Campaign of the Month: September 2018

Shadows of the Rift

Session Three

Return to the Temple

5 Awakening 508

After emerging from the Temple, frightened by the power and influence of the green gem, the party travels eight miles away to camp. The plan? Go to Josemeedt and look for answers. They haul the bodies of the party they found inside up on their mules and head east.

6 thru 8 Awakening 508

Travel to Josemeedt.

8 Awakening 508

The party arrives in Josemeedt and are met with hostility and suspicion. Part of this is due to the fact that they are a band of strangers hauling a pair of dead bodies on their mules. The other part is due to the fact that two of their band, Rilka and Savaric, are Half-Orcs.

The party ties off their mules in front of the Hall of Yülthn. Mõrvar Ulrich and Surm Ulrich decide to go inside while the Half-Orcs wait outside with the mules.

“It’s shameful that the people of Josemeedt allow such scum within its walls!”

Rilka and Savaric turn to find a young Northron man staring at them belligerently. Rilka decides to ignore the young man, maintaining a soldierly mien, while Savaric levels an intimidating stare at the man and snarls. “Then leave. Now.” Properly cowed by Savaric, the man skulks back into the gathered crowd.

Meanwhile, Mõrvar and Surm are inside the hall, a raucous tavern full of travelers hoisting ale and laughing boisterously. The two are approached by a older man with a crooked staff. “Be welcome in Yülthn’s Hall, travelers!” The two explain that they have come with the body of a fellow priest and a tale to tell. The priest, who introduces himself as Grimnir Erolsson, offers to go outside and identify the bodies.

The three exit the hall to find a hostile crowd surrounding the Half-Orcs and a scowling young man fading back into the crowd. Grimnir identifies the priest as “Gunnar” and said that he and the others had come to Josemeedt with a map looking for information on the area presented. He arranges to have pyres built to burn the bodies and to have the mules stabled. Grimnir then brings the party into the hall to talk.

Grimnir leads them into a private room in the hall. He looks uncomfortably at the Half-Orcs but says “All with the blood of men in their veins are welcome in Yülthn’s hall.” Surm and Mõrvar explain how they found the bodies and where, as well as what they encountered with the strange green gemstone. Grimnir reveals that Gunnar was on some sort of mission from his temple, a mission to “find a great evil before it was too late”. He suspects that this gem may be what Gunnar was looking for. Grimnir also believes that the temple may have belonged to the Aedonii, an ancient race that lived before the dawn of man and that this evil may be as ancient as it is powerful.

Grimnir also identifies the symbol of the ring of flame as being the symbol for Jörn, a lying and murderous god who may, or may not, be the son of Yülthn. So if that cult is aware of the gem, they must not have it. Grimnir does not know what the stone is or what it is capable of, but thinks he knows of one who does—a hermit by the name of Karse who was a priest of Yülthn. He lives north of Josemeedt.

Grimnir asks the party if they would be willing to return to that temple, if he had a way to contain the gem. The party acquiesces. So, Grimnir announces that they may stay in the common room of the hall and have food without charge. The party can re-provision with the various vendors in the Meedt. The next day they will travel to see Karse and go from there back to the temple.

While shopping, the party is interrupted by the same youth from before, now accompanied by two friends. “Hey, scum! I’m surprised that your friends haven’t stabled you with the other animals!” Mõrvar steps forward, and with an intimidating air, warns the group off. “Go away. Leave us alone.” The group, cowed by Mõrvar’s dangerous look, leave.

That night, the party is approached by a foreigner by the name of Almaric who offers them a job that is “less than reputable”. Apparently a Boraelan lord by the name of Matrim Quain has taken a grimoire that rightfully belongs to Almaric. Almaric claims that it once belonged to his master and should have been passed to him but it was taken by the same “brigands” that killed his master—brigands he believes were sent by Quain. Quain has the grimoire and apparently moves it from estate to estate, hoping to keep it out of Almaric’s hands. Almaric thinks it is currently being held at Quain’s keep, to the east of Josemeedt, just beyond the Mondira River. He also warns the party not to be foolish enough to open the grimoire and that they will know it by its clasp of twin dragons. The party tells him that they have another task to take care of first but if Almaric is still in Josemeedt when they return, then they’ll talk about it then.

