Borderland of Adventure #66: The Ancient Undead

At the end of last session, we left the heroes about to open a door in a sunken chamber deep below the tower until recently claimed by the cultists of Ashardalon. Before Krorz could do so, however, a bloated undead creature burst from the nearby water and attacked him. His battle-honed reactions saved him, however, and the creature was quickly slain (mainly by Ulmo’s magic as the deep water stymied most other attacks).



Within the chamber, they discovered a forge. A silver-furred gnoll was bound to the area’s anvil. Beaten and half-starved it transpired the gnoll – Klar – was an enemy of the dragon cultists and after a brief discussion – in which beheading was mooted – he was allowed to join the party. Klar reclaimed his equipment from a chamber above and the party retreated to rest.

After an uneventful night’s sleep the party decided to investigate the dark tower to the south. It was reached via a set of floating walkways that passed through a chunk of glass levitating 20 ft. above the roiling sea. A staircase also pierced the glass shard and led upwards to a walkway leading to the final tower. The party decided that dark tower was probably the lair of Tessarael. Having finally read the parchment they found some time ago they determined she probably yet held the Grail of Ashenyar a powerful relic of a long-dead good dragon. (In any event, she probably also held the final control rod necessary for escaping the demi-plane and thus they decided to deal with her now rather than later).

Darkness shrouded the tower. Opening the double doors leading within, a pack of three skeletons immediately assaulted the party. These were swiftly slain, by Krorz and Klar, but the flameskull floating near the ceiling was not so easily despatched. It lashed the party with magical fire and bolts of force before being destroyed by a well-place slingshot hurled by Tzaran. Another set of double doors led away from the chamber (as did another single door), but Krorz heard spellcasting from beyond the double doors. Not wishing to give the guardian within more time to prepare the party pounced.

Beyond the doors, they discovered a large chamber; a large glass altar stood at its centre. Beyond lurked a shadowy figure – a ghast wizard of great power! The foul aberration blasted the party with magical fire and used a black ray to drain much of Krorz strength. However, it was quickly surrounded and when it tried to reposition itself Tzaran’s snake delivered a devastating bite that almost slew it. This was the turning point and although the creature fought on for a few more moments it was slain. The brief battle had caused much damage to the party, however, and so they again retreated to rest, but not before examining the altar which turned out to be a spellbook of sorts – the wizard’s magical spells etched into its surface!

After another night’s uninterrupted sleep, the party returned to investigate the single door leading to the rest of the tower. However, the lack of roving monsters had lulled them into a false sense of security and they were surprised by the flameskull once again. It again burned them with magical fire before being destroyed. Enraged by its rejuvenation, the party smashed the skull to pieces and cast the shards into the roiling sea. It was then, Gerald realised the skull would again reform – its remains had to be doused with holy water to stop it returning to unlike…

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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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