Campaign of the Month: April 2016

Adoraith: Echoes of Epirus

Events of July 12

After letting Molaan’s protests fall on deaf ears, the party selected a door and watched as Edluar moved down the hallway, cursing as he found himself unable to open doors. As the hallway opened up into a small chamber, the rest of the party followed him in. The only occupant of the room was the rotting corpse of a drow sitting down as a sword impaled his chest. Spying a potion belt on the body, Damhsa took the belt off of him, which caused the illusionary walls in the room to drop, revealing them to be trapped with an eight-headed pyrohydra.

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The party quickly rallied, pouring damage on the beast from all sides as it snapped and sprayed jets of fire across the room. After the creature had finally collapsed, Edluar rushed forward to stick the unconscious beast with his rapier, declaring himself the “Octopyrohydra Slayer.” Taking a few moments to catch their breath, the party opened the door to the next room.

Staring back at Edluar as he opened the door were a trio of ghoulish creatures. Sensing a fresh meal, they surged forth into the party’s midst as they struggled to stop the resilient beings. And this fight would not be without loss, as Khaled drew the attention of one of the ghouls, and was rent apart by the beast, dying without attaining the redemption he had sought. With the ghouls finally slain, the party gathered about Khaled’s corpse to pay their respects (Read as: Loot his body) before moving on further into the dungeons.

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A quick search of the rooms also turned up a magic halberd, which the party took with them before continuing on. Wanting to clear the floor before heading up, the party opened the door to the center room before heading up the stairs. Inside, they saw a fountain wreathed in light and radiating magic. Goblin curiosity being what it is, Fritz ambled up to the fountain and took a drink. With a yelp of surprise, the diminutive cleric quickly found himself drifting up the shaft of light.

Not wanting to lose the cleric, Merek flew up after him, only to find himself being drawn up the beam as well. As the pair drifted up, the majority of the party turned around to dash up the stairs in hopes of catching them, while Saurok took a sip of the water, and began swimming up the shaft after them.

While Saurok, Merek, and Fritz slowly ascended the shaft, the rest of the party began to practice their speed dungeoneering skills, quickly navigating each floor as they tried to reach the top of the light shaft. Meanwhile, the other three found themselves spat out onto the floor in front of a room full of drow. Understandably confused as the goblin, lizardfolk, and drow-disguised human being dropped into their midst, they did not attack immediately, instead drawing their weapons and shouting in drow. The three managed to stall long enough for the rest of the party to catch the drow from behind.

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The battle that followed was furious but brief, luckily leaving the party with no casualties. A quick search of the bodies found a key, which Edluar used to quickly open the door opposite from the one they had entered. As he started to slide the doors open, they were greeted by the grinning maw of a draegloth. Quickly pouring into the room, Sofiel shouted for them to kill it quickly. However, the party were not quite fast enough, as the beast began to shoot a bolt of lighting into the party and started to flicker in and out of existence.

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Though the party struggled to hit the now incorporeal creature, they eventually wore it down, shielding themselves from the shower of vermin from it’s death throes. Finding a small cache of more magical equipment in the room, the party quickly sorted them out, and steeled themselves for the battles further up the tower.

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

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Saurok

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Events of July 5

Slipping silently through the halls of the fortress, the party paused before a door, on the other side of which they heard the sound of some creature gleefully eating. Peeking through the door, Merek spotted an abyssal ghoul, feeding on a fresh victim. Glad to have the drop on the enemy for a change, he threw open the door for his comrades to charge through. Though Merek himself was bitten by the beast, the party was able to slay it with minimal loss.

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Now able to inspect the room in full, the party found that the room lead back to the Hezrou demon’s magic circle. By this point, the circle had expanded to fill the entire room. Resigning themselves to the need to take on the demon directly, Damhsa, Merek and Khaled stepped into the room. The hulking beast was surprisingly polite to the party, but stated that it was bound to fight them by the lich.

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As the three in the room spoke with the Hezrou, Sofiel stepped in, and began to circle the demon. With a flick of its wrist, it slammed the door in Edelmont’s face, and the fight began. While Sofiel wailed on the beast from behind, Kiwi and Damhsa closed from the front. However the beast’s unnatural hide was turning the majority of the party’s weapons away. To make matters worse, it’s stench drove Kiwi running back towards the comparatively fragrant aroma of the rotting corpses in the abyssal ghoul’s room.

Just as the little paladin had regained her composure and was returning to the fight, the Hezrou filled the room with a strange miasma, leaving Khaled and Kiwi paralyzed. Tired of the demon’s shenanigans, Sofiel leapt atop it, wrestling it to the ground and pinning the creature. While the majority of the party focused their attacks on the demon, Edelmont, in a wondrous display of elven grace, sent a stray arrow into Sofiel.

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Soon thereafter, the demon was slain, and Sofiel leapt from it’s body, sweeping Edelmont up by the throat, in hopes of impressing upon him the dangers of friendly fire. Well, the dangers to him, at least. With her point made, the party heard a large explosion from beyond the double doors on their level. Reasoning that it was likely the fire giants making their entrance, they slipped up the stairs.

Atop the stairs, the party was faced once more with three doors, behind two of which the party heard the sounds of battle. Wanting to avoid a fight if the could, the party attempted to open the door behind which they only heard talking, but the huge stone doors refused to budge. At Dhamsa’s suggestion, Merek quaffed a potion of invisibility, and slipped out one of the side doors.

Seeing that the doors lead to the battlements, on which the drow were focused on defending the citadel from Kurgoth’s forces. Also spotting a stairway further up the citadel, he slipped back and quickly appraised the party of the situation. They decided to take their chances slipping past the drow, and for once managed something resembling stealth. Slipping into the doorway atop the tower, the party found themselves in an empty antechamber.

Merek cracked the door before them open, only to be raked by a huge claw shoving it’s way through the door. Throwing the door open as he leapt back, the party was greeted by a vrock snarling in the hallway. Damhsa and Sofiel deftly tumbled past the beast, while Kiwi charged forward, holy fury blazing in her eyes.

