Session Date:August 4, 2017
5 Flamerule, 1367 DR
After the Hand of Light takes a short rest, Dunkle arrives with a new companion: Luna Hammerforge, a dwarven paladin that he met at a tavern who would like to join their group. After a quick introduction, Dunkle leaves the compound, explaining that he has other matters to attend to.
The heroes go around, introducing themselves to Luna, and then continue their quest to find Katso. While the heroes are traveling through the large chamber of wooden platforms and bridges, a massive tentacle explodes from the water, grabs Dona, and pulls her in the murky water far below.
The heroes briefly discuss looking for her but decide against it. Dona survived a kraken before, they conclude; she’ll survive one again.
The come to a corridor with double wooden doors at the end of it. Lyr does his best to search for traps in the absence of their trapper, Dunkle, but finds nothing.
When Karn pulls the doors open, spinning blade traps spring from the walls, slicing into the heroes. Furthermore, iron door slide into place, blocking the way forward and back, and the door to a secret chamber opens. Several aggressive chicken-like creatures stream forth from the hidden room, heading angrily at the heroes.
As they duck the spinning blades that fill the corridor, they must contend with the creatures that Dexter correctly identifies as cockatrices. Both Luna and Dexter are nearly turned to stone by the monsters, but manage to fit through their petrifying magic.
Karn, meanwhile, jams his halberd into the trap mechanism, disabling some of the blades. Once the cockatrices are dealt with, the heroes smash the trap’s gear boxes, disabling it.
The heroes come upon an octagonal chamber, and, upon thoroughly searching it, find a secret door. However, they are unable to discern how it opens. So, Karn rams his shoulder against the door repeatedly until it begins to crumble inward. Believing the door now inoperable, the heroes continue onward.
They come upon a set of heavy, iron-bound wooden doors. When they can find no way to open them, Karn and Luna begin to hack at them with their halberd and maul. Once they’ve done enough damage – and alerted everyone for miles around to their presence – they can see a heavy beam barring the door on the other side. They reach through, remove the beam, and the nearly ruined doors swing open.
Beyond is another octagonal chamber, this one with a high ceiling and a ledge some twenty feet from the floor. Lyr creates a giant scorpion with his staff, and sends it in with Karn and Luna to investigate.
Inside they find the walls below the ledge covered with a thick grease, preventing easy climbing. As they begin to search around for secret doors, three secret doors open, two at ground level and one on the ledge. The doors below review more swashbucklers and spies, and from the door on the ledge enters a half-elf drow they’ve dealt with before.
Shindia Darkeyes congratulates them on making it this far, and claims she has unfinished business with Lyr – who turned her into a rabbit in the heroes’ last encounter with her. After some dry banter and Karn calling Shindia to justice, a battle ensues.
Dexter immediately cuts off several of the enemies from the battlefield with a wall of force. Karn, Luna, and the giant scorpion engage the foes on the ground. Up above, Shindia begins shooting crossbow quarrels – heavily poisoned quarrels! – at the heroes.
The giant scorpion goes down quickly, and both Lyr and Dexter take cover behind the doors and farther down the corridor. Fortunately for them, the enemies are unable to flank them since they ruined the secret door back that way.
Luna begins dropping enemies at ground level, while Karn levitates up into the air – thanks to a spell from the bard – and uses his halberd to push off the wall and towards Shindia. The half-elf drow assassin had been decimating the heroes with her poisoned bolts, but once the paladin of Torm closes with her, she is quickly ended.
Dexter drops his wall of force, and the heroes make short work of the remaining enemies. One spy does surrender and rattles off lots of information about the compound and where to find Katso. Because he was so helpful, the heroes decide to spare his life and leave him tied to a door that Karn ripped from the hinges.
The Hand of Light enters Shindia’s private quarters next. Searching her desk, they find a “book of dirty secrets” that lists embarrassing and incriminating evidence for noble families and guilds of Waterdeep. Lyr immediately consults the book and finds an incriminating entry for Physic Verdon Hulda of the Guild of Apothecaries and Physicians.
In another part of her room, they find a chest with several glowing runes on it. However, they decide to come back for it later, after they’ve dealt with Katso. They also bypass the general quarters.
The come to the workshop, where the interrogated spy told them they’d find Katso. It is a massive chamber, split by two ledges, one on either side. They are on one of the ledges, and can see rancid sewer water far below. Two rickety wooden bridges stretch across to the far ledge. That ledge has alchemy equipment peaking above a low stone wall that runs its length. On one side of the chamber, two water outlets exit the wall, dumping murky liquid into the water below.
A familiar voice, echoes through the room, “Hello, friends. I’m glad you made it this far.” The heroes recognize the voice as Katso’s. “I just want you to know that the gnomes are mine. I would let you leave for old time’s sake, but you’ve seen the Great One’s wings and must now die. Any final words before I reveal my grand surprise?”
There is a brief exchange of words, but both parties know there can only be conclusion: battle. The heroes try to determine where Katso is but are unable.
Suddenly a gigantic tapestry unfurls from the ceiling along the eastern wall. The tapestry spans the entire wall. It depicts Katso sitting on a throne of wierdust blocks while Dona, Dexter, Lyr, Karn, Adrie, Balasar, and Rainn bow down before him in worship. Katso’s hair blows in an invisible breeze, and gnomish servants attend to his every whim.
“Do you like it?” the Great One’s voice calls. “This represents my grand vision of the future. Now, let’s make it a reality, shall we?”
Four winged tiefling thieves – Katso’s special hit squad – rise from behind the stone wall and fire bolts at the heroes. The heroes’ missing gnomes also reveal themselves from behind the wall, hurling concussion grenades at the Hand of Light. Katso emerges from on of the water outlets, fires an arrow at them, and retreats back within.
At this, Dexter casts another wall of force, sealing Katso inside the water outlet. Lyr then casts fly on Karn who then moves across the gulf to engage the thieves. Luna refuses to go across the bridges, believing they are trapped or will otherwise drop her into the water below, and fires an arrow at the thieves.
The battle that unfolds is nasty. Karn drops the thieves several times into the water with his advanced sentinel training, but they unleash loads of punishment regardless. Lyr casts blindness on two of the thieves, but they remain somewhat effective regardless. The gnomes continue to lob concussion grenades at the heroes, who do nothing to them as they want to rescue the gnomes from Katso’s lies, not kill them.
Luna moves over a bridge to engage a thief but is stabbed by two of them and goes down. One of the thieves casually pushes her unconscious form into the water far below where she will surely drown.
The battle going against the heroes, Lyr desperately casts polymorph on himself and turns into a T-Rex. However, before he can do much, two thieves stab him up with their swords, causing him to lose concentration.
Dexter drinks an invisibility potion and flees from one thief that had moved to engage him. The wizard then dives into the water after Luna. Finding her, he unstoppers a healing potion and forces the liquid down the dwarf’s throat before she drowns.
And, during all of this, Katso waits patiently, still trapped by the wall of force. He knows his former companions will have to release him eventually, and when they do…
Katso has more than enough surprises for them.
We had to stop the session mid-battle. It was 12:40 am, and the game shop was closing.
The Hand of Light
Below are the famed members of the Hand of Light adventuring party.