Chasing the Daemon
Mountain of Mystery Part IV
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Welcome to the final page of this campaign, which starts with the party having just come seventh in the Trial of Champions and failed to get the magic carpet they crave, and desperate to follow the daemon and the two ships that were heading south.
I've decided on a new title - and see how long it takes before anyone notices it.
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- Sessions 1-15: In which the party get back together, tackle an army, embark on a quest, travel to Sahr and StormTop.
- Sessions 16-27: All around the Facility we go... into the Underdark and out the other side.
- Sessions 28-40: Sailing, fighting, mysteries, dreaming, death, dogs, kidnapping and competing - oh my!
- Session 41: Post Trial of Champions trauma.
- Session 42: Goodbyes and greetings to drakes.
- Session 43: Goodbyes and greetings to friends.
- Session 44: Bombing runs and underwater shenanigans.
- Session 45: One big fight!
- Session 46: Vortis, Dervish and mostly a new party...
- Amazed, Jason argued with one of the referees that the fifth scenario, where they had had to cross a room with only a ladder and two planks, was impossibly hard. Eventually the Czar himself, a mere lad of 14, intervened and asked for someone to show him that it was not possible by the ideal method. This the party did admirably, and eventually it was decided that they would all do a different puzzle. This one involved plank-walking and burning through string with a magnifying glass... the party did well and managed to change the order of the winners: the Blademasters came 3rd with 360 points, the Knightmares came 2nd with 365 and the 2.5 Humans came first with 380 pts, winning the trophy, Guild membership and the magic carpet, too. Jason and Barnabus even managed to come top of their respective groups and received engraved rings for their trouble.
- Everyone (including Angor, Jimmy, Tal and Zane) were invited to the palace grounds for a party - Lord Stoltz paid for them to be properly attired and they went along for free food and drinks and a night of entertainment. they weren't disappointed. The highlight of the evening was for the 2.5 Humans team to meet the Czar himself and all the Lords, but this was short-lived, however, and soon they were back in the garden enjoying the last fading rays of sunlight.
- All the teams were there - the Knightmares in their burnished armour, the Blademasters looking irritable and being antisocial, the halfling were happy to help give the food a good home. The Merry Elves engaged many people in conversation, as did Zolstag, the wizard from Team Pegasus (Peace's team) and the mightiest wizard of all time.
- Jason snuck off the find the identify spell and returned an hour later to spend the evening chatting to a female elf and Zolstag, before making specific moves at Lord Stoltz's marriage-aged daughter, Mai. Angor got drunk with the other dwarf present, while Jimmy circulated and chatted to some of the courtesans about the area, before finishing his evening in a pub somewhere with three of the Amazons. Louis found the prettiest courtesan and happily bedded her, while Barnabus went to chat up an the best looking Amazon and found himself the sole target of her passion. He didn't have time to object. Tal and Zane spent the evening playing drinking games with one of the Knightmares, Sir Hardy, and eventually left the party thoroughly hammered. Gomez tried chatting up Peace, but he wasn't very subtle about it and he at least managed to get her back to the Hangman....
- In the morning everyone went up to Lord Stoltz's house to collect the magic carpet and receive the instructions. This they did successfully. While there, Jason negotiated with Lord Stoltz for him to be wed to Mai: the dowry was a small plot of land 100 miles to the south, and 5000 gps. It was agreed that Jason would return from saving the world to attend an engagement party and then the wedding. Mai said yes when asked and so Jason became a taken man...
- The party then split up: Jason, Tal and Gomez went to the Palace to talk to the Towermaster about the airship, while the others went to the Adventurers' Guild to enquire about weapons and equipment.
- The Towermaster was a little unhelpful, although he did confirm sighting the little elven girl. Unfortunately, he had been bound and gagged by someone, either Corman or Benedict, and had been unable to really observe what was going on. Meanwhile, Louis purchased several vials of Greek fire and one of acid, but the forum for magical item swapping was a little lacking in the non-ferrous weapons category.
