This session was really just three long battles, although the party learned some important information as a result. Information the players probably don’t remember now, four months later. So, the writeup will consist of battle summaries plus boxtext. Hopefully, the boxtext will remind everyone what they learned, as well as refresh their memories as to the whole point of this excursion to the Demi-Plane of Last Resort.
Airday, 6th of Sunstrong, 4433
Having completed the Claiming of Krathanos’s Golden Belt, the PCs decide they will finally have to confront Kendra in order to capture the Living Feather of the Roc King and complete the Trials of Tilagos. Knowing that she, likewise, needs their prizes (the Belt, the Thornavale Nightmare’s horn, etc.), they decide to set a devious trap for her. Ulm creates an illusion showing that the titan Krathanos has killed or captured their entire party. Anmor sets some glyph traps around the ruined fortress and the rest of the group takes up defensive positions to see if Kendra will fall into their snare.
The party’s devious plan works fairly well, to a point. When Kendra does her morning scrying on the party, she sees Ulm’s illusions. She’s only too willing to believe it and, therefore, prepares spells appropriate for battling Krathanos (a very different set of spells than she would have prepared to battle the party). Her group arrives at the keep by mid-morning. In addition to Kendra herself, it includes:
- Krekie, a ravenfolk (a.k.a. kenku) assassin
- Malhazar the Exiled Flame, an efreeti fighter, and his mount, Black Fire, a cauchemar (or really big nightmare)
- Jalagar and Sabir Sinfire, demonbrood (a.k.a. tiefling) monks
- Nalhazzarath, a cornugon devil
Kendra’s team arrives invisibly, but at least some of the party can see them approach. The PCs wait, hopefully, for their enemies to attack the lllusionary titan, but that doesn’t happen. Malhazar and Nalhazzarath can see through the illusion and communicate telepathically with the rest of their group that things are not what they seem. Kendra decides to attack anyway, in spite of being improperly prepared. This will prove to be her undoing.
Malhazar and Nalhazzarath put up a good fight, but the rest of Kendra’s group cannot make their saves against Ulm’s illusion. Kendra also fails in her efforts to dispel the illusion. Frustrated, Malhazar grants her one of his wishes, which she uses to “remove all illusions in the area.” This wish causes Ulm’s illusion to go away, but also dispels Kendra’s group’s invisibility, putting everyone on equal footing. However, our heroes are better positioned and better prepared, so the fight goes their way from this point on.
Kendra extends the action a bit by using another of Malhazar’s wishes to completely heal her group. This wish is too late, though, to save Nalhazzarath, who’s already fallen to Chresin and Kullen. Granuel and Anmor take down Malhazar and his horsie. The Sinfire twins try to guard Kendra against a charging Kullen, but are pretty useless. Kendra tries to touch Kullen with the Arm of Angall, but he survives and, ultimately, strikes the blow that brings down the party’s long-time nemesis!
Poor Krekie, who’s turned invisible again, is the last survivor of Kendra’s team. He’d been doing nothing useful, because he was paralyzed for most of the fight by one of Anmor’s ghoul glyphs. When that wears off, he tries to avenge Kendra and moves into position to use his death attack on Anmor. Unfortunately, he stumbles into another ghoul glyph, paralyzing him once again, long enough for the party to take him down at their leisure.
Although climatic and very long, this fight may have been the easiest of the session for the party, as we shall see.
The party loots the corpses and finds the Living Feather of the Roc King. Believing they have now satisfied the requirements of the Trials, they set out back across Tilagos to the entrance portal.
I don’t recall what, if anything, the party did about the Arm of Angall. We might need to revisit that, because it could be a big deal…
Earthday, 8th of Sunstrong, 4433
Upon arriving back at the Portal of Storms, the party finds the wild watchers waiting for them. The wild watchers already seem to know that the PCs have endured the four trials, and three of them (Tylanthros, Beskawahn, and Thadimar) are pleased. The fourth watcher, Sayren-Lei is not. While the other three fey congratulate the PCs on their accomplishment, Sayren-Lei explodes into an angry rant:
“You have proved nothing, slaughtering beasts and Inanna-worshipping dogs. Worse, you allowed the Roc King to perish! The trial asked specifically for his living feather, yet he was nonetheless killed! You are no heroes and I declare that none of you shall taste the waters of the Fountain of Dreams. I contest your doubtful accomplishment, and demand trial by blood. Only if you pathetic mortals can defeat me shall I consider you worthy of the final secrets of the Order of the Storm!"
Tylanthros sighs at this outburst, but informs the PCs that Sayren-Lei does indeed have the right to make such a challenge. So the other three wild watchers step back to a respectable distance to observe the battle between the PCs and Sayren-Lei.
In spite of just being one guy, Sayren-Lei proves much tougher than Kendra’s team. He seems very hard to hurt, with weapons or spells, and is surrounded by an annoying swarm of insects at all times. Although the party is beginning to think they might not prevail, they eventually do enough damage that Sayren-Lei yields. The fey is genuinely impressed with their skill and humbly apologizes, regretting the disparaging remarks he hurled at them. He also grants them his elemental banners (those four flag things on his back in the picture; click this link for details) in thanks as a way to atone for his outburst.
After this apology, the rest of the wild watchers return to the group. Tylanthros gestures silently to the Portal of Storms, and the obsidian platform shimmers and transforms into a remarkable obsidian fountain, its waters cool and sparkling with a rainbow of scintillating light. As the fountain manifests, all of the PCs experience a nearly overwhelming rush of nostalgia for things they’ve cherished in their childhood and a strange gnawing fear of long-forgotten nightmares. As they gaze at the fountain, Tylanthros speaks one final time:
“And so you have earned the right to return the lore of the Order of Storms to the world. The Age of Worms is upon us, and what the powers of old began so long ago now falls to you to complete. Drink deep and remember. Dream the dreams of the ages.”
