|The Gauntlet of Marduk - handle with caution|
|The Gauntlet of Marduk|
|Adventurer(s)||Agrael Silvertyr, Azreal, Dupond Tomason, Laerwen Airlinniel, Perl Silvertyr, Xandar Turncoat|
|Objective(s)|| - To hunt down Ibram Ravernor
- To find and destroy the Gauntlet of Marduk
|Location||Dol Amrir, Tiamat|
|Enemy(s)||Ibram Ravernor, Hopeless Dave, Eric, Serendius, Thenalia Azkarath|
The Gauntlet of Marduk quest was an unusual quest in the fact that upon beginning the quest, the party had no idea of its existence. Perusing the assassin Ibram Ravernor led the adventurers to the Temple of Tiamat where they discovered a rival adventuring party attempting to use the power of the Gauntlet of Marduk to control the dragon of the same name.
This quest included Gnolls, blade traps, the beginning of group tactics and the Knights first encounter with the famous gelatinous cube. Oh and a dragon.
After staying the night in the castle at Dol Amrir, the party woke to discover armed guards in their rooms demanding they surrender their weapons and go down to the main hall. Once there they were confronted by Prince Imrahil who accused the group of attempting to kill him during the night. Demanding justice Prince Imrahil challenged the Rogue, Azreal, to a duel. Despite protects of innocence and attempts at diplomacy the Prince would not be swayed.
As the Prince drew his sword his face changed from one of rage to one of confusion, followed by anger then distress. As his guards and the adventurers watched, Prince Imrahil collapsed, poisoned during the night.
The assassin quickly showed himself. Ibram Ravernor, the Ranger, leapt through one of the hall's windows and disappeared into the town.
Given the choice of being tried as co-conspirators or tracking down and capturing Ibram, the party chose the latter option. Being joined by city guard captain Serendius, they set off North towards the River Durin in pursuit of Ibram.
Bears & BetrayalsEditLed by Laerwen's marching song the party made quick pace through the forest in chase of Ibram. For several hours they encountered nothing until, with an enraged roar and swinging claws, a Dire Bear emerged from the trees. Despite several party standing their ground, it was hastily apparent their group had neither the numbers nor the experience to take on such a creature, resulting in the party retreating into the forest.
Having outrun the Dire Bear, the party ran headlong into a Hyena and an elderly human called Dupond Tomason. Although deadly when in packs, this hyena was alone, and was picked off by the party without any injuries.
As the hyena was felled applause rang throughout the area. Ibram sat in a branch above the group's heads, and began praising the Knight's kill. Azreal didn't let him finish: firing a crossbow bolt and hitting Ibram in the leg, causing him to fall from the tree.
Before Ibram could be challenged in combat his allies revealed themselves. From behind a tree stepped Hopeless Dave, a gnomish monk, and from the Knights own party stepped forward Dol Amrir guard captain Serendius and Thenalia, the Eladrin sorceress.
As the two groups prepared for battle a terrifying roar rang throughout the forest. The more perceptive members of the party also noticed smoke coming from the south. Faced with a forest fire and possibly even a dragon the Knights ran north towards the river, leaving Ibram and his party to their own fate. It was during this mad dash that Laerwen became separated from the main party.
At the river, after finding a place shallow enough to wade across, the Knights were halted in their tracks as another Dire Bear appeared on the opposite bank. Yet some quick perception checking revealed the edges of the bear to be blurred, leading some to the conclusion what blocked their path was not a true Dire Bear but... something else.
The 'Dire Bear' told the party that he shall not let them cross. Upon further prompting, the bear reveals he is guarding this pass to stop adventurers from travelling into the Temple of Tiamat and seeking the Gauntlet of Marduk. He continued, saying that the gauntlet is an evil artefact and it has drawn malevolent creatures from the forest towards and into the ruins.
Unintimidated by the bear, Azreal attempted to pass. The bear rose up on its hind legs and before the party's eyes transformed into several more terrorizing creatures, including a young black dragon, before returning to the shape of a bear. Xandar attempted to trick the bear into transforming into a mouse, but the creature was familiar with the tale from which the idea arose.
