Khan – Human Dragon Sorcerer played by Jarma
Mathias – Tiefling Fiend pact Warlock played by Tim
Thurin – Dwarven Devotion Paladin played by Mark
Seven – Human Necromatic Wizard played by Damo
Bip (NPC) – Default king of the frogmen searching for his people
After the shocking death of Davros the party move on finding a room half filled with a block of what appeared to be ice, though it wasn’t cold. Within the ice where some humanoid figures, posed as if mid battle. In the not frozen half of the room a skeleton lay on the floor, arrow through eye, wand in hand.
Khan warmed the wall, causing it to explode and the frozen caster inside to unleash the spell he was casting before being frozen by whoever the skeleton was. A hailstorm of speeding tiny meteors pepper the dwarven paladin, but luckily he recognises the wizard from the order of the Omicron, a group of necromancers who use the study of “light” necromancy (where dead bodies are simply animated using science and magic, as opposed to rituals that torture a soul to bring it back through nefarious means) and use their powers to keep necromancy in check, hunting down those who use it for evil gain or via evil magic.
This necromancer known as “Seven” being the seventh agent within his squad of necromatic law enforcers agrees to join the party to investigate what drew his quarry to this place some time ago.
Before the party moves on they once again meet the quickling Tefaunis who assails them with a barrage of questions. Finally the party turn things around and begin scrutinising his presence in the temple. Tefaunis freely and openly admits he’s scouting for Luga the fomorian and his hag Ninki who are using the temple as a base in their guerilla war against the rulers of the Fey wilds but where never able to break out of the temple itself. He goes on to explain that they found a power source here which they use to control the exit location of the planar gate, though the more they use it, the more this mysterious black fog takes over the place.
Tefaunis takes the company to an intersection, pointing out that if they continue straight, the ambush will be waiting, left, was the way tefaunis USED to be able to go but is now blocked by this evil looking black fog and to the right is a suit of armour which when is investigated by anyone, that person never returns. Seven can immediately sense the necrotic nature of the fog pointing out anytime spent within it will be detrimental to their health.
The party struggle to work out Tefaunis’s angle, is he loyal? is he telling the truth etc and so Mathias and Khan play some good cop bad cop, ultimately choosing to believe the mysterious creature. Before the party can decide what to do however that elusive green spark returns floating toward the impenetrable black fog. It lights a torch on the wall, which visibly pushes the fog back, which is more anyone else has been able to do.
The suit of armour thing sounds like loot to the players but they finally decide to take the now green burning torch through the darkness. The only catch is the green light cast is barely wide enough to cover the group, and so they huddle together as they slowly make their way through the thick stuff, Seven’s three un-dead thralls comfortable traversing the necrotic fog.
As they make their way through the see a small corridor leading up to a huge set of heavy looking iron double doors. Huge vines snake out of the walls blocking the way, pulsing with green energy (the exact green of the “spark”) as if keeping whatever is inside there, inside. The party presses on however and eventually find a small water trough and following Tefaunis’s directions follow it to the door leading to the Fomorians HQ. The only problem is, they sealed it against the black fog, with a heavy stone door.
The party relies on Thurins brute strength to hoist the chain that raises the door, thanks to Sevens undead thralls, no one need leave the safety of the torch light as his the skeletons move blocks to prop the door up. But as this operation nears completion tendrils whip out from the darkness and steal Thurin and Mathias away, out of the light in opposite directions.
Each of the victims are pulled toward a roper/gibbering mouther combination. The mouthers, who in this case look like black masses of putrid ooze replete with random jaw bones and teeth spew forth inane mind numbing chatter making it difucult to fight back against the huge mawed stalagmite looking ropers, as well as coughing up balls of phlegm that explode in a flash of dazzling light blinding those unfortunate enough to be looking.
Thurin takes a few brutal chomps to the chest, and struggles to get free of the roper, whilst Mathias also struggles against the vines. At this point Khan channels his magical energy into the torch light, losing himself in the throws of spell casting (critting) causing the green light to explode outwards, brightening up a huge area and making it possible to see Thurin and Mathias through the murk.
With a cry the diminutive frog man Bip charges into battle to help his friend Thurin, slicing and shouting all the way, giving the dwarf enough wiggle room to begin cutting down the gibbering mouther. Meanwhile Mathias after taking a beating, manages to teleport away, pairing with Khan and Sevens several severe skeletons minions to wear the pair of monsters down, the tide really turning when Khan uses polymorph to turn one of the imposing ropers into a crab.
