Little 'n' Large

Cezar's defeat
Session 22

Day 48, continued:

With the temple now cleared everything feels clean and pure, the artwork returns to normal and the exits clear. Pennyworth inspects the site of the portal to make sure it’s sealed and is satisfied that it is. He cuts off parts of the genasi corpses, which Sparky Jr. is alarmed at, but explains that it’s to preserve part of them for resurrection rituals.

We then depart the temple and exit the underground cavern, back into daylight. Sparky Jr. is not used to this plane and is intrigued by all the sights and substances. The rest of us smell cooked meat and, upon investigation, find a campfire and half of a cooked horse in the entrance to the cavern. Nearby we locate ogre droppings and discover that our horses are missing. Théorn finds the tracks for about 5 to 10 ogres leading our horses away. Since it’s only around noon we decide to head after them whilst we still have some light. About 5 or 6 hours later the sun is starting to set but we feel close so press on. Towards midnight Max starts to get worn out as we realise we’re heading for the village of Renit, but the trails are much fresher now and we can still follow them in the dark.

Approaching, Max hears grunting noises ahead and a horse whinnying, and spies signs of a campfire over the crest of a hill (Skill Challenge). Pennyworth sends Chardonnay to fly over and scout. She returns to report seven ogres roasting a horse over a fire, one of these is standing guard looking away from our direction, a couple are dozing by the fire and the rest are eating and talking. We try to manoeuvre into position for a surprise attack, but make too much noise at the last minute so rush in before they can regroup too much (Encounter 1).

After the fight we march on the short remaining distance to Renit. Despite the late hour the guards allow us in and offer us free accommodation in the inn when we explain that we’ve dealt with the ogres. They seem a little suspicious of our shifter companion, Théorn, but not problematically so. When we arrive at the inn the owner recognises Hollan’s name and says he has a message for him. He gives him a note from Clementine warning us that Cezar has put a bounty on our heads after receiving a letter that rattled him, and that Feam Tortress’ gang are waiting to ambush us in Bridge. We rest here for the night.

Day 49:

We decide to send Max and Sparky Jr. to scout Bridge as they won’t be as easily recognised. They cross the bridge, passing a wagon going in the opposite direction, and look around town. They identify about 3 or 4 people that look threatening, one of whom chats to them for a while. He seems mainly interested in a warforged, and unconvinced by their stories. They notice that the wagon they saw earlier is just going back and forth across the bridge. Max and Sparky Jr. go into the inn, where Max asks about the wagon. The innkeeper knows little, but mentions that the group are paying for rooms for 9 people.

Max and Sparky Jr. continue along the road to Gosfair to avoid arousing suspicion, but look for a suitable place to cross to return to the rest of the group. Eventually they settle for Max weighing herself down with rocks and walking across the river, heading to find the rest of the group and inform them what’s going on. We march along the river to Gosfair.

Upon arrival at Gosfair, Sparky Jr. manages to bluff his way past the guards, pretending to be human. They try to recruit him, directing him to Knight Adjunct Levia or Knight Sergeant Ulrich. The rest of the group comes to a ferryman who will carry them across the river but charges extra for non-humans (50gp). Hollan teleports over and pays him for the rest of the group. We ask the ferryman where we can find Knight Adjunct Levia, and he directs us to the paladins’ compound.

On our way we are approached by 3 paladins looking aggressive. They recognise Hollan though, and ask if he will vouch for the rest of us. He does so, and they escort us to the compound. Hollan asks them about Johan, the paladin he tried to convert after Goblinfest. The paladins say he is now an apprentice training with the Wheelwright family, and do not seem impressed with this.

At the compound we see Ulrich outside, training new recruits. Another paladin motions us inside and we enter to find Levia waiting. She assumes we failed in our mission until Hollan produces his vial of the purified water as proof. She is clearly upset, seeming to think it was her destiny to do this, but genuflects before Hollan and calls for Knight Saviour Stewart. He is happy with the news and Hollan asks if the paladins will resurrect the genasi that helped us. Levia offers to double our reward for the mission (2000gp) and put it towards the rituals, and we accept. Stewart wishes to offer Hollan something extra and asks if he might borrow his brooch of Bahamut, which Hollan agrees to.

