Author Topic: The Crystal Dominion - Session 04 Summary  (Read 2363 times)

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The Crystal Dominion - Session 04 Summary
« on: March 22, 2009, 02:59:09 PM »
The Crystal Dominion - Session 4 Summary

[DM Note: One of our players changed characters. So, Ebon, the former member of the previous team who had been rescued in the caves beneath the prison, was out. The new character joining the party was Ethos Paragon, a man of faith and skilled healer.]

So, the current party is:

  • Ebrin Redeye – A sayune darkwalker (like a Halfling rogue with some special “dark magic” spell ability).
  • Eiran – An elven ranger.
  • N’sahd – A human wizard.
  • Alan – A human arcanologist (spell tinkerer and magic specialist).
  • Ethos Paragon – Cleric/healer.

In the previous session, the party had just returned to their guild having successful conducted a “jail break”… freeing Baldorin, a historian, out of Guldremor, the maximum security island prison of Drakkel. Baldorin was taken away to meet with the guild leaders so they could explain the situation to him.

Now that the party had completed their mission, they rested and ate. But their respite was brief. Within hours, the guild called another council meeting.

The guild masters and the captain of the guards met with the party. They had previously promised that they would explain WHY this humble historian was so important.

This is what they told the party:

Congratulations on a successful mission. The guild leaders are very pleased with your success.

Now I promised you an explanation of why Baldorin is so important. Let me explain…

An entire library of literature and historical documents is about to made public at auction. The collection belongs to the Rulander family… one of the oldest and most prominent families in all the south lands. This collection contains hundreds of scrolls, books, maps, letters, historical documents and treatises dating back centuries, all the way to the last days of the Traxx Legion.

One obscure part of this collection is a number of writings, including personal correspondence, of  a mage named Jardell Rulander.

One of our representatives was able to review some of the literature at a preview event held last week. It was a small event and by invitation only. That’s why we were so lucky. It was mostly stuffy politicians and their wives. Few people in attendance could read Traxxian and even fewer took the time to review the material. Our agent, Daschal, can read Traxxian and was perusing some of the newly opened letters. One letter in particular caught his eye… it was written to Rulander from his good friend Mazuris, one of the most powerful mages of the day. Within that letter was a discovery, so shocking in its implications, that Daschal knew he had to report back as soon as possible. Security at the event prevented him from taking the letter with him. So, instead, he hid the letter deep in the stack and hurried back to the guild.

Before I tell you what was in the letter, let me give you some historical background.

During the Great War, there was a mine of arkulyte crystals within Traxxian territory. This mine was known as Kalrothis and it provided a steady supply of arkulyte crystals to the Traxxian mages and made them very powerful. Many historians believe that it was this resource, which ultimately allowed the Traxx Legion to defeat the Rukemian Empire and win the Great War. The only thing that kept the mages in check was the fact that arkulyte crystals are highly addictive. Abuse of the crystals can lead to sickness… even death.

The location of Kalrothis was one of the most closely guarded secrets of the Great War. Only a handful of men knew the route to the mine and legend says it was cloaked in powerful sorcery to hide it. Maps of its location were forbidden. The organization responsible for the mine was known as the Crystal Dominion.  Mazuris was the ranking wizard at the mine and a ruling member of the Dominion.  Not only was he responsible for the defenses of the mine, but he also conducted a great deal of research into Arkulyte crystals and even was, purportedly, working a cure for arkulyte addiction.

According to the reports of the day, the mine ran dry about the same time that it was discovered that the Crystal Dominion had been supplying Arkulyte crystals to other governments for a profit. The accusations against the Crystal Dominion were chiefly brought about by one of the military organizations of the time, a group called the Iron Brigade. Political favor turned against the Dominion and, in the midst of military coup, the Dominion was abruptly disbanded, its officers executed. It was a time of great upheaval and chaos. The Iron Brigade took control. This was only a few years before the Traxx Legion tore itself apart with civil war.

Decades later, the full extent of this conspiracy became known. However, at that point, it was too late. The location of Kalrothis had been wiped out. So careful had the Crystal Dominion been that no one had any official record of its location and, so thorough had the Iron Brigade been, that no one who knew its location had survived. The mine was utterly lost. Based on later review of certain documents that the Iron Brigade had buried,  the politicians of the time deduced that the mine had most likely NOT run dry but indeed had many years of service remaining. It has been speculated that rumors of the depletion of the mine had been started by the Iron Brigade and that all accusations against the Crystal Dominion had been false and fabricated. Indeed, it is very likely that countless tens of thousands of crystals lay within the mine to this very day.

Over the centuries, the mine has become nothing more than a legend.  Many have searched for it… none have ever found it.

The library (including the unopened letter from Mazuris) passed down through the generations as part of a heritage collection. Most recently, it was held by an old woman of half elven descent who jealously guarded the collection for 180 years. She has died and her grandson, a young man named Eljen Rulander, is selling the collection to fill his coffers.

