Arundel's Journal

The Tome

Foreword

At your request, cousin, I am keeping a journal of my experiences in Thornkeep and the Emerald Spire. In truth I’ve no notion why either the Church or the Society think me the best person for this task – I am certainly no scribe – but if I am to serve the interests of either then I am no position to question their edicts.

Thornkeep 1

I sought out Gorn, as you recommended, and he in turn brought me to the rest of the group with which I will be working. It is a varied group1, both in race and skill, and I think we shall do well. While it will take some time for the group to really begin to mesh effortlessly I can already see the pieces – the skills and tactics – sliding into place.

Should we survive, that is. In truth Thornkeep tested us mightily. It is a labyrinthine place festering with powerful and terrifying undead monstrosities. Reading of these creatures is one thing, facing the reality of them is quite another. One of our party, Kat, was drained of life by a wight, saved only by our good fortune in finding a potion of lesser restoration2 upon a fallen foe.

We spent many hours trudging through deathly perils in search of a handful of rainbow-hued stones in order to open a dread portal3 to the Keep’s lower levels. I am not certain if we will venture forth immediately or return first to the Emerald Spire. I shall write later of whichever occurs.


Creatures encountered:

  • Goblins
  • Skeletons
  • Wights
  • Shadows
  • Stirges
  • Fungal Crawlers


1. It occurs to me that, as a Venture Captain, you most certainly have access to full information about those with whom I am adventuring so I will not bother to record the details here.

2. This seems a good idea to me. If I were packing a dungeon full of creatures capable of all manner of life-draining, petrification, etc. I would also keep a stock of potions on hand to undo those effects. I am baffled at the lack of labeling, however.

3. I must ask: is this common? Are keys really so recent an invention or was there some compulsion among builders of old to require quests to open every door?

The Emerald Spire 1

Before braving the depths of the Spire I discussed at length the experiences of my compatriots in breaching the first level.They told me of shuffling apprehensively in a cloak of magical darkness, harried at every step by devious goblin foes1. To be sure I expected the worst but we managed it quite well if I do say so myself. There was none of the impenetrable darkness to be found and the only goblins here were corpses, brought to foul unlife by necromancy. They were not the only undead beasts we encountered but non proved able to withstand the twin power of Iomedae and Erastil2 combined, aided in no small part by mortal steal and the iron will behind it.

This latter was most welcome in fighting the living denizens of the dungeon: moon spiders. Unlike their more common brethren these eight legged nightmares are possessed of a cunning intellect. At one point Nightingale and I were dropped into a pit by a cleverly concealed trapdoor. It would seem Iomedae too was with me for a stuck the beast down with a single stroke! Cunning they may be, but not cunning enough to outwit cold steel and Iomedae’s might.

I admit I worry about Kat. She sought to heal me of wounds sustained in battle but through the power of dark magic. I of course declined, but I was alone in doing so. I worry not just for the stain on Kat’s soul but that it should spread to my companions as well. I have never been one to proselytize but I may need to begin countering this dark magic with the word of Iomedae2.

I think my compatriots’ experiences of the Spire’s first level, and our shared peril in Thornkeep, made us cautious in the extreme. Through careful and prudent exploration we discovered and bypassed many of the Spire’s deadly traps.


Creatures encountered:

  • Zombies
  • Skeletons
  • Moon Spiders


1. Again, I will not bother to recount them here as I assume all are diligently reporting their experiences to the Society and that you have access to said reports.

2. I find myself liking this brother of Erastil. While he lacks the courage to truly honour his god through strength of arms and glorious combat he is nonetheless no coward and certainly not lacking in holy strength.

2. I think perhaps with Alfhid’s aid. Provided Iomedae get’s the credit, of course.

[several pages left blank, crammed with a numerous scraps of paper containing notes and half-completed thoughts recounting further excursions into the Spire and the Keep’s dungeons]

Thornkeep 3

It is a strange thing to come near death. As much as I do not fear to stand before Iomedae I am in no hurry to do so. Life is a tenacious habit, one I am loathe to give up any time soon.

This level of the keep was infested with goblins, though horribly twisted and mutated through alchemical experimentation. We fought ones with skin was as slack as rubber, shiny as a mirror, or scaled like some great lizard. Ones with claws slick with ichor. Even one, maddened with rage, with vials of of foul liquid embedded in it’s skull.1

The complex we were in was riven by the erratic path of a now long-ruined excavating machine of some unknown design. In investigating a cavern revealed by the device we were attacked by a giant spider and thousands of it’s tiny offspring. Thanks to a prayer to Iomedae, and through her grace, I caused the former to flee and the latter was dealt with in short order thanks to the spells and and bombs of Kat and Babbidy.2

While investigating a large chamber Nightingale wandered off and tripped a devious trapped statue. Despite being sorely hurt by it she chose to suicidaly throw herself into the path of a second one! I cannot for a moment imagine what a terrifying place her mind must be, Kat ran to help free – which proved to be surprisingly difficult – while I using my healing magic3 to keep her alive.

This folly was to almost be the death of us all. In short order we encountered The Master, a mad human alchemist, who quickly felled both Kat and Boppity2. With my healing magic nearly depleted I simply could not keep up with the tremendous power of the alchemist’s bombs. Nightingale harried the man with arrows, striking true many a time, but I feared it would not be enough. I was burnt and blasted several times and wavering, seemingly on death’s door, when Iomedae granted me the strength I needed to launch myself back into the fight and finish the villain. It was a near thing though, a hard lessen learned for all.


Creatures encountered:

  • Grey Ooze
  • Goblins (mutated)
  • Dire Rats
  • Giant Spider
  • Spider Swarm
  • Iron Cobra
  • Alchemist, Human (referred to as “The Master”)


1. I sometimes think I should learn to speak the goblin tongue, but do they really have anything useful to say I wonder? That said, I speak Dwarven and I often find myself wondering the same thing.

2. I am certain I am spelling that incorrectly, or perhaps there is actually no correct way to spell it.

3. Praise Iomedae.

Bringing you up to date…

As I predicted at the start of this endeavor, my efforts to maintain frequent and up-to-date reports of my progress have proven fruitless. I have dozens of pages of haphazard notes and records which I have sent separately to be sorted and recorded as you see fit.

I don’t know what I expected here but this is not it. Both the Emerald Spire and Thornkeep1 have proven to be madhouses, bereft of logic or rationality as most would reckon it. All manner of foul creatures live atop one another with no rhyme nor reason to any of it. Madness!

I must admit I have on occasion felt my faith shaken, not in Iomedae but in myself. I cannot fight as well as Kat, vanish into the shadows like Nightingale, nor concoct devious bombs and potions like Bawbedy2 yet time and again I, with the power and strength granted me by Iomedae, have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

Praise Iomedae.


These are two of the most dangerous creatures I have ever beheld:

  • Barded Devil

    *Mi-go

1. Thankfully it would seem we have plumbed all of Thornkeep’s secrets but the Emerald Spire seems endless.

2. Damnable spelling!

Arundel's Journal

The Emerald Spire and Beyond! BlaiseW Sulaco