Fallen

Interlude the Second
From "The Rise and Fall of Jhaamdath"

By -276DR the former Psiocracy of Jhaamdath had fallen beyond all hope. A coup d'etat had displaced the psychics that had ruled for millennia and saw them replaced with a brutal military empire. For decades the new Jhaamdathian Empire projected its power across the Sea of Fallen Stars, conquering and slaughtering all before them.

The Elves of Nikerymath were the only ones to hold their own, but still struggled to prevent the wholesale destruction of their forest homes. In desperation they turned to ancient Elven High Magic, and called forth a tidal wave to sink the entire area around Jhaamdath Bay. Overnight the empire was shattered, her armies ceased and her power extinguished.

All was not well in the former empire. Agents of evil, Demons and their ilk, moved into the remaining Jhaamdathian cities. Seeing what his former followers had been reduced to Tyr took pity on them. He called upon his greatest mortal servants to bolster the ranks of his celestial army and marched on the former lands of Jhaamdath. The Procession of Justice took place in -247DR and saw the complete cleansing of Jhaamdath which paved the way for the founding of Chondath a few centuries later.

Following the procession Tyr is said to have elevated his surviving mortal warriors to angelhood, before sending them into the world to find and re-consecrate the temples lost during the years of the Jhaamdath Empire. 

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Raiders of the Lost Pyramid
1st Day of Uktar

Following the gentle slope down into the campsite Sandrina and Rynn moved ahead silently to conduct a standard recon. As is true of any standard recon Sandrina failed to check a tree for traps and proceeded to alert the camps inhabitants. Throwing caution to the wind the party charged in, finding several Lizardfolk guarding the camp and an adjacent excavation. The fight was short and full of fire, and ended with the Lizardfolk all deceased.

The camp was an interesting mix of standard tents and bedrolls, seemingly occupied by humans, and more traditional Lizardfolk lean-toos. It was almost as if the Lizardfolk were working together with whichever humans were in the camp. Exploring further revealed what had been excavated, the capstone of an ancient pyramid buried in the swamp. The strangest find however was that the ground around the pyramid was dry, no water from the swamp seemed able to leach into the diggings.

Further west they found another excavation, this one descending over one hundred feet underground to an ancient entrance. The entrance had been reinforced and seemed to have been well used over the last few weeks, but had all its traps reset to delay anyone coming behind. Through the entrance chamber the adventurers encountered the source of the Lizardfolk attacks, a corrupted Lizard King. The fight was over so quickly that Saggy didn'y even get onto range.

The King was carrying the journal and also the combined works of the archaeologists, whom he had slain in frustration over the last few days. Armed with this information they were able to begin deciphering the puzzle of the Pyramid. The six side chambers each had a smaller puzzle that required solving to reveal the stones needed to open the main door. Through some trial and error, some genius and some blind luck they found all six stones. With the correct order deciphered from the translations of the door text the main door slid silently into the floor

Quickly dispatching a few stray Hellhounds, thankfully before Bruce could attempt to tame one, the party moved up to the next level of the Pyramid. Here they found the guardians of the temple, a Bone Devil and its minions. The fight was long and tough but the adventurers finally prevailed, finding themselves in front of the altar of the Pyramid. Recovering quickly Saggy pulled out the consecration scroll provided by Brastan and read it aloud. 

Their world turned black…

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Journal of Jendir Ivrendy – Archeologist
Found amongst the bodies in the Pyramid

Journal of Jendir Ivrendy – Archeologist

14th Eleint

We have finally arrived in Calaunt, just short of two ten-days out of Alaghon. Tomorrow we meet our guide who will take us north into the Flooded Forest. Hopefully we can find the evidence we are seeking, that our ancestors in Jhaamdath did indeed spread north across the Sea of Fallen Stars! Tovec and Stum have joined me from the Museum, both eager to find any artifacts. Crast has travelled all the way from Impultur, being an expert on ancient Thorass texts she will be vital in helping translate any texts we are able to find.

15th Eleint

Today we met our guide, Evan, a ranger from Ylraphon that knows these lands as well as anyone. He has suggested we return to a boat and sail up the Dragon Reach to north of Ylraphon, and then land and trek towards the dig site.

