Abciximab's Shackled City

Session 15.
Demonskar Legacy

Session 15.

  • Adam B. – Adamo Preda the Catfolk Swashbuckler (8th)
  • Adam J. – Token the Catfolk Warlock (8th)
  • Ben – Bondar Ironskull the Dwarven Cleric (8th)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (8th)
  • NPCYakov Smirnoff the Goblin manservant, Warrior (1st)/Scout (4th)

The group piles out of their abode and runs around the hub of Cauldron to Minutia’s Board and finds two huge fire elementals reducing the structure to ashes. Most of the Half-Orc Mercenaries have formed a bucket brigade while the rest attempt to hold off the creatures. A Human male with blue hair directs the action.

After receiving some Fire Resistance from Bondar the party attacks the elementals. They gang up on one destroying it quickly. Adamo hears a cry from inside the building and runs in and saves the life of the scullery boy with an amazing feat of strength. The other elemental soon follows the first and the group stands down.

A nearby priest of Pelor takes issue with the behavior of the nearby crowds that seemed to be cheering for the destruction of the establishment and the deaths of the Half-Orcs. “Fools! The Flames of discord will destroy this town!” He cries.

The Blue haired man introduces himself as Zarn Kyass and gruffly thanks the party for their assistance. He then rushes off to City Hall to speak with the Mayor and other officials about this incident.

In the morning town criers call out that peace has been restored in the city and all those who were arrested during the riots have been pardoned and released. The only criminal who is wanted in relation to the incident is Maavu Arlintal. He has been tried in absentia and sentenced to death. The criers also publicly acknowledge the challenge from Alek Tercival to Captain Skellerang. They then go on to say that reliable sources have shown that Alek is possessed by demons and therefore the challenge is null and void.

There is a knock at the door and a boy delivers a message to the heroes. Jenya would like to speak with them.

Arriving at the Temple of Saint Cuthbert, they meet with Jenya. She informs them that she’s worried about Alek and asks them to find him. She knows he’s been exploring the jungles South West of Redgorge though she doesn’t know exactly where. She also mentions that he often sell things he finds at Tygots Old Things, a shop the heroes often frequent. They head off to Tygot’s place.

The only interesting item they find is a silvered plate with a map inscribed on the back. The plate seems to speak of a six armed race enslaving ogres to build a “planar travel installation”. There is a reference to an object called the “Starry Mirror” and a series of ciphers. The map on the back starts at something referred to as the “Headless Demon” and seems to end around a location called “Vaprak’s Voice”.

The party leaves for Redgorge.

They arrive at the Redhead Miners Inn. Mikimax the Innkeeper welcomes them warmly and offers them food and drink. A bard named Ekaym Smallcask (but called The Honest Minstrel by friends) welcomes them with a riddle, “Ho friends, what is it that will bind with water, sand and lime?”

The party hems and haws a bit until Whisper says, “Mortar?”

The Honest Minstrel seems pleased with the answer and invites them to a meeting in the back room. There a group of men wearing matching tabards awaits them. Maavu is also here looking a little despondent. They learn this is the headquarters of a semi-secret group called The Chisel.

The party looks at the artwork along the walls that shows the life and times of the regions founder Surabar Spellmason. It shows his arrival, an angel named Nidrama gifting him with a magical quarterstaff, the foundation of Redgorge, the magical construction of the basalt walls that protect Redgorge, The battle against the demonic hordes of the Demonskar and a Glabrezu named Nabthatoron and finally the transformation of Surabar into a mountain, symbolizing his death.

The foreman calls the meeting to order. He expresses concern with the direction their organization has taken. He feels some members have lost sight of their mission, which is protecting the citizens and craftsmen of the region and their interests. He mentions that the organization feels there is an evil influence in the government of Cauldron and they foresee a great disaster in the cities future, though their greatest prophet has not answered their summons recently so they cannot be sure exactly what that means.

It is mentioned that they believe Maavu was unknowingly used as a pawn to incite unrest (he seems rather ashamed by this and gets defensive when the Honest Minstrel derides him for it). They have also heard that, with the challenge issued by Alek, Captain Skellerang now has a personal agenda against The Chisel and the town of Redgorge. It is said he plans to use the Mercenaries to attack the town, which would be bad news for the citizens of Redgorge, to say the least. They feel if they could get Alek to rescind his challenge the threat to the town would end.

The foreman indicates that they are also worried about where Alek might be and ask the party to look for him. After a short period of question from the party they accept the mission. The foreman mentions the headless demon they are looking for is probably a statue that is found along the river South West of the town. He offers the party a boat to help them in their travels.

After traveling down the river for most of a day they spot the statue of a demon with its head knocked off. They are ambushed by Gnolls but are able to get to shore quickly and eliminate the threat.

Journeying inland, they find an old cave occupied by a large Forest Sloth. After it is defeated the party searches the cave and finds what was once a wand (but is currently just a stick) with the mark of St Cuthbert at the bottom. The party is encouraged as this probably belonged to Alek and indicates they are on the right track. The party rests.

During the night an angel appears before Whisper as she guards the entrance. It appears to be none other than Nidrama herself, the Movanic Deva that assisted Surabar. She comes with a warning.

“Powerful forces of chaos and evil are afoot. I dare not remain here long lest my presence attract the attention of those forces. Yet I could not sit by and watch you march into danger without warning you. The Lord of the Demonskar knows of your approach, and even now his minions prepare for your arrival. They shall use deceit and treachery against you, just as they have done with Alek Tercival before you. You must remain resolute; Alek Tercival must be saved.”

