Party: Lia (Lvl 1 Elf Scout- Abigail), Sir Loden (Lvl 1 Human Knight- Ken), Devotchka (Lvl 1 Elf Thief- Mandy), Ashcroft the Flashy Magician (Lvl 2 Human Wizard- Victor), Anesidora (Lvl 1 Human Cleric – Clare), Kragg Mosshammer (Lvl 1 Dwarf Sentinel – Chris)
At the end of our last thrilling adventure, the blood-red swirling portal was 2/3 of the way full and only one more orb was needed to finish filling the portal and open it up. Everyone heads down the hallway to a large crypt with 3 paintings on the wall, one laying on the floor. Also, there’s a heap of dead Lvl1 adventurers who met a mysterious, deadly fate. A friendly ghostly apparition appears, introducing himself as Keld, and explains the following puzzle:
Four paintings, all portraits, need to be placed on the wall in the correct order. The current order is, from left to right- blank space (portrait on floor of Sigmund), Keld, Eleanora, Amarus. Keld explains that the portraits are all of his family and himself, and the puzzle was created by his brother, Amarus. You have one try to complete the puzzle successfully and put the paintings in the correct order and gain access to his brother’s inner sanctum. If you attempt the puzzle and fail, Keld will be forced to attack you (and he’s super powerful and no one’s ever beaten him). Here’s some family details-
Keld- Young, ghostly nobleman. Oldest of his siblings, brave knight, slain by his brother Amarus. Rather friendly.
Amarus- Younger brother, messes with a lot of dark necrotic magic. Only one of the portraits who is still alive. Coveted his sister in “unnatural ways”, causing him to be referred to (on occasion) by the party as “Amarus the Sister-Fucker”. Really hates himself.
Eleanora- Youngest of the siblings, loved by Amarus and was pretty bothered by it. Threw herself off the top of the tower.
Sigmund The Bloodaxe- Father, famous warrior, former lord of the land (about 80 years ago). Killed a lot of halflings. Slain and killed by beastmen.
One painting (of Sigmund) is currently on the floor because a random dwarf came through and looted the bodies on the floor / did not attempt the puzzle.
The party deliberates for a while and decides to put the paintings in order based on how Amarus views his family and his own importance in it. Their solution, from left to right: Amarus, Keld, Sigmund, Eleanor. It’s correct, and a compartment opens up under Eleanor’s painting with the final orb.
While the portal is now filled, there’s another room that the party hasn’t explored yet that they figure they’ll go check out first. At the end of the other hallway, they see a room.
There are 20 warrior statues in front of a giant, red demon statue with large gems in his eyes. Large mural and mosaics on the wall of a scary-looking guy with an axe mowing down halflings. Sir Loden starts moving forward and activating each warrior statue to create a path. The statues resist a huge amount of damage when they’re in statue form, but when you come within one square of them they glow with purple necrotic magic and try to grab you.
The party clears a path to the large, red demon statue. After some discussion about what taking the gems out of its eyes will do, they decide to be safe and just kill all of the statues first before removing the gems. They do so, and then Lia climbs up and removes both gems. With the gems removed, all of the statues would have come to life at the same time. When they hit with a normal attack, you’re pushed back one square.
Everyone goes back to sleep overnight in the crypt with the paintings, some people have really dreadful nightmares because they’re sleeping in a crypt. Once the party’s healed and fantastic, they pass through the giant, magical blood-red portal. Inside is Amarus’ work-study area.
It’s a large chamber, there’s a huge table in the middle with books and rituals and strange implements. Podium with a book is standing next to the table. Lots of bookshelves and stuff. There’s a humanoid ghostly headless figure behind the table, holding a terrifying sword made of necrotic energy. Also- 3 big and nasty skeleton warriors, 2 skeletal rogue types, legion of 9 skeletal minions with bows.
Cue a large, absolutely nasty battle. After taking out the headless ghost, everyone gets messed up by the repetitive minion attacks and the sneaky rogue skeletons. Ashcroft does this really convenient thing a few times where he pushes the big and nasty guys back through the portal for a turn. The party wins, everyone’s bloody and miserable.
Ashcroft and Anesidora pick up the book that they’ve been sent to retrieve for Ragni, discover that it’s a horrifying codex on how to raise the undead that, really, no one should be possession of. Sir Loden destroys the book (although the book fights back with a few bursts of necrotic energy), the party resolves to head to the goblin caves and confront Ragni, after a quick stop in Bralholme to rest up.