Legends of Corwyn - Party Diary

War is gathering in the dry brown hills known as the Wyrmsmoke Mountains.
As midsummer settles over the land, smothering everything in heat and dust, the fierce warriors of the Kulkor Zhul - "People of the Dragon” in the hobgoblin tongue - gather beneath the dreaded Red Hand banner, ready to sweep down out of the Wyrmsmokes and conquer the human lands below. A new generation of heroes must face an onslaught of fire and steel, the likes of which few have ever seen!
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Lewis
Epic Level 25
Posts: 528
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:40 pm
Location: Secret Lair, in a cavern somewhere beneath Telford.

Legends of Corwyn - Party Diary - Chapter 32

Postby Lewis » Tue Jan 09, 2018 11:11 pm

LEGENDS OF CORWYN PARTY DIARY

Volume Three – The Ghostlord’s Lair

Chapter Thirty-Two (07 Jan 2018) – The Hooded Man Settles a Tab


Previously on Legends of Corwyn... Suddenly, half-a-dozen creatures emerge from the alcoves in the room lit by sickly green luminescence. These gaunt creatures are humanoid in shape, except for two long, writhing, pale tentacles that sprout from beneath their arms. A ghost dire lion then emerges from the wall and drains Tegan’s strength before Gwyn deploys [i]The Aegis Inviolable and unleashes a powerful turning effect. The ghost lion is cut down by Kaylyn wielding the ancient Coastguard dagger. However, Gwyn turns pale and says, ‘Guys, I don’t think that turning stopped the six things that Kaylyn saw … they’re still coming!”[/i]

As the six goblinoid bonedrinkers open the door and try to swarm the party from one direction, the heroes find their escape in the other direction blocked by yet another ghostly dire lion!

The lion pops in and out of the walls of the Lair, draining various members of the party of their strength (although it fails to drain Edweena and Cas of their Charisma). Before the party manage to destroy the undead lion and the bonedrinkers (by deploying various Undead Bane weapons), one of the undead severely altered goblins manages to latch onto to Kaylyn, injecting her with a powerful (and very painful) toxin that starts to dissolve the calcium in her bones. The creature drinks deeply, causing the elf to lose constitution.

The heroes use much of their magic to heal and restore the damage they have suffered in the last two fights with the Ghostlord’s undead minions. They then push on into the chamber lit by the baleful mustard-tinged glow from a pool in which floats the body of a dire lion. As previously noted, half the party are frikkin’ elves, so naturally they find several secret doors in this chamber.

Tegan opens one of the secret doors to uncover a room 15’ by 15’. The floor of this smaller chamber has been polished to a mirrorlike sheen. Intricate carvings of lions in their natural habitat adorn the walls, but unlike with the carvings elsewhere in the complex, the great cats depicted here are healthy and alive. The grandeur of nature is apparent in every aspect of the masterful carving, except for one lone figure in the southern wall. The lions on this wall recoil in horror and disgust from this half-elven figure, whose face is downcast and whose arms, held palms out, hang limply at his side. At the figure’s feet is a single dead lion cub.

As the party ponder the meaning of all this, yet another secret door opens and a robed and hooded figure steps into the carved chamber. Several members of the party assume this is the Ghostlord. However, when the figure throws back his hood, he reveals himself to be ... Tomas Denzil, bard and serial non-payer of bar-tabs!

A strange and disjointed conversation ensues. Several of the heroes spot that there is something unnatural about Denzil’s actions and speech - almost as if he is under some sort of influence. The fact his eyes are also completely black may just be some sort of clue, as well.

Denzil refers to himself as a vessel for the Ghostlord, one that the lich is especially pleased with, as there does not appear to much of anything that Denzil can be ordered to do that is actually against his nature. What horrific past trauma could have so severely broken the handsome bard’s moral compass?

Through Denzil, the lich reveals that it was he who secretly sent Denzil after the information held by the Disciples of Legend. He was seeking clues to weapons that could help fight the Red Hand, including the Five Treasures of The Old North. The Ghostlord declares himself pleased that this plan has worked out in the rather unexpected way that it has. It seems that Denzil was not much of a leader, so the fact that the party stole the information off him and recovered the weapons themselves and have caused the Red Hand so much trouble means that the lich’s plan has worked after all. He claims that he seeks revenge on the Hand for stealing his phylactery and blackmailing him, but had to do this secretly, for fear of them realising what he was doing.