We’re offered rooms for the night and go to rest, but once the others have left Pennyworth approaches Levia and gives her Sparky Jr.‘s father’s finger. We spend the rest of the day and the night in Gosfair, relaxing. Hollan spends time with the Wheelwright family and Johan, and we stock up on healing potions. Knight Saviour Stewart brings Hollan’s brooch back to him, strengthened by the power of Bahamut, and we ask him if he’s heard of Feam Tortress. He has, but knows little beyond that they’re a group of human adventurers (one member uncertain). In the evening, Sparky Jr. is brought before his father, alive again, after Levia used the finger to resurrect him. They have a tearful reunion before we rest for the night, but Sparky Jr. says he will continue to travel with us for a while longer since his father has to recover his strength.

Day 50:

In the morning we ride for Bridge and spy out what we can see of Feam Tortress and his crew. We sneak in from the side of town, away from where their snipers are watching, while Théorn strolls in along the high street as a distraction. He swaps jibes with Feam for a few minutes, until our sneaking around is heard and a fight ensues (Encounter 2), which burns down the inn and sets fire to some of the surrounding buildings. We manage to prevent any buildings besides the inn from getting too badly damaged, but the inn is beyond repair. Hollan and Napoleon donate some funds to have it rebuilt, and some of Feam Tortress’ surviving crew say they’ll stay and run the inn. We drink with them for a while and press them for more information. They don’t know why Cezar sent after us, but do recall he was shaken by the letter he received before doing so. They also mention that Elkovar is Cezar’s new bodyguard. We rest in town for a while and then head to Ravensburgh.

Day 51:

We arrive at Ravensburgh and head directly to The Orc’s Head. We spot lookouts going ahead to warn of our arrival. We stand well back from the inn and someone comes out to negotiate with us. Max sets fire to the whole front of the inn in response. Cezar shouts as us from a window on the second floor, and guards pour out to attack us followed by Cezar and his bodyguards. In the ensuing fight (Encounter 3) many are knocked unconscious, some are killed, including Elkovar, and Cezar is eventually forced to surrender and is taken captive.


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???16,545 (9)
Max???18,799 (9)
Napoleon???16,744 (9)
Pennyworth???18,035 (9)
Théorn???16,625 (9)
View
Purity once more
Session 21

Day 48:

We enter the portal. Emerging from the other side we find ourselves in a large red cavern. Three doors exit this cavern, each into large rooms. Through the first door we can see an incline into dark water, through the second we see a large rotating cylindrical corridor and through the third we can see a room with many holes or pits in the floor. After a few minutes’ investigation arcane energy can be felt building up on the cavern, suggesting we should exit quickly.

We enter the second room and the door seals behind us, showing four elemental symbols (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) matched by the same four symbols at the other end of the corridor. One of us presses the Earth symbol at one end, and the other presses the Fire symbol at the other end. Lava begins to flow into the room, with creatures made of magma emerging from the walls and lava (Encounter 1). After defeating them the arcane energy begins to build in this room so we return quickly to the large red cavern. The door seals shut behind us and we are left with two doors to choose from.

We enter into the room with the pits in the floor. The ‘pits’ are actually a lower level. One set of elemental symbols is again on the door behind us with the opposite set at the far end on the lower level. The party splits in half to press the Earth and Water symbols. Mud flows into the lower level of the room, making movement difficult, and we are beset by mud elementals (Encounter 2). We then return to the cavern before entering the final room.

This room is the one with the incline into water. One set of symbols is underwater, so we send the non-breathing members of the party to them. We press an Earth symbol and an Air symbol. The room is filled with a dark cloud that obscures our vision and we battle air creatures and an aquatic demon (Encounter 3).

This time the door we entered by clears but it looks into a new room we have not seen before. The room is pentagram shaped, with four plinths holding gems. Energy in the room coalesces into the form of a vrok, who declares himself as Kezatakon, a servant of Pazuzu (Smax has a flashback). After a hard-fought battle (Encounter 4) we are ejected back through the portal and the waterfall. Pennyworth sporks Kezatakon through the chest and his Rod of Corruption is upgraded in power, though not as much as he’d hoped. The corruption in the temple clears and a feeling of purity radiates throughout it. Hollan drinks of the pure water in the waterfall and is blessed by a Boon from Bahamut.

