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Return to the Throne
Author: Bill Sweeney
System: D&D Forgotten Realms
Requirements: 4 to 6 good or neutral characters of 6-8 level (35 total).
This adventure is set in the Dalelands of the FORGOTTEN REALMS game world but can be adjusted to be played in any area where temperate forests border an arid mountain range. This adventure includes many personalities and places native to the FORGOTTEN REALMS setting.
"Return to the Throne" is a second edition AD&D adventure designed for four to six good or neutral aligned characters of levels 6-8 (about 35 total levels). It is recommended that the party be well-balanced, with characters representing the four major class types including at least one ranger and one dwarf. This adventure is set in the Dalelands of the FORGOTTEN REALMS game world but can be adjusted to be played in any area where temperate forests border an arid mountain range. This adventure includes many personalities and places native to the FORGOTTEN REALMS setting and additional references such as the Forgotten Realms Campaign Set and Dwarves' Deep could prove to be useful.
For the Dungeon Master
One hundred and fifty-seven years ago, in the year 1210 DR (dalereckoning), the dwarven kingdom of Tethyamar flourished in the northern reaches of the Dalelands. The center of Tethyamar was situated on the northern slopes of the arid Desertmouth Mountains, at the site of perhaps one of the richest and most dazzling sapphire mines in the Realms. The Mines of Tethyamar, as they would become to be known, provided the dwarven nation with the gems needed to finance the construction of an incredible fortress to protect their wealth as well as a surplus of moneys to conduct in trade with their neighbors. The dwarves' success was attributed to the wise rule of the Iron House, a royal court led by a King-Under-the-Mountain. For many hundreds of years up to 1210 DR, the dwarves of the Iron House and their ancestors traded their gems with the humans, elves, and the other goodly folk of the Dalelands. In their time, the dwarves of Tethyamar made peace with the Dalesmen and with the elves of Cormanthor and the Border Forest. Together, the these goodly races of the Heartlands held back the advances of humanoid monster armies that plagued the lands from the barren wastes north of the Moonsea.
However, as with many other of Faerun's once-great dwarven civilizations, the greedy nature of dwarves brought the unwanted attentions of the creatures that lurked in the broken lands of the north. The dwarves mined more than they could ever use and held out the supply of the gems to increase their total value on a starved market. The Harpers, an association of goodly rangers, bards, and rogues, warned the dwarves that their selfish ways would only attract the attentions of those who coveted their wealth. likewise, the men of the Dalelands refused to trade with the dwarves, and so the alliance between the dwarves and the humans began to falter.
Then, in the year 1210 DR, a great army of goblins, orcs, ogres, and giants, all united under a single orcish king, marched upon the great fortress at Tethyamar. After defeating the dwarves' elven allies in the Border Forest, the inhuman army poured toward the halls at Tethyamar with overwhelming numbers. The dwarves, who were hopelessly outnumbered, and seemingly abandoned by their human allies in the Dalelands, were able to hold off the assault for several months. Until at last, after months of siege, the outer walls of their domain fell, and goblinoids overtook the once great dwarven mines. The dwarf Ghellin, the King-Under-The-Mountain, escaped with a small band of dwarves from the massacre, swearing to one day return and lead his people to revenge and victory over their foes.
For over one-hundred and fifty winters, the Mines of Tethyamar, and the fortress built to protect it, have been in the hands of the humanoid descendants of the original conquest. And throughout those years, old king Ghellin has sat in exile, among his brothers to the southwest in the Far Hills. Many a dwarf in the Heartlands speak and dream of a day when the king may return to his throne and the dwarven nation of Tethyamar be reborn once more.
In years past, this day was nothing more than idle dwarven talk. However, this last winter, old King Ghellin fell ill with a wasting disease which drained much of his vitality and strength. It was feared among the remnants of his people that he would never have a chance to reclaim his throne before his death. The descendants of the Iron House immediately began to plan a strategy for retaking of their mines, a dream they held for over 100 years. It was their most sincere hope that this could be accomplished before the first snows and that orcs and goblinkind in the mines would not be allowed to defile their ancestral lands for yet another winter. This purpose found its way to the ears of other dwarven nations of the Realms including Citadel Adbar, Mithril Hall, and the secretive dwarves of the Far Hills. Ghellin, whose strength fails him more and more each passing day, has begun to secretly assemble an army in the Lost Vale of Tarkhaldale, on the edge of the desert Anauroch, with the help of some new found friends.
Dwarves from throughout the Realms are answering the exiled king's call and many Dalesmen have noticed large dwarven war parties making their way into the depths of the Desertmouth Mountains. These dwarven travelers have also raised the attention of the Zhentarim, who by magical means and torture, have discerned that the assembling dwarves might be a precursor to an attempt to take back the Mines of Tethyamar. The Zhentarim, who would no doubt suffer trade and political losses if the dwarven nation of Tethyamar was reestablished on their western border, have sent agents into the Dalelands to learn more of Ghellin's plans as well as representatives to the mines presently to try to find an alliance with the powers that hold sway there. Unknown to both the dwarves and the Zhentarim ,however, is that the Mines of Tethyamar are ruled presently by a new and more deadly power, the blue dragon, Shatterwing.
Cast of Characters
The main personalities (NPC's) of this adventure belong to one of three different groups. Although only the dwarves will be introduced in this part of the adventure, these other characters will make their appearance in part two of the saga:
Constable Tren Noemfor: AL LE; hm; AC 1; MV 12; hp 48; THACO 14; AT# 3/2; Dmg by weapon type; ML 14; +2 long sword, ring of the ram, cloak of displacement; XP 650
Fiora Shadowsun: AL LE; hf; AC -3; MV 12; F11; hp 79; THACO 10; # AT 3 (2 scimitars-2 primary hand & one off hand); Dmg by weapon type; S17, D17, Ch18; ML 16; scimitar +3 frost brand, scimitar +1, platemail +3, ring of spell turning, teleport ring; XP 2,000
Yorel: AL NE; hm; AC 3; MV 8; F6; hp 47; THACO 15; # AT 3/2; Dmg by weapon type; S18/04; ML 17; two-handed sword +1, platemail; XP 500
Asdag: AL LE; hm; AC 4; MV 12; P6; hp 35; THACO 18; # AT 1; Dmg by spell or by weapon type; W 17; ML 14; mace +2, bracers AC4; XP 800
Casselbrook Darkfellow: AL CN; hem; AC 2; MV 12; W9; hp 29; THACO 18; # AT 1; Dmg by spell or by weapon type; I 16, D16, Ch 16; ML 13; staff of striking, ring of protection +4, cloak of protection +2; XP 1,000
The Dragon Faction
Shatterwing: AL LE; old blue dragon; AC -4; MV 9, Fl 30 (C), Br 4; HD 22; hp 127; THACO 4; # AT 3 or breath; Dmg 1-8+8/1-8+8/3-24+8 or breath (16d8+8); spells 3 2; ML 16; MR 35%; XP 12,000
King Baltrog Talontooth; AL LE; orc king; AC -2; MV 8; HD 7; hp 57; THACO 14; #AT 1; Dmg by weapon type; dwarven battleaxe +5 (Glandthril), dwarven full plate armor +2; ML 12; XP 800
Telgin the Wicked; AL LE; ogre mage; AC 4; MV 9; HD 5+2; hp 35; THACO 15; Dmg 1-12 or by spell; ML 13; XP 650
The Dwarven Faction
Ghellin: AL LN; md; AC -6; MV 8; F15; hp 90; THACO 6; Dmg by weapon type; S 18/02 (now 14), C 17 (now 11); ML 18; dwarven battleaxe +2, dwarven plate armor +4, dwarven buckler +1; XP 2000
Stumpet Rakingclaw: AL LG; fd; AC 0; MV 8; P9; hp 43; THACO 16; Dmg by spell or by weapon type; W 16, D 16; ML 15; mace +2, mithril chain mail +3, holy symbol, light pellets (25); XP 500
Grandomere Cordellin: AL LN; md; AC -4; MV 8; F12; hp 96; THACO 9; Dmg by weapon type; S 18/94, C 18, I 16; ML 19; dwarven thrower +3, dwarven platemail +3, dwarven shield +3; XP 1500
This adventure has been designed so that the characters have a free reign of choice when dealing and interacting with the events in the Desertmouth Mountains. Although this author has written the adventure with the assumption that the party will come to the aid of the dwarves, parties with selfish goals may also succeed as well as those who may ally themselves with the Zhentarim or even the dragon!
A. The Village of Stormpemhauder
Begin with this:
It is a cool late summer night in the small gnomish village of Stormpemhauder which, situated in the center of the dreaded Spiderhaunt Woods, provides the only true refuge to travelers in this forbidding region. You have just recently returned from your latest quest in the Dalelands and have sought the safety of this friendly forest gnome outpost as an escape from the poisonous spiders and other fey creatures of the wood.
This night, your party sits on a old wooden log around the village campfire, respectfully entertaining the company of the village priest who has offered you a place to sleep on his temple floor. Gnomish children squeal with delight as they fawn all over you and ask a never-ending sea of questions about your travels and exploits. Telimas Dreamweaver, the frail gnomish priest who welcomed you to Stormpemhauder, tells fantastic stories to the children to distract them from bothering you, but you can see that the little ones are truly fascinated by your presence in the village. Finally, the children go off to bed and you are left with the village elders to watch the campfire slowly burn down.
As you stare into the dying embers of the fire, the sounds of heavy footsteps and the jingling and clanking of plate armor suddenly drift through the forest from the north. In the distance, the bobbing of a dozen lanterns throw a eerie glow through the underbrush and signal the approach of late night visitors.
