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Posted: Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:07 am Post subject: Part 56 – The Velunese Survivors
After their retreat deeper into the mountain, the party has come across the mountain man, Thaddeus, guide for Velunese party. Having learned that the other surviving members are ok, but one, Sir Justarius, was captured by some unknown group, the party has determined to aid in his rescue.
Thaddeus takes Berenn back a bit, into the large passage where he points out some tracks. They are strange, more like an insect. They then just stop in the middle of the passage, about 15' back. Thaddeus was searching the area where the party now stands when he saw their light and went up on that ledge.
"The furthest they ever skip is about 50'," he says. "First I thought they were jumping or flying, but they have reappeared a couple times in completely different passages that didn't connect for hundreds of feet." He shakes his head, "I've never seen anything like it," he says.
“Could be spiders climbing the cave wall,” replies Berenn, examining the area.”
"I thought that too," Thaddues says, "but they just disappear, reappearing later even beyond solid rock."
“Or something worse,” continues Berenn. “We should probably keep an eye out in every direction."
"Could be Shadow Blink,” says Hepla, “a spell that allow a mage to travel from one shadow to another. But it is to another shadow that the mage can see so if it is a long distance may be something else."
"Never more than about 50'," he repeats, "but not in line-of-sight." He scratches his head. "I tell you, I have lost the trail, then picked it up a few hundred feet away, in a side tunnel. Tracking back, I found where they appeared. Like they teleported right through the rock!"
"The last set of tracks went on for about 50', then disappeared 15' back." He starts to pace off distance from the cave mouth. When he gets about 40', he swings his arms. "Somewhere about on this arc," he says, "we'll find more."
Sure enough, you find some tracks, just a few feet beyond that line. They cover an area about 10sq', right along the cave wall, but do not go anywhere.
"Teleporters, then...this place is full of them. I've a spell that may anchor your friend in place, should we find him." Thorgrim decides this man is speaking the truth, and begins to trust him.
“Thaddeus,” asks Emyn, “how long would it take for us to get you companions? If you fall, we may have no way to find them and I'd hate to leave them behind.”
"Not really sure," he says. "I marked the way, scratches on the walls. I took two days to get here, but that was two days of tracking, backtracking, trying to constantly pick up this trail when it disappeared." He thinks for a bit, then shrugs. "I'm going to guess a half-day, if there aren't any problems. Doran set up a safe hold, so they are awaiting my return while healing." He starts to pace off the distance from the last prints, then starts searching the arc. "Hopefully they went through this cavern," he says.
"I saw something in the far reaches of that low ledge," says Isilme. When Thaddeus questions this disembodied voice, they simply explain it is their invisible companion, and elf named Isilme. He nods, obviously no stranger to magic. "If you're done..." she says, then continues. "There was something at the far end, hard to distinguish, but it was not natural."
Berenn finds the next set of tracks. They appear just beyond the great column behind which Thaddeus had been hiding. From there, tracks lead back west, easily followed in the slimy ground. Thaddeus notes a dragged bootprint about 10' away, showing that Justarius was, indeed, carried this way. The tracks lead away, disappearing into a dark cleft beneath the ledges 20' above.
It goes pretty much in a straight line since entering this chamber. Clearly going to that short cavern Hepla and Isilme saw earlier.
"Whatever they are," says Thorgrim, "we need to keep them from teleporting away with Justarius. I can hold him in place with a spell (Dimensional Anchor), but I have to sneak in there first. If Godwynn shines light in there, they will just flee again, if they are there even."
Thorgrim takes out his Invisibility potion. "That be me last sip," he says. "Maybe a spell would be better, and I can use a silence stone. Then I can just crawl back in there and see what is there."
"That is a good idea,” says Emyn, “but hold onto your potion. Hepla, dear. Can you make Thorgrim invisible, please? I am sure he'll handle the stone himself."
She does so, and Thorgrim casts Silence on a stone. Thus prepared, he will make his way up to that cramped ledge. He moves around a large double-column, and when he gets closer he can see a shield, lying flat on the ground. Upon it are the arms of Furyondy. Beyond that a curtain (cave curtain, NOT a fabric curtain!) that mostly blocks vision into the area beyond. You have to go around the sides of it, or just bust it off. Also, just to his left he sees a strange creature, something he has never before seen.
This is a shadow-dwelling, bipedal creatures. It is squat, two feet tall, and covered in shaggy, black fur. Its bent arms end in nasty, three-clawed hands. Its head is white and hairless, with small, toothsome mouth, flat nose, and large yellow eyes devoid of pupils.
Thorgrim tosses his Silence stone north against the wall where the passage continues on. He considers for a second maintaining his Invisibility, but realizing the humans will be next to worthless in these tight confines, he quickly decides against it and moves in to attack.
"GOTREK!" he yells as he makes his first attack. "YOU'RE UP!"
The creature turns quickly to Thorgrim, making a series of low, guttural growls. It then leaps forward, scratching and clawing him. He is racked across the face , and he feels his limbs start to seize up, but barely fights off the feeling. He swings Souldrinker, hitting the creature .
Gotrek and Belak both rush in, as rushing as the two dwarves can rush, what with the low ceiling and all. They both hit the thing and successfully slay the short little creature before it can do anything else.
It's a 3' ceiling. The rest of the party would be crawling, so they let the dwarves do their thing. Even the dwarves are not comfortable. They haven't seen Sir Justarius; Thorgrim only saw his shield lying on the ground. The tracks you were following lead beyond the flow curtains, and there are other tracks up here too. There is also a very small hole, maybe 1 1/2 feet wide, just above the floor and leading north.
Thorgrim points to the three tunnels (he's in the silence area). He motions for Belak to watch the two smaller ones, while he and Gotrek go around the curtain.
Gotrek nods, and the two of them move that way. They see the shield is beautiful, though dirty, and sure enough bears the arms of Furyondy upon it. Thorgrim nods and points, telling Gotrek to go left while he goes right.
The two burst into the chamber behind the curtain, and there they find three of the creatures. They are all surrounding a man, lying on the ground and covered with, well, they can't tell, but some kind of paste or something. They instantly see you, hearing you come around the curtain; they must have excellent hearing. It's a good thing you used the silence stone. They are making their growls and such, as Thorgrim casts Dimensional Anchor on the man. The three creatures then disappear, using some method of teleporting. The man doesn't move, though they were holding him, he is held in place by Thorgrim's spell!
As they pull him out, Thorgrim notes pieces of armor strewn about and gathers it up too. They note that he is covered with some kind of paste which looks like it's made from the mushrooms and fungus in the large chamber. They grab his shield, and then drag him out to the rest of the party. Thorgrim picks up his stone to continue to hide their sound as they get him out. He slips the rock into his small, lead box [DM OOC: which I just retroactively gave him. I was reading up on this stone strategy, and it seems that the silence would go through something as simple as a pouch. You either need a lead box to shield the magic, or something a bit thicker, like a door or wall. So, since I'm kind of making a new ruling, I'm going to also give Thorgrim what he certainly would have bought or made long ago! See? I’m fair!]
"Get the goop off him." She stays at a distance.
"How odd,” says Emyn, poking at it. “I wonder if it has a religious purpose or if it was just a marinade," Emyn says as he uses a worn out piece of clothing to wipe off the paste.
Sir Justarius is paralyzed, so he cannot move. As you wipe the goop off, you notice his skin is weird. It seems like it was changing.....
"Maybe this stuff turns him into one of them?” wonders Emyn, quickly wiping his hand off. Berenn, Thorgrim...Is this poison or disease? Whatever it is, I suggest we cure it quickly."
Thorgrim grimaces. "I suspect Ervil already met such a fate...they had a few more days to work on him than this guy. I felt the paralyzing poison of their touch. Combined with their Teleport ability, that makes them dangerous opponents to face in small numbers...I don't know that it would be fruitful to search for him, as well."
He then takes out his Potion of Vitality and pours it into Justarius’s mouth. "That will perk you right up, man. You can thank Lyseios, the Life-saver, for that draught."
It works, basically bringing him back to awareness, though it doesn't do anything about paralysis. Berenn says a prayer to St. Cuthbert, then removes the man’s paralysis.
"Justarius," Thorgrim addresses him. "Did you catch sight of Ervil during your travel with these beasts? Do they have a lair?"
"I don't know," he says. He looks confused, then he sees Thaddeus. He obviously feels better once he sees him. After exchanging quick pleasantries, he says, "I think this is it!"
Nobody has seen Ervil, unfortunately. "Your armor," says Thaddeus, handing him some pieces. "I have most of it here, as well as your helm."
“I thank you all,” he says, “ but perhaps it's best to just get out of here now, before doing anything else.”
"Let us go, then,” says Sir Godwynn, helping the man. “And remain vigilant for these creatures."
Sir Godwynn does not know Sir Justarius, though he has heard of him. Justarius’ family has a long tradition steeped in the faith of Heironeous with ties to both Chendl’s Church of the Archpaladin, the military, and count many armorers in its family ranks (including Justarius himself!). Sir Justarius, holy warrior of Heironeous, was told by King Belvor of Furyondy that he would lead the expedition; however, this position was given to the Raoan priest, Marius instead. Justarius followed the orders given to him, as he did not want to rock the boat. With capable leadership (Fallroyce, Marius, Luther), he did not see it necessary, and still a bit uncertain as to his role in this group, the young man filled whatever position needed to be done.
Thaddeus then leads you through a combination of tunnels which leads eventually to the others. You make it back to the rest of the Velunese expedition. They are holed in small cave on a shelf, overlooking a small larger cavern with a small pool of water in it. I'm going to post them here, so you can meet them.
Doran was trained as an invoker (specialist) and is a childhood friend of Justarius. The two have a near unshakable friendship in spite of their differing opinions about religion. Doran is not pious and takes a pragmatic view to the Powers as well as a good many other ideologies. Doran, aggressive and practical of mind, served as the chief magical artillery of the party. Whereas Kelmar undoubtedly was more skilled and powerful in the arcane, Doran's magical arsenal was far more offensive in nature. Always eager to launch into battle with devastating evocations, Doran intended to prove his worth, upstage the arrogant Kelmar, and 'get the job done.' Furthermore, Doran felt indebted, angrily so, for being 'forced' into this mission by the Furyondian military, but he was at least satisfied to serve alongside his friend.
Next is Lt. Gabriel Thatcher, 6th lvl Myrmidon fighter (defender of Marius, captured by Iuzians and then rescued.) Expert archer. Lt Gabriel was Marius' close companion, personal bodyguard, and protector. He took orders from Fallroyce so long as they did not counter his primary role. Gabriel was a good man, dutiful soldier to this country, and generally well-respected and liked among the party. He owes them his life, especially Marius who risked his to save him against ridiculous odds. With so many of their number slain, Gabriel has now become somewhat obsessed with vengeance, almost to the point where he forgets that his primary mission is to protect Marius. However, as Marius too seems itching for a fight, this suits Gabriel just fine!
Marius is a 7th lvl Scholar Priest of Rao. He is the Church (and Archclericy of Veluna) representative of the group, and though technically its 'leader' he deferred to the military authority of a high-ranking militant priest of St. Cuthbert, Captain Desmond Fallroyce. After Captain Fallroyce fell, turned to stone by the gorghimera at the bridge, Marius looked to Sir Justarius.
Marius was also a scholar in the ways of magic and thus had a skillset appropriate to the task at hand. Marius was the 'glue' that held everyone in check, finding a diplomatic balance between all factions of the party, from the common soldier to the ranking men of minor nobility. He was more than willing to debate with the diviner, Kelmar, whom he knew from a scholarly perspective and was the advocate for his membership, about religion and the roles of the Powers over mortals, and counter the snobbish man's arguments with his own. He alone seemed unaffected by Kelmar's haughty bearing and chided him for his lack of piety and humility, and Marius felt Kelmar's loss quite heavily. Marius took a liking towards most of the party, especially Sir Justarius, for his open mind and humble persona.
Marius squared off briefly with Melchor in a battle in the mountains. You came across its aftermath. Melchor outmatched him in every way possible. It was only with the use of some of his prized scrolls that he was able to free Lt. Thatcher from the Iuzians clutches and escape himself, and though he does not look forward to running into the evil man again, he sees it as a necessary thing that must be done, and he is willing to pay any price to end him.
Marius is rather young, for a Raoist, but has a wisdom and intellect that bellies his age. He did not believe in fighting, and was given command of the expedition for his other reasons. However, since taking the field against the minions of the Old One and encountering the fell denizens of the Lost Caverns, he has grown much harder. He now knows what True Evil is, and he understands what it will take to defeat it. He has, in fact, become almost militant in his demeanor, and the smile that almost never left his face before this mission has now been gone for many weeks.
Last edited by ragnar on Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:03 am; edited 1 time in total
Posted: Sat May 18, 2019 8:41 am Post subject: Part 57 – The Way Out
“Well met, warriors,” says Gotrek.
“True that!” says Emyn, stepping forward. "Friends, it is good to have finally found you. We had feared you lost when Ervil told us of your encounter with the gorgimera. Know that is is destroyed. We also saved a number of your companions in the hope they may be restored to life, including those turned to stone on the bridge. If you have the means to restore them, it might be a good time to do so.”
The priest, Marius, shakes his head. “Alas, such is beyond our power,” he says, “but your appearance is most welcome.” He strides forward and takes Emyn’s hand. “Who are you?”
“We are the Heroes of Hommlett,” he replies with an easy smile, as if that should be enough. “I am Emyn Frel, Avenger of Trithereon and this is my wife Dame Hepla, a witch of some power though she has been weakened lately by the touch of the undead. Sir Berenn Silverwood is our leader and a follower of St. Cuthbert.” The two nod at each other as Emyn continues. “The dwarves are Thorgrim, a warrior priest of Clangeddin and Gotrek, our battlerager. A word of advice. Don't stand too close to him in a fight as he berserks. The other dwarves are the Azcral, who have guided us here and aided us in our quest. Elrae of Woodstock is our bard and Isilme is a Battledancer of Elistraee. Don't let her appearance fool you. She is one of the most goodly souls I know.” Emyn notices the confused look on Marius’s face, then quickly adds. “My apologies, she often goes invisibile, the better to scout.” Emyn then continues the introductions. “Our thief Noot fell in battle with the corrupted mage Tsojcanth when we closed the rift to the Abyss, and our guide Manny is curently being taken away by the Iuzians.” Emyn’s easy smile then changes, a foreboding sense of concern revealed in his chisled feathers. “Unfortunately, they now possess the Necronomicon of Iggwilv. The Iuzians have split their forces thinking they outmatch us. Some remain here while others take the tome and our friend away. We would quit this place and pursue them if we can. Will you join us?"
Doran steps forward, embracing Justarius. "I knew he'd find you," he says, his affection obvious and touching. Then he hits him in the shoulder. "Now, you done hallucinating? We got work to do!"
Justarius smiles, then slams him back, knocking the battle mage back a step. "I told you, I wasn't hallucinating you mumblecrust!" He points to the party, "and they saw them too, those spindly little creatures, whatever they were."
"Well," says Doran, adjusting his shoulderpiece from the blow. "We're just happy Thaddeus found you." He looks at the party, "all of you. You are most welcome." He then clasps Emyn's arm. "I have known many of your faith," he says. "In Northern Furyondy your faith is well-respected."
