The Lanvernite Succession

Assault on Mossacre Glen

As you approached the two-story house, you noticed that the windows were all covered with burlap canvas like that used in the Spawn tents. The house was set against a hill and fronted by a large porch. The double front door, long since rotted away, was just a flap of canvas.

Max and Elros rushed up the steps and burst through the front door, surprising four greenspawn sneaks in the two front rooms. Arkon rushed in and took up a position toward the back of the house. Although he was safe from the sneaks there, he was stabbed from behind by an invisible attacker. It was a blackspawn exterminator, and it immediately turned invisible again. Suelfred retaliated with a glitterdust spell, while Max and Elros quickly felled the sneaks and turned their attention to the exterminator.

Badly wounded, Arkon fled out the front door; the exterminator tumbled after him, pausing to reapply poison to his weapon for what he hoped would be the killing blow. But seeing that Max and Elros were after him, he used his breath weapon and leaped off the side of the porch. Max chased him, and Arkon summoned a unicorn, but the exterminator was too fast. He fled into the woods.

You examined the house, and found a few items of value. There were some papers related to the Spawn’s mission, but you did not attempt to decipher them. You also found a large vault door with a combination lock. You entered the combination you found in Mortimer Greycastle’s papers, and the door opened.

You entered a long, dark, smooth walled tunnel into the side of the hill. You followed it for a hundred and fifty feet, where it ended in a wide door. Max stepped forward.

He opened the door to reveal a long room—a long-disused potion-brewing laboratory. He also awakened the lab’s long-slumbering guardian, a twenty-foot long brass serpent. It struck like a flash, biting Max and shocking him with a charge of lightning, then grabbing and constricting him, dropping him unconscious on the floor.

Arkon immediately created a fog cloud, while Elros stepped forward to get the great snake’s attention. Arkon started summoning a wolf while Suelfred turned invisible and started healing Max. Elros dodged some of the snake’s strikes, and, through judicious use of fighting stances, managed to avoid being grappled when the snake bit him.

As you fought back, the snake started retreating, using its longer reach to keep the party at bay. At last, beset by enemies on all sides, it made a mistake, grappling and constricting Arkon’s summoned wolf. Unable to dodge Elros’ sword with the wolf in its coils, the serpent was finally defeated.

Lysandra Cooper’s potion laboratory was unfortunately ruined by the ravages of time, but in a secret chamber you found the second of the portal keys and a cache of platinum.

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Into Humberstoke

You spent a few days at Crosley, identifying, selling and buying treasure and gear. You next destination was Mossacre Glen, Lysandra Cooper’s base of operations in Humberstoke. The plan was to charter a one-way boat ride to the Humberstoke coast, followed by a five-day march through the jungle to Mossacre Glen, following directions given you by the Sage of Deancroft. You didn’t have a firm plan for getting out of the jungle.

Things went wrong immediately. The instructions from the Sage were hundreds of years old, and the wagon tracks that must have existed at that time were long since obliterated by the jungle. Riding your mounts was impossible, and after a day of hacking through the undergrowth, you had gotten only a quarter as far as you had hoped. You also were surprised not to have seen any large dinosaurs.

The next day, Arkon used druidic magic to help you pass much more easily through the rain forest. By the end of the day, you were still behind schedule, but not falling behind further. After five days of following rivers, you reached a great boulder, the last natural landmark on your route. Mossacre Glen was one day’s march due west.

About half a day’s walk from your destination, you were ambushed by a scouting party of the Spawn of Tiamat: greenspawn sneaks and leapers. You easily overmatched them, and once they realized your power, they fled into the jungle, presumably to warn others.

Less than an hour later, you discovered a small clearing in the forest, with a few canvas tents pitched inside. Cautiously, you entered the clearing, only to be charged by blackspawn raiders, who used their acid breath weapons before attacking you with falchions. A redspawn arcanis was throwing fire spells into the fray from the edge of the clearing. Soon, the surviving sneaks and leapers from the previous fight arrived.

The battle slowly turned in your favor, but Suelfred was critically injured. The redspawn, doomed by a creeping cold from Arkon, determined to kill Suelfred with a fireball instead of fleeing. But Max interrupted the fatal spell with an attack of opportunity, saving Suelfred and sealing the victory.