Within a few moments, a worn and road-weary band makes its entrance to Stormpemhauder from the north path.. All dwarves you believe by their stature and bearded appearance, this group of twelve pauses a moment before the smallest of them steps forward and approaches the campfire. Telimas the gnome priest smiles and stirs the fire with a great poking stick to light the hearth again for the unexpected travelers. The approaching dwarf, who maintains a thin but wispy red-brown beard, wears a dark green traveling cloak which, although was once fine, is now mud-stained and tattered. In fact, the group as a whole looks a bit shabby, and several dwarves have an arm in a sling or are bandaged for some wound.
The forest-cloaked dwarf catches your attention again and you realize for the first time that this smaller dwarf's torso has some unusual curves and proportions. Undoubtedly, this dwarf is female and this provides an adequate explanation for her less than full beard.
The female dwarf begins, "Hail gnomish friends and travelers, we are but simple dwarves seeking refuge from the terrors of the night. My dwarves and I are injured and weary and need a place to rest our tired bones. We are willing to pay you handsomely for any inconvenience we may cause."
Telimas rises slowly from his wooden seat around the campfire and replies, "Sister of the earth, your coins and baubles are unnecessary. You are welcome here in Stormpemhauder for as long as you like. The dwarvish people have always aided us in times of need and we would never deny the same in return. Sit, bring your dwarves around, and share the warmth of our company and fire."
The dwarf returns to the remainder of her dwarves and leads them to a vacant log on the opposite side of the fire as your party. The dwarves drop their equipment and many collapse upon their heavily-laden packs in sheer exhaustion. The remainder of the dwarves seem extremely solemn and quietly sip flasks of dwarven spirits that they pull from their belongings.. Interestingly enough, as you learn from a gnomish trapper that is seated beside you, large groups of dwarves have been passing through this way quite frequently this summer and this is at least the fifth band Stormpemhauder has seen this week. Rumor has it that some new mine must have opened up somewhere nearby, but these dwarves seem more like soldiers and mercenaries to you, not mine workers.
The leader of the dwarves is Stumpet Rakingclaw, High Cleric of Mithril Hall, and leader of this dwarven war party from King Battlehammer's domain. Her and her dwarves have stopped in Stormpemhauder for a rest after a harrowing flight through Cormyr. First attacked by lizardmen in the Marsh of Tun, Stumpet's small army lost many of its number fighting an adult black dragon whom the lizardmen worshipped. And after being attacked and robbed by brigands outside of Arabel, Stumpet has only about two handfuls of warriors left, all of which are battered and bruised.
Dwarven Warriors (11): AL LG; md; AC 2 (plate & shield); MV 8; F4; hp 30; THACO 17; Dmg by weapon type; ML 15; battleaxe; XP 100
Stumpet is planning to leave Stormpemhauder tomorrow, after a night of rest, and make the final leg of the journey to the Lost Vale where she is to meet with Ghellin and the rest of the dwarven forces. She believes that Ghellin will be quite disappointed that her king only sent half of the desired 100 warriors Ghellin asked for and that a majority of these did not survive the journey east. Stumpet will do all of the talking for the group if the PC's approach, and will somberly tell curious characters the details of her journey except for any mention of their destination or plans to meet with Ghellin. Stumpet will fabricate a story about traveling east to purchase some goods in the Dragon Reach area if asked about her destination.
She has been instructed by Ghellin's messengers to keep the plans for the retaking of Tethyamar secret from all non-dwarves and she will follow those orders unto her death. Stumpet carries with her an item of critical importance to Ghellin and his people. An ancient map, retrieved from the libraries at Silverymoon, shows detailed floormaps and secret entrances to the old Tethyamar mines. This, along with what remains of Ghellin's memories, will hopefully serve as adequate tools for planning the upcoming attack.
Stumpet will eventually come off as disinterested and annoyed if the PC's become too curious and she will ask for some privacy if bothered at length. After the PC's return to their side of the fire or begin to leave for a night of rest, read this to the players:
Out of the corner of your eye, you see one of the older dwarven males, his beard streaked with silver, begin to quietly argue with the female dwarf about some matter. She seems to protest at first but then concede to her fellow dwarf. All the while, several of the other male dwarves on the other side of the fire stare in your party's general direction. The two finish their discussion and you watch as they both jump down off their overstuffed packs and head toward you..
The male, an older dwarf named Fauste, will lead the way over to the party as Stumpet begins to cast detect lie as well as detect evil. Fauste is concerned, as well as the other dwarves, that with the heavy losses the war party has received over the past few weeks the chances of the map getting to Ghellin safely have been jeopardized. Fauste has been trying to convince Stumpet to hire a mercenary band to give the dwarves an armed escort for the remainder of their journey to a secret pass in the Desertmouth Mountains that leads to the Lost Vale. Only several dwarves remain in adequate fighting condition and it will be a few days before Stumpet can heal the rest thoroughly. Fauste will ask if he may join the characters in a drink, holding his flask out for the characters to try. The liquor is dwarven spirits and quite potent. By this point Stumpet should have completed her spell casting and will sit down with Fauste and begin the discussion. Stumpet asks the characters about themselves, all the while testing their answers and trying to discern their intent. After being reasonably confident, Stumpet will attempt to hire them as adventuring guides. Read the following at this point:
"Fauste and I have a proposition for you in which you may be interested. We are looking for a band to serve as our guides and protection in these foreign lands, and considering the shape we are in at the present, your fine group seems more than adequate. Are you for hire, friends?"
"Well then, the details are simple enough, our path leads us through some heavy terrain. Tomorrow morning we leave for the Desertmouth Mountains, with an exact destination being a secluded mountain pass several days to the northwest of here.. You will escort us to this location where we will part from your company and each of our parties will go our separate ways. Once you deliver us there, you will receive the second half of your payment. Here is the first." Stumpet lays a handful clear gem stones, the size of a acorns, down in front of you.
There are 9 gems worth 400 gp, 5 X 100 gp, 3 X 50 gp. Stumpet promises an equal amount upon delivery to the destination point and will show the other half to the characters if requested. Under no means will any of the dwarves divulge the purpose for traveling to the Desertmouth Mountains but will only answer that part of the payment is for the player's "discretion" in the matter. Characters may or may not want to accept a job without knowing more details. Whatever is decided, the dwarves thank them for their time and either leave for a warehouse Telimas has cleared for them, planning to meet tomorrow with the party, or sadly disappointed with the party's reluctance. Either way, the dwarves can be joined tomorrow before they leave from the western edge of the village.
After the dwarves retire for the night, Telimas approaches one of the members of the party. This character will either be a priest or a paladin or the most capable wizard if neither of these classes is represented (however, no dwarves regardless).
Read the following to the character after Telimas manages to get he or she alone;
Telimas Dreamweaver walks slowly beside you as your party makes its way toward his home to retire for the night. Other elders tend to extinguishing the fire, but Telimas walks alongside you silently, his brow furrowed in deep thought. He stops suddenly in mid stride and motions you to wait for him while the rest of your party enters his home.
The old gnome addresses you, "Since I was a young child, which seems like ages ago, I have been gifted, or cursed some would say, with visions of the future. They come to me in dreams, fantastic scenes of war and strife that threaten our lands. For many years now I have dreamed of the broad farm fields of Dales, the blood spilled upon them in recent years, and of a dark castle on the shore of a great inland sea. In all of my dreams, a great range of mountains stood over these lands, ancient onlookers of the battles fought by men. But recently these mountains have changed in my dreams. They still stand proud and tall as always, but a thick, dark blood now pours from their ridges and peaks and floods the great plains of the Dalelands while lightning and thunder streak and sound overhead. It is a frightening omen for the days ahead."
Telimas stares intently into your eyes and then sniffs the air around him. "I can smell it, the time draws near." With that, Telimas turns and walks up the wooden steps to his home.
The dark castle of Telimas' dreams is Zhentil Keep and the blood from the Desertmouth Mountains symbolizes the upcoming dwarven attack on the orcish armies of Tethyamar. Telimas knows little else and will answer any further questions by simply telling the players that his dreams are open to many forms of interpretation.
Hopefully the characters will be drawn into the adventure at this point. If not, then add additional incentives including greater payment or outside interests to convince them.
B. Aghazstamn's Lair
The dwarven party will leave Stormpemhauder at dawn on the following day. If the characters have not joined with the dwarves by this time, Stumpet will offer twice the amount she showed the characters the night before for their services. Read the following as the characters leave Stormpemhauder;
The sounds of Stormpemhauder drift slowly away behind you as you and your new dwarven friends make your away out of the western reaches of Spiderhaunt Wood. The forest is less threatening here and sunlight filters freely down through a much less dense canopy, making the entire scene rather beautiful as you make your way over hillocks and through gullies. You find your dwarven company quiet and reserved but extremely hardy and determined. You take few breaks throughout your first day of travel and your clothes are wet from your perspiration. The dwarves, on the other hand, tirelessly press on through the afternoon, carrying enormous packs upon their backs, and barely breaking a sweat. By evening time you begin to reach the outskirts of Spiderhaunt and the forest opens into wide stretches of open ground. The land here has begun to rise steadily and from these open areas you can see far to the west and to your destination. Rising out of the edge of the woods, the majestic Desertmouth Mountains reach toward the pale blue summer sky. Conifers dot the rugged granite and sandstone range and rubble clings to the sides of these great monuments. As the sun begins to set behind the mountains, you see your dwarven companions drop their packs and begin to set up a makeshift camp at the foot of these highlands.
The characters can assist the dwarves in setting up a campsite and will slowly begin to gain their trust if they help here and there. Character may speak freely with the dwarves and share tales and adventures if they so wish. Observant characters will notice Fauste and Stumpet remove themselves from the group and study an old weathered map under the light of the setting sun, planning the journey for tomorrow. Again, the dwarves are friendly than at the first meeting, but still become silent and suspicious if asked about their destination.
