The Ashes of Neverwinter

To Find a Mad Sage

Giving up on the half-mad librarian, the party investigated the library itself. They found what looked like a catalogue index of sorts, written in baffling code. As for the stacks themselves, there appeared to be no discernible system for the thousands of books, librams and scrolls. Efforts to find texts on Gauntlgrym and Velantis were in vain.

Leaving the librarian tied up, the group returned to the undervault entry chamber, where they found Dergal sitting on the steps awaiting them. He asked what they had found, and then attempted to lure Erevan to him with an enchantment. The Eladrin shook off the attempt, but several more hooded cultists emerged from behind pillars, effecting dread fear and assailing the characters with black maces flowing with baneful fire. With Dergal hurling bolts of flame at the party, the struggle was fierce and desperate. Osborne reeled under the blow from a mace, then to the astonishment of his companions, changed form into a large rat.

However, the battle turned and most of the cultists fell, though Dergal vanished in a pillar of fire. On examination, Cirle determined that the fallen cultists were worshippers of Asmodeus. Furthermore, their black maces were crafted of a weird metal unknown to the party.

Seeking aid in case of a renewed attack by the cultists, Erevan roused the Neverwinter militia guards from a nearby tower on the wall. Their leader, Ranulf, asked questions about the library and the cultists, then secured the area with a dozen guards. He asked the party about their allegiance to the mercenaries and Lord Tiberius – who he claimed was in league with the Asmodi, and the party made ambiguous responses.

The party decided they needed to meet Tiberius for themselves, to tell him about the opening of the library and suss out his goals and motives. Though they had to endure skeptical questions from Mayor Galt first, they did secure a welcome from Lord Tiberius. He fed them well and asked their backgrounds. Then he explained his goal of restoring order and prosperity to Neverwinter. He pledged cooperation in Otis’ efforts to find and restore Gauntlgrym, and in Erevan’s quest to find recover lore about the fall of Velantis and find his lost companion. In return, the party endeavoured to work for Tiberius in a special capacity. Pleased with their meeting, invited them to stay at the well-appointed Moonstone Mask for a week and await instructions.

It became clear the inn was frequented mainly by Carian mercenaries. They met again with Captain Allyates, and drank long into the night with him. They boasted of opening the library and slaying several cultists of Asmodeus, and kept a watchful eye for any suspicious reaction.

In the morning, they learned that the Neverwinter militia the left guarding the library had made off with the deranged librarian Lanjis. Allyates was displeased, and sent the party to find Lanjis. First, they returned to the House of Knowledge and, questioning some of the squatters who live in the courtyard, learned that the librarian was taken down a steep side trail to the river’s edge, and rowed across to the Blacklake district on the far shore. Making inquiries, the learned that the Blacklake was largely outside the control of Tiberius, and Carian guards were often harassed and set upon by jeering locals when they ventured into the district.

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The party crossed the river and investigated the shore for signs of a boat. They found one hidden in some brush, and some footprints leading into the neighbourhood of abandoned buildings. After making inquiries about Ranulf, they found his house. However, a young women declared he was not home and them on their way. They had decided to investigate the largest tavern in the neighbourhood in the district, when a wagon sealed off the road and they were ambushed by several men and dwarfs in masks and grey cloaks. They made quick work of the ambushers, but a lone survivor fled into the byways of the once-prosperous neighbourhood. Examining the bodies, they found black a black clasp in the shape of a kraken on each of the cloaks. They put the clasps on their own cloaks and carried on the Driftwood Tavern.

Their appearance met with sullen suspicion from the proprietress, and one of the patrons departed quickly. After a stealthy exploration of the building turned up a meeting room with trap-door beneath, the characters lured the tavern-keep into the kitchen, threatened the final customer, and descended the ladder to the sewers below.

It became apparent from planks spanning the sewers at intersections that someone was using the sewers for secret access. Following the traveled route, they came to a winding natural tunnel that lead toward the river. This tunnel had several holes in the bottom that dropped into water.

The tunnel opened into a very large cavern with a deep, clear pool in the centre. In a ripple of water, a huge tentacle creature surged towards the party, goggling them with a black eye. The characters made the kraken clasps prominent, and the creature departed. Then they noted several tunnels exiting the pool cavern, some of them lit by lanterns.

Following one tunnel, they overcame guards and discovered an armoury. By threatening one of the captured guards with feeding to the kraken, they learned which of the passages led to the headquarters of the kraken society. They burst into a well-appointed chamber and surprised Ranulf, a gentleman called Arlon, Lanjis, and some guards. In the melee that followed, Arlon challenged Cirle to eschew magic and fight sword to sword like a man. He was hacked down, as were Ranulf and the guards. In the aftermath of the battle, the adventurers were once more faced with what to do with a furious and terrified sage of Oghma. They tied him, gagged him, and searched the room.

