The Remains of War

Return to the Sahaguin...suhaguin...shogun...SEA DEVIL's lair.
That Goggled Bastard

    The party was relaxing and enjoying the thought that they had pnwed the sea devils and stopped their dread ritual that would have laid waste to the coastlines of Keoland. That’s when That Goggled Bastard showed up RIGHT BESIDE a friggin revenge paladin of Vathris and got away without a scratch. Before he left he even had time to monologue before Aurelio could get off his ass and stab the jerk. The Goggled Bastard made a point to say that the intrepid heroes should stay away from the lair or else Ash Tidecaller would become “decidedly uncomfortable”. The Bastard then vanished without explaining how he got his hands on a Yugo or how he could possibly fit Ash into it.

    Once Aurelio shared the details of his encounter with the rest of the party, the consensus was immediately reached; to hell with Ash’s safety, we need to see whats going on down there! So the Swords of the Coast (still works!) set out by ship…again… to the sea devils’ lair. Using Wizzleficks’ newest happy fun toy, the party was turned into reef sharks in order to penetrate the underwater entrance without being detected. As badass as that plan was going to be, Oceanus decided to accidentally(?) trigger a dispel magic trap that turned him back into a Sea Elf. Being sane and cautious adventurers, the rest of the party said “screw it” and proceeded into a frontal assault on what would surely have been wave after wave of sea devils. Wizzleficks threw off the blood fever first and verbally bitch-slapped the rest of the party into a retreat back to the surface. On the surface, it was decided that a frontal assault on the underwater entrance would never work so the adventures opted to knock on the front door instead. Wizzleficks again put his intelligence to good use by using his spellcraft to completely convince the guard behind the door that the little gnome was the most tasty hors d’oeuvre in the history of the multiverse. With the party’s foot in the door, they were able to fight through the forces holding the entrance. They then heard screaming coming from down the corridor and plunged headlong through the hallways to discover the source. That’s when they found That Goggled Bastard on a dais and standing over Ash, freshly-severed fingers in hand. Aurelio charged the dais but promptly disappeared along with Ash and the Bastard. Swearing under their breaths, the rest of the group followed them in.

    Being suddenly submerged, the heroes surmised that they were tranported to the lower level of the lair. The fact they were in a prison cell was also a disconcerting discovery. Finding the confinement quite easy to overcome, the party began exploring their surroundings. Not far down the hall, they found a reverse dome stadium. The dome covered the field while the fans were above it. On the field was the most horrific football game anyone had ever seen. There was a large sea devil installing air conditioning on various creatures’ organs with a trident. Realizing this is another dread ritual in progress, the heroes bum rushed the giant sea devil. That’s when Oceanus decided to turn traitor and attacked the party. Hilarity ensued. After dispatching everything in the ritual room, everyone knew it was only a matter of time before all the sea devils that were observing would make their way downstairs and wash over them like a tide of bricks. They quickly made their way back to the room where they were teleported in because a secret entrance was indicated on the map of the area given by the lizardfolk. As a certain set of double notes began to build in the air, a sense of terror began to fill the party. someone was brave enough to look back and saw biggest, ugliest, most soiled-drawers-inducing shark coming down the hall at them just before they slammed and locked the door. Before the door could be broken down by the monstrosity, the secret rectal entrance was found and the pooped party made their way safely out. As it turned out they had inadvertently completed the ritual by killing the Baron (along with pretty much everything else in the room) and that huge shark was actually an avatar of Sekolah!

    In summary, by the end of the day our heroes had failed to sneak into the lair stealthily, failed to protect Ash from That Goggled Bastard (or more specifically his fingers) and accidentally unleashed a major devil upon the world. Not bad.

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Scouting the Sea Devil Stronghold

Session 13 – 7/12/2015

The Heroes of Ravenport are offered 10,000 gp to stop the sea devil’s from destroying Salinmoor’s coast, as well as scouting the sahuagin lair to cement the alliance between Ravenport and the Great Lizard Tribe.

They are provided with a ship, and joined by Great Lizard Tribe warriors, Salinmoor law enforcement (including the Will and Tom Stoutly), and Oceanus (an aquatic elf rescued from Sea Ghost).

En route the ship was accosted my giant octopodes. The heroes fended them off, but lost two crewmen and a Stoutly before the suctioning cephalopods swam off in a cloud of ink. Wizzleficks did save himself and a guard with Otiluke’s Bubbling Buoyancy. Eidolon spent some time searching above the waters, but wasn’t able to determine where the octopus had taken Tom Stoutly, much to his cousin Will’s chagrin.

Early the next morning the ship arrived in at the edge of the Sahuagin controlled waters and disembarked to the shore. Shortly before dawn they raided the Sea Devil lair from the aboveground entrance.

The Heroes of Ravenport shrouded themselves in magical invisibility and crossed the land bridge to the main doors, that while well guarded were left open to receive the night air. Wizzleficks, in gaseous form, and the invisible Theadric and Aurelio snuck quietly into the foyer. A closed portcullis blocked conventional access to the rest of the lair, and a gong could be seen beyond it.

Wizzleficks, as a being a magical mist, slipped easy past the bars of the portcullis and positioned himself out of the way on the other side, and readied himself to materialize and pull the lever to raise the gate with mage hand when the violence started.

Lio teleported past the portcullis and next to the gong. At which point he started the violence, felling one of the sea devil guards. This prompted the cartographer to open the portcullis. And then Milo hurled a fireball into the midst of the sahuagin guards, killing or injuring most of them.

Theadric chose that moment to begin slaughtering the bewildered sahuagin in the foyer who had been outside of the fireball’s blast radius. And then the rest of the heroes moved into the lair to to finish off the remaining sea devils.

With the main entrance secured the lizardfolk warriors, Salinmoorians, and Oceanus advanced across the land bridge and set in to hold the room beyond the portcullis (which they closed).

Using the lizardfolk map the heroes headed deeper into the lair. On the way to where they guessed the tidal wave ritual was being performed they encountered sea devil slavers putting humanoid slaves to work excavating new rooms and passages.

Once again the heroes where able to get the drop on their foes. This time Milo lead with a fireball centered on the half-dozen sahuagin onlookers, which Wizzleficks followed up with a sleep spell that neutralized any survivors. The rest of the party rushed in and made short work of the two whip-cracking overseers with the help of the slaves.

Theadric learned from the now freed lizardfolk slave that a demihuman slave was also being held, and he was too sick to work. The humainoids, which included an orc, a hobgoblin and lizardfolk were sent with a letter of safe passage up to the entrance. They were advised to let the lizardfolk lead the way and do the talking to avoid misunderstandings, since they were members of the Great Lizard Tribe.

