This site is an online accumulation of the Post Reports for my current ongoing D&D Campaign - for anyone who might be interested in reading them.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Meet 75, Adv 8, 9/12/09

I had the benefit and good will to bring back one of the party's long dormant and thought for dead members, Zoltan. Amityville Mike took some time off for personal and professional reasons and I know that the party and table was much lessened and reduced not having him there. However, through a number of well thought out steps and some doggedness on the group, they were willing and able to take a side quest and bring back Zoltan Janaki-Jast, Prala of the Frost (and a host of other nomenclatures).

This also meant I had to present my take on Demonics for the first time. I am of the decidedly old school mentality where the DEMONS and DEVILS of the 1st edition monster manual are staples to be used (not ba'atezu and whatever else they called the abyssal bad guys). Demons are STUPIDLY smart and even the most base and ravenous of them are cunning, heading off issues and problems with a decidedly sideways slant at problem solving.

It's a short side quest, 13 encounter little ditty to give the group a good looksie at some old-school dungeon stuff (a trapped door that will not stop firing off, deadly encounter corridors, treasure hidden that needs the group to THINK, not just make search checks, etc...) for 1 or 2 meetings before they go traipsing into the real old school crawl I have for them.

Write up follows:

We awoke the next day to both Arnog and Damian with much cleaner and polished equipment thanks to Coruth’tae’s new cantrips (thanks!!) and spent some time readying our spells and equipment. Detheron and Damian went to common room to get some morning stew from Ann where they asked the ogre if anyone had come looking for them. He replied, “The undertaker”. “Solon?” Yeah. “Where is he?” You were sleeping. “Is he waiting somewhere (looking around for him)?” NO. You were SLEEPING. “So did he leave?” Yeah, I threw him out. “Um…Why?” BECAUSE YOU WERE SLEEPING.


The group gathered up their equipment and belongings and went off to the Graveyard, fighting whether or not to go right across the center of town or to take the long way around. It was eventually decided to go the short way and we went, looking about everywhere for drow, goblins, anyone wanting to do us harm. Damian was scanning for evil the majority of the way. Coruth’tae noticed that we were being shadowed by a half dozen goblin toughs and Damian noticed the male drow from yesterday was hanging out of a 2nd story window.

Be as it was, we were left alone and made it to the cemetery. A quick look by the paladin showed that there was an aura of evil but it was coming up through the graveyard from under the ground. Strange. Two of the gravediggers let us in and we followed Undertaker Solon in and through the cairns and mausoleums, eventually going to one larger than others. Once through the doors we were affected by a low level but intense confusion spell, making mapping the area practically impossible. We followed the big goblin further and further in and under the ground, 2, 3, maybe 4 levels down until he stopped up in front of a double doors and wished us well with the slimy man.

We knock and were bid to enter. The room was maybe 20’ square with the back corner partitioned off with gauzy curtains of some sort of gray material, obscuring all but the shape of a 7-9’ tall heavy set fat humanoid figure seated there. There were some candles lit and the smell of some pungent incense was strong. There was a narrow set of stairs past his position further down. He spoke to us at length and the party had the feeling that he was more in touch and knowledgeable than he let on.

Calling himself Nex he filled in some of the missing bits of knowledge the party needed. The glass spheres were called soulspheres and were used because certain strong sorceries needed the deaths of numerous living sentient creatures to fuel the magic. Since it was sometimes impossible to arrange that, the deaths could be “captured” and saved – released at the sorceries completion to fuel whatever rite was needed. Children, virgins, elves, persons of inner strength – whatever the rituals needed could be captured.

We showed him Zoltan’s ball and he smiled, admitting he had helped make it. He then kicked Zoltan’s body out from behind the curtain and told us that it was there for us to use. Downstairs there was a “pool of rebirth” that he had set up because there were often times a soul needed to be returned to the body. We could use it. It would cost us a favor – any one of us. Detheron opted to take it against the ok from Damian and Coruth’tae (Gwyn suggested that Detheron take it).

