Escape from the Valley of Mists
|Status||Explored November 833 TA|
|Campaign||Third Age of Man (late)|
Prolog to the Monastery of St. Hablot
As you step through the archway into the treasure vault of the Troll's Bridge, each of you suddenly feels nauseous and dizzy. You feel yourself falling as if you have tripped over the edge of a deep pit. It is completely dark for a few moments. You sense a bright red flash over your head. Looking upward you see what looks like a long stone hallway. On the walls are prison bars. Each cell is illuminated with a strange red glow. This vision does not last long, for a few seconds later it is dark again. You are not sure exactly how long you fall through the darkness. You feel sick and may have lost consciousness. Suddenly, it is staggeringly bright, and you realize that it is daytime. You are falling through the air towards a large lake. Doing a three-and-a-half turn pike, you splash easily into the water. You automatically begin swimming towards the shore. Once on shore, you notice that something is very strange. You and the other members of the party are naked. You are wearing nothing, and your equipment is not in sight.
You lie still for a few minutes and feel your strength slowly returning. Looking about, you notice that you are in a small valley surrounded on all four sides by tall mountains. The center of the valley is dominated by the lake into which you fell. The lake is lined with tall reeds and seems to be fresh and cold. The only sign of life in the valley is a small monestery. It is hard to make out any details from where you are, but it is not very long before you notice movement. A group of green-robed monks (twelve to be exact) saw the party drop into the lake, and they are coming to investigate. They move down the sloping grass embankment towards you. Suddenly, they stop (as if frozen in place). You notice that the sky has taken on a reddish tint, and the temperature has dropped. A bright flash of lightning and a clap of thunder announce the arrival of seven figures which appear in front of you. Several of the figures look familiar. There's this tall greenish creature with two heads and a giant raver....
Speech for the Brotherhood
Although it is a bright day outside, the front-most figure in the group seems shrouded in a cold dark mist. You think that you see a vaguely human-shaped creature within the veil of darkness. It is from this darkness that a booming voice speaks.
"Greetings and Felicitations Champions of Law and Good," the voice announces. "I see that your greed and avarice have finally betrayed you. I hope you enjoyed my little trap. Let me introduce myself. I am Baradar, Ruler of Pentacle, King of the Shadowland Empire. Known to you as the Dark Man or The Hermit. It is under my rulership that we, the members of the Brotherhood of the Seven, have united to crush your King Gregory and all those who stand for law and good. With your power so easily taken from you, I feel that at least you should know who your new rulers are. Let my brethren introduce themselves."
The first to step forward is Demogorgon. With him, you are very familiar. "I know all but two of you, so for their sake let me introduce myself. I am Demogorgon, Prince of the Demons of Hell. My minions have returned to the Realm to carve a new empire. An empire soaked in the blood of those who oppose us. I look forward to our next meeting. Especially my next meeting with you, U-Gene. Prepare well. Prepare to die."
"I am Foultooth. Giant Raver and Loremaster of the Thirteenth Covenant. I have been released again. My army of barrow wights, cave wights, and urviles will reek vengeance for the harm done to them by you Hylax T. Barker, also known as the Second Binder of Demons. Beware my wrath you insignificant gnome and your paltry party."
The fourth to speak is a large giantish looking creature. He stands very tall and his forehead is adorned with a single large eye. His voice is low, and he speaks with a definite orcish accent. "Me Gruumsh, God-King of the Umduc, the Orc Nation, He-Who-Watches. I kill all who no like orcs."
Next, a tall muscular black-skinned man dressed in black robes and a set of black chain mail steps forward. He is carrying a long sword and wearing a red arcane-looking amulet. He steps forward and smiles. "At last we meet my long-time foes. I know each of you, but perhaps you do not know me. I am Valdemar, Baron Valdemar, King of Sandal, known to King Gregory as the Dark Lord or the Black Lord. More than any of my comrades in the brotherhood, I am relishing the moment of your defeat. Enjoy your freedom now, because soon your homes will be mine."
The sixth of the group to introduce themselves is a true giant. A sea giant to be exact. "I am Doomcaster. Giant Lord of the Darksouls of Giantshome. You remember Giantshome, do you not? It has been a long while since you played in our games, but it seems that you have become our pawns again."
The final member of the group steps forward. You can tell that the figure is thin and tall, but a shimmering wall veils any other distinguishing marks. The voice that issues from the figure is high-pitched and very plain. You cannot even tell whether the speaker is male or female. "I am Xystus the Magician. Known as the Key to Chaos. Greet me and you greet the end of life as you know it."
