Previously on ‘Dead in Thay’: The party had found and saved the life of their friend, Kelson Darktreader, and managed to clear out the Hall of Necromancy zone in the Masters’ Domain. Having returned to the gatehouse for a momentary reprieve, they begin preparations to return to the Masters’ Domain and conquer the Hall of Obedience. But before they begin, Kelson Darktreader emerges from the Seclusion Crypt, fully recovered from his wounds.
Kelson speaks with Hadar, Jek, and his sister Shalendra momentarily, thankful to see his closest friends and eager to get back up to speed. He proceeds to thank the party for saving his life, and provides some key information he learned while surviving in the Doomvault. He shares that Mennek Ariz, the red wizard who betrayed them at the Bloodgate is in the Temples of Extraction, and that the Temples themselves can only be accessed via black gates, with the glyph keys for that area trusted to Szass Tam’s most loyal servants, as it is the most secure, guarded area of the Doomvault.
Our damned heroes for the week include:
- Granath, a Dwarven Paladin
- Livulcan, a multiclasser; at least one level of Mage, and mostly levels of Rogue, I believe. I also know for a fact I’m mispelling his name, but have no clue how it’s properly spelled. C’est la vie.
- Moonbow, a Monk Rogue, previously known as Goodnight
- Sam, a Human multiclasser (Level 1 Fighter, Level 7 Cleric)
- Waxon, an Elven Cleric of the Wood Elf variety
So our heroes proceed to the Hall of Obedience, where they come to a room with strange silver pillars, undead Thayan Warriors chained to them and while their eyes are wide open, they appear unmoving. There are several doors in this room, each leading to small rooms, some unoccupied while others are not. Naturally, battle eventually ensues, and I’m disappointed to say not a single party member was rendered unconscious by me. Clearly, I’m getting soft as a DM. 😉
They proceed to a room to the south, apparently a training room, where six Thayan Warriors are engaged in combat with a Dread Warrior and seven Skeletons. Overseeing this combat exercise is a Red Wizard named Lahnis, who thinks the party is here to test his loyalty to Szass Tam. After a few rounds of combat, he orders everyone to stop and questions the party’s true motives. After seeing that they have managed to acquire three of the four possible glyph keys required to enter the Temples of Extraction, he’s convinced to join the Thayan Resurrection in truth, his loyalty has in fact been flagging. He joins the players in defeating the rest of the enemies and gives them quite a number of goodies. Magical weapons can be found in this room, as well as a very peculiar suit of “heavily scarred” of plate mail armor, immediately donned by Sam, the level 1 fighter / level 7 cleric. This is actually a detail I’m going to have to remember for future encounter sessions.
Lahnis also gives them a number of scrolls, and shares the following information with the party: Szass Tam’s latest plan is to acquire godlike power; he believes this can be accomplished by feeding the souls of the Chosen into his phylactery. He currently uses the Temples of Extraction to do just this. By the way, the Chosen refer to mortals chosen by deities to represent their best interests in the mortal realm. A handy list of deities found in the Forgotten Realms can be found here. Other information shared is that the phylacteries of Szass Tam’s highest-ranking liches reside in the Phylactery Vault, protected by powerful magic. Szass Tam, in fact, keeps everyone’s phylacteries there to keep them in check. Perhaps the most important information Lahnis shares is that if enough black gates across the Doomvault are disrupted, the black gates in the Temples of Extraction can be forced to connect to the Phylactery Vault. Almost as important is that he shares a ritual, written on a scroll, that can be used to turn soul-bound undead back into living creatures. Anyone that has been killed can be turned into a soul-bound undead by Syranna, but with this ritual they can be brought back to life, though it requires the use of the undying laboratory room where they find Kelson. Even though the party cleared out that room, there is the potential for finding random patrols if they were to return.
And so the journey in D&D Encounters ends this week having found several key pieces of information and gaining an ally. For the moment, the party has three glyph keys that will allow them to access three areas of the Temples of Extraction. Technically speaking, they don’t necessarily have to find the fourth, though from a real-life DM-ing perspective, since we have two DM’s, it’s easier to keep things divisible by two. In other words, the other DM will run two sections of the Temples of Extraction while I run the remaining two. Since there’s only three total at the moment, I’m currently thinking of ways to have the party acquire the fourth quickly. Though from what I’ve read about that encounter, it’d be anything but quick. I need to think about how I want to handle this for next week. I have a few ideas that I think would make for good narrative, and accomplish everything I want.
As an aside, there was some confusion for the initial room. The text description to read to the players clearly states undead are manacled to the silver pillars, but there’s no undead version stat block for Thayan Warriors; they’re described as medium-sized humans…oh well, c’est la vie. There are other strange discrepancies with this area, strange behaviors that I won’t get into because they could potentially constitute spoilers for players. Needless to say though, I could be wrong, but at least this area could have used stronger editing, and I’m not talking in terms of grammar.