The party headed to the slave barracks to find a human in tattered robes, health and sanity both greatly eroded. Attempts to render aid with food and a healing potion were not enough to save him, and just before he died he revealed the existence of secret treasure room nearby.

After some searching the heroes found the room and investigated its treasures, finding a large cache of magical equipment. They took the time to rest and discover what many of the items were capable of before continuing on, deeper still into the lair.

Eventually they came to a water-filled passageway leading down into the submerged levels of the lair. Wizzleficks used the newly acquired wand of transmogrification to transform the party into a school of fish, and the group dove down into the lair and found a room with an enormous great white shark and a quartet of sahuagin priestesses sacrificing sahuagin babies in a horrible ritual. The party then returned to the dry level above, where Wizzleficks ended the spell.

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Expedition to the Dunwater Lair

Once again, the Heroes of Ravenport were called upon by the Mayor. Lio met a traveling dwarf in the refugee camp named Brogin. He was led to this town by dire watery visions. Seeing that he looked like he was no stranger to danger, Lio invited him to join him in his meeting with the mayor.

Mayor Ormond welcomed the Heroes warmly but was surprised to see it wasn’t the whole team again. He explained that what Tobias and Theadric found on the smuggler’s’ ship was concerning to the town council. The location marked on the map wasn’t too distant from Ravenport and the cache of weapons was rather large.

He went on to explain the town was prepared to pay them 5,000 gold lions for investigating the location indicated on the map found on the smuggler’s ship. [I neglected to mention this in the session]. Additionally, the town was willing to loan the party a small ship that could be manned by Stoutlys (Tom and Wil). As collateral for the loan, the mayor requested the deed to the in recently purchased by Theadric. The deed would be returned upon the return on the ship. Lastly, he provided a choice for paying the Stoutlys: either 400 gold lions (total) or a share of whatever is found. The party opted to pay them 200 up front and 200 upon their return.

Lastly, the Zacharias told the group Oceanus (the elf found captured on the smuggler’s ship) would like to join them.

The next day, the Heroes set sail. Theadric and Tobias joined them for part of the journey. Tobias and Theadric were going to Fort Bale to use their library for research for Lio.

The sea journey transpired without incident.

At the mouth of the Dunwater, the group found two rises of land on either side of the river. One rise had an obvious cave open to the Azure Sea. The other mound had visible paths.

After a brief discussion, the group decided to take a rowboat to the paths. There, they found tracks which lead to a ford across the Dunwater. They set up a cold camp to gather intel about the comings and goings in the area.

Early the next morning, what appeared to be a hunting party was seen crossing the ford from the other side. It was too far to tell what creatures made up the hunting party other than they were bipedal.

Eventually, the party decided to make its move. Their new ally Brogin along with Lio used their skills of survival effectively to find the tracks of the hunting party they saw earlier. They followed the tracks back the way they came but it lead to a wall of underbrush. After a bit of investigation, they realized the brush was a ruse and was easily moved to reveal a cave beyond.

Inside the cave, they found a door. It was suck, but they managed to open it quietly. Lio used his newly acquired pointy boots of Elvenkind to sneak inside. He quickly found a guardpost nearby with 5 lizard persons. He alerted the party, took careful aim with his bow, and missed.

The arrow landing at the feet of one of the lizard fellows alerted them to the intruders. At this point they began to shout in Draconic and one ran off.

Seeing that the party wasn’t responding to their words, the lizardfolk gestured to the doors without attacking party.

However, this very short and limited attempt on their part to parlay was quickly brought to an end as Milo lit them on fire with burning hands. A full on battle ensued wherein the original 4 lizardfolk were rejoined by their errant fellow who brought back a lieutenant and 8 other lizard beings.

In the end, the Heroes of Ravenport were victorious. At their feet lay approximately a dozen foes and their lieutenant. However, two of them had run off.

Realizing how badly hurt they themselves were, the Heroes left the lair to make a quick camp off the tracks for a quick rest. Brogin used his survival skills to conceal their presence. It worked so well when a band of warriors with a shaman emerged from the lair, they didn’t even notice the party as it ran by.

After the short rest, the group went back into the lair. They noticed all of the bodies were gone. Apparently, while they rested someone had taken them away.

As the group wound their way through the meandering complex, they did not encounter any more warriors. They came upon many rooms: personal quarters, a kitchen with non-combatant lizard cooks, a larder, and the throne room.

In the throne room, there were two lizardfolk children playing. Discovering the party, they started asking questions and following them around.

it’s worth noting that after the short rest, Hope decided to cast Comprehend Languages as a ritual. She was able to understand what the children were saying, but could not reply. Although the party found the children to be a nuisance, they could not get them to stop following them (except briefly when Milo used a cantrip to distract them).

Hope was able to find a secret door in the floor behind the throne. It lead to a tunnel which emerged in what appeared to be the Chieftain’s personal quarters. At one point, they encountered the Chieftain’s guards who were more surprised to see the party emerging from the Chief’s quarters than they were angry.

Eventually, the group found its way to the temple where Hope overheard conversation between the shamen. Essentially, they were upset about not having found the attackers yet and this was delaying their plans for attacking the Sahuagin and reclaiming their lair.

Before she could explain what she heard to the rest of the group, one of the shamen spoke: “Who’s there. Step out now.”

Brogin shoved one of the children through the curtain they were hiding behind, but the child didn’t help the matters by pointing to the curtain and saying to the shamen “Want to meet my new friends?”

Hope and Milo stepped through and eventually the others followed suit. The shamen led the group to the Chieftain.

The Chieftain and his advisor explain that they were recently forced to move to this lair when sahuagin attacked theirs. They are working to put together an alliance to reclaim their lair. In addition, they have been purchasing weapons for this effort.

After some discussion, the Chieftain proposed he would forgive the deaths of clansmen in exchange for the assistance of the party in scouting the sahuagin and the return of everything they had taken while exploring their lair.

The advisor proposed The Great Lizard Tribe enter into a formal alliance with Ravenport. He offered to send a lieutenant and shaman as ambassadors.

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Raid on The Sea Ghost

The mayor put out the call to the Heroes of Ravenport. The long expected smugglers finally appeared.

However, only two appeared: Theadric and Tobias. Fortunately, the Viscount sent help in the form of an elf simply named ‘Hawk’. Even with the help of Hawk, Mayor Ormond felt the group was too small to overtake The Sea Ghost. He suggested the group recruit others to assist.

The team split up. Tobias went in search of Ash Tidecaller and Theadric went to the temple of Phyton to seek out Misha.

At the druid’s home, Dr. Blackstone found the door barred from the inside. However, no one answered when he knocked. Upon investigation of the shack where he keeps Fr. Abrams, he found the former priest curled up in the corner hungry.

