Rise of Orcus
From the journal of Arianna
The barons son invites to to Falcrest. After saying bye to Dak we head off. It will be about a 2 day journy.
We arrive at the midway inn, the innkeep looks nervous.
We notice that the serving wench is very nervous, so Lilly goes dancing with her. She whispers "don't eat the food." As she does, Aleric passes out. Victor and I notice that the food is lacked with a root known to knock people out.
Jalyn spits, "the food is drugged" and lays out the barman with one punch. Victor runs into the kitchen and blasts the serving wench away from the pots.
When the barman is brought round he tells us that he has been told by the captian of the guard in Fellcrest that we were going to murder them. He was to drug us and signal to the guards who would come and pick us up.
We set up an ambush of our own and send the signal. Brandis and Victor hiding outside, the rest of us pretending to be drugged. 3 humans come towards the inn, Brandis spots the form of a giant spider and others hanging back in the bushes. The humans spot him so viktor shouts alarm and sends them all to sleep.
I rush and open the door to the inn as one of the "humans" charges victor and stabs him, becoming less like the captian of the guard and more like a featureless humanoid - a doppleganger.
The doppleganger goes flying back level with me as viktor blasts it with a thunderwave. Brandis shoots it with an arrow in the leg. The other 2 turn round to run, only to run smack into Zillith who has snuck up behind them. One of them screams "the bounties mine!" The other drops asleep from Victors spell.
Azin leaps in front of me to stop the doppleganger from coming at me. Jalyn comes leaping through the window and swings for the leader doppleganger, but misses. The doppleganger sends out a black cloud to blind some of us then legs it. I summon thundering armour to help Zillith which blasts the face off one of the dopplegangers.
Zillith makes the doppleganger who is running glow brightly, So brandis and Victor blast him off his feat. Jalyn runs up and cuts him in 2.
Zillith subdues the remaining doppleganger. We retreat back inside as the the bushes echo to a battlecry.
From the journal of Arianna
I raise a caustric rampart across the back entrance while everyone else prepares for the attack from the front.
A giant spider comes charging at the building, then phases to mist and comes through the wall, a second one follows it, they attack then drop swarms of smaller spiders.
I blast a spdier and swarm and Zillith sets out a pulse of light that damages them. Victor blasts sending swarms flying. Aleric drops another area of effect power against them before he is distracted by drow attacking through the windows. Another drow attacks Jalyn, she turns round and smashes him onto his ass. Azin charges the phase, but vanishes, teleported outside and so he charges the prone drow and sticks his boot in.
Spider and swarms scuttle and attack me. I blast them away and try to move but am slowed by webs. Zillith moves away and repositions Aleric away from the window. Victor tries to daze spiders and swarms with a colour spray, but only catches the swarm. Aleric channels divine power, heals the entire party except me then kicks ass, blasting a swarm out of existance.
Jalyn gets teleported out and attacks one of the drow who had moved against Azin who fights on. One of the spiders teleports out to attack Jalyn and Azin . The other moves to attack Aleric, it gets empaled by my force spikes as it does so. Victor creates a light outside then then blasts the drow and spider swarm that had attacked me with a firy bolt. The drow leaps up and attacks me, my robe spikes it. Aleric yells "move!" at the drow who runs and throws himself to the floor jsut before he goes in the fire. Jayln and Azin batter the drow outside, one of them screams "I am prepared mistress". A voice from the darkness replies "Your sacrifice is welcomed!" Her skin bubbles for a second then she explodes into a huge blast of spiders covering victor, Zillith and Aleric, amasingly it mostly misses the 2 outside.
I try and move back away from the swarm and set fire to them, Zillith knocks them flying back. The drow assassin by the fire lobs a shurikan at me but misses. Another moves in for zillith and swipes at her, Jayln knocks it off its feet. Azin decapitates one of the drow outside then advances on the priestess who blasts him. The phase spider bits Jayln. I retreat away from spiders, and the swarm decides to go for victor who blasts it across the room. The drow assassin gets back up and attacks me, I am fighting back to back with Zillith and Arindan. Zilith strikes one assassin while Arindan raises a circle of holy power around us.
