Dragons of Blackminster

Shar Gazoth 13 - Mirror Mirror

[GM: Sadly 3 of the players couldn’t make it, but we decided to go ahead without them anyway. Holly, Frank & Carl – sorry that you missed the finale but the adventure can continue out the other side. We could take a break from these characters, or from D&D, or re-arrange the groups. I’ll turn up ready to run the next part of the adventure (Launching the Hammer of Torkas into space), but don’t mind if we do something different for a while if you all prefer]

The thunderclap from the trapped corridor struck Clayton and alerted the occupants of the “Dome”. It MAY or maynot have been audible outside the Dome. Fortunately there didn’t seem to be many guardians inside the Dome – only two barrack rooms – one beyond the door on the left the Lightning glyph had been and the other to the right.

From the Lightning door, they heard the scrape of furniture, swish of drawn blades and confused mutterings in Orcish. When the door opened a group of 10 groggy, naked red orcs (hob-goblins) rushed through, followed by a red orc priest of Torkas – hurriedly pulling on a robe.

Clayton immediately tried to speak with them, showing his holy symbol of Torkas, waving Norrimass’ letter of introduction and claiming to have important news about the Hammer of Torkas (the Great Star Ship).

They seemed partly convinced but there was a short exchange of crossbow bolts and Spirit Guardians, and a few of the guards died before they convinced the red priest to parley.

Meanwhile “Jock” (possessed by the Lich, Norrimas) triggered a glyph of cold, broke open the other door with a Knock spell and gleefully slaughtered the dozen white orcs within, including two Favoured of Lillith and one winter wolf. He used a more powerful Spirit Guardians spell and his life-drinking black scimitar to restore his own health.

The red priest – Magnus Hammerhand – agreed to help them when he read Norimas’ letter, spoke to Norimas himself and understood they were going to retrieve the third Horn. Clayton said they would fetch the horn and meet the red priest at sun-set at the tomb of the Lich so they could escort it to the ship. Hammerhand agreed but looked a bit sneaky – he probably intends to kill them to take the horn and the ship for himself.

Norrimas says the Ship can be steered clumsily with the wheel – as normal, but up and down are from moving the wheel forward and back – however, to get good speed and control, there are sails that catch the stellar winds so it ideally needs a trained crew. It needs a spellcaster to use the wheel – any spellcaster can do it regardless of magical prowess. [GM: Even a part-time spell-caster like a Ranger or Arcane Trickster should be able to do it]

There is concern that the thunderclap may have been heard outside the Dome, so Mulan rushes back down to un-jam the door lock and the now-friendly red orc priest, Hammerhand, tries to explain to a bunch of ogres that the explosion was caused by a careless guard. Mulan hides among the robes in the lower chamber listening. The robes belong to the Order of the Artificers who work in a chamber on the next floor up in the daylight hours – they are white hooded robes smeared with oils and burn marks and a symbol like a golden gear under a set of compasses.

The ogres are arguing with Hammerhand and seem to want to speak to one of the Favoured, so Mulan has to use Alter Self to impersonate one of the albino orc priestesses and gestures at them to go away. This prevents pursuit by 6 ogres and 10 more white orc guards.

They now have only the deadline of the “rubber-band” teleportation spell to worry about. It will take 1 hour for Davidian to attune the Portal Mirror and they have only an hour and a half left before sunrise, when the spell automatically returns them all to the Lich’s tomb.
Searching the dead Favoured, Davidian finds a keyring with three keys, 1 big, 1 medium and one small and intricate, topped with a tiny pyramid.

There are skeletons embedded in the walls in the two barrack rooms, who can be commanded to unlock and raise the portcullis. The command words are “Torkas” for the red orc’s side and “Lillith” for the white orcs. (Storm God and Winter Queen)

Under the portcullis, Davidian goes right and down to a store-room on his own while the others push on upstairs. The half-elf priest opens the store-room with the big key – which deactivates multiple mechanical traps. It is full of barrels, books, scrolls and scroll tubes, pens, ink. Also, three huge tapestries 16ft long by 6 ft wide, rolled into tubes. There are tattered and torn pieces of an ancient tapestry scattered about too. The walls are decorated with carved images of dice – d4, d6, d8, d10, d12, d20. It takes a while for him to spot it but the shape of the d4 is a pyramid, like the tiny key! Searching the carved image, he finds a tiny keyhole hidden in a shadow – it opens to reveal a small compartment with half a dozen potion flasks – all labelled in orcish. Later Clayton is able to read these and identify the potions.

