The Culling of Dungeoneers

Stronghold - Level 1 (part 2)
A story involving a potion, a succubus statue, and a book.

Kill the ooze, explore the other room, flesh-to-literature.

Stronghold - Level 1 (part 1)
In which the adventurers venture into the Crown of Charon

The Adventure begins with the three dungeoneers, Limara Delziantari, Roald Dahlton and Anubar descending into the Crown of Charon, fortress of the former Warlock Lord.

Arriving at the gates, the PCs find a massive stone door, flanked on either side by statues of nuns nursing demon-spawn, with a goat-skull nailed to its apex. Heat is radiating from the door, and in the mouth of the goat-skull was a glittering red gem. After finding a secret compartment in one of the statues, the heroes recovered a Token of Charon . After hoisting Roald up to the top of the doorway, the Thief removed a glowing red gemstone in the Goat-Skull’s mouth, and the door cooled.

The party opened the door, and descended down the staircase to the first level.

The party arrived at the bottom of the stairs, where the face of a demon was etched onto the floor.

On either side of the staircase were two statues of Charon, hand outstretched. To the east was a bulging wooden door, to the west was a rusted iron door, and to the south was an archway shaped like a demon mouth

From out of the archway, cold air blew, and the Cleric, Limara, could hear faint chanting. Most was gibberish, except for a repeating phrase “non nobis, non nobis.”

The party decided to examine the rusted iron door, and inside they found:

Immediately to the south was a pit filled with Ghoul-Vomit, and to the north was a room covered with blackened vines. The party moved on, and on the Southwest door they found the symbol of the bramble crown (a crown of thorny vines with one eye in the middle). The Thief tried to listen at the door, but set off a trap that cost him his eyes! At least he would have, had he not been very lucky. (Luck Point Used). This attracted the attention of two Adherers, mummy like creatures with demon heads and adhesive wrappings.

While Limara got her flail stuck against one, Anubar threw the red gem we had seen earlier. The gem exploded in a fireball, catching everyone in the blast. The Dungeoneers were injured, but the two Adherers were burnt to a pile of ash.

Rather than risk the door with the bramble crown, the dungeoneers went back to the door with the blackened vines, and looked inside

The pool in the middle was surrounded by a large plant-like creature that flailed violently when we threw a rock into it, but didn’t move. There were two skeletons on the edge of the large pool in the middle, and there were also several bright yellow flowers that released spores into the air when the vines started flailing. There seemed to be some space around the edges of the room that the flailing vines couldn’t reach, so Roald and Limara moved around the edge, reading the labels of the various bowls of liquid.

Orange – Invulnerability
Blue – Super Healing
Yellow – Super Heroism
Dark Blue – Gaseous Form
Purple – obscured
Teal – covered by vines
Red -

As Limara approached the Green potion, a slimy tendril reached out, and…

Session 0: The crucible (part 4)

Session 4 Adventure Log.

Roald Dahlton takes a drink, and his eyes begin glowing blue. The Courtesan and Tom Hamle don’t notice anything different, but Roald sees the chapel as it appeared either many years in the past or possibly the distant future. The temple is wrecked, filled with snow and vines, and walking towards him, Roald can see a woman approaching him, the same woman from the painting.

The woman’s lips move, and in Roald’s head he can hear the words in his own voice. When Roald replies, the Courtesan and Tom can hear Roald speaking in an foreign tongue. Roald takes the woman’s hand, and feels a freezing sensation flowing up his arm. In the real world, the water in the tank around the water is bubbling and churning.

The woman introduces herself as Aryis Rook, wife of Tolsante.

As the two talk, Aryis walks over to a Red Obelisk, touches it, and speaks; causing the obelisk to turn into a golem.

Meanwhile, in the real world, Goblins attack the chapel through the stained glass windows.
- Arrows ping off of Tom Hamle‘s armor, and a poisoned arrow that was sent towards the Courtesan but luckily misses. From behind the goblin, a hobgoblin moves into the room, tossing flasks of oil on the ground as the goblins move in with flaming arrows ready. The Courtesan throws a shurikan that flashes with light and dazes the hobgoblin. Tom takes advantage of the dazed hobgoblin, & chops it’s head off (CRIT!)! Quickly, before the goblins can react, the Courtesan picks up the severed head and screams at the Goblins, sending them running.

In vision world Aryis shows Roald a secret compartment under the alter, and inside the compartment is a tank filled with water and silver fish with a cloak inside:

Looting the Goblins:
2 shortbows
arrows (1 poisoned arrow, until the Courtesan nearly poisons herself with it)

Aryis begins showing Roald the rest of the castle, particularly the maze, but just as they reach the center, Roald wakes up.

