4th Ed D&D In London

The Mausoleum
First Encounter

Arriving at the Shadowhaunt Mausoleum, the group fan out and search around the outside first of all, seeking clues as to the location of the two young boys believed to be held inside.

Aran Thule finds some small tracks leading up to the door, suggesting two heavier figures and one lighter.

The Mausoleum doors are heavy, but have been recently opened and the adventurers nervously head inside, wary of stories of haunted spirits. They see a rectangular room with three scarcoughagi on each side, all closed. Above each one, a statue rests on a small niche. The statues on the left are clearly representative of Pelor, God of the Sun, with those on the right being representative of Bahamut, father of Dragons. In the centre of the room, a large obelisk rises, writing in Common along it's side detailing the triumphant history of the Kaius Dynasty.

In the far right hand corner, one statue has been dislodged and lies on it's side on the ground.  

Cass seeks to lever the lid off one scarcouphagus, to the mild dismay of Des, but finds only a skeleton dressed in rusting chainmail. The skeleton is left undisturbed and the lid replaced. The group are baffled – how did three people come into this room with no other visible exits, yet leave without a trace of where they went?

Some more careful examination leads to a further clue – there are strange scuff marks and a slight draught coming from one side of the obelisk – signs of a secret door! However, the group still have no idea how to open it.

Whilst they puzzle this out, their attention is suddenly drawn to the far end of the room. A ghostly figure rises up through the floor. It is dressed in shabby robes that seem to fade away at the sides, drifting in an unfelt breeze. His face is indistinct beneath a cowl, and he bears no clear markings of any kind. He points towards Elwanen and intones in a rasping voice:

"Interlopers beware. If you trespass you shall not recognise the wisdom of my words. From entry sinister, the way becomes clear when the son follows the sire." He then falls silent.

Searching their knowledge and pooling their resources, the party crack the riddle:

* "From entry sinister" refers to a heraldric custom, and means the left hand side.
* "The son" could also be "the Sun" meaning Pelor, God of the Sun.
* "The Sire" could refer to Bahamut, sometimes called the Sire of all Dragonkind.

The party elect to move some of the statues around, eventually settling on a system of Bahamut / Pelor all round the edge of the room, starting with the statue nearest the door on the left hand side. The spirit seems pleased by this action, and as the final statue is placed one side of the obelisk grinds open slowly, revealing a flight of stairs leading down into darkness. The spirit sinks into the floor, and the party gather around the newly-revealed entrance, wondering what lies beneath. 

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Beginnings
Get This Party Started

On a fresh spring day in the town of Fallcrest, various people are drawn together into what might become a group to shake the foundations of the world…one day.

Aran Thule, a young halfling Ranger, and barkeeps daughter Cass Breenan are approached by an old explorer and map enthusiast to head north to the village of Winterhaven and make a map of the old keep that lies in ruins nearby. The two hatch a plan to get someone else to make the map and then to return it to gain the reward. Cass also realises this would be a good opportunity to ask around after her missing brother.

Meanwhile, across town, the sinister-looking Sabbat Fau and the young Wizard Theron speak to the wife of their friend and mentor, Douven Staul. He has gone north to Winterhaven investigating the alleged tomb of a Dragon, reasoning that where there is a tomb, there's treasure, but has not been seen for three months. His wife asks that they bring him back, to which they agree.

Lastly, the Tiefling Des (a Cleric who worships The Reason), and Paladins Elwanen and Rangrim Stoneborn are contacted in the main Temple of Fallcrest. They learn that about a year ago, a small group of Death Cultists were seen to be heading north towards Winterhaven, lead by a man named Kalarel. The priestess asks them to investigate and put a stop to any nefarious activity, offering a hefty monetary reward should they succeed.

The group encounter each other at the stables, seeking passage north – the stable-owner knows Cass as she has grown up in the area and asks them to take the goods caravan to Winterhaven. The spring thaws mean the village will be looking for supplies, and the innkeeper there will be happy to arrange things on his behalf.

After a few days travel, they reach the village of Linden Field, and stay in a small Inn named The Dragon's Tale. In the morning, they are awoken by silversmith Quinn Stasi rushing in looking for help – it seems his two young sons Steven Stasi and Richard Stasi have been kidnapped in the night. He knows roughly where they are being held, but he needs a group to bring them back. The various well armed-and-armoured adventurers agree to help out, to which Quinn is happy to offer a reward.

Asking around, they discover they are likely to be heading towards the Shadowhaunt Mausoleum, the final resting place of the Warlords of the Kaius Dynasty. Old Thom the beggar tells them he saw three hooligans heading that way with the two boys, but he is notoriously unreliable and a teller of tales.

