Neverember's New Neverwinter

Tales of the Astral Sea
Chapter 3: Will of the Couatl
Part III
Astral Date 003

As the room sealed shut, the portal that the party had entered through flickered back to life. Only two members of the party managed to get through before it was shorted out again by the rising waters. The pyramid’s curse shroud expanded and so did the shimmering veil that removed the hopeful’s halos of protection. After a little poking and prodding the group determined that the solution to this trap lied in the two 10 foot dials that had come up from the floor on opposite sides of the room. They were quite sturdy and needed to be turned at the same time. The first time the team managed this, Murk Dredges began slipping into the room with the water. They seemed determined to keep pulling the party away from their task. The waters continued to rise and the groups’ endurance was tested as they held their breaths trying to achieve four synchronized dial turns. The third turn was a turn for the worst as Kraken Tentacles bursts from the floor in the places where the statues had settled. The team was beaten and battered and pulled and held and nearly drowned, but the final turn was made and the room drained out through the now open door.

Down the wet staircase they crept cautiously approaching the unknown. The party arrived at a platform in a very wet room. They noticed a similar light to the ones that had previously granted them protection from the pyramid’s curses coming from four pedestals along the back wall. The entire area was filled with the curse haze and all those who hadn’t stepped in the immunity columns were seriously feeling the effects. The group also spotted some pressure plates and a trip wire. Most curiously though, they were only 10 feet away from the body of a dead Sphinx. It had obviously put up quite a fight. Its claws dripped with black blood and there was a thick trail of the stuff leading under a door near the pedestals.

The overzealous leader of the group immediately stepped of the platform with gusto. The team was surprised to find that he left a trail of light behind him that no one could cross. They tested the pedestals and gathered no leads. A little splitting up was in order because each person was leaving an impenetrable light wall in their wake. Some false walls were found and the team set out. The pyramid would not be so easily conquered though. Before they got to far they heard a guttural laughter that sounded like it was coming from the walls themselves. It eventually focused and faded into the sealed room from before, and then its door began to rise.

The giant room was quadrisected again and each corner held an elemental manifestation to match the column of light it protected. The fire section contained a caged fire elemental which scorched the room back and forth like a blow torch. The earthen sector had a gravity elemental which hindered ranged weaponry and cause chunks of ceiling to fall down on the team. The air quadrant contained a wind elemental in cyclone form threaten to suck up and spit out anyone caught in it’s path. Lastly the area that first appeared to be normal water was actually a pit of Astral Sea “water.” Additionally, these areas were patrolled by Fire, Earth, Storm, and Star Mephits respectively. Once the door fully raised, the party was confronted with the manifestation of the pyramid itself, a Beholder Eye Tyrant. Under normal circumstances it would probably have disintegrated the whole lot of them on sight, but its central eye had been clawed to bits by the Sphinx. Its eye stalks were more than enough to take out these lowly intruders, so it charged in anyway.

The party used a little awkward maneuvering to keep most of enemies at bey while they figured out the final puzzle. A few rays were fired (Searing, Confusion, Disintegration) and a few traps were triggered (Floor Spikes, Tripwires, Poison Darts), but they made consistent progress in acquiring their protective halos. Along the back passage Yuusha and Kasabian found room loaded with treasures. Luckily their keen eyes spotted a pretender amongst the chests and they killed it before it could strike.

More careful navigation and some lucky whirlwind action allowed the group to deliver their halos of light to the central chamber and deactivate the pyramid. They found a portal in the room where the Tyrant had entered and jumped in prayed it was an escape route. Luckily for them it was. The tumbled out of the pyramid and found that the other two party members had long since returned to the boat and the crew was considering leaving because they party was assumed dead.

They failed at their task of getting this mysterious cube recharged, but on reflection they realized there had never been any person or place that could do such a thing… Had they been sent of a fool’s errand? The party is back on their craft, but they’re abandoned in a desert in the elemental chaos fleeing a pyramid that’s sinking into the abyss. Time to regroup! But what’s going on up their in the World Fall!?