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After releasing a cloud of burrowing spores into the group’s melee fighters, the Vrock teleported into the antechamber where the rest of the party had been pouring in firing support. As the party scrambled to surround the beast once more a pair of masked cultists stepped out into the hallway the vrock had vacated. Kiwi, rolling her eyes with disdain, reached behind her to close the door as she jabbed Sune’s Judgement into the vrock. The battle continued to rage for a while longer before the Vrock was finally slain, sending a flurry of vermin across the room as it shuddered in it’s death throes.
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After taking a moment to heal up and neutralize the vrock’s spores, the party threw open the door to the hallway once more. To their surprise, they found it empty. Suspicious as always, the party set about checking the hallway for traps. Khaled announced to the party that the side doors and the entire floor of the hallway had been lined with evocation traps. As the party stood about trying to figure out how to string a rope bridge across the room, Merek conjured two fire elementals and sent them charging down the hallway.

Crackling in fury as acid exploded around them, the elementals were able to clear the floor of the hallway. Dismissing them with a triumphant smirk, Merek waved the rest of the party across to the stone bridge which lead to the largest tower of the citadel. Eying it carefully for traps as they crossed, the party was able to make it into the next room no further incident.

However, the room itself was quite interesting, radiating with enchantment magic and evil. As the party eyed the room suspiciously trying to find the source of the auras, Sofiel snarled at the unseen entity to reveal themselves. With an exasperated sigh, Molaan stepped forward from the shadows. As Kiwi and Sofiel glared at the harvester devil with contempt, the party set about trying to decide which doorway to take next.

Molaan, smooth as ever, praised the party’s valor and resourcefulness at having come so far, but warned them that they were simply delaying the inevitable. Though his Master was not involved directly in the plot to return Miska to the Queen of Chaos, or so he claimed, he did wish it to happen. The Outer Planes had become too stable, opportunities for gain were too few and far between. The devil and his Master hoped that Miska’s return would help to shake things up a bit.

With this, he smiled slightly and offered the party his aid in ensuring the safety of those closest to them. After all, it was inevitable that the wars of the Outer Planes would spill into the Prime Material plane eventually. While the rest of the party continued investigating the room, Merek turned to Molaan, goading the devil to explain how he could be trusted, if only to allow his comrades a bit of peace in resolving their next step.

To his credit, Molaan made a compelling case of how the fall of Epirus was, in fact, fulfilling what Aldwin Falk had asked for. Further more, he reminded the party of the sheer folly of their mission, to capture a being which had a kept a lich at her command. Turning directly back to Merek once more, he reminded him that his Master was as a father to Merek, and that that bond did tie him to them.

And so, with Molaan prattling on over the party’s dismissals, they returned to deciding their path forward once more.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Caitlyn, Edelmont, Kiwi
XP Award (APL 6): 900

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Merek

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Events of June 14

Curiosity overriding self preservation, Edluar slipped back down the hallway through which the drow wizard had attempted to escape. Deftly picking the lock, he found himself staring down a barracks full of drow soldiers. Shouting at the others to “Watch the door!” he placed a silence spell over the hallway to the rest of the complex and charged in. While the rest of the party charged after Edluar, Caitlyn stood staring at the far door, rapier at the ready.

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Quickly finding themselves outnumbered once more, Edluar released a thick mist into the room. Hampering the ability of both sides to coordinate, the melee descended into maelstrom of whirling dervishes, drowsy drow, cones of fire, and one very pissed off halfing paladin. When the mist finally cleared, the floor was littered with the bodies of drow. Though they were glad not to see one of their own lying on the ground, they did find a surface elf, bound in the corner.

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After a brief interrogation, the party learned that his name was Edelmont and that he had been down in the Underdark attempting to free slaves and lead them to the surface. Content he was not an enemy, the party found his gear and returned it to him, and retreated back to the Hidden’s hidden tunnel. Not long after re-entering the tunnel and taking a much needed rest, the party was discovered once more by Wisp, who chattered away about how she had been trying to find the party.

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Following Wisp back to the drow school, they were lead into a large conference room. Much to their surprise, they found the Great Khan seated at the head of a table, keeping watchful eyes on the other occupants, including Bee’org, Hamadh, Sofiel, and a vampire. Merek, Edluar, and Vasalkar each took seats at the table while the rest of the party fanned out around it, making no secret of their distrust of Bee’org.

Once everyone was settled, Hamadh spoke up, introducing the vampire as Wyruth before yielding the floor to him. The pale being stood slowly and began by recounting the tale of the Queen of Chaos’ rise and fall from power. After quelling several interruptions from Edluar, he told the party of his former master, Wragmag, the lich, who was working to try to return the Queen of Chaos’s oberyth general, Miska, from his prison in Pandemioum with the help of the artifact which the party had been seeking. Further more, he informed the party that Wragmag and acquired the third piece by reading the diary.

He explained that while the artifact would be unable to return Bee’org to the Nine Hells as he had hoped, it would be able to make Miska a resident of the prime material plane, and bring him there. Once that had been completed, Wragmag planned to use the power of other artifacts in order to make Miska a resident of the Abyss once more. This was where Kurgoth Hellspawn came in. The half balor was in Maerimydra intent on acquiring the crucible from Irae T’sarran.

Knowing that the fire giants were set to assault Irae’s fortress, Vorn Chûmavh had pulled all her forces back, forbidding them to enter the citadel without her express order. Upon hearing this, the party resolved to enter the citadel during the assault in hopes of capturing the crucible before Kurgoth’s forces. With this decision made, the party set about seeing what assistance they could gain. Wyruth declined to assist, stating that he needed to go north to investigate a black pearl which seemed to be held by some mad elven wizard who betrayed his friends.

Edluar turned to the Great Khan, who informed him that he was only there to keep the meeting peaceful. Given Sofiel and Bee’org’s animosity, this was certainly a necessary precaution. Though Edluar launched into a long-winded speech about the necessity of cooperation and the sacrifices of their past companions (whose names he usually forgot), the rest of the party found it all to obvious that Bee’org and Sofiel would not work together. Though Bee’org initially offered to assist the party, they doubted his sincerity, and turned back to Sofiel. After a bit of convincing, they eventually convinced her of the importance of their task. Finally, they turned to the Hidden, who regretfully advised they would not be able to assist in the raid directly, but would offer information and an entrance as they had promised.

