Campaign of the Month: April 2016

Adoraith: Echoes of Epirus

Events of October 18

The light faded behind the party as it advanced into the sewers, straddling the vile goo which flowed out by small walkways on either side. Magical light flared up from the party’s casters, guiding their slow advance. As the light behind them grew smaller, a form shambled towards them. As the party members readied themselves for battle, they saw a hollow-eyed women throw her head back, as an unnatural voice rang out throughout the tunnel.

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Speaking in Elven, the voice, tinged with madness, questioned the party briefly before offering its friendship in exchange for a simple service, Edluar’s death. While the majority of the party sympathized with the voice, they were none the less inclined to decline, and their response was sealed as Edluar loosed an arrow into the shambling form, dropping it into the goo with a wet plop.

“Left is the path to fortune and glory.” This old adventurer’s adage would guide the party as it descended further into the tunnels. After all, any adventurer that could be called “old” surely knew something worth listening to. As they approached one dead end, the party spotted a weeping woman. A quick round of “nose goes” and a cursed helmet, landed Merek the job of scout. Floating forward, he looked over the weeping woman. However, Akuma grew impatient with his caution, and walked forward, admonishing Merek for not instantly comforting the woman.

As Akuma approached her, the weeping woman turned to face the wizard, clutching the decaying body of her son in her arms. “The elf told me he could save him,” she wept, staring at Akuma. “If only I would be anointed, he said he would save my son.” Akuma tried in vain to comfort the woman, however she only grew more frantic. Shambling forward, she held her child’s corpse out to the wizard, “You can save him, cant you?” she pleaded, ignoring Akuma’s protests. “You’re a liar like him, you won’t save him!” she exclaimed, before leaping forward and sinking her teeth into the wizard’s neck.

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Though frantic, the woman quickly fell to the party’s combined fire. As her body slumped, Akuma shoved her body into the water, murmuring that next time she would just shoot any crying woman she may encounter. Taking a moment to cleanse the blood-thirsty wizard of the elf’s taint, the party soldiered on.

Not long after, the party was making its way down a straight stretch of the sewer when Nhar`qual’s voice rang out through the tunnel once more, admonishing them for having refused his generous offer. As if to punctuate his reproach, an aberrant creature staggered upright from the sludge, seemingly half-troll, half-human with its intestines splayed out before its body. The party’s fighters surged forward while the casters fell back.

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However, the ambush had been well laid. As the casters fell back, a second creature rose up from below, laying into Akuma and entangling the wizard as its intestines came to life and burrowed into Akuma’s body with lamprey-like mouths. The party began to scramble about, with Merek and Akuma dimension door-ing anyone who was unable to tear themselves free of the creature’s viscera to freedom. When the frantic battle finally finished, the entirety of the party was still standing.

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While the rest of the party set about dealing with the aftermath of the fight, Akuma’s curiosity got the better of her once more as she spotted movement in the water. Sweeping into the water with her butterfly net, she discovered that a type of slime lived in the sewer. Resolving once more to avoid the water, the party set off.

After a time, they came to a four-way intersection within the sewer, centered around a large whirlpool. Resolving to take the left path, the party began darting across the water to cover each of the passages. However, not long after the crossings began, Akuma and Edluar noticed something scurrying in the darkness. While Edluar waited for to find out what was there, Akuma did not want a repeat of her encounter with the tainted mother. As soon as she spotted movement in the tunnel, she loosed a fireball into the area. As the tunnel lit up in a brilliant flash, those nearby could see fleshy six-legged creatures the size of a dog, scurrying towards the party in all directions.

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As the ones Akuma had blasted fled from the fireball, more of the creatures scurried from each of the other tunnels. As they scrambled forward, the creatures leapt up towards the party members’ heads, latching onto Merek and Elias’ faces. While the one on Elias shoved his proboscis into the druid’s mouth, Merek simply sighed as the creature wrapped around his helmet. As Merek vanished out from under his creature, Elias ripped his from his head.

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Seeing what the creatures wanted to do, the party fought on more frantically against the hoards of tainted creatures. As the battle wore on, Edluar tried to remove the bulk of the tainted spiders from the battle by way of a deep slumber spell. However, the creatures’ natural resistance to spells protected them from the spell’s effects. Unfortunately, Skata, the party’s minotaur, did not have any such natural resistance. As he dropped into a peaceful slumber, Allyndor grasped Elais, and blinked across the gap of sewer water to rejoin the bulk of the party, leaving the slumbering minotaur alone.

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Seeing the minotaur in need, Edluar attempted to spider walk over the whirlpool to attempt to rescue him. However, this prompted a tainted troll to crawl up from the depths below. Thinking quickly, Edluar charmed the troll, and ordered it to defend Skata. Spinning about, the troll lifted Skata out from under the dog pile of tainted spiders, placing him next to Merek, who promptly teleported the freshly awoken minotaur back with the rest of the party.

Meanwhile, Kiwi, Caitlyn, and Damhsa darted through fleshy creatures, cutting down their flank before rejoining the rest of the party. Edluar turned to his troll ally as Nhar’qual’s voice rang out through the sewer, mocking Edluar’s spells, before failing an attempt to dispel charm. Not wanting to give the elf another chance, Edluar ordered the troll to go to the sewer’s entrance.

It wasn’t long before the last of the tainted spiders fell to the party. Taking another few minutes to lick their wounds, the party members prepared to delve further into Emin Nir’s ruins.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Elais, Akuma, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot, Allyndor the Wanderer, Edluar the Seeker, Caitlyn, Fritz
XP Award (APL 7): 1015

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Merek

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Events of September 27

The party could not rest on their laurels long, gathering up their loot on the goblins’ horses, they set fire to the villa and returned to their encampment on the edge of the city. After identifying their new magical items and questioning their hobgoblin prisoner, the party settled in for what they hoped would be a good night’s rest.

