Dark Waters of Freeport

The Madness Ends

One of the first things they notice when they arrive home is that Seer is acting even more unusual for herself, almost sadistic. The other detail they realize is that the cube with the 16th sigil is missing. They will have to search for it once again. Even after restoring Trista to life Seer continues to threaten and scream at anyone that will listen. Dyson agrees to watch over her to help her through this. The party returns to the labyrinth to continue the quest for the Azoth Stone. Upon arrival in the grand chamber they investigate the tower that over-looks the underground jungle, and find nothing of interest. Moving on to the only other visible structure of the space they find two bedrooms guarded by some giant scorpions with snakes for tails. At the bottom of one of the traps is the 13th sigil. Beyond the bedchambers is a prison that houses over a dozen serpent creatures. It appears they were attempting to breed them for food. Next the heroes examine steps they hug one side of the massive chamber. At the top they get ambushed through hidden arrow slits. Inside are several fire salamander and fire elementals all among the ruins of a huge ancient forge. All this reminds them of an active forge they liberated from Limbo, that was being used to construct an artifact to the Unspeakable One. The fight with the fire creatures is joined by a powerful Efreeti. After everything cools off they discover the missing cube and the not just the 16th sigil, but they also find the 18th hidden inside a secret compartment within it. All that is needed is the 19th, and they quickly locate it at the bottom of a pool. Now that they are armed with all 20 sigils they attempt to obtain the eight puzzle pieces from some animated statues they encountered earlier. Unfortunately they can only acquire seven of them, and deduce that the eighth must be obtained by an evil creature, and decide to seek K’stallo’s aid for what they hope to be the final assault. Before returning with their new ally they destroy two magical black shards that were taken off the Yuan-Ti priest. This seems to free Seer of her current episode of madness.

After escorting K’stallo through his ancestors’ labyrinth in order to acquire the 20 sigils and 8th piece, they enter the grand chamber. The only unexplored section remaining is a pit that no light can enter. In the pit is a long unopened chest with several drow crafted items and hallway leading into the side if the mountain. This hall leads them through a tomb filled with countless undead guardians. K’stallo believes this to be leading to the tomb of the traitorous high priest Im-Ravin who was responsible for the destruction of his ancient empire so many eons ago. After overcoming the traps and undead, several unknown to Theo, they reach the tomb. Here they encounter two of the most powerful advisories they have ever met, a snake like demon, and Im-Ravin himself. During the battle, Seal is decapitated by the demon and Basil is rendered so weak she can’t lift a finger. Many others are somehow paralyzed despite their defenses against such things, leaving only Tray and Theo to finish him off. After his destruction they free themselves of most of the afflictions and search for his phylactery. K’stallo is unwilling to leave until it is found and destroyed. After hours of searching it is found down a narrow crack in the wall and sitting on the ethereal plane. Several more hours of planning leads to its destruction by Trista.

After restoring Seal to life they return the next day. Armed with all 20 sigils and all 8 puzzle pieces, they open the pyramid to gaze open the massive Azoth Stone. A booming voice congratulates them all and offers godlike reward to each of them. All they have to do is step forward and touch the evil artifact. Frank makes an attempt to do so, but is stopped by most the others. During the confusion Basil slips invisibly in and lays her tiny hands on the crystal and is never heard from again.

