Princes of the Apocalypse

Session 13.2: Nasaug goes postal
by Nasaug

It came to my attention that I forgot to mention a couple small details in the last log entry.

Although we didn’t find any information about the delegation in Wormford we did pick up on a trail of Druid’s. They placed an order at the general store for ritual ingredients to create a fire spell. The store owner showed us the symbol they carried. We offered to deliver the ingredients for the owner, charging only a small fee, hoping this might lead us to information about the delegation. The owner informs us the goods were to be delivered to Thelorn’s Safe Journey in Red Larch. With a new lead we set out at once to Red Larch.

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Suspected fire symbol

After half a tenday we arrive in Red Larch. We head to the wagon maker shop, Thelorn’s Safe Journey, to delivery the ingredients. The wagon shop owner, Elisar Dryflyer, explains that the druids asked him to forward the package to their camp at Scarlet Moon Hall. I expertly negotiate a 3 gold fee to finish delivery of the package to Scarlet Moon Hall – hoping the delivery will allow us access to the camp to investigate the druids.

While in Red Larch, Loganth receives a message that the spire has been taken over by bird people. Later on, Oliver informs us the Aarakocra have taken over the tower and the soldiers have made camp outside for now.

Approaching dusk we head out to the Scarlet Moon Camp. On the road we encounter a couple hell hounds but to deal with them relatively safely. As we arrive closer to the camp we find a group of 12 guards patrolling the area. I cast Pass without trace on the party and we successfully sneak by without them noticing.

Scarlet Moon Hall

Scarlet Moon Hall

Arriving at Scarlet Moon Camp Oliver is able to provide us a map of the area from scouting trips he performed – saving us a huge amount of time. We walk right up to the gates and notify them we are here to delivery a package to their commander. They tell us we will have to leave the package with the guards as the commander is busy. We refusing to hand the package to anyone but the commander herself. However, it doesn’t work and we notify the guards that if the commander wants her package she will have to find us in the camps outside the tower.

We decide to investigate the camps outside the tower to discover any information about what the druids are doing. We are largely unsuccessful as most of the people only know the druids are trying to cast a spell to fix the weather. No one has any details or has meet anyone inside. However, we do find a female elf from my enclave (Emerald Enclave). She is able to provide us with some scrolls, but can’t offer any other assistance.

We decide to break into the camp once the sunsets to investigate for ourselves. The map Oliver provided showed a large section of the tower wall that has broken apart at the back. We were able to sneak in through that wall section successfully thanks to my pass without trace spell. Not wanting to be spotted I turn into a spider and climb the outside of the tower to investigate guard patrols. When I get to the top of the tower I discover something terrible.

Fire Elemental

Fire Elemental

The druid ritual spell was finished. When I reach the top of the tower I see a giant wicker statue transform before my eyes into a giant fire elemental. As he emerges the guards armor burst into flame …

Priest and Guards

Priest and Guards

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Session 13.1: Pickles and brine
by Nasaug

Having successfully raided the pirate base and acquired our new ship we set out back to Wormford to investigate the missing delegation. Upon arrival to Wormford, we unexpectedly ran into a familiar face. Krausen was there selling pickles! He took our advise and decided to start charging people money. However, one thing was very clear – he still had no idea what he was doing. He was charging a single copper for a pickle – he couldn’t possibly be making profit with a price like that.


Delicious pickles

Seeing an opportunity, we realized no matter where we went Krausen’s pickles were a huge hit. If they were marketed and priced properly a thrifty person, or persons, could make a small fortune manufacturing, distributing and selling pickles throughout the entire Dessarin Valley. Thinking quickly we asked Krausen if he would like to travel back to Red Larch with us while we discussed the possibility of helping each other out. He jumped at the opportunity and we set out for Red Larch together.

Arriving in Red Larch we had a plan. We bought Krausen some barrels so he could start increasing manufacturing. Next, we needed to create a demand. We visited the local tavern and asked if he had any of Krausen’s pickles – know full well he didn’t. We let him know that NO OTHER pickle would do. It HAD to be a Krausen pickle.

We realized if this plan was going to be successfully we’d need to partner with local farms to get access to more cucumbers. Remembering how useful the street kids could be we paid them as messengers to send letters to nearby farms looking for potential partners. With the plan really starting to come together we all took a break and ate one of the most delicious things any of us had ever had…

TO BE CONTINUED

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Session 12 - I want to suck your Santa
As told by the heroic and honourable Drongar Dofras.

Chapter 1

We begin our adventure sailing north on the River Deserian. After Grugain looks to ensure that no one is following us we all begin to go about our own business. Grugain oils his sword, Fendira cleans out her pack and Drongar fantically writes what is going on in his notebook while mumbling, “Why me!? Why did it have to be me?!”.

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As Fendira flips her bag of holding inside out to clean it. On the inside the bag is red with a white rim around the top. Suddenly the bag grabs hold of her and appears to try to suck her inside. Grugain leaps over and grabs her but they both end up inside the sack.

Nausag runs over and attacks the bag with his staff. As he hits the bag his staff remains stuck inside but he manages to barely yank it out using all his strength. The bag leaps towards Kilrin and swallows him whole.

Drongar puts down his notebook and quill and runs over towards the bag. As he approaches the bag he unleashes a blast of fire. The bag dodges out of the way and the fire appears to have little effect. He then attempts to communicate to the bag, telling it to release his friends but the bag didn’t care and swallowed him as well.

Nasaug looks from the bag to the sky and frantically writes “Help! Ate by bag.” in the sky before he too is eaten by the red and white bag.

Chapter 2

We awake in a world of snow with a blizzard whipping in our faces and it chills us all to our bones. Beside us appears the same red and white bag. The bag leaps at us but misses his attack. He turns around and puffs into a cloud of smoke.

Looking around the world seems unnatural. The moons don’t look right, the mountains appear to move while looking at them, odd smells waft in and out with seemingly no source. It’s evident we aren’t in the material plane anymore.

Grugain has read about this place before. He believes we are in The Abyss. The Abyss is where the literally energies of chaotic evil are made real, demons run amok in this plane… Having not died he believes we must (luckily) be in one of the first few layers. Some of most dangerous creatures in existence, the various Demon Lords, rule and battle over the lower levels. He goes on to say that The Abyss is where the Imprisoned One was trapped.

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Most Bags of Holding are linked to a pocket of extra-dimensional space, however this bag seems much, much more.

Nasaug hears clinking coming from afar, and we can see glimpses of light coming from the distance. It must be a village and with this cold we need to get somewhere inside and out of the weather.

As we approach the town it seems very out of place for one of the layers of hell. The houses are made of gingerbread and icing. The light posts and trees are made of gumdrops and tinsel. The only sign of life in the town appears to be a factory with stained glass windows and smoke pouring out of it’s stack.

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We manage to climb on a ridge and peer inside the factory. Inside we see small chain of little men w/ pointy ears being forced into labour by Quasits. Quasits are supposedly a form of low level demons.

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Christmas elves

Chapter 3

Things do not make sense here and we decide we need more information. Grugain stealthy walks off to find out more about this village. His investigation leads him to a house that looks like it was cut in half. Frost covers the house that is open to the inside.

On his way back he get a closer look at the factory. Inside he sees what appears to be elves chained to their desks, making things. He sees three Quasits supervising them and one appears to have horns. Some of them appear to have a symbol on their clothing. He knows it was the symbol of Zura.

As Grugain tells us all that he learns we hear a wolf making it’s way towards us in the snow. We believe it is still fairly far away but it is getting closer.

As we run towards the closest house Nasaug castes Pass without Trace. As we run our tracks through the snow magically fill in behind us. We arrive at the biggest house in the village and no one appears to be home, so we let ourselves in. There doesn’t appear to be much inside, but there is a picture of a jolly old man dressed in a red suit on their mantle.

Chapter 4

After warming up we decide we must help these imprisoned elves and figure out what is going on in this town. He head over to the factory.

When we reach it I make a quick pass around the outside using my Divine Sense to see if I can locate any additional Quasits. My senses show my four Quasits and what appears to be consecrated ground that is slowly being chipped away.

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Quasit

We prepare for storming their front door. We buff up and Nasaug summons two Fey creatures who turn into black bears.

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Nasaug opens the doors to what looks like Santa’s workshop in great disrepair. Nasaug runs across the factory floor towards the horned Quasits while his Fey creatures run towards two more on the floor.

Fendira casts Lightning Bolt on a man standing by himself. He turns out to be a Teifling with large front fangs.

Drongar runs inside the factory and kicks part of the front door against the wall. Blood oozes out from under the door, crushing the hidden and invisible Quasit hidding there.