Read the following the next day as the party begins their ascent into the mountains;
You awake to see the dwarves already up and preparing to break camp. You gather your own possessions and the dwarves share some of their rations with you as a makeshift morning meal. You break camp as the sun begins to rise fully over the plains to the east, and before you know it, the last trees of Spiderhaunt fall behind you as you begin your ascent into the Desertmouth Mountains. Serving as a vast physical barrier to the advancing Anauroch Desert, the climate here is much dryer than the humid temperate lowlands of the Dales. Moisture is scarce in the mountains and Stumpet warns you to conserve your supply of water.
You and the dwarves scramble your way up the boulder-strewn slopes of the first ridge, hopefully reaching the summit by late morning. This region is prone to avalanche and as you climb the these mountains, you are able to see great fields of rubble ahead where parts of the mountain have literally "fallen away" due to thousands of years of weathering. A dry and warm wind flows down over the mountains from the west and soon even the dwarves begin to sweat in their heavy armor. By noon time you approach the summit of the first ridge and spy a great cave opening near its top. Boulders obscure much of your view, but by your estimation, the opening is tremendous.
The cave is in reality the entrance to Aghazstamn's Lair, the ancient home of the dracolich Aghazstamn. Fortunately for the characters, this dracolich was destroyed by adventurers some years ago and no longer poses a threat. However, this cave is considered sacred ground by some; particularly by the Cult of the Dragon, a semi-religious fanatic order bent on restoring dead dragons to undead life and worshipping them as gods. Founded by the wizard Sammaster years ago, the Cult's following has spread across the Realms, enticing wizards and warriors of evil alignments to join their cause. The characters have stumbled upon one of the Cult's strongholds and in fact, cult members are presently worshipping here as the dwarves and them approach. Refer to the map of this area for a layout of the lair. If the characters wish to investigate, Fauste and five other dwarves agree to accompany the party into the lair.
If the party investigates, read this as they approach the cave entrance;
You and your dwarven companions make your way across the broken slope toward the cave. As you approach, you are able to appreciate the size of this opening in the side of the mountain. A full ninety feet wide and fifty feet high, this gaping maw of a cavern plunges deep into the side of the ridge, disappearing into utter darkness. A recently constructed fire pit lies directly outside of the entrance, the smoke of dying embers still drifting on the dry breeze.
A careful search of the area will uncover a number of humanoid footprints leading into the cave as well as wide array of bones and tatters of clothing spread about the cave opening. Dwarves will recognize a distinct change in the geology of this area, including thick veins of blue clay running through the rock strata here.
Read the following if the characters delve deeper into the cavern;
Thick stalactites hang from the ceiling within the cave entrance and the light of the day does little to illuminate the vastness of this chamber. Blue clay runs in thick veins on the walls here, interspersed with a sea-green stone that seems to have been mined in years past. It is cold here, and your sweat has turned frigid on your bodies and surprisingly you are able to see your own breath as frost vapor. You pull your cloaks tighter as you press deeper into the cave, your eyes darting from shadow to shadow. Far ahead, a flickering of bright white light catches your attention and the soft hum of chanting can be heard drifting from the depths of the cave.
The sea-green stone in the walls is a rare gemstone, native to the Realms, called bejuril. Bejuril has some interesting qualities that have puzzled alchemists and wizards for centuries. Bejuril absorbs light, heat, and vibratory energy from the environment and discharges this energy in the form of a flash of bright white light every several minutes or so. The flashing the characters are able to notice in the distance is the effect of the bejuril in the chamber of Aghazstamn, discharging the energy from the cultist's torches and bodies. After several turns in this chamber (1d6+1) the bejuril around the characters will also begin to discharge in flashes of bright white light, alerting the cultists to their presence.
If the characters approach the end of the cavern before the bejuril discharges around them, read the following;
The flashes of bright white light grows more intense and more frequent from the chamber ahead of you. As you near the source of this light you realize it is emanating from the walls of the chamber beyond, a vast cavern set about thirty feet below the outlook at which you now stand. A crude path leads along the wall, down to the floor of this great cavern that must be at least one hundred feet high. From your vantage point you are also able to discern the source of the chanting you heard from the chamber behind you. At least twenty robed forms, all on their knees, chant and pray to the enormous silhouette of an object resting against the far wall of the chamber. Torches burn on stands located around the cavern, casting a pale orange light on the worshippers. But it is the cold white flashes emanating from the walls of the cavern itself that illuminate the gigantic shadowy form against the far wall. All of you gasp in horror as the chilling white skeleton of an ancient dragon, its red scales moldering on its hide, lays motionless as the object of these cultists' worship. Suddenly, one of the robed worshippers rises and outstretches his hand toward the draconian skeleton. Mist and vapor rises from the ghastly remains, coalescing into the spectral form of an ancient red dragon. The worshippers stop their chanting instantly, falling back in awe and reverence.
The ancient ghostly form speaks in a thick and reptilian accent which echoes through the cavern, "Mortal humans heed my words, for one day I will rise again. I, Aghazstamn the Red, shall spread my great wings over the lands of elves and humans and destroy them for all eternity with my fiery breath. No one shall escape the scourge of the dracolich! Except of course, my loyal followers; you my Cult of the Dragon. There is no escape for the heretics who mock me, for they shall burn with the rest. This I..."
Suddenly the voice stops as the robed cultist who had his hand pointed toward the skeleton turns with the rest of his followers, their gaze centered on your position. All around you, the flickering light of the sea-green stone in the walls beside you alert the assembly of your position. The robed leader, regaining his composure, turns and points his hand back toward spectral dragon. It hisses as it screams, "Destroy the infidels!" The cultists throw back their hoods and draw long slender swords from underneath their robes.
The spectral dragon is in reality just an illusion created by the wizard Nombrannon, a high ranking member of the cult. The illusion is created by a Ring of Dragons, a magical item detailed at the end of the adventure. The dragon will remain silent and unmoving through the battle as the wizard throws spells at the party. The cultists are borderline maniacs and under direct orders of their apparent god. They will fight to the death and pursue fleeing characters.
Cultists (20); AC 5; hp 15 each; THACO 17; dmg by weapon; longswords and dagger; ML 20 (13) XP 50
Nombrannon the Dragonmaster; W11; AC 2; hp 32; THACO 17; dmg by spell; ring of dragons, wand of fireballs (16); ML 16; spells: 4, 4, 4, 3, 3; XP 1200
If Nombrannon dies or escapes the fight, the spectral dragon will disappear immediately. Such an effect will cause the cultists to make an immediate morale check at their true level. A careful search of the cavern after the battle will uncover a few scattered gold pieces (1d12X3) underneath the bones of Aghazstamn but the vast wealth of the chamber has long since been looted.
C. Canyon of the Living Rock
Read the following after the party and the dwarves reach the summit of the first ridge;
The wind whips around you as you scramble up the last several yards of the slope to the summit of the first ridge line. The site that unfolds before you is breath taking. Jagged granite peaks and sandstone canyons rise and plummet ahead of you, all withstanding the test of the ages and the elements. As men and their empires have risen and fallen time and time again, these mountains have stayed a constant through it all.
Stumpet walks forward to your perch and speaks, "All this was once part of a dwarven homeland, the greatest of its kind in the north." A sad look overcomes her face. "But no more, it now lies in the grasp of orcs and their monstrous allies. One day it will be ours again, by Dumathoin I swear it. Look there, between those two far mountains." Stumpet points to a narrow canyon far on the horizon, perhaps two days from here, and continues, "that is the Canyon of the Living Rock, our final destination. Our journey nears an end. Deliver us through these highlands to the canyon and in two days you will be free to travel back to your homes."
The canyon is two days travel from this ridge and the characters can reach the destination late on the second day. Read the following after the characters begin the hike down to the canyon.
For two nights and two days you have hiked in the rugged terrain of the Desertmouth Mountains, following an old rugged footpath that Stumpet picks out from the twisting trails and rubble that lies amidst this mountainous country. Occasionally you notice a marker stone upon the trail, a rock or boulder that has the symbol of three mountains standing in a triangle with a depression in its center. At one time these marker stones probably held gems in the depressions but they have been long pried away. You recognize these markers as dwarven trailblazes for the footpath you are following and by the way Stumpet looks for them and references them to her old weathered map, you are sure that she is following their trail purposely.
The nights are cold up here in the mountains, even in the summer time, and you and the dwarves huddle by small campfires fueled by the few bits of kindling you can find at these altitudes. The two days of travel pass quickly and you encounter not a single living creature along the way. Stumpet and her dwarves seems nervous however, and the priest occasionally drifts to the back of our traveling group, watching the landscape behind you.
Stumpet has noticed orc tracks along the trail since late on the first day. The other dwarves are aware of the threat as well and observant characters notice that the dwarves keep their weapons close at hand. Stumpet hopes that the dwarves can make the canyon by nightfall and through the pass into the safety of Tarkhaldale. Read the following as the characters reach the canyon towards the end of the second day of travel.
The last rays of the setting sun begin to disappear over the mountainous horizon as you climb the last incline leading to the entrance to the canyon. Today has been an uncomfortable trek, the terrain has been unusually rugged and each one of you is thoroughly exhausted from the hike. Stumpet has pushed the group to maintain a incredible pace, trying to meet her deadline of the canyon by sunset. With her goal at hand, Stumpet relaxes as she slumps down against a large pile of loose stone. The deep and narrow Canyon of the Living Rock stretches to the northwest and disappears as it bends around one of the huge peaks that flanks it. Stumpet throws a bag of gems in your direction and smiles.
"In the bag is twice what we agreed upon. You earned your keep with your company if not with your swords. I'm afraid this is where we part as friends, and we dwarves go our separate way." Stumpet reharnesses her pack and gathers her dwarves behind her after their quick rest. "Thank you again for your assistance and if you ever are in the far western Savage Frontier, you will be welcome guests in the halls of King Battlehammer's domain. Axe high, my friends, we go." Stumpet leads her dwarves away from you and down the steep slopes of the canyon toward its floor. Each of the dwarves smile and wave as they depart your company and several of them hand you small tokens of their appreciation which include a helmet and a spare shield.
