On August 31st, moving urgently before the Ar-a-mach can be alerted to the loss of the Cria Basin outpost, Citadel House Adventurers set out toward Stalla Airgid, the gnomish capitol, to act on intelligence that the keys to the seals they have obtained are hidden under the Silver Hall palace at the center of the city.
- Rovert (TrS): Level 11 Human Necromancer
- Two Elf Eater Skeletons
- Drej, Level 5 pseudodragon familiar
- Conan (MiM): Level 7 Elf Vampire Magic-user (Fire)
- Scar, Level 6 hawk familiar
- Randall (HuS): Level 6 Human Druid
- Oliver, Level 6 fox animal companion
Rovert and Conan ride Rovert’s skeletal wolves, still using the saddles the orcs had on them. Randall rides an elk he has convinced to take him to the mountains and back in exchange for quality food and protection. With their mounts and fair weather, they arrive in Stalla Airgid Tuesday at dusk and take a room together at the classiest inn in the city, the Silver Bole, about 100 yards from Silver Hall, their room overlooking the old palace.
Once it is full dark out, Rovert encharges Oliver and Scar with stone-piercing vision spells and they go to scout out Silver Hall, now closed and with minimal guard. They see the edges of a few chambers underground as well as a hidden passage into the building on the North side. They decide to act that very night. Rovert (invisible) climbs down Randall’s vine to ground level, Randall leaves in falcon form and Conan in bat form. They all rendezvous at the secret door, which Rovert (rolling a natural 18 on 3d6) is able to locate (the others have perception bonuses and would have been able to find it, had they not been in animal form). He struggles with the opening mechanicsm, but with Conan’s squeaking and nuzzling figures it out.
Inside the secret door, Rovert sees what he recognizes to be trapped runes associated with lightning marking floor and walls and ceiling. He notices one that is different, seemingly protective. He reaches out and touches it, feeling its power wash over him, then steps through into the nook beyond. Lightning lashes out at him from the runes, but does not harm him. It continues to strike him while he searches for the mechanism to the secret door he sees on the other side.
He finds the mechanism and escapes into a room with stairs down directly ahead and a hidden door to the left. He turns to usher the others through but sees the trapped runes still glowing while the protection rune has not regained its light. He steps out again and absorbs one final shock, allowing the others to pass.
They assume (correctly) that the hidden door is so badly hidden on this side because it is better hidden in public areas on the other side and proceed down the stairs. The stairs open into what appears to be a council chamber with an oval table and chairs. At the near end of the table, a black mirror hangs on the wall. They are understandably suspicious of the mirror (the last time one of them touched an unknown mirror he was sucked through and killed by a vampire, Conan became a vampire in the same place).
With no other ways out of the room, Randall approaches the mirror and taps it, garnering a ping and ripples across its obsidian surface. A more firm tap (attempting to push through it) elicits a rapid series of pings. With no other outcome, he and Oliver start searching the walls for hidden doors, but are interrupted when a ghostly, white gnomish face appears in the mirror. When the face realizes it was awoken by intruders, it shouts an order to stop them.
A mirror knight, wielding the large mirror as a shield, emerges from a nook behind the mirror and attacks. When Rovert hits it with a concussive blast over Conan, it immediately rushes toward Conan, sucking him into its shield and slashing at Rovert, who fails to dodge away. Randall and Oliver close in behind and attack, chipping at the stone with dagger and jaws.
Conan finds himself a void from which he can see a window through which (with his Hawk familiar far sight) he can see Rovert trapped against the stairs. Around him float shadowing beings of various races. He exerts himself mentally, willing himself toward the window but not reaching it right away.
While Rovert escapes to a far corner, the knight rounds on Randall, forcing him back with a swing and summoning a shadow orc. Randall dances his way between the two while Oliver hides. While Rovert hits the knight with more concussive blasts, Randall dodges up onto the table, baiting the orc into hitting the statue. While he tries to bind the statue with his vine, Conan emerges from the mirror onto the table.
The knight tries to rush Rovert, who dives under the table to escape its mirror shield and it cuts itself free of Randall’s vine. Randall attempts to leap into its shoulders and it lifts its shield to capture him. Conan casts a powerful concussive blast, destroying the knight and freeing Randall, as well as the other shadow beings trapped inside. The shadowy orc also vanishes.
Believing that trouble will arrive soon, Rovert encharges Drej with stone-piercing vision, allowing him to find a well-hidden door in a corner of the conference room and perceive some adjacent rooms. They pass through the hidden door and find a hall with several doors.
Through the first (1), they find a machine with schematics and notes around it indicating it is Ord’s seal key. Finding it too heavy to move they consider sinking it into the stone but ultimately decide to demolish it with with concussive magic. Randall takes a few mangled pieces to make repair more difficult.
In the next room (2), they find alchemical equipment and the fake poultice that Randall and Earl cooked up to replace the poultice taken from Sithich’s vault. The notes indicate research into trying to reproduce the original. Randall grabs some alchemy ingredients and tools for his own lab and Conan engulfs the room in magical flames.
They cross the hall to a room (8) where precious artifacts are on display. They steal an eyeball (Luath’s Eye), a dagger (Bron’s Might), a bell (Ord’s Bell), and a helmet (Fey Helm) all with magical auras from labeled pedestals.
The next room (3) is a residence with three beds, apparently not currently in use, but still well maintained. They find nothing left behind to loot. The next room (7), however, they are attacked by a flesh golem which they quickly destroy. A book on the table turns out to be an accounting ledger and they realize they are in the Ar-a-mach treasury. They take all of the coinage there, in total over 1000 gold coins, enough to build a significant keep.
Crossing the hall once more, they come upon a sort of entry room (4) where Drej’s stone-piercing sight reveals a hidden door that they determine leads into the cellar of the palace, an access for the Ar-a-mach from public areas to this hidden sanctum.
At the end of the hall they find another residence room (5) with a single bed, similarly disoccupied to the other. In the last room (6) they find notes of research for the locations of the remaining seal keys, the rubbing of the instructions in Cria Basin, and research concerning the location of the tomb of Luath Draoidh. They steal all the books and notes they can carry, but as they depart see the door at the end of the hall open, gnomes rushing through it shouting.
They duck back into the room, hearing other rooms being searched Rovert casts an invisibility encharge on himself and Drej while Randall and Conan take falcon and bat form. They cling to Rovert while he teleports them all to a room already searched just as they reach the room they are in.
They see a gnome outside the room yelling to search the inns and find out if Valefolk have taken rooms at any of them. Not wanting to fight their way out, Rovert teleports them all out of the palace, finding himself ankle deep in the river nearby. They rush to the Silver Bole, where they hear a gnome arguing with the inn keeper to know if any Valefolk are staying there. They make straight to the stables, where Rovert casts an AoE invisibility spell with most of his remaining spell points, allowing them to gallop unseen to a part of the city out of the way. They know the gates will be closed during the night, but teleport through the wall and ride South until Oliver finds a nice rock cavity for them to sleep through the rest of the night and into the morning.
With only one more incidence of an unseen moose being heard galloping through a gnomish town, they arrive back in the Vale where they destroy any research not useful to them and inform Matthias of what they found. Randall levels up and retires to Wrinkle’s grove to learn of the fey language and nature fostering.
The Haven campaign has reaches a special place, the players planned this raid with no input from me whatsoever. I never expected them to make this move, but they executed perfectly. At least for now, they have plenty of opportunity to take initiative against the Ar-a-mach. With this development, I expect many new endeavors I must rush to prepare in response to their initiative. So proud. Thankfully this time they made it known in time to prepare.