We quickly deal with the rest of the Quasits and take the Teilfing prisoner. Fendira starts freeing the elves from their chains. The elves desperately want to kill the Teifling but we manage to convince them to hold off their attacks. The mayor, Candy, and her husband Cane convince them to go to their homes. However, Candy and Cane stay to watch.

Nasaug castes Charm Person on the Teilfing and I try to heal them to wake them up. The Teifling instantly turns to ash. Nasaug recognizes it as a divine blessing from their god, or in this case, more like a curse.

Candy and Cane about how they were imprisoned. They say that a creature summoned their town and them here and has kidnapped Saint Snicksnick, Santa, to try and take over his powers. Santa was taken to the tower on the top of Mount Peak. We will need to climb the cliffs to get there but they say they can lend us climbing gear to get up there.

They also give us some treats for our journey. The most amazing Kirkland ginger cookies that fill us with christmas spirit!

Chapter 5

After a short rest we head out to scale the mountain. We put on our winter clothes and Nasaug castes Water Walk on us to allow us to walk on the snow.

As we approach the cliffs a vile smell wafts towards us. There appears to be a Yeti covered in shit signing a song. He seems amused by his echo by the mountains.

We attempt to sneak by, but as we attempt to Kilrin’s armor klinks. Just before he spots us Fendira castes an illusion that distracts him.

We get to the cliffs without issue and begin to scale the mountain.

Chapter 6

We arrive atop the cliffs to a castle shaped like a pine tree. We have arrived at Winterhold.

There appears to be dead Gnomes everywhere along the top of the cliffs. One seems to still be alive but he is blue from the cold. We run over and Nasaug heals him.

The Gnome speaks of being trapped in the tower for the 20 years. About how “She” is draining Saint Snik Snik’s power. He mentions how there are Ice Mephits that guard the front entrance but there is a secret entrance he knows about from the back.

The back entrance is a small path approximately two feet wide that leads up to a door. Even 20 paces back you can tell the wind coming up from the cliff is fierce. I, the amazing Drongar, approach the path first, putting climbing spikes into the wall as I go. All the members of our party are tied together in case someone happens to fall.

Looking over the massive cliff, we see that we are staring into a dismaying display of the depths of The Abyss… Staring at it almost drives you mad.

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As we make our way across Grugain sees and Ice Mephit climbing the wall towards us but managed to throw him off the wall. Note to self, don’t fall off the wall. That didn’t look fun.

As we get closer to the door reality seems to skew and we are able to see around the castle to the front gate. A giant Frost Giant sits by the front door playing with Ice Mephits like children’s toys. Fendira seems extremely startled by the Frost Giant and was very glad we didn’t go that way.

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A guardian frost giant waits by the front gate

We arrive at the secret door… and it’s locked. Of course it’s locked. Who would leave a secret back door open? Luckily I manage to open it with some of my blacksmith tools.

Inside the door is a small staircase leading up to a wooden wall. Upon closer inspection it seems it is the back of a bookshelf. I, the amazing Drongar, notice some peepholes in it and look inside. Inside it looks like a winter wonderland. There is a women on a throne who appears to be a succubus vampire sucking energy from Santa and a giant demon on guard. The woman explains, “Soon, once I take your place, my master and all her kind will be able to enter anyone’s house with permission on your special day of the year. Muahahahahah!”

We buff up and prepare for battle.

Chapter 7

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Fendira castes Fog Cloud to block vision from the succubus while Drongar and Nasaug attacks the demon.

Meanwhile, the succubus appears behind Kilrin and attempts to seduce him. Luckily his love for his belaying pin is all he has ever wanted in life and her seduction falls on deaf ears.

The demon disappears into the fog and pummels Drongar to within an inch of his life. Just before Drongar is about to fall Nasaug lands a killing blow.

Santa appears before Fendira with an odd black helmet on his head and attempts to attack her. Fendira manages to cast magic missile and knocks the helmet off his head. Santa falls to the ground

Kilrin castes scorching ray towards the succubus . As the blast hits the succubus her eye’s burst into flame and she falls to the ground.

Do do do dooo, doo, doo, doo, do doooo!

Chapter 8

We heal Santa and he awakes. He grabs the helmet of opposite disposition and crushes it in his hand. Fendira notices a small crystal like our others inside the helm. While Santa isn’t looking she grabs it and places in the iron chest with the others.

We agree we need to get out of the tower and head back to town.

As we approach the front gates the Frost Giant sees Santa and quickly apologizes and runs off. Santa turns around and says, “I’m glad he ran away. In my current state I’m not sure how much of a fight I could put up against him. Ho, ho, ho ho.”

Santa looks down at his clothes and gives a small look of disapproval. He begins dusting himself off and his dirty red suit starts to look more and more red, less dirty white and new instead of worn. He dusts his face and a giant white beard grows back into perfect place.

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“Much better”, Santa announces while pulling a sack out of his pocket. I’m glad she didn’t find this as he pulls out a sleigh from his giant red sack. We rocket down the mountain towards to the village. The sleigh has a slight smell of toasted marshmallows and hot cocoa.

When we arrive with Santa at the village all the elves (which turn out to be Gnomes) errupt in cheer. Santa declares he needs a quick rest and then he will set all right in the morning.

We party with the Gnomes all night long with cookies, milk and chocolate

Epilogue

The next morning we see a dome around the town and a giant christmas tree in the town square. Santa exclaims, “First… it’s present time!”

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“To Nasaug”, Santa says while handing him a package. Nasaug feels the package and mumbles “Fuck it’s clothes…”, under his breath. Santa continues, “I give you a Cloak of Protection. No matter what form you take this cloak will grant you my protection.” The cloack is completely red apart from a white fur trim.

Fendira, for the little explorer in you. I give you a Wand of Magic Detection.” The wand appears to be red and white stripped like a candy cane.

“To Grugain, you’ve been a good boy this year. You’re a clever little one so I think this will be of use for you”. Grugain gains an Immovable rod that looks like a red pole with a brass topper.

“To my most favourite of all, Drongar. Defender of the weak. I think this will come in handy.” Drongar receives a Sentinel Shield. “I got this from Torm, before he was a deity mind you.” This shield looks like its made from gingerbread, and has the symbol of Torm drawn in icing sugar, but its as strong as any metal shield.

Kilrin, since you lead this band of merry men today I have a extra special present for you.” Kilrin receives Gauntlets of Ogre Power. “While wearing these you have the strength of an Ogre”. They appear to be Red and white mittens that look just like Santa’s.

Santa continues, “I have one last thing for you all before I forget.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out the red magic bag that brought us here. In an instant he turns the Bag of Devouring back into a normal Bag of Holding and he hands it back to us. “This should keep you out of trouble for a while”, and gives us a wink.

A magic circle instantly appears on the ground in front of Santa and he exclaims in a booming voice, “Seasons greetings. Keep up the good fight, and to all, a good night!”.

In an instant we are back on the ship. I’d wonder if it was real if it wasn’t for the 5 feet of snow covering the deck.

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Session #11 - Barrels of Fun
Of course we're not going to be pirates. We're going to be pirate kings.

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The Cult of the Crushing Wave

Loganth‘s squad, upon defeating Grimjaw and his goons, stood in the room with pride as their slain enemies lie before them. Loganth quickly tossed the Captain’s hat to Smitty, placing the Admiral’s hat in its stead.

“Smitty, take the reins! I don’t want to be blamed for this mess we’ve just created for the pirates”

“Gladly! It’ll be a GRAND tale to tell!”

Fendira facepalmed at the exchange.

Suddenly, somebody burst in with a conch in hand, ready to sound the alarm. Grugain was caught unawares, only now reacting to the world ever since being turned to stone. Kilrin silenced the area, preventing the conch from being heard. Fendira then cast her Ray of Frost, Kilrin began to rap battle, and Loganth blast the enemy with a firebolt. The combination proved too much for the goon and he fell dead.

Fendira reached into the bag of holding and attempted to remove the Wondrous Trout of Ages from it. Luckily, the God Kylus Marvelous refused her attempt to remove such a bounty from his plane of existence within the bag.

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Wondrous Trout of Ages

As we searched the room, we found reports scattered all around, as well as a note that tells us that somebody has been tracking our team since the beginning of our adventures. We also found a key on Grimjaw.

We found a secret stairwell that leads to some boats down below, possibly a means of escape we can use later.

The steward rooms beyond had a few commoners that were startled upon our arrival.

FEAR NOT” Captain Smitty said “For I am Smitty, current Captain of Loganth’s Squad! The terrible reign of Grimjaw is at an end”. The commoners cheered. Kilrin then proclaimed “Let a whole NEW reign of servitude begin”. The joke was apparently lost on the commoners as they looked confused, yet still happy to be free of Grimjaw’s control. We convinced the commoners to give us food and supplies and told them to lay low until we could clear the base of enemies. Only then would they be free. Loganth’s presence and dashing good looks helped to convince them that Loganth’s Squad could be trusted.