The lich claims to have prepared several more of these “bonedrinkers”, made from the Hand’s goblin footsoldiers. He makes it clear he wants his phylactery back. In return, the heroes get to leave his sphere of influence unharmed, and he will not deploy the remaining undead on behalf of the Red Hand. Indeed, the Ghostlord says he will destroy any of the Hand that stray into his territory.

The figure of Denzil, or perhaps presumably the Ghostlord speaking through him, recognises Bright Steel wielded by Tegan. He claims to know the powerful longsword of old, having fought alongside the Paragon Alun (“a young man of such powerful, but unpredictable potential”). In fact he claims to have been a member of the legendary Brotherhood of the Wolf before they and the Druid Conclave abandoned him.

The Ghostlord forces Denzil to hand over a bag containing 20+ GP, in full and final settlement of the disputed bar bill. Which surely means that this adventure is now concluded...

...or does it?

It seems the heroes are still trying to negotiate further reward for the return of the phylactery. Since one of Denzil’s cohorts murdered Edweena, forcing the party to use up 5 charges from the Staff of Life, then they want similar compensation. The Ghostlord reluctantly agrees to find some treasure amongst the artefacts collected over the centuries that will have a value in the 20-30k Gp range.

What will happen next?

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)

User avatar
Lewis
Epic Level 25
Posts: 528
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:40 pm
Location: Secret Lair, in a cavern somewhere beneath Telford.

Legends of Corwyn - Party Diary - Chapter 33

Postby Lewis » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:50 pm

LEGENDS OF CORWYN PARTY DIARY

Volume Three – The Ghostlord’s Lair

Chapter Thirty-Three (14 Jan 2018) – FREE WILLY


Previously on Legends of Corwyn... Deep in the stronghold of the ancient lich known as The Ghostlord, our heroes face a hooded figure. It is their old nemesis, the bard Tomas Denzil. However, the words that come from his mouth seem to be those of the Ghostlord himself. Ironically, as our heroes are disciples of the legendary paragons, it seems that the Ghostlord knew and worked with those paragons, back when he was still a mortal druid… known as Cargil! Now, can our heroes successfully negotiate with the powerful undead necromancer?

It seems you don’t get to live for over a thousand years unless you are somewhat paranoid, or perhaps the Ghostlord himself would say ‘cautious’. The lich never appears in person, but communicates with the party via Denzil. Cas works out that the bard is enchanted (possibly dominated) and also subject to some divination spell, which the Mabion Branoci wizard reckons allows the lich to see and/or hear them. It seems that this last spell is contagious, as it apparently gets passed onto Gwynn.

The Ghostlord’s aims in the negotiations are to get his phylactery back, and for the party to leave his realm of influence and take their fight back to their mutual enemy, the Red Hand. Preferably he wants to keep Denzil as a useful tool. The party meanwhile, are determined to extract as much recompense as they can from the lich, both in the form of magic to replace that which they had to use to resurrect Edweena, and also information.

Finally, an agreement is reached. The Ghostlord confirms some of their information about the Monastery of the Fallen King, and gives them a better idea where the Fane of Tiamat is (at least a week’s travel into the Wyrmsmoke Mountains and beyond anywhere that even Maor-Collis has been). The necromancer will activate the remaining ‘bonedrinkers’, but instead of sending them to the Red Hand, will send them to accompany the characters to the edge of the Thornwaste and then take the phylactery off them. This also has the twin advantage that nothing is likely to mess with the party on the way out, and that they are well motivated to hand over the phylactery.

To sweeten the deal and provide replacement magic, the Ghostlord allows the party to pick a couple of items from his treasury… which appears to have been thoroughly trashed in a fit of rage. Nonetheless, they find a couple of useful items that Trellara with her bardic knowledge and Cas with her arcane knowledge manage to identify and work out how to use.

The Lingam of Ascension – a beautifully carved, life size, anatomically correct phallus, which has to be worn around the neck. It is an ancient symbol of gods of fertility, life, etc. When a character activates the lingam, they must sacrifice a prepared divine spell or divine spell slot. The caster level of any divine spells of that level or lower that they cast before their next turn increases by 4. The lingam of ascension functions three times per day.

