The Lanvernite Succession

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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Into Essington

You left the Oracle of Gneiss, heading deeper into the mountains, still pondering whether all this effort would be worth it. You’d decided to head for the Wall of Beyond, and that meant trekking through the heart of Essington.

You made it through the Elder Crags, encountering only a couple of annoyed hill giants, and journeyed ten days along farmland roads to Waterford, the current capital of Essington. After another hundred miles’ travel west, you reached the spot you were looking for: a lake, two miles wide, with an island in the middle.

The secluded setting was beautiful: tall grass, a gentle slope down to the shore, ducks, insects, reeds and fish, inviting blue water, and the thickly wooded island. But you knew that something was amiss, because the people you spoke with on your way here were frightened of the place. No one had been here in decades.

Suelfred sent his raven out to take a look at the island. The raven reported dense forest and a few white stone buildings, but no creatures. You decided to have a closer look for yourselves.

You worked for two days to build a raft big enough to carry you across the lake. Early in the morning, you dragged it down to the water and clambered aboard. The lake sparkled in the sun and the weather was pleasantly cool as you paddled across. But halfway to the island, you saw a large shadowy shape flash through the water below the raft. It disappeared as you nervously looked all around for clues as to what it was.

The elasmosaurus lunged straight up out of the water and bit savagely at Razor. You hacked at it with swords but it backed away, using its superior reach to attack you from range. Elros’ arrows did little to scare it away but Arkon’s lightning and a conjured shark eventually forced it back into the depths.

Weakened and somewhat shaken from the encounter, you landed on the island and began your search for the Wall of Beyond.

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The Oracle of Gneiss

You retrieved your horses from the stable in Hartborough and traveled overland to Winstow, where you booked passage to Summerstone, the relaxed, sun-dappled capital of Warwickshire. The people were friendly and the food was delicious and abundant, but your task was elsewhere. You pushed inland, toward the Elder Crags.

After a few days of easy travel, you arrived at the foothills. The locals knew of the oracle and gave you good directions. You entered the mountains, following a trail.

About a mile from your destination, you started noticing strange animated objects darting through the trees. They were brownish metal cubes, four inches on a side, with a glassy lens mounted on one face. They flew around, sometimes observing you, making a faint whining noise as they moved. Cautiously, you continued.

The path ended at a white stone temple, round in shape, columned and roofed, about sixty feet in diameter. The cubes buzzed around outside as you entered the temple. Inside you saw no creatures, nor any furniture or decoration other than a circle inscribed on the center of the floor. Arkon stepped into the circle.

“So,” said a snarky female voice in your heads. “Roland lives! Juicy!”

This was not completely unexpected. Marlon Sunbranch had told you that the oracle would extract memories and communicate telepathically. The oracle continued, announcing that she had the information you sought. However, since you could not afford her price, you would be allowed to perform a task for her instead. Would you read a copy of the Nine Histories of the Dark Naga, or would you look deep into the Wall of Beyond?

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The Fate of Jonas Fletcher

After a few days of rest, training and equipping, you headed from Hartborough to find Jonas Fletcher. You chartered a small vessel and headed to the rocky coast of Lanverness, where the cliffs of the Keystone Range drop into the Outer Sea.

After a few days at sea, you reached your destination, anchoring just offshore. Taking the ship’s boat, you rowed to shore, promising the captain that you’d return in five days.

A day of hiking through the mountains led you to Fletcher’s cabin, a one-room house at the crest of a low, grassy hill. No one seemed to be about, and the door was flapping in the breeze. You let yourselves in and were blasted by a wall of stench. Fletcher was lying dead on his bloody bed, decomposing.

You searched his house for clues about his fate. You found his journals, and discovered that he had been injured by an ettin, and seemed to have succumbed to the festering wound. Searching further, you recovered the papers for the Oaken Library, as well as a thin arcane spellbook, which contained a few cantrips and an unfamiliar spell called Astral Claymore.

After giving Fletcher a decent burial, you spent the night in his house before heading back toward the ship. But only a half-hour’s walk away, you encountered three ettins. They had killed Fletcher, but they were no match for you; two of them fell before the third fled into the woods.

You made it back to the ship safely, and sailed back to Silverwyn, making your way to the Oaken Library. Marlon Sunbranch greeted you there and listened to your tale. He was saddened to hear of Fletcher’s death, but grateful for the papers you brought back. In return, as promised, he gave you the results of his search for information on the Amulet of Kings.