Jayln falls unconcious from the spiders poison, then the spider teleports and starts to eat her. Victor blasts the last swarm into pieces as Aleric kills one of the assassins. Azin attacks the priestess as the other spider teleports to try and attack Jayln. Aleric uses holy power to get Jayln up and she attacks the spiders. I shoot one of the spiders, killing it and Victor blasts the assassin who dies. Azin whallops the drow priestess as she tries to flee. she slits her own wrist rather than be captured. Jayln splats the last spider.
Time for Zillith to come clean. The innkeeper brings us a large bottle of brandy.
Zillith explains that she is the daughter of a matriach of a nearby drow house whose enemy has discovered that she has a disease that coudl cause enough shame to dethrone her mother. The enemy a drow warrior, Zerithan, is sending people to bring her back. She had been trying to get far enough away, it seems they have been able to track her.
We continue on to FallCrest where Azins uncle has a blacksmith shop. Zillith and I manage to negotiate a very good price on the items we found. Azin sees his uncle who is prospering and has made a new set of armour for the house. He invites us all to dinner and we have a big feast, the drink is flowing freely then the toasts start. Azins uncle is about to speak then drops dead with a crossbow in his back.
We leap into action chasing the assassin across the city. He leaps over a wall and I summon a springboard, as we go flying after him we see him ducking into a coal shoot. Jayln doesn't slow down and just goes straight through it. In the cellar are 3 shadowki, we leap to attack. Jayln knocks 2 into the floor while victor slows the assassin. Azin dives past victor and Aleric down the stairs axe swigning and decapitates the assassin with a single messy blow. I leap past and blast the creatures away from Jayln. Zilith dives in past them and attacks. Victor blasts sending shadowkei flying and knocks Jalyn down the ladder, she lands in a sewer.
We dispatch the one of the remainder and batter the other. Azin offers it to surrender of die. He surrenders. They are part of an assassin guild called the poison shadows. They have masters in the sewers, a drop off area for the results of their kills a short distance into the sewers.
From the journal of Zillith
Examining the bodies of the assassins we find a gem, Victor says that it is a Soul Gem. Jalyn climbs back up the ladder and dunks her head into a barrel of ale to refesh herself. Victor explains more about the Soul Gem, that the soul can be restored into the body at a temple, Jalyn yelling for us to "Smash now!". tch tch, silly barbarians. Azin and Victor argue over who should keep the gem safe, while the rest of us discuss where to go next. We decide to go back and re-equip ourselves, stopping off at Azin's uncle's dwelling.
Victor and Azin explain the gem to the gathered family, full in the knowledge that we've done nothing more than kill the murderer. Azin takes a Red Gem from his Uncle's workshop, hoping to substitute it for the real Gem. Jalyn returns from the Inn with our gear, and everyone re-equips themselves. We enter the sewers via the ladder in the cellar.
A short distance down the sewer we find a beggar, Jalyn talks beer with him and we find out that some people jumped into the water and did not resurface. Some silver is thrown to the drunken beggar and we move on, approaching the area which the prisoner suggested. The half of the group that is closest to the drop area fails to find it, so Jalyn lifts Victor into the air and jumps the gap effortlessly. Setting Victor down they all proceed to search the far side, while I stand guard in a corner.
Brandis leaps into the water to investigate the spot where the 'people' jumped into the water, dropping into the center of a gelatinous cube, unbeknownst to the rest of us, except the rope Azin was holding goes limp! The beggar reappears, whistling merrily - before morphing into a giant beast, and Oni, filling the sewer tunnel, it approaches, swinging a mace through the air. While we turn to look at the Oni a number of Shadar Kai appear suddenly and attack swiftly.
Victor and Matorius launch spells at the Oni, annoying it, as Jayln smashes a Shadar Kai with her sword before turning and charging the Oni. I dodge out of the way and a Gelatinous Cube roils up out of the water towards us, spitting out Brandis and squelching him to the floor. Victor pushes almost all of them away then drops a globe of poison on them. Matorius misses his spell then falls asleep in the water, gurgling slowly as he drinks in water! Jalyn ignores the drowning wizard and smashes her sword into the Oni causing massive damage. The Oni lashes out at the unconcious Matorius, sucking the life force from him. The Cube moves out of the poison cloud and attacks Brandis, swaming over him and the downed Matorius, the Shadar Kai follow behind the cube to try and flank.
