The game kicked off with a fight in the Inkwell; a university pub near the campus of the Quarterfaux in Izmok. Here the Brothers Grimm proceeded to defend themselves from the jeers and fists of their peers while the remainder of the PC’s happened to be in attendance. Jorah the Backstabbeth held his own at the bar keeping “Ogre”, the campus bully at bay while Nikolai and Aaron held the booth in the corner. Eventually the alchemist got tired of the melee and ended it with a bomb to the bar, igniting the place. The bartender, recognizing only the Grimms in all the commotion, hurled an epithet of revenge at the infamous duo as they strolled nonchalantly into the waiting hands of the guard.
Afterward the party was summoned to the tomb of Brinnix Belthane, there to transport the legendary crusader’s shield for preservation by the Archive. After a brief meeting on the edge of the wargrave north of Dunspar on the Icwynd Coast the PCs made the arduous climb up a steep seaside cliff to the mausoleum at the top. Here a door, sealed by ancient Abadaran faith proved no match for the combined intellect of the group.
Once open a few tests revealed the interior of the main hall shrouded in preternatural darkness. The stone hall also yielded bizarre echoes that seemed to have a mind of their own. To address the problem a bell was produced by the alchemest to test the extent of the sonic discrepancies; this unwittingly solved the riddle inscribed on the portal sealed at the far end which read: “by claps and peals I am revealed.” The result was a pair of shield maiden statues, the shields forming the panels of the doors, moving forward and separating while also raising a pair of unique lanterns. The lights emitted a radiance reflected along the hall which dispelled the darkness and the creatures hidden therein.
The rear antechamber held a stone sepulcher. Here 2 curious alcoves above were discovered to be awaiting the maidens’ lanterns. After a brief struggle with the devices they were locked into place. This had the simultaneous effect of opening a secret door beneath the sarcophagus but also ending the ilumination ward against the shadow creatures. The unearthly wickedness of the darkness swiftly flowed into the antechamber but the party made their way down a stair sealing the door behind them.
The PCs found themselves atop a vast, winding stair leading down the interior of a grand vault nearly 100’ down to a flooded floor. The chamber was ancient and crumbling; several pillars and balconies had collapsed into the seawater below showing just above the water line. A sudden rumbling and gust of wind caused the group to turn and realize that the entire wall behind them was a huge, monstrous face, it open maw agape; the pungent smell of brine rising on a gushing surge hurtling up from the black depths. The flood was preceeded by a black swarm of bats and with that, the chase was on!
The party began to descend at breakneck speed, hurtling over obstacles such as fallen statues, stairwells slick with slime or crumbling beneath their feet. Wilhelm Grimm proved the least adept at navigating the obstructions and attempted in vain to avoid the deluge down a side passage, only to be buried under a pile of debris. Trapped and helpless he was easily picked up and battered into unconsciousness before being dumped to the water below.
Nikolai and Aaron took turns crossing one another’s path until at last the alchemist stumbled and was swallowed by the surge. Jakob Grimm proceeded with deft skill but he too was tripped up, nearly at the end, and carried into the drink. In the end only Jorah and the dwarven cleric made their way clear of the rogue wave, so it fell to them to recover the party.
Jorah roughly grabbed Wilhelm and nearly killed the boy in his attempt to save his new cohort. All efforts were futile; death’s bony fingers were closing over the brash fighter’s heart as the water stole the breath from his lungs. And so it was that Jakob, blessed at birth by Abadar’s Judgement reached out his hand and vowed: not today brother, they’ll not have your soul yet. Lo; upon his brush Wilhelm sputtered and convulsed, his body stabilizing from the shock.
The rogue however siezed the opportunity in the darkness and confusion to sieze a pouch of gold from the fighter’s satchel. Restitution for the many indignities heaped upon him by a hard life and his treatment at the hands of those such as the Grimms.
Now the daunting slog lay before them: crossing the flooded vault with only scant feet of stone scattered about to make their way upon. After several healing effects by the cleric the party began, their movements dogged by a pair of guardian water elementals which alternately formed up to slam the PCs into the water or carry them in a vortex back to the beginning. Finally after much toil Jakob, Wilhelm Jorah and Nikolai ended the threat of the aquatic sentinels.
Dripping wet, soaked to the bone and weary from their many hazards overcome the party arrived at the final cyst of the vault. Here a stepped dais rose well out of the water and was illuminated by an errant moonbeam through a hole in the roof above. The party ascended the height and searched for traps on the platform and the sepulcher thereupon. Finding none they opened the sarcophagus which this time was entirely made of wood. A phenomenal perception check by the rogue revealed a trapped pressure plate beneath the legendary shield of Brinnix Belthane, the only item contained in the ancient cradle.
Scratching his chin and adjusting his fedorah, the canny Jorah weighted the bag of gold he’d stolen from his teammate, withdrawing a single coin to match the expected weight of the shield. The swap was made and nothing immediately happened, so he turned to the party holding the device before him in triumph. Unfortunately he hadn’t successfully made the disable roll; there was just a delay on the trap.
The walls exploded as jets of water pinned them down on the platform and a stone slab began sealing the chamber. The party instead used the wooden coffin and lid to float upon the seawater, eventually to pry themselves out through the hole above and into the hillside and the shivering night air.
Here they found Marcusov Brodyg; their mentor and contact within the Archivist’s Guild of Izmok. Apparently the whole exercise had been a field test of their skills and abilities to gauge their readiness to become initiates of the guild. Having passed every other trial one remained; would they actually relinquish the shield to the guild or choose to keep it for themselves. Upon handing it to the elder scholar he clapped them on the backs with admiration and presented them with honorary writs of membership.