The Staff of Entropos

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(Author unknown)

On the eve of the 17th day of Fadewarm, 1260, seven adventurers tumbled through the Northern Portal and into the already-crowded common room of the Crosswinds Tavern. They came ranting wildly about Icaruss, as well as "his staff" and "The Hive", though many of the tavern-goers noticed not these peoples' panicked state, nor their cries of warning, so drawn were they to the foul unforgiving stench the adventurers wore upon their green crusted clothing and hair.

It was clear to the tavern patrons that the group had undergone a dangerous trial. Some would attest that the most serious ailments that the adventurers seemed to suffer were bouts of insanity. At least two women seemed quite addled -- a Geomancer elf known as Ki'leana Menelya, and another not known by name, a young lass of disheveled long raven hair with ribbons woven in, and nearly cachetic of body. Both were restrained to a degree through the course of the night by Dreven Watchmen who were present.

Other suffered injuries as well: Ereledan arrived unconscious, fatigued, and bruised. Prantippa wore slashes and bite marks, courtesy of The Hive. Zharyka fell to unconsciousness from acid burns that had dissolved much of her clothing. Kendra also wore similar marks to Prantippa. Shaelen wore many bruises. Mobius was inexorably covered in the green slime, but did not seem too worse for wear.


The story behind the story:

Seven people were randomly picked and kidnapped by Icaruss, teleported to his Seventh Tower, with but a challenge to keep him from retrieving his Staff of Undoing. With no way out (did I mention that the Tower was miles underground?) the adventurers were forced to make their way through a trapped tower, facing off with elementals and golems.

To name the cast: Arwyna, the knight from Arboria, who has yet to make a name for herself; Ereledan Ashura, the Aeromantic Ambassador to Shadokhan; Juscwyn, a mysterious rogue; Kendra Rul'yar, the tavern's favorite elf; Ki'leana Menelya, the Geomancer; Mobius Remedy, the ORS Keeper of Truth; Prantippa, the beautiful yet obnoxious barbarian woman; Shaelen Ashura, a Lieutenant in the Taysàyad Royal Guards; and Zharyka Jelahldoran... who needs no titles.

With each victory there were clues and treasures as if it was all planned, egging them on. Ereledan found an ancient letter (trapped with a deadly necromantic spell), Arwyna had recovered a wand which they found out later can cast any spell of the six spheres (at the price of temporary insanity), Prantippa found a bag of Devouring, and Ki'leana found a "Blunderbuss."

Two members, Arwyna and Juscwyn, did become separated from the rest of the group through mysterious circumstances.

Using teamwork (which involved much bickering, arguing, exchanging sexual favors, as well as punches and lightning bolts) the group ultimately reached their goal: the cavern where Entropos, Icaruss' Staff of Undoing, was guarded.

Unfortunately, it was guarded by The Hive, giant insect creatures of all shapes, wings, and sizes, led by their Hive Mother. And while hordes of the Hive fell upon the adventurers, the Hive Mother singled out Zharyka for a battle of mental prowess and powers of the Seventh Gift. It was a battle in which Zharyka nearly lost her life, for she was no match for the Hive Mother in strength or experience, and the Hive Mother also came equipped with corrosive acidic breath.

But Zharyka was not alone for the rest of the party overcame their giant insect opponents and fell hard upon the Hive Mother, ultimately killing her with the powerful magical item that wore its name upon its metallic shaft: The Blunderbuss.

With the destruction of the Hive, they had retrieved two halves of a crystalline key. One that would fit perfectly into a key hole of the crystal-like stasis field that held the Staff hovering in midair.

The adventurers were at a crossroads, for they knew that this whole Tower was a trap, it had been from the beginning, warned by a vision of a cachetic woman with black hair and ribbons. And yet, they had been rewarded with exits and escapes each time they had successfully completed a hurdle. Was freeing the Staff their only way out? Or were they just pawns to bring to Icaruss what the Mad Mage himself could not retrieve himself?

But the trap, the actual trap, was the stasis field itself. Shael's rogue skills and Mobius' knowledge of the arcane were able to figure out that in turning the key, all who stand within 20 foot radius of the staff would "be no more." A perfect trap. The Staff is freed, but the liberators would be obliterated.

Zharyka volunteered to set off the trap alone. She trusted her necklace of Gamorra's Heart to somehow protect her from the trap's effects. Her instincts told her to do this, despite the fact that she had been damaged multiple times in the Tower by other magical attacks, including that of the Hive Mother.

So others watched with much reluctance as Zharyka alone entered the 20-foot radius and inserted the key and turned it.

Indeed, the trap was set off with a blinding white flash of light. And in that the Gamorra's Heart shattered, its energy protecting Zharyka from the trap's Undoing energy. But in that instant, Zharyka became aware that it was the essence of Landelian de Breyy that the heart still held, and it was his spirit that protected her ... then succumbed to the trap, obliterating his essence still kept within the pendant.

Then of course, as everyone recovered their senses after the explosive trap and the Staff floated in air, freed ... Icaruss returned to his own tower. With two Icaran Golems standing to his side. None dared stand in his way as he took what was his. Everyone was weakened and spent from the battles they had already survived. So, Icaruss bid them thanks, and left the adventurers the unconscious form of Ramona in trade. Then as his trademark, he vanished with his staff and his golems, leaving the adventurers trapped still ... with the knowledge that there were other Hives and Hive Mothers, and that they were coming for them underground.

As last resort, they used the wand of six gifts to create a portal. Previous attempts to use this wand had given Ereledan a severe headache and drove him near temporary insanity. This time Ki'leana bit the bullet and used it to create a portal, something she was not trained to do. The wand exploded, a portal was created, and ... well, you know the rest.



(The adventure was actually played out at GenCon 2002 by those who could attend. This is the long and short of it.)

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