Campaign of the Month: March 2009

Denizens of the Nentir Vale

Inside the Bowels of Thunderspire

Boldly, the adventurers pursue the BloodReavers

Preface:

When a mad-eyed dwarf and his filthy companions first bade me sit at their table in the public house, I pretended not to notice them. Dark traces of blood skulked on their weapons, and they shared a certain hardness in their faces, as of a small band of warriors facing a dark and endless horde.

But they knew me to be a scrivener’s son looking for work, and would not have me demur. Besides, they paid more handsomely than even my esteemed father, once scribe to royalty, could have expected. At least, they said they did. Many of the coins and artifacts with which they presented me were, and remain, unknown to me and everyone else in this town.

They wanted me, they said, to transpose their diaries, listen to their stories, and compile the lot for the sake of posterity. Fair enough, but what I got to work with were scribblings, drunken ramblings, and tales of such outlandishness that I feared for my reputation if I reported them as factual. The ragged band is gone now, supposedly off on another adventure, and I do not expect to see them again. I swore to bind their preposterous stories and publish them, and so I have. I did not swear to tell them in my own voice. Sometimes I have done so; other times I have written down their words, and sometimes I have simply included original written texts I received from them, transposed in my hand.

If even a small part of what is related here is true, our world is stranger, more troubled, and much more deadly than we think, who walk in daylight and nestle in the warm bosom of our homes.

-Torben Eastlander

1) The Road to Thunderspire

Based on interviews with the survivors.

According to what I heard during several sessions with my employers around an ale-drenched wooden table, the Thunderspire epic began with introductions. Two of the five adventurers were new to the others, who had been together for some time, having fought in the company of two other since-departed wariors to seal off a “Rift”, as they termed it, that would have allowed the most monstrous creatures imaginable to enter our world. As if those sitting across the table from me were not monstrous enough.

I immediately saw this claim to be stuff and nonsense, “Rift” being simply the name of one of the newcomers, a female Eladrin Wizard with more intelligence than the rest combined, but as little impulse control, according to the dwarf, as a “seasick goblin”. The other newcomer, Erik, was a stealthy Ranger type, maybe a little too proud of his ability to wield two weapons at once. Along with the Dwarf, who claimed to have been fighting for a hundred years, but seemed instead to have been drinking that long, there were also a half-elf Cleric with a strong grip and a gift for erudition, as well as a strapping Paladin Dragonborn who, the others insisted, had already died in battle. He didn’t look dead to me.

After a couple days’ journey east along the King’s Road, the fast-moving group turned up the cobbled path towards the mountain. Spirits were high. They had been training, studying, and equipping since their last battles, and all reported progress and a feeling of confidence, save the dwarf, who was troubled by his feeling that magic was beginning to encroach upon his hitherto all-natural fighting style.

They entered a long passage into the mountain, wide and lined with torches.

2) BloodReavers’ Blood

Based on an interview with the dwarf Barrick

“We passed many dark passages to the left and right, not much scent, and finally saw light coming from under a door. We listened, and it seemed like an innocent halfling was being held against his will. Truth be told, we had little enough reason to think so, but we smelled goblin or worse, and anyway we never pass up the chance for a fight.”

“Felsmon thought to scare the occupants out of defending themselves – if anyone could do it, he could. Smashing in the doors, our pal made a din – Hah! He’s a Pal-a-din, get it! Anyway, he shrieked at the 5 creatures inside to lay down their weapons upon pain of death, while we all grunted and clanged our steel, but they just laughed, and 4 of them came right at us.”

“Both our additions, Erik and Rift, were quick off their marks, wanting to prove their mettle to us, I make no doubt. Now, I don’t mean to make excuses, but I hadn’t gotten a decent night’s sleep since my battleaxe turned out to have a hex on it. The others said I should be glad to have it, since I used it to slay Kalarel (May Bahamut infest his remains with poisoned maggots). But I hate magic – except when it’s healing me, of course – and the cursed axe lay there by my side, every night, making me feel cursed, too. Come to think of it, almost like a dwarven wife. Anyway, now, in the first real fight since the fall of Kalarel (May Bahamut slay his descendants in their baths), I was slow to use the thing, and when I finally did, I missed, and missed again.”

