Second Darkness

Full Frontal Assault

Rested and prepared and knowing the final push against the Drow is coming, the group heads out. Shalelu and Kaerishiel lead their own teams of Elven rangers and agree to wait for the signal from the group to know that the Drow’s attention is on them.

Walking up tot he Academy of Arts, the group quickly spots a group of Drow on guard and engage. During the battle another one of the Drow’s terrible creatures joins in, a massive creature sewn together from what looks like fallen Elves moves to meet the party. But this creature doesn’t stand long, allowing access to the academy.

Pushing in quickly and following the sounds of combat, the group barges into a room where combat is in full swing. Kaerishiel and the few remaining rangers are locked in combat with a pair of Drow skirishers and a strange vulture-human creature. The group is unable to identify the monstrosity, but figure it is some form of demon. Putting up a fight for a bit the vulture looks to try and escape once it becomes too injured, but is put down by a pair of strong blows from Ead and Venora.

Following more sounds of combat, the group finds another room where Shalelu’s group is in combat with more Drow and large creatures made of water, some form of elemental. Defeating all enemies within the room, the group regroups with Shalelu and Kaerishiel who both agree to hold the lines from any other Drow while the group pushes on into the last few rooms of the academy.

Moving past a room where the Drow have put up a shrine to one of their demon lords, the group enters a chamber that looks to be in pristine condition and sitting on a leaf in a pond is an Elven maiden. The maiden warns them of a trap that was placed on the door, giving the group time to avoid the fireball. A short conversation begins and soon the group finds out that the maiden is actual an aboleth, and before the creature can attack cuts it down.

As the group begins to push into the adjacent room, most realize that the pristine nature of the aboleth’s room is actually some type of illusion and can see the decay underneath.

Entering the next room, the group finds a massive portal-like structure, a strange shadow-city flickers within the portal. But guarding the portal is a scarred and battle hardened Drow, Kardrogas along with a few other Drow. A short fight follows and ends with the Drow dead and the group examining the portal.

Within the portal the group makes out what looks like several buildings from Celwynvian, as if the portal is some sort of shadow-version of the city that they stand. Within the city they can see figures moving about the city, but they appear to be dull and without color. Elsewhere they do see what appears to be Drow pushing through the city. But in the sky is the an eye catching and disturbing site, a vortex of gray clouds swirl around a very familiar looking, but much larger dark blot in the sky.

But as the group discusses what to do, the portal begins to flicker even closing for a few seconds before springing back to life. The group figures that the portal must be preparing to close soon, but without a better understanding of the city beyond the group remains as the portal closes down hoping that someone back in Crying Leaf is able to give them some more information.


:Rewards:

XP: 2334 (36477)

Gear:
4 sets [1 longsword, Masterwork Heavy Repeating Crossbow, Masterwork Breastplate, Cloak of Resistance +1, +1 Crossbow Bolt (5), Alchemic Silver Bolt (5)]
6 sets [Masterwork Shortsword, Masterwork Shortbow +1 Str, +1 Chain Shirt]
Masterwork Full Plate, Heavy Steel Shield, Masterwork Flail, +1 Whip, +1 Frost Bolt (6), Drow Poison (9)
Masterwork Dagger, Ring of Protection +1, Cloak of Resistance +1, Wand of False Life (35 charges, CL 3)
Greatsword +1 (shock); Mithral shirt +2; Drow poison bolt (x2); bolts, crossbow (10); Masterwork Crossbow (Hand)
Adamantine dagger, Cognizance Crystal 3, Crystal Shard +5 (Use Magic Device), Mind Stone (Crystal Shard)

Potions/Oil:
Shield of Faith, Bear’s Endurance, Bless Weapon, Cure Serious Wounds x 2, Cure Moderate Wounds x 4

Scrolls:
Haste, Gaseous Form

Gems/Jewelry:

Misc:
Feather Token (Anchor), Elixir of Tumbling

Gold: 150 gp

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School Days

Continuing to their destination, the group finds themselves at the Emerald Bough. Once one of the several academies around Celwynvian that taught children literature, art, music, astronomy, and dozens of other subjects. Now the once delicate building lies in ruins. Half of the building has been caved in or knocked in by something of great size.

Entering the ruins, the group begins to notice a pair of strange cries coming from within the central room. Entering the group is confronted with creatures known as Attic Whisperers and soon a fight is on them. The small undead don’t last long, but long enough to display some of their talents, such as stealing a person’s voice and mimicking it.

