Session Date: 10/01/10
In Attendance: Drew, Chad, Jason, Josh
[DM’s note: I realized after waking up with a hangover that I had a few more beers that I should have. As a result, some of the information I provided may not have been as clear as it should have been, had my mind been clearer. So, I will post the information here as it should have been presented, not as it may have been presented. I apolozize and will keep my alcohol consumption much lower in future session.]
Upon returning from the isle of Zyr and the acquition of 2 of the 3 Zoretha scrolls from the Zoretha cult, the first order of business was to rush the remains of Haltock and Jaoved to the Temple of Ioun, where Brother Egil and his assistants were able to restore them before the Raven Queen could claim their souls for eternity.
The group then returns to their room at the Scholar’s Quill Inn and discuss their options. Thorend rejoins the group and says that he learned of a person known as the Brine Witch, who may be able to provide them information on the golden idol they acquired from the Unchained lair, insight on the cults and possibly know what happened to Fedmahn. Lucan says he has to meet with his sister to finalize plans to attend the affair at the lighthouse, scheduled in two days. Jaoved, still shaken from his near-death experience also decides to bow out of the trip.
So Thorend, Haltock and Nemoc start to leave for the Brine Witch’s lair on the other side of the island. They are joined by Grekk the druid, returned from the isle of Jor. The four take the path around the perimeter of the island and find the area described to Thorend by the (overly) friendly bartender of the Glory Hole, Rhae. The area is a clearing along a sheer cliff that has one of the monolithic figures standing over it. Along the face of the cliff, a ladder is set into the side, which leads down to an opening to a cave where the Brine Witch lairs. Before climbing down, however, the group must shake Grekk back to his senses after staring at the monolithic figure a little too long.
They are lowered down to the opening by Nemoc’s floating disk and they entered the passage leading to the witch’s lair. They reached a large cavern containing a hole in the floor that reaches down to the ocean below, a ledge and ramp leading up to a higher level, from which they hear the voice of an elderly woman call down that she’d been expecting them and to come on up. The follow the ramp up to the upper level and find a living area containing furniture fashioned from coral and shells. They see the elderly woman sitting in a shell chair stirring a pot with a long pole. They are also surprised to see Lucius, the man they saved from the Unspeakable Ones a couple of weeks ago. The witch looks up and the group sees that she is not human, but a creature of the sea, with large black orbs for eyes, seaweed for hair and scaley green skin. She stops her stirring and asks the four what they want from her. The group asks about the idol, the cults, the lighthouse, and Fedmahn. Before answering the witch warns the group that the knowledge she will convey to they is dangerous and may put them into great danger. Willing to accept the risk, she tells them what she knows of these topics.
The Idol: She calls it the Elder Eye of Entropy and she says that it is very important relic to the Unchained cult and a splinter group called the Cult of Elemental Evil. She does not know the purpose of the idol, but she knows the cult will likely stop at nothing to get it back.
The cults: She says the cults have been drawn to the Serpent’s Teeth by the lighthouse being constructed by Sea Lord Drac. The lighthouse is made from a material known as “mnemrock”, a psychic amplifier that is calling these like-minded groups to this area by a being called N’Tal.
N’Tal: The cults, the lighthouse and the dark purpose behind them are all the machinations of this man. His story begins long ago, at a time when the universe was invaded by beings from the Far Realm. These beings were sent here to assimilate this universe with the Far Realm. The gods defeated most of them and sealed off the world of Creation with the GodWall to protect it from them. But some of the entropic beings survived the war and fled into the depths of the Astral Sea, infusing their essences into stars, planetoids, comets, and other celestial objects, awaiting a time when they could once again fulfill their mission to destroy Creation. Other of these beings were on Creation when the GodWall was completed and cut them off from their source of power, causing them to become inert. One of these beings was called Necreus, and he would later rise to begin the War of Darkness. Necreus was opposed by the fallen goddess Sola and trapped within a citadel of obsidian, where he slumbered for 1000 years. During that time, Necreus lost his allegiance to the Far Realm and decided that he would rather remain as an individual conquerer of the world than to be reassimilated into the collective of the Far Realm. Over the millenia, Necreus called to him those who shared his vision of bringing stability to the world under his rule. He has used these mortals as his agents, sending them into the world to seek out objects and places of power that he could exploit upon his release from his Obsidian Citadel. One of these agents was a man called N’Tal.
