Descent into Darkness

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Descent into Darkness
Type Dungeon
Status Explored April 833 TA
Location Orc Nation
Hex 2206
Campaign Third Age of Man (late)
Adventure # 46
Map-trolls bridge.jpg

The Tale of the Decent Into Darkness

An Introduction by the Dungeon Master

I decided to include the Descent Into Darkness for two reasons. First, it heralds a very important development in the makeup of the party: the death of Sirfexx Ivancevio. Second, I feel that it is needed for the sake of completeness. However, the dungeon itself is still an active dungeon, and, therefore, remains classified. What follows is the story related to the party by the followers of Sirfexx Ivancevio.

Descent Into Darkness

It is early in the evening when Borda Scrufa, Ratsraw of the Cloak, Zogar Fraath, and Heckler the Hacker come running into the World's End Pub. They quickly find Hylax and after several moments of hushed whispering the four adventurers move into the meeting room in the rear of the pub. Hylax rounds up Falstaff, Ohm, U-Gene, and Vince (who are quaffing a pint at the bar). Messengers are sent for Ernie (who is at the castle) and Fuzzwort (who is at his temple). Soon the seven champions of the Realm have gathered in the room. Borda Scrufa stands and addresses the party. His manner and speech are grave indeed. He relates the following story of his most recent adventure.

"It is with a heavy heart that I must relate to you that Sirfexx Ivancevio is dead. (Hylax detects that he is telling the truth). For several weeks prior to our fateful adventure, Sirfexx had been acting very strangely, secretive and aloof. Twice he had disappeared, only to return several days later in the same mood that he had been in before. On his second return, he came back injured. He had a massive number of cuts, bites, and scrapes. I asked if he needed a cleric to heal him, but he told me that his wounds would only mend with time and time was the one thing he didn't have. Heckler and I decided to accompany him on his next adventure to make sure nothing happened to our friend.

"Sirfexx told us nothing about his motives or reasons for going down into the cave deep in Haggelthorn Forest, but when we entered and found a set of cut stone stairs leading downward into the darkness I knew there was something special about the place. Sirfexx related to us that he had been to several other dungeons and this was the last. He seemed very excited to have found the stairs.

"Heckler and I remember very little of the descent into what we later found out was the chamber of an evil warlock. Sirfexx would scout out ahead leaving us waiting for what seemed like an eternity in the darkness. Periodically, he would return and guide us through labyrinthine passages. On two occassions, we heard the sounds of battle, but each time Sirfexx returned to lead us onward. Finally, we reached what seemed to be the lowest point in the dungeon. Sirfexx told us that according to his information, there was a complex of rooms belonging to an evil warlock ahead. Beyond that was a series of passages leading upward to the surface. He didn't know of any guardians, but there was an item within the passages he needed.

"The three of us crept along a long stone hallway sixty feet wide and sixty feet high. The hallway was completely dark. Sirfexx, as usual, had his cloak pulled over himself and was moving silently in front of the party. Six times we came to lighted archways leading to our left. Five times we maneuvered by them without being seen. It was Heckler and I who gave us away at the last doorway. Sirfexx had already moved past the door, when a plate on Heckler's armor clanged against his axe. At first, I thought the sound had gone unnoticed, but soon we were attacked by a tall white-skinned man wearing robes and a countless number of mishappen creatures. The man was obviously the warlock. We fought bravely for a time, but soon the shear number of creatures forced us to flee.

"We ran through another maze of hallways always taking the one that sloped upwards. The warlock and his minions followed close behind us. We were, however, faster and had soon outdistanced them. We were, also, quite lost. Sirfexx maintained that we must follow the passages leading upward. We wandered through many rooms until finally the cut stone passages gave way to a rough-hewn cave. There was little of interest except for a party of goblins which we dispatched quickly and several large caverns each containing a pile of treasure and bones mixed together. We found three such rooms, and filled our bags with gold. The treasure was mostly coins, but in one pile Sirfexx found a libram. He seemed overjoyed and said that he had spent his whole life looking for just such a book.

