The Points of Light Campaign (D&D 4e)
Adventure #2 WOTC H2 Thunderspire Labyrinth (Level 4)
Moonday, 3rd of Readying, 2000.
After a nights rest, and now out of the Well of Demons- the guys figure that the place was as much a cause of Kaspard and Phrenic’s madness as the ritual (of course there may be something more to this in the future), the adventurers begin to piece together what has happened, with a (very) little help from Vadriar. This, in summary, is the new truth-
1) Something real bad has happened, the exact nature of Scarmaker’s ritual is a bit of a mystery to the guys (after some crap Arcana checks). Eventually it is decided that they need to head back into the Well, and in particular back to the Inner Sanctum for a Skill Challenge to try and figure out what sort of ritual it actually was. And so we play out the Challenge among the remains of the fallen, the guys discover that the Well of Demons is now in the hands of some other dark deity, it is no longer the purview of the worshippers of Baphomet- its power has been usurped somehow. Moreover the power of the the place has all been spent, it was used in some great summoning which, for reasons unknown, failed to work- Maldrick Scarmaker’s master- the guys reckon, was supposed to appear. The players don’t know who Scarmaker’s master is but their money is on a Tiefling, or else the prisoner from within the pyramid- they really do need to have a chat with Nimozaran. Grey further contends that they are to blame for this latest problem (Scarmaker’s ritual) having completed the tasks in the Well of Demons, and the bested the Guardian in the Proving Grounds, the Wizard believes, the adventurers provided Scarmaker with the energy he needed to complete his ritual- all the Gnoll had to do was to say the words.
This final piece of news, from the warped brain of the mage, is neither denied nor acknowledged by this weary DM- it’s a nice story though… I wonder where it will lead- I love it when the players do the work for me.
Last bit of the first part- the guys are convinced that when they finally emerge from Thunderspire, to head home, that something bad is going to have happened to their world, that the Nentir Vale is going to be somehow different.
2) During their final visit to the Well of Demons the guys discover that the place has changed dramatically- the magic of the Well has dissipated- see above, the place is effectively inert, no test- no traps, nothing works here any more. The entire dungeon, before their eyes, is rapidly falling into ruin- aging dramatically- the blood has drained away, and the statues are all broken. Kaspard at least is happy to see this- she will gladly report this news to her order.
3) The ex-citizens of Winterhaven have been accounted for, the guys were incredibly pissed when the last two prisoners were killed by Scarmaker’s ritual- the beneficent DM even got accused of being ‘cruel’ by one of the players. The guys (or at least four of them) were more than a little miffed by this event.
4) The adventurers retreat from the Well, the place as I’ve already said is rapidly falling to pieces, and then with the aid of Grey’s Comprehend Languages they attempt to make sense of Scarmaker’s papers (written in Abyssal). The papers turn out to be correspondence to the Gnoll Lord, Scarmaker was being courted by someone called Paldemar, Grey correctly (although I didn’t tell him at the time he was right) speculates that Paldemar is probably a gone-bad member of the Mages of Saruun- he’s a smart lad is Iain, the guys do a little more maths and figure out from the letters that Paldemar is, or else was, Kaspard’s master. The players are convinced that there are at least two factions to the bad guys, or else the bad guys are all working to further their own causes and at the same time are being manipulated by some greater, and even more malevolent, force (that would be three factions). Either way the players are beginning to appreciate the level of intrigue available. Last bit- Paldemar, it seems, is on a power trip, or else has gone off the rails- although his (the guys are presuming Paldemar is a he) ambition is fairly low-key. The letters infer that Paldemar seeks control over the Labyrinth, and the Seven Pillared Hall. The guys are somewhat underwhelmed by the big bad guys failure to aim for world domination. Truth be told the DM doesn’t want them to get used to saving the world in every adventure- I decided to go for something a little less end-of-days with this scenario.
5) Finally, at the end of another day, the guys get to chat at length with the real Vadriar, although the Sage is still a little spaced, and clearly uncomfortable being this far into the Labyrinth. The Sage has reverted back to type, he is happy to venture into nearby chambers- close to the Seven Pillared Hall, but he’s terrified to discover his present location in the Labyrinth. He’s more theoretical, less physical- Vadriar insists that the guys get him back to the Seven Pillared Hall as soon as possible. The price he pays for his escort is of course the truth, the guys want to know what happened to Vadriar on his previous wanderings- and more importantly who or what was the ghost he met, that cursed him and left him addled and convinced that he could come to no harm.
Vadriar it turns out knows a lot less than the players think, it seems he is not the key to this mystery- the ghost he encountered he’s now sure, was indeed a Tiefling- and yet that’s about all he knows- no name, not much of a description- the Tiefling Ghost wore robes, and nothing much else to go on. Likewise the Sage knows nothing of the Great Stair- he had only just discovered its location, he has no idea what purpose it serves. He also doesn’t know the name Paldemar, and he has little or nothing at all to add to the players knowledge of the Mages of Saruun. Likewise he knows nothing about the Pyramid, or a Tiefling plot, or indeed anything odd or even vaguely intriguing.
He knows all there is to know about the history of the Labyrinth however, the only question the guys can think of to ask is in regard to the Great Stair, which almost sends the Sage over the edge- scratch that he knows all there is to know about the Labyrinth excluding anything about the Great Stair. Vadriar turns out to be a complete non-starter, the guys thought they were in line for all the answers- they got nothing.
Vadriar does however know Valthrun the Sage, the wise man of Winterhaven- the strange fellow, it transpires, is actually his brother, they try to help each other out by putting business each others way.
Deflated, and a little frustrated, the guys present line of thinking is- Nimozaran is the answer… the guys head back to the Seven Pillared Hall, Vadriar knows the way (theoretically), although he’s not happy with the route. There’s no Skill Challenge for the return journey however, and in the time it takes to open a beer the adventurers return, at last, to the Seven Pillared Hall.
Within minutes they’re into another secret meeting in the Halfmoon Inn, also present at this discussion are the Hall’s Priestess of Erathis- Phaledra, and a now very disheveled looking Orontor, or to give him his full title- the Ordinator Arcanis.