“Luckily, the others were on their best feet. Erik often got in two blows for every one he received. Rift conjured a blast that burned all five of the baddies, and topped that by hitting their leader with some kind of ice spell – the old hot-and-cold routine. The steadfast Cleric Z’alden was up to his usual stunts, slamming the poor Weavers [sic] with magic jolts left and right while boosting the fortunes of the rest of us, as is his wont. And our pal Felsmon made a din– oh, used that already, did I? – anyway Felsmon moved in close, ducking a blow on the way, then softened up three of the beasts with his breath alone, though you mightn’t believe it if you hadn’t smelled it, and then gave a shocking thump to the breast of one of them. That must have boosted the youngster’s confidence.”

“Watching my comrades with my jaw hanging open, I got hit hard in the gut, which doubled me over. Good thing, because their leader just then sent some magic blast, which hit everyone but me. It knocked all 4 of my friends off their feet, and even killed one of our enemies for us! Still bent in half, I watched helplessly as another attacker swung a mighty stroke at Felsmon as the lad lay prone – but Dragonborn are agile for their size, you know, and the swing only bounced off the stone floor.

“It looked bad for us just then, but Rift, still on the floor, had an idea to cause chaos to our attackers by spilling ale from a set of casks lining one wall, using a creepy floating hand spell. Sounds crazy, and maybe it was – that Rift can be a loose hammerhead sometimes.”

“Funny thing though, as soon as the smell of that ale hit the air, our luck started to turn. Erik had been badly hurt, but healed by Z’alden, and with the scent of brew in the air, he strode up and killed their leader with a double blow, as calm as a halfling weeding a garden! Then I perked up, the pungent goblin ale stench flowing in through my nostrils and pushing the bad magic out of my head. I leapt up on top of the nearest casket, feeling the strength flowing up to me on the odor, and gave a huge strike down on the head of the nearest Weaver [sic] (May Bahamut rain fire on his village). Even that didn’‘t kill him, though.”

“Rift came out with another ice shock – don’t remember Skamos, who was a Wizard too, using that one very often – and both our remaining targets fell, one breaking his neck on the way. Erik dispatched the last one soon enough, after Felsmon had slipped on the ice. And so it was over.”

“Afterwards I sat on an emptying barrel of ale, holding my axe, which was a stranger to me now, as the battlejoy flowed slowly out of me to join the ale in a puddle on the floor. I wondered how much the cursed axe was to blame for my poor showing, only one good hit in an even 5-on-5 fight. Was I becoming useless, as the others threw more and more magic around? Erik flashes two weapons around like lightning, and here I could barely control one? Felsmon, at twice my size, moves around the room on his young legs faster than I?”

“So, I did what I always do when I think too much – I started to drink.”

3) A Halfling’s Tale

The half-elf cleric Z’alden spoke with such earnestness that I thought, at first, he was trying to convert me to Bahamut. Then, I realized, the breathlessness arose from his mental struggles, as he tried to recall what had occurred after the fight Barrick had described. Here is what he relayed to me. Believe what you will.

“Barrick’s morose feelings are betrayed by his excellence in battle. His bravery and skill are legendary. Even still, his strong arm was weak compared to the strong mouth plastered on the face of the most ungrateful rescued halfling you have ever met. Indeed, we had just saved the little Rendil Halfmoon from becoming Rendil Half-a-head, and he lips off here and there to us. I was astonished. It was preposterous! Still, he knew much about the BloodReavers, their comings and goings through secret tunnels in this mountain.”

“Even more incredibly, he told us the directions to find their lair. And, finally showing some gratitude, offered to lead us to a wonderous underground city and host us in the finest rooms at his family’s inn.”