Clearing out the undead, the group doesn’t find much of value and continues to search rooms happening upon a room containing what appears to be Elvin music carved into the walls. Studying it, Artan begins to record it while Ead attempts to play it. She begins to play it quite well, but soon finds the music becomes much more complex. The music draws the attention of a pair of giant wasps the quickly converge on the party, but are quickly put down.

Knowing their resources are low, the group finishes up and quickly head back to camp where one of Eviana’s messengers appears and informs the group that their presence is requested in the war tent right away in the morning.

With that the messenger leaves and the group is left to their own devices. Artan shows the music to a researcher within the camp and finds out that the song is an original version of a famed work known as “Heaven in Ode”. The song is known by almost anyone raised among elves. The researcher pays Artan for the copy and information on where the original is for more study.


:Rewards:

XP: 408 (34143)

Gear:

Potions/Oil:

Scrolls: Cure Serious Wounds

Gems/Jewelry:

Misc:

Gold: 50 gp

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Elven Housing and War machines

After dealing with the shambling mounds, the group continues on finally arriving at their destination. The Ruined Tower was once a community of elven homes. A massive tower now lies in ruins, only the first floor still standing.

Approaching the tower cautiously, the group finds a massive statue resembling an elven warrior carved from stone. Before Artan can warn the others about the statue actually being a golem, Ead makes enough noise to alert the monstrosity.

The ensuing fight ends fairly quickly, with the creature being restricted due to some well aimed bomb from Artan, but as the group is searching the area for anything of use they come across drow styled equipment and soon hear the returning soldiers.

Spotting the downed guardians, the drow are cautious but unready for Ead to come bursting out from over the golem, screaming insults at the drow before diving behind other cover. The drow focus on her until one of their ranks falls over dead, his head missing due to a perfect shot from Feran’s musket.

Another quick and bloody fight ensues, the drow’s gunslinger the only one able to do much against the group as she unloads a pistol into Malek. But even she goes down eventually and the group is able to gather up supplies and continue on to the Emerald Bough, another elven academy.


:Rewards:

XP: 2275 (33735)

Gear: 3 sets [+1 longsword, Masterwork Heavy Repeating Crossbow, Masterwork Breastplate, Cloak of Resistance +1, +1 Crossbow Bolt (5), Alchemic Silver Bolt (5)]
1 Chain Shirt, Cloak of Resistance +1 (2), Ring of Protection +1 (2), Masterwork Dragonfire Pistol, Masterwork Dagger, Heavy Wooden Shield +1

Potions/Oil: Cure Moderate Wounds (5), Magic Weapon (3), Bull’s Stength

Scrolls: Haste

Gems/Jewelry: Pink pearl 55gp, Amber 79gp, Brown-green garnet 71gp, White pearl 68gp

Misc: Psionic Shard +4 (Perception), Psionic Shard +4 (Diplomacy)

Gold: 400 gp

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City Exploration

The morning after the group returned with the injured Kaerishiel they notice the camp to be still be in higher spirits. rumors abound that the Elves are still pushing the Drow further and further into the city during the day, and during the night the Drow are regaining less of the lost ground.

Even Eviana seems to be more positive as she explains that Kaerishiel is currently recuperating after the previous fight. She mentions that with the way things are going, she has decided to push for the Drow stronghold, but wishes to wait until Kaerishiel is ready for the fight. In the mean time, she asks the group to eitehr stay around camp or to go check into some rumors that Drow have been spotted in the south-eastern section of the city.

Not wanting to wait around the camp, the group heads out into the city and soon passes by the Crystal Conservatory. A crystal dome that appears to have a healthy tree growing out the top of the dome. Exploring inside, the group finds dozens of tropical plants and exotic flowers growing. All being tended by a pair of wooden golems.

Eventually the group finds another resident of the dome, a Dryad named Ysila. At first Ysila doesn’t enjoy the idea of anyone within her garden, but soon the group wins her over and she offers to help by providing some herbs that hopefully with help the group.

Leaving the conservatory, the group soon finds themselves in a section of the city that is littered with piles of vegetation, most of it in various stages of decay. Getting closer to the piles, the group discovers that some of them are actually shambling mounds. Fending off the hungry piles of mulch leave Venora unconscious, but the group is victorious finding a few treasures within the creatures.


