Can true evil ever be truly eradicated?
Mira, Kallisto, Nyssor and Ishka are curtly summoned to The Old Woman’s mansion, where they are surprised to encounter two newer recruits, Maugh the Hobgoblin and Ren’Tek the Kobold. After initial pleasantries (and confirming that Ren’Tek is not part of the West Dragon Kobold Cult), Tejhan is nowhere to be seen, causing the adventurers to search the mansion and follow an odd creaking sound. In an adjacent room, they encounter The Old Woman for the first time.
The Old Woman is crass and short with the party. She quickly convinces Maugh and Ren’Tek to sign contracts despite their lack of knowledge regarding anything about it. The party inquires about Tejhan, but The Old Woman curtly informs the group that he is feeling under the weather and they’ll have to deal with her. Indeed, this latest adventure involves her directly.
The party is told that The Old Woman was once part of a mercenary group that discovered the fabled Tomb of Horrors. One of them was successful in receiving the greatest treasure of the Tomb, but he disappeared immediately after acquiring it, leaving the rest of the group to explore the Tomb on their own. The Old Woman is not clear on what happened after that, but mentions that her boss sought to revive a dark God, and that it did not take long for things to become very messy with the other mercenaries.
The survivors swore to never return to the Tomb, or reveal it’s location to outsides. Unfortunately, they did tell their children. The Old Woman claims that every few years this means she has to clean up the mess cause by these adventurer’s children, and that’s exactly what’s happened today. The son of a famed dwarf runepriest has returned to the Tomb, and is attempting to turn it into a tourist destination. There is dark magic still remaining in the Tomb, but one item in particular must be removed, for it is no longer safe: a wishing gem.
The Old Woman describes the destructive power of the wishing gem. She believes the destruction of Cyre to be caused by someone using a wishing gem, perhaps because they asked for world peace and the gem twisted their desire, or because someone wished for something else, and the gem destroyed that country to help power the wish. In either event, the wishing gem must be removed for safekeeping.
The party agrees to the task after the promise of increased pay, and are led to a secret dock for The Old Woman’s airship. The party journeys to the Kaparian Island and lands in a desolate, swampy area. They quickly find a trail that the dwarf’s son has created, and The Old Woman sends them on their way, staying behind to prepare for resurrections that might inevitably occur.
The party quickly encounters the dwarf’s son, Silverton, who is eager to give the new arrivals a preview of the tour. After collecting a gold coin from each, Silverton helps them avoid the fake tunnels and brings them into the Tomb of Horrors. Silverton is a poor tour guide, but he is enthusiastic about the subject matter. After explaining how one of the portals works to enter areas deeper in the tomb safely, it fails to work properly. Rather then wait for Silverton to fix the gate, the party enters it while the mist is still functioning, causing them to be transported to a small room with three levers. The party begins to attempt to use the levers, but before things get too far, Nyssor encourages the party to prepare for the possibility of a sudden fall. The adventurers restrain themselves to the wall, which comes in handy when all levers are pulled forward, and the floor falls out underneath them.
After climbing back up near the top, the adventurers restore the floor. Cautiously, all levers are now pushed forward, and the party is elevated to a room with three chests, although two have been destroyed. Rather then risk further punishment, the party passes the remaining chest, and follows a tunnel leading deeper into the Tomb.
The party emerges into a narrow hallway filled of statutes of various creatures. They meet back up with Silverton, who has finally gotten the gate working properly. He points out that each statute used to have an orb, but when the party confronts him about what he’s done with the orbs, he is forced to admit that he’s been selling them for money. Without much thought, he hits one of the statutes, which suddenly comes alive and tosses him into a trap. Immediately after, each statue begins to come alive, and the party is forced to defend themselves.
The battle is brutal, but the party emerges victorious, with no statutes remaining. Silverton is helped out of the pit, and after a short break, the journey into the Tomb continues. The party passes a chapel perverted by evil, before encountering a hidden door that Silverton does not know how to open. The party notices immediately that the artifact box provided by The Old Woman is glowing. Within it are two remove affliction rituals, which the party uses to open the door.