17th Eleint

We are in the swamp! Although it is uncomfortable, wet, and full of biting insects, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Evan has said we are only a day or two away from the first site, and the second is not much further from that. None of us can wait to get into the dig!

18th Eleint

The first site, our first dig, this will be hard work. The land looks promising, Stum is confident he can make out some indications of foundations under the surface, and Tovec has already uncovered several pottery shards.

21st Eleint

That was a waste of time. Three days digging and nothing but flooded holes and sinking mud. The foundation Stum was sure of was nothing but a natural sediment bank, and Tovec’s artefacts appear to be nothing but recent remnants of a local tribe.

22nd Eleint

Evan has led us to a second site, this one shows much more promise. Tovec was the first to notice that even though the area we are in is in a slight hollow, the ground is surprisingly dry. Evan has known of this place his whole life, but local belief is that there is a natural underground drain in the area. Stum is not so sure, and has begun digging in the very centre of the dry patch.

26th Eleint

Success!!! Stum has found a buried structure! We spent the day clearing what we could, and it appears to be the cap of a pyramid. Could this be it? Could this be a Jhammdathian ruin? I know the first Jhaamdathans built tombs and temples as pyramids out of ease and convenience, but such grand structures were only ever found in and around the capital. Even then they only built them for a few hundred years. There is something very special about this place.

27th Eleint

There is too much to dig! Evan has suggested we bring in some help, and even has some people in mind to come and help. He wants to leave to organise them, which we have all agreed to, we shall remain here and continue digging. Perhaps we will find an entrance to the pyramid!

29th Eleint

Tovec has had a breakthrough! He has identified a series of inscriptions on the capstone, indicating the direction of the complex entrance. He has deduced it is to the west, but without knowing the size of the pyramid we will be guessing. We have set out an area to begin digging in.

30th Eleint

Evan has returned with his diggers. Lizardfolk!!! I never thought I would live to work side-by-side with Lizardfolk! Evan assures us these are from a friendly tribe, one known to him and his family for almost a century. They certainly seem friendly enough, and more than willing to help. Some of them can even speak a little common! It is going to make the work much easier.

2nd Marpenoth

The Lizardfolk are digging well, they continue to excavate the capstone and have started on the possible entrance. It’s interesting, but their foreman – Jokizu – has indicated the ground they are digging in is, unusual. Now that he has mentioned it, the ground here is very dry.

3rd Marpenoth

Jokizu has finally briefed us on his findings, this pyramid has been accessed before! There is an old tunnel that was dug down and since filled in. We shall continue to excavate, who knows what other surprises await us!

6th Marpenoth

Jokizu has brought in more of his tribesmen to assist in the digging. They hope to be at the entrance in another day or two. Crast continues to take rubbings of the capstone, she is perplexed that there are so little writings on the stonework.

8th Marpenoth

We have found the entrance!

9th Marpenoth

Jokizu and his crew have cleared the entrance, a grand stone archway that seems to lead to the pyramid proper. They are going to reinforce the old tunnel so we can get into the Pyramid. Crast has been working on translating the writing on the archway, but as it is not in any form of Thorassian she has ever seen it may take some time.

 

10th Marpenoth

We are at the door! Evan has found a trap that still functions at the entrance, but he has shown us how to avoid it. Crast and Stum has concluded that this pyramid is not of Jhaamdathian origin, but something much older. They think the writing on the entrance is a hybrid of infernal and celestial, only much older. Even Tovec agreed, saying that the stone seemed to indicate something older than Jhaamdath, perhaps into the Elven Age of the Crown Wars.

14th Marpenoth

This has been too exciting! We have spent days inside the pyramid, and still seem no closer to understanding its origins. The central chamber houses a sealed door that leads deeper inside, Stum has found the lock mechanism but is unable to breach it. There is a large inscription on the door, one that appears much more recent than the age of the pyramid would suggest. So far none of us have had any luck translating it. There are six side chambers, each seeming to hold some sort of puzzle. Perhaps this is the key to opening the sealed door?

