Wilderlands Age of Worms

Session 40: Into the Wormcrawl Fissure
I Believe In Miracles
Item Name Description Count Base
Value
Src
Ref
Page
Copper Coins 2,500,000 25,000
Silver Coins 360,000 36,000
Gold Coins 48,000 48,000
Platinum Coins 2,500 25,000
Jewelry Miscellaneous 62,000
Gems Miscellaneous 48,000
Ruby Dust worth 1,500 gp Material component for Forecage spell 1 1,500 PHB 233
MW Weapons Miscellaneous 50 15,500
MW Armor Miscellaneous 20 8,500
King Becksor’s Drinking Horn Unique Item 1 4,000
Darkwood Violin Unique Item 1 6,500
Reptile Skull [Spell Book] Druidic spellbook containing the following:
• Dinosaur Stampede (SpC 64)
• Essence of the Raptor (SpC 84)
• Hungry Gizzard (SpC 117)
1 3,000
Winter’s Path Volume V Unique Item 1 6,000
Scarlet Silk w/gold & silver threads Unique Item 1 3,500
15 Wizard’s spellbooks Spellbooks 1
Clockwork Songbird Unique Item 1 4,000
+5 Ghost Touch Chain Shirt Both its enhancement bonus (+5) and its armor bonus (+4) count against the attacks of incorporeal creatures 1 64,250 DMG 219
+3 Fire Resistance, Adamantine Breastplate The armor absorbs the first 10 points of fire damage per attack plus DR 2/- 1 37,200 DMG 218
219
+2 Heavy Fortification Light Wooden Shield Immune to critical hits and sneak attacks 1 49,150 DMG 219
+2 Adamantine Aberration Bane Vorpal Greataxe +1 to Attack, +2 to hit and +2d6 to damage Abberations, Upon a roll of natural 20 (followed by a successful roll to confirm the critical hit), the weapon severs the opponent’s head from its body. 1 131,020 DMG 226
224
226
+3 Disruption Spell Storing Morningstar Any undead creature struck in combat must succeed on a DC 14 Will save or be destroyed. Also stores a single spell (up to 3rd level) which may be cast as a free action on a successful hit. 1 72,308 DMG 224
225
Ring of Wizardry IV 4th level arcane spells per day are doubled 1 100,000 DMG 233
Tome of Understanding +1 Spend 48 hours over 6 days, gain an inherent bonus of +1 to WIS 1 27,500 DMG 268
Oathbow +2 composite longbow (+2 STR bonus). Upon activation, pick a sworn enemy to gain a +5 enhancement bonus, and arrows launched from it deal an additional 2d6 points of damage and ×4 on a critical hit instead of the normal ×3. (see text). 1 25,600 DMG 227
Rapier of Puncturing Upon activation, this +2 wounding rapier allows the wielder to make a touch attack with the weapon that deals 1d6 points of Constitution damage by draining blood. (see text) 1 50,320 DMG 227
Sun Blade Usable by anyone profiecient with short or bastard sword. In normal combat, the glowing golden blade of the weapon is equal to a +2 bastard sword. Against evil creatures, its enhancement bonus is +4. Against Negative Energy Plane creatures or undead creatures, the sword deals double damage (and ×3 on a critical hit instead of the usual ×2). Also upon activation, create a sphere of sunlight (see text) 1 50,335 DMG 228
Ring of Air Elemental Command Various effects (see text), including:
• Feather fall (unlimited use, wearer only)
• Resist energy (electricity) (unlimited use, wearer only)
• Gust of wind (twice per day)
• Wind wall (unlimited use)
• Air walk (once per day, wearer only)
• Chain lightning (once per week)
1 200,000 DMG 231
Greater Metamagic Rod of Maximize Cast up to 9th level spells as if via the maximized feat 1 121,500 DMG 236
Staff of the Woodlands, 34 chgs Various effects (see text), including:
• Charm animal (1 charge)
• Speak with animals (1 charge)
• Barkskin (2 charges)
• Wall of thorns (3 charges)
• Summon nature’s ally VI (3 charges)
• Animate plants (4 charges)
1 68,850 DMG 245
Bracers of Armor +6 Gain a +6 armor bonus 1 36,000 DMG 250
Folding Boat Upon command, unfolds into 1) row boat, 2) ship, or 3) box shape (see text). 1 7,200 DMG 249
Rode of Scintillating Colors 1 full round after speaking command word colors flow from the robe creating the equivalent of a gaze attack within 30-foot range. Those who look at the wearer are dazed for 1d4+1 rounds (Will DC 16 negates). See Text 1 27,000 DMG 265
[Daern’s] Instant Fortress Upon speaking the command word it grows to form a tower 20 feet square and 30 feet high, with arrow slits on all sides and a crenellated battlement atop it. 1 55,000 DMG 254
Greater Strand of Prayer Beads A greater strand of prayer beads has a bead of healing, a bead of karma, a bead of summons, and a bead of wind walking. (see txt) 1 95,800 DMG 267
Apparatus of Kwalish See Text 1 90,000 DMG 247
Philosopher’s Stone A single philosopher’s stone can turn from up to 5,000 pounds of iron into silver, or up to 1,000 pounds of lead into gold. 1 49,900 DMG 279
Staff of the Magi
Artifact
Various effects (see text), including:
• Detect magic
• Enlarge person (Fortitude DC 15 negates)
• Hold portal
• Light
• Mage armor
• Mage hand

The following powers drain 1 charge per usage:
• Dispel magic
• Fireball (10d6 dmg, Ref DC 17 half)
• Ice storm
• Invisibility
• Knock
• Lightning bolt (10d6 dmg, Ref DC 17 half)
• Passwall
• Pyrotechnics (Will or Fort DC 16 neg)
• Wall of fire
• Web

These powers drain 2 charges per usage:
• Monster summoning IX
• Plane shift (Will DC 21 negates)
• Telekinesis (400 lb. max wt; Will DC 19 neg)

The staff is rechargable

A staff of the magi gives the wielder spell resistance 23.
1 Priceless DMG 280
Talisman of Zagy
(aka Talisman of Reluctant Wishes)
Minor Artifact
Whenever a character touches a talisman of reluctant wishes, he must make a DC 15 Charisma check. (See text for various possible outcomes.) 3 Priceless DMG 280
Ring of Charisma +6 Gain a +6 Charisma bonus (as Cloak of Charisma) 1 36,000 DMG 253
Ring of Spell Turning Three times per day, on command, ring automatically reflects the next nine levels of spells cast at the wearer. 1 98,280 DMG 233
Amulet of Mighty Fists +5 Grants a +5 enhancement bonus on attack and damage rolls with unarmed attacks and natural weapons 1 150,000 DMG 246
Bracers of Armor +8 Gain a +8 armor bonus 1 64,000 DMG 250

XP totals as of the end of Session 40 are:

* Anmor 197,085
* Ulm 201,301
* Chresin 201,301
* Granuel 198,953
* Kullen 201,363

Everyone has enough to reach 20th level!

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Session 39: Into the Wormcrawl Fissure
The Writhing Sanctum

Ed did this entire writeup. All I did was correct some typos and fill in the details of Mahuudril’s hilarious death.

Fireday, 14th of Harvestime, 4433 (continued)

The Lair of the Wormdrake
The ceiling of this immense cavern rises up to a point nearly 70 feet above the ledge that overlooks it from the southern entrance (i.e., the direction from which the party came). The ledge winds upward along the northern wall around the corner to the east. The cave floor itself drops away about 10 feet. To the east, a stone pillar rises up from the floor and into the underside of the circular room and protrudes balcony-like into the cave. Strewn around the base of the pillar is a fantastic swath of coins and other objects. The cave itself is filled with a shimmering green glow from the huge circular pit in the south.

Anmor sent his summoned Earth Monolith to investigate the circular pit. It told Anmor that there was a big shaft that extended up through the ceiling and down into the depths of the earth. There were alcoves lining the shaft, both above and below. The shaft itself faded into darkness above and below and a think rain of green fluid cascaded down the center of the shaft, filling the air with an oily haze and coating the walls with moisture. Anmor studied the fluid for a time and determined that it was magical in nature and carried a strong aura of necromancy. Anmor extended a mug into the stream of green fluid in order to collect a sample. In the process, he learned that the liquid was extremely cold and touching it syphoned away some of his life force (OOC: 4 pts of CON drain). He also noticed that there was a gravitational pull within the shaft similar to what the party had encountered in the prior “spy” shafts. Once removed from the flow, the green fluid was no longer magical. While the rest of the party took inventory of the treasure left behind by the wormdrake, Anmor used his wand of Restoration to heal the ability damage inflicted by the liquid.

The wormdrake’s treasure consisted of the following:

The party spent several minutes puzzling over who, or what could use this shaft, given the necromantic fluid that filled it. They surmised that undead would be able to safely use the passage, but as far as they knew, they had not encountered undead creatures within the Tabernacle of Worms. Chresin suggested that he might be able to Dimension Hop from alcove to alcove, and thus ascend or descend the shaft, but he indicated that he was reluctant to do so without more information about their ultimate goal in doing so. As he scanned the nearest alcove, Chresin noted that some of them appeared to contain corpses. He surmised that they were the desiccated corpses of avolokia. Anmor suggested that this was most likely the burial vault for priests or other important members of the avolokian society.

mahuudril.jpgThe party returned to the entry chamber and began to examine the Mage’s alcoves more closely. Chresin reminded the party that while there were 19 alcoves, they had only encountered 7 Avolokia (including Merchantmistress Mahuudril). The party spent several hours carefully searched each Mage’s Magnificent Mansion again and, upon closer examination, determined that each one appeared to be recently occupied by a unique host. The party realized that with only 6 dead, there were likely at least 13 additional avolokia waiting somewhere within this structure.

Needing to rest, the party decided to camp out in one of the alcoves, using the Glass Golem as their guard.

OOC: During this session we realized that Kullen could not carry his Corporeal Loadstone. The loadstone prevents travel to any other plane and since the party used a teleport spell to travel to the Rift, Kullen had to leave it in their rooms back in Ut Prandur.

Spiritday, 15th of Harvestime, 4433

Taking the final watch Anmor lit a block of Incense of Meditation before he, along with Granuel, began preparing his spells for the coming day. After the rest of the Reprisal Squad awakened, Anmor prepared a Heroes’ Feast while the others made their preparations. Once again, Ulm cast Mind Blank on each party member. Rested and prepared, the party continued their exploration of the tarbernacle.

avolakia.jpgWanting to continue from where they had left off the prior day, the party returned to the wormdrake’s lair. They were disappointed to find that the room was no longer empty…it was now occupied by 4 avolokia in their monstrous forms. A short but very intense battle ensued, and the party was ultimately successful.

The following items were found on the dead avolokia:

For the next hour or so, the party tried to find a way to defeat the various worm doors. Anmor, using his wealth of knowledge, explained to the party that those who worship Yog can pass through unharmed, but for anyone else it acts a solid door. Specifically, if you attempt to touch a door, the worms will get on you; if you attack them, a stream of worms will shoot out at you. Ulm suggested a Knock spell and Anmor agreed that it might be effective.

Ulm first tried casting on a door in the south eastern end of the first corridor. He was able to disturb the door briefly, but moments later the door returned to its normal form (OOC: he did not beat the Caster Level check). He tried again, and the door evaporated revealing a lone avolokia. The avolokia cried out, “You shall not access the forbidden tome” then cast Wall of Stone to block the doorway. Chresin cast Dimension Door and teleported himself, Kullen and the Glass Golem beyond the wall, surrounding the avolokia. Kullen pounded the avolokia until it was unconscious while War bashed down the wall. Once the wall was down, Granuel used his wand of Lightning Bolt to kill the avolokia.

The following items were found on the dead avolokia:

  • Bracers of Armor, +4
  • Periapt of Wisdom, +4

Ulm “knocked” down two more doors revealing what appeared to be a small study and a library.

Study
The walls of this room glistened and shimmered, almost as if they were covered with a thin coat of water. A circular table sat in the middle of the room surrounded by three chairs.

Library
The walls of this 60 foot tall chamber were lined floor to ceiling with row upon row of books. A single book sat on a podium in the center of the room, its identity masked a black piece of silk draped over the podium’s top.

Ulm and Anmor cast Detect Magic on the rooms and found that the walls within the study and library were protected by Wall of Force and Dimensional Anchor spells. The party guesses that this was to prevent anyone from teleporting directly into either room. Additionally, they detected strong Evocation as well as a strong evil aura on the book on the podium. Ulm cast Detect Secret Doors and searched the room but he did not find any secret doors or traps.

Chresin attempted to read the book, but the contents were so vile and repulsive that he actually felt like he was bodily assaulted by this action (OOC: 17 points of untyped “brain” damage). Unsure why it had affected him as it did, Chresin cast Read Magic on the book and tried again. Again, it burned him as he read it. Anmor cast Undetectable Alignment upon himself and tried to read the book. After briefly looking at the book he slammed it upon the table and exclaimed that it was a terrible, terrible thing…something known as a “Book of Vile Darkness”. Anmor really, really wanted to place all of the books in the portable hole, but the party convinced him that to leave them until after Drazzoroth was dispatched. Before they left, they directed War to hide the book among the other books on the shelves.

Leaving the library and study and heading back up the hallway towards the wormdrake’s lair, Ulm detected a secret door along the northern wall.

Secret Room
The decadence of this chamber was nearly overwhelming. Thick carpet covered the floor, a crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling, and high backed padded chairs and couched lined the walls. A low wood and marble table sat across the room covered with an array of tantalizing drinks and food stuffs. Soft music filled the air with a relaxing soothing melody and the air smelled warm and comforting.

Ulm searched the room and found two additional worm doors. He made several attempts to knock them open but was unsuccessful. At this point the party once again debated how best to bypass the worm doors. Ultimately, they decided to have War attempt to bash them down. This tactic proved to be successful since the glass golem was immune (OOC: it was immune to anything requiring a fortitude save).

War removed a worm door in the north western wall of the main chamber. The first opened into an empty 10 foot by 10 foot chamber. The walls of this chamber seemed coated with poorly preserved skin. The room reeked of decay and something below the layer of skin on the floor seemed disturbingly pulpy and alive. Anmor determined that the skin was magical and had a moderate aura of necromancy. Anmor tossed an alchemist fire into the chamber and the skin burned away revealing a large quantity of writhing worms.

Next, War removed a worm door in the northern wall of the main chamber. This chamber was also empty. Along one of the walls were several sets of manacles. The party surmised that this room was used as a prison of some sort.

Returning to the main chamber, Anmor scanned for magic. He indicated that the food and drink radiated a strong aura of illusion. Seeing through the illusion the party noted that the food was actually the twisting writhing parts of zombies and other undead creatures. While looking at the foul food stuffs the party also found a single red hair. Could this be Mahuudril’s chamber? There was no way of knowing for sure. However, if it was hers, she was no longer occupying it.

The party returned to the wormdrake’s lair and crossed to the large windows on the other side of the chamber.

Domed chamber with hanging cage
Within this circular chamber, the stony walls rippled with the passage of thousands of hissing green worms. Above the ceiling was a dome of green light that illuminated the chamber with a nauseating viridian shade. There were five tall windows in this chamber, including the one the party passed through, that overlooked the wormdrake’s cavern. A narrow rim or lip ran along the walls, surrounding a large hole in the floor from which delicate tendrils of green mist arose. A cage made of writhing green metal hung in the center of the whole from a stalk of green, its empty confines twisted lazily above the hole.

Trying to ascertain the purpose of the cage, Granuel summoned a Celestial Owl, causing it to appear within the cage. The cage immediately began to lower into the hole. After several rounds passed, the empty cage returned. The party agreed that they should all avoid coming in contact with the cage.

Venk’s Bed Chamber and Study
This warm, thickly carpeted chamber seemed almost welcoming. Large padded chairs sat against the walls near low tables. A large shelf with oversized books rested against one wall near another worm door.

venk_and_zyrith.jpgStudying the books, Anmor discovers volumes on demonology, the lower planes and their impact on the material plane. While looking at the books, Anmor discovered several stands of long white hair and surmised that this was the private chambers of Venk, the warlock warrior they encountered with they first approached the tabernacle.

Ulm found a secret door in the south wall that led back to the pit in the wormdrake’s lair and a secret nook in eastern wall containing a halfling sized coffin. Opening the coffin revealed nothing other than thick moist earth. In a fit of revulsion, Granuel poured a vial of holy water on the soil within the coffin. As they party examined the coffin, they also discovered a small shelf containing 4 pieces of jewelry: a magical ring the radiated a strong conjuration aura, a pair of diamond and gold earrings (2,000 GP), a red metal ring (4,500 GP), and a pearl and opal anklet (1,500 GP).

lashonna.jpgThe magical ring was a bejeweled silver ring set with star sapphires. Ulm immediately recognized a seal on the ring as belonging to Lashonna. Anmor studied the ring and determined that it had very specific magical properties. If the wearer knows that command word they can use the spell Teleport. It also allows the bearer to teleport to a specific location that is usually warded against teleportation. The party guesses that this ring would allow the wearer to teleport past the wards, directly into Lashonna’s estate.

OOC: The DM hand waved a couple areas in the north, indicating that they were both “observation” towers.

The party returned to the circular room with the iron cage and Anmor cast Eyes of the King, causing one of his fiendish dire bats to appear within it. The cage immediately descended into the darkness. The cage travelled downward at an incredibly fast rate of speed, dropping approximately 500 feet in a single round. At the end of its descent, it came to rest in the middle of a 15 foot diameter, sphere shaped room that was dark and full of worms. Instantly, Anmor lost his ability to see through the eyes of the bat and a round later, the cage returned to the main chamber with a Zombie bat inside it. Since the bat could not free itself from the cage, the party abandoned it.

Moving back into the workdrake’s lair and over to the pit, Anmor sent a second bat down the hole. This bat was able to make it down about 960 feet before it was overcome by the damage from the green liquid. During its descent, it saw many alcoves but no side passages. It died before it could see the bottom of the pit.

Anmor sent a third bat up the shaft and was rewarded when the bat found an opening approximately 300 feet above the level of the wormdrake’s lair. Chresin agreed to use Dimension Door to take everyone to the opening, but he indicated that he would not be able to bring the last fiendish dire bat with the group. Ulm suggested making the bat ethereal and sending it up the tube that way. He suggested that being on the ethereal plane might shield the bat from the crippling affects of the green liquid. Chresin noted that if the bat was ethereal, it could simply fly directly through the floors and ceilings and meet the party in the chamber above. Unfortunately, when the bat tried to travel through the solid structures it was immediately devoured by worms. Seeing no other options, Chresin used Dimension Door to move the Reprisal Squad into the upper chamber.

Upper Passageway
A circular tube wound its way through the rocks, its walls glassy and smooth as if burned from great heat or acidic force. Swarms of writhing green worms clung to the walls and ceiling in horrific defiance of gravity, although now and then clumps of the menaces dropped like snow from the boughs of a tree. A river of thick green fluid rushed down the tube and the nearly freezing air smelled thick with corruption.

Writhing_Sanctum.jpg

Nightcrawler.pngThe party was immediately attacked by 3 nightcrawlers. Chresin reminded the party that you need both silver and magic to bypass a nightcrawlers resistance. Seeing that the enemy had the advantage, Chresin regrouped the party, moving them to a safe area where they could buff. Granuel used his wand of Freedom of Movement to counter the nightcrawler’s grapple ability; Ulm cast Haste and Heroism, and Anmor cast Grace. Once their preparations were complete, Chresin used Dimension Door to return the party to the upper level.

The Writhing Sanctum
The tube-like tunnel opened into a vast area. The cavern gave way to a more “constructed” area, lit by the green glow of a ziggurat built out of worm infested stones. The ziggurat appeared to have been damaged near its peak (i.e., the spire had been removed). Where the spire once stood, a great and jagged hole existed in the structure. The green liquid that flowed through the passageway appeared to be gushing from this hole, cascading down the surface of the ziggurat in small waterfalls. Sitting atop the ruined ziggurat was the dracolich Drazzaroth.

Two ledges overlooked the cavern, one to the north and another to the south. A large pile of treasure laid on the floor not far from the ziggurat.

Upon seeing the Reprisal Squad, Drazzaroth spoke, “Well you’re a bunch of idiots! You have been tricked to come here. I know what you are looking for and it’s no longer here. The person you are working for took it".

Chresin asked “Is it back in her home?”

“I don’t know where she took it. But if you remain here any longer you are going to die. Begone”, Drazzaroth replied!

“Was the theft recent”, asked Anmor?

“No, she has been using you for some time. She wants to rise higher in the eyes of Yog. I do as well…I have served him for a long time, but that is of no concern to you", he snorted.