Why is this important? The letter indicates that Mazuris suspected a plot against the Crystal Dominion by the military. Mazuris suspected that the Crystal Dominion would soon fall. The letter indicates that he had created a map to the location of the mine… cleverly hidden from his enemies of the time. The letter also indicates that all of his research and a cure for the Arkulyte addiction, were gathered into a book which was written in a covert language he had developed himself, a kind of code for his work.  Our agent, who only had a moment to skim the letter, indicates that it speaks in riddles and we would need someone familiar with Mazuris and his work.

That’s brings us to Baldorin. This humble art historian just happens to be an expert on Mazuris, his life and his work. More importantly, Baldorin can read the code mentioned in the letter. As far as we can tell, Baldorin is the only person alive who knows who can read the code.

Somewhere, out there, is a map, to the greatest geological treasure trove Ithria has ever known. Whoever finds this map and locates the mine, could shift the balance of power among the guilds for decades.
Even more important than that is what the letter said about this mysterious book. If this book holds a cure for crystal sickness… that alone would be worth a king’s ransom.

Now that we have Baldorin, we want to get a hold of that letter. A copy would be good. But even better would be obtaining the original letter to prevent it from falling into other hands.

The auction is being held tomorrow. Now you see why we were in such a rush to retrieve Baldorin… It’s possible, even likely, that others will see this letter at the auction and realize its worth. If that happens, there could be a tremendous bidding war over it. Or worse. And regardless of who finally gets a copy of the letter… word will have been leaked out to all the groups and organizations in the city. It won’t be long before everyone is looking for Baldorin.

And as we have already seen, the Grey Guard are already looking for him. But, based on what I’ve heard, they seem to be interested in him only because we are. They don’t seem to know why he’s valuable and were likely looking to ransom him to us for a small profit, not realizing how valuable he is. In any case, the letter and everything else at this auction go public in less than 5 hours.

Daschal believes he is being closely watched by members of the Grey Guard guild. We’d like you to go with Daschal to the auction and provide security and assist him. We want you to get a copy of the letter that Daschal discovered. We would really like to get the original letter, but if that’s not possible, a copy of the text will do.

Once we have the letter, we bring Baldorin and the letter together and see what he can make of it. With luck, he will be able to decipher the clues and help us find Kalrothis. I’m also hopeful that he can help us find and translate this mysterious book.

But first things first… we need that letter. Any questions?

The party discussed the mission. They decided that they would escort Daschal in the guise of courtiers, servants and bodyguards.

The players inquired about the use of magic. They were told that magic was forbidden at this event and any attempted spells would be discovered because of precautions taken by the family hosting the event.

Alan, the arconologist, visited the Rulander guild house where the event would be held in advance. He wanted to get a better idea of what magical defenses had been erected. Under false pretenses, he cast a spell to find out more. Luckily, the magic precautions were already in place. When he cast a spell, a series of bright glowing glyphs appeared above his head, slowly rotating. It was clear what the purpose was. Any wizard casting a spell at this event would draw attention to himself and the wizards working for the host guild would be able to instantly deduce what spell had been cast. A clever method for deterring magic.

Alan returned and discussed this with N’sahd. The two wizards did not see a way to counter this defense. It seemed that the only way to cast a spell unnoticed would be to cause a big distraction at the right moment. And even that might only buy them a few critical seconds. At least they knew that magic would work. But it would not be subtle or discreet.

The next day, they dressed in formal tunics with the colors of the Swordtongue Guild. They took two chariots. It started to rain during the trip and soon the chariots were bouncing through muddy puddles on their way to the event.

At the door, they were greeted by servants in finery who ensured that no weapons were being brought in. Eiran, the elven ranger, had his long bow with him, but it was unstrung and cleverly disguised as a walking staff. The other party members were going in unarmed.

The event was as much an exhibit and formal dinner as an auction. Wealthy lords and ladies from all over the city were attending, showing off new gowns and bits of jewelry. The topics of discussion ranged all over from taxes to war to this year’s Festival of the Coin.

The central chamber where the event was held was a cavernous hall whose vaulted ceiling was held up high above, surrounded by marble pillars. A set of beautiful, very tall glass windows set in a gracefully curved wall formed the backdrop of the auction.

The historical items up for auction and sale were scattered about the great hall on tables and ledges, hanging from frames and stacked high. Oil on canvas paintings, tapestries, silk garments, silvered goblets, books, scrolls, armor and weapons were all on display. Many of these pieces dated back many centuries. More than a dozen security guards from the Rulander guild were standing guard, scattered about the hall, keeping a watchful eye on the guests and the treasures.

Eiran took up a position on a balcony overlooking the hall and discreetly strung his bow. He wanted a clear view and a clear shot in case there was trouble.