"Not just Furyondy," says Marius, stepping forward as well. He too clasps his arm (if that's the right way to say it!). "You are welcome here, for the time for talk, for reason, is passed. Vengeance is what is required now." He says it strongly, like a follower of Trithereon himself, and such is the grimness of his voice, that Sir Godwynn, paladin of Rao and member of the Church Militant, stands at a loss for words as a chill travels down his spine.
"Aye,” replies Emyn grimly. “Vengeance must come, but let us take our vengeance in a wise manner. They have split their forces, leaving the bulk here while those with the Necronomicon and our companion are lesser in number and flee eastward towards the lands of the Old One. We managed to prevent them from seizing a powerful artifact in the Lanthorn of Daoud, but the tome will give the Old One untold new powers to raise undead armies. We must make it safe if we can and in the process destroy his minions. If afterwards you wish to return here and finish off the others, I will pledge myself to those efforts. Do you have the means to change the petrified to flesh and restore the dead to life with you? We rescued Kelmar and a few others. "
"I, for one, would see the Iuzian battlemage dead before leaving this mountain," Thorgrim says. "The rest are immaterial to me, though any we could return to their makers would be deaths well-dealt, and worth the trouble. Any weakening of their forces may help us, later, when we retrieve Manny….and the Necronomicon."
"I am sure we will need to deal with the forces they left behind in order to pursue the Necronomicon and rescue Manny,” says the invisibile Isilme, whose disembodied voice seems odd to the Velunese. “I would see the battle mage who attempted to end the life of my dwarven friends and allies brought to heel.” She gives them a moment, then continues. “Well met friends, the King of Furondy himself was concerned for your welfare and set me to learn your fate. I am sure they are many who will rejoice at your return."
"I will never get used to speaking to invisible people," says Thaddeus.
Thorgrim takes the shield out that he found. “We recovered this at the bridge,” he says. “I assume it belongs to you.”
When they see it, Marius and Lt. Thatcher are instantly saddened. "That is Captain Fallroyce's shield," says Lt. Thatcher. "He fell in the fight against the gorghimera."
"It was a chaotic time," says Marius. "We lost Kelmar, Sir Dalby, Fallroyce, and Ervil to that beast."
I think at this point Thorgrim can show them the statues. They are of Sir Dalby and Kelmar the Diviner. You have Fallroyce's shield, but never recovered a statue of him. He probably didn't turn to stone, since the shield is not stone. Then there is Ervil, who you rescued from the Dao. Of course, he later disappeared too.
"Perhaps we can find them yet," says Marius hopefully, though when you see his eyes, it does not seem that he really means it.
“If you are ready to get out of here,” says Thorgrim. “Do you know the way?”
They shake their heads, then tell you what they know. They fell or jumped into the river by the bridge, and went over the waterfall into a cavern with hundreds of ghouls. How they fought across that foul place, they do not know. By the time they were clear, they were the only ones left. They do not recommend returning that way, nor do they know how they would get up the waterfall anyway.
"I have a protection from undead scroll," Isilme offers, “but I believe you are right. I think fighting our way through is folly.”
They continue to explain their trek. They scrambled away from the ghoul chamber through a series of caverns. The ghouls did not chase them after Doran threw up a Wall of Fire, blocking the way. Thinking themselves still too close to the ghouls, they explored deeper, looking for a way out.
Eventually, they ran into more trogolodytes. After the death of Leonard at the hands of the trogs earlier, after going through the arch in the Lesser Caverns, they didn't want to disturb the trog tribe again. They backtracked and made their way to an area with a ledge which dropped steeply down to the river below. They saw a cave on the other side of the river, but didn't proceed down there. They continued through another series of caverns until they got into another big fight with some kinda large repitles things. Eventually, they reached the caverns where you found them. The only reason Thaddeus had been in the fugus cavern was that he was tracking the strange creatures which has taken Justarius.
Since nobody has any real idea where to go, they lead you back through the caverns to the chamber which overlooked the river from a high ledge, which they felt was safe.
Hepla, who was not at the trog battle, asks about the troglodytes. “How many were there?”
"We cannot say," says Marius. "We faced only a few at a time, but they kept coming in ever increasing numbers."
"After Leonard fell," says Justarius, "we decided to retreat. There is no telling how many there were."
Gilhak saw the trogs fleeing passed them, and he says there were at least a few hundred, counting young. "It all happened so fast, and we could only form square and keep them from us. Luckily, they seemed more intent on fleeing than fighting, and they just kept going."
“We should move through the troglodyte caverns,” says Emyn.
Thaddeus can easily show you the way there. “The smell is unmistakable,” he says with a wince.
"Let's follow that trail then,” replies Emyn. “It will surely lead us to where we can find a way out.”
"Certainly," Thorgrim replies. "Thaddeus, Isilme, you're in the lead. Don't allow any warning of our approach. We don't want to slay Trogs by the hundreds. Look for a way we can bypass, or move them out of our way. See if you find an area you recognize.” He glances at Gotrek. "It's not in Manny's or our interest for us to into a fight here."
The passage leading to the troglodyte caves is very long. There is only one passage, which goes quite a long way. It takes a couple of hours to catch up to Isilme and Thaddeus, who are waiting at a small chamber, the first you've found in this tunnel. It seems to have been used as a guard post. There is a side passage here, based on the few prints going that way, but the main passage continues in another direction. After a short break, the group continues that way.
“The troglodytes seem gone,” says Isilme. “I scouted beyond here into their warrens, but I found no sign of them. Only a handful of zombies standing guard. They were mostly goblins, but I noted a couple of gnoll zombies too.”
Emyn says, "Let's take care of those undead but do it under silence with no flashy spells. For things like this, our blades should be more than enough, unless our clerics can destroy some of them with their holy might."
They can. It doesn't take much to destroy them, esp the goblins zombies. The groups blasts its way through the zombies without any effort. The sinkhole leads up to more caverns, all of which seem to have been trog caverns. One has a large pool with islands in it. That's as far as the Velunese reached before, when they explored from the other direction. From here, there is a passage that leads to area 3 of the Lesser Caverns. The Velunese destroyed a flesh golem there, then went through a large archway. It led to the trog tunnels which you just traversed. Anyway, from area there you can loop around to the right, up the stairs, and you end up in the crystal caverns that connect to the entrance dungeon.
Isilme casts Fly, then proceeds alone. She finds that dungeons upstairs are still watched by zombies. Half a dozen zombies guard the stairs up, and she flies silently just above them. There are a couple guarding the throne room. No leaders are there. The door there is closed, so she can't scout further without revealing her presence, so she returns.
“Let us move that way,” says Thorgrim. “A handful of zombies is no threat, and if we move quickly we can reach the throne room without a problem.” The rest agree, and the party moves out. Indeed, they quickly destroy the zombies at the stairs, and make their way without issue to the throne room. There they prepare to fight their way through the dungeon level and make their way outside.
Opening the door reveals a hobgoblin guard at the corner, 15' away. He sees it opening and quickly calls out when he sees you. Before anyone can act, Gotrek rushes forward and cuts down the hobgoblin with one swing! He sees another one down the hallway, about 30' away.
"Someone needs to silence the other hobgoblin fast!" says Berenn.
"I will silence them," says Gotrek. He rushes forward and cuts the humanoid down.
Suddenly Belak rushes forth out of the throne room as well. When he gets to the corner, he sees a hobgoblin that way and turns, charging it. Thogrim moves up to the corner, to see what's happening. He sees Belak to the south, fighting two hobgoblins with at least a couple more behind them. Another moves up the right corridor and attacks Gotrek, missing.
[Isilme OOC: Yeah I suppose alerting the entire complex to our prescience was the smart thing to do.]
[DM OOC: Hey, when you open a door with a guard on the other side, he yells. Not sure how you avoid that other than, maybe Clairaudience spells, silence spells, etc., and you used none of those. But just opening a watched, guarded door? Yeah, that's what happens!]
Anyway, Hepla tries to go rushing out, as usual, but Emyn grabs her. "No you don't!" he says, and holds her tightly. She grunts, but doesn't really struggle.
Belak kills another hobgoblin, stepping forward. Gotrek kills the one in the hallway, then moves down into the chamber below to another one. Thorgrim moves down beside Belak, killing another.
Sir Godwyn moves forward, then notices movement to the left. In the barracks back there he sees hobgoblins rising. "Justarius, this way!" he yells, moving into the chamber.
Sir Justarius follows, and the two find themselves facing a half-dozen hobgoblin guards, all just waking up.
Another hobgbolin rushes into the fountain chamber from the west, intent on attacking Gotrek. Howver, Belak cuts it down as it runs by him. Two more come out, and they attack Belak, one hitting the dwarf. Another moves forward to attack Gotrek, but misses.
Gilhak now enters the throne room, and once he learns of the hobgoblins, he sends the Azcral forward. The long line of 20 angry dwarves will be rushing ahead next round. The rest of the party basically holds back, as the dwarves sweep through the dungeon area slaying all the hobgoblins in an orgy of vengeful rage.
The group then gathers near the entrance, where Isilme scouts the way. She finds that there are at least two score enemies there, some gathered around campfires, others standing guard in various groups. Looks like a mix of men, humanoids, and zombies, but none of the Iuzian leaders.
"Our fight is outside!" Thorgrim says to the group. "Dwarves, Forward!”
Gotrek smiles. “Finally,” he says as he follows Thorgrim.
Posted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 8:18 am Post subject: Part 58 – Suicide is Painless
We left Manny quite some time ago, after he had unsuccessfully tried to get the Necronomicon and been captured. As the party is finally exiting the Caverns, we return to Manny and his plight. Can he escape? Will the party find him in time? Or is he destined for years of torture and worse at the hands of the evil Naerenthyxelle...?
Manny has been marched out of the Horn, and back down the canyon to the crossroads. He is surprised that Melchor did not yet use his Word of Recall. Perhaps the Horn interferes with it as it did with their own teleportation magic, he thinks. This could aid him, he reasons. He then realizes that the charm is gone.
“I don’t need it,” laughs Naerenthyxelle, obviously using her ESP ability to read his thoughts. “And you have nowhere to go.”
“We’ll see,” he replies, staring at her coldly. Naerenthyxelle laughs, and Melchor turns with a disapproving look. This just makes her laugh harder.
Manny tries to think of intense images, to mask his real thoughts. He cannot tell if he is successful, but Naerenthyxelle does not look at him as he tries to consider his situation. A half dozen gnolls are out front, and another half dozen are in the rear. The zombies are dragging Manny. Melchor and his zombie ogre are in front, and Naerenthyxelle is behind Manny. The zombie and the demon may be tireless, but the human and the hobgoblins are not. First chance he gets, Manny will try to escape somehow. He recognizes where they are. They are following a path leading to the top of the large flat mountain just to the east of the Horn. Some parts are actual cliffs, while others are more like this, but falling of the edge anywhere is probably fatal.
[Manny OOC: I thought about the fact that she is a succubus and working for Iuz. Then I considered his background. And several things immediately stuck out.
1. He is loaded with information about the strengths and weaknesses of the Vesve elves, Highfolk and Veluna areas. He's been spying on the wealthy and powerful humans for the elves for a long time. Far more than she could get in a few hours with an unwilling subject. Iuz could pick his brains over a period of months, if not years.
2. He is right now a seriously suicidal elf. Female elves who suicide become banshees. What would a male become? Can she arrange the conditions that would make a banshee for him? A very intriguing question for an evil being interested in more evil.
3. She can't really have both. Which does she want more? A dilemma for her she needs to decide before Manny passes into Iuz's hands.]
[DM OOC: Well, Manny may have a chance to escape, or you can choose death. That's why I put you on the cliffside path. I mean, it's an option.... Or he can bide his time, see where they are taking him. I don't want to railroad you any further, and instant death stuff's not my forte (except for poison, criticals, death spells, traps, and massive damage!). However, I don't want to just let him have an easy escape either. These folks are terribly evil and dangerous, and to do anything less that play them to the hilt, that would be a disservice to them, know what I mean?
So, I'm a bit torn what to do with him. Absolute worst case is they take him back to Dorakka, alive. Of course, that could lead to an interesting rescue. Anyway, he has options; you decide what he tries. Just remember, he has 20 hps, so he's pretty beat up. He has not had enough sleep to recover any spells either. So yes, the deck is stacked against him, but at least he is still in the game!]
Manny follows along until they reach the top of the mountain. He notes that there are ruins around, though barely more than foundations and what look like trenches. There is also a strange monument, like a roadside marker. He does not realize it, but this is the spot where Hepla appeared when she was transported here by her mother.
Melchor and Naerenthyxelle move away to speak, and Manny notices an old, rusty nail on the ground. He picks it up unobserved; at least the zombies do not react. He is able to pick the lock on his chains with it. He is free, but keeps that fact hidden and secret. He hums an old olven song to try and throw off any ESP attempts.
He looks around and finds a spot where he can leap off the side of the plateau. It's not straight down, so he can basically roll down (using tumble skill). It's quite a was down though before he can find any cover or foliage to hide in, hundreds of feet. Unfortunately, you are so high up and in such a stark, rocky area, that there isn't a lot to use.
Manny also notices that his familiar, the falcon Wilbara, and her mate Lantquesse are flying nearby. He thinks that their best use at this point is giving him info as to what the enemy forces are doing. He has a link with Wilbara but can't see what he sees without the spell. But Wilbara can tell him what he sees. Manny will keep them from being targets, just telling him where they aim or move so he can try to escape. Despite their many skills, Manny worries about them becoming targets of arrows and Naerenthyxelle.
[DM OOC: I think he can only speak emphatically with Wilbara, but that's ok. You could jump. It's a slope, and the rules are different. No damage for first 20', then 1d6 for each 10' after. Tumbling would normally not help on a fall after 60', but this is more a slide, bounce, fall. I imagine the fall the guys took in Lone Survivor, if you've seen that. Not pretty, but survivable. I'd let him make a new tumble roll for each 60'. That means he gets 20 free, then a fall of 40' for 4d6 (half with a successful roll). He could make it, and if he spots something on the way he'll have to make a climb check (half his Climb Walls) to stop his fall. This is the same chance for catching a ledge on a fall, and I'm ignoring the restrictions on distance, since again, it's not a fall. I think that's the best way, mechanics-wise, to do it. Since it's about 200' of slide before an edge beyond which he cannot see anything, I would say it's a tough call. There's definitely no brush to hide in for the first two increments, and "maybe" something on the last, depending on the fall.
Also, he has to consider that Naerenthyxelle may be able to find him, even if hiding in shadows. On the other hand, she has his rod stuck in her belt. Nothing a good thief can't grab. Of course, that's what Manny thought about the Necronomicon! It's also possible for him to somehow get it, and then use it to get to safety. So, you give me a specific plan, and I'll work it out. If you have more questions, ask me. I'm not sure how much more detail you need from me.]
Manny is able to express his need somehow to Wilbara, and the falcon swoops down, cawing and making Naerenthyxelle glance that way. Manny slips his chains, tumbling back away from the zombies before they can act. He then then leaps over the ledge before anyone can act. He tumble-slides down the mountainside, falling a total of 60' this round. Made his tumble roll AND his save, so he takes only  when he hits a rock. Not bad. He's still tumbling, and he really can't do anything else except tumble.