“Your service to Yog has spelled your doom”, cried Anmor!

A long battle followed (see what we learned below). Shortly after the combat began, the party encountered Drazzaroth and shortly thereafter, Mahuudril. During the fight, the party killed two of the night crawlers and Granuel took control of the third. Ulm killed Mahuudril with a single (OOC: dork worthy) spell casting (OOC: but the batteries had died in the recorder, so I don’t know what spell he actually cast).

Mahuudril technically killed herself. She cast Finger of Death on Ulm. He had Spell Turning in effect, to the spell rebounded onto Mahuudril, who rolled a 1 on her save. That’s what was dork worthy.

When, after spending most of their most powerful spells and losing War the Glass Golem to the dracolich’s attacks, the party found out that Drazzaroth could not be damaged by fire, electricity, or cold, they decided to leave the tabernacle. They would need to think long and hard about their strategy before they could return and defeat the dracolich.

What we learned
While facing Drazzaroth, Balakarde’s spirit becomes much more powerful giving them the bonuses below. The rest of what the party learned during the fight is recorded here.

Soul Bond of the Artist

In the presence of Drazzaroth, the fragment of Balakarde’s soul that represents his artistic inspiration has bonded directly with you. You gain immunity to fire. All living creatures within 30 feet (including the you) gain evasion and a +10 luck bonus on Reflex saves.

Once per round as an immediate action, you may pass the soul bond to another PC within 10 feet.

Soul Bond of the Scholar

In the presence of Drazzaroth, the fragment of Balakarde’s soul that represents his scholastic drive has bonded directly with you. You gain a +10 insight bonus on caster level checks to overcome spell resistance, and the save DCs for your spells and spell-like abilities increase by 2. All living creatures within 30 feet (including you) gain immunity to fear and a +10 luck bonus on Will saves.

Once per round as an immediate action, you may pass the soul bond to another PC within 10 feet.

Soul Bond of the Slayer

In the presence of Drazzaroth, the fragment of Balakarde’s soul that represents his hatred of the Dracolich has bonded directly with you. You gain a +20 insight bonus on attack rolls. All living creatures within 30 feet (including you) gain immunity to paralysis and a +10 luck bonus on Fortitude saves.

Once per round as an immediate action, you may pass the soul bond to another PC within 10 feet.

XP totals as of the end of Session 38 are:

* Anmor 188,525
* Ulm 187,741
* Chresin 187,741
* Granuel 185,393
* Kullen 187,803

Everyone remains 19th level.

View
Session 38: Into the Wormcrawl Fissure
The Tabernacle of Worms

Earthday, 13th of Harvestime, 4433

balakardesghost.jpgThe party asked the Ghost of Balakarde to tell them about the circumstances surrounding the death of his sister, Maralee. He indicated that his adventuring party, which included his sister, was fighting a group of cultists, just outside Lenap. The cultists were aided by “terrible, undead worms”. Everyone in his party was killed except for himself. His sister’s body was carried away and he later found out that she had been turned into undead Knight of Yog. The party asked Balakarde what he knows about the Tabernacle of Worms. He reminded them that he teleported directly into the Tabernacle, so he did not observe the fortifications. He mentioned that he encountered Nightcrawlers and Avolakia. Balakarde also told the party that when he teleported into the cathedral, he saw the Spire of Long Shadows.

Anmor told the party that Avolakia are aberrations that live deep in the earth. They are “slimy worm people” who are highly intelligent and cunning. There is a high number of spell casters within the Avolakian population and they all have spell-like abilities. They are also shape changers, so you may not recognize them for what they are at first. Avolakia are known to be aligned with the cultists and they are known to feed on the flesh of the undead.

Balakarde also explained that Maralee retains her mortal memories and some of her powers. He mentioned that she followed the bardic profession in life. Chresin suggested to the party that the spell Silence might provide a very good defense against someone with her skills.

After speaking with Balakarde, the party made camp for the night. They rested without incident.

OOC: We spent several minutes recapping the types of creatures we were likely to encounter including Avolakia, Night Crawlers, a Knight of Yog and ultimately an ancient Dracolich. After another 45 minutes of pondering the various magical means by which we could travel quickly to the Tabernacle, we ultimately decided that walking would be the best.

Fireday, 14th of Harvestime, 4433

The party awoke and began preparing for the travel to and assault of the Tabernacle of Worms. As usual, Anmor cast Heroes’ Feast and the party enjoyed a fortified meal before they travelled. Anmor told the party a few things about Avolakia that he had remembered overnight.

elder.jpgAvolakia are aberrations from deep in the earth. They are slimy wormlike creatures who are intelligent and cunning spellcasters. They can polymorph into the humanoid form. They are part of the cult of Yog and prefer to feast on the flesh of undead (as opposed to the living). They do not have any special resistances to physical damage; however, they are known to resist spells. All avolakia are immune to cold, disease, energy drain, and paralysis. When in human form they may speak and make a magical suggestion; when in worm form they have a slimy aura that makes them harder to hurt with fire and allows them a better chance to escape from a grapple.

OCC: They have no DR. They have SR. In human form, they can cast Suggestion as a free action. In worm form, they have Resist Fire: 10.

Ulm cast Spider Climb on all of the party members (except Anmor who cast Fly upon himself) and their Stained Glass Apocalypse Golem. He followed this with the spell Mind Blank on everyone except the golem. With Anmor scouting ahead, the party set out for the Tabernacle.

OOC: Maximum Load is equal to the upper limit of a character’s Heavy Load value, PHB 161-162. A Glass Golem is 10 feet tall and weighs 2,500 lbs. Therefore, it was not possible for Anmor to carry the golem while flying, so is we do not rest before continuing, another casting of Spider Climber should be marked off Ulm’s sheet.

After traveling for approximately 6 hours, the party arrived at a cave entrance. Granuel cast the spell Hide from Undead on all of the members of the Reprisal Squad. Ulm searched for traps and tracks but found nothing. The party walked into the natural cave. The moved cautiously as they worked their deeper, following spiraling tunnel downward. After traveling this way for an hour, Ulm halted the party and pointed to a sickly, green light ahead of them. In hushed tones, Ulm cast Message on everyone. Using his winged boots, Anmor flew to within about 60 feet of the light and realized that the tunnel was opening into a much larger cavern. In a whisper, he let the rest of the party know what he saw.

tabernacle_of_worms.jpg

The Tabernacle of Worms
The passage opened onto a relatively narrow ledge that overlooks an immense circular cavern lit by a nauseating green glow. The cavern is roughly ovoid in shape the walls, ceiling and floor shimmer here and there with phosphorescent fungi, but the predominant source of lighting is the sloshing lake of green slime that fills the center of the cavern. Several turgid waterfalls of the stuff, drool from opening high up on the far wall of the cave. Now and then, thick shapes of things that dwell within the slime lake ripple to the surface. The lake’s beaches are a horrific mist of crusty dried slim and millions of writhing worms that feast upon the stuff. The sound of their rasping mouths, working in unison, fill the cavern with a strangely soothing hiss.

In the midst of the lake loom a large pile of stalagmites and stalactites and up-thrust pillars of green rock that form a natural castle. A huge central pillar rises up from this fortress to merge with the roof above. There are six smaller stalagmites like towers that rise around the structure’s perimeter. Coiled around each of these spires are immense green worms, their fang heads twitching lazily to and fro, like sentinels, observing the cavern around them. A moat of green sludge surrounds the structure and a single crooked bridge arches up to a pair of massive stone doors.

IMG_20180720_195811.jpg

Anmor studied the sentinels from a few moments before reporting his observations to the party. He identified these worms as gargantuan magical beasts known as Overworms (not undead). They are minions of Yog-Sothoth. He indicated that they have eyes and typically have the dark vision trait as well as tremor sense. Despite having no discernible ears, they have excellent hearing. They are immune to mind effecting attacks as well as poisons. They can move by means of crawling, burrowing or swimming, but are not any faster than a typical dwarf. They have a supernatural power called Call of the Worm God which allows them to cast the foul and cancerous will onto other living creatures within 120 feet. Anmor indicated that this mind effective ability should not be an issue for the Reprisal Squad thanks to the Mind Blank spell.

venk_and_zyrith.jpgIn anticipation of strong wards and protections, the party prepared to cross the bridge by casting Freedom of Movement on everyone, a Zone of Silence around the party, and by making everyone Invisible, before flying across the bridge. Anmor cast Detect Magic and lead the party forward. Despite their efforts, as soon as Anmor entered the large cavern, the Overworms began writhing around in alarm. The party continued forward, moving cautiously. As the got within 60 feet of the stone doors, Ulm spied a Derro warlock riding an armored Wyvern, speeding toward them.

Granuel, using his Doomslayer Bow, fired a volley of arrows at the wyvern. They had some effect, but the Derro used her wand to heal the damage. The party continued to the door and as they approached realized that is was made not of stone, but rather it was composed of hundreds and hundreds of worms. Chresin did not like the party’s position, so decided to use Dimension Door to transport the party past the worm doors, into the Tabernacle.

The Temple of Worm
This immense hall as a vaulted ceiling that rises to a height of nearly 80 feet. The floor is of highly polished stone. To the east is a passageway, while a single writhing door of green worms sits in the west wall. Numerous alcove line the walls, each of which glows with free standing light and glow with some sort of golden portal. A bank of stone pillars supports the vaulted ceiling. In the western portion of the room a 20 foot wide fountain of green liquid churns and sloshes. Standing on a pedestal in the center of the fountain is a tall plinth with threatening looking runes upon it.

avolakia.jpgInside this chamber were six very attractive people, all of whom were actually Avolakia in disguise. When they initially entered the chamber, everyone except Granuel, was still within the Invisibility Sphere. Also, the Zone of Silence prevented the Avolakia from hearing anything the party said. Ulm cast True Seeing and confirmed the true nature of the beasts. Kullen charged the nearest Avolakia and a huge battle ensued.

IMG_20180721_174845.jpg

mahuudril.jpgAs the intensity of the fight increased, the Derro and Wyvern from outside heard the commotion and began attack the party from behind. Before they could control that front, and additional nemesis, Merchantmistress Mahuudril, entered the fray through the worm doorway in the western wall. Nonetheless, the party managed to vanquish the six original Avolakia, the Derro and her Wyvern. Mahuudril, though seriously injured, was able to escape.

OOC: The party learned during this fight that Avolakia have fast healing regeneration versus all damage types except fire and electricity.

The party searched the bodies and found the following items:
   •  Periapts of Wisdom +4 (Granuel took 1, leaving 5 to sell)
   •  Bracers of Armor +4 (6 to sell)
   •  Wand of Barkskin +4, 20 charges
   •  Wand of Displacement, 9 charges
   •  Wand of Cure Critical Wounds (4d8+7), 38 charges (Granuel)
   •  Wand of Dominate Person, 14 charges
   •  Adamantine shock trident +1, small
   •  Scale Mail +3, small
   •  Cloak of Charisma +4 (Granuel)
   •  Gloves of Dexterity +6 (Ulm)
   •  Amulet of Health +4 (Chresin)
   •  Ring of Protection +3 (Granuel)
   •  Bracelet of Friends with 1 charm (Anmor)
   •  Wyvern poison, 10 doses
   •  Barding mithril breastplate +4, wyvern size
   •  Amulet of natural armor +2
   •  Ring of protection +2 (2 to sell)
   •  Ring of Evasion (2 to sell)

In exchange for items received, party members also discarded the following items to be sold later:
   •  Periapt of Wisdom +2 (from Granuel)
   •  Glove of Dexterity +4 (from Ulm)
   •  Ring of Protection +2 (from Granuel)

DM Note: So, by combining three encounters into one, the party has a fight that lasts more than 6 hours of real time…

Anmor studied the Worm Doors using a Detect Magic spell and observed an Overwhelming Abjuration aura upon them. The magic was so powerful that Anmor was stunned momentarily. Anmor used his mace to push on the door and a spray of worms shot out at him, but he was able to shrug off the effects. Next, Anmor looked at the (18) glowing portals positioned around the room. He determined that each portal was a manifestation of the spell Mordenkainen’s Private Sanctum. Looking into the Sanctums he found them to be disheveled and filled with chunks of partially eaten undead flesh.

Finally, Anmor studied the plinth and the runes that were etched within it. He noted that this is an honorific to Yog-Sothoth. It directs Yog’s followers to baptize their sacrificial lambs in the pool to make them more compliant. In this way, these lambs may be transformed into Knights of Yog.

Looking through an opening in the southwest corner of the room, the party discovered a rough-hewn cave positioned directly beneath where they had observed one of the sentinel worms. In the center of this cavern was a long shaft extending upwards beyond the range of the party’s light sources. As Anmor approached the shaft, he could feel a gentle updraft. Looking up, he was able to see some small object approximately 60 feet from the base of the shaft. As Anmor thought about going up the shaft, his boot heels lifted off the floor. He told the rest of the party that he believed we would be able to ascend the shaft by simply thinking about the actions he wanted to take. He ascended 10 feet or so into the shaft and confirmed his suspicions. From here he was also observed to determine the small objects that he had seen were actually two writhing worm-like tubes extending out of the wall.

The party returned to the entry chamber and tried going east. Looking through an opening in the wall, the party noticed a hallway leading north. Within one of the walls they observed another worm door. As Ulm approached the opening he gasped and immediately told everyone to stand their ground. Because of his True Seeing spell, he was able to see that the hallway was full of green worms, obscured by an illusion.

Chresin used Dimension Door to send Granuel and himself beyond the worm door in the southeastern wall. Granuel found himself within another rough-hewn chamber identical to the one in the southwestern section of the complex. He used the updraft to lift up to the top of the shaft and placed the writhing worm tubes against his eyes. Immediately he felt the worm tentacles trying to burrow into his eyes, but he was strong enough to resist them. Suddenly he saw a vision from outside the cave complex and realized that he was looking through the eyes of a worm sentinel. Granuel returned to the floor of the chamber and Chresin used another Dimension Door spell to return Granuel and himself back to the main chamber with the rest of the party.

OOC: In order to use the spell Dimension Hop, the destination must be an unoccupied space within line of sight. Assuming that the worm doors are opaque, that means we will need to use Dimension Door instead of Dimension Hop to bypass them. That is not a problem other than the fact that it is a higher level spell, so we will not be able to do it as often (i.e., up to 9 times per day as opposed to 20).

Wormdrake.jpgGoing back to the western side of the entry chamber, the party gathered together and Chresin used another Dimension Door spell to teleport the group beyond the worm door. With the glass golem, War, leading, the party followed the corridor to the north until it turned and opened into a chamber leading to the east. Anmor used his dark vision to peer around the corner and observed a large cavern unlike any of the previous rooms they had encountered. Ulm cast Greater Invisibility on himself and moved around the corner to have a look inside the chamber. Inside the room he saw a 40 foot long dragon-worm that was later identified as a Worm Drake.

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Anmor summoned an Earth Monolith to aid fight with them. Ulm caste Haste on the party. Chresin used Dimension Hop to jump Kullen adjacent to the Wormdrake. The Wormdrake’s fear aura weakened the Earth Monolith. It also used a quickened summon to conjure a Purple Worm to its side. Ulm used Project Image to create an image of himself from which he could safely cast spells. A chaotic battle ensued, and the party ultimately slayed the Wormdrake and its Purple Worm minion.

With that, the Reprisal Squad ended their first assault wave on the Tabernacle of Worms

XP totals as of the end of Session 38 are:

* Anmor 184,440
* Ulm 183,656
* Chresin 183,656
* Granuel 181,308
* Kullen 183,718

Everyone will most likely remain 19th level until the end of this adventure.

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Session 37: Into the Wormcrawl Fissure
Liches and Lillends

OOC: The first half hour of the session was used to performing housekeeping tasks, including distribution of magic items found during Session 36. Granuel donned the +4 Undead Controlling Full Plate Armor; Chresin took the Rod of Withering; Kullen took the Mask of the Skull and Anmor took the Soul-Bonded Everfull Purse of the Scholar. The sword of Life Stealing was stored pending their sale.

Spiritday, 10th of Harvestime, 4433 (cont’d)

After distributing the items found, the party rested for the evening. Nothing eventful happened during this period.

OOC: Kullen gave Granuel a scroll of Miracle, which he can use only if he makes two successfully one Use Magic Device check. First, he must successfully Emulate an Ability Score, DC 34 (i.e., effective ability score (19) is the Use Magic Device check result minus 15), Next, he must successfully Use a Scroll, DC 37 (i.e., UMD check >= 20 + the caster level (17) of the spell you are trying to cast from the scroll).

DM Note: miracle is on Granuel’s spell list, so he only needs the check to emulate an ability score.

Airday, 11th of Harvestime, 4433

Anmor created a Heroes’ Feast and the Reprisal squad ate quietly in the dark, cavernous chamber, pondering what to do next. Both Anmor and Granuel spent time determining which way to go next. They both felt like there were two possible paths the party could follow. Both paths started out going in a southeasterly direction, however, after about an hour of walking they diverged with one path shift more towards the south southeast.

The party continued, following the path that took them to the southeast and to the base of a butte. Using his winged boots, Anmor flew to the top of the mesa, 500 feet above the rest of the party. Seeing no immediate danger, he rejoined the party and Chresin used his Dimension Door spell to move everyone to the top. After walking for about another 30 minutes, the party came to a large fortress, roughly square in shape and made of marble.

Thessalar_Fort.jpg

Anmor flew up to the crenellations and peered into the courtyard. As he crested the top of the wall, he saw two large creatures, who in turn, saw him. The creatures made low growling and clacking sounds. Anmor studied the creatures and determined that they were creatures of myth and legend known as Thessalhydrae. thessalhydra.png The creatures had four legs, a pincer tail and their bodies spanned 35 feet. The bodies were red with a darker orange under belly and had the general appearance of dragons except for their heads. The head was replaced by a large open maw surrounded by a ring of eight snake-like heads. These living aberrations were monstrous wizardly creations, corrupted from hydras through arcane experimentation, but did not have hyrda-like traits. They had fast healing, they were immune to acid and poison, they could spit acid and they could attack with their acid filled central maw, each of their poisonous snake-like heads and their pincer. The size of the Thessalhydrae was so great, they could swallow a whole medium-sized creature. Fortunately for the party, they did not have any type of damage reduction or spell resistance.

Seeing no way to open the portcullis, Ulm cast Spider Climb on each party members except Anmor (who was still flying). Anmor cast Energy Immunity, Acid on Kullen and Granuel cast Resist Energy, Acid on Chresin, then the Reprisal Squad mounted the fortress walls. Anmor used his Dark Knowledge, Foe to point out the weaknesses in the Thessalhydrae’s defenses (+3d6 weapon damage). Granuel jumped to the courtyard below and was immediately hit with a ball of acid. (Note: Granuel’s shield took 8 points of acid damage). Using the Doomslayer’s bow, Granuel shot a volley of arrows into one of the creatures (dealing 80 points of damage). The Thessalhydrae attack and rock Granuel and Kullen and pick them up in preparation to swallow them whole. Ulm cast a spell and stunned the creature holding Granuel.

Moments after the battle began, a wizard appeared in the courtyard. Anmor, having cast True Seeing, recognized it as an illusion and let the rest of party know. The wizard told the creatures to stop attacking and the one that was not stunned released Kullen. The party paused to listen to what the wizard had to say.

“Why have you come here, interrupting my studies and disturbing my pets”, asked the wizard?

Ulm replied, “Why do you prevent us from finding Balakarde and fulfilling our destiny?"

“Balakarde? I remember a wizard by that name. He made a purse that made small amount of coin each day. What about him? I am Thessalar and as you can see, I am a completely different wizard,” replied the wizard.

Upon hearing the name, Anmor replied, “I recognize the name Thessalar, the great wizard from centuries ago. I find it hard to believe that you are he”.

“Why would you no believe me? Don’t you see I have Thessalhydrae? My studies of proto-life have taught me how to extend life well beyond normal limits. Again, I ask, why have you disturbed me”, responded Thessalar?

“Are you Thessalar”, asked Chresin?

“I am”, replied the wizard.

“Are you alive”, Chresin followed?

“I do not have time to be questioned be you. Balakarde is not here. I know some of you barbarians have a hard time understanding such thinks”, the wizard bristled.

“You have something of Balakarde’s that we need in order to complete our mission”, said Kullen.

“Oh, well that is different. Yes, yes…I think I do have something of Balakarde’s. Let me see”, Thessalar replied. “Yes, here it is. In exchange for this item perhaps you would be will to do me a service?”

“What is it that you propose”, asked Granuel?