With this, the party set off, following Wisp once more through the tunnels to a sewer entrance above the Lake of Blood. While traveling, Wisp gave them a vague rundown of the castle’s layout, and advised them to avoid Laerekh, the T’sarran court mage. The drow wizard had been rumored to be in the process of turning himself into a “Green Lich,” which she warned would easily overpower the party.

Thanking her for her information, the party bid Wisp farewell and ascended into the castle. Surprisingly, the party found their entrance deserted, and began to explore the surrounding rooms. In the first room the entered, they saw a demon contained by some sort of magic circle that began moving towards them once they had entered the room. Though Edluar’s reckless nature and Vasalkar’s thirst for glory urged them to slay the beast, Merek and Damhsa, knowing they would not have another chance to rest, eventually convinced them to fall back and explore for other paths first. With this, the party began skirting through side rooms in search of another way further up into citadel.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Edluar the Seeker, Vasalkar, Caitlyn, Edolmont Selonas
XP Award (APL 6): 900

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Edluar

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Events of June 7
Who Wants to Live Forever?

Upon returning to the inn, the party found that Vorn Chumov was nowhere to be seen. After exchanging a few pleasantries with Hamadh, who introduced the party to a goblin cleric, the party settled in to tend to their wounds. However, as the third watch rolled around, the party spotted two large groups of troops marching towards the inn. Not wanting to be caught in the middle of a pitched battle, Edluar picked the lock to the Hidden’s tunnels and disarmed their traps, leading the party down below.

Finding the Hidden conspicuously absent, the party lugged their dead with them as they wound their way through the tunnels, watching as Avvar managed to repeatedly gas himself in an attempt to disarm the traps on the exits, feeding suspicions that the ragged dwarf was enjoying the poison gas a bit too much.

After having mapped out all the other tunnels, the party found themselves in a smoke filled basement. Though Merek was convinced he was about to be balls deep in another smoke elemental, Edluar slipped up into the room and cleared the smoke with a flick of his wrist. A cursory search of the room showed that it seemed to be a stock room for the Hidden. Glancing up at door to the floor above, the party began to hear voices shouting in the drow language.

A smirk crossing his face, Edluar slipped into invisibility and stepped out into the hallway. To his surprise, he found himself in a Drow school. After spending several long moments trying to line up all the children in a whelming blast to knock them out, he consigned himself to the fact such a feat was impossible.

Stepping back into the door, he whispered to the rest of the party to rush out should they hear any commotion. With this, he slipped up beside the drow teacher, whispering that the Hidden send their regards. Jerking upright in suspicion, she urged the children to retire to their studies and promptly pulled out a pair of swords once they had filed into their rooms.

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As she shouted for Edluar to reveal himself, the rest of the party charged into the room. Seeing the drow fade from sight, the party scrambled to cover the doors. After several minutes of a stand off, the teacher told the party which door lead to the exit. As they promptly filed out, the party left a sizable donation to the school and Damhsa apologized to the drow, who reappeared to as they exited to glower disapprovingly at the party.

Finding themselves on a plateau high over the city, the party resolved to make their way back to the inn, stopping by the temple of Lolth. Finding nothing at the temple, they finally reentered the tunnels. They decided that the hub room of the tunnels was a relatively safe place to leave their dead, however, concerned with the possibility of their former allies turning to undead, the party followed Edluar’s suggestion and drove a piton into the base of their skulls.

With this, the party slipped down a tunnel filled with purple miasma, reasoning that it was likely to lead into the Kiaransalee citadel. After a bit of a trek, the party found itself in a dungeon which seemed to be used as a storeroom. Slipping by the crate-filled cells, the party ascended a flight of stairs, finding themselves in the citadel proper. Moving to the next door, Edluar flung it open, revealing a room filled with drow and their undead soldiers. With the drow sounding an alert, the party rushed forward to battle.

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Brash as always, Edluar rushed forward ahead of the rest of the party, throwing giant ball of glitter on the undead. This seemed to annoy them greatly, as the promptly surrounded Edluar and did their best to beat him senseless. Though their efforts did eventually succeed, Edluar was able to fill the center of the room with illusionary sentinels, making it difficult for the drow forces to reach the rest of the party.

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Meanwhile, one of the drow soldiers had brought back a troop of archers to support their defense against the party. Under a hail of arrow and magical fire, the party struggled to push back the undead and drow soldiers far enough to gain a foothold in the main room. As Avvar skirted around to flank one of the drow soldiers, he moved just a bit too slowly and was skewered by a well-placed spear, dead before he fell into the purple miasma covering the floor.

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Seeing yet another of their number fall, the party surged forward against their attackers. Merek flew over to Edluar’s side in hopes of staunching the wounds he had sustained in his initial charge, but was knocked out by a hail of arrows. Soon after, Khaled, Dage, and Fritz rushed over, bringing both Edluar and Merek to consciousness.

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Khaled, intent on preventing the drow archers from firing with impunity anymore rushed forward, coating them in dragon fire while Edluar charged the drow wizard, giving Damhsa, Caitlyn, and Vasalkar the room they needed to break the undead and drow’s line. As they mopped up the survivors of the drow force’s front line, Dage plowed his mace into Avvar’s face, intent on stopping his fellow dwarf from rising against them.

Seeing the battle turn, the drow wizard attempted to flee, but Merek and Edluar gave chase. In a last ditch effort, the wizard loosed a lightning bolt, rendering Merek unconscious once more and killing two of his own archers. The gesture was in vain however, as Edluar pummeled the wizard into submission before he was able to flee.

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Exhausted and wounded, the party circled around to briefly mourn their scroungy dwarven ally, before setting about looting the bodies for anything which would assist them in surviving their assault on the drow bastion.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Fritz, Edluar, Vasalkar, Avvar, Saurok, Caitlyn
XP Award (APL 6): 900

Roleplaying XP Bonus: ???

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Events of May 24
All Dead, All Dead

Having finished dividing up the loot from their ambush within the arena, they party gathered around their prisoner. Damhsa tied up the massive being before the party revived him, but with a great roar, the giant broke his bonds. However, as the fire giant fought his way to his feet, he was pummeled unconscious once more.

