Monsters Rule!

Session 23
Duergar Outpost

In the morning we boarded the raft and set out onto the dark sea, keeping the raft within sight of the cavern wall. We soon found the short cut Ogguk had told us about. A shallow stream meandered through the cave, sometimes taking up the width of the cave and forcing us to wade in ankle deep water. At other times, the cave would widen out allowing us to walk beside the stream.

roper.jpg It was in one of these wider caves that the attack came. The roper ambushed us, drawing Tor and Keth in with it’s tentacles, while the giant rats that subsisted on it’s leftovers attacked the rest of us. It drew Keth into it’s vicious maw and tore great chunks of his flesh off (60 hp damage!) before finally falling to our blades.

After many long and perilous days, we had reached our destination: the deurgar settlement of Gracklstugh.
img_gracklsutgh.jpg

Here we would find the duergar who supplied the queen with cloakers, and hopefully learn something that would be useful to defeat her. There was only one problem. While the outer market and slums were open to non-duergar, the interior of the walled town was forbidden to outsiders. Without proper papers, no non-duergar were allowed inside. .

As we stood pondering ways to get inside the walls, a minotaur slave passed us, taking special interest in Keth’s sword. We followed him to a tavern in the slum district. A few rounds of cheap ale, later he told us two things:

  • his grandmother told him tales of the blade “flame’s champion”. He hoped this was not the same blade because legend tells that flame’s champion kept horrors from beyond from crossing over into this world.
  • We described the crest we were looking for, and he told us to go see the bartender in the Grinning Gargoyle near the market.

42998EB6-7456-4D1C-B62C-EE5443F0BBC0.jpegThe bartender at the Grinning Gargoyle, a gregarious tiefling named Lucius, was no fan of the Duergar, but he made a good living selling his ale to them. In fact, the hammerfist clan was particularly fond of his brew, and he delivered several casks to them every other day. In exchange for the eggs we found buried at the fishmen’s temple (which he believed to be basilisk eggs), he would let us deliver today’s shipment, allowing us access inside the wall.

Once inside the walls, it was an easy matter to find the hammerfist compound, and bluff our way in. Inside the main house, we found the eldest Hammerfist alone, checking on his “merchandise”. Before we could ask him anything, he ran for the exit, calling for his guards and releasing the creatures from their pens to cover his escape

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Freed from captivity, the beasts angrily attacked anything in their path. The Duergar merchant almost escaped, but Lusherina’s magic missile struck true, incapacitating him just as he stepped through the door.

After dispatching his “pets”, we interrogated him. In exchange for his life, he gladly revealed that the queen has a weakness.

The queens power, youth and unnaturally long life are stolen. The cloakers keep her victims pacified She possesses an item of dark nexromantic power.that drains their life energy. Even if you kill her it will bring her back. You have destroy it if you want to kill her


Current treasure (9,606 gp)
Gold: 6,306
8 pearls (100 gp)
2 sapphires (250 gp)
4 emeralds (500 gp ea)
Raise dead scroll (ritual)
1 cure moderate potions
+2 holy symbol

new items
+3 black iron plate armor

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Session 22
Lake of Shadows

Camping among the mushroom people, we all shared the same disturbing dream – visions of spires made of crystal and alien humanoids with purple skin and tentacles in place of mouths.

As we broke camp and prepare to leave concern, we suddenly felt fear spreads among mushroom people. A goblin and a pair of ogres approached. One ogre held an axe to the throat of a mushroom. “we would have a word with you”

8351B396-2F42-4B1E-9400-86F52098FD68.jpeg The goblin approached and drank a potion. His eyes became pure black, and wen he spoke, instead of his voice we heard the disembodied voice of the queen.

”Your interference is irksome – but we do not need to be enemies. I will make you generals in my army. Together we can conquer an empire. Instead of pain and death, you can have wealth and power”.

When we refused, she became angry.

”Do not underestimate me! I have lived for centuries, ruled dozens of kingdoms, and slain countless enemies. Cross me and suffer the same fate!”

After the queen’s presence faded, the messengers thought they would leave. They were mistaken.