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Tales of the Astral Sea
Chapter 3: Will of the Couatl
Part II
Astral Date 003

As the party made their way to the Library they were stopped by the Couatl , who informed them that the power source that supplied the mote plane was being disrupted. Ordering them to assist one of the groundskeepers they departed the plane aboard their ship, assisted themselves by a Tiefling elementalist who knew a thing or two about the power source as well as a Genasi wizard who knew a thing or two about healing.

The party arrived at the source of the power amid the astral sea. It was a floating pyramid and inside they had to recharge a small magical box that the Couatl had given them. Inside the first room of the pyramid were four strange areas that contained protective auras against curses. The center of this room also contained a curse filled grey shrouded area. Taking the protective abilities from these auras the party moved into the next room.

Here they found another shrouded and cursed area. One of their members, another wizardly Genasi, Reci from the plane of Faerun used his sand-shifting ability to move between the divider walls and gain protection by stepping in various aura filled zones within sections of the room. The rest of the party was not so lucky and had to deal with rooms filled with snakes, winds and electrical charges. Reci also brought the ire of a pudding upon him as he fell in one of the sectioned off areas of the room. The rest of the party made quick work of the ooze along with the slithery snakes that decided to assail the party. After much maneuvering they also once again gained curse protection from the eerie auras in the room.

The next room, triggered by the Tiefling provocateur prematurely was a literal sand trap. The key to making their way though was enduring the sand and touching the giant gem in the center that opened a portal to a series of hallways. The hallways were a maze of teleportation riddles that proved to be no match for Reci’s Hand of Fate, which quickly brought the party to another room…

A room filled with gargoyles and a central dais. Again there was a wide central area of cursed shadows. As expected, the gargoyles activated, but unexpectedly they released shrieking beetles that assailed the mind. Working to disable the gargoyles and squash the vermin before they made their way to coalesce on the central dais for whatever unknown reason, the party was able to disarm the room’s nefarious trap…or at least the first one.

Because with the last gargoyle disabled, the beetles disappeared, and the parts of the floor slide in upon itself, as water rushed into the now sealed shut room…

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Tales of the Astral Sea
Chapter 3: Will of the Couatl
Part I
Astral Date 003

The Coautl, in a chiding and admonishing tone beseeched the party to aid him in keeping the floating god in slumber and to do so by battling a group of demonic forces on the god-beings monolithic-like hand. The Coautl he explained, would take care of the lich and his forces on the galactic gods slumbering head, while he thus requested the party to dispatch the nefarious forces preparing a ritual on the lower appendage.

Agreeing to the demands, the party assaulted the floating wraiths and the gelatinous and large bellied demon who tore bits of his own flesh from his stomach and threw it in flaming balls of searing fire at the party. Due in no small part to a Wall of Fire the party defeated the wraiths but not before almost losing one of their own.

After the fight, they found the coautl watching them and proceeded to speak to the divine being who, after much maneuvering offered his aide and brought the party to his Cloud plane which materialized from the astral sea behind them all…

On the couatl’s world, a mote of cobbled roads, temples, and clouds forming temple layers, the party met a guardian who explained the plane, which was organized around a court of the couatl’s who spent their eons trophy hunting. The party decided after introductions to seek out on of the libraries to find a possible solution to their predicament…

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Tales of the Astral Sea
Chapter 2: The Strand
Astral Date 002

The party emerges from the storm into the cannons of the waiting Githyanki and fire back. The schooners attempt to board the vessel and one crashes into the ship, disabling it for a brief few seconds.

But between the Hopefuls and their crew repulsing the boarding pirates and their cannon fire they spook the Githyanki enough so that when another storm appears on the bow, the Githyanki once again decide to avoid it..

Allowing the party precious time to make it to the other side where two astral strands a crimson and magenta one flickers on the horizon. The party decides to take the magenta one, and sail forward on the astral highway, bound for whatever plane they were headed for…

After traveling for several days, short on food and finding the chef had poisoned much of the rations aboard, they came upon another group of astral travelers, pirates of a sort who for a price offered deliverance to the astral city of Sigil. Not liking their terms the party turned them down and went on their way, but now with the knowledge that they were headed towards the realm of Pandemonium…a chilling thought…

Deciding to take their chances with the sea, the party, getting low on food departed the strand into the shadow of a floating humanoid god. Using their ritually inclined Hand’s they decided to venture to the being and were stopped by a flying serpent, a being of goodness, a Coautl who sought their aid…

