[24 Kythorn 1372]
In the common room of Wayward House, the adventurers assemble and decide to head to Terrigo Multivar's residence to journey through the mirror-portal. Mellia is still quite reluctant, and grumbles during most of the walk. On the way, Markus decides to find an elven weaponsmith, and receives directions to a massive tree a few blocks away that has a long curving ramp wrapped around it. The others wait, somewhat impatiently, while Markus ascends and speaks to the weaponsmith, Du'ael Tra'kin, about obtaining an elven courtblade. Instead of selling the blade, however, Du'ael asks Markus why the adventurer is worthy of using such a beautiful weapon. Markus explains his quest to rescue Cain and almost persuades Du'ael to let him use the weapon, but the weaponsmith changes his mind after Markus says he plans to keep it after his quest is successful. Dejected again, Markus rejoins the others.
At Multivar's ramshackle residence, the adventurers find the aged wizard serving tea to a fair-haired young lady and soon realize it's Daisy, one of the members of the Carnivale Intrepid encountered in the Evermoors. Daisy explains that Temeris had said he wished he knew what happened to the adventurers who didn't return to the campsite at the time promised, and that she took that to mean she should go looking for them. After Bettina told her the group was headed to Wayward House in Silverymoon, Daisy flew there on the back of her griffon (skimming just over treetops) and learned from one of the chamberlains that the adventurers were headed to Multivar's. While the others were waiting on Markus' failed attempt to purchase a new weapon, Daisy sought out Multivar and he offered her a cup of tea.
When Daisy hears that "the egg man" (Cain) has been kidnapped, she immediately offers to join in the rescue attempt even if it means taking the somewhat unusual route of first going on a mission for Multivar to gain transport to Thay. She introduces herself to Myst and Gelkar, but both are rather terse. Mellia, seeing that the group has gained help, takes the opportunity to recuse herself from the mission. Instead, she plans to help Multivar organize his house (and thus see what sorts of tomes he has), feed Daisy's griffon, and try to gather information on Thay.
The adventuring party, which is now composed of Fargrim, Markus, Dolcetto, Myst, Gelkar, and Daisy, follow Multivar to the room with the magickal mirror-portal. Scenes of distant places flash by every thirty seconds, and Multivar consults a small, densely-scrawled notebook as they do. After the elemental plane of fire, a demon realm, and Aglarond pass by, Multivar shouts at them that now is the time, and the group jump through one by one.
On the other side of the mirror, the adventurers find themselves standing on a bleak, blasted landscape of reddish rock. No stars are visible in the hazy sky, but a moon hangs low and looms large on the horizon. Directly in front, a rocky outcropping has been defaced with a large, square steel door that is oddly segmented into four saw-toothed segments. Turning around, the group see, several hundred feet away, a gigantic two-legged creature with small arms, a tail, and sharp teeth devouring another massive creature. The adventurers have not yet been noticed, and proceed to peel back three of the four slats of the door. Dolcetto walks through the opening without incident, but when Fargrim tries to follow, the slats suddenly animate and attack! Daisy draws her greataxe and slams it into one of the writhing slats, but the harsh metallic sound of her attack draws the attention of the nearby monstrous creature! It lets loose a teeth-rattling roar and starts charging forward! The others decide to take their chances with the door and jump through, with several taking serious stab wounds. Fortunately, once everyone is far enough inside, the door returns to normal and closes, and the group is safe from the beast outside. Gelkar reveals the ability to cast some light healing spells and proceeds to help the badly-wounded Fargrim recover.
Inside, the adventurers see they are in a large octagonal room with a single corridor cut into the wall opposite the door. The stone walls are polished to a bright sheen, and every five foot square block holds a small, circular recess containing a metal handle. Soft yellow light illuminates the room from a series of small crystals placed into the ceiling.
The adventurers follow the short corridor and emerge into another octagonal room. This room has corridors heading off in three more directions, but each is blocked by a metal door. Strange purplish tendrils of haze float in certain parts of the room. Dolcetto decides to try opening the door on the corridor to the right of where they entered, but, suspicious it may be trapped, magickally summons a celestial monkey to do it. The spellcaster was wise, as the monkey's attempt to open the door opens up a deep pit and the creature falls to its death. Seconds later, the floating tendrils of haze begin to coalesce, and four-foot tall deep violet monsters suddenly appear, each sporting a massive triangular-shaped mouth with rows of sharp teeth! Myst shouts "ethereal marauders!" and the battle is joined. The marauders constantly disappear in order to attack from new directions, and it is only with some difficulty that four are killed and the remaining one is driven away.
During the battle, Fargrim's dwarven instincts led him to believe that one of the walls forming a corner of the room might contain a secret door. Dolcetto examines the wall and instructs Daisy to try to open it by pulling on one of the metal rings. When she does so, a razor-wire net falls from the ceiling! Daisy manages to leap out of harm's way, but Dolcetto is knocked to the ground and covered by the net's hundreds of sharp blades. Fargrim and Daisy work together to cut Dolcetto free, but the mage is badly hurt. Myst decides the safest way to open the door is through magick of his own, and he mouths an incantation that allows him to discover that if both handles on the wall are turned clockwise simultaneously, the door will open. Once this is done, a small chamber is revealed with five panels of odd mechanical levers and devices. Above each one, a small placard carries a sigil in a language only Dolcetto and Myst are able to read. Dolcetto explains that the placards say, respectively "Entrance Door", "Martial Trophy Room", "Control Room", "Museum", and "Spoils of Conquest." She suspects the strange panels can be manipulated to disable traps or open doors to these areas. However, testing out her theory leads to a bolt of electrical energy coursing through the room and lancing outward! Dolcetto throws herself against the wall to escape injury, but Fargrim and Myst are caught by the blast.
After this, the adventurers are far more careful in their attempts to manipulate the panels. Dolcetto and Gelkar work together to magically trigger them from a safe distance, and after some trial and error believe they have succeeded in deactivating the animated doorway and perhaps some other mechanical and mystical wards. Dolcetto carefully searches the corridors and three closed doors and says that, as far as she can tell, no traps remain. However, the doors remain locked and a means to open them will have to be discovered if the adventurers hope to progress further in their quest to find Multivar's stolen amulet and earn passage to Thay.
Director's Commentary (July 14, 2017)
Daisy was the back-up/alternate character for the player who usually ran Mellia. I've probably talked about Daisy before: she was a really fun character, a very dim but good-natured warrior.
The idea with the portal adventure was to have a classic dungeon crawl since the players had spent many, many months mostly on subplots and random encounters. I chose "The Hunter of Worlds" from Dungeon Crawl Classics # 14: Dungeon Interludes, which features a very alien complex manned by a xill. It worked great, as there were a ton of unique traps, puzzles, and weird stuff for the PCs to investigate. And, best of all, the only thing I had to change (slightly) was the adventure hook. My favorite part of this session were the ethereal marauders: running them was a blast, as they were a bit like the X-Men's Nightcrawler in their ability to "bamf" away and reappear all over the grid. Made for an exciting, dynamic battle!