View Full Version : Journal Escape from Ravenloft

2019-01-28, 01:38 PM
When Temmy, adopted son of the retired adventurer Mighty Mo-Tar, disappeared while on a wizarding school field trip, his father knew there was only one thing left to do: get the band back together. Together, Mo-Tar and his companions scoured the land, paying heed to little outside what leads they could find on the missing boy. It was only after Temmy and his companions had been recovered that the veteran adventurers realized the gravity of their mistake. In their chase, they had crossed into another plane of existance, and when Ravenloft shifted, so did they. Trapped, they now seek to do the impossible and escape from Ravenloft.

(In less dramatic terms, a couple years ago our group finshed a successful campaign, and Mo-Tar's player decided to run Temmy in the next adventure, which started in the same setting. The new party ended up brutally TPKing at level 4, which led to speculation as to what the old party would have done had they discovered Temmy was missing and whether they would have been able to save him. With the end of our most recent campaign, we decided that now would be a good time to test that theory.)

2019-01-28, 02:16 PM
The Mighty Mo-Tar (Half-orc Fighter 14) - The party's front line. During his adventuring days, Mo-Tar adopted a baby earth elemental, who quickly became his raison d'etre. Upon retiring, he opened a wrestling gym in Thelos, which he used to finance Temmy's education at the local wizarding academy. Acting guardian for Whelm until a suitable wielder can be found.
Sibeal Cavan (Human Tempest Cleric 14) - A combat medic with some tanking and blasting capacity. After a failed romance and a stint in hospital administration, Sibeal was happy to return to adventuring when Mo-Tar called for aid. She is fiercely protective of those under her care and holds a deep-seated hatred for abberations. Current wielder of Wave.
Lady Acara of House Telvanos (Human Fighter 2/Chaos Sorceror 12) - A noblewoman gish fighter who splits her time between DPS and utility and has an insatiable lust for power. As a secret devotee of Vecna, Acara may or may not have ulterior motives for exploring Ravenloft. It's not like she's specifically looking for the Hand and Eye, but if she were to stumble across them...
Kozua (Human Order of the Awakened Mystic 14) - A newcomer to the party and its primary utility caster. Kozua is a wandering ascetic seeking enlightment who stumbled across Ravenloft during his travels. He's not terribly interested in returning home, but is curious to see where the party's antics will lead them.

Reynaldas Raffe, Knight of the Lunar Exarchs - Member of a benevolent religious order that has offered to find the party a way home in exchange for their help investigating a series of mass disappearances. Friendly and wise, he has a strong sense of justice the voice of Sean Connery.
Ibenhoon Stormcaster - A mindflayer bard/cleric/sorcerer/warlock who was exiled from the hive mind for developing a personality (specifically, he wanted to hold a concert.) Ibenhoon wants to discover "what passes for music amongst your misbegotten kind." Joined the party over Sibeal's strong objections, but seems gets along well with fellow psion Kozua.
Faith Shiruda - A member of the original party, Temmy's godmother, and Sibeal's close friend. Shortly after the rescue mission began, she discovered that she was pregnant with her first child, which sidelined her from future adventuring. Married to Akurei.
Akurei Shiruda - A former member of a rival party with a checkered past and serious daddy issues. Terrified at the prospect of becoming a father himself, Akurei came to Ravenloft to protect Faith, and is currently on a solo quest for advice on how to be a good parent (but refuses to ask Mo-Tar, who once beheaded him in a fight.)
Anthony and Camille Delapuere - A brother-sister duo of fabulously rich orphans who are allowing the party to use their mansion in Port d'Elhour as a base of operations. Definitely not the masked vigilantes Manticore and Ahool.