He tumbles another 60', again making his tumble and his save, taking only  as he falls. He is still sliding, falling, and doesn't see any place to hide. He has another 80' before he gets to the edge of a cliff, and he'll either have to stop himself (which requires a climb walls at 1/2 skill) or he will go off the edge. He doesn't know what's over the other side, but he can imagine it's a long way down….
[DM OOC: Manny has 15hp left.]
Manny tries to stop his fall, but he cannot. He keeps sliding another 60'. He made another tumble check, so he only takes another 1/2 dam . He is then able to finally stop. He's 10' from the ledge now, and yes, it is a LONG way down, easily a thousand feet. He knows that there is no way he could survive that fall.
He rolls out of his tumble, scramble, and when he stands he spins around. Naerenthyxelle is standing there, an evil, knowing smirk on her face.
"Did you truly think I did not know your plans?" she asks. "I have read your wondrous mind this entire time. I knew what you were going to try before you knew." She then laughs. "Your powers are insignificant next to mine," she says. "I showed you my true self, for the pure pleasure of seeing the horror on your face, the knowledge that I would drain your life away and there was nothing you could do." She holds up her other hand, holding Wilbara by the tailfeathers. "But first you watch as I slay your precious familiar." A smile of pure wickedness crosses her face as she sees the anger well up in Manny. "Then I shall feed you the pieces!" She tilts her head back and laughs, a loud, horrid laugh that only can find its home in the Abyssal regions.
[DM OOC: Sorry, didn't mean to fool you on all that, but I figured, what better way to simulate the absolute horror and frustration of dealing with, well, a demon, than to so give you false hope, then completely dash it! I know, evil, but I am a DM, and that is a demon.]
Manny knows he is doomed, as is Wilbara. There is only one chance, though not for him. For his people. It is not a thought, but almost instinct. She never picks up a note with her ESP, as Manny turns and leaps off the cliff without a thought, without hesitation. He free falls for about 5 seconds, falling about halfway to the ground far below, and he is oddly at peace. He feels a great sadness for his friends, but at least he knows that his people will be safe. He closes his eyes as he approaches the ground, falling at over 100 mph. To his great surprise he is caught, just before he hits the ground! Massive claws wrap around him, and he looks up at the underbelly of a great, Copper dragon. It is Clonoc!
[DM OOC: BTW, I always assumed that Clonoc would return in the end. I had planned a big battle outside, maybe on the slope or the valley, wasn't sure. I also knew you all would be vastly outnumbered, maybe outgunned, and that Clonoc would have to appear to help, especially if either the Caucimera or the Black Dragon were involved. Things haven't actually gone that way, but Clonoc was always there in the back of my mind. So, why not have him in the area, like I planned, and watching what was going on. When he sees everything, he finally acted. It still follows my original plan which, despite my distaste for the Deus Ex Machina trope, actually works sometimes.]
[Manny OOC: It is interesting, and unlike most deus ex machina, has a logical probability. Clonoc would know we were in dangerous lands. If we hadn't freed him, he wouldn't be available to assist. Actions have consequences. Plus, we freed him from a demon, and now he repays the favor. Not bad.]
[DM OOC: Come on, I'm not going to let you just die, not after everything else that has happened. I'm really not an evil DM!]
[Manny OOC: Maybe, but Manny would rather he have rescued the hawk.]
[DM OOC: sheesh! Give a guy a hand, a full Deus Ex Machina (well, Draconis Ex Machina I guess) one, and the DM STILL can't catch a break!]
"I THOUGHT YOU MIGHT NEED A HAND," says Clonoc as he catches Manny.
Naerenthyxelle moves up to the ledge and looks over, and she is shocked, truly shocked, when she sees the great dragon fly up holding Manny! Wilbara nips at her, and she cries out, surprised, releasing the hawk which immediately flies away.
Naerenthyxelle immediately disappears, knowing more than to tangle with a dragon, as Clonoc flies Manny away, taking off to the north, across the small valley towards another mountain. When he settles down, Manny is overjoyed to have his avian companions back with him as well. He thanks Clonoc, who tells him to sleep. He is safe for now.
It is true; Manny is very tired. He's been up 3 days now, so he falls fast asleep, watched over by Clonoc. He wakes in the morning, having slept all through the night. His hawks are still around too, and he hopefully feels better when they are there sitting over him when he wakes. He can get Clonoc to take him back.
Right now, Manny feels responsible for allowing the book to fall into Iuzian hands and unleashing the type of attack upon his nation that his twin brother gave his life to stop. Not to mention completely besmirching his own, his family's and his clan's honor by allowing his brother's sword to fall into evil hands while he still lived.
Manny seldom does elven reverie, the reason being the elven memory is as sharp as if the event had just happened. Think about that and his description for a moment. Most of his memories involve his brother, which inevitably leads his thoughts back to the day he died. There is no 'Time heals all wounds', the memory is as fresh as if he had died that day. Manny can't escape or evade it, it is always there.
Now, to make it worse, he just made that sacrifice meaningless. The worst tear, the greatest loss of his life just lost all meaning. To go with that, he lost something he was supposed to guard with his life. The item his brother's life had been intimately caught up with. It was not just a relic, it was a symbol of his brother's life to him.
Now he has 3-4 hundred years to look forward to of constantly re-living that. I had him holding on to the thread of attempting to retrieve it, then of passing information on to the party of what they face.
Posted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:15 am Post subject: Part 59 – Exiting the Caverns
The party has reached the entrance to the caves, which are being watched by a large contingent of the Iuzian forces. Thorgrim casts Recitation, reading aloud ancient dwarven quotes from his clan’s history. This pretty much affects everyone, but the dwarves especially. Emboldened by the spell, they charge outside. There they are attacked by some zombie wolves. The wolves attack, strangely slowly, but Gotrek and Belak are in the lead, singing their warsong. The two battleragers quickly cut down two wolves, as the half-dozen hobgoblins outside call for help. They take up positions ready to charge back, and they are backed up by a dozen gnolls which move up, longbows out. They fire them into the dwarves, sticking them (and a couple zombie wolves) with arrows. Of course, the dwarves just laugh, continuing their raging battle.
The rest of the Azcral rush outside. They erupt out of the skull archway like a rolling avalanche, bowling over two wolves and pushing the others back. A group rushes straight ahead, taking the fight to the hobgoblins. The gnolls back up, changing targets and going after the Azcral, one of which goes down with a couple arrows in his chest. Beyond the gnolls, the men arise from their cold campfires (it's morning and the fires are out), grabbing up weapons.
The Azcral attack, driving back the remaining wolves, and along with Gotrek and Belak they finish them off. The rest push forward and attack the hobgoblins.
Gnolls fire again, their arrows finding the mark more often than not.
Justarius charges around to his right, attacking the gnoll archers, while Godwynn goes left, attacking the gnolls on that side. Doran goes out and backs up Justarius, casting a sleep spell which drops two gnolls. Thaddeus moves to the right, taking cover behind a large rock. He fires at a gnoll archer, hitting it .
Some gnolls change weapons and attack the paladins, while a couple fire again into the mob of dwarves. One more Azcral falls.
The hobgoblins attack, a couple scoring hits on dwarves.
Emyn stays back, keeping Hepla safe inside. Elrae stands by him as well, while Berenn moves outside, taking out his bow and preparing to join the archery fight. Isilme flies out, ending up about dead center of the battle but about 50' in the air, invisible as usual.
With a wild laugh, Gotrek charges forward, slipping right between a couple of Azcral. With a mighty swing, he cleaves a hobgoblin nearly in two! As the halves fall away, he yanks Goreblade free and searches for his next target....
Keeping watch behind them, Emyn hears a familiar scrapping sound. He is thus not surprised by the zombie that shuffles into the chamber and attacks him. [That's mostly going with your stated actions of watching behind you. Otherwise, it could have gained a surprise attack.
Elrae was about to move out, but now he stays where he is, calling Hepla to him. Hepla moves over, ready to act either inside or outside, as needed. Emyn then moves up and blocks the way into the chamber. He swings his bastard sword, hitting the zombie , but it just keeps coming....
Sir Godwynn scores another weak hit with his mace . They are just glancing blows, and he grits his teeth as he takes a blow in response from one of the gnolls .
The other gnolls attack, with two firing at Thaddeus, who ducks and avoids their arrows. The other three attack Justarius, and all miss badly. One even hits its companion .
The rest of the Azcral dwarves then attack. They surge forth, swarming the hobgoblins, taking all of them down with cuts of their axes. Only a couple hang back, as one is sorely wounded, and his companion holds him back. Berenn steps up, pulls out his rod, and heals the dwarf. With a happy grin, it turns back, ready to charge again!
The rest of the Azcral go left and right, attacking the gnolls. Gilhak and another dwarf check on one of their downed comrades. He too is wounded [down to 0 hp] but alive. Thorgrim moves up to the last down dwarf, and he is badly wounded. A CLW brings him back from the brink of death [to 2 hp].
Marius moves over and casts CLW on the other downed dwarf, bringing him back to 8 hp. He wakes up, and the three help him to his feet. Lt. Thatcher stays by Marius's side, but on hearing the call from inside, he turns and moves back in.
Thaddeus then fires, putting an arrow in the chest of one gnoll .
The battle seems to be in order, when suddenly the mountain men beyond charge forward, into the rear of the gnolls! The battle is then swift, and never uncertain. They absolutely surprise the gnolls, which are cut down like chaff. In a moment it is all over.
Well, almost. Gotrek comes out of his rage, but Belak, his new Battlerager follower/henchman does not!
[DM OOC: No map, as I don't think it's now needed. With the men switching sides, the battle is over. Well, except for the zombies inside and Belak still raging.]
Inside, the zombie missed Emyn, who then attacks it and kills it. He kicks it backwards, and Elrae uses Snowfang to create a Wall of Ice to block the way in case there are more.
Outside, Gotrek grabs the raging Belak, who then punches him in the face . Four Azcral then jump him, pulling him down. Eventually he calms down, and he too slumps to the ground. He looks over at Gotrek's lip, dripping blood, then starts to laugh. There are no other opponents, though 20 odd barbarians are now standing before you, bloody weapons in hand.
Emyn comes out of the entrance with the others and moves to the main group in a show of strength. "You know, it might be a good test of your earthquake hammer to collapse that dungeon and its entrance,” he says to Thorgrim. “You might even catch a bunch of the enemy in the collapse."
"Whose side are you on?" Thaddeus then asks the mountain men.
They know all about Melchor and the Iuzians, and they tell their story. The Iuzians came through their village nearly a month ago. After killing and then raising some of their people, the Iuzians forced these men to guide them here. They have been forced to do their bidding for a month. Many of the human zombies you have encountered were their people. They have had no choice but to do as they said, until now.
So, they basically just took their chance. They can tell you that Melchor and the elf woman Naer something, they left yesterday, heading back east with some gnolls and zombies, including the ogre zombie. They have not returned, nor do they expect them to. Melchor left the mage Altarius in charge, and all the rest of the Iuzian leaders went back inside the caverns this morning. You actually just missed them!
Emyn says, "I am Emyn Frel and we are the Heroes of Hommlett. As you can see, I am an avenger of Trithereon. Would you join us in tracking the Iuzians and raining vengeance upon them? What they have done to your people is wrong and they have seized a friend of ours as well as a special book that will allow them to unleash untold undead horrors upon the world. Will you help us find they way and join us in the fight?"
The leader, a warrior named Karkon, speaks for them. "You can count on our steel," he says. "We would send our friends to their rest, and these fiends to Hell."
[DM OOC: The mountain men come from a village to the north named Zillar. It lies to the west of the Salach Valley. They know of Karprun and Ammsee, but they did not know of the Azcral. In fact, they can give you a lot of info, but it's not really pertinent right now. Let's move on, and when the immediate issues are resolved, if you survive, we can revisit this.]
So, Berenn and Thaddeus can use their ability to track, and you can easily follow Melchor and his group to the east.
"Thorgrim, collapse that cavern,” says Emyn. “Let's move! It is time to seek our revenge and rescue our friend."
"'Ware of landslides," Thorgrim says, and everyone moves far away. He plants Earthshaker in the ground, speaking the Dwarvish rune inscribed upon its head. With a great rumble, he collapses the entire front of the entrance. "May that evil mountain be their tomb," Thorgrim declares with satisfaction. "May they rue the day if ever they escape its confines and face us in battle again."
Berenn is able to track their prints. It seems that a group of gnolls and zombies went back down the valley to the east. They were half-dragging Manny. Tracks are at least a day old.
Thorgrim takes a stand on the nearest boulder. "Dwarves, Humans, Adventurers...the vow has been taken, together, to do all within our ability to do battle with the evil powers which govern this world. With forces joined, our strength waxes...to become a deadly Force!"
"Now, affirm your oaths!"
Emyn draws his sword with a deadly rasping sound and says, "I have stood with you for many battles. I will not shirk my duty here. TO VENGEANCE!"
The many cheer, and the group then continue down the mountain pass. Thaddeus and Berenn easily track the Iuzians all the way back to the crossroads, then find that their trail goes off to the right, leading to the flat-topped mountain.
Last edited by ragnar on Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:05 am; edited 1 time in total
Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:08 am Post subject: Part 60 - Home
After leaving the caverns, the party travelled down the mountain to the crossroads. The trail leads up the flat-topped mountain, where Hepla was transported here by her mother. It takes a few hours, so we are talking maybe noon the next day when the party finally reaches the top of the mountain. There they find a familiar sight. It is the great copper dragon, Clonoc, lying stretched out and enjoying the sun.
Hepla says, "Great Clonoc, we search for some who stole our friend, would you please help us."
"THEY ARE GONE," says Clonoc. He angles his head and neck to the side, indicating behind him. There you see Manny, sitting upon an old foundation stone beside the ancient temple marker where Hepla arrived.
"Great Clonoc, have the Iuzians escaped?” asks Emyn quickly. “Were they destroyed? Is the Necronomicon made safe? I apologize for my ignorance but I don't have your mighty gifts, let alone your vast intelligence."
"Manny, what happened, how are you, where are the evil people.". Hepla runs everything into one sentence.
Manny doesn’t say anything, lost in an unusually depressed silence. Clonoc explains that he found the zombies and killed them. He didn't see the gnolls or the other two Iuzians. He relates how he saved Manny, but when he returned, the Iuzians were gone.
"Thank you for rescuing him, great Clonoc. We are in your debt.” Hepla runs up to Manny and hugs him. Approaching, you realize Manny is deep in reverie, though it seems less than restful. Tears stream from his eyes, as he mouths words that barely make a sound. Hepla leans close, to hear what he says.
"The wrong one died." Manny swings his legs down and stands up. "Naer is a succubus. I fought her and lost. They came up here to use some means to travel to Iuz. My equipment and any chance to regain my honor went with them."
Emyn lowers his head and says, "Then we have failed. We surely cannot pursue them into the bone-paved streets of Dorakaa. Manny, you did what you could under impossible odds. There is no dishonor in failure. What matters is the effort was made. What manner of travel did they use?"