In the real world, the party pushes the button, that Roald had seen in his vision, and the water drains from the glass coffin. Roald shatters the coffin lid with a crowbar, and at the bottom of the coffin around the now skeletal remains of Aryis, can see the same cloak from his vision. As Roald reaches in to take it, a skeletal arm shoots up and begins choking the life out of Roald. The Courtesan and Tom quickly tip the coffin over, shattering the skeleton. From the debris, the party recovers the Cloak of Shadows.

On the other side of the coffin, the party found another secret compartment with two scrolls and a jewelry box.
- Scroll of Cure Light Wounds
- Scroll of Magic Missile (1d4+1 damage)
Jewlery box (it + contents worth >100gp)
- bracelet – woven platinum w/ gems
- set of earrings – looks to be made by a child, has the initials L.R.
- ring – made of pressed silver, with the image of the shield crest on it.
- necklace – tarnished silver with a large red gem. Not a ruby, but very opaque

Glancing back up, the party sees that the painting has changed, and the woman is no longer on it, just the couch and the apple.

After taking time to rest in the Dryad’s grove, we explored the last room to the SouthEast. Inside we find a large Red Obelisk, and carvings of the wall that appear to be of Aryis with her 3 children. (Tom recalls the room down in the catecombs with the 4 child sized coffins, only one of which was real.

The Carvings:
North Wall
- Aryis with a top, playfully withholding it from the children
- Aryis on her knees, embracing children
East Wall (between 2 barred windows)
- Aryis is sitting on a throne, reading to the children (Reading from the Tome of Power?)
South Wall (2 barred windows)
- Aryis is standing in a field, picking flowers with the children around her doing the same
West Wall (where we came in)
- Aryis is standing upright, veil over her face, and there are 3 graves. The archway of the door we came in looks like a weeping willow.

The Courtesan dresses up like Aryis with the leftover clothes from the skeleton, and says the command word to the Golem that Aryis said in the dream. The golem stirs, wakes up, and looks down at the Courtesan…

To Be Continued.

Session 0: The crucible (part 3)

The party started looking down the hallway at the Tome of Power sitting on an alter.

Before risking desegregation, the Dungeoneers decided to explore a bit.
Map of the area:

- The hallway heading north with the alter is the same as the image above. To the west is a fancy parlor that Valarel had taken us to. In the room to the south, the PCs found a storage closet with the following items:
- 2 Pints of ale
- crowbar
- lantern with oil (very old, but well made. Doesn’t show the signs of age one would expect)
- 10 sheets of parchment (From Tolsante Rook‘s personal stationary)
- 2 pints of wine
- flask of holy water (etched in silver is a children’s prayer of protection that was chanted before making a long journey)
- Vial of cooking oil
- Superior Padlock w/key
- 2 Javelins
- Set of flint & steel
- coil of 25 feet of rope.

The door to the north, however, had no handles, just the symbol of a weeping willow with two handprint indentions. The PCs placed their hands in the indentions, and were able to pass through the door into a large courtyard.

In the middle of the courtyard was a small stonehenge like structure with a roof and bas-relief images carved into them. The flowers and plants here were very well maintained, and some flowers that let off a very arousing sent (the same that the Courtesan used in her perfume). The Courtesan and Roald Dahlton decided to hang back, while the rest of the party examined the inside of the structure. On one of the pillars was an image identical to the rubbing that was found in the small sarcophagi (see the previous adventure log). However, as the PCs examined it, from the trees nearby, a figure emerged

The Dryad asked the adventurers if they were there to honor her, or (in a much scarier voice) to challenge her. Heretic quickly explained they had come to honor her, and the Dryad took a seat on the bramble throne, expectantly. The Heretic, Embalmer, and Wil Alder take turns singing songs and reciting poems of her beauty. After a brief moment where she becomes suspicious that a woman had been present (The Courtesan) she accepts the praise of the Dungeoneers, and asks which of them will marry her. The Heretic accepts and gets turned into a tree.

The Dryad, pleased with her new tree husband, offers Wil and the Embalmer a boon. Wil asks to leave safely, and is given a suit of armor made of vines and branches. The Embalmer asks for knowledge of the Tome of Power, which causes the Dryad to open a hidden panel behind the carving on the pillar, and inside was 100 silver pieces and the Tome of Power

The party quickly headed back into the keep, the explore the Sitting room they had previously visited when meeting with Valarel. After adjusting the clock to the next hour, they heard a 4-note medley that they assumed was a tune that corresponded to the bells in the entry room of the castle (they were wrong). After turning the clock to midnight, a secret panel opened up behind them. The wall behind the secret panel was false, and after some “forceful” tactics, they managed to gain access to a long, narrow tunnel. Down the tunnel, the found a grate in the floor, and a large room below. After removing the grate, the party lowered down Wil Alder on a rope, where he saw a figure in armor with a sword standing, and blood all over the floor. He shot the guy with a crossbow, which triggered 9 more of the figures to appear, and magic missile Wil to death before we could pull him up. Wil Exploded.

