Chaos Scar

35. The Misty Archway

6/20/11: We have finally begun the Tomb of Horrors. We're going through the DM Rewards Tomb of Horrors conversion, and then we'll go through the 4e mega-adventure.

Artemis - Half-Elf Swordmage
Hirbe - Human Mage
Kettenbar - Wilden Monk
Merric - Halfling Thief
Tornam - Dwarf Cleric

The adventurers had defeated Olek Dael, the Runecutter. The misguided Runepriest thought that he was summoning one of Tiamat's children to bring order to the Chaos Scar, but he was actually freeing the primordial known as Hoshototh from its' Feywild prison. The heroes killed Olek and were able to force the primordial back into the Feywild.

The heroes could see the actual Chaos meteor in the distance. A woman was floating in front of it. She beckoned to them. The heroes very cautiously approached. She said her name was Adrella and asked for their help. They agreed.

It turned out that she was the daughter of the Star Dragon, who had been hiding in the demi-plane of Annuvin (where'd she'd remained mortally wounded after the heroes attacked her in a mega-adventure I'd ran in around 1995 called A Sphere No Longer). Adrella turned from her elf form to her dragon form, a giant black and purple dragon with three sets of glass wings and a tail that left a glowing trail.

She said that because her mother had hatched from the moon, she had a special bond with the moonstones and chaos shards. the heroes climbed on her back and Adrella flew toward the chaos meteor. It began to glow, and teleported them to a quasi-realm in the plane of Annuvin (A plane where many of the gods once kept homes).

This particular "bubble" in Annuvin looked like the night sky, though the heroes could breathe fine. They flew past some tiny planetoids and asteroids. One held Adrella's home. They also flew by a massive blowfish, natives of Annuvin known as Aurata.

They got near the center of the quasi-plane and saw The Star Dragon. A massive metal building had been melted on it. The Star Dragon warned the heroes to come no closer, or else she'd breathe a death cloud on them. The heroes eased her concerns. Tornam took a look and realized that removing the metal from her body would require months, along with a clan of dwarves wielding adamantite picks. Tornam was unable to connect with Clarissa in this plane, rendering his spells useless. But he was able to use traditional methods to ease her pain.

The Star Dragon was able to sleep for the first time in centuries. Adrella cried and thanked the heroes. The heroes stayed in the realm for a few days, learning about how to control the moonstone. Adrella and her mother were able to master its' power innately. The heroes had a much more difficult time.

She told them of more trouble. Adrella had sensed that a being - a floating skull with gem eyes - was trying to tap into the power of the Chaos Meteor and link it to his tombs. She asked the heroes to look into it. The only lead she had was to a tomb that existed hundreds of years ago. She could create a portal for them to investigate it.

The adventurers agreed to check it out, but needed time to relax. The heroes returned to the keep, and spent two months healing up and taking it easy. During that time, Hirbe opened his magic item shop. Marcos the tiefling came in and tried  to pass off a stick as a magic implement. Hirbe scared him off by offering to cast a "death" spell at him with the stick to make sure it worked. Marcos also asked for tips on how to woo Artemis. If one listened hard enough, one could hear Artemis yelling "Don't bother!".

Shensen spent a lot of time with Tornam at his church in the Chaos Scar. Tornam's acolytes had a lot to learn. They'd somehow cause little explosions while trying to cast a cure light wounds.

They got to know each other a bit. But then, Tornam learned some of her secrets, which she revealed to him in a candid moment. She said she liked to go to towns and cities with corrupt politicians and then seduce and destroy them. She had actually come to Restwell Keep to see if Lord Drysdale deserved that treatment!

Tornam was thoroughly offended. He utterly rejected her and told her to go away. Shensen was hurt, but did as she said.

Eventually, the heroes were ready. They returned to the meteor. Artemis used her Scarblade to connect with the moonstone and psychically call Adrella. She appeared and opened a portal to the mysterious skull's Tomb of Horrors....