After the battle, you decided to put your horses in the Spawns’ tents, while you spent the night in a rope trick. Although this kept you safe, a greenspawn sneak soon discovered the carnage in the campsite and ran off, returning with a large squad of raiders, stormlizards and ambushers. They killed your horses for meat and struck the camp, taking the bodies of their fallen comrades with them when they left.

You woke the next day and started again toward the west. You soon found another Spawn campsite in a clearing, but you backed away and skirted it. After another hour’s march you finally found Mossacre Glen. It was four hundred yards across an overgrown field. The house was made of enormous stone blocks, and although it was covered in moss, it seemed to be in good shape.

You waited at the edge of the field while Suelfred’s raven flew up to take a look. The bird spotted figures moving in the undergrowth, so you decided to skirt the field and take up ambush positions. Your plan worked, and you got the drop on a group of three bluespawn stormlizards and three blackspawn raiders, and defeated them easily due to superior tactics.

The way clear, you prepared to confront whatever was lurking inside the house.

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Greycastle's Workshop

You descended the stairs into one end of a long hexagonal room, with a high ceiling supported by pillars. The surfaces were dark grey, made of either metallic stone or stony metal, you couldn’t tell which. The walls were decorated with geometric patterns, and a set of double doors was set in the far wall.

You advanced toward the doors, ready for anything. As soon as Max touched the handle, seven panels opened in the walls behind you, releasing electrum, gold, and platinum golems, about 3 feet tall, shaped like beetles and armed with razor saws.

Some of the golems fired pressure darts, while others charged into close combat. The platinum golem fired a powerful bolt of lightning, skewering your group and killing Suelfred outright; he never had a chance.

The survivors quickly spread out to avoid a complete wipeout, concentrating attacks on the platinum golem. You managed to defeat them all, but Suelfred was dead.

You remembered the tiny phial of oil that James Rathbone had given you, to be used in case any of you died. You applied it to Suelfred’s body and waited. Amazingly, he stirred, hurt but alive. Rathbone’s final gift to you was Suelfred’s life.

You opened the double doors and entered Greycastle’s workshop. He was evidently a golemcrafter; his shop contained work tables, forges, tools, and stacks of half-completed golem parts. There was a door on the far side of the room. And sitting in a chair, slumped over a long-decayed dinner, was the corpse of Greycastle himself.

You left the body for now, and opened the door. It led to a sumptuous library, with shelves full of ancient books, comfortable couches and chairs, a fireplace, library tables with lamps, and a great wooden desk. You searched everything, and turned up three items of interest: a jewelry box containing five rings, a letter from Lysandra Cooper, and a five-inch metal disk with a “GS” logo engraved on it.

The rings were engraved with a command word, and turned out to be Soulbond Rings. The letter from Cooper was not written to Greycastle directly, but it mentioned the bypass combination to Cooper’s security system: Triangle, Square, Triangle. The metal disk was most interesting of all; when Arkon picked it up, it turned into an amulet. Could it be one of the portal keys?

Lastly you turned your attention to Greycastle’s corpse. Suelfred cast speak with dead, and the corpse began to talk, first verifying his identity, and that of the portal key you’d found. He also told you the name of the last of the Greycastle Sorcerers, Pforzan Forkbeard.

Satisfied with your success at Greycastle Redoubt, you loaded up your gear, your treasure and Greycastle’s body, and headed back to Crosley.

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Battle with the Blue Dragons

You were fascinated by the cube, but before you could examine it, a large blue dragon swooped into the courtyard and released a bolt of electricity. The arc caught almost every one of you, nearly killing Suelfred. You fought back while Suelfred ran for cover behind the cube. But just as the tide was turning, another blue dragon arrived, spitting more lightning. Arkon made a calculated gamble, placing a slow-building creeping cold spell on the new arrival, and it proved decisive. Elros dispatched the first dragon with a massive blow just as the second dragon started feeling the effects of the cold. It fled in a panic; you felt sure it did not survive the spell’s duration.

Looking for a place to rest, you discovered the dragons’ hoard: about 5000 gp in coin plus several magic items: a vengeance ring, a brooch of avoidance, boots of jumping and gauntlets of arrow reflecting. You slept well that night, in a small cavity below a mostly-collapsed tower.