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The Grand Chamber

Now armed with sigils 1 – 12 they follow the escape route of the Undead Master. Swimming down the shafts they get caught in a spinning trap, when the trap finally stops they are attacked by a Black Dragon. After some minor wounds from melting flesh they descend further down. At the bottom of the shaft is an octagonal room with eight statues surrounding a pool of silvery liquid. It appears to be a dead end until someone touches the pool and is transported away. They find themselves in a massive multi-leveled underground man-made cavern filled with dense vegetation, hot humid air and the buzz of flying insects. A brief scouting of the area via the air determines that most the cavern is a dense forest. However, there are several landmarks; a section of total darkness, a small tower, some stairs leading up the side of one wall, a building in one corner and a pool of water in another. But the most intimidating sight is a stepped pyramid that dominates the entire cavern. Just then they are attacked by the yuan-ti wizard that previously escaped their grasp. Shortly after, the fight is joined by the cleric that they chased here, along with an unknown psion and a rogue. All of the yuan-ti use the underbrush to hide themselves between attacks. In the distance standing on the pyramid is a massive monstrosity. It has the basic shape of a 20 foot tall serpent, but it is comprised of a mass of snakes culminating with six long serpents projecting from the torso. What ensues next is the longest and most intense fight of the heroes’ career. Each side trading blows, the difference is Theo’s ability to cheat death, while the yuan-ti died one at a time. He is able to bring back both Seal and Basil from the beyond death. Unfortunately, he is unable to save Trista and will attempt to restore her tomorrow. Amid all the chaos of combat Fherrol hears a female voice coming from a mundane dagger acquired earlier. It is not only demanding to be used, but for him to find her “brother”. He does use the weapon to good advantage but waits till after the contest to search for the brother. After over three minutes they are surprised to realize they have won the day. They quickly strip the dead bodies, dig up a matching dagger along with a large cube that has the 16th sigil on it, then head home to lick their wounds.

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Deeper into the Madness

Undaunted, they search the room and discover sigils 10 and 15. They release 6 serpent creatures from the cages and find them hesitant. None the less, they escort them back to their people who are still defensive and cautious towards them. When they return home they inform K’Stallo and take him to the cavern. He is impressed by the massive numbers of his people still living as a community.
They return to the labyrinth multiple times, each time finding devious traps but they are able to add new sigils to their arms. Then once again retracing their steps to find new areas to the madness. When they step through an unknown portal they enter a large chamber with flowing water. Here they encounter two large Yuan-Ti and several powerful undead. One Yuan-Ti is a psionic fighter type the other seems to have power over the undead. They are able to corner and slay the fighter, however the cleric escapes into the water and out of the chamber. .

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Puzzles within Puzzles

Realizing they can go no further in the Labyrinth they decide to retrace their steps once again. As they do, they discover the teleporting trap that befuddled them before now takes them to an entirely different location. This stage puts them into a devious trapped room that turns their belongings into searing hot metal. Some of them bypass this ploy by stripping naked and discover a minor treasure room. More importantly, they discover sigils # 5 and # 17. This leads them to once again to retrace their previous actions and return to the level of mind switching so they can acquire sigil # 6. However, the group once again overcomes this ruse by going in one at time. As they do this, they notice a once empty room now has a wall with a dozen keys hanging on it. One of the keys is blue and they believe it can be used to enter the unenterable room (from scene 42). Everyone takes at least one key. Some have already shown to be jinxed, perhaps some still have yet to be realized.
The Blue key does indeed open the door to the unenterable room. There they are challenged by yet again another puzzle. In order to cross the room you most step on various colored squares. After much trial and error they discover they must maintain a single color to cross, only to find their way blocked by a magical prismatic wall. With no way to bypass it they are forced to accept their fate and step through the barrier and face the consequences. After restoring their fallen comrades they continue on and discover sigil # 9 and # 12.
As they hunt for anything different now that they are armed with additional sigils, they find a new passage behind the manticore’s lair that was not there previously. Taking these stairs up they enter a tube like passage. At one end of the tube they notice a bizarre prison containing 7 cells with serpent creatures in each one. Before they can release any of them they come under attack by not one but two eye tyrants. They are able to defeat them but not without losses of their own.

