«

»

Sep 21 2012

Chronicles of Netheril, September 15th, 2012

The Astral Sea – The Well of Many Worlds

The Well of Many Worlds was just that, a well; but not a normal kind of well. It was very very large; its walls made of a golden material; and rather than be a seemingly bottomless pit, the opening housed a multi-coloured vortex.

The Well was flanked at a distance by four large obelisks whose arcane power was so ancient as to be unknowable. {Actually the obelisks each contained some kind of super-powered death ray; but the DCs to discover this information and use the obelisks were so high that none of our characters figured it out.} Inside the zone delimited by the obelisks were a number of energy spots; small areas of concentrated arcane energy that could be identified by the glowing auras in which they were wreathed.

Dirty Pig remembered reading about these some time ago. The green auras indicated reality holes; quasi-portal to small pocket dimensions. Creatures entering one of these “holes” literally disappeared from reality. The purple auras indicated temporal disturbances; areas of chaotic time flux. Creatures that get too close to a temporal disturbance become enveloped in its time-flux. Once enveloped, time will either flow by much faster or much slower for such creatures.

From the DM:

(GREEN) Reality Hole: A creature that enters a square containing a reality hole is removed from play until the start of its next turn. When the effect ends, the creature returns to play in an unoccupied space adjacent to any reality hole on the map.

A character with line of sight to a reality hole can end the effect by spending a standard action to make a DC 23 Arcana check. On a success, the creature removed from play is returned in an unoccupied space of the character’s choosing.

(PURPLE) Temporal Disturbance: When a creature starts its turn in a square occupied by or adjacent to a temporal disturbance, roll a d6. On an odd number, the creature is slowed and takes a -2 penalty to attack rolls until the start of its next turn. On an even number, the creature gains an extra move action and gains a + 2 power bonus to attack rolls until the start of its next turn.

But before we could begin the ritual a host of angels serving Vecna appeared. They wanted the book to take to their master, and when we refused to hand it over they attacked us. Because our attention was focused on the host we hadn’t detected the presence of two angels behind us. Using the host’s attack as a distraction they managed to surprise us and tackle Drake and Mavict. Falling into the vortex, they were gone in an instant.

Most of the angels were relatively weak and easy to handle. The real threat came from their leader, a powerful Angel of Vengeance, and his spell casting lieutenant who made excellent use of the reality holes.

Once we had defeated the angels we were free to perform the Ritual of Endings and Beginnings. The first step was to release the Book from the stepping disc. This also released Ilikan; but rather than be enraged as we expected, the goliath simply sat down and sulked.

The vortex in the Well of Many Worlds was in fact a powerful portal that could connect to any place in the multi-verse. All one had to do to make a connection, was to concentrate hard enough on the desired destination. If a connection was made to say the heart of a star, you had an infinitely powerful incinerator.

This would be the perfect place to destroy the Book; but its protective wards were strong enough to resist even an astral inferno. By performing the Ritual of Endings and Beginnings, as written down on the scroll, we were able to disable those wards. But unfortunately we also unlocked the Book’s full power.

The Book was now able to make direct contact with our minds; and sensing its imminent destruction it used specifically tailored images of great wealth and power in an attempt to seduce us into saving it. Its power was so great that we were unable to resist its mental onslaught.

Ilikan, who had been sulking, had not been considered a threat by the Book and was now completely unaffected by its power. Realising what was happening, he jumped up in the air above the vortex where the Book had been hovering and grabbed on to it with all his might. He then fell into the vortex, dragging the Book along with him.

His noble sacrifice would ensure that the Book of Vile Darkness would be destroyed for ever.

After regaining our senses and observing a moment of silence for our fallen comrade, we used the Well of Many Worlds to take us back to Loudwater.

Loudwater

After passing through the vortex we found ourselves in the middle of the Loudwater marketplace. But we hadn’t been back for more than a few minutes before we found ourselves in trouble again.

Eramus caught a pickpocket trying to steal some valuables from his pack. When he tried to stop him, the thief, and a number of people in the marketplace drew their weapons and pulled back their hoods. They were clearly Netherese, but there was something strange about their appearance. These weren’t spies or soldiers; by the look of them, they were weak and hungry refugees.

An armed encounter in the middle of the market could prove disastrous. With so many innocent bystanders the casualties could be severe. But these Netherese seemed reluctant to fight. They hadn’t drawn their weapons out of malice, but out of a need for self-defence. Actually they appeared to be desperately wanting to leave.

With this in mind, it was easier to scare them off rather than fight them. Mere moments later, another group of Netherese showed up; but these were highly trained and seasoned soldiers. They were after the other group and called them Bedine.

To avoid casualties we cooperated and told them which way the Bedine had gone. Of course, since the Bedine seemed like helpless refugees, we sent the soldiers in the wrong direction. Even if the Bedine turned out not to be as innocent and helpless as they appeared, we had still screwed over a bunch of Netherese soldiers.

After all the excitement had died down, Eramus checked his pack to see what had been stolen. We were all surprised to find that something had in fact been added; a small pouch containing a fragment of a ritual scroll. We took the fragment to Curuvar, who had some interesting information for us.

Before the Spellplague, a sprawling portal network spanned the continent of Faerûn. The Spellplague effectively shattered the network; but a sub-section called The Spiral Gate still exists. It consists of three partially functioning portals; two of which are in range of Loudwater. One is located in Zelbross, in the ruined estate of the merchant lord Mutashi. The other is located to the east, in the ruins of a temple of Mystra.

The scroll fragment contains part of a ritual that can fully reactivate The Spiral Gate. The Bedine are a group of Netherese rebels that are actively fighting against the shadovar and the Princes of Netheril. They most likely stole the scroll fragment to prevent the Netherese from reactivating the portal sub-section. They might even be trying to permanently disable it.

After the history lesson, we returned to the market to do the one thing that all self-respecting adventurers do; sell unwanted loot for gold.

In the marketplace we were quietly approached by a woman named Ashurta. She was a Bedine representative and requested that we return the scroll fragment to her.

We made her a counter offer that surprised her greatly. Disabling the portal network would greatly hinder Netheril’s efforts. Our goals were therefore compatible, so we offered to help the Bedine in permanently disabling the network. And because we already had significant experience in Zelbross, we decided that Lord Mutashi’s ruined estate should be our first stop.

But before we left, Dirty Pig believed we needed to do something to relieve all the stress we’d been under these past few months. He suggested we throw a great big feast and invite all our friends from Loudwater, as well as our new Bedine allies.

In addition to being an outlet to relieve stress, the party would serve and important tactical purpose. The Bedine look hungry and malnourished. Since an army marches on its stomach, they could certainly use a good meal.