Having passed through ‘The Reaper’, the players found themselves back at the Academy. After wandering around collecting a few small tasks from various people it was time to assemble in the quad for the unveiling of the test scores. Isaac arrived and posted the results up on the noticeboard, and as the players looked over them shit hit the fan.
A black portal crackling with purple energy opened at the opposite end of the quad and a horde of large spiders poured out. The players, academy guards, instructors and students fought desperately against these strange foes. It was hard to land strikes effectively as the slake spiders are not natives to the world of Vellenor, but the players managed to bring one of the vicious beasts down. In the meantime more and more spiders rushed out of the portal, paralysing, draining and killing almost at will.
The odds seemed overwhelming until suddenly the large red crystal floating in the centre of the quad came to life. A protective shield of warm, red light spread outwards from the crystal, forcing the spiders back through their portal. Then the players found themselves floating in a void centred around a small creature.
The creature spoke to them, identifying itself as an aeon named Carbuncle. Carbuncle revealed to the players that they are Crystari, possessed of the now rare ability to communicate and interact with crystals. It also told the players that the crystals are now awakening (ahhh that’s the title of the adventure!) after many years, as there is some kind of a great threat to the world coming; though it did not know what form the danger would take.
As suddenly as they’d disappeared the players found themselves back in the quad, surrounded by the aftermath of the slake spider attack (and with Dan holding a red sphere capable of summoning Carbuncle once per day). Isaac wept furiously over the drained body of his fellow instructor Brie and several others lay dead or drained of energy (including another initiate known to the players Hernandez).
Shortly thereafter a guard came and took the players to see the Head of the Academy, Lord Egraine Foxwald. Egraine questioned the players about their interaction with Carbuncle but harboured doubts as to whether they were all truly Crystari. He proposed that they journey to the next nearest crystal to test the validity of Carbuncle’s claim (he mentioned believing that Carbuncle may well have gone mad having been confined inside a crystal for so long).
Cave, crystal and Kobolds
After resting overnight the players set out along the road heading north, towards a nearby cave that Egraine believed contained a crystal. Along the way they encountered some suspicious tracks leading away from the road into a small forest. After following the tracks for a while Hector lost the trail as it became confused with the footprints of several other creatures. As he tried to make sense of the tracks a voice addressed the players from up in the trees. It turned out to be a goblin who asked the players to come with him and meet his leader. Hector promptly shot him and the players continued along the road north.
Soon they arrived at the cave and headed inside. After an incident with Giganticus falling into a concealed pit the players took the right-hand path further into the cave. Along this tunnel was a barricade with another concealed pit in front of it (which everybody managed to avoid) and several kobolds armed with crossbows hiding behind it (who were very much aware of the player’s approach thanks to the noise from the first pit trap). Shortly the kobolds were overcome and the players proceeded to the end of the tunnel.
At the end of the tunnel, Hector discovered (by falling into it) a 40ft deep hole leading down into the earth. Giganticus followed him down using a rope to provide backup and they scouted along a tunnel. During this exploratory mission Giganticus managed to step into a rusty bear trap that had been repurposed by the kobolds. Having heard this noise from their lair up ahead the kobolds came to investigate and set about trying to kill Giganticus and Hector.
Rob made his way quickly down the rope to help fight the oncoming kobolds. Dan preferred the slow and steady approach, eventually making his way down to the fight after several rounds had already passed and most of the kobolds were dead. As the fight neared an end the kobold’s leader, the stronger, more heavily armoured Irontooth got involved. Eventually Irontooth was also slain, cut down as he reached out towards a purple crystal which was sticking out of the wall of their cave lair (the kobolds had been worshipping the crystal).
Much looting of corpses was had and then the players decided to approach the crystal. The closer they got the more light it shone into the cavern. One of the players worked up the nerve to touch the crystal. Their hand slipped inside the solid crystal into an odd warm, liquidy sensation. A solid sphere formed in their hand and when removed it was discovered that the crystal had bestowed the player with a piece of materia. Each Crystari was able to gather a single piece of materia from the crystal. Here the adventure ended with the players still inside the kobold lair.