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Chapter 16

The party finds themselves in a immaculate dining area reserved for some forces of the Shadow realm. A fire pit fueled by arcane darkness is in the center and living tapestries line the room. The party exams the fire for some possible boon, and they also examine the living tapestries where previous adventurers appear to be living.
Jin readies an arrow, and accidentally pierces the skull of an adventurer trapped inside. The party notices that the green skull which has followed them throughout this tomb is also present in one of the paintings. Jin fires another stray arrow which ricochets off of the body of Herod. Jin decides he will risk yet another arrow, and fires one directly into the mouth of the green skull. This causes a lich to emerge from the green skull and it eyes Jin ominously and the painting suddenly turns black.

The party follows the room into a narrow corridor which leads them to more pools of necrotic energy and ledges that they must traverse. The ledges begin to crumble apart as they depart and by using Tensor’s floating disc the party narrowly escapes a death via descent. The party finds a pool of murky, dark, solvent and Herod loses a belt pouch in trying to collect any of it.

The party finds themselves on a ledge which is equipped with the skulls that seem to be in abundance in the tomb. Herod and Jin using Endol’s spirit manage to break a magical warding found on one of the skulls. In removing the skull, they find a exit, but it may lead to a sludge of either black necrotic death or some other uncertain planar support.

Herod seemed certain that he wanted to proceed through the void, however the party assures him they wouldn’t follow in that venture.

The party reasons that this may be the same lich which Szass Tam sought. Herod flings the portrait into the arcane fire and the souls of those trapped in the painting scream in a torturous agony.

Jin notices a lich which has constructed a portal while in the fey dimension. This lich utters a the words to conjure the portal using a magical stone that he carries with him. This lich appears to be aided the mal-intent of the lich who is known as Acererak and Jin also feels that this lich may hold the key to Acererak’s location.

However, the caveat in ambushing the lich for our party is that the lich is secured by malicious hounds that are chained to their stations. Jin begins the blood bath by swirling his axe through one of the beasts heads, severing it cleanly off. Following him in a rage, Herod lashes out with his axe and causes the grounds to roar with thunder slaying the another of the beast. Kelyth unleashes a cage of fire. But all these measures don’t prevent the Lich’s guardian, a blue elder dragon to emerge. The reasoning behind the blue stone suddenly becomes clear to the party. The dragon unleashes it’s unbridled fury on Herod causing him to fall unconscious and it fumes in uncontrollable rage. The party finds themselves in a quandry, a foe that they may be unable to defeat. After discarding of the lich and it’s phylactery – The Warriors of the Horadrim decide that it may be best to push the lich’s dragon into the portal which the lich summoned itself.

After many exchanges of blows between the Warriors of the Horadrim and the Elder Blue Dragon, Kelyth finally slays the Elder Blue Dragon by magically thrusting him through a portal. In looking over the ruins, the party finds a very accurate long bow (+8), a dragon’s mace (+7), and for our wizard a kit of dragon scale (+6) armor. To top off the treasure, the party receives a stone of Dimension Travel. The party is very well awarded for this journey. Yet, they are unaware of the absolute terror that awaits them.

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Catacombs of Spellgard

Are We Going to Die?
Yeah, we're going to die

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Lorvas2

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Lorvas

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Followed by their new ethereal narrator, Kevin M. Richards, the Warriors of the Horadrim departed through the ruins to find the tower of Spellgard. En route to the tower, they find a broken tower which closely resembles the prior one. The party approaches these ruins cautiously, and notices a band of kobolds wandering aimlessly around the rubble. Herod defiantly charges into the center of the tower, sunrod ablaze and still under the craze of battle rage. Kobold priests fire a flurry of icy cones in his direction – prompting Kelyth to rend apart the weave of the material world, a nightmare eruption that tears the flesh of his foes. Jin and Endol, an acrobatic tag team jump and tumble over Herod, flipping head over heal. Raining arrows and a flurry of dagger strikes are the first attacks to greet one of the Kobold’s with a timely death. Durias Fistflanker charges into the fray, toppling an enemy and Deftinwolf in a calm demeanor, channels the healing aspect of Bane to proliferate the vitality of his allies.