The next morning you examined the cube. It was completely smooth and shiny; a little dirty but unaffected by 700 years of neglect. There was a door-shaped outline on one side, but you couldn’t find any handle or lock. Suelfred used knock to open it. You found a spiral staircase leading down.

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Finding Greycastle Redoubt

You crossed into Essington shortly after the encounter with Coppersmith and Raktooth. Out of the Iron Guard’s jurisdiction, the travel was easy. You had no trouble with bandits or monsters, and arrived two weeks later in Crosley, a backwater regional capital at a river mouth near the Darkspear Chain.

The locals were friendly but did not think it was wise to venture into the mountains. None had heard of Mortimer Greycastle, and none knew of anyone who had returned from the mountains. You didn’t stay long.

According to the Sage of Deancroft, it was a three-day hike from Crosley to Greycastle Redoubt. The mountains were cool and dry, with low scrub but no large forests. Halfway through the journey, you encountered two Zern Blade Thralls, large snakelike creatures with blades for arms, and their master, a Zern shapeshifter. The resulting battle took little time.

Toward the end of the next day you saw your objective. Greycastle Redoubt had not taken the years well. Every tower and wall was falling down. The portcullis was a twisted mass of rust and rotten splinters. The courtyard was full of the decaying, rotting remains of wooden buildings fallen into their own cellars. But in the center of it all was a ten-foot gleaming silver cube.

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Coppersmith Attacks

Armed with the location of Greycastle Redoubt and Mossacre Glen, you packed up to leave Lamberhurst. As you were departing, one of the sending tablets activated; it was a message from Roland, telling you that he received a report from Infinium. Roland was glad that you were making progress; he would send Infinium to check in with you again soon.

You decided to avoid the Royal Road, due to the frequent security patrols. Instead, you took a small farm track to the southwest, toward Essington. But after an hour’s travel, you came across a roadblock: eighteen skeletons commanded by a half-orc. Max recognized him immediately: Raktooth, an evil cleric of the Iron Guard, John Coppersmith’s right-hand man.

“Stop and surrender!” shouted Raktooth as his skeletons raised their swords. Ignoring his words, Max and Elros dismounted and attacked, quickly finding themselves surrounded by skeletons. Arkon began casting call lightning, but Raktooth struck back with a silence spell. Suelfred produced an obscuring mist for cover.

Nine zombies emerged from the woods, threatening the casters, and then ten Iron Guardsmen appeared, along with a mounted archer: John Coppersmith. Suelfred destroyed the zombies and most of the skeletons, while Razor raced around the melee to threaten Coppersmith. Attacked by Arkon’s flaming sphere, Raktooth took to the sky, then became invisible. Elros and Max mopped up the remaining skeletons and engaged the Iron Guardsmen.

Coppersmith sent a hail of arrows into the fray, and his men knew not to stand in the way. But they could not stand against Max’s armor and Elros’ sword; victory was at hand. Suddenly, everything went black. The Iron Guard melted into the woods, and Raktooth and Coppersmith vanished in a puff of vapor.

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Stalking the Red Dragon

You left Lamberhurst and headed toward the Dragonspine, wondering how you’d track down a red dragon that wouldn’t roast you and eat you. You plunged through Spinewood Forest and when you emerged in the foothills, you started looking up. Sure enough, there were large predators flying overhead, but too far away to identify, much less fight.

You kept walking through the hills and into the mountains. You started noticing caves in the far-off cliffs. You began pausing on the crests, observing the skies for flying creatures and watching the caves for signs of activity. You saw griffons, rocs and hippogriffs, giant eagles and even a chimera. Finally, after two days of walking and watching, you noticed a dragon entering a cave. You couldn’t tell what kind, or how big it was, but you decided to find out more.

For a day, you walked through the mountains toward the cave, stopping for a few minutes each time the cave came into view. At last you saw it: a large red dragon emerged from the cave mouth and flew away.

You hiked a few more hours to a hiding spot 150 feet below the cave, and waited. Darkness fell, but still you watched, trying to determine whether the dragon was inside the cave or not.

Finally, at dawn, you heard a mighty whoosh of air as the dragon flapped away. As soon as it was gone you scrambled up the steep slope and into the cave. It was huge, and there was a giant pile of treasure in the back. Paydirt.