I summon a circle of divine power, then shift away and blast the Oni with an assult on his senses. Azin cleaves the Oni's head off, and the Shadar Kai die to the poison cloud. The Ooze disappears, taking Brandis and Matorius with it. Jalyn dives in after it, getting engulfed, but doing damage. I run over and swap plces with Bradis, teleporting into the centore of the ooze and hitting it. Matorius expires inside the cube. Jalyn and I struggle to escape from the cube as Victor brings Brandis around - in furious anger Brandis unleashes arrow after arrow into the cube until it stops moving.
We take Matorius and Azin's Uncle, Durdal to the Temple of Arathis where they are both ressurected by Durina Mornbrow. We all have to sign a document that means we will be called upon by the church at some point in the future. We purchase the temples store of Healing potions after I talk them into a discount.
We rest up the next day and Durdal gives Azin the armor he has been fashioning for his family, a magnificent piece of workmanship, the Invulnerable Coat of Moradin which seems imbued with the spirit of Moradin. Durdal does not want us to risk ourselves, but we decide to avenge ourselves and hunt out the lair using the map we took from tne Oni's body.
Unfortunately we find an abandoned lair. We do uncover a list of names, Durdal's included - the contract was taken out by Lord Amros Kamroth - lord of the Kamroth estate in the city. We return to Durdal's house and find out that Kamroth had an argument with Durdal over the quality of a commisioned blade. The other 3 names are Merchants in the city.
Etheren Paranon has invited us all to a ball this evening, at which Jayln has a meeting with Lady Markolade. Jayln wastes no time in winding up lord Amroth, so far such that he explodes in anger, taking a slap to the face and falling to the floor. As he does so I see an amulet of Tiamat around his neck. The guard rush over and take Amroth from the room to sober up after some more subterfuge by Jalyn. Shortly after the disruption Lady Markolade approaches us and discusses Jalyn's background, which, it turns out is more intruiging than we at frst thought. The giant colony was killed by a dragon called Icingdeath, but the dragon was commanded to do so by a greater power, and the souls of his kin did not reach the domain of the Raven Queen.
We decide that this, and the stealing of souls by the assassins guild, is linked in some way. Jalyn tells Etheren about the amulet of Amroth's, and shows the assassins list. At Lord Markolades request we sleep the night at the keep before preparing to leave tomorrow.
We all dream of Lotherna, the realm of the Raven Queen in the Shadowfell. We float into a keep there, where we see a winged woman. She turns to us and says 'Soon. You will be called upon soon.' We awake simultaneously from the dream and ponder our futures.
We purchase a cart and horses, plus a riding horse for myself and a warhorse for Jalyn, and supplies for the journey. We reach Winterhaven without problem and after a small rest journey onwards. A couple of days out from Winterhaven, while being bored stupid, we see horsemen appeasr in the distance, surrounding us. Off in the distance Kat appears on a white gelding, next to a tall man on a warhorse - he looks to Kat and she nods. Turning back to us he raises a sword and lets it fall in our direction, causing the men on horses to yell warcrys and archers to step out of the trees.
We spread out, attacking the men to our right, leaving Victor and Matorius to take care of our left flank with spell. They open up with many area effect attacks. The horseriders than charge, and the archers unleash their bow attacks, surrounding me, Jalyn and the cart. Icall upon the power of the raven queen to destroy my enemies, killing three of them, before engaging another and healing myself. Matorius takes a few hits inside hte cart as he attempts to blast the horsemen surrounding it. Victor cleverly moves the stinking cloud over the archers. Between us we take out a number of archers and horsemen, so that they turn and run from us!
The woman, we assume Kat, leans over and slits the throat of the failed mercenary leader then rides into the distance away from us.
From the journal of Arianna
We go travelling, the roads are fairly untravelled, we come across a merchant caravan. It looks in a bad way. We recognise the merchant, they were attacked by trolls. We heal their wounds and make camp, the night is uneventful. We head off the next day, we know the ambush happened in trees around a bridge over the river.
