A Long Break
It has been 6 months since the Goblin Stompers thwarted Tiamat’s return to the prime material plane and our heroes have been busy.
Valin improved his and Raven’s armor. He also hunted in the areas around Phandalin, returning with game to improve the image of the Goblin Stompers among the locals. Taking up with Qelline Alderleaf and her son Carp again, Valin cemented his on-again, off-again affair with her and started the long romantic fey dance that culminates in an offspring, but takes years to complete.
Klang took up his role as the lead cleric of the All Saints Temple a few miles outside of Phandalin. After instituting some “best practices” to encourage growth among the faithful, he took to the roads (as his deity often demands) to meet and greet with the political elite along the Sword Coast, leveraging the Goblin Stomper’s new found fame to build relationships and help facilitate the reconciliation of the many rebuilding efforts in the cultists wake. Klang certainly needed as many friends he could get after pissing off Ambassador Brawnanvil, a leading figure among the Order of the Gauntlet.
Caesare and Rolen had been kept busy cleaning up a thieves guild in Waterdeep at the bidding of the Zhentarim. Few details were shared, but most understood it was more of a power play among the seedier elements in that city, not out of any noble goodness in their hearts. Though they did mention having to pay their guild dues, so some good must have come of it.
Raven spent far too much time on Harper missions, mostly spying and gathering information while the various cities and kingdoms regrouped after the fall of the cultists. So much so, that she was eager to be out from under their constant supervision and endless errands, and with the free-wheeling Goblin Stompers again.
Orik was busy defending his tribe from an invading force. Mustering a small mercenary group of barbarians, he was able to reestablish order and drive the invaders from their lands. After a few months of relative calm and the addition of some decorative flourishes on the statue of his god Bob, he was summoned by his fellow Goblin Stompers for another adventure far to the east.
Valin had been contacted by the Emerald Enclave to travel to Phlan and help prove (or disprove) that Colvin Doverson has a lineage claim to the Cinnabar throne. It seems the Lord Sage (head of the great and renowned Mantor’s Library in Phlan), requested the Enclave’s assistance to aid Colvin in a struggle for the leadership of Phlan.
The Zhentarim had their own ideas on who should be elected in Phlan and summoned Caesare and Rolen to travel there and see what they can do to ensure the leader of Phlan was to their liking. They would be guided by a monk named Lazarus.
Klang was summoned to Phlan by the Order of the Gauntlet as there was a possibility of government leadership being determined by an election rather than monarchy. With all his recent experience of dealing with nobles and tense situations, the Order thought Klang was the dwarf for the job.
To Mantor’s Library in Phlan
Upon learning of each others’ common destination, the Goblin Stompers knew something (possibly sinister?) was afoot in Phlan and it would probably be best to travel as a group. On their way to Phlan, they learned of various rumors of what was happening there. The closer they got, the stranger the rumors became – four possible rulers all vying for leadership of a city! Haven’t they ever heard of succession planning? Oy, this place must be a real mess of a place.
There were other rumors, like Doomguide Yorvir Glandon – a cleric of Kelemvor – turned into a vampire? These are the guys who can’t become undead! What nonsense!
As they neared the city’s outskirts, they noticed the beautiful lands being well tended. The towers of the city could be seen even from this distance, suggesting an immense size. As they entered the city and approached Mantor’s Library, our heroes noticed a lot of new construction, mostly repairs from what Klang could tell. He commented to the others that there appears to have been a lot of destruction within the past few years.
The city’s population is very diverse with many different races freely mingling. While that suited the Goblin Stompers just fine, it set some on edge when they saw a few less friendly races in the crowds – orcs, drow, even a goblin or two.
Rumors continued to be heard. There was a wizards tower that is warded and that none have successfully entered, even long after the wizard’s death. A previous city leader made a deal with a hag to have fey protect the city, but that deal appears to have fallen through.
Entering the library foyer, they were greeted with the strong smell of drying paint mingled with curing mortar. All around them was a quiet and bustling library, the scrapes of feet and the rustling of papers a constant. Sunlight was streaming in through open windows. Unlit torches and lamps are set about the room.
Approaching the front circulation desk, they are greeted the man who was there, studying a book about birds. The heroes explained they had been summoned by the Lord Sage. The human man introduced himself as Romaolt and asked that they be seated on some long benches to one side of the foyer.
As they waited, the Goblin Stompers noticed two people begin arguing in hushed tones. Soon the whispers escalate to shouting and one (a female drow?!) begins to cough up blood. The other is a man with a widows peak. The woman is arguing in favor of Barett Sokol and the man for Samulkin – two local politicians who are fighting for control over Phlan.
The woman’s flesh begins to melt! And her remains become a pile of goop, which reforms into the shape of an arm that strikes down the man. All are taken aback, most frozen in place by what just happened. Then the Goblin Stompers jumped into action as the goop reforms into the shape of a Yochol demon…or is it an aberration? Whatever it was, it had to be stopped.
The initial attacks on the Yochol only seemed to piss it off and it turned into a poisonous mist. Klang, seeing things getting lethal fast, started hastening patrons and librarians for the door. Lazarus was quickly closing doors and windows to keep the mist from spreading. So when Klang reached the door, it had been closed. So he opened it and hustled the bystanders out.