2019-01-30, 02:03 AM
Temmy and the rest of his party were successfully rescued. After recuperating at the Delapuere's for a few weeks, all of them except Temmy and a half-drow called Silver returned to the b&b they had opened before venturing north to Port d'Elhour. Akurei volunteered to go along, both to escort the younger adventurers and to seek the advice of the town gravedigger, "Gascoigne," who Temmy billed as "a really good dad." I've been assured nothing bad will come of this.
Not long after, Reynaldas paid a visit to the Delapuere mansion to offer the party a deal. If they could help with a missing persons investigation in a nearby town, then the Lunar Exarchs would provide them with a way back home. Given how slow progress had been on that front, the party agreed.
The first night in the new town, a man was attacked by a horde of powerful undead. The party fought them off, but failed to save the villager. Acara and Kozua learned from the locals that the undead were likely what remained of a river boat crew that has supposedly mutinied a week before. On inspecting the corpses, Sibeal noticed that the sailors had bled out, not drowned, indicating some sort of large-scale ritual.
The party decided to talk to the captain and sole survivor of the riverboat incident. He told a chilling tale of coming back to find his boat completely abandoned, the deck slick with blood, and a disembodied voice praising "the Devourer." A local scholar determined that "the Devourer" was the subject of study by a a local wizard who had ultimately secluded himself in a nearby mountain fortress. The scholar also found a poem mentioning a devourer, which was notable for being some of the worst-written poetry in adventuring history. Kozua's already sensitive psyche took a heavy hit from trying to memorize it.
By and large, the fortress turned out to be a bust as it was long abandoned and overrun by hill giants. However, the party did manage to recover the wizard's journal. After Mo-Tar broke the lock with his trusty crowbar, they found that the contents detailed the wizard's plan to hire a local adventuring crew to aid him in seeking the Devourer's final resting place.
Back in town, the party learned that the adventurer named in the journal had died and was buried in the local cemetery. At his tomb, a large man missing an arm explained (to the best of his 6 int ability) that the man had been his party leader. Of the crew that had accompanied the wizard, only he, the wizard, and the party's former cleric had survived. When asked what had killed his friends, the man began raving about a floating skull with glowing eyes and gems. Acara informed the others that the entity was most likely a demilich.
The one-armed man took the party to talk to his former cleric friend in the next village over. When the party arrived, most of the townsfolk were in a panic about a plague, though no signs of disease could be found. Rather, large numbers of people were disappearing in the night, and the survivors had simply assumed they'd died of something contagious.
The former cleric was reluctant to talk, but sensing the party's resolve, divulged what she coud remember. Her party had been hired to raid the Tomb of Horrors and had succeeded both in navigating the dungeon and in killing Acererak, at a great cost. Since their misadventure, a cult had sprung up around the Tomb itself, and a necromantic university had been built over its entrance. Furthermore, the Tomb was starting to beocme active once again.
Armed with this knowledge, the party set out across a large swamp for the dreaded city. For the first few days, they encoutered only lizard-folk who, sensing high-level adventurers, opted not to pick a fight. The party did the same, ultimately winning over the lizardfolk, who supplied the party with mushroom bread for the rest of their journey.
Unfortunately, their luck didn't hold. On the last night of travel, the party's camp was inflitrated by the Dusk Triad, snake vampires interested in snuffing out any divine light that entered their swamp. Reynaldas died before intiative was rolled, then two of them jumped Sibeal while the third drained Mo-Tar to half health. It took a concentrated effort by the party and a bit of luck to drive off the serpentine undead and locate Reynaldas's body.
After the excitement, Acara offered to take third watch, during which she was approached by an emissary claiming to be the current Hand of Vecna. He informed her that the party's investigation would likely take them to the Plane of Negative Energy. In order to survive, they would need a special amulet, half of which was in the Tomb and half of which was worn by the headmistress of the necromancy university. The Hand also told Acara that he needed something from the Plane of Negative Energy, that she would know it when she saw it, and, most importantly, he would be willing to reward her with the Hand if she were to retrieve it for him. Acara relayed an "abridged" version of this message, attributed to "the Acorn God" (long story), while Sibeal resurrected Reynaldas the next morning.
Getting into the university town was not easy, and invovled literally fighting the gate itself (a large bone golem with a save or die effect) and a horde of angry flying Nagas intent on magic-missiling Kozua to death. The party tried to lay low in an abandoned graveyard for a while, but a blind madwoman accosted them, muttering about soul gems.
One Heal spell later, the girl, a blind necromancy student named Denalla, told the party of her visions of Acererak and a large depository of gems filled with souls. When she had tried drawing her visions as an outlet, the university headmistress, a woman named Ferronifer, had confiscated her art supplies and expelled her from the university for her "blasphemy." The visions had ultimately overwhelmed the poor girl, leading to her current predicament.

Tl;dr: In return for information on returning to their home plane, the party has agreed to investigate a series of mass disappearances. Unfortunately, solving the problem is going to require a trip to the Tomb of Horrors.