“Not far from here is a lovely creature I would love to possess. Her name is Zulshyn and she lives in a tower not far from here. She is a Lillend and I wish to consort with her and exchange arcane knowledge. Bring her to me and the item you seek will be yours" said Thessalar.

During this conversation Ulm saw movement through an opening in the opposite wall. Looking carefully, he identified the wizard’s location. Silently and without hand gestures, Ulm cast Greater Dispel Magic on the hiding wizard. This action initiated a new round of fighting. After a round of fighting the Thessalhydrae, Chresin used a swift cast to Regroup all of the party members (except Anmor) beside him, then used a Dimension Door spell to reposition them beside the wizard, effectively surrounding him. At this point, the party confirmed their suspicion that Thesselar was, in fact, a lich.

thessalar.jpgThessalar cast Time Stop and buffed himself and used his own Dimension Door spell to jump back into the courtyard. A short intense battle followed, with Thessalar and the party bounding between the courtyard and the wizards study. The party initially focused their efforts on the Thessalhydrae, using a series of high powered magics from the spell casters and great displays of physical prowess from Kullen. After killing the aberrations, the party redirected their energies on the lich, Thessalar. The Coup de grâce came when the party trapped Thessalar within his study. Anmor entangled the wizard within an area of Black Tentacles followed by a killing blow from Kullen.

At the conclusion of the battle, Anmor used The Nethertome of Trask to cast Detect Magic. Donning the Artificer’s Monocle he identified the following items:

• 10 potions of Inflict Serious Wounds (3d8_5), 7,500 GP
Lesser Rod of Quicken (3 times/day, 1st – 3rd level spells only), 35,000 GP
• Wand of Scorching Ray (8th level, 23 charges), 2,760 GP
Robe of the Archmagi (Evil), 75,000 GP
Ring of Protection +3, 18,000 GP, Ulm
Ring of Wizardry, II (2nd level spells per day are doubled for wearer), 40,000 GP, Chresin
• Crown of Intellect, +6 (equivalent to a Headband of Intellect), 36,000 GP, Sell
Handy Haversack, 2,000 GP, Anmor
Gloves of Storing (2), 20,000 GP
Boots of Speed, 12,000 GP, Sell
Portable Hole, (Anmor) 20,000 GP
• Material components for spells
    • Gold Dust, 100 GP
    • Material components for True Seeing (4 doses), 1,000 GP
    • Material components for Temporal Stasis (1 dose), 5,000 GP
    • Material components for Forcecage (3 doses), 4,500 GP
    • Other material components (inside portable hole), 22,000 GP
        • Items used to transfer Disintegrate into spellbook, −700 GP, Anmor
        • Cost of scroll of Disintegration, −2,275 GP, Anmor
        • Cost of Wand of Freedom of Movement, −21,000 GP, Granuel

While Anmor examined Thessalar’s possessions, Granuel searched the room. Near a workbench he discovered a Worm. Granuel indicated to the party that he felt the only way that he would ever be able to understand worm followers was by allowing this one to burrow into his brain. He said that Osiris was guiding him to follow this path. After much debate, he placed the worm into his ear canal. Other than a developing a nervous tick, he felt fine. In fact, he declared that it was a success and that no worms would ever be able to harm him again.

Thessalar_Battle.jpg

Proto-Life Cube
Within the study, the party encountered a large cube of force, 10 feet in length on each side. Within the cube, blood, flesh, eyes, mouths, and other less identifiable organs churn and swirl in a vortex of organic color.

The party turned their attention to the container of force standing in the middle of the room. Using his ability to detect undead, Granuel determined that the piece of Balakarde’s soul was contained within that container. Anmor examined the container and determined that is was maintained by a Forcecage spell. He indicated that Forcecages are immune to dispel magic and it would require a Disintegrate spell to penetrate it. He also indicated that the proto-life substance radiated strong levels of Transmutation. Since no one had the ability to cast that spell need to remove the Forcecage, the party decided to send Anmor (via a Teleport spell) to Tula in order to purchase a scroll and a wand for Freedom of Movement.

Airday, 11th through Earthday, 13th of Harvestime, 4433

When he returned, Anmor gave the wand to Granuel and began transferring the scroll into his spellbook. The party set up watches and waited. On Waterday, Anmor successfully added Disintegrate into his spellbook. On the morning of Earthday, he memorized the spell and the party prepared for what was to come.

The Reprisal Squad positioned themselves around the room and Anmor cast Disintegrate. The Forcecage falls away and as the Proto-life was exposed to the air, an enhanced Thessalhyrda coalesced in the center of the room. Anmor got the drop on the beast and was able to Evasculate it. Not only did the spell reduce the beast’s hit points to half, but it was also stunned for one round. Chresin followed that with two Empowered Polar Rays (Electric), then Anmor finished the beast with a Flame Strike. The beast exploded in a flash of energy and gore and a wave of magic washed over Anmor, imbuing his headband of intellect with new powers (OOC: +4 to initiative, +2 to STR and CON). This enhanced item contained the fragment of Balakarde known as the Soul-Bonded Item of the Slayer.

Following their encounter with the Thessalhydra, the party left the fortress and using Spider Climb, returned down the plateau and back to where the paths diverged. From that point they headed roughly south-southeast walking for a little over an hour. Whenever they came to an obstacle, they went directly over or across it, staying true to their path. Finally, as they descended a large cliff the saw a large tower in the distance. A short time later they arrived at its gates.

Zulshyn_Tower.jpg

Zulshyn’s Tower
A tower reaches up into the sky with its spires curving forward like a jutting claw. The tower’s design is both artistic and exotic. About half way up, there is a balcony that most likely provides its occupants with a breathtaking view. The structure is made of polished obsidian. At various locations around the tower are semi-transparent windows, probably made of Quartz, that overlook the valley in all directions.

zulshyn.jpg From the base of the tower, Ulm called up to Zulshyn. After a few moments, she appeared on the balcony and asked the Reprisal Squad why they are at her gate. Chresin explained that they were attempting to prevent the Age of Worms and to that end, they were looking for the lost fragments of the soul of a wizard named Balakarde. He explained that they had travelled many miles and endure many hardships, but they were convinced that the final fragment lay somewhere within her home. Kullen adds that he would also like to pay tribute to her beauty. The words of Chresin and Kullen appear to move her and she invites the party into her home.

As they approach, the doors opened magically allowing the party to enter. Inside they see many statues and works of art. Kullen removed his armor and oiled his body before entering and casually took a potion of Eagle’s Splendor. After a bit of convincing, Zulshyn agreed to trade her statue of Balakarde for another work created by Chresin. Aided by various spells and skills of the various other party members, Chresin created a polished marbled likeness of Kullen and presented it to Zulshyn. She smiled in approval and gave him the Soul-Bonded Statue of Balakarde the Artist in return. (OOC: +10 insight bonus on craft and performance checks, +2 luck bonus to DEX and CHA). Chresin gave the statue to Granuel thinking the CHA bonus would be most beneficial to him.

Before the Reprisal Squad left, Zulshyn told them about a group of “worm” people that lived deep within the chasm. She offered help the party prevent the age of worms. Her suggestion was that she could exchange one of her powerful servants for Kullen. After a bit of back and forth, they come to an agreement that she will loan the party a Stained Glass Apocalypse Golem (War) in exchange for a 6−12 month period of obligation from Kullen following their adventure.

balakardesghost.jpgAs the party gathered to discuss what they should do next, a sudden strange stillness settled over the area. Sounds grew muted, colors dulled and the air itself felt thick and chilled. Anmor and Granuel felt a sudden urge to bring the items together…and when they did, the darkness was relieved and a brilliant flash of light appeared. Instantly a ghostly figure of Balakarde appeared before the Reprisal Squad. He looked at the party with an expression of joy and commenced to speak to the party telepathically.

“Thank you for unshattering my soul. That horrible monster Drazzaroth did this to me as he and his cult did to my sister, Maralee. I will do whatever I can to help you stop his cult and together we will prevent the age of worms.

In life, I was a wizard and I was an adventurer in the company of many brave souls including my sister Maralee who was a mighty bard and a beautiful woman. As a result of our many adventures, we came upon the cult of Yog-Sothoth. Maralee was defeated and destroyed just outside Lenap. That is when I began my quest to stop them. I discovered that Drazzaroth was responsible for the cult of Yog-Sothoth. I went to his lair and brought all my forces to bear against him, but I was unsuccessful. He captured and showed me what he had done to my sister. He turned her into an undead Knight of Yog and he used her powers to murder me. That was the greatest insult of all."

lashonna.jpgI can tell you that the Tabernacle of the Worm lies at the very western end of this cavern. It lies deeper than this cavern and I have not been through the entire tabernacle. My mistake was to teleport directly into Drazzaroth’s lair some sixteen years ago. I am not sure she is entirely trustworthy, but Lashonna Laggan provided me with valuable information that allowed me to further my research and ultimately make my ill-fated attempt at justice."

With that, the Reprisal Squad began their journey towards the dragon’s lair…

Made minor corrections to Ed’s writeup above, but I owe both Ed and Eric dork cards.

XP totals as of the end of Session 37 are:

* Anmor 179,310
* Ulm 178,526
* Chresin 178,526
* Granuel 176,178
* Kullen 178,588

Everyone will most likely remain 19th level until the end of this adventure.

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Session 36: Into the Wormcrawl Fissure
Old Wizards and Undead Things

OOC: The first hour of the session was used to performing housekeeping tasks, including selling loot, paying the balance due on our custom magic items, unlocking Nadroc’s tribute, scribing spells into scroll books and distributing funds.

wormcrawltitle.jpg

Earthday, 3st of Thistleburn, 4433

Using the Helm of Teleportation, Chresin and Granuel went back to Kongin-Thulnir and euthanized King Achaime Silvereye. They collected the King’s possessions including his signet ring and great sword then used the spell Dimension Hop to navigate to the Arch of Heroes. Chresin spent a few minutes etching the King’s name in bold lettering onto the arch before the he and Granuel returned to Ut Prandur.

Spiritday, 4th of Thistleburn, 4433

manzorian.jpgAt his invitation, the Reprisal Squad went to the palace to speak with Manzorian. He congratulated the party on its success locating and destroying Drazzaroth’s phylactery. He noted, however, that another of the signs predicting the Age of Worms has come to pass; Heaven’s Bridge is glowing green (c.f. An Audience with an Archmage). He also shared Agath’s research had determined that the final attempt to bring about the Age of Worms could not happen until sometime after All Hallow’s Eve, i.e. the 20th of Blackmoon.

The party told Manzorian everything they learned during their trip to Lighthedge Canyon, including the details revealed by the ghost, Alastor. Anmor also related the following information:

Wormcrawl Fissure
At the western end of Lighthedge Canyon, the Falls of Song make a beautiful melody as they crash onto the rocks more than a mile below. This enchanting song belies the danger the lies at the base of the falls. Behind the falling water and mist is the to the Wormcrawl Fissure, a massive underground chasm that is one of the most mysterious and dangerous regions of the Wilderlands. The 1000-foot high cavern extends back into the wall of the canyon for miles. Its deepest point is said to be more than a mile below sea level. The tunnels that branch off from its walls doubtless go even deeper. Numerous undead menaces dwell in the fissure, including nightcrawlers and worse. The ground is barren and rocky, dotted in places with thick copses of strange fungoid plant life, adapted to the lightless environs.

The Tabernacle of Worms
Drazzaroth’s lair is known as the Tabernacle of Worms. This lair is located within the depths of Lighthedge Canyon.

Nightshade
The Nightshade is a powerful corporeal undead composed of equal parts darkness and absolute evil. A chilling malevolence hangs heavily about them along with the smell of the open grave on a winter’s morning. Nightshades can read and understand all forms of communication; however, they communicate with others via telepathy. There are three known varieties of nightshade (i.e., Nightcrawler, Nightwalker, and Nightwing) and their tactics vary according to their abilities. One trait that all nightshades share is the ability to use Haste at will. All Nightshades avoid daylight (OOC: Aversion to Daylight (Ex)) and all have Desecrating Aura supernatural ability.

The Desecrating Aura ability allows them to imbue their surroundings with negative energy. It works like the Desecrate spell except the nightshade’s evil is so great it is treated as a shrine of evil power. All undead within 20 feet of the nightshade (including the creature itself) gain a +2 profane bonus on attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws, and +2 hit points per HD. Charisma checks made to turn undead within this area take a –6 penalty. A nightshade’s desecrating aura cannot be dispelled except by a dispel evil spell or similar effect. If the effect is dispelled, the nightshade can resume it as a free action on its next turn. Its desecrating aura is suppressed if a nightshade enters a consecrated or hallowed area, but the nightshade’s presence also suppresses the consecrated or hallowed effect for as long as it remains in the area.

Nightcrawler
The Nightcrawler is a gargantuan sized undead creature that is fast and has a burrow speed. A nightcrawler measures about 7 feet in diameter and is 100 feet long from its toothy maw to the tip of its stinging tail. It weighs about 55,000 pounds.

A Nightcrawler’s full attack utilizes a bite and a poisonous sting. If a nightcrawler succeeds on a bite attack, as a free action that does not provoke AoOs, it may attempt to grapple its opponent. If the grapple is successful, on its next turn, it may attempt to swallow the opponent whole (with another successful grapple check). Once inside, the opponent takes 2d8+12 points of bludgeoning damage plus 12 points of acid damage per round from the nightcrawler’s gizzard and is subject to the creature’s energy drain. A swallowed creature can cut its way out by using a light slashing or piercing weapon to deal 35 points of damage to the gizzard (AC 21). Once the creature exits, muscular action closes the hole; another swallowed opponent must cut its own way out. A nightcrawler’s interior can hold 2 Huge, 8 Large, 32 Medium, 128 Small, 512 Tiny or smaller opponents.

All Nightcrawlers have DR/Silver+Magic, Spell Resistance, and Immunity to Cold. Nightcrawlers can summon undead creatures.

lashonna.jpgThe party asked Manzorian for information about Lashonna Laggan. He summarized that she is an undead silver dragon; specifically, a vampire, who has at times has opposed his plans. Manzorian was not willing to elaborate upon what those plans were. He did confirm that so far, she has been a very strong supporter of those orthodox churches that oppose the Triad of Sixes. Anmor speculated that, while she may have helped in the past, Lashonna’s actual motives may still be bring on the Age of Worms. Manzorian agreed but reminded the party that Yog could only be freed by whomever has the monolith; which was Drazzaroth.

The party attempted to Scry on Lashonna but were unsuccessful. Instead, Ulm used a Sending to communicate with her. Ulm sent “Phylactery destroyed, Drazzorath hampered. Coming to Lenape to see you. When”? Lashonna replied “Good work, now kill him before he starts the Age of Worms. I am busy keeping his servants from finishing the ziggurat here”. The party followed up by using a Discern Location spell to confirm that she was in her home in Lenape.

With Manzorian’s help, the party enlisted the aid of Agath of Thrunch (18th level cleric of Pthah). He agreed to travel to Lenap and monitor the status of the ziggurat and to assess events that were happening in that town.

The party also asked Manzorian if he had any new information regarding the wizard Balakarde. Manzorian was unable to add anything new. He only mentioned that Balakarde was very obsessive and did most of his research by himselfThe party also asked Manzorian if he had any new information regarding the wizard Balakarde. He was unable to add anything new other than to mention that Balakarde was very obsessive and did most of his research by himself.

Before leaving on their journey, members of the party purchased several applications of Silver Sheen, a wand of Searing Light (18), and various potions and other magical items.

Fireday, 9th of Harvestime, 4433

The Reprisal Squad used the Helm of Teleportation to travel to the base of the Falls of Song. The giant waterfall crashed down from a mile above making a beautiful song as it cascaded over the rocks. The party buffed (Ulm cast Invisibility Sphere around the party, Granuel cast Freedom of Movement on Kullen and Hide from Undead on everyone, and Ulm Cast Moment of Prescience on himself) then Chresin used the Dimension Door spell to jump everyone into a giant cave that opened just behind the waterfall.

As soon as he entered the cavern, Granuel felt a strange vibration through his holy symbol of Osiris. He felt a tingling spread over him and realized that something nearby was attempting to contact him…something or someone. He attempted to detect undead and immediately became aware of an undead aura. The power of the aura and subsequent visions was overwhelming but Granuel was able to shake off the ill effects. Haltingly, he described what he saw:

Granuel’s Visions
1. A mist-shrouded gorge, the floor a maze of rifts and pits in which immense vermin squirm.

2. A towering worm, its head a tangle of eyes and its pale body shrouded in a haze of writhing filaments. As this immense worm lunges forth to consume you, this vision faded and was replaced by…

3. A stately looking man dressed in an explorer’s outfit. He sports a distinctive high beard and moustache, and suddenly his expression becomes one of abject horror as his flesh rots away and a storm of green worms consumes him from within.

balakardesghost.jpgChresin confirmed that the man in the vision was the wizard, Balakarde. Anmor postulated that Balakarde must have preceded us here and likely has met his demise. Granuel indicated to the party that something was drawing him to the west, deeper into the cavern. He believed that he was channeling something from his deity. The party agreed to cautiously follow Granuel’s directions.

After breaking out an Everburning torch, the party began walking in the direction that Granuel indicated. After walking for about five hours they came to the shores of a huge underground lake. Deeper within the cave, but still in the distance they heard the sound of crashing water (somewhere in the north). With his vast knowledge of dungeons, Anmor indicated that this pool was most likely part of a much large body of water. He said that the water was probably safe to drink though it might be a bit brackish.

Granuel waded out into the water for almost a quarter of a mile before the water became too deep to safely travel. Fearing that it would grow too deep for the shorter member of the party, they turned south and continued travelling in that direction for another three hours. At that point, they traversed passed the lake. They decided to rest for an hour, eat, and to clean and dry their armor.

Upon completion of their recovery period, the party continued following Granuel’s guidance towards the west for approximately 3 more hours. The entire time they have been traveling, the ground has slowly slopped downward. Before them, they saw several small chasms and rifts. The ground in this part of the cavern appeared to be more steeply sloped. They also noticed an increased presence of fungi along the cavern floor.

Anmor insisted that the party rest for the night at this point. Chresin used Murlynd’s Spoon to provide a nutritious, though tasteless meal for the party. Normal watches were established, and the party was able to rest for the night without issues.

Spiritday, 10th of Harvestime, 4433

The following morning, Anmor cast Heroes Feast and False Life before the party returned to their explorations. Once again Granuel felt pulled to the west. Chresin convinced the party travel south along the cavern wall for a bit before going west. After walking for a half hour, Granuel once again pointed the party in a generally western direction. Anmor guessed that is we followed Granuel’s direction for another half hour, they would come to the intersection of the two lines. They continued heading south for another hour and Granuel detected again. The emotional pull continued to come from the same general direction.

Feeling confident that he was not being led randomly, the party changed course and once again moved in the direction that Granuel indicated. After about 40 minutes they arrived at a large fissure or chasm. They saw that the walls of the cavern dropped for about 40 feet to the floor below. Granuel indicated that from their current position, they needed to proceed down into the chasm.

Anmor cast the spells True Seeing and Eyes of the King, summoning four fiendish, dire bats to examine the area below. The bats spread out as the flew around the chasm. Because of their true seeing ability, they were able to determine that the floor of the chasm was an illusion and the real floor was down an additional 100 feet. The bats wended their way through the chasm for approximately 100 feet before curl back to the southeast towards a cave opening. At that point, an alarm spell went off and a protracted battle began.

Earthcancer_Gorge.jpgThrough the bats, Anmor was able to detect a spell being cast the spell Displacement from within the cave at the end of the chasm. Moving the bats around the corner at the end of the chasm, Anmor saw an Evolved Ulgurstasta (a variation of the monster the party encountered in the gladiator pit). The Ulgurstasta (OOC: named N’vesh-N’kar) has millions of pores along its body, each containing a coiled 40-foot long hair-like tendril (OOC: anything moving within 40 feet of the Ulgurstasta automatically takes damage from the tendrils). Anmor also noticed, through the eyes of his bats, several large scorpions hiding in the caverns below.

earthcancer_centipede.jpgThe first indications that something was not quite right were the sounds of many insect-like creatures approaching and burrowing sounds within the chasm. Granuel drank a potion of Fly. Kullen used his banner to cast Air Walk and, with Ulm on his back moved into the chasm. Bursting through the chasm walls were six large centipedes.

Earthcancer Centipedes
These creatures were pale green and white in color with 35-feet long bodies. They had dark green eyes that appears above a nest of antennae writhing on their faces. Tiny green worms dripped from their mouths. In places where they stood or touched or came out of the rock walls, the earth turned gray and boils into pools of fungus.