Manny shrugs. "I have no idea. My escape attempt and Clonoc's rescue came before they left. Failure was mine before this. This but compounded it to disgrace. Despair is all that afflicts me."
Emyn remembers his own travails, and he nods, not pressing him many further.
"Berenn, Thorgrim, get over here and check Manny out to see if something else afflicts him." To the others he says, "The Necronomicon is lost, and the enemy has escaped to the lands of the Old One. It is now our duty to return to those who sent us and warn them of this new threat. Perhaps saving the Lanthorn will help balance things. Let us camp here for the night under Clonoc's watchful presence and then move on as quickly as we can."
"There really is no help for it,” mumbles Manny. “I've betrayed all I hold dear and there is just no point to continuing."
"Manny, how have you betrayed?" asks Emyn as he holds Manny's hands, "Though Trithereon brings vengeance, we who worship him also know that at times forgiveness is also possible. Confess your sins and let us find a way together to make them right. I as a friend, could do no less to help you."
Berenn thinks Manny is drowning in despair and there is no magic which will fix it. Marius goes to Manny. "You do not know me," he says, "but I feel your pain. I have suffered as you these last days, leading all but these last of my companions to death, or worse."
Manny looks up, seeing the Priest of Rao for the first time. He also notices the other men with him [DM OOC: I mean the other party NOT the mountain men tagging along!] "We numbered seventeen when we left Highfolk." He stops, looking to the east, towards Highfolk, just as Manny looked in the direction of the Vesve. "Only we five remain, and were it not for your friends, I fear we would not have lasted long." He looks back at Manny, his kind, knowing eyes strong and resolute. "We have only to go on," he says. "It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things."
[DM OOC: BTW, I thought I would give you a view of the flat-topped mountain. [It's actually Monte Piano, if you want to look it up!]
Manny pulls his hands free. "Better things? They lie dead at my back. None of you understand. It's not just that I allowed the book to pass into Iuz's hands, though that is bad enough. It makes the sacrifice of my brother for naught. Nay, far worse was my folly! Striving and failing. Aye, it happens. But I carried my brother's blade! The ancient, Vesve Forest Sylvan Bladesinger relic! Lost to those scum! I have dishonored not just myself but my family and Clan! I SHOULD HAVE DIED TO PROTECT IT! And I didn't. I couldn't even fight for it." Manny slumps back against the stone. "I do not even deserve the effort mighty Clonoc made. My brother brought our family to the height of honor, and I have trampled it into the dirt."
Gotrek approaches, standing before the disconsolate elf. "I will go with you. Help you retrieve your prized weapon." He takes Goreblade, and uses it to slice his arm, the blood flowing freely to the cold stone ground.
"THIS, I swear to, by CLANGEDDIN!"
As he says this, there is a rumbling of sound like thunder, but no one can discern the source. Unless you can feel a god's wrath, under your skin. Gotrek can. And he howls in his god's anger.
Sir Godwynn also approaches, then knells before Manny. "I know your pain, but know this. Were it not for you I would be dead. Were it not for you, Lord Berenn would be dead. Were it not for you, Lady Hepla would be dead. Her unborn child would never be. Were it not for you, we may never have survived that abyssal spider beast. We would not have saved Justarius there, nor his comrades. Our brave dwarven comrades would likely have met their deaths, and the men of Zillar would be yet enslaved, like as not to meet a dreadful end worse than death. All these owe you their lives, and all lives saved by them in the future. 'Tis no small thing you have done, Menelbrethil of the Vesve."
Emyn looks in Manny's eyes, locking him with a gaze so intense that he cannot look away.
"By Trithereon I swear that vengeance will be had Manny. I shall stand by your side as a living weapon and see that justice is done for you, your brother and your people. " Emyn holds his gaze and adds, "Trithereon grant me the power to pursue this Succubus Naer and wreak vengeance upon her. Fill me with your divine might and make me into you weapon. Fill us all with righteous anger so that we can right this wrong and throw down those who would use their power to enslave the world "
Thaddeus moves up and says: "We all need to keep the world free of these troublemakers ... count me in for the chase."
Silent for some time, Thorgrim ends his meditation, and responds to Manny. "Have faith, my friend, that we may somehow regain what you have lost. Had you died protecting it, it would still be in the hands of the Iuzians, with no one left to retrieve it. While you yet live, there is hope. I myself have known great loss. When I was but a youth, Orcs through treachery invaded my ancestral fortress when no warriors were there to defend it. They slaughtered all who remained. I wanted to fight and defend my home, but was instead shuttled away with some others, at my mother's insistence. She died so that I might live to fight another day. That day comes soon, and the Euroz will know the name of the one who brings vengeance raining down upon them. The place is set, but no one, not even I, knows the time."
Isilme reasons that this location allows teleportation, so she decides to try to contact Lareth. She casts Magic Mirror, and she is able to scry him. She then instructs him to use the mirror to open a gateway to her. He does so, which allows EVERYONE to go back home. Azcral survivors return to Homlet with you. The men from Zillar decide to return to their village, and Clonoc will protect them if the Iuzians return.
Last edited by ragnar on Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:07 am; edited 1 time in total
After a short break in Hommlet, just a day to rest, clean up, etc., the party gathers at Isilme's grove. This group includes the Veluna party. They are all amazed by the place, especially Marius, who has never seen such trees. "A small slice of Arvandor," says Lareth with a rare smile. Others note he seems much better.
Isilme leads everyone to her island home where she keeps the mirror. There you scry someplace in Mitrik, doesn't matter where, and open a gate through which everyone can step. Hepla remains behind with the other half of the communication scroll, so that Isilme can call on her to reopen the mirror later. This time Isilme and Emyn make sure that Hepla remains home!
Small crowds gather as you walk there, drawn by your presence as well as those that are with you. It seems word has spread since your departure. In the mean time, the party returns to the Palladium where they are ushered into the presence of Canon Hazen.
Canon Hazen greets Marius Velestes and the others, and he is very saddened by the small number of people returning. Marius gives a full accounting of their travels, their conflicts with the Iuzians, losses in the Caverns, and finally their rescue by the Heroes of Hommlet. Then the party can add in their own details.
"We were able to find and recover Daoud’s Wondrous Lanthorn,” says Berenn, “but the Necronomicon was lost to the hosts of Iuz. They brought a small army into the caverns and we were not able to prevent them from escaping with the book."
Emyn bows deeply and says, "Your Holiness, I am Emyn Frel, Avenger of Trithereon. May I also add that we have brought some of the expedition's dead with us as well, including some who were turned to stone and might yet be restored to life. Though our faiths sometimes don't see eye to eye on matters, I would beseech you to help those we have recovered for we will need all our strength to fight the Old ONe's forces now that he has this terrible book. Also, you should know that the ancient mage Tsojcanth has been laid to rest and through his death, a rift to the Abyss was closed. Iuzians still prowl the caves along with many terrible evils, including a death tyrant."
You learn that the Lanthorn was not known to them, but from them you can learn more about it. Nobody knows what's in the Necronomicon, but the consensus is that it can't be good.
Isilme bows deeply and says "As I promised your holiness and the king of Furondy, we have done the utmost to know the fate of the joint party, and bring home those we could. Sadly we were only able to keep some of those powerful items out of evils hands, but it seems a stalemate. The Necronomicon has fallen to them, and the lantern has fallen to us. Dark times may be coming, and we need to act together.”
“We shall see what we can do about those turned to stone,” he replies. He also gives Berenn a scroll of Raise Dead, in gratitude for his service.
Berenn thanks the church leaders for their generous gift.
Emyn says, "Let us return to our homes for a time and allow Manny, Isilme, Elrae and Hepla to study, unless you feel like going after those Iuzians in the caverns first."
Thaddeus will return to Highfolk, and Gilhak and the rest of the Azcral will go with him. One Azcral, Belak, does not wish to go. He is now a 3rd level battlerager, and he chooses to follow Gotrek. "Where you go, I follow," he says flatly.
Six Azcral dwarves decide to stay behind in Hommlet too. One is Orili, the scout from outside the caverns. I think he's one of the last surviving named ones. The other 5 are just 3rd level fighters, but generic, without anything worked up individually. They all promise to stay in touch through Hepla and Isilme.
Thorgrim leads the surviving Azcral to his shrine to Clangeddin. He kneels and prays for a very long time.
Rising, he notes with satisfaction how well the shrine has been tended in his absence. He is somewhat surprised to notice various baubles on the offering-plate, placed there, perhaps, by passing travelers. There is a silver necklace, a small bag tied shut, a dagger, a pitted sword. Thorgrim adds his MW warhammer to the lot, and some of the Azcral follow suit with offerings of their own. He then calls down a Flame Strike, consuming them utterly and reducing the steel plate to a molten puddle, glowing red. When it cools, there is no trace of the offerings, nor of encroaching rust.
"Mm!" Thorgrim grunts in satisfaction. He retrieves his cask of Dwarven ale from his Portable Hole, and casts Blessed Abundance, multiplying his store greatly.
"Drink!" he bids the Dwarves. "Drink to Delaim. Drink to the dead. Remember them always, in our tales. Honor their memory, when we do battle."
He then sits on his porch and has a long-awaited smoke, but does not enjoy it as usual. He says little, watching the Dwarves drink, watching the river flow past on its slow march to the Nyr Dyv, and to the sea.
The next morning, the group gathers at Isilme’s island again. There, Hepla scries Manny’s sword. Manny says nothing, still lost in despair. Her crystal ball reveals a woman. Some recognize her; she was the rogue archer with the Iuzians. The sword is on her belt. Manny’s eyes widen as he recognizes the beautiful, elven scabbard and the unique pommel.
The view is inside, as Manny saw the cobbled stone floor. Where inside, he doesn't know; however, Isilme recognizes the place. “It is the throne room, deep inside the Horn,” she says. “It seems that divinations now work,” she adds.
She hears conversations, and one of the things you learn from them speaking is that most of the dungeon level collapsed. The Iuzians within the caverns could not go beyond the small throne room. They are not really trapped, and know that, but at least they are free to explore without interference. That's what they are doing now, with some arguing that they should finish checking the upper caverns first.
"Moolah is doing that," says a familiar voice. That of Deverell, the priest with the greatsword. "He and his kind are more suited to caves anyway."
"Since divinations now work, maybe we can teleport or gate as well,” says Thorgrim. “We know the place and could pick a place from which to ambush them!”
"Remember,” says Emyn, “they surely have mages. Our spellcasters should hit them hard and fast.”
"Oh, I agree,” says Manny, his old energy suddenly returning. “Here is my idea. First, find out if the mirror will work. If it does, then we trap them in an ambush. With surprise on our side for a change, we can finally give them a taste of their own medicine.”
Isilme uses the mirror to open a gate to the caverns nearby, and everyone holds their breath. Remarkably, the mirror works. The party gathers their things and prepares to return for one final accounting….
Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:20 am Post subject: Part 62 – Returning for some payback
[DM OOC: The party spent a LONG time planning this coming assault. They have more spells prepared than I can list, but suffice to say, the left no stone unturned! They finish healing, then the next day they use the mirror to enter the far end of the throne area, away from prying eyes.]
Gotrek grunts. He aches for battle. He knows deep down Isilme could have handled this in a more conventional, subterfuge manner. But he needs this. If this plan goes awry, he will blame himself heavily. He pushed for it. Gotrek shakes his head. He stares ahead, waiting to move thru the gate, once established.
Everyone goes through the mirror except Gotrek, who gets the last Haste from Hepla before entering.
Noot and Manny get to the far side and flank out to the sides. They cannot see the throne area from here, so they move around. They fly up and around, spying a handful of figures at the far end, standing around the throne. They move quickly along the side walls, then throw their silence stones as the rest of the party should be just about clearing the entrance and moving up to the main floor. Nobody moves atop the stairs, and soon everyone is pretty much there, though all but Thorgrim I believe are invisible. The figures at the top of the dais are clearly Azcral dwarves. When you get close, you see that they are all now undead, in the service of the Old One!
Gotrek rushes forward on the attack. As everyone gets closer, you realize the Iuzians are nowhere to be found. The zombies fall before Gotrek, and the party looks around, wondering what to do next.
[DM OOC: Oh, I’m sorry, did you think the Iuzians would still be there? You could have checked BEFORE you teleported!]
There is an open door to the right, where you guys never went. Manny checks it out. Through the doorway lies a smaller chamber, measuring some 15 feet in either direction. Against the northern and southern walls rests a pair of high-backed couches covered in stained red leather. An elegant, gold-framed mirror reflects the scene from high upon the east wall. The floor is tiled with the same colorful slate, and a faint floral aroma hangs in the air. Disrupting the room’s pleasant flow is a gaping hole with jagged edges where the two walls meet in the northeast corner. It looks like it was tunneled at some time in the recent past. Manny notes (using his skills which I just rolled!) recent traffic in here. The place is freshly "tossed" and there are footprints leading away down the passage.
Gotrek continues to sing and runs off down the tunnel, disappearing into the darkness. The zombie were not enough to sate the vengeful dwarf, and others wonder if it is safe to follow him.
Isilme looks around, pretty sure that there's nothing to find here. Thorgrim is up on the dais now, speaking with Sir Godwynn. He thanks him for sending the poor lads to their rest. Meanwhile, Emyn, benefiting from a Fly spell, whooshes by Isilme as he flies after Gotrek. The dark tunnel goes on straight for some time, before starting to turn back and forth as it winds downwards. Gotrek continues to run, signing his warsong....
"This is no time to laze about,” says Isilme, invisibile and flying. “Our friend Gotrek needs us! Follow him!" She then takes off as well.
“Aye!" Thorgrim says. He hurries after Gotrek, hoping to do battle before the effects of his protective spells wear off, followed by the rest.
Gotrek rushes into a small natural chamber. There is an exit on the far side, covered by a half-broken Wall of Stone. He rushes through it and down the tunnel beyond, which winds band and forth quite a bit. The others come following.
Following in the narrow tunnel are all the rest, but with him running hasted, Gotrek is far ahead. He will end up with about 5 rounds of fighting on his own before anyone reaches him. The order will be as follows, unless somebody does something different.
When Gotrek runs around the last bend, he sees a sight that stops him in his tracks, even in his raging state. Well, at least for a second, but what has ever done that?
From around the last corner comes the maddening din of many babbling voices, all screeching over one another. When he rounds the corner, he sees that the source of the voices is not the Iuzians. Rather, it is a large fleshy form covered in mouths and eyes, like the liquefied fusion of many human and nonhuman faces. The nightmarish creature oozes forward eagerly.
He stands dumbstruck for a moment, and the sound of all the gibbering mouths confuses him, but only for a moment, as the rage fills his mind again. All he sees is his next enemy, and with a song to Clanggedin, he rushes forward eagerly!
[EMYN OOC: Yay! Jubilex the Demon Lord.]
[Berenn OOC: This is getting better all the time!]
When Berenn enters last, he takes his time. Eveyrone else is just running after Gotrek, which he doesn't want to even do, so he looks around. He notes there are a lot of tracks into that tunnel, and very few leading out.
