The Player Characters
- Chichi – female halfling thief, level 4
- Elrond – male elf magic-user, level 3 (sort of)
- Gambit – female elf fighter, level 4
- Goldmoon – female human cleric, level 4
- Pedro – male human fighter, level 4
After a full night’s rest, the band of heroes collectively known as the Blacksmith’s Heroes ventured to the tower west of town to see Kheldratus the Magician about a job.
As they approached the tower, they noticed a white owl swooped into one of its topmost windows. They knocked at the heavy ornate door at the base of the tower.
Ivar, Kheldratus’ apprentice, answered the door. He led them upstairs into his master’s study.
It was a large room with a high vaulted ceiling. It had bookshelves for walls filled with books of various sizes, scrolls and various knick knacks. At the centre of the room was a huge brass globe of what must be their world. There were four naked iron statues equally spaced apart around the perimeter of the room along the walls. They had fig leaves covering their private parts and dark jewels for eyes. There was also a massive table that looked almost like an altar by the large window. On top of the table were alchemy tools, beakers and flasks, all bubbling and hissing with activity. Arcane notes were littered on top of the table, stained by splashes of chemicals from the nearby beakers. Beside the table was a large golden cage with a brown grey owl inside.
Ivar said that he was going to get his master while they wait in the study. He then told them to not touch anything while he was away.
The group decided to heed the warning and avoided touching anything. It didn’t stop them from looking around the room in the meantime.
After several minutes, Ivar returned to inform them that Kheldratus had to leave urgently but had given him instructions on what the mission for the group was. They were to go to an ancient temple ruin to the south about two days’ walk away. In it might be the long lost tome called the Book of Making. Kheldratus was sure that he was right about the location of the book this time.
It was to be a straight-forward job. They would enter the temple ruins, go down the stairs at the far end of the first chamber. Then they would see a huge set of double doors. Behind the doors would be a large hall where the Book of Making should be. Kheldratus’ research also revealed that if the book was ever taken from its resting place, the whole temple would collapse. Since the temple was still standing, logic dictated that nobody had gotten past the doors yet and that the book should still be there.
Gambit asked if they could get some provisions before they set out for the temple. Ivar then remembered that his master had wanted to hand them a few things that could help them with their task. Ivar again left the room and again reminded the group not to touch anything in the room.
As before, they didn’t touch anything in the room but Goldmoon quickly copied as much of the notes she could see on the desk before Ivar returned with a tray. On the tray were five flasks and four scrolls. The flasks were healing potions and the scrolls were spellcasting scrolls.
Once Ivar handed over the potions and scrolls to the group, he brought out a tiny pouch. He pinched some green sparkly dust from it and threw it at the fireplace. The fireplace exploded with cool green fire. He told them that they would be magically transported to several yards away from the temple ruin once they stepped through the green flames.
The temple ruin
Pedro went into the fireplace first and found himself sliding through a wormhole for a few seconds. He then fell on his feet in the middle of a grassy field. To the south, he could see a towering cliff face behind tall trees. Soon, Chichi, Gambit, Goldmoon and Elrond appeared beside Pedro. They supposed that the temple ruin would be in the direction of the cliff face.
After walking southward for a few minutes, they saw three hooded figures in green robes in the distance walking in a procession holding up something in their hands. Chichi trailed them while the others waited by the trees.
The hooded figures walked into a large vertical crack along the cliff face that allowed passage through a narrow gorge. At the end of the gorge was an open area surrounded by rock. On the south end was a monumental temple ruin with towering columns supporting a triangular pediment decorated by ornate carvings of celestial objects. The three robed figures walked into the temple through a huge open doorway.
Chichi hid in the shadows and waited for the figures to come back out. After half an hour, five robed figures stepped out walking in a straight line toward the narrow gorge. They no longer seemed to be carrying anything.
She let them walk away and once the coast was clear, Chichi called the others to follow her to the temple.
The green dragon
They entered through the open doorway and into a huge antechamber. They expected an empty room with stairs leading underground to the main hall where the Book of Making rested according to Ivar. The room wasn’t empty at all.
Right in the middle of the room was a green dragon about 15 feet long. It rested on top of a mixed pile of gold, silver and platinum coins. They’ve heard stories of dragons with huge treasure hoards before. This looked more like a younger dragon who had not yet had a chance to accumulate much treasure yet.
It had not noticed them. They scanned the room for the stairs and saw that it was at the far left corner buried in rubble. They couldn’t just run for the stairs and leave behind the dragon in the room.
Chichi started talking to the dragon and offered it gold. She asked the dragon its name. It said its name was Avaron.
She tried to convince Avaron to let them pass unharmed. Unfortunately, the dragon was only willing to do that if they left all their possessions on the ground to add to its growing treasure hoard.
Chichi tried a few different approaches to get through the dragon without a fight: she pretended to be a new follower much like the green robed figures she saw earlier and she even tried to convince the dragon to take a pee in the woods.
In the end, the rest of the team decided to attack the dragon while it was distracted talking to Chichi. They couldn’t risk confronting the dragon again later on the way out of the temple when they could be in a weaker state than right then.