Taking a moment to re-evaluate their options, the party noticed an amulet around the giant’s neck. The party’s clerics identified it as the emblem of Mishka the Wolf-Spider, one of the first Tanari to rise to power in the Abyss. Wanting to garner as much information as they could from the giant, they turned to Edluar before awakening the giant once again. As it rose, Edluar put an enchantment on the giant, making him think the party members were friendly reinforcements.

Though they were able to gather no further information the identity of Kurgoth’s master, they did learn that the bulk of Kurgoth’s forces were in the southern portion of the city, intent on wiping out the last of the Loth supporters in order to turn the full strength of their might to the Kiaransalee worshipers’ citadel.

Knocking the giant unconscious once more, the party was in the process of working out a plan to light Kurgoth’s signal fires in the arena to call him back from his offensive prematurely when Wisp, the young and overly-energetic member of the Hidden., bolted into the arena. Gibbering at break-neck speed, she told the party that Vorn Chumov had been taken by the Kiaransalee worshipers, and that their assistance was needed to rescue her.

Seeing their best shot at peace within Maerimyrdra was now in danger of being lost, the party took off after her. She explained there were tunnels nearby on the the plateau were the party had previously camped. After scaling the wall to Wisp’s incessant chirping to hurry, the party began to traverse the fungus fields around the lake of blood. However, Damhsa called the party to a halt as she noticed an undead creature shuffling up ahead.

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As it slipped back behind the vegetation, a voice called out, “Take the drow alive, kill the rest.” With this, Wisp disappeared off into the fields and the party was ambushed by several Abyssal Ghouls. Fighting off the creatures on three fronts, the party seemed to hold their ground initially, but within moments, Myrtle was felled as a pair of the abyssal ghouls flanked her. Enraged at the death of the little cleric, the party surged forward. The battle finally began to turn when Wisp reappeared with Chiirikk, the Hidden’s sorcerer in tow.

Finding themselves to now be the ones outflanked, the ghouls attempted to retreat, but were cut down with impunity by the party and the Hidden. Taking the time to gather up their fallen cleric, the party was reminded that they did not have time to mourn by the ever chipper Wisp. The party followed Chiirikk and Wisp back to the Hidden’s tunnel system, and through it to the inn where they had first met.

Before Hamadh had a chance to brief the party on the situation at hand, Chiirikk offered to prepare a spell with which he could prevent Myrtle from rising as an undead, which the party gratefully accepted. With this Hamadh quickly informed the party that Vorn was being held nearby at the shattered tower, guarded by a pair of silverwraiths. He explained that these wraiths had been spellcasters in life, and likely still retained their spellcasting abilities. He told they party he wanted them to go and rescue Vorn while the Hidden went off to intercept the Kiaransalee worshipers’ reinforcements. Not wanting Myrtle’s death to be in vain, the party agreed and went to the tower immediately.

As they approached the shattered glass tower, they party skirted about the outside of the crater which had seemingly caused it to collapse. About halfway around the crater, the first of the silverwraiths appeared. While most of the party stood their ground to occupy the silver wraith, Damhsa, Edluar, and Khaled ran forward to investigate the tower itself. As they approached, the party saw that the contents of the tower were shrouded by magical mist of some sort. Damhsa however, spotted some sort of eddy swirling in the mist. Reasoning that it may be the source of the mist, Damhsa began firing into it as she approached.

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Meanwhile, the rest of the found themselves blasted by a fireball from the second silverwraith. While this second wraith occupied the rest of the party, the first flew up to engage Merek in an aerial dog fight. Damhsa, Khaled, and Edluar had now entered the tower, and saw a figure floating in the air between the large cubes. As Khaled readied himself beneath the figure to help Damhsa jump up to her, he found himself pulled up next to the figure.

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Now close enough to identify the figure, he shouted down to Damsha and Edluar that it was Vorn Chumov, and to stop shooting at her. With this, Edluar and Damhsa turned their attention to the cubes which encircled Vorn and Khaled. Back outside, the battle was not going well. Merek had been able to occupy the first silverwraith for a time, but found himself paralyzed and heavily wounded, forcing him to retreat. Those fighting the other silverwraith, were struggling to even hit the incorporeal creature.

Their troubles were entirely one-sided, however. After several exchanges, the wraith finally managed to strike a critical blow, causing Slade’s body to drop lifelessly to the ground. The rest of the party was now critically wounded as well, but finally managed to kill one of the silverwraiths. Within moments, Edluar also dispelled the enchantment on the cubes within the tower, causing Khaled and the unconscious Vorn to drop to the ground. As Khaled tore Dhamsa’s arrow from the Drow priestess’s leg, Damhsa poured a potion down her throat.

Back outside, seeing that it’s mission had failed, the other silverwraith fled in the direction of the citadel. Now awake, Vorn stood up, and began to silently walk, with a very pronounced limp, back towards the Hidden’s inn. Though at great cost, the party had managed to save their best hope for peace in Maerimyrdra. With this victory fresh in their minds, they gathered up the dead and began to follow Vorn back to the Hidden’s lair.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Slade, Edluar, Vasalkar, Avvar, Saurok
XP Award (APL 6): 900

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Edluar

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Events of May 17
Staying Power

Not long after their ambush, the party was within sight of the arena. As the majority of the party stared curiously at the heads of fire giants bobbing over the arena’s upper lip, Damhsa spotted a figure darting toward the arena. Slipping from the rest of the party, she sidled up behind the figure, who promptly spun about to face her. Before her stood the filthiest dwarf she had ever seen, both weapons drawn and loudly announcing that he was armed, to which Damhsa responded in kind.

After watching the exchange in bemusement for a few moments the rest of the party approached. Though the dwarf had no idea how he had gotten there, they did learn that his name was Avvar Stonehewer and that he was a “preemptive salvager” by trade. As their destination seemed to be the same, and Avvar had a much greater local knowledge, the party offered to allow him to join, to which Avvar agreed after Damhsa gifted the unkempt dwarf a comb for his beard.

