Another letter received from the Inquisition, relating the next prophecy: “Seek the Enigmas beneath the Spire of Thunder, and learn their secrets.” The party rests and recovers, keeping an eye out for the return of Istarmani who swore revenge. They search for any clues towards the “Spire of Thunder” and come up empty-handed. That is, until [[Shen One-Eyed]] comes into the Stone Pony Inn. The Elven ne’er-do-well has come across some information. Because you have been so kind to him in the past, he says, that he will provide you with some information he has come across, in the hopes that you will compensate him appropriately. Far to the west, following the trade roads towards Tartarus and then heading to the mountains to the northwest, sits a Mountain that hides a maze-like series of tunnels. A group of mages rule there who have hidden away from the Inquisition so they can freely practice their arts. They have established a trading city within the mountain, where all manner of Underdark and mountainous dwellers meet to trade. They call this mountain Thunderspire, and the maze underneath the Thunderspire Labyrinth. But be careful, he says, even getting there may be a challenge. Travelers have gone missing in that area while stopping for the night in the town of Inverness. They say a haunted Ghost Tower is there, trapping all passerbys…
The party is hired by Splugh Westmeyer, an obese merchant who is looking to travel to that area as well. He has also enlisted Gairdan Facio, a dwarven prospector who can act as a guide to that region. [[Image:Adventure8-1.jpg]] The party sets out on the western trade road to Tartarus. Along the way, a group of frenzied wolves and their Werewolf master attack the cart, seemingly attempting to ransack the goods therein. They are repelled, and Glandrin notes his distaste for having to kill innocent wolves. After a few weeks travel along the trade road, the party stops near the town of Inverness. Gairdan accompanies them because he is curious, but Splugh remains behind with the cart. The town is quiet, and has an unearthly pallor over it. One man is there to explain that all the members of the town have long since died, but the tower keeps them there in the material world. Many group have tried to explore the tower, but none have returned. This does not deter our intrepid adventurers however, and they venture forth inside, across the dried up moat and into the mouth of the tower. The first floor features a number of symbols that Gurias intreprets as a ritual, and a teleportation circle. After some searching, a focus for the ritual is found. Not wanting to be separated, they all enter the circle as Gurias casts the ritual to activate it. [[Image:Adventure8-2.jpg]] Floor two seemed to be some kind of living quarters, now encompassed by a horrific stench. As the party began to explore, a hideous Otyugh burst from underneath the main table and attacked, grabbing at its newest meal. Soon, the beast was joined by two corrupted, vengeful spirits. Thanks in part to Reschard’s newfound paladin training, the threats were defeated. A quick search of the room revealed a different piece that could be used in the ritual, and that was activated next. The next room featured a lab of some kind. The notes of the wizard Paldemarr reveal that he once worked for the Inquisition, but after his wife became ill and died, they refused to bring her back to life. He came to Inverness to research on how to bring her back, but something went wrong. They find nothing else of note, so move on. A large chest of gold enticed the party in the next room, but it was soon revealed to be a trap. Though several tests were done (and some damage taken), they ultimately decide to move on. [[Image:Adventure8-3.jpg]] Some experimentation is done with the two teleportation runes, and after a few false starts, they eventually move down a level, where a pitched battle is taking place. Several warriors of the Shadar-kai, a strange peoples hailing from the Shadowfell, are fighting a group of horrific demons. The party tries to intercede, but the Shadar-kai demonstrates that they do not trust the party, even coming to a few blows. They begin fighting the demons in earnest anyway, and that combined with some stirring words, convinces them to fight together against the demonic menace. Once the creatures fall, the Shadar-kai make a gesture of gratitude, and step back into the shadows. The next floor found the party separated, and in entirely different places. Gurias watches as Arborea falls from the sky, taking with it the Eladrin citizens. He convinces himself that it cannot be real, and activates the teleportation ritual to move on. Glandrin finds himself back in his elven homelands referred to most as the Beastlands, and soon discovers his tribe and family slaughtered. He follows the trail to find a group of Eladrin claiming credit, and threatening another Glandrin. They say, “This is the price for your revolution” before the teleportation magics envelop him. Gairdan finds himself in an familiar place, but changed. A group of other prospectors, including one who looks very familiar, greet him and speak of the new Etherium find. Gairdan tries to ask the name of the familiar prospector, but then finds himself alone again. In the distance, a fight is ongoing between a giant glowing figure and obviously powerful figures. Before he can react, the teleportation magics take him away. Reschard finds himself back in his homeland in Sarta, but all is not right. Giants ravage his former kingdom. He tries to help, but is stopped… but his dead brother. He explains that this place is doomed, including the woman they both loved. Reschard recoils, before the teleportation magics return him to the tower. [[Image:Adventure8-4.jpg]] On the final floor of the tower, the party appears back in the teleportation circle. Before they can discuss what they have seen, they see a massive tear in dimensions emanating from the middle. It is here where the Shadowfell has leaked into the prime material plane. Standing near it is a horrible hag. She threatens: “I’ll eat your tortured souls!” Reschard lashes out for having seen what he did. In a blind fury, he charges across the room at the hag. Several phantom warriors emerge from the rift and swing at the warlord, but he pays them no heed and swings at the hag. Glandrin and Gairdan move up to engage her as well, and maneuver around the ghostly soldiers. Gurias stands back to fire from a distance, but then something becomes apparent that all Eladrin know: hags hate Eladrin. She teleports across the room and gives an ear splitting scream. Gairdan flies into a berserk rage, tearing at the ghosts before charging back to aid the wizard. The battle takes much of their strength, but the hag is eventually cut down, and the Shadowfell rift closes on itself. As she is sucked away, the hag confirms what the party suspected: she was Paldemarr’s wife before she became twisted by magic. The tower becomes completely silent. After being convinced the tower won’t collapse, they make their way out using the teleportation circles. Along the way, they stop back at the treasure room and find the traps have been disabled, and take the money away. Outside, the town of Inverness is gone… finally put to rest.
- XP: 769
- GP: 1,100 in the treasure pile, -50 to cast the rituals to escape, so 1050 net.
- Minor Analyze Portal Ritual: Level 1, 10 GP, 10 Minutes. Analyzes a Portal or Telportation Circle to give information on how to activate it. Provides no other information.