Adventure 42: Dilema of the Demon Prince
Adventure 42: Dilema of the Demon Prince: The session began as the players were recovering in Nenkal City. Kirian sharpened his blade. Verrof prayed at the Church of St. Cuthbert while thinking of selling his powerful mace of living rock. Jerry played with Tara and spoke with Karsyla about helping the party out. At first she seemed very hesitant, almost afraid of what was down in Rappan Athuk and very disturbed about her recent dreams. Suddenly, however, she agreed to help the party. Jestyn spoke with Agamemnon, managing to convince the wizard to help the party, though only in a time of dire need. Jestyn also discovered how to get to the lair of the lich Slavish, who supposedly had a way of slaying Orcus himself. As the rest of the group prepped for battle, Jestyn teleported to the great waterfall and found the secret door behind it that lead to Slavish’s lair. Inside, he spoke with the evil wizard, learning of a sword that could protect one from Orcus’ wand. Slavish would give this blade to the PCs if they agreed to slay Orcus and recover another legendary artifact: the Sword of Kas, bane of Vecna himself! First, however, they had the final temple to destroy. After much more preparation, the group was ready. However, they could not find Karsyla. Going to Agamemnon’s home, where the High Priestess had last been seen, they discovered the former vampire, dead on the ground, nothing else in the house. Suddenly, Agamemnon leapt up–not dead, but undead again! He briefly mentioned what had happened: that a horrible being, Demogorgon himself, had taken Karsyla away and turned him into a vampire once more. Agamemnon could barely stop himself from attacking the characters, and teleported away before he lost control. Now it was confirmed: it was indeed Demogorgon behind all this; it had been him in Jerry’s dreams, and plotting the various attacks on the city. Still, the temple of Orcus had to be stopped. Demogorgon could wait.
The characters prepared for nearly a day, putting spells into rings of storing, doing various buffs and contingencies, combining the powers of wizards and clerics to form a complete strategy. When it was all done, the following group assembled to strike at the cult’s heart: Jerry Springwater, Jestyn, Verrof, Kirian, Jeb Greenhammer, Akbeth, and Sartorious. They quickly teleported into the tiny false room that had been an ambush before. Immediately, dozens of shadows swarmed upon them, followed by wraiths, several clerics, two Mariliths, three Balors, a dozen lower priests, and Maphistal himself, the demonic master of the temple. The battle was truly epic. Surrounded by the undead, the party blew them away with Holy Words. The Mariliths’ chaos hammer spells devastated the party, eventually killing Jeb. Maphistal beat Jestyn nearly to death: the wizard was only saved by a healing contingency he had prepared, as was Akbeth. The demons did their work well, seriously wounding Kirian, nearly choking Verrof to death, and beating up Jerry too. All, however, were eventually Banished by well prepared spells, except for their leader, who resisted all such attempts. Kirian got it bad. He was blinded and driven insane, then in his madness wandered off for the entire battle. Yet the party was in for another surprise: the evil Telok, former PC attacked them again, this time an undead disciple of Orcus. Though his attacks were generally stupid and arrogant, he got his revenge. While Verrof was weakened on the ground, unconscious from a Marilith’s attack, Telok cast an earthquake. A piece of the ceiling collapsed on Verrof, killing him instantly. Soon after, Jerry killed the traitor, and with a well-placed Vorpal hit, sliced off Maphistal’s leg and head, destroying the evil being. The rest were soon killed too. As the PCs were looking around and trying to find a way to destroy the temple, Karsyla suddenly appeared from behind a pillar, the two girls with her. At first they suspected treachery, but as it turned out, it was far worse. Jerry saw it first; Carrie, Karsyla’s apprentice, suddenly became different: two heads, many tentacles; she became Demogorgon, Prince of Demons! The little girl who they had saved from Scramge was in fact a lord of evil! Demogorgon grabbed Karsyla and Tara in his tentacles. Speaking in his two voices, one arrogant, the other insane, he threatened to devour their souls if the PCs did not do what he asked. He wanted them to descend to the lowest level and slay Orcus’ avatar. In return, he would spare the woman and girl, and would perhaps reward them greatly. There was a long debate (lasting perhaps two hours in real time). Jestyn refused to work with Demogorgon, not wanting such a great evil to have more power. A now ghostly Verrof wanted to slay Orcus, but in the end he could not work with the evil demon lord. Kirian was too weakened and drained to really think. (his player had gone home early) Jerry was left with a dilema: he could see the two people he loved most die forever, or sacrifice his morality and possibly the fate of his world. In the end, he chose to reject Demogorgon’s bargain. Karsyla went first. The demon lord sucked the life from her, letting her body disintegrate completely as her soul was devoured. The little girl was next, barely knowing a good life before her very existence was erased. Demogorgon laughed, disappeared back to whatever hellish plane he made his home on while the characters swore revenge.
CONCLUSION: I think this campaign is done for now. The chapel of Orcus is finished, and the only threat in Rappan Athuk is the Master himself. The players do NOT want to fight him, and I won’t force it. They wish to wait until they have more power, or else they know that doom is inevitable. Still, Demogorgon remains, as do several loose story points. Some time in the future I’ll have to run an epic sequal to his game; perhaps featuring the final battle with Orcus himself, with plenty of new material. Right now, I’m going back to a home-brewed system and campaign I’ve been running. (A great game. My players have been writing campaign journals and you can check them out on a site we’ve got. I’ll post it after I get home from work.)