Trapped in a prison. It sounded like some bad plot to an Evil Adventure Campaign, but for you it was a reality.
Even worse, you recently, and correctly, deduced that you were trapped in some otherly dimensional space. A pocket dimension that was somehow wrapped over the surface of a cube.
Masq and Nue had, what appeared to be, a clue on how to escape. Encountering several circles, and touching each, had inscribed six syllables on your forearms. Shouldn’t that be enough to escape? Six sides to a cube, six syllables on your arms?
But, in this odd dimension you were stuck in, there was more than the just the six sides of the cube; there was also “inside” the cube and “outside” the cube.
A previously unexplored brass cover, revealed a ladder descending into the floor. Oddly, after a hundred feet the ladder stopped forty feet short of the entrance to another room. Carefully using ropes to descend, it was discovered that gravity switched at this point, allowing everyone to walk upright down the wall.
Many tests were completed to verify this.
In the inside room, two things were found; a seventh circle, floating in mid air, and a glowing key hole, also floating in mid air, in the midst of a spherical room.
Masq, feeling left out by all the floating going on, lept for the glowing circle and found himself also floating in mid air. By sheer force of will, Masq was able to will himself around the room.
“I am magic!!” proclaimed the ugly, disfigured dwarf.
Nue and Pinchy, followed Masq’s lead in discovering their newly found magical nature, and both gained a seventh syllable.
Following another exit out of this room, the group found another case of gravity switching and there was much climbing on top of each in order to crawl to, then climb up a ladder.
Finally investigating the cube map that they had found, a small detail became apparent. A third “brass cover” was listed on the map, but in a room where they had found none.
It was quickly discovered that this was due to the fact that this one was on the ceiling. Could this be the “outside” of the cube??
Once again, the grouped climbed up, then across, a gravity switching hallway and into another large spherical room.
Hilarity would have ensued, but the joke was getting old at this point.
In the “outside” room, seven circles, representing the circles they had already found were floating around, and moving in mid air.
Much magic (and dice rolling) began as Masq and Nue chased after the circles they had already found, attempting to touch each in the order that appeared on their arm.
Success!! After touching the seventh, and final circle, an eighth syllable then appeared!
This had to be it! The final clue to escape the Prison of the Red Saint!!!
A small oversight on the DM, caused some misunderstanding of what Masq was using to touch the circles with, which, in turn, caused our valiant heroes to have no idea what to do next.
As fate would have it, this caused them to head back to the “inside the cube” room and use one of the keys they had found, in the magical floating keyhole.
The key they chose was inscribed “Terregaunt”. They placed the key in the hole and suddenly, floating before them in little more than a loin cloth, a man presumed missing and dead for well over 500 years, a man who explored the Dragon’s Delve with two other friends; Lord Saral and Nibul of the Seven Arches, and escaped with untold riches, a man who spent those riches on buidling a fantastical tower, upon which, the heroes gathered opened a portal to Hell…
The group informed him that he had been a prisoner for well over 500 years! They marvelled at the fact that he had, at one time, conquered most of the Dragon’s Delve! They has little to no intention of letting him know that they opened a portal to Hell on the top of his tower!
After freeing Terregaunt, you freed two other companions, a Griffon mount, Yelaff and a fairly friendly Ogre named Tunskalan (who, in an odd twist of fate is the great-great-great-great-etc-great-grandfather of a certain Ogre named Grumblejack. Getting trapped in prisons apparently runs in the family.).
After this, the all-knowing entity called “GM” realized that he should have given a clue on how to escape, and armed with this knowledge, the group returned to the “outer” room and spoke aloud the syllables while holding the Red Saint’s Sceptre aloft!
An exit appeared to a set of stairs leading both up and down. Exploration of lower levels would need to wait for another day. For now the group decided to return with a true Hero of Legend to their crumbling, less than cared for, head quarters.
The next few days were but a blur, between training their skills, and getting Terregaunt caught up on recent history. During this time, there were a few significant developments..
First, the group translated the note found after you were ambushed by a composition of humanoids that reminded you of the Beastial Host. [GM Note – I can’t recall if this was actually done, but I’m not expecting you to remember this small detail]
Your orders are to return to Stoneseek and look for the adventurers that fouled our original plans. According to our scouts, you’re looking for four people.;
A well built, strong human male.
A half-elf female who appears to be a worshiper of Gozreh.. you’ll know her by her deity’s favored weapon, a trident.
An elven sorcerer. If possible, keep him alive and return him to me. I believe he can be used as a bargaining chip.
Finally a disfigured dwarf; he’s never seen without his mask and appears to be an expert in unarmed combat.
Aside from the elf, find and kill the rest. They must be eliminated before we can continue our plans. Consider this group armed and extremely dangerous.
Once you’ve committed the descriptions to memory destroy this note. I have a feeling my other lieutenants have been ignoring this request. Our foes cannot find out that the Besital Host still lurks in the shadows, waiting for our moment.
Next, the group introduced Terregaunt to Erro, Aura and Felstor, and (finally) revealed to him about the Abysmal Effect that was growing from his tower. It was decided that a two prong approach would be needed to stop this.
First, with demons coming through the portal, and undead littered around the tower as a defensive wall, a group would be need to clear, and hold, a path to the top of the tower.
