Isaac Kross wakes up. His mouth full of sand. Head throbbing like it would explode any minute. Stoned? Drunk? Not a good day.
Funny, though, he only remembers his name. Moments later, when his senses come back to him, Isaac finds himself in the middle of Anauroch’s sweltering heat.
Anauroch, also known as the Great Sand Sea, is a huge expanse of sand. Dotted by Netherese ruins and jagged spires, it is barren as far as the eye can see. One of Northern Faerun’s most formidable and despicable places.
“What in Elminster’s balls am I doing here?!?”, Kross mutters to himself, as a gaggle of vultures appear overhead.
From the corner of his eye, Kross spies a woman approximately a hundred yards away, hiding behind sand dunes to the East. He tries to call her attention. The woman runs. Isaac, almost at an instant, is fast in pursuit.
“I never knew I could run this fast”, the human was talking to himself again. A few seconds later, Isaac was almost ready to tackle her.
But he stopped short.
From the distance, half a dozen Bedine warriors on Camel-back were making their way towards him.
They didn’t look friendly. No bub.
“Not my day”; Isaac whispered.
Their raised, blood stained Scimitars were not a good sign.
Game Date: Jan. 28, 2012. San Juan, Metro Manila
- Keith Morales as Daemon Frost, Ranger of the North, Level 7
- Alex Mena as SkyClad Nimblewind, The Outsider Halfling Rouge, Level 8
- Nil Caruncho as Findar Hammersonn, borne of King Connar IV, bearer of the Dragon Armor, Level 8
- Meng Morales as Clytie, Signet Ring Bearer, Daughter of a Fallen Angel, Level 7
- Chase Gosingtian as Lysandros, Paladin Harper, Level 7
- Phil Cahiwat as Morrisey, Harper Wizard, Level 7
- Rex Golez as Isaac Kross, Bard, Level 7
THE CITY OF SHADE APPEARS
Meanwhile in Silverymoon…
Lysandros goes downtown to find his friend, Morrisey. Morrisey, a wizard who makes his living doing street performances offers a drink to his friend. Morrisey, like the Paladin, is a Harper under the auspices of the High Lady Alustriel.
Lysandros tells Morrisey about the Company of Targos and asks Morrisey to help him train them to become Harpers.
Soon, Jorus Azuremantle summons them.
Azuremantle breaks the bad news.
The City of Shade has recently appeared over the High Forest and is now making its way towards Anauroch. The City of Shade has been trapped in the Plane of Shadows for a thousand years. The leaders of the Alliance are baffled at this news. Does the return of Bane have something to do with this great, magical phenomenon?
Morrisey, an expert on Netherese Lore, asks the permission of Jorus Azuremantle to conduct research at the Libram Palais (the palace library). On the morrow, Lysandros is asked to bring the entire party in the presence of Lady Alustriel
Lady Alustriel informs them about the dire situation. The City of Shade is returning to Anauroch, the former area of the Netheril, otherwise known as the Empire of Magic, the mightiest human civilization at their time.
The Netherese used magic in their everyday lives. So much was their power, that they built flying cities. Netheril mages battled the evil Phaerimm, mind-controlling aberrations who also possessed powerful dweomers.
But it wasn’t the wars with the Phaerimm that caused the downfall of their empire.
It was greed.
Their leader, Karsus, sought to gain the zenith of magical ability by trying to wrest the Weave from Mystryl, the goddess of Magic. To stop this madness, Mystryl sacrificed her life (she then gave it to Mystra in The Time of Troubles). Without the goddess, all magic in the Empire ceased to be. The flying cities came crashing down.
One such city that escaped the Fall of the Netheril Empire was Thultanthar, otherwise known as The City of Shade. The rulers of the Thultanthar plunged the entire city into the Plane of Shadow where they lived for thousands of years. Trapped, the humans of Thultanthar assumed new forms, half-men, half-shadow beasts known as Shades.