As for the books, Necordius Fenrir Codex and the Thakulus Grimoire, Nex told us where they came from. Some 7-8 centuries during the GreenMountain Wars (dwarven and elven conflict) the dwarves of Wodenvarelse consulted with a summoned powerful creatures (ie: demonic) on how to defeat the elves. This lord, Necordius, wrote down a specific set of rituals that would help the dwarves should they dared to use it. The dwarven mystics then convinced Necordius to summon HIS lord, Thakulis and commanded THAT lord to expand on Necordius’ rituals, penning the 2nd book.

Prior to their banishment back to where they came, Necordius secreted gated in 3 of his subordinates with explicit instructions to watch over the dwarves and the books. One was named Deacon and he eventually followed those dwarves that went to the surface where he blended in and aided in the war against the elves – disappearing from sight some 5 centuries ago.

Another was named Krelia and she stayed local taking on the appearance of a dwarven matron and eventually also going to the surface where she was slain during the Ogrewars some 60 years ago, interred and buried by those dwarves that had followed her.

The last was Nex who stayed with the books, bored for 6 centuries until some human named Dargan came in 50 years ago and took both books. Since his “mission” was now defunct, Nex eventually wandered down here to Byfortevile where he helped the goblins now and again against the Duergar who follow the Outsiders – a degenerate race of half-breeds with the little brains and no concept of their strength.

We thanked (??) Nex for his words, learned how to use the pool below (silver dipper, over the soulsphere resting on the body’s chest and step back) and hoisting Zoltan’s rotting corpse went down the narrow corridor and stairs, counting some 33 steps. The sizeable chamber was lit by a faintly reddish glow from a pool in the back with a painted white marking where a body should lay. There were 2 sets of 4 cell doors on both sides on the way to the back and some sort of noise was coming from one of them. Coruth’tae and Detheron felt something about the pool was dulling their connection to their magic and god respectively. Hmm.

Damian brought Zoltan to the marking and looked for the silver dipper (on a shelf with a worn brass key and a green vial) when he was told that either Coruth’tae or Detheron would take care of it. As we did come closer to the pool we heard a voice from one of the cells on the left asking to be released.

Who are you? Name’s Olthar, been here for so many weeks. How’d you get here? Used to work for Vanir and the Lycos Suns and… YOU WHAT!?!? At that point we had to listen to Olthar spin his tale a bit faster. Was hired a while ago, used to do jobs for them, nothing special – until he was assigned by Vanir to be a part of slavery. This was too much for the wood elf who not only fought about it with the caravan master but also eventually slew him and freed the slaves.

Then Olthar and the escaped slaves spent weeks dodging Vanir and his bounty hunters who were searching them out – culminating at a massive fight in a box canyon where Vanir himself showed and opened a portal where Olthar and the remaining 4 or 5 slaves fell in and were under the lash of cruel demonics for some long time. Now he’s been moved to this small cell and there are voices on the other side of the walls saying that he was weak and they were going to eat his soul.

They party was swayed enough to think about letting him out but ZOLTAN came first. They made Olthar hand his weapons though the cell door and then Coruth’tae performed the simple ritual with the water, the soulsphere, and zoltan’s corpse. The water kept siphoning out of the pool, running over and through the body – seeping into it and soaking it and healing it and STILL the pool emptied. And then there was a “SNAP” that ran through the room and the soulsphere cracked and Zoltan soaking wet gasped for breath and stood up head shaking.

The pool had drained almost 6’ down. A set of silvered bars slammed into being in front of the passage out, preventing exit that way. Something was different, but the party didn’t know what. Only Coruth’tae and Zoltan “FELT” something was wrong and amiss. Damian let Olthar out and the wood elf was returned his belongings. The group looked briefly in the other cells, seeing bodies in 6 of the others (one of which Damian said was actually undead – others were just dead bodies).

Detheron tried to shape stone around the silvered steel bars and the bars just filled in the space made. Coruth’tae snagged the green vial off the shelf, Zoltan took the key from the lock, and the rest of the group made their way at the thief and the grey elf’s STRONG recommendation to get to the pool and make their way out because something was coming and coming soon. A review of the pool showed that it was about 4’ of water at the bottom and that it ran under the north wall through a 6’ diameter round tunnel. Arnog and Damian went in first and helped down Olthar and Gwyn. The druid cast a water breathing on his tiger and the group made their way into the red glowing tunnel.