2019-01-30, 02:06 AM
Based on Danella’s information (and wary of a second confrontation with the Dusk Triad), the party decided that their best hope of getting the amulet was bargaining directly with Headmistress Ferronifer. To protect the expelled student, Kozua traded her black cloak for Sibeal’s green priestess robe, pulling the hood down low over her face. Mo-Tar gave her his arm, and Reynaldas led the group across town to the necromantic university.
Despite the university’s morbid appearance and the aura of evil radiating from it, threatening to overwhelm Kozua’s senses, the scene greeting the party was surprisingly mundane. A few black-robed students flitted across the courtyard carrying stacks of text books, while their less motivated compatriots gathered on one corner of the lawn to idly toss a frisbee back and forth. Across the way, a security guard clad in bone mail guarded the building’s entrance.
“What can I do for you,” the guard asked when the party approached.
Acara dipped a slight curtsy. “We would like to request and audience with Headmistress Ferronifer.”
“Do you have the paperwork?”
“What? Ah, no, I do not believe we have any paper work on us...”
“Then I’m sorry, but you’ll have to go. You can’t make an appointment with the headmistress unless you file the paperwork with me or are admitted students.”
The guard explained that the party would need to register at the Hall of Petition and offered to show the way there. He led them down a hallway just inside the front entrance, which ended in a large grotto. Inside stood the statue of a skeleton, hands outstretched at waist height and ruby eyes glittering.
“How does it work?” asked Kozua, inspecting the statue.
“Just put your hands on the statue’s, and it’ll let you know if you’re fit to be a student.” With that, the guard, Leon, retreated down the hallway.
Sibeal pulled the group aside. “I have a bad feeling about this. There has got to be another way.”
“Well,” said Reynaldas, “the lass here has already done it once before. Perhaps she’d be willing to do it again?”
“I’d rather not,” whimpered Denalla.
Mo-Tar loosened Whelm in his sheath. “What if we just smashed...”
Acara, however, was already there. The statue’s eyes glowed, seemingly peering into the noblewoman’s soul. Mo-Tar sadly put away Whelm.
Our GM looked at Acara’s player, eyebrow raised. “Are you good-aligned?”
“H*** no!”
“Are you a wizard?”
A bolt of lightning struck Acara, and her lifeless body fell into Sibeal’s arms. A moment later, her ghost materialized nearby. A quick arcana check by Kozua revealed that Acara’s soul had been severed from her body, but that the statue had failed to completely absorb it as intended. In order to reattach the soul, the mystic theorized, the intended receptacle, probably something hidden on the Plane of Negative Energy, would have to be destroyed. In the meantime, Acara would have to settle for life as a revenant. Given her newfound power to possess other corpses and enter the astral plane at will, she didn’t see the downside to this.
“I’d like to poke around the astral plane to see if I can find where the headmistress’s office is at,” said Acara’s player.
“Sure,” answered our GM with a devious grin. “As you enter the ethereal plane, you can see that there are already several creatures present, probably the demon servants that reset the Tomb in between adventuring parties. In particular, a large Merilith is making strong eye contact with you.”
“Yikes. I'm going back to my body!”
The party returned to a bemused Leon, who had watched the fireworks from a safe distance. After some badgering by Mo-Tar and Sibeal, he agreed to talk to the headmistress about establishing a new walk-in policy. Meanwhile, the party made itself as comfortable as possible on a nearby stone bench, except for Reynaldas. The Knight of the Lunar Exarchs explained that, while he had intended to see the quest through, he felt compelled to escort Denalla to safety in the next town over. With the university distracted by the party’s investigations and the Dusk Triad preoccupied with killing Sibeal, he felt that there might not be a better chance. Reluctantly, the party agreed, and so knight and waif took their leave.
One bureaucratic eternity later, Leon returned to “escort the party to the headmistress’s office.” However, after several minutes of winding through hallways and down staircases, it became pretty obvious that there was a more nefarious plot afoot, especially after Leon insisted that someone else open a trapped door purportedly leading to the headmistress’s office. The party was too polite to say anything though. That is, until Leon left them in a small office and returned with two necromancy professors and an iron golem as back up.
The ensuing battle pushed the party to their limits, especially given that they hadn’t rested since their encounter with the Dusk Triad. Mo-Tar and Sibeal did their best to keep the heavy hitters off of the squishier members while Kozua stoically dished out as much psychic damage and healing as he could. The crowning moment, however, came when Acara summoned three modrons in a row via Nahal’s Reckless Dweomer, then proceeded to set off a wild magic chain effect which caused her to lose her hair, grow a third eye, and develop a chicken-feather beard that stubbornly clung to her face despite her numerous attempts to sneeze. Even after the fight ended, the surge continued, until...
“Let’s see, I rolled a 31, so... I get transported to the astral plane for one round. Cool!”
“Sure is,” replied the GM. “But do you remember who was over there?”
The party scraped Acara off the floor after her Merelith-induced KO and tried to figure out what to do next. Sibeal suggested barricading the party in one of the rooms to rest, but Acara quickly pointed out that a barricade wouldn’t do much good against wizards and, as Mo-Tar concurred, “it’s not like they only have two professors.” Eventually, Kozua used some of his remaining hit points to teleport the party back to the swamp. Tired, wounded, and feeling far more vulnerable than they had in a long time, the veteran adventurers settled in for a long night.
Their rest was not to go uninterrupted. During second watch, the sound of guitar music filled the air, and a shadowy, cloaked figure emerged from the dense fog. Mo-Tar brought out his banjo and attempted to duel the mysterious musician into submission, but his earthy folk strumming was clearly outmatched by the newcomer.
On a second glance, Kozua noticed the stranger’s brooch. “It’s a holy symbol. Pelor, I think.”
“Thank goodness,” sighed Sibeal. “Come have some mushroom bread and warm yourself by the fire.”
The figure assented, telepathically, and the party plied him with questions. They learned that he too hailed from a different plane but couldn’t remember much of his homeland due to a memory-wiping spell. Rather than attempting to find a cure, the stranger, Ibenhoon, had set out to find inspiration for music, his one true passion. Kozua was the first to point out that the Tomb of Horrors should provide plenty of inspiration for a metal album, and seemed genuinely happy to have a fellow pison to talk to. Things were going quite smoothly, until...
“By the way, can I see what’s under the hood?” inquired Sibeal’s player.
“Go ahead and roll perception,” replied our GM
“Where does a 31 get me?”
“Well, peering into the hood you notice to your horror that the eyes peering back at you are large, pale and bulbous. Where the mouth should be are four long, purple, tentacles...”
“Sibeal, what’s wrong?” Kozua asked. “You’re as white as a sheet.”
“M-m-mind flayer,” the cleric stammered, grabbing Wave and scrambling to her feet. “He’s a mind flayer.”
Something of a Mexican standoff ensued. Sibeal, who (along with Mo-Tar) had lost a party leader in a fight with a beholder-kin, witnessed the forcible conversion of two fellow adventurers to the cult of Blibdoolpoolp, and nearly been killed by a beholder herself, was less than willing to negotiate with “another squiggle monster.” The others pointed out that they were going to need as much help as they could get raiding the tomb, and that Ibehoon seemed to be telling the truth about wanting musical inspiration.
“Yes, but he does that by eating the brains of other musicians to absorb their knowledge! What if he decides you’re his latest muse?!”
“It is the most efficient way to learn,” offered Ibenhoon. “Besides, none of you have the flair for rock which I seek.”
In the end, the party voted 3-1 to keep Ibenhoon. Once hostilities had subsided somewhat, it fell to Acara to point out the elephant in the room.
“We still have no idea how to get to the headmistress, and we need that amulet.”
The group was silent for a bit. Then Mo-Tar spoke up.
“We could always go back and smash that statue.”
“I would like to participate,” Whelm chimed in.
“That’s definitely an option,” agreed Sibeal. “But I’m not sure if that will get us an audience with the headmistress.”
“Well, Acara and I can probably pass as students, especially with Danella’s cloak,” offered Kozua. “I’ll pose as an incoming freshman trying to meet the headmistress while on a campus tour. Acara can be my older sister, a recent alumna, and Mo-Tar can be my friend. Sibeal, you’ll be my aunt, and Ibenhoon can be my uncle...”
Two pairs of eyes glared at the young mystic.
“Oh, not like that,” Kozua replied, massaging a headache. “Maternal and paternal.”
“I shall be the surrogate uncle you require,” roared Ibenhoon. “Come forth, nephew, and let us embrace.”
Awkward group hug complete, the party struck out for the university once again. Upon reaching campus, they were greeted by a scene of mass confusion. Students milled about the courtroom, whispering in hushed tones. Near the entrance to the university, a beleaguered graduate student fended off a gaggle of freshman boys.
“For the last time, no I don’t know what happened and no, I will not accompany you back to your fraternal dwelling.”
Sensing an opening, Kozua moved in.
“Uh, hi. I’m here for my campus tour. What’s going on?”
“It’s madness. The substitute teachers have all cancelled classes without telling us why and Headmistress Ferronifer is nowhere to be seen!”
“How awful,” Kozua sympathized. Casting a glance around, he leaned in closer to the grad student. “Freshman boys, am I right?” Kozua’s player said, momentarily forgetting her character also fell into that particular class. “How about giving my family and I ‘a tour’ as an out.”
“Works for me,” said the grad student. “My name’s Simone, by the way.”
With Simone at the lead, the party made their way into the university’s foyer.
“You mentioned before that the substitute teachers had cancelled class,” Sibeal asked, “but what happened to the actual professors?”
“Well, we only have two...” Simone began before the GM was cut off by the players’ collective groans.
Over the course of the tour, the party learned that the two professors had been away rounding up researching subjects for the “Adventures in Anatomy” class, a course in vivisection. However, only a small percentage of the subjects brought in were actually used, and the rest had disappeared without a trace. Furthermore, controlling necromantic experiments had become noticeably more difficult, resulting in several lockdowns over the past few weeks. Simone also mentioned that a student had been kicked out for drawing art that Headmistress Ferronifer disapproved of, and that the headmistress herself had been increasingly difficult to track down, maintaining communication only with her professors.
“It’s so frustrating! I’m having a lot of trouble with my thesis project and I can’t even set up a meeting with her to extend my grant deadline!” Simone finished exasperatedly.
It was then that inspiration struck.
“How horrible,” Sibeal chirped, resigning herself to the role of helicopter-parent. “Acara dear, back when you were a student, didn’t you run into similar problems? I remember you mentioning something about a protest...”
“Oh yes. We wanted transparency in administration!”
Kozua looked over at Simone with large, pleading eyes. “You want transparency in administration too, right?”
The grad student looked uncertain.
“For what it’s worth,” added Acara, “I think you would make a much better headmistress than that Ferronifer woman.”
Ego inflated, Simone squared her shoulders and raised a fist. “You’re right! I shall be a voice for the repressed student masses!”
With that, the grad student confidently strode back out into the courtyard and, before long, chanting emanated through the foyer.
“The administration says ‘get back,’ we say ‘fight back!’”
“Reinstate Danella!”
Ibenhoon shrugged, unshouldering a guitar and producing a harmonica from beneath his tentacles “Let me know when you find the entrance.”
A minute later, the sounds of Bob Dylan intermingled with the chants.
“Well, at least we’ll be able to explore the building unhindered,” grunted Mo-Tar. “But first...”
A crash echoed down the Hall of Petition, and Mo-Tar reappeared, cheerfully swinging Whelm.
“Now we can go.”
(At the end of the session, our GM sat back in his chair, shaking his head. It took him a minute to collect himself before explaining that the module was written with the assumption that the players would treat the university as a dungeon, slaughtering students and staff alike until we reached the entrance to the Tomb itself. To be honest, none of us were quite sure what to do with that.)

