RPG@QUT Matt's D&D

DM log-- fighting Malareth

As always, this is a bare-bones log. Theren’s far more colourful description of this session is here. And of course I’ve updated several wiki pages, nearly all of it in the “DM only” section you can’t see, muhuahaha! But edit those pages yourselves to put in all the info I am deliberately neglecting to insert.

At the end of this log I will have a list of things to consider for your next adventure; use comments under the Facebook post of this log to decide as a group which way to go so I can prepare.

As we left off in the last log, Malareth had just ordered Moosook back to “the source” and cut the straps holding down what quickly was revealed to be a hulking zombie made of stitched-together dead goblins. When Moosook made it back into the alcove, he activated a sigil carved into the wall, creating a wall of force that closed him in. The dim blue glow revealed that the alcove contained a chunk of rock on a broken-off pedastal, and embedded in the rock, a blue crystal which soon began to glow. Intestines led from the rock to the table where the zombie was being made, giving it unlife and circulating a purple-black ichor. None in the party recognised what it was until later, when Kat heard Moosook mention the Chaos Scar. This crystal was known as a chaos shard, and a source of malevolent power. {Details may be remembered and recorded by the players.} Dark tendrils attached themselves to Moosook and he started to panic as it drained his life. He could not escape the alcove. He called: “Malareth! It’s hurting me!” Malareth replied: “Shut up, you goon, and guard the source!”

When the fight broke out the party met Bastian Gale, who apparently had been feigning death and waiting for his chance to escape. He popped out from a pile of bodies in the corner and joined the fight. Because he was an eladrin, a race generally distrusted and despised in the Nentir Vale due to their association with the very rich and corrupt elite of Fallcrest, the party was none too keen to accept him on faith. Bastian showed a strong aversion and fear toward Jorn, and resisted Jorn’s healing magic, furthering the party’s hesitation. As Bastian cast his spells, Kat suddenly gasped in recognition. Something about his accent made her look more closely at his arms, and she saw there a symbol of Torog. She recoiled in horror, though she had no time to tell the party of her concern. But later, she realised that the symbol was not a tattoo of proud declaration but a scar from torture, carved into Bastian by a minister of Torog’s torture rituals, and her heart filled with pity. Bastian has so far revealed little, but he seems more authentically an enemy of Torog than an adherent.

After a few rounds of battle, the party saw a very odd thing: a thin figure, like a person’s image painted onto a sheet of parchment, slipping through the cracks in the temple wall and allowing access to the alcove behind the field of force. It was Fenstrom! Malareth saw him and said: “Fenstrom! So this is your doing!” Fenstrom replied: “I’m taking an opportunity, Mal—just as you saw fit to tempt my goblins to betray me. Maybe with this shard, I can become as influential as your great self.” Fenstrom grabbed the chaos shard and its dire effects magnified, further withering both Fenstrom and Moosook. Malareth ordered Moosook to stop the theft, but Moosook, near death, kept calling out: “Malareth, let me out of here, it’s killing me! Or Fenstrom, take it away from me, I don’t care which!” Fenstrom cruelly told Moosook: “You chose your side in this battle, Moosook, and you will die a traitor to me.” Soon, with some arcane movements, Fenstrom stopped the ill effects of the shard, but it was too late for Moosook, who fell to the floor as withered as an old corpse. Then, just as the battle was near its end, Fenstrom started to make ihis escape, again turning thin as he squeezed into the cracks in the wall. He crowed to the party: “I know just the person to try this on first: that dumb cleric in your dumb little Harkenwold. Zepher, I hope you ditch these losers and join me—your father would be grateful, heh heh heh. Have fun!” And with that, he and the shard were gone.

Soon Malareth and his minions were all still and scattered across the floor in pieces. Moosook was rapidly dying. Zepher was first to find the amulet around Malareth’s neck that allowed passage through the field, and did so, leaving the rest of his party on the outside. With rage he tried to deliver a coup de grace to Moosook, but did not penetrate the hobgoblin’s bony sternum. The others tried to enter, but only Bastian could convince Zepher, being intent on asking Malareth questions before he died, but not to save him. He did enough to prolong Bastian’s life for a few questions.

