PDX Dungeons

Shadows under Istivin

The entire party slept in a pocket dimension, after previous attempts to sleep in the town resulted in horrible nightmares and potential sapping of Will.

The next morning, Algorath the Seer sent for them, inviting them to his manor on the affluent Brink’s Hill. He explained, at length, that he’d researched the cause of the malady afflicting the city, and believes the answer lies in the Deeper Dungeons below Krelon Keep. As the Keep was the home of both the city guard and the Marchioness’s court, and the party were not welcome, Algorath suggested a different approach: the city sewers. Ancient architectural drawings revealed a narrow tunnel from the city’s effluvium to the dungeons.

It’s a tight fit, but with climbing help from the dwarf the party squeezed through to a main drainage area. While John was busy putting his armor back on, the party was attacked by a horrid black tentacled ooze which filled the room with toxic, acidic tendrils and mindlessly assaulted numerous heroes with spontaneously-grown pseudopods. A disgusting battle later, the party emerges victorious but slimy.

Further explorations revealed the dungeon to be disturbingly empty. A guardpost appeared to be abandoned, even leaving a cold (but unspoiled) sausage behind. Following the map, the party came upon a madman in an opulently-appointed cell – the Mad Marquis! He engaged the heroes in babbling nonsense (later revealed to be mostly Abyssal), but while attempting interrogation the party was suddenly beset from all sides by shadows.

The fight was devastating; the heroes had trouble hitting the incorporeal shadows, and Ismelda fell early to the strength-draining grasp of a shadow. While the Marquis threw powerful curses from the relative safety of his jail cell, John forced some shadows to flee and pulled Ismelda’s slowly-fading corpse out of the fray to raise her with the last charges of the staff of life. Revived but weakened, Ismelda took cover to cast spells. The Marquis continued making the situation worse, filling the area with black tentacles and cloudkill. With the fighters struggling against the shadows, Goldie also fell. Finally, from cover, Ismelda defeated the Marquis, first using disintegrate to nearly destroy the Marquis outright, then finishing him with a scorching ray. Too late, Goldie rose as a shadow herself, but as the party had defeated her creator, she was uncontrolled and confused, not aggressive.

A quick smash-and-grab later, the Marquis’ body ended up in a bag of holding, Goldie’s body over John’s shoulder, and the party absconded to safety to lick their wounds and consider their next plan.

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Shadow over Istivin

After some minor shadow walk hijinks, the party arrived at the gates of Istivin, where they promptly waited in line for several hours. Upon reaching the gate, they were asked a lengthy series of odd, probing questions, but ultimately are let in. It was immediately apparent that something wass wrong with the town, and boozing and carousing and chatting up priests of Pelor revealed that the town has been under a curse ever since it was reclaimed from the Drow several years ago. Investigations continued:

- A blind beggar warned them: “Beware, it is always watching.”
- The party saveed a construction worker from nearly getting crushed by a falling stone block, only to discover this is a normal occurrence and the worker now gets a week’s hazard pay / drinking money.
- The party broke up a potentially lethal bar fight started by a telekinetically-spilled mug of ale; further investigation revealed one or both patrons were under evil enchantment effects and nearly everybody in town had trace auras of similar magics.
- The party discovered that the circus has brought back gladiatorial combat, which had been out of style for centuries.
- Returning from the circus, they came upon a fight between a single guard and several other guards. The single guard, Alanar Kane, cast powerful magic, including cloudkill, before being wrestled into submission by the party and arrested. A detect thoughts at a crucial moment showed a foreign mind leaving the guard’s, leading to theories about a magic jar spell. After saving the possessed guard from suicide, the guard was arrested by agents of the Marquioness, who refused to grant an audience at this hour (or indeed ever).

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The Aftermath of the Red Hand

Returning to Brindol, the heroes were showered with praise and expensive gifts. They spent a week recuperating, drinking, doing magical research and starting churches (to Kord). Once exhausted, they teleported back to Four Corners to check on their castle.

Further research and divinations revealed several clues about Krelles; most notably, he was a Deathknight of Vecna. The party believes something inter-planar is going down, and some 20 questions with Kord suggests something is going down in Istivin, a small city far to the north.

They set out the next day, stopping briefly to check on the military outposts and newly-formed Free-Orc’s Hold, feeding them a giant feast in the process.

The remaining leagues go by in a literal blur due to the wizard’s shadow walk, and the party arrives in Sterich, a river valley cut from the giant-controlled mountains to the south. The first stop is a watch tower, similar to the signal towers of the south. After greeting the militia, the party learns the area is under frequent guerrilla attacks by hill giants. The watchmen offer the party a place to stay in exchange for extra swords in battle. Sure enough, giants attack that night, but instead of pounding the walls with thrown rocks until boredom drove them off, the party slew four of the six attackers and drove the rest back into the mountains.