Tl;dr: By virtue of not being murder hobos, the party completely missed the fact that they were in a dungeon crawl.

normal name
2019-02-04, 02:30 PM
No better way to throw off the DM than by acting like stable people

2019-02-18, 10:31 PM
No better way to throw off the DM than by acting like stable people


For those wondering, I haven't abandoned the thread, and we did finish the campaign. The gorey details should be published by the end of the week :smallwink:

Kaptin Keen
2019-02-19, 08:48 AM
If there's any justice left in the world, you didn't. Escape, that is. Any succesful escape from Ravenloft should - soon enough - lead to the discovery that ... no, you're still in Ravenloft. Ideally, you should have an entire little campaign, enjoying your freedom, revelling in your escape, enjoying the sun, and the real, living, actual people ... then you decide to travel somewhere, and lo and behold, you find the mist again.

It really is the only way to do it right. Grand Conjunction? No exception. Ravenloft doesn't lose.

2019-02-20, 03:05 PM
If there's any justice left in the world, you didn't. Escape, that is. Any succesful escape from Ravenloft should - soon enough - lead to the discovery that ... no, you're still in Ravenloft. Ideally, you should have an entire little campaign, enjoying your freedom, revelling in your escape, enjoying the sun, and the real, living, actual people ... then you decide to travel somewhere, and lo and behold, you find the mist again.

It really is the only way to do it right. Grand Conjunction? No exception. Ravenloft doesn't lose.

As the group's DM, I can assure you they didn't. I'll let D4 tell the story first, and I'll chime in with some postscript details.

Kaptin Keen
2019-02-20, 04:24 PM
As the group's DM, I can assure you they didn't. I'll let D4 tell the story first, and I'll chime in with some postscript details.

Can't wait, sounds like a good story =)

I hope you suspended them in happy and entirely unwarranted belief for awhile - before meeting the mist again =D

2019-02-21, 09:09 PM
From the lobby, the party proceed downstairs to a hallway lined with coffin-doors they had spotted earlier. Despite Kozua’s careful inspection, they managed to trigger one of the traps, which released a gas that petrified Kozua and Mo-Tar on the spot. After they were restored, the party continued on to a headstone depicting three children playing ring-around-the-rosie. As the most innocent looking object in the room, it immediately drew their suspicion. Kozua gingerly inspected the door, expecting another trap to spring. Instead, it opened into a small chamber containing three ornately designed, snake-themed coffins.

Realizing what this meant, the party immediately began gearing up for round two with the Dusk Triad. Kozua called Ibehoon back while Mo-Tar and Acara sharpened several torches into make-shift stakes to pass around. When everyone was ready, Sibeal cast Daylight on the room. The bright light flared for a moment, then promptly extinguished. Behind the party, snakes oozed out of the walls, forming into the Dusk Triad and a fourth member: Headmistress Ferronifer.

