Chapter I | The Sunless Citadel
After meeting in Trinity, the party took off south. They travelled for three months getting to know each other and seeing parts of the world they never could have imagined, including a lake that immediately turned metal to rust and a river full of mirrors.
As mid-winter hit, they came to the edge of a forest and a strange, unexplainable darkness set in. Dark vision, low light vision and all sources of light had their effective distance cut in half. The party soon came to a walled in town called Duskwood.
The guards at the gate asked their business and informed them that there was no magic allowed within the town limits.
Once inside the gate, the party discovered a run down town that was eerily quiet. Peasants wandering the streets seemed extremely poor. Strange orbs hung on posts, combating the darkness and illuminating the streets.
Down the main road, not far from the slums, the party came upon a large ornate tavern called the Dancing Dryad. The illusionary image of a green dryad danced above the door. Once inside, a guard took their weapons. The party took up a table and ordered drinks.
Shortly after sitting down, they were served drinks, courtesy of a sickly old man. The man came over and sat with the party. He told them he had been stricken with the green ooze lung. He had heard rumors that a hidden citadel contained a tree that bore fruit able to fully heal him. He offered the party 100gp up front and 500gp upon returning with the fruit. He tells them that the citadel lies to the south, down the Old Road.
As the party discussed the man’s proposal, a half-elf girl and two huge half-orcs flipped the table and accosted the old man demanding he hand over the money. The party confronted them and Dirk tried to reason with the two half-orcs as they advanced. Nameless the wizard went to get the bouncer at the door just as a brawl broke out.
Nameless convinced the bouncer that the group brawling with his friends were carrying weapons. The bouncer, simply looking to appease nameless, walked over and clocked dirk, exclaiming “That’ll teach you to bring weapons into my tavern!”. Nameless looked on completely confused as the bouncer clocked his friend and not helping in the slightest. The bouncer then backed off and watched as the brawl continued. (what nameless and the party didn’t notice until after the brawl was over, was that betting had begun among the patrons on who would win.)
The brawl was back and forth. George (character name?) was able to defeat the half-elf rogue, while Ben was knocked out cold by a combination of Half-Orc combatant and half-orc idiot bouncer. Elena (character name?) and Nameless took out the last standing half-orc with a combination of flying ale mugs.
Just as the brawl ended, the sheriff and his men showed up. They dragged the other group out. Elena quickly woke dirk up in hopes of keeping him from being dragged away. The authorities, surprisingly did not arrest the party, and simply forced them to vacate the premises.
Upon exiting the Tavern, the party found the Old Man waiting in the alley outside the tavern. He thanked them, and gave them 200gp instead of 100gp for “getting more than they bargained for.” He also offered a family heirloom in addition to the 500gp, if they return with the fruit, and it actually works.
The party parts ways with the Old Man and heads to slums where they rent rooms at the Ol’ Boar Inn for the night.
As morning comes on day 2, the party takes some time to investigate and gather information on the town and the Citadel that the Old Man told them about.
Rumors & Information
1) The Old Road ran right passed what the townsfolk call the Sunless Citadel. It fell into disuse because of Goblin Bandits. No one knows for sure what the Citadel once was, but old legends hint that it served as the retreat of an ancient cult.
2) Cattle herders don’t graze their stock too far afield these days. They are frightened by stores of new monsters that roam the forest. No one has seen these creatures, nor do they leave a descernible trail; however, cattle and people caught out alone have been found dead, peirced by dozens of needlelike claws.
3) Garon the barkeep at the Ol’ Boar Inn, said that another group of adventurers had passed through town asking question about the citadel. He recalls the 4 adventurers; Sharwyn, a wizard who didn’t take kindly to the no magic rule. A ranger by the name of Karakas and two heavily armored fellows named Talgen and Sir Braford who was brandishing the symbol of pelor and a sword he wouldn’t give up which he called shatterspike. They took the old road looking for the citadel and never returned.
Garon also recalled another man inquiring about the Citadel about 13 years ago. He was a grim man by the name of Belak. He remembers him because he had a very large pet tree frog.
The group leaves Duskwood . The old road winds through old oak forest and rocky downs. They pass 3 decrepit and abandoned farm houses over the first hour on the road.
1.5 hours outside of Duskwood. The group was attacked by 2 twig blights while investigating an abandoned farmhouse along the old road.
The group heard the sound of leaves rustling and then, suddenly, two creatures that looked like they were made of tree bark scrambled down a tree. During the battle, they discovered that the creatures claws were covered in poisoness sap.
Twig Blight Fight: WON!!!
The Ravine: Entrance to the citadel
The party comes to a ravine running parallel to the road. They find old pillars that look like the remnants of what used to be an old bridge. A sturdy knotted rope hangs down into the depths of the dark ravine. Further investigation reveals dwarven graffiti on the pillars, translated from goblin graffiti, reads “no trespassing, go away”.