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Tales of the Astral Sea
Chapter 1: Flight from Githyanki
Part II
Astral Date 001

In hot pursuit of their quarry, the Githyanki pirate ship pursuing the Neverwinter Hopefuls started picking up speed as they tried to flee from the dreadnaughts devastation, which left all the other ships including the mechadragoon in pieces. Aboard their vessel, the Githyanki clipper ship, the Hopefuls decided amongst themselves to use every bit of skill in their repertoires to try to increase their ships speed, using astral eddies and sheer brawn to push the vessel to the limit. Aided in this by their fellow crewmen of their new ship, a handful of dragon-borne Neverwinter natives and a few Mintarn guards, most notably the bugbear Hrugga and his attractive counterpart Taylor, both in black-suited armor helped the party in whatever ways they could.

Despite their attempts, the Githyanki ship in pursuit, manned by Astral pirates fully familiar with the winds and ways of the astral sea gained on them…

But suddenly a dubious salvation appeared before their bow, a psychic storm appeared, prompting the party to make a decision to enter or fly beyond. As the Githyanki in pursuit of them fired off a cannon in range behind them the decision was made-into the storm!

Looting their ship for any available aid, the party came across an Astral sextant and a captains log, along with a chef who took up arms, pitifully. The magically adept of the party also realized the items significance and its ability to return them home. As the ship careened into the dazing storm they encountered flying astral serpents that pelted them with psychic shrieks, stunning them but eventually the ship emerged from the storm…into the waiting cannons of the Githyanki clipper and its hovering schooners…

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Tales of the Astral Sea
Chapter 1: Flight from Githyanki
Part I
Astral Date ZERO

After sailing through the sky-portal (see this Chapter in the Main Story for details), the Neverwinter Hopefuls, made up of the beautiful Vryloka and Neverwinterian Noble Blessed Bane, Kasabian the dashing Nobleman and his tiefling bodyguard the somber Sorrow along with his magical confidante Kerem, find themselves within the midst of an astral fight between the newly flight-capable Neverwinter warships and Githyanki pirate ships.

Sailing atop one of the Githyanki ships, the mechadragoon, piloted by Rook, deposit the Hopefuls aboard the ship where they dispatch the crew…

Just as the astral sea opens up and gigantic behemoth beings, astral dreadnaughts drawn to the battle coalesce from the sea itself and begin to tear into the scene with unchecked abandon. Narrowly escaping the claws of the astral juggernauts the Hopefuls flee the battlefield, or rather get careened away from it aboard their Githyanki ship.

In pursuit came a small schooner ship filled with Githyanki who attempted to retake the vessel but the party successfully repulsed them, even as another ship, another schooner filled with other Neverwinter defenders, including the genasi mage Reci and his erstwhile companion from the Feyworld Yuusha. The two forces, both out of sorts in the Astral Sea and from Faerun joined up and aimed their vessel away from the monstrous feast, finding themselves pursued by two Githyanki schooners and a Githyanki clipper of same make as their own..

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Helm's Heroes Mini-Series

18 Leaffall

Chapter 3: Helm’s Heroes and the Duergar Chieftain

The party pushes their way into the room beyond the set of doors, to a small coterie of hobgoblins and bugbear sentries caught off guard within. Despite being accompanied by fellow goblinoids, the Heroes spend a few seconds battling it out with the sentries before the guards yield and give in to talk.

But talking soon descends into a squabble between the hobgoblin Nogglebock who the party captured before, and Cudgel the leader of the sentries in the room. Bickering over Sweetbottom, a hobgoblin lady whom both goblins sought to court before the arrival of the Duergar chief, the Heroes eventually settle the hot-blooded goblins down in exchange for taking out the grey-dwarven menace to the tribe, whom the hobgoblins refer to as King Biggy. Though the hobgoblins are split on this offer, the bugbears prove the deciding factor and the party is able to move further into the underground lair, goblin allies at their side.