Suddenly, the Brotherhood of the Seven is gone. The sky has returned to its normal blue, and the heat from the sun is felt once again. The monks continue down the sloping grass embankment towards you. "Greetings, brothers. I am Killop. High Abbot of the Monastery of St. Hablot. Welcome."
Escape From The Valley Of Mists
The premise to the Valley of Mists was a simple one. The party need only to escape. The ancient valley was the home of the Monastery of St. Hablot. There, the monks have spent contemplative lives in prayer. The valley has been protected from the outside by a powerful artifact that resides beneath a statue of their patron saint in the Temple of Prayer. The monks grew their own vegetables in a small garden, and they hunted meat in the plains to the north and west of the Monastery. For many years the monks only worries were the wolf caves far to the west of their settlement. Two places were forbidden to the monks by their abbot. Those were the Dwarven Gold Mines (inhabited by strange six-legged lizards) and the Ancient Temple of Semuanya. The temple was in the valley long before the monks, and its very presence radiated evil within. And so life in the Monastery went on. That is until the arrival of the dragon. Whether the dragon awoke from a long sleep or returned from a great journey is unknown. The dragon was disrupting the way of life for the monks. He would fly into their valley and kill the deer and other animals, destroy their gardens, and occasionally kill a monk. Only their mystical device kept the monks alive. Their prayers were for a savior to drive the dragon from their valley. Sometimes prayers are answered in the strangest way. Little known to the lesser monks was the fact the abbot and some of the elders had traveled to the Ancient Temple of Semuanya. There, they sought an answer to their problem. Being simple folk, they were conned into raising a demon from hell in order to kill the dragon. The abbot became possessed by an evil spirit, and soon the demon would do more than destroy the dragon. The evil monks were preparing to finish the summoning spell when who arrived? The party, of course.
The party was stunned by their recent loss of everything. The fighters had no weapons, and the casters had no spells. The prospects of killing a dragon seemed grim. The party gathered at the Monastery and began formulating a plan. The hopes of attacking a dragon in their present state was unthinkable, so the casters left to gather what spell components they could, and the fighters scrounged for other supplies. The abbot gave the party a magical item to aid them in their quest. A twig. "That ought to kill a dragon," U-Gene mused. However, when the twig was held by a party member, it became the weapon that character used most frequently. It was decided that U-Gene should wield the twig. The party decided that the Dwarven Mines sounded like they were filled with basilisks. So, it was decided to first check out the Ancient Temple of Semuanya.
The Ancient Temple of Semuanya
The party entered through the front door of the Temple. There they found 20 small green-stone pedestals and a crystal ball hanging from the ceiling. Quickly searching the room, the party found the remains of another group of adventurers (a thief, fighter, ranger, and magic user). They pilfered some much-needed weapons: a bow, sword, and staff. Further searching yielded a small secret door which opened into a small room containing a hooked staff. Taking the staff, the party examined the door at the far south end of the Temple. Had they searched, they would have found a small hole about the size of the staff's hook above the door. Fitting the hooked end of the staff into the hole would have blocked the stone slab that slammed down when the door was opened. The slab of stone was connected to another slab of stone (the counterweight) which was raised. This slab of stone on the north wall opened a window. The sunlight came through the window, hit the crystal ball, and shot rays of multi-colored light onto each of the pedestals. Instantly, magical beasts were created and moved to attack the now-blocked party. The twenty creatures attacked, and all were slain. However, the toll on the party's strength was great. U-Gene had killed nine of the creatures, Vince had killed three, Ernie disposed of three, Ohm managed to dispatch two monsters, and Fuzzwort the cleric held three of beasts. After a brief rest, the fighters lifted the slab, and the quest continued.