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New Recruits for the Wall
The Adventure Begins

It’s not worth it getting attacked by beholders and taken into a chasm by giant floating brain creatures for 20 gold pieces a week – Cirle Tormbringer

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A disparate group of outsiders meets in the lamplit hold of the Beached Leviathan, staving off the midnight gloom with strong drink and tales of woe and vengeance. Then the cry of “murder” from the night. Two mercenary Carian guards tip back their spirits, and set off to investigate. Erevan, Cirle, and Osborn follow. Otis, reluctant to face danger without his good steel haubeck and mail, lurches up to his room to arm himself.

The guards are already scrambling down the dilapidated old docks to the strand at low tide. Erevan’s keen eyes make out a figure running away to clamber up the flotsam on the far side. As the guards pass a dark hole beneath the docks, a horrifying creature lurches out, grabbing each in a tentacle.

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The party strikes the tentacled horror with a hail of spells and arrows. The creature bites off the head of one guard, and retreats into the sewer tunnel in pain and frustration, still clutching the other. Before it can escape, an acid arrow cast by Erevan slays the beast, and Otis, panting from his run from the inn, cleaves its twitching body with his great axes. The guard was already slain in the death throes.

On inspection, Osborn finds a crossbow bolt planted in the creature. Neither the guards nor the party were equipped with crossbows.

The following morning, Allyates, the captain of the Carian guards, pays a visit to the characters and asks keen questions about the person who ran away in the night. He then offers them paid jobs on the wall overlooking the chasm from which horrors routinely emerge to assail Neverwinter, which the characters accept.

Walking through the city, they pass the hulking ruin of Castle Neverwinter, guarded by a troop of Carians against the emergence of ghosts said to haunt the castle.

Before reporting for duty, Cirle wanted to visit the Hall of Justice, formerly a great temple to Torm. The temple is now a barracks housing many Carian mercenaries, and the seat of power of Lord Tiberius, an aristocrat from Waterdeep who took over administration of the Neverwinter eight years ago. After a long wait to gain admittance to the temple, Cirle met Nestor, a disheveled lay priest of Torm who was astonished to see a genuine holy knight of the God of Justice. A small quarter of the temple had been set aside for the worship of Torm, and Cirle made obeisance at the site, while Osborn pilfered a small offering.

When they reached the wall, the party saw the vast scope of the efforts to protect the city from the horrors of the chasm. Most of the guard towers were held by Carians, but some were held by local Neverwinter militia. It became clear that there is no love lost between the two groups. The party’s troop was commanded by Sgt. Ecto, afflicted with a weird green glow to an eye and an arm. He showed the characters the nearby House of Knowledge, that anchored one end of the wall.

Now occupied by ragged squatters, the ruined temple of Oghma was once home to a great storehouse of knowledge about Neverwinter. One of the squatters, a fair young man named Dergal, showed them the site. An apparent gateway to the library under the temple was protected by magic wards. However, careful inspection of the pillars in the vaulted chamber revealed arcane inscriptions. Erevan began copying the script for the ritual, but the party had to return to duty on the wall.

At dusk on the final night of their tour of duty, a crawling horde of giant centipedes poured over the wall, and in their wake a floating eye demon approached, blasting the defenders with spells, while in the distance several floating brain monsters trailed tentacles. In the desperate battle, Sgt. Ecto and several other guards were pulled off the wall by magic eye force, and passed to the brain horrors, which descended back into the chasm.

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Eventually, the eye demon floated away in the night, and only the twitching carapaces of dozens of slain giant centipedes remained. In the aftermath, accusations of cowardice were hurled at the characters by the neighbouring guardpost of Neverwinter militia, led by a stout warrior named Ranulf.

Disheartened by this uneven battle, the characters collected their pay and made off immediately for the House of Knowledge. There they finished the transcription of the pillars, and effected a spell that opened the gates under the ruined temple. Though the halls were guarded with cunning lightning traps, the party made their way to the vast archives in the undervault. In one chamber, they startled an old robed man, and struck him down with axes and magic bolts before he could finish casting a spell. Cirle mystically healed the old man, one Lanjis, who it turned out was a priest of Oghma tasked as the caretaker of the sealed and abandoned library. However, he obstinately proved hostile to those who had only recently slain him, and accused them of being robbers. Having bound the old man, the party now considers how to proceed.

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