With this, the party slipped up to the arena proper itself. Spotting that the main doors were each guarded by a pair of fire giants, Merek slipped up to one of the upper windows. Within he saw a host of ogres, giants, and other such creatures cheering as a fire giant upon a fiendish mammoth ran down a band of raggedly armed drow prisoners. Overlooking the whole spectacle, Kurgoth sat upon a dais in the middle of the arena. His balor heritage obvious upon looking at him, Merek returned to the party to inform them of what he had seen.

Deciding that taking on a half-balor and several dozen fire giants would accomplish little more than their own deaths, the party decided to stake out the arena while they got some rest. Avvar told them of a plateau nearby from which they would be able to easily overlook the arena and the party set off. As they slipped through the alleys of the burnt out city, dashing from cover to cover to avoid the gaze of the fire giant sentries, a troop of undead arose from the purple miasma which spewed forth from the fortress.

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Not wanting to alert the fire giants to their location, Edular dashed out into the street which divided the party, covering their movements with an invisibility sphere. As the rest of the party rejoined the vanguard, the undead were slowly pushed back, with little harm done to the party itself. However, the ruckus in the street did seem to have raised the sentry’s suspicions, as the party noticed they were missing from the upper ring of the arena.

Slipping quickly from the last city block, the party quickly scaled the cliff, and found themselves in a set of fungus fields encircling a subterranean lake. Setting up camp, the party took watches, which passed uneventfully until the final watch when Khaled noticed the noise from the arena had died down sometime during the night without the party noticing, and the giant bivouacs were now much emptier. Their plan to track Kurgoth’s movements now foiled, the party resolved to return to the now quiet arena.

Approaching quietly, the party slipped up through a second floor window, gathering underneath the seats. As Avvar slipped up into Kurgoth’s box to the survey the arena, he quickly spotted a small contingent had been left behind of a few ogres, the fiendish mammoth, and its rider. He also quickly spotted several chests the group seemed to be watching. After reporting back to the rest of the party, they quickly decided to attack the giant and ogres, while attempting to take the giant alive for questioning.

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Taking their positions throughout the arena, the party surged forth into the stadium. As Edluar put a pair of the ogres into a deep slumber, Merek summoned elementals to aid the fight, Avvar and Damhsa deftly leapt over the railings to the arena floor below, and were followed by a much less graceful Slade and Vasalkar crashing down to the ground.

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Seeing his ogre lackeys fall and become swarmed by the party’s front line, the fire giant swiftly mounted his mammoth, only to be surrounded by water elementals and wreathed in lightening breath from Khaled. This distraction delayed him long enough for the party to fell the last standing ogre, and move in to meet the mammoth and its rider head on.

After a long exchange of blows, the fire giant rider fell to the ground, leaving just the fiendish mammoth to fight the beleaguered party. Vasalkar, eager as ever for glory, stared down the mammoth. As it beat him within an inch of his life, he continued to taunt and hold the beast’s attention while the rest of the party mercilessly battered it. As the mammoth neared death, it finally threw Vasalkar to the ground, leaving him mere seconds from death until Avvar dashed forward, dodging the mammoth’s tusks, and poured a potion down the glory-hungry crusader’s gullet. Moments later, the beast finally fell to Edluar’s thrust from behind.

Their enemy now vanquished, the party quickly checked to see if the fire giant was still alive. After ascertaining that he was still breathing, the party bound him before they delivered a coup de grace to the sleeping ogres. Clearing the chests the giant had been guarding of any traps and unlocking them, the party quickly divided up the horde of gold and magical items which they found, turning their attention back to their captured fire giant, and best lead to finding Kurgoth’s allegiance.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Slade, Edluar the Seeker, Vasalkar, Avvar,
XP Award (APL 6): 900

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Avvar

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Events of April 26
Fight from the Inside

With the full party gathered within the inn, Hamad, the leader of the Hidden, quickly briefed them on the major players in the city. First off, there was Trae Tsurren, the Matriarch of the Kyransali worshipers, whom both the Hidden and the Seekers agreed needed to be removed from power. Next, was Vorn Chumov, the newly minted Lolth matriarch, whom the Hidden wished to see reinstated to power. Finally was Kurgoth, the fire giant who had taken advantage of the drow coup to move into the city for himself.

Though initially insisting they they only cared about removing the Kyransali worshipers’ powers within the city, the party reluctantly agreed to meet with Chumov to see about removing Kurgoth from the city. Settling in for a few hours of rest as the Hidden left to do some scouting, the party were once again denied an uneventful night. As Damhsa stood watch, Merek rose in his sleep, shambling towards the door in a trance. Only after waking the rest of the party and several spells cast from Myrtle was the trance broken.

More than a bit shaken, Merek told the party he had been beckoned by a drow lady draped in a spider silk robe and surrounded by purple miasma in his dream. With the threat seemingly past, the remainder of their rest passed uneventfully. As they were packing up to head out, the goblin from the Hidden dashed into the inn. She quickly told the party that the Hidden had located Kurgoth in the arena, and that he was half-fiend. Telling them Hamad wished them to take this information to Chumov, the goblin handed them a grubby symbol of Lolth and rushed back off to rejoin her companions.

Seeing they would get no help assaulting the Kyransali stronghold otherwise, the party set off towards the sacked Lolth temple. As they snaked through the alleyways, they saw a trio of flying figures swoop up from the arena at the far side city. The largest, a dragon-like creature, began to spew fire up and down the main thoroughfare, while the other two swooped over and began to scan the city. As the two fiendish creatures swooped in closer, the party scrambled for cover in the nearby buildings, but Vasalkar stumbled in the middle of the street. However, Edluar quickly tossed an illusion over him that thankfully hid the party from the fiendish fliers.

Continuing under the cover of Edluar’s illusion, the party reached the foot of the cliff on which the temple of Lolth sat. A quick search located a secret door hidden within the cliffside. Determining that the door was trapped, Edluar tried in vain to disarm it. However, Merek and Khaled surmised that the trap on the door was an evocation spell. Hoping it was a fire trap, Merek had Myrtle cast some protections on him and quickly opened the door as he was wreathed in spellfire. Luckily, his reflexes and Myrtle’s spell prevented him from taking any damage.

