The Ghosts of Dragonspear Castle

Thoss and Cheleen's Lair
Into the Crypts and Beyond

The stench of gas grew strong as the heroes descended the mold-coated stairway into the Fane’s crypts. Sensing danger, the Fighter tossed their Underwater Candle down into the darkness and ignited the gas. The explosion was impressive but did not collapse the tunnel or do the party any harm…though their Underwater Candle was completely incinerated. Now using slightly less destructive methods, the Wizard tossed an enchanted stone into the darkness and revealed an empty corridor. Poking around some the heroes found a mummification chamber, an enchanted healing fountain and a series of crypts. They investigated some of the sarcophagi and found a Dragonthumber mace that glowed in the presence of dragons and is presumed to be particularly effective against them. Huzzah!

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They also found three alcoves, two of which contained statuettes much like the one they’d found earlier in the Fane. Upon approaching one, the fighter made a poor impression and the magically animated tiny stone cleric screamed in terror. The wizard (wearing the temple garb they’d found earlier hidden away in a secret chest) had better luck and conversed with the statue for a time. The statues were all thoroughly insane from their years of solitude and both damaged and helped them before the heroes pushed on.

Delving deeper into the darkness the heroes stumbled upon a Grey Ooze. The Ooze got the jump on the fighter by pretending to be a dark puddle. The heroes quickly found the ooze’s acidic nature was hazardous to both their armor and weapons and used magic or magical weaponry to destroy the creature.

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Beyond the Ooze the sounds of a river, drums and chanting could be heard clearly coming up from a long dark stairwell. Flynnrick poked ahead some, sneaking his way down into the beetle-lit cavern. Finding nobody home, he casually strolled directly into a the jaws of the lizardmen. Having heard the exploding gas and battle with the ooze the crafty Queen directed her warriors to lay in wait for the intruders. Flynnrick was indeed lucky! The halfling bobbed and weaved his ass off and managed to avoid the swinging clubs and snapping jaws of many of the lizardmen. The fighter and the cleric then waded in and made short work of the lizardmen forces, though Vethka was nowhere to be seen.

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With the lizardmen slain, the heroes took a moment and surveyed their surroundings, discovering the skeletal remains of a dwarf in a nearby alcove. With some clever illusion magic the Wizard was able to distract the scored of ornary fire beetles that stood between them and the skeleton while the fighter ducked in and unceremoniously removed the skeletons arms and whatever it was clutching. From the broken hand spilled forth a coin from the Ironaxe clan of dwarves, the last known goodly residents of Mount Illefarn. Mysterious! They also found a secret doorway behind a makeshift Thoss Fyurnen shrine that led to a recently vacated secret chamber presumably belonging to Vethka. They casually plundered her bedding and found some gold and a magical mirror.

Creeping down a cramped and dank hallway into the darkness the heroes eventually emerged into a large room with a dark foggy pool at it’s center. A pair of massive treasure hordes visible in the room’s corners, this was obviously the home of Thoss and his mate, Cheleen. Thankfully there was no sign of the diabolical duo but just as all appeared safe a well armed and vengeful Vethka burst up from the misty black water and attacked. The lizard queen called out for Thoss’s aid as she battled against the intruders but to no avail. After a few magical blasts and well timed strikes the Lizard Queen lay shattered on the cave floor, her body as broken as her plans for conquest.

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Thoss Fyurnen, the Sun Swallower and defiler of Fanes, slithered out of dank waters, with menacing eyes and acrid fumes pouring from his mouth. As he breathed in deep he suddenly choked up as his glowing green eyes fell on the cowering black dragon wyrmling in the shadows behind the adventurers. The wyrmling recognized it’s true parent and leaped into the waters. Visibly relieved, Thoss told the adventurers of how Arvik Zaltos has recently visited him and asked for his aid in raiding Cromm’s Hold to claim the water altar. He refused the wizard, and was betrayed by the treacherous fiend for his generous non-consumption of him by the wizard somehow stealing one of his eggs! Cheleen, his mate, was away hunting in the high moors for a few days and Thoss was not eager to see her reaction when she discovered he had lost one of her eggs. Thoss stole the Water Altar as Arvik originally requested, but after learning of the wizard’s demise now had no interest in keeping the troublesome piece of junk. To repay the heroes for returning his offspring and sparing him Cheleen’s wrath he offered to allow them the privilege of not being eaten by him and furthermore to remove the troublesome Altar from his lair. They obliged, grabbed the altar and bolted from the Fane as quickly as they could.

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The Fane of the Sun Swallower
Scouring the Ruined Fane

In the midst of a fetid and fog shrouded lake the ruined Fane of Amaunator seemed deserted but for a faint orange glow emanating from inside it’s massive stone doorway. The heroes decided to craft a makeshift raft from nearby logs and poled their way across. Inside, the soft glow of fire beetles illuminated the fouled ruins of a once decadent shrine to the Sun God.