After taking much damage the party realises a rest is desperately needed (not having rested since the previous day, before the fight with the grey dwarves.) So they pass through the stone door to find themselves in a long drainage tunnel leading to an area obscured by hanging plants. While the party rests newest member Seven, casts invisibility on himself and scouts ahead finding a large cavern, with illusiary sky roof, a portal, a large platform in the middle and lots of activity, mainly focused around a huge, 20ft high deformed giant, a fomorian, named Luga. Also the large tunnel leading out of the cavern looks rigged to collapse.
There is a large tunnel leading out, where the apparent ambush is waiting. Scouts sit at high vantage points around the cavern, a complex difficult tactical scenario to be sure, but having unexpectedly come through the necrotic fog the party is able to hide and have a short rest, while they try and rummage up a plan. Thurin uses this time to nap and asks to be woken up before the fighting starts. Plan A was to use disguises and try to lure as many forces through the open portal, but at the last minute the party realised that just might mean dragging more of the ambush forces into the main cavern for the fight.
Instead Khan turns invisible and scouts down that tunnel. ducking and hiding as he goes. He finds that there is indeed a large force waiting in easily dependable positions and waits for the courier to run past, before adopting his disguise and running back into the main cavern. Bravely, he squares up to the massive Fomorian who’s club is bigger than Khans entire person.
Khan puts on a fantastic performance, crying out that the party has fallen into the ambush but the defenders are barely hanging on. Foaming with rage Luga sends two more squads of his perched scouts to join the fight and report back to him. Khan see’s Luga has the company of a green hag and presses on to confirm the reason they’re loosing is due to some powerful wizards spell casting. Luga falls for the bait and sends two of his three elite guard as reinforcements. Khan goes a step further, and cites the presence of powerful spell casters. Completely oblivious to the lie the Fomorian also sends his hag to deal with the intruders. The hag turns her self invisible and sets down the wide, long tunnel Khan following behind as if to join the fight. But hangs back, letting her proceed on her own, hiding near the rigging that would cause the tunnel to cave in. He hears the faintest “ribbit” a sign from Bip that he’s on the rigging itself, ready to chop at it at the opportune time.
Luga then reaches to a bag on his hip and pulls out a flustered looking Tefaunis. “You have proven your loyalty quickling. I will hold up my end of the bargain” And with that releases the quickling, who a moment later disappears in a blur.
It doesn’t take long for the hag to realise they’ve been duped. Suspecting this was a diversion she musters several griffon riding thugs begin the charge back up the long hallway. At the same time, Thurin has exploded from behind cover, leaping across a chasm to land on the balcony housing the only remaining squad of Luga’s elite guards, the dwarf wasting no time, chopping, hacking and hurling the well armoured and armed elfs over the side.
Mathias leaps from the hidden position into a small deep creek which ran from the high up tunnel entrance the party rested in, to around the platform in the middle, loosing a pair of eldritch blasts as he flew, sending chunks of mortal from the balcony exploding into clouds of dust, aiding Thurins hacking, cleaving run. The tiefling uses his black dragon mask to stay underwater, clear of arrows, and moves to the platform in the middle of the cavern. The platform sits atop 4 columns reaching 60ft into the air. A green beam of energy pulses down towards the hole underneath however a mirror is being used to redirect the beam towards the portal. Warey of reinforcements from that side Mathias blasts the mirror, causing it to shatter, the green energy blasting back into the earth. Almost immediately green vines begin climbing and winding their way up the columns, and so does the tiefling.
Whilst all that was Happening Seven stood atop a shelf, launching a magical barrage at the imposing Luga, weakening him. Roaring in rage the Famorian looks up and launches a mental attack the the necromatic wizard. Images of horror and pain lance through the wizards brain before spreading to the rest of his body. His bones crunch and pop as Lugas mental attack causes the wizard to deform into a grotesque, hump backed, crooked legged monstrosity. The now deformed Seven, leaps from the perch into a pile of hay below as the sound of a charge echos through the tunnel.
“Hooold!” yells Khan as the still invisible Bips hands sweat profusely with nervousness, ready to hack at the ropes securing supporting beam. Thanks to his advice, the pair crush almost the entirety of Lugas forces in the cave collapse, the screams almost inaudible under the roar of collapsing boulders. A huge billowing cloud of dust blows out from the tunnel.