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- The party made haste to leave Vortis city, buying supplies of Greek fire and acid, as well as selling their horses and picking up some rations for the journey. then they returned to the Hangman to talk to Zane. they had to wait a while for Zane, and when he turned up he explained that he wasn't going to come with them, but that he had managed to get hold of some healing potions and related healing equipment for them to take instead.
- The party were saddened, but they understood, so they said their goodbyes. Then Gomez explained that he was leaving Kellar and Kale in the care of Peace, but when he explained this plan to Kellar, the dog didn't seem to understand and ended p on the magic carpet anyway.
- Goodbyes said, the carpet flew south with the party on it, and they stopped briefly the following morning to check that the airship had been seen passing through that way. With this confirmed, they flew on, but at noon they were accosted by four men on pale blue drakes that could spit forked lightning. Angor sped the carpet up without warning, sending Jimmy and Kellar tumbling off the back, followed by Gomez, who jumped after them. The drake riders split up, two followed the fleeing carpet and two took on Gomez and Jimmy.
- The drake riders were made short work of as they followed the carpet, although Louis received a significant frying, the carpet and its occupants were swiftly heading back to help their stranded friends. Meanwhile, Gomez had been busily putting drakes to sleep, while Jimmy avoided the fight and Kellar snapped and growled at the drake riders. Once the party returned, the remaining drakes and riders were despatched, aside from a single prisoner, whom they kept to interrogate.
- They tried talking to him, but to no avail, until Barnabus charmed him. Then he explained that he was in the Lanixan army but had been drafted to the drake rider unit. There he had been introduced to the religion of the five gods (sealed in Hell) and had come to follow them. He could not speak of Inisrya - nor of her quest - if, indeed, he knew anything. He seemed quite a normal bloke until he started spouting off about the halflings...
- The party decided it was best to leave him alive, but to remove all the weapons from him and let him fend for himself. And so they flew off, still headed south.
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- The following day, the party found themselves the centre of attention for a flock of crows. The flock would form and deform and reform behind the carpet, as birds dropped back and new birds joined the flight (the carpet was going too fast for them to keep up). Eventually it was noticed that there was a much larger crow flying along the ground beneath the carpet, keeping pace with it. Angor shot a few of the crows and then someone slowed down the carpet. The large crow flew under the still-moving carpet, and emerged a man. The carpeteers, however, flew on. Once they could no longer see the man, he turned back into a crow and chased them aways, before eventually catching them up again. This time Angor wouldn't let him change form underneath the carpet, nor would the party lower it less than 10 feet.
- The man stood beneath the carpet, looked up and said a small section of poetry or prophecy at them, which began "War, beast of burden, cowed not by anger..." He said it but once and then flew away. Anyone with an ounce of wisdom would have been able to see that he was pretty irritated.
- Later that day, the party saw fit to stop at a town and ask if anyone had seen the air or land ship. However, while in this town, Angor decided to sell his specially designed Wicked Blade to an elf, in exchange for a lot of money and an Elven steed; then he mounted up and rode away - albeit uncomfortably... However, the rest of the party encountered a young and enthusiastic bard called Salinah, who insisted on joining them and chronicling their adventures so that they would be ever-remembered for saving the world. Somehow, no one had the heart to turn her down. I believe the words 'cannon-fodder' might have been heard, although that's not possible as that would be an anachronism...
- Salinah warned them not to talk to the elf that Angor had just sold his sword to, but Gomez insisted that they had to as he was a plot-device, so the others, a little bemused at this, went along. The elf was rude and haughty and not very nice. Gomez concluded that he wasn't their plot device.
- Back on the carpet, Salinah regaled them with the tales of the Mighty Druss, wielder of Snaga (she didn't mention David Gemmell, though), and went on at great length about how heroic they would be. They grew sick of it after a while.
- Jason used his clairaudience spell to ascertain that the Land ship had stopped moving, and that there were two men on board with the mercenaries: an Orbridnid and a Jandarren. Gomez then used his clairvoyance to spy on the ship, thus determining that it was near to a large body of water, and the airship. Armed with this information, and the fact that some goddess or other had been raining sticklebacks on them for quite a while now, the party decided that Inisrya must be headed for the Big Lake.