Meanwhile, the Goblin Stompers continued their assault on the creature as it reformed in the shape of a large spider. After Valin fell to the poison mist and Raven was nearly felled, they gained the upper hand and Orik killed it. It dissolved, leaving nothing behind but a steaming puddle of goo, which Orik took outside. Rolen tried to harvest some its poison, but was unsuccessful.
Yeah, Phlan has some issues and it’s obvious this place needs help. Healing was dispensed on Valin and Raven, but it was too late for the widow peak guy.
The Lord Sage
So only one person killed, thanks to the Goblin Stompers. It was about then that the Lord Sage showed up, explaining they don’t normally allow fighting in the library. He then guided our heroes to his well appointed office and asked them to be seated. A young librarian arrived with food and drink and the Lord Sage asked that they enjoy this small repast while they speak.
Some opted to pass on the food and drink. Others indulged. One discreetly checked it for poison, then drank. No one seemed adversely affected. The Lord Sage seemed old, even for one with elven features. He was calm, but nervous. Orik asked who was the woman and Lord Sage explained she was Siria, a supporter of Barrett Sokol and the man was Maelen, a supporter of Samulkin.
He went on to explain there’s a sickness in the city, a Godtouched sickness. It seems to result in strange aberrations with mental powers. It appears the Siria was a victim of this sickness. He hopes this doesn’t deter the Goblin Stompers from the mission he has for them – the vampire Yorvir Glandon, a former Doomguide of Kelemvor.
Some still gasped at this rumor being confirmed. The Lord Sage continued, explaining how a battle that destroyed the Kelemvorite cathedral in Valhingen Graveyard also killed Yorvir. Somehow, Yorvir was returned from the dead as a vampire, even though that’s supposed to be impossible.
Yorvir also managed to convince adventurers to hand over the Gulthias Stake to him, which they were supposed to use to kill him permanently. What were they thinking?! Yorvir was last seen entering the necropolis beneath Valhingen.
The Lord Sage has brokered a deal with the Kelemvor faithful where they send aid to deal with Yorvir and he would get the interim leadership of Phlan (Jhessail Greycastle) to again deed the church of Kelemvor the graveyard. Three clerics of Kelemvor have arrived to assist with putting down this vampire – Zindelo Chegari, Lene Reinhild, and Cadeyrn Solemnstone – and they have been researching in the library. They think they know where the Yorvir is headed and have concocted a plan to defeat him.
The Lord Sage asked that the Goblin Stompers accompany the clerics to help stop Yorvir, offering them 3000 gold. The heroes, after some stern stares and deep thought, agree to this mission. Without their paladin and a monk that follows a darker path, this may not be quite as straight forward as previous missions.
He then explained the political situation. The interim (de facto) ruler, Jhessail Greycastle, is the highest ranking member of the Black Fists and has called for a popular democratic election. She had declared herself a candidate for First Minister. Barrett Sokol, from a wealth family, seeks to be named High Councilor and return power to the noble Council of Ten.
Colvin Doverson claims a tenuous lineage to the original Cinnabar Throne and the Lord Protector. The Lord Sage has been researching his family history and believes he may be related to Anivar Daoran, cousin of the Lord Protector. Colvin would reinstate the old monarchy and renegotiate the treaties with nearby cities to benefit Phlan’s economy. The Lord Sage believes there may be evidence of Colvin’s lineage in the necropolis, and would like the heroes to recover any proof they find. He suggested checking the Tomb of Miltiades, the man who served in the early days of Phlan as a paladin of Tyr and death knight. He offered 2000 gold if they recover such evidence.
Normally, the clerics of Kelemvor would not allow anything be removed, but he has negotiated that they allow one historical artifact be temporarily removed for study and then returned.
The last candidate is Graben Samulkin, a priest of Bane, who seeks to be named Ruin Lord and would make Phlan a theocracy again. He came from Mulmaster a few decades ago, hoping to rebuild the Lyceum. He has won the hearts of many, and with the devastation of Mulmaster, the number of faithful has grown.
After further prodding by Lazarus, the Lord Sage admitted to favoring Colvin as leader as the Black Fists have shown significant corruption. The Council of Ten only seek to profit from the people without regard for their welfare. And the people have long rejected the theocracy of Bane and its ties to Zhentil Keep.
The Kelemvor Clerics
The Lord Sage then escorted them to a reading room where the Kelemvor clerics waited. The three robed clerics of the Master of the Crystal Spire (death worshipers) looked up. Zindelo, a man from Gur, quickly introduces the three, then smiles and asks for introductions. Lene, a Damaran woman, stands silently. Cadeyrn, the male elf, remains seated regarding them passively.
