A Dance with Shadows

Fourth Session
Darkness Ascendant

Flight of the Silver Dragons:

“You wake to the feel of a chill air on your face, and the sinuous and smooth scales of the creature below you. As gather your barrings you notice similar shapes shining in the morning light, gliding seamlessly on the winds. The silver dragons, which you now clearly see bearing your friends in various arrangements, seem to be circling slowly downwards to the forest floor below. Even so shortly after the sundering of the Great Work there is a noticable thaw in progress, the wind on your face is cool and pleasant, ice and snow around in the nearby area seems to be in full melt.

As you draw closer to the ground you see that the dragons, led by Iskhyvear, appear to be approaching a large forest clearing. You glide softly to the ground as you hear the nearby Grayflow, recently bolstered by the thaw, rushes swiftly southwards. As you dismount you notice a familiar face flash a smile from the back of Iskhyvear, as Saradoc Silverstride gracefully makes his way to the ground. “

Aha friends! It seems the paltry aid you granted me was the smallest of your victories. Perhaps you weren’t all talk after all, and for that you have my gratitude (Saradoc bows low before popping back up and slapping the nearest on the shoulder).

During the explosion of the potent Imaskari Artifact, the adventurers are infused with magical energy of the crystal, and are subject to a magical curse that cannot be cured by conventional means. With the curse comes a feeling of strange upwelling from each of the characters, though what is truly disconcerting is the lack of shadow cast by the adventurers. Those versed in the arcane can sense a faint magical aura emanating from them as well, darkness acting as beacon in the light.

Iskhyvear explains the history of Frore, why she was there, the artifact, how it was misused and how she was captured. She then inspects the adventurers and learns the truth of their curse. She explains the nature and origin of the curse to the party, and the danger they are now in. Bathed in shadow magic, the adventurers shine like beacons to those versed in the dark arts. Those who crafted the foul magic tainting the artifact must surely sense this new disturbance, but even more concerning still is the identity of the necromancer that was slain at in the Sanctum of the Stars. The woman that merged her very being with The Great Work to become the Winter’s Herald was none other than the daughter of the The Most High, Brennus the Shade Princss. Iskhyvear then reveals the identity of the face seen in the crystal to be that of Rivalen Tanthul, Brennus’ brother and High Priest of Shar in all of Faerun. It seem as if the party has drawn the attention of truly powerful foes.

Saradoc’s ability to survive the chill and his presence is explained, as he is revealed as the son of Iskhyvear and her Eladrin lover who perished long ago in battle with the original Netherese Empire prior to its fall. It can be inferred that perhaps this is the reason Iskhyvear feels so behold to Frore and the Eladrin within.

With Iskhyvears blessing, the party is given a magical amulet that holds the magically animated doorkeeper Geldite in order to aid them in their journey to rid themselves of the curse as well as to keep in touch with the great silver in time of need. While Iskhyvear must return to Frore to help restore the once great city, she sends Saradoc with the adventurers to help guild them on their way.

Geldite Amulet +1

Return to Loudwater:

“As you return to Loudwater you notice the melting ice has formed puddles of water in and around the village. As you trudge through the mud seem to catch attention of nearly all of the townsfolk, who peak out of windows and storefronts to catch a look at the travellers. You don’t make it far into the town before you are greeted by Lady Moonfire, her face shining at you as she rushes to meet you. She explains how they saw a light in the mountains, and the clouds surrounding the Star Mounts began to recede almost immediately, the snows around Loudwater ending abruptly. Ever since that point, the snow has been steadily thawing, leaving the town wet and the river overflowing. As the excitable Lady Moonfire continues to launch a steady stream of thanks and at the party, you notice the townsfolk seem to have congregated around the group, looking you over intently.”

Lady Moonfire offers the reward as promised, and free lodgings at teh Green Tankard Taverns. She mentions the museum will be closed for the day so you can choose your reward from the towns notable items on display.

Player’s spend the day in Loudwater, enjoying a steep discount at the towns various shops and socializing with locals. Some of whom seem eternally grateful, while others have become increasingly wary of the travelers presence.