However, this was not to be; not far into Damhsa’s first watch, a scream echoed out from the prisoner’s room. Dashing in, she found their prisoner, throat slit and tongue pulled down into a Colombian neck tie. She went and woke Merek, whom Edluar had told her was in charge of the prisoner, without informing Merek, who was caring for his son. Merek sleepily stumbled into the prisoner’s room after Damhsa. He blinked in surprise at the corpse and turned to give Damhsa a look like she was a cat who had just dropped a dead bird at his in the living room. He sighed, glanced about, and saw no invisible beings within. With this, he returned to sleep without so much as a second look or asking what a “Colombian” was.

The following morning, the party dismissed the orcs after Edluar pointed out that any one of them could be Nhar`qual’s enforcer Arylla, using Baragus’s amulet to disguise herself. Reasoning that their safe house was decidedly no longer safe, they set out in search of more allies. While Edluar took off to scout through town once more, the rest of the party loaded up the horses and took the long way around town towards the tannery and a spot where lizardfolk were known to operate. Before taking off, the party doled out their new magical gear, which lead to the Helm of Hextor, which had been taken off of a hobgoblin known as The Bear, becoming affixed to Merek’s head.

The main force of the party were able to make it to the other side of the city without any major event other than Merek getting chased off of an old lady’s lawn. Along the way, they also noted a lizardfolk village in the swamps to the west of the city and flew over the tannery to discover it was filled with gnolls processing meat of… uncertain origins.

Edluar’s trek, however did not go as smoothly. Disguising himself as a nondescript human, he meandered through the city. Along the way, he wandered up to an armored human, sitting on his porch an twirling a sword. Finding it curious that Edluar would walk up to him, the man began to badger Edluar, claiming him to be a known bounty. Offering to let him go free for one thousand gold, Edluar turned to leave, only for the man to slowly morph into an anthropomorphized rat. As the rat-man advanced after Edluar, a dozen more came from the house behind him.

Thinking fast, Edluar loosed a spell which mesmerized all but the lead were-rate, and a chase ensued as Edluar dashed through the city of Emin Nir, making his way to the southern gate. Along the way, he passed in front of a building held by another sect of hobgoblins, who took an interest in the bizarre scene unfolding before them.

Seeing his time begin to run short, the were-rat attempted to attack Edluar, who swiftly conjured several mirror images of himself. Not liking his odds caught between Edluar and the hobgoblins, the rat man made his escape. Edluar used this time to buff himself a bit more, and dashed across town to make his escape. Leaping over the wall, he was able to rejoin the party without further incident.

With this, the party was able to at last enter the area where they were told the Lizardfolk foraged. Tracking down a group, they made their intentions of bringing down Nhar’qual known. Understandably, the lizard folk were hesitant, but agreed to take them to their village should the party agree to surrender their weapons. Begrudgingly, the party agreed to their terms and were lead to the village.

Once within, the party was able to convince the Lizardfolk elder of its intentions, though the elder did make his disdain of Edluar known. He said he would consider aiding their cause if, in return, they would retrieve several eggs which had been stolen from them by trolls who lived in the sewers of Emin Nir. Considering rescuing Lizardfolk eggs old hat after the Sahugin attack in Saltmarsh, the party readily agreed, and set off towards the sewers.

As they neared the entrance, they came across their first pair of trolls. The party quickly discovered that these trolls had, like so much else here in Emin Nir, been tainted by Nhar’qual. Their skin would attempt to bind any weapon which pierced their hide. However, the party was able to slay them without much loss thanks to Damhsa, Kiwi, and Skata taking the brunt of the damage while Akuma and Elias unleashed a torrent of magical fire.

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With the entrance to the sewers now before them, the party members steeled themselves for whatever monstrosities may await them within.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Elias, Akuma, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot, Allyndor the Wanderer, Edluar the Seeker, Caitlyn, Fritz
XP Award (APL 7): 1015

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Edluar

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Events of September 20

A plume of fire and smoke filled the air around the party, as western gate of the arena erupted. Saburo’s eyes darted around the arena as the assembled masses were set upon by rapidly being scattered the explosions of grenades, tossed about by the pirates who had set up in the far corner of the arena. Taking advantage of the confusion, Merek dashed up to the stands, looking for his son while Edluar ran over to the puddle that had been trace, and scooped up the magical items he had been carrying.

As the smoke whirled throughout the arena, Wyruth’s voice sounded out in the chaos, urging the party to him. Scrambling to gather around him, the party members were teleported out to a house at the edge of the city. Within, the party found several like-minded individuals whom Wyruth had gathered in order to swell their ranks. The amazing judges of character they are, the party members promptly decided they looked trustworthy and welcomed them into their midst.

With this, an extremely exasperated Wyruth turned to the party, asking just what their plan had been in fighting in the arena on behalf of the orcs, to which the party responded the had been attempting to draw out the elf. Speechless, Wyruth shook his head, and informed the party he would have to go make preparations against the elf, and pleaded that they keep a low profile until he return.

And with their vampiric ally now absent, the plan of keeping a low profile lasted barely an hour. Merek and Edluar set out in “disguise” as orcs towards the Red Axe Clan’s inn, seeking news of Merek’s child. Upon arrival, the pair found the inn in chaos. News had reached the orcs of Utzog’s capture by the Blackfeather Hobgoblins. Enraged at his son’s capture, Merek dropped his “disguise,” shooting one of the fleeing orcs in the back and promising to do the same to any orc who fled rather than rally to rescue their leader.

Meanwhile, Edluar raced back to the party, informing them of Sirus and Utzog’s capture. When he returned with the rest of the party, only eight orcs remained with Merek. Thankfully, Edluar’s reconnaissance the day before had discovered the Blackfeathers’ stronghold, and the party set off on the war path.

Surveying the fortified villa from a mausoleum across the street, the party members made their plans. As the party’s casters dimension-doored onto the walls and roof of the villa, Edluar conjured a fog cloud to over half of the hobgoblins. They descended into a vicious melee as the hobgoblins sent a trained phalanx to join the battle. However, surprise had been on the party’s side, and it was slowly whittling down the Blackfeathers’ forces.