As the door swung open, smoke spewed out of the doorway. Urging the rest of the party to wait outside, Merek hovered along the ground under the smoke. After a cursory search of the room, he was able to spot a smoke elemental sitting in the cellar, blocking their path. Once back out side, Merek told the party what he had seen, and volunteered to lead the elemental out to them. As the rest of the party crowded around the door, Merek slipped back into the smoke.

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Hovering next to the elemental, Merek attempted to parley with it, and discovered that the elemental was indeed feeling very friendly, as it forced itself down Merek’s throat. Through a well trained gag reflex, Merek was able to expel the elemental from his body and rush out to the rest of the party, the elemental hot on his heels. The party quickly swarmed the elemental as it went about deepthroating the rest of the party. Though some of the party were a bit hoarse, the elemental fell with no casualties amongst the party.

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With the cellar now cleared of the elemental, the party set about moving up the tower, and though the signs of battle were evident therein, they were able to make it the top of the cliff without further event. As they left the tower through which the secret door had lead them, over the main thoroughfare, they saw the dragon-like creature making yet another strafing run, until a huge figure leapt up from a bonfire on the street, grappling the fiendish dragon to the ground.

As they hiked the rest of the way to the temple, the party peeked down at the main street were the fiendish dragon had been pulled down, only to see it’s desiccated corpse in the street. Slightly surprised to see the creature dead, the party turned about and walked into the temple of Lolth. As they spread out looking for Vorn Chumov, the party began to see a swarm of spiders pouring from the mouth of a dead fire giant.

After a few moments and several unsettled groans from the party, the spiders coalesced into a beautiful drow woman. Quickly spying the symbol of Lolth that Damhsa had been given by the goblin, the women identified herself as Vorn. After filling her in with the Hidden’s discovery of Kurgoth’s heritage, Vorn confirmed she had expected as much. Giving the matter a few moments thought, Vorn offered her assistance in entering the Kyransali fortress should the party find out which fiend had sired Kurgoth.

Vorn told the party they would not find her again at this temple, but that she would send her help once they held up their side of the bargain. Their business concluded, the party took off to the other side of the cliff. Quickly slipping down the side to the streets below, the party set about slipping through the side streets on their way to the arena.

Moving with unusual stealth for them, the party managed to avoid the fighting within the city proper. However, as they began to pass a main street, they saw a group of ogres heading to the giant camp with a large sack. Curiosity and greed being what they are, the party promptly ambushed the ogre patrol. Not even knowing what hit him, the lead ogre fell to the party’s ambush, dropping the sack he had been carrying. Quickly forming battle lines, the party tore into the ogres.

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As the battle wore on, Kiwi fell, alive but exhausted, as she delivered the killing blow to the ogre captain, and the rest of the party was able to finish off the remaining ogres who were now caught in a flank from Merek’s elementals. Once again having taken on their enemy with no casualties, the party healed their wounds and tore into the ogres’ loot sack.

Spoils now collected, the party began slipping through the side alleys once more, slowly approaching Kurgoth’s arena.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot, Slade, Edluar the Seeker, Vasalkar
XP Award (APL 6): 900

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Damhsa

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Events of April 5
Somebody to Love

Having recouped their strength from their last battle against the outsiders, the party set off once more up the Wailing Cliffs. However, the party was unable to move in on the next cave as silently as the last, and the inhabitants were waiting for them. As Damhsa, Slade, and Vasalkar charged into the cave, they were met by a half-dragon, growling menacingly. Waiting long enough for the bulk of the party to charge in, the half-dragon exhaled a cone of negative energy, sapping the majority of the party of their strength as Damhsa shouted, “We should have gone with the giants!”

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Fighting against their drained energy, the party slowly beat back the half-dragon and its krylanen allies. The fight was not without losses, as Wu-zi fell to the half-dragon’s blade. After burning his corpse, they party set about investigating the cave. As they set about their customary looting spree, they made a disturbing discovery. Hidden in the back of the cave lay a shadow dragon’s egg. Wisely deciding to leave it be, the party set about beginning to rest while Merek flew up to investigate the cave in which they assumed the dragon rested.

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Upon studying the roiling clouds of darkness spewing forth from the cave, Khaled was able to determine that the dragon was indeed awake. With the majority of the party still suffering the effects of the half-dragon’s negative energy blast, they decided to bed down in the cave for the night. However, their rest proved short lived when halfway through the night an old beggar wondered into the cave. After Damhsa, Merek, and Vasalkar had tried to one-up each other giving money to the beggar, the party began talking to him.

It turned out that he old man served the dragon, whom he referred to as Glourath, and that he had come here to see the dragon’s daughter. Though Merek attempted to convince the man that the dragon’s daughter had left in a fit of adolescent rebellion, the old man was not convinced, and the rest of the party finally spilled the beans, revealing that they had killed her. The shaken old man then began to totter out of the cave, heading up to the shadow dragon’s cave.

The party, lacking the stomach to kill a defenseless old man, reluctantly followed him up to the dragon’s lair. As the old man stepped into the mist, a feminine voice came from the tumultuous cloud of darkness, condemning the party for slaying her daughter and demanding retribution. In a mad scramble to appease the being, the party parted with several objects d’art they had collected as well as the gremlin bag they had recently acquired.

Somewhat mollified, Glourath stepped out of darkness in the form of a beautiful woman, demanding one last bit of restitution. Sidling beside Khaled, she demanded that he conceive in her another daughter. Khaled nervously stated that he was uninterested in women, and refused her advances. Though Merek gleefully offered himself as a replacement, he was brusquely rebuffed. Sensing the draconic power within Khaled, she cast a charm on him, dulling Khaled’s resistance. With this, she lead him back into the cave and made sure the Wailing Cliffs were filled with yet another set of screams.

Now thoroughly violated, Khaled stumbled back to the party, who quickly exited the Glourath’s territory, all the while doing their best to ignore Damhsa’s “I told you so” and Vasalkar’s exhalations of the glorious battles they had on the cliffs. As they slipped through the tunnels, following an underground stream, the party found themselves next to a statue which Khaled advised seemed to have been created by a flesh-to-stone spell.

