Saturday, January 20, 2018

Session 48: Half-spider, half-drow, all evil!!!

In our travels, we have encountered many spiders. None have been pleasant. We have also been introduced to drow on an occasion or two. They too are unpleasant. Perhaps unsurprisingly, breeding a spider and a drow, the offspring of which is unimaginatively called a drider, does not improve the disposition of either.
Having dispatched a gaggle of fish-people, we continued our descent into the Underdark in search of the next section of the Rod. Suddenly, I began to notice an uncomfortable warmth growing on my chest. Initially thinking back to an unfortunate meal of field rations earlier in the day, I began to grow more suspicious of the sudden heat when my new large warrior friend began to make a similar complaint. As I feared, the uncomfortable heat soon grew into a searing burn as my armor became red hot. Though it had been quite some time since I had been able to use the tactic myself, so rarely do my allies and I face foes wearing metal armor, I was more than familiar with the spell being used against me and immediately peered about for the culprit. Two driders crouched near the cavern wall, cleverly camouflaged in the shadows.
The dwarf quickly brought me relief from the drider’s spell as he attacked with his Warhammer and disrupted the foul creature’s concentration. Meanwhile, our strange blue elf friend, in monotone words, unraveled the spell similarly afflicting the warrior. We then fell upon the two drider ferociously with spells and weapons. It was a tense battle for the driders’ physical and magical defenses were formidable. Just when we were gaining the upper hand, a third drider skittered into the room from the north, with two giant spiders flanking it. The newcomer, summoning its magic, called out words of power and began to conjure a horrid mass of inky black tentacles. The elf, unimpressed, uttered a word of dismissal, counterspelling the tentacles before they could fully materialize.

Our enemies closing in around us, the dwarf conjured his faithful spirit guardians to hold the creatures at bay while his spectral hammer of light lashed out at our foe. The goliath attacked with both spell and his own great physical might while the warrior fell upon the driders with his great sword, striking several powerful blows. Meanwhile, the wizard conjured his own mass of tentacles (perhaps it’s an elven fetish of some sort) to harass the newcoming drider and his spider companions. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, a fourth drider and two more spiders emerged from the tunnels behind us, trying to flank the party and attack the wizard and I.
Magical bursts of sound, masses of inky black tentacles, bright coronas of radiant light, and explosions of a fiery rocks erupted all around us in a great clash of sorcery and divine power. With another powerful stroke of his sword, the warrior dispatched the drider attacking him and then moved to cut off the fiend that had ambushed the wizard and I from the rear. At the same time, the combination of the dwarf’s Warhammer and his divine defenses overcame the other drider. When the wizard bound the drider in the rear with the magical force of his will, the other, together with its remaining spider companion, began to cowardly skitter away back down the tunnel from whence it came. All at once a sense of justice overcame me. Grabbing the goliath’s arm, I heard myself righteously say, “He will not get away; you’re coming with me!” And in a blinding flash of sorcery, I teleported the goliath and myself in front of the coward’s path. The goliath leveled his hammer at the drider and, calling on the power of his storm god, conjured a thunderous wave of power, obliterating the spider outright and sending its master flying back into the room. The dwarf and I pursued the cowardly drider, dispatching it forthwith.

Meanwhile, the remaining drider cast a spell and reached a hand into the stone floor. Another coward trying to escape. The wizard exercised his will, keeping the drider clenched in the magical force of his mind while the warrior rained sword blow after sword blow over the creature. The drider did not last long under such an assault. Exhausted but victorious, we resolved to rest before continuing our descent into this maddening labyrinth of abberant foes.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Session 47: Spelunking

Our intrepid adventurers returned to a favorite and familiar tavern to regroup after their latest adventure and the recovery of the Hammer of Thunderbolts. Whilst carousing they happened to meet two very competent looking adventurers and a page who happened to be looking to join up with a group in search of powerful magical items. Shortly thereafter a messenger arrived from a patron named Arquestan, requesting an audience. Along with their new companions the Abolitionists went before their patron who had made a breakthrough in their search for the other parts of the Broken Rod. Performing an arcane ritual over the segment of the of the rod in the groups possession he unlocked dormant powers within the artifact and it could now lead the bearer towards the other pieces, in addition to holding charges of healing magic.

