Lost Mine of Phandelver

Session 36

Curses within Curses

Rolen’s Cursed Dagger
After rescuing the prisoners – including Bruw and Rouse – from the giants, our heroes traveled to Clan Hammersfell’s fortress and concluded Sokol’s business deal, then traveled back to Phlan. Upon their return, they learned that Aurora’s Whole Realms Catalog has become quite popular.

After collecting their 5000 gold payment from Sokol in platinum and gems, they headed to the market to spend it and more. It seems fighting giants and a brush or two with death loosened their collective purse strings.

In an unusual turn of events, there were actually three shops that were of interest – the Warriors Rack, the Actor’s Stage, and Paelius’ Magical Emporium. After spending most of their time with in the latter, they ended up with these:

  • Valin: Ten +3 Arrow (very rare) 13000 gold
    Quiver of Ehlonna 500 gold
  • Orik: Cloak of Protection 500 gold
    Pocket sown into his tiger pelt for 4 gold
  • Klang: Ring of Evasion (3 charges per day) 5000 gold
    Portable hole 5000 gold
    3 pinches of stage smoke (requires ½ gallon of water) 25 gold
  • Rolen: Pocket in cloak 4 gold
  • Caesare: Sharpened silverware 2 gold
  • Raven: Gloves of Thieving 500 gold
    Cloak of Elvenkind 500 gold

There were several other items sought, but not found including a ring of animal friendship, treasure maps, items to improve wisdom, and more magical studded leather armor. A few items were just out of their financial reach, or at least that’s what Klang said.

Returning to their quarters in Phlan, they each sat down to assess their individual purchases. Rolen, have received practically nothing, pulled out his dagger of venom…one of his more prized possessions and puzzled over what he could possibly get in this crappy town, beside trouble.

And then he began to feel the pull, like a weird version of teleportation, only it was his dagger that drew him in…or was it out?…or simply elsewhere?…or some other time? Whatever it did, he knew he wasn’t in Phlan anymore. In fact, every hair on his furry body was telling him he was in trouble.

Then there was the voice from a short stature being calling himself Yemglav (?). After lots of words, it seemed he was offering Rolen a choice – stay in this “paradise” with no worries of the flesh, or attempt to leave by way of a series of challenges. He cautioned that the challenges were difficult and that no one had actually finished them all. There was a price for attempting to leave and when you call on Yemglav for help…a fragment of your soul was forfeit.

Rolen, knowing decision making was not his strong suit, asked that his friends be brought here to help him. Yemglav acquiesced and the rest of the Goblin Stompers arrived. There were certainly some cursing going on as they landed in this strange place. Based on their previous experiences, this was probably another plane of existence or maybe a pocket dimension.

Where ever they were now, they knew Rolen and his dagger were to blame. Dirty looks went Rolen’s way. It didn’t take Rolen long to lay the blame on Caseare for giving him a blade from the Zhentarim. Valin and his bow took aim at Rolen and then Caesare.

While most realized laying blame wasn’t going to get them out of this one, it took Yemglav’s voice reiterating their options for Valin to lower his bow and listen. Welcoming them to the domain of Yemglav, they were offered a stay in this “paradise” with no worries of the flesh or to face challenges that no one had yet surmounted that would allow them to leave.

There was some discussion about staying, most decided to accept the challenges and get out of this place. The loss of fragments of Rolen’s soul didn’t seem to bother anyone…in fact, it seemed fitting he should suffer for dragging them all into his curse.

Room 1 – Kobold Replication
With the decision to face the challenges made, they were again subjected to that strange teleport spell. Arriving in an empty room with only one door to exit. After a thorough search for other doors or exits and finding none, Rolen checked the door for traps. Finding none, Klang opened it to find a kobold. It was unmoving and didn’t respond to hails, so a few entered the room to inspect this kobold.

Once everyone entered the room, the kobold sprang to life and started combat. Every successful strike resulted in the kobold replicating. So after two hits, we had three kobolds. Seeing this was going to a bad place fast, they quickly had Rolen call to Yemglav to get them out of this mess.

Being pulled (unteleported?) from that room, Yemglav explained that we just needed to return to the first room and close the door and the kobold would vanish.

<metagame>
As the DM mentioned a few times, this is the classic 1980s style dungeon. Yes indeed, those horror’s thought up to destroy adventurers rather than entertain players. And here we thought those bad ideas had some how died with the end of the 1980s. Not one Google hit on Yemglav.

Nope, we were wrong, they live on through our DM’s arcane adventure modules. Where did we dig up this guy?
</metagame>

Room 2 – Temporal Anomaly
Yemglav then took a little of all their souls (3 HP off our max, like necrotic damage). Then it was off to the next challenge. Across the room was a switch covered in glass with a sign that read, “In case of temporal anomaly, break glass.” After some weak attempts foiled by a time distortion, Raven – the longest lived among those present, managed to survive the time distortion (seeming to age at a breakneck pace while slowly traveling to the switch) and break the glass.