“I have no aid to offer you but knowledge. In ages past, I provided to Surabar Spellmason a powerful weapon to assist him in his conflict with the Lord of the Demonskar. This was Alakast, a quarterstaff infused with an undying hatred of the fiends of the outer rifts. Unfortunately, Alakast was stolen centuries ago, ripped from Spellmason’s tomb by a grave robber. Yet do not despair, for it is fated that Alakast should be wielded again against the Lord of Demonskar. It has found its way to you, and all that needs be done is for you to claim it. Seek Alakast in the lair of my false sisters, beyond the watchful eyes of the north.”

“That is all that I am at liberty to say… I wish you well in your travails, heroes, and never lose sight of your goals.”

With that she disappears.

In the morning the party continues on and finds a large, round, metal tunnel that seems to be similar to one that is marked on the map. They enter and continue to follow the map. It leads to a narrow canyon where a hot spring bubbles. A large metal gate stands to the east. A geyser erupts from the spring and there is a loud whistle. Entering the canyon they are attacked by a small creature that appears to live in the pool and a hill giant on a balcony above the gate. The creatures are quickly overcome, though Adamo would have been dead had it not been for the quick actions of Bondar and his scroll of Revivify.

Entering the compound the come to a large room with five Ettins. A long and difficult battle ensues. After some close calls, the creatures are eventually defeated.

End of Session 15.

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Session 14
Zenith Trajectory

Session 14

  • Adam B. – Adamo Preda the Catfolk Swashbuckler (7th)
  • Adam J. – Token the Catfolk Warlock (7th)
  • Ben – Bondar Ironskull the Dwarven Cleric (7th)
  • Pete – Zartan the Human Ranger (4th)/Rogue (3rd)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (7th)
  • Gretchen – ??? the Human Paladin (7th)
  • NPCYakov Smirnoff the Goblin manservant, Warrior (1st)/Scout (4th)

After resting once more in the lava cave that leads to the temple they return with high hopes of finally finding Zenith Splintershield.

Exploring the rest of the lowest level, they find an area that must have been used by the artisans and craftsmen of the Kuo Toa. The also find a water filled room with stairs going up. They defeat the two guards at the base of the stairs but are attacked by swarms of acidic pollywogs when they enter the water. They run up the stairs and are blasted by a lightning bolt after Whisper opens the door at the top. A spear trap goes off as she enters the upper room. Zartan comes up and finds and disables the traps in the room.

Opening the next door they find themselves face to face with a large black dragon. The dragon is not at his best in the tight quarters in which he has made his lair and he is quickly defeated.

Returning to the uppermost level the group explores a large mushroom filled room. Bondar detects poison. He detects a lot of poison. Multiple fireballs are thrown into the room in an attempt to clear as much of the fungus as possible but despite their best efforts nothing of interest is found in the room. They wonder if perhaps they have missed something.

Going in the opposite direction they finally find Zenith sitting on a throne in a room filled with inverted banners of the Splintershield clan (a grave insult) and a number of Dwarven corpses hung by their feet, the tops of their skulls removed (yet another grave insult, to say the least). The corpses twitch, gibber and mumble but the group cannot find anything meaningful in what they are saying.

Zenith looks rather morose and tells the party that the Smoking Eye shall consume Cauldron. Zartan moves to cut down the Dwarven corpses and tells Zenith that his father sent them and past wrongs must be made right. Zenith throws a glowing ball at the wall. Some type of invisible creature is summoned but it is quickly defeated. The group finally convinces Zenith to return with them. Token notes that Zenith bears the same mark on his face as Whisper, Bondar and Zartan. They journey back to Cauldron.

When they return to the Cusp of Sunrise, Lord Vhalantru is there to meet them. He explains that Celeste has taken Davked Splintershield back to a Dwarven temple to await their return, as his health had grown worse in their absence. He pays the party the remainder of their reward and gently leads the listless Zenith away.

As the spring season continues, there is much grumbling in Cauldron. Taxes have been steadily increased to repair damages done to the city by recent difficulties and also to raise money to defend against future calamities. Though the taxes have been levied there has been very little visible evidence of improvements and repairs. Taxes in Cauldron are now higher than they are in Sasserine, the capitol city. Tax collectors roam the streets, backed up by groups of Half-Orc mercenaries that have been used to supplement the guard in these difficult times.

Fliers are circulated around town to organize a citizen’s protest outside city hall. Noting the presence of Half-Orc mercenaries in the guard and sharing the anger against the tax increases the group decides to attend. Jenya also asks them look for the paladin Alek Tercival as she has been hoping to hear from him for the last few months and he is expected to be at the assembly.

Once there the group finds the speaker is none other than Maavu Arlintal, the merchant whose warehouse had been destroyed by the umberhulk. He speaks of the failings of the Nobles of Cauldron and how they line their pockets with tax money and give nothing back to the people. He mentions that the paladin Alek Tercival has challenged Captain Terseon Skellerang to a duel under the old laws declaring that he has failed in his duties to the people. Maavu claims the Lord Mayor and Captain Skellerang have kept this challenge secret, which is against the law.

At this point a number of things happen almost simultaneously. Sergeant Skylar Krewis approaches from city hall declaring that Maavu be placed under arrest. From the west a group of Half-Orc mercenaries start to roust the people there, telling them to leave or be arrested. An invisible assailant seemingly attacks Maavu and someone in the crowd calls for the death of the evil Half-Orcs that are getting rich off the coffers of Cauldron. A full-scale riot breaks out.