"I asked him if this was the purpose of our quest, and he frowned and shook his head no. Finally, the upward passages led us to a natural stone bridge that crossed a wide gorge in the cave floor. In front of us (on the far side of the bridge), we could see a set of stairs leading upward.

{Borda draws the following map for you}

Descent 01.jpg

Here I come to the saddest part of my tale. For when were crossing the bridge, two large black dragons attacked us. They had been quietly sleeping on their ledges. Sirfexx told us to run for the stairs. We dropped our treasure and did just that. Sirfexx drew his bow, notched an arrow, and fired at the first dragon. The arrow left the bow and split into a dozen separate shafts. Before the first shaft hit its mark, another arrow was notched in his bow. The dragon let out a blood-curdling scream that I will never forget. Sirfexx quickly put down his bow and drew his sword. For a moment it looked like the dragon would kill him, but before it could get close enough to attack, a bright blue fireball burst from Cometstail and consumed the creature. Sirfexx reeled from the shock of the explosion. Before he could regain his senses, the other dragon swooped down a breathed a cloud of black gas on him. Sirfexx screamed and prepared to use another rune. But, alas, the dragon was too swift. Another breath of black acid poured over the scout, he yelled for us to save ourselves, and he was dead. By this time, Heckler and I were to the stairs. Quickly, we raced up the stairs, through a series of rooms, and finally into the safety of the bright sunshine. Not knowing where we were, we travelled in a generally eastwardly direction until we stumbled onto the road connecting Dragonsford and the Hamlet of Haggelthorn. It is with bitter embarrassment that I tell you the tale of how we failed, and Sirfexx was forced to exchange his life for ours."

After a moment of reflective silence, the followers of Sirfexx of the Bow relate to you their plans now that their leader is dead. (You may question them at the beginning of MatCon 7). Ratsraw of the Cloak and Zogar Fraath will be journeying into the southern reaches of the Steppes of Ryan. They are seeking adventure and wealth in new lands. Heckler the Hacker, being from the Dwarven Lands across the Inner Sea, has decided to return to his homeland. The final member of group has decided to stay in Dragonsford. Borda Scrufa has chosen to follow (somewhat) the calling of his former master. He is a human thief of quite capable abilities. Sirfexx rewarded him well in their past adventures, and he will prove to be a valuable addition to the party.

The Real Tale of the Decent Into Darkness

An Introduction by the Dungeon Master

In The Adventure Begins, I included the article about the demise of Sirfexx Ivancevio. The article, entitled "Descent Into Darkness: The Death of Sirfexx Ivancevio", alluded to the fact that there was still an active dungeon associated with this adventure. This allusion was an illusion. As the party found out later, Sirfexx Ivancevio was indeed alive. In fact, the events of his adventure had several important ramifications. Below is a brief outline of the real "Descent Into Darkness".

Descent Into Darkness (Actual)

During the siege of Teufeldorf by Baradar, Sirfexx was enlisted by the Dark Man to perform several tasks. These tasks were to insure the continued success of Baradar's conquering of the Kingdom of Teufeldorf. Of these, the most important was stripping the party of their great magic. Their deaths would make the party into martyrs and a rallying point for the troops of King Gregory. But to humiliate the party by making them too weak to fight would prove to do the opposite. Baradar promised great riches to Sirfexx if the disgruntled scout could do the task.

Sirfexx decided to perform the task by means of two grand illusions. The first illusion would lead all to believe that Sirfexx was dead. The second illusion would play on the party's greed and cause them to loose all their possessions. However, Sirfexx had no powers to create illusions. After some careful questioning, Sirfexx sought the warlock Pandor who was reported to live in a mud hut on the edge of a river near Dragonsford. And this is where the adventure begins.