17th Marpenoth

Tovec has found something! With Crast’s help they have translated an inscription in the 3rd chamber.  It seems that this pyramid was discovered by a Jhaamdathian expedition some 6000 years ago! Whatever it was originally has been lost, but the Jhaamdathians consecrated it as a temple to the Arrtyr. It is strange the that we cannot find any other references or symbols to Arrtyr, almost as if something has removed them.

19th Marpenoth

I have made some progress around solving the mystery of this pyramid. It was indeed a temple to Arrtyr for seemingly thousands of years, before it sunk into the Flooded Forest as it formed almost 3000 years ago. Sometime in the last two centuries someone dug down and accessed the pyramid. This is when we feel the sealed granite door was modified with the new inscription, and the references to Arrtyr removed. It remains a complete mystery as to who or why, as none of us can translate the door writtings.

23rd Marpenoth

This is frustrating! We cannot for the life of us solve this puzzle! Evan has sent for someone else that he says can help, hopefully he is right!

24th Marpenoth

Another Lizardfolk has joined us, but he is…different. The others are more than happy to help, but this one is somehow darker. He has already sent the majority of the diggers away, and armed the ones that remain. That said he does work fast! He brought several scrolls and was able to access one of the puzzle rooms! The room had a series of stones with unknown runes on them, he stepped out a word causing a pedestal to raise with a small stone on it. He placed the stone in a hole above the sealed door and it locked in place!

It seems there are six stones, one from each room, and they must be placed in a particular order above the door to unlock it. The text on the door reveals the order! Now we just have to solve the other five puzzles!

28th Marpenoth

This is madness! The dark lizard has killed them all! Crast and Tovec died in the second chamber when their arms were lost, Evan and Stum have been executed and dragged into the 4th chamber. I know I am next. The dark lizard could not solve the other puzzles, and in frustration smashed a model of the temple, finding another stone. If only it had given us the scrolls it had, we could have translated everything and solved the puzzles. Instead it refused to and has resorted to brute force…

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Dungeons and ... wait for it ... DRAGONS!
28th Day of Marpenoth

After fighting the mushrooms the consensus was to head south, deeper into the swamp. After some time the party found an old path, partly laid out with boards, as well as a feeling that they were being watched. The watchers were revealed as a group of Kobolds, desperately defending the lair of their master. Although the small creatures fought bravely they were no match for the seasoned adventurers.

E'vonal had set her lair in the Flooded Forest away from other Black Dragons. She was young, brash, and had barely enough time to amass a modest horde. She felt that the sunken dwarven outpost, concealed as it was by the moist mound, would protect her from probing adventurers. Of course she had not counted on probing adventurers with artifacts of the Earth Cult that could dig through anything. Caught off guard and without her minions her short life was mercilessly cut short, and her treasures divided amongst her killers.

In a way she had some revenge, causing Saggy and Bruce some minor bowel discomfort as they sampled the delicacy that is Dragon meat. And so they became sentient eaters, on the same level as the goblinoids and underdark dwellers.

Resting overnight the party considered their next move. It was decided to head towards a soft light they could see in the distance, it appeared to be a campsite of some description. Clever use of walk on water saw them cover the distance to the camp in record time.

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A Prickly Interlude (or Treating Your Players Like Mushrooms)
23rd to 27th Marpenoth

An uneventful journey brought the adventurers back to the Hog and Thistle on South Rd. Here they met up with Gavin again, who was quite happy to see them and even more happy to impart some friendly information. Including that Braston was here and would love to see them. And love to see them he did. 

The party had found an almost complete map in the Temple of the Crashing Wave, which marked the location of the Temple of Tyr in relation to the Dwarven fortress and the local landscape. Braston was so eager for the party to find it and clear it for him he offered a small fortune as payment up front, with more to come after completion. Some assurances about the remains of the Elemental Cults were made, and the party agreed to find the Temple. Braston gave them a scroll that when cast would consecrate the temple long enough for Braston to return with a team of priests to perform the appropriate rituals.