The party had been hoping to set up an even fight by eliminating some of the Dusk Triad’s element of surprise. Unfortunately, a couple of poor wisdom rolls meant that Kozua and Acara were charmed before their first turns and Sibeal had to spend the next couple of rounds chasing down the casters with Greater Restoration. Ferronifer, a 17+ level wizard/cleric, was frankly terrifying. Aside from having the highest AC of the baddies, she also had prepared plenty of save or die spells to throw at anyone who looked like they might be under 100 HP. As before, the Triad targeted Sibeal and Motar heavily. About half way through the fight, desperate and nearly unconscious, the cleric turned to Ibehoon.

“Ibenhoon. If you can, please save my friends, and I will forget my grudge.”

Her plea was met with the tentacle equivalent of a mustache-wriggle. Apparently, this translated to yes, because the mind flayer kicked into overdrive for the rest of the fight. Eventually he, Mo-Tar, and Acara managed to focus enough fire to kill Ferronifer. Her death signified a shift in the battle’s tide, and the party rallied to put down the remaining members of the Dusk Triad. Their coffins were staked and baked with exhausted glee before the party went in search of Ferronifer’s resting place.

A secret door in Ferronifer’s office led to a luxurious bedroom. After finishing off the mass of snakes writhing on the bed, Acara retrieved the amulet half that the headmistress had been wearing. Besides the amulet, the room held several other trinkets, including a Pendant of Pure Good which momentarily zapped Acara out of existence when she tried to pick it up. Fortunately, because of a Wild Magic effect she had triggered earlier, Acara reincarnated. Hilariously, not only did she reincarnate as a human, but the process of doing so overwrote the soul-severing effect, thereby eliminating that entire plot line.

As the party settled in to rest for the night, Sibeal pulled Ibenhoon aside.

“Thank you for what you did back there. You didn’t have to risk yourself like that, and you saved our lives. I am in your debt.”

Ibenhoon thought about it for a moment, then offered a 3-tentacled hand. The cleric recoiled momentarily but recovered enough to accept the handshake.

The next morning, the party decided to go check on the students, since killing the Dusk Triad had triggered an earthquake. Also, as Kozua’s player put it:

“Before we do some dark s***, I want to see some funny s***.”

Sure enough, the students were in fine form, although the protest had mellowed out significantly. Simone, now adorned with a circlet of flowers, sat at the head of the group while they sang delightfully morbid protest songs. After a while, one of the students towards the back offered to make a run to Taco Knell. The other students took a moment to register what he was saying, then put in several orders.

Sibeal exchanged looks with the rest of the party. “I think they’re going to be okay.”

Satisfied, the party proceeded back down the staircase to a large entryway that had opened upon the demise of the Dusk Triad and Headmistress Ferronifer. It led to an underground cliff face, with three elaborately decorated entryways. Mindful of the earlier traps, Kozua carefully investigated each entry. Following his lead, Sibeal pulled out her wand of Detect Magic, revealing a hidden message written on the ceiling of the middle entrance.

The poetry was too horrible to be repeated here. The morbidly inquisitive may find a copy of the module to satisfy their wild curiosity.

“He thinks he’s Dr. Seuss, but he’s just not,” Kozua observed as he tried to memorize the instructions without incurring another migraine.

“Did he just give us instructions for navigating his death trap?” asked Mo-Tar.

“Yeah. Normally, I would be worried about what the villain was planning by doing that, but I’m sort of inclined to take this guy at his word.”

With a certain amount of trepidation, the party proceeded down the middle entryway. At the end of the hallway stood a large fog wall gate radiating conjuration magic with three colored bricks over it. To the left sat a statue with a large mouth matching the demon-headed pictures of the Devourer that the party had encountered. Faced with a choice that would almost certainly carry grave consequences, the party deliberated their next move carefully.

“How do you feel about smashing that statute with the hammer?” queried Mo-Tar.

“Bad,” replied Sibeal. “We shouldn’t touch anything in here that we don’t absolutely have to.”

“If that poetry weren’t so awful, I’d be able to remember what we were supposed to do at the gate,” complained Kozua.

“I’m bored. See you guys on the other side!”

The others turned in time to see Acara disappear through the gate.


“Crap. What do we do now?”

“Should we not follow your meat-bag friend?”

“Lir preserve us.”

And so the party followed. The delay meant that Acara was dog piled as the others arrived at the 10-foot cube she had been transported to. One wall sported three levers, but not instructions, and there were no other exits to be found. Mercifully, our GM allowed Kozua to make an intelligence check on how the puzzle might be solved rather than forcing us to test every permutation of the puzzle. The party settled on pushing all three levers up, then climbed out of the box... into another box.

After double checking his notes, our GM sighed.

“On the opposite side of the box is an object I can only describe as a fantasy Bop It®.”

“Come again?” asked Kozua’s player.

“Well, the mechanism can be operated three ways: you can pull it, twist it, or push it.”

“Fair enough. I investigate the Bop It®.”

After a brief inspection, Kozua solved the puzzle (I honestly missed what the solution was because I was laughing so hard) and the party progressed into yet another cube. Kozua’s player aced her investigation check and looked at our GM expectantly.

“What we have here is the arch-mage’s equivalent of a pop-up book.”


“Yes. It’s a sculpture of a skull with various tabs attached to it that you can pull.”

“This is why I hate humans,” growled Ibehoon. “Arch mages or not, they make terrible puzzles.”

Mo-Tar, trying to lighten the mood, crossed the cube and pulled on the tab attached to the skull’s mouth in order to use it as a puppet, accidently solving the puzzle.

The next cube had a set of seven buttons on the far wall. However, before Kozua could inspect it, Acara’s player cut in.

“I take a flying leap at it and press all the buttons at once.”

“Congratulations. You solved the puzzle.”


By this point, the players, if not the characters, were beginning to have serious doubts about the Tomb’s actual threat level. Also, about this time, Sibeal realized something was off.

“Hey, Ibenhoon, you’ve been awfully quiet. Are you all right?”

Her query was met with radio static and dial-up internet tones. A medicine check revealed that the inanity of the last puzzle had sent the mind flayer into a full-blown panic attack.

