Adventures in Shadow #5: Poison Most Foul

At the end of the last session, we left our heroes deep in the caves below Greystone. One of their number—Goldogrin—was (again) badly injured and so the party decided to retreat to Languard for rest.


Their journey to the comparative safety of Languard was without notable incident and soon they were ensconced in the common room of the Orc’s Head. Although near death, Goldogrin insisted on helping the party count the loot before he was helped to his bed.

The next day, Goldogrin rested while his companions went about their business in the city. They again visited Arlo’s Stones where they sold the few gemstones they had found before heading to the Fane of the Waves Eternal to report on the successful clearing of Serat’s temple in Greystone. Anafa Wildthorn was overjoyed at the news of their victory and was very grateful for their efforts. She gifted the party a small bag of pearls and promised them a warm reception if they should choose to start attending temple services. She also gave Veronwë a magical scroll of blessing which she requested the elf read in Greystone’s ruined temple to cleanse it of any lingering taint.

Their business concluded they left the temple and were heading back to the Orc’s Head when Auric had a good idea. He wanted to learn more about Gloamhold and Greystone and got it into his head too ask around to see if any sage in the city was particularly knowledgeable about said subjects.

Asking about the Orc’s Head’s common room that night he learned of an old sage in High City—Urmas Aalto—who was said to be wise in the way of Gloamhold.

The next morning the party went to see Urmas and learned much of interest. They learned of the so-called Gloamhold Look—a particularly pernicious curse said to afflict those spending a lot of time in the dungeon—and of the strange and debased noble family—Alanen—who ruled over Greystone before disaster and death overtook the village. While there, Thangrim expressed an interest in learning to read and write and paid a handsome retainer to the elderly sage to secure his services over the coming months. (Urmas was delighted as his funds were running low.)

With their business concluded, the party departed and made preparations for their return to Greystone. Goldogrin was fully recovered from his ordeal by now and so the next day the party again set out on Taneli’s fishing boat.

Their journey across Hard Bay was uneventful, but danger assailed them almost as soon as they stepped onto Greystone’s breakwater. As they made their way carefully toward the village proper, a band of eight folk emerged from the ruined church of Conn and rushed forward to block the party’s exit from the breakwater.

It transpired the newcomers were the Scarlet Fellowship, a band of adventurers who had been trapped in Greystone for a little over a week after their boat had been sunk in the harbour, by something with huge claws. The party had earlier theorised that perhaps a monstrous crab dwelled in the harbour’s chilly, fell water and the Fellowship’s description of the attack seemed to prove the truth of the matter. No one seemed particularly keen to fight the beast. (The Fellowship also warned the party that the tunnel leading up to the ruined Manor House was likely occupied by a giant spider—or two—as the lower portions were festooned with thick webs)

The Scarlet Fellowship wanted the party’s boat. Neither group seemed desirous of battle and so a deal was quickly reached. The Fellowship paid the party five gold coins and in return they allowed Taneli to convey the newcomers back across Hard Bay as long as he quickly returned to await the heroes’ return. (His quick return was particularly important as dark rainclouds were ominously approaching from the north).

The deal struck, the party pushed on. They reached Serat’s ruined temple without incident and Veronwë used the scroll of bless to reconsecrate the area.

With their initial objective achieved, discussions turned to what to do next. After a short discussion, the party decided to explore the wide passageway leading up the Manor House overlooking the village.

The passageway was clearly of natural origin, but work has been carried out to make it passable. At the entrance, the party passed through the remains of a stout—but now rotting and rusted—set of iron bound double doors. Within, the passageway curved upwards and shortly the party discovered the webs the Scarlet Fellowship had earlier warned them about. As they moved cautiously upwards—the dwarves in the van—they discovered the webbed body of a decomposing human pinned to one wall. Although decomposing, the man had clearly been hideous deformed in life (he had an impressive hump).

After examining the body, the party pushed onwards. Webs chocking a side passage Brough their careful advance to a halt. Looking in, the party spied a gigantic spider seemingly asleep in the webs festooning the ceiling. With luck on their side, Thangrim quickly lit a torch and threw it at the spider—hoping to set the webs aflame. Sadly, his throw fell short, but the sounds of it hitting the ground awoke the spider.

With terrifying swiftness, it rushed the party. In moments, Auric had been badly bitten, but in return had inflicted a terrifying wound on the beast. To add to the dwarf’s woes, however, Dulannis accidentally shot him in the back with an arrow. As the battle raged on, Tolirayth hurled a bolt of magical power at the foul, monstrous beast. So powerful was his magic that the spider’s head literally exploded, showering the dwarves in gore and ichor.

The danger was not yet passed, however, for black webs of poison began to spread from Auric’s injury. Veronwë set to work tending the endangered dwarf and his administrations, along with the dwarf’s powerful constitution, eventually saw off the poison.

Meanwhile, the party had been searching the side passage. Goldogrin found a slightly curved, perfectly balanced dagger amid the remains of another hideous disfigured man, who seemed to have abnormally long arms.

With Auric’s injuries tended, the party pushed on and before long were standing atop a narrow ledge in front of the Alanen’s ruined manor.

Initially cautious exploration revealed the ground floor to be abandoned—and indeed empty of almost anything of interest (including furniture). However, as the party continued their exploration dark clouds began to gather to the north and move toward the Mottled Spire—no doubt pushed by the fell wind that had sprung up from the ocean.

With no interest in sharing the same fate as the Scarlet Fellowship, the party retreated to the breakwater to await Taneli’s return. Eventually, as the seas began to build the redoubtable fisherman returned and the party embarked once again for the safety and comforts of Languard…

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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.

8 thoughts on “Adventures in Shadow #5: Poison Most Foul”

  1. This is an interesting contrast, Creighton. On the one hand, you’ve blogged (and I agree with you) about the fifteen-minute adventuring day. On the other hand, these 2E characters are paper-thin and don’t seem to last for more than one encounter…

    Anyway, on to my main point for posting. I’ve read your session summaries before and they haven’t excited me. (No offense intended.) However, your writing of these last five has been much more inspired. I think it’s your enthusiasm for Gloamhold coming through. How’s that coming along? Is running a group through it helping to flesh it out in your mind?

    1. In some ways you are right, Christopher. The PCs often end up retreating after one or two encounters. However, they have been spending considerable time in the village poking about. Most of their trips have taken up much of the day. That might not be coming through in the blogs.

      No drama on the main comment. I have been immensely enjoying adventuring in Gloamhold. It is absolutely helping me to flesh out both Greystone and Languard. Playing in Languard in particular has been useful as you never really know what the PCs will need/where they will visit until they actually get into the city

  2. Of course one of these days, a great storm will suddenly blow up, threatening to engulf the bay, and Taneli will not be able to stay waiting for them. Then what will our heroes do ….? 😉

    1. Originally, we used this campaign as a break from Skulls & Shackles, when the GM needed to take a break. We’ve now given up on Skulls & Shackles and should be back in Languard by the end of September. I can’t wait!

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