It was a dark and stormy night…
Okay, so it wasn’t actually that stormy. And it wasn’t quite night yet. But it was ominous. You get the idea. As the sun set over Luskan, three travelers (Slitha the Dragonborn monk, Orphan Stag the Drow paladin, and Brother Nuffles the Half-Elf cleric) found themselves in common room of the Clanking Dragon, a mysterious inn. A dwarven bard named named Ral (introduced as something different) was warming up over by the fireplace. The inn-keeper, a halfling named Mearta, ordered her children to shut the place up for darkness had fallen completely.
Unbeknownst to the dwellers of the inn, a dark figure was skulking in the shadows outside. After all the windows and doors had been shut, the figure snuck forward and surreptitiously cracked a couple windows and a door by a fraction, and then crouched invisibly by the door to see what would transpire.
After the sun sank below the horizon, as if on queue, a storm front blew in from the sea, and with it came a horde of reanimated skeletons. Okay, so I was right at the very beginning. It was eventually a dark and stormy night…FULL OF SKELETONS!
One of the skeletons let fly with a lucky shot from its shortbow and hit the figure. Recognizing his peril, the dark figure, the Drow warlock Zebrin ducked into the inn, and began a spirited defense of the common room.
Meanwhile, on the upper story, Orphan Stag and Slitha were fighting off waves of skeletons coming through the windows in an effort to protect Mearta’s daughter, Sera. Just when they thought they had driven off the skeletons, a large skeleton entered through the window, only to be pulverized into a pile of bonemeal by a flurry of blows from Slitha.
Downstairs in the kitchen, Nuffles and Ral found Mearta’s son Tobin unconscious after an early assault from skeletons. While Ral held the skeletons off, Nuffles performed vital first-aid to revive the halfling. After they were sure that the boy would live, Nuffles and Ral went to work on vanquishing the skeletons and sealing the door against further incursions.
Back in the main room, Zebrin successfully repelled a few smaller skeletons, only for a large skeleton to shamble through the door, scuffing Mearta’s precious hard-wood floors, which she had just cleaned yesterday! Though Meara managed to avoid any harm, with the help of Slitha, Orphan, and Zebrin, she and the heroes bravely defeated the monster and sealed the door.
After dispensing with all the skeletons, Mearta revealed the inn’s affiliation with the Harpers, an organization devoted to the greater good (the Greater Good!). The Harpers had drawn all of them together to see about stopping the nightly skeletal invasion. Zebrin appeared (in disguise), told the rest of the party to meet him at One-Eyed Jax, where he had his apartment. After delivering his invitation, Zebrin entered a gaseous form and flew off into the night.
The next day, Nuffles, Slitha, Ral, and Orphan traveled to One-Eyed Jax, where they encountered a few Drow mercenaries, and the barkeep, who baid them to head into the back room. There, Zebrin revealed his true nature to them and explained to Orphan a little bit about Drow nature. They then took to the marketplace on the south bank of the river to see if any of Zebrin’s contacts might know anything of use.
In the market, Zebrin’s informant told him of a mysterious map and vial that had appeared recently in her stall. Unfortunately, the map had been purchased a few days before…by Rock, an irate half-dragon with a chip on his shoulder a mile wide. The vial remained, however, so the informant gave it to the party. Just as they were about to disperse, Rock walked up, even more furious than normal (which, given his normal significantly-less-than-sunny disposition, was saying something). Nuffles and Ral managed to talk Rock down from his fury, while Slitha surreptitiously lifted the map out of his belt pouch. Apparently, the map led to a strange treasure ship that had run aground on the reef outside the harbor, but it appeared to be overrun with skeletons, which had killed the rest of Rock’s crew. Finding a quiet spot, Nuffles examined the map, which included a strange inscription in an unfamiliar language. Using his magic helmet, Nuffles discovered that the writing was in Abyssal, and read a single word: “Lich.”
The party split up, with Zebrin and Slitha returning to One-Eyed Jax to consult with a Drow alchemist affiliated with Bregan D’aerth regarding the strange vial, while the rest went with Ral to a cartographer to learn about the provenance of the map. The cartographer, who was affiliated with the Harpers, admitted that he was responsible for the map and its inscription. Meanwhile, Zebrin and Slitha sought out a means to survive underwater from his contact, who provided them with two potions that would grant one hour of water-breathing. Tackling the problem from another angle, Orphan constructed two pairs of mechanical swimming fins.
When the party reconvened at the Clanking Dragon, Mearta revealed the existence of a group of smugglers who were using a grotto outside of town to secretively get hot magical items into Luskan without paying Ship Kurth’s fines and tariffs. Noting that this put his interests in line with the rest of the group’s, Zebrin proposed that the group try out their water gear against the smugglers first before attempting to use them against a full-blown lich. At that moment, lightning flashed across the sky, illuminating the crumbling ruins of the Host Tower of the Arcane, which appeared to be whole, instead of the normal pile of rubble that appeared there in daylight. The substance in the vial glowed in the flash as well.