<metagame>
After failing her constitution saving throw, Raven suffered 2 levels of exhaustion.
</metagame>

Room 3 – Aliens
Teleporting into the next room, there were a cluster of 3 humanoids huddled in one part of the room. They were about 4 feet tall and and gray with distorted features. They had bowless crossbows, wore belts, and were not threatening (you know, like all aliens). We attempted communication several times to no avail.

Deciding they could use a long rest, they laid down with the elves on watch. After about an hour, acid rain started falling on everyone in the room. WTF! Valin and Klang cast protection from energy to take half damage, but knew it was just a matter of time. So after one more attempt at communication with the gray creatures, Valin decided it was time to attack them. Taking the usual damage for a minor encounter, plus acid damage, our heroes defeated the three creatures and were whisked away to another room.

Room 4 – Defeat in a Chest
After landing, there was a bright flash of light, a voice announced that their freedom lay in one of the 8 chests before them. Each chest had word on it – honest, compassion, humility, etc. Nothing sounded any more threatening than any other, so they opted for compassion. Opening the chest, Valin found a ring and once picked up, they were all whisked away again.

Only, it was the same room and the chests were gone and two bandits were in the process of killing a little girl. Attacking the bandits, they killed them both. The girl offered Klang her teddy bear, which he accepted despite his better judgment. Nothing untoward happened.

When asked how she came to be here and why she was being attacked by the bandits, the girl said she touched something in a church. A search of the bandits turned up 6 gold. Then an argument ensued about whether to kill the girl or not, since they seemed to be stuck here. Klang raised one of the bandits and they questioned him.

He said they too were stuck in Yemglav’s challenge and knew they needed to kill the girl to proceed. Klang refused to partake in that. Valin was like minded. So Rolen called on Yemglav again and were again retrieved, a fragment of soul extracted from each, and Yemglav explained that she attacked them with sympathy. Then it was on to the next room.

Room 5 – The Cube
They landed in a room where all the air was thick, distorting their vision, and was unyielding to movement. No wait! That’s not air, it was more jelly and goo-like. And damn it hurt, like an acid. They could see objects suspended in the goo, not far from them.

Once they reconciled the searing pain, they figured out they were in a gelatinous cube. The cube itself was similarly stuck in the room as it filled up the entire space. After taking a non-trivial amount damage, they managed to kill the semi-sentient creature and move on to the next room.

Room 6 – The Balancing Pedestal*
*Each of our heroes landed on separate corners of a plateaued area, falling off into a spiked pit on all sides. A grimlock stood at the center of the area. When the first person started towards the grimlock, the whole platform shifted, tilting towards the far side. It didn’t take them long to figure out the balancing act. Then Rolen and Raven killed the grimlock quickly…and teleported again.

Room 7 – The Gray Ooze
This time, they appeared in a empty room. After some glancing around, they noticed a tiny door near the ceiling on one wall. Orik opened it and a gray ooze started to come through. Jumping back, Orik avoided the worst of it. Once the ooze was through, Raven closed the tiny door. Then they proceeded to kill the nasty bugger…and off to the next challenge.

Room 8 – Two Women and a Campsite
Landing on the edge of a forest near a stream, our heroes could see two women around a campfire. One, seeing the Goblin Stompers, called out to them. She explained the forest was never ending and they too were trapped in this challenge, only she was supposed to kill the other woman. Klang asked Raven climb a nearby tree to confirm this and she did – forest for as far as she could see.

The woman explained that she had put the other woman to sleep and was thinking about what to do. She offered them food and drink, which Klang purified, they ate and tried to get some sleep. Once again, the acid rain began about an hour later…revealing the women to be vampires. Chop, chop, they died before Klang could get his holy symbol out.

And they were teleported again.

Room 9 – Two Swords & Statues
Arriving before a pair of statues, one held a magical sword in it hand. The other appeared to have dropped it’s non-magical sword on the ground. The both statues were so detailed that our heroes were fairly certain they were petrified people, not sculptures. Stone rubble lay strewn on the ground.

Orik picked up the sword off the ground and moved back. Confirming it appeared to have no magic, he cast it away in favor of his original weapons. It magically returned to his possession, involuntarily. Hmm…that’s not good.

<metagame>
DM explained this is the Mark of the Craven (i.e. cowardice) and is a curse.
</metagame>

Then it was off to the next room.

Room 10 – Dopplegangers
They landed in a long corridor in front of a small sized door with another normal sized door at the far end. Deciding to head for the distant normal sized door, they started down the corridor. As they went, they realized they were growing taller…or more accurately, the corridor was shrinking and the far door was actually small as well.

Reaching the door, they all decided to squeeze through it. While successful, they found themselves seemingly in the same corridor with a small door behind them and what appeared to be a normal sized door at the far end. Only this time, we saw figures in the corridor who looked awfully familiar – they looked just like the Goblin Stompers!

Once the dopplegangers noticed our heroes, they charged them. Only as they approached, they were actually double the size. It took a while, but these dopplegangers were eventually defeated. Only Orik was quick thinking enough to search and rob one of the dead bodies (Klang) before they were teleported again.