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Just when it seemed that the hobgoblin forces were about to break, a hobgoblin dressed in red came out with a blade pressed to the infant Sirus’ throat, demanding that the party drop its weapons. Merek, hot-headed as ever, teleported next to the hobgoblin threatening his son. Edluar hastily cast a spell, attempting to stay the red-cloaked hobgoblin’s hand, but to no avail. They had not been fast enough, and the hobgoblin slit the child’s throat.

This would prove to shorten his own lifespan considerably. With a single-minded blood fury usually reserved for beserkers, Damhsa darted through the hobgoblin lines, her blades raining down on hobgoblin who had so foolishly slain her godson. Even as the phalanx closed around her, she pursed her quarry into the villa, forcing him to stay on the defensive as the rest of the party closed in.

When the last of the hobgoblins were finally slain, an eerie calm fell over the villa. Aside from the Sirus, the only one of the party who lay dead was the druid Elais’ wolf. After taking a moment to mourn his friend, he joined the rest of the party around Sirus. Allyndor pulled out the scroll of raise dead, and with a grateful nod from Merek, cast the spell therein. With this, the infant cried out once more, returned to the land of the living.

All was not well, however. In addition to a copious amount of loot, the party also found the now de-orced Baragus within, his fingers cut off and his body convulsing as the taint tried to overtake him. The party clerics set about their work, and after several spells were able to cleanse him of the taint. With this, Merek called in the exasperated orcs to guard the walls, the party set about planning their next move.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Elias, Akuma, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot, Allyndor the Wanderer, Edluar the Seeker, Caitlyn, Fritz
XP Award (APL 7): 1015

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Damhsa

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Events of September 13
“Bring Me My Brown Pants!”

The party passed the rest of the evening amongst the orcs, rising the next day to prepare themselves for the battle against Phraxis, the gnoll’s dragon champion. After convincing Autzug to heal their vile damage, the party set out to negotiate with Harrg, the gnoll chieftain. After a bit of discussion within the party themselves, they agreed to to take Harrg’s open terms for the fight and placed a bet of five thousand gold on their victory, which would be placed with Saburo, the ogre magi who oversaw the fights within the arena.

With their preparations complete, the majority of the party passed the day resting in the Red Axe’s stronghold, while Edluar set out to scout around the town. Along the way, he heard several of the city’s denizens griping over the elf’s tax of one magical item for each of the city’s major factions, discovered a temple to an unknown sun god, and observed some orcs staked out in front of a bugbear stronghold. Finally growing bored of the scouting, he returned and set off for the arena with the rest of the party.

After the rest of the games had passed, the party marched out in the sandy arena to the (usually literal) roar of the crowd. After Saburo spent a few moments milking the excitement in the air, he finally called in the champion of Emin Nir, Phraxis. Swooping down from the sky, he leveled out for a low pass over the arena, buffing himself as he descended. Meanwhile, the party shot off a few buffs of their own, and set about spreading out.

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Content with his preparations, Phraxis wheeled around to face the party just as Kana sent a shard of conjured crystal through the dragon’s scaly hide. More insulted then injured, he hovered above her, kicking up a cloud of dust around him as he did so. Eying the human who had so foolishly attempted to harm him, he quickly liquified her in a cloud of acidic gas. And thus, Kana was the first to succumb to the dragon.

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Chuckling to himself, Phraxis darted through the party’s line, snapping in passing at any of them foolish enough not to clear out of the way of his bite, all the while shrugging off arrows and spells from the party. As he finished a wingover, he spotted Trace preparing to summon his trademark bison. Phraxis, however, would have none of this, and in another spray of acidic gas, grievously wounded Trace and slayed Caclifer, his elemental familiar. The arcane rebound from his familiar’s fate finished what the dragon had started, and Trace was the next to fall.

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Feeling confident in his odds, he turned next to Grimm, planning to give the crowd a bit more entertainment. Snatching the hobgoblin between his claws, he flew high up into the air. As the dragon ascended, Damhsa and Caitlyn showered him in arrows, while Merek gave Kiwi a potion of flight. Then, as Phraxis reached the apex of his climb, he released Grimm, who plummeted three hundred feet to the ground. Much to the astonishment of all gathered, he survived the fall, and staggered to his feet just long enough become the next victim of the dragon’s breath.

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With the flaming midget paladin now chasing him through the sky, Phraxis at last landed, with the party’s melee fighters quickly dashing in to attempt to overwhelm his defenses. Though he put up a fearsome defense, the combined fury of the party was too much for Phraxis, who fell unconscious when a bolt from Fritz’s crossbow at last pierced his hide.

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A stunned hush fell over the crowd as they stared in disbelief at their beaten champion. After a moment, Saburo stood in his box and addressed the crowd, asking whether Phraxis should be given mercy, or death. The stands erupted into a cacophony of shouts, to which Saburo seemingly listened and pondered a moment, before shooting his thumb into the air and pronouncing the judgment to be for life.

Merek, however, would show no mercy to the beast who had slain so many of his comrades. Over Damhsa’s shouts to stop, he released a blast into the unconscious dragon, and thus ended Phraxis’s life. The ogre, enraged at the death of the dragon, turned to the crowd, fist in the air, and exclaimed, “Kill them all!” And with this, chaos erupted.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Trace Legacy, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot, Allyndor the Wanderer, Edluar the Seeker, Caitlyn, Fritz
XP Award (APL 7): 1015

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Merek

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Events of September 6

With the tainted ogre now behind them, the party followed Grimm’s guidance further towards Emin Nir. Half the day passed as they trudged through the woods, until Grimm halted the party and went ahead to scout. When he returned, he told the party that bugbears were ahead. Suggesting they may be useful allies against the elf, Edluar nominated himself to negotiate.