Smax goes missing the aftermath of all this.


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???14,955 (8)
Max???17,209 (9)
Napoleon???15,154 (8)
Pennyworth???16,445 (8)
Smax???16,918 (9)
Théorn???15,035 (8)
View
Portal to another plane
Session 20

Day 46, continued:

Two other doors exit the room. We interrogate some prisoners before continuing. We learn that non-corrupted genasi are being kept captive waiting for sacrifice to hold open the portal to the Elemental Chaos, and will likely be executed if the corrupt genasi are alerted by either a noise or the next set of prisoners for sacrifice not turning up on schedule in a few hours. We decide to try rescue the innocents and move quickly on. Théorn runs in to a room and a fight ensues (Encounter 1).

We progress on and rescue about 50 genasi prisoners from a large octagonal room after a quick battle with the corrupted genasi and demon allies guarding them (Encounter 2). We then have a choice of two routes. One exits from the cathedral earlier and some brief scouting finds a staircase and sounds of running water at the end of it. The other route is past the prison area to a room where the portal to the Elemental Chaos is being held open by the powered gems.

After some discussion we decide to try shut down the portal before going down the stairs any further into the temple. We sneak the prisoners back to the cathedral and arm them with supplies from the armoury. After a few rousing speeches and promises we persuade them to guard us while we rest up for an assault on the portal (Skill Challenge part 1).

Day 47:

A few interruptions occur but we are able to properly rest, and then we march down and prepare for the assault. We charge in to surprise the gathered demons, clearing a route to the portal and then defending the arcane energy wielders and heavy-hitters while they destroy the four crystals anchoring the portal. We eventually succeed in disrupting the portal to close it (Skill Challenge part 2), but the genasi have all perished and some of us are badly injured. Nonetheless we then turn to eradicate the remaining demons now their power source is reduced or gone (Encounter 3).

With this victory behind us we take a short rest and then press on down the stairs to take advantage of having interrupted the flow of power to the demons in the temple. At the bottom of the staircase is a simple, small room containing a corrupted Bahamut angel and some attendants guarding a corrupted waterfall in front of a portal. The corrupted angel attacks, along with two attendants (Encounter 4) and whilst narrowly defeating it one of the attendants reveals that its master is Pazuzu.

The corrupted genasi attendant is interrogated as to what is behind the portal. The only answer we can get out of him is “The Gauntlet”. Pennyworth encourages Sparky Jr. to get revenge for his family by executing the corrupted genasi attendant. We decide that it’s safer to be well prepared before undergoing this, so take an extended rest.


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???12,264 (7)
Max???14,518 (8)
Napoleon???12,463 (7)
Pennyworth???13,754 (8)
Smax???14,227 (8)
Théorn???12,344 (7)
View
Genasi, both good and bad
Session 19

Day 46:

With everyone now more or less recovered, we head on and come to a large double-sided door. The images on this door don’t seem corrupted anymore. Théorn opens the door and we hear sounds of fighting ahead in a large room. Smax sneaks ahead and spies a large number of genasi sparring in the room. We try to sneak in, but Pennyworth clanks too much and we’re forced to battle them (Encounter 1).

The room seems to be a training room and quartermaster’s store, full of armour and weapons. Smax interrogates the defeated fire genasi elite, while Théorn and Pennyworth interrogate the earth genasi. The latter informs us that the temple is consecrated to Pazuzu, but gives us little else of use so Pennyworth sacrifices him to the earth gemstone. He then asks the fire genasi about the cleric who wrote the letter, but the prisoner seems either to know nothing or to claim the cleric is now a minion of Pazuzu.

Going through the doors at the other end, we come into another chamber about half the size of the earlier one. It has 4 plaques with names and dates on the wall, and fonts with blood-red water trickling into them from holes in the wall. Plaque with clasped hands has 6 names, one with sword has 22 names. Max notes down the last names appearing on each list. We return to the armour behind the screen and speak the last name on the clasped hand list. A glowing circle appears and the panel slides back to reveal Mithral Rimefire Plate Armour.

