The door itself is about 12 foot tall and is decorated with dioramas of stories about Bahamut. There’s a sense of wrongness about the pictures though, and Hollan notices that they have been twisted to show Bahamut as a force for fear and domination rather than strength and justice. Hollan and Max sense infernal, arcane magic behind the door rather than the divine magic of Bahamut. Hollan pushes at the door and hears voices in his head asking what brings him to the temple. At his reply that he comes to cleanse it, laughter echoes from many voices in his mind and the doors swing open.
Inside there is a horrific stench of mildew. Filth coves the floors and stone edifices on the walls are scorched and muddy. Pillar-like structures are visible about 30 yards in, shrouded in mist, and scratching and laughter can be heard echoing past them. We enter the chamber, with loud squelchy footsteps. The chamber is large, but the mist blocks our sight more than about 50 yards in any direction. The pillars are columns that appear every 20 feet or so and go 25-30ft up to the ceiling, where the mist is thicker. There are more sounts of chittering and a giant bumblebee-like figure appears in and out of the mist in the distance. Max recalls a few demons that might take this shape (Gnaw demons being the most likely). Napoleon moves in cautiously to try draw our enemies out of the mist, but after a few steps spies a Dretch behind a column. He motions for the rest of the group to move closer, and as they do so Hollan spies another bumblebee further in, along with a thing looking like a human baby but with red skin and sharp teeth. We’re drawn into a fight (Encounter 1).
At the other end of the chamber there is a large doorway. The wooden doors are rotten and full of small worms, and it crumbles as we push it open. This new room is big (50 yards wide by 30 yards long) but cleaner than the last. At the end of the room is a wide set of stairs leading down, from which emanates a bright red glow but no heat. Either side of the staircase corridors continue on. There are doors to the left and right framed by stone arches above each, decorated with graven images. The image to the left shows a man in prayer, looking evil (Hall of Contemplation) and the image to the right has a man studying a book, leering at grotesque pornography (Hall of Study).
Smax checks the door for traps and listens for sounds the other side. Neither reveals anything. The door to the right feels warm, and the left door has water trickling down. For now Smax decides to scout ahead in the corridors a little. Along the way he notices a small mane on the steps as he moves past. It looks in terror and runs down the steps, but we leave it for now. The corridors both lead to another short corridor with four more doors, so Smax backtracks and we try the door with the water first. Hollan recalls that the Hall of Contemplation might contain prisoners, which could be of use to us, and Napoleon opens the door to small flood of water rushing out around our feet.
We enter a room 30m wide 40m long with rows of stone benches and pulpits in each corner. There is a path through centre and an archway at the end with an image of Bahamut wielding a hammer, sitting in judgement (Judgement = dominant, rather than blindfolded symbol of justice). We search through the room. Hollan senses dirty, watery arcane energy to the room but also some arcane magic in the next room, perhaps teleportation. We enter the courtroom.
This is a smaller room with 5 alcoves, each with small blue holy symbol on floor. Written above each alcove in draconic are “prosecution”, “defence”, “defendant”, “justice”, “jury”. Hollan also finds one for “prison”. Wary of getting trapped, we head back to study.
This door opens more easily. Hollan steps through, into a sheet of fire. The room is a burned out mess with lots of alcoves at the back and a large red gem in the centre of the room. Hollan senses much stronger magic in this room, specifically in the gem. He refuses to leave, wanting to cleanse the room, and tries poking the gem, blasting it with lightning breath. It seems to respond slightly to damage, but nothing obvious, so he gives up.
We head down the corridors found earlier. The doors at either end have images again. The first is Bahamut wielding a shield: “The Shielding Left Arm of Bahamut” and we get a sense of fire. The second image is Bahamut wielding a sword: “The Avenging Right Arm of Bahamut” with a sense of cold air. There are also two other normal looking doors.
Hollan kicks down the cold door. It contains a similar gem to before, but with bodies of humanoids (2 fire genasi, 1 water genasi) around it. Magic flows from a water genasi corpse into the gem. There are two serpent demons and a humanoid (air genasi) posing in front of this. Hollan attacks (Encounter 2).
Searching the room we think it was a lodging area for paladins. We try to barricade the door for an extended rest. Hollan inspects the bodies of the genasi and finds they seem to have been drained. We put them in one of the two side-rooms. Hollan checks the gem. It’s similar to the fire gem, resonant with the elemental power.
Hollan and Napoleon take the woman into the other side-room to interrogate. She is confused as to how we are here and who sent us, and how little we know. The gems are siphoning power from the temple. She suggests we ask why the temple was abandoned and tells us we would have to cleanse it at the root of the matter. “The Crimson Fountain” will need to be removed, and is well guarded. Napoleon asks if the power being drained will weaken the demonic influence to assist us. She says yes, but offers to remove them if we let her live. After some discussion a plan is suggested to leave her in the prison while we cleanse the temple, then get her to help remove the gems.
Hollan interrogates her further as to their plans. She says her master sent her and other genasi to the temple. They bathed in the waters of The Crimson Fountain. Those who survived used the bodies of those who didn’t as sacrifice to claim the power of the gems. There are others in the temple still, from the sounds of things. She also mentions that an elemental terror prevents most from descending further. She says Lashiel wanders the halls (she thought we worked for him) and has demonic allies. She agrees to being imprisoned but alive for now, in return for what she’s told us. We tie her up, block the entrance and start an extended rest after barricading the door.
An hour into our rest, a banging on the door wakes us and shouting in abyssal. We only understand the woman’s name (Relita). She says he is “earth one”, a demonspawn adept with an unpronounceable name. She offers to tell him everything is fine, and calls out in abyssal. He sounds annoyed and tries to break in. She says it didn’t work and he wants to come in. Smax kills her, and we prepare for the attack. The door bursts open and we see 3 carnage demons and the demonspawn adept (Encounter 3). We are desperate for a rest afterwards.
Théorn and Pennyworth, hearing noises, meet up with everyone else and as a group we attempt to leave the temple. As we walk towards the door, it seems much further away than we had expected. Nonetheless, we press on. Alas, when we reach the doorway, it has been replaced by a living, though rotten, black-coloured wall which prevents our egress. Reluctantly we return to the chamber we recently left.
Pennyworth starts examining the elemental crystals and the Green Fire WithinTM tells him that he too could gain the power of the crystals if he sacrifices enough elemental creatures to attune to them. This greases his pleasure-cogs.
Smax explores the chambers and finds a secret room just large enough for the group to fit in, so we decide to use it to good effect and rest up whilst Pennyworth and Théorn take guard. Whilst searching the room, an illegible message is discovered. Théorn and Max begin to decipher it. It’s written in an old form of draconic. Whilst Théorn and Max are working on the message, we hear noises from outside the door, as if people are searching for us.
Character status at end of session:
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