One of the PCs drinks from the fountain and, as soon as he does, stuff happens:
Descent into Dream
All members of the group become overwhelmed by the sudden rush of alien yet strangely familiar memories. The world around them swirls away into a vortex of lightning and wind, fire and rain, ending in the utter darkness of nothingness. For several moments, they float adrift in this silence, yet it is still long enough to feel the cold perpetuity of the infinite weighing upon them.
Suddenly, the PCs realize they’re standing on a windy bluff overlooking an immense canyon. The din of distant battle finds the PCs’ ears, and as if rising from the ground on ledges and mesas both near and far, armies of creatures fade into view. In the distance, cities smoke in ruin, and the sky is cast with a dark pallor. The cacophonous moans of the undead ride the wind. Although their immediate vicinity remains clear for now, the PCs can see that the armies consist of huge numbers of humanoids fighting against what seems like
an endless wave of undead.
Anmor recognizes this location as LIghthedge Canyon in the Ghinor HIghlands, although it seems somehow less barren than expected. Various party members also recognize some of the undead creatures in the immense battle. There are legions creatures the PCs have fought before — shoggoths, wormcallers, morhgs, eviscerator beetles, overworms, and ulgurstastas. Yet there are other, stranger creatures as well, like enormous worm-dripping centipedes who cause the ground they walk on to boil, immense black scorpions whose mere presence seems to turn the living on their allies, and horrific wormlike dragons who breathe out swaths of writhing green worm swarms. And wheeling in the distant skies above, attended by numerous smaller dragons, is a horrifying shape—a skeletal dragon of great size. obviously Drazzaroth. For all of numerous humanoids that opposed these monsters, it is obvious that they fight a losing battle.
The PCs discover that all of their wounds from the battle with Sayren-Lei are healed and that all the spells and other abilities they used in that fight are recharged. Before they can figure out exactly what happened, a voice rings out behind them: “You have arrived.”
A small group of somber druids stands before the PCs. The four druids at the forefront of this group of several dozen look very familiar. Their faces strongly resemble those of the four wild watchers, although younger and more human. The man who addressed them is the one who resembles the wild watcher Tylanthros. His face is gaunt with hardship, and his robes matted with blood. Despite his greeting, he gives no indication that he recognizes the PCs. As he approaches the heroes, he speaks.
“The heroes of prophecy. Your timing is perfect. We can hold them no longer, but we have been successful in our task.” The man indicates the dozen or so druids who stand behind him. These druids cluster around a large package, a strange container with its sides carved in the shapes of leering demonic and draconic faces. “Drazzaroth’s phylactery is ours, yet at a great price. His minions even now come for us to reclaim it, and soon he himself shall learn of its theft. We must hide it forever from his reach, for I fear its destruction at this juncture would only drive him to an unstoppable frenzy. But if we can take it from this land, he will sense its loss. He will abandon the army of Yog and they will be lost, without leadership. You must hold off the spawn that even now scramble at the edges of the cliff s around us. Our trusted ally will stall his aerial forces while you must hold off the rest of his spawn long enough for us to transport the phylactery.”
As the druid mentions an ally, a familiar figure steps forward, a young and vivacious woman dressed in ornate silver armor who can be none other than Lashonna, her eyes bright and burning with determination. She speaks to you, but there is no sense of recognition in her eyes. “I shall engage Drazzaroth and his children myself, but I cannot defend against his Swords. They come too, scrambling up to our location even now, along with—something else. Something most unnatural—an abomination. You must hold them off , for all is lost if you fail.” With that final pronouncement, Lashonna spreads wide her arms and transforms into a magnificent silver dragon. With a single tremendous beat of her wings, she launches into the air and soars off toward the distant dracolich.
As she wings away, Tylanthros speaks again. “We go now, to hide the phylactery within its cradle in Kongen-Thulnir. Save us from the Swords of Yog, or the Age of Worms shall doom us all!”
If it’s not clear, the key thing the PC’s learned here is the bit in italics: “to hide the phylactery within its cradle in Kongen-Thulnir.”
As the druids retreat, the PCs fight a couple of waves of Swords of Yog. These creatures channel negative energy to heal themselves and hurt the party, very badly. The PCs only survive because, by some magic or divine intervention, they themselves do not die at -10 hit points. For example, Ulm drags a should-be-dead Anmor out of harms way and feeds him a potion, allowing the archivist to re-enter the fight. Then a horrific undead menace rises up over the edge to join the fight—a creature called a boneyard. This snakelike monster has a body made of thousands of bones, with a head fashioned from an immense dragon’s skull. It swallows Kullen, who also somehow doesn’t die, before the party is able to bring it down. Just as the PCs are about to finish their own desperate fight, they see Drazzaroth deliver a killing blow to Lashonna, whose body falls from
the sky to be lost in the mists of LIghthedge Canyon below.
Just after they witness Lashonna’s fall, the PCs experience another gut- wrenching vortex as they return to Tilagos Island. Again, their wounds are healed and their spells restored. Even Anmor and Kullen show no ill effects from their near-death experiences.
Just to clarify, the Tilagos Isle that you have returned to is no longer on the Demi-Plane of Last Resort. So teleportation magic will work again, something that will be important as you decide what to do next.
XP totals at the end of the session 30:
* Anmor 148,615
* Ulm and Chresin 146,776
* Granuel 142,283
* Kullen 146,838
Everyone should be 17th level.