Borderland of Adventure #48: Terror in the Dark

At the end of last session, we left our heroes catching their breath after a particularly vicious fight with a cloaker. After gathering themselves and tending a few minor wounds, the party searched the area. They found nothing of real interest in the chamber except a sinister symbol (identified as the mark on Amon-Pyr an elder demon god of madness and water worshipped by troglodytes) worn on a chain by the cloaker. Oreal mused that perhaps this was the same power worshipped by the troglodytes the party had so recently battled near the village of Roake.

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Cautious exploration to the south by Squinty discovered another room accessible over a large pile of rubble while to the west lay a room with a pentagram.

The party decided to go south and entered a chamber featuring a skeleton hanging from the ceiling by ropes above a divan. As they entered to investigate it, an amorphous black shadow rose from the floor and attacked! Squinty and Oreal were both badly hurt by the fell creature – later identified as a wraith – as it consumed their life force. Adoven repeatedly struck the creature with his holy power but it seemed strangely resistant to his attacks. However, the party’s attacks eventually began to tell and soon the wraith began to employ hit and run tactics – using its incorporeal state to duck through walls, into the floor and so on. Frustrated by the situation, Squinty spied a blackened gem in one corner of the room and smashed it, hoping that it’s destruction would injure or slay the wraith. While her thinking was sound, the wraith survived this unexpected attack, but was eventually slain by Adoven’s divine power. More healing ensued and although the party found some expensive furniture nothing portable of  value was recovered.

Heading back to the room with the pentagram, the party searched the area cautiously, but apart from some candlesticks and scattered papers that once seemed to be part of a book on self-improvement the area was empty. (The pentagram still radiated moderate conjuration and necromantic magics and so the party was reluctant to disturb it).

But one exit led away from the room. The short corridor was full of the sound of running water and around a corner the party found a rude bridge spanning a narrow stream. As Adoven approached to investigate a watery figure rose from the stream. Although it looked exactly like the twin they sought, the party immediately realised something was wrong as it tried to mentally dominate first Adoven and then Hemgor. Luckily, a previously cast magic circle against evil blocked both effects and the creature fled.

Crossing the bridge the party discovered a small passageway and a side chamber in which three zombies lurked. As they party leapt to attack the zombies disaster struck. From the other end of the passageway a strange tentacled creature emerged. Vaguely humanoid shaped it proved to be a powerful spellcaster. As the party struggled to both slay the zombies and meet this new threat it deluged them in fire and a cold miasma that injured everyone save Krorz. By this time, many of the party were seriously injured, or unable to fight the creature because of the corridor’s close confines. In desperation, Adoven blocked the corridor with a stone shape spell to gain some respite as Hemgor slew the last zombie.

Much healing magic was employed while the creature struck at the other side of the wall with its tentacles. After a few moment, silence descended on the other side of the wall and the party pondered their next move. Sadly, they tarried too long in the corridor. Darkness so dense that magical light and darkvision could not penetrate it descended upon them. Panic broke out. Hemgor tried to break through the wall Adoven so recently created while Squinty sought escape back across the bridge. Krorz seemed paralysed with indecision and did nothing as Squinty fled the corridor – sadly running straight across the magical pentagram in her haste. Oreal tried to follow her, but something struck at him in the corridor – it seemed the creature had somehow outflanked the party and trapped them in the corridor…

Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

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