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Strutting out into the open field before the bugbears camp, Edluar did his best to rabble rouse the bugbears with a hatred of elves while the rest of the party, sans Merek who had flown ahead to a nearby tree, came out behind him. Slowly, the whole troop of bugbears gathered around watching Edluar’s display as one might size up a roast hog as it turned on its spit.

After a time, the bugbears’ sub-chief stepped forward, challenging the Edluar to single combat. After failing to convince the bugbear to make it a fist fight, Edluar agreed. However, as they began to square off, Allyndor hopped forward to cast a spell on Edluar, enraging the bugbears. Thinking quickly, Damhsa shoved the cleric over while Grimm held his blade to the dishonorable cleric’s throat. This seemed to placate the bugbear tribe, who quickly turned their attention to the fight between the sub-chief and Edluar.

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Concealing his spells, Edluar quickly buffed himself and enchanted the bugbear with a sense of inevitable defeat. In less than a minute, the bugbear fell to the ground, garnering the attention of the tribe’s chief. As the chief took his hulking strides over to where the duel was winding down, Merek made his way down from his aerial vantage point, and began searching the camp for valuables, sadly coming up empty.

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With the sub-chief down, the chief entered into negotiations with Edluar for their services against the elf. After some convincing and a hefty bribe of four thousand silver pieces, the party had enlisted the services of Mukglor the Beheader’s band of bugbear mercenaries, who would be summoned via feather token once the attack began.

Parting way with their new allies, the party continued towards Emin Nir, where they were to meet the shaman of the Red Axe clan. Upon arriving at the inn the orcish tribe had occupied, the was party repulsed at what they saw. On the porch, a few orcs were passing a slave girl between them. Not wanting to anger the orcs before getting Allyndor a new leg, Merek quickly stepped up and offered to buy the slave. Though initially resistant to the idea, some strong words from the rest party caused the orc to see the wisdom of indulging Merek, and sold the girl to him for the sum of fifty gold.

Wrapping her in one of Trace’s spare cloaks, the girl identified herself as Crystal. Taking a moment to confirm she was fine, Merek left Crystal in Caitlyn’s care and followed the rest of the party to meet the Shaman. After a bit of bribery to get past the door-orc, the party were at last lead in to meet with the orc shaman, Autzog.

Seated on a makeshift throne in the inn’s common room, the party negotiated a few of their magic items to the shaman for securing a regeneration spell for Allyndor and a revive dead scroll for the party. Pleased with his trades, he invited the party to drink with them. Not long after, Trace and Allyndor had drank themselves into a stupor while Damhsa bought drinks for the tribe’s leather workers and spent the evening making baby clothes.

As the night wore on, Edluar boasted of his victory, prompting Autzog to challenge Edluar to fight against his own champion. Though Edluar was reluctant, Merek saw an opportunity from some profit, wagering two of the party’s own magic items against that which the orc champion wore. As they squared off, Merek threw the door open, attempting to lure the orc outside where could engage him from the air. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Merek, the orcs had been ordered to stay inside at night to avoid the tainted creatures which stalked the streets of Emin Nir at night.

Forced to adapt tactics, Merek took to dimension dooring throughout the inn while taking potshots at the orc. Unfortunately for him, the orc had held his grog better than Merek, leaving Merek unable to reliably hit the orc. Though he scored a few good hits, Merek fell unconscious. The orc champion smiled smugly, hefting Merek and setting him on his lap as a trophy. After a minute, Merek’s fiendish reliance allowed him to reawaken, promptly dimension dooring away from Bubba the orc champion.

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Damhsa, not one for keeping her opponents at range, apologized to Autzog for Merek’s display, and the shaman waved it off. Apparently impressed, he offered the party a chance to earn back their items as well as greater riches. He explained that he wished the party to fight on the Red Axe tribe’s behalf in the arena of Emin Nir. Not long ago, the party had lost to a gnoll warlord, thus losing face, and he hoped that a victory by the party would help to restore the tribe’s lost honor.

Though initially hesitant, the party agreed after hearing of a green dragon they would also face in the arena, and the prize for slaying it. With the party on board, Autzog offered to allow the party to stay the night. With this he rose, turning to Damhsa, and asked to speak with her alone. Leading her back to his chambers, he lifted an amulet from his chest. With this, his glamor fell, revealing himself not as an orc shaman, but a human of Damhsa’s tribe.

Introducing himself as Baragus, he explained that he had been taken to Emin Nir as a slave after his tribe had been wiped out. This, however, only strengthened his faith, and through this was gifted the amulet by which he disguised himself. Having killed the true shaman, he came to hold a tenuous command over the Red Axe. Reaffirming the necessity of their victory in the arena, he put his amulet back on, and lead Damhsa back out to the common room. With this, the rest of the night passed without further event, with the party resting as best they could to steel themselves for the following day’s battles.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Trace Legacy, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot, Allyndor the Wanderer, Edluar the Seeker, Caitlyn
XP Award (APL 7): 1015

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Edluar

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Events of August 30

With Ciara laid to rest, the party set up camp for the night and, for once, the watches passed uneventfully. Once the sun had risen, the party set out south along the river to Emin Nir. A few hours into their hike a piercing scream cut out from the forest. As the party arranged themselves to watch the woods, a blonde woman came dashing out of the forest, with a tyrannosaurus hot on her heels.

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Damhsa was first to leap in front of the beast, her blades tearing into its flesh. Not taking kindly to her assault, the dinosaur promptly snatched her between its jaws. The rest of the party surged forth to attack as Damhsa slipped into the creature’s gullet. Roaring at the party as it poured fire onto it, the creature’s cry was cut short as Damhsa sliced her way from its throat in a whirl of steel.

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Mortally wounded, the tyrannosaur lunged forward at Allyndor as he attempted to smack the beast. Unfortunately for the cleric, the dinosaur came away munching on the cleric’s now detached leg. As Allyndor lay bleeding on the ground, the tyrannosaur at last fell to the to the party’s attacks.