After a short battle, we continued our journey deeper into the earth, finally arriving at the shore of a huge underground lake.

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There we encountered Oggun, the giant. At first Oggun threatened us, thinking we would drive him from his new home. After we won his trust, he told us he had fled here to escape the new giant chief.

”new chief bad. He take old chief prisoner, make war with little people. Tell us he will Kill queen, and use little people as slaves”

8AD35E4D-BA06-4457-BB33-7059D3AC712A.jpeg He also warned us about the hazards of the Lake. A tribe of fish men erected a temple to their evil god a few hundred yards off the shore. They summon a “demon made of water” that capsizes boats and drags the victims to the temple to be sacrificed

Undeterred, we borrowed a raft from Oggun, and Lusherina inscribed it with a magic circle to ward off elementals. Although we could feel the hostile energy surrounding the boat as we rowed out to the island, it could not harm us and we reached the island with safely.

I wish I could say the same about the temple. As soon as we entered, we were attacked by the fish-men. It took ounce of strength we had (and all our cool new powers) not to become the next sacrifice to their foul god.


Current treasure (5406 gp)
Gold: 2506
4 pearls (100 gp)
2 sapphires (250 gp)
4 emeralds (500 gp ea)
Raise dead scroll (ritual)
1 cure moderate potions (bones)
+2 holy symbol
3 strange eggs

new items
+3 symbol of victory
+3 mana crystal (used on Lusherina’s staff)

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Session 21
Mushroom Forest

A forest of giant mushrooms filled the cavern ahead. It was eerily beautiful

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Beautiful but also dangerous. The moment we set foot inside we almost became prey for some of its inhabitants (an ooze, a shambling mounds and giant centipedes)

As we made our way towards The enormous 80’ high mushroom in the center of the cavern, we were surrounded by sentient mushrooms – myconids

myconids.jpg

These peaceful creatures were in a grave state. After considerable difficulty trying to communicate with them we learned that a lich had made its lair in a giant stalactite in the center of the cavern. Necromantic energy from its experiments was killing the myconids spores, making them sick.

A2FC9F42-CFC0-48AF-9788-AE09010DBC5D.jpeg So up into the stalactite we went. Lusherina used an arcane ritual to snake a rope and grappling hook 50’ up into the opening. Once we were inside the stalactite we encountered the the lich and its wraith slpider pets. The lich nearly killed several of my companions before Keth put it down with a critical hit. We destroyed its evil experiments, ending the threat to the myconids below.

Tonight we camp among the grateful mushroom people. They are so alien, I would be lying to say I am not a bit nervous


Party: Lusherina, Tor, Joelo, Steve, Keth

Status: fully rested

Current treasure (2,306 gp)
Gold: 1406
4 pearls (100 gp)
2 sapphires (250 gp)
Raise dead scroll (ritual)

new items:
ring of lesser feather fall
+3 amulet of protection

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Session 20
Underneath Fort Wyvernskull

Recap
Amazingly, the guards believed our story and didn’t recognize us from the reward scroll. After a few more lies, and a great deal of Bravado from Joelo, we talked our way past the musclebound ogre and into the basement without bloodshed.

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Our trials were only beginning, however. The dwarves had left traps: A pair of lightning glyphs had been inscribed on the floor of the first chamber, and several suits of armor came to life to block our path. To make matters worse, as we fled past the constructs into the next chamber we heard horns and footsteps echoing from the fort above. It seems our ruse had been discovered.

The next chamber held a shrine to the dwarves’ god. As the sound of footsteps drew closer hurriedly searched the room for a way out … and found a secret door! Stairs lead deeper into the mountain, and eventually opened up into a large cavern split by a deep chasm.

Out of the pitch black shadows, several feral , blind humanoid creature rushed at us. But that was not what made my blood turn cold…

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Out of the chasm rose something only seen in nightmares. A floating brain adorned with beak and numerous barbed tentacles. It darted forward with astonishing speed, grabbed Tor in its tentacles and tried to drag her back over the edge of chasm to feast! A pitched battle ensued, as we balanced precariously on the edge of a deep chasm and our enemy tried to drive us over the precipe to certain death.

