Maintaining the Balance
Information of Interest
The following tidbits of information were discovered by the party during their travels:
On the Surface:
- The somewhat infamous rogue Jax Nimbletoes put together an elaborate (and probably expensive) plot to kidnap noted dwarf merchant Barnabas Stoneshield, but then promptly abandoned his prisoners and co-conspirators as the rescue party arrived. Before he left, he taunted the group with “Well, I’ve seen about all I need to here. Time to go. Ta-ta!”
- Jax was also seen toying with a crystal blue cube which seemed to control the force field trapping the dwarves. He claimed to have “liberated” it from Stoneshield’s possession.
- Jax’s gnome lieutenant, Neliel Greyhaven, seemed genuinely upset and angry when Jax abandoned her. She escaped, but not before condemning Jax for his cowardice.
- A phase spider nursery was discovered in underground tunnels not far from Colson Prison and the village of Atlur.
- The remnants of a drow raiding party was also discovered within the phase spider nursery.
- The drow family name of Auvry d’Urden was referenced by a female who was never actually seen in the party’s encounter with the drow.
- An ancient humanoid skeleton was found holding a metal box of unusual composition. It was also wearing an elaborate pendant which reminded Ulvein of various Death motifs, but the symbol itself was unfamiliar to him.
- The locked box contained some treasure and a message. Oddly, a name listed in the message is blurred beyond recognition, yet the message itself is otherwise undamaged.
- A group of kobolds lead by Sithys was encountered in an underground cavern. They were hoarding trash and debris from what appeared to be local communities. Sithys became quite enraged at his hoard being disturbed and forced the party to kill him. A single distraught kobold survivor was left behind after the battle.
- A small group of giant ants were harvesting mushrooms in the tunnels too. Zaza recalled that where there’s one band of ants, there’s usually a whole lot more…
- A body was found in the ankheg lair just north of Leaning Rock. The body wore a tin symbol of Vecna as a pin inside its robes.
- An inmate named Perak staged a semi-riot within the prison, which the PCs quickly put down. However, during the engagement, the Sending Stone that Roddick was given, which calls the Black Hand, was stolen from his office, and Perak disappeared without a trace during the combat itself.
- A large plume of smoke was seen coming from the direction of Winterlake a few days back.
- A huge Death Boar was spotted rampaging across the plains just south of Atlur. It left a long swath of death in its wake, stretching off to the west.
- Increased gnoll activity had been reported by the farmers and other homesteaders in the outlying communities. Specifically, members of the Grimtooth, Bloodfang and Silverclaw packs have been spotted or encountered.
- Increased undead activity has also been reported, though nothing more than ancient skeletons and the occasional zombie have been encountered. Still, the increase in their numbers has the locals somewhat restless.
In the Tomb:
- The walls of the tomb are decorated with friezes and carvings of a stylized skull with a small blade through its teeth and a raven perched on top of it with its wings outstretched. It appears that the raven carvings are much newer than the skulls, as if they were added on later.
- In the bone chamber, the symbol also appears. However, there is a small platform just visible above the ancient bones which appears to be some kind of altar. Adorning the altar is the same symbol, sans the raven.
- The ghosts encountered mentioned entering the tomb to pay tribute to Lord Erol and his truest believer. They were surprised to find the entry corridor trapped and thus met their end in life. They attempted to dissuade the party from progressing further, believing them to be “infidels” and “non-believers”.
- The ghosts paused when Ulvein showed them the pendant he had acquired from the skeleton in the underground chamber. They seemed to recognize it, but as he was drow, they didn’t believe him when he claimed to be a believer.
- In the chamber beyond the entry hall, the PCs encountered another ghost. This one was of an older man dressed in elaborate, perhaps ceremonial, robes. The ghost seemed to exert considerable effort to show itself to the PCs. It begged the PCs to “Warn them! They must choose a Successor before it’s too late!”
- An aspect of Vecna appeared and destroyed the wispy ghost, which he referred to as Zhimor, then chided the PCs. After testing them, he came away somewhat impressed and hinted at a potential future encounter.
- The ancient library in the tomb contained many old texts, maps and ritual books. Much of the information was outdated. The religious texts in particular were odd, in that they described rituals which are in common use today, but in the texts they are attributed to gods and exarchs unfamiliar to modern lore.
- The library’s “guardian” was an insane brain-in-a-jar named Pharen, who believed that he’d only been in the tomb for several months. It was quite clear from the books that he’d been in there far longer than that. He made reference to a “mistress” who, once she’d attained enough power, would grant him immortality. She apparently started the procedure, but stopped at locking his brain and consciousness in a small jar. Evidently, she never returned to finish the procedure.
- Pharen also mentioned hearing Zhimor, the highest ranking member of Erol’s clergy, speaking with Erol concerning an ascension ceremony. It was after he divulged this information to his mistress that she offered him immortality.