Just past the statue, the party found a fetid pool, surrounded by dense vegetation. Surmising there to be a beholder or medusa in the party, the party planned to bypass the pool, but as they moved to slip by, the party noticed movement at the far side of the pool. Their curiosity overriding their good sense, they moved to take a look, with Merek hovering over the pool as a pair of drow popped up to shoot at him. Barely managing to withstand the poisoned arrow bolts, Merek flew back to the party, alerting them to the drows’ presence.

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As the rest of the party rushed forward once more into “glorious” battle, a beholder slipped down from the ceiling, firing it’s eye rays at the party, most of whom manage to resist their effects. Demanding to know why they were there, the party told him of their quest. Though the beholder seemed displeased to have the party in his territory, he quickly recognized Khaled as “the dragon’s consort.” Grimacing at the memory, Khaled sullenly stood at the back of the party as they finished speaking with the beholder and went on their way.

It wasn’t long before the party found themselves at the gates of Maerimydra. However, they were not unguarded. Through the smoke billowing into the hallway, the party spotted a fire giant, standing at the gates. Motioning her forward, the party urged Damhsa to show them her skill in dealing with giants, that supposedly would have made the other path so much easier.

Shooting them a glare, she stepped forward and addressed the fire giant, who demanded they leave. After several minutes of parley, he offered the party two choices, ten thousand gold in payment for passage or to give him Damhsa as a slave. Seeing that the negotiations were going nowhere, Merek opened fire on the giant.

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The die now cast, the party rushed forward assaulting the giant while Merek and Khaled loosed lightning and eldritch power into it from afar. After several rounds of the melee fighters being tossed back across the hall, they finally wore the giant down and felled him. The way to Maerimydra now cleared, party stepped through into the drow city.

As the cavern opened up before them, the party could see the desolation the multiple sackings had wrought on the city. In the distance, they spotted the drow citadel and the invaders’ bivouacs. Deciding to make a beeline to the citadel to make their stay in the Underdark as brief as possible, the party decided to cut through the least damaged portion of the city.

Slipping through alleyways, the party noticed voices slipping from a half collapsed in ahead. Sending Damhsa ahead to scout, the party watched as she sidled up to the window. Overhearing the drow inside discussing how to deal with the invaders, Damhsa decided they could be possible allies. Letting herself be noticed she offered her assistance.

Wary of their unwelcome guest, they invited her into the inn and gave her a potion of truth to drink. Submitting herself to the effects, she confirmed that they were here to put the drow city back in order, as it had affected the surface world. Seemingly satisfied, the drow instructed Damhsa to bring her companions in. Identifying themselves as the Hidden, their mission was to restore stability to Maerimydra. Settling in with their prospective allies, the party prepared for their assault on the drow citadel.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot, Wu Zi, Slade, Vasalkar
XP Award (APL 6): 900

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Vasalkar

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Events of March 29
Stone Cold Crazy

Not long after leaving the stalagmite-strewn tunnel the chimera had inhabited, the party found themselves at yet another underground lake, staring at the desiccated corpse of an (arguably) less fortunate adventurer. Though initially intending to simply put their for-bearer to rest, Merek announced that the skeleton’s bag radiated magic.

As the party stood about arguing over who would have to open the bag, they were approached by another of the Droshugan soldiers who had braved the dangers of the Underdark to lend them aim. As Vaskalyn stepped into their discussion, the party quickly welcomed their new intern, and bade him to open the bag. Luckily, the bag had not been trapped. Unluckily, the bag seemed to have an occupant. Vaskalyn hopped backwards as a foul tempered gremlin gruffly growled at him to shut the flap.

Looking back at the party with confusion, Vaskalyn rejoined the party as Khaled stepped forward to identify the bag. After a few moments, he revealed it to be a gremlin bag , an entity far larger on the inside. However, in order to retrieve the items from the bag, the owner would have to convince the immortal creature inside to return them. Additionally, Khaled warned that if the owner of the bag were to die, all that was held within it would become the gremlin’s property

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After a bit of discussion, Damhsa eventually stepped forward to be the owner and opened the flap. The creature was adorned with crown and festooned with jewels as he glanced over at Damhsa, asking if she was his new servant. Quickly catching onto the situation, Damhsa humored the self-proclaimed “God-King” of the bag, giving it several pieces of their loot to hold onto.

With this, the party pressed onward, soon finding themselves at a fork in the road, at which several stone giants were working. Once more, Damhsa, who happened to speak Giant, came forward to parley. They learned that they were building a portcullis for a bugbear, and which of the two paths lead to the Drow city. Furthermore, the giant advised them to avoid the other path. Though it lead to the surface, it was where his employer was, and in a foul mood due to his wife visiting. Thanking him for his information and flattering the giants’ handwork, Damhsa lead the party onward.

As the path narrowed to a tunnel, the party found themselves outside an octagonal tower of Drow make. Taking this to possibly be their last opportunity to rest, the party steeled themselves. The next morning, upon entering the tower, they were assaulted by animated warriors of stone, which came at them from the bais relief carvings within the bottom layer of tower.

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One short scuffle and a very angry halfing paladin later, the sentinels were cut down. As the party set about searching the tower, they soon discovered that its former inhabitants, Lolth worshipers, had been mostly cut down, only finding two living beings within the tower. First was a blind scribe, locked in his room as he frantically copied books for his Master. Damhsa quickly gave the Drow some rations, despite Kiwi announcing that the scribe radiated evil. Upon discovering a sizable pile of coins in his chest, the party quibbled amongst themselves on what to do with the money, but eventually decided to leave the pitiful creature be.

Moving up to the top floor of the tower, the party found what appeared to be the former owner’s throne room. Given his obvious ill treatment of the scribe and assumed shuffling off of the mortal coil, the party had no scruples about looting his belongings. However, in one of the throne room’s side rooms, they made an interesting discovery – a hulking demon stood bound in a magic circle. Upon spotting the party, he grumbled about the wizard who summoned him having left him there, and asked that they break the circle.

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Though most of the party was hesitant to help the fiend, Vaskalyn stepped forward, breaking the circle with his heel. With a collective sigh of relief, the party watched as the demon’s body disintegrated, marking it’s return to the Abyss. Now content that they had seen all that was worth seeing in the tower, the party stepped over the remains of the tower’s guards and out into the bottom of a ravine in one of the Underdark’s vast caverns.