<metagame>
DM will need to assess value of items that Orik retrieved.
</metagame>

Room 11 – The Fountain
The only issue now was their inability to rest for longer than an hour. Spells were nearly depleted, health was getting low, and their patience for this place was gone.

This new large room had a 125-foot diameter fountain in the middle of it. Green, seemingly toxic, water was flowing from it. A gold bell hung above the fountain, just out of reach. On the fountain was written, “Find freedom with the sound of the bell”. Firing an arrow at the bell caused it to ring and then it was teleport time again.

Room 12 – Old Green Eyes
They arrived and were confronted by a goblin with glowing green eyes.

Thoroughly tired of this nonsense, they quickly dispensed with it. Before he died, it mumbled something about “my curse is now your curse”. WTF?!

Then it was Raven, who had dealt the final blow, that had glowing emerald green eyes. A cool effect for a high elf – just enough to have most others keep their distance – so she decided to keep it.

It seemed to force her to squint in normal light, but she could see much better in the dark. Perhaps a trip to the Underdark would be in order?

But before they could talk it through, they were again teleported.

Room 13 – Blue Dragon
Here, they met a Blue Dragon. He quickly assured them he did not want to fight. He knew how this went and grows tired of killing wave after wave of the poor slobs who fall into Yemglav’s clutches and opt for the challenges.

His only warning was to stay clear of his treasure and they could advance to the next room. So they did and were soon teleporting away.

Room 14 – Multicolored Statues
Landing in another long corridor, they were faced with a long series of statues, all slightly different colors and naked. While that wasn’t bothersome, there was unease when they all turned their heads towards the Goblin Stompers.

It seems each represented a different hope and they needed to each touch one. Rolen immediately took an interest in the green statues. All the heroes decided to take a closer look, inspecting them more closely and trying to find insight in the worst of times.

After some theorizing, they agreed that black and gold offered the most likely chance to move on. So they all touched the black statue. Whoosh, they all were teleported to the next room.

Room 15 – A Bucket
Now they were presented with a scale with two buckets. One bucket was full of what appeared to be silver liquid and the scale tilted that way (not balanced). A sign below the scale read, “Balance the scale with blood.”

Picking up the bucket, they tried to pour the silver liquid out of the bucket on the ground, but it didn’t leave the bucket. Raven tried to drink it and was successful…after gagging for several minutes. After which, she appeared slightly refreshed (+2 constitution), but that didn’t seem like a sure thing…in fact, it appeared more like a near death experience.

Placing the now empty bucket back on the scale, it now balanced…and whoosh, they were teleported again.

“Room” 16 – The Meteor
Landing in a clearing, they saw a meteor crash to the ground quite some distance away (26 miles). It ws extremely cold. So healing was dispensed on each other and they set off. After a full day of marching in (and taking damage from) the cold, they arrived at the meteor crash site.

They approached and could see an entrance. It was warmer inside, so they at least would stop taking cold damage. It didn’t take long to find a wizard with an ocular cycle. It seems they found the famous wizard Leomund trapped at the wrist. His body seemed to flash in and out of existence.

Knowing the drill, they simply set off to “defeat” him. Eventually they did and Leomund winks out of view permanently. Then they are once again teleported.

Only this time, it felt different.

Back to Yemglav
They appeared before Yemglav again. He speaks with a certain amount of trepidation, “Never before has any one survived the challenges!” Blah, blah, blah.

Yemglav then tried to strike a deal with the heroes, who were plenty tired of this nonsense. At first, there were some looks between the Goblin Stompers. Did they just want to bother negotiating with this bastard? They were in no condition to pick a fight with a minor deity…but this Yemglav guy was an asshole.

The deal Yemglav was proposing that they he would return them to the prime material plane, but they would have to pass the dagger to another taker, which would pass on its curse, and be his disciples to spread word of his existence and encourage worship to him.

They needed a minute to think about this and he granted it to them. After talking about it some, they decided this was not acceptable and let Yemglav know as much. He seemed dissatisfied, but offered to drop the need to be his disciples…just pass the cursed blade to another.

At this, there was again some looks between them. Rolen nodded to Klang and moved up to Yemglav (passing his deception check) suggesting he might accept the deal. Then Klang held up his hand and spoke, “Eno’f of dis, ye can ret’rn us to da prime mater’l plane with 100,000 gold and we won’t hunt ye down and kill ye.”

Yemglav’s response was one of disbelief and anger, “Nay mortal, tis not an acceptable offer.”

With that, Klang turned his back to Yemglav and said “Kill ‘im”. Rolen got in a sneak attack, while Valin, Raven and Orik took him down. Klang didn’t even have to participate.

With Yemglav gone, they were returned to their quarters mere moments from when they left. The inn was still settling down for dinner and the sun was setting. Klang removed the curse from Orik so he could rid himself of the sword. Raven declined, retaining her green glowing eyes.

<metagame>
Does Rolen still have a Dagger of Venom, or has it lost it’s magic? Is its curse is broken?
</metagame>

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