Alustriel and Ruha the Seer then reveal the new PARTY QUEST:
- Travel to Anauroch (using teleportation)
- Look for the Bedine tribe Nimad and seek their chieftain, Amenrath, who may help them solve this riddle
- Discover if there is any connection between the appearance of the City of Shade and Bane’s coming of age.
- Try to convince the Shade to join the Alliance against the forces of Bane.
Lysandros, Morrisey and the Harpers-in-waiting teleport to Anauroch. There, they are ambushed by the Asabi, evil Lizard humanoids who prey on the lost and the weak. The party falls prey to paralysis darts (Daemon Frost almost died) but they managed to dispatch the ambush party.
Soon, they find the Bedine camp where they meet Amenrath (a Jackalwere) and Isaac Kross. Kross has been with the Bedine for almost a month, having taught them irrigation, engineering and inspired them with his ballads, poems and stories. He and Yryni have also been close “friends”.
Amenrath informs the party about a Netherese Scroll lost within the magma mines of Azrrhat. This scroll may hold the secret to the appearance of the City of Shade and must not fall into the wrong hands. However, Phaerimm sightings are increasingly active within Azrrhat and Amen suggests that they take Isaac Kross with them as a guide. (new party quest)
THE MAGMA PITS OF AZRRHAT
The characters cross huge magma rivers with a little help from the Skyclad’s favorite magical item, his Troll Gut Rope.
Soon, they find a Juvenile Magma Dragon staring them down.
The battle begins (DM Note: it’s their FIRST DRAGON! Woot!)
The party scatters after the first breath weapon. Morrisey takes to the air with his Fly spell. The other take up positions and surround the dragon. Due to the Magma Dragon’s Spell Resistance (and the activated Shield spell), the spellcasters had some difficulty getting their spells to penetrate and do damage.
Findar rushes the beast via a well placed Stone Shape spell (he fashioned lava rock to elevate him towards the hovering wyrm!). Findar tanks it like a baws!!!
Meanwhile, the others rain missile weapons at their foe, with Lysandros doing the most damage (via his ranged feats).
Skyclad does what a halfling rogue is meant to do.
He sneaks behind the dragon and fires (called shots) daggers into the Wyrm’s eye. Thanks to the shoulder launcher (with True Strike) fashioned by Oswald, SkyClad’s sneak attack deals significant damage and agitates the beast, allowing Findar and Lysandros to deal more damage to it (Alex gets a notch for this tactic).
Defeated, the dragon falls into the lava pits. The party salvage what they can, find the rest of the dragon hoard, heal their wounds and proceed.
There is no Netherese Scroll within the loot.
[ game placed on hold, cliff-hanger style ]
- Abdul (Amenrath’s assistant, as he binds Isaac Kross, whispering) "Tonight you will know the real meaning of the word “TIGHT”!"
- Daemon Frost (to Lysandros): “You alone know my secret, Lysandros. I think you also have an idea on what I want to do, Paladin. I trust that this does not, in any way, impede with the Harper’s code”
- Lysandros: “Do what you must do. I will do what I must”
- Findar (to Augustus): “Guards? Why the guards?” Augustus: “A burglar, my friend! A burglar most foul!”
- Rex Golez: “Can I do a backflip and fire my crossbow at the Magma Dragon?” DM: “Sure. Go.” Rex (rolls die): “What happens then?” DM: “You. Uh. Miss.” (AC 25) Rex: "But that was awesome, yes?" DM: smiles
- Other player characters: "So, Skyclad, did we find any loot?" Skyclad: “Loot? What loot?”
- SkyClad: “Thank you Oswald. This is the best invention. Ever!” (referring to his Shoulder Launcher)
- Findar: “My ancestor, King Connar will be pleased. My first Dragon kill! Woopeedooo!!!!!”
- Base: 4,700
- Story: 2,000
- Additional bonus: 1,000 (completing part of Alustriel’s quest)
- Notches: 2,000 (Alex had 1)