We camped for the night and in the morning descended into the chasm. After two days of winding our way through a labyrinth of tunnels and caves we came across an amazing sight . Ahead of us the cave opened into a massive cavern filled with a forest of mushrooms, some as tall as trees!


Party: Lusherina, Tor, Joelo

Status: fully rested

Current treasure (5416 gp)
Gold: 3806
Amethyst bracelet (250 gp)
2 sapphire necklaces (500 go)
4 pearls (100 gp)

1 Potion of cure moderate wounds
Raise dead scroll (ritual)

new items:
+ 3 vicious axe (+ 3d12 on criticals)
storm shield (resist 5 lightning, thunder; daily: melee attacker takes 2d6 dmg)

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Session 19
Out of the thornwaste

scorpion.jpg
The dragon followed from a safe distance as we made our way out of the thorn wastes. Still wounded from our fight, he was waiting for us to get into open ground where he could easily strake us with fiery breath. But dragons are cunning, and it had also convinced a band of greedy bird men (and their giant scorpion!) to ambush us in case we stayed in the cover of the canyons. The fight with the bird men was brutal, and Keth was incapacitated before we finished them off.

Somehow, I doubt we have seen the last of that dragon.

Our next destination is some place called the underdark. A world beneath ours, the underdark is entire subterranean civilization built in giant caverns deep underground. There we hope to find a band of duergar who breed exotic creatures. They must know what the queen is using the cloakers for and maybe they know something that will lead to a weakness.

Lusherina remembered reading about a supposed entrance to the underdark: a deep crevasse in the bottom of a dwarven fort that was now occupied by red hand goblins. We made our way to the front gate and bribed / bluffed our way inside.

fort.png

We were slowly walking down the central courtyard under the watchful eye of archers above when we noticed it. A simple piece of parchment nailed to the second set of gates.

WANTED: for treason against the queen. 2000 gp reward
* human warrior, possibly a werewolf
* half-orc knight
* elven sorceress, red hair
* barbarian shaman
* wood elf, archer
* Halfling charlatan (pretending to be a priest of a false god)

Our blood ran cold. Did they know? Were they only luring us into a better ambush spot?


Party: Lusherina, Tor, Keth, Steve

Status: fully rested

Current treasure (4316 gp)
Gold: 2706
Amethyst bracelet (250 gp)
2 sapphire necklaces (500 go)
4 pearls (100 gp)

1 Potion of cure moderate wounds
Raise dead scroll (ritual)

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Session 18
The vault
  • battled a beholder, and recovered the sword (flames champion)

Beholder1_t.png

  • EPIC battle with the dragon and it’s minions. Tor rode the dragon and lept a 30’ over a pit of lava !!! Sadly, the dragon escaped …

Current treasure (3956 gp)
Gold: 2306
Amethyst bracelet (250 gp)
2 sapphire necklaces (500 go)
4 pearls (100 gp)

2 Potion of cure moderate wounds (2d8+10 hp)
Raise dead scroll (ritual)

Enchant item ritual
object reading ritual
limited telepathy ritual
circle of protection ritual

Status

name Dailies used surges left
Lusherina All all
Keth all 10
Tor all 10
Steve all 5
Joelo all but spirit weapon and divine vigor 9
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Session 17
Dragon!

The heroes lure one of the guards kobold guards away from his post and subdue him, but the other raises the alarm: “Wake the Master! Wake the Master!”

From a dark corner of the cave, a magnificent beast emerges. The dragon shakes gold coins off it’s body as a dog would shake water from it’s fur. In a booming voice demands, “who disturbs my rest! Give me a reason why a should not burn you alive and eat the flesh from your bones!”

red-dragon.jpg

The party choses to parlay, not fight, so the dragon offers them a deal. “Bring me the head of the snakeman leader and deliver a message to his followers: Return with an offering of loyalty by the next full moon, or you’ll share his fate.” In return, the dragon will show them the entrance to the lower caves where the sunsword is kept.

