The Mask of Orcus

Kobolds stole your what?

So this adventure begins pretty much exactly like all other adventures. A group of heroes comes together for a common cause in order to defeat a great evil…

What do you have when you’ve got a Eladrin Wizard, a Dragonborn Fighter, a Halfling Rogue, A Half-Elf Ranger, a Dwarven Cleric, a Human Barbarian, and a Tiefling Warlord. Well, to be honest you have a hell of a mess. But regardless of this mess that’s how the adventure begins.

This enormous party of adventurers comes together in the town of Winterhaven for various reasons. One comes to seek his missing mentor, one comes to investigate a death cult, still another comes at the request of an old friend seeking the secrets of a hidden keep. Most just come seeking riches, fame, and glory.

When the party arrives in the town it is quite obvious that something is amiss. There are kobold raiders, a dragon burial site, and an old keep up in the mountains that each need to be investigated. In the process they lose a couple members(not by dying) and gain a few as well. By the time they reach the keep the party consists of Matrim Silverscale, a dragonborn fighter; Sonnilion, an eladrin War Wizard; Nogu Krusk, a half-orc Beast Master Ranger; and Redgar Darksbane, a human barbarian.

They descend into the keep with knowledge gained from their encounter with kobolds a plenty and a very large goblin called Irontooth, who was quite crotchety. The adventurers know that Kalarel, the Scion of Orcus and leader of the death cult, is performing dark rites with the purpose of opening the rift between their world and the Shadowfell.

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Well it is called "Dungeons and Dragons" for a reason...

As the heroes descend into the keep they notice that they are not alone and hilarity ensues when Nogu falls into a pit with a veritable swarm of rats. He then proceeds to tame the rats and then send them after the goblins.

After some maiming, killing, and general destruction of public property the party heads deeper into the keep. One hero in particular breaks RPG cardinal rule number, which we all know is “never split the party”, and decides to go off on his own exploring. This is the point where the other party members decide on nicknaming their companion “Le Douche.” Unfortunately the name sticks. The rest of the party finds some runes on the floor and they are able to discern that the runes are infact part of a trap. Nogu gets lucky and doesn’t run into any trouble but after the part meets back up they blow through quite a few undead with some well placed radiant damage and a massive amount of fire. I think the words “And that is how Mages do it” brought the party close to blows but they tenuously patched things up and decided to move on.

With their egos’ significantly inflated because of a well placed flaming hands spell by Sonnilion during a run in with some skeletons they find a pair of altars that appear to be for the purpose of worshiping Bahamut. With some rooting around they party stumbles upon a secret compartment in an altar. They find a few small silver dragon statues and pocket them while deciding what to do next.

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Thank Goodness for Skill Challenges
What happens when you meet something 3 levels higher than you...

The party comes to the conclusion to press on after a short rest. With their tiny dragon statues and ego’s significantly inflated they approach a large, heavy wooden door. As they enter they find what appears to be a tomb or shrine lit with bluish eldritch torches.

As they begin to inspect the room they see a raised dais with what appears to be the sarcophagus of a human warrior holding a large sword to its chest. The walls look to be made of human bones, spaced with rune covered stones going all the way to the ceiling. The torches that light the room are on the same parts of the walls that have the stones covered with runes.

Once in the room, Nogu gets the idea in his head that he really would like to upgrade his weaponry. He approaches the dais, hops up next to the sarcophagus and proceeds to pull on the handle of the sword. As soon as this happens the door slams shut and the torches on the wall shift from blue to red light. A booming voice shakes the room with an echoing cry. In the moments that follow the party is stunned by what they see.

Bones tumble from of the walls and begin forming into skeletal warriors, each wielding a longsword and shield. The bones surrounding the base of the sarcophagus begin to coalesce into a towering undead warrior clad all in plate mail wielding a two-handed sword very similar to the blade resting on the chest of the warrior on the sarcophagus.

The undead warrior descends from the dais and the party attacks. At this point the party is somewhat surrounded by the three enemies and they seem to be outmatched. In the first seconds of the battle Matrim puts himself between the largest threat and the rest of the party and in doing so takes the brunt of a vicious attack. In two great hacks from the undead warrior’s blade Matrim is sent bloody and reeling. The party regroups and proceeds to bash away at the greatest threat while trying to dodge and maneuver around the other two enemies.

During the battle Rangrim is knocked unconscious while battling with one of the undead soldiers. At the right moment Sonnilion uses his Fey Step and transports himself right next to the sarcophagus. Using his arcane knowledge he attempts to disrupt the field of magic while the battle rages around him. The party is able to take down each of the skeletal warriors but are still being ravaged by attacks of large undead warrior.

As the rest of the party begins to show signs of wearing down Sonnilion finally manages to disrupt the magic empowering the great undead warrior. As the magic fades the undead warrior falls to pieces that begin to return to the base of the sarcophagus. A mist seaps from the walls and gathers into a single translucent figure in front of the party as they take a deep breath after the battle.