Z’alden described an incredible city, the Seven-Pillared Hall, carved deep within Thunderspire Mountain. I nearly spit out my ale when the half-elf exclaimed, “Minotaurs! It was built by Minotaurs, who destroyed each other in a civil war over what god they should worship. Religious wars can be difficult if one is too fervent. Never get too fervent. Have faith and act to destroy evil. Uphold justice and help the weak. Smash undead whenever possible. That makes for a good day. Simple.”

Finishing his little homily, the cleric completed his story. The halfling led the group to the city’s watchman, “Brug”, supposedly a Ogre over 12 feet tall. Likely not. The group had to pledge to tell no outsiders of the city. And, yet, here I am writing down their very notes and tales. Some pledge. Still, the wonders of three mage rulers cloaked in black hoods who could teleport in and out of an underground tower and stop any and all conflict among the disparate races who lived in the city deserves mention if only for the level of fantasy that the half-elf clearly believed from the halfing’s story of the city.

The Bahamut cleric described the Halfmoon Inn of Rendil’s as a fair place, far more comely and pleasant than the one we find ourselves in now. In gratitude, Rendil’s mother, Effra, did give 3 rooms to the group to house them and offered the rooms for as long as they were not taken.

Incredibly, Z’alden seemed to recall little else of this halfing, other than still smiling when he thought of the map that Rendil had provided, directing them to the hiding place of the BloodReavers. Something about a goblin who had been unable to make a map and wanting to track down the greasy beast and teach him map-making in his own blood.

4) Hall of the Seven Pillars

I tried to divine from the group the description of the so called Seven-Pillared hall. As not one of the party reported counting seven pillars I wonder as to the accuracy of their ramblings. They gave me a map of the hall although the lines appear to be too straight to be sketched in the dark of a cave. If one can believe the tales of a fully functional city, hidden underneath the cold, drenched Thunderspire peak, then here it is.

The city is controlled either by a self-inflated ogre named Brug or Brugg, or was it Grub, or controlled by invisible mages each of which can single-handedly quell all drunken brawls.

This city apparently is inhabited not only by humans, elves and halflings, but also by drow, orcs and duergar, and possibly worse. A dwarf selling gemstones, now that I can believe, but a half-orc running the local taproom? Now I ask you friend, have you ever seen orcs and drow working side by side? Neither have I. Ah well, maybe I can sell this rabble as a story for the little ones; no one else could possibly believe such pap.

Not only did they tell me of a bar and a inn deep inside the mountain, but a wainwright, a fully stocked merchant and even a happy little curio shop run by a grumpy drow named Gendar. The waterfall and bubbling brook flowing under quaint stone bridges sounds like something from a fairytale, not a hardened trading location for the Underdark. It almost brings images of a goblin and her secret bugbear romancer skipping hand in hand over the stones.

The temple in this fabled city worships Erathis, the god of great invention and civilization. Hardly the proper choice for a cramped hidden group of ruffians living in old crumbling damp stone buildings.

The inn is run by a pair of halflings, Rendil, desribed elsewhere in my writings, and his mother Erra. I wonder if the ale there is any good, now I could see good ale being the cause of unfriendly creatures sharing a table. Peradventure my old legs might carry me to this place some year for such a mug.

Oh, and one cannot forget the mage’s tower, accesible only by dancing in front of a statue of a minotaur. What a party this dark place must be.

No, not one piece of this tale makes any sense. But if I do not honour my word to put this down on parchment then I am nothing.

5) The Chamber of Eyes

As the scrivener turns to Felsmon, the paladin grunts and lightning flashes between his teeth. The scrivener then turns to the rest of the party “Does anyone else want to describe this part of the adventure?” he says shakely.

6) Battle of the BugBear

The conversation then turned to the encounter with the bugbear. For this I became better acquainted with Erik, the young human ranger who had just recently joined the adventuring troop. He and Rift shared some kind of bond but it was tough to discern the exact nature of their connection. So I asked Erik, “Tell me about Rift”, and his response was quick, “She’s an elf.” With that illuminating answer, I knew that many a glass of ale would be finished before this tale was told. Erik then let out a loud “Ow!” as his head bopped forward as if someone had slapped his head from behind. Rift shouted from another table, “High-elf!”.