After scanning the hoard for usable items, you laid an ambush, scattering yourselves about the cave, carefully plotting the sequence of magic spells you’d cast when the dragon reappeared. Suelfred posted his raven outside to act as an early warning. Max was the bait. He hid in a small tunnel, scattering treasure all around him and jingling a pile of coins in his gauntlets.

After a few hours of waiting, the raven gave the signal. Suelfred and Arkon started casting spells as Elros and Max readied their weapons.

The dragon landed lightly at the threshold, dropping a bulging sack on the cave floor with a metallic clank. She sniffed the air and cocked her head, then started in alarm when she saw the coins Max had scattered. She crept toward his hiding spot. Max jingled his coins harder.

The dragon reached the tunnel entrance and sent a blast of fire blazing through it. Max was surrounded by flames but felt minimal effects due to the magical protection Arkon had given him. The rest of you pounced, hitting the dragon from behind with weapons and spells. The fight didn’t take long. Your preparations gave her no chance at all.

Leaving the silver and copper, you cleared about six thousand in coins, gems and jewels, plus a few scrolls, a ring and some magic weapons. Suelfred scooped out the dragon’s brains, saving them in the sage’s jar. You headed back to Lamberhurst.

The sage was glad to have the dragon brains, and as he had promised, he was full of information. He told you about the third of the Greycastle Sorcerers, Leaf Greenmountain, and he knew where Lysandra Cooper’s home was: in Humberstoke, in the remote jungles of the southwest peninsula. He also knew who made the Amulet of Kings, and why.

An ancient group of magical craftsmen, the Whitesmiths, had made the amulet for Nathan, king of Leftwich, for use in his struggle against Waverly, lord of Buckminster. But although the Whitesmiths delivered the amulet to Nathan, they refused to reveal the command word unless he paid double the already staggering price. When Nathan balked, the Whitesmiths revealed the existence of the amulet to Waverly, who attacked at once with overwhelming force. His armies shattered, his treasury empty, his secret weapon useless without the command word, Nathan sold the amulet as a trinket at the Southstead docks and accepted his fate.

You left the sage’s tent invigorated, intent on finding Greycastle Redoubt.

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The Sage of Deancroft

You left the temple of the Oracle of Gneiss, heading north toward Lanverness. You slipped over the border in a remote region near the Black Peaks, and made your way to Lamberhurst. Approaching the town, you hid your weapons and armor, and found accomodations on the outskirts.

The next day, you entered the Lamberhurst market square and found the tent of the Sage of Deancroft. The sage was an old man, with a wrinkled face, bulging red nose and wild grey hair. You asked him about the Greycastle Sorcerers.

“The Amulet of Kings is what you seek!” he said, as a mischievous smile crept along one side of his mouth. “Are you going to overthrow Bartleby Sax?”

He shook his head, pondering the ramifications of a group of men intending to do just that. “Well, no matter, but I’ll need brains. Red dragon brains! And they’d better be fresh! No information, until I get brains!”

He held out a jar filled with a clear liquid. You took it.

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The Wall of Beyond

After two days of licking your wounds, you returned to the columned temple on the island. This time you watched carefully from the treeline, noting the scythers’ patrol patterns. You readied your ambush.

A scyther emerged from the row of columns, and you pounced, taking it down swiftly and silently. Working quickly, you sprinted around the pool to ambush another scyther from behind. With the plaza secure, you turned your attention to the stairway.

The thirty-foot staircase led down into a space below the pool; there was a flickering light coming from within. You descended the stairs to discover a large space, lit by a flaming soldier construct. You fought it and two others, with much better results this time. Within a minute, you were standing alone in the large chamber.

There were four twenty-foot-tall sarcophagi against the walls, and a large circle on the floor at the far end of the room. Wary of animated temple defenders, you approached one of the sarcophagi and tried to open it. As you feared, it was occupied by a huge monster. But the other three sarcophagi also opened. Four giant force golems emerged from their slumber.

Calling on arcane energies, the golems emitted damaging bursts of force that knocked you down and swatted you back. Scrambling to your feet, you backed away toward the stairs. Magic did not seem to affect the golems, and they resisted physical damage as well. Unable to withstand the repeated force blasts, you fled.