Meanwhile Zoltan and Coruth’tae looked though the bars of the cells and with a detect magic going they identified two to chance: a rotting drow female in elven chain and a duegar male with a magic amulet on his neck. Zoltan used the key on the female drow’s cell, opening it but the key snapped and Coruth’tae used a knock spell on the dwarf’s cell. A run spell followed on the two friends and they moved as fast as they could to the pool as the feeling of “IT’S COMING” was screaming in their heads.

As for the rest of the party, about 20’ down the narrow wet tunnel they came to a set of portcullis of silvered steel down, the operating wheel on the other side of the bars. They couldn’t reach it and even with weapons in their hands, couldn’t turn it. So with Gwyn bracing his 7’ iron bar under the lowered bars, Arnog and Damian both ducked under the water and garbbed the bottom and LIFTED – the 3 of them hoisting the heavy bars UP to about waist height. Then Detheron went through and spun the wheel to pick up the slack and locked it in place.

As Zoltan and Coruth’tae jumped in the pool they felt something unseen crawl against their skin, screaming to the primal fears deep inside. And then the walls crumbled away as clawed hands tore the stone and a cacophonous cry of demonic glee roared and shouted and sang as they spilled into the pool chamber and ran/staggered/leapt towards the party. Each was perhaps 4’ tall, 70 lbs, baleful yellow eyes and oversized need toothed fish-like mouths – crying that we were weak and they were going to swallow our souls. (Bars of Lordi’s “Hard Rock Hallelujah” rang in the background (normally I use Apotheosis for demonic attacks but screw it – let’s rock those demons out a bit). Obligatory Music Video link follows (from Eurovision ’07 Opening act): and the actual video for the song if interested: )

Propping his elbows on the pool’s edge Coruth’tae stuck his staff of power over the side and let fly a precious Fireball which filled most of the room but did consume the entirety of the raging demonics, turning them into pillars of smoke, giving us a bit of a reprieve. But new ones were coming through the walls and they were massing up. Most of the group was going through the raised bars and Damian was calling for the last two, not going to leave until they were safe.

The grey elf climbed on Zoltan’s shoulders and tried to fire his own fireball but he was wet from the pool’s water and his magic was retarded and failed to fire. The two friends RAN for the bars and got through ahead of the demonic horde and Damian let the lock go, whacking it with his sledgehammer a few times. The small creatures were hurt from the silver bars but wanted the party, so after a minute they turned to the WALLS on either side of the bars and began gnawing at them! We moved and got out of the water.

It led to another pool and we emerged into a chapel to some demonic entity, sulfurous incense smoking. But it was OVER the pool, stapled to the wall that the party stopped and stared:

A woman with long braided blond hair, alabaster skin, clad in torn and rented remains of chainmail armor that wraps around her buxom form, a pair of 15’ wide white feathered wings spread open is nailed to the wall with a number of spikes through her body as well as an oversized serrated black blade piercing over her left breast and stapling her back to the stone. She is covered in her own blood, the sanguine fluids splattered everywhere, staining most everything you can see. Her eyes gaze downward at the thin rivulets of blood leaking down her torso, legs, and then dripping one drop at a time into the pool; feeding it just as surely as the small fountain of water emerging from a natural crack in the wall below her. Her mouth moves faintly but her words are difficult to hear.

We stared and wanted to take her down. Detheron told Damian to get down as the paladin was trying to climb up to help her and the paladin ignored the druid, Coruth’tae telling Detheron to back off. The paladin poured his healing touch into the angel and she regained a bit of consciousness. Identified herself as Bruhndi, a Sifian angel, a valkyrie from Asgard. She had been here for 40 years after thinking she was able enough to take down Nex (her sin was pride) and was bested by him. She cannot be freed from her torment until Sif herself knows where she is and what happened and a valkyrie can be dispatched to get her. No one has been here in the 40 years except for Nex except for yesterday when a wood elven ranger named Soren was here looking to free someone named Olthar.