The group head off to the Mausoleum to see what they can find… 

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The Heroes Gather
Their First Adventure!

In a small village south of Winterhaven, the adventurers meet for the first time and accept a quest to rescue two small children from a kidnap.

This adventure comprises the Worldwide D&D Day Adventure Into The Shadowhaunt. I appreciate that some players may have already run through it once (particularly JC, I know) but it should serve as an excellent short introduction to the game that can be finished in one session, on Monday, before we launch into Keep on the Shadowfell in the next session.

Anyone else noticing a preponderance of shadows in all of this?

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The Cathedral of Shadow

“Ok team,” began the Tiefling orator, “If our information is correct this be the final leg of our expedition. It’s been a long and difficult road, and we mean to end well. We shall need the kind of resounding victory worthy of a party of heroic adventurers [such as ourselves]! Now, has everybody prepared their one-liners?”

The adventurers nodded from one to another as they made there way through the passages beyond the hobgoblin guard rooms.

“Once again, I cannot over the importance of good delivery,” the Tiefling continued, “and the components of a well delivered one-liner are?”

Having prevented Winterhaven being overrun by undead the journey back to the keep, when not looking out for ambushes, had been spent engaged in vocal training courtesy of Des, who was now looking expectantly around the group. At first noone wanted to volounteer. Finally, from near the front of the marching order, Elwanen spoke.

”...Posture?”

“Good!” replied Des instantly, “And good posture demands…?”

Elwanen thought for a moment, ”...A wide stance, arms ready as if to grapple, and a… pertinant? ...angle at the neck.”

””Excellent, well remembered!” confirmed Des, “Who’s next?”

After a few moments, Aran, who had been leading the party through a series of junctions, spoke. “Erm… Essential component number two in a good delivery is… projection?”

“Exactly!” congratulated Des, “And projection demands…?”

“Projection demands… good posture… and resoluteness of purpose?”

“Now I can see your really getting it!” affirmed the Tiefling. The party now descended a short flight of stone stairs. The air had grown cold, very cold. There was a lingering sense of malignant forboding that oozed from the very stones themselves. “What comes next? Come on now, we’ve been over this, you should know it!” he continued.

There was some scratching of heads and blank looks as the party proceeded through a large empty chamber.

“If you are a bit eccentric people might say that you are a bit of a… ” prompted Des, helpfully.

“Devil worshipper?” offered Sabbat Fau the warlock.

“Liability?” improved Cass Breenan the fighter.

“Character!” resounded Theron the blue haired wizard, “Component number three in the good delivery of a one-liner is character. Essential the conveyance of character are posture, projection, and a phrase or saying with personal or cultural resonance for the speaker or, in many cases, the recipient. This may be adapted within the specific instance of the delivery.” he concluded. Theron was good at this. He reeled off the lines like one might the most simplest and commonplace of alchelmical formulae.

“Fantastic! 10 out of 10!” applauded des, “So we have: Posture precluding Projection, Projection precluding Character, and what does Character preclude?”

“Oh wait, I know this one!” began Ryam Rateater the halfling warlord, “Character precludes Timing!”

“Precisely!” said Des, “And with Posture, Projection, Character and Timing one may effectively deliver a witty and poignant one-liner, thus improving mole within ones own party, lowering morale amongst the opposition, and [of course] ensuring the worthy embellishment of tavern tales once the victors have repaired to the comfy armchairs of a safe and welcoming drinking establishment.”

“Thats the part i’m looking forward to!” added Aran. There were some nods of agreement.

“Now timing is without doubt the most elusive and unpredictable element of the four, and so we should perhaps spend some time looking at the intricies of opportunistic interjections…” began Des eagerly.

“No time!” interrupted Elwanen, “There’s a crate load of trouble up ahead, and it’s just fallen off the back of the ugly cart.”

The party had reached what looked like an antechamber. Ahead, an archway opened into a vast cavern-like space. Peering through the party could make out figures moving amongst the shadows cast by flickering torches. Idols to unnameable entities adorned the walls, and the smell of blood hung in the air. At an altar half-hidden in the darkness on the far side of the chamber the cowled figure of the Orcus Underpriest appeared brandishing a long, wicked looking dagger that dripped with blood. The floor of the room was slick with the sheen of a dark substance, slowly trickling across the flagstones until reaching a large grate in the center. Moving into view from behind formations of glowing quartz obelisks came wild and feral looking creatures, barely human, wielding axes and serated blades.

“Finally, The Cathedral of Shadow!” declared Ryam, “On my signal!...”

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