Newly wealthy and in no particular rush, the adventures then proceeded to take a three day bender. Somehow remembering on the third day to rise and go do what they had been paid to do. The Temple of Tyr was located a few days march south, in an area now known as the Flooded Forest. When the map was made the Temple was somewhere between the Rivers Lis and Dalfon, an area that is now a vast swamp known as the Flooded Forest.

Finally away they trekked south along South Rd, a journey that took them past the easternmost reaches of the Cormanthor forest. By noon on the second day they found a small path leading west, and proceeded to change direction. Along the path they found the many and varied ecosystems that compose a living swamp, including a lovely patch of fungi that they all enjoyed very much. The shrieks that awoke them from a pleasant rest revealed a screaming tenticular party, which the party-pooping murder hobos quickly shut down.

 

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Crashing the Wave
22nd Day of Marpenoth

The adventurers well earned rest was suddenly interrupted by the final troll returning, along with some Lizardfolk that also inhabited the temple. Fighting groggily they were able to defeat the troll and its minions quite quickly.

Moving cautiously the party returned to the marketplace, intent on finding any loot they may have missed. Argos, rather than looting, found himself drawn to the giant brass gong at the water's edge. Giving in to curiosity he picked up the large mallet and struck the gong. As the sound reverberated around the entire complex the lake began to bubble, and the giant head of a Turtle Dragon rose curiously from the water. Not knowing it was in the service of the Cult, the adventurers foolishly offered their services to help free the Dragon. It showed its refusal with a stream of superheated steam breath.

Choosing discretion over valour, they quickly rushed across the marketplace and headlong into wherever the next corridor took them. Finding another bridge over the canal that ended at perhaps the most ornate door yet, Sandrina chose to finally not check for traps. Of course, there was a trap. Inside was the heart of the temple, an area that was most likely the chambers of the cult's leader and high-priests. Instead they find only a few Lizardfolk and a summoned Hezrou Demon left to guard the chamber. 

To the west they find another portal chamber, this one guarded by a Mezzoloth. It is strikingly similar to the previous one they found, differing only in the main rune in the centre. Doubling back they stumble upon the Cult leader's private stash, seemingly left behind in the rush to evacuate. Further south an ancient distillery had been converted into a storage area for some form of minor water elemental, with Saggy managing to take one in its storage container. 

Just off the underground lakes shore a small party of Lizardfolk had set up camp, seemingly preparing to move in to the now re-abandoned complex. The adventurers were able to defeat them, but at the cost of loosing the fighter, Corbi. The copious amounts of treasure found did make up for some of the loss. After a small escapade across the lake to see off some water-ghouls, which took far too long to plan, the decision had to made as to push on or leave. After much discussion they decided to leave, regroup, and plan their next move.

 

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Crashing Into Adventure
22nd Day of Marpenoth

Fresh from vanquishing the Cult of the Black Earth the adventurers continued through the ancient Dwarven ruins seeking further riches and people…to kill…

Entering a collapsed chamber the party were cautious of the leering gargoyle above a pristine pool, remembering the last time they encountered a Gargoyle. After investigation it appeared to be a normal statue, with the true threat only emerging after they moved on. Having avoided the tripwire alarm on approach the guards were not alerted to there presence, allowing the party to almost surprise the guards in the first guard room. Beginning the attack distracted them from the Nothics sneaking up from behind, and they found themselves under attack from two fronts.

Defeating the first guards they discover this part of the complex contains a large canal, the source of the cold, wet air that permeates the area. Further in they find another guard room, but this time they are waiting in ambush as the door was opened. Although putting up a fierce fight the Cultists of the Crushing Wave were no match for the brave murder-hobos.

After discovering a large underground lake which gave them an idea of the size of the complex, the adventurers push on over the canal and into a new area. Off a chamber with the remains of a beautiful merfolk statue the party was surprised by two ogres and their mistress, a Sea Hag. Even her hideous visage was not enough to stop the adventurers defeating her and moving on.

To the north lay a large market place, an area that the cult was using as storage for food and supplies. As the adventurers entered the cultists were busily packing what they could ready for transport, it appeared that they were preparing to abandon the complex. While most of the party prepared to engage in the marketplace Corbi had investigated south, finding a door she could not help but open. Unfortunately the door hid two rather irate trolls who ensured Corbi was unable to return to the group.