:Rewards:

XP: 933 (31460)

Gear: Breastplate +1

Potions/Oil: Shrink Item, Gaseous Form, Spider Climb

Scrolls: Daylight, Inflict Light Wounds

Gems/Jewelry:

Misc: Pearl of Power (2nd Level)

Gold: 100 gp

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Rescue

Finishing up in the wine house, the group manages to salvage a few items of worth, including a couple of bottles of very old Elven wine. Taking their spoils the group heads out, but soon are found by a pair of Elven scouts and a very familiar looking fire pelt. The fire pelt is the companion animal of Kaerishiel.

The scouts explain that Ashka, the fire pelt, arrived in the main camp and after a casting of Speak with Animal Eviana found out that Kaerishiel, along with several scouts, have been ambushed by Drow and now are in need of help. The Drow managed to catch Kaerishiel and his scouts within a crumbling tower and are in a position to kill them all.

Moving quickly the group finds the tower and see the Drow setup on top of the tower, aiming a ballista at another crumbling tower. Moving quickly and quietly the group approaches the tower, and while a few that can climb begin to scale the wall, the rest move in through the hole in the wall.

Moving through the wall, Venora is surprised by another Drow stationed on the stairs. Alerted the Drow ready for an attack coming from the stairs, but aren’t ready for those in the group that have climbed up the tower wall. This became apparent when one Drow is pulled from the tower and thrown to the ground.

A savage fight erupts atop the tower, with Feran being thrown from the roof while the Drow gunslinger begins to fire at the group. The gunslinger does severely injure Ead with a strange type of bullet, seemingly almost like a spell. But even with the special bullet, the gunslinger goes down hard.

Cleaning up the Drow, the group does find some useful equipment before heading down to check with the Elvin scouts.


:Rewards:

XP: 963 (30527)

Gear: 3 sets [+1 longsword, Masterwork Heavy Repeating Crossbow, Masterwork Breastplate, Cloak of Resistance +1, +1 Crossbow Bolt (5), Alchemic Silver Bolt (5)]
3 sets [Masterwork Shortsword, Masterwork Shortbow +1 Str, +1 Chain Shirt]
Bracers of Armor +1, Masterwork Mithril Buckler, +1 Chain Shirt, Cloak of Resistance +1, Ring of Protection +1, Masterwork Musket, Masterwork Dragonfire Pistol (Shaped to look like a demon)

Potions/Oil: Cure Moderate Wounds (5), Magic Weapon (3), Bless Weapon

Scrolls:

Gems/Jewelry:

Misc: Starwind Pouch (Endless Bandolier)

Gold: 200 gp

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Wine Tasting

Gathering up the equipment from the fallen Drow, the group continues on toward the Fluted Goblet, a tavern that held the reputation of the fullest wine cellar in Celwynvian’s hey-day.

Arriving at the Goblet, the party finds all of the windows and one of the three door have been boarded up. The group sets themselves up around the two free doors and gets ready to enter, spotting something that looked akin to fire under the closed doorway.

Throwing open the doors, the group is confronted with a trio of Blast Shadows, these ones cloaked in fire. After a short, brutal fight, the shadows are destroyed exploding into balls of fire when they are destroyed.

Heading down into the wine cellar, Feran and Venora spot not only a strange looking Wood golem, but a pair of ghouls wearing armor, wielding weapons, and trying to hide in the shadows.

Returning the group, the group heads down and surprises the enemies, dropping the golem before it has a chance to move. One ghoul is almost dropped, while the other manages to paralyze a couple of the party. Once again from invisibility, a Drow wizard appears sending a bolt of lightning into the group. Soon after, him and the other ghoul are killed allowing the group to search the cellar.


:Rewards:

XP: 933 (29564)

Gear: Masterwork Quarterstaff, Cloak of Resistance +1, Ring of Protection +1, Masterwork Light Crossbow x 2, Leather Armor x 2

Potions/Oil: Cure Light Wounds, Lesser Restoration, Greater Magic Fang x 2, Inflict Moderate Wounds

Scrolls: Invisibility, Black Tentacles, Lightning Bolt (2), Protection from Energy

Gems/Jewelry: White pearl 78gp, Deep green spinel 89gp

Misc: Spellbook [TBA], Pearl of Power (1st Lvl), Rope of Climbing

Gold: 300 gp

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A new day

The rest of the day goes by, the energy of the camp has shifted for the better. With the addition of the Drow’s alchemical weapons, the Elves are beginning to push back harder against their enemy.