Curuvar has beckoned the adventurers to his tower. He wishes to thank them in person, he mentions the foul aura that surrounds them, and the strange sense of impending doom. Magic he says

250GP
Piecemeal Scale Armor +1
Runic Leather Armor +1
Shimmering Robes +1
Shadowdance Leather Armor +1
Onyx Wolf
Flute of the Dancing Satyr

Shadow Spire:

“As party deliberates, earth beneath them shaking violent, flashes of magical energy pour in through the windows the inn and the air is rent by screams and a series of thundering explosions. A violent exploion knocks you from your feet, accompanied by a deafening eruption. As you look out the window you see shadowy forms stalking the streets, and terrified villagers running for their lives. You see a few villagers attempt to mobilize against the shadowy figures, but dark shape swoop down from the rooftops above, surrounding the unsuspecting townsfolk. You notice a massive dark shape that blots out the very stars the selves floating over the center of the town. As you continue to look, you realize this mass of darkness is actually an immense shadowy spire. From the looks of the ruined earth and buildings at it’s base, it appears to have erupted from the ground itself.”

Thagdal, Shade Lieutenant
Level 3, 750 xp

Kir-Lanan Sweeper
level 4, 175 xp

Kir-Lanan Darklasher
level 4, 175 xp

1400 XP Encounter

Kir-Lanan:
KIR-LANANS ARE MYSTERIOUS WINGED HUMANOIDS
that appeared after the deaths of a few evil gods during the Time of Troubles. They now serve Shar.

Kir-Lanan Lore:
A character knows the following information with a successful skill check.

Arcana DC 15:
Kir-lanans live in communities they call rookeries. Since Shar often requires them to work with her other devotees, however, kir-lanans can be found in Sharran enclaves across Faerûn.

Arcana DC 20:
Kir-lanans have a caste-based culture. Members of the lowest caste are called wings. Elite wings, called eyes, have powers that enable them to serve as spies and killers. Through the highest caste, called voices, kir-lanans learn Shar’s will.

Religion DC 20:
When they first appeared, kirlanans were outside divine influence and hated all deities. However, they formed temporary alliances with the servants of wicked divinities, mainly Shar. Many kir-lanans liked Shar’s doctrine of ultimate dissolution. Over time, the race fell under Shar’s sway.

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Third Session
The Sundering of Frore

Entry to the Tower:

Geldite is on the door to the towers, he congratulates the adventurers on their progress and warns them of the perils ahead of them: specifically the foul witch that manipulates the Imaskari artifact at the top of the Sanctum of the Stars. The cold is emanating from the artifact, which was discovered by powerful Eladrin wizards long ago due to its magical potency. The artifact had been constructed at the convergence of power ley-lines by the Imaskari empire, but was used as the keystone of the City of Frore.

Geldite also mentions that the city’s usual guardian, Iskhyysvear the Silver Dragon, is strangely absent. Something foul must have befallen the benevolent silver despite her immense power, what could have kept her from the fight?

Rookery:

As you enter the rookery you are struck by the towering, magnificent form of a silver dragon. The silver remains motionless, frozen in mid-roar. Appearing as if a statue smelted from pure silver ore, this must have been the benevolent wyrm you heard about previously. The silver sits on the opposite side of the tower, resting on a pile of gleaming treasure. The rest of the room is filled with small alcoves and ledges, upon some of which rest smaller silver dragons, that remain motionless much like their larger counterpart. Above you, part of the dome is left exposed to the night sky, snowflakes drifting through it slowly to the tower floor.

From the shadows of an alcoves to your left, you see a brief flash of movement as what appears to be an ivory tail whips around the corner. Moments later, you year a voice echo among the walls of the tower. “And who is this that enters my sanctum, who dares challenge the Great Wyrm of the Star Mounts? Puny vermin, you’ve stumbled into the maw of the beast. If Iskhysvear was no match for me, what makes you think your attempts will fair any better? OUT WITH IT! What brings you to the lair of Szartharrax!?”