Through the bats, Anmor was able to detect a spell being cast the spell Displacement from within the cave at the end of the chasm. Moving the bats around the corner at the end of the chasm, Anmor saw an Evolved Ulgurstasta (a variation of the monster the party encountered in the gladiator pit). The Ulgurstasta (OOC: named N’vesh-N’kar) was millions of pores along its body, each containing a coiled 40-foot long hair-like tendril (OOC: anything moving within 40 feet of the Ulgurstasta automatically takes damage from the tendrils). Anmor also noticed, through the eyes of his bats, several large scorpions hiding in the caverns below.

Mindkiller Scorpion
This hideous scorpion is a nasty black 20-foot long (undead) menace. Its chitinous armor is a tangle of cruel hooked spikes and cracks that leak ichor. It has three scorpion tails instead of one and the tips of each tail sport several long green crystalline stingers and plates, looking like some sort of dangerous fanged flower.

Mindkiller_Scorpion.pngThe two bats that were within 30-feet of the scorpions were killed by the creatures’ mind killing aura (OOC: ability drain to INT, WIS, and CHA). Anmor used dark knowledge to determine the following about the scorpions:

• The scorpions have a mind killing aura. For every round a creature is within 30 feet of a scorpion, it must make a DC 30 Will save or take 1d6 ability drain to INT, WIS, and CHA.
• Special attacks include Improved Grab and Constrict, and poison on their stinger.
• Damager Reduction: 15/Good+Silver.

Anmor’s dark knowledge, puissance, granted everyone in the party a +3 bonus to all saving throws versus the Mindkiller Scorpions. Kullen and Ulm were struck by Earthcancer Centipedes but, thanks to Heroes Feast, they were immune to the poison that the bites carried. Ulm used Repulsion to try to keep the creatures from advancing. Feeling that the party was at a strategic disadvantage, Chresin Cast Dancing Lights to better illuminate the chasm and then regrouped everyone back onto the ledge, away from the scorpions and centipedes.

Granuel used silver arrows and a class ability enabling him to bypass an enemy’s natural armor and was able to quickly dispatch one of the centipedes. Anmor cast Avascular Mass, which severely damaged one Centipede and simultaneously entangled all creatures in that area.

OOC: Retrieving a stored item requires a move action and provokes an Attack of Opportunity.

Evolved_Ulgurstasta.pngWith only the Ulgurstasta remaining, the party buffed and concentrated on the far side of the chasm. Granuel cast Freedom of Movement on Kullen, Ulm cast Greater Invisibility on himself, and Anmor cast Recitation. Ulm positioned himself near the end of the chasm and waited f`or the Ulgurstasta. When it appeared around the corner, he cast Greater Dispel Magic. Anmor then used a move action to use Dark Knowledge, Dread Secret, and stun the Ulgurstasta for one round. He followed with an Evasculate spell to take away half of his life force. Chresin did minimal damage with a Channeled Pyroburst, then used Dimension Door to reposition Kullen adjacent to the monster. With a final full attack, Kullen sliced open the Ulgurstasta and the combat ended (OOC: a mere 4 hours after it started).

At the end of the fight, Anmor used the Nethertome of Trask to detect magic on and around the Ulgurstasta but found nothing. Granuel told the party that he was still being guided to go around the corner of the chasm. Granuel advanced and triggered a Greater Dispel Magical trap, causing his Fly spell to end. A secondary magical trap, Finger of Death, was also triggered, but he shook off most of its affects.

Ulm found and disabled the trap and the party moved into a small cavern jutting from the chasm. Within the chamber were seven chests, one of which radiated magical auras. The party first opened the non-magical chests as found: 12,400 GP, 1,500 PP, several bags of gems worth 18,500 GP, rings necklaces and other mundane jewelry worth 21,000 GP. Looking at the chest with the magical auras, Anmor indicated that there was no magic on the lock itself. Ulm opened the chest and found a set of +4 Full Plate Undead Controlling armor (66,650 GP), a Sword of Life Stealing (25,715 GP), a Rod of Withering (25,000 GP), a Mask of the Skull (22,000 GP), and Soul-Bonded Everfull Purse of the Scholar.

XP totals as of the end of Session 36:

* Anmor 174,750
* Ulm 173,966
* Chresin 173,966
* Granuel 170,568
* Kullen 174,028

Ulm, Chresin, and Kullen will level to 19th as soon as the party rests, which can happen at the start of the session if you want it to. Granuel needs one more encounter, so he’ll also hit 19th this session. Anmor is already 19th and a good ways away from 20.

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Session 35: Kings of the Rift
Fire Giants and Phylacteries

Spiritday, 20th of Sunstrong, 4433 (continued)

Before the party settled in for the night, Anmor fully healed the wounds for all the members of the Reprisal Squad. The party setup watches and rested for the remainder of the evening.

Airday, 1st of Thistleburn, 4433

Shortly after sunrise the party was startled to hear a loud crashing sound. Running outside to see what had caused the disturbance, they were shocked to find that the Riftlord’s Palace was lost. Several large blue and green dragons were seen leaving the area.

The party returned underground within the Undercity to discuss how they would proceed while Anmor prepared a Heroes’ Feast. They considered duplicating the key that they already had, thus eliminating the need to obtain the second one held by the fire giant Kagro Thundersmiter. At first glance, it appeared to be an ordinary iron key with stylized vines carved into the handle area. However, after using his Nethertome of Trask and Artificer’s Monocle, Anmor determined that the key was actually magical (faint abjuration) and served as the completion item for an opening ritual. The party determined what magic they had available, they would not be able to replicate the key’s powers. Instead, they decided to use stealth to acquire Kagro’s key.

Ulm cast Invisibility Sphere and Silence on a stone as the party exited the undercity. When the party arrived at the Heroes’ Arch they saw that the courtyard and outer structures of the Riftlord’s Palace were destroyed but some of the underground structures were still intact. Six black dragons dug through the rubble in the courtyard while one large green dragon picked through the stones deeper recesses.

From their vantage point, they did not see the remains of any of the hill giants within the rubble. Feeling some loyalty to the Khargakhan, they decide to explore the inner chambers of palace. Ulm cast Etherealness allowing the party to wonder past the dragons, unseen. Ulm guided them through the inner chamber to the great hall. The entire complex was empty save for King Achaime Silvereye. The king was alive and still sitting on the throne where he was last seen, drooling and mumbling incoherent.

The party determined that King Silvereye would be safe from the dragons for at least one day (OOC: Knowledge Dungeoneering). Since Charlgar had successfully spread rumors that the Khargakhan stole the key from the Tiamikal Nul-Shada, the party feared it was not safe to take the king with them. They ultimately decided to leave him in his throne room until they after they had dealt with the fire giants.

OOC: We had several discussions about spells and spell effects and we were right about some and wrong about others (i.e. we were 1 for 3), so hopefully, the following helps to clarify things:

1) Spells CANNOT be cast from the Ethereal Plane to the Material Plane (including Detect Magic); therefore, the party knows that Achaime has a greatsword, but they do not know that it is magical.

Ethereal Jaunt: An ethereal creature is invisible, insubstantial, and capable of moving in any direction, even up or down, albeit at half normal speed. As an insubstantial creature, you can move through solid objects, including living creatures. An ethereal creature can see and hear on the Material Plane, but everything looks gray and ephemeral. Sight and hearing onto the Material Plane are limited to 60 feet.

Force effects and abjurations affect an ethereal creature normally. Their effects extend onto the Ethereal Plane from the Material Plane, but not vice versa. An ethereal creature can’t attack material creatures, and spells you cast while ethereal affect only other ethereal things. Certain material creatures or objects have attacks or effects that work on the Ethereal Plane.

2) A Wall of Force is Invisible.

Wall of Force: A wall of force spell creates an invisible wall of force. The wall cannot move, it is immune to damage of all kinds, and it is unaffected by most spells, including dispel magic. However, disintegrate immediately destroys it, as does a rod of cancellation, a sphere of annihilation, or a mage’s disjunction spell. Breath weapons and spells cannot pass through the wall in either direction, although dimension door, teleport, and similar effects can bypass the barrier. It blocks ethereal creatures as well as material ones (though ethereal creatures can usually get around the wall by floating under or over it through material floors and ceilings). Gaze attacks can operate through a wall of force.

3) The spell Magic Missile can be used by a Cleric of the Force Domain (Complete Divine, pp 138-139) and therefore is available to Anmor if he can find a corresponding divine scroll.

Finally succumbing to Granuel’s urging, the party decided not to parley with the fire giants, but rather to proceed through the citadel via the Ethereal Plane. They walked directly to the bridgehead, then across the bridge, and up to the gates of the Citadel. As usual, three fire giants stood guard twenty feet above them on the citadel walls.

Citadel_of_Weeping_Dragons.jpg

The Tear-Stained Portal
These double doors are made of stone and stand 20 feet high. The doors are set into the natural stone walls beneath the castle. Bas-relief carvings adorn the doors, depicting dragons falling from the skies, slain by great arrows and rocks, and broken dragon bodies lying on the ground below. Faintly visible above all the other images are five dragon heads, each in a different color (red, green, blue, black, and white), looking on in anguish. The stone of the doors is damp with rivulets of water weeping from the eyes of these dragons.

The party, still on the Ethereal Plane, passed through the double doors (literally). Beyond the doors was a corridor that was fifteen feet wide, extended for approximately forty-five feet, and ended in another set of double doors. The party passed through the second set of double doors and saw a large circular chamber with two alcoves on either side. The chamber was empty but there were scorch marks on the walls. The alcoves spiraled around (like horns) and came to dead ends. Anmor determined that the scorch marks were caused by some sort of magical fire (ex: fire ball or flame strike), but they group was unable to determine the exact purpose of the room.

Seeing no other exits from the chamber, Granuel went back into the wide hallway and began searching for other doors. At about the midpoint of the corridor, he found a pressure trap that the party had avoided earlier by being ethereal. He also found secret doors on either side of the hall adjacent to the trap. The party passed through the door to the left (relative to the way we first entered the citadel). Beyond this door was a winding corridor that ended in stairs leading up to the second level. At the second level there was a large door leading to the battlements and additional stairs leading upward. The party chose to continue up the stairs to the third level.

The stairs opened into a corridor containing arrow slits. Along the corridor was a door to the right, a ladder leading upward, and finally a door at the end. Looking behind the first door, the party saw a room that was roughly 50 feet by 50 feet.

Dining Hall
This cavernous hall is dimly lit by two sconces in the west wall and by an iron pot full of glowing coals hanging from the ceiling beams above. The pot sways slightly, casting weird shadows throughout the room. The ceiling slopes downward from the center of the room to a mere fifteen feet at the western end. A stone table surrounded by six giant sized chairs dominate the center of the room.

Pyro-Hydra.jpgThe party saw a large fire giant lounging in one of the chairs with his feet resting on the table. The fire giant wore a chain shirt and was holding a battleaxe. Chained in the alcove in the south of the room, they saw twelve-headed hydra that had a reddish hue. Anmor determined that the beast was a pyro-hydra. He explained that as such, the hydra could breathe fire and was immune to fire damage. The only way to kill a hydra is to cut off all the heads (OOC: via Sunder attack) and sear the stumps using acid or cold damage. Failure to sear a stump will result in two new heads growing in its place (OOC: in 1d4 rounds). Looking around the room the party saw a door on the western wall leading to what they assumed was a tower leading upward. On the other side of the room was a door leading deeper into the citadel.

The party looked through the door on the west and saw a room befouled by dung and partially eaten humanoid remains. Anmor pointed out that there were partially eaten bugbears and the head of a kobold in the room. A ladder was perched against the far wall, leading upward and there were arrow slits situated around the room.

The group went back into the dining hall and through the through the other door. Beyond this door they found a twenty-foot wide corridor with stairs on the left leading upward and ending in a set of double doors. A second set of stairs led downward and there were two doors in the passageway; one straight ahead and another on the right. They chose to go up the stairs and through the double doors.

Climbing the stairs, the party looked through the double doors into a room situated in the back side of the citadel. The ceiling in this chamber was only ten-feet tall. The room contained nothing except a few flimsy boxes and a few pieces of rude furniture constructed from sticks. Two unlit lanterns hung from the beams of the ceiling. Arrow slits overlooked the back of citadel. The party concluded that this was probably quarters for some of the slaves and therefore was not important to them.

Returning to the corridor, they looked through the door on the right. Inside, they observed a kitchen. A large fireplace containing a spit, large enough to roast an ox upon, dominated the room. Barrels of cheap wine and rancid food stuffs, fit only for the palate of a giant, lined the back of the chamber. Six bugbears scurried about lazily preparing a meal for their giant captors. No exits were seen from this room.

The party continued to the end of the corridor and peered through the final door. Behind it they saw the citadel’s latrines. Two large holes in the floor of the room opened over the canyon while the floors sloped precipitously to the south.

Finding nothing of interest on this level, the Reprisal Squad followed the stairs downward. The stairs ended in a corridor that was ten-feet wide and about twenty-five feet long. On the southern side of the hallway was a closed door. At the end of the hall was an open doorway, behind which was some sort of shrine.

marilith.jpgAs the party entered the hallway, they were greeted by voice calling out, “I can see you sneaky peoples. You should come out of the Ethereal Plane and play with me. I am going to sound the alarm, so you might as well come out and play.” Though Granuel could not see through its disguise with his normal vision, using the Robe of Eyes he could see a six-armed, half-serpent, half-female. He described this creature to the party and Anmor identified it as a Marilith demon.

DM: I handled this incorrectly. The Robe of Eyes does not grant true seeing. It only allows you to see invisible and ethereal creatures.

Anmor inquired: “Who is speaking” but the creature did not respond. Meanwhile, Chresin moved adjacent to the open doorway to get a better look in the chamber beyond. Granuel warned the party that the creature had moved to the closed door and Ulm dismissed the Etherealness spell. The creature used a spell-like ability to cast a Blade Barrier spell. This did not hurt anyone, but it effectively split the party into two groups. Chresin countered with a Swift Dimension Hopping and a Regroup spell, moving Kullen and Granuel adjacent to the still unseen demon.

Anmor used the Nethertome of Trask to cast True Seeing upon himself and immediately saw the creature for what it truly was. This enabled him to use his Dark Knowledge to speak a Dread Secret, (i.e. her name, “Alakora”), and thus stunned the demon. This caused the demon to drop the scimitars it was holding (including the flaming sword). Anmor also shared his knowledge of Marilith demons, indicating that their spell-like abilities include Unholy Aura and Telekinesis. Further, he mentioned that they were resistant to normal attacks (OOC: DR 10/Good + Cold Iron) and spells (OOC: SR 25). Ulm (OOC: with the help of two dork cards) successfully cast dispel magic, dismissing a polymorph spell that the demon used to conceal herself in the form of a wasp. After only a few rounds of fighting, the Reprisal Squad sent the demon back to its plane of existence (OOC: During this combat, the party learned that a Marilith also has Fire and Cold Resistance and Electricity Immunity).

OOC: There was one small error in the way we interpreted a spell in this encounter. The Marilith cast Blade Barrier which should have been an “immobile, vertical curtain of whirling blades shaped of pure force” as opposed to a ring of twirling blades. If, on the other hand, the Marilith had used the spell Ring of Blade, the ring would be centered on it as opposed to being placed in the middle of the room.

DM: No error here. The Effect line for Blade Barrier reads “…or a RINGED WALL of whirling blades with a RADIUS of up to 5 ft. per two levels.”

surtr.jpgThe party went back to the room in which the Marilith had been stationed. They saw chamber that had been rough-hewn from the natural rock. A single fissure on one wall looked out into the canyon, allowing both light and fresh air into the room. The floor was covered with exotic rugs and silken hangings covered much of the walls. A low wooden table, silvery and cracked with age rested by the opposite wall, surrounded by sitting cushions. A large brass hookah rested in the center of the room. In the far corner was a crudely carved stone idol. Anmor told the party that he believed the carving was of the god and creator of the fire giants, Surtr. Ulm searched the room and found a leather purse containing 290 GP and assorted gems worth 600 GP. While the brass hookah, exotic rugs and silken hangings appeared to be valuable, the party did not attempt to deal with their bulk.

Vercinabex Tor’s Study
This large chamber seems to be a combination of a bedroom and a study. Against the far wall are cushions heaped in a haphazard nest. The walls are covered with strange runes and markings, and a large stack of oversized books lies on a cluttered desk in the north.

VercinabexTor.jpgUlm cast Greater Invisibility on Chresin and an Invisibility Sphere on everyone else. He also cast Silence on a stone and before the party opened the closed door visible from the hallway. Kullen opened the door and the party saw a frost giant leaning over the desk and muttering to himself. The party decided to attempt to talk to the giant before doing anything else. Ulm and Anmor stepped out of the area of silence and cast Project Image and Comprehend Languages, respectively. Though his image, Ulm spoke to the frost giant. He told Vercinabex Tor that Charlgar was dead and that he, Ulm, was now in possession of the key. He tried to convince the giant that the party shared his goals and that they must get the treasure out of the citadel immediately. They parlayed for a few minutes, but ultimately, Ulm failed to convince Vercinabex Tor to work with the party. Instead, the giant cast the spell Maze and disappeared. Anmor advised party that the giant will most likely reappear in the same spot within the ten minutes.

While the giant was gone, Chresin attempted to read the writings on the wall. The remaining party members prepared to attack the giant, upon his return. After a few rounds, Vercinabex reappeared and a brief combat ensued. However, because they were prepared, the fight last only a few seconds before the giant was slain. Anmor cast Speak with Dead but was unable to gain anything from Vercinabex. Anmor studied the walls for two to three minutes but soon realized that the notes about the ritual were incomplete. Chresin cast Detect Magic and found the following items on Vercinabex’s corpse and within the room:

  • +2 Icyburst Warmace (large)
  • Bracers of Armor +6
  • Cloak of Charisma +6
  • 4 Potions of Cure Serious Wounds (3d8+5)
  • Potion of Water Walking
  • Small bag with fetishes
  • 1,275 GP
  • 3,800 SP
  • Gems worth 900 GP
  • Gold Tableware and Serving pieces 2,500 GP

Vault Doors
The stairs descend into an oddly shaped room with a vaulted ceiling approximately forty feet high. Great stone double doors are set into the wall in the northeast and a covered in detailed bas-relief. Depicted on the left-hand door are hundreds of stone giants locked in mortal combat with horrific worm covered undead of all shapes and sizes. The giants appear to be taking the worst of it. Overshadowing it all is the massive trapezohedral monolith. Inside the monolith is a vaguely humanoid form surrounded by dozens of writhing worms. A circle of a dozen small figures stands before the monolith enacting some ritual. The right-hand door shows another group of small human figures. They have gathered in a circle on a ledge overlooking a cliff obviously protecting something in their midst. Over this ledge are dozens of skeletal undead and rearing up in the background is an immense boney creature. Between these undead and the circle stands a group of brave heroes with flags on their backs, single handedly holding off the advancing undead.

The party moved down the spiral stairway, noting two large statues on either side of the doors. Anmor and Ulm crossed the room and examined the carvings. Anmor explained that the image on the left door depicts the material avatar of Yog-Sothoth is trapped within the monolith. He further explained that the ritual that the small figures are performing is likely to summon more of the worm gods servants and ultimately fee him. Ulm explained that the figures on the right door surround a seven-sided container, ornately carved with tiny monsters and skulls. The heroes holding off the undead are a dwarf, gnome, half-orc, and two humans. Their faces are not shown, but their equipment looks very familiar to the party.

alastorland.jpgAs Anmor stepped back from the door, he notices a human ghost floating just behind his shoulder. Though startled at first, Anmor quickly realized that this was the ghost named Alastor whom he and the original party met in the Whispering Cairn (OOC: Session 3) Alastor shared the following information with the party:

Alastor’s Monologue
Long have our journeys been since our last meeting. You have come far in your quest to stop the abomination that rises even as we speak, and I have been down long roads in other worlds learning who and what I am. And now, here at this juncture, our paths cross again.

Since you put my bones to rest, I have travelled long through the afterlife and have met many of my distinguished ancestors. It turns out that my line is a long one and curiously intertwined with the forces that aligned against Yog-Sothoth. Each ancestor I encountered shared with me the memories of their struggles.

My oldest ancestor was Almadris Half-Elven. Eight thousand years ago, he served among the hosts of Zanaaphic the All-King of the Spirit Universe when they marched on Kuluth-Mar. There, they thwarted Angall and stopped the first attempt to bring Yog from the Outer Darkness and into your world. It was then that Yog’s material avatar was trapped in the obsidian monolith.

