Chapter Six: The Peak of Malystryx
The city itself was a grandiose city unlike any kind on Ansalon. Tens of thousands of Kender lived happy and carefree until Malystryx struck. Her magic and armed forces slaughtered them until the haphazard streets ran red with blood. Kender across Goodlund were sent running from the havoc and devastation, spreading word of the massacre from one to another across the continent. This event left many kender afflicted and afraid, something which has truly not happened since the Cataclysm. Even the “true” Kender are filled with a faint sorrow of the loss Kendermore.
The shadow of the Peak of Malys shelters the ruins of the dead city from the morning sun. When its rays finally do shine upon it mid-day, it only adds to the extreme heat of the lava flows nearby. Today the city is home to gnolls, goblins, and other creatures drawn to the site. Undead kender continue to wander the wreckage, filled with both a need to return to a semblance of their former lives and a burning need to make others suffer as they did. These creatures are known as the Forlorn Kender…
The group approached the ouside of the northern area of the city. A large breach in the wall appeared to be an opportune point of entry. However, the group was set upon by a group of Vamperic darkspawn kender.
This was a long, but victorious battle for the party of heros. With the use of two protection from evil spells, the group dispatched the entire brood of “gully dwarf-like vampires”.
The party entered the city and noticed exploring Kendermore is like viewing a graveyard of Ansalon’s cities. Architectural styles from nearly every major culture was replicated within the city limits: delicate elven spires lay smashed amid the golden plates that once covered the Khurish onion-styled domes and the castle-like foundations of Solamnic buildings. The streets are a confusing maze of paths, alleyways, and winding roads bereft of long-term planning. Now that everything lay in ruins, traversing the city is even more difficult than ever.
While they traveling through the town they found out many of the traps through the city were still armed. At one point Eli was severely injured by multiple incidents. They decided to hold up in the area where the Temples were located after a hard half day of exploration.
Some of the party were awakened the next morning to find a group of Ogres down the street were attempting to capture kenders and force them into a press gang.
The lead kender (making a strange whirring sound with his hoopak which caused the noise the party initially heard, continued to taunt the ogres from atop a building)
You scum-sucking, toenail-eating, puppy-beating, ugly sonofa…oops!" the kender’s arms flail as one of the ogres slams his fist into the precarious structure, causing it to shudder and almost dislodge the youngster from his perch.
“Get that little bastard!” the largest and heavily armored ogre roars down the alleyway as he uncoils a giant whip from his waist.
“Who you callin a bastard!” shouts the kender as he scrambles to safety. “At least my mother didn’t sleep with a goatsucker bird!”
With a roar of rage the ogre takes a few strides forward as he cracks the whip forward, its spiked leather slashes through the air and wraps around the kender’s leg. Before the kender can give a startled cry, the ogre pulls back, yanking the kender from atop the wall and to the ground with an audible “thump!”
The party actually used diplomacy with the Ogres and it worked. They convinced them to leave the area and the kender behind. (Nice!) The group returned the wounded Kender tot he Temple where Eli (still injured himself) elected to watch over them and wait for the group to return from the Mountain. The party stayed the remainder of the night in the safety of the temple and headed out at first light (relative term) for the Peak of Malystryx.
The Peak is one of the tallest active volcanoes on Ansalon, more than 15,000 feet above sea level. However, the party is only 3,000 feet below its tallest point. Due to the high altitude and thin air, people in the group who fail a Con save can become fatigued after several hours. Prolonged exposure can cause damage to ability scores over time. And that’s not counting the volcano’s noxious fumes.
*This was a great environment challenge that was actually not hand waved aside as 99% of previous “challenges” have been dealt with. The environment was actually the enemy and it was nice to see that represented in the game. The players suffered from the effects and harsh environment, but used magic to overcome this with an end run around alternative to the rope trick. (The only spell I have ever banned in my game) While I honestly did not mind them using it in this instance as they were in dire need of getting off the mountain after a few failed checks, I strongly dislike “I win button” spells used to get out of challenging encounters used repetitively.
The group decided to forge an attempt to scale the mountain entirely and entered in area PM 2, the “secret” entrance pointed out by Deuce Spadestomper back in Kendermore that the party aided in freeing the kender from the Ogres. It’s relatively easy to scale and leads into the home of the Phalanx Ant Colony, one of the sapient factions within the Peak. It’s the safest entrance of the three into the Peak and the party choose well. The almost immediately met up with worker ants who they seemed surprise had the ability to speak. They followed the ants to seek out the Queen.
The players learned that the head of the dragonspawn and ogre factions united in a tenuous alliance. Grigolthan is an ogre mage who unsuccessfully attempted a ritual to ascend to the status of ogre titan (like a magical uber-ogre), but since the ritual required elven blood it backfired and degraded his body and mind. Grigolthan seeks to retry the ritual, using the blood of over 100 kender over time as part of an experiment. Grigolthan convinced Sindra, leader of the dragonspawn, to unleash the energy of Malystryx’s taint he believes the afflicted kender carry within them. Through this, they theorize, will the dragonspawn regain their former power and be able to reproduce (created dragonspawn are infertile). If all goes according to plan, Grigolthan becomes an ogre titan and Sindra can regain her glory.