I then began to tease the tale of the bugbear out of Erik. Fortunately his tongue flowed faster and looser as additional quantities of ale were applied.

“From the entry room of the Chamber of Eyes, we crept along the balcony toward a door to the east. We’d soon set ourselves upon the enemy into glorious battle. I was in the lead as I have the most quiet manner. Around a corner I could see a room with a couple of goblins – easy pickings. I then signaled for the group to advance. When we did, we were shocked to see a giant, goblinoid creature in a part of the room that I hadn’t been able to see. More for the glory of my twin blades!”

“All hell broke lose in that small room. Beds and tables obstructed our movement and I found myself on the far side of the room, going toe-to-toe with the terrible beast. [Later determined to be a bugbear.] It stood somewheres over seven feet tall, wild with matted hair. My companions remained on the other side of the room hampered by the obstructions, none the least of which were the two goblins.”

“While I battled the bugbear, two more goblins appear from another entrance to the room. Curses. Luckily there was a fire pit between me and them, but unfortunately one of them kept pelting me with a crossbow. I had to stand and take the bolts, being too busy getting licks in on the bugbear. Brave Felsmon did what he could to help me, leaving his back undefended to face the goblins. With mighty strength the Dragonborn pushed the bugbear into the fire pit. A foul stench of burnt bugbear hair filled the room. Arcane magic sprung from Rift, freezing the just recently singed monster. At least I wouldn’t die with foul burnt bugbear fresh in my nostrils. Seeing me seriously injured, Z’adlen channeled the power of Bahumut whereupon a divine glow enveloped me, giving me enhanced vigor to fight on. I then let loose a furious twin-blade attack on the bugbear. It staggered back only to fall dead on the cold, stony floor.”

“Eager to escape the goblin’s crossbow, I leapt across the table and deftly struck at the two remaining goblins in the room. Each sword simultaneously plunged deeply into its target, slaying them both.”

With this little part of the tale, Erik squirmed as if his trousers were in a bunch. “I was the one who instructed you to simultaneously attack the two goblins because their backs were to you as they fought us!”, shouted Rift, still sitting at the other table but now observing with a contemptuous look on her face. She then joined Erik and I at the table, choosing to sit quite close to me that made me feel both awkward and gladdened. With the insouciance that only Rift could so masterfully deliver, the story was finished for Erik…

“The remaining two goblins fled. They were later easily dispatched by my fiery sphere.”

Given Erik’s wounds from the bugbear and goblin crossbow, surely Z’alden’s immense healing powers had been used, aided by a powerful item they had found. Some kind of “Belt of Sacrifice.” And so the tail of the Chamber of Eyes continued, with a drunken Rift still sitting at my side…

7) Mystery Room

Scrivener’s note: I was unable to make enough sense of a scrap of parchment handed to me by the barely-literate dwarf, as usual in a drunken stupor. It seemed to be an attempt at recording part of their adventure. What part, he never told me. Some sort of contest of strength perhaps? I have transcribed it here.

Room: Walls
Middle: Wall
Smell: Rocks
<illegible>: Gold?
Half-wall: shape of “L”
Mermaid carving: serpent from waist down
- doodle of stocky mermaid with very large bust -
Plan: Push
Erik: Pushd.
Zalden: Pushd hard
Smell: Mold
Barrick: Pushd very hard
Felsmon: Pushd very very hard.
Lookd at walls
Lookd down
Lookd up
All: Pushd very very very hard.
Rift: Magickd
Z’alden: Magickd
Smell: Fishes
I Hate Fishes
All: Pushd very very very very hard.
<illegible>
Go kill Bloody Weavers.

8) Duergar Battle

Based on an interview with the beautiful, but troubled, eladrin wizard, calling herself Rift.