You watch the dwarves disappear into the canyon and behind a copse of conifers that stand on the slope between the ridge line and the canyon floor.
The characters will have several minutes to discuss their next move before one of them spots some movement on the canyon floor. A large war party of humanoid creatures darts between boulders on the canyon floor preparing to ambush the dwarves as they exit the treeline and reach the bottom of the canyon. If the characters don't react quickly, the dwarves will be massacred. Allow the characters to come to the dwarves' aid but make them make dexterity checks to traverse the slope in any movement rate other than a careful descent. Read the following as the characters break free of the treeline;
Your party breaks free of the evergreen trees and charges into the middle of a ferocious battle. Your dwarven friends are outnumbered almost four to one as a war party of gray-green skinned humanoids with enlarged canine teeth, flattened snouts, and wolfish ears breaks free from its hiding place and savagely tears into the dwarven ranks. Dwarven battle-axes ring as they clash against the scimitars of their ancestral foes; the orcs of the Desertmouth Mountains.
Orcs (30); AC 6; THACO 19; hp 5 each; dmg by weapon; scimitar and spear; ML 11; XP 15
Orogs (5); AC 4; THACO 17; hp 15 each; dmg by weapon +3 for str; battle axes and light crossbows; ML 14; XP 120
Orog Leader "Gnash"; AC 2; THACO 15; hp 29; dmg by weapon +4 for str; halberd; ML 14; XP 500
Orc Shaman "Krutch"; AC 6; THAC0 19; hp 12; dmg by weapon or spell; club; ML 13; spells 2,1; XP 100
This battle should be quite difficult and costly for the party. If the orcish force is loses half its number in battle, make appropriate morale checks at that time as well as when ever another half of the force is lost. Escaping orcs will flee up the sides of the canyon and will attempt to regroup. It is important that the dwarves be seriously injured and it will make the story more interesting if the party is hurting as well. The DM may have to play with some dice rolls here and there to achieve this result, but the goal for the adventure is to have the severely injured group fleeing into the canyon with dead and wounded as the orc chase on their heels. It is important that at least several PC's still stand and that Stumpet is injured but not unconscious. After the battle has reached some sort of conclusion, the howls of orcs in the distance will warn the dwarves and players that more of the enemy is approaching from the northeast and towards the canyon. Quick and decisive action must be taken; the only logical avenue of escape lies deeper into the canyon (Stumpet will suggest this if it isn't already obvious). If anyone thinks enough to examine the bodies of the orcs they will notice that several of them wear makeshift pieces of ancient dwarven armor bearing the symbol of the three mountains with a depression set in the center of the range. In fact the leader of the orogs wears a fine dwarven breastplate that still has a fist-sized sapphire set in the depression (worth 1000 gp).
Read the following as the characters delve deeper into the canyon;
The sun has fully set behind the mountains now and the dark walls of the canyon reach up toward the stars as you run deeper into the twisting terrain of the canyon's depths. Many of you are burdened with the bodies of the fallen, seeking some chance of escape from the pursuing orc horde that even now you can hear howling and baying behind you. You are frantic and desperate, but trust that Stumpet knows where she is heading. The High Cleric of Mithril Hall, her eye swollen shut and matted with her blood soaked hair, leads your headlong plunge into the narrow Canyon of the Living Rock, to an uncertain destination known only to her and her fellow dwarves.
The groans of your wounded companions are the only sounds other than the glee of your pursuers as you enter a wide open area near the end of the canyon where many large boulders rest on the on the valley floor. Stumpet halts suddenly as both you and the priest catch a glimpse of a form running from behind one of the boulders to the backside of another. Stumpet turns toward you, and with the howling of the orcs growing ever louder from behind you, you see true fear in her face.
The creature ahead of the party is a saurial, an intelligent bipedal reptilian creature not native to the Realms. This saurial is part of a patrol out of the Lost Vale searching for a lost dwarven war party from Mithril Hall. The saurial is accompanied by eleven of his kind, all armed with longswords and spears. The saurials stand about five feet tall with a six inch fin atop their heads that differentiates them from other "lizardmen" races. Brought to the Lost Vale hundreds of years ago by the evil god Moander, these goodly beings have carved out a home in the ruins of the Lost Vale of Tarkhaldale and seek a day when they may return to their home world of tropical forests and swamps.
The leader of the present patrol is perhaps the group's most skilled warrior, a paladin saurial named "Champion" in their tongue of chirps and aromatic communication. This leader is also well known in Harper circles as Dragonbait, hero of Yulash and friend of the Dalesmen. Dragonbait and his patrol have heard the approaching orc horde and wait here in the home of the Lost Vale's guardians to await and rescue the orc's quarry. These guardians are Galeb Duhr, ancient earth creatures made of solid rock which possess a keen intelligence and the ability to camouflage themselves as boulders. Dragonbait and his kind have befriended these strange creatures and will work together with them to intercept the characters and the dwarves, learn of their intentions and nature, and escort them through the secret trail to the safety of the Lost Vale of Tarkhaldale. Read the following as the characters and the dwarves press on into the field of boulders (adding some frightening descriptions may increase the pulse of the players).
As you press on through the field of giant boulders, your weapons tightly grasped in your fists and spell components at hand, flashes of movement catch you attention time and time again out of the corner of your eye. A glimpse of green scaly skin, the swish of a long thick tail, and the flitting image of a set of pale blue eyes staring out at you from the night disappear as quickly as they appeared. With the cries of the orc horde raining down from behind you and almost reaching the area in which you now stand, you wonder which would have been worse, dying on the foul blades of the orcs or meeting your doom here by the fey creatures that stalk you from all sides.
There is little time to consider this option now as the vanguard of the orcish pursuit, perhaps fifty or more by your estimation, pours into the entrance of this region, flailing their weapons in bloodthirsty vigor. What happens next, as you pause to await your impending doom, is remarkable. From the shadows around you, a dozen lizard-like creatures, bipedal in stature and carrying thick, long tails behind them, leap from behind their boulders with blazing magical sabers and slash viciously into the orcish ranks. Handfuls of the wolfish orcs fall to their blades even as the very boulders in the clearing begin rise from their ancient seats under the support of stone legs. Thick arms of rock sprout from the boulders and you watch as these hulking creatures of the earth smash the orcish horde to pulp between their massive fists.
Stunned by the magnitude of the situation unfolding before you, it is of little surprise when you realize a soft blue light emanating from behind you toward the back of the canyon. You turn slowly to see one of the five foot tall lizard-like creatures, dressed in a simple orange cape and leather tunic and wielding an impossibly top heavy, alien-like sword, standing right behind you. His pale blue eyes stare fiercely into yours. Strangely enough, the scent of brimstone wafts through the air.
The saurial behind you is Dragonbait and he is using his shen sight, an enhanced form of detect evil, which can detect alignment and motivations. A paladin in the party will be able to sense the probe and understand its nature due to his own detect evil capability. The odor of brimstone reflects a communication technique by the saurials. They use aromatic communication to convey feelings. A few basics include; fishy=insult, brimstone=confusion, violets=fear, baked bread=anger, ham=worry, honey=happiness. If Dragonbait detects no evil in the party, or if one of the characters happens to be a paladin; he will immediately motion the dwarves and you to follow him toward the far end of the canyon which is shrouded in darkness. Otherwise, the party will have to convince the saurial of their good intentions to be allowed to come with the dwarves. Communication will be difficult over the noise of the battle and, although Dragonbait understands Common, he can not speak it.
Dragonbait; AL LG; saur Pal 8; AC 2; hp 61; THACO 13; AT# 3/2; dmg by weapon; +5 holy defender; SA SD as paladin; XP 5000
Saurial Warriors (12); AL NG; AC 5; hp 10; THACO 19; dmg by weapon; +1 long swords; XP 175
Galeb Duhr (10); AC -2; hp 40 each; THACO 12; dmg 2d8/3d6 or 4d6; spells; XP 9000
Orcs (50); AC 6; THACO 19; hp 5 each; dmg by weapon; scimitar and spear; ML 11; XP 15
Dragonbait will only join the orc battle if the characters insist on aiding the Galeb Duhr and the other saurials.
D. The Lost Vale of Tarkhaldale
You follow quickly behind the lizardman, the sounds of the battle behind you disappearing into the night. The canyon narrows significantly as you approach its end, and soon you find yourself on a narrow one foot wide trail leading between the towering sides of the trench. A strange rumbling noise grows in magnitude ahead of you as your mysterious rescuer leads you deeper into the gorge. The walls are thick sandstone, but tiny plants and vines grow from patches of loose soil deposited around the rock. The trail takes a steep turn to the left and you watch as your guide traverses the distance and disappears around the corner. You make your way around curving slope and stop in your tracks as you discover the source of the noise. The path ahead of you ends in a sheer drop-off about two hundred feet above the floor of a steep trench. The opposite wall of this impasse stands in front of you about one hundred feet away across the gap. Rushing through a gaping whole in the middle of the far wall, is the exit to a great underground river, which releases its water in the form of a huge and towering waterfall that drops into this deadly pit. It is wet here and the stone is mossy and covered with thick vegetation. Tiny animals scurry about and colorful birds fly from nests seated high in the rock walls. A thick mist covers the bottom of this new canyon and the floor where the waterfall deposits is beyond sight. The lizard guide chirps something and then strides off toward the edge.
The characters watch as Dragonbait calmly walks over to the cliff edge and steps off, disappearing into the thick mists that cover the floor of the trench. The cliff has been enchanted permanently with a featherfall spell that will slow any jumpers to a safe speed for their descent to the canyon floor. If the characters refuse to jump, have Dragonbait get tired of waiting for them and begin the climb up the handholds in the cliff face to reach them and show them the hard way down. Either way, if the characters try the handholds they find them to be difficult and the chance of falling becomes a 1 on a 1d6 for every 50 feet. Remember though that a falling creature also gains the benefit of the featherfall.
