The Hapers are all about information, obtaining it, using it, and taking careful note of who is doing the same so that they can limit the abuse of Power. It turns out there’s been a recent spread of information and texts regarding the ancient Illefarn empire and in particular its sources of magical power. Up and down the Sword Coast city-state sponsored and entrepreneurial projects have sprouted up equipped with maps, books, and documents long thought lost directing prospectors to ancient mines, wizard towers, tombs and other sites holding powerful artifacts and magics. This power-grab certainly presents issues for the power balance of the city-states of the Sword Coast but The Harpers are wondering where all this information is combing from. After intercepting one raven headed toward Waterdeep they had their probable answer: The Monastery at Dor Amon. The Monastery holds one of the oldest libraries known and some of the maps and materials seen around seem to bear the Monastery’s mark. Just what exactly is going on at the monastery? and what other information does it hold? and who is translating some of these previously unintelligible tomes?
A group was assembled to address exactly this: Wimund Wigbold, the adventurous halfing fighter; Birel Taleteller, the crafty Cleric of Loki; Neega Lute-Smasher, the bold bard of the college of valor; Tony Jenkins, the troubled warlock with a pact with an old god; and Festwick Balabar Blink Nicklegold, a hired-on wizard of the school of Transmutation.
The crew set out across the Auroch desert on a specially made desert cruising ship, helmed by Wimund. While keeping a careful eye on a blue dragon in the far distance hoping it would not come seek the adventurers out, he was unfortunately not keeping an eye to the front and the crew had to take swift action to dramatically stop and turn the ship before crashing upon a feuding manticore and giant lizard! Of course, now the manticore and giant lizard turned their attention to the ship and its occupants. The manticore began firing off tail spikes and the giant lizard climbing the side of the ship. Wimund held the front line, fighting with the manticore that eventually flew on deck while Festwick shrunk the giant lizard to regular dire alligator size. Birel eventually clobbered the now-regular-sized lizard with a magical spiritual mace. Neega polluted the manticore’s mind and it fled (with Wimund stabbing it considerably as it did so) and before it could return Festwick finished it off with a dramatic chromatic orb of incredible thundrous power. The party was a bit scratched up from the manticore’s barbs and claws so they took some time to recoup before sailing on to their destined rest-stop, the Traveler’s Home at the foot of Dor Amon. By the time they got there the sun had set and they could see at the Traveler’s Home in the distance torches…. being held by a pack of gnolls trying to smash their way into the cabin!
The party was able to sneak up on the gnolls and get the drop on them and battle ensued. Wimond hopped around the battlefield stabbing the gnolls while deftly avoiding their attacks and Neega was able to scatter them a Thunderwave. The rest of the party blasted them with dark, arcane, and divine magics until no gnolls stood. The priest who was attendant for the cabin, Brother Elias, took in the group for the night. The group took a load off, resting for the night, and Neega had a sit down with Brother Elias who explained that he used to escort pilgrims up the path to the monastery but policy had changed in recent years. In any case he warned the adventurers to be wary of the trials they would face during he climb.
Early the next morning, feeling refreshed, the group head up the winding path to Dor Amon. They encountered a non-hostile ettin trying to cross the first challenge of Hruvskar’s Pilgrimage, a 45 foot gap with a deadly plummet. After some deliberation Tony Jenkins had his imp familiar fly out to the gap and found out that it was simply an illusion. The group triumphed after trial after trial and on the way learned that the ettin intended to smash the monastery and eat its inhabitants. Lest they become eaten as well, Neega cast Tasha’s Hideous Laughter on the ettin and the entire group was able to leave it in the dust on the other side of a set of dangerous spinning blades.
At the monastery the group met the Dor Amon security: two reformed ogres, Isogut and Isogot who told the group they should probably meet with the Abbot Yomenta first. In Abbot Yomenta’s office they saw he was accompanied by two very burly looking monks. The Abbot seemed quite suspicious of the group’s interest in the library. Also suspicious: A voice shouting from upstairs that the Abbot dismissed as “another troublemaker we had to hold for everyone’s protection”. The next day the group proceeded on its way to investigate the library, escorted under the watchful eye of the Abbott and his two companion monks. Birel noticed behind the reference desk a somewhat poorly disguised door which Fetswick detected a very powerful magical presence behind. While the group did some research there the gnome wizard shrunk his size and slipped out and across the courtyard to confront the Abbot’s prisoner who turned out to be a fighting monk named Crukul the Shepherd. Festwick used a Knock spell to free him after discerning they had equivalent goals and they headed back to the Grand Library.
This all lead to a confrontation with the Abbot at the library, Crukul included. The Abbot let down his charade and revealed himself as a doppelganger (and his two monk shadows as hired thugs) and a battle ensued. The doppelganger must’ve replaced (and likely killed) the long-lived abbot years prior. The ensuing battle was a slug fest with battlers like Crukul and Wimund whittling down the health of the doppelganger and his thugs. Festwick destroyed the doppleganger with a critical Chromatic Orb. Wimund drew the attention of the two remaining thugs while his comrades finished them off with a variety of spells.
With the doppleganger dispatched, the crew trepidatiously explored the secret passage behind the reference desk, sending in the warlock and the monk. Inside was a plump imp in a suit and glasses reading from a book while seated in a plush arm chair, the arm chair was in the center of a rune inscribed on the floor. Around the room were books on the shelf and on the floor. Some pages seemed to be torn out of some of the books. The imp called over the monk to help him read a passage but the monk could not help. However, when the monk crossed the border of the rune on the floor it gave a brief flash. Slowly the elements of the room started to change. The imp started to thin out and its suit changed to a suit of armor and it began to grow in size, the books were not read but chewed. Tony and Crukul fled to tell the group what they’d seen, but the imp, now a full on demon, was in pursuit. The demon came out of the passage over 10 feet tall, clad in armor and with a flaming spear, and revealed himself as Xat, a demon who had been kept prisoner here for years by the doppelganger to be used to extract information from previously untranslated tomes. Xat gave the group a chance to flee as he promised to destroy the monastery and kill all its inhabitants. The Librarian fled for his life and battle ensued. To complicate matters Xat opened up portals to the abyss inside three of the monks in the library, drawing on their weak life force to summon three imps through their chests (killing them instantly, of course).
The group again focused their attention on Xat, doing decent damage to the demon (except for Crukul who couldn’t land a blow). Xat had more tricks up his sleeve, though, taking total mind control over Wimund. Not to be outdone, though, Birel the Cleric used a Command spell to compete for control of Wimund and it worked! Eventually the group triumphed, sending Xat screaming back to the Abyss (along with his Imp minions). A success for the Harpers… but how much information about ancient magics has already proliferated to the Sword Coast? And who controls it? And what was a doppelganger doing here all the way at the top of Dor Amon?