Putting his magical talents to use, he let himself into Ash’s shanty to look for clues of which he found none. So, he took some food and water and left it for the starving priest.

As he was about to rendezvous with his companions, from seemingly nowhere a hand grabs his elbow and says, “They are coming from the sea! The scaley ones are coming for us all!” <<chris,>> It turned out to be Vilma with her lamp and a very far-away look in her eyes. When Tobias addressed her, she shook her head and said something like ‘May your own light guide you home,’ and wandered off.

Meanwhile, Theadric had much better luck talking to Misha. She still feels a heavy burden for what she’s done and felt this might be a good way of seeking atonement with the town and her god.

So, the slightly larger group set off for Blackstone Manor (formerly the smuggler’s hideout). They found Milo working in his lab and convinced him to take the time to man the lantern. Tobias very carefully explained the series of signals he must give and made sure Milos repeated it back several times.

Also at the manor were Corporal Will Stoutly and Private Tom Stoutly. The were charged by the mayor to assist with navigating the boat to the Sea Ghost.

The weather in Sunsebb is typically blustery and cold. The day of this particular foray did not disappoint. In fact, there seemed to be a storm brewing off in the distance as the party set out.

Wisely, the group decided not to take a frontal approach. Instead, they chose to climb the anchor chain. There were a couple of close calls climbing it though. Quick reflexes and quicker thinking saved the day.

Once onboard, the party made quick work of the couple of crewmembers nearby. After that, they opted for a full out assault against the remaining crew.

The battle see-sawed for quite a while. At one point, the group thought they would be overrun when three scaley men appeared and other pirates climbed up from the hold. However, Hawk skewered the ships windcaster and Theadric managed to put Snake Eyes down. At this point, when Tobias called for surrender, there was hardly any hesitation.

The scaley men were allowed to jump overboard.

The timing could not have been better. During the fighting, the weather got increasingly worse. The group put the remaining pirates to work bringing the ship into port before the full brunt of the storm could be felt.

Once in port, the guardsmen took the pirates away. The group took this as an opportunity to search the vessel.

They found:
various smuggled goods
+1 dagger
+1 longsword
wand of magic detection
scroll: Gust of Wind
phials: healing (x2), cure disease, neutralize poison
a pseudo-dragon which immediately bonded with Hawk
a sea elf named Oceanus who only speaks Elvish
a map indicating a spot southwest of Ravenport which Oceanus confirms the ship has stopped there before
a secret cache of weapons

The town council is deeply concerned about this map and the fact that it appears a large number of weapons have been going to this location….

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Escape from Explictica Defilus' Lair

Session 10 – 4/27/2015

Loaded up treasure on Tenser’s Floating Disc. Identified some magic items.

Distant boom noticed by some party members. Something bad was about to happen to the underground lair.

Ran into the carpenter’s girl when preparing to leave, crying over one of the coffer corpses. Calmed her down, learn it had been her brother and agreed to take it back to town for proper burial.

She was looking for Wentin (sp?), one of Mort’s guards. She knew where other prisoners were held. Yay!

Freed Mort and one other prisoner. Found Wentin down a side passage being attacked by giant croc. Killed croc and healed Wentin.

Original path out of the underground lair collapsed. Found a couple alternate routes and eventually made it to the entrance room.

Used a grapnel and rope to help climb the stairs out, as water rushed in.

half the party made it to surfaced. Attached by trogs and ghouls. Trogs had snakes. Rest of party made it to surface during fight. Trogs and ghouls defeated.

Slept on giant turtle. Turtle unhappy. Killed turtled. Went back to sleep.

Returned to Ravenport.

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The Heroes of Ravenport and the Explicticably Defiled Swamp

Session 9 – 3/22/2015

The heroes return to town, bound Talis in tow, and headed directly to Ash Tidecaller’s cottage to have spell on the halfling broken. Afterward, they caught up with Ash on what had happened in Ravenport while they were away facing the perils beneath the Chapel.

Ash told them what he knew of the refugees from the Grand Duchy of Geoff. They had arrived only a few days ago claiming that their lands were under attack by giants. The mayor had allowed them to set up the camp, and so far the Jeffies had coexisted peacefully with the town. Some of the refugees were even aiding in the construction of the defensive wall around Ravenport; a project that had been languishing do to the cult’s activities.

Theadric revealed that Derrick, the cultist who’d fled from their confrontation with Fr. Abrams, had pulled him aside with promises of Talis’ location in hopes that he could convince Theadric to slay the leader of the cult. Derrick claimed that the glamour used by the Reptile Goddess had failed on him, and he’d been forced to feign enchantment to survive. After he’d fled the temple, it became clear to the cult that he was no longer under their control and now he feared for his life.

In exchange for his life, he would lead the party through the Hool Marshes to the Reptile Goddesses’ lair, and then provide them with a map from memory of the layout of the place, laying out the quickest path to the humanoid-headed snake that leads the cult.

The party left Ash’s home, returning to town to re-provision. Their transit was interrupted by Podric, herald to Cronin III of House Secunforth, 16th Viscount Salinmoor, who informed the party of adventurers that a special ceremony was being held on the morrow at noon and that they were to attend His Noble Lordship then.

During the brief conversation the herald made the assumption that Milo (now an adolescent, due to his fiddling with chaos magic) was Theadric’s son. Milo eventually agreed that he was, as an expedient, and Theadric didn’t gainsay him.

The party split up to take care of personal business. Hope needs supplies to turn the bolt of orange silk into a proper dress. Theadric collected the Oldfur Sword from the armorer. Dr. Blackstone returned to the Dying Minotaur to clean his gear and take a bath.

That evening, while Wizzleficks was finishing up transferring a spell from one of the captured spellbooks to his own something strange happened.

Hello. Is anyone there? wrote itself within Wizzleficks’ spellbook.

Wizzleficks responded by writing, I see your words.

Where am I? the mysterious writer queried.

The cartographer wrote back: Your words are appearing in my spellbook.

By the beard of Boccob! Could it be?

Who is this?

It’s Otiluke, of course.

Wizzleficks, dumbfounded, closed his spellbook and looked across the room at Tobi. But the human was invested in a minor magical ritual. Loathe to interrupt, the young gnome said nothing.

That evening at the Dying Minotaur Hope regaled the crowd with the party’s recent adventure, and raised humble-bragging to an art.

Lio, seeking a moment of solace away from the noise and press of people accidentally overheard a Bethany Secunforth and Phineas Fogg engaging in a tryst. He quickly moved on to find a new place to meditate, unnoticed by the lovers.