Pedro swung his two-handed sword at the dragon but missed. Gambit let loose her arrows and hit it in the shoulder. Goldmoon struck it with her magical mace. While the rest of the team attacked the dragon, Chichi took the opportunity to step back, hide in the shadows and flank the dragon.
The dragon attacked them with its claws and blew poison cloud at them. Pedro absorbed much of the dragon breath. The battle continued for a few more exchanges until Chichi fired off an arrow at the dragon from behind. The arrow landed at the base of dragon’s neck killing it.
No longer would they ever be referred to as the Blacksmith’s Heroes. At that point, they declared themselves the Dragonslayers!
Taking inventory of the dragon’s treasure, they realised that there was more money there than the 1,000 gold pieces they were going to get paid for the job. All in all, there were 13,860 gold pieces’ worth of coins and items. They put all the loot they could get into large sacks. Meanwhile, Chichi took pieces of the dragon itself — a dragon tooth, its claws and a bit of its scaly hide.
They then cleared the rubble by the stairs and went downstairs.
The face on the door
At the bottom of the stairs was a narrow hallway and two huge grey metal doors off to the side. When they approached the doors, the surface of the doors started to shimmer and swirl. Eventually, a ghostly image of a face appeared on the metallic surface.
“Stop! Nobody crosses this door by me, unless they can answer my questions three!” boomed the deep voice of the face. It then proceeded to ask them a riddle.
Pedro asked what would happen if they failed to answer correctly. The face said, “I will demonstrate.” Then, the round gem at the top of the doors started to glow bright white and buzz, as if charging electricity. After a second, it shot a bolt of electricity at Pedro. He was surprised but relatively unhurt — that time.
Next Pedro tried to answer the riddle but it was not the answer the door wanted. “Incorrect!” shouted the door. Again, an electrical bolt shot him in the chest.
Pedro then asked if they could skip the question. Again, an electrical bolt shot him in the chest. But at least it asked them a new riddle.
Since Pedro could absorb a lot of damage, he survived the ordeal despite answering the riddles incorrectly several times. After a few more wrong answers and electrical shocks, they were eventually able to answer three riddles correctly.
The Book of Making
The double doors slowly opened inward to show a long nave. At the end of the nave was a dias and on the dias was a pedestal. On the pedestal was a dusty black iron book stand. And on the book stand was a red tome bound within hard brass plates chained around it and locked with a padlock.
Chichi inspected the surroundings and concluded that taking the book would trigger a trap but she wasn’t sure what the nature of the trap was. She decided to just take the book and made a run for it.
Once again, the ghostly face appeared on the surface of the doors and said, “stop! Nobody crosses this door by me, unless they can answer my questions three!”
They were trapped in the nave while the floor and the walls around them started to collapse into the abyss below.
Motivated by the desire to not fall into their deaths, they correctly answered three riddles more quickly that the last time.
The Valleian Elves
When the doors opened once more, they saw eight elves standing by the doorway. They recognised them as Prince Vesryn’s men, the Valleian Rangers, whom they met just yesterday.
Prince Vesryn wasn’t present. A different commander led this smaller band of rangers. Gambit and Elrond knew he was Calsion, one of Prince Vesryn’s trusted lieutenants. He seemed happy to see them alive in one piece.
He said they came over as soon as they found out that the group was in trouble. Gambit asked them how they could possibly know that.
Calsion reminded Gambit of the ring Prince Vesryn gave her yesterday — the ring that if you whisper into it the prince’s name, he would send help immediately. Calsion said they were also able to track them down through the ring.
He was also pleased that the group found the legendary Book of Making. It would be a very valuable asset in their cause.
The heroes asked how did they know that what they had was the Book of Making. Calsion explained that they heard them talking about it through the ring.
They asked what cause was the prince championing then. Calsion nonchalantly replied that their cause was for the elves to retake their rightful place as the dominant force in the world to which all the lesser races should submit.
Calsion then asked them to hand over the book to him. At that moment, all our heroes, including the elves in the team, decided that they weren’t going to give the book to Calsion.
Everybody started to tense up and was readying to fight until Chichi reminded everybody that the ruin was collapsing all around them. She asked Calsion if it was all right to continue their robust discussion outside. Calsion agreed and led them all outside into the open courtyard. The temple ruin finally collapsed into a rubble just as the last ranger stepped out of the building.
Once again, Calsion insisted that they hand over the book so that they can put it to good use. Elrond suddenly cast a Sleep spell on the elven rangers and put half of them to sleep. Goldmoon then cast a Hold Person spell that paralysed the remainder of the elves except Calsion.
The group told Calsion that they won’t give the book to him nor Prince Vesryn and walked slowly away. Gambit removed Prince Vesryn’s ring from her hand and threw it at the rocks. Calsion shouted back at them that they would regret what they’ve done that day but stayed behind to mind his disabled troops.
After a couple of days’ trek, the heroes were finally back at the town of Erstone. On arrival, Mayor Reuben quickly walked up to them. He told them that they’ve interrogated the goblin prisoners.
The goblins said that they were trying to move into the human settlements because they were being forced off their own lands.
By the elves.
To be continued…