We moved to the second floor and Grugain used his dark drowy powers to make Fendira take the lead of the party. Unfortunately, as we entered one of the rooms, we got ambushed by more pirates and Fendira was hit. She cursed the drow and used her Shatter on the pirates, a loud ringing noise causing them to cringe in pain. Fendira’s spell weakened them enough for Captain Smitty to come along and put them all to sleep. We tied the guards up and decided to deal with them later.

We checked the next door, Captain Smitty pushing Grugain aside and taking the lead, to be welcomed by a priest who sprays Captain Smitty all over with his water essence with a sigh of relief. Captain Smitty, unimpressed, takes the brunt of the sexua-… er, I mean, plain regular assault from the priest like a true dwarf. A Combination of Loganth‘s firebolt, Grugain’s eldritch blasts, and Kilrin’s sacred flame / teabagging take out the priest in quick order.

At first, we noticed several large bookshelves in the room. Fendira squealed in glee, but as we came to face the front of the bookshelves, we realized they were mostly empty. Fendira’s smile went upside down. She silently cursed the drow, which in all fairness is probably to blame anyways. We discovered another secret passage that lead to a very wet floor with some chests.

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Captain Smitty took the lead “AS ANY GOOD MAN SHALL!” and used Grimjaw’s key on the main chest. A blast of green light was emitted from the chest and Captain Smitty placed the Staff of Healing instinctively in front of him to protect himself. The staff crumbled to the ground in dust, disintegrated by the chest’s defensive trap. Everybody looked at Captain Smitty with surprise.

“Don’t worry friends! This will only make the challenge greater and the story more epic! Trust in your captain!” As he stroked his lute to calm us down. Fendira was having none of it, as she declared this to be the WORST possible outcome. Everybody else agreed with Fendira.

The rest of the treasure chests were brimming with gems and gold, light making them sparkle in the dim light. We had found the famed pirate booty, and it was all ours now! Unfortunately, Drongar’s missing sword was nowhere to be found.

We returned to the tied up guards who were now awake. Grugain began to act like a slave for Loganth’s squad, begging the pirates to share their knowledge.

Grugain, to put the fear of Gods into them, began to use his pedo voice: “You must tell them what they want to know. You don’t know what they are capable of.”

Loganth interrupted: “It’s not MY fault his head didn’t stay on. They just don’t make necks like they used to.”

Grugain continued: “Have you seen what they’ve done to me?” as he shows them his missing finger and thumb, “They did this simply for not calling the right member Captain at the time. Tell them what they need to know and they’ll treat you well, right master Loganth?”

Loganth quickly slapped Grugain across the face “Don’t you DARE address me unless I command you to do so, drow!”

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Fendira couldn’t help but smile at the treatment of the drow, even if it was a performance. Or was it?

The pirates didn’t have much more info, and we knocked them out once we got what we wanted from them.

Grugain: “Looks like we’ll have to explore this place a bit more to find the sword”

Loganth slapped him once more, condemning him for speaking out of turn again.

As we made our way across the yards, we saw a woman come out of the chapel. Grugain wished to be quiet, yet Captain Smitty condemns those who roll below 20 and shouted out to the woman and her party that we worked for Grimshaw and that those who get in our way, get in Grimshaw’s way!

The woman had long, waist length, kelp hair. She was wearing blue robes and her body possessed many barnacles. Clearly she was some sort of kelp sorceress.

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She was accompanied by more of those briny Water cult warriors!
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She was confused with Captain Smitty’s declaration, giving us the moment of surprise we needed. Fendira acted quickly and trapped our foes in a Web, anchored to the church and armory. The kelp sorceress cast a spell of fear on us, yet none of us were affected. To maintain the ruse, Kilrin pretended to strategically retreat from the kelp sorceress. She was clearly fooled by his performance.

Grugain used his warlock powers to hex the kelp sorceress, causing her to have even more troubles in the web. Captain Smitty cast sleep on them, knocking one of her men out. Loganth cast a bonfire on the kelp sorceress and the webs got caught up in flames as she screamed in agony from the fire. Kilrin realized the kelp sorceress no longer cared about his actions, returned to the fight and cast a sacred flame on her, bringing down his holy light and cleansing the world of her evil.

Loganth’s squad continued to take down their foes; Fendira with her rays of frost and shatters, Kilrin with his mace and sacred flame, Captain Smitty using his crossbow and spells of bane, Grugain with his eldritch blasts and his hexes. One of the foes tried to strike down Kilrin, but he laughed at the attempt, making the foe cower like a bitch at his incredible, self-proclaimed armor class of 25.

Captain Smitty tried to ascertain the status of each his team members, but Grugain continuously interrupted the team by answering in their stead. Captain Smitty grew frustrated as he knew the drow wouldn’t pay attention to him when he actually needed it. Captain Smitty then cast another sleep and 3 more foes went down to nap. Clearly we assaulted these pirates during nap time. It made Loganth wonder: “Are WE the baddies?”. Loganth looked to the sky for some answers. Kylus Marvelous’ symbol shone through the clouds with a resounding “No.”

Kilrin maced the last foe standing to the ground and the group was victorious. The kelp priestess tried to reach for the conch, but Loganth kept it away because she was clearly gross and wet. He took his own conch and dripped some of the seawater on her, telling her to be one with the sea. With her dying breath, she told the team that Sholar is most likely in The Depths and that Gar would destroy them all…

We entered a barracks where more pirates were found on their beds. They looked confused, and as they spoke, Loganth’s squad became confused as well as their accents changes from Creole, to Dwarvish, and finally landing on Cliché Pirate. Captain Smitty told them to join the squad or to leave here and not come back, less their lives be ended.

Captain Smitty, growing fond of this place, declared this pirate den “Smitty’s Pirate Getaway”. Kilrin insisted it should be “Adventure”, but Kilrin did not achieve captain status for this adventure, and he was quickly dismissed.

We entered the chapel and found an Altar with a strange symbol, something like a horizontal bar. By now, we easily recognized it as the symbol for the water cult. In the altar, there was a hidden panel and we discovered another purple crystal like the ones before. Fendira tried to place the crystal in the box with the others, but almost managed to drop them all onto the floor. Captain Smitty, sighing at her attempts, saved the day and used his crossbow to nudge the crystal into the box with the others.

“And THAT’S why they call me Smitty The Great!”

At the Gatehouse, Smitty used his jazz hands to unlock the door. He declared that “we don’t need no stinkin’ keys” and threw the keys into the sea (he might’ve been pretending). His new gloves ARE invisible afterall…

As we made our way towards the final area we hadn’t searched yet, a ship’s canons fired at us!
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The halfling, Pike, was commanding the remaining pirates to attack us. Pike, clearly suffering from ocean madness, then smashed a molotov cocktail on the boat, setting it ablaze.

Kylus Marvelous can be heard laughing as Kilrin screamed in fear and anger. Kilrin made a mad dash for the boat, wanting to save this majestic 40 foot ship for the squad. Grugain cast an eldritch blast on one of the pirates, and as the pirate took the blast to the chest, he began to laugh maniacally, turning into some kind of jester or joker, if you will.

Captain Smitty had an idea and ordered Loganth to sound the conch, alerting the other pirates to come to their aid to save the ship from being engulfed in flames. Loganth was reluctant, but the Captain did order him, so he sounded the conch. Immediately, Loganth, Captain Smitty , Fendira, and Grugain began to feel their lungs fill with sea water. It flowed freely from their mouths and noses as they tried to gasp for breath.

Kilrin, unaffected by the conch, made his way through the flames of the ship, the water evaporating off of Kilrin‘s armor, and dashed towards Pike. Kilrin bashed Pike and sent him flying off the ship and to his watery grave. Kilrin, finally making use of his belaying pin, began to pump water onto the flames to put them out. The boat saved, Captain Smitty renamed the boat from the “Rivermaid” to something more appropriate: "Smitty’s Voice".

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Smitty’s Voice

Loganth‘s squad decided to check out the last tower quickly, only to hear bugbears playing some silly cup game. Fendira made it clear she didn’t wish to disturb these giant creatures (perhaps because of her small size?). Captain Smitty decided that the party should rest on the ship before approaching the bugbears.

Their rest was interrupted as Loganth heard noise coming from one of the canals leading into a narrow cave. He also noticed a lot of torch light coming from there. He woke up the rest of the squad and they made their way to the secret passage in Grimshaw’s office. The secret tunnel lead to the cave containing the canal. They overheard somebody ordering a bunch of men to find and kill Loganth’s squad.