- Some more flying later, and they encountered the fabled Tower of Heripus: an immense conical tower, 3 km high. They paused briefly to enquire about the airship, and were then forced to skirt around the outside of the attraction, while Salinah told them all about the similarities between Heripus and Voova.
- On through the night brought them into the path of some rain, but it passed quickly and soon they were back into the warmth of summer. At last they reached the lands of the halflings, where they stopped to ask about the ships again. The halflings were curious about the rug, but not very helpful otherwise. So they flew on towards the Big Lake and in the early hours of the morning, they spied two ships by the shores of the lake: one was on the land, black, green and smoky red. The other was airborne: white and fluted. Gomez used his clairvoyance on the ships again, causing a black rain cloud to localise over the main deck of the Land Ship, and discovered that there were mercenaries camped on the west side of the Ship and a tent on the east side (where he had previously seen two large dogs basking). The party began to plot and scheme...
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- Their first objective was to see if they could get the Land ship away from the main group. After much deliberation, they decided to send Gomez to find out. Wearing Louis' rings of water breathing and free action and with invisibility cast upon him, Gomez swam up to the front of the ship, on the east side so as not to be seen by the mercenaries and to stay in the shadows. He pulled himself inexorably slowly from the water and spider climbed up the ship before speaking with the captain. After a few hair-raisingly close moments with a couple of the mercenaries, Gomez returned to the hiding party to tell them the news: that they couldn't have control of the ship and that Quistin was still alive.
- Shocked, they continued to plan. They wanted to make a surprise raid, hopefully knocking out most of the encampment's mercenaries and injuring as many of the harder foes as possible. They finally struck on the idea of a fly-by attack: As the carpet swept in, Jason fireballed the tents, setting light to most of them and charring a good dozen men. As they swept past the land ship, Jimmy lobbed Greek fire through the hatchway door, while Barnabus used magic missile on the one man who was still alive after the flames went up. Through the storm still raging on the Ship's deck and Louis threw Greek fire onto the wet deck, to devastating effect as the sails went up and several men fell, in burning agony. Gomez attempted to destroy the ladder to the airship with the power of his mind, but struggled and failed, while Jason missed throwing his Greek fire onto Inisrya's tent. It caught fire anyway, as the flames spread through the dry grass, and out stumbled the priest who had kidnapped Jason (Austell) and a guard. Tal and Salinah peppered him with arrows before the carpet sped everyone away beyond retaliation range.
- Austell ran away from the ships and into the open, where he magically healed himself. As the party turned the carpet and headed back to intercept, they saw the leader of the mercenaries (Pedro) headed Austell's way with rage in his eye. The party beat him to Austell, and Barnabus managed to ensnare the single guard in a web spell, while Gomez put Austell to sleep. Louis lept in to attack Pedro (although Pedro wasn't attacking him... honourable?).
- Gomez put Pedro to sleep, while Jason tied up Austell. When Pedro was allowed to awaken again, he angrily asked for his webbed man back, and told the party he was leaving and that he didn't care what they did. Then he and his man went to talk to the elves of Lucifer who were waiting by the land ship.
- The party stripped Austell naked and hung him off the carpet, warning him not to cast any spells. He agreed and then they talked to him. He explained that he wouldn't aid them in stopping his god being released from Hell after such a long incarceration. He also revealed that Inisrya wasn't at the camp, that she and the others had gone underwater to find the Seal. Everything began to make sense. He also confirmed that Quistin was with them, but that he hadn't really spoken to him much.
- The party sent Tal and Salinah off to dump Austell somewhere about 30 miles away, while they despatched the elves, talked to the captain of the Land ship, investigated the Airship and looked for a dungeon entrance in the water. There was little joy, except that Louis managed to find a tunnel that led deep underwater and up to a stone door...
