Session 8 – 3/8/2015
After taking a long rest in Shar’s room, the mute priest presented the party with a note. He reveals there is a very strong sinister presence in floors below. Additionally, he mentions that another paladin bearing a striking resemblance to Lio also passed this way a few months ago. Unfortunately, Shar has not heard from him or his companions since they descended.
Upon reading the note, Lio immediately descended the stairs. The party proceeded to gird their loins and followed.
A dimly lit church and chanting greeted the party at the bottom of the stairs. It appeared that dozens of people were participating in a ceremony. They were mostly arranged in rows of pews with a black robed priest and red-robed acolyte at the head of the room. Large black tapestries with the same foreign symbol hung throughout the walls of the room. Theadric determined the symbol was that of Orcus.
As the ceremony progressed, the group found they could not move. The priest turned out to be a vampiress who slew the acolyte and drank his blood. The priest/vampire proceeded to take the remaining blood to ‘bless’ the congregation with it.
She noticed the party when she reached the back of the room. She used the opportunity to taunt them. She took particular pleasure in taunting Aurelio about his brother.
When she returned to the black altar, Wizzleficks was compelled to join her there.
This caused some of the party to shake off the enchantment which prevented them from taking action. A monumental battle took place pitting the adventurers against Vanessa (the vampiress), the human parishioners, and two ogre zombies!
Highlights of the battle include:
- Vanessa disappearing leaving the party to play ‘what’s behind this curtain’.
- Milo webbing many of the commoners attempting to flee the church
- Milo also managed to surround himself in grease
- Tobias broke the spell on Wizzleficks
- Wizzleficks put many of the non-webbed worshippers to sleep
- Theadric almost single-handedly defeated a zombie ogre
- Goddard landed a few heavy-hitting eldritch blasts on Vanessa
- Vanessa created an area of rotten odor which incapacitated some of the party
- Hope brought Aurelio back from the brink of death multiple times
When it seemed Vanessa might be able to pull a victory, Lio took the Ring of Three Wishes from Hope’s unconscious form. He used the ring to wish their enemies and his brother would trade locations. With that, Vanessa and the ogre disappeared and his brother’s body appeared on the altar.
Lio saw his brother’s deathly pallor and knew he was no longer with the living. But, when he saw his brother’s eyes open, he knew what he had to do. He threw himself onto his brother’s body to hold him down on the altar. He ordered the others to slay him. Between Tobias and Theadric, they removed his head from the rest of his body.
Wizzleficks then asked for the ring from Lio. He used the second wish from the ring to perform a full restoration on Lio’s brother.
Initially, Lio was overwhelmed to see his brother returned to full life. But then his brother revealed he willingly took the ‘gift’ of vampirism in hopes of furthering the cause of Vathris with his newfound power.
Lio, in typical Lio fashion, challenges his brother to a duel to the death. His brother refuses to fight. Then, Lio attempts to reason with him by telling him to return home and confess his sins. This too, his brother refuses. Having run out of options, Lio eviscerates his brother in the middle of the defiled church. Thus, ends the miraculously saved life of his brother.
Once Lio’s brother is dead, the party goes about searching the church level. In the process, Dr. Blackstone pulls back a curtain to reveal a horrific statue of Orcus. He, Wizzleficks, and Goddard happened to be looking at it which causes them to go mute.
The statue resists all attempts to harm it. Tobias manages to drag the statue outside, but still cannot harm it and the curse has not lifted. When the group returns to Shar’s room to rest, Shar reminds them of the prophecy they showed him earlier. The group then thinks they need to find Venessa and destroy her.
After their rest, the group goes outside to find they are able to damage the statue now. Additionally, a pock-marked limping man shows up with a sack dragging behind him. Goddard’s sponsor shows up as well (but only he can see her).
She explains she was unable to harm Vanessa while she was in the chapel. But, once she was teleported outside, she was able to quickly finish her off. The vampiress’ remains were in the bag along with an amulet which Goddard’s sponsor reveals is now his. Goddard’s sponsor had given it to Vanessa, but is now giving it to him.
It is called The Amulet of the Blood Mage. Once he attunes it, any time he casts eldritch bolt, he can chose to add 1d4 in exchange of expending one of his hit dice.
Unfortunately, the curse has still not abated. The adventurers decide to explore the lower depths of the chapel in hopes of a cure or at least a clue.
The lower level is one large chamber again. In it are rows upon rows of skeletons standing at attention to the forms of the king and queen seen in the dreams. The party fought through the skeletons. When they approached the thrones, the king and queen motion pleadingly. Knowing what to do, Lio and Theadric run the nobility through. At that point, the entire chapel shudders as the evil finally is banished. The party then participates in a procession taking the corpses back to the top floor where they are re-interred. As a reward, they are given a hidden cache of lapis lazuli gems.
Having completed their duties, Goddard finds he now has the capability to transport the party home. During their next long rest, he performs a transportation ritual again and they appear… in the midst of a refugee camp.
A very brief conversation with one of the refugees revealed they were fleeing giants in Geoff. The group did not spend much time talking with them. Instead, Theadric asked to use the last wish to teleport his friend Talis to him. Once she appeared, she attempted to attack since she was still under the power of the reptile god. The group was ready and Tobias easily subdued her.
Tobias, Theadric, and Wizzleficks went to see Ash to try to remove the enchantment on Talis. The rest of the group went to gather supplies.
On the way to Ash’s, a child messenger delivered a message to Theadric asking him to meet with an unknown person alone. Theadric followed the kid to a remote part of town where he came face to face with Derrick (the man who he saw holding the cage gate in Father Abrams’ chamber).
Derrick explained that he was not really a member of the cult, but had been pretending to be a follower for reasons of his own. However, since his fleeing of the battle with the party, the cult was now after him as well. He offered to lead the group to the lair of the reptile god so he could be rid of them for good.
At Ash’s house, Talis had the enchantment removed for which she was very grateful. Wizzleficks went to visit Father Abrams who was now being housed in a shed outside of Ash’s because his broken mind made him dangerous to himself and others. Wizzleficks handed the stabbed doll to the man which seemed to tear open psychic wounds.