On July 24th, Year 12, some of the leaders of the Vale, seasoned adventurers all, set out to seek the tomb of Luath Draoidh. They are infuriated by the slaughter the Ar-a-mach carried out in the village of Druim Cridhe and concerned that they are only one key away from being able to break the seals after a team of them tried to take the last key from the Clouded Citadel.
- Rovert (TrS): Level 22 Human Necromancer (Level 5 Tower)
- Drej, Level 5 Psuedodragon Familiar
- 50 foot undead purple dragon (mauler)
- Verdis (HuS): Level 17 Human Fighter (Level 5 Keep)
- Conan (MiM): Level 15 Elf Vampire Magic-User (Level 5/1 Establishment/Keep)
- Skarr, Level 7 Hawk Familiar
- The Crew of the Clouded Citadel including 30 archers and various henchmen
Following a copy of the map taken from Glic’s tomb many years ago and having consulted Dargos on the names of many of the mountains east of Stalla Airgid, they travel on the Clouded Citadel up river, through Slighe Airgid, over Stalla Airgid, and around the north side of Dia Thairneanach, the mountain they believe the map indicates.
On the morning of July 25th, they enter the valley east of Dia Thairneanach as a mist rolls in. Rovert uses a magical pocket watch obtained from Geam’s laboratory to see where the shadow of Luchd-Siubhail’s peak would fall on Dia Thairneanach on the equinox at dawn. It ranges from the ridge of the mountain to base and the valley below, but it seems they are looking in the right place. Conan spots a flat area on the near side of the mountain where a small military encampment can be seen.
Rovert sends his three wraiths with non-lethal death burst encharged arrows, which they drop on the camp, incapacitating the camp after they fire a couple ballista bolts into the cloud, killing a giant undead spider. Rovert, Verdis, and Conan descend on one of Rovert’s undead dragons and begin to gather the members of the camp. They find a leader and awaken him to interrogate. They learn that they are hired swords who guard the spot, hunt for food, and deliver it down a shaft to those who have hired them.
They render the leader unconscious again and Rovert attempts to alter their memories so they don’t report their attack. They proceed to the tent where the leader said the shaft was and see a mage eye, ear, and mouth. They cover them before inspecting the small shaft in the stone on which they have been placed.
They ignore the wizard mouth asking who is there and send Drej down the shaft in the basket (it is far too tight for him to fly down or up or even turn around climbing). He communicates telepathically with Rovert as they feed him down something like 1000 feet. The basket comes to rest on a grate of some kind that Drej can only feel with his tail.
They pull him back up and send Conan down in bat form. He is somewhat more able to scramble around when the basket reaches the bottom and inspect the grate and sees that the symbols in it are similar to those that Rovert has recently obtained from Dargos for use protecting his laboratory against scrying and magical detection.
Conan and Drej could both hear a waterfall at the bottom (and Conan can hear it faintly at the top). They communicate via familiar with the Clouded Citadel, having them look for running water on the face of Dia Thairneanach (I intentionally said this name more than I had to in session, too). The Clouded Citadel reports several streams, but particularly a large pool below the camp and to the south.
They ride on the dragon down to the pool where they find it is man-made, or at least man-reinforced, and fed by a spring nearby. A floating sluice gate maintains a constant outflow rate from the pool regardless of water level and they decide to try to drain the pool by forcing the gate down. The increased outflow soon brings the water to a lower level than they believe it has been to in hundreds of years. Seeing no sign of any other mechanism in the pool, they decide to follow the erosion-resistant stream down the mountain to a waterfall into a pool. The reinforcement ends at the lip of the waterfall and they find a passage behind it with an orichalcum inlaid portcullis.
Leaving the dragon hidden in the pool, they lift the portcullis and head down the passageway. The whole corridor is orichalcum lined, as is the door at the end of it. The door has a riddle inscribed which keeps them for a few hours, listening to Goir, the voice from the mage mouth at the top of the shaft, mock them using the shaft, which opens right above them.
While they study the riddle, magically encharged bombs start to fall down the shaft and they retreat until they think they have some answers. They rush to the door and try them, getting through before more can fall on them. The corridor ahead is also orichalcum lined and winds a little before coming to an open cavern that seems to have formed after the passage was made.