- With Tal and Salinah back, the party ventured into the waters, even taking Kellar with them, but leaving most of their stuff hidden by a pier. Underwater they found a chamber and a corridor leading down... following it they found a room with a gold symbol laid into the floor. Past that room lay a dining room, but Louis was impatient and quickly led them into a room with a fountain of orange juice and through it into a corridor, onto some stairs, where he found himself aged 7 years and through a door which caused him to become enlarged by 200%. Barnabus, however, managed to dispel the magic on him, and the pair went on to find a bridge and some stools. While Louis insisted on carrying a stool across the bridge, Barnabus thought they might be better used getting the rest of the party up the stairs without touching them and ageing, should they so desire.
- Another door brought Louis face-to-face with some phase spiders, and here he and his intrepid, but mysterious, mage companion decided to go back and investigate some of the other rooms. The first they looked in locked some of the party in, although they were saved by Gomez, who had been busy investigating the orange juice fountain. The next door led to a corridor that was literally freezing, and this in turn led to a spooky graveyard: indoors and yet appearing out. While Gomez measure spaces between doors and began checking for secret ones, Louis barrelled into yet another room, but one occupied by a huge golem made of some kind of bronze material and wielding a massive sword. It attacked immediately, engaging Louis but quickly Tal and Salinah came to aid him. It struck Louis soundly once, and Salinah less so, before Barnabus pulled his hood up and shot silvery bolts of energy at it. Gomez used his ability to control kinetic energy to avoid and inflict damage and sure enough, the golem toppled, clanging loudly on the smoothly paved floor of the dining room.
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- The dungeon was very odd overall, its only natural denizens being some incredibly hard golems that seemed to be getting steadily harder as the group encountered each new one. In addition, there were other creatures which would randomly teleport into rooms when the doors were opened, which wasn't always ideal, such as when a wyvern materialised inside a very small corridor, killing it instantly and inconveniencing the party for quite a while. The different levels of the dungeon were separated by weird wells, that were actually just tunnels of water that defied gravity. There were also items that would teleport people to random other parts of the dungeon and potions that would bestow gifts upon the drinker, such as statistical increases, or the natural ability to turn undead. They also managed to find three pieces of an artefact which, when combined, formed a strange little object called the Snake Staff, which has all sorts of unusual abilities such as detecting snakes and traps and providing illumination. Perhaps the oddest thing they found in this underwater dungeon was a pub, complete with friendly barman. Unfortunately, he was a bit confused and didn't actually understand where he was or what was going on, such that he believed he had back rooms, even though he didn't.
- While walking around this dungeon, they also discovered a couple of things about their travelling companions that they did not previously know. For example, Barnabus is actually two people in one. The first person is Barnabus and he is a mage of some talent, but the other is his sister Izzabella, an 'anti-mage' or spellfire wielder, who has her own form which she can change into. All this explains why Barnabus used to raise his hood when dispelling magic - he was actually turning into Izzabella to absorb the magic.
- The other person they learnt more about was Salinah. As it turns out, she was actually Lady Tabitha Chevan, Knight of the Alliance. Although she had been lying to them about her identity, it was because she was working for the same 25 gods as them, but was not fully aware of their involvement until much later in their relationship. The group also made a couple of new friends - a potted plant who they sadly lost when he was teleported away and they never found him again and a small dancing woman in a chest who mesmerised a couple of the group.
- Eventually, though, the party made it to the last level of the dungeon, where they found a few different things. Firstly, Gomez was killed when a doorway exploded on him, but the gods resurrected him as he died about 10 feet from 25 temples, each dedicated to one of the 25 gods he was working for. The temples themselves restored the party to full health and even supplied them with a few healing potions for good measure, and so they headed off to face their nemeses. Also at this point, arkh-Shamier'yv decided it was time to claim his body back for a time, displacing Tal into Jimmy's body and thus leaving Jimmy to wander Limbo until they were done fighting
- The final conflict was a little unusual. Firstly, the group had to drop down into a vast chamber where the enemy were waiting, trying to break the seal. Sadly, the party brought themselves to the enemy's attention before attacking them, thus allowing Inisrya to perform the last part of her seal-breaking ritual - slitting open the young elf girl they had kidnapped. Her blood spilled through the bath-sieve and all over the seal, weakening the stone and reducing it to mousse. Quistin had prepared the final fight, too, and briefed everyone on what to expect, setting up his people to best weaken and demoralise the group before he, Corman and Inisrya had to fight them.