We then head back to the plaque room and kick open the doors. It’s a cathedral full of genasi, some bound and captive, in a queue being plunged into a blood red pool at the end by some corrupted genasi. A cow-demon is amongst them (Encounter 2). During the fight portals open and more and more enemies flood in.


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???10,747 (7)
Max???13,001 (8)
Napoleon???11,276 (7)
Pennyworth???12,224 (7)
Smax???12,710 (7)
Théorn???10,827 (7)
View
Going underground...
Session 18

Day 44, continued:

After defeating the incubus, we move along to examine the corridor further. Going around a corner we find the panels behind which the armour is hidden, but can’t open it (Théorn’s Strength of the Green Dragon fails him). There is one set of panels telling the story of the creation of this temple and another showing the story of The Nine

Then, we encounter a weird elemental teleporting room filled with demons, which we clear fairly comfortably (Encounter 1), though it proves time-consuming as the teleportation spots keep being randomised and moving around a 4 quartered room, with a small platform in each quadrant surrounded by one element or another. Smax gets stuck in the dark, behind an earth wall with a meso-demon which proves challenging. Max does good work taking out a number of the demons. After this we need a break and take a long rest. During the rest, Pennyworth uses the bodies of the defeated demons to attune an elemental water crystal to himself.

Day 45:

Having cleared this level of the temple (Quest Complete), we head downstairs. The first thing we find at the bottom of the stairs is a chained Elemental Terror, made of flame at first, in a wide section of passageway containing 4 crystals, each of which emanates a different elemental power. Pennyworth uses his crystal to disrupt the elemental power flowing from the fire crystal and this effectively makes the Terror vulnerable but of a different type of element, so fire, mud, cold, silt, etc.

Théorn goes toe-to-toe with the Elemental Terror and we take it down, only for it to get up again, this time connected to the air crystal. Pennyworth breaks this one and again we take it down. It comes back up, connected to the earth crystal and again pounds on us. During this period, Max spends some time blinded. Théorn finally takes too much damage and falls unconscious. Pennyworth and the rest of the group take the elemental terror down but it returns, connected to the final crystal, before anyone can act and its damaging aura from the water crystal power is enough to put Théorn down permanently. Despite the loss of the group’s main melee defender those of us still standing manage to just about defeat the elemental terror (Encounter 2).

During a long rest for most of the party Pennyworth uses one of our scrolls to raise Théorn back to life. Théorn recalls little of his time in the shadow realm besides a choice between spear and sword, but is not happy at being brought back as his people will not listen to a ‘dead’ person. Arguments ensue. The remainder of the group rests, but Smax has dreams


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???9,922 (6)
Max???11,895 (7)
Napoleon???10,170 (7)
Pennyworth???11,118 (7)
Smax???11,604 (7)
Théorn???9,721 (6)
View
Cleansing Kord's shrine of an Incubus
Session 17

Day 44:

The message suggests that Starchild (the leader of The Nine, we think) wrote prophecies for the temple to follow. Just as the message is finally deciphered (Skill Challenge) the door bursts open and 2 Balguras, a Hellhound and a Goat Demon assault us (Encounter 1).

We head down the right hand corridor and find a series of shrines to the main gods, though each appears to have been corrupted in some way:

  • A Skeletal Hand emerging from Avandra’s satchel
  • Evil light emanating from Corellon’s star
  • Rust and hole-ridden armour for Erathis
  • Ioun’s eye is weeping blood
  • Kord’s involves blood
  • The Shell (Sehanine? Melora?) is eating a baby!

Inside Kord’s shrine we find a water genasi huddled in the corner. He’s clearly scared but also incredibly handsome, which is a surprise. He’s called Lashiel and asks if Jacasta is still alive and coming to rescue him. Alas, she got eaten by a Goat Demon in the previous session. Something makes Max puzzled and she suddenly sees through the lies: It’s an incubus trying to deceive us! (Encounter 2) The party defeats the incubus and its attendant jovoks, despite Théorn being possessed and turning on the party for some of the battle.