When asked what her last name was, she started shouting oaths in a strange primordial tongue. After being restrained by her less-hasty comrade Erik, she started her tale, amid much muttering and cursing… Note to self – Give this one a wide berth in the future…

“As I was saying, my name is Rift. I have no last name. I am an eladrin, although I prefer the term ‘high-elf’. As a wizard, I try to control the battlefield through my arcane mastery of fire and ice. This gives my brave companions the opportunity to sink their swords and axes into the weak hearts of our cowardly enemies, or into meddlesome scribes who ask impertinent questions!”

“Anyhow, our brave companions and I had decided that a frontal assault on the double doors was not a wise plan. It seemed wise to me, but I have been accused of having the brains of a mindflayer and the wisdom of a scurvy-plagued goblin. Fine. No frontal assault.”

Here, the wizard broke off again with much muttering, and could only be brought back to her tale with my promise of fine wine.

“Well, as I was saying, we snuck down a narrow, disused passage until we came to a door. Now, being brave, we decided to burst open the door and charge. Unfortunately, the room turned out to be quite small, with a huge fireplace, roaring like a thousand dwarves who are out of ale. The room was also, unfortunately, occupied by two of those vile duergar. Unlike their more peaceful and happy-go-lucky brethren (like our good friend Barrick), these duergar had the audacity to attack us with their toy warhammers.”

“Then, to make matters worse, these foul creatures began pulling out quills from their smelly beards and throwing them. Our poor friend Erik, nimble as he is, was not quick enough to dodge one of these poisonous missiles. Well, we decided it was time to give these wretches a good close shave.”

“I played what modest part I could, conjuring up a sheet of frigid ice to cool their tempers, and knocking them senseless to the floor. Felsmon, Barrick, and Erik quickly took advantage of this, surrounding the hapless imitation dwarves, and furiously raining blows down upon them. Z’alden, good soul that he is, channeled the power of Bahamut to aid us and to blast these cursed freaks of dwarven nature.”

“Summoning up my reserves, I conjured a living ball of fire, a sphere of doom, a radiant burst of flickering dea…”

Here the wizard choked on her wine, spraying it across the table and extinguishing the candle. After the undead dragonborn had thumped her on the back, and she had re-lit the candle with a wave of her shapely hand, she continued.

“Like I was saying, the sphere of flame appeared across the room, striking out at one of the terrified duergar, scorching his ugly backside. With the smell of burning duergar in their nostrils, my comrades became emboldened, striking even more fiercely. The pesky goblins were the first to fall, the heat of the flames and the mighty sword and axe strokes were too much to bear.”

“It was at this moment that a dreaded hobgoblin warcaster appeared. But, it was to no avail. Hemmed in by my brave comrades, with their backs to the flames, our foolish enemies could do little. Alas, a little was enough. The warcaster, seeing his mongrel friends being ground into dust, became enraged and weaved a spell. The waves of pure energy surged across the room, picked up our poor comrade Z’alden, and sent him skittering into the fireplace like a burnt offering to his mighty god.”

“But Z’alden is made of sterner stuff. Shaking off the glowing embers, he emerged from the flames completely unscathed, except for the stinging smoke in his eyes. A miracle? No, we wizards do not believe in such. It was simply luck.”

“Z’alden, insisting that his scaly god had saved him, became ever more wrathful, urging our companions to strike down our foes. Dutifully, we complied. Down went the warcaster, still muttering an unfinished spell in an unholy tongue. The last to fall was one of the duergar. He stumbled out the door and down the stairs like a drunken dwarf, the ball of fire trailing behind him. Just as he reached the handle of the double doors and freedom, a tongue of flame leaped out and incinerated him. Unfortunately, his charred corpse had enough momentum to swing open the door, making his pathetic demise visible to all those in the chamber beyond.”

Her black eyes flashing, elven ears pointed jauntily, Rift thumped me on my back, causing my quill to splatter ink across the page.

