Behind the Shadows

Dwarven relicts in the Shadows
Infested by orcs

Our brave heros followed the path through the Shadowlands following the magic map they found back in the Lyceum of Magic. It shows their surrondings in the shadows and far ahead at the edge of the map they can make out several named sites. Some of them sound like names. Others seems to describes pillars or a town.

As they move on, the magic map is following and highlithing the path they should take in this labyrinth of different path that seem to alter themself.

After some time they came to a type of chamber. The walls of the dark fog vanish and allow to get get a sight at a cave and enclosing a set of pillars. Their artifical light flickers on the surface of the pillars and bring old runes to live. Runes that remebers our heros of dwarven runes, even if they have slight variations.

They follow the path through the cave which turns into a stronghold, which might once have been build by dwarves. Dead dwarven warriors of ancient times ly around in the tunnels. They fought once a tough fight against an unknown intruder.

An intruder. Which type of intruder? Not long after they pass into the stronghold they can hear drums. Wardrums. Orcish wardrums and they hear approaching orcs together with a unbearable stench. A stench coming from beast that come together with the orcs and surronding our heros. A brutal fight takes place, where our heros open a path to the side to breack the surrond and manage to draw back the orcs. They decide to leave the main corridor, sealing it behind them, since they can hear more orcs coming along the corridors.

Only hundreds of feets along the side corridor they stumble about a small hideout of orc beastmasters, but the beast still looked up in a cage. And a pitch black creature in the other corner. As our paladin enters the rooms he feels the black creature in that second cage. Raising his sword he shatters the look and frees the nightmare that was looked up there. With a kick of the legs the gate got pushed open and the dark horse stepped out of the cage.

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Into the Shadow Boarder

After rescuing the prisioners and granting them a save return to the city the heros took on the fight in the room from which they heard the magical chanting.

But they were already awaited by a huge number of orcs and ogers standing in front of a open portal. One of the orcs spoke a short command and shortly there after they saw fog arising behind them. Sceletons, a huge monster with four arms and the beholder they saw in the cave of the rats before emerged out of the fog and cut away the only route for a retreat.

They decided to stand their fight and used their magic powers to eliminate all of orcs and entered the room before the portal only to recognize another beholder, much bigger than the first one in one alcove waiting for them. He laughed at them and instantly attacked them, but it seemed that he only played with them, driving them out of the room. In a rush decision they choosed the way through the portal…

The appeared in an almost dark cave like structure where the floor and ceiling consistst out of dark fog. A path made out of this dark fog lead away and fearing a pursuit they head along the path. It turned out, that only a small portion of the path is solid fog. To the left and to the right the fog didn’t support and all things felt through.

They followed the path for some time until the reached a bisection. And soon it turns out that a whole labyrinth evolved in this shadowy world. After some time they found a plattform with a dead human on it, whcih seemed to have camped here. A logbook told them that he strived these ways for some months before he passed away. He called this region the “boarder” but a quick reading didn’t turned out any further information. The put up camp on the plattform and put up watches. During the night a six leged creature witch tentacles appeared and began to fight them and accused them to be “intruders” and asked them to leave or they will die. They finally drove it off and it just jumped through the dark fog.

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The Old Castle
Orcs and Dungeons

The heros fighted through the whole castle and took out the orcs one by one until they were discovered by one of the war trolls. After an epic battle in the middle of the old watchtower they discovered a dungeon below the destroyed north tower of the castle.

After a swift discussion they decided to enter the tunnel and seek out any remaining orks in these old tunnels. Quite soon it become obvious that the stonework of these tunnels is different than that of the old castle.

A group of orc guards tried to ambush them, but their wizard shortend the fight by burning them and as the hot winds from his fireball left the room, nothing than ashes remained.

They followed the corridors to the east and passed by some quarters that now seem abandon, but was used by huge humanoids.
Following the corridor they reached a looked iron door they managed to open and discovered a type of prison. The guards there didn’t hesitate and began to slaughter the prisonors. Sneaking around the guards they managed to stop the executioner after slaying only one of the prisonors and just before the unexpected present of a goblin warlock brought them all down.

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Revelations - Behind the Shadows
On the way to the old castle

The heros returned from the Lyceum of Magic and began to carefully study the Dark book. They studied the runes on the book cover and translated it as

The World behind the Shadows

As they read through it, It revealed a story of an ancient war:
The Gods of Good fought a battle against the Gods of Evil. After centuries of devestation they were at the edge of their victory and planning for destroying all evil for now and ever on. They forced METROCA, The Goddess Of Monster and Orozas, The Father of Horrors back into the shadows from where they evolved and sealed the shadows until the end of days.

But they were betrayed. One of their own kind revealed himself to be a trickster. He, who they named from then on CHAAH, The God of False and Trickery, fabricated the Ghost Moon. Spending it’s false light in the world behind the shadows and in the world of the mortals, providing a bridge between both.

Also they found instructions to construct a gate that would lead through the shadows. The rarest elements on the list they would need might be the umbra stones and the true piece of a god.

After they decided that no one should get this book, they headed to the old castle to investigate the rumors about strange sounds in the night.

They discovered that the castle was patroled by orcs. They sneaked their way into one of the towers and took out half a dozen guards without anybody noticing so far…

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Return to the Lyceum of Magic

Our heros decide to bring the Queen of Rats to the council of the City, that she may tell her story there.

