The guild has received a cryptic distress call from one of its agents in the Shadow Marshes. The council has decided to put together a party to investigate…
The Adventurers Guild’s newest recruits barely had time to see the Guild’s keep before they were assigned a mission by General Crelith. He informed them that one of the guild’s agents – Doria Valedaar – had been investigating cult activities in and around the Shadow Marches for several weeks, but that her communiques had cut off abruptly several days ago. Their mission was simple, find Doria and help her finish the investigation.
Kiros’ portal sent the party into the swamps near the village of Blackroot, the centre of Doria’s investigations; and with some help from local merchants, they reached the town in the early afternoon. When they arrived in the village, they were immediately confronted by the village reeve, a half-orc named Toraash – who informed them that the town had no taverns or inns, so they’d best be on their way. Falric managed to calm the conversation down somewhat, and upon inquiring about Doria, they were told that she had left town several days ago.
With no other way to pick up the trail, the party made their way to the house that Doria had been staying in, only to discover that the house was a mess. Several people had obviously been taken in a struggle. Grim Tim managed to find cult paraphernalia including shards of volcanic glass daggers and a necklace made of a mummified eyeball. Clearly the cultists had learnt of Doria’s investigation, and taken steps to remove her.
The party split up to search the town, and eventually found a small path leading out of the north of town. Diokana got lucky and spotted some suspicious figures heading that way. She quickly rallied the party and they set off in pursuit. The party discovered the entrance to a cave, guarded by some burly looking orcs. They tried to talk their way in, but things soon deteriorated into combat, leading the party to quickly learn that the cultists were no longer wholly human or orc – limbs had been replaced with tentacles, and they appeared to have extra eyes.
After solving the puzzle to open the cave’s entrance, the party started heading deeper into the cultists lair in search of Doria and answers. It quickly became apparent that greater forces were involved, with demonic language flowing along the walls in an eerie red light. Unfortunately, the party’s greatest enemy seemed to be the narrow stairways leading down into the lair. Several of the party members found themselves tripping over, bouncing down into rooms full of cultists.
Several battles were fought, and the party seemed to be getting the better of the evil cult, but Grim Tim made the mistake of attacking one of the large eyeballs attached to the fortress’ walls. He was immediately absorbed by the eye, whose acidic interior quickly rendered him unconscious. Diokana was also drawn inside the eye, forcing the party to try and free the pair as quickly as possible. They managed to get Diokana free in time, but Grim Tim wasn’t so lucky, all they found was a dissolving corpse.
Shaken by the loss of their comrade, the party fought their way deeper into the base, eventually coming across a small jail containing several villagers and a wizard who called himself Graham the Magnificent. Apparently he had been working with Doria to uncover the cult, but had been kidnapped along with her. Graham informed them that Doria had just been taken to be sacrificed to Belashyrra, a demon known as the Lord of Eyes, so the party raced further into the dungeon. Unfortunately, the stairs seemed to be just as perilous in this part of the keep, and the party’s shaman tumbled down into the middle of the ceremony.
As the rest of the party hurriedly followed, they discovered that Toraash (the village reeve) was the head of the cult, and he was now clothed in a suit of armour that seemed to be made out of flesh, with multiple eyes and tentacles along its surface. An epic battle ensued, and Falric managed to free Doria and take down Toraash. Unfortunately, Toraash’s armour seemed to have a mind of its own and promptly attached itself to Falric, promising him great things in return for his help. Graham came over to help Falric, but only ended up with the armour attaching itself to him. As a much more pragmatic person, Graham magically determined that the armour held no ill will against him, and thus decided to keep it.
After taking down the remaning cultists, the party went into the room behind the sacrifice chamber and discovered that the cultists had been transforming innocent villagers into the creatures that they had been fighting. Though they couldn’t save those that had already fallen, the party nonetheless managed to save the majority of the villagers, who promptly held a celebration in their honour. Their duty complete, the party decided to enjoy the festivities before using the hearthstones to return to the guild keep.