The level 10 Silvers for this session
Vernon von Longsington, human wizard/Conjurer, wielding Surtr’s Scathe;
Dain Frostbeard, hill dwarf Bard/Lore college, wielding a Deck of Illusions;
Richlen Ilineiros, high elf paladin/Glory oath, wielding the longsword Alagondar
Supported with random greed rolls by Garth Ironhewn, mountain dwarf fighter, wielding the Ungart Hammer
Reputation: The Silvers rise to d10 across the Sword Coast between Neverwinter and Waterdeep, and east as far as Triboar.
The Silvers begin at level 10 and end 175xp below level 11.
The story so far
The Silvers have fought their way down the black ship – a weird dreadnought of bone and iron – in their quest to rescue young bard Tarbin Tul. He has been kidnapped by Talos high priestess Fherelai Stormsworn, and imprisoned in the dreadnought. They slay Fherelai, but her first mate, a gross wereshark half-orc, calls on Talos to avenge her as he leaps overboard with her body! In the sky above, Talos raises a mighty waterspout as the Silvers battle their way through skeletal minotaurs and Vern approaches the ship’s guardian spirit!
Rich finishes battering the last minotaur apart and grabs Vern just before the wizard steps through the fo’c’sle door.
Music comes from within. Peering ahead, they make out the grim guardian: a great steel-clad skeleton, the bones of the ship interwoven with its own.
“Us, fighting for our lives! You, speaking to a skelly!” – Rich
Hard right, the pale young man, scratched and dirtied and playing on a lyre, must be Tarbin Tul! The youngster attempts to stand, but staggers. Vern feels a chill as he places the undead as a Death Knight! He signals Rich, who uses Divine Sense: realizes that the entire ship is one undead being! Rich feeds a little healing to Tarbin, who manages to rise. But instead of a young man’s voice, the deep boom of the guardian speaks through him!
Luckily neither hero need worry about fear effects as Rich has reached a level that wards he and those with him!DM
Meanwhile, back up above on the rowing deck, Dain appeals to Garth to leave (what he imagines is) an aft cabin full of gold, and come help.
“Any gold down there?” – Garth
“It’s worse than that” – Rich
“Worse than that”
“<Sigh> It’s an undead guardian, and he wants something to remember his lost realm of Anauria by in exchange for the bard”
“Hey Garth, in yer drunken cups ye’ve shown me a wee bronze amulet or aught, d’ye still hae it?” – Dain
“I never get drunk, that musta been round-ears” – Garth
“But yes I do still have it somewhere… here ya go… wait, does this mean it was worth selling?!” – also Garth
Tarbin’s gaze clears and he steps to safety!
“Above us the storm god Talos sends his wrath. I shall descend to dream once more of my lost life. Best hurry” – Death Knight
“There’s gotta be some loot somewhere…” – Garth
“For Ilmater’s sake Garth just hurry, I’ll pay you 100 gold!” – Rich
Never toss a dwarf, but a wizard is fair game
The heroes half-drag Tarbin with them as they race back up the steep companionways! The Lively Dancer is still joined to the dreadnought by boarding nets, and as Richlen reaches the gunwale, he sees that the Dancer has taken massive casualties!
“We’re about to sink, stand by to cut free and get clear!”
It’s a group Athletics check and unluckily Tarbin automatically needs help, and while Rich and Dain are OK, Garth and Vern roll really badly!DM
“I’ll leave nae comrade behind, bear with me Vern!” – Dain, helping the noodle-limbed wizard.
As Rich turns back to help, he suddenly has a fresh problem to deal with: from the storm above, a creature of air forms, wielding a chain-flail from which arcs lightning!
As Dain reaches the main deck, he sees Rich trapped up on the foredeck: throws Healing Word and keeps dragging Vern and Tarbin.
“Round-ears, do ya need help?” – Garth
“I got this… uh… I think” – Rich, taking a savage crushing blow and lightning damage
Another myrmidon joins the first! Dain throws more healing. Rich desperately parries, looking back to see when he can best escape.
Dain and Garth help Tarbin down a boarding net then nod to one another and toss Vern down. Garth scrambles clumsily down and as Dain begins his own descent Rich arcs overhead, a mighty leap carrying him down onto Vern and Tarbin in a great crush! The impact of landing, coming on top of the two myrmidons’ flails, causes the paladin to pass out. Axes and cutlasses finish chopping the tar-stiffened nets and the Lively Dancer swings away with the wind.
As the conscious Silvers look back they see the dreadnought sliding stern-first below the waves, the vast skeleton at the bow raising its scythe in a last salute. Vernon wipes the blood from his head and returns the salute.
XP: level 11-137
Loot: nil, any loot taken from the dead is used to care for dead crew dependents
Inspiration gained for completing the quest to rescue Tarbin Tul
Guardians of Bahamut’s fane
It’s more than a day later when the Silvers complete a full rest inside Thunder Cliff caverns and make their way to the mysterious portal off the secret hag pool. Rich sets himself at the head of the single file needed as they make their way from natural, water-washed steps to a flight of well-carven steps in the natural stone, leading up to a landing.
Without taking any extraordinary precautions, Rich is moving fairly slowly and quietly, and reaches the landing, noting signs of some sort of impact-related trap on the landing sides and a rock support pillar. Just beyond the pillar lie four body-size mounds. Two passages lead off the landing: one leftward into a large seeming, ocean-sounding chamber; the other a slope tunnel leading up by way of ornately-painted walls.
As Dain and Vern press up behind Rich, Garth (loudly) demands to know what the holdup is: the bodies come to life: first one then the others roll out of bedrolls and spring to their feet:
“Who goes there!”