Ibram and his allies appeared on the riverbank as another roar boomed across the sky. Running out of time and realizing the temple was the only cover nearby, the Knights told the bear that they would attempt to destroy the gauntlet if he allowed them passage. After a moments pause, the bear accepted, and the Knights raced across. As the bear started walking towards the temple, a man emerged from the shadows of the forest and began walking beside the bear. The man's name, as the Knights would eventually discover, was Eric the Shaman, and the bear was his spirit companion.
The Temple Of TiamatEdit
Set into the side of a hill overlooking the river, only the entrance of the temple was visible. Halfway up the Knights stopped to scout for Laerwen, with Eric and his bear going on ahead. This pause allowed the rival party to sprint ahead and reach the temple at the same moment as Eric. The Knights could only watch as they all disappeared inside. With no sign of Laerwen, the group continued up the slope.
Approaching the entrance cautiously, the Knights were shocked (and slightly amused) to find no trace of their enemies, but instead see a trap hole in the temple's entrance hall had recently been triggered. With their rivals taken care of for the time being, the party could devote all their focus to finding the gauntlet and destroying it.
Using Xandar's Sunblade Longsword to light the room the Knights quickly searched the entrance chamber. Apart from several skeletons, the only item of note was a stone tablet, engraved with what appeared to be Draconic. Luckily, the ranger Xandar could read the text. Inscribed was the following:
"Write tablet text here"
Before continuing on, Azreal broke several limbs off the skeletons and pocketed a small pot of oil, in case they needed torches later.
Proceeding down the corridor, constantly checking for traps, the party found their way blocked by a set of thick wooden doors. Listening at the keyhole, the knights determined there were at least three creatures in the next room. As Azreal prepared to kick down the doors, one of the party members suggest they try the doors first. They proved to be unlocked. Drawing their weapons, the party threw the doors open and charging into the room.
The chamber held five gnolls, all who seemed frozen by the sudden appearance of five yelling adventurers. In a flurry of swords, bolts and spells three of the gnolls lay dead before having the chance to comprehend what had just happened. The remaining two dropped their weapons and ran down another corridor. One was felled by a javelin thrown by Xandar. Azreal, out of javelins, threw a torch after the remaining gnoll, though the throw fell far short.
With the light given off by the thrown torch, Xandar performed a hasty perception check, revealing just before the party lay deep grooves carved into the stone. Fearing the worse, she yelled 'TRAP!', bringing the knights to a halt. Using knowledge of dungeoneering and thievery, the party figured out the order of the swinging blades and to stop the control panel in the wall... which was of course located on the other side of the trap.
A well-placed javelin by Xandar disabled one section of the trap, but disabling any more meant someone had to get up close and personal with the panel. Azreal, the only one of the party with decent thievery and acrobatics, was elected. After flipping over the blades onto the area already disabled, the rogue went to work.
While Azreal worked on fully disabling the trap, the other party members noticed the last gnoll was still within projectile distance. As Azreal finished disabling the trap Xandar threw another javelin but missed the gnoll only to have the javelin suddenly halted several feet above the floor, as if it had hit an invisible wall... The Knights all turned to one another, blood draining from their faces as fear turned them white, and uttered the following words: "HOLY **** IT'S A ******* GELATINOUS CUBE!"
The Knights sprang into action. Placing a good distance between themselves and the cube, then began throwing whatever they would find at the cube in the hope of harming it. Dupond launched a fire spell at the cube, only to have to it burn off all his hair. When we say 'placing a good distance between themselves and the cube', we're referring to all party members apart from Azreal. The crazy Tiefling quickly lit one of his skeleton-limb makeshift torches and withdrew the small pot of oil he'd gathered earlier.
Staring at the cube as it lumbered forward, Azreal waited until the final moment before throwing the oil and the torch at the cube. However he misjudged the timing, and although parts of the cube did catch alight, it was within range to grab the rogue and pull him in. Only a quick attack by the ranger allowed him to slip free, but from the encounter the Knights learnt a valuable tactic: set the cube on fire.
With Dupond failing another fire spell, burning his eyebrows off this time, Agrael the dwarven paladin, after throwing several lit torches at the cube, charged head on at the creature. Although he did manage to damage it, the cube managed to swallow him.
With Agrael being slowly digested, time was of the essence. Dupond lined up yet another fire spell, but failed again, loosing his beard to the flames. The rescuer came in the form of dwarven invoker Perl, whose fire spell not only destroyed the cube, but set much of the corridor alight as well.