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New Little Friend

They return home to lick their wounds and remove their scales. After examining what little they have recovered from the Labyrinth to this point, they find the only item of note is a ring of three wishes that they found at the bottom of a chest belonging to one of the Yuan-Ti they fought.
Upon their return to the site they decide to explore a new found passage that was not apparent to them earlier. They enter the serpents head and descend down the stairs. Almost immediately after reaching this level things start to get weird. A couple of the heroes find themselves in the body of one of their comrades. This causes several issues in regards to their ability to fight with someone else’s equipment, but most importantly the awkwardness of being in a friend’s body. They continue on, not knowing how to solve the problem. They find a room with many weapons scattered on the floor, a decayed body of a dwarf fighter, and the fresh body of a pixie. Upon examination of the pixie Theo activates an item on the body that restores the creature to life. She introduces herself as a preist to Boccob named Basil, and explains how she got here, realizing he has been here for over two hundred years. Having no place to go and being inquisitive he asks to join them and they agree. In the back of the same room the uncover sigil #6, but are unable to acquire it. Finally, in the next room they find and acquire sigil #4. In the last room they search they discover a secret chapel. In it they notice several things of interest. First, is a basin that seems to contain blood, second; a coffer with a rune boasting of great evil. They decide to leave both of these alone. Lastly they find an inscription:

Blue opens the unenterable room,
Red finds it way past the tyrant of eyes,
Iron seeks a chest in terrible gloom,
Emerald calls forth a beast of great size.

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Madness Found

As they search the Labyrinth they encounter a maddening array of traps, puzzles and creatures that test their patience. In addition to the trolls they have had to deal with medusas and manticores. Every time they damage the structure in any way they seem to draw powerful undead from the ethereal plane. Also notable has been 2 powerful serpent creatures that almost got the best of them. One was a monk with snakes for arms, and the other, a human looking alienist that has escaped. The key all their trials has been discovery of some of the strange sigils that the arcane attackers of Freeport had on them. So far they have acquired sigils 1, 2 and 3. They have also discovered sigil 20, but were unable to acquire it as of yet. The vexing issue with these sigils is that once acquired they reveal additional parts of the labyrinth that were previously unseen. So every inch of the maze must be reexamined after gaining new sigils.

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Search for Madness

After asking questions of the heads of the dead wizards and comparing that information with what Fherrol had told them they decide to search the northern coast of A’Val. After weeks of scouring the coast and the ocean floor they uncover an ancient lava tube and follow it into the heart of the mountain. They discover a gigantic enclosed cavern in the center of the island they have been living on for years and never knew of. It is infested with all sorts of primordial creatures, including dinosaurs, giant alligators, trolls and a community of serpent creatures. Atop a large stalagmite they find carvings of snakes that can be none-other than Valossan. Searching through the disturbing images they find several passages that are not only dead-ends but trapped. The fourth and final passage leads to an open room. As they descend they come under attack from powerful invisible fire giants, only to latter find they are trolls covered in illusions of giants. One of these “giants” spends the entire fight casting powerful spells and as the fight turns in the party’s favor, this spellcaster creates a prismatic sphere just of the Fatespinner did in Freeport.

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The Attack of the Six

After a month of research and planning in preparation of an imminent attack from six powerful wizards, the time has come. As the group waits at their appointed places in the city they see the distress call coming from Drac’s End. When they arrive they see several alien creatures rampaging through the city, but more importantly they notice students fleeing from the Freeport Institute. Racing through the academy they find professor Whitmire viciously slain and his office aflame. They track down the Alienist wizard in red dragon form and assault him only to have him teleport to safety.
Meanwhile, the others are attempting to locate one of their own. A wizard from the city guild has gone rogue and they have no idea of her intentions. During the search they see warnings coming from the Sea Lord’s palace and they split up even further. Trey and Frank sprint through the castle passing injured guards and thugs on their way. In what appears to be Marilise’s chambers they find Karl the Kraken and some friends along with an invisible Enchanter. Before even getting an attack off on him he magically walks through the wall and escapes.
All the while a stormcaster is pummeling the Fortress of Justice in an apparent attempt to aid the prisoners of the Tombs in escaping. As the entire party converges on him, he then makes his escape after causing severe damage to the forces and structures of the center of law and order in the city.

They decide a new strategy is needed.