We send Brandis forward to scout. He spots a 2 headed troll on the bridge and one hiding in the trees. We make a plan and go forwards, Victor opens up with acid and poison clouds, the 2 headed troll comes charging out of them, sees Matorious and whacks him. 2 more trolls come charging, one from each side of the road. Aleric blasts one with bright light that burns and blinds it. Matorious teleports back then lets rip with a force orb on the 2 headed troll.
The 2 headed troll lumbers forward and tries to trap Jayln but misses. I try to stab it but miss, Jalyn ducks out of the trap and hammers the 2 headed troll with furious whacks. Azin moves into the centre of the flank to stop any more coming. Victor gets the hell out of dodge then moves his stinking cloud as an owlbear and its troll handler come crashing through the woods after Aleric. Aleric unleashes a blast around him and tries to duck out of the group.
I blast the 2 headed troll with a static surge, it screams and dies so we move forward. Victor moves his cloud to catch all of our enemies, but Aleric is taking a pounding. Then there is a roar from behind me and the 2 headed troll stands up and pounds me with his axe. Matorious blasts with magic missiles that drop the troll again, as it gets up for a second time Brandis lets fly with a pair of flamign arrows that kill it dead. Brandis spins and drops another pair of flaming arrows into one of the other trolls which dies screaming. Jayln swings and her acid enhanced blade kills a third.
Now there is just the owlbear and the trainer. Azin moves forward but is whacked badly, Aleric is nearly dropped outright by the trainers spear. We all move forwards, Azin is grabbed by the owlbear which bites him badly. Jayln hits the owlbear and knocks it over, when it gets up it spits out Azin then swipes with its claws. Victor covers them both in his stinking cloud then Brandis shoots the trainer. It dies and the owlbear runs. We go looking for loot - residum and gold and a magic orb.
We camp on the plains. Then 3 bullet undermine our camp, we drop down a 15 foot pit and then get attacked by all of them. After blasting us with cones of sonic they leap into the air and powerdrive us. Jayln and I are down and bleeding after this, the rest must fight for their lives. Aleric heals Jayln then me before they bring him down. Matorious and victor teleport out of the hole. I empower peoples weapons with vampirc energy, heal aleric then teleport to the top. Victor attempts to put them to sleep, and 2 become droopy, one drops unconious while the other shrugs it off. Jayln runs round to kill it but trips and misses completely. I heal aleric again. Brandis scampers out of the pit and shoots at the sleeping one, but his arrows bounce off the armour. One of them burrows up under matorious, knocking him bleeding to the floor.
The one fighting Alzin knocks him to the floor and tries to roll him but misses. 2 of them are ganging up of Jayln in a corner, trying to knock her over and deathroll her as soon as shes on the ground, but she is able to dodge. She leaps up and cleaves the had of one of the bullets clean off. I blast the other attacking her. Aleric heals Matorious who lets rip with magic missiles. Aleric then blasts it and it dies. The last one decides we are too tough for lunch and burrows away.
After a few more days travel we arrive at the town of Moonstair.
From the journal of Azin
In the fortified town of Moonstair we have to buy licences to carry our weapons. When the moon is full a stairway appears. There is an alien looking tower. The tower is the home of an Elandrin emissary called Rualiss. We go looking for an inn. The cloud watch inn is the most salubrious in town. When we go on we hear whispers - we are the ones that closed the door to shadowfell. We talk up our troll slaying. The town dwellers have had a few run ins with trolls and some of the town walls have needed repairing. The games are coming up. The prize for the jousting is a trained dire wolf. There is lore and storytelling, pole climbing, staff and assault course. We ask around about Kat but knowing has heard of her. We find a merchant caravan to escort.
We find that the town is not too impressive. It'd the seat of the Baron Perenon. The castle is impressive. Outside there are many tents pitched. The Baron recognised us as heroes of Winterhaven. His Barons mage advisor, Sadhi Lowcan, talks down our exploits and we take an instant dislike to him. Sir Talgon is captain of the guards. He hopes we will take part in the games. He hopes to find brave people to defeat the darkness. After today the town will be renamed Weister. Matorius recognised this as being the name of the capitaol of the Narathian Empire. The goblins and trolls are active. Dragons are flying in the skies.