Assuming the Drow city to be ahead, the party marched on before coming to a dead end in the canyon, marked only by a rope, secured by a piton to the ground, and leading up to a hole in the ceiling above. Given that it was several hundred feet above them, Merek flew up to investigate it alone. Eventually mustering his courage, he peeked his head into the hole to find a half dragon, half Drow staring back at him.

Steeled for an attack, Merek was surprised to find the creature greeting him. Introducing himself, he told the half-dragon of their quest and his companions. Obviously a curious creature, the halfbreed slipped forward out of the hole, took wing, and circled his way down to the party. Merek followed close behind, landing next to the half-dragon. After a round of introductions, the party were able to learn, between his frequent questions, that the creature’s name was Sshu-Math Daerindra. He attempted several times to convince the party to forgo their trip to the Drow city, telling them that it was an awful place. Though Sshu-Math was guarded, the party was quickly able to tell that he wanted to leave the Underdark for the world above. After Sshu-Math had told them of the two paths ahead that lead to the city, they thanked him and offered to lead him out of the Underdark upon their return.

However, as they stood to begin scaling the cliff, Sshu-Math snapped his fingers, causing the dead end to dissapate, revealing yet more of the cavern head. Hesitantly, he agreed to at least guide them to their path. With the party having chosen the shorter path, known as the Wailing Cliffs, guarded by a series of outsiders, over the potentially dangerous giant’s village on a nearby lake, Sshu-Math warned them that they must be careful when clearing out the outsiders living there. Slumbering somewhere in the cliffs, he said guardedly, there was a great shadow dragon.

The rest of the journey passed with the party telling Sshu-Math more of the world above, with them finally parting ways outside the wailing cliffs. The party could feel in the air that the veil between the elemental plane of Shadow and the Prime Material plan was especially thin here. At the base of the cliff ahead, the party spotted a large chime which they quickly surmised may be used to summon the shadow dragon. Up the cliff, a winding path rose slowly past two tunnels until it finally culminated in a much larger tunnel which the party had been told would lead them to the Drow city.

Doing the best the could to stay silent, the party began ascending. As they neared the first tunnel, a dark figure waltzed out glancing over the cliffs. Thankfully, the party seemed to go unnoticed as the creature slipped back into its hole. Quickly deciding that the party’s armored division would be incapable of moving by silently, they decided to bum rush the tunnel.

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As the heavy hitters of the party charged in, they were met with the enfeebling talons of the krylanen, creatures of the shadow plane, and their leader Grindel. Though several of the party fell to rays of enfeeblement, the party was able to clear the cave without any casualties. With several hundred feet and another cave to clear, the party readied itself to finish scaling the Wailing Cliffs.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot, Wu Zi, Slade, Vaskalyn

XP Award (APL 6): 900

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Damhsa

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Events of March 15
We Will Rock You

As the village burned around them, the party spread out to search for survivors. Regrettably, none of the adult mycanids had survived. However they party was able to locate a pair of mycanid nurseries, filled to the brim with still-dormant mycanids. Thanks to Slade and Edluar’s knowledge of the Underdark, the party was able to determine that the fetal mycanids were still several weeks from being “born,” and resolved to tell the other settlement of mycanids they had encountered of them before their return to Droshugan.

Pressing on, the party came to the shores of a nearby lake, on which a wall of meshed stalagmite and stalagmites blocked their passage. Wary of a possible drow ambush, Merek flew up to the wall to peek around it, but was quickly caught in an ambush of another sort. With a forceful blast, Merek found himself enveloped in the milky white issue of an ethereal wraith spider.

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With this, the rest of the party rushed forward, where those who could fired upon it while the rest began to climb the wall. Kiwi, seeing the creature begin to climb up with Merek, lobbed a grappling hook around the creature and began to set about pulling it back down. With this distraction, Merek was able to wriggle free of his silken cocoon and quickly grounded himself as he unleashed a flurry of eldritch energy into creature. However, now depossessed of its prey, the creature turned to those who had climbed up the wall after it, heavily wounding Wu Zi and killing the yuan-ti priestess, Serea. Enraged at the death of their comrade, the party quickly finished the wraith spider off.

With the creature now dead, the party put Serea’s body to rest and decided to make camp to recover from the day’s battles. However, on second watch, Damhsa heard the approach of someone in the darkness. Nudging Merek awake, the two drifted forward. Damhsa called out the figure, demanding that he identify himself, however, the unknown figure quickly dashed behind a rock, earning the nomadic woman’s ire. As Damhsa loosed an arrow in the figure’s direction, a fiendish creature popped up above the rock, breathing a line of fire at the pair.

Now seeing the person’s face clearly, Merek called out for pair to stop firing at each other, having recognized the fiend as a friend he had met in Acanthus, Khaled Wyrmdoom. Thankfully, he was able to convince both sides to stand down and return to camp. After a quick introduction to the rest of the party, Khaled explained that he had been looking for Merek in hopes of redeeming his past sins.

The rest of the night passed uneventfully, leaving the party to begin their trek through the Underdark. It wasn’t long however, before the party began to hear the steady beat of the chimera’s wings circling them through the cavern. The party quickly circled out, quaffing potions, casting buffs, and summoning their creatures.

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After a few tense minutes of waiting, the chimera swooped in, blasting several of the party with a cone of minty-fresh ice breath. As the creature once more hovered just out of reach, Kiwi and Wu Zi attempted to repeat their grappling hook stunt, but the creature quickly snapped the rope. The creature continued to make passes at the party as they leapt into the air to attack it and unleashed their best ranged attacks into it, until at last Slade stepped forward, channeling a shocking grasp spell into his blade to finish the beast off.

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With the creature now dead, the party set about finding the creature’s horde, unwilling to leave without claiming their loot. After fanning out, it was Edluar who finally discovered the creature’s small horde. Riches and glory now in hand, the party prepared for their assault on the drow city itself.

Characters Present: Damhsa daughter of Scottia, Merek Falk, Edluar the Seeker, Kiwi Fuzzyfoot, Wu Zi, Slade

XP Award (APL 5): 790

Roleplaying XP Bonus: Kiwi

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