Szartharrax
White Kobold Devotee x2

900 xp
Flask of Dragon Breath
Cincture of the Dragon Spirit

Iskhysvear – Silver Dragon Matriarch

Observatory:

As you enter this high-domed tower you are immediately struck by the gleaming silver instruments that fill the room. The floor is adorned with finely engraved astronomical charts inlaid with fine glowing gems. Floating above the various instruments, you luminous orbs rotating slowly, shimmering in a thin layer of ice. You recognize the crystalline spheres as a map of the planes. Eladrin sit around the room frozen in place,

In the center of the room is a large wooden table cluttered with parchment and quills. One particular sheaf of parchment seems to be hastily written, it mentions Brennus, a female necromancer who somehow incapacitated the Eladrin in the observatory, heading up towards the Sanctum of the Stars,

High Tower – Sanctum of the Stars:

This high ceilinged tower has a beautiful crystal dome open to the starlight. The room is covered in a thick layer of ice and frost, causing your breath to fog. It seems as if the tower has recently been the site of a tumultuous event, parts of the masonry seem to have crumbled and large gaps can be seen in the stone, open to the frigid winds of the Star Mounts.

Winter’s Herald
Frostmote
The Great Work

1100 xp
Crystal Orb

As you strike the final blow, the crystal seems to resonate with increased frequency. A rising pitch fills your ears and you are soon brought to your knees from its ringing. Just when you feel as if you can no longer bear the whine of the crystal, hairline fractures begin to skitter accross its surface like a spiderweb. The moment of brief silence is broken by the explosion of light and crystal as the air around you is filled with shards bathed in magical brilliance. The explosion hurls you backwards and are forced to shield your eyes against the light. As you come to your senses you are greeted by the sight of the sundered Great Work and the frigid wind of the Star Mounts.

You catch a flash of movement from among the shards of the Great Work. As you draw closer, you see a small fragment of the crystal reflects a cavernous room back at you that is much different than the tower in which you now stand. A gaunt, pallid face appears in the crystal and stares back at you. His sunken eyes seem a black void, and the image of a seemingly stoic face is broken by a sneer and curled lip. A hollow voice resonates from the figure as seems to mock you: “And who is this that comes to our sanctum and dares to. Well, the best laid plans eh?

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Second Session
The Lost City of Frore

Antechamber of Frore:

The party stumbles accross an Altar of Corellon, after giving donations and showing deference at the altar, they proceed down the western corridor.

Library:

Ganathil Ilthalas – Spectral Archivist

Quest: Ganathil’s Lost Tomes
Someone neglected to return a book borrowed form the library, the Archivist is deeply troubled by this matter and has asked you to retrieve it from the Living Quarters for him. He has offered you an ancient codex as a reward.
Rewards: Final Sleep Ki Focus +1, Book of Last Sight Vision, Scroll of Magic Map

Items:
Tome of Frore
Map of Frore

Scrolls:
Hand of Fate
Mordenkainen’s Acent
Arcane Lock

Temple of Corellon:

Saradoc Silverstride – High Priest of Corellon

Quest: Save Saradoc!
Saradoc is assailed by Chillborn Spirits and requests your assistance.
Reward: Amulet of Corellon +1, Amulet of Corellon + 1, Bracers of Respite

“What’s this? You don’t look to be so frigid as my other guests here, on the off chance that find their intrusion as rude as I do, I would… appreciate… a hand here.”

Chillborn Spirit x 4, 200 xp each

800 xp
Residuum – 100 GP
Residuum – 100 GP

Hallway:

“Gates of ice slam shut over the door behind as well as the two visible exits. A frigid gust of wind blows through the corridor as you see the statues in the alcoves begin to stir.”

