching Castle and free the loyalists and members of the royal family, including Phae of Pelor, trapped in its dungeons. Stilgar and Seraphina remained to guard Filin and Shale while Kelryn, Milo, and Father Ignacius expedited the rescue and braved the secret tunnels to the dungeons.
As they navigated the twisting tunnels, the party came upon a chamber dominated by a large illuminated pool. As they investigated the mysterious liquid, giant bloodthirsty amoebas pounced on them. The sucking pseudopods of the bloodwights greedily drained the life from the brave rescuers, but were in the end dispatched by Kelryn’s fiery breath. Milo and Kelryn decided to investigate the pool further and discovered that they gained greater life and vitality in its mystical fluid. As they grew in power, they increased in size until Kelryn suddenly exploded in goblets of pulverized flesh. Milo hastily exited the pool and suffered no ill effects. The remaining two adventurers journeyed on.
Beyond the Life Pool, a vast cavern full of platforms strung from thick chains high above a vast pit of boiling mud. Milo and Ignacius flew over the pit rather than traversing the platforms. This was a fortunate decision, as the massive cauldron of searing muck exploded with mud mummies, who landed on the platforms and disrupted them. Beyond this morass of the nether regions, the door to the dungeons stood locked and closed.
Milo bypassed the door, only to be sprung upon by two of the draconic servants of Fyrblud. Father Ignacius called upon the might of Pelor and Milo used his spell craft to dispatch the dragonspawn. They then freed Phae and the other prisoners and made ready to break out of the castle when the merged Shale-Filin attacked.
Shale-Filin swooped in, invisible and carrying the reconstituted Dragon’s Bane. A clever illusion of the dragon strafed the castle and Fyrblud leapt into the air to face the merged dragon. Shale-Filin struck with the lance, surprising the great overlord wyrm. With spell and dragon’s breath they clashed, with lance, tooth and claw both inflicted great wounds upon the other. Finally Shale-Filin struck home with the great lance Dragon’s Bane and Fyrblud fell broken from the skies. As his vile servants fled Witching Castle, Shale and Filin separated.
Filin was installed as the new Mageking of Adlund with Phae as his queen. Stilgar remained at his side as High Captain of the Shadowguard. Father Ignacius became the Royal Servant of Pelor while Seraphina became the Chief of Espionage. Kelryn was reconstituted and returned to life at the fount of Ehlonna. Kleryn dedicated himself as her champion. He and Milo once more heard the call of the road and their wanderlust has led them on new adventures. And they all lived happily ever after.