Adventure 5: The Amber Charm
“An amulet of awesome powers. It must be delivered to Themas Herklar, who is regent in the land of Phalkar.”
Given the choice between delivering the mysterious amber charm or using the map they'd found to locate and rob the fabled lost tomb of Kandakore the party decided that delivering the charm would be the quicker option and set about getting to Phalkar.
The Owl vortex inexplicably deposited them in the town of Sfanol and not in the capital Alkarion. Here they discovered that magical travel to Alkarion was blocked and that Themas Herklar had been imprisoned by his two wizard advisers Elviriom and Thalkalides.
In his place these two miscreants had installed a creature of their own making on the throne. A magical youth named Unus, made with chemicals and other matter which they shaped into human simulacra with their demoniac arts, with the aid of Belthamquar the father of demons and Thelonia his mate, who breathed life into it.
Elviriom and Thalkalides are now systematically eradicating all other wizards and necromancers from the kingdom.
Phordog Fal, a local wizard befriended by the players, is explaining this sorry situation to them when undead agents of Elviriom and Thalkalides attack him in his home.
The heroes save his life by destroying the attackers and Phordog Fal flees for his life.
The heroes go to see if the other wizard they met on their arrival here is alright but arrive too late to stop a demon, Shokkoth of the Red Spheres, from gravely injuring him and destroying his manse.
The party fights Shokkoth of the Red Spheres amidst the burning remains of the wizard Zoqquanor's workshop and eventually banish him.
During the fierce battle Zoqquanor's body floats off to a nearby cave where strange machinery of the 'other men' attempts to revive it by using the rejuvenating properties of fluids siphoned from a captive serving girl.
The heroes intervene and rescue the girl.
They also defeat the demonic servitors of Zoqqanor who turn up with more captured girls in case their fluids are needed too.
After this short interruption the party heads off to Alkarion along the main road to the capitol. Their interference has brought them to the notice of Elviriom and Thalkalides who send their undead slayers after them.
After fighting off the assassins the heroes make their way into the city past guards both human and demonic. They bypass sentries and magical defences to infiltrate the palace and descend to its depths where Themas Herklar is being kept prisoner.
They free Themas Herklar and make their way to the throne room where they launch a devastating attack, supported by the loyal palace Leopard Guard, against the two scheming wizards and their demonic construct.
The battle is quick and bloody. The two evil wizards are felled by fireballs and magic missiles whilst Unus is hacked to death by the fighters. His fabled 'gaze of death' doesn't claim even a single victim.
Themas Herklar regains the throne of Phalkar, accepts the gift of the amber charm (although he knows nothing about what it is or where it comes from) and rewards our heroes with wealth, land and titles.
Thus ennobled, our now aristocratic adventurers head off to rob the lost tomb of Kandakore.
Adventure 6: The Tomb of Kandakore
The party found a map to the location of the lost tomb of Kandakore whilst skulking about in the Rat King's court.
"Gods, maybe there is something to the old tales, after all. I suppose you’ve heard them, that Kandakore empowered Ebboxor, who was his mage, to build his tomb well and hide it, then mark its location on the skin of his favourite slave girl."
Determined to open the tomb and strip it of its long-hidden treasures they travelled south by owl to Tharia and the haunted ruins of the city of Phyrmyr.
Using the map they located the entrance to the tomb beneath a statue of Kandakore.
They made their way into the tomb.
Through the burial chamber and into the hidden treasure room.
Where everything started to go wrong. There was another secret door here, a huge one that radiated magic and evil.
Without warning the floor collapsed and tumbled the party towards the new door. The first two adventurers that hit the door vapourised in an instant. Everyone else managed to halt their fall by bracing themselves against the sloping floor and rubble.
The Eidolon that had been following the heroes as a passive observer suddenly sprang to life and, bracing itself against the secret door, began to grow in size all the while shouting out the name of Belthamquar, the father of demons in an ever louder voice.
The tomb began to disintegrate around the party as the Eidolon grew and pressed against the walls and its voice shook loose the stone blocks of the ceiling.
The heroes fled for their lives finally reaching the surface again with two of their number unconscious.
After some introspection, resting and healing the reduced band, on the advice of both Bathophet and Belthamquar who turned out to be quite helpful demons despite their reputations, set out to raise the spirit of Afgorkon the ancient mage who had probably foreseen these events millennia ago and would be able to give them some advice.
They chartered a ship from the port of Zoane and set out to recover the lost tablets of Afgorkon from the sunken remains of Hatharon, the city of Afgorkon's birth. These tablets, they were sure, would allow them to commune with the spirit of the long dead wizard.
Reaching their destination they sent down divers to retrieve the tablets they sought.
The divers never returned. Instead the writing arms of some monstrous denizen of the deep surrounded the ship and began to pluck the crew from the deck and drag them beneath the waves.
Furiously the fighters hacked the arms apart as fast as they appeared and they seemed to be making progress against the onslaught when the monstrous head of the Kraken broke the surface and sounded its bellow of rage. So fearsome was this sound that everyone who heard it felt their very bones crumble.
A silence spell from the quick thinking wizard ended this threat and forced the Kraken to move in to physically attack the ship.
As soon as it was in range one of the fighters leaped onto its head and slaughtered it with a barrage of mighty blows.
With the Kraken gone it was an easy matter to retrieve the tablets from the remains of Hatharon.
Following the instructions on the tablets the party returned to Phyrmyr and located a lone tower where the summoning ritual was to take place.
As the long ritual began clawed ones, ethereal yemli who haunt the deep desert, flocked to the tower seemingly bent on stopping the ritual.
The hordes of desert spirits were successfully kept at bay by the fighters and the wizard completed the summoning ritual.
The spirit of Afgorkon once again inhabited his Eidolon and spoke to the heroes.
Afgorkon explained that Kandakore had built his tomb on to one of the antediluvian tombs of the Izvoreni. He reiterated the threat of the Golems of Meaning and the need to deactivate the other tombs before the Golems arrived and destroyed the world.
The heroes agreed to enter the nearby tomb which was dormant thanks to the actions of Kandakore and Ebboxor his wizard and learn what they could about the tombs and their occupants. Later they would have to enter the four remaining active tombs so any information they gleaned now could help them in the future.
Entering the time tomb the adventurers were faced with many strange and unsettling things not the least of which was the sheer size of the structure that seemed to exist outside of time and space.
The found broken devices including a strange 'proto-head' on a plinth and imaging devices that were no longer functioning.
Finally, deep within the tomb they came across a huge sarcophagus and the mummified body of the Izvoreni.
It tried to destroy them but in its weakened state it was no match for the party who sent it to its final rest.
Returning to Afgorkon the heroes realised the tomb had posed more questions than it had answered. Why had they fought a giant mummy when the Izvoreni were not even humanoid? What would the proto-head do in an active tomb? With all those imaging devices would the tombs even be recognisable when they found them?
Afgorkon offered what help he could. He gave them pointers to the locations of the other tombs before returning to his timeless sleep.
As the party headed home they left behind them the Eidolon of Afgorkon, once again lifeless, standing in silent vigil atop the lonely desert tower.
Ahead of them lay a journey to the Yellowing Wizard's Tower and an appointment with the Long Dead Future Men...
No sooner was the Kraken killed than another, larger creature appeared.
This one proved to be friendly.