A few weeks after the success and the Keep on the Shadowfell the party has become split up as various members of the group persue personal objectives and smaller quests for Marla. Preth and Doran fall in with a Tiefling named Tal. It is during a quite evening discussing previous exploits and other generally bragging how great they all are when they are approached by a couple battered looking Dwarves.
The Dwarves explain that while on a recent expedition to a deserted, and long lost Dwarven temple, they where attacked and became separated from the third brother as they fled. They will let the party keep all they can find within the ruined temple if they can recover their brothers body.
A map to the ruined temple is provided and Preth, Doran and Tal set off. The journey to the ruined temple is uneventful. The temple itself is in a hidden valley in the hills high above Winter Haven. The entrance is soon discovered, and the party approach. It is clear that while the entrance way is Dwarven stonework, the door way has been replaced by a rough hewn wooden doorway.
1. The Goblin Hive – What appears to be a complex of old barracks and common rooms have been taken over by a band of Goblins. Battle is soon joined and while brutal and bloody the party are victorious. They capture a Goblin and question him regarding the missing dwarf. He claims to know nothing.
2 – The Chapel – Having cleared the goblins out of the deserted barracks the only doorway that appears to lead further into the complex is boarded shut (although it appears to be the Dwarven original) and a rough warning is scrawled in wood.
The door opens to reveal a Chapel. It is long deserted and and appears not to have been desecrated in any way. Approaching the alter the party are attacked by the mummified remains of the Dwarven high priest. A battle ensues and the mummified priest is dispatched. Searching for treasure they find a small very delicate key, 2 statues of Moradin and 40 gp.
Two doors leave the Chapel. One leads to bare room with two inanimate Warforged constructs guarding the exit. Deciding that discretion is the better part of valour the party retreat.
The other exit is a concealed door that leads to the old priests quarters.
The Priests Quarters – The party surprise a group of three rough looking Dwarves. After a brief stand of a short battle ensues and the two of the Dwarven warriors a felled. The third lays down his crossbow and surrenders. He explains that they are mercenaries from the Blackened Hand. They are commissioned by a mad looking priest called Karalell. They have been sent to find a 'key'. He claims to no nothing of another group of Dwarves, and explains that they entered thought a cave-in in one of the adjoining rooms.
Searching for treasures they find 300sp, 40gp and a potion of healing.
The Armoury- Leaving the Priests Quarters through an unexplored door the party come to a crossroads of passages. Turning north they come to a long passage way with a number of rooms leading off both left, right, and straight ahead. They surprise a Gnoll hunter with 4 hyena's. After some fiddling about a bit with secret room the Gnoll is overcome. They find little on him apart from a strange compess type object. He is also clearly marked with the brandings of Yoggoth, one of the evil demonic gods of the Gnolls. They also notice that wet foot prints lead through one of the doors.
At this point the party decide to rest up in the secret room.
After a pleasant sleep, apart from Preth's snoring, the gang wake up and reoriented themselves.
First off, they agreed to check out the room that the Gnoll’s footprints led from, and checking carefully with ears pressed up to the door, they heard the sounds of frantic searching .
Bursting in, they caught a quick glimpse of something running away and several mouldering crates and boxes. Chucking caution to the winds, the party ran after the fleeing creature and just caught a glimpse of a young human girl fleeing up a tunnel towards daylight. They let her go, and went back to a systematic search of the room.
Here they found two Potions of Healing and 420gp, 2xRuby (100gp each) and a Ring (100gp)
Consulting the strange compass they’d taken from the Gnoll, they set out to explore the final unexplored door at this level, before going downstairs.
Behind they found a storage room, with mouldering stacks of dwarven crates containing religious supplies, numerous gnawed skeletons and occasional stringy globs of mucus on floor and ceiling.
Preth and Doran cautiously sneaked in among the stacks, finding nothing. Doran decided to climb one of the stacks to gain the high ground. Tal chanced to look up and saw a Carrion Crawler about to attack the unsuspecting Doran, and unleashed an eldritch blast. A short one sided battle erupted in which the carrion crawler quickly became just carrion.
Just before heading downstairs, the girl child was seen again, but then quickly ran away. This mysterious figure wasn’t seen again, and the party left gifts, (Preth’s in particular might have not been very welcome though). Tal pondered later, after events, that she might have been an illusionary façade for one of the adversaries they faced later on.