Living Quarters:

Of Magical Creatures Most Foul, Volume II – Quest Item
Omnibus of the Feywild – Quest Item
Boots of Charging – Equippable
Fine Silver Mirror – 75 GP, A mirror made of reflective, polished electrum, set in a silver frame. The back panel of the mirror has a design of a smiling, female fey face.
Ornate Golden Bowl – 100 GP, A large bowl in good condition, made of hammered gold, worked in a design of leaping dragons fighting warriors armed with spears.
Pearl Comb – 50 GP, A fine comb with a pearl handle, engraved with intricate leaves among which dryads can be seen.
Golden Quill Case – 100 GP, A quill pen case made of gold, held shut by a clasp. Carved into the case is a scene of a scribe writing in a tome, sitting on a stool amid stacks of parchment; the symbol of Deneir is engraved on the opposite side.

Gardens:

Doors covered in a thick layer of ice. Party must break through in order to gain access.

“You see a serene garden, the plants encased in a thin layer of ice they glisten in the starlight. You soon notice that the room is lit entirely by natural light, and as your gaze is drawn upwards you are greeted by an shimmering crystal dome, open to the night sky. Stars twinkle above, their light amplified by the dome, shedding a fine light on the frozen garden below. The trees grow here as if a section of the forest was placed in the room. Marble benches sit among the foliage, and in the center of the room you notice an ornate fountain, its water frozen in place sparkling in the light of the star. On the far side of the fountain, amid a copse of tress you see a small frozen dais. As you draw closer, you notice six crystal phials sit on the dais, each a different vibrant color.”

Bag of Holding

Court of the Moon:

Frozen Eladrin x4, 25 xp each, 200
Ice Warrior Piercer x2, 125 xp each, 250
Ice Warrior Reaver x2, 125 xp each, 250
Ice Warrior Frost Lord x1, 200 xp each, 300

1000 xp
Frost Hide Armor + 1
Residuum – 100 GP
Residuum – 100 GP

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First Session
Sudden Season

Prologue:

It is Midsummer in the Gray Vale, beneath the mysterious Star Mounts at the southern edge of the ancient High Forest. The Gray Vale straddles the river Delimbiyr in the North, making it a prosperous region thanks to river traffic, merchant caravans, and other travelers looking for treasure amid the wreckage of lost kingdoms.

The area has grown into a trade center in the North in large part due to the success of Loudwater. This small town has an advantageous location at the confluence of the Delimbiyr and Grayflow rivers. Rich and arable farmland enables the community to thrive. Most merchants in the vicinity use the river to transport goods, making Loudwater an ideal nexus for nearly all commerce in this part of the world.

However, a recent change threatens to disrupt the prosperity of The Grey Vale. A sudden season has gripped the town as the temperature has dropped unexpectedly. Snow surrounds Loudwater in Midsummer, several months early and travel to and from the town is now blocked off by a raging storm that has seized the area.

Snows of these levels would not normally be seen until High Harvestide; locals worry that if this trend continues the crops will freeze and die, ruining the harvest and putting the entire area’s food supply at risk. Scouts report that it is not just Loudwater that has been struck by this mysterious chill, but the entire Gray Vale. As locals ponder the causes and ramifications of this sudden season, one thing is clear: the cold only seems to be spreading.

An Auspicious Meeting:

As a bitter wind blows through the town, villagers can be seen wrapped in furs and wearing their winter garments, hunched against the biting cold. The wooden sign of the Green Tankard Tavern squeaks on its hinges as the wind whips it back and forth. One figure, however, seems to be little effected by the harsh weather. A tall humanoid wearing well-worn leathers and furs with two curved blades at his waist strides through the square, passing villagers by in his wake. Beneath his heavy, lined hood a glimpse of his gruff face can be seen, eyes flashing briefly.

As the stranger approaches the tavern a gust of particularly harsh wind sweeps through the square and the wooden sign seems to whip more violently. Pulling open the heavy wooden door, a draft of warm air rushes out and a brief glimpse of a welcoming hearth can be seen. The well-lit common room offers a welcoming glow and comforting scene as the boisterous chatter of patrons fills the sizable hall. Travelers passing through town are granted a temporary respite here, taking advantage of an unfortunate situation to chat with the townsfolk or merely drowning their sorrows away with some local brew. The talk in the tavern, however, seems to almost exclusively concern the mysterious weather.