The next morning Dr. Blackstone received a message from his department chair. He learned that the Grey College would indeed be sending a team of researchers, though a rival had managed to worm his way into the selection process. He also had information on the documents Theadric had sent, regarding the Oldfur’s lycanthropic curse, and the Oldfur Sword’s role in controlling it, which he promptly shared with his friend.

At noon the party attended the special ceremony, where they were introduced to the Viscount Cronin III, his consort Serbeth, and their entourage, which included Thaddeus, the Court Wizard. Podric, the herald, was nowhere to be found, so introductions on the receiving line were awkward.

Thaddeus to an uncomfortable interest in Hope’s unusual heritage, and made some snobbish comments about commoners.

The viscount was gloomy. But then, in the seven years of his reign Salinmoor had suffered two hurricanes, a plague, and a war.

The viscount, was clearly intrigued by Hope, shared his condolences for Lord Goddard’s loss, was concerned by Milo’s age, skeptical of Theadric’s paternity, dismissive of Dr. Blackstone as he would be any other academic, and spoke highly of Wizzlefick’s cartography.

The viscount also appeared to feel out using Aurelio to assassinate those he felt responsible for his daughter’s loss of virginity. Or perhaps just punish them. It was an unusual conversation.

Before the gathered townsfolk, the lord of Salinmoor thanked the adventurers for freeing the town from the cult and stopping the smugglers (his emphasis being on the latter). He then declared them the Heroes of Ravenport. Additionally, he knighted Goddard for his efforts in leading the team.

Hope mingled a bit, gathering information on the viscount’s court. It appeared that the herald wasn’t the only one absent from the festivities. Lord and Lady Antebellum were also missing.

After the ceremony the new-minted Heroes of Ravenport gathered their supplies made some last minute purchases, and headed out into the swamp, lead by Derrick.

A few hours into their journey they heard someone cry out. To Derrick’s annoyance they investigated.

Moving quietly they came upon a strange seen. Two nobles, four men-at-arms, and a red-robed figure that looked suspiciously like Scarlet Brotherhood monk were standing in a loose circle on a hump of relatively dry land.

At the center of the circle, a creature coated in white mucus hunched over a screaming Podric. The party had found the herald!

The heroes rushed forward, loosing arrows and hurling spells. Though several of those spells were directed at the creature, it was not deterred from from what it was doing to the herald before poor Podric expired.

The heroes tore through the retainers and the monk at range. The creature, now Podric’s doppelgänger, rush forward to meet Tobi and Lio, who quickly cut it down.

The nobles would prove more difficult, as the couple drew paired short swords and deftly sliced into their opponents. But, ultimately they were overmatched, and died zealously proclaiming the Scarlet Brotherhood’s inevitable ascendance.

They creature was an exact duplicate of Podric, even in death and Wizzleficks could detected no magic on it.

The creature appeared to have emerged from a large plant-like pod, which now lay open. Nearby was an unopened one which Milo promptly destroyed at range with copious amounts of magical fire. The creature within died before it could fully emerge.

They buried Podric and continued on to the Reptile Goddess’ lair.

As the water grew deeper Wizzleficks summoned a floating disc of energy on which the halflings would sit. The gnome rode on Dr. Blackstone’s shoulders to stay out of the muck that would otherwise force him to swim and the disc dutifully followed the cartographer.

They made camp before dusk and set two person watches. The night passed uneventfully.

They continued on the next day, eventually arriving near the entrance to the lair.

Derrick quickly sketched a map of the place from memory, and Wizzleficks voiced his low opinion of its quality with a stream of abuse:

“What is that? A butt?”
“If you had been my apprentice I’d have you redraw this entirely.”
“I’ll promise to let you leave alive if you promise never enter the profession of cartography”

Derrick left and the heroes approached the entrance quietly. Lord Goddard sent invisible Heccabus ahead to scout.

In the dimly lit foyer he observed four cultists in armor, holding spears. Lio, Tobi, Theadric, and Hope rushed in, taking them by surprise. The guards fell before they could raise the alarm.

The heroes took the direct path laid out in Derrick’s map, ignore side room and moving cautiously.

The first room contained a pool with a path around the outside that they followed. Heccabus, in rat form, slip into the pool bit found nothing in the cloudy water. The next room was similarly submerged, but this time with no path around and a small boat hitched at the shore.

Aurelio, Hope, Tobias, Lord Godard, and Wizzleficks piled in the boat, and once again the gnome summoned a floating disc for the halfling to ride on.

Three crocodiles reared up at the floating food tray, attempting to snatch the halflings. One manage to get a bite on Theadric, but it was slain by Tobias’ spear-cast before it could drag him under. The other two died quickly thereafter, the Oldfur Sword and Hope’s longbow being particularly deadly.

Eventually, they arrived at a door that was swollen shut. Heccabus, still in the form of a rat, wriggled under it to investigate the room and was almost immediately discovered troglodytes. Narrowly avoiding becoming the saurian’s dinner the familiar returned and warned Lord Goddard.

Unfortunately, Tobias couldn’t get purchase on the sodden door. In frustration, Lio snatched the academic’s warhammer and began bashing the door in. With help from Goddard and Milo, the door was quickly cracked open. However, the room was now empty.

They bashed in the next door without preamble and found themselves facing a foul-smelling gang of troglodytes.

Wizzleficks blasted them with a spray of scintillating light and then fell back, leaving one blinded.

Goddard called forth a crown of madness, causing one of the trogs to attack its blinded ally. Then, several of the creatures attempted to rush into the room before Tobias and Aurelio could fully block the doorway.

While the two humans kept the remaining troglodytes out, Theadric and Hope took on the ones that had managed to enter the room while Milo blasted them with bolts of fire.

Goddard continued to wield the enchanted troglodyte as a weapon, and Wizzleficks disentangled himself from the fray, so that he too was able to blast the remain enemies from afar.

Soon the troglodytes were slain, and the heroes continued on, coming to the room Derrick had marked as containing a mad priest and his undead.

Tobias pried the door open with his crowbar, revealing a room much drier than any they’d seen so far. The light from Theadric and Milo’s spells on penetrated about half way in the large open room, casting the single central column in shadow.

As they entered, two rotting undead forms stepped out from behind the column, and Theadric, Aurelio, Hope, and Tobias rush in to meet them, and cutting them down quickly… or so they thought!

The creatures reassembled themselves in a gruesome display that so unnerved Tobias and Hope so that they dropped their weapons and fled the room.

Now that light was shed on the back of the room, the heroes could see the mad priest and his pale, armored acolyte.

Goddard, Milo, and Wizzleficks quickly took down the coffer corpse and Theadric and Lio were freed up to rush forward and engage the priest and what they quickly learned was a wight.