Loganth came up with a brilliant idea: They would throw a keg of gunpowder from the ship into the water, that would then follow the canal’s stream and into the cave. Loganth would then cast a fire spell on it to set it off, causing the small cave to collapse on itself. The squad laughed and mocked the idea for a time, until they saw and heard Gar Shatterkeel coming after them with his massive trident and riding a monstrous shark.

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They quickly recanted their statements and praised Loganth’s plan as genius. They began to sail away as Loganth put his plan in motion. He cast a firebolt on the keg of gunpowder and it blew up spectacularly, collapsing the small cave and securing their escape from this Gar “Ursiel” Shatterkeel McGee! The water Prophet yelled out in frustration as he was clearly no match for Loganth and his amazing squad of merry adventurers!

Loganth’s squad sailed forth into the sunset on their brand new 40 foot majestic boat, with its 3 canons, and its length definitely NOT 6 feet long.

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Session 10: Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen!
Assault on Riverguard Keep! by Nasaug

As the elves finish off the orc battle, Nasaug recognizes one of the wood elves as his cousin, Jharym.

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Jeremy: “Nasaug, you are amazing! You basically dealt with all the orcs yourself.”
Nasaug: “Shut up baby. I know it…”
Jeremy: “The Emerald Enclave wanted me to give you this in honor of you being super fly.”
Nasaug promoted to Summerstrider (Emerald Enclave rank II).
Nasaug receives Boots of springing and striding.


Meanwhile, Loganth investigates the war chief. He finds a dark purple crystal sticking out of the center of the war chief’s chest. Loganth grabs the crystal without thinking of the consequences. Unsurprisingly, the evil war chief crystal does evil things to Loganth. His eyes turn purple and he appears locked in a trance. I’m immediately drawn towards this strange powerful feeling.

Luckily, Loganth is able to snap out of the trance before anything bad happens. We realize the crystal looks very similar to the one we found previously. When we start to compare the two crystal they magically fly together and combine into one new piece. Drongar forges a new box to contain the crystal’s dark energy.

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Smitty the Wordsmith investigates the long grass around the village. Suddenly, he discovers a pouch of pokeballs (A Bag of Tricks). There appears to be 8 balls in the pouch. Smitty had never heard of a pouch that holds balls before. He guesses the pouch was probably originally designed to hold bells.

The druid lady Drena from the farmstead also gives us a gift of thanks. Loganth tells us that its a magical bag of holding, capable of holding, apparently…


Bag of holding
Bag of holding

The group gathers back up in town. It’s getting late in the day so we decide to help the villagers bury their dead in the graveyard. Afterwards, we setup camp and decide to head back to Summit Hall in the morning. The Elves from High Forest say they’ll help defend the area and help the farmers rebuild.


Journey back to Summit Hall
On the first morning we discover a group of people worshiping a fire. We decide to go talk to them to discover what they are up to. Once we get closer it is pretty clear they are a cult. They call themselves pilgrims but we all know the truth. We leave them to their culting and continue on our way.

After several days, and midway through our journey, we arrive in Beliard. We decide to take a short rest in the city before continuing on. Smitty decides to find a blacksmith to investigate the lock we found in the stone monastery. Smithy, the blacksmith, is very curious about the lock. He thinks that for 75g he will be able to disassemble the lock and make a key for it. Smithy’s apprentice, Smithurs, takes the lock into the back to start working on it.

The next day we head back out to the Sacred Stone Monastery to pick up Statue Grugain. Luckily, he is right where we left him. I guess not many people want to steal statues. Grugain’s pseudodragon is still perched on his shoulder. On closer inspection, we realize Grugain is covered in bird poop.

Nasaug: “Why would be allow birds to poop all over your master little one?”
Pseudodragon: “I would never allow a bird to do that! I haven’t left his side this entire time! Not even to relieve myself!!”https://lords-of-apocalypse.obsidianportal.com/

The entire party is grossed out, but we manage to come up with a mechanism to transport Grugain back to Summit Hall. The rest of the journey was uneventful and we made good time traveling once we got back on the road.


Summit Hall

Luckily, once we arrive back at the hall we are informed the cleric has arrived. He takes a look at our injuries and confirms we have been afflicted by the touch of a clay golem, and he will be able to cure us. We pay him the cost of the materials (100g each) and he heals Nasaug, Drongar and Grugain. Unfortunately, Grugain’s fingers didn’t fair so well. His left thumb and right ring finger were damaged beyond repair. He also has a small, but deep section of his left pectoral missing from where Marlos unleashed his rage….

Cleric Priest

Cleric Priest

Finally, with the clay golems curse behind us, the adventurers decide to travel to Wormford to investigate the missing books and the river boat that was travelling down the river.


Arrival in Wormford
Upon entering town, we head to the docks. There we discover a gigantic barge – at least 200 feet long! On board we can see 3 sailors: 2 humans and a halfing. It appears to be the vessel that we say traveling down the river with the water genasi on board.

We ask a local fish monger what he knows about the ship and after a large bribe he is very helpful! We discover the name of the captain and find out it is the ship we are after.

We decide to go up to the boat and ask some questions. Turns out the water genasi Captain, Shoalar Qaunderil, was below deck and comes up when he hears us asking the crew questions. He doesn’t seem to like us and immediately try to kill us with a cannon. Smitty, thinking fast, heats the cannon ball forcing the cannon to backfire directly into the Captain. The force of the blast throws the cannon and the Captain across the ship.

Shoalar Qaunderil

Shoalar Qaunderil

We jump into action and quickly deal with the crew. Unfortunately during the fight the Captain manages to escape by swimming away with incredible speed. We investigate the ship and find 5 tomes of history. We realize these pirates report to the pirate King Jolliver “Jolly” Grimjaw. Luckily, with the map we already had and information we found in the forecastle we managed to put together where their pirate base is located.

Drongar seems enraged. He explains that Jolly Grimjaw killed his master and stole an extremely valuable sword. Drongar has been looking for any leads to get it back. Thinking fast Kilrin Blackwater puts us to work getting the ship rigged up. We leave port and sail towards Jolly’s base hoping to reach him before the captain can report back on what happened.


Sailing towards Jolly Grimsaw

After an afternoon of sailing, Kilrin’s managed to teach us the basics and we are slowly making our way towards Jolly’s base. Looking around it’s almost as if the ship has magically shrunk to 20% of the size. In Wormford this ship appeared to be 200 feet long, but it can’t possibly be more than, maybe, 40 feet long now.

Suddenly, we get attacked by a group of ghouls! We manage to quickly deal with them and continue sailing on…


Arriving at Jolly’s base – Riverguard Keep

Rivergard Keep

Rivergard Keep

We arrive at Jolly’s base to discover the port is blocked by a giant chain. We realize we need more information and begin to interrogate the halfling sailor, Pike. After several minutes of intense interrogation methods he breaks and tells us the water symbol hand sign as well as general information on the base layout and Grimjaw.

Water Cult Warrior

Water Cult Warrior

We stuff him below deck and sail towards the base entrance. Showing the guard the water symbol sign we manage to gain access to the castle. We dock the boat at their port and I look around. I swear the boat’s even smaller than before. Maybe 20 feet long max. Strange, strange magic…

The guards meet us at the dock and guide us directly to Grimjaw’s throne room. In the throne room we are find Grimjaw and a water priest.

Jolliver Grimjaw

Jolliver Grimjaw

Water cult priest

Water cult priest

Drongar, being Drongar, immediately confronts Grimjaw in a very aggressive and direct manner. Grimjaw calls out for Shoalar to identify us. A fight breaks out and Grimjaw transforms into a wereboar!

Thinking quickly, I cast moonbeam on Grimjaw!

We manage to slay Grimjaw despite his ability to heal ordinary wounds as if they were nothing and kill the water priest. However, Shoalar slips through our grasp yet again and runs away.

Just as we are catching our breath we hear a cry out through the castle for guards to report to the throne room …

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Session 9: The Siege of Dellmon Ranch
Iceshield Orcs gone cray girl!

ice_shield_orcs.jpg

After arriving at Dellmon Ranch we met with the patriarch, Kerbin Dellmon, to discuss the orcs that have been plaguing the surrounding area. He tells us about a man named Erned Stoutblade, a Knight of Samular, who had been helping protect the area from the orcs. He also mentioned that members of the Emerald Enclave, including a druid named Drena, were staying at Dellmon’s Ranch and had sent word to the elves from high forest asking for help.