Another of my ancestors was Zosiel, a Dragon Lord of Oricha. I’m sure you know that he fought at the Battle of Night’s Dawning, which took place more than six thousand years ago over the ziggurat that is now home to the Monks of Many Steps in Rastingdrung. Perhaps you also know that it was Demogorgon who was responsible for the ziggurat. His minions built it when he invaded from the south with his lieutenants Miska the Wolf-Spider, Kizarvidexus, and Ogremoch. Their purpose was to complete Angall’s Folly and fully release Yog into the Wilderlands.

But my ancestor and his allies fouled the Demon Lord’s plans when they used the Rod of Sotur. Although the Rod was shattered into Seven Parts, it allowed the Vaati to slay Miska the Wolf-Spider and banished Demogorgon back to the Abyss. There the stopped the second attempt to bring Yog into your world, keeping him trapped in his stony prison.

The Vaati left behind certain guardians to watch and wait for the re-emergence of Chaos One such group of guardians grew powerful and became known as the Order of the Storm. Five thousand years ago, my ancestor Catenae was one of them and because of his memories, I know what happened next.

Drazzaroth, angry at his former enslavement as a mount of the Dragon Lords, stole the obsidian monolith from atop the Spire of Long Shadows and brought it to his lair here in Lighthedge Canyon. Over the centuries, the presence of Yog’s monolith transformed this portion of the canyon into what is know today as Wormcrawl Fissure. Then after Drazzaroth was murdered and returned to unlife by the Worm god, the dracolich raised an undead army and began the most recent attempt to start the Age of Worms. But the Order of the Storm was ready. Somehow, I think you know of the battle that followed.

To my ancestral memories, each of you looks familiar. I think you must be descended from the Heroes of Prophecy who turned the tide that day, for the likeness is uncanny. Therefore, it would seem we are all tied to this struggle. It explains why I was so drawn to Zosiel’s tomb in the Whispering Cairn, until my destiny was fulfilled, and I fell into that trap to await your coming, Mister Dwarf. Likewise, I can smell the mark of destiny on all of you. Your coming here is no accident. Like me, you are all heirs to the legacy of those who have opposed Yog-Sothoth. As such, I have waited here to advise you one more time.

In the room beyond lies Drazzaroth’s phylactery. Yet to reach it, you must to your memories; your souls. Find the ritual of opening and use the vault keys. Yet know also that once these doors are open, the phylactery vault will be open to all. Drazzaroth and his minions will smell his phylactery and they shall come to claim it. You must be quick. If you destroy the phylactery, Drazzaroth can be truly slain, but as his lifeforce escapes, he may be able to reclaim some of it from beyond – destroying the phylactery may make him more dangerous than ever before. Yet I see little choice.

I must go now. You shall not see me again, I think, until you join me on the other side. Good luck my friends, and farewell.

raam.jpgExamining the statues beside the door, Anmor determined that they were not statues at all, but rather were a type of creature known as Raam. They had iron grey skin, giving them the appearance of statues, hairless heads, glassy eyes and craggy features. Anmor explains that they are all that remain of an ancient race of giants have died out due to attrition and their inability to reproduce. They are actually quasi-undead, a Detect Magic spell showed that they radiated a strong aura of necromancy.

kagro.jpgAfter a brief discussion, the party decided to try to scry upon Kagro Thundersmiter, in an attempt to find out shere he was and, if possible, where he was keeping the other key. Ulm cast the spell Screen, causing the hallway leading to the vault to appear empty. Anmor then attempted to cast Scrying. Though the spell was cast successfully, the giant’s will power was able to prevent it from functioning properly (OOC: he got a 36 on his Will Save).

The next thing that they tried, however was successful. Anmor cast Discern Location and determined that Kagro was located in the upper most chamber in the citadel. Not knowing the exact position of the chamber, Chresin cast Dimension Door and took the Reprisal Squad to the roof of the highest tower. This tower was capped by seven-foot tall crenulations. A giant-size ballista and proportionally sized bolts was positioned such that it overlooked the canyon. Near the center of the roof they also found a trap door that was closed but not barred. Anmor cast Detect Magic and determined that there was a magical aura in the room below.

Kagro Thundersmitter’s Bedchamber
This chamber is decorated like a hunting lodge. Half a dozen dragon skulls of various breeds are mounted on the walls. The furnishings include a table, three chairs, and some shelves, all composed of dragon claws and horns riveted together. The bed is nothing more than a huge mound of hides and furs. A ladder rises to the trap door in the ceiling and there is another trap door opposite the one in the ceiling.

Ulm cast Silence on a coin while others in the party fashioned a make shift screen out of their druidic flags to reduce the light that was sure to enter the room through the opened trap door. Kullen lifted the trap door and the party saw Kagro Thundersmiter pacing about the room, looking out the windows. He did not immediately notice the Reprisal Squad. Chresin cast Dimension Hop silently, causing Kullen and him (along with the silenced coin) to appear in the bedchamber below. A brief, but intense battle followed. Fortunately for the Reprisal Squad, because he was surprised and, due to the Silence spell, unable to call for assistance, Kagro was ultimately defeated.

Searching the room, the party found second key to the vault along with the following magical items:

  • Flame tongue dragon fang longsword, medium-size
  • +5 Mithril breast plate, large-size
  • Cape of the Mountebank (OOC: Dim. Door 1/day, DMG P252, 10,080GP)
  • +2 Keen dragon bane greataxe, large-size
  • 5 +1 Javelins
  • Ring of protection +2
  • Ring of resistance +3 (Ulm)
  • Amulet of Health +2
  • Mantle of Faith (OOC: DR 5/Evil, DMG P261, 76,000 GP)
  • 2 Barkskin potions
  • 1 Displace potion
  • 2 Haste potions
  • 3 Cure Serious Wounds (3d8+5)

After identifying all of the magic items, Anmor healed the party. Ulm created another screen, causing an illusion of Kagro pacing within his bedchamber. The party set watches, then rested until the next morning.

Waterday, 2nd of Thistleburn, 4433

The Reprisal Squad was awakened to the sound of dragons attacking the citadel. Peering out the windows, the counted at least 20 dragons of various types repeatedly attacking the citadel and its inhabitants. The party completed their preparations for the day, then Chresin used Dimension Door to transport everyone to the doors leading to the vault. With Anmor carrying one key and Chresin holding the other, the party approached the door. Instantly, they knew the words that were needed to complete the ritual of opening.

Words of Opening
We do this of full mind and body, knowing that we are going to unleash knowledge upon the world for which it may not be ready. But it is imperative that we do it now. (OOC: we know what we’re doing … open the damned doors)!

Vault Room
Beyond the double doors, the ceiling of this vaulted chamber is lost in shadow above. Flanking stairs rise ten feet to a platform across the room. Atop is stands the statue of a rampant dragon, wings spread, foreclaws extended, and mouth agape. Its chest is open revealing its rib cage, wherein floats a ruby-red box, its faces carved with leering dragons. Dark striations of rock travel vertically through the walls, creating the illusion of pulsing blood veins in the light given off by the glowing red box. A susurrus echoes through the chamber like dark secrets long hidden. As the doors swing wide, the flickering light pulses once, and then fades.

As soon as the pulse of light faded, the Raam giants came to life and engaged the party. A mighty struggle ensued as the party learned that the creatures were immune to some of their most potent spells (i.e. Immune to electricity, cold, mind effecting spells, flanking, critical hits, and massive damage). Anmor made use of multiple Evasculate spells to both do physical damage to the creatures as well as stun them. A few Flames Strikes and Channeled Pyro-bursts further weaken the creatures. Kullen used his Greataxe of Stuff to make the killing blow on one of the Raams, while Granuel used his special Death Touch ability to finish the second.

brazzemal.jpgAnmor healed Chresin’s ability damage and Chresin took a healing potion as the party surveyed the rest of the room. Moments later as they moved deeper into the chamber, the ancient red dragon, Brazzemal, burst through the stone wall mere feet away from the phylactery, sending rocks and debris flying in all directions. Anmor cast Weird (OOC: plus, we burned two dork cards to overcome SR) and stunned the dragon for one round. Chresin grabbed the phylactery, swift cast Dimension Hop and landed adjacent to the carved double doors, then cast Regroup and brought the rest of the Reprisal Squad out of the chamber.

phylactery.jpgAs he held the phylactery, Chresin felt its evil tendrils trying to reach inside his mind, but he was able to resist its affects (OOC: Will Save). He mentioned this to the other party members and Granuel cast Resistance, Anmor cast Recitation, thus boosting Chresin’s ability to resist. Fortified, Chresin used Dimension Door to move the party to the undercity. Feeling sure that Brazzemal can sense the phylactery, the party decided to teleport back to Ut Prandur. Using the Helm of Teleportation, Granuel ferried the party to safety. Once everyone had safely returned to Ut Prandur, the party immediately destroyed the phylactery.

XP totals at the end of session 35:

* Anmor 171,710
* Ulm and Chresin 169,871
* Granuel 166,473
* Kullen 169,993

Anmor should level up to 19th. Everyone else should level early in Session 36, so come ready.

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Session 34: Kings of the Rift
The Mother of all Crawlers

Thanks to some scheduling snafus, we only had two players for this session: Ed and Eric. We went forward with the full party anyway.

Fireday, 19th of Sunstrong, 4433 (continued)

The party approached the building that Ekeria, Bugbear Pirate Queen of the Undercity, told them was the last known location of Charlgar, leader of the Riftcrawlers. As the approached, they noticed that the stench of the Undercity grew stronger, the closer they got to the designated building. The party studied the stains on the floor and determined they were remnants of dead and rotting flesh, but they could not identify what creature, or creatures, had made them. Anmor cast the spell Energy Immunity: Acid upon Kullen before they continued.

The party moved cautiously up the human sized steps, checking for traps as they moved upward. Though covered in rust, the iron door leading into the building appeared to be functional. Kullen tested the door but found that it barred from the other side. The party debated briefly about what to do, but ultimately they called upon Chresin to use the spell Dimension Hop to transport them into the building immediately beyond the door opening.

Session_34_1.jpg

The party arrived in a foyer area just inside the Rift Crawler’s dwelling. The party was immediately assaulted by the acrid stench of an open cesspool. The entryway, however, was in complete darkness, so only, Kullen and Anmor were able to see anything. Before the party had time to react, they heard the clanking sounds of a mechanical device while unseen portcullises separate members of the party as they descended across every opening in the room.

Session_34_2.jpg

Kullen and Granuel were caught in the trap while the rest of the party was trapped between a portcullis and the iron entry door. As the last portcullis fell into place, a thick goo shot out of holes in the ceiling, hitting Kullen and Granuel directly and splashing on Ulm, though the iron bars. Kullen resisted the effects of the liquid, but both Granuel and Ulm were immediately paralyzed. As the splashing ended, dozens of troglodytes carrying long spears swarmed towards the portcullises.

Anmor cast the spell Grace, providing light by which the rest of party could see. Chresin cast Dimension Hop again and moved the party out of the trap and into the corridor to the left of the entry door. The troglodyte leader ordered the gates raised. As the doors cleared, the foot soldiers filled the room vacated by the party. As they began swarming forward, Anmor cast Flame Strike, killing instantly all ten troglodytes who had entered into the trapped foyer.

Chresin shouted: “Halt or Die” at the remaining troglodytes! Meanwhile, Anmor determined that the paralyzing fluid was derived from Carrion Crawler poison and its effects would end in a few rounds. The party deciding to stall until the Ulm and Granuel recovered. Attempting to intimidate them, Chresin cast the spell Dancing Lights and shouted “Valignat” (the draconic word for Fire) at the troglodytes. The creatures cowered in fear and looked to their leader for guidance.

Once freed, Ulm began speaking to the troglodytes (in draconic). At the same time, Anmor cast the spell Comprehend Languages and touched Ulm while he spoke, thus allowing them both to communicate with the troglodytes. Ulm ask the leader, “Who are your leaders and where can they be found?”

The Troglodyte leader responded: “You go away. Our masters do not want you here. Please go away terrible, terrible fire mages.”

Ulm replied, “We are the ‘Dragon Slayers’. We have killed fifteen of the filthy worms that have darkened your skies. We are here to protect Kongin-Thulnir and we have urgent business with Charlgar, King of the Rift Crawlers!” (OOC: Diplomacy: 32).

The leader of the Troglodytes said, “Charlgar told us not to let anyone in … so we’re going to go downstairs if it pleases the Dragon Slayers. Please do not kill us with your fire magic.”

Anmor said, “We will not kill you, but we must know where we can find Charlgar. We must speak with him immediately!”

The troglodyte leader directed the party down to walk down the nearest corridor. He then motioned to his guards and they all trotted down the staircase to the lower levels of the building. The party allowed them to leave before moving down the hallway to indicated hallway. Listening at the door, they heard nothing, so Kullen opened the door.

Charlgar’s Sleeping Quarters
What may have once been a fairly well organized bedchamber has been crudely redecorated. All of the furniture has been swept aside and piled at one end of the room. In another corner lays a huge pile of furs that looks to have been used as bedding. And the remains of several vile meals are strewn about the room.

Session_34_3.jpg

Having heard some commotion in the foyer, the party did not surprise Charlgar. As the doors flew open, a hill giant with a bedsheet tied around his face (i.e., Charlgar) flung an object at the party, striking Kullen. Upon impact, the object burst open and a purplish ooze coated Kullen. This ooze was similar to the fluid that feel upon the party from the foyer, but once again, Kullen shook off the ill effects.

Granuel cast the Spell Light on Ulm’s weapon. Then speaking in the Common tongue, Chresin says, “Charlgar, we come to speak with you. Put away your weapons.” Anmor repeated the same in the Terran language. Hearing that Anmor and Chresin were attempting to parley with the giant, Kullen stood fast. Anmor then uses Dark Knowledge to utter a “Dread Secret” at Charlgar (OOC: Charlgar was dazed for one round).

The party had a moment to make preparations and ready themselves. Chresin cast Swift Haste on himself, moved beside Charlgar and attempted, unsuccessfully, to disarm him. Kullen flanked Charlgar and struck him with the flat of his axe (OOC: non-lethal) while demanded that he drop his weapon, “You drop weapon and listen to what these mighty clerics have to say!” Granuel withdrew the Rope of Climbing from his pack and moved adjacent to the hill giant. Ulm and Anmor moved into the room and prepared to cast spells if Charlgar took any aggressive action.

Despite being outnumbers and complete surrounded, Charlgar prepared to swing his great axe. However, the party’s actions stopped him before he could finish his backswing. Anmor cast Sound Lance, Chresin and Kullen struck him with their weapons, before Ulm successfully cast Hold Monster on Charlgar. Over the course of the next few rounds, the party tied him up and stripped him of his bedsheet and all of his magical possessions.

Anmor and Ulm searched the room but found nothing of interest. However, as the moved to the southern corner they saw an opening into a vast cave.

Carrion Crawler Cavern
A great stench wafts in from the enormous cavern just beyond the opening. Extending outward, into the cavern is a great cage consisting of iron grillwork. The cage measures forty feet in height, length and width and the grillwork makes for uneven footing along its surface. Through the gaps in the floor, only darkness is visible. The cage, suspended against the side of the massive cavern, is secured to the near wall by iron support studs below and heavy anchoring chains above. A burning bundle of small tree trunks are strapped together to make a massive torch in the corner of the cage. The dimensions of the cavern cannot be determined from this vantage point, but is descends for many feet into darkness below the cage. The most startling aspect of this strange tableau is the seething hordes of writhing green worm-like creatures. These fat, tentacle covered monsters swarm along the cavern walls for as far as the eye can see and along the exterior of the cage. Anyone close by can hear the nauseating, slithering sounds of these shuffling creatures.

OOC: Everyone in the party contributed to the following conversation, however, only Ulm could speak giantish, so he translated the various questions and comments to Charlgar.

Charlgar: “Masters, I wish nothing to do with you. It is true that I stole the key with the help of my friend from the Tiamikal Nul-Shada, but I have thrown it into the cavern, so I cannot really retrieve it.”
Ulm: “You threw it into the cavern? Why?”
Charlgar: “Yes I did. It was all part of the plan, you see. I just didn’t expect dragons to attack.”
Ulm: “Who was your partner?”
Charlgar: “My partner’s name is Vercinabex Tor. He aided me…”
Ulm: “And he is one of the Fire Giants?”
Charlgar: “No! He is a Frost Giant. Please let me go and I will never bother you again. I will go far, far away…as soon as it is safe from the dragons.”
Ulm: “Who is this Vercinabex Tor and where is he now?”
Charlgar: “He is the wizard that lives in the Tiamikal Nul-Shada castle. I can only assume that he is there now. He is very interested in the treasure inside the Tiamikal Nul-Shada stronghold and that is why he agreed to help me.”
Ulm: “He told you to throw the key in the chasm?”
Charlgar: “Well, no. He told me not to let anyone take it, so I thought that would be the best place to hide it. You certainly cannot steal it from me, now can you?”
Ulm: “What exactly was your agreement with Vercinabex?”
Charlgar: “He told me to keep the key safe until we had control of the castle. Once we had control, we would use the key to unlock the doors to the treasure.”
Ulm: “So how did you plan to retrieve the key after you threw it in the cavern?”
Charlgar: “Well, I didn’t care that much about the plan to retrieve the treasure. I planned to rule the city. You could help me rule the city. You are very powerful…”
Ulm: “Where is the rest of your Rift Crawler clansmen? Are there more who are ready to take over or are you planning to do this alone?”
Charlgar: “Oh, there are many, many Rift Crawlers. They are all in the tower right now, fending off the dragon hordes.”
Ulm: “Have you heard from the recently?”
Charlgar: “Well, no, it’s been several days. But I have not heard any reports of trouble. I could rally many forces to your aid, mighty lords. And I would be happy to do so if you will spare my life.”
Ulm: “When did you first meet Vercinabex and when did he share his plan with you? How did you know that you could trust him?”
Charlgar: “Vercinabex and I have negotiated for ages because he had tired of the giants who were in charge of the Tiamikal Nul-Shada. Vercinabex Tor is a Rift Crawler! He has magical powers. He told me that together we would unlock the treasure. Of course, my idea was that I would listen to him as long as it suited my goals.”
Ulm: “When did you first meet this frost giant?”
Charlgar: “Vercinabex has been the second in command at the citadel for quite some time. I heard of him around 30 years ago, but I first met him about 2 years ago. It was then that we began our discussions about how we could overthrow the status quo.”
Ulm: “Was there a mention of the key 2 years ago?”
Charlgar: “No.”
Ulm: “When did that occur?”
Charlgar: “Well, not too long after we started talking. He talked about the keys and how if I could take over the Rift Lords, then together we could take over the citadel and then we could work on getting the vault open. I don’t know…he’s very obsessed with the vault.”
Ulm: “Where is he now?”
Charlgar: “He still lives in the citadel.”
Ulm: “When did you last see him?”
Charlgar: “Oh, it’s been a month or three.”
Ulm: “Have you seen him since the dragons attacked?”
Charlgar: “No!”
Ulm: “So you stole the key before the dragons attacked?”
Charlgar: “Well, yes, but I did steal the key; Vercinabex stole it and gave it to me.”
Ulm: “And he told you to keep it safe.”
Charlgar: “Yes!”
Ulm: “And you used the key to rally more of the Rift Lords to your cause?”
Charlgar: “See, here is the genius of my plans. I told everyone who would listen, including bugbears and goblins, that the Rift Lords had stolen the Tiamikal Nul-Shada’s key and therefore they would soon be at war with each other. Then we, as the underclass, would rise up and take over the ruins. It’s an ingenious plan, really.”
Ulm: “Until the dragons attacked?”
Charlgar: “Yes, the dragons ruined everything. I hate dragons!”
Ulm: “So how does the cage over there work?”
Charlgar: “We capture crawlers in it. They drop in through the opening in the top. We can also drop the bottom out of it to get rid of people we don’t like. I suggest you hop in and I’ll show you.”
Ulm: “No thank you. Where is the trigger for the cage?”
Charlgar: “Oh, it’s upstairs, of course.”
Ulm: “You go outside and climb?”
Charlgar: “It is an easy climb, just use the cage.”
Ulm: “Then let’s go upstairs. Show us the way.”
Charlgar: “I don’t want to go out there, they have stinging tentacle. I send others upstairs.”
Ulm: “What other people?”
Charlgar: “Wilmot is in charge. He operates all of this and makes all of the delicious carrion crawler loads. He makes them highly poisonous and explosive.”
Ulm: “Who is this Wilmot? Is he a Rift Crawler? Did he help you and Vercinabex steal the key?”
Charlgar: “Wilmot is my subject, so yes, he is a Rift Crawler.”
Ulm: “Is he a bugbear? Is he a giant?”
Charlgar: “Psft, No. He is a little person, sort of like him,” he says, pointing towards Anmor.
Ulm: “How many others are upstairs working with Wilmot?”
Charlgar: “I don’t go up there, so I do not know. I’m sure it’s less than a hundred.”

