Campaign of the Month: September 2012
A Manifestation of Chaos
Session 83 Expanded
11th – 18th Day of Reaping CY 623
Location: The Underdark – World Map
Map Tab Color: Purple
Allister Tain says, “So tell me a little bit about yourself lich.”
Guards at Sir Aegon keep are wearing black blades, dressed for real battle. Sir Aegon is shouting, “No, no, no that’s not what we agreed upon… I don’t care how high your rank is in the Heironean church.” A calm voice responds, “You’ve fallen far.”
Then, overwhelmingly good holy paladins are surrounding one man, Hazan, Hand of Heironeous V. He being the leader of the Heironean church on Oerth, Allister Tain bows. On his way out, Hazan passes by Allister Tain saying, “It doesn’t surprise me to see you ended up here.”
Things are not going well lately. The Southern Orc League is assembling again. “I could probably systematically wipe them with a company of men,” Caldin says. But Drexella says orc leaders need to be croaked; they are more powerful and disciplined. One, the daughter of Glikta, and the other a scro general, Tuscatacar. Drexella keeps saying “this is worse than last time.” She seems lost in contemplation.
Ferreal: “It is possible that what we are facing now is a symptom.”
Drexella: “I think what we are facing now is the cause.” Then she walks out.
Will Kaden: “That’s just great when the witch is spooked.”
Sir Aegon relates that Hazan was arguing because he finally came clean about something suspected for a long time. Stones of Tharizdun. Never confirmed in the scholarly world but apparently all too real. When Tharizdun was originally in prison, portions of his power were put into 333 gems in order to contain him, because he was too powerful to be killed outright. He is thought to be a cosmic force that predates the gods. The stones were divided between the forces of good, neutral, and evil, 111 stones each. Throughout the years they have occasionally be found and have some magical powers.
There was a machine that ravaged the central Flaeness and destroyed about 55. That machine was called the Doomgrinder. Shortly before the Inquisitor wars, the Doomgrinder went on a tarrasque-esque rampage, but eventually Mordekainen and the Circle of Eight destroyed it.
All 111 gems that went to the good were secured under the Bastion of Bravery in Valuna City. Seven years ago, Glikta attacked Valuna City, and nobody suspected this, because she straight up hated Heironeans. When she destroyed the Bastion of Bravery, the gems were broken. That was when Tharizdun clerics began receiving spells again.
Now, Bifrons was in charge of the evil gems 1000 years ago. He works directly for Mephistopheles. And Balekor is Bifrons right hand man. And we know where he is, or close. We are to capture Balekor and find out where those gems are.
How will we capture him, he seems like a fairly powerful guy? Balekor was once a duke of Hell but was supplanted. Shortly after the binding of Ungrakkus, Balekor became Bifrons right-hand man. Suspected of betrayal of at some point. He is a magically gifted, spellweaver archdevil. He has an artifact called Cloak of Skulls. Anyone he kills is absorbed into the cloak. He is able to feed off that intellect and health somehow. It supposed has a number of powers over death, destruction, and the undead. Soulcrusher a named sword—jevenite greatsword.
Balekor is in the Underdark. A duergar mercenary, called Brian in common, is a contact for Citadel Black in the Underdark. When Mcgregor was first captured and let go, these duergar had captured him first. Really strange stuff going on down there. We are trying to get a team together to check out a temple. Radiational magic in the Underdark prevents direct teleportation. We eat the Heroes feast and get ready to go.
Entil-zha comes down and says, “Ah yes, I have to teleport you, because your party lacks the proper resources.” As Ner’zul finishes his dish. Entil-zha talks about why he is remaining at the castle instead of joining them. He has been punished for failure. I have never known defeat until now, and it is a bitter dish. Ner’zul suggests it is good to endure it for a while, so you never forget. Caldin also drinks a concoction from Gobbo. It is an alchemical potion that can be activated later to enlarge him. The parties priorities are established Balekor and the strange temple.
Ched Nasad is the city we target in the Underdark. Unfortunately, we cannot teleport directly to the temple, due to the radiational magic. Teleported to a path by Entil-zha, we head south down the road, toward an Underdark city.
Traveling south, we encounter a band of Beholders with Cyclopses and Iron Golems serving them. The party attacks. Caldin teleports in the middle of the foes. Several casters fly up, and William and Allister Tain move forward. Allister Tain punishes some Cyclopses with fire and ice. Cyclopses and Iron Golems harass the party and the Beholders suppress magic. Gobbo flicks a sunrod to the dark area and it is not suppressed by anti-magic, giving light to the dependent fighters. Then Caldin begins swinging, killing a Beholder and chopping off the ankle of a Cyclops.
