The Darkness Between

Chapter 5 : The Captain

Wherein; Our band of heroes ascend to the final level of the Temple of Orcus and face their greatest challenge yet in this House of Evil...

GM's Note: From now on, I will be inserting notes and comments concerning certain sections of the Adventure Log. These may be the rule used for a situation, my reasoning concerning an event in the adventure, whether something went right or wrong in my design, etc. Constructive criticism would be most welcome!

 

Upon opening the door to the next level, the mage and the priest both realized that they had just broken some sort of magical seal held within the symbol of the Raven Queen. Whether this seal held something in or kept something out, they did not know…

Beyond the door was a massive chamber. Steps led upward from the other three sides of the room. To the west, they led to an upper level and what appeared to be huge bronze doors that may be an exit and to the south, a dusty barren upper tier scattered with the skeletons of long-dead warriors…

The Black TempleThe Black Temple

To the north, a shorter set of steps let to an altar dedicated to Orcus and two crumbling thrones. One of the seats of power had been reserved for the High Deathpriest of this temple. The other still held the Captain of the temples dark warriors…

The skeletal figure in black armor rose from the throne with the rasp of bone against metal and strode forward to address the group below. It's bony countenance was familiar…for back in the Mortal World, the Captain was known as Sir Keegan!

Before the Captain could utter a raspy syllable, Coatillian the Ranger, servant of the Raven Queen, stepped forward and bowed.

Thinking that Captain Keegan, like his counterpart back in the World, was being kept sealed within these evil walls, Coatillian greeted him with the formal greeting of a worshipper of the Queen…and immediately realized his mistake!

GM Note: I had designed a Skill Challenge to be used with this "Dark Keegan", much like the one used with Sir Keegan in H1: Keep on the Shadowfell. The party had an opportunity to talk their way out of the Temple (although the cost was high) if the luck of the dice had been with them…but alas, as soon as the Ranger spoke of the Raven Queen, the "jig" was up…

Upon hearing the name of his Lord Orcus' accursed nemesis, the battle wight known as the Captain screamed out a call to arms from it's long-dead allies!

The deathmaster specter of the High Priest manifested itself as the skeletal archers to the south arose, drawing back withered strings upon rotting bows…

A word from the Deathmaster Specter summoned demons from a magical brazier near the party with a burst of eldritch fire!

DM Note: A Battle Wight, Deathmaster Specter, 4 2nd Level Skeletal Archers, and 7 dretches made up the encounter. The brazier was also a 3rd level hazard/trap (it regenerated the demons).

The battle raged on, covering the length and breadth of the Altar Chamber and even back down to the level of the Dark Path. The ranger was almost lost in a hail of arrows as the party regrouped on the level below…

Soon, the Specter had been utterly destroyed, the demons slain, and the Captain defeated and thrown down the shaft to land 3 stories below, his Lifedrinking sword wrenched from his hand just before falling… 

 Moving back to the great bronze doors that exited the temple, the party slowly began to open them, thinking that freedom was at hand…

Unfortunately, the way before them was jammed with the Undead. Quicky forcing the doors closed, they chose to leave via the air shaft that exited to the roof of the temple.

Upon climbing out under the gloomy overcast skies of the Shadowfell, they found themselves on top of a great black ziggurat surrounded by hundreds upon hundreds of the dead…drawn there for weeks by the dark majicks of the Shadowrift far below! 

DM Note: Have you ever seen the Jet Li movie, "The One"? This is similar to the final scene… 

The band of companions, weary and bloody, only spared a moment to glance at each other in ironic humor before launching themselves at the hoards before them…

 To Be Continued… 

 

 

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