Even with the lifted spirits of the camp, Eviana has some disturbing news. A few scouts have reported sightings of increased Drow presence within the city. The Drow also seem to be better equipped and trained. With this news the group makes their way into the city, heading toward a few areas of interest, keeping their eyes peeled for these new Drow.

Making their way into the town, the group begins to hear what sounds to be a cry for help within the ruins. Suspecting a trap, Ead, Feran, and Venora creep closer and soon spot a Drow sniper hidden within the rubble of a building making the calls. Trying to sneak closer, the Drow is alerted and soon more Drow emerge from the ruins.

The city battle is brutal as the Drow attack and retreat into the ruins, but soon all the Drow are dead. Within one of the building the group finds a small group of Elven corpses, evidently those lured to death by the Drow’s calls.


:Rewards:

XP: 875 (28631)

Gear:
3 sets [Masterwork Studded Leather, Masterwork Shortbow, Shortsword]
6 sets [Masterwork Chain Shirt, Masterwork Longsword, Repeating Heavy Crossbow]
Masterwork Full Plate, Heavy Steel Shield, Masterwork Flail, +1 Frost Bolt (6), Drow Poison (9)

Potions/Oils:
Cure Light Wounds (9), Invisibility, Owl’s Wisdom, Cure Moderate Wounds (1), Endure Elements

Scrolls:
Inflict Serious Wounds, Dimension Door, Cure Serious Wounds, Magic Weapon

Gems/Jewelry:
Moonstone (39gp), Sardonxy (34gp), Charlcedony (22gp)

Gold: 160 gp

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Lab Time

Rested and prepared the group sets off toward what use to be called Yuelral’s Rain. A set of towers that once housed a number of herbalists devoted to Yuelral, the Elven god of magic. Subtle magics, potions, and infusions meant to encourage the growth of natural things and coax plants into wondrous shapes were devised there.

Now much of the towers have fallen and the Drow have turned the once serene tower into a wasteland. Much of the towers now lay in ruin, the ancient laboratory has been reclaimed by Drow and used to create their alchemical weapons. To add insult to injury, the Drow have used the area in front of the tower as a dumping ground for alchemical wastes creating a acidic wasteland in front of the tower.

The group approaches the ruins and soon is confronted by some monsterous creatures. Driders, a combination of Drow and spiders, make their way out of the ruins but it quickly apparent that these driders are undead. Soon another drider, this one a live one, appears and begins to assault the group, but soon all the enemies are killed.

Once the enemies are defeated, the group begins to decide how to cross the acidic wasteland. Soon it is decided that half the group will climb across the walls while the others use the body of one of the zombie driders as a stepping stone and gain access to the tower.

Inside the tower the group is greeted by a small group of troglodytes and zombie troglodytes. Quickly the group begins to decimate the troglodytes, but soon a new opponent appears as a female Drow appears from under a veil of invisibility as she throws a small exploding vial.

A short and deadly fight follows, but the group brings the alchemist down and is left with the problem of figuring out what to do with the massive amounts of alchemical components that are left. Looking over everything supplied, Artan soon figures out what can be done and with the help of a Elven alchemist back in the camp is able to secure the alchemical components and transport them back to the camp where the Elven army quickly begins to make use of them.


:Rewards:

XP: 1269 (27756)

Gear: Masterwork Elven Curved Blade, Adamantine Dagger, Hand Crossbow +1, Longcoat of Yagmoth

Scrolls: Vampiric touch, Delay Poison

Potions/Oils: Cure Light Wounds, Keen Edge, Invisibility, Shillelagh

Misc: Brooch of Shielding, Elixir of Vision, Ilverae’s Formula Book [Alter Self, Bear’s Endurance, Beast Shape 1, Bomber’s Eye, Cure Light Wounds, Cure Moderate Wounds, Cure Serious Wounds, Elemental Touch, False Life, Fire Breath, Fly, Heroism, Invisibility Lightning Lash, Reduce Person, Lesser Restoration, See Invisibility, Shield, True Strike, Vomit Swarm], Alchemist Fire (10), Vial of Acid (10), Liquid Ice (10), Drow Poison (10)

Coins: 400 gp

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There's always time for religion

After resting up, the group departed for their next mission, taking down an alchemy lab that is rumored to be supplying the Drow with all their strange alchemical weapons. Along the way the group decides to stop off at the Temple of Watchers. A temple dedicated to the four deities worshiped by the elves of Celwynvian: Calistria, Findeladlara, Ketephys, and Yuelral.