Using a little intimidation and a lot of diplomacy, the Heroes of Cauldron call upon the people to exercise constraint, many recognize the heroes and comply. The party also attacks and destroys whatever is attacking Maavu, who turns invisible and flees though not before passing on a message to the group, “Meet me in Redgorge.”

For a few hours chaos reigns in the city as protesters and looters run rampant. Calm is restored when criers announce that taxes will not be levied for three months. Late that evening the group notices a huge fire across the lake along the shore, probably Minutia’s Board, a boarding house. They think little of it until sharp eyes note that the fire is moving in an unnatural way, as if it were alive.

End of Session 14.

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Session 13.
Zenith Trajectory

Session 13

  • Adam B. – Adamo Preda the Catfolk Swashbuckler (6th)
  • Adam J. – Token the Catfolk Warlock (6th)
  • Ben – Bondar Ironskull the Dwarven Cleric (6th)
  • Pete – Zartan the Human Ranger (4th)/Rogue (3rd)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (7th)
  • Gretchen – ??? the Human Paladin (7th)
  • NPCYakov Smirnoff the Goblin manservant, Warrior (1st)/Scout (4rd)

As the smoke continues to billow around the head of the statue a Female Aasimar Paladin suddenly arrives in the middle of the room due to a Teleportation mishap. The rest of her former party is unaccounted for so she throws in her lot with this group. Amidst the smoke an angelic winged creature appears flying above the head of the statue. Her attitude shows she is far removed from the descriptor of “Angelic”. A long battle ensues during which many flaming arrows and Unholy Blights are thrown about by the Erinyes and the party throws everything they have left at her. Her flight, high armor class, multiple energy resistances and especially her spell resistance make this a tough battle. Multiple party members are dropped unconscious over and over again only to be brought back from the edge of death by timely healing.

The group attempts to fall back to regroup only to find that unlike the Paladin’s former companions, the Erinyes is quite skilled at Teleporting. Zartan is cut down, killed by her slashing blade in a single round. He is quickly brought back to life by Bondar with his handy scroll of Revivify he luckily purchased when they were last in town. Having fallen back to a narrow corridor the group is finally able to engage the Erinyes in melee and she is finally defeated. While the battle only lasted about two minutes, it seemed to the companions more like two hours.

Cherrit is released, much to his surprise and relief.

The party falls back to rest. As they reenter the temple the next day they hear someone sound a horn and they are met by two skilled Kuo-Toa warriors. They are quickly defeated. Returning to the shrine they enter a back room where they find what appears to be the high priest and his Duergar slave. His slave is quickly killed and with no defenders to assist him the priest is defeated as well.

Token inspects a side room and sees a magical aura upon a clay pot. He runs and opens it and is knocked unconscious in the resulting explosion. After his companions stop laughing they rush in to gather up the treasure that fell out of the now ruined pot. As an afterthought they heal Token back to consciousness and express their surprise that someone would bother to trap an empty pot. The Kuo-Toa sure are a bunch of spiteful bastards.

End of Session 13.

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Session 12.
Zenith Trajectory

Session 12

  • Adam B. – Adamo Preda the Catfolk Swashbuckler (5th)
  • Adam J. – Token the Catfolk Warlock (5th)
  • Ben – Bondar Ironskull the Dwarven Cleric (5th)
  • Pete – Zartan the Human Ranger (3rd)/Rogue (3rd)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (6th)
  • NPCYakov Smirnoff the Goblin manservant, Warrior (1st)/Scout (3rd)
  • Adamo – to fall in love with, find pleasure in.
  • Preda – plunder, booty, spoils of war, loot, gain, prey.

The dragon returns once more. This time C.J actually does something helpful by Inspiring Greatness in Whisper. Many arrows (both regular and Acid variety) and eldritch blasts are launched as the dragon uses Flyby Attacks in its attempt to destroy the group once and for all. In the end, the party is victorious and breaks out the Bactine in celebration.

C.J. informs the group that the dragons name was Gotrrod and was the offspring of the infamous Hookface. Gotrrod was also looking for the Pit of Seven Jaws, most likely to use as a lair since his father had recently chased him out of his territory.

The group rests near Jared’s hut and then sets off for the pit. Once found they descend stone steps to an underground fissure that leads to the underdark and hopefully to Zenith Splintershield.

First they have to contend with the seven-headed Cryohydra that guards the entrance. It is quickly killed and the group continues on.

After following the network of caves a short distance they finally reach the cavern wherein lays Bhal-Hamatugn. As they stand on the shore of an underground lake they hear the sound of something moving through the water. Out of the mists comes a large gondola prodded by a frog-like creature. The creature pauses and asks, “Seek ye the Smoking Eye? I’ll guide you through the maw.”

The party gives each other the “why not” look and Zartan indicates that yes, they are in fact seeking the smoking eye and would love to be guided through the maw. They climb into the creature’s gondola.

He takes them to the stairs that lead into the shrine where they are ambushed by Kuo-Toan guards and the boatman, who turns out to be a monk. Yakov, who seems to have developed a personality since the day before, quickly learns that a bow is not the weapon of choice against a monk. He proceeds to run up and down the stairs while humming the theme for Rocky (The Squirrel, not Balboa) and taking the occasional pot shot at any enemy that does not appear monk-like in any way.

After these creatures are defeated they enter the compound where they encounter and defeat more Kuo-Toan guards and discover two prisoners. A halfling named Cherrit convinces them that the other human prisoner is a spy. They attack the human and discover he is resistant to the attacks of normal weapons. He is quickly killed by magic.