The ants will escort the party via one of their networked tunnels
The party were left adjacent to the room where the Kender were being kept captive. The party drilled holes in the weakened wall to spy on the guards. They saw the slave pens of the underground chambers of the map above. The top of the pit is covered by an iron grating, below which 21 kender are being held, all suffering from various forms of undernourishment. Dragath, a dragonspawn barbarian guards the room and she quickly noticed the party somehow. She immediately flew into a rage and approached the hole in the wall, but was skewered through the wall by the pcs driving their weapons into her!
She was summarily dispatched quite easily! (which surprised me) the party brought their A game. After she was hacked down, the group rescued the kender who were kept in the large hole after moving the grate aside. From there the group slowly moved into the next room.
Wanna Be Titan
The next room is the ritual area where Grigolthan lairs. A large pentragram of silver contains a dragon skull on each tip over a circular pit of blood. At its center a pillar of yellowed bones rises. The wanna be Titan attempted to use the Staff of Bones in his possession to animate the corpses of the 13 kender zombies at the bottom of the pool to fight for him. However, the entire party was too fast for him (Damn low rolling initiative!)
Much like his Dragonspawn ally, the group hit him with everything they had and he went down like a bitch. Seriously, he didn’t even get a turn. There were multiple critical hits there would be no Titan spawning on this day.
*Grigolthan was a glass cannon. Since he acted last against such a brutal attack, it was all over but the crying for him.
After killing the ogre mage and ruining their last chance ritual, Sindra show’s up and is super-pissed at the party, unfurling her Hellfire Whip and threatening to “Burn the flesh from your bones and you. Will. Buuuuuuurrrrn!”
*These three should have teamed up against the group. That is what happens I guess when the party comes through as secret passage wall by burrowing ants…
Sindra appears to be a formidable opponent and conventional logic would say the party (after fighting Dragath and Grigolthan) that they would have an uphill battle. The party spanked her. They took away her fire whip, beat her down, and she was even denied revenge in death as she began convulsing in her death throes the group rolled her into the large bloody chamber under the iron pentagram to explode under the blood pit. They laughed and mocker her before she died making fun of her retarded wanna be titan ally. She died badly.
The minatiour, who was wielding the shard of light then begins to notice that the blade’s light flickers in tune to a glimmer at the opposite end of the room, leading into the armory. There the party finds a beautiful lance of burnished silver, its haft shaped like the head of a dragon of purest gold. The image of a beautiful elven woman coalesces into a nimbus of blue light in front of the weapon. “Finally, you have overcome great hardships to release us from the darkness! Come, heroes… take up the lance and embrace your destinies!” Then she vanishes along with the shard of light’s glimmer, plunging the room into a faint darkness.
This elven ghost was Kayleigh, and this lance is no ordinary magical Dragonlance… It is Huma’s Lance, the very one wielded by Huma Dragonbane in the Age of Dreams to banish Takhisis from the mortal realm in the Third Dragon War!
This baby’s a Major Artifact…
Priceless Artifact Count: 3 (Key of Quanri, Shard of Light, Huma’s Dragonlance)
The Dragonlance of Huma was the first Greater Dragonlance created, and wielded by Huma against Takhisis herself at the end of the great Dragon Wars that ended the Age of Dreams and began the Age of Might.
-If wielded by somebody other than a lawful-good creature, the Lance of Huma is treated as a Greater Dragonlance.
-When wielded by a lawful good creature, the Dragonlance of Huma is a +3 Keen, holy, wounding lance that glows with an inner light. It grants Advantage on all CHA based rolls against good aligned people. It grants Advantage on all Intimidate checks against evil aligned people. It ignores Resistance of dragons. It grants resistance from all Dragon attacks and advantage to saves. It deals an extra +3d6 vs. Dragons. When used against an evil true dragon it deals 2 points of permanent Constitution drain (no save) with every hit. If the wielder scores a critical hit it deals a number of points of Constitution drain equal to 5 + wielder’s level + wielder’s Charisma modifier. Once per day it can cast dismissal on any evil outsider (who suffer a penalty to their save equal to 5 + wielder’s level). It can even be used against divine entities and their servitors!
Once per Month, it can cast Gate/Plane Shift.
-It bestows Disadvantage on all rolls onto evil creatures attempting to wield it, and deals 3d6 radiant damage each round, with an addlt +1d6 accumulating every round after. (Ignores any resistance to radiant damage)
*The heroes gaining access to this weapon will have drastic, far-reaching effects into the adventure. Not only is it instantly recognizable to Ansalon’s major orders (Knights of Solamnia/Neraka, Wizards of High Sorcery, etc), its presence can be sensed by clerics of evil deities, true dragons, and good/evil outsiders. Doubtlessly many of these groups will seek to part the lance from the PCs’ hands for their own use (whether to safeguard it, destroy it, or study it).
After leaving the mountain the party headed back to the oasis to return Grigolthan’s staff to the witches. The elf and the kender will strike out towards Port Balifor.
Level Up: Level 7