They first come across a holding room with a spell-scarred individual out of sorts, along with a bruised an battered drow woman who takes her life and a pair of badly beaten bugbears. After this the party pushes forward…

And the Heroes still need to convince the remainder of the hobgoblins and they do so by meeting another larger group of goblins, the leader of whom, Zats, demands that to prove their mettle they dispatch with King Biggy’s devilish wizard. Agreeing the party marches forth into the winding tunnels of the lair, and battle it out with a tiefling occultist and his hobgoblin side-kick, who readily yields once he is teleported within the midst of the party. He says his name is Butterball.

After defeating the tiefling, the Heroes with the rest of the hobgoblins storm the duergar’s main quarters, where they come face to face with Mernud, King Biggy. Ordering his followers to eliminate his female captives the party faces off and defeats the duergar cheiftain and his troll, hobgoblin and duergar forces, but not before Mernud detonates the path down into where he and his men came from…or so he attempted. Zats, the new leader, orders some of his goblins down to make sure the way is sealed, at which point Butterball takes the opportunity to redeem himself, and heads off with this group…

The Heroes make their way back to the Undercity where they are greeted by Muyen in the Mechadragoon cavern, giving the wizard the samples of troll elixir they found on the wizard. She takes the party to Commander Peats quarters, where he is nodding as five golem warriors leave, bidding farewell to one of them as Bill…

After debriefing him, Commander Peat asks the Heroes what they know of Gauntlygrym…

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Helm's Heroes Mini-Series

18 Leaffall

Chapter 2: Helm’s Heroes and the Goblin Raids

The roar of the crowd reverberated against the walls of the Mechanical Dragoon cavern. A palpable excitement could be felt in the air surrounding the Helm’s Heroes, mixed with the coppery scent of blood and guts from the legions of goblins slain in the battle that just took place. Over the din, a single focused and determined voice could be heard calling for order.

Commander Peat’s steely words barked out from a rocky dais above the scene. His firm speech quelled the blood-drunk crowd and reminded them of their ultimate goals for Neverwinter, and called for a feast in the eve, which satiated the bloodlust and turned it into a bacchanal delirious desire for revelry.

Heeding this call, the Heroes decided to take part in the festivities but not before being approached by first a Sons Magus, Myuen who requested the Heroes service in uncovering the bloodlust of the goblins and then by Peat’s daughter Irietranna. In the midst of congratulating the Heroes the Commander’s daughter, who was clearly grating on the elder Magus’ nerves, was interrupted by her girlfriend Kara, a teenage dragon-born eager to meet the adventurers. Bubbling with excitement the two young ladies proceeded to fawn over the Heroes and Kara expressed her desire to accompany the team on their mission. Displaying her leader-like demeanor, Irietranna convinced the Heroes to allow Kara to go along and then took them to their rooms.

The feast was grand that evening, with speeches by Commander Peat and other luminaries of the Sons rebellion including Eralt Gavin , a young hot-headed noble, an elderly dwarf and the Lady Ciara, madame of the Silver Pedal. The Heroes, uninterested for the most part in the orators took to the dance-floor quite readily; Bizu found a lovely bearded female companion to go down easy with the ale, Lance drew lines of revelers despite the cool stares of Ayala, Jimbo recounted his tales of the land beyond Living and Moradin’s siren call, and Minos found his pleasures doubly graced for the eve….while Kara the young dragon-born took in all the sights of her role-models and burned with anticipation for the coming dawn…

In the morning, after a night of dancing and frolicking the Heroes set out for the cavernous hall of the Mechadragoon and took off into the goblin tunnels to find the lair from which the vile vermin had issued from. Sent on their way by Peat, and warded as they went by Myuen, the party soon stumbled upon other groups of Sons who partnered with the Heroes and made their way further into the Underdark…

Soon they came upon an eerie pool of water stretched out before them in a vast cavern as twinkling lights beneath the waves drew the attention of the group. Though the lights were soon revealed to be nothing more than bio luminescent fish, above them, hanging from the stalactite ceilings were Dark mantled things that descended upon the rebels and Heroes alike, looking for a scrumptious meal. Quickly dispatching the cloaked things, the Heroes investigated first a crude goblin hut by the lake and then a trail that lead to quivering goblins in a side tunnel.