The next day is the games.
1) Jousting - Jalyn competes. He is knocked off his saddle.
2) Padded staff - Azin gives his opponent some good thwacks but is knocked into the mud.
3) Lore telling - Matorius and Victor Valantine are competing. Matorius and Victor impress the judges with his tales of Religion, History, Dungeoneering and Arcana. Matorius wins a bridle of conjuration. Sadhi makes some insulting remarks about Victor's performance. Zillith is insighting the crowd to throw pies at Sadhi.
4) Assault Course We jump the pit, climb poles and nets, sneaking and swimming. Jalyn wins some Wildrunning boots. Azin needs to be pulled out from the water at the end.
5) Spell hurling - Matorius and Victor Valantine compete for the good guys. Victor is knocked flying by the bull. Matorius gets Siberius shard of the mage.
6) Pole climbing assault course - Azin and Jalyn are involved. Jalyn zooms up all the poles to win the competition and some climbing claws. Azin gets through to the fianl round with a respectable display.
Sir Hullimore is convinced by Zillith that the Barons mage advisor is a bad egg. Azin drinks Jalyn and some other competitors from the games under the table.
The next day we ride out to a farmstead where there has been some goblin attacks. Victor sees some warg tracks in the mud. The Baron talks of his grand plans. He would love us to investigate the new town of Ashenport. It has some strange tales of missing townsmen at certain times of the year. The Baron tells us of his adventuring years. A mage died in his party and he met Sadhi who he got on well with. He has a family, a son called Ethero and a daughter.
When we get back Sadhi has a task for us. We are to head for the village of Eastbrook. The Barons cousin lives there. There are lanterns and a party in the village green. There is a spring festival going on. Lancet, his wife and two children. There are rumours of goblins and strange people. The next day is misty. We decide to stay and in the evening there is a thunderstorm. In the morning we set off in the rain. We hear something unnatural off in the woods. It is dark ahead in the town. Something is amiss. A twitching cat is killed by Azin. There is an unholy cry from the woods. Jemima - the horse of Jalyn is worried by the undead horde of villagers. We engage them. Victor engulfs one group with a stinking cloud. The mass of zombies grab Zillith, Lancet and Victor. Victor panics and starts letting off spells willy nilly. Lancet gets pulled down by zombies and Azin heroically wades in grabs him and starts pulling him out of the mass. Matorius is burning undead in the closest burning. There are cries of undead children meeting their maker. The mages finish the of the zombies. We head to the church. We see a strange purple glow in the church.
From the journal of Brandis
Brandis twin strikes and crits twice on Jalyn and Alaric, Jalyn makes her save but Alaric still marches to the sea (what a time to roll 2 20s!!). Brandis then gets hit by a bad dude. The hero is not looking good. Alaric heals Brandis to a degree. Various other characters engage in combat, but with less flair than Brandis. Notorius turns up randomly. We finally kill all the creatures.
(Question, why does Richard have Capt Kirk sideburns?)
We heal up after the encounter. We head for the church. Try and push the door open. The dwarf is rubbish and can't pen the door. Jalyn smashes the stained glass windows. Smash. She gets in and opens the door. We gfo thte altar. Nopthing. THere is a dodgy pew and we have a look. Open the trap door and go down the secret steps. There are some doors. we argue ferociouly as to why we can't go left.
Down more steps behind double doors that aren't to the left. But Victor opens the door to the left. THere are 2 empty beds. Creatures appear. We've split the party!
The others meet more bad dudes at the bottom of the stairs. Victor legs it. Brandis will too. The curtains open more monsters. We're fracked. Zilleth is almost down. Victor is in melee on the stairs. Victor is down (Steve is reading a book - rounds take so long in D&D. Jaylyn hasnt done anything all encounter other than get immobalised and throw a poxy hammer.
It's close but the tide seems to be moving in our favour. Brandis takes out the chief bad girl. Victor is healed. They're all dead.
Don't look in the pool!
From the journal of Arianna
The horrible monster comes up and kicks the crap out of the party members that are there. Victor and I are still in the tunnel swimming towards them. We swim out as Brandis moves past it. The rain is driving and making it hard to see and the waves crash against the rocks, battering us and trying to drag us out. I drop a lot of healing on Jayln but am unable to hit the creature. It continues to bleed form where Brandis shot it.