The battered party gathered around Allyndor, taking the time to bind his stump before healing the other wounded. In the confusion, the blonde woman, Kana Sakasi, explained that she was a survivor of a shipwreck, and was just trying to make her way back home. At Damhsa’s invitation, she agreed to join up with the party. The rest of the day passed in relative peace as the party took turns helping Allyndor hobble along whilst tolerating his leg puns. As night began to fall, they did note spiderwebs filling the forest.

As night fell, the party set up camp in a clearing off the main path. The first watch had barely begun when out of the woods, large spiders began to crawl towards the party’s camp. Trace’s alarm awoke the party, who sprang to their feet. Circling around the baby, the party set about exterminating the spiders. As Damhsa called out that she saw a large figure behind the spiders, Kana set up a massive wall of fire energy in front of it. Meanwhile, Trace unleashed fireballs into the crowds of spiders, setting what forest Kana’s flame had spared on fire as well.

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When the smoke finally cleared, the party settled back into the camp, not wanting to waste time searching for another camp and lugging Allyndor to it. The night passed relatively quietly, but the more perceptive of the party could hear activity in the woods nearby. Just before the sun was to rise, the party was awoken once more, as a massive swarm crawled over the party, biting anyone it crawled upon. Merek quickly grabbed his son, and shot up into the sky. Meanwhile, Kana encircled the party in a ring of fire, and set about roasting the swarm and the party.

With the spiders now slain, the casters of the party finished their rest while Trace sent his elemental out to burn a hole in the webbing encircling the party’s camp. However, as the party prepared to move out, Damhsa went out to scout the road ahead, spotting a host of several dozen gnolls marching up to investigate the smoke rising from the camp. As Damhsa rushed back, the party measured their options, and took off through the woods, with Allyndor taking off before the party at his full fly-assisted speed.

Along the way, the main force of the party diverted from their original path to avoid the encroaching army, while Merek flew on ahead to inform Allyndor of the detour. Not long after they had diverted from their path, they burst into a camp at which a lone hobgoblin sat. It leapt to its feet, rusty sword in hand, and demanded to know their allegiance. The party quickly informed him of the gnoll force chasing them, and were ushered into a safe room hidden under a pile of hides.

Once the gnolls had passed, the party told him of their goal to kill the mad elf tainting beasts. To this, the hobgoblin paused a moment, before informing them of his own quest to slay the elf and introducing himself as Grimm of the Draugr. After a few minutes of discussion, the party agree to take him to the city with them, after meeting up with the rest of Merek and Allyndor.

Meanwhile, Merek caught up with Allyndor and informed him of the change of plans, and set about helping the cleric hobble along to the party’s new rendezvous point. En route, they came across the rest of the party who had been tracking them. After the initial confusion of the kuo-ta armored hobgoblin with them, Merek and Allyndor were filled in on the situation and set off towards Emin Nir once more.

Along the way, Grimm, halted the party, and said that someone approached. From the darkness, a voice drifted forth, “Grimm, you have been summoned.” Grimm growled back, “No servant of the elf summons me.” With this, a tainted ogre rose up from the undergrowth and advanced on the party. The battle was brief but vicious, with Kiwi inflicting a grievous wound on the creature, nearly killing it in a single blow.

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As the party looked over the tainted ogre’s corpse, Grimm took its magical oversized great sword, declaring he would bury it into elf. With this, the party took a few moments rest as the stood on the outskirts of Emin Nir.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Trace, Kiwi, Allyndor
XP Award (APL 7): 1015

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Damhsa

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Events of August 23

The party trudged along the banks of the river, and as the sun began to set, they at last arrived at the bridge to the river settlement. After allowing some of the lighter party members over the bridge to test its reliability, they passed over into the eerily quiet village without incident. However, once they passed through to the edge of the settlement, they found it seemingly devoid of life. Advancing carefully, the party spotted a dazed orc, standing in the middle of a grassy patch.

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Content to leave him be, the party attempted to slip by, only to find another such orc standing between a building and the bank of a small creek. As they neared him, they saw a roiling black mass writing in the orc’s mouth. Allyndor, hoping to help the creature, cast a cure disease on it. Unfortunately, this only angered the orc, causing it to shriek and the rest of the shambling orcs to leap into action. As the party rushed to form battle lines, Edluar rushed forth, flashing his ass at a few of the larger orcs further into the settlement, before promptly rushing back to rejoin the rest of the party.

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With the party holding firm on three fronts, the battle was slowly but steadily proceeding in the party’s favor, until surging forth from within the settlement, came two more of the flesh monsters that had inflicted vile wounds on the party earlier. To make matters worse, the bulkier orcs had come around the party’s flank, assaulting Ciara who had been guarding the casters. The blows proved too much, sending the pregnant warblade into labor.

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As she staggered backwards towards safety, Calcifer and Trace’s bison stepped up to fill the gap. Meanwhile, the rest of the party finished off the last of the weaker orcs, and rushed to Ciara’s aid. This left Kiwi alone to fight one of the flesh monsters, which she narrowly defeated. With reinforcements from the rest of the party, the larger orcs and the remaining flesh beast were overwhelmed without further casualties.

As soon as the fighting had ceased, a mangy half-orc cracked the door to his house open, urging the party inside at his master’s bidding. Needing a place to tend to Ciara, they followed the orc inside and down his trapdoor. Once within, the party was greeted by Wyruth, whom they filled in about the events in the underdark. Not dwelling on the past, Wyruth told them that there was an artifact in the nearby ruin of Emin Nir, which may be able to yet stop the Queen of Chaos’s plans, the Tear of Dagon.

He explained that the Tear could be used to awaken Dagon, who was slumbered in the Abyssal Eye. The Tear was now in the hands of a mad elven wizard who was using its power to turn the orcs into the beast which they had been fighting, and exert power over a select few who would bring him more subjects. Merek voiced concern at using one demon to fight another, but Wyruth explained that Dagon had never sought to expand his dominion. However Dagon was, as Wyruth claimed, a rival of the Queen of Chaos, and his restoration would prove a check against her aggression.

