“Oh for shame, how the mortals put the blame on us gods, for they say Evils come from us, but it is they, rather, who by their own recklessness win sorrow beyond what is given…”
-Zeus, The Odyssey
- Thaed, 13th Level Human Cleric
- Fo, 13th Level Human Monk
- Brûne, 13th Level Human Paladin
- Ki’rok, 11th Level Drow Ranger
- Deiter, 8th Level Human Fighter
- Alric, 11th Level Human Paladin
- Tharivol, 11th Level Moon Elf Fighter
- Vrae’ree, 13th Level Drow Wizard,
- Adabon, 13th Level Copper Elf Fighter
- Abernacky, 6th Level Human Fighter
- Tom, 5th Level Halfling Wizard
The Cult of the Dragon discovered the Well of Dragons long ago. Lava tubes snaking beneath the now-dormant volcano formed natural corridors connecting caverns that the Cult enlarged for their own use. Within the central caldera, they raised a ritual space for creating dracoliches from dragons drawn to the site knowing they would soon die. Under Severin’s leadership, the caldera and the catacombs beneath it have been repurposed as the site where Tiamat’s vast temple will be raised and the Dragon Queen’s new reign begun.
SCENE ONE: THE VILLAGE
The “Neverwinter Nine” used one of the permanent Teleportation Circles in Waterdeep to teleport to the village of Amarth. This saved the Nine about three days worth of riding. Arriving in the village, they found that it was razed and in ruins. Their investigation revealed that it was wiped-out no less than two months ago. They also discovered the remains of two corpses that had been chained to steel crossbars. They could tell that the two corpses were burned by Dragonfire. Little remained of them besides dark, charred bone. For some reason, the Cult made these two victims into examples. But why?
No bodies littered the ground, and no fresh graves were found. The fields and wells were salted, a symbolic custom of desecrating a destroyed city and cursing anyone who dared to rebuild it. The found no dead, no victims, and no survivors. It was clear that the Cult took everything and everyone with them when they returned to the Well.
They also found evidence that biped Draconian creatures were with the attacking force. Either more Half-Dragons, Lizardmen, or maybe even Dragonborn.
After staying in the town for about an hour, the Nine departed.¹
SCENE TWO: THE SEWERS
As the Nine rode closer to the Well, they saw the caldera of the long-dead volcano rise from an ashen plane ahead. Along the cinder cone’s steeply sloped sides, thousands o f creatures mill about or are lining up into ordered infantry ranks. In the air above, dozens of chromatic dragons wheel and shriek like a flock of immense crows. Obviously, the Cult was mustering their armies, preparing for the Factions to march to war.
In the past, the number of cultists at the Well of Dragons seldom exceeded one hundred. Now, with ultimate victory near at hand, their numbers have swelled. Only cultists live and work in the tubes beneath the caldera. The thousands of mercenaries, giants, devils, and monsters serving the cult are camped chiefly along the north and east slopes.
The Nine chose to enter the Well from the most unlikely of entrances: the sewers. Every citadel has to have a way to dispose of trash and waste. The Cult took advantage of the naturally existing underground river flowing through the Well to meet these needs. Since the Southern sections of the Well are not specifically used as a part of the temple, this was converted into the sewers. Using strategically placed cave-ins to create dams, the Cult was able to use the river to dispose of their trash, rubbish, and waste. The river waters wash the refuse down through the abandoned lava tubes, out of the Southern slope of the Well, and out into the rivers that flow into the nearby marshes.
The Nine trudged through the filthy caverns, slowly following the partial map given to them by Spymaster Spider Parafin. The tubes were large enough to allow them to ride their horses. They found that it gradually sloped upwards to the northeast, allowing the water to flow naturally out of the Well. Moving against the gentle stream, them found that the corridors and caverns were littered with trash, rubbish, rotten food, and solid waste. The air quality was terrible, reeking with an impossible stink forcing them to wrap scraps of cloth around their noses and mouths.
During their expedition through the Sewers, they encounters both Otyughs and Carrion Crawlers. This is no surprise as both creatures thrive in these sorts of conditions. These creatures seemed more interested in devouring the Nine’s horses than actually eating the Nine.
