Shattered Star #74: Breaching the Keep

At the end of last session, we left our heroes awaiting the onslaught of a large, angry wyvern. However, Ariquis had stepped forward and shouted in Draconic that he wished to parley.


The wyvern clearly sensed a shared heritage with the brave sorcerer and so it aborted its attack, hurtling passed mere feet above the sorcerer’s head. Seeing this, the rest of the party held their attacks and did not smite the beast with blade and spell.

The wyvern made several more passes, while Ariquis attempted to talk the wyvern into landing. This it eventually did, and proper negotiations finally began. It quickly dawned on the party that this wyvern was much cleverer than its fellows. It further transpired, the wyvern—Ral—was near-starving—there was not much fresh meat to hunt in the surrounding woods—and it desperately wanted to leave this place. A deal was struck, it would not attack in return for being transported back to Oerth via the menhir once the party had secured what they sought.

Still, another problem bedevilled the party. What to do next? The fight with the shadows lurking in the menhir had weakened several of them grievously and they had no desire to pass back through the menhir—its vicious effects on Narfu still fresh in their minds.

Eventually, the party talked Ral into letting them sleep in its liar; after all the undead lurking in the rest of the castle did not trouble wyverns and it seems the safest place to rest. The party expended much of their remaining powerful magics and reached the nest in the castle’s ruined tower without further trouble.

While they rested, Karellia offered to identify the wyvern’s treasure—which they had promised not to steal—and discovered that one of the items was a phylactery of positive channeling. Grooble had to have it. After further negotiation, he swapped it for an amulet of mighty fists. The heroes were delighted as no doubt this potent magic item would serve them well against the undead lurking in the rest of the castle.

The heroes also talked with Ral—for he knew much of the castle and its inhabitants. He described the Black Rider and his undead minions. Perceptive questioning led to the realisation that the fearsome warrior possessed powerful magic abilities; seemingly his command of fell magics was so great he could wrest portions of the Abyss into being and assault his foes with blasphemous energies. This concerned the party greatly, and they spent much time debating how to counter such powerful magics.

No matter. Their night was surprisingly untroubled and after preparing spells they decided to push on. Two doors, blocked by rubble and detritus lead into the keep. Several of the party got a bad feeling about one of the doors and Cortana confirmed great evil lurked behind it. Without checking what lay beyond the other door, they attacked (for Grooble had divined that the Shard of Gluttony was closer to this door than the other).

Ariquis smashed the door open (after failing to get a good grip on the handle twice). Beyond lay a small library. Within lurked four insubstantial vaguely man-shaped black creatures along with a translucent figure, its face twisted into a hateful scowl.

The heroes stepped forward and lashed the obvious (but unidentified) undead with potent positive energy. The creatures could not stand before such an assault and quickly the party gained the upper hand…

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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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