Your feet fall softly to the floor of the ravine, the torrential downpour of the waterfall landing not more than thirty feet away from you in a dazzling mountain pool. A fine mist conceals everything here, and you can hardly make out the top of the cliffs from which you descended. The pool empties into a raging stream that cuts down the length of the trench and disappears around a bend. Your guide motions you to follow him around a moss-covered boulder and down a footpath following the bank of the stream. All of you are caught in a sense of wonderment at the beauty of this place, a lush paradise it seems, in the midst of a desolate land. The path takes you over makeshift bridges made of logs and slippery rocks that you must jump between to cross parts of the stream. The lizardman leaps quickly ahead, always showing you the best path to take. The sky is clear and bright with many stars that light your way as you follow the water flow. The ravine opens up and empties itself into the high wall of a great valley nestled in the mountains. The stream plunges over a drop-off here at this outlook and forms the source of a giant lake in the center of the depression. The starlight and the glow of the waning moon outline this magnificent place. Far to the west, the endless sands of the great sea, Anauroch, lap against a rocky strip that serves as a shield to the lush valley before you. Nestled in the forested banks of the lake are a thousand tiny campfires lighting the bottom of the valley like summer fireflies. Stumpet steps forward as the lizard guide makes room for her near the outlook edge. A wide smile forms from under her blood-stained cheeks.
"The Lost Vale of Tarkhaldale! The armies of Ghellin have returned!", the priest shouts in delight. A cheer goes up between the dwarves among you as a rush of energy and excitement fills their bodies and pushes them down along the trail toward the encampment. A dwarven war song starts up between the dwarves and they begin their chanting on the trek downwards. Your party looks at each other in amazement, there must be literally thousands of dwarven soldiers encamped in the valley.
The trip downwards is uneventful other than the dwarven songs that continue until you reach the edge of the woods. Read the following as the characters reach the treeline around Moonwater Lake;
The footpath's incline gently descends to a level plane as you reach the valley floor. Lanterns bob up and down in the forest ahead of you and soon you can make out the forms of a few dozen dwarves coming towards you from their wilderness camps. Stumpet's dwarves pick up their pace as they see their comrades waiting for them here. A cry goes out from the lantern carrying dwarves, "Who goes there, friend or foe of the King-Under-the-Mountain?"
Stumpet replies with pride in her voice; "It is I, Stumpet Rakingclaw, High Cleric of Mithril Hall, with the remnants of King Battlehammer's reinforcements. We come to seek your refuge and offer our blades to your service, good dwarves of the Iron House."
From the shadowy wood comes a muscular dwarf with a bright red beard and several hand axes strapped to his side. His lantern is tarnished and dented but still casts a warm glow on your party. The dwarf's skin is tough and leathery, and he wears a set of archaic platemail that is highly polished and shined. "I am Heldrig Worldthrone, son of King Thelg of the Worldthrone Halls. I am watch commander of the dwarven encampment at Moonwater Lake, advisor to General Cordellin and of course Ghellin, King-Under-the-Mountain. You dwarves are welcome indeed, though we hoped for more from your king in this effort. I see you have met our friends, the saurials. I know you must have questions and are in need of healing, so I shall bring you to Ghellin immediately. But first, who are they?"
The red bearded dwarf gazes toward you as dozens of armed dwarves step out from the darkness around you.
Stumpet will explain the story of the journey and how the characters saved their lives in the canyon from the orc horde and how they managed to finally come with them to the vale. Heldrig will remind Stumpet that no non-dwarves were to be allowed knowledge of the dwarven gathering in the valley. Helrig will argue with Stumpet and the characters as Dragonbait just waits and listens. Any unfair comments by either side will visibly upset Dragonbait as he watches the drama unfold. After some discussion, Heldrig will agree that Ghellin should decide if the non-dwarves should be allowed here and what should be done about them.
Heldrig and his dwarves lead your weary party and Stumpet's group into the woods surrounding Moonwater Lake. As you enter the dense fir grove, the sounds of merriment and festival begin to drift through the air from the north. Soon you start to pass dwarven encampments, great tents setup in the forest around which the dwarves sing, drink, and dance the night away under the stars. Your non-dwarven party captures some strange glances and stares, but these dwarves are too busy in their festival to really pay any attention to a group heading on the path to the old human town of Tarkhaldale. As you approach the northern banks of the lake and toward the ruins of the old dale town built there, the music grows in strength as does the vigor of the celebration. Great bonfires burn in open clearings, dwarven jugglers entertain the soldiers, and large percussion and horn bands play unique dwarven tunes rarely heard by outsiders to their realms. Stumpet explains to you that this is a dwarven moot, the name for a large festive gathering of dwarves from far away lands for epic quest or ceremony. Heldrig seems unfazed by the commotion around him and proves to be a determined soldier by leading you straight through the procession towards the broken landscape of the town set on the northern end of the lake.
Old Tarkhaldale looks to be just a few broken buildings that still stand in the wreckage of what was once an important caravan stop for travelers hundreds of years ago. Heldrig leads your worn troupe from out of the forest and onto a graveled road toward the ruined village. You notice several dwarven couples whispering oaths to each other beside the road, sealing their marriages to each other with a ceremonial blood-letting. You watch as Stumpet blesses one of the couples, a warrior male and a axe-wielding female who have found it the right time to share their souls with each other.
Heldrig leads you into the ruined town through an hole in the once fine stone barricade surrounding the village. You follow him through a field of debris and over a blasted hole in the ground to an old rugged frontier inn that seems to be the sturdiest building of the few that still stand somewhat intact. The elements seem to have spared this abode much of their wrath, but some apparently recent repairs to the building also draw your attention. Heldrig stops in front of the inn as the signboard swings in the wind. A full battalion of dwarven soldiers stand guard here, protecting the inn with their lives and fine axeblades. In the pale night you can just make out the letters of the old weathered sign. It reads "The Sleeping Serpent Inn" and depicts a great sleeping red dragon beneath the title.
Heldrig motions to the characters to enter the inn. Stumpet will lead the way, but as the characters follow Heldrig will hold up a hand to stop. He explains that Stumpet and the dwarves will see Ghellin first because they have some unfinished business to discuss before the-King-Under-the-Mountain rules on the party's fate. After what seems to be several anxious minutes, Dragonbait returns to the characters and motions them to enter behind him. The characters walk up the wooden planks of the inn, step through the open door and discover this;
The Sleeping Dragon Inn probably was a popular establishment in its day, an adventurer's tavern where heroes would tell their stories and boasts of battles once won. These were the days when Anauroch did not threaten this place, and the merchant kingdoms of Hlondeth and Assram ruled the from the Nether Mountains to the Desertmouth range. At one time this was a crossroads, where the people of the west met those of the east. But these dreams seem an eternity away from here now, and the Sleeping Dragon Inn is but a skeleton of what it once was. Every window has been shattered from its iron frame, wall panels knocked inwards, tables splintered, and the bar marred by the vicious slashes of what looks to have been an axe.
Still, there are living creatures here, patrons of another age, dwarves sitting at old oaken tables, maps strewn before them and around the room in piles. You hear several arguments between them concerning tactical strategies and troop deployments. In the middle of it all, sitting in a plush velvet throne beneath two huge burning lanterns, is a gray-skinned, wrinkled dwarf wearing a cold iron crown on his ancient brow. A white beard hides the dwarf's frail form but by the sunken sockets of his eyes, you assume that King Ghellin has seen better days. While the dwarven soldiers celebrate outside in merriment, the atmosphere here in the headquarters of the army is grim indeed. You spy Stumpet Rakingclaw turn as you enter, pulled from a heated conversation with an impressively armored dwarf standing at Ghellin's right side. The dwarf, obviously a general or leader of some stature, is bedecked in the finest dwarven plate armor you have set your eyes upon, steel inlaid with mithril and adamantine, polished to a glistening sheen. A glowing hammer hangs loosely at his waist. Stumpet rises and introduces you as all the dwarves in the old inn stop their doings and watch your entrance. Silence reigns in the inn as the dwarves eye you suspiciously. The weary King Ghellin motions you closer to his throne.
Give the characters a chance to react and then read the following;
As you approach, you notice dwarven warriors fill in behind you, barring any chance of retreat. Several of the dwarves leer at you with almost a sense of indignity at your presence. The well armored general is obviously most upset by your presence. Old King Ghellin does not seem as suspicious however, and motions for his dwarves to allow you to approach him.
"Beings of the Dales, I welcome you to my camp. I am King Ghellin of Tethyamar, exiled King-Under-the-Mountain of the great mines in the Valley of the Fallen Axe. These dwarves assembled here around Moonwater Lake are the remnants of my clan and those fellow dwarves who have answered my call for aid. As you can see, my strength fails me even now, (cough), and I fear that my time nears its end on this world. I have heard the tale of your rescue of the dwarves of Mithril Hall and I thank you for your kindness to our people. However, it is in the best interests of the dwarves to keep this place a secret from the eyes and ears of the outside world, especially from the dealings of the Dalesmen. Tell me now travelers, and tell me the truth, whom or what cause do each of you serve?" The king pauses for a moment as his high priest, an aging black-bearded dwarf, steps from the shadows to stand beside him.