Following the guidance of the dowsing rod, the party traveled to a small and desolate island wherein the rod revealed a small cavern leading downward. Following the path the group repeatedly ran into shriekers among the fungus farms. The shriekers were loud, but there as no encounter seemed imminent, the party continued. In the next room, Flint noticed some cracks in the wall. Goblin went to investigate and tried to break through, but was surprised to see an umber hulk burst out of the wall. Despite some confusion, he was overcome, and the party continued on.

Shortly thereafter, the group fought a group of fish-men who called themselves 'skum'. They initially only saw two, who were dealt with quickly, when four more ambushed them from the side. They managed to cause some damage, but were overcome. Questioning them, the Abolitionists learned that the skum harvested mushrooms to feed themselves and the masters, two huge fish that apparently had psychic abilities. Traveling further under the guidance of the rod the Abolitionists wait to see what they will encounter next.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Session 46: Hammer of the Gods

After we assembled the four gems we found in the dungeon we used them to open the locked door to the last room. As we entered a large chamber we spotted three figures in the center of the room. As we approached them we were spied by one of the fiends who yelled: "you are not with our master, you must die!"  Springing into action Flint cast a spell of silence on the area to prevent the fiends from casting their own spells. Catching the fiends off guard Flint also engaged them in a melee. One of the fiends who was less confused by his actions spread his wings and took flight above the area of silence, lobbing balls of fire at the group. Goblin, Lynna & Tywill all took turns attacking this villain as Flint deftly handled the two devils on the ground. Tywill bore the brunt of the attacks from the winged terror and nearly fell. The creature was no match for our combined efforts, however. Once we defeated the fiends the group discovered a magically locked case. Tywill was able to open the case and discovered inside a rare treasure indeed: the hammer of thunderbolts. Could this be a clue to where our quest is heading? Time will tell.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Session 45: The Broken Medallion

The companions continued their quest in the subterranean area to which they had teleported from the Sorcerer's tower. Remembering they had successfully shattered the vials in one of the hallways off the first room, they hoped the night's rest had given whatever the result was time enough to disperse. Passing through, they came upon a room with a blue river running through and multiple deep blue pools. The room also had a strong anti-magic aura. On the far wall, there was a doorway with an indentation. Worried about poison, Flint leapt over the river, and inspected the door. There was also an insignia of a familiar looking ruby stave they had found earlier in the tower. Flint looked in the last pool and saw something glimmering that might have been part of the pendant. He used the stave to fish it out, thus not risking whatever might have been in the water.

Backtracking, they found a hallway filled with a strong poison gas. Remembering that Tywil was now immune to poison, he entered and looking around, retrieved a second part of what appeared to be a 4 piece medalion (a triangle surrounded with three annuli to form a full circle. Further down the hall, there was a split. To one side, a quick bit of silent spying revealed 9 large statues surrounding a pedestal with perhaps another pedestal piece. Tywil chose to use his boots of spider climb to mount the ceiling in the hallway and walk across the ceiling to above the pedestal. Doing so awakened one of the statues who looked at him and began approaching the pedestal. Thinking quickly, he dropped to the pedestal, grabbed the pendant piece and used his boots to leap up to the ceiling before the golem could reach him. The construct, confused, continued to stare at the pedestal as Tywil made his way back to the hall. Some force appeared to keep the great contraptions from following the party in to the hall.

The other hallway was on all sides with mirrors. Additionally, when Flint looked at the ceiling, he felt as if something was trying to rip his soul from his body. The door had an indentation that looked like a pendant should be inserted there. The group backtracked, eyes glued to the ground.
A bit more exploring revealed a secret door leading to a bad hallway where the walls and ceiling were covered with red fungi. Attempting to sneak through, Tywil found a doorway on the far side, perhaps 50 feet away. On the way back to report, he slipped, and the small noise he made apparently caused the fungi to emit spores, causing him to go mad. Goblin pulled him out with his staff of entanglement, and Flint was able to cast a spell to help him recover his wits. When the screaming stopped, so did the spores.

