So we gathered around the table, and their adventure began... in a tavern. (Hey, I did say I wanted my wife to experience D&D.)
Having no other lead for work, they followed the excited gnome to a wizard's tower, where they were lead into the lobby and met with Sydrick the wizard. He looked all the part. He explained to them that he needed a powerful artifact recovered for him. It was lost in the jungles in the tropical regions of the continent. A golden orb. Sydrick had use of it as any wizard would have of any such trinket. He promised ample rewards to the heroes. There wasn't much more convincing needed.
He gave them each magic rings that would teleport them back to the tower, but warned them to only ever use them once they had possession of the orb. As he left the room, a circle in the floor lit up and they found themselves amidst a teleportation ritual. It was meant to bring them close to where the orb should be.
In a brilliant flash, the party suddenly found themselves surrounded by humidity, heat, and jungle noises. Hogel, the orc tracker, immediately began to take stock of his surroundings. Silently he disappeared into the woods. It didn't take him long to find the obvious out of place. A large structure was planted in the forest. It had left a long deep groove in the dirt, as if it had moved. The whole thing seemed eschewed with strange markings painted on the sides. No other entrance seemed apparent but the glass dome that was shattered and half buried. By the look of the vegetation growing up the side of it, it appears to have been here for only about a year.
The party explored the structure. Strange indeed. No craftsmanship or materials were recognizable. Verital the warlock could sense some energies, but no strange magics. Within they explored and found many unsettling things. Half rotten, and half eaten corpses laid about. All wearing strange gray clothing. Crude daemonic shrines and strange shaped artifacts laid about. Once they found a giant electrical shocker lizard nesting in what could closest be described as an alchemist's lab. Maevik made quick work of the beast with her tribal sword. Hogel had skinned the corpse and made small cloaks for him and Maevik. Assuming it's electric properties may prove useful later.
It was a standard dungeon crawl, encountering mutated ugly 'humans' who were mad beyond interrogation. Hogel continued to keep trophies of his kills in the manner of scalping their rotted heads. Verital came in use finding some manner of fire traps which he was able to control with his mysterious tome, the Fire Lord's Edict, and in dispatching the final mutant lord of the place.
Alas they believe they had found it, or at least the pedestal. Verital could sense the residual power that had once existed there, and there was no doubt that this once held the golden orb. Painted among the walls it chronicled the arrival of a people who raided the place, and took the orb, and left to a cave not far off, as illustrated on a map. But Maevik was enraged. She recognized the style of drawings. And the lead figure who had claimed the orb as it's own was wearing the signature headdress of queen of her tribe, the amazons: Khyos, her sister. The one who defeated Maevik, and the one she had stolen the sword from. This had suddenly become very personal for her.
To be continued...