In the cavern, piercers fall on them and they work together to keep a tower shield above them to reach the far side where Conan finds a secret door. They get it open and see another passage with the orichalcum lining and a door about 30 feet away reinforced with the stuff. Approaching the door, they see it has a massive keyhole where something like a sword seems to be the key. While they investigate the door, gas starts to fill the corridor and they exhibit symptoms of petrification. Before they can escape, Conan turns to stone, but Rovert is able to drag Verdis free.
They recover in the cave outside, sheltering from piercers. When they look back into the corridor, they see that the petrified Conan is missing. Desperate, they approach the door again with a stone slab ready to be shaped to fit the key hole by magic. Again, the gas drives them back before Rovert can cast the spell. They go back in, this time with the slab encharged to shape on a trigger.
Again, they rush in and form the slab to the key hole, but it doesn’t work. The gas again emerges and Verdis is petrified. Rovert is forced to withdraw again. He moves as short a distance as he can from the corridor while being safe from the gas with the help of his Constitution bracelet. When he hears the door opening again, he rushes in, killing three gnomes trying to move Verdis and two more guarding the door, who shoot crossbows at him.
As the door ahead starts to rise, Rovert runs and leaps over it, finding himself in a cavern facing off with Goir and four gnomish soldiers, all well equipped, but one clearly a superior commander. The stone skin Rovert’s robe of protection provides greatly protects him from the attacks of the three soldiers, but the commander’s pike punches through the armor as if it were nothing, and his armor reflects Rovert’s spells back on him.
Rovert manages to drop the three soldiers and heals himself with a mighty expenditure of energy. (We unfortunately were forced to break, but luckily the session the next week was going to be cancelled, so we could use the partial time left there.) With another round of conflict, including a counter blow from the commander when Rovert attacked with Verzelai (his dragon soul sword), Goir thinks him close enough to going down that she invests in a large spell, an AoE fiery death spell targeting Rovert that she knows will wash back on her. Rovert dodges, 2 feet, 6 feet (from a critical dodge), but stumbles on the third dodge, taking some damage and receiving enough of the blast that he goes down, unconscious.
Rovert wakes in a cell, bound with orichalcum cuffs. Verdis and Conan statues are nearby and a fire elemental keeps watch on the cell. Goir approaches him and they talk. Rovert rejects an offer to trade them (Rovert, Verdis, and Conan) for the last key hidden on the Clouded Citadel. Goir rejects the offer of a promise that they key would be given to them to release Luath if the Nefil cannot be otherwise stopped. A promise she rejects say that Luath cannot arrive and instantly repel the Nefil, but needs time to rally the gnomes and strengthen them to do more than his personal power would be able to do.
Goir offers to negotiate a deal and have the fey ratify the contract to ensure it is followed, but Rovert insists that the others will have to be present for such a negotiation. Goir concedes and creates cells for the other two before unpetrifying them, taking their equipment like she did to Goir and binding Conan with orichalcum cuffs as well.
They work out a contract that Rovert, Verdis, and Conan will not personally or through others interfere with the cave behind the waterfall. That they will not share information of how they found the cave, its contents, or its location with anyone. In return, Goir will return all of their equipment and let them go free. She will not order or condone mass killing by her people, as happened at Druim Cridhe, and furthermore will not harbor any criminal sought by Rovert, Verdis, or Conan in the protected cave. None of the four parties will say anything of the contract and individual contracts between each of the three and Goir will be voided if broken by either side.
During the weeks they wait for the fey oath keeper to arrive, Goir is extremely open with them, telling them about the ghost guardians they suspect will awaken if they attempt to unlock any seals without all the keys and anything else they ask about. She seems truly willing to work with them as friends if able, though she does refuse an invitation to the Vale tourney for fear of leaving the cave.
When the oath keeper comes, they all sign and return to the Clouded Citadel, telling the crew that they found a large, magically-shielded cave, which they spent weeks searching (obtaining their food there), but which does not seem to be the sealed tomb they were looking for.
They return to the Vale, where Verdis was greatly missed, having told only Taren he was leaving, so he could administer Prickly Keep in his absence.
This dungeon has been on the table for about 3 years, well, designed with a lot of effort still needed to find it. It’s 8 years later in game time and a rival group finding the dungeon and adding some defenses of their own as well as some occupants definitely upped the hazard level enough to face the highest level characters in the campaign.