Trying again, Lynnya crept down the bad hallway with red fungi. Unluckier still, she immediately triggered the defenses and frankly went completely gibberingly insane. Not even a light restoration would calm her. Regrouping after gagging her to stop the trap, the group slept an uneasy sleep, and Flint prayed for the ability to completely restore her insanity.
Finally realizing the correct course of action, Flint cast silence on the hall.
On the far side of the hall, past the door, the party faced a tribulation (by combat?)
In the room, after looking around, there was a pit, covered tautly with leather.
Quietly, Flint asked Goblin to tie him up and lower him into the pit, where he found another piece of the pendant. Restored, the group decided to go back to the mirrored hallway to use the pendant. To avoid the effect of the ceiling, this time Flint broke the soul sucking mirror above.
Out from the mirror fell, a ghast, a black pudding, and 2 wizards, one of whom appeared to be fighting the rest. Quickly casting silence on the group, Flint and company made short work of them all, including the potentially innocent wizard.
Repairing the medallion was easy work for a craftsman of Flint's caliber, and they used it to open the door at the far end of the mirrored hall.

Within, there was a portal similar to the one leading back to the tower, and with a minimum of conversation, the party began killing summoned creatures from portal who must be susceptible to protection from spells.
The battle continues in earnest...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Session 44: The Sorcerer's Catacombs

Image result for persian lion monster

As we stared into the eyes of the Erinyes we realized we had lost our advantage. Luck was on our side, however, and we were able to defeat the Erinyes without suffering too much from her attacks.  We may have had tougher fights but this could have gone better if we had been smarter. While we were still under the effects of battle magic we decided to enter the final room of the tower. As we entered through a door in the ceiling we expected an ambush and were surprised to find an empty room. Flint realized that there must be an exit from the tower in the room so he and Tywill swept the room. Tywill did find a door but, fearing a trap, the group left Tywill to work by himself. Tywill was not able to crack the lock and couldn't understand if it were a mechanism or magic. He called the group for assistance and Goblin was able to dispel the magic on the lock with a prayer, revealing a blinding light leading to a portal. We knew that the main entrance to the tower would kill us if we breathed in the poison so we passed through the portal.

It transported us to a room Flint identified as a subterranean vault. We found two doors there that had stone lion statues stationed in front of them. Flint decided it was his turn to examine the door and locks. Surprisingly the door opened without any difficulty but sadly this was a trap. Inside the room was a flying magical sword but our biggest fears were realized when the statues came to life and attacked. We defeated both sword and statues but the battle took its toll. We agreed that we could remain in the room with the once flying magical sword for a short rest. We licked our wounds and recouped our strength. Our respite was short lived as the next encounter against chain devils nearly killed poor Volodemir. Flint and Goblin bore the brunt of the attacks after Volodemer went down while the group retaliated from range. Where do devils go once defeated on the mortal plane? We would hopefully never know. [Ed. - Back to hell, of course!] We did know that we could not survive another battle without a proper rest. Heading back to the tower of the Erinyes we were lucky enough to not run into any one and were able to pass through the magical barrier to safety once more.
What comes next as we head back through the portal?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Of Hades

What happens in Arden Est when you die? For a few particularly noble souls, the weight of their sins in less than the weight of their souls, and Maat or her servants escort them to heaven. But most were not as virtuous. Most souls go south when they die, to the river Styx, which winds its way down into the earth like a worm. Especially wicked souls might miss the landing, and continue into the abyss. But most find themselves beached on a gray shore deep below the surface, facing the gate that leads into the realms of Hades. This gate is guarded by Cerebus, hound of hell and progenitor of the kobold race.

Hades was one of the three great primordials charged by God to help him order the world. He organized a realm for the winnowing of souls. When each soul arrives at the gates of hell, the devil Abaddon judges them. The most wicked are condemned to hell until the end of the age, to serve the devils, but most are assigned a region in hell. Here through penance the soul can atone for its misdeeds, and proceed on to heaven.

The devils are a varied race. They have two main roles -- to give penance to the souls in hell, and to test the souls on Arden Est, allegedly to allow them the opportunity to prove their goodness. But most devils love their task more than they should, and seek to entice mortals into wicked deeds to increase the ranks of their slaves. Still, they remember the deal they made with God at the beginning of the world, and do not break the letter of the contract.