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???9,622 (6)
Max???10,425 (7)
Napoleon???9,870 (6)
Pennyworth???9,648 (6)
Smax???10,134 (7)
Théorn???9,084 (6)
View
Exploring the corrupted temple
Session 16

Day 43:

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:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???9,022 (6)
Max???9,575 (6)
Napoleon???9,870 (6)
Pennyworth???9,048 (6)
Smax???9,534 (6)
Théorn???8,234 (6)
View
Approaching The Temple of the Clear Springs
Session 15

Days 38 to 41:

We pass the time waiting for Knight Saviour Stewart to arrive. Hollan prays at a shrine to Bahamut. A shaft of light illuminates him and he feels Bahamut watches over him. When Stewart arrives he offers Gauntlets of Breaching to help us fight the demons, and we assign them to Hollan. During the conversation we discover that Knight Adjunct Levia strongly dislikes Pastor Waverley. Hollan offers some thoughts on Bahamut from his prayers, which seems to confuse Levia’s feelings of hate towards him. They give us the map to the temple, which is located to the south.

Meanwhile, Pennyworth meets with Brysias’ brother. In exchange for certain financial considerations, this latter places latent enchantments upon Pennyworth’s obsidian spork. Should demonic entities now be slain with it, these enchantments will become empowered and considerably increase the item’s puissance.

We load up our supplies and head off that day, travelling south to the village of Bridge and then turning off the road to the south-west. We stay in a village called Renit for the night.

Day 42:

Travelling further south we end up further off the tracks and into more broken ground. The area seems to have little wildlife beyond the occasional bird of prey, which Théorn finds unsettling. Following the map we ride along a river bed, following markers until we reach a cave that marks the entrance to the underground village where the temple is located.

The large cave entrance has orcish runes painted on it and is marked with a skeleton, possibly from a goliath. Théorn corrals the horses nearby but doesn’t feel they will be safe there for more than a couple of days. We prepare ourselves and head inside.

Barely 50ft inside the cave we find orc bodies with clear hammer injuries, as well as passing some traps that have already been triggered. 100ft in the cavern sides become more regular, as though constructed as an intentional place to live in. We descend some steps onto flattened ground. The steps are crumbling a bit, and seem old.

About 100 yards past the stairs the room opens up into a vast cavern about half a mile long containing a small village of stone buildings. There are piles of orc bodies laid out in rows, as well as a cairn with a mordenkrad atop it (Fallen paladin?). We hear sounds of someone enjoying a hearty meal behind one of the buildings. It sounds like very messy eating. Wary of getting too close, we make a noise when about 80 yards away. A large cave troll appears from behind the building, spies us and lopes off away from us towards the other end of the cavern. We check what he was eating, and find part of an orc corpse. Expecting the troll to return with reinforcements we set up position in the town square and wait for them to come to us, which they do in due time and we battle a couple of cave trolls and their rust monster pets (Encounter 1).

After the fight we continue to the tunnel at the other end of the cavern and head further in. We find tracks that look like they’re made by a large snake, or some other creature with no legs. Some hear noises in the distance, which Hollan identifies as a creature known as a destrachan. We move swiftly through the caverns towards the sound, passing more evidence of orc corpses (and one paladin corpse).

We come to a crude drawing on a wall showing a troll with two heads and a whip. It means nothing special to any of us. We hear another loud destrachan sound from just round the corner and go to deal with it. We find the chief of the troll tribe along with his pets, a destrachan and a grick (Encounter 2).

After defeating the troll chief and his associates we search through the rest of the caverns and find no further trolls, but the entrance to the temple. We take an extended rest for while outside the entrance, and then prepare to head inside.


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???8,084 (6)
Max???8,637 (6)
Napoleon???8,932 (6)
Pennyworth???9,048 (6)
Smax???8,596 (6)
Théorn???8,234 (6)
View
The Order of the Hammer, and a threat
Session 14

Day 34 – early morning:

Théorn pats his neck and slumps to the ground. He appears to be in some sort of coma. We carry him with us. We attempt to flush out any more goblins by wandering around and calling them out, but despite some flashy displays of intimidation from Max none appear so we search the caverns to try find more sporks. Napoleon finds the site of some sort of ritual sacrifice, including a ‘sacrificial kit’ containing an ornate obsidian spork and a vial of inferno oil. We then decide to head back to Nepping as we don’t have time to travel to any other goblin tribes before the close of the contest. Back at the horses Max finds kenku tracks. Bigby clearly passed by here, though he didn’t sabotage our horses.