N’Tal led a group on a voyage into the Broken Straits in search of power for his master. For years, he traveled the seas, visiting the thousands of islands among the straits, until one fateful day, his ship entered a terrible storm and destroyed. N’Tal survived and drifted for days until he arrived upon a small island, almost as though he were drawn there. The island had a crater in the center and within this crater was a broken meteor. N’Tal was compelled to enter the crater and he found that within the meteor was a perfect orb and the orb spoke to him, saying that it was sent here by the beings of entropy that were now scattered among the stars. The beings called themselves “Star Spawn” and they needed an emissary upon Creation to light a beacon that would draw them back to Creation. The orb was that beacon, but it needed powre to send it’s calling into the heavens beyond the GodWall. N’Tal was seduced by the Star Spawn and he made a pact with them. They accepted N’Tal and forged a mighty weapon from the remains of the meteor that bore the Dark Beacon to Creation. The sword they called “Blackrazor” and upon gripping it, N’Tal severed his connection from Necreus and from this point on, his path was lost from the Dark Lord.
Knowing the danger that N’Tal and the Star Spawn posed to his plans and to Creation, Necreus sent agent into the Broken Straits to find N’Tal and to stop his plans for the Dark Beacon. One of those agents was the Brine Witch, and she has tracked N’Tal to the Serpent’s Teeth, where he somehow managed to gain influence over the Sea Lord and had him begin construction upon the lighthouse, which would draw power from the ley lines below the islands and amplify its power enough to penetrate the GodWall and reach his masters in the Astral Sea. The lighthouse and the beacon have called the various cults to the Serpent’s Teeth and have been used by N’Tal to gain extend his influence into the underworld of Freeport.
Fedmahn: The Brine Witch has set up her own agents within Freeport, and when Fedmahn came inquiring about the cults, she offered him a chance to work against them. She was able to get Fedmahn to infiltrate the security of the island where the lighthouse is being constructed. Another of her agents, the tiefing prostitute called Avarice, Lucan met and the bartender of the Glory Hole named Rhae is another.
The group asked why Lucius was with her and she said that he was brought here to keep him safe from N’Tal’s cults. She explained that he has a destiny to fulfill and that he cannot fall back into their hands, so she is hiding him here. He seems happy to be here, facinated by her lair.
The group asked what they could do to stop N’Tal’s plans. She said that there were several things that could be done.
1. If the Dark Beacon could be taken from the lighthouse, it would prevent the summons from being sent to the Star Spawn. To do this, they would need to find a way to get past the security of the lighthouse, which is formitable. There are dozens of ships armed with cannons to stop unauthorized ships from approaching. The tower itself has ogre guards on the outside and is certain to have powerful wards within.
2. If the Tower Arcanis, the ancient tower of the Conclave of Magi that was banished at the time of the Magi Heresy, could be restored, it would divert much of the power that the lighthouse draws from the ley lines, significantly weakening it. Finding the tower may also aid Nemoc achieve his destiny. Reaching the tower would be difficult, due to the Deep Ones – a cult of sahaugin that worship the Elder Evil known as the Leviathan. Their lair lies at the bottom of the Twisting Deep where they use an arcane engine known as the Resonator to control aspects of the Leviathan, which they use to attack ships.
3. Destroy the Resonator, which currently blocks Necreus from being able to perceive events in the Broken Straits. Once the Resonator is gone, Necreus would be able to take a more direct approach against N’Tal.
4. Kill N’Tal and destroy the lighthouse, which would end his plans forever. This is difficult for no one has ever seen N’Tal or remembered the experience enough to recall what he looks like. The Brine Witch presumes that he and his Eclipse cult are hiding out within the lighthouse. The Eclipse cult’s minions are the tattooed ones hat the group have already encountered, but the core members are N’Tal and seven others of significant ability.
As the Brine Witch finishes outlining the group’s quests, Nemoc’s sword suddenly flies out of his scabbard on its own and hovers above the group, glowing brightly. Then begins to spin and emit beams of radiance throughout the cavern, momentarily blinding everyone within. Then, just as suddenly as it began, the sword’s light dims and it falls to the ground inert. Nemoc warily reclaims his blade, uncertain of what just occurred, and the Brine Witch explains that there may be more to the blade and the young mage than he knows and that his late master’s mission may have something to do with the blade’s behavior.
