Traveling along the King’s Road towards Winterhaven the party comes across a caravan in ruins and a merchant dying from wounds caused by nasty looking weapons. Stella quickly sees to the merchants wounds while the others check to see if the area is safe. The merchant thanks them for their aid and tells them he was attacked by orcs who were searching for something called Talon Pass and the Jade Chalice. Patara recalls that the Jade Chalice is a powerful artifact used by numerous heroes throughout history to vanquish evil. Fearing what would happen if they allowed the Jade Chalice to fall into the hands of orcs the party decided to delay their journey to Winterhaven and set out for Talon Pass.
They tracked the orcs deep into Talon Pass and discovered the ruins of the fabled Tower of Talon Pass. The orc tracks led into the ruins and down a staircase into a dungeon below the tower.
Room 1: Entry
At the bottom of the stairs Stella found more tracks leading to the western door which had obviously been knocked down by brute force. In the pile of rubble in the southwest corner Zorak found metal pieces that looked like they were part of a jointed armature but he could not determine their purpose. Sprawled in blood on the eastern door was something written in Draconic (a language none of these heroes know) but they choose to take it as a warning and avoid it (avoiding Room 2: Infirmary of the dungeon and the undead waiting there).
They party followed the trail of the orcs and went west.
Room 3: Prison Chamber
In the next chamber they find the orcs they were tracking recovering from a battle and tending to their wounds. Before the party can decide what to do they are spotted by Hrimohl, Orc Berserker and leader of this war pack, and he orders his gray wolf to attack while he rallies his men. Under normal circumstances this war pack would have been formidable foes but in their current condition they are easily dispatched.
NOTE: The party fails to notice the secret door while also leads to Room 2: Infirmary so they never make their way into that area of the dungeon.
Room 4: Pillared Hall
The sounds of battle quickly draw them into the next chamber where they find a single orc hiding behind a pillar while kobold archers pelt the area around him with arrows while two more kobold dragonshields hide behind some rubble. The orc cries out to them for help in guttural common. Zorak (showing a bit of his dark side) charges the orc and helps him by putting him out of his suffering.
The kobold dragonshields charge into the battle while the archers pelt the others with sticky glue pots to keep them out of the fray. However, they are not far enough away to save themselves from Patara’s psionic might and she keeps them busy while Stella and Zorak finish off the dragonshields. Then they all make short work of the archers.
NOTE: The party failed to notice the secret door leading out of this chamber to the west so Room 5: Sacrifice Chamber was skipped as well. I also made adjustments to the layout of this chamber bringing the dragonshields into the main chamber and placing them behind the rubble. The upper level on which the ranged kobolds stand in the module was removed as well.
Room 6: Kobold Sanctuary
The stairs from the Pillared Hall lead down into the kobold’s sanctuary. There the party faced off against the kobold wyrmpriest who led the kobolds and his personal guard but the party quickly dispatched them (thanks for a couple very nice critical hits).
In the kobold’s treasure trove the party found a Vicious Fullblade +2, a pair of healing potions and a bit of coin.
NOTE: The description of the room and the starting locations for the monsters did not match at all. I’m not sure how this error got past editing. I fixed it for my game.
Room 7: Statue Room
The party was ambushed by spiretop snakes as they descended the stairs from Room 6 and pelted with crossbow bolts from the arbalesters across the room. The party tore the snakes to bits and then sprinted across the room to close the distance between themselves and the arbalesters to avoid their ranged firepower. Once they will in close combat the constructs did not stand a chance against them.
NOTE: I could not find my spiretop drake miniatures (which greatly disappointed me) and I did not want to use substitutions. So I re-skinned to the spiretop drakes as spiretop snakes and added a 5 ongoing poison (save ends) to their bite attack. Once again the party failed to find the secret door leading from this room but not for a lack of trying. The dice just weren’t working for them today (outside of combat).
Room 8: Dragon’s Lair
Heading north through the hallway the party found the naturally worn tunnel heading to the west and decided to check it out. It almost proved to be a fatal mistake. At the other end of the tunnel they found a young black dragon named Skatharilarn (the kobold’s master) who was not happy that his pets had been dispatched. This was a nasty fight.