Perhaps not entirely convinced of resurrecting Dagon, the party agreed to retrieve the pearl, wanting to stop elven taint from spreading across the continent. With this matter now settled, the part turned back to Ciara, well into labor. Damhsa quickly rushed everyone who wasn’t a cleric or Merek into the far corner of the basement and set about assisting with the delivery. A long nine hours of labor later, she gave birth to a health baby boy. Naming him Sirus Falk, the party passed the baby about, enjoying the happy moment after the whirlwind of death suffered over the past few weeks. Merek and Ciara quickly nominated Damhsa the baby’s godmother, and after a bit of competition by the two clerics, it was decided that Allyndor would be the godfather. Thus, with the baby finished making its rounds, Wyruth commented that the baby looked delicious and bid them farewell.

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Holing up in the basement for several days while Ciara finished her bed rest, the party rotated watches and did their best to pass the time. On the last night, however, the party heard a massive crashing of what seemed to be a huge creature overhead. Deciding it would be better to stay hidden, the party sat in silence until the creature had passed. The following morning, the found that their half orc host was gone, as well as half the house.

Gathering above ground, they decided to follow the western fork of the river southward to Emin Nir. The the first two days of travel passed without event, until the party began to set up camp on the second day. As the party milled about getting their camp ready, a pair of wyverns swooped down to attack. However, as the party began the square off against the beasts, Damhsa spotted a huge shadow looming overhead. A few seconds later, a massive wyvern landed next to the camp, eying the party with hunger. Leaving Sirus with Fritz, Damhsa and Ciara handily slew the two smaller wyverns while the rest of the party squared off with the larger one.

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Struggling to pierce the massive creature’s hide, the party whirled about it, and were joined by Damhsa and Ciara once the other Wyverns were dead. As soon as she reached the beast, Ciara was bitten in half, dying instantly. As her blood pooled on the ground below her, the party let loose cries of vengeance, and attacked the beast with new-found ferocity, quickly slaying it.

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With the beast now slain, Merek took his son from Fritz and sat next to his Ciara in silence for a moment. While Damhsa vowed to train Sirus into a wyvern slayer in honor of his mother, Allyndor asked Merek if Ciara had been devoted to any particular god. Upon being told she worshiped Sune, Allyndor paused for a moment, before launching into a long-winded explanation of the proper rituals. Merek, still in shock, nodded and requested the rites be done.

And thus, as Ciara’s body burned to represent the passion she’d had in life, the party gathered around and steeled themselves for the challenges they’d face in Emin Nir.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Trace, Kiwi, Edluar the Seeker, Allyndor, Caitlyn,
XP Award (APL 7): 1015

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Allyndor

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Events of August 9

Leaving the orc village behind, the party began trekking eastward towards Acanthus. Moving during the day, their travel was largely uneventful until the sun began to set, when suddenly, a screaming man burst out of the treeline, charging straight at the party. Understandably alarmed, the party readied themselves for battle, only to see a displacer beast leap from the trees behind the screaming man.

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As the party piled on the beast, struggling to hit it as it flickered about, two others appeared on the party’s flanks. While Edluar held one flank with a combination of mirror image and blink, the rest of the party set about dispatching the pack’s alpha. After what seemed like an eternity, the great beast fell, letting the party split up to quickly slay the two flankers.

With the immediate danger now passed, the party turned back to the man who had come screaming into their midst. Learning that he was a priest of Fharlanghn, the party offered to let Allyndor travel with them. Not being forewarned of the life expectancy of the average cleric in the party, Allyndor agreed, seeing safety in numbers. With this, the party dragged the corpses of the displacer beasts to their campsite, proceeding to skin them and have Allyndor keep them preserved with a gentle repose.

The next day’s travels passed in relative peace, with the party finding a extremely defensible campsite for the night. As the watches slowly passed, the party was woken by Trace’s alarm on the camp as an enormous abyssal creature lumbered out of the darkness. Surging forth into the midst of the party, it began tearing into them, it’s claws leaving gashing wounds filled with black gunk. When the beast finally died, sending a shower of vermin over the party’s campsite, the party clerics began taking a closer look at the wounds.

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Apparently, the beast was inflicting vile wounds, which would only be able to heal naturally over time or with a high level healing spell. In addition, they were unable to identify the black gunk seeping into the wounds. Deeply concerned over the effect on the gunk on Ciara’s unborn child, they spent the majority of the night fussing over her, which she begrudgingly allowed.

The following morning, with their spells recovered, the clerics attempted using a Cure Disease spell on the gunk, which removed it. Passing out said spells over those afflicted, the party then set off eastward. The next several days passed with little incident, with the party making good time. As they entered some hills, the party set up camp below a rocky overhang for the night. Though the night passed largely without event, while Damhsa and Merek were on watch, they heard something thumping about on the rock face above them.

Curiosity peaked, Merek disguised himself as a night hag (with a bit too much enthusiasm), and flew up take a look at what was above them. As he crested the cliff side, Merek saw a giant with magnificent mutton-chops, happily snoring the night away. Satisfied there was no immediate threat, Merek returned to Damhsa and filled her in.

As dawn rose the next day, the party quietly slipped away from the cliff face. After Merek flew up higher for a better point of view, he reported back to the party that Acanthus was nowhere in sight, but he did spot a river splitting into two different rivers, and a small settlement at the fork in the river with plumes of smoke rising above it. Deciding it would be better to try to avoid the settlement, the party made their way directly towards the river, and attempt to find away to cross it.

After another day’s travel, the found themselves on the bank of an extremely large river. Sadly, without any skill in carpentry between them, the party decided that building a raft would simply take to long. One more scouting trip by Merek determined that there was in fact a crossing at the settlement to their south. And so, with their destination now set, the party began trekking southwards along the banks of the river.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Trace, Kiwi, Edluar the Seeker, Allyndor
XP Award (APL 7): 1015

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Damhsa

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Events of August 2

With the cadaver collector slain and Vasalkar put to rest, the party turned its attention back towards the temple itself. At the far side of the hallway sat an even more ornate set of double doors. A cursory inspection by the party revealed it to be trapped with a necromancy spell, but none of them were able to disarm it. Drogan volunteered to jump on the proverbial grenade. No sooner did his hand touch the obsidian door that he began to scream and writhe in pain as his skin melted from his body.