They leave Cherrit locked up promising to come back and release him once they have found what they have come for. Having little choice in the matter Cherrit agrees, though he despairs. He knows adventurers often suffer from severe ADD and there is little hope he will be remembered and released.

Continuing on they encounter a mummy that paralyzes half the party with fear. The creature totally flubs an opportunity to coup-de-grace Token before it is completely incinerated by a Scorching Ray from Whisper.

Continuing on they find a secret door that leads into a great temple dedicated to a naked woman with a lobsters head and claws. Four Kuo-Toa stand guard while four others actively worship the great statue that towers sixty to seventy feet above them. Combat ensues and though lightning bolts shock many members of the group they finally prevail. Sorely wounded, the group quickly starts healing up, as smoke seems to billow around the head of the great statue.

End of Session 12.

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Session 11
Flood Season - Zenith Trajectory

Session 11 Recap

  • Adam B. – Thedruid the Human Druid (5th/Deceased)
  • Adam B. – Catfolk Swashbuckler (5th)
  • Adam J. – Shade the Gnome Sword Sage (5th/Deceased)
  • Adam J. – Token the Catfolk Warlock (5th)
  • Ben – Bondar Ironskull the Dwarven Cleric (5th)
  • Pete – Zartan the Human Ranger (3rd)/Rogue (3rd)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (6th)
  • NPCYakov Smirnoff the Goblin manservant, Warrior (1st)/Scout (3rd)

Joined by two Catfolk sent by Jenya to help with the recovery of the wands, the group rests on the stony beach. Once they have rested, Token, after using his powers to imbue himself with the ability to see invisible creatures, notices a strange tattoo-like mark on the faces of Bondar, Whisper and Zartan. The mark seems to be a circle around each of their left eyes with an arrow pointing up. Their reaction demonstrates that they were unaware of this fact. Many questions arise with very few answers.

Returning to the ruins, the party hacks their way through two ogre zombies and sets off a trap that injures Token.

Searching a stalagmite in the middle of a dead end room they find it is covered with some type of tacky substance. Zartan also notes the top of it appears to lift open. Washing it down to remove some of the suspected poison, Zartan uses a gauntleted hand to open the top, revealing a huge cache of coins.

Heading back the other way, the group encounters two worm covered undead. Overcome with magical fear, the Swashbuckler runs away, while the others destroy the undead abominations. Once the party is reunited, they move on.

In the next room, a hoard of zombies is waiting. The party attacks. As the number of foes dwindles a new foe enters the room. An undead Gnoll orders the zombies about and attacks the group. Confronted with the most hated “Intelligent Undead”, Whisper utilizes her new favorite spell, Ray of Enfeeblement and the rest of the party converges on him. As the creature is struck down it cries out, “The Smoking Eye will consume you all!”

These ominous words seem to hang in the air as the hands of three of the party members subconsciously moves toward the mark on their faces.

With his enhanced vision, Token notices an invisible creature skulking in the shadows. After a brief scuffle the creature is captured. They note it holds two of the wands. The creature exchanges the wands for its life and it flies away.

Returning to cauldron with all but one of the wands, the party finds Jenya eagerly awaiting their return. The three wands they had already returned were being put to good use and the addition of these four would make things considerably easier. She enlists Bondar’s aid in helping control the flooding with the wands. Cauldron is saved once again.

In exchange for all their help, Jenya rewards them with a piece of church property. An old house by the lake that was donated to the church but has remained largely unused. She also agrees to research the strange mark on their faces.

Once the city has the flooding situation well in hand, the Demonskar Ball is finally held. Though Lord and Lady Aslaxin, parents to one of the Stormblades, host it, the group is received graciously and treated well. At the ball they meet a beautiful woman and well-know philanthropist named Celeste and Lord Vhalantru, a well-known noble and personal friend of the Lord Mayor. Both are friendly and express their thanks for the group’s service to the city. Both comment that it is good to have a group of true heroes in the region.

As winter passes and spring approaches, Jenya meets with the group to go over the results of her research. The strange mark is known as a Carcerian Sign, Carcerian refers to the prison plane of Carceri. It would seem every few generations a few individuals are born with this mark. It is suspected that somewhere in their ancestry there is some demonic taint that surfaces from time to time in the form of an invisible birthmark. These individuals are sometimes referred to as The Shackleborn and it is believed by some that a Shackleborn’s soul possess’ a unique link between the material plane and Carceri.

To see so many Shackleborn in one place, in one group of individuals that seem drawn together is very unusual. Jenya wonders aloud whether there may be some greater power at work here, something that draws the companions to this place and to each other at this time. She adds that she will continue to look into it for them and share any other information she comes across.

More time passes and in early spring, amid grumbles around town about the recent increases in taxes, the group learns that their good friend and ally, Flava the Kobold Monk, has gone missing. The group sets out to gather information about his disappearance. While passing by a warehouse Zartan hears a low rumble just a moment before the wall of the warehouse collapses and a fiendish umberhulk breaks through the wall collapsing much of the building on that side. Some of the group succumbs to the creatures confusing gaze, but in their confused state they decide to attack the umberhulk anyway. The others join in and the creature is quickly defeated.

A brief investigation reveals a destroyed circle of runes on the floor. Asking around the party find out the building belongs to a well know merchant named Maavu Arlintal. In the aftermath there are rumors that Mavuu was seen fleeing the city on a flying horse, with clouds where its hooves should be.