An investigation check reveals burnt patches in the surrounding earth from many small fires. Several of the fires are about a month old. It seems as though someone has gone to some trouble to try and cover up the evidance of these fires. The most recent seems to be about a month old.
The group secured a grappling hook and rope and crossed the ravine (with quite a bit of trouble and some near falls). They traveled for about half a day, exited the forest and came to the ocean. The group turned around, went back to the ravine and descended into it via the knotted rope.
As Elena hit the ravine floor, which was a small rocky ledge, she was attacked by several Dire Rats. The group quickly dispatched of the rats, but not before Ben and George were infected by Filth Fever.
Filth Fever does 1d3 Dex and 1d3 Con damage every day for the duration unless cured.
Ben: 2 Days
George: 3 days
After the battle, the group discovered a staircase leading farther down into the ravine. At the edge of sight, a fortress top emerges from the darkness. The subterranean citadel, though impressive, seems long forgotten, if the lightless windows, cracked crenellation, and leaning towers are any indication. All is quiet, though a cold breeze blows up from below, bringing with it the scent of dust and a feint trace of rot.
The narrow stairs empty into a small courtyard, apparently the top of what was once a crenellated battlement. The buried citadel has sunk so far into the earth that the battlement is now level with the surrounding cavern floor. The floor stretches away to the north and south, and it is apparently composed of a layer of treacherous, crumbled masonry, which reaches to and unknown depth. To the west looms the surviving structure of what must be the Sunless Citadel. A tower stands on the west side of the courtyard.
The party crosses the unstable rubble. Little Moon and Elena check for traps along the way. Elena discovers a trap door amongst the rubble just in front of the door to the Western Tower. She also discovers a 1ft wide catwalk that offers safe passage over the trap door.
The Tower Shell
Just inside the wooden door lies a round room (you know…cause the tower is round) with crumbling masonry and what looks like what used to be stairs leading up to a crumbling catwalk. The tower ceiling stands around 30ft.
Scattered upon the cracked granite floor lies 3 dead goblins. A 4th goblin remains skewered to the western wall with a spear. Further investigation revealed the goblins to be about a month dead and the dire rats have obviously been gnawing at the bodies. The goblins have been looted of all valuables except for their short swords.
The group exits tower through the northwest door and enters a hallway. 3 doors lead off of this hallway (+ the door to the tower). The party finds a stone doorway on the south wall of the hall with the engraving of some sort of “dragon fish” swimming.
Little moon picks the locked door and slides the double doors into the slots that they reside in. Inside, they find a large 10ft/7ft Iron keg. They tap on the keg and hear the sound of sloshing liquid. Elena proclaims “BEER”.
SO, Dick ( er..Dirk) and Elena, after a couple of tries, remove the metal stopper from the top of the Keg. Suddenly a water mephit flies out of the keg and attacks. Ben attacks it. The mephit then turns and spews acid at Jay and Elena who are badly wounded.
Elena is badly wounded and knocked unconcious, but stabalizes. Jay created a makeshift oil bomb and retreated to the end of the hallway as he was close to death.
The creature eventually took enough damage that it retreated through the door at west side of the hall, shutting the door behind it.
After finding the keg’s water was suddenly disappearing, the party went to the empty room across the hall and settled into nurse their wounds.
Flew the Coop: Area 15, 16, 13(empty)
Empty Cage: (used to contain the dragon wyrmling ). The cage is all bent out of shape. Anyone with wilderness lore can tell the droppings in the cage did not come from a natural animal.
Crude versions of the draconic language on the walls read “Here there be living dragons”.
The bonfire pit in the middle of the room contains charred bits of kobold bones and armor.
The group encountered a very sad kobold named Meepo. He is sad because the goblins took the dragon for which he was the caretaker. The dragon Calcryx was his friend. He promises the adventurers he will help them if they help rescue the dragon. He doesn’t know anything about fruit or a tree or anything else they ask, but says that the kobold queen might know.
Meepo quickly has the party follow him to the throne room. On the way, they encounter the kobold patrols (bounders), who stop the group. Meepo helps by ensuring that the group are friends her to help and they bounders point them to the throne room.
Once in the throne room, the party is introduced to Yusdrayl, the kobold queen. She tells the group that this was once a kobold holy site centuries ago, but it was taken over and the kobolds run out. Once the citadel fell into the ground, Yusdrayl brought her people back and took up residence once again, only to find goblins had done the same along with their master Belak who lives far below in the twilight grove.
When asked about the twig blights, she tells the group that they are a pets of belak and they are numerous in the grove.
When asked about the other group of adventurers, she says that they delved into the goblins territory and never returned.
