The Fate of the Sixth Master
After the Demon War, Bellicose, the sixth master of the Conclave, continued in the war effort working with Rukemia and Kitar against Duthelm. Late in the war, Bellicose became more bold and made direct attacks against the Citadel. Perhaps foolishly, Bellicose did battle with Caramus in a titanic clash of magical skills. One against one. Unfortunately, Bellicose was no match for Caramus. He was captured and imprisoned in the Shrine of Lost Souls.
The Current Whereabouts of the Sixth Skull
The sixth skull is still apart of Bellicose who is very much alive. He is simply imprisoned in the Shrine of Lost Souls. He has been imprisoned thus for over a century.
The characters must travel to the Citadel, determine that Bellicose is imprisoned in the Shrine and free him.
The Citadel is the capital city of Duthelm. The Citadel itself is a single, massive fortress built into the side of a mountain. It is the largest single structure in the world. It 30 levels are home to more than 30,000 people. For details about the Citadel, refer to the Citadel.
The Shrine of Lost Souls
The Shrine of Lost Souls is part magical artifact and part prison. It lies directly beneath the Temple of the Shattered Skull.
List of Events
The Journey to the Citadel
Having acquired the fifth skull in Borrell, the characters now must trek down through the Ice Rock Mountains to the Citadel in Duthelm. There have several ways they can undertake this journey. They can travel back down along the western foothills of the Ice Rock Mountains traveling along the edge of the Darkwood Forest, Carrikos and cutting through the Falkir Clans. Alternately, they can travel by boat from the shores of Borrell to the town of Stormhaven (which is a Duthelmian town). Either way, there will be plenty of opportunity for side adventures and random encounters.
Entering the Upper Levels of the Citadel
There are many common levels and areas in the Citadel where common citizens are allowed to go. However, there are many areas and even whole levels that are restricted access. Usually, only military and government officials are allowed in such areas. Level 15, where the Shrine of Lost Souls is located, is one of these restricted levels.
Access between levels is gained by means of wide stone stair ways with broad landings that cut their way vertically through the fortress. These enormous stairways are closely guarded on all restricted levels. At each landing, there will be at least one Citadel Guard officer with a magically enchanted visor capable of seeing invisibility objects.
Gaining Access to the Shrine
There are only two ways into the Shrine. Both heavily guarded. The main entrance to the Shrine is on level 15. The Shrine has a pair of reinforced iron doors with a sophisticated mechanical lock. These doors are also charged with a magical defense. Finally, a pair of Citadel Guards is outside these doors at all times.
The only other way to get into the Shrine is to descend through the shaft from the Temple on Level 19 down into the Shrine on level 15. However, the Temple of the Shattered Skull is also heavily guarded and there will be various priests, knights and guards there at any time.
The walls around the Shrine are 20 feet thick and composed of alternating layers of granite and girrall. This prevents any spell from penetrating the Shrine. Therefore, any sort of teleport spell or other transportation based spell will fail. In addition, spells that target the stone (for instance, a spell that would melt the stone away to gain passage) will operate at a greatly reduced effectiveness.
Deth, the Keeper of the Shrine
Deth, is the lich guardian of the Shrine. For full details, refer to Deth, the Keeper of the Shrine.
The Guardians of the Shrine
The Guardians of the Shrine are withered lesser lichs who are utterly faithful to Deth. For a full description, refer to the Shrine.
The Mist of the Shrine
The Mist of the Shrine adversely affects mortal creatures. (It does not affect undead). The mist drains the strength and vitality from any creature that is exposed to it. This is physical contact, not inhalation. Therefore, holding one’s breath does not stop the effect. In AD&D terms, it drains experience points. You can adjust the rate to suit your tastes. This will depend on the level of your players. Suffice to say, it should be enough so that no player is going to want to stay in the mist for very long. A minute at the most. Beyond that, the mist should be draining levels. The players should initially be told only that they mist makes their characters feel sleepy and weak. After a few rounds in it, you can tell them exactly what the mist is doing and let the horror sink in.
The Glyph Stone
A series of adjustable glyph stones (square stone tiles with a glyph upon it) control the function of the Shrine. In order to invoke a specific function of the Shrine, the glyph stones must be aligned properly with the corresponding glyph.
In order to free Bellicose, the glyphs stone on the Shrine must be aligned correctly and the correct spell must be cast from the pages of the Grimoire.
Escape from the Citadel should be difficult, to say the least. It depends on whether the characters have set off any alarms or not. They’ll have to be good… very good, to get into and out of the Shrine of Lost Souls without raising all hell.
Once they have the sixth and final skull in their possession, the characters will notice (the next time they think to look at it) that the map has changed coordinates again. This time, the glowing lines crisscross on top of the ruins of the Conclave Citadel in the Snowy Timber forest. Of course, the map is indicating the location of the Banishing Hall and the Conduit. Most likely, the players don’t need this hint. By this time, they know where they need to go and what they need to do. They’ve got all six skulls. Now it’s time to return to the ruins and to the Banishing Hall and finish the quest. The campaign has come full circle.
Concluding the Sixth Skull Quest
It is very likely that the Citadel officials are going to become aware that the security of the Shrine has been breached and that someone has freed a prisoner. This cannot go unpunished. The Shrine has a reputation of being escape-proof. The Citadel officials are not going to let that reputation be tarnished. They will pursue the characters aggressively. A large, powerful and well equipped group of black knights and sorcerers is the likely response. This team will track their prey magically, across national borders if necessary. Their goal, destroy the infidels who broke into the Shrine and return the wayward prisoner. How this plays out is up to you. It is possible that the players reach the ruins and conduct the final ceremony before pursuit can catch them. Or their pursuers may arrive just as the ceremony is about to be concluded and the Avisarr is about to be thrown into the Conduit. Have fun with it.
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This page last updated Wednesday, December 24, 2008. Copyright 1990-2009 David M. Roomes.