The source of their fear removed, Hope and Tobi re-entered the room, the historian casting a spell to allow him to charge in at speed and engage the priest.

As the battle began to turn against the cleric a secret opened in the wall at Tobias back open. And out rasped the voice of Explictica Defilus, the Reptile Goddess!

A bolt of lightning ripped from the secret entrance, clipping Tobias and hitting Lio and Milo straight on. The chaos sorcerer and the already wounded paladin went down.

Hope healed Milo and Aurelio, while the others finished off the priest and his undead warrior.

Milo, restored, blasted the naga with webs, hoping to hold the Reptile Goddess in place.

The naga, unconcerned, cast an energy draining spell on Tobias. Although he made his saving throw, the damage was enough to drop him into unconsciousness. The next round, the naga cast a spell of sleep, but only succeeded in causing Wizzleficks to succumb.

The gnome was soon woken, and he, Milo, Theadric, and Tobias unleashed a barrage on unerring bolts of magical force at the beast. Lord Goddard join in with bolts of eldritch blasts and Hope with arrows.

As it weakened under the hail of magic the Spear of Vathris looked directly into the naga’s mesmerizing gaze…

…and chopped its head off.

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The Chapel - Silence Restored

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.

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The Chapel - Married and Buried

Session 7 – 2/15/2015

Wizzleficks, Milo, Theadric, Hope, and Tobias had the following dream:

The chapel seems filled with light and a happy throng of people. It is apparent that a wedding is in progress. Just as the priest pronounces his final blessing upon the betrothed pair, the scene fades.

A new scene follows it – a scene as sorrowful as its predecessor was joyful. Again, the chapel is full of people but this time all are weeping. A funeral procession escorts two shrouded bodies to their tombs and tearfully places them within. Once again, the priest pronounces a final blessing and the scene fades.

A third scene follows. Again, the chapel is full of light. The adventurers themselves are the only ones in attendance, but suddenly they are struck dumb with surprise as the figure of a lovely woman appears at the altar. Silently, she beckons to the party, and each member senses a promise that person (the one who is having the dream) boundless reward if they will but follow her.

Just as that character steps forward, there is a blinding flash and a stalwart man suddenly stands beside the lady with a sword in his hand. While the lady begins the weep entreatingly, the man steps to prevent anyone from approaching her. He sadly shakes his head in refusal of the lady’s pleas. The scene then gradually fades and each character awakens

Goddard’s dreams were rather more troubling. His fiendish patron used them as the medium of communication, and tasked him with the removal of he former… client.

Aurelio slept the dreamless sleep of the righteous.

Upon awakening the party found itself in a region distinguished by sheer cliffs and dangerous precipices. It was quite cold and windy. A small chapel could be seen in the distance, the same one from the dream that most of the heroes shared.

Uncertain (except Goddard) of their location or even if it was real and not a continuation of the dream, the heroes cautiously approached the chapel. Entering they found the sanctuary in ruins, a desecrated tomb, and a stone altar.

After the discovered groves in the floor next to the altar they were able to quickly find and trigger the hidden mechanism that allowed the altar pivot, revealing a stairwell spiraling down into the cliff.

Here they found a large room, similar to the honeycomb layout of the sanctuary above. In each of the six alcoves was a painting affixed to the wall that would come to life as soon as light fell upon it.

Carved in the floor, just at the entryway of each alcove was a line of text. Thus the text circumscribed the central chamber.

They heroes investigated each alcove, writing down the text and facing the contents of each painting in turn. After defeating orcs, goblins, an ogre, and a minotaur, and freeing a mute warrior named Bran (so he wrote his name), they had collected the text:

when the light of life comes to lifeless eyes and mortal sword slays flesh immortal then will the dumb speak the dead die the dark god topple and the chapel of silence be again

Further searching revealed a door hidden near the base of the stairs, and the party descended with Bran in tow.

They arrived in a smaller hexagonal room, with a single door in each wall. Each door lead to a hexagonal room with an altar at its center, three prayer benches before it, curtains of a single color hung on the three far walls, and three skeletal warriors in vestment (color matching the curtains) kneeling before the far walls.

Lio (or was it Goddard?) kicked aside one of the skeletons while investing what was behind of of the curtains causing all of the undead warriors to rise up and attack the party.

The heroes withdrew into one of the outer rooms to create a choke point, and after a well-place web spell commenced with the grim business of dispatching the shrine’s eighteen protectors.

After littering the ground with crushed bones and torn vestments the adventures when back to searching the shrines.

Unfortunately for Wizzleficks one of the shrines was already occupied with tomb raiders who weren’t interested in sharing what they’d found.

The young cartographer’s screams brought the others running to his aid, and the pair of thieves were quickly defeated.

Theadric and Hope found the first of six hidden chambers behind the central curtain in each of the shrines. Theadric also found the first of three trapped chambers, and would plummeted to his death as a pit opened beneath his feet had Hope not grabbed him quickly enough.

After that Lio and Tobias methodically searched each hidden entrance for traps, and the good doctor used mage hand to open each door from a distance whether a trap had been found or not.

Within the chambers them found a number of items, several of which they took with them. And in one of the chambers they found a stairwell descending farther down.

The contents of the shrines lead the adventures to believe that each was tied to one of six deities: Merikka, Heironeous, Procan, Obad-Hai, Zilchus, and Velnius.

Goddard sent his imp familiar, which had taken the form of a raven, down to investigate the chamber at the bottom of the stairwell. There the invisible fiend found a rather large sleeping cockatrice.

Lio and Theadric snuck down the stairs and slew before it could wake.

The rest of the group then descended, and on existing the chamber found another central hexagonal room with a door in each wall. On this sub level of the chapel the masonry had suffered a number of cracks, and was a good deal worse for wear than the levels above.

In the first room they found Shar, an ancient and undernourished priest, who live Bran could not speak.

The floor of the outer section of Shar’s chamber had fallen away, exposing it to the open air of the cliff face. Shar wrote that he has set himself to defend the breach from evil creatures that would invade the chapel.

Shar offered the heroes the safety of his chamber, should they need to rest, as the shrine within wall still hallowed despite the breech.

Theadric, noting Shar’s emaciation, offered up some of his rations, which the priest was grateful to add to his larder.

The next chamber that was investigated contained stirges, which were promptly bathed in magical flame.

The following chamber was the home to a wight, hiding in magical darkness. The dark presented to impediment to the devilish sight of the imp, and Goddard’s prompt warning was all Lio needed to close the door.

The wight, enraged by the presence of the living just beyond his door, left the relative safety of its darkness and entered the central chamber to fight the heroes. This proved to be the last in a long line of poor choices the wight had made in its life and subsequent unlife.