After introductions, Zindelo turns it over to Lene to explain:
they have been dispatched to destroy the vampire
they don’t trust adventurers after the last bunch gave Yorvir the Gulthias Stake
the Lord Sage has provided information Yorvir’s whereabouts, but the necropolis is not mapped
from what they can tell, they think Yorvir is in the area of Miltiades Tomb, and have a rough map using gravestones are markers – it will be slow going
they think the Yorvir seeks something from this tomb
they have prepared a ritual that will allow them to put down the vampire, which will hopefully put its soul to rest
it is not enough to simply kill the vampire as it is unclear if normal methods can permanently kill the beast
for the ritual to work, Yorvir must be immobilized with a specially prepared stake driven into its heart while a special prayer to Kelemvor is intoned – this will be difficult as he can change shape into mist
grave robbing and tomb raiding are strictly forbidden; any such behavior is grounds to abort the mission
any undead encountered must be destroyed; this is part of their faith and do not compromise on it
they must depart now to catch up to the Yorvir the vampire
they will not generally assist in combat other than in minor healing
Into the Necropolis
They offer a pack with 2 bottles of holy water, a Kelemvor holy symbol, and 5 torches. The Goblin Stompers accept it and get moving. The necropolis is below the ruined cathedral. A simple set of stairs leads down ending in a vast cavern, with endless darkness dampening the light from Klang’s mace.
As far as they could see were mausoleums, an entire city of dead that will never see the sun. As they traveled along, the buildings and tombs seemed to get older. The clerics are disagreeing on direction, so they have the heroes spread out to find markers to chart a course.
As they searched, Valin was struck by seemly random necrotic energy. After finding several markers, they set off for the shrine of Tyr based. After an hour of walking, their light filled the area including a sculpture of the Maimed God, Tyr, who judges wrong-doers and furthers the law. Tyr’s faith died out following the Time of Troubles when he lost faith in himself and passed his divinity to Torm. After dying in a demonic invasion, he has been resurrected and is gaining a following once more.
At the base of the sculpture, it reads, “Reveal the truth, punish the guilty, right the wrong, and always be true and just in your actions.” They also notice footprints of medium sized boots shuffling towards the tomb of Radomil the Crafter.
After more arguing, the clerics look to the Goblin Stompers for a decision. Either head to the Grave of Adelajda Salko which might turn up clues to the lineage or head to the tomb of Radomil the Crafter which should take them more directly towards the vampire. They decided on the Grave of Adelajda Salko.
After a little ways, they could smell the smoke before they could see the flickering fire light. Ahead, our destination, the door stands open and a roar of flames can be heard coming from it. As they approached, a large golem attacked. Caesare summoned a water elemental to fight the fire. A crazy fight ensued in which a spell caster was found in the tomb beyond the golem. Once defeated, the golem stopped fighting and took up a stationary position outside the tomb, making no outward sign of ever having moved.
Rolen quickly lifted a spell book and various components from the mage. Klang healed the mage enough to be questioned. It turns out he was thankful for freeing him from the vampires charm. While Klang and Rolen kept a close eye on the mage during the questioning, Valin and Lazarus searched the place for linage proof. While Valin found valuable documents, none were lineage related and he returned them. Lazarus found some evidence, which he took.
They also found a map to Miltiades Tomb. Making a copy of it, the clerics returned the original. They also found linage information on the death knight, but not exactly the info they are looking for and return it.
Interrogation of the mage, named Eihim, they learned that he misses his family and has been under the vampire’s charm for several months. He tells the heroes many things:
Yorvir is headed to Miltiades’s tomb and should be near the Fountain of Crying Angels by now.
Provides directions to the Fountain of Crying Angels.
Yorvir is definitely a vampire, but there’s something odd about him and is often surrounded by bits of mist. He is very powerful.
Yorvir is concerned about the strange corruption spreading through Phlan. He has not learned how it spreads, but it does not seem to affect undead.
Yorvir plans to turn all of Phlan into undead. He seeks the Shield of Miltiades to act as a focus for the ritual that will encase Phlan in endless night where all fall into undeath.
He will not face the vampire again and simply wants to escape the necropolis.
Releasing Eihim, the Goblin Stompers headed for the Fountain of Crying Angels. Upon arriving, they found four low walled pools of water, each with a angelic figure in its center. Two are male and two female. Water pours from each in the pools. Splitting up, they each tried drinking from a pool:
Caesare & Raven drink from female left
Valin drinks from the female right
Lazarus drinks from the male right
Rolen drinks from the male left
Each gain various magical benefits, only differing between male and female.
Then they were set upon by 3 groups of 5 undead. A sculpted fireball kills 4 in two groups. Clerics refuse to turn undead. Klang destroys most of the rest with turn undead. Those that remain are quickly mopped up. Then they were set up by a zombie beholder, five vampire spawn, and six undead ogres!
Caesare was almost paralyzed by the beholder. While the ogres kept Valin, Caesare, Rolen, Orik and Raven busy, Klang and Lazarus took out the beholder and vampire spawn. Soon, all fell to the mighty Goblin Stompers. When done, the lame Kelemvor clerics did some minor healing. Klang sipped from one of the pools for the magical healing effects.
Searching the area, they found a loose brick on the bottom of a bench with a crude holy symbol of Tyr carved into it. Behind it was a Windwall spell scroll and 1000 gold. Because it wasn’t in a tomb or mausoleum, it was fair game.
Klang gets a point of inspiration for timing the wah-wah trombone at the appropriate time.