The priest, a would-be dwarf named Eldrin the Wise, pretends to cast detect lie as the characters respond to the king's answer. In reality the dwarf is the Zhentarim mage, Casselbrook Darkfellow, magically disguised by his hat of disguise and protected from magical prying by conceal alignment and non-detection. Casselbrook has infiltrated the ranks of the dwarves and has given Ghellin a holy symbol of Dumathoin (which the king wears under his robes always) that is in reality a disguised evil creature, called a soul leech, that feeds upon the king's soul. After assuming the identity of Ghellin's most trusted priest, Casslebrook has purposely led Ghellin astray from his quest and hopes that he will die before the army retakes Tethyamar. His mission is to insure the king's death and thus shatter the hopes of a united dwarven army to take back the mines of Tethyamar. Casslebrook (Eldrin) will cast ESP on the party and read the thoughts of the characters, searching for any inner secret that he may misconstrue to the king to show the party's treachery. If none is found, he will claim that the characters are hiding something from him magically. Whatever the case, the characters will be accused of conspiring with the Zhentarim, evil beholders, the orcs of Tethyamar, or even worse, the Harpers, who this kingdom has an old debt to settle with. Read the following after Eldrin thoroughly implicates the characters by twisting the truth of their situation (examples may include but are not limited to; a deal with a evil force, working for evil masters, performing evil or chaotic acts unwittingly, allowing a evil foe to escape; or most importantly being a member of some regional power group trying to steal the dwarves' victory);
Ghellin's eyes leer at you with suspicion. Stumpet tries to reason with the old king again, but it seems Eldrin has convinced him otherwise of your guilt. The dwarves form tighter ranks around you and you hear several of them unstrap their battle axes. Ghellin leans forward in his throne; his bony hands gripping the armrests like dwarven vises,
The old king whispers towards you, his voice obviously strained, "Over one hundred and fifty years ago, before even your grandfathers walked this land, my kingdom of Tethyamar still shone in these mountains. We mined the hills and crags for the enchanter's stone, what you humans call sapphire. My family and I, the Iron House of Tethyamar, ruled this land with a fair hand and an eye for justice throughout countless generations. We dwarves were fortunate enough to have a surplus and we foolishly shared our mined gems with the men and elves of the dales, a symbol of our commitment to a unified Heartlands. For decades we traded on the River Tesh, unloading and shipping cargo at the river port of Viperstongue and sending gemstones downstream to old Dagger Falls. But then the Dalesmen became spiteful and jealous and turned their backs on us. Hard pressed by orcish raiders from the north, the humans of the southern dales left us to die here in these mountains as armies of orcs and giants tore our kingdom to rubble. It was the Harpers who betrayed us, back-stabbing rogues who abandoned our cause and convinced the Dalesmen to not help us. The orcs of the northern wastes still stink our halls at Tethyamar but I swear that one day I will return to drive the beasts out. They will need more than their Zhentarim allies to save them from our wrath. As for you, you are not to be trusted. Your allies and actions of late suggest you serve a darker power. You will be placed under house arrest until an appropriate trial date be set where you will be arraigned on charges of espionage against the throne. General Cordellin, arrest our enemies immediately! The King-Under-the-Mountain has spoken." Ghellin collapses back into his seat, his breath shallow, and his brow covered with perspiration and a teetering iron crown.
The dwarves will immediately surround the characters and demand a surrender. Stumpet will plead with the characters not to draw blood and that she will convince Ghellin of their innocence if they give her time. Observant characters will realize that Dragonbait has slipped out of the room and has vanished.
Dwarven Elite (20); AC 0; THACO 14; hp 55; Dmg by weapon; +2 dwarven throwers, light crossbows, (10) dwarven stun bolts, plate mail, shield; XP 1500
Characters subdued, captured, or beat to unconsciousness will be brought to a holding cell in the basement of a nearby ruin of an old mercantile shop. Stripped of all items and weapons, the characters can try to attempt an escape, but should be unsuccessful until Dragonbait comes and rescues them.
The single oil lantern in this room burns low, and you sulk behind the iron bars that hold you prisoner in the cells of this room. Hours pass, and the night wears on. Listening carefully, the sounds of a scuffle can be heard faintly outside the door that leads to the stairway down to the room. Suddenly, the cellar door opens and a dwarven elite guard comes rolling down the stairs, snoring as he comes to a rest at their foot. Like lightning, a shape darts down the stairwell and races over to your cages. A waft of what smells like a roasted ham washes over you as you recognize the intruder to be the lizard guide that brought you to this valley. The lizardman draws his blue flaming sword and shatters the locks on your cages with several blows. The scent of pork is even stronger now as the lizardman motions you to follow him back up the stairs to freedom.
Dragonbait will lead the characters up and out of the cellar and north out of the village toward the pass between the mountains. Grypht, Dragonbait's leader, is waiting there to speak to the characters and has been given their equipment by Ghellin to examine. There is a 50% chance that the characters will be spotted escaping from the cellar and if this happens the dwarves will engage the party. The patrol will consist of six elite dwarves (use the above stats). Dragonbait will insist that no serious harm befall either side and will attempt to create a diversion to let the characters escape to the north. Read the following as the characters approach the pass leading to the upper fields.
It is almost morning now and the first rays of sun begin to creep up over the tree-dotted mountains to the east. It has been quite sometime since you had a proper night's sleep and your professional edge and stamina is suffering for lack there of. The lizardman pushes you on toward the north hills, backtracking numerous times to avoid several dwarven patrols that pass by your party. Eventually, the silent lizardman helps you get far enough away from old Tarkhaldale to let you stop your flight and catch your breath. You are weaponless and without any equipment, weary and tired, bruised and injured.
Dragonbait lays his hand on one of you and you feel a rising energy flood your body as some of your wounds close over. Dragonbait cocks his head and chirps several times as you catch the sense of honeysuckle on the wind.
You notice that the lizardman watches his back frequently and you can assume why. When the dwarves realize you are missing, there will definitely be some serious problems here in the vale. The creature rises from your short break and motions for you to follow him as he continues toward the north. About a half an hour later, you reach the beginning of a pass in the hills that separate the lower fields of the Lost Vale from the upper. Conifers grow in numerous patches here and you spot several rustic huts nestled in the rocky soil of the gap. Creatures move between the far away dwellings, and by their size and shape, you guess that these are the "saurial's" people.
Nestled in the gap is the home of the saurials that were brought here many years ago by the evil god Moander. The saurials live a simple life here, tilling the soils of the northern upper fields and making the area safe from threats like the orcs of Tethyamar and the Zhentarim. The saurials leader is a greater saurial named Grypht who stands some seven feet tall and is covered with bony plates and horns. Grypht is a powerful spellcaster and an ally of the Harpers as well as the Old Mage, Elminster. Dragonbait will escort the characters to Grypht's home, where he has been instructed to bring them. There, Grypht plans to discern the real truth about the characters and explain to the real story behind the dwarves of Tethyamar. Grypht has earned the trust of Ghellin, much to Casslebrook's chagrin, but does not want to risk that bond by assisting the escape of his ally's prisoners unless there is due cause. Read the following as the characters approach;
You accompany your mysterious savior into the outer limits of his village, and you watch as young saurials duck inside their homes as you approach. Multiple sets of pale blue eyes follow you curiously as you advance towards the largest mud hut in the village, a roundish structure with a straw-thatched roof and a clay-built chimney attached to the rear. As you approach the dwelling, a shadow stirs within, and a gigantic form steps out of the doorway. A full seven feet in height in the morning sun, this saurial differs in more than one respect to your friendly guide. Large bony plates protrude from its neck and create a fan-shaped protrusion behind the saurials head. Sharp horns protrude from the creatures forehead and skull and its mouth is more bird-like than the other saurials you have encountered. The beast is dressed in long crimson robes, studded with sparkling gems and ornamentation. Pouches and trinkets hangs from a fine leather belt around its waist and it is obvious to you that this saurial is of some importance, if it is not the leader of its tribe.
You watch as the greater saurial draws a acorn-sized crystal pyramid from his robes a crush it into dust in his enormous fist. The creature chirps softly to itself as you notice a growing amber radiance forming in the clenched hand. The glow surrounds his hand as he opens it and the light flashes outwards in a sixty foot radius. You feel a slight tingling sensation and then you hear the giant creature speak in almost a dreamlike voice.
"Hail adventurers, I am chieftain of this tribe and a powerful spellcaster. I have cast dweomer upon myself so that I may speak your language and freely communicate with you. Although I understand the common speak, my inherent physiology prevents me from forming the appropriate auditory responses of you language. You are hampered as well by being unable to pronounce many of our words and lack appropriate translations for many of our olfactory emotions. Nevertheless, you may call me Grypht, a crude shortening of my true name, and you may address your guide for the last day by his common name, Dragonbait." Your saurial friend nods at the introduction. Out of the corner of your eye, you notice that many of the saurials have begun to emerge from their huts and watch your meeting intently.
Grypht continues, "We saurials were kidnapped from our world by the evil god Moander many years ago and were stranded here on Faerun in this Vale. We seek a day when we may find a route back to our home world, but in the meantime, we try to assist the forces of good in their battle with the darkness that infects this land. We are allies of those who harp and I am a close friend of the Old Mage of Shadowdale. Elminster warned me of the dwarves' coming to our valley, for they believed that it was deserted when they first planned to rally their troops here last winter. Elminster communicated to me that their success was essential to maintain the balance in this region. Therefore, he instructed me and my kind to assist the dwarven force in planning their attack on their old fortress in the northern reaches of these mountains.
However, Ghellin has fell ill of late, and I must say I doubt his wisdom due to the poor decisions he makes daily. Ghellin says that he is awaiting a sign from the gods to tell him when and where he should attack, but I believe that his sickness has affected his resolve as well as his health. Through all of this, I have had to keep my allegiances secret from the priest Eldrin, who is the only one other than I, who truly has the king's ear. Luckily I made my friendship with the king before Eldrin became xenophobic in attitude to all non-dwarves."
"I have scryed upon your doings for several days now and I know you to be noble sorts. Ghellin sent me your weapons and equipment for magical inspection, but they truly belong in your hands." Grypht pulls several large sacks out from his hut and throws them your way.
"Come inside, I'm brewing some vegetable stew, and we don't want you to catch the attention of the dwarven patrols that are undoubtedly searching for you by now."