“Well, that is enough for now, eh, scribe? How about more of that fine wine that you promised?”

‘Tis passing strange, but when I checked my purse to order more wine, my gold had mysteriously disappeared. I do not understand what happened to it… Ah well, no matter. The eladrin, Rift, has generously agreed to pay for all our expenses. She is really quite fetching in that green robe.

Comments

With the last of the goblins and duergar destroyed, Z’alden turns to Felsmon, “My friend, thank you passing along this Belt to me. I have realized that it will be a boon to you as well as to all of our comrades in a way that would not have occurred around your waist or any other. For, when we are in combat and anyone at anytime calls upon their inner reserves to revitalize themselves, this belt and my own healing skills will add extra healing to the second wind.”

_OOC: DM, since the belt has the healing keyword, the cleric healer’s lore should add +3(Wisdom mod) additional hit points to the healing surge value, in addition to the +1 from the belt, consistent with the DM-ruling on the Dwarven Armor discussion September 17, 2008 at 02:32 AM.

“Felsmon’s generous giving will turn out to be a gain in a surprising way. For when the worthy Paladin lays hands on one of his to heal, some of his own reserves are lost so that we may benefit. In that loss, through the belt and my own healer’s lore, the Paladin would receive a healing as well/”

Inside the Bowels of Thunderspire
 

OOC: Got a little too excited on the belt of sacrifice. The healing lore bonus only applies to the daily power. But, everyone within 5 squares will get a +1 to their healing surge value, which will benefit Felsmon, too, but not when he lays on hands.

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OOC: So, the upshot is to add +1 to your character’s healing surge value at all times when your character is within 5 squares of Z’alden. So, if your character is within 5 squares of Z’alden and Felsmon lays on hands or uses another power that depends on the healing surge value, your character uses second wind or healing surges after an encounter (like now), or Z’alden heals you for your healing surge value, that healing surge value is increased by +1. Nifty.

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OOC: Thought rplayer had logged out. Sorry.

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Erik feels good. He has survived his first dungeon experiences and the dank, claustrophobic rooms actually provided he and his friends a tactical advantage. Rift’s fiery sphere was brilliant as she controlled it from behind the defensive wall created by the brave dwarf and paladin. Their axe and sword cleaved into the terrible hobgoblins, duegar and warcasters. Even the dwarf showed amazing skill, climbing up on enormous barrels to attack from above. A dwarf, attacking from above! However, there were some close calls as Erik suffered numerous crossbow bolts and mighty Barrick was dealt two terrible blows in quick succession, each of which would have struck down a normal man. It was then that Z’alden’s divine powers really reaffirmed their incredible worth, restoring Barrick’s health and continuing to inspire the entire group. Still, Erik knows that they are still in the middle of the Chamber of Eyes, far from the protection of the Seven Pillar Hall.

Erik asks the group, “Just what was the purpose of the room with the odd wall with a carved mermaid/serpent?”

Before they can answer, he asks another question, “Just what foul creature was breathing loudly behind the door? Was it a double door? Perhaps it was the creature that I tracked – one so terribly powerful it could pull a cart full of captives all on its own.”

Erik then refocuses and realizes that they are still in immediate danger. The two duegar, two hobgoblins and a warcaster are dead, but the room has not been searched and the group knows not what is just around the corner.

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Rift breathes a sigh of relief: “Perhaps all of my book learning was useful after all. Thank you all for your advice and patience. It does pay to plan ahead, doesn’t it?”

“I am amazed at all of your abilities. Z’alden, you truly are the magic glue of the party. Felsmon, you show no fear as you surround yourself with our foes. Barrick, not only are you not afraid of heights, you also would charge right into my own flaming sphere. And Erik, my old friend, your twin strike is as deadly as ever.”

Rift pauses, gazing around the room at the terrible carnage – the hacked and burned bodies, some still smoldering. “I don’t understand why all of these disparate creatures would choose to live together. ‘Tis strange.”