Our heroes, however, are not so keen to take on 200 serpent folk so they devise a different plan. They convince Speelok (the kobold who tried to warn them to flee the dragons lair in the first place) to warn them the next time the dragon leaves to hunt. After two days the signal comes. The party returns to the dragon’s lair, and kills the remaining kobold minions (except speelok). They claim the dragon’s loot, and continue into the lower caves!

Once inside the lower passages they must make their way past a pair of bronze golems that are nearly indestructible (until they used the control from from earlier in the ruins to shut them down), and corridor trapped with poison gas vents.

Finally, their goal is in sight. In the cavern ahead, a sword limned in golden flames sits suspended in mid air, surrounded by a globe of bright light. Unfortunately, to get to it, they must get past numerous bubbling pools of ooze. Horrific creatures with too many eyes, mouths and tentacles crawl out of the pools every few seconds, only to be re-absorbed or eaten by larger survivors a moment later in an endless cycle of spawning and death. Ick.

Status

name Dailies used surges left
Lusherina
Keth
Tor
Steve
Glorfindel
Joelo

Current treasure (1206 gp)
Gold: 956
Jeweled bracelet (250 gp)
Potion of cure moderate wounds (2d8+10 hp)
Enchant item ritual
Raise dead ritual (scroll)
object reading ritual
limited telepathy ritual
circle of protection ritual

new items:
+3 hide armor – Steve
+2 champion’s hauberk (chain mail) – Joelo
+2 amulet of health – Joelo?
+2 amulet of elegy – Lusherina

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Session 16
Are you sure those dice aren't weighted?

Avoiding the serpent men for now, the party heads for the upper keep.

IMG_3139.PNGA trio of tentacled serpent creatures lair in the old gatehouse. It’s a tough battle but Keth strikes two critical blows, sending them to their graves

As they enter into the courtyard and discuss which building to explore first, an ominous shadow darkens the ground. A dragon flies overhead carrying a wild animal of some sort in It’s claws! It circles and flies into the cave on the cliff behind the keep.

Eager to get indoors and out of sight, the party investigate a ruined building filled with statues and frescoes celebrating long dead heroes. It’s infested with giant spiders, but again Keth makes a couple more critical blows to drive back their venomous foes

(DM checks Keth’s dice for weights)

IMG_3141.JPGIn the spiders lair, Tor spots.a poorly made wall that hides a stairwell. The cut stairs turn to natural stone. At the bottom is a cavern full of steam geysers guarded by kobolds. Thanks to another couple of critical blows by Keth, the party disposes of them quickly.

Deeper in the caves, they find a lone kobold feeding scraps of meat to two caged dogs. As the dogs start to growl, Tor assumes wolf form and establishes herself as the alpha. The dogs quickly quiet down. The kobold, Speelock, speaks a little common. He begs them to let him live and encourages them to flee before the dragon eats them. They lock him in an empty cage, and ignore his advice.

As they peer around the next corner, they are assaulted by a wave of heat and sulfurous fumes . A vast lava-filled cavern awaits. Narrow bridges, paths and stepping stones provide access to two raised ledges on the opposite side.

IMG_3146.JPG

A a stones throw away, a pair of kobolds with red tinged scales lean against the rocks by the edge of the lava, seemingly unphased by the heat. They don’t notice the party … yet


status

name Dailies used surges left
Lusherina Flame sphere, orb of fiery might 0 used ?
Keth lucky charm, aspect of ferocity 4 used
Tor boiling cloud 2 used
Steve false life amulet, ice javelins? ?

current treasure
(Spent 3000 to enchant Lusherina’s armor)
Gold: 956
Jeweled bracelet (250 gp)
Potion of cure moderate wounds (2d8+10 hp)
Total: 1206

rituals
Enchant item
Raise dead (scroll)
object reading
limited telepathy
circle of protection

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Session 15
Minotaur ruins - Collapsed watchtower

Our heroes continue their search for a lost relic of great power. As the sun rises they get the first good look at their objective – an ancient keep built into a steep hillside. The backside of the hill is a sheer cliff, punctuated by a cave opening nearly 200 feet up. The more accessible front side is divided by walls into multiple tiers.