In this way Moosook told the party more about Morgana, saying she came to the Twisting Halls to seek the chaos shard, but her madness and paranoia soon sowed disunity in her band of mercenaries, and all but she and her most loyal bodyguard, Karj, survived against the goblins and Malareth’s guards. Moosook said that having given up on her goal here, she must have gone next to the Chaos Scar, a place well recognised by Kat, who pieced together that this is where the portal in Farallax’s lair probably led. Moosook also revealed that Malareth was paying him and other goblin leaders very handsomely for bringing goblin bodies here so Malareth could stitch them into the hulking zombie that was the core of his coming attack against Farallax. This seemed to explain the contents of Malareth’s chest, which contained hundreds of gold pieces, some of which had been carefully counted out into slots in a counting board, like those used by merchants to track their debts. The slots were adorned with bits of parchment on which were various goblinoid names. By this point, Moosook was near expiry, the creeping necrosis having done too much damage to recover, and Bastian coldly said he was done with this one, and no longer tried to keep him alive. Zepher raised his dagger for the final blow, but then relented, pricked by his conscience and the memory of his mother and father, and the Pelor they worshipped. He instead screamed in rage and threw the dagger down. With his last breaths Moosook told Zepher, “Zepher, you think me evil for doing what is best for my clan. Truly, my people and your people cannot coexist. Maglubiyet promises that we are destined to wipe your weak, so-called civilised races from the face of this world. Call that evil if you wish. But what Fenstrom intends to do with that crystal—that is what I call evil. Do not trust him…” And with that, Moosook breathed his last.

Meanwhile, after fruitlessly demanding that Zepher spare Moosook, Jorn had a fit of pique. He grabbed the Orb of Imposition {+1} that Malareth had been using and zipped away with it on his Tenser’s. Soon Theren followed, to make sure Jorn could not steal this valuable item. {Scott and Rachael will be away for a couple sessions, so they are on a side adventure for a while. Have a good trip!}

Options for the next adventure

{Here is a summary of the hooks you have come across so far which you could pursue next. Let me know on Facebook which one you decide upon so I can prepare it. By default, I will assume you will mop up the rest of the Twisting Halls next, but that won’t take long, so start deciding what comes after that.}

  • Mop up Twisting Halls. {This would be just some minor encounters to tie up loose ends.} This includes:
    • Going to Farallax to present the head of Malareth, call him on his promise to hand over the armor associated with the Dark Leaf, and see what else is revealed by talking to him post-Malareth.
    • Exploring rooms not yet seen, cleansing out the plague of goblins and finding treasure.
    • Figuring out what to do with the Sigil Door.
  • Go to the fortified portal destination first seen by scrutinising the teleportation circle in Farallax‘s lair. This presumably leads to the Keep on the Chaos Scar. Going through portals is usually a one-way trip and it’s not clear how to get past the fortification there. {This ties into the pursuit of Morgana, will lead to a far-away land with questionable means of return, and feeds into Bastian’s revenge scenario.}
  • Rush to Harkenwold to see what Fenstrom means by his threat to try out the newly acquired shard on Ercullum. In any case, if Ercullum is still there, he could be taken to Fallcrest to raise him. {This keeps you on the trail of Big Bad Fenstrom.}
  • Skip Harkenwold, and figure out where Daggerburg Keep is, going straight there in anticipation of beating Fenstrom there, Fenstrom being delayed by a side trip to Harkenwold. {This keeps you on the trail of Big Bad Fenstrom.}
  • The freezing woman seen in the Red Mirror was in obvious distress and danger of a sinister nature. Research, perhaps including conversation with Farallax and closer examination of the mirror, may reveal how to rescue her. {This would introduce you to an especially dark and disturbing subculture, with as much intrigue as combat, with a good dose of gothic horror.}
  • A trip to Fallcrest would certainly turn up adventure. You could just cast about for odd jobs or pursue the following which may lead to new discoveries. {These might lead you to short jobs of a well-paying nature that get you acquainted with Fallcrest.}
  • You could find out more about the Dark Leaf and its associated armor, as well as the idenity of Bony. {This would make the armor considerably more useful and interesting.}
  • You could return to Vilma’s Cellar to plumb the putative trap-filled depths there. {This would be heavy on traps and treasure.}
  • You could try to find Fool’s Grove, following the map found in Vilma’s hut. {This would be a minor, quirky adventure with strong nature themes and a dose of silliness.}

{If all that is not enough variety, I’m also open for suggestions! Start figuring this out in the comment stream underneath the Facebook post that points to this log, and let me know when you agree which way you will go. Have fun!}

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