Though the door now stood open to the Undying Temple, Drogan now found himself as an undead skeleton. Kiwi explained that his soul seemed to be trapped outside his body and would need to be returned for him to be restored. Stepping out into the temple itself, they found themselves before a huge black shaft, with a ball of dark energy throbbing in the air above it. As they slowly fanned out to search the area below the tower, they saw a doorway open up at the base of the tower.

Seeing it as their only way forward, the party advanced, only to be pounced up on by a pair of vrock. Though the fight seemed simple on the outset, unbeknownst to the party, Edluar had been dominated by Irae. Promptly turning himself invisible, he dropped a vertigo field on the bulk of the party. As they struggled to keep their lunch down, the vrocks tore into their prey. However, the party quickly rallied, slaying the first vrock. However as they closed in on the second, it began to teleport around the vertigo field, leading the party’s melee fighters on a merry chase until it was finally slain.

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Gathering around Dage as he doled out the rest of his healing spells, the party grumbled at Edluar’s apparent absence from the combat. Once their healing was done, the party began to ascend the tower. However, as they neared the doorway up, Edluar announced that reinforcements were coming and dashed off. Despite Merek and Damhsa’s warnings that something wasn’t right, the dwarves and Caitlyn rushed out after Edluar. Once outside, they willingly did the drow’s job for them, protecting the temple from the fire giants.

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The combat that followed was swift but brutal, while Edluar slowed the fire giants’ messenger, the rest of the party took out the giants’ vanguard. However, the battle was not without loss. Though both giants fell, Drogan was crushed beneath one of their mighty blows. Seeing the giants’ interest in the temple rather than the crucible, Sophiel pointed out that it’s straddling of multiple planes could be used to bring Miska to the Prime Material plane.

As the party digested this information, they set about discussing whether to go along with helping to defend the temple, rush forward after Irae, or attempt to fight their way back down the tower to try and find Laerekh (who had been missing since they left his mansion) in hopes that he may assist them further. As this went on, Edluar came to Merek, asking him to come upstairs in hopes of ending this. Seeing that the rest of the party was against continuing their assault, Merek agreed to go with Edluar.

Ascending up the tower, Merek and Edluar found that they had crossed into the ethereal plane as they were lead to Irae. Once there, Merek polite refused cooperation with the drow matron, stating his only concern was the safety of the overworld. He and Edluar put forth the argument that the forces rallied against her would only amass further now that her intentions and position were known, as evidenced by the bounty of cannon fodder which had joined the party since they entered the city.

In the end, Irae seemingly agreed to move her temple out of the reach of Kurgoth’s forces in exchange for the the party leaving the underdark. She asked that the party gather in the temple’s foyer for the temple’s move. Merek and Edluar quickly made their descent, and found the party preparing to go back into the citadel in search of their missing lich ally. Advising them that they had “a solution,” the party stepped into the foyer. Once they gathered therein, the doors sealed and the room filled with think purple miasma. As the miasma overtook them, the party collapsed to horrific visions.

When they finally came to, they found themselves on a snow packed plane between a treeline and mountains. Irae’s guide stood before them, advising that she hoped the party would keep their end of the deal before disappearing. Confused, the party resolved to find shelter in the treeline in the distance. As they traveled, Merek filled them in on what had transpired, including his and Edular’s secret reason to bring them into the antechamber – a bargain with Irae to move the temple. This caused an outraged outburst from the other party members as such an important decision had been made behind their backs. As it was too late to do anything about it, Edular and Merek shrugged off the party’s concerns and suggested that they press on.

However, the momentary calm was cut short as the party was set upon by a small pack of oversized wolves. The ambush was swift and bloody, with Dage falling to the wolves, and Trace and Endric nearly following suit. As a pair of lightning bolts lanced out from Edluar and Merek, Damhsa and Kiwi tore into the wolves, driving them back before further harm could befall the party.

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With the wolves in retreat, Merek fumbled in a vain attempt to stabilize Endric while Edluar looted the dying man’s body. Eventually Kiwi was able to stabilize the dwarven soldier, and though Merek and Endric objected to Edluar’s theft, most of the rest of the party remained silent. Damhsa glared at the once-more traitorous Edular and told him to return the items, but he only scoffed. Knowing that Edluar would not return the items willingly, Endric and Merek decided not to attack him, but everyone seemed to quietly agree to keep a close eye on him.

The rest way to the treeline passed in tense silence. Upon reaching the party, Damhsa quickly processed the carcass of one of the wolves that had ambushed them, using its skin for an impromptu lean-to while setting its body over Trace’s fire elemental to cook. With the camp now set, the party settled in for their watches, which passed rather uneventfully. When dawn finally arrived, the party noticed that a hunk of flesh and been cut off of the wolf carcass during the night, but since whatever had done had left them be, they thought nothing of it.

After a bit of orienteering, the party determined themselves to be west of the great wall of Acanthus, and, with little else to guide them, they took off in that direction. Along the way, they spotted smoke from a settlement on the horizon. Hoping for more information, the party altered its course to head for the smoke. As they neared the apparent village, they saw a small figure with olive skin gathering firewood.

After stopping Edluar from chucking a rock at the child, the party came out to speak with her. The orcish girl, however, had other ideas, promptly fleeing from the party. However, the party did quickly catch up with and surrounded the girl. The girl eyed them warily, vehemently declaring that she would not talk with “you people”. With negotiations breaking down, the girl made a break for it, but was quickly brought under the influence of Edluar’s charm spell.