Scrolls of uncertain provenance - this bundle of rough parchment contains scraps of varying shapes and sizes; some appear old and others new. It is bound with a braided cord and secured with a medallion bearing the holy symbol of Wee Jas. These are not spells stored in written form, but collections of death-obsessed writings in an unknown hand. Popular myth holds that those who can command the lore contained in a set of these scrolls have power over life and death. Trellara and Cas know that such collections of writings have long been associated with the ancient cult of Wee Jas (goddess of death and magic), although even her lorekeepers don’t know where the first ones came from. The two heroes believe that the scrolls were penned by beings that lost their sanity in the pursuit of arcane knowledge and then later collected by agents of Wee Jas for the sake of the knowledge they contain.

As long as you possess scrolls of uncertain provenance, you gain a +5 competence bonus on Knowledge checks, provided that you are lawful neutral, lawful evil, lawful good, or neutral. If you have established a proper divine connection (by permanently sacrificing a 6th level spell slot), you can attempt to read from the scrolls once per day for 1 hour. Understanding their lore, however, is not an easy task. To begin with, the scrolls are written in nearly every language, ancient and modern, and the text sometimes switches languages within the same sentence. Thus, a successful hour of reading requires a successful DC 20 Knowledge (religion) check. You receive a +2 bonus on the check for every language you speak. So cryptic are the scrolls that even read magic, comprehend languages, or other spells don’t help you understand them, nor does the Decipher Script skill.

If your check is successful, you gain temporary understanding of one of the scrolls’ secrets depending on how long you have spent reading them. Your hours of successful reading stack for this purpose, so you can read over multiple days to gain a greater benefit, if desired. The time spent need not all be spent at once; you can divide it as you choose for the purpose of gaining benefits. Reading scrolls of uncertain provenance is not without risk, since delving into their mysteries draws you near to the border between life and death. Whenever you spend an hour reading scrolls of uncertain provenance, you risk insanity or worse.

The benefits include being able to apply renewal pacts, death pacts and even true resurrection.

With negotiations successfully concluded, the party strike out north across the Blight and then the Thornwaste. The accompanying undead bonedrinkers keep eyeing up Kaylyn, hungrily. The heroes have decided that the delays they have caused to the Red Hand’s war plans, means that they can risk heading to the Monastery of the Fallen King before racing to Brindol to bring the Five Treasures to bear in defence of that key city.

At the monastery, they intend to see if the Abbot can tell them about the cavern where they might find the Shield of Corwyn Dragonslayer, and also perhaps persuade the monks to stop signing up with the Red Hand.

After camping overnight in the Thornwaste (and practicing the new spells and powers they suddenly have!), the next lunchtime they reach the edge of the dangerous thorns and the foothills of the Wyrmsmokes. There follows a nervous handover of the phylactery to the Ghostlord’s minions (mage hand is employed!). Let’s hope the heroes never come to regret their deal with Elsir Vale’s ancient boogeyman!

Once the undead have departed, Maor-Collis, with aid from Jorr, leads his comrades into the mountains. The rangers manage to get to the top of a difficult slope by the time that the failing light is causing problems for those without low-light vision. However, they have picked out a good route for the following morning. Cas raises her new spell – Leomund’s Tiny Hut, and very nice it is too.

The next day, the rangers lead the party safely down the far side of the slope and start along the valley that will take them to the monastery. However, suddenly, a couple of the heroes spot a large menacing shape in the sky above them. The beast begins to plummet towards the party!

All player characters have just reached LEVEL EIGHT. Here is a summary of the current XP totals, after the Ghostlord's Lair:

Gwynn (cleric of The Trinity): 33,187
Maor-Collis (ranger): 33,237
Cas (wizard/mythic exemplar): 31,037
Edweena (healer): 31,187
Trellara (bard): 28,850
Kaylyn (rogue/sorcerer/unseen seer): 33,137
Taegen (fighter/rogue): 33,137


Next time on Legends of Corwyn... assuming the characters survive, we will be starting Volume Four - The Monastery of the Fallen King

Playing: Telford: Dark Heresy.
Running: Cannock: Legends of Corwyn/D&D, Telford: Forgotten Realms: Heroes of Faerûn/D&D.
Prepping: Chill (modern day horror) Tales From The Loop (1980s sci-fi/horror)


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