9 Awakening 508

The party spends most of the day traveling north to Karse’s hermitage, a small cottage nestles between two hills.

Karse is an irascible old man, annoyed at having visitors. Nevertheless, he listens to what Grimnir and the party have to say. He believes that the gem is one of five Seals of Akthalos. It is sentient and quite evil. According to what is known of the The Aedonii, the bringing together of these seals would bring about a cataclysm. Grimnir believes that Gunnar’s mission was to find and destroy this Seal. According to Karse, it would take something powerful to destroy such an artifact—such as molten lava or a volcano.

Surm feels that it is isn’t the party’s problem to take care of the gem, but that if they can contain the gem, he’s willing to help Grimnir collect it. The rest of the party agrees. Karse gives Grimnir a thrice-blessed box in hopes that it will contain the gem’s evil influences. Tomorrow, the five of them will travel to the temple to collect the gem.

10 Awakening 508

The party travels from Karse’s cottage toward the temple.

11 Awakening 508

After another day of travel, the party reaches the temple’s crawlspace by sundown. They decide to camp and enter the temple in the morning.

12 Awakening 508

The party, with Grimnir, enters the temple.

Mõrvar has a vision of himself, a crown upon his head decorated with a glowing green gem, sitting upon a throne as throngs of people bow before him. He keeps this vision to himself.

Before heading straight to the green gemstone chamber, the party decides to check out the rest of the temple. While in the sanctuary, they cast light upon the bloody skeletons across the pit. Grimnir doesn’t seem to mind the sorcerous nature of the light, being more curious than afraid.

On the other side of the temple they encounter a dining hall and a kitchen and a parlor before coming to an impassable cave-in. Turning back, they come across a scriptorium. Most of the scrolls dissolve in their hands, but one survives. It is written in an indecipherable script but is obviously magical in nature.

Mõrvar has a another vision of himself, this time opening a secret door in the depths of the temple, revealing piles of treasure within.

Coming back to the sanctuary, the party decides to take care of the bloody skeletons before heading down to the gemstone chamber. After successfully defeating the creatures, they cast the bones into the pit.

Finally, the party descends into the depths of the temple.

Once below, they see the bones of the Aedonii that were disturbed upon their last visit. Mõrvar informs the party that he doesn’t think it’s a good idea if he goes into the chamber. He tells the rest about his visions—including about the secret treasure room. Sure enough, the party finds the indicated secret door but it opens into a corridor, not a treasure room.

Traveling down the winding, switch-back corridor, the party encounters a series of traps along the way, including a 5×5′ pit that party must leap across (to varied success) and a poisoned dart—which reduces Savaric’s health severely. Eventually Savaric, who has been unsuccessful in finding any of the traps, finds a secret panel in one of the walls.

Deciding to continue down the corridor before exploring what is beyond the secret panel, the party continues down the hall. Eventually the corridor ends in an trapezoidal room. The party goes into the room to check it out when a portcullis falls, trapping everyone but Surm in the room. Eventually, the stout half-orcs and Mõrvar manage to lift portcullis and wedge a crowbar into the groove long enough to get everyone out of the room. The party then decides to check out the secret panel.

The secret panel opens into an octagonal room into which Rilka steps. Mõrvar stands ready with his long spear behind her. As she walks into the room, a Dretch Demon materializes in front of her in a cloud of its own stench. Her guts are shaken with fear as it attacks. Mõrvar continues to attack from behind with the reach of his spear. In short order, the demon is dispatched and the party continues into the treasure room.

After divvying up the treasure, the party then decides to go into the gemstone room. Mõrvar stays back with Rilka while Surm, Grimnir, and Savaric (who has recovered from his poisoning) proceed. Once they get into the altar room, Savaric has a vision of himself wielding a mighty sword with a gemstone set into the hilt decimating armies before him. The gem also heals Savaric, seemingly drawing life from his companions to do it. Grimnir works on getting the gemstone out of the altar. Grimnir seems to pause as he goes to place the stone in the box so Surm takes it and the box from Grimnir and shuts the gem inside. Surm then has a vision of he and his brother conquering thousands. Disturbed by the visions, Surm directs everyone to get out there.

Finally, the party reunites and then exits the temple.


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