The Search for the Breach



September 24, 2017

Still the 24th day of Marpenoth 1375 Seth and Keli tried to locate the other two attackers (whom they now assume to be shadowdancers) by stalking the cavern floor, to no avail. They also tried to look for the portal that the necromancer and the shadowdancers could have used to breach into the Runestone level, but there were no obvious signs of any such magical doorways.

    Next, the whole party regrouped and followed Seth while he attempted to find the shadowdancers’ tracks, and again they were disappointed. And another attempt was made to look for the suspected portal by sweeping the whole cavern with multiple detect magic spells, and still nothing. They even considered summoning an umber hulk for its tremorsense ability, but its movement rate was too slow for it to function as an effective hunter.

    In what alcoholics would call a moment of clarity, Rokh decided to use his prepared miracle spell to cast lesser planar ally to summon a young xorn to look for the portal. (A xorn is a bizarre-looking creature from the elemental plane of earth that glides through rock and stone like a fish swims through water.) As he cast the spell, Anee used a scroll of tongues on Rokh so he could converse with it in Terran.

    A little xorn appeared to answer the cleric’s call. Rokh instructed it to scout the surrounding rock and locate any open areas, such as small caverns. It asked for 900 pounds of metal as payment, and Rokh gave it 4,500 gold coins to consume, and it proceeded to do its task quite contently with its belly full of gold.

    After about half an hour, the xorn returned and told Rokh of one such opening, about 8 feet behind a certain section of the cavern wall. The xorn went back to its home plane and the party proceeded to the spot that the creature pointed out. Keli cast a disintegrate spell and, lo and behold, there was indeed a 10-foot wide cavern with a magic portal on its far wall.

    Anya cast analyze portal and gleaned the following information: (1) that the portal requires a key in the form of a tattoo resembling the number three, (2) that it can only be activated by an undead creature, and (3) that it is located inside some warehouse in an unknown location.

    According to Rokh’s Harper knowledge, the “3” tattoo could be the symbol of the Twisted Rune—a cabal of powerful spellcasters from the south. And according to Kendor, it was the Twisted Rune who was responsible for Halaster’s kidnapping in the Year of the Gauntlet (1369 DR), an act that inadvertently released monsters from Undermountain  into the city above. The incident became known as “Halaster’s Highharvestide”.

    Anya sealed the portal with a wall of stone and the party warily marched back up the Runestone hill.


Featured Image: "shadow rift" from H1 Keep on the Shadowfell 4e adventure module by WotC
Image Credits: xorn concept art for D&D 5th edition by Mike Burns,
"mark of the Twisted Rune" from Expedition to Undermountain by Wizards of the Coast

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