Celeste, Tom's eladrin illusionist.
Arial, Eric's changeling (aka doppleganger) sorceress.
Beware, my goliath barbarian|warlock.
Varnix, Josh's dragonborn cleric. Although Josh was absent.
We don't yet have Heyyou, Ed's warforged fighter.
The party were members of an established adventurers' guild in Secomber, a river trade town near Zhentil Keep in the Realms. One day they were all called together by the guildmaster to go talk to Lily Lightfoot, whose father had taken ill and who'd requested the aid of a bunch of high-level adventurers.
So they headed to the Lightfoot shop, which was doing very brisk business (or perhaps the line was just moving slowly because only Lily was on duty), and asked Lily what was up. She closed the shop and took them to her father, who was an almost unrecognizable mass of scars and burns and pus. He muttered incoherently about how his wife Molly hated them and tried to kill him, not being herself ever since she found that locket. She kept speaking to her sister, who was 'gone'.
Obviously, they had to go to the Lightfoot house in the swamp and deal with this cursed locket. Investigations elsewhere in town turned up that evil seemed to be on the rise all around, especially in the swamp, and that Molly never actually had a sister. Time was short if they wanted to save Elmo, though, so they headed out immediately even though it meant getting to the house around sunset. Which any genre-savvy adventurer knew was a disaster waiting to happen, of course.
The first disaster struck before they even got to the house -- they were attacked by a bunch of swamp trolls and a death-knight thing. The death knight blew holes in their boats, sinking them, and tossed around blinding rays and evil howls to inspire his allies, but ran away like a wimp after the party focused most of their efforts on him. They fought the trolls on an island, Celeste sucking them all into a big pile with a hypnotic patter, to let Arial and Beware (and herself) fry them with aoes easily. The last troll (the one who wasn't a minion) tried to do a fighting retreat into the water, but it didn't save him.
The troll had some loot! A belt of ivory skulls, a leather pouch with a large ruby, and a severed head. Molly's severed head -- the real Molly, not the THING that had taken over her body and was living her life in her plase and cursing her husband and stuff. Molly begged them to take her home. That's where they were going anyway, of course.
The didn't have boats after that, but Beware and Varnix weren't afraid to get wet (and as strength-based characters, were good swimmers) and the two mages were able to ride on a single tenser's floating disk. It was still after nightfall by the time they got to the house.
The house wasn't just surrounded in natural darkness -- it had a field of near-silence around it, and the inside was almost pitch black. Celeste's floating eye could see a few large features (like staircases) but it wasn't until Arial used some ointment of darkvision, and Beware pulled out a sunrod, that they saw that the house was inhabited by a bunch of living shadows. The shadows fled from the light, though, so they moved inside to investigate further, finding a strange black flame that gave off no light, only heat, and couldn't be quenched by water.
Then Varnix and Beware went upstairs to check there, and it turned out that was where the shadows had been hiding. They attacked! Beware and Varnix embarassed themselves horribly in the fight, spending most of the time weakened, and Celeste had some issues combining her spells with each other to have the effect she wanted. The shadows were weak, though, and eventually the two escaped back downstairs to join the arcane types, and finished the shadows off together.
Then they decided to examine the stairs into the basement, and everything got VERY DARK. The inside of the house suddenly began suppressing all light, and Arial spotted an ooze moving around downstairs, where it was even darker. Fighting a black ooze in the darkness (when you also couldn't hear!) sounded like a really stupid idea, so they tried prying up floorboards to let some light in downstairs (Molly vetoed burning down the house to the waterline, which was Celeste's preferred option).
That worked, sort of -- the ooze flowed up through the floorboard and attacked! Varnix used a Rune of Peace to give them time to get outside, and the ooze followed into the... not *light* exactly, since it was night, but 'space where light could be shed'. It kept putting out their sunrods, though, so they had to keep lighting more, and using everburning torches and wizardy light spell cantrips, in order to keep being able to see it. It was scarier than it was dangerous, though, and it was soon dissolved back into goo.
That didn't get rid of the light-negation field inside the house, though, so they decided to wait until morning on a nearby island, and hope that in daylight they'd be better able to see what they were doing.
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