The stairs led into a gloomy crypt, lined with niches for the dwarven dead of the temple. Preth and Doran quickly spotted new footprints in the dust, leading to the exit, and recognized them as made by vampire spawn, servants of Orcus. Tal brazenly stepped into the middle of the catacomb and was promptly attacked by two hulking undead fighters and a sorcerer (need exact names?). Things looked bleak for a second or two, but Tal’s Deathcut armour protected him, and once again the party quickly dispatched their foes.
The exit led through into a cunningly designed hall, where rows of narrow plinths jutted from dark water, guarded over by two giant dwarven statues, hunkered down behind their shields, Between these defenders, a giant door, surrounded by dwarven script waited. Though it was clear this script gave instructions, noone could understand them…
Doran spied out the tracks of the vampire spawn who had leaped easily across the stepping stones, and Tal found a crossbow bolt embedded in the wall, which had obviously just been fired from the vicinity of one of the statues.
Tal and Preth bravely let Doran head over the stepping pillars first, whispering encouragement. As expected, once he stepped on the pillar that had the footprint, the dwarven sentries dropped their shields revealing crossbows that shot at the nimble Doran, missing. He made it safely across, and started to work at the inspection hatches of the statues, finally opening one and began tinkering with the mechanics inside.
Meanwhile, the less nimble Tal and Preth began their comedic crossing of the pillars, Preth choose poorly, and triggered the crossbows again. Tal didn’t have time to smirk before promptly falling off a pillar into the black water below where he was attacked by an Ooze.
In the chaos that followed, Tal got clear using teleport, Preth fell in himself, and Doran left off tinkering to pull him from the oozes clutches using quickly remembered rope. The statues took angry rebuke at their tormentor and targeted Doran unmercifully, until gasping and sodden, all three retreated to the safety of the doors alcove.
Pushing open the weighty door, the party saw a large chamber, obviously once the crowning glory of the Dwarven temple, but now open to the sky above due to a partial celing collapse. Sunlight, water and plants roots tumbled in from this hole, into a large dark pool, surrounded by fallen rubble.
Doran sneaked into the chamber, keeping away from the pool and heading towards a smaller ajar door on the far wall, from which he heard munching sounds. He discovered the bodies of the vampire spawn, crushed and dripping with caustic acid. Preth and Tal ventured into the room, everyone on guard for another attacker, ready to ambush from behind the ajar door.
No one expected a young black dragon to spring from the pool and promptly attack Doran and Preth. Though hard, the fight seemed to be going the party’s way as each unleashed their mightiest attacks on their scaly attacker in the next few minutes.
Then Preth, seeking advantage by heading for the ajar door, was promptly surprised by a demonic attacker (a demonic tracker) who unleashed a number of deadly attacks on him. The Demonic figure, (a servant of Yoggoth?) dashed for the exit, carrying a package as he did so.
Fending off the dragon, Doran noticed the magic compass pointing towards the demon, and shouted out this fact. Tal dragged the figure into the pond using Demonic grasp, but then found himself between it and it’s goal, the exit to the chamber.
Depsite Tal’s best efforts, the demon used it awesome spinning blades attack, wounding him as it vaulted over him. Then, jumping easily over the last room’s pillar, it avoided his eldritch blasts.
Just then, the still potent dragon overwhelmed Doran’s heroic defence, laying him low. Chuckling in draconian, he then attacked Preth and Tal, gloating over it’s victory over brave Doran.
The fate of the adventure lay in Preth’s hands, as he coolly ignored the dragon at his back, shooting two arrows at the fleeing demon, one striking the strange disc embedded in the back of it’s neck and slaying it instantly.
Tal rushed to Doran’s side, firing wildly at the dragon and forced healing potion down the throat of the comatose, acid covered body of Doran. Preth shot again (or was it swords?) and skewered the young worm through the eye, ending it’s young life and bringing the epic struggle to a close.
In the aftermath, the joyous party found the body of the Lost Brother in the antechamber, along with the dragon’s hoard, including two magical items; Frostbrand Longsword +1 (Preth), and Gloves of the Shadowfell (Tal). The body of the brother was found to bear the Mark of the mercenaries from the Blackened Hand.
Inspecting the demonic foe, a sword hilt was discovered, rich with magical energy. The furious tugging in Preth’s pants turned out not to be some sort of social disorder, but the frantic attempts of the swords crosspiece (?) he carried to reunite with the hilt. On its death, the disc on the back of the Demon was released by the claws holding it and appeared to be, in conjunction with the compass, a magical tracking device.
Flying through the air, the sword pieces fused, and the party left the dungeon to return home, Tal hopefully riding home on Blackie…