Grypht leads the characters and Dragonbait inside and leads them down a wooden staircase under a plank in the floor to an old root cellar. He bids the characters to stay quiet for a time and the characters hear Grypht several moments later talking to dwarven guards and denying any knowledge of the characters whereabouts. Grypht will return to the characters some time later with steaming bowls of delicious vegetable soup for the hungry and tired characters. Grypht will let the characters sleep and memorize spells throughout the day and will tell the characters the true story of how the dwarves' own greed was the source of their downfall, and how the Harper's warned them of their folly. He will also provide as many potions of healing necessary to fully heal the party. Dragonbait is no longer with your party, Grypht explains that the paladin had to check on his mate Copperbloom and the young saurials the two are raising. You learn from Grypht that Dragonbait is an Harper agent in the Dales and that he helped destroy Moander when he returned to the realms fifteen years ago. Read the following as night begins to set again on the valley, and the characters are healed and rested;
Grypht makes your accommodations as comfortable as possible considering you are staying in his root cellar. He brings you straw pallets, some candles, and a few blankets so that you may recuperate for a short time in his home. Several more guard patrols pass through the saurial village throughout the day and Grypht learns that Eldrin has offered a reward for your capture to the first dwarf that finds you. It seems that most of the dwarves believe Eldrin's lies about your association with their enemies. But the guards do tell Grypht that some dwarves are challenging Ghellin and Eldrin, including a female priest from far away Mithril Hall. It seems the dwarves are becoming split over the issue of your treatment but Ghellin maintains your guilty because you fled the camp and Eldrin assures him that he detected the evil motivations in your minds.
Grypht sighs as he crushes another crystal pyramid to renew his tongues spell for another few hours. The big saurial begins, "I fear that soon the dwarven army fall apart and the chance to take Tethyamar back from the orcs will slip through our fingers. Ghellin's illness grows worse every day, and eventually it will drain him of his life. Without Ghellin, the dwarves will fail and the orcs will continue to rule and raid from these mountains. Combine that with the oppressive force cities like Zhentil Keep have been exerting on the Dales, and we might be dealing with a war of proportions not scene in this land for centuries. Elminster spoke of the balance, that evil has had its day and it is time for good to reclaim its losses. The key is healing Ghellin's body as well as his soul. With Ghellin healthy, he will need not rely on advisors such as Eldrin as much and his true character of leadership will unite the dwarves under one banner again."
"I have studied his illness with much interest for it acts like no other disease I have yet to see. Healing spells of all sorts do little but relieve the pain of the wasting sickness that saps the strength of the king. It is almost as if it is his soul that is dying, a decay from the inside out. What we need is powerful healing, power beyond what we mortals can do. We need to call upon the gods and their vessels of power. When we saurials first came to this vale, we heard tales of a powerful healer that lived here in the valley as a hermit in an old ruin within the Wierding Wood. Local rangers and adventurers called her the White Witch, for she had a wide array of strange and mystical powers along with healing magics. I once heard that the witch healed the body of a ranger whose body had been virtually consumed by dragon breath and then returned the man's spirit to his corporeal form. Such a priestess is truly touched by the gods and might be quite capable of healing Ghellin's affliction. Furthermore, if you could convince this witch to aid the king, it will prove to the dwarves where your real loyalties truly lie."
"The only problem is that not one of us has ever even seen the White Witch of the Wierding Wood. She disappeared a short time after we arrived here in the valley over thirty years ago. If she still lives, she must still reside in that mist-cloaked forest, in a lonely wilderness temple set deep in its shadows. The woods have turned into a dark place in recent years, my kind refuse to go near the forest after nightfall. Young saurials speak of ghosts and spirits that haunt the night but their parents know better. I, on the other hand, am not so sure."
The characters can leave for the Wierding Wood by night if they wish, and Grypht suggests this because they will have less chance to be spotted by the dwarven patrols that range as far north as the Desertride Trail. The wood is only about a two hour walk from the saurial village across farm fields.
E. The Wierding Wood
Read the following when the characters reach the wood by night time
The close knit rows of evergreen trees create an impenetrable wall of foliage that obscures the depths of the Wierding Wood. Of course, it does not help that a thick mist hangs between their branches and a drifts like a cloud of doom under only the starlight of the sky. The moon is new, but the heavens are bright enough tonight to faintly illuminate your surroundings. You approach the wood cautiously, loosing yourself in the eerie blackness of its shadows. It could be your imagination, or a trick of the eye, but it seems that the thick pines here have parted somewhat, revealing a fog shrouded path leading into the night.
E1. Wolf's Den
The mist begins to thin as you delve deeper into its depths. The path is no much clearer though, and you continue to stumble and check your footing on this rough path that seems like it hasn't been used in years. The forest presses in from all sides around you and the branches reach up toward the sky high enough to block most of the feeble illumination that tonight offers you. As you prepare to retrieve torches and lanterns from your packs, a growl can be heard from behind you on the path. A shadow slinks behind a tree and a set of yellow canine eyes stares out at you from the fog. As you reach for your weapons, the giant wolves leap to attack.
Worgs (6); AC 6; MV 18; hp 18; THACO 17; dmg 2d4; XP 120
The worgs have a den nearby the trail in which can be found an old silver necklace inlaid with jade carvings and a quiver of (4) +1 arrows still wrapped around a chewed human arm bone. The necklace is worth 600 gp.
E2. Dancing Lights
The path leading into the wood begins to rise steadily and the trees here become twisted and gnarled, almost as if the evil of this wood has perverted their growth. Ahead of you, floating above the trail, you see a flickering multi-colored light that fades and reappears every few moments. The flickering light moves little from its original position and seems to be hovering over the path like a some sort of guardian.
The light is really a creature called a firestar, a fist-sized mote of light that floats through forests and wilderness areas. This firestar has been captured by the ettercaps that live in this area and is being used as bait to attract prey. The characters will notice that the firestar is trapped in what seems to be a cage of sticky stands that hangs from a branch over the trail. The ettercaps have created a giant web of sticky filaments in a pit under the firestar and have covered the trap with leaves and sticks to disguise it with the rest of the trail. Characters not detecting the pit will fall and take 1d6 points of damage and will be thoroughly caught in the webbing. After the trap is sprung, the ettercaps will attack from the trees in which they are watching.
Ettercaps (4); AC 6; THACO 15; hp 30 each; dmg 1d3, 1d3, 1d8+poison; XP 975
Firestar (1); AC 2; THACO 19; hp 15; dmg 2d6 (electricity); SD absorbs fire; XP 2,000
The firestar is very important for the next part of the adventure and it should be freed unharmed. If it is, it will float down the trail back to the moontower and the maze, leading the party toward their destination.
E3. The Hedge Maze
The path opens up here into a great clearing nestled between the Wierding Wood and the high mountain cliffs to the east. A lonely basalt tower stands in the middle of the clearing, reaching to the dark heavens, surrounded by what seems to be the remains of a ancient hanging garden. There is no flowers or growth here however, only twisted thorn bushes snaking out of the soil and creating hedge walls of impassable vegetation. You realize that the thorn hedges are arranged in a way to create some sort of a maze leading to the structure that stands in the center of the clearing. It is very dark here and even the stars seem muted by the eerie blackness that floats through this ruin. The ground leading into the maze is covered with flagstones and withered husks of long dead foliage.
This clearing and the maze that surrounds the tower are all under the control of the White Witch and the Crown of Midnight Crystal. This evil artifact has made the former high priestess of Selune mad, forcing her to revere the enemy of her goddess, Shar, the Lady of the Night. The White Witch has permanently made the surrounding area always in a state of night and this has caused the strange warping effects of the trees and thorn bushes. The White Witch fell under the influence of the crown when a traveling adventurer tricked the priestess into believing the crown was good and disguised it as a beautiful artifact of Selune. The adventurer was really a priest of Shar who wanted to corrupt one of the moon goddess's most powerful priestesses. The White Witch was a chosen vessel of Selune's power, a Shard of Selune, as referred to by followers of Selune. The White Witch now resides in her sanctuary atop her tower, plagued by nightmares of her evil fate and insane delusions of paranoia and hatred. Wandering in the maze are seven firestars (including the one saved by the party) and ten crystal deaths, servants created by the evil crown. Please refer to the entry at the end of the adventure for a detailed description of this artifact. The crystal deaths all appear as saurials (the last creature they killed) but will take on the appearance of the first creature they wound. They avoid the firestars completely because of their fear of light and will shatter if exposed to any strong light source (above and beyond torchlight). The firestars wander the maze waiting to be returned to their proper homes, above the seven burning flames in each of seven courtyards around the edge of the maze. If the characters can catch a firestar or lead it to one of these flames, it will dive toward the fire and absorb its energy. When it does so, it will station itself over the flame permanently and glow with a fierce white light.
Crystal Deaths (10); AC 0; THACO 14; hp 40; dmg 1d10/1d10 (fists); SD regeneration, illusions; XP 2,000
Firestars (7); AC 2; THACO 19; hp 15; dmg 2d6 (electricity); SD absorbs fire; XP 2,000
After all seven are in place, the maze of thorn bushes will recede, the crystal deaths will shatter, and bright light will illuminate the courtyard. The White Witch will become so enraged as to open the doors of her tower and attack the characters under the crown's influence. It will be up to the characters to remove the crown and help the mad priestess.
You return to the courtyard to find the main double doors of the tower swung wide open, revealing a dark chamber beyond. Standing before the doors is a twisted old woman, her once ivory robes in tatters and hanging from her bony form. A steel crown, inlaid with dark crystals sits atop her head, tangled in the wild knot of unkempt hair that hangs in long dirty, white strands. The old witch leers at you, her eyes burning with darkness.
"Damn the light, extinguish it all! The Lady of the Night deems it so! You shall die for your interference!"