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The Fall of the Red Hand

Weeks have passed since the heroes’ initial assault on Tiamat’s temple; a costly fight for both sides, leaving a behir and a dragon dead and the party drained of resources. After fleeing a Huge blue dragonspawn in a chapel, the party retreated to Brindol, where the Red Hand had begun massing troops outside the gates.

The Hand assaulted Brindol by night; first with hill giants, then with dragons. Finally, the walls were breached and fighting moved to the streets. Several waves of hobgoblins and dragonspawn were fought off, with some small help from the desperate Lion Guard and Starsong elves. Jarmaath, leader of the Council, was attacked by a sniper, leading to a desperate fight against a wiry, cunning assassin, in which Cardagh is nearly killed.

Finally, the fourth finger of the Red Hand, Wyrmlord Kharn, lead a final force into the town square to call out his nemesis – the party of heroes. It turned out to be a last desperate act in service of Tiamat, however, as the party quickly defeated him.

With one victory claimed, the party quickly resumed exploring the Temple of Tiamat in an effort to stop High Wyrmlord Azarr Kul from opening a gateway to Avernus to march dragons and demons into the Prime. Teleporting into the Temple, the party found a scene of bloody carnage and ruin; almost nothing lived in the Outer sections.

Behind a secret door, however, lay the Inner Temple, where Kul’s personal guard (a pair of Erinyes) and treasure (well-guarded by traps) were hidden. Our heroes drove off the devils and looted the treasure, then engaged Kul and his minions in his ritual chamber. A long, difficult battle ensued, with the Erinyes charming people, a pervasive silence spell limiting spellcasting to an area directly above a 100’ pit, and several Abishai summoning even more Abishai. Clever tactics finally felled the devils, however, freeing the charmed heroes to finish off the Abishai.

Without defenders, Kul was the victim of a swarm of black tentacles, which prevented him from escaping or casting spells. After much range combat, Kul was defeated.

In a rage, Tiamat herself reached into the temple, blasting it with dragon breath and consuming Kul. The gate quickly fell, however, and she was forced back to Avernus, leaving an Aspect of herself behind. The party quickly retreated to Brindol to consider strategic options and drink ale.

Some divination and ale later, the party located the Aspect and determined it was headed to the valley to inflict as much destructive punishment as it could. While smart, it was single-minded in its task, allowing the party to set up an ambush in its path. A brutal-but-rapid fight ensued, with John, the wind-walking half-ogre cleric of Kord, delivering the final righteous blow – a Slay Living spell, delivered by fist.

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In the Cloud Temple

Dragon and behir attack us on ledge, door is trapped with multiple dragon heads breathing on us. Bad news. Ismelda manages to knock door open. The party escapes inside to a long corridor with stairs and a door on the far end. Ed opens the door, revealing a room with undead wyverns. Of course. Undead wyverns. Druid casts thorns in the hall, Mage casts cloudkill. The party fights off the wyverns, the dragons are repelled by the cloudkill.

The party escapes through the eastern door and into a long corridor.

A dragon appears and shoots lightning into the corridor. This is bad. Several party members almost die outright. The rogue does die outright. Next comes the behir down the same corridor. This disables John as he attempts to save Templeton. Early in the first inning and the score is: bad guys 2, heroes nil.

The party turns north, and runs down another long corridor, opening doors and looking to escape. Ed runs ahead, and peeks around where the corridor turns back to the West. And is caught by a fireball, launched by the waiting dragon. The party is trapped like a fox in a hollow log. And here comes the behir again, into the log.

The behir runs up and swallows Cardagh who has just been healed from death’s door, then runs off like a bitch, back towards the room where the party faced the undead wyverns, and where the blue dragon now waits, but not before taking some serious damage. John pursues, but is now near death again, and faces both a wounded behir and the blue dragon. Ed charges the dragon, but his blows are deflected. On the bright side, John and Cardagh (fighting the beast like Jonah from its belly) have killed the behir, but it’s no use; the only avenue is to escape. The dragon is too powerful.

In the meantime, things have gotten worse for the party members still in the long corridor: through one of the doors opened while searching for an exit, enters into the corridor several monks. Or clerics. Or something.

Ismelda is undaunted. “I got this,” she declares, casting dominate on the head cleric, who immediately rolls a natural 20 and resists. This is also bad. More clerics, some invisible, attack those left in the corridor.

John, Cardagh, and Ed manage all to retreat from the blue dragon. Mostly. Except John dies again. (Bad). Goldy’s turn with the resurrection staff now, and she runs out and revives John. Again. For those keeping score, bad guys 4, party 1. But the heavy lifting is done now, the behir is dead, and although the evil clerics fight on, the result is no longer in question: the heroes win the day to hide in a secret passage and lick their wounds.

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The road to Cloud Temple

We take back Drelin’s Ferry. At one point Templeton fireballs a dude, then chucks in a horse from her bag of tricks. It is not that dude’s day.