Cutting our losses, we went back to the main room to test our our bell theory (it didn’t work)

Heading back to the pool room, we examined the door to the west. Inside, we saw a stained glass door to the south,

and the entrance to a labyrinth further west. Grabbing some chalk from the fallen body of one of our comrads, we marked our path, and eventually found a frozen obelisk of ice with a sword inside, lit by a mysterious blue light from above. The light appeared to be emanating from a frowning face of Tolsante Rook carved into the ceiling above. The ice was obviously magical, and without any method of melting it, we went back to the stained glass door, and went inside to the chapel.

At the far end of the chapel was a large velvet painting:

On a side table, the woman in the painting’s body was resting in a glass tank of water filled with goldfish (asleep like Snow White); and on the back wall was a basin of blue water. Roald Dahlton reached in to taste the water, and…


Session 0: The crucible (part 2)
More deaths, but not as many

The party started off investigating the large doors in the catecombs, and find a 5-sided chamber. The chamber is well-built (smooth marble, not rough stone). In each corner is a small marble sarcophagi. When we entered, the ceiling begin lowering, and a timer started. After investigating the runes above each archway, we found a pattern, and opened up one of the sarcophagi. The trap disarmed, and we found loot inside. (20 gold, 250 silver, an iron skull, and a scroll/rubbing)

The party headed back up to the main door coming off of the first chamber. It’s a huge chamber with a large rectangular pool in the middle filled with murky, still, black water. 4 pedestals rose up out of the middle, each with an ethereal, ghostly item on it: A shield, a mace, an amulet, and an urn. On the Eastern wall is a heavy oak door, and on the north side there are two archways. As we move into the room, the Noble was hanging back and looking up in the other room nervously. The rest of the party investigated, but we didn’t see/hear anything, even as the Noble claimed that he could hear something.

The party investigated the two archways. The archway on the left headed off to the west, but the archway on the right was covered with thick spider-webs. The party retreated, and investigated the pool, and noticed that the shield had the same symbol as crest of Tolsantey Rook

About this time, we noticed that monsterous spiderlegs were starting to appear out of the right chamber. The Heretic quickly threw his lantern to catch the webs and the spider on fire. The party gangs up on the spider, but doesn’t manage to kill the creature in time to save the Noble from poison. Even as the spider tied up the noble in silk, the party manages to kill it before it can claim another victim.

In frustration, the Embalmer throws a stone through the ghostly shield, which solidifies, and drops onto the other side of the pool, as the other three items vanish. From out of the liquid, 5 skeletons stand.

One of the skeletons has the mace, one has the amulet, and one has the urn. After a little bit of battle, the skeleton with the amulet casts a sleep spell, and knocks the entire party unconscious. As the party lays there, the skeletons begin coup-de-gracing PCs. Only the protective ward that the Heretic and the Embalmer protected them, as the Hunter had his throat slit.

After debating a bit on whether or not to sleep, the heroes loot some of the corpses of victims of the spider and gain some loot (20 gold & a skeleton key). They move on into the western archway, and find a long hallway with a few doors on either side. While searching the door, we heard a voice from down the hallway in the darkness, and after a few seconds we see a ghostly elven noble named Valarel. We speak to him for a bit, as he tells us about the castle. He leads us into a nice parlor and serves us some very old wine (that he’s unable to drink, although he doesn’t seem to realize it). After a bit, we let him know that we’re looking for the Tome of Power. He lets us know that he was one of the authors. But he let us know that there were two possibilities about the book:

1) The book is a fake, and the real one is elsewhere in the castle.
2) The book is real, but it’s guarded by a gargoyle.

We ask him if he could investigate the book on the alter.

and when he does so, he was hit by a desegregation ray. The party decided to take a chance, and investigate…

Session 0: The crucible (part 1)
In which many PCs die.

We start off with 12, we end with 7 as we explore the fortress of Tolsante Rook

- Cross the bridge, enter the keep.
- Dead halfling that was crushed by crumbling rubble, find a
- 2 quartzes (worth 5gp each)

- Explore the hallway to the west, and the Conscript falls down a pit trap & dies.
- Pit trap leads to a set of catecombs, where the party kills a Ghoul.
- Find a fountain with blue water & nearly get trapped by a portcullis.
- down one hallway is a gelatinous cube, and inside the fountain is an amulet.
- Party uses the shovel to grab the amulet from the other side of the portcullis
- the Amulet is booby trapped, and killed Ethan Valda
- Gelatinous cube comes through the portcullis and attacks.
– kills Tom Hamle, Explorer, and the Doomsayer


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