Meanwhile the others went upstairs to the Hall of the Artificers – a large open-plan workshop/laboratory. The corridor goes past the wide entrance and around a corner to a huge disk of stone that looks like it would roll away into the wall if they knew how to unlock it.

The workshop contains several benches, a furnace (just lowing embers), gas lights, tools etc. Hidden around a corner is a sort of puzzle/combination lock that operates the Rolling Door. It appears to be trapped with magical summoning spell if the wrong choices are made, but Mulan works it out quickly as “Lord of Storms” and the door rolls open. There is another puzzle panel to lock it from the other side.

Before they left the chamber, they find a set of Jeweller’s eye-pieces [GM: Advantage on Investigation and Lock-picking, but disadvantage on anything else that distorted vision would hinder – continues for 3 rds after using the eye pieces]. Also, a set of +1 thieves’ tools.
In another corner, is a store of stasis-bound monsters – in for repairs! A Helmed Horror, a Shield Guardian (linked to an amulet in a vice on one of the benches, but the amulet has a hairline crack so Davidian chickens out of trying it), an Ogre-sized Flesh Golem with a half-un-stitched left arm and finally an Iron Golem. Davidian works out how to un-stasis any of these creatures but they decide not to risk it.

[GM: he could have taken control of the Shield Guardian – each time it absorbs some of your damage roll d20 and on a 1 it turns against its master – the others would all have attacked anyone not wearing one of the white robes from downstairs!]

They ascend the stairs past the rolling stone door to the Hall of Mirrors and lock it behind them. Mulan again manages to solve the puzzle panel very quickly.

The final chamber has stairs leading up into it. They don’t want to ascend for fear of being exposed to the mirror or mirrors – they think there is still a mirror of opposition here.

Clayton went back down to the Storeroom to examine the three tapestries and they are clearly for covering mirrors – one has a picture of the Portal opened to reveal a bunch of helpless humans dancing around a maypole. One shows a black and white figure – clearly mirror reflections of each other, standing on a reflected tiled floor. The last shows some sort of swirly colourful pattern.

Gaston still wears Mulan’s amulet of non-detection – that saved her, then him from being duplicated by the other mirror of opposition they discovered in the cellars of the Library, back in Eastport. He won’t be duplicated, so he goes up the steps on his own. Sadly, the swirly mirror leaves him standing transfixed. While the other look on in horror, some invisible monster slashes at him – despite a couple of terrible wounds he continues to just stand there.

It is an invisible Death Slaad, very tough, even without having Greater Invisibility. Its eyes have been gouged out, but it has blindsight. So, it can see the heroes but cannot be duplicated and cannot see the swirly pattern.

They fight the thing but take a lot of damage as it has a fire breath area attack and they have to stay grouped into a small area to remain out of sight of the mirrors.

Eventually Abraham drags Gaston back down the steps so he is freed from the paralysis. Clayton manages to track the thing as it has stepped in Gaston’s blood and finally they hack it down. Clayton takes its longsword [GM: a +1 weapon and 3 times a day it can do 2d6 additional cold damage].

There is a comical interlude as they almost run out of time…

Gaston turns his helmet backwards so he can’t see the swirly-swirly and Davidian decides to guide him by sending an Arcane Eye floating into the Chamber. The half-elf sees the swirly pattern through the Eye and becomes paralysed! Eventually, with his hat on backwards, Gaston carries a tapestry over to the swirly mirror and finds it is too high up to cover. He has to grope his way back so Mulan so she can cast Spiderclimb on him, then finally covers both the swirly mirror and the mirror of opposition. so the others can approach. All three mirrors are firmly bolted to the wall and seem impervious to harm.