A decision was made to stay together as a group to better deal with the attacking wizards and defend each other. Two days later another alarm goes up in the Merchant district. They race to the Plaza of Gold to see the statue of the deity Xerbo marching through the streets tearing up the vendors booths as it goes. Also, many citizens seem to be frantic or confused, but no sign of any attacking wizard. Moments later an alarm goes up in the nearby temple district and the heroes rush to find the temple to Procan engulfed in toxic fumes and the temple to Kord in chaos, as several members are attacking each other. At the heart of it all is a mass of tentacles that begins attacking them. After several rounds of combat with the party, it leaves to continue its attack on the temples. This time covering the temple of Trithereon in an acidic mist, and setting the libraries of the temple of Knowledge ablaze. They split their attention between stopping the destruction of the temples and killing the creature. None the less, they are able to defeat the creature and determine it to be the Wild Mage.

While all this was going on several other attacks have taken place around the city. The pirate Scarbelly has ordered his crew and other orcs from Bloodsalt to attack the docks. The city watch along with many citizens put up a good fight till the party arrives and settles things down. They find many dead on both sides, including MF. Scarbelly has somehow been put in an invisible prison much to his dismay. In the distant a barrage of lightning strikes hit the Lighthouse and the surrounding area. They latter learn the wizards guild was attacked with many area fire spells aimed at destroying the building and killing everyone in it. The structure was relatively unscathed except for the death of Tarmon, the guildmaster.
The very next morning all hell breaks loose. The party is attack as they stand guard in the tower wall and the streets of old town fill with bizarre creatures. When the smoke clears, they have managed to kill the Alienist and the Stormcaster, but Fherrol has died in the process. They latter learn the Mindbender was killed attempting to take control of the Syndicate.

The final tally is 4 of the Six attacking wizards have been slain, the Wild Mage, the Alienist, the Stormcaster and the Mind Bender. The Fatespinner has escaped and the Archmage was never seen.

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The Assault

After being loaned a sword to help in their quest they pack up and set sail once again through this miasma of elements. Fighting off an electrical monstrosity during an electrical storm. Ival leads them on the way to the White Slaads home. They see several slaads about to enter an unseen ingress. They attack them, and then head inside when they see a small opening appear. They chase slaads deeper into the floating mountain. As they go the see dead bodies of both slaads and other creatures obviously from a previous struggle.

They find a prison, and after killing the two grey slaad wardens, they investigate what prisoners are being held. They find:
1) Large Bronze male Dragon – Goes by the name of Dyson, not interested in killing anything but to help you get out.
2) Chaos Beast – left imprisoned.
3) Firre – A celestial creature that wants to help but is reluctant to face the white slaad.
4) Githzerai wizard – that just wants to get home.
5) Large troll with bat wings – left imprisoned.
6) Vampire – Killed by Theo while escaping.
7) Six armed demon – left imprisoned
8) Celestial Rhino – not very intelligent.
9) Grey slaad – accepted a dominate in order to be released

They release the dragon, the firre, wizard, rhino, and the slaad (under domination). All are sent to the ship except the slaad that shows them the way to his leader.

First they encounter a prepared Death Slaad that makes a hideous example of the dominated Grey salad, before himself being killed by the group. They quickly find the White Slaad waiting for them with reinforcements. Theo is able to dispatch most of the guards as the group surrounds the White, ignoring the remaining guards. Feeling threatened the White destroys Trista then Ricard. Still being outnumbered he fights for his life. Ival somehow sneaks invisible and begins removing items from the crazed frog’s pockets. After several rounds he seems to find what he was looking for and disappears, presumably to return the stone to Asmodeus. They are able to dispatch the slaad shortly thereafter.

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The Nightmare Becomes Real

Each attack against the black crystal is almost useless and met with mind-numbing sensations. Several of the heroes become stunned. Later we discover they just entered a dream state where they were enticed by something or someone. In this dream state some of them are able to overcome the temptations and attack the black pillar much easier than their counterparts in the real world. Once destroyed in the dream-world they easily destroy it for real.
They search and find the blacksmiths, at least the few that remain. Some of them are totally corrupted in their thoughts and wish to remain to finish their work. They are all taken to Neva’s monastery; there the party is rewarded with sanctuary and rest in this volatile world before continuing their quest.

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