Descent into Avernus

Descent into Avernus Episode 17 – Friends or Foes?

TL;DW / Recap

After defeating the skeleton minotaurs and spectres outside the chapel, the Dickbags take a moment to collect themselves. Elder Storm casts a prayer of healing, allowing everyone to regain some much needed hit points. Liam peers in through the doors and notices 5 more skeleton minotaurs inside. Ser Nedir and Toph head down to a set of broken windows to get a closer look. Ser Nedir notices the minotaurs, but also happens to notice an elven looking individual making his way towards the doors that Liam is outside. Warning Liam of the approaching elf, Liam backs out of the way and out of sight.

The elven man opens the door and asks everyone to step forward and reveal themselves. Since he doesn’t appear to be showing any threatening behavior (despite having two small mezzoloth fiends with him), everyone steps out and introduces themselves. The man introduces himself as Gideon Lightward, the guardian/keeper of this chapel. He asks the group why they have come to this place. They explain that they are looking for Uldar Ravenguard and were told that he was heading here in search of some ancient relic. Gideon mentions that a group of individuals passed through recently and that Uldar Ravenguard might have been with him, but he doesn’t know. Before the conversation can continue much further, a weakened skeleton minotaur approaches Gideon and seems to communicate something though unheard by the Dickbags. Gideon informs the group that they are under attack by demons and that they can prove what side they’re on by helping him defeat them.

Gideon rushes into the chapel and the party quickly follows suit. Inside they find a group of dretches and a giant scorpion. Gideon, the mezzoloths, and the minotaurs begin attacking the dretches and scorpion. Unclear of who is one which side, the Dickbags join in on the attack. Liam lands an eldritch blast on the scorpion and Toph launches a ball of earth, heavily damaging the dretches and scorpion, but also hitting the mezzoloths and minotaurs in the process. The demons and scorpion are quickly dealt with. Once combat is over, Gideon quickly turns to the the group demanding an explanation. Liam tries to cover for Toph by acknowledging her blindness, but Gideon doesn’t appear to be convinced. Liam re-iterates their intents to find Uldar Ravenguard and that they have nothing against Gideon or his undead servants. Untrusting of the Dickbags, Gideon then turns on them.

Another battle ensues. Liam quickly finds himself the primary focus and is surrounded on three sides. Lulu informs Liam that she can assist, but that he’ll need to get out of the way. Once Liam is able to reposition, Lulu unleashes an incredibly loud “Trumpet of Sparkles” that devestates the fiends and Gideon with radiant energy. Gideon begins showing signs that he too is actually undead. After eliminating one of the mezzoloths, Elder Storm tries to give Gideon another chance to back down stating that they have no business with him. Gideon snarles at them and continues attacking. Elder Storm then sends a guiding bolt at Gideon that destroys him from the inside.

Feeling like they have a moment to breathe, the Dickbags look around. They find two panes of stained glass on the floor. One of them is still intact, depicting an image of Torm placing a golden helmet onto a kneeling follower. Ser Nedir recognizes this as the ‘Helm of Torm Sight’ and was known to be gifted to those that had a direct connection with Torm. The other pane of stained glass was broken, but the image could still be made out. It depicted Lathander with both hands raised above him as a group of fallen warriors rise around him. Given the context and position of the stained glass, Lulu mentions that people would pray at the nearby altar and sometimes be granted a blessing. Ser Nedir steps up and asks Lathander for help in spreading life and goodness to the land. A warm feeling comes of Nedir as a silvered long sword appears on top of the stained glass in the hands of Lathander. Ser Nedir picks up the sword and is amazed by its light weight and sturdiness. He thanks Lathander for his blessing.

The Dickbags head down a nearby flight of stairs, finding a preparation chamber that has recently been ransacked. Broken glass and embolming fluid cover the floor. Before continuing, the group decides to take a short rest on the stairs. Elder Storm casts another prayer of healing for the group (in case they get inturrepted during their short rest). After their rest, Toph and Elder Storm investigate the prep chamber and find a series of footprints. Several fiendish footprints appear to be heading towards the stairs, while a set of human footprints appear to be heading through the door on the far wall. Liam leads the way, checking doors for traps and listening for noises on the other side before opening. They make their way down some stairs and find a room with five altars. Most of the altars display figures that are now unrecognizeable due to fallen debris. The last altar displays a man kneeling and bares a striking reasemblance to the stained glass image of Torm.

Continuing on, Liam comes across a small room with several holy relics. A quick detect magic reveals the relics to be magical with some sort of necrotic energy. Liam steps out of the room and continues on. They eventually come across another large room with altars and a prayer room for priest to meditate and deal with the difficult nature of their work. Through the prayer room they find another set of stairs leading down to a set of doors. Liam uses his detect magic to sense something on the other side. As he tries to quietly open the door, he sees a man standing in a pool of water surrounded by bodies of fallen Elturel and Balder’s Gate soldiers. The man is crouched and clutching at a golden helm on his head, trying desparately to remove it.

Is this man Uldar Ravenguard? What happened in this room? And why is he struggling to remove the helmet?