“Me too, buddy,” Kozua sympathized.

Mercifully, this time the door swung open into a full-sized room. However, the psychological torture was to continue, as the module insisted on repeatedly describing the decorations in a very particular way. The room’s walls were festooned in colorful spheres. Which were two dimensional. Of course.

“Question?” asked Sibeal’s player. “Why the H*** are we insisting on calling them globes or spheres when they are CLEARLY TWO DIMENSIONAL?”

“I think it’s meant to denote non-Euclidian geometry,” offered Kozua’s player.

“Then why not just say that?”

“I wish I knew,” answered our GM.

As it was, most of the spheres were illusory doors. The party mucked about exploring various tunnels, most of which dead-ended, before settling on the pathway behind the gold sphere (which was two dimensional, of course.)

The rest of the session’s crawl went relatively smoothly. The party used a statue to convert some of the gems they had looted from Headmistress Ferronifer’s bedroom into gems of true-seeing, which spared Kozua from having to investigate every single room, door, and hallway. Acara sacrificed her family signet ring (“I can always have another one made”) to open a door, only afterwards remembering that it was also her arcane focus. The last major landmark was a series of pit traps that Kozua teleported the party across with little trouble. The party did nearly die investigating what sounded like children laughing on the other side, a minor illusion meant to lure them into a lava chute. Fortunately, they managed to escape at the last second, Mines of Moria-style. Unfortunately, that also meant that they had hit a dead end.

“What’s your passive perception?” our GM asked Sibeal’s player.

“22. Why?”

“Oh good. While crossing the third pit trap, you noticed a small door at the bottom.”

“Ah. The aforementioned fortuitous drop.”

Using the communal rope of climbing, the party spelunked their way to the bottom of the third pit trap. Following a long rest, they opened the door and descended the staircase to the Tomb’s second level.

Tl;dr: The party defeated the Dusk Triad and succesfully navigated the first layer of the Tomb. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion and GM's epilogue!

2019-02-22, 05:58 PM
As Kozua’s player put it, turns out you can speed run the Tomb of Horrors.

Arriving at the second level, the party found themselves confronted with a forked hallway. Following the left path, they discovered a mummification chamber that appeared to dead end until a gem of True Seeing revealed a secret door. The door opened to a winding staircase that led to a darkened hallway containing another spiked pit trap, which the party avoided by sending Acara’s owl familiar, Archimedes, ahead. A quick ride aboard the Kozua teleportation express put them at the next door.

Initially, gold and silver mist weaved with enchantment magic obscured the room. Dispelling it revealed a small natural grotto with a stream trickling down the middle, across from which sat a siren and, behind her, two bags. The party was understandably wary of the siren, until Kozua asked Ibenhoon what he could gather from her thoughts.

“She’s here against her will.”

“What about her intentions towards us?”

“She’s good aligned, kind, well-meaning, and completely innocent. I say we leave her.”

“Is there anything coming from the bags?”

“Not that I can hear. Of course, if there are dead people inside, I still wouldn’t be able to hear them.”

Fearing that the bags may indeed contain bodies, and meeting no resistance from the siren, Sibeal jumped the stream to go investigate. The party followed. As they passed her, the siren gave them a mournful look. “Don’t you want to talk to me?”

Sibeal turned back to the siren. “We can’t wait for that mist to come back. Come with us and you can talk along the way.”

The GM looked at Sibeal’s player. “Did you say that out loud?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“The bags disappear, and the curse is lifted. She is free to go with you.”


The GM shrugged. “Acererak kidnapped her and put her in here. As long as adventurers investigate the bags first, she disappears until the trap resets, leaving her stranded.”

“That’s awful.”

Before the mist could return, the party hurried the siren out of the room and into the next corridor. There, they got her name, Oravia, and gave her what gear they felt they could spare. Oravia then proceeded to glomp on to Sibeal, who did her best to steady the shaken fae. The party passed through several more hallways and stair cases without incident. Things seemed to be progressing in the right direction, until they reached a large adamantine door with a hatch and three slots that looked like they would fit a longsword. Mo-Tar’s gem of True Seeing revealed that the door had been imbued with an anti-magic field, preventing any sort of cheap mage work around. This proved a major problem as the party only had two longswords collectively, including Acara’s primary weapon, and Wave was not keen on being used as a key. Stuck, the party decided to work their way backwards to loot for longswords. Alas, their efforts went unrewarded, and they found themselves back at the spike pit, empty handed. Kozua prepared to teleport the group back across, when...

Mo-Tar glanced down at the spikes. “Those are metal, right? What if we hammered three of them into a longsword shape?”

The players looked expectantly at the GM.

“All right, theoretically, as long as someone had a hammer....”

“Whelm, old buddy. How would you like to participate?’

“I would indeed like to participate,” Whelm sighed.

Acara climbed into the pit, triggering the trap about half way down. The spikes flew into the ceiling and, while they missed her, it was clear that they would have skewered anyone standing in the base of the trap.

Sibeal looked at Kozua. “I don’t think we’ve ever mentioned how much we appreciate your teleportation abilities...”

Eventually, Acara harvested three spikes from the ceiling, which Mo-Tar used Whelm to hammer into roughly longsword shapes. Back at the door, the spikes were inserted, the door opened, the party passed through the threshold, and the door locked behind them. Suddenly, the door pulsed with a shockwave, and Oravia and Ibenhoon dropped. A hasty medicine check revealed that they were alive, but unlikely to be roused from their sleep until the spell wore off. With Ibenhoon slung over Mo-Tar’s shoulder and Sibeal carrying Oravia, the party pressed forward.

It was as Kozua began investigating for traps that a low rumbling filled the chamber. As the sound drew closer, Archimedes spotted a stone elephant statue, large enough to fill the hallway, bearing down on the party.

“I’ve got this,” said Kozua, teleporting the party to the other side of the statue.

