Asterion the barbarian, general of Guistenal, Volkann the fighter, first noble of Guistenal, and Korrin, spy of Guistenal, are set a task by the templars of Guistenal, delivered by their handler Jha’Near, to test their nascent powers. The job is simple. In the near future the characters may be in need of mystical writings, some of which can be found in the tomb of Evarosh, a wizard of note. To get there the characters will need to consult with an oracle kept in the Tower of Pragnost. The tower is magically locked but a pass phrase can be found in the treasure room of the Tower of Olande. Simple really.
Travelling to the Tower of Olande they find a once great building in a state of decrepitude and ruination. Searching the lower levels they discover the treasure room but other inhabitants are there. A baazrag and her spawn. The characters boldly move in to attack but Asterion, the strongest of the party, is rendered unconscious with two blows (admittedly he had a bad trot and completely missed every attack) and Volkann, the hardiest, retreats to get a second wind. XXX manages to distract the mother Baazrag with some crunchy morsel and they manage to drag Asterion away.
Rethinking their tactics the party manoeuvre to a position where they can get a better shot at the Baazrag and within a few rounds they manage to defeat it a hell of a lot easier than they were doing before. But the challenge isn’t over and they find the treasure room door is magically locked. Searching for a clue they realise that the bas relief on the door of a tavern with a minstrel is a clue. Further searching reveals the notes they need to play and open the door, finding some loot as well as the pass phrase to the Tower of Pragnost.
The Tower of Pragnost is set near the edge of the Sea of Silt and the entrance is a bridge over a silt estuary. As the characters cross they are beset the tentacle of a silt horror which, while bruising them up a bit does no lasting damage. The pass phrase spoken, the characters enter the Tower of Pragnost.
The characters discover some loot, but more importantly a pool of freestanding water. In a land of drought and thirst they find cool, clear water. As Asterion starts to wash his face in it a voice booms from the water telling him to clear off. Correctly adducing that this pool is the oracle they try to ply it for information and it seems that here is where Korrin shines, being able to talk and manipulate the (who was rather desperate for the attention after all these years). But just as success seems to be within their grasp Korrin fails and while the pool begrudgingly gives them the location the resulting psychic strain curses them with the inability to be able to spend a healing surge till they complete their present quest.
Gaining the location of the Tomb of Evarosh (a days travel across the blistering sands of Athas) the characters get some kanks from Jha’Near as well as desert supplies. To successfully cross the desert they need to make many skill rolls (Nature in particular, right up Asterions alley – no not there you idiot). Unfortunately someone (Asterion) completely cocks up all his rolls, wasting their supplies and forcing them all to loose a healing surge.
Entering the hidden valley the characters know where to go but are intercepted by a group of vulture-like beings. On a whim Volkann flaps his arms like a lunatic. The aarakockra ask who it is that challenges them and Volkann keeps up by trying to intimidate the creatures, threatening them with death. The aarakockra, after a short discussion decide that if they yield the characters must give them something. Volkann wants to press the advantage but Asterion jumps in and offers his gem that he got from the treasure vault in the Tower of Olande. Happily the Aaracockra run off with their prize.
(In an amusing note Chris states “be a bit of a let-down if they were all minions anyhow” to which I show him my creature compendium showing him that they were minions, but now richer).
Entering the Tomb of Evarosh they characters quickly find several stone tablets with some handy rituals written on them. As Korrin tries to pry them off a voice from the darkness asks who dares defile his tomb. There is some banter back and forth and Korrin tries to talk Evarosh, or his ghost, (or someone completely different, they just don’t know) and Korrin tries to see his opponent who is standing in the shadows in an alcove. As he approaches the form disappears from sight to appear later in another alcove.
Asterion, who is nearby, dares to see the intruder who simply points at him. Asterion’s mind fills with images of worms eating into his flesh and the psychic effect does enough damage to render him unconscious. They decide attack might be a bad option. The being, perhaps it is Evarosh, has a request. Take the tablets, in return they must work to destroy Nibenay (sure, he’s just another uber-powerful sorcerer-king). Korrin agrees.
The characters return to Guistenal having completed their task. They get a pat on the back, enough experience to go up a level, and a much needed rest.