The Exploration Of Faerun

Unfortunate Endings

After a week of fruitlessly searching the Spiderhaunt Woods for Randall Morn, the rightful leader of Daggerdale, the party give up all hope of finding him at all, never mind alive. So they return to Shadowdale with the Sword of the Dales to inform Lhaeo of their findings.

They knock on the door and suddenly hear ear-splitting banging and crashing followed by a great deal of oaths and mutterings. After a minute Lhaeo opens the door appearing somewhat bedraggled and welcomes the party in.

As they enter they are immediately taken aback by how dirty and un-kept the circular room is. They all guess that an almighty explosion must have been the cause of the ear-splitting banging as every flat surface in the room is covered with paper.

Books, scrolls, notes, memos, little yellow sticky things, atlases, tomes, librams, charts, sketches and all manner of other paperwork completely obscures anything resembling furniture. The only thing visible apart from paper is a spiral staircase in the middle of the room which seems to lead up and down.

Lhaeo says “I assume by the grim looks you are all wearing that you did not fare well?”

The party then explain everything that has befallen them thus far.

Lhaeo thanks the companions for their help and for risking their lives and asks if they would leave the sword with him and he will examine it for any clue to the location of Daggerdales rightful leader.

Just as the pc’s are leaving he asks them if he happens across any further information then could he count on their assisstance, to which the Shadowdale Four pledge their help if it is required.

Watchful Eyes

Beyond the doors is a 30-foot corridor that curves to the North and ends in a hall. The party head on with Borloff and Ultyr leading with weapons drawn.

The hall opens into a vast chamber that is 100 feet long and 50 feet wide. In the centre of the room lies an ornate coffin with brass trim. The lid has been tossed to the floor and lies broken some distance away.

As soon as the pc’s eyes adjust to the light, they see a remarkable sight: a figure hovering over the coffin. The form, a human clad in gray robes and suspended horizontally above the casket, makes no movement and seems to be sleeping. Gray hair hangs down from his head, and his skin seems old and leathery. A faint blue light radiates from the coffin.

Overhead, globes of white radiance shine down, giving the centre of the room an eerie theatrical appearance.

The Shadowdale Four cautiously approach the coffin and attempt to talk with the figure floating over the coffin.

There is no response from the figure and when they try to reach out and touch him their hands pass harmlessly through him. Merthan announces that this must be an illusion. Also according to the history of this place and what Lhaeo told them, then this must be Shraevyn, the maker of this tomb.

As they look into the casket they see the interior is filled with tattered rags. Lying upon them, hilt toward the door, you see the origin of the odd blue glow: a beautiful long sword. A piece of paper is tied around the hilt with what appears to be string.

Suddenly they hear the sickening screech of stone grating against stone, and skeletons burst through the wall into this vast chamber. Eight skeletons (two of which stand above the others) rush toward the party, weapons raised. Four other humanoid creatures lumber slowly forward, their human faces twisted in agony. Judging by their tattered appearance, you quickly deduce that they were probably companions of Randall Morn.

Ultyr Ravenwing grasps the sword in the casket and screams a battle cry before charging headlong into the undead.

Merthan starts to cast burning hands as he knows undead are particularly vulnerable to fire.

Condar draws upon the power of his God by chanting and grasping his holy symbol. He is attempting to stop the undead from coming any closer by the power of his faith to Corellon Larethian.

Borloff rushes into battle alongside Ultyr as his pride will not allow a woman, a human one at that to destroy more of these skeleton than him!

The battle sways back and forth with the might of the Verbeeg Giant Skeletons seemingly too much for the Shadowdale Four. It isnt until Condar manages to turn the zombies and turn his attention back to wiping up the weaker skeletons that the party finally manage to outnumber the Monster Skeletons and eventually destroy them.

After the battle the party are on deaths door and if not for drinking the last of their healing potions that Lhaeo gave them then they would not have survived.

Upon feeling health radiating back around their bodies Ultyr then glances down at the note tied to the handle of the sword she picked up. It reads;
Seek me in Spiderhaunt.
The survival of Daggerdale depends on the return of this blade to my hand.
Send word to my sister, Silver Morn, of whatever should befall me.
– R . M .

True Calling

After Borloff Ironhand has drank another potion of healing to help heal his badly burned leg the party the walk towards the main door. After completing a riddle which the answer is party unity the Shadowdale Four enter the tomb.

As their eyes become accustomed to the dim light of the chamber, they see a 60-foot-long corridor with a 10-foot-high arched ceiling that leads into darkness beyond the open door. The hallway is oddly illuminated, and when they walk through the door they realize that the source of the light is coming from reddish, glowing balls that seem to be suspended in mid-air above their heads.