The party journeyed down a hallway and a set of stairs. The door at the far end of the hallway had an ancient message scrawled on it:
The party quickly set their brains to solving the ancient tongue. It was Hylax who came up with the answer first, translating the message as follows:
"All ye warriors who enter into the Tomb of Semuanya
The path to peace lies through protection and propagation
Beware the path straight to heaven"
With that information, the party opened the door into a large burial crypt. There were three passageways leading out of the room. They were labelled:
Hylax recognized the words as: protection, propagation, and heaven. It was obvious what the right choice was. However, the party spent some time playing with the dead bodies in the coffins. The bodies were those of ancient heroes. However, the souls of the heroes kept in limbo, so not much was gained by this ploy. The party quickly tired of such sport, and headed for the door labeled "protection." The party went down a set of stairs and came to a table with three items on it: a cross, a sword, and a shield. On the far side of the room was a metal disk. After some experimentation, it was decided that the key to this room was simple. Pick up one object (the others then disappeared) and touch the disk. Doing so sent you into a room with no doors. At the far side of the room was a creature cowering in the corner with a sword and an amulet about its neck. The creature was in fear of a mass of swirling blades that took up the entire center of the room. The trick was to slide the shield (an obvious choice) to the creature. The creature would then use the shield to block the attacks of the blades and work his way to you. He would then give you the necklace and you would appear back in the room. It would now be empty except for the table. However, the party lost one member who tried to attack the blades. He was ressurrected and the necklace gained by the second to try. The necklace was a simple white bead on the end of a chain. The test of propogation was as straightforward, and the party (wisened by their exploits in protection) succeeded quickly here. In a room with a large canopy bed was a succubus. She wore a simple blue bead necklace about her neck (and nothing else). The trick was to remove the bead without falling victim to her guile. Propogation with a succubus is no propogation at all, only death. Armed with their two colored beads, the party set forward.
Following the stairs up through the passage labelled "heaven", our heroes entered into a room with two flaming urns and a door. One urn contained a white flame, and the other urn contained a blue flame. Thinking quickly, they dropped the blue bead into the blue flame and the white bead into the white flame. The flames went out (no elementals to fight today), and the party entered safely into the final burial chamber.
This chamber was egg-shaped, with wooden beams spanning the room. A slab of marble had come loose, and it hung precariously over the door. In the center of the chamber was a marble coffin of titanic proportions. The lid was sealed tightly. The trick to opening the coffin was to tie a rope about the lid, throw it over the beam, and then tie the other end of the rope to the slab of loose marble. Pulling the slab off of the wall would create enough leverage to open the coffin. Elegant. However, the party opted for the hard way, brute force. After opening the ancient coffer, the party found the remains of Semuanya holding a bag of 29 gems. The gems all glowed with a faint light. There were 23 small gems and 6 big gems. The gems actually contained the souls of the dead heroes and their king. The party found a secret compartment below the coffin. They opened itto find a horde of treasure including a pewter pitcher and a vial of dust. These would prove most helpful in the adventure to come. The party experimented with the gems and somehow brought the king back to life. However, the monarch was not pleased to be roused from his sleep. Such an event was only to take place in case his priests (now long dead) needed him. A brief scuffle occurred, and the party eventually fled the Temple and returned to the Monastery with their booty.
Here are the fighting statistics for the party. Powerful, but to fight a dragon? Perhaps, a trip to the Dwarven Mines or the Caves of the Wolves, or the Waterfall would help the cause.
Before the party tried their luck at the Dwarven Mines, they first investigated the Caves of the Wolves, the Monastery itself, and the Waterfall.
The Caves of the Wolves proved to be more organized than the party expected. This was primarily due to the fact that the leader of the pack was a werewolf of no small means. However, the party won the battle by pure brute strength. Twenty four wolves were killed by Ohm, Vince, Ernie, and U-Gene. In the end, the caves proved to be just that, caves. However, the party gained spell components for Subolt, Ice Javelin, and Call Lightning. Now, each caster could cast attack spells. This would prove to be very helpful in the party's battle in the Dwarven Mines.
The Monastery proved to be something of an anomoly. The outward appearance of the monks was one of a simple people living a simple lifestyle. However, this outward show would be quickly dispelled. The party ventured into the off-limits parts of the Monastery buildings. After moving through the temple room with a large statue of St. Hablot, the party entered into the abbot's chambers. There they found a pentagram drawn on the floor in blood. Several other demonic devices were also to be found. It seems that some sort of summoning ritual had begun. Crossing the to the island in the lake, the party found a simple stone hut built around a well of some sort. It seemed like the well was the source of the summoning. Again, demonic drawings and artifacts could be found. It was obvious that some (if not all) of the monks were not what they seemed.