The mist gathers to form a silvery translucent form that identifies itself as the spirit of Sir Keegan. He weaves his tails of woe, questions their overall purpose and sense of direction and the proceeds to offer his help in the form of gifting the party his magical two-handed sword, which happens to perfect with Nogu’s ensemble. Keegan informs the party that the rift in the keep is beginning to pulse with energy as Kalarel draws in his power through the dark rituals he is performing and that they must hurry to intervene before the ritual is complete.

Taking the advice of Sir Keegan to hurry they bed down for the night…and after a few hours the party wakes to a dreadful racket. The sounds of someone being cruelly tortured echo through the depths of the keep. Matrim makes a quick decision to go find the source of the noise and the rest of the party follow suit. They sprint back the way they came encountering some undead as they work their way back, but the party bands together and dispatches them using their skills in tandem.

As they approach the part of the keep where the noise seems to be coming from they burst through the door to find a gnome strapped to a torture rack being stabbed with hot pokers. The hobgoblins don’t seem to like the fact their party has been crashed and proceed to try and poke Matrim with their hot…pokers. With some quick thinking they are able to free the gnome and hilarity ensues when the little guy uses a little known device called an Arcane Springboard in the heat of battle. Sonnilion blasts several of the goblins in the face, Matrim hacks a few in half, while Nogu, Rangrim(the wolf) and Nobi Mekwizzix fly through the air with the greatest of ease hacking and slashing as they please.

Once all fiends are dispatched and breath has been caught introductions are made. They are short because Nobi would rather walk around looking at the shiny things than talk to everyone else.

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The End is Nigh

As the party gathers in the torture chamber they notice that not all the cells are open. They approach the last cell and find Xam, a psionic monk. In front of Xam there is a dark stone which appears to be fueled by the rituals being performed in the lower regions of the Keep. At first Xam doesn’t talk or offer any help or advice but after the stone is removed from the cell they find out that Xam had been trapped and waiting for rescue. He reveals that he was unable to move because of the evil energy in the dark stone and was meditating to keep himself safe from it’s influence. Also, in his time of meditation and study of the dark arcane object he finds that it is linked to the ritual to open the rift.

Sonnilion claims that the object must be taken back to Winterhaven and shown to the mage there. As they discuss their options the door is thrown open and a large human carrying a Holy Symbol and a Mace. He proclaims himself as Mikal Silverhand, a cleric of the Silver Flame. A group of Holy clerics of several different gods was sent to stop Kalarel from opening the rift. They completely cleared the lower areas of the keep and killed almost all of Kalarel hobgoblin guards, but were ambushed outside The Cathedral of Shadows. He was the only one able to get away. He pleads with the party to come with him immediately to interrupt the ritual.

Sonnilion and Redgar decide to split from the party and leave to ensure that the dark stone is taken from the keep. They say their goodbyes and depart for Winterhaven. The new party now consists of a human cleric, a dragonborn fighter, a human monk, a gnome artificer, and a half-orc ranger.

As the others leave the keep the remaining party members rush to interfere with the ritual, as it comes to its conclusion in the depths of the keep. Mikal rushes through the lower levels of the keep with the others on his tail. As they arrive at the spot where his group of clerics was attacked they noticed trails of blood leading into the next room. The door is slightly cracked and Nobi, slight and small, slips through the door unnoticed to take a peak.

He finds a large room with vaulted ceilings and various side chambers. He also finds a few humans, clothed in bulky robes, chanting in some evil tongue. There is also a human on the dias garbed in priestly robes with tatoos all over his face and hands. There are several pools of liquid, which appears to be blood, flowing into a hole in the center of the chamber. He reports his finding to the rest of the team and the party sneaks in to the Catherdral of Shadows. As they sneak into the chamber Nobi decides to use Ghost Sound to get the drop on them.

Nobi casts the spell to confuse the enemy and creates the sounds of battle right next to one of the humans. The rest of the party charges in and while they think they’ve got the advantage they hear piercing screams come from one of the side chambers. Crazed vampiric spawn rush out of the chamber like baby spiders from an egg sac. Mikal moves to block them off from the rest of the party and after taking a few hits, dispatches 4 of 5 with a well placed “turn undead” attack.

The humans shed their robs and rush the rest of the party and it is clear that they are enraged with bloodlust. The fight is brutal and after the Underpriest enters the fray up close it looks like the pary might of had it. Mikal is knocked unconcious but with some help from Nobi and his life tapping darts he is revived and casts his daily which pretty much makes it possible or the rest of the party to take down the Underpriest. Matrim plays a key role, landing the killing blow and shearing the priest’s head from his body.

The party regroups and decides to check out the hole in the center of the floor. As they lower Nobi down a dreadful scene is revealed. Kalarel stands, ready to complete the ritual to open the rift. Behind the rift there is a being of unimaginable evil waiting to be unleashed on the world…

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