Ner’zul notices an invisible beholder and casts a phantasmal killer, terrifying the nasty creature and bringing him to his doom. The last beholder casts a disintegrate on Ner’zul, not able to affect him, and then he turns to aim his anti-magic field toward Caldin. Then a few Cyclopses and again assault Caldin, bringing him close to death. Will Kaden rushes into save Caldin, covering him thoroughly with his tower shield, but then iron golems turn their attention to the warrior and brutally slam him, bringing him to the ground. Then Ferreal calls on magical power to cast a disintegrate spell at the last remaining Beholder. It reduces him to utter dust, dramatically ending the last Beholder.
Allister Tain quickly moves in to heal the wounded warriors, then Gobbo lobs an acid bomb at an Iron Golem. Caldin hacks two Cyclopses down to the lifeless, horizontal angle. As the anti-magic field fades, Will Kaden rises and destroys an Iron Golem, and after Caldin almost demolishes the second, Will Kaden blasts it with a devastating swing.
After this the adventurers loot the band and along with many excellent wands and potions, the party finds a store of food in a bag of holding, and it seems as though it could feed 100 creatures for as long as a month.
The party moves farther south toward Ched Neasaed and approaches the drow guard. The guards talk with the lich. Various nefarious attitudes about life are expressed in the exchange. Slavery, rape, and other disgusting things mentioned in casual ways. The party is represented as slaves of the lich as a ruse. Telek, the guard, gives instructions to the “slave” of Ner’zul, Allister Tain, who is somewhat slow to respond, not yet playing his part.
After the slow reaction, Telek offers to lash Ner’zul “slave”. Telek the guard gave Allister Tain a lashing, and at the whim of Ner’zul a second lashing is applied. Telek asks about becoming the apprentice of the lich and then mentions he serves in the Debrason house. Then Allister Tain gets the directions to the duergar area and we proceed.
Moving along, we find a giant stalagmite, which serves as a bar. We look to Ferreal. Caldin and Ferreal get some red wine. Ner’zul inquires after fleshy human or elf do-gooder meat. The bar has a pen for holding “live” meat. Ferreal inquires about Brian. One of the duergar wenches knows much about his appearance. He is missing his right eye and has a few scars. Clan Xornbane owns the bar and they are nursing their wounds from a recent battle in which they lost 40 warriors.
Gobbo grabs a piece of meat from the ground and consumes it. His alchemical training has made him practically immune to the ill effects of chemicals and poisons. Then a mongrel-man nearby gets riled up and attacks Gobbo saying, “Hey, you stole my meat.” Gobbo cowers in the corner, but he is not hurt.
Then a bald, strange dwarf-ogre breed offers to kill the mongrel-man, which happens suddenly with the slash of a blade. He offers to whip or kill Gobbo for Ner’zul. After that, Ner’zul allows it and asks for the dwarf-ogre to flay Will Kaden as well. The creature is more than ready to go after Will Kaden , but then Allister Tain gets upset and combusts the dwarf-ogre, slaying him.
The wench gets back to the table and says something about the food; she offers to put the head on top of the flesh making it look as if the food is staring straight at you. The lich happily accepts, and she leaves. The grandfather of the bar wench approaches shortly thereafter. Steklor, old duergar, comes to the table. He speaks to the lich some about Brian’s whereabouts. Then the info comes that the younger duergar will return after a few days from business with Clan Xornbane. The food arrives and sure enough, the eyes follow the lich as he devours the disgusting feast.
Ferreal suggests we take a break and just lay low until Brian returns. The party agrees. Then Ferreal inquires about female humans, looking for pleasure. He learns that the going rate is 5 gp for the night or 100 gp for permanent ownership. He acquires one to his liking. Lydia. From Hommlett. Lydia services him, then he teleports her to the surface.
On the second day, Steklor approaches the lich. He offers a meal and respect. Ner’zul accepts the offer. A grisly feast is served. The lich re-animates the dwarf-ogre for Steklor. Gromph Baenre, arch-wizard, of house Baenre, first house of Menzobrazzan. Gromph appears shortly thereafter. Allister Tain is summoned to join Ner’zul as a “servant” again.
Gromph is an elderly dark elf, impeccably dressed. Gromph recalls the name of Ner’zul and discusses various matters of magical tastes. Then, what follows is an exchange of information in which they attempt to render useful information in order to learn what they do not know. Ner’zul says that one of his companions has the old Suel bloodline in him. Gromph says that he needs to know more information in order to provide useful information. Gromph gets a question from Ner’zul about recent Underdark activities. The drow wizard explains that he has noticed more from ithilids and githyanki. Then Ner’zul claims that he has an offer from Bifrons. In exchange, Gromph offers Vallas Hune, one of Gromph’s servants, to be a guide. He is very concerned that Vallas Hune return in one piece.
The arrangement is that Ner’zul will provide information to Gromph about the temple. Gromph also offers that he needs a couple gnomes for an experiment and would repay the favor. Then Ner’zul teleports to the surface, charms a few, and returns. He leaves the gnomes with Steklor, and then the party makes ready to journey to the temple.