- Gomez was first through the hatch in the ceiling, and as he arrived Quistin levelled a lightning bolt at the little green guy, while Benedict (the purple-haired guy in the group) peppered the rest of the group with crossbow bolts as they arrived. Louis ran down to engage him while Gomez raced towards Quistin with his blaster pistol out. arkh-Shamier'yv swooped over Quistin's carefully prepared defence to attack the rear guard, while Tabitha/Salinah took on one of Corman's dogs. Jason headed for the mage, Neil, who was holding Inisrya's child and Tal took on the other dog. Izzabella and Barnabus ended up providing magical support for the combatants in general after Izzabella tried to blast Inisrya to oblivion with a huge quantity of spellfire, only to have it bounce off the daemon's magic resistance.
- The upshot of the fight was simple: although Quistin managed to hit Gomez with a second lightning bolt, the little green guy vaporised the mage's chest in one shot from the gun, before turning on Corman, who had possession of his father's magical quarterstaff. Louis despatched Benedict after a tough fight, and also laid into Corman, quickly joined by Tal. Tabitha spent a ludicrous amount of time killing the guards, but when she finished she joined everyone else fighting Corman. Jason remained dedicated to taking out Neil through inaction - i.e. by arguing with him about giving up the baby, which he was very unwilling to do. Jason ended up killing him, and the baby died when plummeting from his dead arms head-first onto the concrete. Even Izzabella and Barnabus joined the Corman fight, and ultimately arkh-Shamier'yv, who had moved on to fight Inisrya but got drawn into the Corman fight when Inisrya went to help her bodyguard.
- The fight against Corman was quite an interesting one. For a start, Gomez and Corman were fighting for the possession of Gomez's father's staff, although when Louis joined in, he changed the goal to that of vengeance for his father's death. Inisrya had charmed Gomez, so when Louis told everyone to leave him and Corman to fight it out alone, they did but that was when Inisrya decided to help Corman, so Gomez was able to do little although everyone else was happy to much into the scrum. The fight went on for some time, with little damage being done to Inisrya, and with Corman constantly healing himself after each round of blows. Eventually, though, he managed to kill Louis, which took the stomach out of some of the fighting, and when he managed to put a sword to Jason's throat the fighting promptly ceased.
- There was a break while the remaining party members left to get healed, Izzabella stocked up on Spellfire and Corman and Inisrya patched themselves up. Then the fighting started again. This time everyone got involved in daemon-chopping. With renewed vigour they attacked Inisrya, who had a tendency to immolate every now and again, and heal herself. However, the group were not to be deterred and eventually they managed to kill her, severing her head from her shoulders for good measure. Corman, though, managed to survive by surrendering when the daemon went down. The party were very happy to strip him of his weapons and take him prisoner, although later on they began to wonder about the wisdom of their decision.
- They went beneath the seal to see what was there, and found a very insane and schizophrenic elf called Seren, who was the Guardian of this seal, much as Beltar had been the guardian of the previous one. However, the long years without companionship had driven Seren to create alter egos for himself: there was him, Seren, an architect and designer of the dungeon complex above (he had managed this through an artefact of some kind). The second personality was a young woman called Areya, and the third was an adventuring warrior called Parel. Seren wasn't as useful as they had hoped he might be, and they left him behind.
- They left the dungeon successfully to find that both the Landship and Airship had gone, so they reclaimed their stuff and got back on the magic carpet. arkh-Shamier'yv departed his body again, and Jimmy returned. Gomez shouted up at the gods for a while, but got no response and Tabitha/Salinah headed south towards her homeland to report back to her Order.
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- Unfortunately for the party, Corman turned out to be the perfect prisoner, never causing any trouble, being friendly with his captors and even offering helpful advice when necessary. They all began to kind of like him because he was such a reasonable chap, much to the annoyance of Louis' ghost. Back in Vortis City Jason started to arrange his wedding to Lord Stoltz's daughter Mai, while Gomez was reunited with Peace and everyone got to see Zane again. Peace told Gomez that she was pregnant, so they decided to get married, while Jimmy headed off back to his temple.