The White Witch is no longer blessed with the powers of Selune but she still attacks as a 10th level priestess of Shar with the crown's abilities as well. Observant characters will realize that she is mad and that the crown may be the cause of her insanity. Removing the crown will cause the witch to collapse into unconsciousness. Characters of an alignment other than neutral evil who touch the crown will be attacked by a suggestion spell by the artifact to wear the cursed item.
The White Witch; AC 8; THACO 14; hp 67; dmg by spell; spells 4, 4, 3, 2, 1 (no experience for killing her); Crown of Midnight Crystal
E4. Courtyard of the Star
You hack through the thorn bushes that conceal the light you can see through them. Your work provides you a path through the obstacle and into a small courtyard free of debris. In its center, you find a pedestal rising out of the ground from which a flame burns constantly. The fire flickers and wavers but continue to burn from a hole in the pedestal's upper surface.
There are seven courtyards like this in the maze, all located in a rough circle around the tower, mimicking the seven stars around the symbol of Selune. Before the tower fell to the crown, the firestars lived here and absorbed the energy of the magical flame in return for emitting a bright white light that illuminated the courtyard. After the crown took control of the White Witch, the priestess attacked the firestars and sealed the courtyard off with a wall of thorns to promote the new darkness of the temple area. With the firestars back in place, the whole clearing will be illuminated and the White Witch will exit her stronghold to destroy the bright light.
E5a. The Moontower
A set of stone double doors stands closed to your approach of the dark tower. Dead vines and old leaves choke the entrance way, but you are able to make out the design of a pair of female eyes and seven surrounding stars on the surface of the stone portals. There is no apparent handle or latch on the doors and it seems that the tower is windowless.
Creatures who attempt to climb, fly, or force their way into the tower will find themselves blinded by the power of the crown. The symbol on the door can be identified as the sign of Selune, goddess of the moon and stars by any character with a religion proficiency.
E5b. Chamber of the Shard
This encounter will only take place after the White witch has been defeated;
The old woman's eyelids flutter and you watch as she slowly open them, revealing a clear set of bright green eyes. The woman is weak but she seems to be free of the possession of the crown.
The old woman whispers, "I am Thenkava Mistreader, Shard of Selune and High Priestess of her faith. I fell to the power to the Crown of Midnight Crystal when agents of Shar fooled me into thinking it was a goodly artifact. I have lived in a world of nightmare for more years than I can count. You have saved my life as well as my eternal soul. I owe you my service, whatever you deem necessary."
You watch as the priestess rises to her feet and stares toward the heavens. The tower behind her begins to glow with a pale white light and you all watch as she raises her arms to the heavens. One by one, falling stars begin to streak across the sky.
If the situation with the dwarves is explained, Thenkava will grant the characters the means of healing Ghellin. She will lead the characters into her tower, a great library of astrological texts and maps, sure to interest mages and scholars in the party. In fact this might be a great place to get ideas for Spelljammer adventurers or to even obtain some arcane lore. Thenkava will give the characters a potion called the "Tears of Selune" a powerful draught that will heal any creature of any known disease or sickness, dispel any magical infliction, and even kill any parasitic attackers. The clear potion is kept is a glass vial and sparkles with the light of tiny stars inside the fluid. Thenkava promises to return to the camp within a few days to offer her services to the army, but needs some time to repair the damage she has done to this area and the woods around it. If any character is a loyal servant of Selune ,or especially a priestess, Thenkava grants the faithful with a ring of shooting stars and a bag of moondust (20).
Concluding the Adventure
When the characters return to Old Tarkhaldale they will realize that the dwarven army is preparing to march and is fully ready for war. Grypht will find the characters first and tell them that the meteor shower last night was enough of a sign from the gods for Ghellin to prepare for the march northwards on Tethyamar. Grypht also tells you that Eldrin disappeared last night and has not been seen since. The characters should have time to tell the tale of the White Witch before Grypht personally escorts them to the Sleeping Dragon Inn. No dwarves dare oppose the saurial, even though the characters follow behind him. The characters will find Ghellin bed-ridden and close to death. General Cordellin will scowl at the characters entrance, but Grypht will insist that the potion might be the only thing that saves the king's life. Read the following as the potion is poured down the king's throat;
The king lies on his back, his chest heaving in great gasps. Sweat covers his semi-naked form, a diseased and frail visage of this once powerful ruler. The holy symbol of Dumathoin hangs about his neck, the power of his god not helping him even now. You pour the sparkling potion down the king's throat and step back to watch it's effect. Ghellin stops his trembling almost immediately and you watch as a pale white radiance flows from his head to his feet. You watch as the color of his skin turns from a milky gray to a ruddy tan. His weakened muscles grow strong and taught again, his beard darkening to a shade of brown from its previous white. The holy symbol around his neck begins to shudder and smoke and you watch as Grypht plucks it from his chest with his enormous fist. The holy symbol hangs from its chain and slowly transforms into a bat-like creature with fangs. Although dead now, you realize that this parasite has been the cause of Ghellin's sickness. Grypht drop the creature on the floor and crushes it soundly underneath his massive hind foot.
The King-Under-the-Mountain stirs and open his eyes. He voice falters as he begins to speak but he then collects himself and starts again.
"General Cordellin, prepare the troops, we march for Tethyamar tomorrow. The dwarves shall rule this land again. I will return to the throne!"
New Magic Items
Ring of Dragons
The ring of dragons is a brass ring that when rubbed, sends out a signal to any evil dragon in the area identifying the location of the wearer. No control is given, but the ring is usually used by the Cult of the Dragon to illicit help from evil dragons. The ring also allows the wearer to speak in any dragon tongue as well as communicate telepathically with any dragon within sight. The ring can also create a phantasmal force of a dragon up to 240 yards away that does no real damage but looks and sounds like any dragon the wielder has seen.
Dwarven Stun Bolt
This dwarven magical crossbow bolt looks like a stone doorknob on the end of a short, thin crossbow shaft. It acts just like a normal bolt, but upon impact shatters into dust-sized motes of magical force. The magical effect does 2d4 points of electrical damage and stuns any living creature for an additional round of combat.
Crown of the Midnight Crystal
This evil artifact was created by the goddess Shar and given to her disciples in the Realms. It was lost within recorded history, but some say it was in the possession of the King of Assram before that nation fell to the Anauroch Desert. The crown appears as a steel headpiece adorned with ten translucent black crystals set in a complex pattern of engraved fluting. The one thousand names of Shar are carved within the designs and the crown radiates evil if detected for. The crown changes the alignment of its wearer to neutral evil and causes insanity to any creature more than one step away from this alignment who places it upon their head. The crown allows the wearer to control the natural progression of night and day in a one mile square radius. For example, the wearer can force the region around him or her to remain in the state of night throughout the day or can call upon the sun in the middle of the night. The crown also allows the wearer to create a number of simulacrum servants (up to 10) to do his or her bidding. These servants are called crystal deaths and can only exist in darkness or shadowy light. The crown also allows the wearer to see through the eyes of these servants and control them accordingly. The crown also has several other powers including continual darkness 3/times per day, cause blindness 3/times per day, and shadow walk 1/time per day. The crown can be destroyed by shattering it under the blow of a magic weapon of at least +3 enchantment in the presence of a continual light spell.
A specially prepared dust made by the priesthood of Selune, moondust appears to be a simple handful of sand kept in a small leather pouch or some other adequate container. However, when the sand is cast in the air in the light of the moon, it hangs there motionlessly, reflecting and amplifying the light as to mimic a dancing light spell. Casual observers will see the dust as tiny white motes of light hovering in the night.
The Tears of Selune
This magical potion is reputed to consist of the tears of the goddess of the moon. A powerful healing potion, it will heal all known magical and normal diseases, dispel curses and magical infections, and even kill parasitic attackers in a host when consumed. The potion is very rare and only given directly to servants of Selune by the goddess herself.
Saurials are a race of bipedal, reptilian creatures not native to the Realms. These creatures are generally intelligent and goodly, assisting travelers and adventurers who do not follow an evil path. Saurials come in two types, lesser and greater, the former being a full seven feet tall with bony head plates and horns. The greater saurials have a talent for powerful magic and are experienced spellcasters. The lesser saurials are usually warriors and breeders. All saurials communicate with clicking and chirping noises along with aromatic communication glands located on their throats.
The soul stealer is a rare creature found usually in ancient ruins or temples. The soul stealer appears in its normal form as a tiny, bat-winged, leathery creature with large fangs. Soul stealers feed on the soul of their host, attaching themselves with their fangs and sucking out the victim's life-force. What makes them so deadly is that can disguise themself as any object of appropriate size and keep such an illusion operational for extended periods of time. Their fangs are needle-like and coated with an anesthetic so that the victim will not feel its feeding. The soul stealer can drain a victim to death in anywhere between a week and six months, depending on the strength of character of the victim and how much attention is given to heal the host's body. The effect of the soul stealer's feeding appears as a wasting disease that is draining the host of his or her strength gradually. It has been rumored that soul stealers are being bred by some evil power groups including the Zhentarim.
Crystal Deaths are the name of the servants created by the evil artifact, the Crown of Midnight Crystal. These living crystals are controlled by the crown and allow the wearer of the crown to see through their eyes. The crystalline structure of these servants is amorphous, giving them the ability to change their shape. The crystal deaths change their shape according to the creatures that they encounter. They appear in all ways identical images of their foes until they are damaged. They can only be hurt by weapons of a +1 enchantment or better. When damaged, the crystal deaths can be observed to have cracks running along their bodies and do not bleed. The crystal deaths regenerate at the rate of 3 hp per round in complete darkness. If stuck by the light of a continual light or light spell, the crystal deaths will shatter immediately and will not regenerate until darkness reigns again. The crystal deaths attack with their fists and try to incapacitate those with light sources first. The crystal deaths are not intelligent and can not communicate with other creatures other than the wearer of the crown.