DM Notes: As I mentioned in the previous chapter, I ended up removing all three characters from existence … and leaving myself in a weird spot for continuing the story.
Bottomline was a rule that there was a 50/50 chance of each character leaving the Crystalline Retreat being a double of the original character with the thought that the double(s) would disappear leaving the rest of the party scrambling to get their original comrade back.
However, I rolled so all characters became the double! And as I don’t fudge dice rolls, I stuck to my guns, which left me a narrative challenge. Here is how it went:
Back in the spiral stair case
DM Note, the story started back when the characters and their doubles ran up the spiral staircase (see “A short audience with Fierna” in the previous chapter.)
Our three heroes ran up the spiral staircase, but soon realised they could not keep up with their doubles who vanished through a door at the top. That very door was no longer there by the time the Hellbenders reached the top.
Thorga and Pestilence methodically examined the walls for magical or mechanical hidden doors, but none were found.
As a last resort, Torga stuck his hand down his Box of Need and pulled out a small ball shaped container made of two halves. Him and Pestilence both discerned that the runes on the container were hugely powerful, if not god-like runes to keep whatever was in the sphere, inside.
With this insight, the party decided not to open the sphere.
Confused and frustrated, the party headed back into the mirror room.
Mirror, mirror, again, again
Back in the mirror room, the party took the time to examine the room more thoroughly.
First Kaari examined the entrance flanked by the two stone statues. Unfortunately the door was stuck, broken from the heroes having twisted one of the statues violently earlier.
However, the vandalism had left a thin, but tall gap to the outside waiting room.
Thorga examined the mirrors to see if they could be removed and in the process stared into the mirror showing his older self. Filled with wisdom that comes with age, he gain an Inspiration.
Kaari followed and while she also gained an Inspiration from wisdom of age, she also aged 14 years.
Finally, Thorga found out how to detach a mirror.
Mind the Mindflayer
Pestilence tried to show the spheric container to the Mindflayer trapped in the mirror. Unfortunately, the Mindflayer’s strange eye overtook Pestilence’ will power and soon he was scratching at the mirror in an attempt to free the Mindflayer.
Fortunately, the sound of cat claws scrapping across mirror, caught the attention of the other heroes who quickly pushed the detached mirror in front of the Mindflayer breaking the Command spell on Pestilence.
Continuing to examine the mirrors, the party realised 2 pairs of mirrors where in effect portals to each other. Step into one, step out of the other.
Thorga had an idea and pushed one of the mirror portals through the gap by the door and soon the party had found their way out to the lobby.
Do we go?
but the party, still feeling rattled by not having been able to go up the spiral staircase, were not prepared to leave just yet.
Two questions held them back:
- Should we kill the Mindflayer?
- What’s in the round container?
In the end Thorga opened the container, a solid sphere with a eye-sized hole in the middle.
Then he started hovering above the ground with lights beaming out of his eyes… and fell into a trance before the eyes of his companions.
Thorga’s soul had been called up in front of his god: Odin, The All Father who commanded:
The eye cannot be freed. Under any circumstances. The eye cannot be freed.
And Thorga was back with his friends.
With the warning in mind, the party decided to leave the Mindflayer trapped in the mirror.
The long jump
Only challenge left was to cross the Moat of Liquid Nightmare, which to make matters worse, was now patrolled by some nasty looking flying devils.
The party took a short rest to consider the options, during which all the memories of their doubles came to them as the doubles disappeared out of existence somewhere else.
Pestilence offered to open a Dimension Door, but regretably could only bring a single person. Kaari or Thorga. Who to come and who to stay behind.
Again, Thorga had a flash of brilliance and suggested Pestilence simpy took one of the mirror portals with him through the Dimension Door.
And with that, the party had crossed the Moat of Liquid Nightmare.
An unexpected turn of events
The heroes decided to bring the mirror portal with them all the way back to the Brothers Deville’s workshop in Abriymoch (much to the delight of Groff, the unlucky devil merchant who happened to be the only person to see the party dragging the massive mirror across the desert).
But an unexpected surprise awaited the party at the workshop. They found the two large dwaven Stone Golems, that had housed the Brothers Deville’s souls, soulless on the floor.
The heroes searched high and low for clues. There was no signs of accidents or foul play.
Instead they learned the brothers had re-worked Thorga’s 666 Shooter to a Holy Hand Cannon capable of releasing Souls from Soul Coins by using said Soul Coins as ammo.
The brothers had placed their own souls in two Soul Coins and left a letter for the party asking them to free their souls by loading the Holy Hand Cannon with their Soul Coins.
They also left their workshop to the party.
Now it was time for a well earned sleep
And we’re back at the Burning Spice Tea House
The next morning, Basavaraj, the owner of the Burning Spice Tea House and also know as the Info Merchant, was pleased with the party’s completed mission and in turn told them that Hammelthal, the devil assassin of Seipora, was to be found in a warehouse this very evening.
The heroes also witness an unruly guest being escorted out by a huge blue four-armed creature that materialised out of thin air. The creature did not look of devil-kin, but more like a blue four-armed Ogre with an intelligent glint in its eyes.
It became clear the unruly guest was not only thrown out but he was no longer able to perceive the Tea House and when the party tracked him down a few minutes later, he had no memory of the Burning Spice Tea House. So powerful was the magic surrounding that place.
The party found the warehouse a bit hidden from the main hustle and bustle of the warehouse district.
As it was open with crews carrying crates back and forth, the party just walked in and hid behind some boxes using Kaari’s Portable Hole for additional cover.
Day turned to evening and the warehouse emptied of workers and the door was locked.
Evening turned to night and a careful rustle was heard as the large door was opened.
In stepped Hammelthal, the Orthon, Slayer of Seipora.