“Well, I recommend that we pause for a few moments, to regain some much needed power. Then press on quickly, before the alarm can be raised. Delay can only put the prisoners (and our reward) into greater danger.”

“What say the rest of you?”

OOC: DM, can we quickly search the room and the bodies, looking for both secrets and treasure? Also, does the warcaster have any papers on him, identifying who he is, or other information?

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Searching the bodies reveals nothing of note, standard chainmail, robes, quarterstaff. Nothing of value or information.

Your current state of exploration of the Chamber is:

Note that the fleeing duergar guard was able to reach and open the double doors, the ones behind which the animal breathing emanated, before succumbing to the flaming sphere.

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DM: In the room with the “L” shaped half-wall, were there any drain holes on the floor. Were there any hinges? Looks to me like there might be a hinge at the angle in the “L”, allowing the 2 square length to close off six squares of the room. Any switches or levers by the door?

Erik sheaths his two swords and readies his bow, watching intently down the corridor to the double doors. The idea is that if he sees an enemy, he’ll fire off two rounds. Hopefully Barrick or Felsmon would defend him while he stows the bow and pulls the swords. He feels nervous about being in a small room with three entrances. One corridor is completely unexplored and needs guarding too.

“What shall we do?”, implores Erik, “Do we act fast out of fear of the enemy regrouping for a stronger attack and possibly harming the captives or do we rest and regain some powers?”

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Rift says, “I am fine with continuing. I still have my burning hands to lay waste to our enemies. However, I wish I had not let my flaming sphere sputter and die. Ah well, another day, another sphere of death.”

“My friends, they will be expecting us to come through the double doors. Perhaps we can sneak up from behind…”

“Let us take a quick moment (5 min rest) to regain our strength. During that time, I will not rest. Instead, I will quickly sneak down the corridor where the warcaster came from, and peek around that corner. If it looks promising, then let us stack all of the bodies and firewood against the two doors, to protect our rear, and proceed around the corner.”

“Does this sound agreeable to everyone?”

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You searched the L-wall room as well as you could. All you found was signs of mildew damage on the stone. No levers, drains, hinges, etc.

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Z’alden breathes heavily, “My friends. Your powers and exploits continue to amaze me. I am proud to battle evil with such noble and brave comrades. For most of Bahamut’s gifts of healing to return to me, I will need to take a few minutes to pray. Like Rift’s sphere, the dragon of Hope that I called forth cannot be summoned again without far more extensive prayers and preparation of the mind of spirit. That being said, I still have some gifts of Bahamut’s to continue to heal the damage caused by any enemy even as together, we crush them. Fortune and the Teeth smile on us, as Master Paladin has a few of his own gifts of healing upon which he can call to aid a comrade in dire straits. And, all of us possess reserves that can be summoned as necessary. This new belt of sacrifice will allow me to pass on some of reserves to comrade whose own are depleted if necessary if several more battles confront us in our efforts today.”

OOC: After 4 more encounters, Z’alden can spend 2 healing surges with the new Belt and give “someone”, e.g., Erik, 1 healing surge. Z’alden also has 1 daily heal remaining (Cure Light Wounds) for someone, e.g. Erik, that does not spend healing surges.

“Rift, proceed carefully. Even with your most impressive powers, the Eye only knows what could lurk behind those doors on the left.”

After 5 minutes, Z’alden sheaths his dagger and mace and arms his crossbow to shoot any that would harm Rift in her investigation of the corridor. At the first sign of the enemy, he will fire 2 bolts with Twin Strike.

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After Rift has moved forward a few steps, Z’alden says, “Rift, I know that Eladrin do not need rest like others, and I understand that your flaming sphere will need an extended period of contemplation for you to reassemble its magic, but do you not have some spells that you expended in our recent battle, whose magic once spent after a battle, is recovered by a few minutes mediation and reflection? If so, then perhaps the corridor can wait while you have taken the time to prepare again such amazing spells.”

Z’alden looks at Rift inquistively, wondering if he is correct that some of her spells need a bit of a refresher to be ready for another battle. If she runs off now to scout, such spells would not be weapons at the ready.