On the defeat of the wight both it and the darkness of its lair dissipated. It left behind its armor and sword. The chamber contained stairs heading yet farther down into the cliff.

In the next chamber was a pair of trolls engaged in an activity that no one wanted to witness. So the heroes withdrew to Shar’s chamber to rest and recover from the battle with the wight.

After resting the group decided to slay the trolls, so as not to leave something so dangerous behind them as they descended into to lower levels.

Even caught in repose the trolls proved to be almost too much for the seven adventures to handle. After the battle they returned once again to Shar’s chamber, though this time to rest for the evening.

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Fire Sale Followed by Cleaning out the Basement

Session 6 – 2/1/2015

While at the mayor’s house they learned that Ash had indeed been able to help Bethany regain her memories.

The strange changes that had afflicted Theadric during the evening raid on the Temple had begun to subside, now that the full moon had set. With a little prompting from his friends the duelist approached Ash for a diagnosis.

Ash revealed that he suspected lycanthropy, and asked some questions about how the halfling might have contracted it.

Milo felt that the changes started shortly after the Oldfur Rapier had left Theadric’s possession. Unfortunately it had left with the morning courier and was already halfway to Seaton where it was to be repaired.

The heroes took the rest of the day to recovery from their injuries. On the next morning, while eating an early breakfast a boy arrived with a message for Wizzleficks that a message had arrived for him at the general store.

The wizard headed over to the to collect his message. Milo and Hope joined him, planning to purchase some supplies.

No one in the group remembered that the family running the general store had disappeared some time ago and it had been their daughter that they’d rescued the previous morning from the crocodile cage.

Tobias and Lio tucked into a second helping of breakfast, Theadric continued to pore over the cryptic writings his father had left him, and Goddard pulled out some cards to help relieve his friends of any loose coins.

While Hope and Milo perused the wares at the general store Wizzleficks went to the counter and inquired about the message waiting for him, which the proprietor promptly handed over.

While the gnome read up on the dues he owed to the Keoish Cartographers Guild, and the bard and the sorcerr continued to browse there was a loud thunk.

Wizzleficks looked up to find that the proprietor had disappear, the windows were shuttered, and a couple burning lanterns had been spilled out onto the floor. Confused and concerned about this sudden turn of events the three arcanists tried to leave, only to find the door barred from without.

Hope was able to put out one of the oil fires by smothering it with the contents of a large bag of salt. Milo attempted to burn his way through the door with magical acid, but soon realized he wouldn’t be able to accomplish the task quickly enough.

They managed to break through one of the shutters, creating an opening that the two smaller heroes could escape through. Wizzleficks exited first, only to be confronted by the shopkeeper and his family, each brandishing a club with the clear intent of beating the cartographer to death.

Around this point word had made it back to the common room of the Dying Minotaur that there was a fire at the general store.

When Lio, Tobi, Theadric, and Goddard arrived at the storefront, they found a harried Wizzleficks, four dead or unconscious townsfolk lying at his feet, a burning building, and a few panicked commoners running about.

Aurelio rendered aid to the laid out shopkeeper, while Wizzleficks recounted what had happened. The cartographer arrived at the part in his story where the shopkeeper tried to assassinate him as said shopkeeper regained consciousness.

While Tobi restrained the shopkeeper and shouted at the commers to get a bucket brigade going, Aurelio bound the two magically slumbering accomplices. The remaining supine form had suffered from a terminal case of Milo.

Hope and Milo arrived on the scene. They had made themselves scarce, not wanting the blame for the fire to fall on themselves.

Benjin Wolf also arrived around the same time, teenaged attendants in tow, and began asking questions. He declared his skepticism that this was cult activity, and on seeing the odd symbol at the bottom of Wizzleficks letter asked if he knew what it was.

Wizzleficks told Benjin that he assumed it was the Symbol of the Keoish Cartographers Guild. Benjin informed him that it was not and refused to provide any further details to the wizard.

Hope did recognize it from her time spent in Seaton. It’s the symbol of a secret organization called The Seekers.

Ash Tidecaller soon arrived and with a spell confirmed the evil chalice’s influence on the surviving assassins. Dorian and his guards took them into custody.

With the fire under control, the heroes returned to the Temple of Phyton.

The guards at the temple had been hearing noises from the room with the trapdoor and had piled more furniture atop it just to be sure nothing could climb out.

After emptying out the room, the heroes opened the trapdoor and descended the stairs below it.

Here they found long passageway. On the left was a brick wall with a door, and at the end of the passageway was a rope ladder leading to a hidden entrance to a place beyond the temple walls and out of view from the town.

Theadric climbed the rope ladder, and wedged a piton into the door at the top to prevent it from opening.

Next the party opened the door with Fr. Abrams’ keys and found themselves in a maze, the walls all made of brick and covered in spikes.

An ogre lumbered down the hall ready to slaughter the intruders. Goddard, thinking quickly, ducked behind a wall and transformed his features into those of Fr. Abrams, and the instructed the ogre to go back to bed. To the heroes relief the ogre did just that and was soon fast asleep.

The heroes navigated the maze to its end, another locked door, and descended to the caverns below.

The party halted as a particularly large mushroom appear that the edge of their light. Lio warily shot it with an arrow, causing it to shriek loudly. A couple more arrows silenced it, but the alarm was sounded.

They moved past the deflated shrieker, descending further into the caves below and eventually came to a fork in the path. Both passages lead into pools of muddy water, and the went left, trudging slowly and carefully through the muck.

As a group of troglodytes came into view at the edge of the party’s light a crocodile lunged out from the muddy depths and slash Theadric with jagged teeth.

While Theadric and Tobias stabbed at the croc, Lio loosed arrows and the rest of the party hurled spells at the trodglodytes.

A second group of trogs came in from behind, cutting off the possibility of retreat. They also had a crocodilian pet, which slipped into the muddy water and snatched Milo in it’s jaws and began its death roll.

The paladin slung his bow and drew steel as he rushed back to deal with the croc. While it was distracted by this threat to its meal Hope pulled Milo back from the jaws and suffused the wild mage with energy from the positive plane, closing his woulds and restoring him to consciousness.

With a spell Wizzleficks sent three of the first group of trogs to dreamland. Buying Theadric and Tobi the time they needed to slay the crocodile they were fighting.

Aurelio and Hope slew the other crocodile with their swords and Milo and Goddard rushed to meet the trogs behind the group and unleashed a hellish furnace of eldritch flame, killing all four.

Tobi charged forward to engage the remaining troglodytes, now desperately trying to wake themselves. Their claws and teeth proved little use against the historian’s armored form, and while he held them the rest of the group slaughtered the foul odored lizardmen at range.