The kobolds are unwelcoming of this unmitigated chaos and respond by turning on all heels – they unleash a torrent of icing rays, sword tips, and spear points into the WotH. Though none suffer any form of grievous wound. Foolishly, the lizard folk surround Herod the barbarian and are flung about by the force of a spinning mace, cleaving them to and fro. In the throes of anger, a kobold wyrmpriest aims an icy orb at Herod to smite him, however his unbridled rage backfires, leaving it to explode and cement his corpse to the stone tiles of the broken tower. Kelyth only able to take advantage of Corellon’s luck once, fails to unleash a second nightmare eruption and instead hangs his head in desperation – it would seem the staleness of the arcane prison has not yet worn out its welcome.

Despite any minor flukes, the party fairly easily dispatches the kobold unit. They find on the opposite side of the tower, a dragonborn adventurer by the name of Varrak. Varrak alludes to the fact that the party has been sent out on a wild goose chase of sorts. The party manages to come to terms of alliance with the gainful dragonborn and agree to assist him in removing the dark creepers of this place. After meeting Varrak, they wonder if their trust in Brother Turnagall could possibly be misplaced, nonetheless, they depart to ramparts on Varrak’s recommendation – to possibly find Dark Creepers and an entrance to the dangerous Spell Tower.

Upon arriving at the ramparts, our heroes clumsily alert the denizens of the tower by activating a makeshift trap blocking the entrance to the guardhouse. Walking over books and chairs, the party finds a nervous halfling hiding under a table. The halfling by the name of Malcolm is fairly hesitant to provide information. The party is completely impartial to the fact that they have intruded into his home and make demands of what he knows. Meanwhile, the Darano wererat clan has descended down the rampart stairs and Malcom shapeshifts into his true form – a mangy wererat overlord. A violent melee ensues and the party cleans their weapons and make the deliberation to split. Endol and Jin will guard the main floor while the rest of the party proceeds up the spiral stair case. (This decision is covered in Chapter 5.5)

Once gathered, the party proceeds down into the basement of the ramparts in hopes of finding the catacombs which lead to SpellTower. In doing some, the party encounters the part of the ramparts where supply and shipments are stored. The 5 empty chains bolted into the side of the wall at the bottom of the staircase linger with anticipation of guards which are no longer present. These chains are the first thing to make Durias Fistflanker feel anything, but overconfidence. Durias’s torturous memories of the Underdark cannot be stifled, no matter how he hard he tries.

Following the guard room, a lone goblin sits calmly as though he were awaiting our heroes. Durias offers him a game of goblin cards and attempts to persuade him that he has a prized goblin card by the name of “Vesper”. Although, the party fails to convince this goblin, “Jib” that they have what he is looking for, he is welcoming of any attempts to eradicate the wererat clan. Jib makes an alliance with Durias and hops on top of the lofty dragonborn warrior. However, the peace cannot be maintained. Jib incites the party to burn this area and Herod heroically plunges his still burning sunrod into the storage supplies.

The sunrod doesn’t burn the barrels, it ignites the flammables inside. This explosion knocks the mighty Herod onto his back and scorches the party. After collecting themselves, the party attempts to lockpick the door. However, Endol hardly gets the chance as the door is swung into his face and Darano wererats swarm the storage room. A panic envelopes the Warriors of the Horadrim as they find themselves utterly surrounded.

Ephram Darano

After slaying many wererats, Ephram Darano – the Darano family leader emerges. Through an arcane dimension door, Ephram Darano furiously steps into reality, human skull in hand. Ephram delights in human blood dripping from his jowls and crushes a human skull as an exercise of power. “I will have vengeance for Malcolm Darano!” The Warriors of the Horadrim finally meet their match; Ephram Darano is no pushover. He slights them with icy rays of enfeeblement and nearly takes the life of the might barbarian Herod. The infectious plague of the rats has our party in near delirium as they hobble slowly to the alpha wererat. These attempts mean even less as Ephram teleports into every position of great advantage – it is only when the united efforts of the party surround Ephram that he is slain. He promises that they will not be the last to die and dimension doors through a floor, and crumbling a wall into boulders, blocking his exit.

In Ephram’s chambers are various stolen goods from the Monastery of the Precipice including his bed and treasure chest. The party is handsomely rewarded with 300 gold in a treasure chest and a golden amulet. They decide that if they were to rest, this would be the best place. However, a great evil has been left here…

And so our party ventures forth…

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The Warriors of the Horadrim were finally gathered in full. The party finally had a chance to enjoy a night of a undisturbed rest in their campsite, which was not far from their destination, “Spellgard Castle”. They gathered their things and as per Meshif they assembled and returned to the lone caravan. Meshif mysteriously secures the location of their business transactions and how he came to possess the Spellstone of Binding. While the party is not satisfied with this, he does agree to fulfill his bargain of bringing the party to their destination.