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Queen Vethka’s lackeys sprung their ambush as Flynnrick the Lucky crept through the archway and nearly overwhelmed the halfling before he could duck back out to the relative safety of the lakeshore. Rain poured in through the ruined astrodome that once topped the Fane as the lizardmen and the heroes battled below. Biting and clawing their way into the heroes, the lizardmen managed to infect several of the group with their putrid wasting disease before they were cut down.

While exploring the various rooms of the temple they discovered the captured Bard. They also found their way into Vethka’s ‘Throne Room’, battling a pair of hungry giant lizards that guarded the area.

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There they met the ancient Wrecan, a cast off adviser to Vethka who asks the heroes to slay the Queen before her mad scheme of conquest gets the whole tribe killed. They also discover a small marble figurine of a dwarf priest, with no discernible use, but nearly blowing themselves up in the process. The Wizard ignited the naturally occurring gas that seemed to permeate certain areas of the temple. Finally they found the deceased halfing ranger that served as a guide to the Bard. Distraught by the sight of the ranger’s desiccated remains the Bard charged in to slay the Stirges that had made a meal of the poor soul.

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The hungry stirges attacked and the Bard very nearly suffered the same fate as his friend before the wizard swept in and dashed them all to bits with a well place thunderwave spell. With their wounds tended they descended into the Fane’s crypts in search of Thoss Fyurnen, Queen Vethka and the mysterious water altar.

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Trouble in the Lizard Marsh
Thoss Fyurnen Strikes!

The adventure opens with the players enjoying a pint during the annual midsummer festival in Daggerford. Unfortunately the weather has been foul for days, cancelling most of the usual festival activities and leaving many of the normal attendees with little to do but hide indoors and imbibe.

A few days ago, the relative peace of the town was shattered by an orc raid on Floshin Manor, an old elvish manor a few miles north of town. Many of the manor staff was kidnapped or slain, but one managed to escape her captors and revealed the leader of the assault was Red Wizard of Thay named Arvik Zaltos, disguised as a gardener.

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A wind-themed altar was stolen from the manor reliquary along with many other valuables. With the help of Sir Isteval, the town militia captured the disguised wizard and tried him for his crimes, but the valuables were lost. Today, the wizard hangs.

The whole town turns out for the spectacle, including the party, the Knight and the town’s ruler, Duke Maldwyn Daggerford. Sir Isteval has enough experience with Thayan Wizards to be wary of the wizard and the hanging is a tense moment. But magic skill cannot save one from a hangman’s noose and Arvik Zaltos soon dies a murderers death.

Just as Zaltos deprived the people of Daggerford of his company, a rider arrives from Cromm’s Hold with a frantic message for the Duke. A black dragon (Sjachmalsvir and Cheleen) has descended on the Hold and the Lady Wynne Cromm seeks aid in the Hold’s defense. The Duke asks Sir Isteval and the adventurers to take a small guard contingent to the Hold to assist her.

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Upon arriving at Cromm’s Hold, Lady Cromm tells Sir Isteval that the dragon swooped in from the nearby Lizard Marsh and demanded an all but forgotten Water Altar kept in Hold’s dungeons in exchange for a peaceful departure. The dragon called himself Thoss Fyurnen, the Sun Swallower. The Lady acquiesced but was betrayed when diseased lizardmen attacked to cover the dragon’s escape. Intrigued by the altar’s thematic similarity to the recent theft from Floshin Manor, Sir Isteval asks the party to search the swamp and retrieve the Altar if possible, but to avoid confronting the Thoss Fyurnen. Maechen, a malitia-woman who accompanied you from Daggerford, offered to guide the heroes through the miserable mire.

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With Maechen’s aid they searched the swamp for the better part of a day, eventually finding their way to an abandoned structure called Krandon Manor. The ruined manor’s new occupants were a tribe of half-orcs and their mother, Mama Booga.

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With a successful bid for diplomacy the heroes discovered the orc shaman and her sons were hired by Arvik Zaltos to sneak into Thoss Fyurnen’s lair and steal one of his eggs, which they successfully did! Upon learning that their employer was hung the day before they offer to sell Thoss’s egg to the party for a reasonable sum. As the Wizard inspected the egg it hatched and out burst an adorable black dragon wyrmling! The wyrmling was a useful and potent ally as they searched the swamp.

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Eventually they encountered some wary lizardmen who told them of a Talona worshiping chieftain named Vethka in a nearby ruin. Vethka has been plotting a war against the ‘drylanders’ for years but they want no part and give the heroes direction to the old ruins.

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