Later that day, the party once again meets Celeste who invites them to a meeting at the Cusp of Sunrise, a popular club for the elite of Cauldron. There they are introduced to Davked Splintershield, a decrepit old Dwarf who explains that he was cursed by his wife on her deathbed for driving away their three sons. He has reconciled with two of them but now he needs the group to enter the underdark and find his third son, Zenith.

He explains that Zenith left on a crusade against the evil of the underdark ten years ago, but has been captured and held prisoner in a Kuo-Toan shrine called Bhal-Hamatugn. The party accepts the mission and they are told to seek out a hermit named Crazy Jared to the north, he knows of a way into the underdark, since all local access to the underdark has been eliminated.

The party buys horses and heads out. Two days later as they near Crazy Jared’s hut, they see rising smoke from what must be a big fire. Coming over the rise they see the hut aflame and a man, who matches the description of Crazy Jared, being threatened by a large Red Dragon. After being Enfeebled, Sickened and pierced with a few arrows, the Dragon is driven off.

Crazy Jared is grateful and keeps referring to the party as Knights of Anduria. They ask if he would like help extinguishing his hut, but C.J. waves his staff and his burning hut appears to transform into a small but beautiful castle. Of course, the party can still see the rising smoke and feel the heat of the flames through the “stone” of the castle walls. The castle is clearly an illusion, though C.J. seems oblivious to these details.

Shaking their heads the party asks C.J. about where they might gain access to the underdark. C.J. mentions that the Dragon was also looking for this place, though he’s not sure why. He gladly draws the party a map and comments that he had recently sent fifty of his best knight’s to that location, which he names as The Pit of Seven Jaws. Zartan accepts the map and comments that it should be easy to find, what with the feet of an army of knights beating a path to the entrance.

At this point, the group notices the Dragon has returned.

End of Session 11.

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Session 10.
Flood Season

Session 10 Recap

  • Adam B. – Thedruid the Human Druid (5th)
  • Adam J. – Shade the Gnome Sword Sage (5th)
  • Ben – Bondar the Dwarven Cleric (4th)
  • Pete – Zartan the Human Ranger (3rd)/Rogue (2nd)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (5th)
  • NPCYakov Smirnoff the Goblin manservant, Warrior (1st)/Scout (2nd)

Returning to Cauldron, the party asks Jenya about the Unholy Symbol they found on monkey boy. She explains that it is the symbol of the Ebon Triad. The Ebon Triad is a group of heretics from the three churches of Vecna, Hextor and Erythnul who seek to merge their three malign deities into one powerful over-deity of unsurpassed malevolence. There are no known cultists of the Ebon Triad (or of Vecna, Hextor or Erythnul, for that matter) dwelling within Cauldron or its environs. If such individuals do live here, they have masked their agendas well.

The party returns to the underground cavern only to find the rope for the gondola cut. They return to town to purchase rope and a rowboat. When they return once more to the cavern they lower the boat to the lake and climb down. They decide to explore a water filled side tunnel they had noticed when they were leaving last time. There, they kill an ugly squid-fish and find nothing of value.

They return to the ruins to continue their explorations there. They find some type of mud demon hiding in a metalwork shop. After it is slain, they determine the workroom was used to make cages of some type.

Further exploration leads them to a place where a halfling mage seems to be doing some type of research. Though his summoned air elemental is quickly killed, the mage uses his spells to good effect and Thedruid and Shade are both killed in the battle. The remaining party members quickly avenge their deaths.

A brief exploration reveals one of the wands and notes that show the halfling was exploring and researching this local. It is revealed that this place was once a Kopru Stronghold.

Continuing to explore this region they find numerous spiders and an Ettercap. The creatures are slain and another of the wands is found.

They meet a stranger who insists he was sent by Jenya to help. The party accepts this and trusts him completely. He explains he is steeped in the magical arts, a Warlock to be exact.

Returning to the lava tubes on the other side of the temple they run into a skeletal Tyrannosaurus Rex. Things look sketchy at first, but once again a timely Ray of Enfeeblement helps turn the tide and the huge creature is defeated.

End of Session 10.

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Session 9.
Flood Season

Session 9 Recap

  • Adam B. – Thedruid the Human Druid (5th)
  • Adam J. – Shade the Gnome Sword Sage (5th)
  • Ben – Bondar the Dwarven Cleric (4th)
  • Pete – Zartan the Human Ranger (2nd)/Rogue (2nd)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (5th)
  • NPC – Yakoff Smirnoff the Goblin manservant, Warrior (1st)/Scout (1st)

Proceeding upstairs the party encounters more bandits looting the Lucky Monkey. Most of the heroes enter melee in the cramped spaces of the upper floor halls while Thedruid goes walkabout. The party prevails once more and little else is found.

Returning to Cauldron the party confers with Jenya and return Sarcem’s body. Asking around town about Triel and the missing wands produces no answers. That night Whisper receives a note left for her at her parent’s establishment.

I know you’re looking for the wands. I can help, for a price. If you’re interested come alone to the Lakeside Pavilion tonight at midnight. Bring 500 gold coins and you’ll walk away with the location of the wands. Bring backup and you’ll never find them.

Not wanting to scare away their only lead, Whisper goes to the rendezvous alone. Seeing the man skulking in the shadows fear suddenly fills Whisper’s heart. She realizes she has to pay the money out of her own pocket (so to speak). Reaching into her décolletage she produces a large pouch with the requested coinage. The man jaw drops and he is struck speechless for only a moment. Regaining his composure he directs her to a lava tube on the north side of the volcano. Triel, the redhead with the wands, is known to come and go frequently through that tunnel though he does not know what lies within.