En route to Spellgard, the party makes a stop at Taransen’s Tomb. A place where a great dwarven hero has been commemorated for his great deeds with an altar. The party comes to see a bleeding Purefist Thunderbruiser, combatting the throes of death. Almost simultaneously, Purefist expires sending his soul into the vessel of another Dragonborn who fiercely exterminates the short-winded, and short-footed, foe of the party – Korgan.

The newly acquainted dragonborn reveals himself to be Durias Fistflanker, a fierce warrior seeking revenge against enemies, particularly Drow elves, who crossed him in some unknown way. Durias makes note to Deftinwolf that Korgan had a letter. The letter instructs Korgan to seek out Kuryon in Spelltower and to make short work of an operation there. On the reverse side Kelyth decrypts a message leading to the whereabouts of the Kazad.

Jin interrupts the new acquaintance to inspect the forest ambiance. In his high powered perception he hears the sound of goblins playing card games. A friendly ambush erupts when a Hobgoblin and his rag-tag goblin game come to greet the party, “FRIEND!”. Not to keen on hobgoblins, Durias Fistflanker, flanks his first fist and roars defiantly in his face. A melee erupts hopeless surrounding our party with a fury of goblins, thus provoking Herod to utter a prayer which would entreat Kord’s vengeance. Waves of thunder, blasts of lighting, raining arrows and a final sheathing of a dagger reduces the greenish/orangish beings of Taransen’s grave to rotting mounds of flesh.

Before leaving Taransen’s grave; the party is suspicious of the tomb and examines it. Jin first notices that there may be hidden treasure, but the unbridled will of Durias Fistflanker cannot be matched. He ravages the tomb and mocks the ghostly ward inside which instills him with a curse for robbing the Cloak of Taransen. The party looks to interrogate their guide about Dwarven civilization, but all Meshif can provide is they are stone behemoths.

The party urges Meshif to continue on to Castle Spellgard. Upon arriving, the party is greeted by noble looking fellow named Yannik who insists that they inspect the grounds which have now been reduced to nothing but smithereens. The party soon learns Yannik’s real intentions are to acquire an Alabaster Pillar for the sanctity of Lady Saharel. However, Yannik does provide insight in that he suggests Brother Turnagal, the keeper of the monastery might be the best source of information.

Upon entering the Monastery, the party makes takes no heed of danger and introduce them to the denizens of the place. The party learns of the monastery’s keeper, Brother Turnagall, a priest who happens to not take kindly to visitors. Upon their insistence, the Warriors of the Horadrim learn that this place was founded by a man named Kuryon and there is a great evil here which desires eight stone pillars. These “Alabaster Pillars” are the key to the prophetess Lady Saharel. Not all is folly for our party however, they engage in benevolent deeds such as freeing a wounded halfling from a well. However, the intrepid Endol Vardager bites off more than he can chew. And intertwines his fate with dark creepers, a beautiful Sister Cherra of the Monastery, and worst of all – a faceless assassin.

Endol has wronged the assassin and he is assured that he will pay for this crime. The Faceless one murders Endol’s contact of reconnaissance and leaves a head for him to keep. The W.o.t.H., satisfied that they have gathered all the useful information here, plan to proceed to Spelltower. In doing so, possibly discovering the Alabaster pillars, and ultimately find Lady Saharel to ask the treasured, “One Question”.

And so, our party ventures forth.

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Endol, Herod, Kelyth, and Deftinwolf have felled Dahl’s flesh golem Kratos. As Kratos falls he cries out to Dahl claiming he has the spirit of a god and is supposed to be immortal. He then claims Dahl lied to him. Kratos perishes and his innards are exposed. Among the globs of flesh and organs that made up Kratos’ insides a fully geared elf lay. The elf rises from the gore and speaks in an unnatural voice to our adventurers telling them that Dahl will still accept them back if they lay down their weapons and give themselves up. Most clench their weapons tighter to them claiming they’ll die before giving up willingly. The being then informs the party that the possessed elf’s name is Jin, that he is no longer needed by Dahl and that he is to journey with them.