The speaker is a dark-skinned half-elf, the three others with him bearing a strong familial likeness. All are garbed similarly too, in dull robes, with a metallic thread running through the weave. Rich works out it’s copper thread.
Rich answers pacifically, in both common and elven. Reassured, the speaker explains that until now they have only met with hag-driven attacks from below, these many years. This is the shrine of Lhammaruntosz the Bronze and fane of Bahamut. Will they come meet great-uncle? Yes they will.
“Will you consent to being scanned by our ancestress?”
Yes they will.
A ghost, with more than a suggestion of the sharp family chin and piquant expression, emanates from the decorated shaft, and inspects them. (She hesitates over Garth to be fair.) They are OK to go!
What’s eating Lhammaruntosz?
Great-uncle Eor’Galen is technically abbott of the fane. But the main concern of this strange inbred family is Lhammaruntosz, once guardian of the coast but strangely reclusive for a generation.
Eor’Galen signals Rich to step aside out of easy hearing of the family.
“Lhammaruntosz is insane. It has gotten worse during my lifetime. Do what you can, but by all that is holy, do not harm her.”
“Will you pray to Bahamut first?”
Facing a broad flight of steps down somewhere else a large silver statue of Bahamut dominates a side chamber connected to the dormitory they have just left.
They speak quietly of the quest: except for Garth, who finds that many coins have been dropped here, around the statue.
“Gneeheehee… gimme that old time religion…” – Garth, running the coins through his fingers
Rich receives a 2d6 blessing, Dain a 1d6. Each d6 will act as a bardic inspiration dice.
The creeping doom
Having worked out a basic plan, the comrades walk with care up the open-sided steps that spiral up the wall of a vast circular chamber. The chamber features a large oceanic pool, which ripples with the same portal-like energy of their earlier entrance.
At length, high above the pool, Rich reaches an ovoid chamber. Backlit by stars that glimmer through an overgrown pair of circular panes sleeps a large metallic dragon.
Overgrown? Yes, a mold-like excrescence smears along each pane and walls around.
Sleeps? Even as Rich’s heavy tread paces away from the entrance so that his comrades can enter, the dragon uncoils and its head looms high!
Dain steps forward and uses his bardic gift of Persuasion! Lhammaruntosz pauses, and instead of attacking outright, throws up Darkness. At the same time tendrils feel their way out from the mold, like bizarre tentacles!
WIS SV: with the help of their Inspiration Vern and Garth survive while Rich and Dain make it without help.
The excrescence is a fiendish life-form and in response, Lady Alagondar’s spirit springs up: the sword gleams with an intense white light, cutting through the magical darkness! Rich slashes at the tendrils that are attempting to snare he and Dain. Dain plays for time and space and brings up a heightened Spirit Guardians! Needless to say the radiant damage has a devastating effect on the field.
Rich and Dain advance, as Vern hurls Magic Missiles in support. Now they see the true body of the fiend, a loathsome slime from the netherworld. Thin tendrils lay creeper-like between it and its victim Lhammaruntosz, who again casts a passive defense, this time a mental one. Rich shakes the effect off. Vern advances behind them, hurling a fiery Chromatic Orb as the sword and guardians between them finish the vile creature off!
Garth shakes his near-useless hammer: “Let that be a lesson… so, any loot?”
“Ignore him, O Lhammaruntosz, he can’t help himself” – Dain
“You have saved me, adventurers. In return I pledge my service once, should you have need of me and call me.
“The mighty Bahamut may help you see what path lies before you. Go and meditate in the fane.”
As Dain Vern and Rich wait in the fane – having sternly told Garth to keep his hands to himself and stay back – they receive a revelation of Ularan Mortus’ plans.
“Once you deal with the troubles besetting the good people of Saltmarsh, you must follow the trail into the Kryptgarden Forest” – Lhammaruntosz
And so with a jolly thanks and farewell to the clan of guardians, the Silvers accept Lhammaruntosz’ offer to teleport them back onto the Lively Dancer, along with a cloak that will be of help with their next mission. The crew are glad to see them back, for they are at one-third strength, barely enough to call it a prize crew. All able hands set to and sails are unfurled to catch the dawn wind to Saltmarsh and the Final [Sahuagin] Enemy!
XP: level 11 – 175
Loot: A Sending will alert Lhammaruntosz to the need for aid, such as a dragon-back ride or “cavalry comes over the hill” type of save. It’s a one-shot and not available for deep inside a dungeon. It must be practical for Lhammaruntosz to fly in.
Cloak of the Manta Ray: One of Lhammaruntosz’ underwater treasures. Wondrous Item, uncommon. While wearing this cloak with its hood up, you can breathe underwater, and you have a swimming speed of 60 feet. Pulling the hood up or down requires an action.
Inspiration: Inspiration is regained all round (even for Garth, not his fault the DM played him as gold-crazed)
- The dreadnought. Since I used Fherelai’s grand plan earlier at the Tower of Storms, this version combines the original from Sleeping Dragon’s Wake with the finale from Divine Contention. The group receives the benefit of their early ambush, leaving Fherelai with only one senior lieutenant, and one anchorite. It still feels weird combining the Ularan Mortus ship, with the Talos cult takeover. It’s confusing to players. If I ran this again I would swap out for Icingdeath and Twinkle, instead of the dreadnought, much more useful for piratic menace and faction roleplay.
- The bronze shrine. The adventure path is full of inadequately revised pieces but this one may take the prize. It originates as a peaceful quest from Leilon but is written as an assault with no notes on what happens if the party just does as instructed, turns up and knocks. Why are the scaley eye martial types only? What’s the hierarchy? What happens if some priests attack and others don’t?