The Athenaeae of Drozvindrian (Conway’s Scenario recap)

Conway’s scenario recap:

Session 1 – First Contact

The session begins with an expeditionary party being formed with the mission of heading to the ancient library hold – The Athenaeum of Drozvindrian and their Naga & yuan-ti stewards – and investigating why it/they ‘went dark.’

The following adventurers took up the challenge and ventured into the hypogean way after much praise and promise on the part of the Khazthand/Arkinthel governance:

Dwindle Stonefoot, Dwarven Paladin of clan Klaxton

Egork, Dwarven Warlock of clan Potenkhan

Gregreg Toregry, Human Paladin

Narro, Half-elven Rogue

Verna Tealeaf, Halfling Rogue

Zaranez, Half Elven Warlock

The journey to Drozvindrian lasts about one week, one that is more boring than anything else. Drozvindrian is one of the closer holds – connected directly to Arkinthel via the hypogean way. The adventurers make the journey laboriously, anxious about that which might lie in the dark, but come out of it unscathed, face-to-face with the large gilded gold & jade doors separating the caverns from the Athenaeum before they know it. The gate appears scathed, large marks and dents in the metal, but otherwise functional, and they attempt to open it. After much effort, it budges, opening slightly, and reveals large supports barring it.

The group searches through a number of ancillary tunnels that have been carved out around and about the hold, and note that they were carved out by Umber Hulk, insectoid creatures that confuse & confound those who gaze upon their eyes. Some of the casters in the party begin to use familiars as scouts and patrolmen – moving independently through the tunnels to ensure their emptiness. After some time of investigation one of these familiars is attacked by an Umber Hulk, hastening the party’s efforts. They realize time is running out and decide to attempt to mine through the wall of the hold to get inside. They are surprisingly successful until they are met with a thick sheet of purple crystal through which arcane magic flows. Without much time left, they force their way through, blasting into the hold and running in with just enough time to turn and face the Umber Hulk just as it discovers them.

A small fight ensues and the group is able to cause the Umber Hulk to flee. In the calm, everyone takes in their surroundings, and they find themselves in one giant cylindrical hall, the walls lined with the same purple crystal they broke through. The cylinder descends as torches dimly illuminate circular walkways that jut outward from the cylinder’s inner area every 20 or 30 feet. Investigating the crystal, they find it is actually thin film containing a number of books and journals, all dated from very long ago.

Traveling downward they find the books become more and more recent, though all far outside the useful range of knowledge. Extrapolating, they climb further down and find a pair of yuan-ti guarding a horizontal gate. After much convincing, the two yuan-ti open the gate and provide directions to Raas’Goa. As the gate opens, a number of Umber Hulk begin swarming through the opening the party created in mining into the hold. The yuan-ti force the party through and close the gate quickly as the party obliges, somewhat stunned.

They find themselves in another cylindrical section similarly shaped, ringed on the inside with purple arcane crystal film throughout. This time the donut-hole in the middle is filled with a rapidly flowing waterfall originating from nowhere, called the Stream of Consciousness.

The party follows the directions of the yuan-ti pair, and climb down, water from the waterfall flecking a number of them. As this happens, the minds of those affected is invaded with streams of thought and knowledge, almost unfilterable. After catching their bearings, the party heads down to the designated level (level 77) and find a small passage that leads to a well-lit golden hall with palm trees planted in oases lining a path to an elevated throne. About a dozen yuan-ti and Naga are enwrapped about the trees and a giant Guardian Naga sitz upon the Jade throne – Raas’Goa. She wears a wooden mask with three feathers, one red, one white, one yellow.

The party approaches, and Raas’Goa welcomes them. A black yuan-ti of some status, holding a crystal staff slithers to her side and begins speaking in deep speech, unintelligible to the party.

A number of the yuan-ti audibly demonish the adventurers, and Raas’Goa explains that they are not welcome. “Khazthand abandoned us. Those thousands of years ago, when we needed aid, you did not respond. So we kept this hold – defended it from all manners of darkness and dread. It is not yours anymore – it is ours. If you want us to consider that crest you wear as authority – you must understand you owe us much.”