The heroes search the nesting area, Theadric found a place where something appear to have been buried and with Tobi’s help dug up a chest. Lio found the appropriate key to open it and the found a mass of coins and a brooch that Theadric recognized as belonging to Talis, his missing childhood friend.

The also found two locked rooms, that once again Lio was able to open with Fr. Abrams’ keys. The squalid rooms appeared to have once housed prisoners, but were now empty.

Theadric and Tobi dug through the room for evidence of humanoid remains, but found none.

The party returned to the surface, slaying the ogre in its sleep on their way.

The group reported their findings to the mayor, and spent the rest of the day and the next reprovisioning for a trip out into the swamp.

After speaking with Vilma Merridi to learn the direction she had seen the troglodytes travel into the swamp, they headed out into the Hool Marshes.

About midday, they were attacked by a group of giant frogs, intent on eating the halflings and the gnome, who were just the right size for their gullets. The amphibians were dispatched quickly and the heroes moved on.

After a day of travel the heroes made camp. As was now his habit, the increasingly cautious cartographer cast a spell to warn the him of approaching danger. Watches were set, with Goddard taking first.

While his companions slept, Lord Goddard Second Baron Altier laid out the candle and scroll for the ritual that would transport them to the Good Hills so that he could perform a task for his patron. He lit the candle and spoke the words, and descend into a dream filled sleep….

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Off to the Temple

Session 5 – 1/19/2015

As the Town Council of Ravenport concluded their business with the heroes Hope steps forward and declares that she has composed them a song as a gift. She began to sing.

The bemused faces of the council members quickly shifted as the bard sang of their wisdom and the value of their guidance in this most troubling time. And now that they were receptive she wove in the exploits of the heroes that the mayor so wisely engaged to investigate the mansion and uncover the smuggler’s plot.

The room fell to silence and a number of pleased council members thanked her for her performance as the group look their leave.

As they finished their early dinner at the Dying Minotaur the heroes’ conversation turned quietly to the Temple of Phyton. They agreed that they was recuperate this evening and approached the temple by stealth a few hours before dawn.

After dinner they headed over to Haskel’s office where Marva, Haskel’s wife, distributed their reward (Dr. Blackstone took part of his reward in the form of a 100gp value pearl). Inquiries were made about businesses in town that might sell or repair weapons and armor, and they were given directions.

The group also asked about having the four gems they’d found in the upper floor on the mansion appraised, but Marva told them they’d need to come back when Haskel was in the office for that.

Theadric visited the smith hoping to have his heirloom rapier repaired. The smith peevishly turned him away, stating that the work he was don’t to make a shovel for a local was of far greater value than the repair of the sword, and no amount of money would change his mind.

The armorer was then consulted about the sword, but said he lacked the skill to repair such a fine weapon. He did however know a sword-smith in Seaton he felt could work on the blade. Theadric left the blade with him to make the arrangements for the repair and purchase a rapier from the armorer (with a 50% markup due to the demand for steel).

Hope purchased a suit of studded leather, and Dr. Blackstone declined to purchase a new breastplate, since it was priced out of his reach.

They turned in early for the night and prepared to head out of the inn around four o’clock in the morning. As they passed through the common room to leave they encountered Misha, who stated that she intended to go with them to the temple to help save it and begin to redeem herself in the eyes of Phyton.

Concerned about a reversion Tobias asked Wizzleficks if he would cast detect magic to make certain no magic had been used unknowingly against the group.

Misha was still unmarked by the evil enchantment, and the only malign magic was the cursed stone in Theadric’s possession.

Goddard, unwell, remained at the inn, and with Misha in tow the rest of the party headed out to the temple.

They arrived at the Temple of Phyton, and found the gate to the outer wall barred.

Tobi threw his grapnel over the wall and climbed the ease of long practice. Once he made it to the top for the wall he could see two shambling forms moving about in the yard.

Two elves chose this moment to quietly reveal themselves to the rest of the part, still waiting outside of the gate.

Speaking in Elvish, which only Theadric and Wizzleficks understood, the pair of elves introduced themselves as Llywillan and Dorian. These were the names the mayor had given the group the previous day as the town’s temporary constables.

They were there to deal with the cultists, and voiced their skepticism in regard both how to treat the cultists and out group’s ability to employ stealth. And they made no secret that they didn’t buy Misha’s defection from the cult.

While this conversation continued on in tense whispers Lio motioned to Tobi to climb down the other side of the wall and open the gate. Tobi responded by signaling that he saw two figures in the courtyard and motioned for Lio to climb up first, which the warrior of Vathris promptly did.

While Lio kept a bead on the shamblers with his bow from atop the wall Tobi quietly climbed down into the courtyard and removed the bar from the door. The ill maintained hinges of the gates groaned loudly as the good doctor opened them.

Drawn by the noise four undead temple servants and a pair of undead wolves began shambling to the gate. One took an arrow to the chest from Lio the moment it turned toward the party.

The group made quick work of the undead, with only Tobi and Theadric taking minor injuries.

The temple doors were also barred, so Wizzleficks and Milo battered them with spells until they became a smoking ruin.

Milo cast light on Tobi’s shield, and the historian stepped into the nave of the lightless temple.

There was no one in the room, and the only feature of note was a gem encrusted silver chalice on the alter.

In the bright light of the Milo spell it became clear that Theadric was still keyed up from the fight with the zombies and his cuspids and hair had visibly lengthened. Concerned, but uncertain of what to do the party continued with their mission.

Misha and the constables stayed in the nave while the rest of the party moved cautiously through the temple to the stairs to the upper floor.

The door to the stairwell locked, as they would find nearly every door in the temple. And when the door was opened they were assaulted by the stench of decay.

After ascended the stairs and arriving at another locked door, Hope was unable to pick it. Nor was Tobi able to get good purchase with his crowbar. So, they stepped to the sides of the door and Milo and Wizzleficks battered it to flinders with an eldritch fusillade.

As the smoke cleared and the light from Dr. Blackstone’s shield entered the room, they were confronted by a dozen skeletal warriors wielding bows and swords.

Wizzlefick cast a spell of protect on Tobi to ward him against undead and then the good doctor shoved his way into the room, Lio quick on his heels.

As the undead crowded in around the warrior, Milo unleash a wave of flame, roasting the skeletons to brittleness, and leaving them easy targets in the melee. The battle turned quickly in the heroes favor at that point, and soon their foes were nothing but a pile of bones at their feet.

As they searched, Theadric found a scrap of paper that appeared to be torn from the journal of a madman that made reference to a book.

Aurelio tried to open the furthest door from the stairwell, but as usual it was locked. Tobi and Lio popped it open with a crowbar, revealing a small library.