Now far more cooperative, the party began questioning the girl as to their whereabouts, ignoring Endric’s protests at placing the young girl under a compulsion spell. She advised them that her tribe had recently raided another tribe that was off attacking the Acanthan wall, which was only a few days away. Satsified with what they had learned, Edluar brought the girl close, telling her to keep their encounter a secret from her father.

And thus, with tensions running high within the party, they begin their trek back to Acanthus.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Caitlyn, Drogan, Kiwi, Edluar the Seeker, Trace
XP Award (APL 7): 1015

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Edluar

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Events of July 19

Finally reunited, the party made their way up the spiral staircase to the next level. As they neared the next floor, Damhsa halted the party, spotting a statue of a gargoyle above. After several minutes of deliberation, they charged into the room, expecting to be attacked by the statue. Instead, they found themselves beset by a four-armed undead, who quickly began sapping strength from the party’s fighters. As if things couldn’t get any worse, Merek called out that there were two more laying invisible in the room.

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The ensuing battle was brutal on the already beleaguered party, and it wasn’t long before Edelmont fell to the creatures. A few seconds later, he rose from the purple mist which flowed throughout the citadel, taking potshots at the party. However, despite the elf’s best efforts to harm his party members… again, he was swiftly cut down as the last of the creatures fell.

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Exhausted, but unwilling to stop to rest in the enemy’s fortress which was under assault by abyssal forces, the party pressed on. As they entered the next room, the party was greeted by Laerekh, the lich they had been warned about. Steeling themselves what they thought may be their last stand, they were pleasantly surprised to find the drow lich willing to talk. Though the rest of the party pragmatically agreed to parlay, Vasalkar’s insatiable thirst for glory got the better of what common sense the crusader may have possessed.

With a flick of his wrist, Laerekh placed Vasalkar under a domination effect, silencing the brash crusader before turning back to the rest of the party. He explained that he wished to be out from under the yoke of the Kiaransalee matron, and would offer his aid should they leave the city to him. With that, he opened a portal, which he explained would lead them to a place outside of time were they could rest and discuss the terms of their arrangement. Seeing that the lich did not need to use subterfuge as it could have slay them on a whim, the party entered the portal, finding themselves in a windowless mansion.

However, the welcoming committee was rather unusual, even for the party’s standards. Before them were a pair of dwarven mercenaries from Acanthus and a pregnant Falk captain. While Captain Drogan Aeducan rebuffed Edluar’s attempt to declare himself the new leader of Drogan’s mercenary company, Merek immediately recognized the woman, Ciara Lyons, his sister’s bodyguard. Fritz, meanwhile, surged forward at Ciara, chastizing her for coming to Underdark while pregnant. Seeing the little green beast gibbering at her did not sit well with the Acanthan woman, thus prompting the invention of Goblin Golf™.

Damhsa and Caitlyn immediately realized that the child was likely Merek’s, and began to fill Ciara in on Merek’s “misadventures” with the beholder’s slave girls. Ciara, already exhausted from her journey from Saltmarsh only glared at Merek before dragging him off. With this, the rest of the party dispersed after Laerekh advised them dinner would be in a few hours.

After a few leisurely hours within the mansion, the party gathered in the banquet hall. As undead servers silently brought out a banquet, the part were joined by Laerekh once more. Though initially coy about their goals within the underdark, they eventually realized the lich’s domination of Vasalkar allowed him insight into what was truly going on. Not wanting to make an enemy before they had a chance to rest, Merek agreed to leave the crucible for Laerekh on the condition that it was kept from Wragmag.

The rest of the meal passed as the lich explained that Irae had summoned Kiaransalee’s temple into the prime material plane as Vasalkar performed an impromptu strip dance for the lich’s amusement. Laerekh explained that the temple would work against them, and could affect all magics that were not positive energy. Finally boring of the rythmic clanking of the crusader’s armor, the lich bid the party farewell, telling them that the mansion would return them to the drow citadel once a day had passed. The party used this time to help those who had been drained by the undead earlier and rest up for the assault on the temple.

Gathering in the mansions foyer, the party waited as the mansion faded away around them, leaving them facing the ornate double doors. Steeling themselves, they pressed the doors open, revealing a hallway which was blocked by a figure standing in a wall of fire. Edluar quickly dispelled the wall of fire, revealing a hulking cadaver collector standing in the hallway.

Apparently still groggy from their recent rest, several of the party’s fighters charged into face the creature in the narrow hallway. Suppressing the urge to facepalm, Drogan called out, prompting everyone except Vasalkar to scramble back out of the hallway. The hulking construct stuttered forward, slightly confused by the party’s apparent desire to play tag with it. Smacking Vasalkar and grabbing him, you could almost see the construct smile as it tightened its grip around the crusader. Though Vasalkar initially failed to free himself from the collector’s grip, Ciara shouted some advice across the room allowing him to free himself before the collector could add another ornament to his back.

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Seemingly annoyed at his retreating accessory, the construct surged forward, trampling through the party. This luckily allowed them to begin swarming the creature. As the melee fighters circled around, Drogan and Ciara’s history commanding warriors allowed the party to maximize their flanking damage, wearing down the creature. Despite being heavily wounded, Vasalkar was not one to shy away from a chance at glory, and moved back into range with the construct, glaring all the way.

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Glad to have the shiny man back within arm’s reach, the collector smacked the crusader upside the head, knocking him unconscious before slamming Valsakar onto the spikes on its back, killing him instantly. Enraged at the death of one of her comrades, Ciara swept her halberd beneath the creature’s feet, and brought the hulking creature to the ground as she slammed a strike into its head. As the party flailed madly at the construct, it struggled back to its feet, only to be felled before it could do any more damage.

Taking a few minutes to catch their breath, the party took what they felt may be useful from Vasalkar’s body and wondered if this was the glory he had so desperately sought. Already a soldier down, the party eyed the hallway to the temple ominously, and wondered how many of them would survive.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Caitlyn, Edelmont, Fritz, Kiwi, Drogan, Vasalkar, Edluar the Seeker
XP Award (APL 6): 900

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Drogan

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