As the stranger looks around the lively tavern, a pair of locals in the corner catches his attention. A female Tiefling and male Half-Elf can be seen at a table near the hearth, speaking rapidly in hushed tones and gesticulating fervently. The pair seem to be having a squabble of some sort; as the situation escalates to shouts the townsfolk seem to pay them no heed. You get the impression this is a common occurrence in the tavern.

In fact, the only individuals who do seem to be distracted by the small commotion appear to be more… traveled than the tavern’s usual clientele. A figure wrapped in a black cloak, face obscured behind a heavy hood, can be seen in the corner sitting quietly, bereft of drink. Watching the pair intently, the figure moves rarely but deliberately, content to sink into the shadows beyond reach of the firelight.

Across the room, near a brazier where a pig spins slowly roasting on a spit, a gaunt and pale-skinned man sits in silence. Clad in a long, elegant black cloak that shimmers in the firelight he wears an amused expression as he strokes his lustrous black beard thoughtfully, watching the curious exchange with interest.

There is an abrupt lull in the once-boisterous tavern as the wild stranger crosses the threshold amidst a flurry of snow. Patrons turn to assess the newcomer, the crackling of the hearth continuing despite the entry. The silence is broken as the Tielfing slams her fist down on the table, standing up and bringing the argument to a fore. The townsfolk return to their rumors and speculation as the tavern door is slammed shut by a particularly large gust of wind.

In Defense of the Gray Vale:

As you head north out of town and through the rolling hills you notice the snows have not extended this far. You are struck by how beautiful the Gray Vale is in the late summer, although a pronounced chill in the air during what should be the hottest part of the day indicates that something is definitely amiss with the weather.

The dark eaves of the forest grow closer by the mile, with the Star Mounts looming overhead. While the first few hours of your journey pass uneventfully, as you travel through the Dire Wood the temperature drops steadily and a sharp wind carries with it the promise of winter, even though the leaves have not even begun their annual autumn change. With the wind come flakes of snow that begin to flurry around you. The storm’s intensity continues to rise minute by minute until quite suddenly you realize are caught in the middle of a full-on blizzard. You are surrounded by a sea of impenetrable white, as you are forced to shield yourself against the unrelenting winds. You soon realize that you cannot see more than a few feet in front of you, and have become hopelessly disoriented in the storm.

As the blizzard begins to subside, you find yourselves in a small valley nestled between the frost tinged hills and snow drift that piles around the base of the glimmering slopes. You hear the crunch of snow as small humanoid forms leap up from the hills on all sides. Their blunt faces are arrayed with icicles and their eyes smolder a deep blue. One of the creatures that bears a small wand sneers and points at you, spewing an incomprehensible command to its blue-tinged brethren.

Further down the small valley the hills rise up on either side, their sheer faces pressing inwards as the path is obscured in their shadow. Despite the enclosed nature, you feel a strong, bitter wind blowing through the small passage, nearly knocking you off your feet.

The farther you travel, the stronger the wind grows. Chilling you to the bone and forcing you to hunch against its cruel bite. After travelling for a time, the pinprick of light the end of the valley that begins to grow. As you reach the end of the crevasse you see that it terminates in a sheer cliff with the forest floor spreading out before you for leagues. Thousands of feet below the trees of the Dire Wood create an ocean of green and blue.

The Star Mounts:

This ancient range of mountains marks the southern boundary of the High Forest and takes its name from the queer lights that shine from its heights. Legends claim that these mysterious mountains are home to magical creatures. Perhaps the most unusual story is that in the upper reaches, great crystal towers grow out of the rock. It is uncertain just who or what lives inside these towers (if they even exist), because clouds blanket the peaks year round and few have the courage to ascend the heights.