Sirfexx was teleported to Dragonsford by Baradar. It was a cloudy night, and Sirfexx scouted about the town. He established the pattern of the watches. Two guards would patrol the castle construction, and two guards would patrol the streets and square of Dragonsford. His exploits included stalking a harmless rendevous between the smithy's daughter and the woodcutter's son, the bribing of several peasant laborers and fishermen, and the casing of the Wayfayer's Inn and the World's End Pub. Finally, Sirfexx discovered the location of Pandor's hut.

The hut was a simple round structure guarded by two owlbears. Adroitly, Sirfexx avoided the creatures and entered the hut. Against the back wall was a shelf containing a book, a vial of red liquid, two candles, a flint and steel, and a jar of black sand. All-in-all, the hut was quite unremarkable. Pandor himself was a gaunt figure whose pale white skin and pearly white teeth contrasted with his jet black hair and beard. He greeted Sirfexx, as if the scout was an expected guest. There he set Sirfexx to perform three labors. These labors would prove the scout's loyalty, courage, and resourcefulness. After completing these labors, Sirfexx would be granted the two illusions that he so greatly sought.

The first labor was that of resourcefulness. Sirfexx was given a vial of yellow liquid to drink. Pandor identified the liquid as a slow-acting poison which would kill Sirfexx. The antedote to this poison would be found on the Island of Castaways. Sirfexx was teleported to this small isle which contained a single large shrine. On either side of the entrance to the shrine sat a flaming urn. These urns contained deadly fire elementals. Inside the temple, a huge dragon sat on a pile of treasure. Sirfexx discovered a secret entrance into the temple and avoided the fire elementals. Carefully observing the situation, Sirfexx discovered that the dragon and his treasure were illusions. No longer afraid of the terrific beast, he found the antidote without taking damage. His first labor completed, Sirfexx was teleported back to the hut.

The second labor went him into the town of Dragonsford. Sirfexx was told to rescue several loyal prisoners from the dungeon below the gate of Dragonsford Castle. Avoiding the watches, Sirfexx snuck deep into the tunnels below the castle. There, he found several laborers in a cell. After quickly dispatching the drunken guard, the laborers were freed. To cover his trail, Sirfexx relied on confusion. He killed three guards of the watch, severed their heads, dropped some confusing clues (a helmet and some jewels), and created several false trails. While the town was untangling the clues, Sirfexx slipped back to Pandor's hut for his third task.

The final labor sent him into a dungeon of what he feared the most, the undead. It was courage that Sirfexx would need to survive this test. His mission was to reach the Pit Of Evildoers. The dungeon is mapped out on the following page, and the path that our brave scout took was far from direct. His tribulations caused him to fight several denizens of the dungeon. He killed a wraith, three skeletons, a spectre, and two wights. In addition, Sirfexx injured two skeletons and three wights. However, Sirfexx himself was wounded and almost killed. Upon returning to Pandor's hut, not only would Sirfexx's wounds not heal, but they would not even stop bleeding. In need of clerical help, Sirfexx risked a visit to a small chapel outside of Dragonsford. Carefully cloaked, he sought the private aid of a near-blind priest. He bribed the priest with 3 large emeralds and received RESTORATION and CURE DEADLY WOUNDS spells. Sirfexx left the chapel uneasy about the loose end to his plot and returned to the hut of Pandor.

With the three labors completed, Sirfexx received his boon. The first illusion was cast on his four comrades who had followed him since he visited the Great Dragon of the Ether. This illusion would make them believe in the death of Sirfexx (see the orginal tale of the Descent Into Darkness). The second illusion was cast on the party. This was a clever illusion that would remain dormant until they reached the Troll's Bridge. Once there, the party was to stumble on a great pile of treasure (which was real). The portal that led into the treasure room was actually a trap and the illusion cast on them masked that trap. The saving grace for the party was Goldberry who was not under the influence of the spell. However, the party did not recognize the trap and fell naked into the Valley of Mists. But as I said, those stories have already been told. As to Sirfexx, it is said that he returned to Teufeldorf to await the bidding of his master Baradar.