Telok: Elf cleric of Obad-hai (level 8) CG
Jimwise Welby: Halfling Paladin (Level 8) LG
Jerry Springwater: Human Fighter-Paladin (Level 8) LG
Jestyn: High Elf Wizard (Level 8) CN
Verrof: Earth Genasi Ranger (Level 5) LN
ADVENTURE 11: A Brothers Fate: After the gruesome graveyard rumble, the heroes returned to the temple with their High Priest. As they were going down the streets of the city, they met up with a very unusual character. Verrof was his name, a man with black eyes and stony gray skin, a powerfully built warrior who wielded two maces. Verrof had come to the capital for vengeance as well as aid. He hailed from the Isles of Norrek, not far from legendary Rappan Athuk. On the isolated isle of Faharan he had dwelt, a mysterious man raised by the druids there. His peaceful life changed when the dead animals of the isle began animating and attacking his friendsrising up by the hundreds, animated by a demonic cult of Orcus. Soon, even the trees arose as undead treants. His mentor, the druid Valrilon (A PC in my Rappan Athuk campaign) went to the fabled dungeon to solve this problem, but never returned. Verrof, his life in shambles, swore vengeance on the undead and the evil clerics who animated them, and finding that nobody in the primitive isles was bold enough to aid him, he traveled to Nenkal. As he arrived, he discovered that the priests of Orcus were active here as well. Not one for words, Verrof immediately explained his quest, and as the others were all brave warriors as well, with similar goals, he joined up with them, hoping to soon face these Orcusites.
Back at the temple, the PCs told Sartorious all that they had learned, even mentioning the mysterious shard. Afterwards, most of them went to sleep, while Telok looked unsuccessfully for Jestyn. The next day was spent shopping and resting. The warriors all made armor or shields from the electric-beasts scales, using money gained from selling their frog-bane trident. Telok too was busy, going to the sacred grove of Obad-hai, and meditating there to become a divine disciple of his god. It was a strange process, involving him sitting under a tree for a few hours. Occasionally, he could feel a tapping on his shoulder, but he continued and eventually was allowed to commune with the god, transcending to a higher state of consciousness.
The following morning, Jestyn met with his tutor, Jameson, who had discovered that the Shard was The Shard of Hell, a minor artifact of a nearly forgotten goddess of darkness and depression. It would supposedly grant the bearer some magic resistance, and give even greater powers to a worshipper of the goddess. Supposedly, it was only one of many shards, and if all of them were ever reunited, the evil goddess might once again arise to become a true power. Anyone who held the shard for too long would probably go insane. All the PCs then met, discussing what they wanted to do with it. Jestyn thought it might be good to sell the thing at a wizards auction, while the paladins advocated its destruction. As they were talking, Jestyn suddenly got a message in his mind. It was Balcoth, saying that he knew they had his shard, and that they should return at once. Telok, once he recalled the nature of the dark goddess, decided that it should not be sold either. All agreed that the evil Balcoth shouldnt get it. Thus they decided to bring it to the Temple of All Gods, giving it to the High Priestess Karsyla, who put it in a secret anti-magic chamber for safekeeping. That same day, Jerry went to the Filthy Harlot. He told Jacko about Xyuns death, and offered to fill Xyuns role as co-owner. The innkeeper took him up on his offer, giving Jerry the responsibility of promoting the new addition.
Another day passed, and the characters decided to continue their holy quest, Verrof now joining them. Back at the Valley of Shrines, they returned to the burial halls, Jeb finally disarming the rune-trap on the entry. They now decided to finally find Jebs brother, the warrior Dargeleth. Back on level 1, they were immediately attacked by two of the psychic apes, who ambushed them in the entry room, though it wasnt a difficult fight. Then they journeyed to the waterlogged north-east section, and after a bit of trouble with a piercer who impales Jimwise, they had Telok cast water breathing on the heavier characters, and tried crossing the pool. A short battle ensued as six gigantic spotted frogs emerged from the water, though they were no match for the PCs, who wisely retreated back to land before engaging in combat. With the frogs dead, they crossed the water, ending up in a shining crystal cavern, where they took a staircase deep into the ground, descending for nearly an hour.
At the bottom was a huge cavern, illuminated by eerie green algae, with a terrible smell all over. Off in the distance, a cliff rose above a fetid lake, and many unwholesomely shaped beings atop it could be seen dancing around a grotesque idol of a demon-frog. Avoiding the distant procession of evil, Verrof and Jeb found bloody footprints all over the ground here, belonging to a dwarf. Following them southward, the characters crossed a shallow pool of water and came into a far drier cave filled with a virtual forest of stalactites and stalagmites, a tall plateau rising up to the far south. As they began walking, following the still evident prints, the group was nearly ambushed. If it hadnt been for Jestyns robe of eyes, they would have never spotted the terrors awaiting them. Three creatures appeared, like walking columns crossed with demonic trees. Each had a single eye and a gaping circular mouth, in addition to six writhing tentacles. The warriors were able to engage the monsters before they could use many of their tentacles, but it was a tough battle indeed, lasting many minutes. All of the PCs were hearty and strong, but so were the monsters, with hard to penetrate hide and seemingly immune to magic. The Ropers, as Verrof knew them, fought a hard and violent fight. One of the pulled in Telok with its horrid feelers, sucking his strength away and getting ready to eat him. Fortunately, the characters prevailed, thanks to powerful attacks by Jerry and a keen blade of Welby. One by one they slew the guardians, killing all. Then they sent Jeb to follow the tracks once more. He returned excited, saying that he had possibly found his brotherstill alive, but in a room full of corpses, turned away. It looked suspicious, so he requested the others aid him. First, however, they took a break, resting and healing in the far south of the cavern, behind many stalagmites.
Then they went on, into the corpse-filled cavern that Jeb had described, passing through runes that the spellcasters knew were meant to keep undead away. They entered a room piled high with bloody corpses, coated in blood. Facing away from them was a single dwarf in plate, holding aloft a glowing red axe. As Jen called for his brother, Dargeleth turned around, revealing a skeletal face and eye-socks that dripped a stream of blood. The abomination attacked! The battle was a hard one, though easier than the ropers. The PCs could not flank him, and even the mighty paladins and ranger had trouble getting through the undead dwarfs armor. Midway through the fight, the monster summoned a whirlwind of raging blood, which blinded many and sent Verrof and Jeb running in fear. Yet the thing fell to their healing magic, a victim of Teloks touch spells and the two paladins laying of hands. The bleeding horror finally fell, turning to dust, leaving behind only its weapon, armor and a shield. Distraught, Jeb Greenhammer took his brothers shield in remembrance, wishing to return to his family and mourn his brothers death. He gave them the armor, and all decided to take the accursed family axe back to their temple. Finally, the characters made the long trek back to the surface, without any further attacks.
DM’S COMMENTS: Some good gaming this time. The PCs almost got their asses kicked several times, especially with those ropers. Of course, they’ll have plenty of trouble since they decided not to work with Balcoth…