Their eyes have barely adjusted to the low light in the room when they notice that the walls are lined with mosaic tiles that create two distinct scenes, one on either wall.

Unlike the rock-strewn landing outside, the interior of the tomb appears well preserved. The only dust they see comes from their own boots, and the polished stone floor appears to lead into a larger chamber just beyond the reach of the light.

The party walk onward in single file following in exactly the same steps as Borloff who is busy searching for more traps.

As the party get further along the corridor, globes of red light activate above their heads, bathing everything in a warm red glow. This glow reveals a large chamber ahead of them.

In the centre of the chamber, there is a huge silver circle, 30 feet in diameter, that has been inlaid into the stone floor. A large sun symbol is set into its center. Ten round, shallow depressions encircle the outer edge of the symbol, and each depression nearly touches a ray from the sun.

Ten small alcoves are set into the walls, five each on the north and south sides of the chamber. A glint in the darkness of each alcove catches your eye. When they move closer to inspect the alcoves, they find a golden three foot tall pot in each one.

A message appears to have been melted into the silver door to the west. In common, it reads: “Some decisions are more lasting than others.

Upon investigation of the ten pots the party quickly deduce that these must be put in the correct order in the shallow depressions on the outer edge of the symbol. The problem is Merthan explains, what are they and in what order?!

After examining each pot they quickly come to realise that this is another riddle as each pot is identical but each one acts in a complete different way upon approaching it. Some examples include;

The golden vessel in this alcove seems to glow brighter as you approach. Just as you reach inside to pick it up, it disappears.

The surface of the jar shimmers for a moment, then reveals the area outside the tomb. The tall statues still stand silent, gazing across the broken shale landscape. The glimmering silver door remains open.

A carving of a skeletal humanoid appears on the surface of the jar. A cracked helm and rusty sword are all that the ghoulish figure carries. It makes no movement, but its ghastly appearance is bone-chilling. The face of the skeleton on the canister appears almost too real for comfort.

The lid of this jar is missing. When you peer inside, you see moist, dark dirt that fills the container about one-third of the way.

Condar inserts his hand into this jar and yelps in pain, instantly withdrawing his hand! As he reached near the bottom of the jar his hand got burnt. Some how there is a fire burning in the bottom of this jar.

It is Merthan the wizard who solves this riddle due to Condar burning his hand. He explains that all elements exist in the jar, there is fire, earth, water and due to the jar only being filled one third of the way then the remaining two thirds are filled with the last element…air.

After he figured out what that jar was signifying he quickly deduced that each pot represents a school of specialization that a wizard could follow and that they must be placed on the depressions across from their opposite school.

When Ultyr places the last jar in the correct place a bright silver light illuminates the sunburst symbol, and the metal doors to the west creak and groan as they swing inward. The hinges, coated with centuries of rust, shriek through the complex as the heavy doors finally slam against the wall with a hollow “thud.”


Day 3; Giants Craw

The party set off and are all fully recovered from their skirmish with the Stirges the previous night.

It is mid afternoon when they come across an uninhabited valley which they realize must be the location of the long lost tomb they are looking for from the description Lhaeo gave them.

If a trail once led down into this valley, it has long since vanished. Scrub pines and large deposits of loose, black shale are all that they can see. Still, they determine that traversing the valley should prove to be little trouble. The slope is gentle, the stopping places are many, and the bottom of the valley is only about a hundred feet below.

It’s no wonder that no one found the tomb before now, it would never have been discovered had it not been for a landslide that revealed the main entrance. From the looks of the deep mounds of fresh shale and broken trees that litter the escarpment, they determine that the disaster was fairly recent.

As Merthan squints against the sun, he spots a hole— which must be the tomb entrance —at the top of the pile.

Just as the party prepare to head downward, a band of riders breaks through a stand of trees a few hundred feet away.

A human dressed in Zhentil Keep colors, abruptly reins in his horse as the other five riders behind him nearly run over each other in their haste to stop. It’s obvious from their shock and surprise that they didn’t expect the party to be here. The riders hold still and stare at the group in bemusement.

Two unarmoured men in robes, riding in the back of what looks like a Zhent patrol, eye the companions suspiciously. Then one of them appears to goad the leader on with some muttered commands. That rouses the patrol, and the other robed figure screams, don’t just look at them, kill them!” as he smacks his staff across the lead horse’s rump. As the first four armored riders charge, the robed men disappear from atop their horses.

Merthan unleashes his magic missile which strikes the lead rider in the chest. He grimaces in pain but charges on.

After the initial charge the four Zhentil Keep soldiers dismount and attack on foot.

The battle lasts nearly 20 minutes and it is only half way through the fight when the patrol realize that the Mages have abandoned them. This however, is no concern for them, as they know that death at the hands of the Shadowdale Four is a far better fate than what their Zhentarim masters would have in store.

