Thursday, 1 July 2010

Chapter Four: The Sword Coast - Session 32 - Good news from the Sword Coast - part 2

After defeating Elemental Overlord, heroes saw other outsiders withdraw to their's home plane. The only trace of their existence were rebuild quarry and six gems, that were means to summon earth creature to do it's master bidding.

Heroes returned to Candlekeep and issued report to captain of the Flaming Fist watch. After a conversation about who or what wanted Tower of Knowledge being push down to the sea, part went to search for shipwright to repair damaged hull. The found one and made an agreement, so they were free to explore great libraries. Topics they were concerned with were various and different, ranging from Netheril's history, Karsus endeavors, Spellplague's portents and informations about Abeir. Connal, Jarod, Ren and Avelon with Gorma sat down to discuss research strategy. It was obvious field of work was wide and they had little experience. Most of all, time was running fast, as one can enter libraries only for one tenday a month. At first heroes thought of hiring a scholar, who would be given time for his or hers own research but no trustworthy candidate was chosen. Finally group decided to search for knowledge on it's own.

As it turned out, books were scattered around whole library complex, so the had to work in smaller groups. Avelon researched portents, Gorma and Jarod Netheril's geography, while Connal and Ren concentrated on arcane and planes knowledge. Heroes managed to meet with Bookkeepers and in exchange for help they allowed copy a mysterious scroll, that was able to bring a past to life.

Research was fruitful. Avelon discovered that Spellplauge was supposed to be magical disaster, caused my Mystra's death at hands of Shar and Cyric. Heroes were dreaded but prophecy was so cryptic and unclear, they were not able to learn details. Gorma meanwhile learned with Jarod's help some details of Netherill's geography, nature of floating domains and some other things. Connal and Ren discovered that in fact they are not seeking Karsus but his mentor Iolaum. While Karsus was most powerful of all Netheril's archwizards, it was Iolaum who was considered the wisest one and created most amazing feats of long gone magic arts. It was he, who discovered mythallar, elected first flying enclave, wrote down many spells. Most of all, Iolaum was the longest living human in whole Toril's history.

During the research, heroes learned of other scholars, studying in Candlekeep's library. some of them were researching knowledge connected with party's deeds and interests. among most intriguing were:

Sassuth - Red Wizard of Thay in search of some occult knowledge.
Korvos - a warlord from the North.
Koja - a Tuigan monk-historian, lama from mysterious Red Mountain.
Askeban Grimm - priest of Bane, openly displaying his faith.
Istriel, an an elf on quest for knowledge concerning Nordmen raiding his homeland.
Old  Chestnut - a tree-like druid searching for information about Trees of Life.

It was eight day of course, when Connal discovered his notes and books were different. It was surprising, as he remembered clearly, what has he written previous day. He mentioned it to one of elder library monks but dismissed his saying. Then Ren was approached by one of lesser clerks who demanded to stop inquiries or he  and his coworkers will be punished. He revealed, some books are being changed, their texts altered and warped. Connal and  Ren began look around and soon discovered that meaning of most of them was to make Cyric a great, omnipotent, omnipresent and most revered deity in all world and in all time.
In Candlekeep crime against book is more grievous than treason against human. Punishment is served quickly and without remorse and falls upon both offender and guardian, who let text to suffer. So it was clear that whole intrigue was to be dealt with silence, patience and care.

At first heroes tried to identify "infected books". With whole list, they compiled another list, this time with names of people, who read, burrowed or even flipped them. It provided few names: Avelon, Cyric's servant and priest of Bane among them. Than heroes began to closely watch suspects but were not able to identify offender. It was obvious that process of altering books takes place in night, when no one is allowed to stay there. With a help of clerks, party hid in private reading room and at night emerged to look for a forger.

Indeed, the found him at main desks with hands on two tomes. A dark illumination glowed around them, as he was reshaping history written on their pages. Jarod and Ren allured enemy and assaulted him, while Connal charged. Despite being outnumbered, K was fighting fiercely and once again Connal's healing power saved his friends from death. Cyric's chosen was a fierce and experienced combatant, learned also in ways of backstabbers, so he stand firmly. In the end he was defeated and fallen down, bleeding from wounds, giving his soul to his dark master.

Behind the screen
- Connal reached 13th level of experience.
- Combat was adequate: not too long, not too short. I designed enemy as a "critical striker", but alas, my bad luck with rolls smiled upon me and was not able to inflict more than one hit.
- We will have a new player in group.