Rejoining the party the following morning, plans are made and the party sets out for the lava tube. After hiking through the tube for about a half a mile they reach the end. They arrive at the edge of a cliff where they find a large cavern dimly lit by phosphorescent fungi and a one hundred foot drop down to an algae filled underground lake. Across the lake they see a strange looking stone structure with numerous doors. It looks like the easiest way down is to take the rickety wooden and wire gondola that is parked at the edge of the cliff. They decide to take the hard way.

Noting the gondola support rope that runs from a stone building on the cliffs edge down across the lake to an old wooden building on the beach below, the group decides to use it as a makeshift zip cord. Some bumps and bruises are suffered at the terminus and at least one character makes a water landing close to shore. The water landing attracts the attention of an unwanted aquatic visitor.

The creature bursts from the water in a flurry of claws, jaws and no less than 4 whip-like serrated tails. Though the party suffers a few bleeding wounds the creature is defeated and falls back into the water from whence it came.

Entering through a door that does not appear to be the main entrance the party finds a pit filled with what looks like a swarm of blood red jellyfish swimming around in it. The heroes move on.

They bluff their way into the mess hall where Alleybashers and Hillfolk are eating field rations. The Alleybashers are a little suspicious, but the Hillfolk accept Zartan, Thedruid, Whisper and Bondar. Shade and Yakoff hide just outside the room. They join the brigands in their repast.

The peaceful brunch is interrupted by a cone of flames from Whisper dropping two of the Alleybashers. The rest of the brigands quickly follow and the bodies are dumped into the jelly pit. One brigand that surrendered is gagged and hogtied with the seemingly endless supply of shackles the group has on hand. He is placed in the wooden outbuilding on the rocky shore and they promise not to kill him if he remains cooperative. He nods vigorously.

Trying to continue the charade, the group moves down the hall and opens a door, acting like they belong there. Triel happens to lurk behind that particular door and since she did most of the hiring (and actually recognizes the party as local heroes) combat ensues.

The party falls back and waits for the enemy to come to them, which turned out to be a bad idea. While her cronies come out to get pummeled, Triel waits and buffs. Zartan runs into the room to confront her and accepts two mighty blows that put him within a hairs breadth of death. He lies down and bleeds until Thedruid can run in and heal him back to consciousness after which he spends the rest of melee inscribing “Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati” around the hilt of his greatsword. “When all else fails, play dead.”

A timely Ray of Enfeeblement and a few catty remarks from Whisper helps turn the tide. “That’s full plate? Your half naked, there’s no way that’s full plate you crazy bitch!”

Even in her weakened state Triel dishes out some serious damage before she is finally defeated. They find three of the missing wands on her body. Much to their chagrin the group finds Bondar doesn’t look quite as sexy in Triel’s appropriated armor as she did. Yakoff throws up.

Beat up and carrying a lot of loot, the party decides to return to town. Thedruid flies back up to the lava tube to let down the gondola. There he meets two rogues hiding in the stone building that were missed the first time through. The bandits set off some sort of alarm after which Thedruid shocks the hell out of them with summoned lightning. After combat ends he lowers the gondola and it’s back to Cauldron for the party.

Somewhere in the dim chamber, the whimpering of a hogtied bandit is heard.

End of Session 9.

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Session 8.
Flood Season

Session 8 Recap

  • Adam B. – Thedruid the Human Druid (5th)
  • Adam J. – Shade the Gnome Sword Sage (5th)
  • Ben – Bondar the Dwarven Cleric (3rd)
  • Pete – Zartan the Human Ranger (2nd)/Rogue (2nd)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (5th)
  • NPC – Yakoff Smirnoff the Goblin manservant, Warrior (1st)/Scout (1st)

Shade does some investigation related to the birdcage symbol and the term “cagemaker” that was found in some of the goblin graffiti. He does not find out anything useful.

The Flood Festival Begins!

The crew competes in various games and competitions throughout the week. Most notably –

  • Zartan wins the Archery and Hammer Toss competitions.
  • Whisper wins the Obstacle Course. (“Rawr!”)
  • The party defeats the Stormblades in a tug of war.
  • Bondar goes all the way in the Drink Down the Flood competition and actually wins it all on the final day.

As they gather for the first Lowering Ceremony at the end of the festival they note the religious leaders and acolytes from most of the regions temples gathered on the stage. They see Jenya who seems to be looking over the top of the crowd as if looking at, or for, something coming from that direction. Forgetting he’s a gnome in a crowd that is made up of mostly humans, Shade takes a quick look over his shoulder but only sees the groin of the person behind him. He stands on his tiptoes and sees the man’s belt buckle. He considers picking the man up and throwing him up to ten feet away, but feels little inclination to make the necessary touch attack at that moment.

Back on stage, Jenya suddenly looks frantic. She runs to the side where a scribe is recording the events and grabs the pen from his hand. She quickly writes something on the corner of his ledger and then tears it out of the book. Scanning the crowd she spots our heroes and quickly starts to make her way toward them.

Latching onto one of them she pulls them toward the temple of St Cuthbert while urgently telling them she needs their help once more. As they follow they hear the mayor announce that the Lowering Ceremony has been delayed.

Once at the temple she fills them in. It would seem the head of her order, Sarcem Delasharn, has been in the capitol city of Sasserine procuring the wands of Control Water needed for the ceremony. She had been expecting him this morning but he seemed to be running late. While on stage she received a disturbing Sending from him –

“At lucky Monkey. Have eight wands. Taverns been attacked. Bandits led by barbarian apeman. Mortally wounded. Retreated to basement. They know we’re here. Send assistance.”