Gotrek attacks, hacking at the monstrosity with Goreblade, but not hitting anything really solid (i.e. he missed!) despite his Haste and Rage. The thing lurched its green, slimy body toward him, all its mouths working. Some were biting at the floor, pulling its nasty bulk along; others were babbling nonstop. Imagine all the inmates of an asylum talking, screaming, and mumbling at once. The noise it was making was even worse than that —or it would have been if Gotrek were not lost in his rage. At least madmen speak in voices that are human. This thing doesn'’t; its din is a combination of sounds resembling human voices, animal noises, and things you would rather not think about. It’s the sound of chaos incarnate—not just the voices of the insane, but the voice of insanity itself. It is enough to unseat your reason, which lucky for Gotrek was already long gone!
Just as the monster advanced, one of its mouths cut loose with a nasty gob of saliva. The liquid struck the wall behind Gotrek, who ducked quickly, and exploded impressively. He almost dropped goreblade when he felt the heat and pressure from the burst on his back. The flash momentarily blinded his infravision; leaving him open to attack. The stone floor around the monster smelled like it was baking, and Gotrek's steps were slowed in the softening stone. The thing lurched forward, striking out with strange, amorphous pseudopods, each snapping with jaws that resembled many diverse creatures, all that had fallen to this monstrosity. Gotrek didn't know how many mouths bit him; he was nearly lost in his rage. Then with surprising strength Gotrek felt himself being pulled by the mouths which had latched onto him. He barely avoided falling, and he swung Goreblade wildly in response, with only one swing connecting with anything solid .
Gotrek attacks again, hitting for . The mouther let fly with another spitball—. BANG! Gotrek is blinded by the flash. Then he is pulled to the ground, engulfed by the monstrous abomination. He is bitten by untold numbers of mouths and finds that he cannot swing Goreblade effectively. He is half sunk in hot mud beneath the thing, which sucks at him like quicksand. He tries to crawl away, but he can only go about 10', and the thing just flows along with him. He knows that he will have to cut himself out!
The others are still moving down the tunnel, Emyn in the lead. He thinks he can faintly hear Gotrek's singing in the distance, then it goes away.
[DM OOC: Just copying the note of the party's order. Thorgrim, running now, passes Sir Godwynn and Elrae. You can't use the "run" rules with Flying; it's one big disadvantage. He will pass Manny and Isilme next round!
Emyn, Isilme, and Manny on Round 5, ie will be able to act on round 6.
Thorgrim on Round 4. He'll pass Isilme and Manny on Rounnd 3, and reach the battle on round 4.
Elrae on round 6.
Noot and Sir Godwynn on round 7.
Berenn is not following.]
Gotrek continues to be bitten, and he is now blinded by the spittle flash. Still, he refuses to give in. With herculean effort he pushes up from the muck, resists the tugging pull of the thing's amoebic forms, rips his way from the many, many teeth that had latched upon him, and breaks free! He stumbles out of the thing, slamming against the cavern wall. He looks down the tunnel from whence he came, and the thought of retreat crosses his mind, the first time ever in the middle of a fight. Seeing such a creature before him, is as close to a "Clangeddin" rapture he could achieve. Even though he may be near certain death, he howls with joy!
The thing lunges forward again, bringing Gotrek out of his momentary hesitation. He looks at the monstrosity as it surges forward, and he hears the call of Clangeddin. It overpowers his senses, and he sings back, at the top of his lungs and he presses forward to meet it. Goreblades flashes back and forth, cutting huge swaths of gelatinous goo  as the mouther launched another exploding spittle at him. It misses, flying over his head as Gotrek sinks to his knees in the quicksand-like ground.
Pseudopods gnash out at him, and he barely feels their bites. All they tell him is he is still alive, which means he can do Clangeddin's bidding. He swings again, and again, his muscles fueled by the unnatural speed given by Hepla. He takes two more massive chunks out of the thing [19, and 17]. It doesn't even seem to notice, and Gotrek, well he just smiles!
Back down the tunnel, Thorgrim is breathing heavy now, but he keeps running, desire to reach his companion pushing aside all other thoughts. He hears Gotrek singing ahead now, and behind it, muffled by the dwarf's great lungs, a strange sound that he just can't identify. He keeps running, yelling at the top of his lungs, "Whur A Faeyn!!!"
I guess I had that mixed up. OK, Thorgrim has reached Gotrek. He rounds the last corner and sees the battle ahead of him. He collapses against the wall, barely holding himself up as he catches his breath. Well, something I'm going to have to figure out. He failed his con check, so by the rules he collapses for a TURN! I think that's lame, so I'm going to use the Fatigue rules from Combat & Tactics. Exhausted characters move and fight as if they were encumbered two categories more than normal. His move drops to 1", and is at -4 "to hit" and +3 to AC. He needs to make a save vs. Paralyzation (using con bonus too) to recover. That'll work for now. I'm going to streamline this system in the future. But this works for now.]
Thorgrim just ran 'til he almost dropped! Slumped against the wall, he can barely keep going. However, there's nothing to stop him from spellcasting, and he begins to call upon Clangeddin for aid! [I don't know what he will cast, but it'll be good! Kinda want to hold onto the Holy Orb, but I don't know.....]
Sir Godwynn runs ahead, and he runs into Manny, also invisible and flying. Manny is knocked into the wall , and he turns to see somebody invisible collapse to the ground! Sir Godwynn is prone; he'll have to get up next round, then can continue. [DM OOC: It's tough when you are all invisible!]
New reinforcing order:
Emyn and Isilme will arrive next round, 5th.
Manny on round 6 now, along with Elrae on round 6.
Noot and Sir Godwynn on round 7.
Berenn is not going to matter.
Berenn is checking the footprints. Well, it doesn't really matter now. There are no other exits from this tunnel, so it's just the gibbering mouther. Most the Iuzian "characters" got out, but their minions, well, let's just say they bit off more than they could chew. The same can't be said for the gibbering mouther!
Thorgrim is taken aback by the sight of the hideous monstrosity before him. "DIE NOW, ABOMINATION FROM HELL!" he shouts. "FEEL THE POWER OF CLANGGEDIN'S HOLY MIGHT!" Thorgrim casts Holy Orb in such a fashion as to not catch Gotrek in the AOE. He gathers this thing is big enough to accomplish this.
Exhausted from his run, Thorgrim does his best to drive the hideous gibbering from his mind as he casts Holy Orb upon the abomination before him. [DM OOC: I made him do a Concentration check at -4, the same as his "to hit" modifier for being exhausted. He made it easily!] The white light streaks from his hand out to the center of the cavern where it explodes amidst the thing's central mass .
As if in response, one of the things many gnashing maws spits forth a stream of spittle which explodes in Thorgrim's face, blinding him (3 rounds)!
Gotrek is again yanked down by the mouther, as it smothers him, attacking him with numerous bites. Further, it presses forward, after covering Gotrek, close enough that it can also lash out at Thorgrim with more snapping pseudopods. He is hit by 6 maws , all of which grab him fiercely.
Gotrek struggles free, standing up and swinging Goreblade in a massive arc, ripping his way out from beneath the thing . The hole he carved closes right back up as he stands, nearly to his neck and struggles out of the thing, back to the wall.
Emyn and Isilme arrive at the end of the round, both invisible and flying.
Manny will arrive on round 6 now, along with Elrae.
Noot and Sir Godwynn on round 7.
Berenn is not going to matter. (Incidentally, he tries to track the Iuzians, but cannot over the cobblestone floor inside.)
When Elrae turns the corner and sees his friends engulfed in a hideous monstrosity of gaping jaws and lidless eyes, he gasps and retches in his mouth. The mouths move yet are silenced from Isilme's spell, which means Elrea's countersong is unnecessary. Elrae spreads his fingers and unleash a volley of magic missiles staying away from the silence sphere and lashing pseudopods.
Isilme turns a bend as well and sees this hideous creature come into view with her friend Gotrek penned in and bleeding against the wall. She feels a wave of despair break over her. He has finally done it this time. Perhaps the mighty dwarf will finally fall.
Her magic is weak, the stuff of whispy enchantments and otherworldly summons. No time to plan. What can she do?
Then she feels a deep and dark anger burn within her.....she must do....something. She must help her friend. Then a vague and distant memory crosses her mind....she is sure it is not even her own memory.....how strange. She sings words of power as if she has known them her whole life and unleashes energy the likes she has never felt before upon the creature to save her friend.
"Ulu l'choas yutsu!" she says in drow, as she casts "Vecna's Dark Fury!"
[DM OOC: This is a unique spell she “acquired” the ability to cast from the mind of Chardath in the Ghost Tower. This is the first time she has used it, and maybe for good reason.
Vecna's Dark Fury (Necromancy)
Range: 60 feet + 10 feet per level
Casting Time: 2
Area of Effect: Special
Saving Throw: None
Original Author: Robert Johan Enters
This spell brings into being one globe of negative material for every three levels of the caster. These globes can be targeted at one or multiple targets (as many as there are globes). Each globe strikes the target unerringly, like a magic missile, but is unhindered by any defensive spells. It roars straight through walls of force, shields, etc.
Only magic resistance (if successful) or an anti-magic shell or similar magic stops such a bolt. Each bolt does damage for 3d6+3 points.]
Isilme draws upon the dark power she learned years ago, in the nightmare realm of Chardath's mind. She thought she spoke Drow, but the words seem different; darker, and strained. The very air above the monstrosity begins to spin, dark tendrils of pure negative power spinning into annhilating votices of doom. Thorgrim hears the sound, but doesn't recognize it. But he remembers the sphere summoned in the Temple of Evil, during the final battle with Imix, the Dread Prince of Elemental Fire. While not as big, there are three, and they shortly show their incredible power.
They descend on the gibbering mouther abomination, which seems to also reach out towards them, pseudopods sucked into the three spinning voids, gibbering screams suddenly drained away into nothingness. Tremendous swaths of the thing simple cease to be, sucked into the deadly disks where they vanish without a trace. The remaining mouths scream one last dispairing wail, as the abomination is ripped to pieces by the terrible forces unleashed.
[48 damage dealt!]
Gotrek is oblivious to the scene in the cavern beyond, seeing only the creature before him, and he cuts huge swatches through it, ripping holes that this time do not close behind the fury of Goreblade [18, 19]. The pseudopods that were attached fall limp around him, and he just continues his wanton destruction, even as the magic disappears, taking with it the foul life of the unnatural beast.
Thorgrim leans against the wall, exhausted and stunned, before slumping to the ground. He doesn't eve remove the half-dozen jaws, still clamped to him in death. He is just too tired! He looks back as he sees Isilme appear, and he sees her just floating there, seemingly dazed.
Emyn flies over to Isilme and tries to get her out of her daze, saying, "Isilme, you did what must be done and saved lives by doing it. Let me help you." He carefully brings her to the ground where Berenn or Thorgrim can minister to her. "What I wouldn't do for Hepla's smelling salts right now," he mutters.
Isilme seems completely disoriented and out of focus. "Help them?" She stammers.
They are fine, and Gotrek finally comes out of his rage. Emyn helps Thorgrim up.
"Just had to catch me breath," he says, still a bit winded. "Ain't run that hard since Jargret was chasing me." When Emyn just stares at him, Thorgrim explains. "Her name literally means 'Ugly daughter,'" he says, chuckling at the memory.
"Your rage served you well, this time," Thorgrim says to Gotrek. He clasps a hand to his friend's bloody shoulder. "Perhaps you should..." he lets his sentence trail, realizing its futility. "Here, accept this healing. I'm already here, aren't I?" Thorgrim casts cure spells upon him, as Manny casts Locate Object to find his sword.
The spell points him up, and the party begins to follow the trail best they can. They make their way to the Greater caverns, where they run into a couple of beholders. Isilme quickly realizes that they are gas spores, and the party gives them a wide berth. They soon find more; the caverns seem to be infested with the things. You go around that way, with the others slipping back and looping around. Noot stays absolutely still, and he notes that when he does, also controlling his breathing, the things slip on by, moving towards the sounds made by the others and they move around the corner. They seem to have excellent hearing, though he saw no ears. Perhaps, me muses, they can sense vibrations in the air, like a fish in water. Very interesting.
Manny is in the lead, and when he gets to the four-way intersection above, he sees a terrible sight. A group of bodies lie on the ground, three orcs and a man wearing the garb of a priest of the Old One. The bodies seem to be dessicated husks, and sprouting from the bodies are a half-dozen more of the gas spores, though of smaller size than the others. They are still attached by their fibrous tentacles, not yet having separated from the corpses of their hosts.
They avoid them and make their way to the Behir caver. Berenn notes tracks leaving, showing that the Iuzians must have chosen to leave the caverns after their encounter with the gibbering mouther. They party follows, leaving the caverns for good this time as they track the Iuzians and Manny’s sword. They are soon outside, and they make their way around to the front. Berenn confirms that the Iuzians have started down, and they are currently in the valley leading back down.
After some more planning, the party rushes down the mountain and prepares to attack the remaining Iuzians while still in the pass.
Last edited by ragnar on Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:07 am; edited 1 time in total
Posted: Sun Jun 30, 2019 9:32 am Post subject: Part 62 – The Final Chapter (Part 1)
With the party having decided to ambush the Iuzians as they are leaving the area through the narrow canyon. The party spent a full week planning and preparing, which culminated in lots of Stoneskins, Flying, Silence, and Invisibility. I will skip all that, but I will sum up what happened with a picture.
After some quick moments in which everyone decides to basically follow the plan, Elrae and Thorgrim cast silence spells on the rocks for Noot and Manny to carry. They fly out out to gain flanking positions to either side of the narrow canyon. After the first attacking spells, they will immediately toss them into the group of enemy leaders.
Everyone is getting into position, when Elrae leads off the combat with a Cone of Cold from Snowfang (which makes him visible). It blasts one zombie out of the corner of the undead ranks, as it continues on to the leaders. They all get plowed by the surprise blast of icy frost, chilling their cold hearts even further!
Consider that the surprise round. Also, Berenn finds himself suddenly in silence, as Noot has moved too close to him. Others are getting into positions. I will post the map. Then I will continue with the first round, doing your set orders. After that, we'll see.
Surprise and opening salvo:
Elrae appears flying 15' above the ground, out of range of all those zombies but low enough to still catch all the Iuzians. That was some tricky geometry! That signals everyone else to act, so I'm going to do the next round. It's not a surprise round now, but since all the rest of you are invisible, well, you get the idea.
Isilme goes first, and casts Hold Person from 120' high and over towards the cliff. She's at max range of being able to reach the ground in one round of flying, if she chooses. She loses her Invisibility, and swears to herself when the thief she targeted shrugs off the spell. The Iuzians thief was already turning and raising her bow towards Elrae, so she continues to fire at him.
Noot and Manny both throw rocks next, tossing them silently among the Iuzians. The leaders are all covered in silence area!
Kendra (the woman with the cheetah cloak) runs away. As soon as she leaves the silence area she stops, looks around, waves something at the others, then backs up looking around. She already saw Elrae, so she fires a shot at him which bounces off his precast Stoneskin!
Emyn flies down and hits the immensely strong Deverell from behind . He appears, floating in the air about 5' up. The priest turns and swears, but no words come out as he is silenced!