According to the diary of a Newport archbishop, hundreds of years ago, the amulet was in the possession of the Greycastle Sorcerers, a group led by a powerful figure named Mortimer Greycastle. Although the Oaken Library had no further information about the amulet or the Greycastle Sorcerers, Sunbranch suggested that you seek out Bluestone Spire, an academy of magical lore located in North Sambria, for further research.

Disappointed with the meager information you uncovered, and daunted by the prospect of a long journey and difficult search to find Bluestone Spire, you decided to seek out the Oracle of Gneiss, in the Elder Crags of Warwickshire.

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The Oaken Library

The next day you left the road junction and headed for Fensedge. Upon arrival, you asked the townsfolk about the most recent Iron Guard patrol. Their answer suggested that you’d lost them. You decided to abandon the chase and instead pursue one of James Rathbone’s leads, the Oaken Library, in Silverwyn.

You struck out through the farmland until you reached the edges of the settled lands near the Keystone Range. You skirted the mountains for a few days, before finding a road to Hartborough. From there you traveled southeast into Moon Forest, and found the Oaken Library at the southern end of the Wolfswold Mountains.

As you entered the library, a wood elf named Marlon Sunbranch introduced himself and talked a little about the library. You explained that you were looking for information about the Amulet of Kings. He said that the library could help you for 15,000 gold pieces. Looking you over, he offered two other alternatives, missions that you could perform for the library in lieu of their normal research fee. The first mission was to slay the Wolfswold Chimera, which had been terrorizing the elves of Moon Forest. The second option was to carry a bundle of papers to Jonas Fletcher at his cabin in the eastern Keystone Range, and bring back a return package.

You mulled over your options, and then headed back to Hartborough to rest, train and re-equip.

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Return to Crystal Falls

After two more days of travel, you arrived at the outskirts of Crystal Falls behind James Rathbone’s house. But where his house should have been, you saw only smoking ruins. There was no sign of Rathbone or anyone else at the site.

Investigating in Crystal Falls, you discovered that the Iron Guard was responsible for burning the house. However, the townsfolk blamed you for attracting the Iron Guard’s attention. You decided to leave town, heading down the switchback road into Newkirk Forest in hopes of catching the Iron Guard unit that burned Rathbone’s house.

After a day of travel, you reached a junction. To the left, the road headed toward Daughterlode and Banfield. To the right, the road led to Fensedge. You decided to camp for the night. As you were tying up your horses, you heard a screech coming from overhead. Through gaps in the canopy, you glimpsed a creature flying overhead. You moved toward the trees and started untying the horses.

Suddenly, you saw it. A green dragon came screaming toward you, belching corrosive green vapor. As it wheeled around for another pass, you drew weapons and readied spells.

The dragon flashed between the trees and pounced on Suelfred. You sprang into action, surrounding the dragon and hacking it down. Crisis averted, you moved off the road and camped among the trees until morning.

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The Old Dwarven Mine

You followed the stream from Crystal Falls east toward its source in the Keystone Range. From there you used James Rathbone’s directions and your survival sense to keep moving in the right direction. You fought a flight of three griffons, killing two of them. After two days, you finally reached the old dwarven mine.

You approached across an open field and dismounted. Readying weapons, you entered the mine with Max in the lead. The tunnel lead straight into the mountain, but there was an intersection only a few yards inside. Max entered the intersection and was immediately attacked from both sides by ogres wielding greatclubs.

Max was knocked unconscious, but the rest of you revived Max and forced the ogres to retreat. More ogres appeared, but once you formed your battle line, it was clear that they were overmatched. You defeated them, and recovered much coin as well as a chest from their lair.

You explored the mine, locating a deep elevator shaft as well as a mined out emerald agate seam. Confident of at least temporary safety, you brought the horses inside and prepared to descend into the mine’s lower reaches.

With Razor guarding the horses above, you discovered a large square room with four tunnels exiting at its corners. One of the tunnels was a short dead end. Choosing another tunnel, you discovered another mined-out emerald agate vein. Returning to explore a third tunnel, you found a live emerald agate face. Even better, a pile of emerald agate lay on the floor. Scooping up one hundred pounds of the stone, you headed back to the bottom of the elevator shaft.

Just as you were preparing to ascend, you noticed two humanoids emerging from the last of the four tunnels. They attacked, swatting at you with their open palms. One of the creatures fixed its eyes upon Max, enthralling him with his gaze. But quick action from the rest of the group destroyed the creatures, turning them into clouds of vapor.

You decided to explore the fourth tunnel, and you found what you’d hoped to find: two coffins. But there was also a larger and more elaborate third coffin. You decided to destroy all three, hoping you wouldn’t have to meet the two creatures’ vampiric overlord. Leaving the coffins in flames, you exited the mine and headed back to Crystal Falls.

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