The next day you returned to the site with a plan. The sarcophagi were closed, the golems presumably sleeping inside. You created clouds of mist over the farther sarcophagi, and then simultaneously sealed the nearer pair with Arcane Lock and Stone Shape. The other two golems awakened, but you took advantage of their momentary confusion to set up in battle order. When they emerged from the fog, you dispatched them with little trouble. With the two imprisoned golems still pounding on their coffin lids, you approached the circle at the end of the room.

Touching the circle caused it to vanish, revealing a twenty foot wide pit with a ring of stairs circling down inside it. At the bottom you discovered a round room decorated with an amazing, otherworldly, animated mural—the Wall of Beyond. You stared, transfixed, for ten, twenty, thirty minutes, until you felt the pictures touch your core being.

You left the island and journeyed back through Essington, toward the Elder Crags, to report your findings to the oracle. After two weeks of uneventful travel through fields and farms, towns and cities, over hills and rivers, with only a day’s hike left on your journey, a strange man suddenly appeared before you.

“I am Infinium,” he said. “And you are to be congratulated on your work for Roland. I find much potential in you. You see, life is a game, and almost everyone follows the rules. But not you. You bend the rules. You stretch them. There is no limit to what you can accomplish. Fight for Roland. I believe him to be worthy of your efforts. I am busy, but I will help you when I am able.” Then Infinium disappeared in a puff of vapor.

Puzzled by what just happened, you continued through the mountains until you reached the oracle’s temple. You stepped inside, and entered the circle.

“Ho ho!” said the snarky voice of the oracle. “At last, someone returns from the wall! And now, for your reward.”

The oracle went on at length. The four Greycastle Sorcerers had indeed held the Amulet of Kings at their base in central Dartmoor, but when they realized its power, they secured it somewhere far away, in a chamber locked under four keys. Then they disbanded, taking the keys to different corners of the Realm.

The oracle knew the names of only two of the sorcerers: Mortimer Greycastle and Lysandra Cooper. But she also knew where Greycastle had spent his final years: at Greycastle Redoubt, in the Darkspear Chain of southwestern Essington.

She reiterated the advice you received from the Oaken Library, that the Bluestone Spire was likely to have more information. And she gave another suggestion: seek out the Sage of Deancroft, in the southern Lanverness trading town of Lamberhurst.

You decided to investigate Greycastle Redoubt. But first, you would consult the Sage of Deancroft.

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Scythers and Soldiers

After pulling your raft onto the shore, you readied your equipment and walked into the thick forest of the island’s interior. The cool green darkness enveloped you; birds sang and insects buzzed. Ahead you saw the ruins of an ancient stone building, totally collapsed and completely overgrown. Skirting this, you saw another, and then far ahead, a clearing.

You approached the edge of the woods, studying an impressive building in the open space ahead. The floor of the building stood eight feet above ground level, and was surrounded by a belt of wide stone stairs. White marble pillars held up a rectangular arcade roof, which surrounded an open-air plaza. Rippled reflections indicated a sizeable pool of water in the plaza, but you couldn’t see the pool directly from your low vantage point. You emerged from the woods and started walking toward the building. Max took the lead.

You heard a mechanical whirring sound. An animated four-armed construct walked stiffly from between the pillars. It was armed with two scythes, and its eyes glowed red. It swiveled its head to the rear and made some strange chirping noises. Then it looked back at you and blasted a scorching ray of light from its eyes. The ray shot past Max’s shoulder, blackening a distant tree trunk.

Max raced to the top of the stairs and took shelter behind his tower shield, while Elros skirted to the other side of the row of pillars. Unable to target Max, the construct moved back inside the temple and fired another volley at Elros, who noticed two more of the scythers inside. He also saw a different type of construct, an armored soldier with three-bladed axes instead of hands.

The soldier moved forward to engage Max and Elros while Arkon and Suelfed pelted the constructs with spells. Two more soldiers emerged from a stairway. One spent a moment reconfiguring the armor plates on its legs, then sprinted toward you. The other immolated itself in orange flames before joining the battle.

The fight was not going well. The first soldier had reconfigured its armor plating, making it all but impervious to physical blows. The others were doing extraordinary amounts of damage, and the scythers’ rays seemed to be even more powerful than before. Suelfred managed to neutralize the scythers rays with an obscuring cloud of mist, but even with the construct forces cut in half, you were overmatched. You fell back, retreating from the mist cloud and heading back to the woods. The constructs did not follow.

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