“Good,” answered the GM. “A moment later, you hear a crash as the elephant reaches the end of the hallway. There’s a moment of quiet... but soon the rumbling begins again as the elephant starts moving backwards...”

“Run!” yelled Kozua.

The party sprinted down the hallway. As they neared its end, Sibeal attempted to buy the others more time. Still carrying Oravia, she whipped around and hurled a Shatter spell at the elephant, empowered with her Channel Divinity. Rather than destroying the construct, however, the spell ricocheted off of the statue and tore through the party as they continued running. The pause cost Sibeal precious ground, and the statute slammed into the cleric, sending her sprawling. She barely recovered her footing and was pulled inside the next room by her party members just before the statute could pin her and Oravia against the wall.

“Thanks, guys.”

Once in the next room, Oravia and Ibenhoon awoke. While Sibeal apologetically patched up the party, the others investigated the room. Tall pillars radiating transmutation magic filled the chamber, levitating anything that came in contact with them to the ceiling, which sported four paintings. Acara noticed that two of the paintings contained actual artifacts, a gem, a crown and a scepter.

“We probably shouldn’t touch those,” warned Mo-Tar.

“What about the other portraits,” asked Kozua. “Are they portals?

“Well, let’s find out!” answered Acara, summoning in Archimedes.

The poor bird was made to fly through both portals multiple times, with and without objects, to discover their nature. After determining that the blue portal likely provided the path forward, Acara decided to try one more experiment.

“Hey Archimedes, see if you can get that crown!”


The owl swooped up to the ceiling, returning with the crown in his talons. The scepter and gem followed.

“See, there was nothing to worry about. Besides, I *am* being careful,” Acara said as she held out a sack to collect the items in.

Bored, Kozua began searching the room for another door. There wasn’t one. About ten minutes later, Ibehoon spoke up.

“You know those items are magical, right?”

An identify spell revealed that the crown and scepter were a matched set and produced results ranging from from mildly beneficial, to silly, to lethal, depending on how they were used together. More importantly, the set was worth a combined 25,000 gold. The bard then turned to the gem. After a moment, he sat back and shook his head.

“Well, I hope some of you are more responsible than I am. This is a gem of Wish.”

The party exchanged looks in stunned silence for a few minutes.

Sibeal spoke up first. “It has to be cursed. There’s no way Acererak would give his prisoners that much power.”

“I don’t know.” Kozua answered. “It’s not like he’s proven himself to be a particularly competent supervillain thus far.”

“What would we even wish for?” Mo-Tar wanted to know.

The debate went on for quite some time. Acara wanted to use the gem to wish for the second half of the amulet so that the party could continue on to the Negative Energy Plane without have to crawl through the rest of the Tomb. Kozua suggested simply wishing to be transported off Ravenloft, but Mo-Tar was quick to point out that doing so would leave Temmy and the others stranded. At Sibeal’s suggestion, the party agreed to sleep on it. While the others set up camp, well away from the columns, Acara sent Archimedes out to keep watch.

“Well, did anything happen?” Acara’s player wanted to know.

“Nope,” said our GM. “Except, when you wake the next morning, Archimedes is wearing a name badge.”

“What is that?” Acara demanded.

“I talked to the quasits while they were cleaning up the Tomb. I’m joining their union!”

“Like H***,” Acara retorted, ripping the badge of the hapless owl. The familiar wilted.

Ultimately, the party decided that their only goals were destroying Acererak and getting their friends, as well as themselves, off of Ravenloft. To that end, it made the most sense to, as Ibehoon said, cut out the middle man by forgoing the Plane of Negative Energy, killing Acererak directly, and relying on the Lunar Exarchs’ reward to get out.

And so, the party embarked on a daring feat of contract law. Kozua and Sibeal sat down with a quill and paper to work out the wording, with Acara offering her expertise in liches to close any phylactery-related gaps. Kozua volunteered to make the wish, while simultaneously preparing to teleport the party back to the university if things went sideways. Once the party spread out strategically within the teleport’s range, the mystic nervously cleared his throat.

“I wish for Acererak and his phylactery to be permanently destroyed with no possibility of renewal, resurrection, restoration, or reflection or negation.”

The gem glowed, then began heating up and pulsing with red light. Instinctively, Kozua threw it across the room. It exploded in a flash of energy, leaving behind a large mass of goo.

“It didn’t work,” grumbled Mo-Tar.

“Can I hear the goo pile?” Kozua’s player inquired.

“What?” replied our GM. “Oh, no, you can’t hear any monsters in the good pile. Although, as you begin to calm down, you realize that you can’t hear anything telepathically.”

Glumly, Kozua attempted to create a flame, one of his oldest talents. Nothing happened. Ibehoon and Mo-Tar began using a pair of crowbars to shovel the go into Acara’s bag, while the others tried to figure out what to do with their new high-level commoner when suddenly, quasits. Lots of quasits, all ripping off their union badges. When prodded, the tiny demons griped that they had all been laid off because, as the higher ups had put it, there “would no longer be any source of income for their salaries.” They gave the party a tidbit of information on when the Meriliths would be coming through the area for the promise of 25,000 gold worth of Rocky Road ice cream (apparently the next best thing to souls), then skedaddled out.

“It actually worked,” said Acara, dumbstruck.

“Great, but how do we get back to Port d’Alhour if Kozua can’t use his powers?” Mo-Tar wanted to know.

Sibeal spoke up. “I’ve had something prepared, in case we ever needed to make a quick escape.”

The party gathered around, and, with a quiet invocation, the cleric Recalled them to the shrine she had built at the Delapuere’s before leaving. Behind the altar, the Delapuere’s maid continued to dust a relic.

“I see that you have returned, miss.”


The maid then peered up at Ibenhoon.“Is that a mind flayer, miss?”

“Well, yes...”

“Very good, miss. Shall I prepare dinner for you and your... mind flayer... as well? I recently ordered in a case of chilled monkey brains. They are a delicacy in the South.”