The lowest tier is made up mostly of collapsed, overgrown buildings. The wall here are partially collapsed and easily passable. The party catches glimpses of wild dogs(?) fighting over scraps amidst the rubble.

A steep overgrown road leads to the front gate of the middle tier. Behind an intact wall and functioning gatehouse, tens of dozens of serpent people have made a semi-permanent camp in what was once a village. A tall tower rises from the center.

At the top of the hill sits what remains of a great walled keep. Several stone buildings remain standing inside the walls. Getting to the keep will require making your way through either the lower or middle tiers (or both).

kenku.jpgAs the last light of the day fades, the party climbs over the ruined wall and into the rubble-filled lower section of the fort. Their attention is drawn by birdmen talking loudly in squawking voices. Their group was hunting for treasure among the ruins when one of their companions fell down a hole into a nest of giant insects. They are too afraid to go after him, and our heroes agree to try and retrieve the missing birdman.

Kruthik_small.jpg Down into the hole our heroes go! At the bottom they have to battle a nest of giant insects, and then navigate a maze of small tunnels on their hands and knees while fending off the attacks of juvenile insects. (Keth does not like me bugs to begin with – this probably gave him a permanent phobia!)

The tunnels lead to the basement of the collapsed tower where they find a black ooze creature hiding at the bottom of a well. It’s a tough fight as their weapon attacks only slice off a smaller version of the whole!

mold_zombie.jpg The main floor of the watchtower is inhabited by several minotaur “zombies” animated by a sentient mold colony.

After defeating the zombies, the party finds a moldy chest holding treasure (see below) and the watch captain’s journal. It describes their arrivals at this keep, and how the relic they seek is locked away in a special vault, with multiple layers of protection. The keys for which have been distributed among the watch captain, the keep’s wizard, and the lord of the keep. They also found unusual gem tipped rod, which controls a type of construct (presumably one of the keys).

Returning to the surface the party is betrayed by the birdme. There is no injured companion. They demand the party leave their treasure and flee. That doesn’t end well for the birdmen, however. In the combat that follows most of them are pushed back into the pit where they are eaten alive by hungry juvenile bugs.

Loot
+2 quick blade
1950 gold

Level up to 7!!


Current Treasure

currency
gold: 2,606
Jeweled crown 50 gp
2 gem studded collars (50 gp ea)
18 topaz (50 gp ea)
2 rubies (100 go ea)
Necklace 100 gp
Total: 3,656

rituals
Enchant item
Raise dead (scroll)
object reading
limited telepathy
circle of protection

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Session 14
Thornwastes

Recap
After leaving the mountains, the party came across an inn where they purchased food, ale, and a good night rest. The barkeep and minstrel also provided them with valuable information about their destination: the thornwastes. Legend tells that centuries ago, a minotaur warlord tried to conquer the wastelands. Unfortunately, the spirits of the land did not take kindly to his scorched earth policy of conquering the natives and ended his reign in a rain of fiery meteors.

The next day, our heroes began searching the wastes for the ruined tower. The very terrain radiated primal energy, and Tor was able to follow the energy to it’s source. Along the way they encountered several of the wastelands more formidable beasts: a giant scorpion, and a pack of hungry sand drakes.

The source of the primal energies was an ancient ring of standing stones carved in the likeness of human faces. Whispered voices challenged their right to retrieve the weapon of light, but ultimately were convinced of their worthiness and guided them towards the ruined Minotaur keep.

On the journey to the tower, the party encountered a pair of thunderhawks hunting for prey. After killing one and scaring the other off, they traversed a narrow path up the side of a cliff. At the top of the cliff they spotted a ruined structure surrounded by half buried stones – the ruins of the warlord’s tower!

They rested the night and set off for the ruins in the morning.


current treasure
gold: 656
Jeweled crown 50 gp
2 gem studded collars (50 gp ea)
18 topaz (50 gp ea)
2 rubies (100 go ea)
Necklace 100 gp
Total: 1706

rituals
Enchant item
Raise dead (scroll)
object reading
limited telepathy
circle of protection

View

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