At one point, the Nine had to circumvent a pool of greenish sludge that had gathered in a bowl-shaped cavern. As they moved along the edge of the pool, bubbles began to form, and then finally a large pocket of gas started to form under the oozy slime in the pit. This gas began to form a slowly enlarging bubble.
Deiter shouted, “I shall lance it like a boil!” and then stabbed at the bubble with his lance. The bubble exploded, splashing the Nine with foul smelling liquid and filled the room with a poisonous haze of fumes and spores.² The gas didn’t affect Fo due to his mastery of Ki. However, everyone else started coughing and gagging. Afterwards, they felt dizzy and slowly developed a headache.
In time, they came to a place where the water was flowing from a small hole in the wall, delivering the waste water and debris from the caverns above. It was clear that the hole was not large enough for anyone bigger than a Halfing or Goblin to navigate. Happy to be away from the reeking and filthy water, the Nine moved on towards the end of their map where Spider claimed the Harpers had found an odd elevator of sorts.
INTERLUDE ONE: THE RATS IN THE WALLS
The rats watched them as they moved along through the sewers. They crawled in the rubbish, and watched with their beady little red eyes. All the while, they scampered this way and that as they watched the outsiders trudge through the tubes. They heeded the commands of their master without error. He saw what they saw and heard what they could hear. And their master was unhappy.
SCENE THREE: THE FORGOTTEN CHAPEL
Soon they came to a large cavern that featured a ten foot square pedestal, and two doors. One door was larger than the other however they were both wide and high enough for a man to ride a warhorse throuh easily. The doors were made of oak, and reinforced with steel. They both had identical brass keyholes.
They discovered that the pedestal had a collection of items on it: 3 fairly normal looking daggers, a big flat brass key, a gold ring, a brass ring, and a silver ring. Detect Magic and Find Traps helped them to determine that the items on the pedestal radiated with transmutation magic, as well as, revealing that the ceilings in the hallways beyond the doors were trapped. These items from the pedestal were taken by Thaed and placed into his Bag of Holding.
In time, they discovered that both doors led to hallways which in turn led to false doors. Fo spent a considerable amount of time attempting to open these doors before realizing that they were fake. Meanwhile, the others discovered that the pedestal was the elevator that the Harpers were talking about. Touching a hidden latch allowed the pedestal to lower down into a dark shaft to the floor 90 feet below.
Here they found a large cave with 10 feet round two holes in the far western wall. One hole led to a small cave that had been caved-in and was a dead end. The other led to a small room with another pedestal that had a strange engraving: RAS EVIL GRIN.³
Having solved the puzzle, the Nine placed the silver ring they found on the pedestal. Suddenly, the found themselves standing in a different room entirely.
SCENE FOUR: THE DRAAKHORN
After the din of the tunnels, this chamber seems preternaturally silent— until The Nine realized they were completely deafened in the presence of the fearsome Draakhorn. Carved from the massive horn of an ancient red dragon, it hangs suspended by chains from the ceiling of this chamber, blasted with fire to a dark ebony hue and bound by thick bands of bronze. Draconic runes etched into its surface glow with a purple eldritch fire.
Without a doubt, they realized that they had found the legendary Draakhorn: An ancient device whose sounding alerts dragons across Faerun that great events are unfolding. It’s impossible to say what the sounding means, but the dragons hear it clearly and will answer its call. ”
… to be continued …
¹ I expected that Thaed would use “Speak with Dead” on the corpses but he didn’t. I also thought that the players might have their characters cut down the corpses and bury them, but they didn’t. This scene was intended to show what Severin’s force has been doing to every small town in the area: Razing the town, salting the fields and wells, destroying all the buildings, taking the animals for food, and the survivors for slaves.
² TRAP: “Poison Gas Bubble”: CR 5; Hazard; Location Trigger; Automatic Reset in 1 hour; multiple targets (splash); Disabled by stopping movement around or near the pool. One character at a time will be able to pass and not disturb the pool. Poison Gas: Inflicts a negative modifier (2d4) to all WIS based rolls for 2 hours. DC 18 CON save for half damage, meaning 1d4 instead of 2d4.
³ RAS EVIL GRIN is an anagram for “A SILVER RING.” True believers of Fantasy Role-Playing will know that this is a reference to another published adventure.