The party talked amongst themselves for a moment and decided they had learned all that they could from Charlgar. Unsure how well he they had tied him up, they decided to take his magic items with them. Anmor identified the items listed below:

  • Belt of Giant Strength +6, value 36,000 GP (Kullen, gives Belt of Giant Strength +4 to Chresin)
  • +1 Great Axe of Speed, value 32,000 GP (placed in Ulm’s Handy Haversack)
  • +5 Banded mail, value 25,000 GP (placed in Ulm’s Handy Haversack)

CarrionCrawler.jpg

Kullen climbed up to the opening above the cage. Looking through, he saw an empty room. A single lever was affixed to the wall beside the opening. Manipulating the lever in an upward motion caused the top of the cage to open, allowing a carrion crawler to drop into the cage below. The Carrion Crawler repeatedly swatted at Anmor with its tentacles, but was unable to penetrate his armor. Granuel and Chresin moved forward and squished the creature into a pool of goo. Kullen move the lever back to a horizontal position and the top of the cage returned to its normal position.

After double-checking the ropes used to bind Charlgar, the rest of the party joined Kullen on the second floor. With Ulm in the lead, searching for traps, the party made its way down a winding, narrow corridor. The party traveled about 45 feet down the corridor opened before coming to an opening that lead into what appears to be a workroom of some sort.

Alchemy Laboratory
A strong acrid odor fills the atmosphere of this room. Alcoves along the wall hold large stone vats from which the odors seem to emanate. Stone bins and tables covered in beakers, alembics and burners provide the rest of the furnishings. To the south, a mine cart, attached to a chain and small wench, has been pulled up beside a small blockade. The tunnel on the far side of the chamber slopes downward into a deep darkness.

Session_34_4.jpg

Ulm countered by successfully casting the spell Power Word Blind then moved behind some equipment to gain cover. Granuel took a running jump and landed in the mine cart beside the dwarf. Kullen used his composite bow and hit the dwarf with two magical arrows. Chresin used Swift Haste to close on the cart and anchor the Rope of Climbing to one of its handles. Anmor cast Sound Lance and hurts but does not incapacitate the Wilcot.

Blindly, Wilcot reaches for and releases the cart brake. Chresin, holding the Rope, was unable to stop its progress and it went careening down the ramp, crashing into a barricade 60 feet away. Both Wilcot and Granuel ended up prone in the cart. Granuel grappled and then pinned Wilcot. Ulm cast haste on everyone except Granuel. Kullen and Chresin closed on the cart and then beat up on the dwarf, killing him with a flurry of melee blows.

Anmor, using the Nethertome of Trask, cast speak with dead, but Wilcot’s Coldtooth’s soul was unwilling to give up any secrets. Casting Detect Magic on the corpse, Anmor identified the following magic items:

  • +3 wounding spiked chain
  • Wand of Cure Moderate Wounds, 32 charges (Granuel)
  • Wand of Scorching Ray, Level 8, 27 charges
  • +5 Mithril Breast Plate (Anmor, party will sell Anmor’s +1 Full Plate)
  • Gloves of Dexterity +6 (Anmor, Anmor’s Gloves of Dexterity +4 to Chresin, party will sell Chresin’s Gloves of Dexterity +2)
  • Ring of Protection +3 (Kullen, party will sell Kullen’s Ring of Protection +1)
  • Periapt of Proof Against Poison

Searching the room, the party also found the following items:

  • A focusing crystal (i.e., a large diamond) worth 1,500 GP
  • A rack of vials full of poisons
  • A second rack of vials with a label, Cure Serious Wounds, but is actually another poison

Finding nothing else of interest in the alchemy lab, the party moved back to the opening above the cage. Anmor and Chresin, using items that allowed them to fly, moved out into the cavern and began searching for the key. Their assumption was that the key was magical, so they used Detect Magic spells as the reconnoitered the area. They circled the entire cavern for the better part of two minutes but found no magic. Anmor, however, discovered a tunnel sloping sharply downward.

The tunnel was very wide and caked with refuse and rubbish as if Carrion Crawlers had been scurry along its length for a hundred feet or so. After that, the tunnel began spiraling sharply downward, ending on a small ledge just above an even larger cavern.

Primeval Worm Lair
This massive cavern of sloping floors and several colossal stalagmites is lighted by phosphorescent fungus clinging to the walls and ceiling. Mats of rancid and decaying fungus bubble and seethe in a thick carpet on the cavern floor, filling the air with a hazy green taint of spores and stink. Here and there huge mounds of fungus rise like hills, and scattered throughout are the bones and skulls of long dead giants.

Session_34_5.jpg

Anmor and Chresin quickly learned that the air within this cavern was not very health (OOC: Spores required FORT save), though neither were overcome by them. As they circled the room, an enormous worm rose from the crusty floor of this room.

Although at first glance this chamber appeared empty, it is in fact the lair of a primeval carrion crawler of immense proportions. This worm may be the progenitor of the entire aberrant species. This behemoth is an ageless monstrosity known in legends as the Mother Worm. She awakens when she senses intruders enter her lair.

Chresin decided that he and Anmor were ill equipped to handle this beast on their own and cast Dimension Door to return them to the room where the rest of the party was waiting.

The party spent several minutes trying to determine what is going on here. Testing a theory, Anmor threw a coin into the upper cavern and watched as the carrion crawlers swarmed over it. Anmor told the party that he suspected that the swarming carrion crawlers are carrying items to the bigger beast below. Unfortunately, the coin was too small to see that happened after they swarmed, so he decided that they should try a larger object.

Kullen climbed down to the Charlgar’s bedchamber to retrieve something large, only to find the hill giant had gone. After sharing this news with the party members above, Kullen got a large piece of furniture and placed it in the cage. Anmor manipulated the lever and the item dropped to the cavern floor below. The crawlers once again swarmed towards the item and it becomes clear that they are indeed moving it towards the spiraling tunnel that leads to the lower cavern.

The party decided that they should rest before assaulting the Mother Worm. Kullen rejoined the group and they made camp for the night in the second floor entryway.

Spiritday, 20th of Sunstrong, 4433

The party spent he first part of the morning preparing spells and planning strategy. They began the execution of their plan with Chresin casting Dimension Door, teleporting the entire group to the landing in the lower cavern. Anmor cast Eyes of the King to summon four dire bats and then used a wand to cast the spells Fly on Kullen. The spell casters prepared the party for the ensuing encounter. Thirty seconds after the dire bats began circling the chamber, the Mother Worm rose from the fungus. The party was ready and unleashed a hell storm upon it. Kullen attacked, but quickly learned that his “Greataxe of Stuff” was not very effective (OOC: DR 15/Epic) against this enormous creature. The Mother Worm’s first attacks struck and paralyzed Kullen and along with all of the dire bats. Chresin cast the spell Regroup to bring Kullen back to the ledge with the rest of the party. Granuel removed the paralysis and healed some of the damage.

The Mother Worm was only able to see Kullen, so she began climbing the ledge to try to reach him. Attacking him again, Kullen once again succumbed to the Mother Worm’s paralysis effect. Ulm cast Greater Invisibility on Kullen, effectively making everyone in the party invisible. Fearing the outcome of more melee attacks from the Mother worm, Chresin tells everyone to prepare to fly, then casts Dimension Hop, carrying all of the party members to a spot, in mid-air, well out of the monster’s reach. (OOC: The mechanic were a bit kludgie here. Chresin delayed until Anmor could activate his boots. Granuel locked arms with Kullen (who was already flying) and Chresin locked arms with Ulm. He then cast Dimension Hop to move everyone en masse).

Ulm cast Swift Etherealness to free himself from Chresin’s arms. Chresin then flew away from the rest of the party and again cast Polar Ray and the creature. The Mother Worm retaliated by casting a ray at Chresin’s square, but did not hit thanks to the Invisibility effect. Chresin and Anmor continued to cast spells from their new vantage points. Unable to protect herself, the Mother Worm finally perished from the unrelenting onslaught. The party moved back to the ledge and collapsed in exhaustion.

OOC: Summary of spells cast during this encounter

RoundCaster Spell Target
0Anmor Eyes of the King
0Ulm Invisibility Sphere Ulm & Granuel
1GranuelResistance Kullen
1Anmor Fly Kullen
1Ulm Haste Self + party
2Anmor Recitation All allies
2GranuelBless All Allies
3GranuelShield of Faith Chresin
3Ulm Greater Invisibility Anmor
4Ulm Greater Invisibility Chresin
4GranuelResistance Anmor
5GranuelResistance Chresin
6ChresinPolar Ray (Empowered)Kaiju Worm
6Anmor Evasculate Kaiju Worm
6Ulm Repulsion Self
7ChresinRegroup, swift cast Kullen
7ChresinPolar Ray (Empowered)Kaiju Worm
7GranuelRemove Paralysis Kullen
7Anmor Sound Lance Kaiju Worm
7Ulm Power Word Stun Kaiju Worm
8ChresinDimension Hop
8Anmor Flame Strike Kaiju Worm
8Ulm Greater Invisibility Kullen
9ChresinDimension Hop
9Ulm Swift Ethereal Self
10ChresinPolar Ray (Empowered)Kaiju Worm
10Ulm Power Word Stun Kaiju Worm
10Anmor Flame Strike Kaiju Worm
11ChresinPolar Ray Kaiju Worm

XP totals at the end of session 34:

* Anmor 165,230
* Ulm and Chresin 163,391
* Granuel 159,993
* Kullen 163,453

Everyone remains level 18. Ed and Eric earn dork cards for wrangling multiple characters each.

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Session 33: Kings of the Rift
Giant-Sized Politics

This was the historic session where Zoe Saldana threw herself at every man in the house.

Matt was not present (probably much to his relief, considering how much talking went on), so Ulm was played by Andy.

In addition to character sheet preparation and prior session recapping, the group discussed several topics at length before actually starting the adventure.

• First, there was a discussion as to whether or not it was worthwhile to spend two days to unlock the greater effects of Nadroc’s Tribute. Ultimately, the group decided not to do so because they did not currently have the rare materials required.

• Second, the party discussed stalling (for up to 41 days) until the commissioned magical items would be ready for pick-up in Ut Prandur. The group decided that they could maybe take things slowly, but could not afford sit around and do nothing (or worse yet leave Lighthedge Canyon) at this point.

• Third, the party discussed finding the lair of the Fang Dragon, Xyzanth, that they fought on the ledge. After researching their available spells at length, the party decided that they did not currently have anything that would allow them to pinpoint its location.

• Fourth, Balakarde left for the rift 16 years ago. Chresin is convinced that he is not dead, but rather has been captured by Drazzoroth or one of its minions. The party discussed trying to scry on him using his journals. They also discussed using the Sending spell in an attempt to communicate with him. They also discussed using the spell find the path to determine his exact location. Despite the lengthy conversation, no further actions were taken at this time.

• Fifth, The party discussed the fact that Bragi Harthgar had not been completely honest when he told the party that the King of the Khargakhan, Achaime Silvereye, was “tired”. They considered whether or not they should find this king and see if he could unite the giants against the host of dragons. However, since the party had already left the palace, they decided not to follow-up initially.

Reminder: The dragon’s siege started approximately 6 to 10 days before the Reprisal Squad first came to Lighthedge Canyon.

DM note: for ease of future reference, I moved the following “things the party knows” items into separate wiki entries:
* What the party knows about the various factions of giants inhabiting Kongen-Thulnir
* What Anmor knows about Dracoliches
* What Anmor knows about Carrion Crawlers

Waterday, 17th of Sunstrong, 4433

Click to ExpandAs the party regrouped on the bridge (location “R”), they viewed the swarm of dragons in the sky. Despite have killed 13 dragons themselves, the balance of power does not appear to have shifted since they arrived. The dragons were focusing most of their efforts on the one remaining tower in the gorge (location “J”).

The party decided to try to talk to the fire giants who were guarding the entrance to the citadel. The party decided to let Ulm speak for the party and Granuel cast Eagle’s Splendor on him. Everyone sheathed weapons and slowly made their way to across the bridge. The following conversation occurred:

Fire Giant: “Halt! No one may pass. Be gone!”
Ulm: “Hail and curse these worthless dragons. We have been sent on a mission by the Druids from the Island of Last Resort to speak with Kagro Thundersmiter. We are here to help you.”
Chresin: “Hail mighty Tiamikal Nul-Shada!”
Fire Giant: “Go away little person. We know that you are spies. Spies for the dragons or spies for the Rift Lords. We care not. Go away. We want nothing to do with your kind.”
Chresin: “You saw us destroy three mighty dragons, right here on your own bridge. Therefore, you know that we are not working with the Dragons.”
Fire Giant: “Ha. Gnome tricks. I know you are a gnome. I saw you fire spells into mid-air and then dragons appear and disappear. Your illusions do not fool me.”
Ulm: “Fire Giants as smart as yourselves would definitely see through any gnome tricks. So you know that I am telling you the truth when I say that we must speak with Kagro Thundersmiter and woe to anyone who would prevent us. Kagro will be very displeased if you delay the sending of our message.” (OOC: Diplomacy Check: 21, i.e., fail)
Fire Giant: “We have our orders. Be gone! Or we will smite you.”
Ulm: “I think there is a possibility that your orders did not expect this. We can wait…briefly…while you go and check your orders. That would be the best scenario for all of us, because we guarantee you that Kagro is going to want to speak with us.” (OOC: Diplomacy: 25)
Fire Giant looks to his partner then replies: “Nah. We’ll call you…maybe later.”
Ulm: “Is there some sacrifice that we can offer you that will prove our intentions?”
Fire Giant: _“Ha! No! No one is worthy small persons. Especially not gnomes.” He picks up a rock and shouts, “Go, go, go away.”
Chresin: “We will return tomorrow. Make sure Kagro knows this.”

Frustrated, the party returned to Rift Lord’s Palace and spoke to Bragi. They asked about the condition of King Achaime Silvereye. Bragi once again replied, “He’s very tired. You cannot see him today.” (OOC: Sense Motive: 34) They realized that Bragi was still being evasive so they offered to try to heal Achaime. Bragi declined their help, but did agree to let the party to rest once again in the courtyard.

The party devised a plan to get Ulm into the inner area of the damaged stronghold (location “P"). They waited until dark and then Ulm used a combination of spells to form a telepathic bond with the rest of the party and to create an illusion of himself sleeping. While the rest of the party pretended to sleep, Ulm cast invisibility upon himself and sneaked through the foyer and into the deeper realms of the castle. After about an hour of searching, he found the throne room.

King Achaime Silvereye was sitting on the throne, unaware of his surroundings. A bit of drool dribbled from his lower lip. Ulm looked for documents, letters and missives of any type, but found nothing. Next, he cast Detect Magic and determined that King Achaime was wearing some magical items, but was not under the influence of an enchantment.

Telepathically, the party discussed ways to gain information from Achaime. Ulm cast Project Image, to make himself look like Bragi. He then tried to talk to King Achaime, but got no intelligible response. Stepping behind him, Ulm placed a circlet of intellect on the King’s head.

King Achaime’s eye blinked a few times as he looked around the room in surprise. He saw Bragi/Ulm and asked hoarsely what was going on. Bragi/Ulm told the king that dragons had been attacking Kongen-Thulnir for the last several days but there were brave adventurers who have come here to help. He asked the king if he knew what the dragons might be looking for and the king responded that is must be whatever the idiots in the citadel are protecting. The King ordered Bragi/Ulm to “rally the troops” and he marched out to the courtyard and demanded to speak with the “humans.”

OOC: This is our first confirmation that the phylactery is located in or under the citadel.

As the king entered the courtyard, the Bragi/Ulm projection disappeared. The real Bragi was asleep, but as the king approached, someone yelled out, “My King” and everyone in the courtyard took a knee. The following conversation ensued:

King Achaime: “So these are the little ones you let in. Tell me, dragon slayers, what is the situation outside?”
Chresin: “The situation is grave, your grace.”
King Achaime: “Yes, tell me more.”
Chresin gestured towards the sky and explained: “the flames that you see in the distance represent but a fraction of the forces that have amassed against us. A host of dragons have laid siege to Kongen Thulnir.”
King Achaime: “Well let’s rally the troops then.”
Chresin: “That is what we have been trying to do, but there is no leadership at the moment. It seems that the Tiamikal Nul-Shada, the Khargakhan, and the Khargak-dwergun are at odds, and we have been unable to unite them.”
King Achaime: “Who are these ‘Khargak-dwergun’ of which you speak?”
Bragi: “You have been under some sort of spell. While you were recovering, a group of lesser giants has rebelled against you.”
King Achaime: “Then we should kill them too. There shall be no rebellion! Tell me the position of our troops.”
Bragi points to the various giants in the courtyard and bemoans, “These few are all that remain.”
King Achaime: “Where are the rest of my people?”
Bragi: “A handful of our people have gone to the depths…traitors all of them. And there have been many, many deaths to the dragons. I do not think we have the forces, even with these ‘gnomes,’ to stop the dragons. I think we should wait here until someone wins.”
Ulm: “Is it possible that we might join forces with the Tiamikal Nul-Shada…at least we defeat these dragons?”
King Achaime: “I have found them to be quite irrational. They prefer two things, to fight dragons and to hide in their citadel guarding their treasures.”
Granuel: “What are they protecting?”
King Achaime: “I do not know, but I assume it is a great treasure.”
Chresin: “We have encountered several hill giants, perhaps they are your brethren, holding some of the towers along this side of the rift. Most of these positions are no longer defensible. Would it make sense to try to gather them all here?”
King Achaime: “Yes. Bring my subjects under my banner. Once I have an army, we will go forth and slay the dragons and then we will deal with the traitors.”
Chresin: “Your people have not been very receptive to our conversations so far. Is there something that we can tell them or something that we may show them that will let them know that we speak with the voice of the king?”
King Achaime slipping a ring from his finger and handing it to Chresin: “You go to those locations and show them the ring. Tell them that we rally here and then we will fight all of the dragons.”

OOC: Everyone thought this sounded good, like they were getting somewhere. But of course, they were so wrong!

Bragi: “My king, the giants at the gates leading into Kongen-Thulnir are still loyal to you. But the Mid-Point Tower (Location ‘K’) has been taken by the traitorous Khargak-dwergun. They will not bow to you, so it is worthless to try to summon them.”
Chresin: “Bragi, do you know who leads these Rift Crawlers…these Khargak-dwergun?”
Bragi: “My former partner, Charlgar, leads the Rift Crawlers but he is nothing but a treacherous worm.”
Ulm: “If he were to die, would the rest of the Rift Crawlers lose hope and really to the true King’s banner?”
Bragi: “Well, I don’t know. None of them are worth very much…they are not the best of us. The best of us are here, obviously.”
Chresin: “They may not be the best, but every army needs giants who will lead the charge and absorb the initial waves of battle.”
Bragi: “If you wish to go out and recruit more giants, if that is what my king wills, then you should do it.”
King Achaime: “Yes, this seems like a wise plan. As the ’morrow downs, you little people take my ring and bring to me my army. Upon your return we will mount an attack on those dragons who foolishly dare to attack us. I will command the defenses here until you return.”

The Reprisal Squad slept without incident for the remainder of the night.

Earthday, 18th of Sunstrong, 4433

As the day dawned, everyone in the Rift Lord’s Palace was startled awake by a terrible cracking sound. The party wormed their way between a throng of giants in order to peer out the gate. As they looked on in shock, they witnessed the collapse of the Mid Point Tower (location ‘J’). As it crashed to the ground, giant could be seen falling to their deaths in the canyon below. For many minutes a horde of black, blue, and green dragons circled in triumph above the crumbled remains. After a time, several of the dragons broke off and settled on top of the ruins.

Chresin: “Alas, we agreed to parlay with the fanatics across the bridge. We will conclude our business with them and the make haste to rally the rest of your forces under your banner here.”
King Achaime: “Excellent! I expect nothing less than complete success with your mission.”

Anmor performed his morning rituals and everyone partook of the Hero’s Feast. He then cast False Life while the others donned their armor and prepared to leave. They crossed the bridge and approached the citadel gates much as they had the day before, with Ulm leading the way. As he neared the gates, he called out to the Fire Giant guards.

Ulm: “As we promised, we have returned to speak with His Majesty, Kagro Thundersmiter.”
Fire Giant: “Go away little people…oh crap!”

