Last time, our adventure resumed on the Isle of Tombs, in Sothenopelous, where our heroes were resting up and selling treasure. They were also seeking to identify the highly powered gear they had found, to confirm once and for all whether or not it was cursed. That undeniable risk hadn’t stopped Mat and Bru, who had been using the gear for several days now, without an obvious repercussion.
Amidst the downtime, Mat decided to gaze into the gem of enlightenment, a brave experiment to determine the true nature of the stone and the visions that had been plaguing Raven. It was revealed that only one person at a time could be afflicted with the visions caused by the stone, for now Raven no longer saw anything unusual, but Mat began to see frog creatures passing for people.
Divvied up, the group had each netted 340 gold, and set about replenishing their supplies. They had tracked down an old associate, Trinia Sabor, for her opinion on the gear that was potentially cursed, but she only recommended they try the Temple of the Sun. Once there, the clergy suggested the highly powered items used to belong to followers of Ha-Sith-Ka, an evil god that was worshiped by Lizard men, but the items themselves didn’t appear to be evil.
They also met the wizard Clufyne, who was able to help them by creating several scrolls of sending. In return for the scrolls, Clufyne asked for help recovering the remains of his recently deceased friend, Ed Keel, from an island nearby. The heroes agreed to this side quest, and Clufyne joined the crew for this new adventure.
On their way out, they decided to question the folk of the Temple of the Sun about these frog people. But it was troubling that when pressed about the subject, the clergy remained tight-lipped, becoming evasive and fearful rather than respond in a meaningful way. Opting not to cause a scene, the heroes left on a two day voyage to aboard Omar’s air ship.
The group was dropped off in an overgrown forest on the island, and before long were attacked by alternating groups of winged chupacabra’s, and tribal minotaurs. On more than one occasion, Raven’s Pit spell turned the tide of battle and saved the day.
Finally, once they had reached the top of a ridge, our heroes saw a clearing off in the distance, about three or four hours away. Zefir cast a locate object spell and was able to confirm that the clearing was indeed the place that they were seeking, where Ed Keel’s remains were sure to be found.
Once they arrived, Mat’s expertise locating and disarming traps was tested, as he disabled an alarm, and located a secret door at the foot of a decrepit old flight of stairs they found leading downward. As Mat opened the secret door, he narrowly avoided a spectral hand that reached through the wall and nearly grasped him. Now, with the door opened, sunlight flooded the opening of the room, and the heroes could see that it was a drop around thirty feet down.
Using a silk rope, the heroes descended into the earth, but hadn’t even reached the bottom when the door slammed shut, and first Zefir, then Mat, were struck by the spectre’s floating hand and drained of two energy levels. Continuing downward, the party rushed to the bottom of a hallway, where they discovered a crumpled pile of remains that included a helmet bearing Ed Keel’s family crest.
Bru scooped up the remains, and suddenly the spectre appeared from the darkness and made a horrifying sound as he plead for the group to leave. Raven attempted to bluff him, but rather than react in any obvious way, the spectre just sank into the earth ominously. As Bru made a dash for the opening of the crypt, Mat and Raven readied actions to attack the spectre with Holy Water and magical weapons, and Zefir cast magic missile. While they provided a valiant cover, Bru downed a levitation potion and floated to the top of the room, where he began busting the door back open.
Suffering a series of failed rolls and a door that wouldn’t budge, Bru was struck twice by the spectre’s ghostly hand, which drained him of all levels and hit points, and his body fell to the ground. Raven was finally able to scale the rope and bust open the door, which let sunlight into the room and provided some respite from the spectre. But not before Mat had also been struck by the spectre and drained of life in the same manner as Bru. Thankfully, the wizard Clufyne was outside the room and helped drag Mat and Bru’s lifeless bodies into the sunlight. He motioned to the others that he could raise the two fallen men, but that they would have to seek out a priest to restore the level drain.
Clufyne was relieved to have his quest accomplished, and once they had all returned to Omar’s ship, suggested they get a cleric’s help in fully restoring Mat and Bru. Meanwhile they used Clufyne’s scrolls of sending to communicate with Echean and let him know that the group had succeeded in locating a Clockwork Spider. They made plans to meet in Sothenopelous, and after Mat and Bru were restored, Echean met up with them and thanked them all for retrieving the spider. They took this opportunity to inquire about the Slaads, and found out some important details:
During the Lycanthropy wars, as people were returned to their human forms after being turned to werewolves, some bodies were infiltrated by demonic slaads, who infiltrated society and began to pose as humans. Echean said that as far as anyone was aware, the slaads had come back and inhabited the bodies of those who were previously slain in the wars. He also stated that in regards to the strange land masses popping up across the world, the djinni’s wish magic had a side effect, whenever a destruction spell was cast – an act of creation would occur somewhere else.
Before parting ways, Echean expressed some worry about the rogue group of wizards who were seeking to crash the moon into the world and extinguish all life.
The group realized that they had just learned an important piece of information – the gem of enlightenment was a legitimate magical resource and not a mysterious trick being played upon them. There were slaads to be found in Amber island and Sapphire Island, and surely further pieces of the puzzle awaiting them in both places.