Zoltan asked her why the gods’ sent him back and she said it wasn’t the gods, it was her own blood. The god’s didn’t know of him since his soul had been stolen before it could go to Hel. Now that he was back in his body he once again appears to the gods and he will go to his final reward should/when he dies. She tells us that the green vial contains Sif’s Tears, a potent water adorned to a weapon that would allow it to do massive damage to demonic and necromantic creatures.

She was fading in and out of consciousness and we asked her what we could expect. She tranced for a moment and recited:

‘Tween ember mastiffs and quarrelling spines
a Departure portal and fetid felines.
The carrion eater is apt to fade
screeching in and with the icy shade.
A sacrament of sacrilege to the Reaping Lord.
Burning tongues. Devil’s horns. Sifian Sword.
Right is wrong are dead are walking.
Fetish charm eternal stalking.
Door to the light, ascend among
the ever hating Devouring throng.

After that she passed out. Detheron berated Damian for not listening to him and Damian pretty much told him he’d follow him and his advice except for matters like this. Coruth’tae tried to call for a vote of no contest against Detheron but as Zoltan said as he was stripping the drow female for her armor and clothes and weapons that this was NOT a good idea to do now. The bard took point with Olthar and the two of them went down the corridor until it was crossed by another, the smell of coal strong, a single arrow lying on the floor.

Using his stolen mirror he peered around one corner while Olthar looked around the other. There was something down the lft moving and down the right was some dogs and then a blast of flame in the wood elf’s face. Hell hounds. Damn it.

Zoltan ran across the corridor, spinning and tumbling and diving wildly, trying to make himself a difficult target – arrows were flying all around him and his long remembered reflexes had him dodging flame blasts with ease. He came to a stop on the other side and looked back at the group with a smirk. Damian was impressed and nodding to the party he braced himself and RAN across the corridor. Arrows peppered him and one found its way into his armor and he ran into every flame blast!. Hurt and smoking and stunned he was safely across (BADLY HURT) but gave a victory sign to the party and we laughed with and at him.

The group didn’t want to chance it and we came up with some plans on taking care of the enemy. Damian took a couple of potions and got his bearings back and then we took the fight to the enemy. Zoltan and Arnog charged the hellhounds and stabbed and slashed them while Damian took his faith in Baldur against the skeletons and turned the closest 5 back. Gwyn charged with his scimitar flashing and struck the skellies. Olthar hung back and Detheron quenched the hounds –their inner fires killed actually slayed the beasts!

The rest of the fight went fast and the last of the enemy were taken out. We checked out the area, little in either room. From here we went on, the corridor turning to the right and going 30’ to a door clad in iron and painted blue, fanciful designs of roaring lion’s heads in a checkerboard pattern across the surface. A large keyhole was underneath the handle.

Zoltan, referring back to Bruhndi’s vision went to the door and looked carefully at the mouths, noticing that they were each sporting a tube. Damn, most likely poison gas. The trigger was a wire inside the keyhole. It would need to be crimped to stop the trap, a failure meant it would fire off. Detheron stayed close to Zoltan and the rest of the party hung back, the druid offering a “guidance” of Frey to the gypsy’s skills and Zoltan did his thing.

And set the trap off. The poison gas billowed down the hall and both Zoltan and Detheron were coughing and choking in the aftermath, both weaker and in some pain. Gwyn shouted that, “Since it’s already gone off, at least it’s safe now.” And then Zoltan tried to remove the trap again – and again set it off, succumbing to the chlorine gas. In pain and unable to see clearly he made his way out of the gas zone and rested while Olthar was willing to try, the druid going with him. Detheron cast a spell on the wood elf making him temporarily immune to poison.


Zoltan, sucking down healing potions and getting healed by Coruth’tae’s wand looked at the druid like he was crazy. So you are saying you could have made me IMMUNE!?!?! Why didn’t YOU!?!?!?!? Detheron said that he had remembered Zoltan as almost legendary and didn’t think he was going to need that. Hahaha.

Gwyn was convinced it wouldn’t fire a third time, but was proven wrong as Olthar screwed up and triggered the trap. It was the 4th attempt that ended the constant poisoning and the trap was removed at long last. Then the lock picking tools were given to Zoltan who was a bit better and he was asked to pick the lock, “since you are much better than us”. The gypsy went there and took his time, opening the lock with a definitive click. And we ended it here.

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