After a short rest, in which Agrael cleaned the cube remains from his armour and hair, the Knights continued forward until their path was blocked by a set of stone doors. Too thick to listen through and with the key in the outside lock blocking a view inside the room, the adventurers knew they'd be entering the room flying blind. Deciding to risk a peak into the room before attacking, the party pushed one of the doors open a few inches, revealing two gnolls and a skeleton gnoll. Readying themselves, the Knights rushed in for a second surprise encounter.
Bursting into the room the Knights found themselves facing off with 7 gnoll: 4 normal gnolls, 2 skeletons and a priest in a chanting mode. Azreal and Xandar went right, taking two gnolls and a skeleton. Perl and Agrael took the left, with again two gnolls and a skeleton; while Dupond hung back guarding the flank. After Agrael destroyed the skeleton with a crushing melee assault, Perl attempted to slip past one of the gnoll, seeing it manage to slice her side. However from her new position the invoker launched another devastating fire attack, incinerating the gnoll that had attacked her and another one close by. Xandar and Azreal made quick work of the gnolls on their side of the field, leaving only the priest alive.
Before any member of the party could launch an attack, the priest yelled a curse at them in Draconic and fled the room. Knowing that he must be fleeing towards the gauntlet or another important location, the Knights followed, although this time checking for traps constantly along the way. The chase led them into an enrormous cavern, the roof of which seemed to stretched for miles into the darkness. Only the first half of the chamber was illuminated, and it was into this area the party had emerged. In the centre three gnoll priests stood chanting, and between the priests and the Knights lay half a dozen gnolls.
Just as the Knights prepared to engage the gnolls, a flash of light blinded them for several moments. When their vision returned they could see in the opposite corner stood Ibram, Serendius, Hopeless Dave, Thanalis and Eric, and upon Eric's forearm a red gauntlet glistened in the torchlight...
The three groups faced one another off for several moments, unwilling to make the first move. The spell was broken by one of the gnoll priests, whom observed the gauntlet upon Eric's arm and yelled to the other gnolls to engage Ibram and his band. As the gnoll soldiers launched into attack it left the three gnoll priests undefended, allowing the Hares to begin attacking them.As the gnoll fell both sides began preparations to engage one another in combat. However before this could take place a roar thundered through the hall. Marduk had awoken. The red dragon quickly noticed the gauntlet on Eric's forearm and drove into the battle. The Hares openly wondered why Eric was not using the gauntlet to control Marduk, but did not voice their question as they finished off the last of the gnoll priests.
Meanwhile Ibram's party were taking heavy damage. Marduk was proving to be far stronger than the adventurers, making a quick meal of Hopeless Dave. The Hares knew unless they could reason with the dragon they would be next. As the Hares moved to engage the remaining members of the opposite party Agrael began to reason with the dragon, offering their assistance in exchange for safe passage from the temple. By some miracle, Marduk agreed to Agrael's offer.
With the combined efforts of the Hares and Marduk the Guard Captain Serendius was killed, but as he fell the gauntlet began to glow. Serendius' death had activated the artefact! Eric turned to face Marduk and, raising his hand, attempted to control the dragon. The Hares held their breath as Marduk seemed to fall under the will of the Shaman, yet Eric's will was not powerful enough. Shaking the spell from his Marduk roared in fury and clamped his jaws down on Eric, swallowing him and the gauntlet.
Seeing her party fallen Thenalia, bound by Dupond's thorn spell, surrendered. Ibram attempted to escape, but was shown no mercy and was finished off with a Coup de Grace by Xandar.
With the gauntlet now being eaten away by the acids inside Marduk's stomach and the evil adventuring party all dead or surrendered, Marduk left the Hares alone, flying up to a ledge high above them and showing them no more interest. The party made their way past Marduk's vast hoard of gold and treasure, the adventurer's keeping an eye on the Rogue Azreal to be on the safe side.
Emerging from the Temple, the party rested briefly before choosing to journey to a nearby village for a proper rest and food.
This quest directly leads into the following quest, the Return to the Temple of Tiamat.
- 1 Gelatinous Cube
- 14 Gnolls
- 3 Gnoll Priests
- 2 Skeleton Gnoll
- Pendulum Blade
- Trap Hole