Marching through the mountains in search of the temple. We avoid many encounters thanks to Cardagh. Encounter a patrol of hobgoblins and ogre. Soggy attempts to talk with them, but they attack. We web them and attack. Cardagh, in eagle form, casts swarm.

We capture a bugbear and dominate him. He tells us:

Multiple dragons. Red, and blue dragon and behir. Blue is usually home.
Upper levels: bone devil and demon or devils.
Also dudes that look like dragons. Half dragons?
West side: chamber where you don’t come out. Horrible skeleton thing.
Someone goes into front door and chants and then you’re let in. Chant has name Tiamat.
East side of complex. Most hobgoblins live there.
Place is nearly empty. Kinda? Eastern wing is mostly empty.

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In the stone lion

Some choppy notes from our encounter with the lich:

Go into a giant stone lion in the middle of the Thornwaste, with the philactory to trade with the lich.

We find a secret door, follow through a passage, get attacked by ghost lions, Ed loses 6 strength. Follow stairs up to lions mouth, kill some monks. One tries to escape. Cardagh gets an aoo on it.

Room full of hobgoblins, Esmelda fires empowered fireball, kills most.

Then there’s a room with some bone vampires in it and some weird trap things and a lion in some slime that’s being ghostified.

Then the encounter with the lich. Some had the idea that we might fight it.

Nope.

We give e philactory to the lich, who lets us go.

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The Big Stone Lion

The party travelled through Thornwaste, encountering a chimera at night.

The next day, they randomly encountered 3 basalisks, then found a giant stone lion statue. Ismelda used arcane eye. Dark passages in the interior, and a balcony in the mouth, with a coiled rope ladder. Many ghost lions flying around. Darkness in entrance of lion. Soggy puts in a lit mace, gets eaten and then constricted by a behir-esque monster. We fight it, it runs off. Cardagh turns into an eagle and pursues.

We find a secret door, follow through a passage, get attacked by ghost lions, Ed loses 6 strength. Follow stairs up to lions mouth, kill some monks. One tries to escape. Cardagh gets an attack of opportunity on it, killing it.

We camp out in the interior, replenishing spells. After a time, we head downstairs, to find a bloody hole in the ground. Naturally, we go down it. Beelow are a set of passages, one we follow to an eerie well, filled with some liquid, and glowing a pestulent yellow. Of course the magic user goes in first, and we’re all attacked by crazy undead bone-vampires. We kill them, after the magic-user is almost dispatched herself, Ed bull-rushing and overrunning several opponents.

Eventually, we meet with the big lich. We give him e philactory, and he allows us to leave, and leaves e service of Tiamat.

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Brindol Nights

After defeating evil ranger and his pet dragon, the party headed south, to Brindol, to warn the town of the forthcoming army of the red hand, to gain information, and to resupply. Once there, Templeton lost no time in getting embroiled in a scam, Ed and John lost no time in getting in a fight, and Ismelda lost no time in…breaking into a store?

Cardagh learned the languages and forms a few nearby animals, and Goldy learned a little something about the proto-Marxian decunstructive analysis of class stratification systems in pre/non-democratic societies.

The party was outfitted, research into the legend of Urikel Zarl was done, and plans for the defense of the town were made.

And then everyone got drunk with the dwarves:

Determined to confront the threat of Zarl, the party set forth for the Thornwaste, several days to the south. Along their route lay the stronghold of Goldie’s kin, Hammersomething. Seeking to warn the dwarves of the possibility of invasion, and hoping to enlist their aid in the defense of Brindol, the party set forth first to their stony demense.

On their way they unexpectedly encountered a taste of the horrors that might await them in the Thornwaste. They stumbled upon a group of Etins, ogres, and goblins wreaking havoc on a supply convoy. Stepping forward, Ismelda decimated their number with a powerful fireball. But lying in wait was a cunning new foe: Barghests. Monsters of the ethereal plane. The ensuing battle, though eventually ending in victory, was a trial for the wizard, who was targeted by these beasts continually.

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The Ruins Of Rhest

In which the party meets some elves, get drunk at a funeral, destroy a watchtower ninja-style and take a garrison in an epic struggle.

(Fill in narrative here.)

Notes

Recovering the ranger yields (weapons and armor are small sized):

  • one magical potion
  • Magical mithril chain shirt
  • masterwork greatsword
  • magical longbow
  • 20 normal arrows
  • 10 magical arrows
  • magical cloak
  • leather pouch of 37gp, 11pp and a key

The dragon remains underwater somewhere.

Cardagh in crocodile form returns with the spellcasting hobgoblin, who has:

  • magical studded leather
  • masterwork dagger
  • magical backpack
  • 6 magical potions
  • two magical wands
  • a magical scroll
  • a kit of sharp implements, needles, clamps, wire and other small torture devices
  • three nonmagical potions

We’ll deal with searching cleared rooms at next session or in comments if everybody is dying to find out what’s here.

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