To which she replied –

“Sarcem? Is that you? Hang on! Conserve your resources. I’ll send out aid immediately. Send me another message when you can but until then have…”

At which point she exceeded the capacity of the spell. She offers horses, a map to the Lucky Monkey, a map of the Lucky monkey and instructs them to find Sarcem and return with him and the wands as quickly as possible.

Four hours later they arrive at the Lucky Monkey where they see obvious signs of combat. The party splits up to enter the establishment on multiple fronts. Zartan and Yakoff are the first to run into trouble behind the Inn, where they encounter a big pile of dead bodies and two raptors that seem to have a preference for fresh meat. After being mauled to within an inch of his life, Yakoff runs to find a new master to get help. In an attempt to get away from the raptors Zartan tries to enter through a back window, but finds the room within is apparently populated with aggressive poo throwing monkeys. Zartan has faced many hardships and fears little is this world, but the poo is the last straw. He quickly follows after Yakoff to the front of the building.

Whisper, Thedruid and Mittens (Thedruid’s panther) enter through a broken window in the front of the establishment and find a frat party in full swing. They crash it. Violently. The heroes reunite in the main room of the inn and a huge melee ensues. Swords are swung, spears are thrust, spells are cast and many, many, bad guys (and a few monkeys) are killed, including one that seems to be a were-baboon. In one fell swoop the first floor is cleared.

They question a captured bandit who seems reluctant to talk. Zartan goes all agro and she spills the beans. It would seem the bandits are working for a red haired human female named Triel. She hired them from the alleys of Cauldron and the surrounding environs to support Tongue Eater’s (the were-baboon) assassination of Sarcem and the theft of something important he was carrying (presumably the wands). The prisoner tells the party Triel left just after the priest was killed and does not know where she went.

On Tongue Eater’s body the party finds a strange wooden black triangle with different symbols carved on each corner, a hand gripping an eyeball, six arrows in an x shape and a wrathful demonic face. Whisper identifies the three symbols as the unholy symbols of Vecna, Hextor and Erythnul. She also knows these three cults aren’t known to cooperate with one another. She is unsure of the significance of all three being engraved on a single emblem.

The party finds Sarcem’s decapitated head in the kitchen (minus its tongue) and then investigates the basement where they find the rest of him (except for the tongue of course). A half-drow female named Shensen Tesseril is found hiding in a cold room. She is finally convinced to come out of hiding when they mention Jenya by name and slip the note with Sarcem’s Sending under the door. The party proceeds to the second floor.

End of Session 8.

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Session 7.
Drakthar's Way.

Session 7 Recap

  • Adam B. – Human Druid (4th)
  • Adam J. – Shade the Gnome Sword Sage (4th)
  • Ben – Bondar the Dwarven Cleric (3rd)
  • Pete – Zartan the Human Ranger (2nd)/Rogue (1st)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (4th)
  • NPC – Yakoff Smirnoff the Goblin manservant, Warrior (1st)/Scout (1st)

A Dwarven cleric named Bondar Ironskull joins the party and the hunt for the vampire continues. The party encounters an animated throne made of bones and skin in the next room upon which the Druid’s Panther sharpens his claws and ruins the upholstery. During the fight Drakthar appears once more, this time in the form of a Dire Bat. He summons a swarm of bats to contribute to the melee. The creatures are all defeated and Drakthar is forced to go gaseous once more. Zartan is pleased with his new Lazy-Boy (Some reassembly required).

The party pursues him into a large natural cavern where another Dire Bat attacks them. Concerns that this may be Drakthar returning once again are unfounded as this turns out to be just a regular, everyday, common Dire Bat and it is quickly defeated. A ladder brings them to a treasure filled chamber wherein lies a coffin. Within the coffin is the helpless form of Drakthar the Bloodmonger. He is staked and his body is burned. There is much rejoicing.

The party returns topside to liquidate the large amounts of equipment they have salvaged from the dungeon so far. They also rest.

Returning once more to the caverns below the bathhouse, they come across a Human male and a Tiefling female bunking together in a room. The two are quickly defeated.

Continuing on, a glob of Green Slime drops from above onto Zartan. He quickly pours a vial of alchemist fire onto himself and bathes in the cleansing fire. Further on they come across a dwarf going over some paperwork on a pile of boxes and 6 Half-Orcs playing some type of game involving oddly shaped dice. The Half-Orc at the head of the group seems to be describing a location underground and uses the term “gaping orifice”. The Half-Orcs start laughing uncontrollably and the party strikes. The Half-Orcs barely have time to organize a defense before they are all killed. The last one falls, still giggling like a schoolgirl. The Dwarf dies lamenting the absence of a worthwhile group of defenders.

The paperwork that was being reviewed by the Dwarf seems to indicate someone calling them selves the “Blue Duke” is supplying an unnamed Cauldron noble with mercenaries to augment the noble’s security forces. It would appear this noble wants the buildup of forces to occur as covertly as possible as the forces were to be smuggled into Cauldron through these very caves. The boxes of supplies are all marked with a strange rune that resembles a small black birdcage. Some within the party try to recall where else they have seen or heard a reference to cages.

This information and many goblin ears are returned to Captain Skellerang where the party receives their bounty as well as a 1000gp bonus for finding and eliminating a threat to the city.

News of the group’s exploits once again spreads throughout the city and there is much shoulder slapping and buying of drinks. During one of these visits to the Tipped Tankard, the Stormblades arrive with mischievous intentions. Various insults are exchanged with no clear victor in the war of words. The expected fisticuffs do not occur.