Stoutblade.jpg

As we continued talking to the Patriarch, Erned Stoutblade arrived. He sat atop a mighty stead clad in full chainmail and a polished iron breastplate. He also wore a cloak of ocean blue around his neck held in place by an iron clasp that proudly displayed the sigil of the Knights of Samular. But if there was one characteristic that represented Stoutblade, one thing that every man, women and child would remember after meeting him, it would be his glorious mustache. I had never before seen such a ravishing mustache and knew the instant my eyes laid witness to it that I would never see one of its majesty ever again. Kingdoms were built, fought over and destroyed for a mustache of such implausible beauty. Beauty? That word does not begin to describe it. If a star is beautiful, then this mustache would be all of the infinite cosmos combined. I had to look away for fear my brain would cease to work as it tried understanding the incalculable wonder it had just perceived. As I turned away, I saw the others staring at the dope stache with a look of bewilderment. Their eyes had glossed over and tears were streaming down their faces’.

Once we had all recovered, Stoutblade informed us that between 50 and 200 orcs were heading towards Dellmon’s Ranch. A few of the local farmers overheard our conversation and began to panic. Before the panic could spread, Smitty delivered a motivational speech and the fear was replaced by courage. Several of the locals stepped forward and offered to help defend against the attack. In order to prepare for battle, we laid tar around part of Dellmon Ranch’s parameter and discussed where to position those who wished to fight. I used my scope to scout incoming forces.

dellmon_ranch_defense.png

The firstfwave was a success, and beaten off, but we also began to realize that Stoutblades’s skill in combat may have been embellished in the many heroic stories we had heard about him. After putting out a few fires and aiding those hurt in combat, we decided to prepare for the next fight as we knew the worst was yet to come. Drongar built a flame thrower in the forge and Drena went to summit hall for reinforcements (She returns shortly after having narrowly avoided an orc ambush). We send a scout in each direction to find any approaching orcs while the rest of the party interrogates the orc captives who had survived the battle. The captives were of no use. They spoke what sounded like gibberish, perhaps linked to a spell we discovered upon them. Loganth determined it was some type of madness… Shortly after the interrogation, the scouts return with news of an approaching orc horde. A battle ensued.

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The orcs then tried a different tactic. They began brush fires upwind, covering the area with smoke so as to make their approach far more difficult to see… They broke through our defenses a few times, but we always managed to push them back.

As the battled went on we slowly began to overpower the orcs. The outcome was definite; it was just a matter of time. Just then, the barn doors burst open and two ogres, two orogs, a shaman and the orc war chief emerged. The battle raged on with combatants falling on both sides. Then the fight went from bad to worse. Drongar begins to falter under the endless barrage of orc attacks and Stoutblade couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn (literally). Through sheer desperation, we decide to use the flamethrower Drongar had built earlier in the forge. Just as we were about to light the oil, the farmer holding the nozzle was pelted with arrows. I am not one who loves fire, but I am also not one who loves dying so I grabbed the nozzle from the fallen farmer and aimed it at the two ogres standing in front of me. They got badly burnt along with several orcs behind them and just like that the tide of combat started to swing in our favor. The war chief fought like a raving madman, taking a beating like no other orc I’ve seen. He fought furiously and without relent. We eventually take out the war chief and the remaining orcs were released from the spell we had seen on the captives from the previous battle, and they all cowered.

orc_war_chief.jpg

As the orcs retreated, the elves from High Forest arrived and finished off the stragglers. It seems that the little druid Drena sent an animal messenger to the Emerald Enclave for reinforcements. I don’t think the orcs will be bothering this farmstead again anytime soon…

100 years later:

After another victory for Drongar, the new Emperor, I lie flat on back in the middle of the battlefield surrounded by dead and soon-to-be dead men. It was a cold night and one of the first times in the last few years I was alone with my thoughts. I wrapped Nasaug’s pelt around me tightly to keep the chill off my bones. Blood was soaking through my armour, but that didn’t seem to matter anymore. My mind was free to return its focus to the mustache that had haunted my dreams for the past hundred years. I drifted my gaze up to the starry sky and made a mustache constellation by connecting random stars together. I then reached my hand toward the sky in a feeble effort to touch the ephemeral moustache constellation. Perhaps, if I die on this battlefield, Istishia would honour me with a legendary mustache of equal awesomeness in the great beyond. I turned my head to the side and my faced dawned a faint smile as I closed my eyes.

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Session #8: Saving Grugain
As told by the heroic and honourable Drongar Dofras.

After a restful sleep everyone awakes feeling refreshed to a wonderful sunny day! Well, everyone apart from Grugrain who is still a stone statue.

After a quick discussion on what to do with Grugrain (and a long discussion from Loganth on the benefits of renting a room from him in his spire) , we decide Grugrain is probably too heavy to carry so we’ll just leave him here. We carefully camouflage him into the sunniest part of the garden. He’d appreciate that if he could talk. He always did love the sun.

Off to Summit Hall!

We quickly get our barrings and set off down the path we took to get here and reach our boats. It appears the river has claimed some of them but we still have two. Enough to fit us all, albeit tightly.

Kilrin keeps repeating not to worry and how he will use his expert boating knowledge to get us across the river. However, I’m beginning to suspect he may not be the expert he claims to be. All he did was mumble “eastward” and something about a belaying pin.

We manage our way to the eastern coast of the river to see a pirate ship coming down the river towards us. Kilrin mentions how this isn’t unusual for these parts of the river and how there is a pirate town just downstream.

Looking through his telescope we see Water Genesai aboard one of the vessels. Kilrin tries calling out to the vessel but they don’t appear to hear him. A Water Genesai is responsible for killing my master. I hope I did not let her down and let her murderer escape.

We continue on to Summit Hall. After reaching the road we head north towards the city.

After many hours we begin to see signs that we are getting close. As we walk down the road we begin to see more farmland and the occasional knight walking by.

Summit Hall!

We finally can see the castle in the distance and can see from here they are flying the flag of the Knights of Samular. At least we didn’t get lost…

After talking to a gate guard about the delegation that was supposed to be passing through it is recommended we go speak to Lady Ushien Strombanner. He gives us directions to the cathedral.

As we enter the cathedral we see a lady dressed in gold armor praying. We introduce ourselves and, as we suspected, she is Lady Ushien Strombanner.

We ask if we can give our respects to Samular and she leads us down a well traveled path to his tomb.

The tomb!

As we approach the tomb we see two guards dressed in plate outside the doors.

We enter a long corridor with small halls branching off. At the end of the corridor we see a casket in an ornate room with large statue of Samular Caradoon, with a massive sword in his hand.

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After paying our respects, which oddly requires us to kiss the sword, I ask the Lady if they have a cleric who would be able to tend to our wounds. She tells us that they do not have one here but the order could perhaps send one up from Waterdeep. But the donation required could be quite expensive…

She mentions that she does have some things that needs to be tended to and if we would look into it she would cover the donation for us. Evidently the Ice Shield Orcs have begun raiding villages east of the city.

We agree to look into the Orc problem she has and she mentions to find Urn Stoutblade when we get out east. He was sent there earlier and he would be able to help. He can identify him from his badass mustache.

After a nights rest we head towards the High Forest.

Adventuring!

As we approach Gustar’s creek we see around a dozen people in the water. They all have shark toothed swords and shields made of giant crab shells, and are covered in barnacles. One of the people appears to have blue skin. The priestly man with them has flowing robes that almost seem to be made of seawater…

We try talking to them to find out if they know anything of the disturbances that have been reported in the area. They don’t seem to be the chatty type.

Loganth tries to impress them with his conch. They take it from him and refuse to give it back saying, “It is of the water, It is ours”. They were being super big dicks. We begin to fight them.

As the battle starts the blue skinned person transforms into a giant water snake and disappears. Shortly after we begin fighting the remaining enemies the blue snake appears and begins crushing Smitty.

After a grueling battle, we free Smitty, kill most of them, and capture their priest.

The priest was surprisingly unhelpful. We eventually take all his things and release him into the water.

Night!

We rest. Nothing happens.

Northward! Like way, way northward!

After many days of traveling we see something in the distance. Smoke billowing from a house. We rush towards it to see if anyone is in trouble.

As we approach the house we hear screams coming from inside and the sound of someone coughing.

We rush inside to find an elf trapped beneath a beam. Drongar and Bashar manage to get the beam off of him and carry him outside. We mentions that we must save his wife so Loganth and Kilrin run upstairs to look for others.

After Drongar heals some of his wounds we are able to get more information from the injured elf. He tells us that an Orc party raided his home and stole his wife and the farm maids. After they were finished they set his house on fire.

Bashar calls out to Kilrin and Loganth to come back oustide, there is no one else in the house to save.

The elf, Sel, points out a path that they came from and we get on our horses to chase after them. He insists on joining us and we eventually let him, but only after he agrees to listen to everything we say.

