What Lurks Beneath III
The Will of the Wind
Running Quest Log
December 3rd, 1011:
Heeding the call of Squire Symir for yet another expedition into the Rhiassan underground, the
heroes of the Realms gathered together in Cold Springs to again beat back the menace of trolls
and goblins and investigate the disturbing rumors of some great plan that these monsters had begun
to implement. Gathering in the basement of a storehouse, very near where the last expedition left off,
the adventurers set off through the sewers in the direction of the town hall, the origin of the rumored threat.
It was clear upon their entrance into the underground that the heroes' arrival was expected. A
standing army was lined up to impede their progress, and the adventurers were only able to press forward
very slowly. As the minutes dragged on, and the heroes rounded a final corner, a sudden, horrible sight met
their eyes. In the midst of a large cavern, centered right beneath the basement of the town hall, sat a large
wooden barrel, the letters TNT inscribed conspicuously on its side, a lighted fuse crawling closer and closer
towards an opening in the top.
Though the heroes made a last desperate push to reach the barrel before it unleashed armageddon, they found
their efforts to be not quick enough. Just as they came upon it with the hope of extinguishing the fuse, the fire
reached its mark, and a great explosion tore outwards, striking dead the great majority of the heroes who had no
magical protection from such a force. Weakened by the great blast, the floor, strewn with the dead bodies of so
many adventurers, began to gave way and crumbled underneath them. The heroes, both the dead and the very few
who were alive, began to fall.
As the bodies of the adventurers descended into the abyss, those who were alive beheld a disturbing sight.
Creatures materialized out of the very air that surrounded them, reaching out with translucent hands to grasp
at the heroes as they fell. But it was not aid that these elementals were offering. With deft movements and
malicious will, the creatures began to strip the members of the questing party of all of their equipment. Weapons,
armor, even the foci that the spell casters required to wield their magics. Throughout the long minutes of the
descent, the elementals whisked away the great majority of the heroesâ€™ equipment and disappeared into the
darkness. Moments later, mysteriously aided by some benevolent, unseen force, the heroes drifted gently onto the
ground, many, many miles below the sewers where they first began.
Enough healers of considerable power were left alive that returning the questing party back to its full manpower
took little effort, but the reassembled heroes were woefully short on weaponry, armor, and magic; many without any
arms at all. They scrapped together what they could of the few bucklers and short swords that remained and prepared
to forge onward, knowing that they must, above all else, climb their way back to the surface world. A heavy stone
door sat in their path, and a single word on a scrap of paper lay at its base. Speaking the word aloud opened the
door, and in the darkness beyond, feral, glowing, eyes stared back at them.
In the rooms that followed, horde after horde of rat-like kobolds leapt at the assembled heroes. Though the
adventurers were under geared and underpowered, through superior tactics they were able to work their way forward,
taking the rusty blades from fallen enemies. Every so often they would come upon a piece of their stolen equipment,
clearly scattered about as they air elementals tried to secret them away. As the heroes pressed on, the kobold
clans gave way to tribes of goblins, but by then the group was well armed enough to stand their ground as the
battles became harder. Room after room they continued to gather scraps of paper, and room after room they had to
chain them together into a growing phrase in order to open they way.
Then, as they neared the top of one steep ascent a locked iron door barred their way. Beside it, the heroes noticed
a strange puzzle, geometric pieces scattered on the ground and on a ledge above it, directions to assemble them in the
form of a pattern. As they did so through the combined effort of those both above on the ledge and below on the ground,
a nearby chest creaked open and a key was revealed. That very key unlocked the way forwards and beyond the heavy iron
door, in the middle of a narrow passageway, stood a strange stone monolith with a keyhole on its top.
Inserting they key into the stone began the playback of a recording, echoing from within the structure. The orator
revealed that he was a member of a group of archeologists known as the Bronze Explorers, and that they had not long
ago delved into the dungeons under Rhiassa to unlock the secrets of an ancient civilization that once existed there.
They had journeyed in the caverns, mostly unharassed by the creatures of the darkness, looking for signs that the
civilization existed and what caused its downfall. And indeed they had found the latter. Soon after they had ventured
into the deepest parts of the labyrinth, they felt some great force awaken in their minds. Even as they climbed
their way out of the tunnels, they felt it calling them and all other manner of beasts to its side. The monuments,
and the recording, were left as a testament to their findings and as a warning, for the orator suspected they would
not survive the trip home.
The heroes continued on their journey. Along the way they recovered more and more of their missing equipment,
eventually achieving the fullness of strength they entered the cavern with. As they winded further and further upwards
towards the surface, the kobolds and goblins gave way to entire troll armies that blocked their path. In each room
they found another word to unlock the next door, and as they chained the phrases together they realized they were
reciting the words to some grim ritual. They found along the way scraps of spell books and other texts from the
ancient civilization the Bronze Explorers set out in search of, and signs that that civilization had ended in a
clash to seal away some massive threat. Other puzzles regarding color and coordination stood in their path and
as they solved then more keys revealed themselves that unlocked the path forward.
From further obelisks left by the Bronze explorers, the adventurers learned some important facts. That once a
civilization of troll clans, adept in the ways of benevolent, elemental magic, had occupied the lands now belonging
to Rhiassa. They learned that some form of ancient demon they called 'The Great Eye' had attacked that civilization
and that they had exhausted themselves as a people to lock it away deep underground. That the presence of the
explorers investigating deep within the earth had awoken the beast and that it was calling to the ancestors of
that civilization, now little more than savages, to serve its will as part of a great troll and goblin army. That
the puzzles, keys, and locked doors were implemented by the Bronze Explorers as a away of holding back the evil
they had awoken, for the trolls that inhabited the place were colorblind and would not be able to see the solutions
to the challenges. As the heroes read and understood the spell books left behind by the ancient trolls, however,
they also learned of some tools they might use against the great evil they once fought. They found that the demonic
incantations were rendered powerless by the same incantations said in reverse. They learned some small mastery over
the element of air as well, and realized they had the ability to stop the progress of the air elementals that had
been impeding their progress throughout the day.
Finally, after a long journey filled with danger and discovery, the heroes made their way back to the area near
where they started, the caverns right underneath the town hall. Apparently their previous intervention had some
effect, as the area had not been completely destroyed, and another attempt to cause the explosion was underway.
Air elementals carried huge sticks of dynamite into a gigantic pile surrounding another barrel of TNT. Nearby, in a
protective circle, a demon stood, much like the demonic master of Earth magic from the last expedition, commanding
the spirits of the air. With him in the circle was another venerable shaman of the type the heroes had battled
before, no doubt keeping the protective circle intact. Nearby, endless trolls poured from the tunnels in order
to impede the heroes.
In a multifaceted engagement the adventurers did many things to confront that dangerous situation. The strongest
among them held back the advancing troll army so that they could provide cover to their allies. Using their newfound
mastery of the air, the wisest summoned blocks of wind to place in the path of the air elementals and slow their
accumulation of the explosives. The bravest confronted the demon in the circle and distracted his rain of fireballs.
In the end, the very incantation the heroes recited to unlock the way forward, said in reverse, dispelled the great
magic circle that kept the demon safe. The heroes rushed forward and destroyed the beast, and the remnants of the
troll army that were left behind fled into the darkness. Rhiassa was safe, for now.