There is one more task Hades has undertaken: it is he who guards the prison of Hadeth. He is almost omnipotent in his own realm, as much as this frustrates Asmodeus, and so is capable of keeping one of the Valharim in check. Yet it is said that one day she shall escape...

Friday, August 25, 2017

Session 43: Sorcerer's Citadel

During the downtime, the Abolitionists heard rumors around town. The dwarves of Thunder Mountain found a wizard's tower while they were clearing the island of monsters. Some bandits were operating out of the Dimwash Mire, just west of Roskilde, disrupting trade between the forest and the city. And, of particular relevance to Volodemir, a bag of monsters similar to the one he was looking for had been possessed by a ranger living in the forest, but hasn't been heard of for a while. Some say he was killed by bandits. There was no word on Markessa's whereabouts. The party decided to visit the dwarves, and so they made their way to Thunder Mountain.

The trip to Thunder Mountain was uneventful, and the dwarves were happy to have the party take on the tower. They didn't know what was there, but it appeared to be heavily trap-ridden, "An' we all know how cunning wizard's be, aye?" Making their way along the coast as to make better time than in the hills [yay retcon], the party came across a shipwreck, and they decided to explore with Flint and Lynnya entered the hold where it had been staved in, and the rest of the party exploring the deck. There wasn't much of interest on the deck. The ship appeared to be of southern design, Lyonian or perhaps Solarian, and outfitted with mounted crossbows and ballistae.

Tywyll, who did a heroic amount of lockpicking, unlocked the door to the captain's room, and was nearly surprised when a wight, dressed in captain's clothes, jumped out at him. But with his quick wits, he was able to stab the undead fiend and withdraw behind Goblin, who made quick work of the monster. Below decks, Flint fared worse. He heard Volodemir yell when the wight attacked, and moved into the water so that he could climb a ladder to help. But when he hit the water, 8 lacedons emerged and moved to attack. Fortunately, most went to attack him, but 2 moved towards Lynnya. It was tough going at first, but Goblin and the others were able to make it down to help end the threat. In the water, they found a chest of gems, including a periapt of proof against poison.

Having looted the ship, the Abolitionists made their way to the sorcerer's citadel, seated on top of a tall hill. They ascertained that the exterior was made of a strange, unearthly material and there was only one way in -- a long smooth hallway with animal bones covering the first 40 feet. Flint walked in, and immediately felt a strange tingling in his feet, as if the hall was poisoning him. He kept going, trusting his dwarven constitution to keep him from harm. As he moved down the passage, he took a bit of damage, but nothing he couldn't handle. After 180 feet, he ran into an invisible wall, with bird skeletons scattered around the bottom of it. He felt around the wall, and found a door. He opened it, and instantly the tunnel was filled with noxious fumes. Flint ran back to the rest of the party, but was noticeably weakened by the experience. The party discussed how best to proceed, and decided that Volodemir would cast fly on himself, and levitate on Goblin, Tywyll, and Lynnya, pulling them along, while Flint would run quickly. They did so, and were successful at entering the tower.

The first level of the tower was a storage room, while the second was a finely appointed sitting chamber. On the third level they found some sort of alchemy lab. A secret compartment in one of the cabinets contained a safe, which Tywyll was able to disarm and unlock. Inside was some gold, a few potions, and a black talisman on an adamant chain. The next level was a bedroom, with blue lotus flowers in vases around the room. A woman was lying on the bed, and greeted the party with a sarcastic "Aren't you a little short to be adventurers?" to which the 7' tall Goblin shrugged. Before she could say anything else, Volodemir cast Tasha's Hideous Laughter, and before they could blink, Melissa was on the floor laughing for a straight minute. The party blinked at each other, not knowing what to do. One minute passed, and as the spell wore off, the pollen of the flowers took effect. Goblin became convinced Volodemir was a devil, and Tywyll collapsed in despair. After the first round, however, they managed to shake off the effects.

The Abolitionists have been in worse fights, but this is definitely a tough one, as the Erinyes focuses her attacks on the bard who attacked her first...