Terregaunt, very much interested in reclaiming his tower, would be the perfect leader for this first pillar. He offered to gear up, kick off his battle rust, and lead incursions with Tunskalan to the base of the tower every few days to help thin the numbers around the edge of the tower and to determine how far the Effect is spreading.
Likely, more help would be needed when and if the final push would occur, but this was a excellent beginning.
Second, there was still no clue on how previous incarnations of Abysmal Effects had been stopped. While it was likely that you could return to the top of the tower, the trip would be in vain if you couldn’t close the portal.
[GM – Note – Adding this next section in to help advance the plot]
As you discuss ideas for discovering the method to close the portal, Boran offhandedly throws out, “What you think demon man Rivenyk wants with portal anyway?”
Terregaunt freezes up, and stares straight ahead, growing red with anger.
“Rivenyk?! Rivenyk is involved with this???!!!” Terregaunt forcefully rises, overturning a table, and, not-so-gently, places his fist through a wall. “I’ll see that demon BURN!!” he bellows.
After a brief moment, Terregaunt regains his composure and addresses the group. “My apologies for the outburst. Oddly enough, in our short time, I feel you’re a trusting group, and I think you should hear the story of what Lord Saral, Nibul and myself found at the bottom of the Delve.”
[GM – Note – Terregaunt’s story will be my next writing assignment for you guys. Ideally, I’ll have it out this week.]
Discussion were made about the next steps to take. Masq excused himself to go the bathroom. Nue excused herself and spent some alone time in her room. What are those noises anyways?
Everyone re-gathered. Boran blamed Evan for opening a portal to hell.
Erro offered to keep everything going on, away from the public, and from the Lord Mayor, for now. His reasoning was that reports from Terregaunt, from around the Tower, would help decided if the Effect is growing, and in the meantime, Erro offered to start building up his security force in preparation for an assult. He could use the newly found information about the Bestial Host as a reasonable excuse to do so.
Felstor and Aura decided to start researching answers on ways to close the portal. Aura was still planning on keeping out of site for the time being, the attack he faced at the steps of your home still fresh in his mind.
Your group would continue searching for an answer from within the Delve. Several references to Rivenyk have already been found, so perhaps there may be more clues within.
At this point, Aura took Nue aside and attempted to broker a peace between father and an ignored daughter. In the less than grand tradition of attempting to buy a child’s love with presents, Aura offered a +1 Trident for birthday’s missed. For now, there’s an uneasy peace between the two.
Evan had his own side adventure, meeting up with Devenor. Devenor mentioned that Max and the group were going to re-start their exploration of the Delve soon, and that Max seems to be changed and affected by something that happened recently, though Max won’t go into details.
The true reason for the visit was to talk about what happened during their last night in Cardenbally.
Over the course of the evening it was revealed that, as suspected, Evan transformed during their final night, but that so did Devenor. While Evan took on demonic characteristics, Devenor took on Draconic.
Devenor spoke, “At that point a human shape, made entirely of shadow, aside from it’s dark blue eyes, appeared, turned to you and spoke. “So, Czarzem. It appears our rival has been busy on the surface too.”
“Another man, wearing a regal outfit of crimson and copper appeared beside me, not completely there, but was someone whom I’ve seen in my dreams. “Hello Betrayer, “ it spoke, “I see you’ve been arranging your own pawns too.”
“At that point we lunged at each other, and I blacked out. I woke up and we were both covered in blood, my face gashed open and I fled. There are powers at work, using us as pawns, Evan. I care for you strongly, but it’s safer, for now, if we remain apart.”
When Evan returned home, he made a mental note that he needed to ask Felstor about the possibility of draconic possession.
Finally, after skills were learned, there was a chance to put them to the test. A note arrived at your home..
“The cult is planning something tonight. Be at the intersection of Oak and Tumbletack Lane at 2am.
Obviously a trap, the group decided to investigate anyway.
There, they found a drunken dwarf stumbling home, pursued by several shady looking characters. As they moved to ambush the dwarf, our heroes jumped into action.
The battle was quick, fierce and loud, attracting several residents to come out of their home. Our adventures beat back the presumed cultists, but not before one escape after casting an obscuring mist in the area.
Sherrif Erro Manson also arrived on the scene as the battle wound down, and the only item of note that you found was something entitled, “The Black Book of Venom”.
Quickly, you took the dwarf back home to recover and spent time looking through the book, while Erro started cleaning up the mess.
What you found, is detailed below…
Erro arrived in the morning to check in your group. The dwarf felt fine, aside from not remembering too much about the evening before.
[DM – Note – Adding this next bit, but I didn’t mention it during the session]
It was only in the light of morning, that you realized that this dwarf bore a strong resemblance to Masq. Related, or just a coincidence?
[End of Note]
What Erro mentioned was far more troubling. This “Venom Cult” that he’s been tracking for months has, so far, stayed underground and had not been in the public eye. All that changed last night. With the escape of one of their own, the Cult will soon learn that they were betrayed and ambushed. What will this change?
A Cult on high alert. Stirrings of a Beastial God thought to have retreated. A portal, slowly opening and widening over The Fallen Dutchy. A demon, Rivenyk, involved with this portal, and, possibly, a feud with Draconic forces. And what connections do our adventurers have with it all?
This will start getting better soon, right? Right?!