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Rift quietly sneaks down to the corner and peeks around. What does she see?

Then, assuming that she doesn’t see a horde of enemies coming towards her, she comes back to the fireplace room and rests for 5 minutes.

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I updated the map above to show what Rift sees around the corner; a closed wooden door, similar in style to the others of the area, latch type, no keyhole. Using her passive perception Rift did not see, hear nor otherwise sense anything beyond the door.

Inside the Bowels of Thunderspire
 

After Rift has started her rest, Z’alden will put away his crossbow, draw his parrying dagger, and quietly proceed down the corridor to listen at each of the 4 doors. What does he hear?

Inside the Bowels of Thunderspire
 

Behind the door leading eastward Z’alden can hear a fire, it sounds like a crackling fireplace, but no other sounds. Behind the other doors Z’alden detects nothing.

Inside the Bowels of Thunderspire
 

Z’alden stares at the fireplace. “Rift, would you extinguish this fire? Perhaps there is a secret door behind it.”

Assuming Rift can get the fire out, Z’alden wants to check around the fireplace and the entire room for secret doors. He will be carrying only his parrying dagger.

Inside the Bowels of Thunderspire
 

At this point in time Rift does not have the ability to extinguish a roaring fire. Searching the rest of the room takes several minutes. Since you have already spent more than five minutes sitting around and resting I will assume you are OK with taking more time. Searching with a perception of 23 Z’alden finds no secret doors.

Inside the Bowels of Thunderspire
 

Z’alden thinks that the future-tale of the dwarf needs finishing. The Scrivener should buy Barrick another ale and get the rest of the story. It is much too good to be disrupted!

Inside the Bowels of Thunderspire
 

Erik rests in anticipation of the coming battle. The blades will flash with chaotic furry but the guiding hands must be in full control. The mind must spontaneously choreograph a deadly dance one step ahead of its malevolent partner. Breathing deeply, his mind begins to calm and focus.

OOC: Erik has one action point, 36 of 43 HP, 4 healing surges remaining, all encounter powers and no dailies.

Inside the Bowels of Thunderspire
 

OOC: Ideally, Erik will finish the next battle with 2 healing surges remaining, as I doubt that the next battle is the last for the day. Therefore, Erik’s avoiding getting hit, and then getting close to Felsmon once damaged past 1 surge value would be good, since the Paladin can touch lay-on-hands for 1 healing surge worth of healing at no cost to the healed. Within 5 squares of Z’alden, +1 to the value. Also, Z’alden has 1 daily power (Cure Light Wounds) that can do the same.

Z’alden mediates, feeling his new dagger which parried so many blows in the recent battles – thanks be to the Wings. He admires the swords of Felsmon and Erik. Perhaps even a cleric could carry such a weapon. In Fallcrest, he dreamt that Bahamut bestowed on him a sword even larger than the mighty longswords of his comrades. The hand-and-a-half, or bastard, sword is what he saw in his vision. But that is for another time, as he is here and now. He hefts his mace and wonders if any vampires might be friends of these Bloody Weavers. Smashing a vampire makes for a very good day.

Inside the Bowels of Thunderspire
 

Rift hops back and forth in anticipation. Unlike most of her race, she is not given to much meditation and calm reflection. She is eager for battle.

“When we return triumphantly, we must hire a scribe to record our adventures. Once he hears our fantastic tale, he will have no doubt of its veracity, and will instantly want to proclaim our victories. We will be famous!”

Inside the Bowels of Thunderspire
 

Smiling warming Z’alden says, “Noble Mistress of the Feywild, our fame may come, but we must first focus on the work to be done now. Let us do deeds that will be worth the telling and live to tell it. Indeed, I think that whatever has made those sounds may be worth a scrivener’s pen and ink when we defeat it. Based on those sounds, smashing it could make for a fine day, a very fine day.”

Inside the Bowels of Thunderspire
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