While in pursuit he mentions that Urn Stoutblade that we are looking for is probably at Dellmon Ranch, which is nearby, and how there was probably around 4 or 5 Orcs that raided his house as best he could tell.

After 30 minutes of riding we catch up to the Orcs. We can see they are resting and have setup a cook fire. We immediately engage them and we kill them all.

Afterwards we head to Dellmon Ranch. Things do not look well here. This large farm seems to filled with almost an entire villages worth of people, all clad in makeshift armor and weapons of questionable age. They are preparing for war.

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Session 7: Retreat from The Temple of Black Earth
Grugain gets stoned

As the last parts of my flesh turns to stone, from failing to avert my eyes when Marlos entered his bedchambers, catching me in the act of thievery, I am telling myself, this day has gone from bad to horrible, but in no way could get worse.

Ah, I was wrong. Maybe it could get worse. Marlos, in a fit of rage for my petty attempt at thieving, approaches me in a maddening rage with his evil looking hammer he calls Iron Fang. He grabs it with both hands and prepares to pulverize my petrified stone body. His stare, coupled with his full set of snakes for hair whirling in a frenzied dance on his head is almost as frightening to me as the stories mother’s concubine used to tell me about dryders in the Underdark.

“With Iron fang, I will RESHAPE the world!” he exclaims

Thankfully his dark shadow demon servant appeased his anger. I could barely hear what was said, as if even my insides and even my soul, were being transmogrified into some sort of stone state. Something about placing me in the yard with the other poor sods that fell victim to his devilish stares. Why did I try to rob his personal belongings? I am not thief, yet his elvish chainmail was so soft in my hands that it called to that drowish greed that I had buried long ago into hidden compartments of my soul. They left me alone in his room but not before turning around and cracking a piece of my left shoulder and pectoral. They crumble to the grounds in a pile of white dust.

I felt so alone. It was like I had left my body and was floating around my own likeness. I felt sadness and remorse. I never had a chance to prove to my would be companions that my heart was not black as pitch as the other Drow of house DeVier. I await the medusa’s servants to bring me to my final resting place. There I will also wait for Lolth to come and collect my soul for eternal torment. I know that she will collect me for having turned my back to her vile ways that is required of all Drow, especially a lowly male, and embraced another. A wild and darker other. I am sure her spider servants will find me. They will mummify me in their acidic webs and drag me to the spider hell. Maybe I am just paranoid because of my situation. Maybe she will just forget about me. I can only hope.

NO SUCH LUCK FOR ME TODAY! Out of secret passage I discovered that leads into the room, arises an enormous spider. Has Lolths servants come already? My fate seems now worse than forever being stuck in a statue. How did I get to this point?

The day had started simply enough. Drongar, Fendira, Smitty, Bashar and Nasaug, after having bravely freed the slaves from the evil black priest decided to go and lead them out of bondage. I decided to make myself scarce as there were a few deep gnomes amongst the prisoners and I doubt they had the patience Fendira has towards Svartálfars.

I decided to go and visit the Renwick the Lich. After talking to Drongar, we agreed that he might know more about this underground city, whose passage is blocked to us. Also to ask Renwick if we can let the slaves pass through his abode to avoid going through some darker unexplored dungeon that this vile temple might hold that we missed. I found him working at his alchemist sets and other dark arcana. I politely asked him my questions. He accepts to let the rescued prisoners pass through his laboratory as long as they touch nothing as well as in no way disturb him. With great reluctance he then told me it was an ancient Dwarven city by the name of Tyar-Besil. I also asked him about Rezur the dagger I found. He tells me it was magic dagger that will always be coated in blood and will never make a sound above a whisper when it is used to bring death. That’s it can also glow in the dark to help illuminate the deepest dungeons. I return quickly to the group with the news.

When I arrive, Fendira seems to be deep in conversation with a dwarf. His clothes are not as tattered as the other prisonners as well as being of finer materials. I discover that he is a Harper, like me, as well as a scholar by the name Bruldenthar, the scribe who wrote the large tome that Fendira brings along everywhere. He speaks of his journey south of Beliard and being ambushed by these priests of the black earth and being brought here. He even describes in an epic manner, an attack on the black earth priests and their caravan of slaves by the winged warriors we had encountered previously on that incredibly large dwarven bridge. Some sort of civil war over the four elements I wonder? As for the deep gnomes, they ended up being her after being taken from their outpost. They describe a large gust of winds and a woman’s laughter in the dark and then they were on the surface. How strange this makes me feel.

After our various parleys, I convey my finding about Tyar-Besil, to the group and offer my suggestion to venture forth into the unknown. Fendira protests strenuously and says that she has a “bad feeling about this” and that we should not attempt the trek without being more prepared. Smitty and Drongar seem less apprehensive and interested in the idea. Bashar is completely interested for it’s a chance for adventure and glory. Only one thing stands in our way. A large door with a lock that seems nigh impossible to open. Through some divine providence, incredible luck or just mastery of skill, Smitty is able to unlock the great doors and let us venture into the dark dwarven city.

We should have listened to Fendira and stayed away from this ominous place.
It was pitch black, so I went ahead as point of the group and pull out Rezur out of its sheath. Renwick told me it cast a glow that can illuminate in the darkness and it did perfectly. I place it on my shoulder to help the other see as I use my dark vision. I see everything. Perfectly carved steps and well warn probably crafted a 1000 years ago. Beautiful friezes and bas reliefs made of clay depict hills, grass and a castle of some sort. But disconcertingly, murder holes can also be seen across this place.

A head is a large stone bridge inside a cavernous room filled with stalactites and stalagmites. Passed the bridge is another passage, illuminated by torches. But this passage is blocked by a large clay statue in the shape of a humanoid the size of an ogre. It may be a lifeless statue, yet, for some unknown reason, we ALL feel apprehensive. It may look inanimate but we all have a feeling that it is sentient somehow. Like a Sentinel of some sorts. We venture forth cautiously.

Drongar tries to talk to it. “We would like to pass, we are seeking adventure.” It does not move and does not even acknowledge our presence. For we know, it is but a scarecrow made to frighten looters. Smitty tries to engage it in dwarven and slowly its biddy, lifeless eyes turn to acknowledge him.
“What is the sign?” it asks to our amazement.
We try many combinations of words and symbols to try and pass this sentinel but sadly to no avail.

Suddenly Nasaug, with his keen elvish eyes, notices a small ledge that seems somewhat like a passage to another part of the cavern. But it too is in the path of the creature. With deftly movement he tries to pass the sentinel, but fails. It grabs him in a powerful hold with one hand. We can see some sort of evil taint afflict Nasaug and before our eyes we see some of his life-force drained.

Quickly we jump into action. Bashar acts first then Drongar with skilled and powerful melee attacks. It does not even seem to tickle the clay. They both place themselves in defensive positions, wondering what the sentinel will unleash like attack. I center myself, feel the energies from the other plains enter into my heart and with an exhale I throw from my hands an agonizing blast of eldritch. A sure hit in the creatures chest but still no effect.
Smitty then remembers some obscure lore about such a creature. He called it a clay Golem and he indicates to us that only magically enhanced or adamantine weapons might hurt it and that most magic spells ricochet off its earthy hide.

I throw Rezur to Bashar who wields it like it was more than an extension of his arm. More like an extension of his will. He uses new techniques I had not yet seen him apply. They remind me of brush strokes that only an artist can apply upon canvas. But for Bashar, his paints are blood. Drongar also hacks at the golem saying a little prayer and Smitty uses magic spells made to impede a foe, to no avail. This is the strongest adversary we have ever encountered yet and its dead eyes make our frustrations worse. I try to hex the beast to try to affect its essence with necrotic energies but again no visible effect. But Nasaug takes the opportunity to wiggle out of its grasp.

Suddenly the creature takes not one, not two but three hits upon Drongar. Drongar is barely standing. After such an assault we try and do a tactical retreat.
Bashar exclaims “I am brave… but not foolish!”

But I suddenly see Nasaug try and go for the secret ledge. The Golem tries another hit upon him. I cannot let him go alone; I must aid my woodland cousin. I try an acrobatic leap to pass the creature, but only end in his suffocating grasp.

I was not the only one who failed at an athletic task. Nasaug slipped and started to fall to the ledge. I felt my heart stop. The fall was over 150 feet and the floor was littered with boulders. Surely he would break his back if not crack his skull from such a height.
A wave of blue energy passed me and surrounded Nasaug. I turned my head to see Smitty casting a feather fall spell around our friend. He descended down the pit in a slow fall. My heart began to beat again but only to be assaulted by the life darning attack of the clay golem.

I make myself small and I succeed in escaping his painful grasp. I land on the ledge Nasaug attempted to maneuver upon before with success. I have a better time at it then he did and move away from the golem. As we are all out of his reach he seems to go back into his state of menacing hibernation.