The orcs have drawn a pentacle in front of the Portal Mirror and have a smaller portable mirror they are trying to attune to it. The pentacle helps Davidian attune more quickly and he activates the Portal with half an hour still to go before dawn. They pass through to Sapphire’s house in Eastport, where she has already prepared a mirror as the target. Her familiar monkey is waiting for them. As soon as they are all through (including the Lich in Jock’s body), the monkey pulls a lever and plates of adamantine lock into place around the mirror and are sealed by a magical spell. Sapphire’s mirror is now permanently encased the orc’s portal mirror is locked to it forever.

HURRAH!!! MISSION COMPLETED – the Portal Mirror is no longer a threat.

They have 30 mins before being teleported back to the Lich’s tomb – it is just time to race across to the Inquisition Temple in the Graveyard. Abraham is an Inquisitor and so easily gets them an audience with the Inquisitor Captain (his boss). The Captain is very pleased to hear that the renegade Inquisitor who joined the Keepers, has been killed and that two of the Keeper Helms have been lost in the bedrock.

They manage to get him to pass the Horn of Torkas around for them to “inspect” just as the sun reaches the horizon. They can see that “Jock” is prepared to slaughter the Captain (and probably all of them if they don’t get hold of the Horn). In an act of pure chaos, Clayton blows it, filling the room, the graveyard and the entire city with fog for an hour, just as the Lich’s spell draws them back to his tomb.

In the Tomb, “Jock” demands the Horn. Davidian forces Norrimas to release Jock before they hand it over. Jock shudders and slumps as the powerful presence releases him and then the Lich rises from its slab and gets the Horn.

Arghul Norrimass now has the missing Horn. He is willing to entrust Clayton with it, so that it can be brought to the Great Ship and placed with the other two – in a compartment behind a Chart on the ship. Then the Ship will rise and the Lich’s “purpose” will be complete. Its initial course has been pre-programmed – to follow the Storm God into the Stars. The ship should be carried out of the Industrial Sector on a train, to a long, sloping tunnel that it can fly up and out. As an alternative, if the Great Fan in the central Shaft could be destroyed, it could leave via that. It is likely that the three Wyverns will be sent to prevent them getting away with it – possibly with Lord Stagmork (the Death Knight, anti-paladin of Lillith riding one of them).

Clayton decides to accept some training from the Lich becoming an acolyte of the Storm God.

They agreed to complete the task for the Lich but have not been magically compelled to do so.

Mulan has also been asked by the Gnome Stilgar to reunite his small family of gnomes with the Gnome King. She has a Ruby that tugs her gently towards him – deep beneath the mountain. The third and final flower in her circlet still hasn’t been used.

[GM: All go up a level – to Level NINE]

Holly – decide if you want Jock to “remember” any of the powers of the Lich – he can lose any number of Ranger levels and replace them with Warlock levels – as Pact of the Blade, Fiendish Pact Warlock]

Cookie – Clayton will be a 1st-level Cleric with a few non-standard cantrips available to choose from (you don’t have to have these ones but the “Lightning Whip” is a spell most of the Torkas Priests use) – Druidcraft, Thorn Whip (acts as Lightning damage instead but still pulls the victim)
Priests of Torkas, the Lord of Storms, have the Tempest Domain but with a couple of minor changes to the Domain Spells.
Level One Spells Fog Cloud, Thunderwave & Arms of Hadar
Level Three Spells Gust of Wind, Shatter & Hunger of Hadar
Level Five Spells Call Lightning, Destructive Wave, Conjure Volley
Level Seven Spells secret only revealed when you get there
Level Nine Spells secret only revealed when you get there

Torkas is a god of Chaos, Strength, Courage, Freedom. The Kingdom of Gard (where you live) considers him one of the 5 Evil Gods and worship of him is illegal, but many from the Caledonian and Viking Islands worship him openly and many ship captains sacrifice to him secretly. It was his ship that brought the other Dark Gods into Jade, so he is “blamed” for much evil.

5 years earlier, Earl Ragnar (a player character) somehow enabled Torkas’ ship to leave Jade in exchange for passage into space. Jade is surrounded by a “Sea of Chaos” and Torkas could previously only enter the shallows of that sea and was always dragged back to Jade by the same magic that still imprisons the other Dark Gods.

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MickH666

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