Ebrin Redeye and Ethos Paragon stayed close to Daschal. Ebrin would protect Daschal if there was trouble. Ethos would be the one to actually copy the letter. Since there were so many scholars in attendance, it would not look out of place for a scholar to be scribbling notes.

Daschal went over to the table holding a great number of books, scrolls and other documents. Ebrin and Ethos followed closely. Daschal perused several documents until he found a page, yellowed with age. He carefully placed it on top and gestured to Ethos. This was the letter. Ethos pulled out quill and paper and began copying the document discreetly.

N’Sahd and Ebrin both noticed several members of the Grey Guard guild hovering near by. They both noticed that several of these Grey Guard members seemed to be discreetly communicating with a nod or gesture. One of them was taking up a position near a large crystal cabinet on the far side of the room. Another was moving over close to Daschal.

The Grey Guard sprung their trap before the party could act. The Grey Guard member standing on the far side of the room tipped the crystal display cabinet, causing the entire thing and all its contents to come crashing to the marble floor. The noise of the crash was tremendous and every head in the great hall turned toward the noise.

At the same moment, the Grey Guard member closest to Daschal reached out for him. Ebrin, seeing this, grabbed the Grey Guard. The three of them suddenly and quietly blinked out of existence leaving only a few glowing glyphs hanging in mid air where they had been standing.

Alan and N’sahd, seeing this and seeing the glyphs, knew immediately what had happened. The Grey Guard warrior must have activated some kind of magic item. The spell was some kind of a short range teleport spell, similar to a Dimension Door or something of that nature. Based on the glyphs, they deduced that it was, in fact, very short range… perhaps to minimize the amount of magical energy expended.

Ebrin found himself suddenly standing outside in the mud and rain next to Daschal. They were surrounded by seven Grey Guard rogues who had their swords out and were advancing. They were all in the garden just outside of the great hall, next to the curved wall with the tall windows. They had been teleported only about 30 yards.

Mark immediately used his magic boots to leap out of the group and landed on a tiny ledge high up on the side of the building between two of the tall windows. He looked back down just in time to see the grey guard warriors stab Daschal whose lifeless body fell into the mud. The men then looked up threateningly at Ebrin.

Ebrin pulled out two of the alchemical grenades that Alan had made and flung them at the men below. The two grenades detonated simultaneously scattering the group. The impact of the explosion shattered the tall windows sending shards of glass raining into the lords and ladies inside the great hall.

Chaos erupted in the great hall as screaming people fled in every direction. Tables were over turned. Priceless treasures were trampled under foot. The guards and nobles in charge of the event shouted for order.

Ethos, who was busy copying the letter by hand, heard the crash of the cabinet in the distance quickly followed by the explosions and shattering windows. Amidst the chaos and noise, he deftly pocketed the letter, grabbed Alan and started heading for the door.

Ebrin, meanwhile, was still clinging to the rain soaked stone wall of the mansion. The grenades had killed three of the seven men. The Grey Guard swordsmen below him picked up their dead and Daschal’s body and began to flee. They ran through the garden away from the mansion. Ebrin leapt down and ran after them into the stormy night.

N’sahd, struggling through the fleeing crowd, found the chief of security and head wizard of the hosting guild and told them of the attack perpetrated by the Grey Guard upon Daschal. N’sahd identified himself as a member of the Swordtongue Guild and told them about the teleport spell.

Meanwhile, Ethos and Alan made it outside moving quickly with the fleeing crowd. Once outside, they headed into the rain swept streets and vanished into the city. They had the letter, but both feared that the letter might be tracked by some sort of spell. Once they were well out of sight, they headed back to the Swordtongue Guild at a full run.

Within moments, the security of the host guild shut the doors and locked the mansion down. No one was allowed to leave without being inspected. Group by group, people were checked and let out.

N’sahd, leading the security of House Rulander, out to the gardens, found only blood stains in the wet grass. There was no sign of Daschal, the Grey Guard or Ebrin. While talking with the chief of security and house wizard, the house wizard mentioned something about using a tracking spell to find any pieces that may have been taken in the confusion.

Ebrin pursued the Grey Guard through the city district until they met up with another group. Outnumbered and fearing discovery, he fled into the night and headed back toward the Swordtongue Guild.

N’sahd and Eiran both headed back to the Swordtongue guild, albeit by different routes.

Twenty minutes later, all party members had gathered at their guild. N’sahd arrived and immediately told the others of the tracking spell.
Arkril, the house mage of the Swordtongue guild, quickly put the letter into a lead lined chest.  It was hoped that this would be enough to foil any tracking spell they might use to find this stolen letter until such time as Arkril could use his own magic to prevent tracking and scrying.

And so ended Session 4.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2009, 08:45:44 PM by David Roomes »