Immediately they encounter a minotaur, who quickly identifies himself as Ward. He is very enthusiastic about the traps in the Tomb of Horrors, and is obviously very proud and happy to be the Minotaur of the Tomb of Horrors. Silverton is not amused, and demands that the party kill the Minotaur immediately. Despite being enthusiastic about traps, the party finds Ward to be endearing, and refuses. Silverton makes an ultimatum, threatening to attack the party if they do not destroy the Minotaur. Maugh, Kallisto and Mira both taken turns intimidating Silverton, and he loses his will to attach the party, quickly leaving the Tomb, but threatening to take his revenge one day. Ward, meanwhile, is very enthusiastic to show off his traps.
Ward laments that many of the traps on this side have suffered serious damage. A spike pit no longer has many spikes, besides the make-shift ones Ward has made, and the spike cannon no longer works. He attempts to ask the party to help fix it, but despite Ren’Tek’s desire to assist, the party insists that finding the wishing gem must be the first priority at this time. Ward leads them to another room, surrounded by tapestries depicting underwater life. Suddenly, Ward begins to laugh, as the door behind him locks. He has designed a trap of his own in this room, and in his own words, “it is totally wizard.”
Water begins to pour out from behind the tapestries. The adventurers try to rip off the tapestries to get behind them, while water continues to engulf them. Each plays a part in helping remove the tapestries, but it is primarily the thievery skills of Ren’Tek that disable the trap and allow the party to continue forward, albeit much more damp then before.
Ward leads the party onward, and despite his attempts to get them to check out a “elephant roller giant”, the party heads toward a door, guarded by a riddle. After attempts to pay the door off which cost Maugh 10 gold, and Nyssor 60 gold and a portion of his middle finger, Kallisto solves the puzzle by paying nothing, and the door opens to reveal a devastated chamber. Ward laments that this room one elevated poor misguided adventurers up and towards a mouth of death, but now mostly lay in ruins, and barely works properly.
What does still seem to be in working property is the wishing gem, which can be seen as clear as day from across the large room. But before the party can make a move, the earth falls upon them as the ceiling collapses. Emerging from the rubble, the adventurers behold the sight of an ancient red dragon, with The Old Woman in his talons. He tosses her from where he came, and the party loses sight of her, assuming that she is dead. The Ancient Red Dragon declares that the party, if left unchecked, will unwrite the Draconic Prophecy, and that the tale of Acererack’s rise, fall, and return must be kept pure. He attacks with an amazing strength, quickly killing Ishka and Kallisto, and knocking Maugh unconscious. A strong blow from Ren’Tek bounces off harmlessly, and he retaliates, killing him. Nyssor and Mira head towards the wishing gem. Nyssor attempts to return the gem to the box, but is also killed by the dragon.
Mira, the only surviving party member, takes the wishing gem and uses it. She wishes that the red dragon be teleported to the moon, and that her friends be returned to the clearing where The Old Woman’s airship resides.
The party is returned, alive, to this clearing, with no airship in sight. A red dot in the night’s sky appears to be growing darker, and larger, before the party can clearly mark it as the Dragon, who has paid a heavy toll for his trip to the moon, and is barely surviving. With a collection of strong blows, Nyssor ultimately delivers the killing shot, destroying the dragon for good.
Before the party can even celebrate their victory, an unnatural blue dragonborn appears. He absorbs the Red Dragon, and congratulates the party. He believes that the adventuring group may find the key to prevent Acererack’s return, although he can not say who for certain will be necessary. Nevertheless, he informs the party that he will be watching them, and before he can be questioned, turns into a blue dragon, and flies away.
The party returns to the site of the Tomb of Horrors, and it has been seemingly obliterated, with much of the surrounding area caved-in. Suddenly, the Old Woman’s airship appears, with The Old Woman in tow. Furious that the wishing gem was used, she lays down a plethora of profanities, before discovering that the artifact box now contains a gold and silver scepter. None of the party members put this item in the box, and The Old Woman does not ask much about it. Seemingly satisfied, if only a little bit, The Old Woman still pays the adventurers a small fee, albeit heavily docked for failing to recover the wishing gem, and incurring a huge risk by using it.
The airship sets course back for Eastown. The ramifications of this day may not be known for quite some time…