The group leaves the Brine Witch’s lair to ponder the information she provided them. They decide the opportunity to get into the lighthouse that the Sea Lord’s dinner provides them will give them a chance to find the Dark Beacon. Once they have that, they would need to escape N’Tal and his Eclipse, so they decide to pre-arrange passage with the Deep Star and her captain, Barrons. They head to the docks and meet with Barrons, who is reluctant to take them. They learn that he had once been 1st Mate on the Deep Star when it was under the command of Captain Locke. Locke had taken the Deep Star and her crew into the hurricane at the center of the Twisting Deep in search of treasure and the voyage nearly destroyed the ship. Barrons led a mutiny against Locke, cast the captain overboard, and turned the ship around, saving her and her crew. But Captain Locke’s spirit was vengeful and he returned as captain of a ghostly replica of the Deep Star and is haunting the water of the Twisting Deep, waiting for Barrons to sail out far enough for him to get his vengeance.
The group convice Barrons that their quest will stop N’Tal, who Barrons has no love for, and they promise that should they encounter Captain Locke, they will help Barrons defeat him. Barrons agrees to pick them up at the lighthouse after the dinner and take them out to find the Deep One’s lair.
The group then spend the next few hours preparing for the event, buying appropriate dinner attire, supplies for Nemoc’s Leomund’s Secret Chest ritual, which they will use to summon their equipment should they need it. They then met up with Lucan, his sister and the six members of the Captain’s Council and their spouses at the Sea Lord’s private ship and were taken over to the island of Minos. At the docks they were met by more security, and noticed Fedmahn among the guards. With a knowing nod he acknowledged them and the group was escorted off the ship, up to the planks that led up the side of the cliff to the surface of the island. There they were met by ogre guards and taken directly to the entrance of the lighthouse. At the door they were met by the Sea Lord’s secretary and given a quick tour of part of the first level and then taken to he dining hall where the Sea Lord awaited. The hall was lavishly decorated, the table full of food, a group of musicians were playing in the corner and a lovely fountain carved in the form of a mermaid, poured water into its large basin.
The Sea Lord was very charismatic, with salt and pepper hair, in his 50’s and in good shape. He thanked everyone for attending, acknowledge his Captain’s Council and his daughter’s guests, thanking them for their brave rescue of her from the dread pirates that kidnapped her (apparently she didn’t relate the full and actual events of the rescue). The members of the Captain’s Council immediately began criticising the Sea Lord for his waste of Freeport’s funds to build this lighthouse and demanded to know what his plans were to replenish the empty coffers. The Sea Lord skillfully deflected the questioning and stated that he had a plan that would bring great prosperity to Freeport, which would be announced during the opening ceremony of the lighthouse in a few weeks. The next hour or so was passed with more discussion from the Captain’s Council on pressing issues in Freeport. Karina flirted with Nemoc some, Lucan studied the Sea Lord intently and the evening passed pleasantly. Then, as the meal began to wind down, something strange began to happen. Several of the Captain’s Council appeared to suddenly fall unconscious. The Sea Lord himself began to look dazed and then fell forward into his food in mid-sentence. Before the group could react, they too began feeling as though their minds were being assaulted. One by one, they fell unconscious, but before the last one did, they noticed small four-armed blue creatures enter the room and begin to move people out. Then darkness fell upon the last hero.
Sometime later, the group awoke, each finding themselves within a small room with a locked door. A note was left with each, which read “Your meddling in my affairs has cost me valuable resources. However, you have demonstrated that you and your associates are not without skill. I give you this challenge, then. If you can make your way to me, I shall allow you to leave the lighthouse alive. You will need two keys to reach me, which are hidden on this level of the lighthouse. You will find that a few of my servants stand between us, however. We shall see just how skilled you truly are. N’Tal.” Each of the heroes escaped the chamber (or sarcophagus in Haltock’s case) to find undead outside their doors. Nemoc faced a large number of zombies. Thorend faced dwarven skeletons. Grekk faced a giant minotaur skeleton and Haltock a human skeleton.
Each hero fought to find the others, battling the undead in their way. Eventually, they met up with each other and defeated the undead.
The group then decided to go back to the dining hall. They found the room to be a wreck and the blue, four-armed creatures within along with a strange humanoid with fleshy tentacles growing from his shoulders. The creatures attack and the battle was viscious, but the heroes prevailed and found one of the keys N’Tal’s note mentioned within the basin of the mermaid fountain. The group rests a bit and plans its next move…
To be continued in Milto’s Folly: Part 2