Grasp of Orcus

The Depths of Mount Ascension Part 1

Welcome to Mount Ascension Temple, Health Resort, and Spa

We pick up in media res, with our heroes in a falling airship. Born, thinking fast, cast lifting winds to soften their landing. The party picked themselves up with only minor damage.

Safe for the moment, the party took a moment to have it out with Honest Bob. He belatedly thanked the party for rescuing his daughter and apologized for disappearing so abruptly and for so long, chalking it up to ‘family business.’ He announced his impending retirement – just as soon as he has a sufficient nest egg. (He took the opportunity to lift 5 gold pieces off Saul.)

Bree suggested the party head for the nearby Mount Ascension, a city famous for its Temple of Ioun and the natural hot spring baths. The group arrived without incident and got a good night’s rest at Tansy’s Friendly Welcome Inn and Tavern.

The next morning, they awoke to find Stern and Princess Corvyre gone. Bree was concerned, but Saul assured her Stern would be fine, he just needed to get his sulk out. (To learn what happened to Stern and Corvyre, read Stern’s solo adventure, Return to Shadowfell Keep).

Bree announced her intention to head for the temple. Born and Berensir immediately joined her. Honest Bob was eyeing the tourists in the bar, until Bree pointed out that Tansy’s is the Temple Guard’s favorite tavern. Bob was still going to go for it, until Saul used prestidigitation to shout out “Hey, that guy stole a wallet!” Bob joined the temple-bound group, Urn and Scott wandered off to the temple fair, and Saul snuck along behind.

On their way to the temple, Born expressed his interest in courting Bree. Bree “put him in the friend pasture”, in Saul’s words. When Born started talking about sweat glands, Bree fled into a ‘cleric-only’ section of the temple library, leaving her friends to explore the temple on their own. Honest Bob noticed all the guards seemed quite on edge.

Inside the room, the tour guide was talking about the Torc of the Necromancer: a relic of evil taken off Druggosh the Necromancer 300 years ago by Terra Routhan, the warrior cleric of Ioun. When someone asked why the Torc was still here and hadn’t been destroyed, the tour guide changed the subject.

When the party loudly mentioned zombies, Born, Saul and Berensir were quickly hustled into a side room. High Priest Bezar himself came to speak with them. The party delivered their warning about zombies on the fields of Agrobah, much to Bezar’s obvious relief. The portly and expensively dressed High Priest claimed he was just worried about zombies wandering down into town, but the party sensed he wasn’t being entirely truthful with them. Honest Bob picked the High Priest’s pockets, coming up with gold, a mysterious medallion and an ancient set of keys.

While Born poured his heart out to High Priest Bezar, Bob, Berensir, and Saul tried to break into another room of the temple – only to be caught by the guards. The three were thrown out. Berensir gave up and headed for the co-ed baths.

Determined to rob the prosperous temple, Bob convinced Saul to hit on dragonborn Temple Guard Steadfast. Saul managed to talk her into a date, though she seemed to lose interest after learning Saul was a magic user. Honest Bob tailed her back to her room and while Saul distracted her, stole Steadfast’s armor, uniform, a few pieces of silver, and her badge right off her neck. Taking the badge was a step too far – Steadfast attacked Bob with her sword, dealing heavy damage. Bob fled out the window with his prizes and he and Saul made their escape.

But before they could enter, a great alarm shook the town, sending Temple Guard running everywhere. The Temple was on lock down, no one except guards allowed in or out. Saul refused to try to get in with Steadfast’s armor, so Bob donned the oversized pieces himself. He managed to bluster his way past the first layer of guards – seemingly by passing some kind of check. But upon coming face to face with tiefling Captain Magary inside, Bob was attacked when he tried the same trick. Meanwhile Saul observed from the top of the wall the tourists inside being herded back. Berensir failed to climb the wall.

To the party’s surprise, Born arrived to rescue Bob, ushering him back out of the temple – to Bob’s disappointment. Born carried Bree’s backpack, and instructions to give it only to the person she ‘trusts’: Honest Bob. Bob immediately said: “Something’s wrong.”

Within the backpack they found a hidden note, disguised as Bree’s diary entry, informing them that a master thief had stolen the Torc of the Necromancer, and directing them towards an hidden passageway into the Old Baths in the shop of Yanth the Apothecary. The party was resolved to go when they heard a second alarm bell ringing…

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