Kozua interjected. “I think those would suit our friend perfectly.”

“Very good.”

Out on the estate’s front lawn, the party found Reynaldas attempting to teach Denalla and the other youngsters golf while Camille watched intently. Akurei had also returned, having received an important insight from Gascoigne.

“What I need to do is get a job, work long hours, and never see my family in order to protect them!”

From across the room, Faith glared daggers at her husband.

“Maybe you should just talk to Mo-Tar,” Sibeal suggested. “He’s really not a bad guy.”

“Yeah. Maybe I can buy you dinner when we get back to Thelos!”

Akurei gulped, adjusting his scarf subconsciously, before assenting. “Perhaps that would be a good idea.”

Over the next week, while Reynaldas reported back to the Lunar Exarchs, it became pretty clear that Kozua’s powers would likely never return. The mystic took it surprisingly well, pointing out that, since he’d lost the ability to communicate telepathically, his migraines had stopped completely. Besides, he and Ibehoon had big plans.

“Once we reach your home-plane, we intend to form a band. We shall teach all meat-bags the true meaning of metal!”

“Yeah. We’re thinking of going with the name Mind Slayers. The band will need at least one more member though.”

Acara and Motar both volunteered. Overtly, Kozua and Ibenhoon signed them on, but made a quiet pact to fire them over “creative differences” as soon as they reached Thelos.

Later that day, Sibeal caught Antony as he brooded in his study. Pointedly ignoring the fake bookcase on the far wall, she sat down across from him.

“I realize this may be out of line, but, well, as long as Zona* considers us war criminals, I can never really go home. Besides, there’s so much I could do here in Souragne. Do you and Camille have any use for a third member?”

“I have no idea what you are talking about.”

Sibeal raised an eyebrow archly.

“All right, but I would expect you and Camille to stay out of my way, as you two would be working together.”

“Until you needed us.”

Antony glowered. “Consider this carefully. You would be leaving behind everything you ever knew. What about your friends?”

“Maybe you’re right...”

The following evening, Acara snuck off to attempt to contact Vecna. She got his Hand instead, who thoroughly berated her for failing to retrieve the item from the Plane of Negative Energy.

“Oh, I haven’t failed you,” she reassured him as vanished, patting the reformed gem of Wish. “Not yet.”

At the end of the week, Reynaldas returned, accompanied by four knights bearing a large crate. Inside sat a Well of Worlds, with one charge left, and as the knights arranged the artifact on the lawn, Reynaldas shared what he learned from the Order. The disappearances had stopped. Even better, it appeared that the university, under the guidance of Headmistress Simone, had shifted its focus toward the more benevolent aspects of necromancy, like contacting spirits (presumably this occurred after the students dealt with their collective hangover.) Naturally, the convergence ended a few days after the party left, leaving behind only a misty swamp.

Once the knights finished, everyone gathered around, except for Antony, who opted to brood from his study’s window, and...

“Hey Sibeal, you’re coming with us, right?” asked Mo-Tar. “Don’t you want to go back?”

The cleric hesitated. “Well, I...”

With a look of understanding, Reynaldas spoke up. “You know, lass, there will always be a place for you among the Lunar Exarchs.”

“Oo, sounds fun!”

“Not for you, Acara.”

Sibeal glanced up at the study window, from which Antony gave a knowing nod.

“All right. I accept.”

“Are you certain?”


The remaining party members exchanged tearful goodbyes, then lined up at the edge of the Well.

“Where to?” asked one of the knights.

“Thelos, on Zoltas,” replied Mo-Tar, with a contented smile.

The swirling images in the well solidified into an idyllic coastal village surrounded by rocky hills dotted with cottages. With one last glance at their Ravenloft friends Mo-Tar, Acara, Kozua, Ibehoon, Faith, Akurei, Temmy, Silver, Danella, and Oravia stepped into the well.

And so the story continues...

*Zona, Thelos’s neighbor and the location of the last campaign, is ruled by a triumvirate of BBEGs. The party got on their bad side early on and were declared war criminals as soon as their usefulness ran out.

Tl;dr: Whatever you do, don’t send heroic characters into the Tomb of Horrors. You never know when they are going to do something incredibly...stupid.

2019-02-25, 04:50 PM
Right, I guess it's my turn to wrap this up. I'll be brief. Don't want to step on D4's toes, after all.

Long story short, the party members who took the Well of Many Worlds got shunted off into the Near Ethereal. They got about a month of dreaming whatever quaint and hopeful thing they wanted to dream about (usually involving home in some capacity) and after a rather pleasant time out they got dragged back into Ravenloft. The plane is notoriously jealous about letting its playthings escape. Acara got dumped in Hazlan, Mo-Tar ended up in Borca, while Kozua and Ibenhoon reappeared in Nova Vaasa where I'm assuming they'll just continue with the plan of starting up a band. As for the NPCs, Fayth and Akurei are now in Tepest, and Mo-Tar's gaggle of adopted children got plopped in Valachan to fend for themselves. Good times were had by all :smallamused:

TL;DR - The only one who got a happy ending was the one who chose to stay in Ravenloft.

2019-02-25, 08:53 PM
Right, I guess it's my turn to wrap this up. I'll be brief. Don't want to step on D4's toes, after all.

Hardly. I appreciate the backup :)

There is more one thing I think I should mention. Acara ended up with the gem of Wish and did put it to use as soon as she thought she was clear of Ravenloft. Via a Suggestion spell, she convinced a random townsfolk (trillith?) to Wish that Acara possed the Hand and Eye of Vecna and that they were attached to her body. True to form, the gem complied. Sort of. Acara got the Hand and Eye, and the poor scrub got all the other cannonical (and some non-canonical) relics of Vecna. Cackling madly, the villager flew away into the night, swearing revenge. Acara didn't hear them, as she was too busy being consumed by the overwhelming power of the artifacts and ultimately going mad herself.

New Dread Lord, here we come?