I get out of the water finally as Victor zips past it using expidious retreat, Lilly swaps herself with Jayln and tries to whack it.
This thing is tough! Our attacks are just bouncing off armour. We are backed up towards a cave and Lilly is knocked to the ground, as the claws come down to impale her Victor dives in the way and gets slashed up. Finally Jayln decapitates it with a mighty swing. We all slump on the ground, exhausted.
Then Victor, in his infinite insanity ventures into the cavern and triggers a caudron of acid on himself and some horrible gibbering thing comes charging at him. I empale it with a spear and pin it in place, but victor blasts it off. Jayln and Brandis run away and swim back to the cave we came from, leaving Victor, Lilly and I to fight it.
We hear the call of Dagon rising so shove wax in our ears quickly. Lilly splats the gibbering creature with her hammer, woo!
REST! We rest up to heal then go into the caves looking for the dagon shrone. We find a horribly warped room where the gibbering mother was housed. There is a tiny gap to squeeze through - Lilly goes first. It is a large cavern with basalt statues to dagon abominations. There is a culist performing a ritual at an alter, but his momements repeat over and over. We suspect a trap and lilly throws a hammer at it - it winks out, its an illusion. But no ambush triggers.
We slowly move into the cavern, then the ambush triggers, creatures appear next ot the statues and a horrible tentacle monster rises from the water and lashes out at us. 2 statues and the monster attack Lilly and she falls over. We can't even see her as its so dark. The tentacle monster dominates Jayln and makes her attack Brandis before she shrugs it off.
One of the statues leaves lilly and winks in next to us, Victor uses expidious retreat to zip round them and go searching from lily. Finding her he sticks a potion down her neck.
We are split up, Jayln, Brandis and I fighting 2 statues, Victor and Lilly fighting the other, with the big nasty tentacle thing lashing out from the water. I dodge demon statue things that decide to attack me, ignorng the big barbarian, big mistake on their part, Jayln decpatiates one, the other teleports through the large statues to attack victor who has summoned a stinking cloud against the tentacle monster.
Then it dominates Jayln who comes over and whacks me with her sword. I fall over bleeding and covered in acid.
Lilly comes to save the day and heals me, getting injured herself to do so.
From the journal of Victor
There is a LOUD crack as the thrasging of the tentacled monster causes some of the surrounding rock to collapse - the creature can now get closer to us. The top of the alter falls off revelaling lots of gold coins and other treasure, most of which starts to slide into the water. The creatures lurches forward from inside the stinking cloud and sprays acid - OUCH!! screams Brandis.
From the journal of Arianna
I am sent rolling down next ot the tentacle monster, so I teleport away sharpish and heal victor. Brandis shoots one fo the statues, destroying it. Then the tentacle monster shifts again smashing the ground and sending me tumbling down into the water. The tentacle monster batters the crap out of Brandis who falls over while a demon pins Jayln, Victor blasts the demon off and Jayln charges after it. The tentacle monster moves to the pouring treasure and starts to grab it, send out a wave of cold while it does.
Brandis shoots a demon then Victor blasts it with an acid arrow, killing it. Jayln charges and leaps from the ridge across the chamber. She buries her sword into the monster and grabs a tentacle to ride it. The creature screams and rears backward into the water throwing Jayln off and smashing the remaining rock floor of the chamber.
More tentacles appear and start dragging Jayln down, and grab me and yank me from my ledge. Azin is wrapped by one. I go flying through the air. Jayln is unable to get away as she is dragged low and it pulls me under water. Jayln is being pulled much lower, I can't break free but it is losing interest in me and not pulling me down very hard. The rest of the party attack the main body and try to kill it.
Jayln struggles free and swims to the surface so fast she shoots from the water and grabs a tentacle to yank herself onto its back. I am able to wriggle free and break the surface, but my spear misses it. Azin lobs an axe and kills it, the mass of tentacles whips around then sinks below the water. There comes a long wail that echos around, then it stops.
When we go back up to the town we find it empty. Everyone from the town has walked into the sea.