About an hour outside of the village, amongst rolling hills, we hear muffled sobbing coming over the next rise. It’s a human man’s voice with a similar accent to Max, who suspects it’s Viscount Verdun. Moving cautiously over the brow of the hill we spy Verdun on his hands and knees sobbing about losing sporks. The sobbing seems overplayed and makes us suspicious of ambush, so Napoleon attacks Verdun with a sling. Our suspicions are correct, and he launches an attack against us (Encounter 1). During the battle Hollan gets into a grudge match with Gunther, and swears vengeance on all his friends, family and everyone he’s ever loved. After the fight he finds a letter on Gunther’s body from his sweetheart Heidi, who wishes he’ll return soon so they can marry beneath the waterfall in their home town of Pepsburgh.

Max reveals her backstory with Sir Ulrich (NEED SOMEONE TO FILL IN THE DETAILS), whilst we interrogate the captives. They tell us that Clementine’s group has already claimed the early return prize, and that they have two members of their retinue back in town to sell on the stuff they bring back. We return to town with Viscount Verdun and Sir Ulrich in tow as hostages to ransom.

Back in Nepping children gather around us as we arrive, asking how we scored. We check in to the official hand-in tent, where the mayor is in conversation with Brysias, who appears happy to see us alive. We hand in 57 sporks and explain that we’re holding back the ornate obsidian one (Pennyworth wishes to convert it to a rod implement). Pennyworth explains that we eliminated the Bat-wing and Spider-bite tribes, while Napoleon orders a round of drinks for the gathered crowds.

With just minutes remaining before the deadline five figures are spotted riding over the horizon. The Order of the Hammer’s entry group enters town, leading Elkovar on a horse. Knight Saviour Stewart rides with the head of the chief of the Bugbear tribe on his saddle. After they check in we hear they have gathered 54 sporks, so we are the winners of Goblinfest 25. Mayor Thusia emerges from the tent and officially announces the end of the competition, and that in an hour the scores and prizes will be given.

In the tavern Napoleon approaches the group of paladins to offer then a friendly congratulation on a job well done. Unfortunately they act outraged at having their noses rubbed in their defeat, saying that they planned to use the winnings to fund an expedition to recover a temple. Elkovar joins the conversation to accuse us of ambushing him. We argue the point back and forth and the conversation gets turned to Hollan’s worship of Bahamut as testament to his character. He almost manages to sway them, but they aren’t convinced by the level of his knowledge and are alarmed further at the realisation that Hollan is wearing Knight Commander Dergan’s brooch.

Napoleon suggests that there might be rituals to verify the veracity of our words, but nobody present has enough knowledge of them to be sure. Instead Knight Adjunct Levia suggests a test of steel with a battle in the morning, to see who Bahamut favours. Hollan agrees on our behalf, as long as the fight is not to the death. If we lose they say Hollan will have to “pay for his crimes”.

The bell tolls and the crowds stream out to the presentation. Hollan and Clementine spy each other in the crowds and show their trophies (kenku feathers vs. goblin heads). The scores are announced and Clementine steps up to accept a blue suit of armour. Napoleon goes up on our group’s behalf to accept The Sword of Gales. It’s a longsword with a blue sheen and symbols of storm and lightning on it. Mayor Thusia says it was forged by the son of a storm giant, a great goliath smith, and was used to slay a follower of Orcus, Lady Adine of… and others.

We sell our various spoils of war, whilst Smax has another vision. This time it is of Stewart (40ish, greying hair and beard). There’s a woman in the shadows next to Smax, then a shift to an earlier time and a fight in a castle, with Stewart as a younger man thwarting someone’s plans.