The fire giants turned slightly to their left and the party members quickly glanced in that direction. They spied 3 green dragons Swooping down toward the citadel. Granuel, thanks to his Robe of Eyes, spotted 2 invisible blue dragons sneaking towards them as well. Anmor assessed the age of the dragons, the green dragons were adults (20 HD) and the blue dragons were mature (24 HD).

The fight began with Ulm casting Glitterdust on one of the invisible blue dragons. They retaliated be using their breath weapons (i.e., cones of acid by the green dragons and lines of lightning by the blue) making all of the dragons visible to the rest. Kullen offered to help the Fire Giants guard the gate, they agreed and he joined them on the wall. Anmor used the spell Lion’s Roar and caused one of the blue dragons to fall from the sky. Through a series of spells and physical attacks the Reprisal squad and their new fire giants allies were able to kill four of the dragons. The last blue dragon, though badly injured, was ultimately able to fly away and join the remaining dragons at the fallen tower (location ‘J’).

OOC: After the battle ended, Anmor, flying, travelled to the floor of the canyon to search the bodies of the slain dragons for treasure. I have no record of him finding anything, however.

We learned that the maximum possible damage from falling is 20d6.

Fire Giant: “You small people are no joke when it comes to fighting dragons. However, Kagro Thundersmiter is also no joke. And he has told us none shall enter. So you understand our predicament here.”
Ulm: “Is it possible…”
Chresin: “You must go now and tell him of our mighty deeds. We will await his reply.”
Fire Giant: “I will go and tell my king of your worthiness right now if you will guard this place in my absence. I fear more dragons may be coming and I cannot leave my post unattended.”
Chresin: “We agree. Now go and make haste.”

The Tear-Stained Portal
These double doors are made of stone and stand 20 feet high. The doors are set into the natural stone walls beneath the castle. Bas-relief carvings adorn the doors, depicting dragons falling from the skies, slain by great arrows and rocks, and broken dragon bodies lying on the ground below. Faintly visible above all of the other images are five dragon heads, each in a different color (red, green, blue, black, and white), looking on in anguish. The stone of the doors is damp with rivulets of water weeping from the eyes of these dragons.

kagro.jpgThe party regrouped as they waited in front of the massive double doors. They agreed that Ulm should once again speak for the party. After a few more minutes pass, the guard returned with another, larger fire giant. Everyone in the party took a knee at his approach.

King Kagro: “Small persons, your help in defeating the dragons is appreciated. Go and murder the rest of them.”
Ulm: “By your leave, great king, we have been sent by the Druids of the order of the Storm; Tylanthros, Beskawahn, Thadimar, and Sayren-Lei.”
King Kagro: “Stop saying words that have no meaning to me! Go and kill dragons!”
Chresin: “May we at least come inside and rest before we embark on this task?”
King Kagro: “There will be no admittance to outsiders in the Citadel of Weeping Dragons!”
Anmor: ““Kagro Thundersmiter, I would have you know, that it was more than assistance that we provided. We saved you from the dragons that were about to destroy the bastion that you have protected for many long ages! We have been sent by the very people who created this place and charged the Tiamikal Nul-Shada with its safekeeping. Do you see this door? We were here when it was set, hundreds of years ago! Dragons will continue to come; they will be relentless. For they know, as we know, that which you protect…even if you do not! We have been sent here by the Founders to help you safeguard their treasure against the evil that is oppressing you from all sides!”
King Kagro: “You talk in fancy words, little dwarf, but I do not care.”
Anmor: “But they are true and you must understand.”

The party quietly talked among themselves for a brief moment. (OOC: Chresin, Sense Motive: 29) Chresin told the others that Kagro did not understand the talk about the founders. In general, he seemed a bit bored by what was being said. However, he did appear to grow angry and suspicious at the mention of treasure.

Chresin: “Highness, what is your relationship with King Achaime Silvereye?”
King Kagro angrily replies: “Those thieves! They have stolen from us! My minions say you come from them. Are you their friends?”
Chresin: “We are indeed acquainted with them. We have drawn no alliances, but we think that either you or they are being quite foolish in not joining forces to stop these dragons.” (Diplomacy: 18)
King Kagro: “You will not call us fools!”
Chresin: “Then I call them fools! But you must work together.”
King Kagro: “Those thieves have stolen from us! Bring back what they stole and I will entertain your questions.”
Chresin: “Then give us guidance. What have they stolen, that we might be able to identify and bring it back to its rightful owners.”
King Kagro: “They hold one of my keys and they will bring it to me or else they will be destroyed.”

Granuel became increasingly frustrated during the conversation. As the King began to walk away, he grabbed his bow and began to nock an arrow. Chresin noticed the activity and placed Granuel in a bear hug. King Kagro looked back over his shoulder and shouted mockingly:

King Kagro: “Ha! You fight among yourselves. Now go away.”

The party argued for some time over what to do next. Granuel suggested that they should ignore the dragons and make a direct assault on the fire giant’s stronghold. Anmor agreed that their ultimate destination was probably the citadel, but thought that a direct assault would be a suicide mission, not to mention that the party would then have two enemies that they would have to contend with simultaneously. Chresin wanted to honor their commitment to fetch the surviving hill giants before looking for the stolen key. Anmor suggested that, since they were still close by, they could go back to Bragi and ask him if he knew about the stolen item that had King Kagro so upset.

Ultimately, the party chose to try to unite the surviving hill giants. They made their way to the front gate and hailed the giants inside the guard tower. They showed the King’s signet ring/bracelet and told the hill giants that King Achaime was rallying his troops under a single banner at the Rift Lord’s Palace (location ‘P’). The hill giants were convinced and agreed to follow the party back to the palace. As the party and the surviving giants made their way south along the rift they observed several black dragons sifting through the rubble atop the crumbled tower.

We probably didn’t discuss numbers at the time, but if it matters the party recruited 12 hill giants from the front gate.

King Achaime greeted them at the gates of the palace. He congratulated the party on their success and welcomed his kin into the palace. As they settled into the courtyard, the party told King Achaime about their meeting with King Kagro and asked if he had any knowledge about the ‘stolen’ key. Bragi indicated that the Rift Crawlers had stolen a ‘magical’ key and that it was something that they used to recruit other giants to join them. Bragi told the party that the Khargak-Dwergun made camp in the undercity, accessible from the base of the canyon.

OOC: Sense Motive: 29, Bragi was lying. He was simply telling the party what they wanted to hear.

Important DM note: I’m not sure why I said Bragi was lying. Sense Motive 29 should have told you that Bragi absolutely believes: the Rift Crawlers stole the key, were using it to recruit other giants, and have a camp in the undercity. Maybe he added something else that was a lie?

Once again, the party spent the night in the courtyard of the Rift Lord’s Palace. Before resting, Anmor healed all of their wounds. During the night, Ulm retrieved his Circlet of Intellect from King Achaime.

Fireday, 19th of Sunstrong, 4433

brazzemal.jpgAgain, Anmor performed his morning rituals (False Life and Hero’s Feast) and everyone ate a hearty breakfast. Chresin suggested that they should attempt to scry on the Ominous Fabler. Anmor set up the ritual and successfully found the Ominous Fabler, appearing as a goblin, standing amongst some ruins talking to an enormous red dragon. The Ominous Fabler told the dragon that he thought “it” might be under here, but he admitted he was unsure. He indicated the ‘others’ should keep digging and if they didn’t find it here, they could go to the other big place and ‘get it all’. As that conversation ended, the party saw the red dragon, Brazzemal, winging away from the collapsed tower in the center of the canyon.

ominousfabler.jpgAfter a bit of discussion, the party decided they needed to eliminate the Ominous Fabler. They believed that he was an enemy and was most likely working on Drazzoroth’s behalf. They decided that since they appeared to have the element of surprise, they would take this opportunity to dispose of him. Their plan was pretty simple; cast silence on Kullen and then use the Dimension Door spell to jump the entire party beside the Ominous Fabler. Once there, Kullen would grapple the spriggan, preventing him from escaping and the rest of them would kill or disable him.

Anmor cast Detect Magic through the scrying font and determined that the Ominous Fabler was surrounded by several magical auras. However, he observed, as the Ominous Fabler moved around, that the dragons projected no magical auras. He also provided Dark Knowledge (foe), giving everyone in the party information about of the physical vulnerabilities of the Ominous Fabler (OOC: +3d6 damage).

Note: Barbarian Rage provides a “rage” bonus to Strength and Constitution; therefore, it stacks with Animalistic Power or Bull Strength, which utilize an enhancement bonus.

Invisibility Sphere versus Mass Invisibility. Movement – Sphere: everyone must remain within 10 feet of the spell caster (Ulm) or they become visible, Mass: Individuals must be within 180 feet of the nearest person effected by the spell. Combat — Sphere: If an individual attacks, only that creature becomes visible, Mass: If an individual attacks, all creatures effected by the spell become visible. Vision Sphere: Everyone effected by the spell can see see one another, Mass: No one can see anyone.

After the party cast all of their buffing spells, Chresin used Dimension Door to relocate them, invisible and silenced, onto the pile of rubble beside the Ominous Fabler (Grezzilfek). The Fabler was completely surprised. Kullen immediately grappled him and then, since the Fabler was undead, Granuel used his Positive Energy Burst ability to deal damage to him. The Fabler used his at-will ability to change his size to that of a large creature, but was unable to escape. Chresin and Anmor bludgeoned him, Ulm successfully cast Power Word Stun, and Granuel finished him off with a two-handed power attack using his morning star. One of the dragons noticed something was amiss, but was unable to do anything before Chresin whisked them all back to the safety of the Rift Lord’s Palace.

It took over an hour to plan the ambush, but the actual fight only took two standard rounds (plus a surprise round), including the Dimension Door back to the Rift Lord’s Palace.

Having no way to communicate with the dead, undead Fabler, the party simply divided up his possession. The following items were recovered:

  • 2 Potions of Fly, given to Kullen, value 1,500 GP
  • Wand of Invisibility (42 charges) given to Ulm, value 3,780 GP
  • Leather Armor +5, placed in Handy Haversack, value 25,160 GP
  • Shortsword +3 Defending, placed in Handy Haversack, value 32,310 GP
  • Light Crossbow +1, placed in Handy Haversack, value 2,335 GP
  • Helm of Teleportation, given to Granuel, value 73,500 GP
    Note: This item is CL 9th, therefore it will only teleport a maximum of 4 party members.
  • Ring of Chameleon Power, placed in Handy Haversack, value 12,700 GP
  • Gloves of Dexterity +4, given to Chresin, value 16,000 GP
  • Vial of scented oils (non-magical), placed in Handy Haversack, value 500 GP

The party Used Dimension Door to go back to the base of the collapsed tower and Ulm went ethereal to examine its interior. Sadly, it had completely collapsed and Ulm spotted numerous hill giants and bugbears dead within the rubble. Ulm returned and the party walked to the undercity.

The Undercity
This cavern, unlike the dwellings above, is filthy and reeks. However, this area has not been attacked by the dragons…at least not much…therefore it looks more structurally sound than the areas above. The city itself looks like a hive of overlapping walls, zigzagging alleys and claustrophobic tenements. The ceiling of this cavern is only about 60 feet tall and most of the structures appear to be made for creatures of a smaller stature as opposed to the giant-sized buildings above.

The party casually scanned the city but saw to signs of activity. It was also notably quieter in this area. Anmor suggested that the area was probably the living quarters for the bugbears (i.e., slaves). While examining the area, Ulm and Anmor spot a head ducking beneath a window.

With weapons sheathed, but at the ready, the party slowly walked over to the building where the movement was observed. Peering into the window, they party saw a bugbear attempting to hide from view and pretending not to see them. Anmor called out a casual greeting in the common tongue. Ulm, standing on a box and looking over the window sill, said that the party is trading mass quantities of gold coins in exchange for information. The following conversation ensued:

Ulm: “We mean you no harm; we simply want information.”
Bugbear: “Hello, I would appreciate mass quantities of gold please.”
Ulm, handing the bugbear 10 gold: “Let us start with this.”
Bugbear: “My name is Ekaria, what is it that you wish to know, mighty gnome?”
Ulm: “We are lead to believe there are three factions of giants here, the Tiamikal Nul-Shada, the Khargakhan, and the Khargak-dwergun.”
Bugbear, laughingly replied: “You obviously do not know the language of the giants. The groups you speak of are the Slayers of Tiamat’s Kin, the Rift Lords, and the Rift Crawlers. The important thing that you do not seem to understand that the none of these names have anything to do with the type of giant.”
Ulm: “Yes, yes, we do understand that.”
Bugbear: “Well good, may I have some more gold, please?”
Ulm: “Sure.”
Chresin: “No! no. no. When we finish our conversation you will be rewarded based upon the information that you have provided.”
Bugbear: “Alright, that is all the information I have. I would like more gold now.”
Ulm, handing the bugbear 5 gold: “Let us continue.”
Anmor: “Where are those three tribes, factions, located within this Kongen-Thulnir area?”
Bugbear: “That is hard to say. I don’t know if you noticed, but recently some dragons came and messed things up a bit. But what I do know for sure is that the Rift Crawlers live down here in these drafty houses. The ‘important’ one lives over there.” she said while pointing to a spot deeper within the cavern city.
Anmor: “Are they here now?”
Bugbear: “I don’t know. I saw a bunch of them running towards there when the dragons invaded but I haven’t seen them since. And, they have not come here to tell me to do things, which is to my liking. I would like more gold now please.”
Chresin: “Do you have plenty of food?”
Bugbear: “No. I would like more food now please.”
Chresin: “Give me a large pot.” Taking the pot, Chresin fills it with warm porridge (OOC: not turducken) using his magic item, Murlynd’s Spoon, then passes it back to the bugbear.
Bugbear, frowning at the pot said: “Uh, I thank you for that porridge.”
Chresin, after Granuel hands the bugbear 5 gold: “What is the name of the leader of the Rift Crawlers?”
Bugbear: “Charlgar”
Ulm: “The Slayers of Tiamat’s Kin say they have lost a key. Do you know anything about that?”
Bugbear: “There has been a lot of talk about a key. Lots of rumors about a key. I don’t know why a key is important to anybody.”
Ulm: “Have the Rift Crawlers talked about this key?”
Bugbear: “I haven’t heard anyone down here talk about a key. More gold please.”
Ulm, handing the bugbear 5 gold: “Where are your fellow bugbears?”
Bugbear: “They are probably hiding in their homes, like me. But they don’t know as much as I do. I am the smartest bugbear in the entire undercity! Certainly, they will fall in line if you have enough gold (ooc: or more turducken).”
Ulm: “If you took us to meet the Carrion Crawlers… I mean Rift Crawlers…would they welcome us? I mean, with you, with us.”
Bugbear: “Ha. The Rift Crawlers have many carrion crawlers, and I don’t want to have anything to do with any of them. If you want to talk to them, you go up those stairs and then around the corner and knock on their door. I will not go with you. More gold please.”
Chresin: “Have you ever seen a dead carrion crawler head harm anyone?”
Bugbear: “Well it’s icky, so I don’t want to mess with one.”
Chresin: “Yes, yes, but have you ever seen it have any other effect?”
Bugbear: “I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s wise or not. I haven’t seen anything, but the giants like them.”
Ulm: “Do you have any idea what the dragons are looking for?”
Bugbear: “They seem to be intent upon killing all of the giants.”
Chresin: “How long have the dragons been here?”
Bugbear: “I do not know. Probably between 6 and 14 days.”
Ulm: “We thank you for your time.”
Bugbear: “If you give me more gold, I will answer more questions. I am very good at answering questions.”
Ulm: “No, we have everything that we need for now.”

The DM’s notes on this exchange simply say “Ekaria, Bugbear Pirate Queen of the Undercity, ate some turducken from a spoon.”

The party left the bugbear and followed the path that she had described, towards the last known location of the Rift Crawler Lord, Charlgar.

The Red Door
Back in the recesses of the undercity, a winding stair climbs amid the tumbled and ramshackle buildings. The stone stairs have three-foot risers, hinting at the inhabitants who made them. But there is also a narrow section, beside the main risers, for smaller creature to walk up. The steps are stained with dark substances of unknown origin, and the general stench of this whole cavern seems to be stronger in this area. Atop the stairs stands a single, fifteen-foot tall iron door. Its facing is completely coated in a patina of reddish rust.

XP totals at the end of the session 33:

* Anmor 160,730
* Ulm and Chresin 158,891
* Granuel 155,493
* Kullen 158,953

Everyone remains level 18 and I don’t expect any leveling up in the next session. Ed and Eric earn dork cards for their work on this adventure log entry. Everyone gets a dork card for murdering the Ominous Fabler.

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Session 32: Kings of the Rift
Deeper into the Rift

Ed and Eric provided the notes that form the basis of this write-up. Dork cards for each. Andy was not present, so the part of Kullen was played by… someone, I can’t remember whom.

Spiritday, 15th of Sunstrong, 4433

goblin_MM35_PG133.jpgThe party began the session standing on a pinnacle of rock jutting out of the floor of Lighthedge Canyon, the site of a ruined tower (location “D” the on the map of Kongen-Thulnir). The action starts with a familiar scene as two invisible blue and three green dragons begin swooping in the direction of the party. Chresin casts dimension door and then re-groups the party inside a nearby building. While they wait for the dragons to fly away, the party spots a goblin cowering behind some rubble outside the building. As the dragons approach, the goblin flees and leaps through a window into the very same room where the party is hiding. Kullen grapples the goblin and the party beguins to question him. The goblin says his name is Egglak and indicates that his job was to “scoop poop” for the giants. He says he is from a northern tribe near Goblin Hill. He also indicates that he has been a slave for less than one moon.

The DM does not recall mentioning Goblin Hill, but it would certainly explain why Anmor became suspicious. Goblin Hill is around 600 miles to the north and across an ocean, so it makes for an unlikely story.

ominousfabler.jpgAnmor becomes suspicious and sees through the goblin’s (illusionary) disguise. The goblin is, in fact, The Ominous Fabler. Furthermore, Anmor notices that the spriggan now has worms crawling out of his eyes. Chresin casts dispel magic, at which point everyone sees him as an undead Favored Spawn of Yog. The Fabler spits a worm onto Kullen, then teleports away, like he did last time. Chresin chastises himself for being “a terrible Duskblade,” believing his impatience was somehow responsible for the Fabler’s escape. The party is left wondering what the Fabler really wanted from them.

Not sure if this came from someone’s knowledge check, but it’s in Ed’s notes so we’ll keep it here: spriggans are fey, similar in appearance to an elf. They can change their size at will. They are friendly with the giants and are shape changers.

The party uses invisibility to move from building to building, as quietly as possible. They make their way past a fortress-like tower manned by hill giants (location “K” on the map).

Round House
This heavily fortified tower rises to a height of 60 feet and is outfitted with two ballistae and one light catapult on the roof, this bunker. Although it appears to have been targeted a few times by the dragons, it remains undamaged for the most part.

Fang_Dragon.jpgAvoiding detection by the giants in the tower, the party continues in this manner until they reach a ledge (location “L” on the map). At this point, they see two dead hill giants. Chresin hears a greater invisibility spell being cast just below the ridge. He informs the rest of the party. While they prepare, he hears displacement and mirror Image being cast as well. The party soon finds out that the spell caster is actually a fang dragon named Xyzanth.

Not sure if Anmor shared what he knows about Xyzanth with the party, but here it is for reference: Xyzanth is a particularly rare dragon known as a fang dragon. Denizens of the most remote mountain ranges, fang dragons lack the distinctive breath weapon attack of most dragons, yet their bite can drain away life at a horrific rate. Xyzanth dwelt in the depths of the Overdoom Mountains, where he warred endlessly with the cavemen and dwarves of the mountains.

As the party prepares, so does the dragon, casting numerous buffing spells. When combat finally begins, the dragon engages Kullen and inflicts massive damage from a single attack.

218 HP to be exact! See what I mean by “their bite can drain away life at a horrific rate?”

Chrisin responds with a polar ray and a pissed-off Kullen pounds the bastard with his greataxe of stuff.

Chresin’s polar ray is a critical hit for 159 HP! He’s not bad at draining away life either, I guess.

A series of spells are cast and one of the Gifts of Sayren-Lei is employed. Eventually, Xyzanth takes enough damage that he decides fleeing is a good idea. Someone uses (wastes?) a dork card to prevent his escape and the party eventually slays the fang dragon.

Here’s the series of spells from Ed’s notes, since he says they seemed significant at the time: spell turning, greater dispel magic, haste, fly, displacement (probably on Kullen), sound lance, bless, heal, stoneskin.

Detecting magic on the dragon’s body, the party finds three magic items: an amulet and two rings. The party decides to rest overnight. Before sleeping, Anmor tends to everyone’s injures and casts the spell mass heal to get everyone back up to normal.