A few party members wait outside for the Stormblades to leave. As they do, Zartan fires an arrow into the door of the establishment. The Stormblades call for the guard, accusing the party of the Attempted Murder of a Noble.

The guard arrives, statements are taken and some members of the party are escorted to the town hall while the others make their way there on their own. They find themselves once again before Captain Skellerang.

Though the Captain is obviously not happy, given the circumstances and the statements from witnesses he doesn’t accept the charge of Attempted Murder, or even the Assault on a Noble (100 Lashes, 6 months – 100 years Imprisonment and/or Hard Labor (A wide range due to Assault vs Attempted Murder)). The charge is reduced to a more believable Disturbing the Peace (Small Fine). In light of their recent service to the city the fine is waved and they instead get a lecture. Captain Skellerang is of the opinion the Stormblades are trying to publicly disgrace the “Heroes of Cauldron” and the heroes would be well served to not rise to their provocation.

They are released with the knowledge that they have used up their one “Get Out of Jail Free” card and a warning to stay away from the Stormblades. There is much grumbling and plotting.

Weeks pass and the autumn season ends. The first heavy rains of winter finally arrive. After three days of torrential rain, it is declared the yearly Flood Festival will officially start on the 10th of Sunsebb. Work in the city grinds to a sudden stop as the citizens flock to the streets in an impromptu celebration of the rainy season. For the next several days the festival grows increasingly organized. The streets are filled with rows of Flood-Festival-Themed merchant stalls, organized games and competitions. Visitors from neighboring towns throng to the streets of Cauldron to take part in the festivities.

End of Session 7

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Session 6.
Drakthar's Way.

Session 6 Recap

  • Adam B. – Human Druid (4th)
  • Adam J. – Shade the Gnome Sword Sage (4th)
  • Pete – Zartan the Human Ranger (2nd)/Rogue (1st)
  • Seth – Whisper the Human Duskblade (4th)
  • NPC – Yakoff Smirnoff the Goblin manservant, Warrior (1st)/Scout (1st)

More goblins.

Having defeated a swarm of the backstabbing little blighters, the party finds themselves confronting a pair of spell casting little blighters. Whisper is quickly dropped by a combination of Scorching Ray, Sleep and Burning Hands. Reaction is strong and swift and these new enemies are dispatched. In the rooms the goblins emerged from the party finds a cauldron that seems to be able to boil fluids without the need for a fire. It seems useful at first and the party considers many schemes involving its use. This quickly ends as the downside is realized. It weighs 250lbs.

Exploring a little further they come across a boy and his dog. A goblin and his warg actually and two other goblins hiding off to the side quickly join the fray as well. They don’t live long enough to regret that decision.

The party decides to explore a little more and then rest. Finding a room at the end of a long hall with only one exit and what appears to be a limitless supply of water pouring into a basin. They declare it base camp and rest a keg of pilfered oil against the door as a security measure.

They are awakened all too soon by the sound of axes hacking at the door. Everyone piles into the pool of water as Zartan tips the keg of oil over spilling the contents across the floor and unblocking the door. He quickly jumps into the water filled basin and throws a vial of alchemists fire to ignite the oil as a number of goblins spill into the chamber. They are quickly roasted. As the flames die down they hear the sound of laughter coming from down the hall.

While the group agrees that it was pretty damn funny, they are concerned that someone is apparently laughing at the death of what were, in all likelihood, his allies. Stepping through the wafting smoke and dieing flames Zartan enters the hall to see a bugbear standing on the ceiling. Make that a bugbear with rather prominent canines standing on the ceiling. The entire party expresses concern over this revelation.

Once again demonstrating how good tactics and decent fire support can overcome most any obstacle, the overconfident vampiric bugbear is pummeled down to his gaseous form. There is some debate as to whether or not to pursue the now fleeing mist as they have yet to rest for any meaningful amount of time. They finally decide to try to follow him to what is hopefully his coffin so they can stake him and end the threat.

The gaseous vampire instead leads them to a natural cavern where they are ambushed by darkmantles. The creatures are quickly slaughtered, but the vampire escapes. Realizing their resources are depleted and more combat is likely, the party goes topside to rest.

Deciding against the Druids plan to simply throw Orak Stonehaven into Crater Lake, he is instead turned over to Jenya at the church of St Cuthbert. The party tells Jenya of the presence of a vampire below the city and explains how this poor bastard is dominated by the undead abomination. She promises to help Orak and gives the party a good deal on a new healing wand.

Disappointed by the party’s rejection of his recycling plans, the Druid tells the party he has business to attend to and heads out the main gate.

After a good mornings rest they return to the underground complex. The Druid and his new animal companion, a black panther, meet them at the bathhouse. Continuing down the natural cavern they walk into a goblin ambush. Arrows and spears are launched from both parties but the main staple of this melee seems to be fire. Various spellcasters on both sides of the conflict fill the chamber with cones and rays of fire. Many goblins are left charred heaps, while the party is merely well done.

Climbing up onto a ledge, the group continues down a hall of worked stone where more goblin archers are found. They are quickly joined by another spell slinging goblin (the bane of the groups existence) and two shocker lizards. As with the other forces they have faced so far, these reinforcements are just not enough.

Everyone is especially pleased with Yakoff’s skills with a bow. There are a few suggestions that he be made a full-fledged member and Shade should be the new lackey. After a bit of good-natured ribbing, this idea is scrapped. For now.

End of Session 6

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