D&D Encounters, Dead in Thay, part 12

Previously, on Dead in Thay: Our heroes complete explore the Hall of Obedience, where they naturally go through much battle and hardship. They do manage to convince a Red Wizard named Lahnis to join the Thayan Resurrection, and most importantly acquire a large number of magical weapons, including a very peculiar scarred plate mail armor…Also, they discover that the magic of the black gates must be disrupted to reach the Phylactery Vault, as well as the fact that the biggest bad Szass Tam is using the Temples of Extraction to experiment on the Chosen, people who represent various deities of the Forgotten Realms. Moderately important is that they also acquire knowledge of how to turn soul-bound undead back into living creatures, requiring use of the  Undying Laboratory in the Hall of Necromancy. I only mention moderately important because of the PC’s that have died, the player’s seem to want to keep the new characters they created, so it’s not as important as it would have been at an earlier time.

Our big, damned heroes for this week include:

Our heroes are at the Gatehouse; some elect to use the Seclusion Crypt to recover lost hit points, spells, etc. Suddenly, our damned NPC heroes: Hadar, Jek, Kelson, and Shalendra (I’ll post pictures of them at the end of this post.) emerge from the black gate, looking beaten and battered, but happy. They show the party the fourth key they’ve acquired to the Temples of Extraction.

(NOTE: Regarding obtaining the fourth glyph key, I was going to do some narrative, role-playing, and battle improvising quite a bit in an effort to speed things up, but I realized even if I halved the strength of the being who possessed the fourth key, the battle would have taken far too long, and I didn’t want progress to be stymied tonight by these encounters, so having talked it over with the event coordinator, I just had the main, good-guy NPC’s get it. Yes, the party didn’t earn it, but, but c’est la vie.)

Now that the party has all four glyph keys to the most secure area of the Doomvault, they proceed to…

…the Temples of Anguish zone of the Temples of Extraction. Here they immediately get into battle with the people who dwell here, the most fiercely loyal to Thay. They also encounter a strange magical mist that either stuns, or temporarily imbues with strange venomous powers. Most importantly, they encounter a “three-step stone dais” set with four pillars, a shrine of sorts, where a yuan-ti currently stands in the middle of, floating in the air and surrounded by golden light. After they win the battle, they make out the holy symbol worn by this yuan-ti, and those trained in religion realize he worships Zehir, a deity whose domains are darkness and poison. They proceed to kill the yuan-ti and then study the shrine, which is protected by magical forces that damage those who don’t complete a saving throw. I kept doing little bits of damage this way throughout the night. The party are able to figure out that the shrines are drawing power from the Chosen, channeling it through the black gate to another location, though where exactly they aren’t sure, though educated guesses (*cough *cough Phylactery Vault *cough) are welcome. They are also able to figure out how to disable the shrine, either through strength (smash pillars), dexterity (disable arcane runes), or intelligence (disrupt flow of magic). While it is comedic seeing them enter the shrine, and then being forced back and damaged through magical forces (and failed checks), they do succeed in smashing the pillars and disabling this first shrine. Oh, and when Sam suffered damage, the magical plate mail he discovered last week appeared to be suddenly less effective then it should have been. Strange…

On a side note, every room in this place has a shrine and a chosen contained therein. Got it? Good; let’s move on.

The next room contains an NPC most of the party haven’t met except for Selwyn: Mennek Ariz, the Red Wizard that betrayed our heroes back at the Bloodgate. Mennek remembers Selwyn and screams bloody murder and great vengeance. Even though Selwyn can discern that Mennek is not acting of his own volition, the party proceed to slay him and the other enemies in this area, because capturing and interrogating people is so 90’s! The funky affect in this room is this strange, radiant aura that either injures or heals depending on the saving throw. The Chosen that they actually save this time is a human male named Kieren, Chosen of Ilmater, whose domains are: endurance, suffering, martyrdom, and perseverance. The party is rather disappointed Kieren can’t help them, but they let him go to the gatehouse and destroy the shrine.

The third and final room of then night has another interesting affect, but it only kicks in when a living creature takes damage. Interestingly enough, I did very little damage with the creatures inhabiting this room, so the affect never really kicked in, but basically, if a PC failed their Constitution saving throw, they would have had disadvantage with attacks, and Strength and Dexterity saving throws / checks. Sadly, it never happened. The Chosen in this room is a female half-elf, who the part figures out worships Loviatar, goddess of hurt and agony. Our heroes naturally kill her while she’s helpless because…it’s heroic? Anyways, some destroyed pillars later, and the third shrine is disabled.

So with three shrines disabled, what will our heroes stumble into next week? It’s a fairly safe bet that it’ll be more of the same. Combat, disable shrine, combat, disable shrine, repeat ad nauseum. D’OH!

So as a bonus, here are some pictures of what some of the NPC’s I’ve been mentioning look like, courtesy of Wizards of the Coast (they’re found in the adventure Dead in Thay, which you could technically purchase at dndclassics / drivethrurpg.)

Hadarr Karakaya

Hadarr Karakaya

Jekk Ironfist

Jekk Ironfist

Kelson Darktreader

Kelson Darktreader

Shalendra Floshin

Shalendra Floshin

And as a bonus, here's the NPC the party heroically killed, the traitor Mennek Ariz

And as a bonus, here’s the NPC the party heroically killed this session, the traitorous Red Wizard of Thay, Mennek Ariz

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