Thurin continues his hacking, chopping blood march through the elite scout ranks, tossing the final elf aside as if he was a rag doll. The paladin surveys the scene and sees a still disguised Khan scrambling over to the rubble wrestling a bracelet or something off an arm reaching out of the rubble, Mathias scaling a column of the central platform, using the newly growing vines for help and launching blasts of his fiendish magic at the huge giant as he climbs all the while the teams newest member Seven trading magical blows with the Fomorian, who is thrashing wildly in pain as his life force is sapped by the wizards necromatic arts.
The fomorian and Seven continue to trade magical blows, blast after blast pounding into each other. At this point Bips invisibility wears off and the 4ft humanoid frogman lets out a war cry, jumping between Seven and the fomorian unleashing a barrage of precise, slicing attacks, opening up wounds all over the fomorians shins and calves. In response, the 18f tall Luga hammers down with his club, each blow rocking the earth and sending large clumps of dirt tumbling away. Having trained with Thurin, Bip to the amazement of everyone dances between the heavy strikes and kicks, even turning some of the crushing blows with his shield, deflecting them into the soft earth and jumping in and about the behemoths feet, opening more and more wounds, and pushing the giant back on his heals, into the waiting blade of Thurins axe, glowing brightly with radiant energy, the pair working in perfect symmetry, slashing and chopping, feinting and parrying the deformed Lugas attacks.
As the battle rages Mathias surveys the top of the platform, finding the dried out husk of a wooden, plant like woman who appears to be breathing, slowly being wrapped up by the vines, newly grown up from under the platform, their vines snaking around her, propping her up gingerly. Before he can consider the implications Mathias moves to the opposite edge and begins lending his eldritch powers to the battle with the beleaguered Fomorian.
Surrounded on all sides the Fomorian roars in anger, letting fly a kick that leaves a dent in Thurins armour, and another that that leaves Bip flattened in a crater. Before the killing blow can rain down Seven lashes out with more necromatic energy, causing Lugas shot to miss. Spotting his opportunity Bip rolls aside of the blow, plonking into the small river surrounding the base of the raised platform.
While the desperate fight was being waged Khan was inspecting his newly found beads, deciding their study could pay off handsomely. He discovers they are in fact enchanted, able to be removed and thrown, causing explosions. Buffeted by spells and Thurins mighty axe the exploding bead causes the fomorian to trip. Dazed and stumbling the fomorian grabs on to the platforms columns his head getting blasted by the green magical energy pulsing down into the earth. His roar turns into a maniacal scream as skin peels away from flesh, his head slowly turning upwards to look directly into the source of power for a moment before wrenching himself back out.
The hulking figure stands, his head a black charred lump, stinking smoke tendrils wafting up lazily from his head. His once orange eye now glowing bright green, his lips burnt away to reveal a disgusting skulls morbid grin. A second later a beam of concentrated magical energy streaks out of the eye, tearing a trench along the ground, the armoured dwarf able to dance aside, before leaping back into the fight, eyes and axe glowing with the divine energy of Bahamut.
The still deformed Seven continues to sap the Fomorians energy, making his strikes less deadly and making it harder for it to defend itself from Thurins deadly blade. Thinking victory near, Seven stands in the open ground, hurling spell after spell at the giant, before in a fit of rage, the fomorian turns his head loosing another crackling beam of energy churning up a line of dirt infront of Seven before completely engulfing the wizard.
Seeing the brutal attack the rest of the party leap into action. Mathias’s eldritch blast knocks the fomorians head aside ending the energy blast, whilst a mighty chop from Thurins axe brings him down to a knee. Roaring, Luga knocks the paladin prone, raising his massive, 7ft long studded club above his head. The club looming Thurin raises his shield against what he knows will be a devastating blow, only the strike never comes. In that moment Khan had blasted out with a wave of freezing magic, engulfing the fomorian, and freezing him in place, and icey statue gleaming in the rooms illusionary sky light. A weak cheer goes up, for the day is won, only onw voice is missing. The party look over to Seven or at least, his remains, a pile of sooty ash and a lone scorched scrap of robe.