They just stepped out of the tunnels, they discover some dead human bodies. All slain by claws and laying around in the early earie green morning sun. The three armed horrors still strove thru the city and watching the streets, clearly overseeing all movement in this part of the streets. To defend a citizen they engaged into combat, even if they were still exhausted from the battle beneath the city. They fought well and suddenly one of them growls a load roar that echoed through the streets, answered by dozends of other roars. And then they retreated, just in time before the red sun arises above the horizon.

The Rat Queen spoke before the city concil and our heroes fullfilled their promise and organized a save escape for the ratmen.

Still the Book of Shadows was missing and they suspected it still in Karrens Tower in the Lyceum of Magic. So they set for a second expedition to Karrens Tower. They made their way into the tower, again solving the riddles, which didn’t changed and approached the top chamber in the twin towers.

There they meet Wenzel, a small creature shapped like a tree, that waited since his masters death in this tower. They had to cross the bridge between the both towers, since Master Karrens laboratory was in the other tower. On the bridge they got attacked again by gargoyles, before they got to the other sides of the bridge.

In the laboratory dead bodies were scattered. The Mage and his apprentice died here, surrounded by the three armed creatures. The smell of ozone was in the air and a huge archway on one side of the room. In the archway a shattered portal was still visible. And on one desk a huge dark volume was laying, opened to a text, written in white letters on black pages.

Pictures Day 07

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Meeting the Rat Queen
From the graveyard into the tunnels beneath Kraatsch

Our brave adventures decided to investigate the rumors on the northern graveyard. Two guards are missing and rumors spread throughout the city that there are creatures lurking during the night. As soon as the dawn sets, they began to patrol the area and shortly after midnight shadows of human sized creatures walk over the graveyard. It turned out to be ratmen, digging for skeletons and bones. A fight broke out until they overwhelmed them and the surviving two ratmen began negotiations.

Our heroes agreed to follow them to their queen. Down into some tunnels beneath the crypts, they headed south to the city again. Suspicious about an ambush they followed them deeper and deeper into the tunnels until they reached a large, dimly lit cavern. A tall rat sitting on a simple throne: The Queen of the Rats!

In the negotiations it turned out, that they are forced to dig for the bones because they fear a greater doom. In the moment where she was about to reveal their peril, a scout appears and whispered something to the queen. “It is coming!” she admitted with a broken voice, “hide behind the curtain”. Our heroes did as ordered and soon thereafter they felt the presence of something dark and evil entering the cavern. The creature demanded the tribute, the bones from the graveyard. Meanwhile one of our heroes peek through a small hole in the curtain and was almost stunned by what he saw: A hovering ball, eyestalks with a gigantic mouth. A creature of old myths: A beholder.

It punished the ratmen for being late in their payments and was about to leave, when it turned around and starred at the curtain. The curtain transformed to dust in the ray of his eye and revealed the heroes. “So, you betrayed me?” he addressed the queen, turned around to his minions and ordered as he left the cavern: “Kill them all!”. Our heroes fought a long and brave battle, trying to survive and save the queen.

Now they know something really dark and evil is lurking under the city, collecting bones. Is this monster also responsible for all the other incidents? What will they do next? Will they tell anyone? What are their plans with the Queen of Rats? Or do they go back into the lyceum of magic?

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Karren's Tower

They fought their way up in one of the towers of the Lyceum of Magic and finally succeded in the test the tower was setting up for them.
Exhausted and drained they decided to head back to the city to resupply and take a rest before they try to approach the last floors just beneath the towers spire.

What will wait in the top chambers of the wizards tower? Will they search for the taint that lays beneath the yard as the old tree ask them?

And still some mysteries in the town remain: What are the rumurs about the sightings at the graveyard? And what escaped into the tunnels?

How does all this fit into a larger picture?

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Lyceum of Magic

The heros fought their way through the jungle garden in the sewers of the Lyceum of Magic. Encountering a naga that were enprisioned in the cellars of the college. They escaped barely before they fail to her suggesting magic to let her free.

Up in the second floor they reached the library that was filled with hundereds of books and several ghost floating through the corridors. They began their search of the Book of Shadows but weren’t able to located it until they convinced one of the long dead librarian to show them the pages of the old log of borrowed books with an entry of the Book of Shadows next to an unknown name.

To whom might this name belong? Will they find the book?

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Shadow Stones

Some clues in the broken in warehouses led the group to a mysterious chest, which was sold on an auction some months ago. One of the interested bidders was the alchemist that just lost his laboratory a day ago. The group headed toward the other two bidders also alchemists and directly got involved in another attack in one laboratory. A strange otherworldly creature covered with hundreds of mouths and eyes tried to swallow the chest with its mystic interior. In a heroic act they fought of the beast and were able to recover most of the dark stone that were in the chest.

Where does this strange beast does come from and what is the secret behind the dark stone in the chest? Who dig the tunnel beneath the laboratories and who got off with the rest of the dark stones?

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Bugs in the tunnels

Strange things have happened during the last day in Kratsch. A sudden cave in of a house, a alchemist lab has been destroyed and rumors of activities at the Tombhill are spreading.
The characters had been summoned to the city council into the Hall of Guilds and were put in charge of revealing the truth beyond these rumors and incidents.

They went to the caved in house and found that the house was collapsed into a tunnel that was dug under the house. They followed the tunnel and encounter several ratmen and a beast as high as a horse but looking like a huge bug with big green eyes and claws like shovels, burrowing the tunnel.
The fought off the ratmen but they choose to retreat from the tunnels before the Umber Hulk could cut off their path.

Why are the ratmen digging tunnels beneath the city?
And what has this to do with the rumors of the Tombhill or the devastated alchemy lab?

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