- Everyone wanted to settle down a little, and Gomez, Barnabus, Tal and Zane had plans to establish some sort of Adventurer's Academy in the area. Unfortunately, there was a small run-in with the Thieves' Guild, where a young thief called Otto helped the party thwart a major robbery by the Guild, but put his neck in the noose to do so. As a result the party and Otto fled the city, leaving Jason and Jimmy behind, and headed for a town to the north called Dervish, where they hoped to settle. On the way they buried Louis (whom they had been hauling around with them all this time) and encountered the god Mervis, who thanked them for their help and offered to endorse the Academy if it was any good.
- Dervish saw a lot of change for the group. Gomez and Peace settled down to get married and have their child, buying a house in the town for everyone to live in. Zane started to build a temple, arkh-Shamier'yv reclaimed his body and forced Tal into the body of a 15-year-old girl called Belinda, Corman was allowed to go free, Otto vanished into the streets of the town to be occasionally seen around while Barnabus and Izzabella tried to find somewhere to settle themselves. However, this was not the end of adventuring, as the group were soon accosted by a paladin of Death called Aeren, whose ability to see souls drew him to the group when he realised that Tal had the wrong body and Izzabella/Barnabus had too many souls. He came with a Downs Syndrome elf girl called Arienne, almost like a package and within a day or two of arriving strange things were afoot when an elf suddenly dropped out of a sky-based Sliders(TM)-style portal into the main square. This was Ethan, a wild mage from the Forgotten Realms who was plane-hopping in the hope of getting home some day.
- This new adventuring party: Ethan, Aeren, Arienne, Tal, Zane and Izzabarnabellabus, was hired by the local lord to destroy a cult called the Faceless Ones. This was very difficult, and it turned out that the Faceless Ones held Izzabella as a central figure in their beliefs. Anyway, it took two attempts to fully destroy the cult, but they managed, and then the lord asked them to head north to destroy a red dragon.
- The journey was easy, and they even found the ranger they had been advised to seek. Unfortunately, they were duped by said ranger into eating poisoned food and when they awoke they were naked and without equipment. It turns out that there were a group in the area, led by a dark elf, trying to activate a crystal that would transport them across the Galaxy. This crystal was 60' in diameter and was charged by stealing the souls of those that touched it. Most of the time this would kill them, but sometimes it would turn them into Undead. The party's souls were supposed to contribute to this, but they managed to avert that fate, get armed and armoured and wander around the mines where the crystal was. Unfortunately, they couldn't stop the crystal when is discharged and transported them to another planet, far across the known universe.
- Arienne was killed fighting in the mines, but otherwise the group escaped safely, only to find themselves on a backwater planet with significantly advanced technology. A kender called Salam attached himself to the group at this point, explaining what was going on, although a couple of them had a grasp of the concept of other planets and even spaceships.
- They had to break out of jail the only pilot 'crazy enough' to even try to take them home, then help him to steal a powerful energy source so they could warp across space. However, even after all the trouble they went to to get all this, when they were approaching home (a planet called Gian IV) a Dark Eldar ship overtook them, capturing their ship. The Dark Eldar used them as entertainment, making them fight in an arena until they fell apart, at which point they would be bionically reconstructed. Ethan died in the arena when he thought his end was near, he fuelled himself up with magic and detonated, destroying much of the arena and even killing a few Dark Eldar. The rest of the party survived and ended up escaping from their cells, freeing many of the other slaves there. The most important person they found, though, was an Eldar Striking Scorpion who told them that if they freed him, they would be rumbled right away, but if the group could get to the communications room and send a message to the Eldar (via the psycher the group had with them) then they would be rescued very soon. Meanwhile, this Striking Scorpion could cause a distraction so they would meet less resistance on the way. Well, the party agreed, and made their way to the comm room with the aid of maps, where they fought hard to hold their position while Galahad the psycher sent the message. It was a long wait and the party were fairly certain to die but then the reinforcements arrived and escorted them off the ship, returning them to Gian IV and safety...
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Campaign 2: [Part I] [Part II] [Part III] [Part IV]