The black yuan-ti introduces himself as vizier to the queen, Netazi, and vehemently derides Khazthand as a wretched city-state, but Raas’Goa silences him and gives the party an offer – clear this part of the middledark of Umber Hulk, the principal threat to Drozvindrian, and the snake stewards, and she will consider reintegration. The party leaves successful, out of a secret passage, with a proposition for Khazthand. The passage is actually an intersection – leading to another hold deep within Drozvindrian – Arnagra Farakhdum.

Session 2 – Die, Insects.

After making contact with Raas’Goa, Khazthand agreed to deal with the principal threat facing the Drozvindrian, an overpopulation of Umber Hulks located in a large warren near Drozvindrian. In return for negotiating the threat, Raas’Goa agreed to consider integrating Drozvindrian back into the empire of Khazthand, even though many of the Yuan-ti & Naga who are stewards of the hold, felt betrayed & abandoned by Khazthand.

The following warriors gathered to slay the monstrous umber hulks and their queen deep within the insectoid warren:

Adrie, Half-Orc Cleric of Aru

Agrus Kos, Dragonborn Barbarian

Celeste, Half-Elf Bard

Dinen Hyanda, Elven Monk

Gregreg Toregry, Human Paladin

The Trashman, Dwarven Bard of Clan Klaxton

Jameson, Human Fighter

Kvadrato Thundergrip, Dwarven Wizard of Clan Klaxton

Ravenswood, Human Warlock

Skalgan Mrishni, Half-Orc Paladin

Tullamore, Human Barbarian

The Umber Hulk warren was located easily enough. And now the grizzled warriors of Arkinthel ready themselves for the coming slaughter. That is what this is. They have a single mission – kill the Umber Hulk Queen.

The party travels the tunnels for a week – finding themselves outside the Gold & Jade doors of Drozvindrian. Following a laid out path they begin to make their way to the warren. As they approach, they are attacked by a number of Umber Hulk, which they dispatch quickly enough. Just outside the warren they find a number of recently dead yuan-ti bodies, killed by magic. As they investigate the bodies, they notice a tailed figure move around a corner far down the tunnel. Putting these concerns aside, they enter the warren and begin to sneak their way through.

They make it through the first few areas undetected, covering themselves with the scent of other Umber Hulks and using in-depth knowledge of the creatures to evade them. They travel down a tunnel and find it overlooks a large open space with a great purple crystal emerging from the center, a number of Umber Hulk, big and small surrounding it, basking in the light. The party begins discussing how they would approach the situation, as they discuss they are found out as an umber hulk bursts through the wall and attacks. They kill it quickly but the damage is done – the hive is on alert.

A bloody battle ensues, as the group fights their way through Umber Hulk after Umber Hulk, killing all different kinds until they begin to flee. Some of the more injured in the party head back to Arkinthel, as reinforcements arrive in a timely manner in the form of Adrie, Cleric of Aru, who heals the battle ready and helps prepare them for the assault on the queen.

The group plows through more Umber Hulk – fighting even flying, exploding, Umber Hulk and find themselves in the queen’s antechamber, Umber Hulk fleeing from them. They kill a few more and the insectoid creatures simple stop as they enter the queen’s cove, the Umber Hulk are no longer fighting and seem to have given up. A number of the party remains skeptical, and hang back while some walk forward and investigate. As they reach the queen, dozens of the Umber Hulk surrounding the queen explode spontaneously, destroying the queen and mortally wounding a number of the party. Adrie is able to heal many of them as those wary members are able to find a white feather in the wreckage, implicating Raas’Goa as it is potentially from her mask. However, one adventurer who had met Raas’Goa identifies it as a fake, definitely not one from Raas’Goa’s mask. Looking about further, they find magical evidence that the explosion was planned.

The party returns the Drozvindrian, and tells Raas’Goa of their success, who seems on the surface to be happy to hear of this news. The party neglects to tell her of the explosion which nearly killed them. Raas’Goa appears unphased and agrees to begin integration into Khazthand.

Session 3 – The Athenaeum Deep

With the Umber Hulks defeated, Khazthand turns its attention to the orchestrated attempt on the lives of those who had been contracted to kill the Umberhulks. Before much headway can be made in the investigation, diplomats sent to Drozvindrian are killed and another group of adventurers is amassed to make their way back to Drozvindrian and meet with Raas’Goa to determine what is happening.