After the spirit finishes speaking it visibly leaves the elf, who staggers and seems to come to his senses. The adventurers quickly accepted the afterbirth-covered Jin to their party but ignored his pleas to clean and warm himself before venturing forth. Korgan, tired of all the abuse he suffers at the hands of Endol, Herod, and Deftinwolf tries to bargain his continued services. Annoyed with his perpetual whining, Endol tries to convince Korgan he’ll receive riches beyond his wildest dreams, but Korgan finds with little effort that Endol is lying. Kelyth attempts to barter with the dwarf but Deftinwolf caves into the dwarf’s demands and then some, offering 10 gold (twice the original offer) to proceed. Kelyth notes not to let Deftinwolf be in charge of their bartering in the future.

Endol prods Korgan forward, but soon after crouching and attempting to blend into the scenery Deftinwolf takes second after Korgan. Korgan leads the group forward down the cave only to stop and cower before wraiths sent to gather the party’s weapons. Herod gets halfway through an attempt at sounding brave before he thinks better of it and goes silent. Kelyth, weary of the new threat, consults the group for their opinion of their adversaries. Deftinwolf reassures Kelyth that he’s confident in his ability to vanquish their foes and Kelyth decides he too shall stand against these ghoulish foes. Jin, still covered in Kratos’ slimy innards mutters quietly to himself that he just wants to clean himself off… A battle ensues in which Kelyth inflicts more damage on his own party than on the spirits assaulting them. Korgan, disgusted by the epic amount of fail going on, finally joins the fray finishing off a bloodied opponent who probably would’ve died without his interference. Deftinwolf, Herod, Jin and Endol finish off the rest, and even Kelyth joins in on the killing after the gods grant him new vigor in his aiming.

After the battle the adventurers set up camp to rest, at which time Jin tries to remove much of the afterbirth. Shortly after the group falls asleep an orb appears just outside of camp. Kelyth notices it during his trance and moves to investigate alone. Within the orb Kelyth notices a man within attempting to communicate with him, disappointed and slightly disinterested Kelyth wakes the rest of the party. The man in the orb informs the party that his name is Al-rey Despain, he then goes on to explain his situation and warns the party of their possible future. After his warning of things to come the man in the orb tells the party to seek out a prophet called Lady Saharel. Then suddenly and violently he exits the party’s presence to be replaced by a disembodied voice expressing his annoyance with the meddling Al-rey and the communication is severed. Confused and exhausted the party returns to an uneventful rest.

Once awake they press forward with Korgan leading the way. As the party’s eyes wander Korgan darts into the darkness, leaving the party alone to face whatever lies ahead. Kelyth attempts to light the room but finds there is some sort of arcane warding in the room; he then warns the party that they should be weary while moving forward. As most of the group investigates, Endol presses forward and finds a stone placed on a pedestal in the middle of 4 large statues. Endol attempts to prize the stone from its place when a voice pierces his mind asking, “May I ask you a question?” Endol permits and the voice continues, “There are four brothers born at the same time.”

One runs, but never tires

One eats, but is never satisfied

One sings songs, which are never good

One drinks, but is never quenched

“Who are they?”

Endol answer does not satisfy the voice and one of the statues surrounding the stone springs to life and attacks. Endol then finds himself unable to release the stone nor does he have a desire to. His want to take the stone from its perch becomes all consuming. Each of the adventurers take turns being asked the riddle and Kelyth bungles a chance to find more information on the situation but redeems himself by successfully answering the riddle. “Earth, Fire, Wind and Water!”

As soon as these words leave Kelyth’s lips the stone releases itself from the pedestal and the statues surrounding crumble. The room fills with light and Korgan is revealed hiding by a door. Korgan speaks to the room as though Dahl is in it informing him that he has done as he was asked and expects Dahl to keep up his end of the bargain by giving him the Kazzad. Korgan then leaves the room and the rubble rises to form a new larger statue in the air above the party. It speaks in Dahl’s voice informing them of how all this was unnecessary and how he finds it odd that the simple act of meeting him had caused the party to try an escape. Once Dahl finishes his speech, the statue disappears and the party awakes as if from a dream.

The party finds themselves camped in a forest somewhere. Confused, they try to figure out what is going on. Their guide Meshif appears and asks if all is well and if they’d like to break camp and continue on to Spellgard where Lady Saharel is said to be. After some questioning, the group is convinced Meshif is telling the truth and gather their things to continue on. Meshif restates his position in the he was hired to escort the party by caravan to their location for a hefty sum of gold. Before venturing forth, Meshif asks for the groups name and leader, after some deliberation the group decides on Warriors of the Horadrim and that Endol will lead them. Meshif then hands Endol a green stone that looks remarkably like the stone prized from the room with statues. Meshif winks at Endol.

To be continued…

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