The Keep at Ridgehaven

Day 5

Defeat a slime monster, run screaming through zombies, disable traps through piety, fail to convince a warrior ghost they're on his side and beat him to death again. Get more bad news - the rift is opening - but get a nice sword.

Backtracking a bit through the maze of caves, the party returns to a door they passed earlier – the large bronze doors, green with age and stained blue and purple with a thick layer of fungus, have a message scratched into the fungus: “Stay Out. Really.” The party of course kicks the doors open and looks around to find a dark cave with a murky lake at the edge of a steep drop, with an island containing bones and coins in the middle. After a rock and some thrown meet fail to attract anything from beneath the still water, the dragonborn barbarian flings the brawler onto the island, who finds among the detritus a wooden case containing several sheets of vellum that he could not read. Before he can pass the scrolls to the tiefling, however, a horrific explosion of slime and stench erupts from the dark water. The smell itself is enough to daze and weaken most of the adventurers, but the brawler somehow wrestles the slime to the ground, providing a cushion for the monk and the wilden to deftly leap onto and attack the slime, although the barbarian fears dark water too much to do more than strike angrily from the shore and breath lightning on enemy and ally alike in his frustration. While the tiefling showers the area with arcane fire and the grim revenant ranger bends arrows around corners to pierce the beast’s gelatinous hide, the strikers continue to pummel the quivering, aggressive, horrible smelling slime until they are knocked off by the brawler yanking it out from under them, slamming it into the wall. In a graceful arc, the monk bursts from under the surface of the lake, lands daintily on a single toe and smashes the slime with the resulting shockwave. The wilden, bobbing like a cork in the lake, creates a giant pseudopod of her own formed of vicious thorned tentacles and brings it down on the beast like the limbs of a kraken, splitting it in half and killing it
in a final blow.

Recovering from the battle, the tiefling reads the messages in the bottle, combining it with his knowledge of history and the cleric’s insight to reveal the truth of this watery tomb. When bloodreavers tried to offer the leader of the death cult the opportunity to sell them slaves, their offer was rejected and they were thrown into the lake to be disposed of, setting off the dormant blue slime they had kept as a reserve weapon, killing them and several goblins before the room was sealed off. On the plus side, the party recovered a healing potion, a magic shield and some assorted treasure.

Realizing their path had led to a dead end, the party doubles back to an unexplored area of the dungeon, where in what seems like a fast-forwarded blur of activity they make their way through a trapped maze, full of screaming sigils and swarming zombies, and clear out a crypt of fighting skeletons, only to find out the sarcophagi slam
open and release new skeletons after a few minutes. After a second round of scattered bones and shattered armor, the adventurers realize the coffins are empty and there is a magic force that will continue releasing the guardians until something disables the trap – the cleric, upon seeing the altars to Bahamut in the area past the guardians, genuflects in obeisance to his deity and recites the words of worship, asking for help to see their way through the dungeon. With a burst of radiant light, the sarcophagi slam shut, the trap disabled. After finding some cleverly hidden bahamut statues in one of the altars, the party cautiously opens the door to the next crypt to find a sole coffin, carved with the figure of an armored knight inscribed with the images of the platinum dragon. Gathering their symbols and what piety they can gather, real or counterfeit, the party opens the door and presents themselves to what they assumed in their genre savviness would be the animated remains of the knight inside.

When he bursts out, to no surprise to the party, he howls that the rift must not be opened and challenges all who would work to that purpose. The party, using all of their charm, intimidation, bluff and religious knowledge, almost convince the skeptical knight that they are on his side, but even though they held his symbols and said they worshiped the same god he was not swayed, and declared them all fakes, heretics and liars and set to attack them. Before he could even draw his sword, the monk blurs to his side in an instant, pummeling him in face, chest, legs, an explosion of hellfire erupts around him set to the angry and frustrated screams of the tiefling, two bolts burst through the flames and slip between the limbs of the flurrying monk, and the human warrior charges through the fray, slamming the knight into the wall, a true fury of shock and awe sending him to his knees. He recovers quickly, draws his sword, and explodes in necrotic magic, his enchanted blade slicing madly from foe to foe, to no avail as the cleric raises his hand of healing and restores his allies immediately. With pummeling fists and an enormous blast of lightning-enchanted axe blows, the wilden and dragonborn further decimate the rapidly overwhelmed knight, and through a coordinated flurry of spins, kicks, repositioning, flanking, magic and radiant and metal and lightning crashing and smashing and blasting the knight crumbles into powder, his armor instantly rusting, only his sword still glimmering brightly in the remains. As soon as the skeleton knight falls, an image of a knight, whole and radiant, rises from the tomb and addresses the frustrated and furious adventurers. Whether they proved themselves worthy or merely terrified him with their strength he did not say, but he agreed to tell them his tale – despite the tiefling and the brawler being far too angry to hear it, Dante being forcibly ejected from the room as his furious rantings and sarcastic comments might prevent them from gaining some use from the mistaken knight.

Sir Keegan was the leader of the soldiers set to guarding the Keep at Shadowfell and protect the Rift from being opened, but the insidious taint of the dark lord Orcus’s influence reached through the rift and drove him mad, forcing him to slay his own family and most of his fellow troops before they rallied and trapped him inside the crypt. In his shame, he still tries to protect the rift from opening, but knows he cannot be redeemed – but his sword might still aid the adventurers in completing the job he failed, and he offers its glowing, diamond-studded blade in their service. With this offering, the party is instructed on the secret path to the deeper levels of the dungeon, where they might find the death cultists they seek and prevent the rift from opening, releasing Orcus into the world.

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monkeygentleman

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