Arriving at the temple, the group finds a half-collapsed tower slowly being taken over by vines and creepers, but under the invading vegetation some of the former majesty remains. Tall windows all around the tower allow in natural sunlight, and now with the stain glass broken out of the even more.

Scouting the temple interior out some, Feran spots a group of strange undead wandering the sanctuary. The undead seem to be cloaked in dark clouds of energy. Relaying the description, Artan and Kage remember creatures like that being called Blast Shadows, undead created from bodies killed by area effect magic, but normally they are cloaked in fire, acid, or ice not negative energy like these were.

A battle ensues and soon the group puts the creatures to rest again and begin to look around the temple. Three shrines are seen with a fourth presumably hidden under the rubble. The three visible shrines depict iconography of Calistria, Findeladlara, and Yuelral. Inspecting the altar within each shrine, the group finds a small section of the altar that can be removed and inside several objects within. The most noticeable are finely crafted replicas of the deity’s favored weapon, each unique to the deity.

Sneaking down the stairs, the group finds an open area of the temple that looks to be a meditation room, the disintegrating remains of reed mats can be seen on the floor. Two large piles of old weapons, bits of metal, and discarded chunks of lumber also lie on the floor. Peering at the piles, Feran notices a small flick of red light moving about the piles. Conversing with the group, no one is exactly sure what the piles are, but as Artan moves to try throwing one of his bombs he remembers a type of creature called a Cutlass Spider that can appear as piles of debris.

A quick flurry of attacks by the groups, reduce the creatures to the piles of debris that they resemble before they have a chance to react. Within each of the creatures several finely crafted weapons are found.


:Rewards:

XP: 1022 (26487)

Gear:
+1 Spell Storing Spear (Inflict Moderate Wounds – CL 3), +1 Mithral Conducting Scimitar, Masterwork Dagger x 4

Scrolls:
Comprehend Languages, Ray of Exhaustion

Potions/Oil:
Darkvision, Levitate, Heroism, Cat’s Grace, Shield of Faith, Animate Rope, Protection from Energy (Acid)

Misc:
Elemental Gem (Water), Salve of Slipperiness, Whip (Made of interwoven strands of dragon hide of all colors), Quarterstaff (Made of white oak shod with mithril), Dagger (Carved from a solid crystal)

Gems/Jewelry:
Golden Pearl (68), Jade (81), Coral (62), Jade (88), Chrysoberyl (66), Moonstone (49), Earrings (107), Silver Pearl (70),

Coins:
250 gp

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A walk to the park

After cleaning out the library and making sure the site was secured, the group decided to scout the surrounding area some. Scanning over the map they find Verithes park, an area they have heard use to be an area of carefully cultivated wilderness within the city. Exotic plants, tropical flowers, fruit trees, berry bushes, and more grew within this lovingly tended area.

But after Earthfall left a crater in Celwynvian’s side, the destruction impacted the park as well. Skeletal trees, their limbs still blackened and shriveled even after thousands of years, now line the borders to the west and south. Farther into the park, the trees and plants survived but grew twisted.

As the group pushed deeper toward the park, they happened upon a scouting party of Drow. Both groups seemed surprised to find the other, but the group easily took the Drow down.

Continuing on closer to the center of the park, the group finds a small pond surrounded by areas of decaying vegetation. Approaching closer to the pond, the group realizes that two of the piles of decay are actually shambling mounds that move to attack.

As the group begins to attack the mounds, a trio of centipede swarms emerge from cracks in the ground hunting for something to eat.

After a tough fight, the group manages to finish off the shambling mounds and drive off the swarms giving them a chance to search through the area for anything that might be worthwhile.


:Rewards:

XP: 1167 (25465)

6 sets [Masterwork Studded Leather armor, Masterwork Hand Crossbow, Short Sword]

+1 Composite Shortbow, Drow Poison Bolts x 7

Potion/Scroll: Potion of Bear’s Endurance, Scroll of Purify Food/Water (Carved into a piece of cured bark)

Gems/Jewelry: Onyx 46gp, Bloodstone 19gp, Brown-green garnet 56gp, Amethyst 83gp

Gold: 275 gp

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