I am weary and feel like he took half my life away with but a touch. My breath his heavy and my head aches. . I feel my muscle tone decrease as well as my confidence. I must reach my friends another way, I cannot go back passed the golem for I am sure he will drain all of my life force if I do.

I look at my surroundings and see that the ledge goes all around the edge of the cavern wall and returns to the beginning of the bridge where I can meet up with my friends. I start the long and traitorous path forward. As I reach half way the Golem reawakens and turns to look at me. I feel a fear traverse me. Is he going to attack again in a mad leap across the pit? Instead he does a large below. The sound is disturbing, like a bear’s death rattle, yet seems more like a warning. A warning to something not yet seen.

I scan around me and I can see an opening above me. It leads to an antechamber that overlooks this pit and bridge. I slowly peek, and quickly bring down my gaze as fast I can. I spotted a devil. Marlos himself, there seated on a chair in what can only be described as an evil throne room. I can hear him stand and begin walk towards the edge to see what the Golem has warned him about. I do not bother to investigate more, or stay for him to find me there. I continue stealthfully towards my friends. Even if I was not weakened, I was taking Fendira’s advice that this foe’s powers was beyond my ken.

A little ways away from the overlooking antechamber, I see the outline to secret passage. Maybe it’s a way back to the temple above? I slowly and quietly open it. Again, I should have kept going.

I enter into a small bed chamber only 20 footsteps wide, with a large bed. It was ornamented by sculptures and busts and I can see a chest at the foot of the bed. This is where I ended up in this state. I traversed the room with incredible furtiveness. Not even a hook horror could have heard my foot falls upon the stone floor. I greedily opened the chest hoping for some compensating treasure for today failures. At first I felt rewarded by its contents. It was sylvan chainmail armor. Elven chain is said to be light, silent and almost as strong as plate mail. I could have used such protection against the Golem. Maybe for our future attempt at passing the golem? Sadly I don’t think I will have a second attempt at anything.

The chest must have been warded by some magic. MARLOS was alerted to my thievery. I saw him pass through the stone wall as if he was an ethereal being. It was more like he was one with the stone and him traversing the rock was like light passing through a pain of glass. Our gazes crossed and then I was truly and royally FUCKED. I tried my hand at subterfuge, using the prejudices versus my race as means that I could become a roguish ally or an assassin. I could stall him as to give me time to run the ledge via the secret passage but it was too late. The curse had already solidified my body into stone.
So here I am, nothing more than disembodied spirit fettered to my stone corpse. And now a demon spider from the Queen of the spiders is coming to take me to her underworld, where she will sink here teeth into me and drain the innards of my soul, over and over again in a perpetual hell. I wish I could see my friends one last time. To tell them they had been the only kind people I had ever met.

The spider arrived to me and did the strangest thing. He doused my stone body with webbing and grabbed a hold of my stone body and proceeded to carry it out, with great stealth and delicate grace. My gods, it isn’t some demon spider from the hell pits. It’s Nasaug. Like a guardian celestial he must have heard my pleas.
He carried me as best he could back to the group. I was not the worse for wear, but my stone body has had a bit of damage. I lost a piece of my shoulder and a whole finger. What do I care really?. I am a statue and soon I am sure my soul will make its journey to the afterlife

The party rushes me out of Tyar-Besil and then brought me directly to Renwick. Good idea, maybe he will have some form of spell reversal.
In his usual uninterested manner, he explains that the only way to bring me out of this state is with a powerful spell called “Greater restoration.” He also says such a spell can restore our life force stolen by the clay golem. He says that he could prepare an elixir and release me from my cage of stone, but at a price. I can see the apprehension in my companion’s eyes. Has Renwick played us all this time? Is he a true Lich and has nothing but evil intent?

He turns to Drongar and reassures him “This will not compromise your faith, but perhaps your conscience . You must go forth to Summit Hall, to retrieve the body of my fallen brother. But be warned… they will not give it up lightly”
I can see in each of the eyes of my companions. “ADVENTURE AWAITS!”

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Session 6: The Adventure of the Mad Monks
Sacred Stone Monestary Caves

Previously…

When last we saw our heroes, they had been victim to a cruel trap by Quarbo and placed in the catacombs underneath the monastery. Drongar, Nasaug, Smitty and Captain Fendira struggle to their feet.

In the bowels of the damned place, many horrors await…

Chapter I

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A set of metal bars is all that stands between our adventurers and an umber hulk. The hulking insectoid has bronze blades grafted onto its arms. It has been tortured and altered. It’s second set of eyes have been removed, perhaps it can no longer use its dazzling gaze? Trapped behind the metal bars and looking for a way to attack, it struggles to reach our heroes.

Smitty, quick witted and resourceful manages to cast a spell which heats the bronze blades attached to their adversary. Unable to drop his blades, the burning punishment continues to distract the beast and hampers its ability to break the bars. Keeping it isolated from the brave party, it allows for Fendira to pummel the umber hulk with a constant barrage of magic missiles. Several moments pass and just as the party is assured an easy victory against an otherwise challenging foe, the evil monks open the gate for the beast, giving it access to its prey. Our noble warriors still achieve victory, though not before Nasaug receives a terrible blow.

Victorious and stumbling, our heroes move on.

Chapter II

A magically sealed door to one side and a door our heroes assume must be used to feed umber hulks on the other were their options. With the help of Smitty, the group moves towards the magic door. The mad monks are dangerous, though it was doubtful this door was their doing and so our heroes take the least expected root to continue their assault.

Behind the magic door is an ancient crypt where the undead have awoken to find it their new home. Unknown by our battered heroes, the danger was far from over.

Being entombed for such a long period of time must be tiring. Even though the dead do not tire, it is somewhat strange to imagine a passage of static time to be anything else but tiring and lonely. Are the zombies even aware of their existence or are they simply cursed to seek out life and extinguish it. Is the state of death a famine which hungers for life with no better way to absorb it than through ingestion? The dead cannot answer nor would they if they could for they hunger more than they wish to communicate. Truly the unlife of such creatures is nothing to draw too much attention to, but wait…what’s this? Their prison is opened, and in walks their next potential meal. Four delicious looking adventurers? The undead move in for a bite.

Six zombies stumble towards our heroes. Fortunately for the adventurers, a zombie is sluggish and ineffective, though one must not underestimate the zombie, for its strength lies in their numbers. Drongar is hit hard by the lumbering corpses, but is still standing. Nasaug shape shifts into a bear and adds more bite onto the heroes side, but is it enough? One by one, the zombies are felled and our heroes investigate the largely undisturbed crypt, undisturbed until now. The central sarcophagus reads.

Samular Caradoon
Defender of the North

The brother of the friendly Lich. The party owes much to the Caradoon family name. Within the tomb of the noble knight, a staff of healing is found. Since Nasaug contributes keenly as a bear, the staff falls to Smitty to wield. After a short rest, and a few charges of healing, our brave heroes catch their second wind and move on.

Aside from where they came, there are two paths to explore. One path appears to lead upwards and our heroes assume must lead back to the Lich. This leaves one path sealed by a rusted door to explore.

Chapter III

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The path ahead leads the party to what appears to be mining tunnels, though what they are mining for is not really clear. Our heroes come across an Orog, a sly orc though one might say twice as ugly, is found whipping slaves. Drongar the paladin is having none of it. This is not the orog’s day, after several embarrassing misses, it appears that fate smiles upon our heroes. A critical miss sees the orog devastatingly hit itself and allows Fendira to finish it off with a frost arrow to its face, striking it dead. Not knowing what to do with the captives, the heroes move them to the tomb, which should be safe now that the undead are dealt with. After escorting the newly freed slaves, the adventurers probe deeper into the tunnels.

A brief confrontation with aggressive fungus convinces our heroes that their efforts could be better invested without needless fighting; they go down a different path. A bit further, they meet three Duergar. Duergar.jpgThe dark dwarves initially do not directly attack our party, still dressed as monks, though neither are they friendly. After Drognar somewhat successfully navigates a social exchange with the stubby stains of existence, it proves only to delay the inevitable. Fendira, Captain Fendira you see, absolutely, hates, durugar.

Fendira gives the order to engage the three dark dwarves. One grows to double its size in an instant and shows that these small dwarves can pack a deceptively large punch. Though the dwarf grows large, his comrade falls quicker than he can react to stop our heroes. Smitty casts a sleeping spell in an effort to slow the onslaught of these underdwellers. As one begins to slumber, the remaining darkling wakes his sleeping ally. Through all the confusion and speed of the conflict of sleeping and waking and growing, another of the three falls to the party’s blade. One left and he does not last long. Even though the durugar may have been avoided, there is no telling what mischief they were capable of once the group turned their backs on them. Captain Fendira aired on the side of caution, sharp bloodthirsty caution.