In the beginning the fight went mostly against them (breath weapon attacks , a cloud of darkness, and tail slashes knocking them all over the place will do that to any party of adventurers) but they managed to turn the tide in their favor and kept Skatharilarn on his heels for a few turns. Then a recharged breath weapon almost ended it all. Skatharilarn critically hit Zorak and dropped him while the ongoing acid damage dropped Stella at the beginning of her turn. Patara was the only on left standing and she only had 7 hit points left.
Patara quaffed a healing potion and stood her ground against the dragon (much to the dismay of the other players who wanted her to use healing potions on their characters, hehe). She then proceeded to critically hit the dragon two rounds in a row and dropped it while dodging its claw attacks. She then revived her allies but not before each of them accrued two failed death saving throws. It was a tense battle.
They collected the dragon’s treasure which consisted of an amulet of protection +2, a healing potion and some more coin.
NOTE: This room is a cave in the module but I did not feel like digging out the cave tiles so I simulated it the best I could with what I had.
Room 10: Hall of Champions
Despite Stella’s protests Zorak kicked in the door to Room 10 and they found an imp there waiting for them. The walls of this chamber were covered with an amazing fresco depicting an ancient battle between two massive armies. One army of humans, elves and dwarves was led by Leahcim and a band of heroes while the other army of goblins, orcs and other nasty critters was led by a changeling assassin wearing the sigils of the House of Vor.
And much to their surprise the changeling assassin in the fresco looked exactly like Zorak.
Much to their surprise the imp greeted them and praised Zorak who he called a scion of the House of Vor. The imp told them that he served a dark sorceress named Hareel Vaar and that there was no need for them to fight any longer. If they pledged to join themselves to the cause of Hareel Vaar, an old enemy of Leahcim, they would be allowed to live. This did not go over well.
They attacked the imp and the creature activated several iron defenders who were waiting in the wings of the chamber. The automaton could not move fast enough to save the devil though and it was destroyed.
NOTE: The maps and descriptions of this room and the next were VERY confusing. So I winged it and constructed this interesting setup which the players enjoyed immensely.
Room 11: Test of Valor
Hareel Vaar welcomed the heroes into the testing chamber just as a portcullis dropped behind them in the stair well. There was no going back now. Hareel Vaar told them that this was the fabled testing chamber in which all of Leahcim’s heroes had proven themselves in the past but she had taken control of it and subverted it to her will.
She made one last offer for them to join her against Leahcim but the heroes refused. She commanded her undead minions to destroy them and the battle began. Due to low initiative rolls everyone in the party went last so the decrepit skeletons surrounded the heroes in the entry hallway. Hareel Vaar then began pelting them with magic missiles and her thunder burst attack.
It took them a couple rounds to dig themselves out of the entrance and by then they were already fairly battered and bruised. The unique magical features of this room (see the modules) played havoc with their tactics (and their hit points) and Stella and Zorak kept teleporting from corner to corner.
A lucky teleport for Zorak after killing a guard drake (while lying on the ground nonetheless) put him behind Hareel on the platform. Stella rushed up the platform to heal him but he was attacked by the other guard drake protecting Hareel. Zorak critically hit the drake and killed it. I rolled a 6 on the room’s effects and Zorak received another Standard Action which I allowed him to use immediately. Charging Hareel he struck her down with a ghetto critical hit and the fight was over. Only one undead creature remained and it disappeared into the nether.
NOTE: Once again I made massive changes to the layout of this room. In the end I am very happy with the final results and my players were too.
The vortex in the middle of the room disappeared revealing the Jade Chalice and a Talon amulet sitting on an altar table. A vision of Leahcim appeared and congratulated them on passing the challenges he had laid before them. The dungeon was a test to prove their mettle and to test the loyalties of Zorak (who apparently has a family with a very dark history).
He then informed them that there is a war brewing in the shadows between the Raven Queen and the vile Orcus who wishes to claim the domain of death as his own. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the heroes to prevent this from happening although Leahcim does not know what it will take to accomplish this task. First they must travel to Winterhaven and the Keep on the Shadowfell where they may find more clues to aid them.
The party left the dungeon a bit wealthier for their trouble and wielding new weapons and magical items to aid them in their quest.