The earliest recorded names for these mountains have been attributed to the elves of Earlann, who named them for the stars in the northern heavens. Bard’s Hill, Mount Vision and Hunterhorn today only possess the rough translation of their elven names, but Far Peak, Mount Journey and Shadowpeak are still sometimes known by their original names, respectively Y’tellarian (The Far Star), Y’landrothiel (Traveller’s Star) and N’landroshien (Darkness in Light). It is said by some that these names hint at some mystery which lies within the range.

Looming above you, the peak of the Star Mounts glisten in the sun. You see a ledge leading left up into the mountains, about ten feet wide with with the mountainside on the left and a sheer drop on the right. The cold winds buffers you against the cliff-wall, but you find little respite there.

Eventually the ledge begins to widen, the wind blows fiercely here and the snow swirls in a way that obscures your vision. Just barely in the distance, you can make out the strange circle of blue ice standing stones. The circle sits on a thick glacial overhang covered with snow and pocked with boulders. The peak of Crone’s Finger, a jagged mountain that towers above the Star Mounts looms above you, obscuring the overhang in shadow.

Near the far edge of the overhang, next to what appears to be a horn made of solid ice, glimmering in the failing light. The glacial outcropping points directly to what appears to be another mountain peak in the distance, however, as harsh winds blow, the clouds surrounding the base are disperesed, revealing the peak to be an elemental mote. The Icemote hangings in the air against the shoulders of the Star Mounts, glistening with crystalline towers. While the mote appears to merely be a a particularly jagged mountain top at first glance, upon closer inspection the dozens of towers make it seem like a spectacular city crafted from the the ice itself.

Icemote and the Crystalline Towers:

The Lost City of Frore, nestled in the peaks of the Star Mounts on the peak of N’landroshien (Darkness in Light). Crafted by the Eladrin at the convergence of powerful magical leylines, the city was lost to the Feywild many years ago. The city has reemerged since The Spellplague, it’s latent magical power attracting unwanted visitors.

As the horn sounds the standing stones begin to glow, runes emerging on their surface. At the center of the stones a point of light widens into a tumultuous portal. Looking through you see ornately hewn walls of ice in what appears to be an antechamber.

You are acutely aware of the continued echo of the tremendous horn, as it ringing accross the mountain peaks you hear a slow rumble as the slumber of the pristine peaks above is abruptly broken. As rocks are hurled from the mountain above, you now see cause of the numerous boulders strewn across the outcropping. It almost seems if the mountain, awakened from its long and peaceful slumber, is angered by your intrusion.

As you emerge from the portal, you are surrounded by an identical circle of standing stones. You see shining gates towering before you, seemingly crafted from the mountain itself. An array of ice-statues dot the small outcropping surrounding the gates as well as the standing stones themselves.

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Introduction
Trouble in Loudwater

The town of Loudwater sits at the confluence of the Delimbiyr and Grayflow rivers. The forested shoulders of the Star Mounts rise above the town in the Northwestern sky. These cloud-veiled peaks remind the townspeople that beyond the town’s walls stretch wild lands, where deadly monsters threaten the unwary.

Merchants, caravan guards, local craftsfolk, hunters, farmers, and retired adventurers treat the Green Tankard Tavern in Loudwater as a second home. The tavern attracts young and old with its warm company and tall tales. But before buying an ale for one of the inn’s regulars, a visitor should think carefully. Many adventures have started from stories exchanged over cheap ale and hardy food, but not all have ended with the glorious exploits of which bards sing. An old story or a wrinkled map could be the doorway to adventure — or the path to a quick death.

In the tavern’s common room, talk turns to tales of a sudden season. The temperature in the Gray Vale has been dropping unexpectedly, and snow surrounds the town in the middle of Summer. Travel out of the town is now blocked off by a raging snowstorm that has seized the area. Snows of these levels would not normally be seen until High Harvestide, and locals worry that if this trend continues the crops will freeze and die, ruining the harvest and putting the entire area’s food supply at risk.

Scouts report that it is not just Loudwater that has been struck by this mysterious chill, but the entire Gray Vale. As locals ponder the causes and ramifications of this sudden season, one thing is clear: the cold only seems to be spreading.

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