The following envoys volunteered (with pay) to investigate these turn of events:

Diggory MacGabh, Elven Rogue

Dimble Pint, Gnome Wizard

Feyli Vasilida, Half-Elf Wizard

Neil Mac-Gabhann, Dwarven Paladin of Clan Klaxton

Perrick Silver-eyed, Dwarven Wizard of Clan Potenkhan

Valin Procyon, Half-Elf Fighter

Arriving in Drozvindrian, the party meets with Raas’Goa – who is desperate for help. Netazi had taken a number of yuan-ti and Naga deep down into the hold and formed a splinter faction deeply opposed to re-integration. The party must go deep into Drozvindrian through the traps and magic meant to keep creatures out and either convince him to join Khazthand or kill him. The party makes their way down to the bottom of Drozvindrian and are ambushed by contingent yuan-ti along the way. Killing them they follow those who run through a tunnel into a large library floor with many bookshelves and a shallow ceiling.

Stalking through the shelves, the party makes their way through a number of traps – arrows, lightning bolts, magic barriers, poisonous gas, and are ambushed by more yuan-ti. The party persists, fighting their way into a large chamber directly under the main cylindrical structure of Drozvindrian. In the center of the circular chamber is a large purple crystal much like that in the Umber Hulks’ lair. At the base of the crystal is Netazi flanked by two spirit naga.

A large brawl ensues and the three party wizards entrap Netazi in a wall of force, and summon a wall of fire within it, burning Netazi alive over the course of half a minute. Numerous concentrated fireballs destroy him while a number of the fighters fight against the two Naga and yuan-ti. The party emerges victorious, killing the entirety of the splinter-faction.

They return to Raas’Goa – but find she doesn’t seem perfectly happy with their perceived success. However, she says that there should be no more problems with reintegration.

Session 4 – The Arcane Gate

All seems finished… Netazi’s revolt against Raas’Goa was shut down and he was killed in the deepest part of the Athenaeum and the remaining stewards agreed to integrate themselves. However, when reports coming from others involved in the Reclamation effort note that Drozvindrian is supposed to be one of the gate citadels abjuring the great psionic lich dragon Keri, from even deeper in the earth, a small force is sent back to Drozvindrian to try and restore power to the long lost Arcane Gate to aid in the defense of all of Khazthand’s new empire.

The following expeditionaries were sent to ‘flip the switch:’

Aux Bristlebelly, of Clan Llandorel
Chadwick Thistlewick, Halfling Fighter
Morrig Dunron, Dwarven Monk of Clan Myletha
Pyrus Cardin, Tiefling Sorcerer

The small party heads to Drozvindiran without much perogative or guidance. They have just been told they need to “turn on the Arcane Gate,” but there wasn’t much definition to what that exactly entailed. Raas’Goa’s compliance had been not much more than passive, and some tension remained as a result. The party anxiously meets with Raas’Goa, and demand to know more about ‘The Arcane Gate.’ She proportes to know nothing, but says there might be information deep within Drozvindrian. The party heads downward to the library floor, however, one of the adventurers decides to shower himself in the Stream of Consciousness, receiving thousands of thoughts. They are able to filter through them and determine that there is in fact the Arcane Gate in Drozvindrian, in the form of all the knowledge in the library, siphoned through magic crystal and amplified, however, it was turned off by accident thousands of years ago. He mentally recovers as the party begins to head to the site of Netazi’s death.

Along the way, they find a book, titled the Opus of the World, which is auto-scribing the history of the world in it. They also find they can scribe in it themselves, and this will occasionally make what they write real. They use it to determine what Keri’s (the psionic lich dragon) phylacteries are – and they are revealed to be the Spore Hearts of the Mycon Dwarves.

At this point the party splits, half of them manipulating the Opus of the World to help allies elsewhere while the other half seek the Arcane Gate, found inside of the great crystal in the center of the lowest chamber of Drozvindrian. Inside the crystal is a single switch. The adventurers are hesitant to throw the switch, currently in the ‘off’ position, but one takes the dive and does. Arcane energy surges through the crystal, instantly killing him – but powering the Arcane Gate in the process.

The party reconvenes and provides as much help to allies fighting against great threats using the Opus of the World, until they are called back to Khazthand by the expeditionary leaders with one resounding fanfare: “Victory!”

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