Next, the party journeyed to the Waterfall. At first, the scene seemed very ordinary: a waterfall coming through a crack in a cliff falling into a large pool of water below. However, the party searched for caves behind the waterfall. What they found was more than was bargained for. There was a cave of a stone giant. The cave was roughly circular with six bear skins hanging on the wall. A small fire burned in the center of the cave. Concealed from the view of the party, was a small chest of treasure. Guarding the caves were four hell hounds. The party made a simple plan. The party split into two factions. The first group attracted the attention of the hell hounds. They moved away from the cave drawing three of the fearsome beasts after them. The second group of heroes entered and killed the remaining hound. Searching quickly, they found a tunnel behind one of the bearskins and the small chest. The tunnel was a shaft that the stone giant had been digging out. Tools were found near the entrance of the tunnel. After a moving along the tunnel a short while, the floor of the tunnel collapsed. Dropping down through the floor of tunnel, the party entered into a finely crafted stone hallway. Footprints showed that the giant had recently passed through the hallway. Continuing onward, the party came to the giant. He lay on the floor in a pool of his own blood. A large stone block trap had fallen on him while exploring the tunnel (completely blocking the way). The party rescued the giant and cured his wounds as best they could. The giant told the party that he was searching for the Temple of the Dwarves, and he felt that the hallway was the key to finding the riches that were rumored to reside in the Temple. The party could not solve the riddle of moving the block, and they returned to the Monastery. They left the giant with the monks (a big mistake) and left for the Dwarven Mines. The abbot, fearing the giant's motives (and being evilly possessed), killed the giant and had his remains buried.
The party made only one more stop before attempting to face the dragon. The Dwarven Gold Mines had been used as recently as thirty years ago. There was a single tunnel that led from the Dwarven Gold Mines to the Temple (two if you count the waterfall entrance). From the Temple, it was possible to escape to the outside world using another tunnel. However, the party did not find the way to the Dwarven Temple. That dungeon has not been published and will be incorporated into a future adventure. The party explored only the main storeroom of the Gold Mines. The storeroom was still filled with mining equipment and supplies. It appeared that the dwarves simply abandoned the mine and storeroom taking nothing with them. The mystery of the dwarves was soon solved, however. It seems a small colony of about 100 basilisks had taken nest in the old dwarven storeroom. The party quickly came upon several dwarven statues. Hylax had found a Staff of Return From Stone, and he used it to return two of the dwarven miners to life. After the second use, the staff crumbled to dust. The dwarven miners were able to describe to the party what could be found in the tunnels. At the far end of the room were several kegs of blasting powder. While dangerous, the dwarves knew how to use it and agreed to help the party. The party made only one foray into the room. Using the Pitcher of Plentiful Water and the Dust of Morpheus (a sleeping powder activated by water), the party had a simple tactic. U-Gene would wade into the room. As the basilisks swarmed around the fighter, Falstaff would set off a charge of powder while the fighter retreated. The sleeping lizards would quickly be killed, and the process would be repeated. Each dose of the sleeping powder moved the party closer to the back of the cave. This process killed only 40 of the creatures, however. The party finally reached the kegs hidden in a secret room. Near a collapsed tunnel, the party found an old wooden mine car. Turning it over, they retreated from the room in a turtle-like fashion. Once outside, the party returned to the Monastery.
As the party slowly trudged across the woods to the Monastery, they debated about what should be done about the evil demons waiting to be summoned. It was decided that if the source of the evil (the well) was destroyed, then the abbot and his followers would soon return to normal. The party agreed that the well must be destroyed.
The monks were at dinner when the party entered. Thinking quickly, Falstaff moved to mix the Dust of Morpheus in their drinking water. The plan didn't work perfectly, but, in the end, most of the monks were sleeping soundly as the party raced for the well with one of the blasting kegs. Dispatching a sentry, the party just managed to set the explosive and leave before the abbot arrived. In a thundering roar, the building and its contents were destroyed. Seeing this, the party made a path to the cave of the dragon. Several of the evil monks persued them for a short while, but soon the vetern adventurers outdistanced them for good.
The cave of the dragon was part of another ancient dwarven tunnel. The construction was simple. There was a path leading to the outside world. Off of the main path was an alcove heaped with treasure. On top of the treasure slept a great dragon. The party felt they had only two options. First, they could attack the dragon hand-to-hand. Not a wise decision. Second, they could sneak by the dragon. A bit better. The party decided to sneak past the creature, set the explosive keg near his alcove, and then detonate the powder. If the ceiling collapsed (ruining the treasure), the party would simply flee. If the ceiling didn't collapse but did kill the creature, then the party would haul a great booty. The ceiling did collapse, but the party was able to avoid the falling stones and flee to safety.