The Bakluni warrior, Al’Qasim, snaps out a scimitar when he sees Emyn appear, and losing no time steps up and slashes across Emyn's back. Again, no damage thanks to another Stoneskin. Deverell too turns, drawing his massive two-handed sword and slashes at Emyn fruitlessly, but removing another Stoneskin in the process!
Leora, the thief with Manny's sword, steps back and fires an arrow in at Emyn, which bounces off his Stoneskin. “They are protected by magic!” she shouts, though most of the party doesn’t hear because they too are within the silenced area.
Gotrek then charges forward. He attacks Leora, becoming visible, but she turns at the last second, apparently hearing him. Still, it is no use. He slashes her with Goreblade, a wicked blow which knocks her to the side and ground. 
Lothar, the fur cloaked suel warrior, fires an arrow at Elrae, but it bounces off ineffectively.
Zeb, the Iuzian underpriest, turns around and hits Emyn with a two-handed sword, again bouncing innefectively off his Stoneskin.
Thorgrim and Berenn then both simultaneously cast Holy Orbs, dropping them on the Iuzian leaders. Deverell takes , Zeb, the other priest, takes . He is instantly slain! Emyn takes . Al-Qasim (the Bakluni warrior) takes , Gotrek takes , Leora takes , and Lothar takes  and he is down too!
Finally, Sir Godwynn flies down, just out of the edge of the Silence and about 20' in the air, and he turns the Dwarven Undead to the south. Presenting his Shield of Light before him, he calls upon the power of Rao. “Great Rao, send these our friends back to their rightful rest.” Suddenly five of the zombies simply incinerate before his holy wrath!
The rest of the front zombies all simply keep walking, as those in the front were so commanded, and nobody can say otherwise thanks to the silenced rocks. The ones to the rear stop, as everyone else stops, but again, without a command they simply stand there.
The orcs swarm back towards the fight, with the nearest making it and attacking Thorgrim, Gotrek, and Emyn. All miss, but Emyn loses four Stoneskins, Gotrek three, and Thorgrim two. Others fire arrows, with six attacking Sir Godwynn, missing but taking out six Stoneskins. Two fire at Elrae, taking another two Stoneskins off.
[DM OOC: Not bad. Two down, virtually no injuries, and the Iuzians in disarray! I still have to do the extra attacks at the end of the round, but that was a good start! Unfortunately, they are quickly taking out your Stoneskins.]
The orcs fire six more arrows at Sir Godwynn take out the rest of his Stoneskin spell. Three more fire at Elrae taking out his. Three secondary attacks on Emyn take out his remaining Stoneskins too.
Leora, the one with Manny's sword rolls away from Gotrek who is now engaged with three orcs and gets to her feet. She's armed with a bow but doesn't get another shot due to movement.
Kendra (Cheetah girl) drinks a potion and disappears, to everyone except Isilme who was looking right at her! [DM OOC: And that's because she has Detect Invis. BTW, you don't see everyone. That spell is VERY focused, so you ONLY see people when you look directly where they are. It's more like a detect invisibility spotlight, but you have to look directly at the 10' area where they are. ]
I think that's it. Oh, there are 5 goblins, all armed with shortbows. They all fire in volley at Elrae, the only real option. He takes 4 arrows for .
One orc stands in front of the zombie orcs that are walking away and commands them to stop. He then commands them to turn and attack any enemies, and they all turn around together. The rear zombies are still just standing there, waiting for commands.
Here is the map, showing names for all the key individuals. Yellow halo means they are flying, and their altitudes are also shown below them.
Leora moves into the zombies. "Protect me," she orders. She then fires an arrow at Elrae, floating in the air. He takes a shot the chest .
Suddenly all the silence area goes away! Emyn's fly spell ends, and he falls to the ground. He takes no damage because it was only a 5’ fall onto snow, but he is momentarily prone. Sir Godwynn also loses both his Fly and his Stoneskin spells. He immediately falls the 20' to the ground, taking  and he is prone. Gotrek loses his Fly spell, but not his Stoneskin.
“Dispel Magic!” yells Thorgrim. “Somebody find that blasted battlemage!”
Kendra (Cheetah girl) fires an arrow at Berenn, which just bounces away thanks to his Protection from Normal Missiles spell!
A large half-orc rushes forward, shouting a loud orcish warcry. He goes through the zombies and charges Sir Godwynn while he's still on the ground. He attacks him with a broad sword and short sword, hitting him with the short sword .
The orcs then attack. Three attack Thorgrim, missing but taking off three more Stoneskins. Three attack Gotrek, also missing, but taking off the last of his Stoneskins. Four attack the prone Emyn, and he takes two hits with swords [3 and 7: 10 total].
Two more orcs fire at Elrae, both missing. Six then fire at Berenn, and all either miss or have their arrows deflected away!
Gotrek starts to sing and kills an orc in front of him. He takes a 5' move backwards, to keep them from flanking him.
The goblins fire four more arrows at Elrae, one hitting him .
Deverell raises his two-handed sword and brings it down heavily on Emyn. “I have you now,” he says, as he hits him for .
Isilme uses her Wand of Slow, which catches Kendra and the two orcs behind her, slowing all three!
Manny casts Avoidance on his sword, which springs away from Leora, landing on the ground just beyond the zombies.
Elrae has his spell ruined by arrow shots, and he flies away. He flies over and lands on a ledge where he can get some cover. He also doesn’t want a Dispel Magic to drop him into the middle of the fight!
Thorgrim attacks, killing an orc and stepping forward.
Berenn smiles at the benefit of the Protection spell, and summons his last Holy Orb, unleashing it on the enemies below. Al'Qasim takes , Deverell takes , and Emyn takes . 5 orcs surrounding Emyn and one attacking Gotrek all are slain as well!
Noot, still Invisible and Flying, flies down and backstabs Al'Qasim . The Bakluni arches back in pain.
Sir Godwynn stands and attacks Moorsh, the half-or, hitting him for . Emyn also rises, attacking Deverell but missing.
Al'Qasim spins around, slashing at Noot and hitting him with his scimitar .
The dwarven zombies all move forward, following Moorsh. The spread around him, attacking Sir Godwynn who hits two of them with attacks of opportunity [8 each]. Four are able to attack him still, three hitting him [3,3, and 5: total 11].
[extra attacks at end of round]
Leora gets none, as she moved. Kendra loses hers because she is slowed. Moorsh doesn't get one because he moved.
Gotrek kills the last orc in front of him, as does Thorgrim. Noot takes another slash from Al'Qasim . The man clearly outclasses Noot by a wide margin, even with Noot's Improved Invisibilty.
Four goblins fire at Elrae, all missing as they bounce off the rocks. Good thing he took cover! Three more fire at Berenn, all missing! One fires at Gotrek, missing, and two fire at Thorgrim, but again, they miss too.
Nobody else gets extra attacks due to movement. The zombies have surrounded Leora, protecting her as she ordered. The remaining dwarf zombies are surrounding Sir Godwynn. One orc is left fighting Thorgrim. The rest are to the south, firing arrows. The mage is clearly around somewhere, but nobody has seen him.
Manny flies down immediately and grabs his sword, silently thanking the gods and his new friends for its retrieval, then flies up and away, 40' high to a small ledge where he then stows his brother's blade (and scabbard!) in his bag of holding.
Isilme casts her bonus song spell Charm Monster on Kendra, charming her. She speaks to her via her precast Message spell. "You are in no danger my friend. You need to stay exactly where you are and remain out of the fight to remain so." Kendra stops, looking around. She then turns back to the battle and waits.
Elrae steps out from the protection of the ledge and casts Sleep, sleeping all four of the goblins. As he does, Leora fires an arrow, hitting him for .
Sir Godwyyn holds his shield up and summons the strength of Rao, banishing another half dozen dwarven zombies to oblivion.
Thorgrim feels the power of Clanggedin surging within him, urging him to battle. A mighty call escapes his lips: "BLOOD AND VENGEANCE!!!" he cries, his battle cry echoing off the canyon walls. All the orcs are stunned!
Al'Qasim slashes again, hitting Noot once more , before Noot flies off to the other side of the gorge to escape the fierce warrior.
Moorsh attacks Sir Godwynn, missing with his broadsword, but stabbing him again with his short sword .
Finally, Deverell lands another blow on Emyn , dropping him to the ground!
Berenn casts Healing Rays on Emyn, healing  from afar, leaving him conscious again, though he cannot act this round.
Gotrek ignores the stunned orcs and charges forward, seeing Emyn knocked to the ground and helpless before Deverell. He slams into the big priest, the collision of armor ringing out across the battlefield. Deverell stumbles backwards, falling to the ground.
The dwarven zombies then press forward, with two attacking Gotrek and missing. The rest move to swarm Sir Godwynn, with two more clawing at him for [5 and 7: 12 total].
Extra attacks phase:
Leora fires again at Elrae, missing. Al'Qasim continues to swing around him, but the Invisible Noot is long gone. Moorsh hits Sir Godwynn with his broadsword . Deverell backs up 5' and stands, not attacking again as he wipes the blood from his lips and faces Gotrek.
Sir Godwynn also calls out, "Can someone pleas do something like sleep thos archers, they are turning us into pin cushions."
Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:58 am Post subject: The Final Chapter (Part 2)
Elrae takes out one of his scrolls and reads the spell, Obold's Brightness. A thick, smoky cloud 60 feet in diameter that glows bright white, shot through with sparks appears. Unfortunately, the spell misfires. It goes off centered upon Elrae. [DM OOC: These sparks are actually tiny bolts of lightning that leap here and there inside the cloud, dealing all beings within 6d8 points of damage. A successful saving throw vs. spell means that creatures contacting the brightness take only half damage.] Elrae saves and takes , but Berenn fails his save and takes ! He has lost a few items too: His backpack is blasted away, and it falls to the ground 20' below. If/when he gets to it, I'll check all the stuff in it. He had his Wand of Zooming in his hand, but everything else in it falls. He also looses his quiver, and that falls too. I'll roll for everything in it later too, to save time. His magical cloak BARELY made it; I thought it was gone for sure! Rope of Climbing is blown apart. I believe everything else is either in the pack and quiver or is ok, so I'll move on.
“You are not through serving,” says Deverell as he says a prayer to Iuz. Suddenly, the dead orcs in the area all rise again.
Moorsh slips behind Sir Godwynn from where he hits him twice, with Broadsword and Shortsword [10 and 6: 16 total].
Ignoring the blows, Sir Godwynn sends the last of the dwarven zombies back to hell, along with a newly created orc. Sweat runs down the paladin's face, but he shows nothing but grim determination as he then turns around to face Moorsh directly.
[Berenn OOC: I just have no words! The next person that hits me with friendly fire is going to receive it in return!] Berenn glares at Elrae hard enough to burn through lead, but says nothing. He decides to NOT use his wand. Rather, he flies directly across the way to get out of the disastrous lightning cloud. As he flies across the valley, Leora fires at him, but her arrow just bounces off. She frowns, finally aware that he is magically protected as well!
Isilme maintains her overwatch position and spends the entire time scanning the area, but she does not see the battlemage. She curses the nature of Detect Invisibility, thinking to begin studying an improved version. “If we survive,” she whispers to herself.
Thorgrim casts Holy Orb, and he takes three attacks of opportunity from the two orcs and zombie in front of him. Two hit him [7 and 3: total 10]. Thorgrim remarkably maintains his concentration, and he summons his last Holy Orb centered on Leora. She makes her save and takes , but every zombie around her except two are blasted into oblivion!
Noot uses the power of his amulet to regain 5 hp. He then flies around behind Leora, preparing for a backstab.
Suddenly, the ground begins to shake and heave behind Gotrek. He glances back and sees an earth elemental rises from the ground behind him!
The two orcs attack Thorgrim, missing, and one of the archers drops his bow, draws a sword, and charges as well, unable to resist the call to attack him. Rest are still stunned.
Emyn drinks his Potion of Extra Healing [healing 6] and stands. [Worst potion of ex-healing ever!] Two zombies make attacks as he does so, but they miss.
Manny takes out his lasso and flies behind Leora.
Zombies move up and attack Thorgrim, while others swarm Emyn. All miss.
Leora does not take a second shot, but she downs a potion she had handy. Al'Qasim looks around, taking stock of the situation. He then moves over to Lothar and pours a potion down his throat, reviving him.
Meanwhile Gotrek kills another orc with a swing of Goreblade as Moorsh misses with his second attack.
Isilme flies down, scanning for the battlemage, but she cannot find him anywhere. Now that she is lower, she sees the path leading up along a draw in the cliffside, and she wonders if he is up there, hidden from her sight.
Leora points something at Berenn, and brilliant light flashes out, blinding him!
Moorsh attacks Sir Godwynn, hitting him with a broadsword  but missing with the short sword.
Emyn shifts to full defensive fighting. He kills another orc that is just standing there, and he avoids all the zombie attacks as he turns towards them.
Elrae flies straight up, getting out of the area of the storm before any more bolts hit him. It then flashes for another round, before going out. Berenn's backpack and quiver are now a smoking ruin on the ground.
Noot drops down the last 5' and backstabs Leora with Black Knife and his Short Sword of Skewering. He drives BOTH deep into her back, with Black Knife doing  and his short sword doing [24: total damage of 43!]. She cries out in pain, arcing her head back as she drops her bow. Noot holds her there for a moment. “Your life shall feed me later, he whispers into her ear before he lets her drop to the ground, her life draining away into his amulet. [He gains 5 hp to his Amulet].
With Leora dead, Manny flies over behind Al'Qasim and throws his lasso around him. He snags the man good, binding his arms tightly!
Thorgrim kills a zombie attacking him, while Gotrek kills one next to him. Gotrek turns back to face the elemental, and just in time, as he ducks a heavy-fisted blow!
Berenn is blinded, and he cannot call down a Flamestrike with any certainty as to where it will go. He casts anyway, going on best memory, and the flame blasts Lothar into ashes, but it misses Al'Qasim.
[Berenn OOC: Too bad I have better aim blind than Elrae when he can see!]
Al'Qasim has his arms pinned, and he struggles, failling to break free.
All the orcs now attack, and they all swarm Thorgrim. "Take him down!" yells the orc leader, following behind them, and they do so. About six pull Thorgrim to the ground, where he is then attacked by two zombies, one of which hits . As others rush towards him, Sir Godwynn kills three with attakcs of opportunity while Emyn kills one.
Deverell smiles as he steps up behing Sir Godwynn. He reaches out and grabs ahold of the paladin, who feels the cold breath of death reach out to him. He takes  and cries out in silent anguish before slumping to the cold hard ground.
Moorsh then delivers a coup de grace on Sir Godwynn, driving his broadsword through the man's heart has he falls, his sword and shield clattering to the cold earth.
By the end of the round, Berenn is no longer blinded.
[Sir Godwynn OOC: Sir Godwynn dies in the service of his god, and fighting evil, what could any paladin ask for but that.]
Manny holds on tight, while Noot flies over to Al'Qasim to backstab him, hitting with Black Knife  but only a minor wound. He misses with his short sword.
Al'Qasim breaks free of the lasso [beating Manny by a lot with a contest of strength per CFG]. He is free! He whirls around and slashes at Noot, missing.
