Episode 19: Thunderspire ends – the duergar trap.

At the top level of Paldamar’s Tower of Mysteries Durak was on his last legs and fled the battle via the teleportation gates. He met Grim at the doorway and the two dwarves tag team swapped. Meanwhile, upstairs the Bronze Warder had smashed through into the Temple of Vecna. Felix kept the Flaming Sphere on and the Norker Berserker was battered to charred remains.

Taking the Temple was a desperate fight. There were two Norker Slingers, an Enigma of Vecna, the Bronze Warder and then Paldamar himself. In addition the Skull Idol threw gouts of flame and the Statue of Vecna cast a powerful dazing aura. Memories were ripped, cloaks were charred, dwarves were dazed, Gronek and Armand both went down and even Grim, fresh to the fight was overwhelmed for a moment or two.

Time and time again Paldamar sent powerful bolts of forked and ball lightning through the top chamber of his Tower. Mordan skirted round through the mage’s chamber only to find the second arcane lock beyond him. It took everything the team had [including a curious combination of Flaming Sphere on Icy Terrain!] to batter the mage and his warder to final defeat. Felix took the +2 Magic Staff and 3 very valuable rituals. 1000gp came in handy and Armand had earned his share.

Returning to the Seven Pillared Hall there was no time to rest. Apparently a mysterious young woman called Alys had been looking for the party. After a brief meeting with mage Orontor the team traced Alys – she had been taken by the duergar in an obvious attempt to trap the party. Even though they knew they were walking into the jaws of death the party bravely went north along the Avenue of Glory after encountering the enigmatic Gilgathorn – yet another elf with an eye patch.

Alys was strung upside down in the middle of a cavern with a Cave Troll close to clawing her down to her doom. Felix blasted her with a magic missile. Was she complicit in the ambush and trap?

Grim’s Flaming Maul put paid to the troll who might otherwise have regenerated. But the entrance corridor had completely collapsed – this was the trap – no way out at all, or was there? Felix checked the well and noticed a squeeze tunnel off to the side. Mordan led the way.

Arriving on a high ledge in a massive cavern Mordan was a little too casual descending the rope to one of the precarious stone walkways – he fell right at the feet of another Cave Troll and was grabbed in the massive grey beasts vice-like claw. The others could only arrive one by one because of the squeeze tunnel but Felix was in time to spread icy terrain beneath the troll who fell and released Mordan. Grim again battered the troll and although Kedhira Grimmerzhul and her four duergar guards tried to take revenge on the party the mage’s powers were weak and Gronek, Armand and Grim were on top form.

Killing blows… (a possibly inaccurate list) Gronek: Norker Slinger, Enigma of Vecna Armand: Norker Slinger, Paldamar Felix: Alys (almost) Grim: 2 Cave Trolls Mordan: Norker Berserker, Bronze Warder

Alys carried a note from The Physician with an urgent summons to Fallcrest. Stopping briefly to collect a reward from Orontor the team made there way back up the Road of Lanterns and into daylight for the first time in a fortnight. They arrived in Fallcrest on Waterday 5th Coldeven, a bright spring day, intending to rest and retrain with the support of their old master Douven and their new sponsor – The Physician.

Grim’s father Gorthak is staying in Fallcrest.

Upon meeting you The Physician apologises for the original event that caused your memory loss. You were sent by Douven to steal a book from the Physician’s house. He felt within his rights to defend his home with magical traps but the Memory Ripper trap was one of his experimental defence rituals. He has done his best to recover your memories and research your past as he values your work in the Nentir Vale and would like your continued support. In return he will endeavour to help you in your questing.

He explains that he is a researcher of rituals and that his work requires sources of arcane energy. One way to obtain such energies is to tap into the vast powers that hold open interplanar portals. He has a device to detect such gateways and located the one in Thunderspire not long before it was sealed. Recently he has detected a new portal, the magical signature of which indicates that it is almost identical to the one in Thunderspire. Further costly research revealed it to be south in Fortress Graystone, the ruins of an ancient githzerai stronghold built into the side of a peak in the Giant’s Shield mountains. According to local sources, some months ago Fortress Graystone was invaded and claimed by a pack of gnoll mercenaries calling themselves The Wicked Fang. Their leader, Fangren, has apparently managed to open a conduit of power to Yeenoghu’s realm in the Elemental Chaos. Rumour has it that he intends to claim some small fragment of the Demon Lord’s power, transforming himself into an exarch of the Beast of Butchery.

The Physician bids you go to foil the gnolls and seal the rift. He provides you with his newly developed “Seal Portal” ritual and 8 glassy black smooth stones which he explains will siphon off arcane energy as the conduit is sealed. His resources are stretched so he cannot offer payment but anything you find will be yours and he will make travel arrangements in the form of a True Portal to the village of Elsir Cross, a few miles south of the Giant’s Shield mountains. He urges you move quickly – within the next week, for two reasons. Firstly, the gnolls and the potential of the demonic conduit are a threat to the whole area. Secondly, if the portal is closed too soon, the arcane energies he requires for magical research will be lost.

Assuming you accept the mission, he and Douven will support you with any retraining you require and can also help you source (but not pay for) magic items that will aid you. [They can find one item of 7th level for each character at cost price + 5% finders fee].



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