Here’s the list of magic items:
* Amulet of natural armor +5 (from Xyzanth, taken by Kullen)
* Ring of evasion (from Xyzanth, also taken by Kullen)
* Ring of resistance +5 (from Xyzanth, no indication of who took this, maybe it is an item to sell?)
* Amulet of natural armor +2 (from Kullen, taken by Ulm)
* Ring of force shield (I believe from Kullen, listed as an item to sell, but also noted as taken by Ulm?)
* Amulet of natural armor +1 (listed with items to sell, maybe from Ulm?)

Airday, 16th of Sunstrong, 4433

The next day, the party moves south to a large gate (location “M”) that is now destroyed.

King’s Gate Tower
This forty-foot-tall tower stands alongside a twenty-foot-high set of heavy wooden gates built into a stone gatehouse. The tower and gatehouse now stand partially ruined and empty.

As the party examines the area, it becomes obvious that this area had been manned by both hill and fire giants. All are now either dead or have fled from this position. Evidence of dragon bites and breath weapons are seen everywhere. Though the area is largely destroyed, some guy-wires are still intact. Continuing southward, the party comes upon an arch made of blood red stone (location “Q”).

The Blood Arch
This arch of blood-red stone rises 60 feet above the ledge. Its eastern surface is painted with ochre and inscribed with runes. Beyond the arch stretches an unsupported natural stone bridge, 10 feet wide and 10 feet thick.

Anmor studies the runes covering the arch for a while and indicates that the markings are “warnings against enemies and praise for the valor of allies in combat." Among the runes, the word “worm” is used numerous times. It is unclear whether the word is in reference to dragons or to actual worms.

The party notices that many of the structures to the east have collapsed. They decide to continue southward when they hear a voice calling from the ruins. “Help me. Please, help me,” cries an ogre (near, but not exactly at location “P”). They approach and the ogre exclaims “I am Blessed of the Giant Gods! I have been saved and I will save you all.”

The DM only vaguely remembers this encounter with the ogre. Perhaps it was just a means to get the party moving towards some place interesting, because the DM does remember, in detail, the encounter at the barricade that followed.

Finding nothing of interest in the ruins, the party moves up to a barricaded entrance (the actual location “P”). Anmor speaks for the party and, although he manages not to start a fight (surprisingly), the giants behind the barricade have no interest in letting the party inside. He does manage to learn that the giants call themselves the Khargakhan, which is giantish for “Rift Lords,” and that their leader (who is not at the barricade) is named Achaime Silvereye. Anmor recalls something Eligos said (box text repeated below for reference):

eligos.jpgKongen-Thulnir is the home of the Tiamikal Nul-Shada or “Slayers of Tiamat’s Kin” in Giantish. These giants fancy themselves dragon slayers. Curiously, although Kongen-Thulnir has changed hands among giant tribes over the centuries, the giants who live there have always called themselves Tiamikal Nul-Shada, regardless of the specific tribe or type of giant.

Curious about the conflicting tribal names, the party asks about the Tiamikal Nul-Shada and learns that those giants are “religious fanatics” who live in the big castle across the narrow bridge. Their leader is named Kagro Thundersmiter.

blue_dragon_MM35_PG72.jpgAs this interaction is going on, two invisible blue dragons try to sneak up on the party. Ulm and Granuel see them approaching and alert the rest of the party (so they didn’t get a surprise round). Someone uses glitterdust so the dragons are visible to all of the party members. A combination of some powerful spells (i.e., evasculate, channeled pyroburst, and polar ray) and Kullen and Granuel’s tactical brilliance lead to a quick defeat of the two dragons. The giants behind the barricade also throw rocks at the dragons, with little effect.

The party’s impressive defeat of the blue dragons convinces the giants behind the barricade that these little people are allies. Their captain, a hill giant named Bragi Harthgar, allows the party past the entrance into what turns out to be a sort of palace.

Riftlord Palace
The façade of this imposing edifice is heavily damaged, but its interior remains sound. The giant-sized chamber just past the barricade has several vaulted exits and these appear to extend deeply into the wall of Lighthedge Canyon.

Talking to Bragi, the party learns a few things:

  • There are other, less impressive entrances to Riftlord Palace, but they have also been sealed since the dragons attacked,
  • Achaime Silvereye is not available to meet with the party because he is “tired.” Bragi tells the party that he (Bragi) speaks for all of the Riftlords.
  • There is yet another faction of giants in the Canyon. They are called the Khargak-dwergun, or Rift Crawlers in giantish. Bragi says they are “low-class scum.”
  • In addition to the other defenses used against the dragons, the giants also have dead carrion crawler heads that they employ as ammunition in their catapults.

Thanks to Bragi’s permission, the party is able to rest through the night in the entry chamber of Riftlord Palace without incident.

Waterday, 17th of Sunstrong, 4433

vermirox.jpgThe next day, Chresin goes to the Red Arch and carves Bragi’s name into the stone. Then, with larger, bolder lettering, he adds “The Reprisal Squad.” The party starts to cross the bridge (toward location “R”) but Granuel stops them. He points out two invisible blue dragons hovering underneath the structure. The party buffs (protection from electricity, resist energy: electricity, and true seeing). Granuel and Kullen use bows to annoy the dragons and Ulm successfully casts feeblemind. A third blue dragon, named Vermirox, attacks using an unheard of effect, a cone of electricity. A weird spell kills the feebleminded dragon, but the other two survive. A short, fierce battle ensues, but in the end, Vermirox and the other remaining dragons were defeated.

It appears I didn’t give Anmor the handout about Vermirox, but I don’t think he could fail the knowledge check, so here it is now: Vermirox the Vociferous is a loud and obnoxious old blue dragon that has dwelt in Lighthedge Canyon for nearly 500 years. Rumor holds that his lair is an immense cavern known as Wraithkeep near the western end of the canyon.

To end the session, the party begins crossing the bridge towards the Citadel, a massive structure that towers on a pinnacle of rock a thousand feet above the Canyon floor (location “R,” refer back to the map).

XP totals at the end of the session 32:

* Anmor 157,490
* Ulm and Chresin 155,651
* Granuel 151,888
* Kullen 155,713

Everyone except Granuel should already be level 18. Granuel will likely level up sometime next session, but I already have a level 18 sheet for him.

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Session 31: Kings of the Rift
Where in the world is Kongen-Thulnir?

This session’s writeup is entirely thanks to Ed, who put it together with input from Matt and Eric. This makes my life much easier, since I just had to add some links and pictures and such. Dork cards to all three.

133splash.jpg

Earthday, 8th of Sunstrong, 4433

The session began with the party on the Island of Last Resort, on the material plane. The permanent storm that surrounded the island no longer exists, though everything thing else about the island appears as the party remembers it. Kendra’s wrecked ship is washed upon the shore and remains unusable.

Recalling the things that he had seen and heard during the battle with the undead army, Anmor taps into his font of knowledge and shares what he knows about Lighthedge Canyon and Kongen-Thulnir with the rest of the party.

DM: I turned knowledge check details into wiki pages for future reference, as linked above.

The Reprisal Squad realizes they don’t have enough information to safely proceed. They decide to go back to Ut Prandur to re-equip themselves and to meet with various allies. Worried that they may not have a lot of time, the party uses sending spells to notify several of the people that they believe might be able to help.

Several members of the party debate whether or not they should share anything with Lashonna. Anmor and Chresin, out of earshot from Granuel, discuss what they know about Lashonna. They ponder her motives and whether or not being undead means (beyond doubt) that she is evil or has evil intentions. Anmor acknowledges that it is possible for an undead creature to be something other than a purely evil creature and the Lashonna, so far, has not lied to them. He agrees that she might be useful to the party in the future and therefore, they agree that she should be included in the “sendings.”

Having decided their next steps, the party sends their messages, which are listed, with replies, below:

lashonna.jpgTo Lashonna:
We saw you die by Drazzaroth. Going to Ut Prandur. Meet us there as soon as possible

Reply from Lashona:
Death is sore subject. I am not welcome in Ut Prandur. Did you find phylactery? If so, destroy it.

manzoriansquare.jpgTo Manzorian:
Went back in time. Saw Drazzaroth win! May know where phylactery is located. Urgently need your knowledge. Will arrive today.

Reply from Manzorian:
Good work. My advisors will meet you when you arrive.

eligos.jpgTo Eligos:
In Ut Prandur today. Need information on Yog Sothoth, Drazzaroth, phylacteries, and ancient city Kongen Thulnir.

Reply from Eligos:
Already working on Drazzaroth and phylactery. Will look into Kongen Thulnir.

phylactery.jpgHaving sent messages to all of the important people that they know, the Reprisal Squad teleports back to Ut Prandur. Moments after their arrival, Eligos meets them in their Inn. He questions their use of sending, given they were about to teleport right to him. Still, he gives them what information he has been able to learn regarding Drazzaroth and the phylactery. The party describes that they have seen and discuss what type of information they need. They indicate that they will be leaving town the next day, so Eligos sets off to do his researching.

For the remainder of the day, the party set about town, buying and selling items.

  • Sold inventory from Kendra’s group, total value 144,455 GP.
  • Bought an animated heavy steel shield +1 (9,170 GP, Kullen)
  • Purchased a scroll of undeath to death (2,215 GP, Granuel)

Comment from Ed: Houston, we have a problem. I marked the Robe of Eyes as having been sold, but during the adventure, Granuel was clearly using it. That means that the deposit made at the Temple of Nethilis is only 52,080 (i.e., approximate 30,000 GP less that what I mentioned during the session). Please note that we currently do NOT have enough gold to pay the remaining balances for the delivery of the final commission items. We will need to come up with an additional 33,830 GP.

Comment from DM: By the time you get back to pick up your items, it is likely you will have enough treasure to pay the balance, if you don’t already…

Fireday, 9th of Sunstrong, 4433

The next day, an exhausted Eligos comes back to their apartments. He and Anmor talk for several minutes.

eligos.jpgThis doesn’t make any sense. I was cross referencing an item in this book and found a whole new chapter about the Order of the Storm (a druidic order). They, along with their allies, the stone giants, are the ones who hide the phylactery in Kongen-Thulnir. There’s even a detailed picture of the city’s front gates that should be accurate enough to use in conjunction with a teleport spell. And I also found these long lost formulae for the creation of several rare magic items.

The formulae can be found at the Forgotten Magic wiki link.

necronomicon2.jpgAfter Eligos leaves, the members of the Reprisal Squad convince Anmor that it would be best of the party if he spent the time and money (43,000 GP) to unlock the “Greater” powers of the Nethertome of Trask. This task requires the party to remain in Ut Prandur for a week. The rest of the party indicates that they will spend that time commissioning the creation of some of these new, old magic items. They agree that no matter what, they will depart the following week.

Each morning when he wakes up, Chresin feels a strong desire to examine the Arm of Angall. And each day, he takes it from his haversack and places on the table beside his bed. He takes measurements with the Arm and writes coded entries into a small journal. Likewise, he measures the length and diameter of his left arm and adds that information into the journal. Realizing that something is not quite right, Chresin approaches the rest of the party: I fear this arm may be having a strange effect on me. Ulm, would you mind preparing a message for me.

Ulm agrees and the following message and reply are made with Manzorian:

manzoriansquare.jpgTo Manzorian:
Captured “Arm of Angall”. Now feeling odd. Any ideas?

Reply from Manzorian:
I will be right there.

manzorian.jpgManzorian offers to place the Arm of Angall in his vault. He also offers to provide up to 50,000 GP worth of magic items. Anmor and Chresin ask about the possibility of acquiring powerful amulets to help the mental acuity (i.e., Amulets of Intellect +6). He agrees to provide the party with 2 of them in exchange for the Arm of Angall plus an additional 14,000 GP (the difference between the 50,000 GP offer and the actual value of the items, 64,000 GP). A bargain is reached and the gold and amulets are exchanged.

During their week in Ut Prandur, the party commissions the creation of several new magic items. A summary of the transactions is outlined below:

  • 2 scepters of the dragon lords (5,500 GP each)
  • 1 corporeal lodestone (deposit 3,900 GP)
  • 1 doomslayer bow (deposit 5,090 GP).

Chresin deposits the remaining balance of the party treasure in a new account at the Temple of Nepthtyls.

I really ought to create a wiki entry about Nepthtyls…

Also, during the stay in Ut Prandur, Chresin consumes 4 Knowledge Worms. He successfully overcomes the ill-effects of the worms and gains inspired knowledge (i.e., +2 points each, Knowledge: Local, Knowledge: Arcana, Knowledge: Planes, Knowledge: Religion).

Spiritday, 15th of Sunstrong, 4433

Eligos arrives the day the party is scheduled to depart and shares the following information:

eligos.jpgKongen-Thulnir is the home of the Tiamikal Nul-Shada or “Slayers of Tiamat’s Kin” in Giantish. These giants fancy themselves dragon slayers. Curiously, although Kongen-Thulnir has changed hands among giant tribes over the centuries, the giants who live there have always called themselves Tiamikal Nul-Shada, regardless of the specific tribe or type of giant.

DM: I added a little more detail to the above…

Eligos leaves and the party teleports to the front gates of Kongen-Thulnir.

The Reprisal Squad appears outside the closed city gates. A booming voice tells the party to go away. The party tries to convince the guards that they are here to help, but are unable to change their minds. Chresin grew tired of the exchange and simply dimension hopped a few feet beyond the gate and the regrouped the rest of the party alongside him. Despite the awesome display of magic, the giants remain cowering in their tower.

gatesofkongenthulnir.jpg

Looking around, the party notices a significant amount of structural damage to the buildings near this gate. Some damage appears to be recent while other damage may have been due to neglect. To the right of the gate was a cliff the plunged downward to a gorge some 1,000 feet below. In the distance, a battle rages between dozens of chromatic dragons and some kind of giants. The battle is mainly focused on a fortified tower rising up out of the gorge and a portion of the city several hundred meters ahead of the party. Ulm notes that there are at least a dozen large black dragons, ten huge green dragons, and six huge blue dragons.

As the Reprisal Squad is taking stock of the area, Ulm sees a huge black dragon winging towards them. Anmor identifies the huge green dragon as Necrozyte, “The Fiendish.”

necrozyte.jpgNecrozyte the Fiendish

This fiendish old green dragon hails from the Nine Hells, where she served as a guardian over one of Tiamat’s hoards. When a particularly sly adventuring party recently stole a Book of Infinite Spells from this hoard, Tiamat exiled Necrozyte to the Wilderlands, where she has maintained a relatively low profile.

Ulm casts the spell mass invisibility and the party scatters. And then a somewhat chaotic battle follows. Necrozyte breaths on the party and then performs a wing-over attack on Kullen. Ulm tries repeatedly to hit the dragon with a lightning bolt from one of his wands, but has little success overcoming its spell resistance. Granuel uses obscuring mist to provide cover (which unfortunately limits some of Anmor’s actions) and then moves closer to make melee attacks. Chresin performes a massive channeled pyroburst, drawing the ire of the dragon. Necrozyte, _hasted+, then proceeds to pound Chresin into a pulp. Anmor delays death and Granuel performs some healing while Kullen deals the death blow (I loves me some AoOs).

OOC from Ed: On one hand, scattering was a good choice, since spreading out limited how many party members could be hit by a single use of the dragon’s breath weapon. On the other hand, it made limited the usefulness of some spells, because of their area limits and when someone got into trouble (i.e., like, I don’t know, Chresin going to -10 on a single attack), other party members were too far away to help.

The party carefully examines the dead body of the dragon and finds two magical items, an amulet of mighty fists +3 and a ring of invisibility (In Chresin’s handy haversack). Afterwards, Anmor uses his healing feat to get everyone half of their hit point back and then uses a wand of CMW to heal the remaining damage.

ominousfabler.jpgWhile they are recovering, an old “friend,” the Ominous Fabler, wanders out of the rubble and speaks to the party. He tells the party what they already know, that he is a spriggan. He also tells them that he doesn’t really work for Khouligan the Grief-Giver, the Satrap of Lenap. His real master is a stone giant. He thinks the party members are great heroes and would like to chronicle their adventures in song.

Chresin determines that the Fabler is lying through his teeth. Nonchalantly, Chersin bids him to join the party. When the Fabler moves next to him, Chresin successfully grapples him and Granuel ties him up with a rope. Unfortunately, they do not cover his mouth, and he is able use the teleport spell (verbal only) to escape the Reprisal Squad’s control.

Despite a bit of searching, the party was unable to find any sign of the spriggan. They decide to try to coax the giants out of the tower. They hope that they can attain a few allies against the soaring dragons as they move deeper into Kongen-Thulnir. Chresin tries to convince them that the Reprisal Squad is a mighty adventuring group and that they will protect the giants, but he is unsuccessful. Chresin determines that these giants are unwilling to come out because they are petrified. The giants appear to be more impressed by Kullen so he begins to talk to them. The giants share that the current siege began approximately two days earlier. When he suggests that the giants join the party as they try to get to the besieged island, they basically tell the party to buzz off.

Hill-giant_Lokansir.jpgChresin gets tired of the puny excuses, so he makes himself invisible then dimension hops into the tower. Once inside, Chresin finds four hill giants on each level of the tower. They have clubs and piles of rocks that are obviously way too large to be tossed through the arrow slits in the tower. Frustrated, Chresin tries to shock them into action and commands them to open the door. In hindsight, he realized that he should have said this and then moved to a new location. In reality, the frightened giants’ immediate reaction was to swing great big clubs at the precise location from which the voice originated. Two swings missed, but too swings landed.

Chresin was not happy with the results, having wasted two spells and a cure moderate wounds potion.

The party gives up on the giants and begin to walk deeper into the city. Shortly after crossing the aqueduct Ulm looks up and see a group of five dragons approaching: three huge green and two huge blue dragons. Deeming the terrain unsuitable for any kind of defense, the party decides to seek cover. Chresin casts dimension door and lands inside a stone building a few hundred feet away then regroups the party alongside him. Just before being regrouped with the others, Granuel catches a brief glimpse of the Ominous Fabler, but cannot find him again when he glances out of the building. Having nothing visible to attack, the dragons peel off and go back to the main fray.

The party decides to brave the outdoors once again and choose to explore the ruined tower nearby. Ulm looks up at the dragons and notes that an extremely large red appears to directing the group. Anmor studies the dragon more closely and realizes that this dragon is none other than Brazzemal the Burning. Anmor shares the following with the rest of the party.

brazzemal.jpgBrazzemal the Burning, Patriarch of Banzot and Scourge of Krazandol

Brazzemal is a notorious ancient red dragon. Hundreds of years ago, his fury brought an age of fire down upon the fabled dwarven city of Krazandol, as he led his kin, the Dragons of Banzot, in a three-day battle that drove the dwarves out. Countless adventurers have since perished in attempts to locate lost Krazandol through the abandoned caverns of the formerly great Northern Kingdom of Dwarves. Brazzemal himself, however, hasn’t been heard from in nearly two decades.

Hoping to catch sight of the Ominous Fabler, Chresin uses the ring of invisibility, then drops back about 30 feet behind the other party members. The party travels to the cliff wall and examines the damaged bridges. Anmor determines that, while severely damaged, the bridge should be sturdy enough to allow the party to walk across and back without incident. Anything more than that would put them at risk of falling.

greendragon.jpegAs the first party member approaches the bridge, five dragons (four large black and one huge green) swoop down upon the party. Ulm spots them and, therefore, the party is not surprised. Everyone except Chresin gets hit with the dragons’ breath weapons, but little actual damage is sustained. The dragons were foolishly clustered during their attack, so Anmor decides to pull out all of the stops and cast his most powerful spell, weird, at them. All of the black dragons fail their saves and are killed instantly. The green dragon succeeds but is stunned for 1 round. Ulm successfully casts repulsion to prevent the remaining dragon from approaching and the Chresin casts polar ray and shatters the dragon’s heart.

Danger avoided, the party examines the ruined tower. They find nothing of interest though they do learn a little bit about the tactics that they giants are employing against the dragons. First, they use ballistae bolts with chains attached to catch the dragons and prevent them from flying away. Second, they have draped chains from the cliff wall to the base of the tower to entangle any dragon that might try to swoop too low on their attack.

From this vantage point, the party can also see most of Kongen-Thulnir, including another section built lower into the cliffs than the main section.

Comment from DM: And, therefore, a map laying out the city is included on the Kongen-Thulnir wiki page.

Comment from Ed: Down one player and unsure what steps to take next, we called it an evening at this point.

XP totals at the end of the session 31:

* Anmor 151,930
* Ulm and Chresin 150,091
* Granuel 145,598
* Kullen 150,153

Everyone except Granuel will likely level up mid to late next session.

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