Session Date: July 21, 2017
23 Kythorn, 1367 DR
The Hand of Light arrives in Eltorchul Academy, where Dexter learned his craft as a wizard, and they are greeted by Fea Eltorchul. Dexter’s former instructor tells the group that darkness that covers the sky – it began when the meteorites crossed over from the astral plane and crashed in their world – has not abated.
Scholars and wizards all across Waterdeep have been studying it, though. So far they’ve learned that the source of the darkness are particulates that saturate the sky, blocking most sunlight. They used weather effects to clear the particulates, but they quickly returned. This shows that there is an ongoing effect that produces them. Upon studying the particulates themselves, they could not determine their nature except that they are made of a substance not native to the material plane.
Fea also tells them that the darkness has encouraged denizens of the Underdark, such as drow and mind flayer, to surface. She fears that if the darkness is not removed soon, a full scale invasion may result.
After leaving the academy, the heroes take a tenday of needed downtime:
- Dona sends a message to her two brothers via a sending spell that they should come to Waterdeep. She tells them she’s located her other siblings and that they should all return to their homeland together. She also hires a woman to serve as a therapist for her siblings and a healer for the group.
- Lyr buys an inn in Sea Ward to serve as the Hand of Light’s new base of operations.
- Dexter scribes spells into his spell book, creates a handful of scrolls, and spends time researching the darkness.
- Karn performs religious service to Torm, making rounds in the city and encouraging the populace to keep their spirits up despite the darkness covering the sky. He gains two favors from people he meets.
The heroes receive a message from the Scribe, asking them to meet him at the Safehaven Inn. They go to the inn, and as they are waiting, a half-elf named Jathar approaches their table. Jathar tells them he works for a connoisseur of exotic maps and is seeking a map of Evermeet. He’s heard the group was in possession of one recently.
The heroes tell him they gave the map to the Moonstar family who likely destroyed it. Jathar seems excited at this information. The topic of Katso and that he might have a map of Evermeet comes up, too. Jathar offers to find the rogue for them if they will bring Katso to him alive. In the end, however, the heroes are suspicious and come to no agreement with Jathar.
Moments after Jathar leaves, bone devils break through the inn’s walls, one proclaiming, “Mephistopheles sends his greetings, mortals! You will produce the map, in this life or the next! Prepare your souls for harvesting!” Several imps – invisible up to this point – fly down from above as the bone devils move in with their polearms.
A nasty battle follows. The heroes note Jathar cast darkness from outside the inn at the beginning of the battle, but they do not see him after that. Shortly after the Hand of Light dispatches the devils, an elite force of the Waterdeep Watch arrives. Too little; too late.
The Scribe also shows up, beckoning them to follow him so they can speak. The heroes are initially suspicious of the Scribe, thinking they might have betrayed them. In the end, though the Scribe tells the group Katso and Shindia Darkeyes have a hidden compound in the sewers. He gives them instructions for finding it.
Down in the sewers, the Hand of Light finds the secret door hiding the entrance to the compound and enters. In the first intersection, they find another secret door and open it, causing a puddle of sludge – a black pudding – within the hidden room to surge forward and attack.
Karn is the first to discover the creature dissolves the metal of his halberd – his magical halberd! He also discovers that slashing weapons seem to split the monster int two.The heroes quickly fall to defensive positions, Dona and Karn in front dodging, and Dunkle and Lyr blasting the monsters. It’s slow going, but the pace picks up when the group starts dousing the puddings with flasks of oil and setting them on fire.
With the puddings defeated, the group turns east. They find a room lined by petrified humans, elves, and dwarves. On the far wall is written in Elvish, “Speak the passphrase, friend, and enter.” The heroes trip over themselves to say “Friend” in Elvish, but nothing happens.
Back the way they came and to the north, they find that two rooms and the corridor that connects them has grating for a floor. Looking through the grating they discover a dark liquid a couple feet down. Suspecting a trap, they toss a flaming flask of oil onto the grating, and sure enough, the liquid ignites and fills the rooms and hallways ahead.
They can see more liquid begin to fill the area below the grating, so Dexter sends his bat ahead to scout. Vesper flies past the grated hallways, and finds a hallway with water covering the floor. Likely another trap. Flying further, the bat comes into a large room with a lever set on the far wall. Above the lever is written in Draconic, “Enemies to all; friends to none.”
The heros then go back to the room with petrified people and speak that phrase. There is a rumbling as a secret door slides aside, revealing stairs leading down into the darkness.
Through a door at the bottom of the stairs, they enter a massive chamber. Wood platforms connected by rope and plank bridges span half the chamber. To the right is a stone platform. Far across the way is another stone platform, an elevated platform (later referred to as the archer’s nest), stairs, and a door that leads farther into the compound.
As the heroes move into the room, Dexter sends his bat ahead to scout. Several arrows fly at it, killing it. A voice – Katso’s voice – calls out from behind a low wall on the stone platform, “Ah you’ve finally arrived. Ready to join the Great One?”
Lyr and Dona teleport up to the low wall where they find a swashbuckler, a spy, and Katso hiding. Dexter casts fly on Karn and begins walking along the wall with his slippers of spider climbing. As the battle breaks out, more swashbucklers and spies swing up onto the wooden platforms from hiding places below. Also, arrows begin to stream at the heroes from the archer’s nest across the way.
Despite the advantages the ambushes had, the Hand of Light brings the swashbucklers and spies, low. However, when they kill Katso, his form shifts to the milky white body of a doppleganger. That wasn’t Katso.
The archers continue to rain arrows on them from the archer’s nest, though. As the other heroes move across the platforms and bridges to engage them, Dexter walks along the wall and climbs under the archer’s nest.
From there, Dexter notices two more figures appear, both appearing to be Katso. “Ah ha, you’ll never defeat the Great One!” calls one of the thieves. “But I’m the Great One,” responds the other.
Lyr and Dexter begin taking out the archers. Meanwhile, Karn and Dona move onto a stone platform at the base of the stairs leading up to where the two new Katsos are. As they do so, more swashbucklers appear out of hiding to engage them. The two Katsos begin rain down cross bolts on Karn and Dona.
Lyr puts a Bigby’s Hand spell to good use in the fight, and Dexter employs telekinesis to throw enemies off the platforms. Karn and Dona do what they do best, shredding their enemies with their weapons.
The two Katsos were very close to killing Lyr at one point. Unfortunately, Karn ran to his rescue. Paladins are not cool.
Not surprisingly, when the heroes finally finish off the two Katsos, they are nothing but two more dopplegangers.
Will they ever find the true Katso?
Low on health and resources deprecated, the Hand of Light retreats to a previous chamber where they can take a short rest and lick their wounds. After the beating they took, they’ll likely have some strong words for Dunkle whom they couldn’t find before beginning the assault on the compound.
The Hand of Light
Below are the famed members of the Hand of Light adventuring party.