The goblins, lead by the scrawny Oog, asked the party for mercy, and then once granted, for aid in defeating their unwanted chief; a grey skinned dwarf. Taking the news in stride and agreeing to investigate if only to find the lair, the Heroes pushed forward and found a patrol of hobgoblins and bugbears that they easily subdued. Convincing them to aid them so that their own desires at throwing off the yoke of the Duergar menace might come to fruition the Heroes talked the goblins off the brink of fighting to the death. Agreeing to the terms, the Heroes, lead by these goblinoids and trailed by more Son Rebels behind them, pushed forward into the dwarven palace in the Underdark, where behind a set of iron doors the Duergar chief awaits….

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Episode XXIV
He who Laughs Last....Duergar!

11 Rotting

Pushing forward, the party next encounters a river of slime flowing through an underground causeway splitting the passage in two. On one side of the bubbling acidic waterway is a giant dwarven statue. A second towering statue had been by the looks of it detonated at the ankles and was sent sprawling over the causeway to the far side of the slime river. Treading cautiously the party sent out their recon pair, Olaf the bowman and Tana the Hidden, to investigate the scene…


But as the two scouts made their way over the makeshift bridge of stone and casting, from the cracks in the statute at their feet bubbled up yet more hungry oozes, looking to feast upon their flesh. Flying into action, the crew rushes forward to save their companions and to do battle with the mindless puddings.


It is a fierce battle, and another long one, with acidic appetites threatening to consume them all. After one of the giant black puddings had been puddled to oblivion, the party, through the manipulating hand of the Jester, pushed the other brute over the bridge, and attempted to flee further into the next tunnel ahead…


But unfortunately were put into a dangerous position between the pursuing ooze and a revealed flame-spouting trap embedded in the cave wall ahead. Somehow, in the mayhem, the party moving in spurts to get away from the remaining ooze left one of their companions behind, Chester, their misanthropic comedian who found himself cut off and alone at the rear..


And the party, close to surge-less, without healing, and bloodied, watched in horror as the ooze engulfed their Jester in a final acidic embrace that carried their sometimes ally into the beyond….


Putting down the pudding with vengeance, the party, hearing sounds in the room ahead pushed forward, without a moments breath, led by the always curious shardmind. They were greeted by a duergar posse decked out in whips and manacles that rushed the group, immediately putting Redleaf down and demanding the rest to surrender. Ersihti without hesitation complied, while Torrin, keeping it real as a dragon-born should, resisted, and received a warhammer to the back that sent him off to sleep-time. Only Tana and Olaf, the quickest of the group, managed to flee the encounter back the way they came…even as a weird earthen creature that seemed to flow through the ground pursued them, along with a pair of duergar. But their speed and stealth proved no match for their pursuers who gave up chase and returned to their captured companions.


So it was that while Tana and Olaf were for the moment free, Erishti found herself being manacled and shackled by duergar and their slavish peon, alongside her unconscious companions, Torinn and Redleaf, as well as Chester’s body that lay cool on the ground in a cavernous hall of the fabled Gauntlgyrm deep in the depths of the terrifying subterranean world that is, the Underdark…

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Episode XXIII
Lets say we're Frenemies, Puddin'

11 Rotting

Following their dwarven and oozy encounter, the party hashed out their … collaborative differences and decided to continue forward under an uneasy truce of personalities…The party also managed to question the one surviving duergar that they had left alive. But the grey-skinned hoodlum was less than forthright, despite the probing questions of the company’s expert diplomat, Erishti. Finding little answers, and mostly lies, the crew decided to tie up the red-headed fiend and drag him along.


Down a dark tunnel, lit by the light from Torinn’s shield. Then, halfway down the tunnel their war-forged friend powered off, just as they came upon an opening…


Right into a room covered in green goo. The cavernous enclave also housed another assortment of oozes, this time green slimes that took a liking to their half-orc archer and the group’s wee little gnome. Huge black puddings also made a squishy attempt to consume the party. But despite the odd choice in tactics chosen by their prankster and disruptive Jester, who took to fleeing in a strategic attempt to gain barrels of duergar combustibles to use on the oozes, the group was able to divide and conquer the oozes with patience and determination, flashbacks and all.


And so it seems, uneasy or no, the group may be functioning more like a team…at least in the bowels of Mount Hotenow, on their way, presumably, to the fabled….Gauntlgyrm.

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