She tells the party that they will be rewarded with with valuable items that Yusdrayl has gathered if they return the dragon alive. She sends Meepo with them as her representitive and sends them on their way. She instructs them to take the “back way.” The kobolds do not travel out of their designated areas, so she does not know where the wyrmling would be, or anything about the goblins numbers or tactics or anything really of use. Meepo says he knows even less, but knows much about dragons.
Journey into Goblin Territory:
The group is lead back the way they came and down a narrow hallway to the east of the citadel. They enter an empty room, where they find several sets of boot prints in the dust and debris.(room25)
The next room (26) contained a fountain, completely devoid of water. It is cracked and stained with a carving of a diving dragon, which still looks oddly pristine. A thin red scum coats the basin, but it is otherwise dry.
Detect Magic will reveal the faint aura of Alteration Magic.
Seach check (DC 16) reveals a worn-away inscription in Draconic “Nainarya” or Let there be fire. See Page 15-16 for details
On the western wall is a carved stone door. It is carved with skeletal dragons. Standing within 1 foot of the door, there was a coldness in the air. Draconic Inscriptions above the door read “Tana Aman Heka Men” or Channel Good, Open the Way.
The Infested Cells: Area 28
Leaving the stone door alone, the party continues north (following the boot prints, which they believe to be from the previous group of adventurers.) They pass through another empty room with a door on the west (leading to rm 25 – the second one). They continue up the hall where they discover tracks of 3-4 booted humanoids that have moved in both directions, along with many rat prints. A closer look revealed that 4 humanoids traveled north through this passage, but only 3 returned this way.
Soon after entering the cells area, the group is surprised and attacked.
Dire Rat Fight: WON
Old Traps: Area 29
The end of the hall is partially blocked by an old pit trap. It’s partially held open by iron spikes (it would be hard to spot if it was still flush with the floor. Another trap can be seen not far behind it, also partially held open.
MAMA RAT: Area 30
General room description
Stench of rotting meat and dead bodies fills the air. (Fortidude sav DC 10 , or there is a -2 circumstance bonus on initiative and all actions until a save is successfully made. This is due to the smell.) The smell is coming from the carcasses of various cave rats, other dead critters and some suspiciously humanoid looking bodies (two goblins, a kobold and Karakas the ranger.)
The group was heard by the rats and they set an ambush inside the room. Dirk entered the room and was viciously attacked by 3 dire rats. The cleric pulled him out. Talbot and No Name fire bombed the rat nest, burning the Mama rat and the rest of the creatures alive. They then looted the room, finding several things including a ring inscribed with the name Karakas. The ranger from the adventuring party that entered the Citadel before.
Quote from the DMs Notes:
“WON!! BY FLAMING DEATH. Because my pc’s are clever butt holes.”
After the group returned the dragon to the Kolbolt Queen and we conned her out of her other treasures we returned to the entrance of the Citadel. Elena put the hurting on a group of hidden skeletons ( who were trapped in a secret room for some reason). We then used the key to open the door, and found a screaming orb, (Which Jay smashed), and then continued on till we came across a pit. (End Session)
New Session, Dirk climbed down into the pit and back up the other side with little or no problems, but when he looked for a place to tie off the rope he was attacked by a Quasit. The Quasit got a few good hits in, but when Dale “Little Moon” Talbot jumped the pit and aided Dirk, the Quasit realized he was out numbered and fled, but not before remarking that his job of guarding the dragon wizard was at an end.
The party rested, and then next morning explored the room. They found a sarcophagus and a secret tunnel. After learning the tunnel lead back to a room they had already the group was divided on opening the sarcophagus, but soon the party agreed to open it, there maybe treasure or beer inside.
Once opened a Dragon wizard emerged and the battle ensued. Little Moon was taken out in the attack, Ilsa turn undead came up wanting, and even Dirk’s swords missed their target.
Luckily for the group their wizard was quick thinking, summoning a fire beetle to take the brunt of the dragon’s attack. Then if this was not enough, the wizard drank his fire potion and burnt the creature to a crisp, saving the party from certain disaster.
After reviving the Halfling, and gaining much treasure, the group all felt stronger, wiser, and in the llsa’s case more healy.
After defeating the Troll Lich, the group recouped then headed back to talk to the Kobold Queen. Dirk made a deal with her, if the group killed all the Goblins the kobolds would protect them from being attacked from behind.
The group rested for two days to prepare for their next dungeon delve, were attacked by some rats while we sleep, (way to protect us queen). After resting the queen had the trap-master un-trap the hallway between the kobolds and the goblin, and the group was off.
After clearing a dangerous room of…nothing the group continued into the next room, where they were promptly ambushed.
Several goblins attacked the party using the green gas as cover. The battle would have been easily won if not for the gas burning little-moon’s eyes, taking him out of the battle early on.