Isilme flies over and up, scanning the cliff along the hidden path. Sure enough, she sees the battle mage standing on the ledge where she could not see him before, but where he had a good view of the center of the battleground. He is obviously conentrating on the elemental.
Berenn uses his Wand of Zooming and zooms the orc leader (Not Moorsh, but the regular orc leader) 100' away! [DM OOC: This takes 2 charges, because he's over 200 lbs. You need to specify beforehand next time. Also, if you want to accellerate him into a wall or something, or another person, you have to expend double charges. Just so you know!]
Gotrek finally goes into his rage as he attacks the elemental, missing, and he is hit by its massive fist in return, but he barely registers the blow.
Thorgrim, struggling under the weight of the massed orcs, releases his grip on Souldrinker. He quickly loosens his Runestone pouch and removes a carved piece of amber. In Orcish, he says, "Here, some treasure fer ye...'twas given me by yer MOTHER!" He smashes the Rune Stone directly into the nearest ugly Orc-face he can reach, and the blast goes of point blank! He takes , but all the orcs surrounding him are blown away by the explosion. There is one left that was beyond the blast radius, and it steps up and delivers a blow with a sword . The zombies keep clawing at him, and he takes another . [That would normally happen later, but I'm just doing it now!]
Emyn steps back, calling upon Trithereon. "Trithereon, hear my call! The allies of Keak have slain a good friend of mine. Given me aid that I may bring vengeance and death upon their heads!"
Nothing happens. Deverell looks at Emyn grimly. "Your God has forsaken you, fool," he says as he drains a handy potion. Emyn sees the wound on Deverell’s face suddenly heal.
Moorsh steps up, attacking Gotrek with both swords. If they hit, Gotrek doesn't even notice!
Elrae casts Magic Missile, sending a series of singing bolts streaking towards Deverell. He stands incredulous as they all miss!
The zombies move up and attack, one on Gotrek, two on Emyn. All miss.
Al'Qasim swings at Noot again, missing again. Moorsh hits Gotrek again, and Gotrek whirls and hits Moorsh with Goreblade . The blow rocks the big half-orc back, but he snarls back something in orcish and keeps fighting.
Noot's invisiblity ends. That means Manny's will end next round too!
Gotrek swings at the elemental, hitting it again  as Goreblades tears great chunks from it.
"Trithereon, what have you forsaken me in my hour of need!" shouts Emyn as he tries to summon his Equus. Duskhoof appears five feet away, and Emyn quickly mounts his great steed.
Al'Qasim swings at Noot, but misses as the nimble thief deftly avoids the blade. He then withdraws, flying up and away, putting distance between himself and the skilled Bakluni warrior.
Berenn then casts Healing Rays on the badly wounded Noot, healing .
Elrae sends another barrage of singing Magic Missiles into the fray, this time at Al'Qasim. They fly unerringly into him, striking for . He looks at and curses at Elrae, but keeps his attention focused on the fight.
Manny then attempts to backstab him, but he misses.
Gotrek is pummelled again by the elemental, and he is attacked in the rear by Moorsh who also hits him.
Deverell says a prayer to the Old One for Battle Aid.
The orc leader charges all the way back into the fight now, missing Thorgrim wildly.
The zombies then attack, with two missing Thorgrim, two missing Gotrek, and one missing Emyn.
Gotrek attacks again, this time destroying the elemental with his last swing!
Moorsh misses, and Al'Qasim swings at Manny, slashing him across the legs . Manny then turns visible!
Isilme silently flies down, approaching the Iuzians battlemage until she floats invisibly, five feet away.
Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:11 am Post subject: The Final Chapter (Part 3)
"Come Duskhoof,” says Emyn. “Let's show these vile people what it's like to face the charge of an Avenger and the greatest horse to ever live. " Duskhoof neighs, rearing back and smashing the zombie in front of it with its hooves.
Deverell casts another spell while pointing at Gotrek, but whatever it was nothing happened.
Berenn casts Hold Person, but Al'Qasim is unaffected by it.
Gotrek hits Moorsh with Goreblade , but the half-orc just shrugs off the blow.
Emyn rides off south, with Deverell watching him go. "Cowardly paladin," he sneers. Emyn ends up about 100' away, where he turns around and gets ready for a charge.
Manny flies up and back 5' (putting him at 10' elevation) where he casts Magic Missile at Al'Qasim, striking him repeatedly .
As Al'Qasim looks at Manny, Noot flies down and attempts to stab him in the back. [With back turned he dosn't get dex and shield bonuses, but it's not a backstab.] Noot hits with Black Knife .
Al'Qasim spins around, laughing. "You should not have come back," he says, slashing Noot with his scimitar . Noot and Manny both note that he seems stronger, faster, and they also note many of his wounds are healed.
Moorsh continues attacking Gotrek, but fails to hit.
With Maerthorlear in hand, Isilme drops behind the battlemage, who stands there watching the fight on the valley floor. He is looking over at Emyn, lining up to charge back into the fight, and he has a hand raised as if he plans to cast a spell.
Isilme Silver Strikes, and hits the mage from behind, but her attack is stopped cold by something she knows too well, a Stoneskin! She becomes visible as the battlemage turns around to face her.
Having not acted, he draws his broadsword and slashes at Isilme, also hitting a Stoneskin and becoming visible himself. He then steps back 5' and nods to her. "Isilme I presume," he says, taking a one-handed defensive stance. "I wondered where you were."
“I will be the last thing you ever see,” she says back grimly.
The orc leader misses, and Thorgrim smacks him back . Elrae flies down and hits one of the zombies from behind .
The zombies all attack. Two attack Thorgrim and miss, while three attack Gotrek with one hitting him.
Gotrek hits Moorsh again , knocking the half-orc to the ground. He turns back to the zombie orcs swarming him from behind.
Al'Qasim slashes Noot again .
Thorgrim hits the orc leader again , driving Souldrinker through its chest and dropping it!
Berenn begins to cast his Hold Person, calling upon St. Cuthbert to bind the Bakluni warrior, but Deverell strides forth, summoning the dark power of the Old One to counter Berenn's casting. Berenn's spell fizzles as quickly as it began.
Deverell never smiles, and his face looks like death itself as he walks towards Berenn. He glances towards the zombies standing near Leora's corpse, "Kill the dwarves," he says. He then looks back at Berenn. "You, Cuthberite. Floating beyond the battle like a cowardly woman. Come down and face me."
Meanwhile on the ledge, Captain Alterius smiles, stepping back 5' and raises his hand before him. He mouths the words of a spell, and an orange light flashes from his pointing finger. It flies straight at Isilme and explodes in a fiery blast. [DM OOC: I'm going to just tell you, I rolled a "1" for her save. **** happens! You charmed a tough rogue opening salvo, so things do even out sometimes!] Isilme takes [15!] She is also going to have to make item saves.
[DM OOC: I have to deal with Isilme's items now, since it could have an impact on the progression of the combat. I'll just list below everything that does NOT make it:
Spidersilk hooded cloak
Spidersilk suit +1
Boots of Levitation
Pouch #1 (Everything spills out. Bag of marbles burns, and marbels roll out all over. Charcol burns up. All three scrolls burn up. Small bag of herbs burns up.)
Pouch #2 made it!
Ring of +2 Protection melts.
Wand of Wonder
Wand of Highfolk
Backpack (Both potions of ex-healing. If those are the same two in the pouch #2, ignore this. I seem to recall you moving them, so maybe you didn't fix your sheet? Either way, there should not be any left in the backpack. If I made a mistake, then you dodged two shitty rolls! Oil of Etherealness, both spider silk ropes, leather gloves, journal and writing stuff, half-block of sleep herb.)
That's a lot of stuff, both magical and mundane, but not your best stuff. Good thing you left some stuff at home.
I may as well do Berenn’s items now, to see what was lost from the earlier spell.
First the arrows from his destroyed quiver:
All 3 normal arrows destroyed
2 +1 arrows lost
In the backpack:
Rod of Zodal (That's unfortunate; no more jokes about Berenn's rod!)
Elixer of Health
Scroll in Leather case: Resist Fire, Remove Curse, Raise Dead, Heal
3 vials holy water]
[Isilme OOC: Now you all can quit bellyaching about how Isilme has lots of items. I get nailed just like everyone else!]
Noot uses his ring and Blinks! He disappears, reappearing behind one of the zombies. He immediately stabs it with both dagger and shortsword, doing [7 and 6: total 13].
[Thorgrim OOC: Thorgrim was facing that way when Isilme and Captain Altarius appeared. I think it's reasonable to think he might have noticed them. If he sees the hated mage who slew his friend and comrades, and against whom he swore undying vengeance, Thorgrim unhesitatingly casts Flame Strike upon the enemy battlemage. He prays to Clanggedin to burn the very soul out of him.
BTW, this is turning out to be quite the fight. Manny vs Al'Qasim, Berenn and Emyn against Deverell. I think Gotrek might turn the tide.]
[DM OOC: I just made a spot check, and Thorgrim saw him. So, go ahead and change targets. I have to allow such changes in our medium, because of how things work. However, this isn't the kind of thing you can "count on" being able to do in a combat round. Anyway, Flame Strike on the battlemage, check!]
Emyn charges forward, galloping with all speed towards Deverell. Emyn shouts as he charges, "Time to go to hell Deverell! I'll be sending Keak to join you soon. For Rao and Trithereon!" Deverell turns around when he hears Emyn yell....
Emyn misses with his lance as Deverell knocks the lance away with his sword. [Rolled a 4! I'm telling you so you know.] Emyn gallops on by, ending up by the sleeping goblins.
Manny flies 5' higher, to make sure he's out of the way, and hits Al'Qasim with another barrage of Magic Missiles . The man is realing from the hits now, and it's obvious he cannot take much more. Swearing in Bakluni, he sheaths his sword and takes up his crossbow.
Elrae kills one zombie, as Thorgrim casts his Flame Strike. He is hit by the last zombie's attack of opportunity  but he succeeds at his Concentration check and blasts Altarius with the holy fires of Clangeddin's forge!  Isilme's smiles when she sees the man's items burnt by Thorgrim's attack. He loses his own cloak, a small pack, a bag, and maybe more, but it's clear that was a wicked blow as tendrils of smoke waft from his smoldering clothing!
Gotrek kills another zombie, but the two left as well as the last two from the north all attack him. As the one just follows its last command and ignores Noot, Noot gets an attack of opportunity as it moves away. He stabs it in the back, killing it! Still, the other one reaches Gotrek, and he is attacked by the last three zombies. He takes another hit, but just ignores it as he chops the head from another zombie. Only two left.
Berenn casts Cure Medium Wounds on himself, healing .
Isilme picks up her ring from the snowy ground and puts it on. She then heals herself of  by Laying Hands. "Actual swordplay too much to ask from a "battle' Mage," Isilme sneers at him.
"When your opponent has Stoneskin, yes it is," he replies. He then flies away! He crosses the gorge, going up much higher, and lands on a ledge on the other side.
Gotrek kills one zombie, and Manny fires Magic Missiles at the other, killing it. He sends the other two missiles at the last zombie fighting Thorgrim . Elrae then hits it with Snowfang, killing it.
Emyn turns around, tramling two sleeping goblins in the process.
Noot blinks further away. [It says the ring works for 5 rounds, and it doesn't say you can stop it, so I think he's at the mercy of the blinking!]
Seeing the situation, Al'Qasim tosses aside his crossbow and snaps out his sword again, waiting for the inevitable charge from the raging dwarf.
Deverell calls again upon The Old One, attempting to Hold Thorgrim and Elrae. Elrae is held, but Thorgrim fights through the magic and charges. He runs straight at him, swinging Souldrinker, but misses. [Doesn't use up the x3 strike; that is in effect until he hits.]
At the end of the round, Gotrek moves up to Al'Qasim, who slashes Gotrek across the face. The blood just makes Gotrek sing all the louder!
Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:16 am Post subject: The Final Chapter (Part 4)
Captain Altarius casts as spell, but Isilme casts Dispel Magic upon him in quick succession. She can't tell which of his other spells were just cancelled, but you did just counter his Minor Globe of Invulnerability!
Gotrek attacks Al'Qasim, who parries with his shield.
Manny casts Magic Missile, sending a flight up agains the battle mage Altarius, but they just fizzle against his Shield spell!
Thorgrim swings, again missing Deverell as Noot blinks further away!
Berenn attempts to zoom away Deverell, but he fails. Deverell then hits Thorgrim with his 2-handed sword .
Emyn rides back, attempting to skewer Deverell, but the man again just manages to avoid Emyn's lance attack. Emyn rides on by, preparing to turn around again.
Al'Qasim remains on the defensive, and when Gotrek slashes him again, he blocks this time with his scimitar, the clang echoing loudly off the cliff faces!
Thorgrim hits Deverell with his second swing, Souldrinker biting deep .
Thorgrim realizes he should've healed himself as he'd planned, before engaging this enemy. But what was he to do? Allow him to waltz past him with impunity? Never!
"Berenn, quit ****-footin' around and engage!" Thorgrim shouts, pressing the attack.
Berenn summons a spell he has not used in many years, and casts Heat Metal upon Deverell's armor. Unfortunately, the Iuzian’s magical armor avoids the spell.
Gotrek swings wildly at Al'Qasim, hitting him but the blow is parried again.
Thorgrim lands another blow , but Deverell hits him right back .
Manny then casts Lightning Strike on Al'Qasim, hitting him for  He reels backwards, his scimitar dropping from his hands.
Noot makes his final blink, out by the goblins. [I am not sure I did this right, but oh well.]
Emyn turns around, ready to make another charge.
Isilme begins casting her spell. She casts Rary’s Spell Enhancer and is about to follow up with a Hold Monster, but as she is about to start her next spell, the battlemage suddenly disappears via Teleport. She curses and switches the target to Deverell. Unfortunately, he makes his save. [DM OOC: Hey, he's a badass, well-protected priest. Holding him is not easy!]
Gotrek then steps up and hits Al'Qasim again . The blow rips down through his shoulder, clear to his belly. There's no way the man is not dead!
Thorgrim then hits Deverell again  while Deverell hits Thorgrim back for . Thorgrim falls back, unconscious.
Emyn mutters, "What in the Nine Hells is wrong with this lance? Oh well, like Hepla says, third time is the charm. "
Noot flies up to Deverell and stabs him in the back with Black Knife .
Gotrek continues to hack at Al'Qasim, unable to pull himself away!
Berenn summons Lesser Healing Rays upon Thorgrim, but they only barely carress the downed dwarf [+1 hp].
Deverell then brings his two-handed sword down swiftly upon down and unconscious Thorgrim, hitting him for . The grave wound leaves no doubt that the tough dwarf is good and truly dead. Deverell turns back to the others, no smile but just pure malice. His black soulless eyes seem that of a demon, with no conscience. Only evil and silence.
Seeing her longtime friend and ally Thorgrim fall, Isilme rushes and "silver strikes" Deverell. "Gurth gothrim Tel'Quessir!" see screams in ancient elvish. [DM OOC: “Death to the foes of the Elves!”]
She hits him with Maerthorlear, driving it deep into his side . He is quite badly wounded.