After the party have defeated the patrol Condar casts cure light wounds on Ultyr and gives both Borloff and Merthan potions of healing as they took some heavy damage during the fight.

The party decide to search the dead soldiers and during the search they find a ring, 4 x chain mail, 2 x long sword, 1 light crossbow and 2 daggers. Each soldier carried a sack containing 3 x Iron Rations and 50gp

One set of chain mail looks of very good quality so they take this set, the ring, gold and weapons and then head on into the tomb.

The party head towards the steps which lead to the tomb. They notice the steps are all chipped and broken in spots, no doubt the result of the avalanches that buried and, more recently, uncovered the entrance to the crypt.

Two 20-foot-tall stone statues flank both sides of a large rectangular landing at the top of the stairs. The statue on the left appears to have taken an assault from the valley, as one arm has broken off and now lies half-buried in the shale.

In between the two statues imbedded into the mountain itself, there is a huge metal door. Sunlight reflects off it in bursts and beams, forcing the four to shade their eyes as when they look upon it.

Borloff is the first up the stairs, pointedly looking for any traps or other nasty surprises. Being a dwarf, he knows instinctually that although this tomb has had a rough time of it with avalanches and land slides it is structurally sound. During his search, he discovers the outline of a small door on the back of the left statue.

Not waiting for the others, Borloff attempts to open the door, thinking, that there may be some treasure hidden there. He mutters to himself greedily,
“if I can get me hands on that treasure unnoticed then thats more drink for me belly, tobacco for me pleasure, and whores for me bed! A dwarf always needs some nice young filly to keep him warm at night, har, har, har.”

Once he has just finished muttering he attempts to lift the small latch on the door and it opens surprisingly easy. As soon as the door begins moving, there is audible click. Before Borloff has time to react to this, there is a powerful explosion. Gouts of flame erupt in a fiery ball shaped mass!

He manages to duck and roll out of the way but not before feeling the heat of the explosion burning his right leg and back.

The other party members come rushing up to the statue after hearing the explosion to check on their friend. Upon reaching the statue they see a half burned, cursing dwarf hopping up and down pouring his waterskin over his badly burned leg. Merthan pokes his head around the now open door to see a blank wall with an inlaid brass plaque that reads;

“Hope you enjoyed the show!”

Attack Of The Stirges

A few leagues further on the trail and the Shadowdale Four are slowly relaxing as there doesnt seem to be anyone or anything following them.

A low roar of water becomes louder as they near a stone bridge. After conferring with each other and their map the four correctly deduce that this is the mighty Ashaba river, churning about 50 feet below the bridge and making its way south.

The rush of water below the bridge is dizzying. A weather-worn sign proclaims this to be Serpentsbridge.

The Shadowdale Four decide that this is as good a place as any and stop for midday meal. Upon finishing they cross the bridge without incident and continue on.

They are making steady progress Northward guided by the mighty Desertmouth Mountains to the West. Later that evening when they are walking through barren plains they confer and decide to stop and camp. A mile or so ahead lies a small stand of trees.

Just as they are setting up camp they notice birds flying above and around the copse of trees ahead. As they watch, a small flock breaks away and soars toward the party. As the distance between them diminishes, they suddenly realize that these are not ordinary birds. Borloff gasps as the other three begin to make out the creatures’ batlike wings and rusty red colorings. Long beaks and clawed legs jut from their slim bodies. Borloff screams Stirges!


With that the Shadowdale Four draw their weapons and quickly get into their fighting diamond formation.

Eight Stirges in all attack the party with their long beaks and clawed legs. Condar is the first to be bitten and grunts in pain, he thumps the Stirge in the head breaking off the blood drain it was attempting and swings at the another with his mace narrowly missing its wing.

Ultyr has three attacking her as they see a woman as the weakest of the party. Big mistake she thinks, as she immediately takes one out with one swing of her sword.

Borloff goes into a roll just as two dive bomb him, thrusting upward with his dagger and expertly aims the point straight through the eye and up into the brain of one of the foe.

Merthan starts to chant in an arcane language and move his fingers in a well practiced spell. Just as the Stirge is about to swoop down and attack, Merthan unleashes a missile of magical energy which unerringly strikes its target dead centre and blasts him backwards from the force instantly killing it.

The struggle continues for a little while longer but the party eventually come out on top, although not without wounds to show for it. Borloff and Condar both sustained attacks from the Stirges which drained some of their blood and are feeling rather weak.

The party then decide they will head off the trail and pass around the trees before setting up camp.

The rest of the night passes uneventfully and the Shadowdale Four get some much needed rest and recuperation.

A Half Day Too Late

The party awake early and after a hearty breakfast cooked on the shrines fire they set off to continue with their quest.

