The Heroes continued their search of an abandoned dwarven ruin after being trapped in a mine. They explored a fairly large underground cavern and discovered its inhabitant, an elf named Valen Ralifar. They learned the purpose of the ruin and that a crypt lay on the other side of the sealed door. Valen warned of ghostly undead in the crypts, and the PCs decided to explore it.
The Heroes fought shadows, specters, and a powerful flameskull guardian before making their way to the final room in the crypt.
The Heroes were attacked by a Jelly Ochre that dropped from the ceiling to surprise Grimbull (though it failed miserably). Dane attempted to sense evil or undead and found that the sealed door was consecrated. They examined the door and were surprised by a voice behind them the purpose of the door was to trap undead and a lich within.
They discovered an elf standing behind them, in very old, brittle, leather armor, an old staff, and a scimitar tucked in his belt. He had pale skin, gray eyes, and dark hair. He stood about 5’4" with a wiry build.
He introduced himself as Valen Ralifar. The PCs conversed with him at length and learned the following:
- The Ochre Jelly was his pet, named Bereghost. The large statue was an earth elemental that Valen named Borlok. Valen learned Terran to converse with Borlok, who became Valen’s friend. He does not understand why the PCs killed Borlok, though Valen said Borlok has been released back to his home plane now.
- He will warn the PCs against opening the sealed door, telling them that many fell spirits lie within. If asked if there is treasure inside, he will think a moment. “Yes, there is treasure. The dwarves carried most of it off, especially gems, how they love gems. They probably suspected any curse upon the treasure could be removed. However, there is one room with treasure. It is the room where he lies, the one tasked to guard the master.”
- Where are you from? “I am from Shalar, inside the Forest of Deep Secrets. I believe you call it Farodh na Holig."
- What are you doing here? “That is a wonderful question! I was called into the Alliance of Strath, to help the free people defeat the lich Zeregon, the Necromancer King’s warlord. Apparently his phylactery was found, and the dwarves brought it here and sealed it in a field of antimagic, preventing his return. I was fighting him, and he must have…consumed…my soul. Lucky me that the dwarves found his phylactery! However, the process drew me from within and I found I was trapped, here.”
- How long have you been here? “Near as I can determine, roughly 110 years, give or take a decade. I’ve had some enlightening discussions with Borlok and learned how to speak Terran. That was interesting. The day I could hold discussions with Borlok was so exciting! I’ve read much of the work inside the crypt, but found it…macabre. Not to mention the conditions in this place are not…ideal for preserving books. They fell apart after my 30th or so read-through.”
- What is this place? “Near as I can tell, it’s a Brellish crypt that was re-purposed as a necromancer vault, which in turn had a dwarven fortress built atop it, probably to guard the phylactery.”
The PCs (Grimbull actually) built a camp near the waterfall and set a watch. Valen had many questions for some of the PCs about life on the surface.
Valen mentioned a way to get into the crypt without opening the sealed door. One hallway of the crypt was built over an underground stream and eventually collapsed. Valen would often use this entrance to explore the crypt. Grimbull tied a rope to Valen’s waist after he Wild Shaped into a mountain lion, so he could take the rope up to the opening, which overlooked a steep drop to the underground stream.
The PCs entered the crypt, which was built in a much more primitive manner than the dwarves’ work, consisting of large field stones plastered together on the floor and walls. Much of it was crumbling, leaving rubble on the floor. Dane and Valen led the way into the crypt. A hall with empty stone sarcophagi opened into a mausoleum filled with more stone sarcophagi lying on the floor, their lids previously opened and left askew.
The group was attacked by 6 shadows. Grimbull charged ahead and was almost slain, his strength being drained by 3 shadows. Valen—with a magically conjured flaming sword—and Savina came to his rescue, while Dane and Talon held off 3 others. Nicholai found his magic missiles more effective than many of his other spells against these undead.
Following the fight, the Heroes felt weakened and withdrew to the crypt hallway to rest. They then explored deeper into the crypt, finding a second section of the mausoleum, with a larger stone sarcophagus on a stone dais. Grimbull found a secret compartment with a rotted sack filled with 6 star rose quartz gems.
The Heroes entered a hallway that split into 3 directions. Valen claimed the main hall continued to the lich’s phylactery, as well as “the guardian.” One of the other ways went to a library and the other to another tomb. Dane and Grimbull continued the main way and approached a circle of magical glowing runes on the floor. This activated “the guardian,” a floating skull wreathed in green flames and glowing eyes.
Valen turned into a large brown bear and assaulted the skull. Nicholai hit it with magic missiles. The flameskull cast a fireball and was able to hit everyone in the group except Talon and Valen, causing all of those hit except Nicholai and Savina to fall dying on the ground. Savina was able to heal Dane, who in turn further healed Savina. The flameskull cast 4 magic missiles at Valen (the bear). The remaining Heroes pressed their attack, killing the guardian before it could inflict more damage.
Talon was upset that Grimbull and Dane set off the trap, though he was in the very back of the party at the time.
The Heroes found the library. Stone shelves filled with moldering piles of what were once books line the walls. A stone table held two stone tablets, one with instructions for how to become a lich, and the other describing methods to strengthen necromancy spells. Nicholai tried to slip both in his bag but Dane proclaimed he did not have need for the instructions on becoming a lich.
The Heroes then explored a tomb near the library. Upon entering the room, a ghostly specter emerged from the sarcophagus, and two more attacked from other parts of the crypt, assaulting the group from behind. Savina turned the first specter, causing it to flee to a corner of the room, while the PCs focused on the other two. They ended the fight with everyone still on their feet.
TO BE CONTINUED