The heroes found themselves in a long hallway with painted frescoes on the walls. Hirbe's staff, encrusted with multiple glowing chaos shards, provided light. A red path wound all the way down the hall.

Adrella had warned the heroes that this tomb was deadly. They cautiously made their way forward. Tornam and Kettenbar checked out a brass box sticking out of the wall. A catch popped the lid open. Inside, the box was empty. Kettenbar reached in, and grasped an invisible lever. He pulled it, opening up a pit beneath their feet! Kettenbar grabbed onto the side and avoided falling in. Tornam, however, plummeted down 50 feet and landed on poisoned spikes! He survived. He found gems down there! He pocketed them. A rope was lowered and he climbed out.

Kettenber took the lead. They walked the length of the hall. The monk spotted four more pit traps! The red path had runes on it that spelled out a message:


Go back to the tormentor or through the arch,
and the second great hall you’ll discover.
Shun green if you can, but night’s good color
is for those of great valor.

If shades of red stand for blood the wise
will not need sacrifice aught but a loop of
magical metal - you’re well along your march.
Two pits along the way will be found to lead
to a fortuitous fall, so check the wall.
These keys and those are most important of all,
and beware of trembling hands and what will maul.

If you find the false you find the true
and into the columned hall you’ll come,
and there the throne that’s key and keyed.
The iron men of visage grim do more than
meets the viewer’s eye.
You’ve left and left and found my Tomb
and now your soul will die."

The heroes discussed possible meanings. At the end of the hall was a weird green face with a huge, open mouth filled with blackness. On the left wall was a misty archway with three glowing gems. After reading the words a bit, they headed back to a fresco near the box that had triggered a pit trap. There was one depicting a demon torturing humans and halflings.

Kettenbar studied it - it was plaster. He punched it. It began to crumble. One flurry of blows later, he'd found a secret hallway! The hallway led to a door. Beyond the door was a 10 foot tall gargoyle, which immediately attacked! The battle was fierce (the heroes couldn't roll above a 12 for a very, very long time). The gargoyle eventually dropped Artemis.

The heroes focused on it's wings. Kettenbar punched a hole through one. With the gargoyle grounded, Hirbe used beguiling strands to push it into the main hallway. The gargoyle plunged into a spike pit! The creature died, impaled on the spikes.

The adventurers were greatly wounded. They spent four hours healing and going into all of the pits and removing all of the spikes.

While in the southernmost pit, Merric noticed a secret door. Unfortunately, it only opened from the other side.

The heroes then decided to deal with the misty arch. Tornam pressed three of the gems, each making a resonant sound. Then he passed through. Hirbe and Kettenbar went along. Artemis and Hirbe chose to wait five minutes and see what happened.

Tornam, Hirbe and Kettenbar appeared in a 10 foot by 10 foot room with three levers. he levers each could be pulled up, down, left or right. After some discussion, they tied ropes to the levers and their waists. Then they pulled all three levers up at the same top. The ceiling of the room popped open. It led to a crawlspace. The heroes crawled through. As they progressed, they saw a cork in the ceiling. The heroes demanded that the naturally-curious Kettenbar not touch the cork, but continue on. The crawlway eventually brought them to a secret door into the spiked pit Merric had been in earlier!

They yelled, and Artemis and Merric helped them out of the pit.

They went back to test the levers more, using a pit spike to keep the ceiling open. They discerned that if all three levers were pulled down, the floor dropped out and revealed a pit of utter darkness.

They regrouped and decided to investigate the cork in the crawlspace. Merric and Kettenbar crawled in, popped the cork, and climbed up into a room. In the room were three chests. Kettenbar called to the others, who climbed in. The whole party looked over the chests. One was Silver, one was gold, and one was oak. All were affixed to the floor, and all had magic inside. The heroes opened all three at once! One had a band of vicious snakes, another triggered a dart trap, and another summoned a dual-wielding skeleton!

The heroes readied for battle. They had just begun to encounter the deadly traps of the tomb....