The Dungeon Run - Episode 24 The Spelltower of the Ashen Mage

As they search the spelltower on the outskirts of Winkburgh, the team finds themselves in a battle for their lives against magical creatures conjured by the Ashen Mage herself! What will her creations reveal about her master plan, and will the heroes be able to use this knowledge to free the Duke from his fowl curse?

DM/GM Intro

It started as a simple dungeon run…

For these 5 adventurers, it was a quick opportunity to loot some treasure and fill their pockets.  But the treasure they found was the Secret Keeper’s Amulet, a powerful relic of chaos magic that serves as a bridge to YOUR world.  And your way in to theirs, to influence the events in Ain with forces of good and evil.

It also started them on a quest to rescue the lost Wardens of Ain, the elemental titans who have stood sentry during the long years of peace since the War of Ideas, but who have recently gone missing.  The team has found, and freed, two of the Wardens so far, and on the hunt for clues to the whereabouts of a third.  

Helping them on this quest are the wizards of The Natural Order, researchers and magic users who have developed means to track the particular arcane energy of the Wardens.  The team has become acquainted with several members of the Order, but currently find themselves dealing with Cornelia the Clean, a fastidious, if a bit high-strung young wizard who has been on the trail of a mage she believes holds the key to finding out more about the missing Wardens.  This mysterious figure, known as The Ashen Mage, took up residence in a spelltower in Winkburgh, a town that sits at the crossroads of several important trade routes. For years, Winkburgh has been a hub for inter-realm commerce, the connection point between many disparate parties, with agreements brokered and overseen by the Duke.

But when our heroes arrived in Winkburgh, they found it a very different place, indeed.  The Duke was holed up in his residence, with the entire townsguard pulled back to protect him, leaving the rest of the town to fend for itself.  As a result, the area fell into lawlessness, forcing many citizens to relocate, breaking the trade route, and turning Winkburgh into a dangerous, unwelcoming place.  

Investigating, the team made contact with the Duke’s right hand man, Preet, who thought they arrived in response to a call for help he had sent to the Chief Regent of Terlis.  Asking for utmost secrecy, Preet eventually introduced the team to the Duke, who, it turns out, had a disagreement with Kalkata Theed, the Ashen Mage, and was turned into a duck.  Truly, life is like a hurricane, here in Winkburgh.

Dunol, the Duke, begged the Heroes of Bingle to help him, pointing them to the Ashen Mage’s spelltower to search for clues that might aid in reverting the Duke back to his natural form.

When the team finally brute forced their way into the four story spire, they found much to spark their interest.  Each floor provided clues and curiosities. A journal from the Mage’s apparent assistant, Vargen, with cryptic references to a life of servitude to Kalkata Theed. Strange symbols on the floor and rituals carved into stone walls.  And a spellbook with experimental new spells that seem to be based on the properties and abilities of the Wardens themselves!  

Laying amidst all of this was a couple of bladder-like sacks - organs extracted from the Achaierai - the large, flightless birds of this region that are capable of secreting a toxic black smoke at will. Residents of Winkburgh made a practice of removing these sacks to domesticate the Achaierai, in order to use them to aid in cargo transportation.

As the team searched and absorbed all of this strange information, the looted smoke sacks began to leak.  A thick, dark cloud of smoke filled the room, but before it could enter their lungs, it magically, impossibly swirled together and coalesced into living forms.  The team found themselves face to face with hideous creatures of smoke, their burning eyes and clawed hands forming in and out of the roiling black vapor. They rolled initiative...

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