The underdark must be a ruthless place one must conclude. An ill tempered dwarf is common, simply enter any tavern to see one. A dark brooding elf is nothing special either, for any who live so long inevitably develop a chip on their shoulders as well. For a halfling though, it simply chills to the bone to see what dark places do to their kind and innocent souls.

Chapter IV

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The heroes of our tale continue to explore the catacombs. Through its winding paths they come across a group of slavers, three orog and one ogre. Our adventurers are nearly spent, but fight on. The ogre is a large strong creature. Even if it is not very clever, it makes up for this with its strength and relentless advance. After throwing a javelin the size of a small tree, it moves in on Nasaug with its immense club while the orogs move swiftly against Drongar. The battle seemed even, though when the party enters the fray almost half dead, even an ogre sees the distinct disadvantage that poses. Drongar manages to take down two orogs with the help of Fendira, when suddenly he’s hit to the ground, but stable. By this point in the confrontation only one orog remains. Smitty casts his sleep spell and causes it to slumber, while Nasaug keeps the ogres attention. With the ogre moving in for what appears to be Nasaug’s last breath, Smitty takes out the healing staff and brings Drongar to his feet. The half-dragon knight flanks the large creature and delivers the killing blow, fortunately the last breath of this battle was not Nasaug’s, but Drongar’s breath of fire. The singed ogre falls to the ground, and Smitty finishes off the unconscious orog by heating its armor the same way he heated the umber hulk’s bronze blades. Our adventurers are tired, and nearly perished. It is time for a rest.

The group doubles back to the crypt where they left the freed slaves and fortify their position as best they can. Hopefully the monks above do not dare search where the dead lay. The heroes rest…as best they can.

Chapter V

The party rests, and though there is banging on the rusted door during the night, no other incident occurs. Refreshed after such an arduous ordeal, the party aims to end the mad monks for good.

The catacombs upon exiting the burial chamber are quiet and vacant. The further they explore, the more uneasy they feel.

In a new area of the ruins, the brave adventurers discover bars impeding their path. This section of the catacombs is markedly different, and appears dwarven in origin. It leads to the ancient city of Tyar-Besil….Nothing else however can be gleaned. The lock shall have to wait until the rest of the tunnels are secured.

Fendira leads her party to the final room, the only unexplored section. Within the guard post are three individuals: Quarbo, a dark acolyte in robes and Helen Rae. Overhearing their argument, our heroes have the element of surprise, they have no idea where they are. Unfortunately for them, our heroes have every intention on joining the conversation.

Splitting up and approaching the the room from two doors, our heroes prepare to attack. Nasaug and Fendira to one side, Drongar and Smitty the other. The evil monks can barely react. Qwarbo goes down quickly, as does the robed spell caster who tries to escape by spider climbing. This spider however bares witness to a bear’s fury as Nasaug cuts him down. Helen Rae puts up the most resistance, however she proves no match for our heroes. Among the fallen enemies our heroes find keys however none which open the dwarven passage. This sect of fanatics is defeated, however there are more questions left unanswered.

Epilogue

The terror of the mad monks is over, but how many more might still be out wandering and plotting a dark future. The main quest to purge this place of evil is practically complete, however there still lies secrets to uncover before leaving this place. The prisoners said the monks referred to lower chambers as the Temple of Black Earth, clearly a place of powerful elemental evil…

To be continued…

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Session 5: Sacred Stone Monastery
Searching for seeds by Nasaug

It all started when we left Loganth’s Spire. We decided to head to Beliard to try and try to track down the delegation. Grugain appears to have a new pseudodragon companion . This appears to make Drongar very upset. These city folk are almost impossible to understand.

The night Grugain somehow missed Owl Bears

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On the second night, we made camp and went to sleep as normal. Grugain stayed awake and stood watch. He did it badly….. I awoke to an Owlbear trying to slash my head off while I could hear another one attacking from the other side of camp. I was knocked unconscious before I could even move.

Smitty was able to temporarily revive me. I look around and see a second owl bear asleep on the ground. The first owl bear is still enraged by my presence. He grapples me and started running out of camp. I manage to break his grasp, turn into a dire wolf and retreat back to my allies. We regroup and manage to scare the owl bears away. They were clearly petrified by my ferocious wolf form.

Suddenly a wild earthquake! Two Hydralisks (Ankhegs) appear out of the ground attacking from the front and the back!

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We down one of the Ankhegs and a priest appears. We are able to down the Ankhegs and take the priest hostage. He tells us that the Prophet of the elemental earth, Marlos, sent him. He used to hang out at the stone monastery in the mountains to the east. Tells us we’ll never stand against the cults. I ask about the symbol left in my village and he tells he it represents fire.
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We move camp and go back to sleep. Drongar Dofras has taken responsibility of the prisoner and wants to deliver him to Beliard. It’s going to be tough – the prisoner keeps trying to run away or kill himself to escape imprisonment.

The stone bridge!
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After much traveling we reach the stone bridge. Truly a marvel of the age. As we approach the voice in the sky talks all about the details of the bridge. The history. The craftsmanship. Expectations were super high but nothing happened.

Arrival in Beliard

Drongar brings prisoner to Sheriff. Sheriff says delegation was attacked from a dragon! He’s a liar. That never happened.

Instead of listening to the unreliable sheriff we visit the Inn. Many guests remember the delegation and inform us they left town on the south path towards Summit Hall, base of operations of the Knights of Samular. One guest remembers seeing monks with gold masks. The monks made a triangle symbol with each other. Others remembered seeing warriors flying on Giant Vultures. An old guy told us the stone monastery is on the other side of the river.

Drongar visits the local Armor Smith. He purchases a warhammer and asks the local smith if anyone has tried selling any high quality weapons matching the description of the one stolen from his Master. The smith says that a Water Genasi tried selling a sword that matches the description 4 or 5 tenday ago.

Traveling the south path

As we are walking down the Dessarin road we find a swarm of ravens and vultures 15 miles out of town. We travel towards the birds and investigate the area. We find the remains of a ferocious battle and a dozen dead soldiers with an emblem of a red axe. Two graves were dug on the side with a symbol from Mirabar.

Upon closer inspection, we find out lots of earth magic was used here. None of the delegation is present but lots their soldiers. We find gold masks (gilded tin). I find a trial of bug bears that leads to the river.

At the river we find some boats. We cross the river with them and discover another 20 boats. Tracks continue up to the monastery.

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Entering the monastery

We approach through the side garden. It was locked but Smitty was able to pick it open. In the garden we get attacked by two gargoyles. I transform into a bear and make quick work of them. However, my damage didn’t seem particularly effective for some reason.

We enter into the monastery through an entrance in the garden, which was mysteriously locked with an arcane lock spell. The entrance leads to a lab and we find a nice looking man working behind the bench. The other members of the party seem scared – almost screaming running around in circles. I don’t know why….

Nice man
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The man in the lab turns out to be a lich – still don’t get it, but whatever. He tells us his name is Renwick Caradoon – brother to the famous knight Samular Caradoon, founder of the Knights of Samular, who is currently buried at Summit Hall. His brother seems like a dick though. Renwick was turned into a lich by his brother when he died on the battle field.

After a moving speach by Grugain DeVir, reminding him of the good man he once was, Renwick tells us that if we clear the monastery he will make sure no one enters again. Renwick gives Drongar an Amulet of Health. He lets us rest in a side room before we enter the main monastery. Before we leave him he passes us a map.

Investigating the monastery

After entering, we find 2 monks in a distilling room. We take them out and find some spare uniforms. We all change into the guard uniforms and continue looking around.

We find a dojo. Inside are 4 monks and a woman who appears to be training them. Everyone but me decides to go inside and get beat up. Not sure why but doesn’t really surprise me. The woman turns out to be Helen Ray, the leader of the monastery. She tells the others to “see Carbo and he’ll attend to you”.

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The next room was a study where we found 4 monks reading some books. We find some books about male medusa, Marlos Urnrayle, the Prophet of Earth. Urnrayle founded the black earth temple deeply below the monastery. He nurtures a black geode and, with Ironfang (a gift from the Prince of Evil Earth), waits until “the ever growing mountain comes and remakes the land in his own image”.

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We continue making our way around the monastery. As we go Smitty starts locking doors behind us to make sure guards can’t sneak up behind.

Finally, we enter the altar room and find Carbo. We try and deceive him, pretending to be new recruits. He seems to be buying it and tells us to go into the basement below the altar. As we start descending the stairs they turn into a slide and we all fall to the bottom.

At bottom, an Ultralisk (Umberhulk) is released from behind bars and attacks!

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