Copious amounts of fire and acid made short work of the cultists and trolls. Argos was finally able to use fireball as intended, almost destroying the cultists with a single blast. With all enemies defeated the party decided to rest in the Troll Hole, which seemed like a good idea at the time…

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Cleaning House
21st Day of Marpenoth

With Marlos defeated the Temple of the Black Earth fell almost silent. Marlos had already given the order to retreat, resulting in the cult members all fleeing the Temple and leaving only automatons and monsters behind.

The adventurers moved north, finding an entrance chamber guarded by another ancient Dwarven Golem. They defeated the Golem and briefly pondered exploring the long tunnel leading West but thought better of it. Joined again by Argos and Corbilette they looted Marlos' library and re-examined the portal circle. Finding nothing immediately Argos decided to study what he could as they continued on.

Further south they found the old forge, recently abandoned but still holding some left over treasures. Nearby they found one of the last cultists to leave, the torturer Heldorm. With a swift blade to the back he was dispatched by a disguised Saldrina and the chamber looted. Meanwhile, Corbilette opened another door and discovered the southern guardpost, occupied by five ogres. Thinking quick she ordered them to follow Marlos' instruction and evacuate, which having no reason to doubt, they did so.

A quick detour to dispatch a squatting Ettin and finally to finish off the two remaining Bullettes and the Temple of the Black Earth was finally empty. Another quick rest and the party debated whether to return to the surface or explore a tunnel heading to the south. Using his expert Dwarven senses Sagluen convinced the party to continue exploring.

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The Temple of the Black Earth
21st Day of Marpenoth

Argos and Corbilette chose to stay behind to investigate the Mud Priests works, reducing the party to three. They were joined by a lost fighter, Grug, who had seen his companions seperated and killed by the Black Earth Cultists. 

Pushing forward the adventurers retraced their steps through the Gatewarden's Quarters, past a crude statue of Ogremoch, before finding another barracks room occupied by several cultists, knights and a priest. The fight was long and almost went badly, with the knights flanking the group putting pressure on the magic users. It was only the well timed arrival of Saggy that turned the tide against the cultists.

Sighting an ornate door they could not resist the adventurers found an ancient magic circle. Even combining knowledge and experience none could decipher the strange runes that appeared to control the circle. Before they could leave the circle activated, opening a portal which deposited a very confused ranger into the Temple. Thalar, although disorientated, offered to join the adventurers as he saw this as his only way home.

Deciding to skip exploring large sections of the Temple, they made their way north to a large, natural chamber. Strangely the chamber contained a dozen stone statues, chillingly lifelike in their depictions of terror and pain. Grug was brave enough to step forward to investigate, and fell victim to the gaze of Marlos. Turned to stone he could only watch as the other adventurers rushed in to confront the Medusa. Marlos fought to defend his Temple, but his over-confidence was his downfall. Sandrina cleverly used Mage Hand to float a small mirror in front of Marlos, and finally he succumbed to his own curse turning to stone and then to mud.

Spent after two draining fights, the adventurers settled down again to rest.

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Marlos
20th Day of Marpenoth

Pondering his many statues Marlos was beginning to grow worried. The interlopers had penetrated the Monastery above and had actually entered the Temple.

"My Lord," began Yarsha, "Miraj has failed in his defence of the Temple, he needs to be replaced before they…
"Enough! I alone shall decide the fate of this Temple. I alone shall decree who is responsible for its defence." Marlos was in no mood to have his leadership or judgement questioned.

Yarsha scurried off, collecting the few Cultists still loyal to her and making her may to the Portal. Perhaps the Temple would be lost, but the Black Geode would never fall. She had to bring forward her plans, ad would have to again if Marlos was not able to prevent the Temple falling.

Marlos sent word to the Genasi, Miraj, to prepare for the adventurers return. He wanted contingents placed in the barracks and the old gatewardens quarters, Miraj could personally watch the south and he would finish the adventurers if they made it to his personal chambers. Clutching his pickaxe Marlos made ready for the invaders to come again.

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