The group hang their head in silence for the wizard who fought so bravely, and whom contributed so greatly to their victory. After a moment the tiefling warlock breaks the silence, calling out for the party to join him atop the platform.
The party gather around the woman. The familiar green spark floats down from their midst to settle on the figure. Her eyes open with a wooden screechy sound, eyes empty pits. Her voice is a barely audible rasping, as if on the very edge of wasting away to nothing. Very slowly. Painfully. Word by labored word, she explains to the party that she used her last energy to lure them into the temple, but being a aspect of nature what they do from here is up to them. She detects a very powerful artifact in the players possession, something forged by the gods themselves, the deceased Davro’s arm!
After a long and cryptic speach the players need to decide between a) Giving this thing the arm, where by it will restore her power and bring life back to this vast swamplands and reward the players. The only caveat is that it will cause the temple to rise up and the tunnels underneath it leading to the under dark will close off. Further widening the gap between bip and his people and leaving them no solid leads as to how to get down there.
b) Force the arm into the well of energy. This will cause the the temple to collapse, and delve deep into the earth. She would use her remaining strength to protect the party, where they’ll end up in the underdark, along with the prisoner of the temple, Incubolos, a demi god of disease and blight. The upside would be, skipping a long perilous journey into the underdark, possibly overtaking their quarry.
c) Do nothing, and leave the temple, though by her admission, Incubolos would soon be able to escape.
The party debate the merits of the various paths but give ultimate choice to Bip who is torn between the better of the land and all it’s peoples, vs the survival of his own people. He listens to all party members and swears them to service, that they will do what they can to reach his kin IF he decides to pass on the enchanted hand.
He passes the hand to figure, vines reaching out from her to engulf the metal arm. With a blinding green white flash the party are knocked prone. Shaking off the blast to see a glorious figure floating above them. The Matriarch, Belora’s handmaiden. Her human features fine and delicate, leaves and vines writhe all around and from her, her right arm shining bright green metal, grooved as it was on Davros arm, only now the physicality od the arm itself is feminine and slender as opposed to brawny. The arm pulses with divine power.
Beneath the party’s feet the earth shakes and trembles, the roaring so loud they cannot hear themselves yelling over the din. The squat, blocky pyramid like temple raises out of the ground, mud and dirt blasting outwards to reveal beautiful facade, the stone melding seamlessly with tree and plant, the giant frog people home of Treff Broga, sitting at its top.
The Matriarch addresses the party, thanking them for their choice, but she needs their help. With her powers still weak she is unable to defeat Incubolos, still trapped within the temples halls. She offers the players a deal, she can either use her magical reserves to destroy the monster or she will raise Seven from the dust, to rejoin their party but they will need to kill the aspect of blight himself. The party almost unanimously agree not to resurrect the wizard, having not known him very well, and keen to get back on the trail of Bips kin. (much to the amazement of Damo and the DM!)
The Matriarch agrees and makes to retire, but not before dispensing some gifts to the party. Firstly, she promises a home for Bips people if they should return here, with Bip to serve as her high steward should he want to. Secondly she summons the armour that Tefaunis mentioned early, now animated, its body a writhing mass of vines the huge figure ambles behind the matriarch and she asked Thurin simply “weapon or shield?”
Thurin decides weapon and the Matriarch removes the huge armoured creatures sword and looks to Thurin before stating “Let’s make this more your style” and the gleaming weapon with diamond edge disintegrates to a mass of strong green vines, before coalescing into a large battle axe. Honoured Thurin names it “Blights Bane” and hefts the weapon, feeling its perfect balance. Thurin would later spend time with the weapon to also discover he can focus his mind, to change it into other melee weapons, or even cause vines to shoot out, and grasp his enemies.
Khan is presented with a seed, the size of an apple. The Matriarch explains that this seed will lift the blight afflicting his homeland, and will cause the land to be more fertile than it ever had before.
Finally the Matriarch simply eyes Mathias cooley stating she will allow the fiendkin to live. Mathias spits back “Fuck you, bitch!” and before he can utter a spell large grasping vines shoot out from earth, wrapping his arms and torso folding him over as if he were nothing and before any one can react the ground itself opens up, swallowing the tangle of vines, tiefling and all, keeping him safe for an uncomfortable night under ground.
Stunned, the party of Thurin and Khan look to the Mother who states flatly that he will be unharmed… mostly… And she leaves them to rest before they set out again the next morning