Ilsa used her subtle tactic of i smash it in the face and a little fear to slay a few goblins. The wizard flung some arrows but it wasn’t until he summoned his fire beetle that the goblins learned not to mess with him. And Dirk was his whirling dervish of short swords
The adventures were tired and sore after the battle but no goblin did escape
After checking out the room of green gas and finding much loot, that is a valuable as it is random the party pressed onward. They prepared to enter the next room but Little-Moon had an idea and first peered under the door before the party charged in. He relayed to group that this room maybe full of goblin women and children, and being good the group decided to bypass this room and continue on.
The group moved on the last room, and when Dirk looked inside he saw a SHAFT with viney vains. Sitting around the SHAFT, were several goblins and hobgoblins. Across the room beyond the SHAFT sat the Hobgoblin Chief. He ordered his troops to attack and they charged the party from all sides of the SHAFT.
Dirk and the Chief quickly became locked in combat, all along there was the SHAFT in the room. Isla met her goblin conter-part in the goblin cleric, also in the SHAFT room. The wizard took aim with his bow and fell several goblins. While Little-Moon, died, twice.
When Dirk finally slayed the chief, the cleric tried to retrieve the body, but he was too cowardly to do it himself and sent some goblins to do the work for him while he made a escape.
This plan didn’t work as Dirk never lets an enemy leave hand to hand combat without paying dearly, and the ones that made it past his whirling blades faced the kneecap destroy club of God wielded by Isla.
Oh and i forgot, The Wizard also put tow goblins to sleep, just wait for them to awake to the carnage at is the Party of DOOOOOM, name pending approval…. SHAFT!
Fought more of these
After defeating the Goblin of room XX, the brave and powerful Dirk lead the party deeper into the cavern, and after finding empty rooms and tunnels that lead back to the places they have already been, the party encountered a Bugbear, gardening in his garden.
The Wizard tried to reason with him, but the Bugbear would have none of it. Dirk demanded its allegiance, but the Bugbear was too stupid to realize that Dirk was his true lord and master, and attacked the party anyway. With the aide of Little Moon, Dirk slayed the dumb beast. Feeling pity for the animal, Dirk buried him in his garden, and as a gift the dead bugbear told Dirk about a fertilizer that helps plants grow faster. dirk figured this would be a perfect complement to his magic token.
Later when the party entered a room of four goblins, Dirk demanded these goblin respect him as chief. Three did, but one, Gob the Goblin didn’t believe Dirk’s claim, and charged. Dirk dispatched Gob with a swing of his mighty swords. The other Goblins asked what is Dirk’s bidding, he commanded them to get back to work.
As the group continued on they met another bugbear, this one also attacked his chieftain. It was at this point Dirk wonder what was wrong with bugbears. But soon the Bugbear was dispatched like his brother. And all was good and the group went into the next room and that is when the shit hit the fan.
This room wreaked of magic. A strange red glow emanated from a stone dragon statue in the middle of the room. No name the wizard approached, fixated on a strange red tile in front of the dragon. Being careful not to stand on the stone tile, he found runes inscribed that read; Ea serpenta rau kaluva nyawisti (translation: Let the sorcerous power illuminate my mind). He turned to his friends (who were all standing way back at the entrance) and read the inscription aloud to them. Just then, he was attacked by some sort of moving shadow. It’s first attack missed. The shadow swung it’s smoke like appendage at No Name again. No name felt it pass through his body. He got very cold and felt the strength drain from his body.
No Name had learned of these creatures before, or things like them. Incorporeal creatures that could only be hurt by certain means, such as magic weapons or other Incorporeal creatures. He yelled this information to his friends as his legs almost gave way beneath him, and Ilsa quickly enchanted Dirks sword. Dirk charged the creature as Ilsa (thinking this thing could possibly be some sort of undead specter) grasped her holy symbol and began chanting, demanding the creature be gone. It worked. The shadow fled. Dirk swung his sword, catching the shadow in the midsection of it’s back. Shadow pulled away like smoke as the sword cut through and blue electricity appeared in short bursts of sparks. The shadow passed through the back wall and escaped.
Ilsa continued chanting as the group decided what to do next.
to be continued……..
After a planned retreat from the Shade, the party found a room of scrolls, Dirk found nothing of use, but the wizard found a some useful scrolls.
The party pressed onward until they the wizard begged them to stop so he could rest.
The next day they adventured on ward and discovered a library and the wizard found a magic book, that blew-up in his face, HA.
After everyone had a good laugh the party continued southward into a garden. There Dirk tried to convince four goblins he was their new chieftain, but they were too stupid to understand him and attacked. They were easily dispatched but the last one called for help and soon Blights were everywhere.
The group dispatched the Blights and headed towards the tree poking upwards from the grove like a majestic penis poking from a bush of pubes… Innuendo.