Day 35:

We arise early and prepare for the ritual combat with the paladins. An area is cleared and the match set up (Encounter 2). After we successfully defeat the paladins they are healed up by local priests and everyone takes an extended rest, while Hollan tries to persuade some of the paladins to turn away from their oppressive humanocentric view of their mission. He has some success with one paladin. Knight Saviour Stewart asks to speak to Hollan and Napoleon. He says that Bahamut clearly favours us, though Knight Adjunct Levia is still concerned about evil magics used in our fight. Knight Saviour Stewart explains that they were searching for the Temple of the Clear Springs, a lost temple to Bahamut.

The Order of the Hammer have been searching for the temple for 6 months and located it nearby. Two weeks ago a group of their best clerics and warriors set out and found the entrance but were driven back by the inhabitants, an orc tribe (that they mostly slew) and a band of trolls. The troll chieftain cultivated rust monsters as dangerous ‘pets’ that caused the paladins much trouble. Before they were driven out, the paladins saw demonic influence on the temple entrance and are anxious that it be cleansed.

Knight Saviour Stewart asks Hollan and Napoleon to use their friends’ knowledge of infernal magics to cleanse the temple of evil and reclaim it for Bahamut’s glory. He suspects there are still trolls camped outside the entrance, and demons within. The temple is extensive and it will probably need to be cleared in one go as it is difficult to leave once entered. Since it ties in with our plans to raise our profile, we agree to help. Knight Saviour Stewart says he will spread word to Gosfair so that our mission isn’t interfered with by paladins, and that he will meet us in 6 days in Ravensburgh to give us the location and lend us a holy item that might help. The rest of the group will be paid for this task, but Knight Saviour Stewart expects Hollan to do it out of worship for Bahamut. As we leave we notice Knight Adjunct Levia glaring at Hollan with hatred.

We pick up a couple of Everburning Torches and some other supplies. Hollan negotiates with Brysias for the return of Kadira’s sword to her family. They settle on a price and Hollan hands it over. Brysias says she is leaving town on business now and will be out of the area for a couple of weeks. Brysias, who had already arranged to have the salvaged obsidian spork to be enchanted into a infernal implement, also agrees to set up a meeting between Pennyworth and her estranged brother, a warlock of some note and notoriety.

Meanwhile, Max is interrogating Viscount Verdun and deciding how to ransom him. Verdun agrees to hand over Wiedersberg, the jewel of his family’s lands. Max senses that there’s something being left out and presses for more details. It turns out it’s currently under the control of someone else, referred to as The Count. Verdun is hoping Max and her associates will help take back the lands and clear the stain from his family’s honour. Max agrees on condition that she is given a title in addition to the lands. Verdun agrees and signs an agreement, notarised by Mayor Thusia and Knight Saviour Stewart. Stewart asks us our plans for Sir Ulrich, and offers a reward if we sign him up as an indentured servant to The Order of the Hammer with the eventual expectation that he will become a paladin. Max readily agrees to this.

Day 36:

We ride to Ravensburgh. The trip is uneventful.

Day 37:

We arrive in town late in the evening and get rooms in The Temple inn. A messenger arrives shortly afterwards from Cezar, asking us to come and speak to him. Those of us who have already met him head over to The Orc’s Head to talk, while Max sneaks off in little girl form.

As we enter The Orc’s Head, Cezar slow claps us sarcastically. It seems he is unhappy with our recent activities after declining to do business with him. He had been sponsoring Elkovar’s team for Goblinfest and was in the middle of negotiating with Brysias for protection from Korax when we effectively undercut him. We weren’t aware of any of this, and Napoleon tries to keep it businesslike and impersonal, saying we chose not to accept his offer and did not intentionally take custom from him. Cezar doesn’t appear to be mollified and says we have 2 strikes against us and implies threats for if we gather a third. Napoleon offers some token compensation as a goodwill gesture and asks Cezar to suggest a price. Instead he gives us 7 days to offer whatever recompense we feel is necessary. Smax checks out the rest of the inn in case it comes to a fight. There are 4 bodyguards, as well as 20 to 30 seasoned adventurers that might be expected to weigh in on Cezar’s side.