As they head onwards the narrow trail opens up slightly, revealing a small campsite. A large rock lies on the opposite end of the camp, flanked by a huge tree stump. They see a crude lean-to built against one tree, and a fire ring lies directly in front of the structure. The coals are cold, the fire is dead, and the camp is still. Inside the lean-to a figure rests inside a bedroll, unmoving as they approach.

They approach cautiously, fruitlessly calling out to the camp although the heavy weight of death surrounds this place. Ultyr Ravenwing readies her weapon and pulls back the bedroll to reveal a half elf male who looks to have been killed by something horrible as upon closer inspection there is no sign of wounds, blood or even the faint smell of poison. The half elf looks completely white and pasty.

Lying next to him are his possessions a sheathed scimitar, a dagger, a diary, a quill pen and inkwell, and a jug of dwarven spirits which the characters decide to take with them.

After a hushed few words to each other they decide that they dare not waste any time here giving this poor soul a burial incase whatever killed him decides to come back. The priest Condar performs a hurried few words and asks his deity to help this poor, lost soul find his way in the afterlife.

Day 1, Travel Along The Northride

The Shadowdale Four set off from The Old Skull Inn at first light. After conferring with Lhaeo and the map he gave them, they surmise that according to the information they have, the long lost tomb is located in a valley to the north called Giants Craw. It was supposedly a landslide which uncovered the crypt.

The party guess that if the weather is fine and encounters are favourable it should take them between three and four days to reach the valley.

Soon setting off, the party pass the usual travellers on the Northride. Most are citizens of Shadowdale who are going about their daily life and for the most part ignore the party.

Not to long after beginning their journey the party see a long procession of carts, wagons and horses approaching from the South West, further along the Northride. As the distance closes between the two groups the party see a band of 6 riders gallop forward from the wagons.

They get closer and the party can see they are all dressed in some sort of livery. Ultyr Ravenwing informs the rest of the party that the riders are Purple Dragons from the kingdom of Cormyr.

A man, the leader, breaks off from the group and heads toward the party. They can see he is wearing full plate mail armour and carrying a sheathed long sword. He introduces himself to the party as Commander Scott Harikon and is currently guiding the House-Merchants of Arabel northward to Shadowdale and beyond.

He offers to sell the Shadowdale Four any items they require and it is during this bartering that Ultyr Ravenwing strikes up a conversation with him as she is also from Cormyr.

After they have stocked up on their provisions the party bid farewell to the caravan and continue onwards.

Later as the sun begins to set the party come across a small stone building with a thatched roof that looks very well maintained. After a close inspection of the outside of the building and the surrounding garden the companions discover that this building is a shrine to four gods (Torm, Chauntea, Silvanus and Mielikki) and decide to pay a homage and rest there for the night.

A Meeting With A Certain Scribe

As the party are finishing their meal and the inn has died down, a tall, thin, stranger wearing wire rimmed spectacles enters the tavern. He looks around and then asks to join the Shadowdale Four at their table.

The party accept and it is then he introduces himself as Lhaeo scribe to the famous sage Elminster.

He then informs the party that he has a quest for them if they are willing to accept. He says that Randall Morn who is the rightfull leader of Daggerdale has been attacked and has vanished when he was searching the tomb of a long dead wizard for a powerful sword.

There was one survivor of Randall’s party called Ariton who managed to escape and alert Lhaeo. He informed Lhaeo that Randall managed to find the sword but when he was exiting the tomb he was attacked by The Zhentarim.

The Zhentarim were defeated with relative ease but it was what happened after that which took everyone by surprise.

Suddenly undead, skeletons, ghouls and zombies began rising from the ground and attacking Randall and his party. Ariton watched on in horror as his friends were all slain and before he ran for help he saw a strange green light envelop Randall.

After discussing it amongst themselves the Shadowdale Four decide that they will accept the quest and try to find Randall Morn and his fellows if any are alive.

Lhaeo is very grateful when the party accepts and asks if they could leave first thing in the morning. He gives the party a magical sword, some potions of extra healing and a map to aid them in finding the long lost tomb.

The Beginning Of The End

It was the same old sort of night in The Old Skull Inn. The usual chairs were taken up with the usual faces. The same old woman is plucking her lyre, singing a sweet melody while a few customers are trying to listen in to her crooning voice.

There is a collection of four people sat around a table enjoying a delicious meal cooked up and served by Turko Breem who are getting to know each other more.

Borloff Ironhand, Condar, Merthan and Ultyr Ravenwing are the newly formed Shadowdale Four and they have just began their future together as friends and companions. Each member has followed a different road to Shadowdale but they have pledged that the road they take out will be together.

It is after they finish their meal that the most important (and perhaps final) chapter of their lives begins…..


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