The group searched the room hoping to either find the book or the journal from which the page Theadric had found had been torn. They found neither, but did find a few more pages of the journal.

One of those pages mentioned a silver chalice.

The party rush down to the main room of the temple to find Llywillan standing over Misha, chalice in one hand and weapon in the other. Dorian was looking on in disbelieving horror.

As Llywillan’s blade descended Misha called out for Phyton’s protection and a bright light deflected the elf’s blade. (Since her rescue, Misha had been unable to channel her deities’ power.)

Thwarted, Llywillan dropped the chalice and fled out into the predawn darkness. Blood spread out from the silver cup onto the floor.

Wizzleficks collected the chalice into a cloth, being careful not to touch it. Even so, he could feel its call for him to drink from it.

Dorian was sent to get help from the guards.

The heroes returned to the second floor, this time bringing Misha along to wait at the top of the stairwell.

Hope was able to unlock the door, revealing a small room. The search of which uncovered another page from the madman’s journal. At this point, they group was able to determine that Fr. Abrams was the madman in question.

Another locked door lead from that room which they forced open by crowbar. This lead to a small hallway, and a room with four goblins.

Tobias and Lio rushed forward to harry the goblins, who were armed with bows. They biggest, clearly their leader, used one of the smaller goblins as a shield to protect itself from Aurelio’s lethal blades.

Secret doors opened in the hallway and the previous room, out of which poured a goblin ambush, cutting off Lio and Tobi from the back ranks.

Hope and Theadric’s rapiers gave answer to the goblins trap while Milo’s chaotic magic inadvertently saved him from an attack.

Wizzleficks, trusting in his arcane ward to protect him, ignore the goblin trying to slaughter him and instead sent the three smaller goblins fighting the paladin and the academic into a magical slumber.

Seeing the tide turn the boss goblin slipped out of reach of sword and spear, ran for the door at the back of the room, and began fumble with the lock on the door.

The Spear of Vathris would have none of that. Lio leapt the big goblin and calling upon the might of Vathris’ vengeance he ran it through.

Tobi ran back to the hallway to aid Milo and Wizzleficks, while Hope and Theadric slew the rest.

Milo took out the last of the goblins with the butt of his staff as it tried to flee back through one of the hallway’s secret doors.

Now that they had a key, Lio made sure the door that the goblin boss had been about to open was locked, and the heroes withdrew to the library to recover from their wounds and make certain that Dorian and Misha were unharmed.

Somewhat recovered, they unlocked the door and entered an ill-constructed room, its walls covered in blood and refuse and more pages scattered about the floor.

From what could be pieced together, Fr. Abrams’ wife, Penny, had left him and he made a deal with some entity to get her back. The deal went poorly.

They pass through a zigzagging hallway that ended in a room with a few tables and a pile of boxes. As they entered, two zombies, Bertram and his cook Snigrot, shambled out from behind the boxes.

The undead were put down quickly and dismembered. The boxes were searched, and appeared to only contain rotten vegetable matter.

Wizzleficks discovered a secret door at the back of the room. When they entered, it revealed a bizarre tableaux.

Three misshapen stone statues array before them. In the center of the room, were two zombies: Laurel and Penny. Along the right wall, near the back of the room was a divided cage. The near side contained a bedraggled girl, the far a crocodile.

Along the back wall from left to right was Fr. Abram, and man holding a rope, and a large jade statue of a naga. The rope the man held went to a pulley attached to the ceiling, and from there to the divider at the center of the cage. His hand was this only thing keeping the divider from falling and allowing the hungry crocodile to eat the child.

Fr. Abrams rambled madly and Derrick, the man holding the rope, demanded they allow him and Abrams to escape, or else the woman would be eaten.

It was at this point Abrams inconveniently ordered the zombies to attack the heroes, cutting short the parlay.

The madman then called upon his dark goddess to banish Hope from the world. She found herself briefly on the frozen plains of Stygia, and naked form called to her from within the ice below her feet. It said, “Hope, you should not be here!” Then, she returned to her companions by sheer force of will.

Theadric charged forward, leapt atop the cage and jammed a dagger in the eyelet to which the rope was attached to the divider so that it could no longer drop.

Lio, Hope, and Tobi rushed the zombies while Milo struck the mad priest with a bolt of fire.

Wizzleflicks cast a spell of sleep on Fr. Abrams, to which he succumbed.

Derrick let go the rope (to no effect) and fled to the back right corner of the room, where he dropped down through a hidden trapdoor to the room below (Misha’s, it would turn out).

Theadric, overcome with rage leapt from the top of the cage and dropped down through the trapdoor in pursuit, leaving the others to finish off the zombies.

After the zombies Dr. Blackstone moved over to the lip of trapdoor, intent to follow Theadric. That’s when Fr. Abrams supine form began to levitate off the ground and rotate so that he was upright.

When Abram’s eyelids opened, it was not the mad priest that looked out from black-on-black eyes. The creature spoke using the priest’s tongue and called on Orcus to summon four demons to attack the heroes. It then exited Fr. Abrams body through his mouth as a black cloud and flew past Tobi and down through the trapdoor.

Hope pronounced a thunder note, causing two of the demons to tumble back.

Wizzleficks placed a spell of protection on Aurelio, and the paladin charged forward into the line of dretches while Tobi attacked them from behind. Soon, the vile dretches went down to a hail of spell and steel.

Tobias stepped to the door of the cage, intending to release the captive woman, but was blinded by a magical glyph. The others were able to find a key to the cage on Abrams’ person and freed Cirilli, putting Abrams bound and gagged form in her place.

Theadric returned, unsuccessful in his hunt, and filled with rage. He shoved the jade statue through the trap door, smashing it to pieces before Tobi and Lio could stop him.

Wizzleficks hid the evil chalice in the iron maiden, and the party returned to the nave, where they found Dorian with two town guards. The heroes left them to explore the rest of the temple for danger.

In the meditation rooms, they were ambushed by three monks, two originally of the Scarlet Brotherhood, and one whom Wizzleficks recognized as Arisel!

They heroes took quite a battering from the monks before they could be subdued, taking two of the party down with them.

Lio slit the throats of the Scarlet Brotherhood monks while Wizzleficks and Misha tended to Arisel’s injuries.

In the last cell, they found a secret door beneath the rush mat. Heavy furniture was placed over it they left for the mayor’s house leaving Dorian and the guards to watch over the temple.

At the mayor’s, they found Ash Tidecaller tending to Bethany. Ash removed the enchantment from Arisel while the heroes discussed what they found to him and the mayor.

At some point during the session we figured out that the magic of Theadric’s heirloom sword was suppressing certain changes that it’s bearer might undergo.

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