Meanwhile Max goes looking for information and advice on dealing with rust monsters and finds a man named Marl, whose main advice is not to let them dribble on you and that they have a particular taste for enchanted metal.

After the chat with Cezar the rest of the group goes to talk to Pastor Waverley. Théorn asks him if he knows anything about the temple we’ve been asked to clear. He doesn’t appear to know anything, and turns the conversation around to angling for donations to the church. He mentions ‘the now disgraced Pastor Ferro, false prophet to Avandra’ in his rantings. When we ask him for more general advice on fighting demons he says that the way to defeat them is to turn them on themselves, though he also has vials of holy water for sale, of which Napoleon buys one.


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???7,511 (6)
Max???8,064 (6)
Napoleon???8,359 (6)
Pennyworth???8,765 (6)
Smax???8,023 (6)
Théorn???7,361 (5)
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More goblins, and another Ravenwing
Session 13

Day 33, continued:

After a while the forest thickens up and becomes hard to pass. We’re forced to tie up the horses and proceed on foot. As we pass through the trees we can see more and more spiders appearing. Théorn searches for goblin tracks but is unable to find any. Pennyworth recalls stories of forest-dwelling goblins and suggests searching for ruins that might have been taken over. Théorn locates an abandoned road and we travel along it for a while but still see no sight of goblins. Max spots skeletons suspended in the trees either side of the road by spider webs, intended to intimidate other goblin tribes to prevent them from entering. Napoleon, lower to the ground than the others, finds signs of a trail underneath some low-hanging branches. We follow this trail and the trees narrow as we go along, being blocked by more and more spider-webs.

Eventually we find a small stone hut surrounded by webs and trees. Two goblin sentries with strange red markings on their foreheads march back and forth in front of the hut. We ambush the goblin sentries (Encounter 1). Once the alarm is raised they are joined by several more goblins and a spider, then part way through the fight Hollan is ambushed by Bigby Ravenwing, Kadira’s uncle seeking retribution. We defeat Bigby and spare his life, though Hollan takes some of his feathers as a trophy. After this we head back to the horses and take a 6 hour rest to recover before continuing.

Returning to the hut, we have to force open a portcullis style door to gain entry. Inside we find a trapdoor covering a shaft descending into the darkness. Not far down there are fresh webs blocking the shaft. Hollan and Pennyworth set the webs alight while, then we close the trapdoor and go looking for hidden back entrances. Smax, thinking like an assassin, finds a tunnel about 150ft from the hut. The entrance is about 4ft high and doesn’t appear to have any traps, though Hollan senses a source shadowy magic further in somewhere. Smax sneaks in first, and 10 yards along a dart shoots out of the wall and narrowly misses him. He proceeds more cautiously and disarms another trap further down.

After 20-30 yards the tunnel curves to the left, back towards the hut. Shortly after this the walls start to be more solid, constructed rather than hewn through the ground. Smax notices more small spiders crawling around and hears noises ahead, but he can’t identify the source. There’s a fungus on the walls ahead emitting a dull blue light. The tunnel curves further to the left, then back to the right again towards the trapdoor. More spiders appear, and puddles of blue cave slime on the floor.

Smax returns to the group and leads us back in to where he got to. We try to sneak in but make too much noise. Théorn hears sounds of goblin activity along with rustling and chittering and we’re attacked (Encounter 2).

After the fight we continue exploring the passages, cutting through more webs. We feel an increased dark, shadowy presence. We come across a carving of a large spider, and a body wrapped in silk. More spiders appear in the tunnels, crushed under our feet as we walk. In the distance we hear more chittering of spiders and enter a cavern with many strands of spider webs. Chanting goblins in the cavern turn towards us as we enter, along with many spiders. Meditating at the end of the chamber is a dark goblin with black eyes and hatred in his gaze. Smax gets a flashback and realises he’s seen the goblin on the platform before. Battle begins (Encounter 3). Finishes at about 3am.


Character status at end of session:

CharacterHit PointsHealing SurgesDaily Powers usedExperience
Hollan???6,296 (5)
Max???7,049 (5)
Napoleon???7,344 (5)
Pennyworth???7,750 (6)
Smax???7,008 (5)
Théorn???7,361 (5)
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