Seeing that Thorgrim is clearly dead, Manny moves over and casts Lightning Strike against Deverell, hitting him for .
Emyn no longer has a route to him. He rides close and throws his lance like a javelin, hitting for . Gotrek continues to blindly hack Al’Qasim into a bloody mess.
Only Deverell yet stands, defiant against the remaining Heroes of Hommlet.
"Dark maiden, grant me the strength to send this soulless creature back to the hell from which he sprang" prays Isilme as she strikes with Maerthorlear, her Silver Strike hitting first for . She drives the blade right through the evil priest's armor, piercing his foul heart. He grabs her silver hair with one hand, pulling her face close with strength equal to hers, though now slipping quickly away.
"Death is just the beginning," he croaks, coughing blood.
She meets his gaze evenly. "Failure suits you," she says as she twists her sword.
She withdraws Maerthorlear from his chest and removes his head with a powerful silver strike. Tired and bloody, she steps back, looking around the battlefield. She then looks to Berenn and Manny. "Heal Thorgrim and burn the bodies - burn them all to ashes." she says as she walks off.
Meanwhile, Manny goes through Thorgrim's potions finding his Elixer of Life and administers it to him. In one turn he will revive with 1 hp.
[Thorgrim OOC: WOOT!!!]
Emyn carries Sir Godwynn over to lay him next to Thorgrim. "Our fallen friends deserve a second chance," he says. Emyn begins to pray for their safe return to life once Berenn reads the scrolls. He prays to Rao, Clangeddin and Trithereon as well as Nerull.
Everyone leave Gotrek alone, until he finally stops hacking at Al'Qasim. He looks around, still crazy, but remarkably regains his composure. A huge smile crosses his face as he sees Thorgrim stir, then he collapses in the bloody snow. He is at -7hp!
Manny runs over and pours a potion of extrahealing down his throat which takes care of Gotrek.
Elrae's hold ends with Deverell's death. Everyone is dead, and the party strips the bodies as Berenn uses his scroll to revive Sir Godwynn.
Manny has his sword back. You have raised your fallen comrades. The Iuzians are dead. It's done. I will give you a list of items which survived the fight; much was destroyed.
The adventure is now officially over. There are other things to do, but they can wait.
The one survivor, Kendra, was the Iuzian guide. She mostly ran from fights, because she was not only not evil, but basically trapped. She had been hired, then charmed by Naer who later left. She couldn't flee them once she was free of the charm. I wasn't sure how to deal with Isilme's charm, whether it superseded the other or just cancelled it, so I just left her in place. I figured the 4th level CM was more powerful than the 1st level CP, and she followed the suggestion. But the fact was, she was more than happy to do so. Had you figured she was charmed and freed her of it, she'd have helped in the fight. Anyway, she will pledge herself to Isilme in gratitude for freeing her from their vile clutches.
Other than that, you all can now return via the mirror.
I hope you guys enjoyed the adventure. It was a tough one. The original module was very deadly, with little to gain for your effort, except survival. You guys though, you gained quite a bit, and not just in magic and exp. You gained a lot of important information, new allies, knowledge of the world, and the friendship of the Velunese. You rescued the survivors of the previous expedition, saw to the retrieval of a valuable relic, and defeated a very strong group of Iuzian agents.
It was not without loss, especially Mirielle. If not for some important potions and scrolls, you'd have lost Noot, Manny, Thorgrim, and Sir Godwynn. So, a successful adventure.
This saw a lot of new things on my part, including running three separate parties simultaneously. I handled the Velunese and Iuzians while you were doing your thing. I didn't run them 100% like you guys, obviously. I just don't have that kind of time. However, I followed them on their adventures just like you guys. I can give you a rundown on what they did if you'd like. You certainly can learn the truth of things from both the Velunese you helped as well as from Kendra, the Iuzian guide.
I think my favorite part was actually the wilderness part. I used real mountains for all of it. I will show you how I did it; I really was proud of the work I put into the outdoor part. In the original, that was supposed to be a big part of the adventure, but it really seemed like it was minor. I believe I substantially upped the ante there. I will tell you about that too. I put a lot into this one, and it kinda sucked that I had to basically stop for 3 months when I worked night shift. However, life is what it is, and we all deal with such things. In the end, I believe things went well, even if not like I planned.
So, again, good job. I hope you liked it.
Thanks again to Lanthorn for his help in creating the background vis-a-vis the Iuzians and Veluna/Furyondy parties. Spinning my adventure off from what I was reading of his worked great. The characters he created were what made this adventure shine. In fact, my players put this pretty much at the top of their list, with all the fights against the Iuzians being truly epic! I do not think we ever had so many ups and downs, wins and loses, as in these fights. The party emerged victorious, but barely, with some of the worst Iuzians escaping to fight another day. And let us not forget to mention that they returned to their Lord with the dreaded Necronomicon. We know that will not turn out well. And then there is Drelnza. Nobody knows what she is about, nor how freeing her will impact the world. I guess time will tell.
Still, all in all they did well. When the final tally is scored, I believe the players will consider this a successful adventure. Lost Caverns of Tsjocanth was always a favorite, and I was really happy to run it again. The Dragon Magazine article made it even better, and again, Lanthorn took it over the top. Looking back, I think this was my favorite adventure of the last ten years or so. I hope you guys enjoyed it too!
Joined: Sep 09, 2009 Posts: 2430 Location: SW WA state (Highvale)
Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:37 pm Post subject:
Ragnar, I am humbled to be your muse. I likewise consider my own campaign of the Lost Caverns to be have an epic adventure, rivaling, perhaps exceeding, my saga series against the Slave Lords. I am sure my player would agree (the original PC of Justarius the paladin and Doran the battle mage). The Lost Caverns spun-off other adventures involving the Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun, and neither the Caverns nor the Forgotten Temple have been conquered in my campaign setting. In fact, given all the death and myriad lives lost, the Lost Caverns are officially banned to all citizens (who know of its locale!) of Veluna. However, there are plans to return to the Forgotten Temple in the spring/summer once the mountains are no longer locked in ice and snow...
...but this is YOUR thread, Ragnar, so please continue, my friend.
Those characters were great. Boy did my players not like the Iuzians, and they really liked the Velunans. I kept notes about their progress, as well as the Velunans, as well as notes regarding the group dynamics of the Iuzians, as they had varied goals.
Melchor was the leader, and he hated Captain Altarius. Both were tasked with the same goal of retrieving Iggwilv's treasures, but not necessarily to work together. Melchor would only have been too happy to sacrifice Altarius, who would have loved in turn to show up the powerful priest. In the end, Melchor dominated the group and he used Altarius to thwart the party while he got away with the true prize, the Necronomicon.
Naerenthyxelle was an alu-fiend, but I also made her a 7th level Undead Master. She was perhaps the deadliest of the group, and basically played Melchor and Altarius off against each other. In the end, she sided with Melchor and they left with the Necronomicon, leaving Altarius to lead the remaining Iuzians. There were some interesting things happening with her and Manny, and the player was terrified of the thought that his character was going to be her plaything back in Dorakaa, or worse. That she took all his stuff, as well as was going to use him to destroy the Vesve elves all added to his discomfort. And the moment she revealed himself to him.... It was grand!
Altarius was cool. A 9th level Militant Mage, he was loaded with damage dealing magic, especially fire types. However, he tended to focus on his own defensive magic first, and tried to be "sneaky" as he wasn't about to risk himself for Melchor. He was biding his time and angling for a way to take over, but the chance never really arrived. In the end, he chose to flee rather than aid Deverell and the rest of the remaining Iuzians.
Those were the top three, but the next, Deverell, was scary. A huge man with a massive two-handed sword, I gave him levels in fighter and made him a dual-classed Fighter/Priest of Iuz. This really surprised the players, as he had fighter abilities they didn't expect. Sitting on a ton of hit points, and with massive damage dealing ability, well you said it best. "What he lacked in brains, he made up for in 'might'." Augmented by battle magic, he proved as tough as he looked.
Finally, there was Al'Qasim, the Bakluni warrior. He was an 8th level Myrmidon warrior, with enough skills to be deadly in combat too. He specialized is speed as opposed to strength, and used his skills to deadly effect. His Potion of Superior Healing (thank you Polyhedron Magazine!) came in quite handy too!
The rest were all support characters, though Moorsh, the half-orc fighter/thief and leader of the orcs was pretty tough. Lothar and Leora were going to be the Iuzian archers, but Lothar was Flame Striked right off the bat and Leora neutralized as well. I actually made Kendra an unwilling accomplice, and she basically stayed out of the final fight, though all were useful in the early ones.
Mechor also used his necromantic ability to act "through" undead, using the shadows to great effect in the Iuzian ambush at the bottom of the stairs. The party spent a lot of time planning their defense, and to have it so completely circumvented by the Iuzian's counter-ambush really upset them. The fact that he raised their dead dwarven allies, well that just added fuel to the fire! They were thrown back on their heels, forced to retreat, then run, then keep running. That just doesn't happen that often, and in a way was glorious to watch!
This Iuzian group was great. They were the perfect finale to the best adventure I've run in a long while. With all three of the main characters surviving, I look forward to using them again.
Joined: Sep 09, 2009 Posts: 2430 Location: SW WA state (Highvale)
Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 8:24 am Post subject:
Ragnar, you played the Iuzians in your campaign in much the same way that I did mine. I quickly found out that they were stronger offensively than defensively, given their relative lack of healing, protective, and guardian magicks. However, when taking the fight to the 'good guys' they proved far more dangerous. This was primarily a combination of the necromantic and summoning magicks that Iuz grants his clergy. The animals and undead minions were pawns, pure and simple, and allowed the 'bad guys' to whittle down the defenses (magical or otherwise) of the party. The Iuzian clerics stayed in the backdrop (perhaps with the exception, as you noted, of Deverell, their heavy hitter), Melchor primarily (why expose yourself to danger when you have minions?). As Magneto once said, "This is why the pawns go first!"
To add insult to injury, the Iuzians animated EVERYTHING they could as they slowly increased in number. What started as a small retinue of undead became a veritable army. Anytime something was killed, animal or otherwise, it was animated. Sure, this slowed them down (quite a bit actually, practically halving their rate of travel), but it provided so many foot (or winged) soldiers that this became the heavy hammer they employed to smash resistance. In fact, in my game the priests even managed to animate the gorgimera, Chossos, and add him (it) to their ranks, along with some ogres, and many troglodytes! Try turning or destroying monster zombies! Not any easy task!
In the end, in my campaign (still haven't finished writing its conclusion), the Iuzians also won the prize and the 'good guys' were hard pressed to call the constant back and forth war a win. In fact it quickly became a blood bath and I have a veritable tomb of NPCs in my folder, many of whom were subsequently animated by the Iuzians to bolster their own ranks!
Yes, my player has a new found respect (grudging as it may be), and some fear, when thinking about fighting Iuzian clerics again. And with the Greyhawk Wars right around the corner, he WILL have that chance again!
And who knows, maybe in my game, he WILL cross paths with either Melchor and/or Altarius (both survived in my campaign as well) in the future...
Glad you all had such fun and it also became and epic saga.
Joined: Jul 26, 2010 Posts: 2427 Location: LG Dyvers
Posted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 1:43 pm Post subject:
That adventure had so much more going on in it than the original written work. The Iuzians were a great addition (looking forward to the rest of Lanthorn's version, too), the unexpected turn with Drelza (though the party did reason through it well), the additional locations under the Horn (are those from a written source, or your own creation), and the Azcral dwarven allies. Oh, and great job including Clonocsplurcat, the copper dragon! When he caught Manny before he hit the bottom of the valley I gave out a verbal 'Whoop!' 😊
Glad you liked it. Yes, the additional locations were from the Dungeon Magazine #151. It was all 3rd ed, but I liked how it fleshed out the place more. A lot of the other caverns were my own design, or taken from the net somewhere. I populated with whatever I wanted. I really like the ghouls at the bottom of the waterfall. There were about 100 there, and if the party went down there it would have been bad. Luckily, they avoided that encounter!
I also changed the doors entering into Drelzna's chamber, and as you saw I changed her nature, giving a new backstory spun from many sources. There is some good hook stuff happening there.
The Azcral were also one of my favorit creations, and I pulled a bit from the area's real history with old WWI and WWII bunkers and such to create them. Then added in some flavor from MERPS to do their special metal, based on Titanium. They were one of my favorite parts.
When I started creating this, I remembered Clonoc from my original Greyhawk boxed set, so I planned to use that. However, he was fully possessed by this point. It was dumb luck that one of the players had the ability to summon an angelic being and free Clonoc. I was always going to use Clonoc as a Deis ex machina, but it set up perfectly with Manny.
Again, glad you enjoyed it. There is so much potential in that module, that I feel I have barely scratched the surface.
Joined: Jul 26, 2010 Posts: 2427 Location: LG Dyvers
Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:54 am Post subject:
Your treatment of Drelnza sparked a memory (don't recall the source) that she may be the daughter of Iggwilv and Dahlvier, a lich in the northwestern Vesve. This inspired me to see a possible plot where PCs completing the Keep on the Borderlands in that area are sent by Dahlvier into the Cold Marshes after an Iggwilvian artifact (Fiend's Embrace) to prevent it falling into the hands of Iuz's minions. Once the item is acquired, they are sent east into the Clatspurs/Sepia Uplands to put an end to Strahd Von Zarovich. Dahlvier has learned that Barovia is temporarily accessible from Oerth again and he wants Strahd destroyed. Strahd is the vampire who cursed his daughter, Drelnza with undeath.
All is not as it seems, however. As you demonstrated in this campaign blog, Iggwilv actually wants to cure Drelnza of her vampirism. Not so, Dahlvier. He only wants her free of Strahd's lordship. As long as Strahd lives, Drelnza must obey his commands as she is his spawn. Dahlvier sent the PCs to destroy Strahd to free his daughter to do as she will - hopefully to ally with him.
The PCs must discover this information during the course of the adventure. After destroying Strahd, they must then find Drelnza and decide what to do with her (Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth).
Joined: Sep 09, 2009 Posts: 2430 Location: SW WA state (Highvale)
Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2019 3:46 pm Post subject:
Drelnza is the product of Iggwilv and Lerrek the lich, not Dahvlier. Lerrek is a high-level priest of Erythnul residing in Delvenbrass, I think (or some such other location in the Vesve). I believe that I got all of this information from an Oerth Journal article some time ago. If I uncover it I will tell you the issue number and pages.
Joined: Jul 26, 2010 Posts: 2427 Location: LG Dyvers
Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2019 5:49 am Post subject:
Drelnza is the product of Iggwilv and Lerrek the lich, not Dahvlier. Lerrek is a high-level priest of Erythnul residing in Delvenbrass, I think (or some such other location in the Vesve). I believe that I got all of this information from an Oerth Journal article some time ago. If I uncover it I will tell you the issue number and pages.
I suppose that makes sense because Lerrek is CE while Dahvlier is LE. Though it made better sense to my storyline to have a reason for Iggwilv and her lover to be at odds over the fate of their daughter. Still, I prefer to bend a story to be in keeping with canon as much as possible.
Lerrek is in the Iuz-infested portion of the northeastern Vesve, while Dahvlier is in the northwestern portion controlled by the elves.
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