Get Me to the Temple on Time

Our Story Thus Far

Four intrepid heroes answered the call to glory in a prosperous mining town newly carved from the riverbank of the Kronflow, nestled between the Iron Wood and the Kron Hills. Called Karville after its founder, Kara, the adopted niece of the Arch-cleric of Veluna, the little town has rose greatly in prominence in His Eminence’s eyes due to a recent jackpot strike of opals which will fund his armies in the coming wars with Iuz and the Scarlet Brotherhood.

Kara herself has vanished recently along with her consort, Neville Giantshoes, under mysterious circumstances. Pelor’s clerical hierarchy, ever wary of their Rao-worshipping allies, have dispatched Ariana Zabell, a newly-frocked priestess of their order, to make discreet inquiries in the matter of Kara’s disappearance. To assist her, they have obtained the services of a recent graduate of the war-blade academy, a doughty warrior and one of the Lord of Stonefist’s innumerable brood Damen Stone, who has fled the family game of cutthroat ascension politics for the relatively safe life of adventurer and sword for hire. They also located a ‘clever’ sort of fellow to act as a scout and advisor, Larant (a kineticist) and have a local resident of Karville, a ranger-in-training named Mara, awaiting the trio to act as local guide.

Ariana did not get far with her investigation upon arrival in Karville, but did learn of bandit predation threatening to cut the town off from trade, and decided, along with her stalwart companions, to take the fight to the bandits. (That this might open some otherwise tight local lips about Kara and Neville did not escape the group’s understanding.)

The group tracked the bandits into the northern Iron Wood, where they eventually found a ruined moathouse. Along the way they had several run-ins with bandits and proved resourceful and cunning warriors, the war-blade Damon earning the sobriquet ‘Demon’ from the bandits, after a few escaped to spread rumor of their might to all who would listen. Included in the might were general descriptions, and Lareth arranged an ambush or two for them, to no avail, although there were some close calls.

Upon reaching the moathouse, the group plunged in and eventually emerged victorious, though not unscathed. During a pitched battle with some gnolls, a giant crawdad heard the noise and mistook Larant for food, alas, he did not survive its attentions, though he was avenged. A rake name Tyler has replaced him since then.

Lareth and his band had fled the moathouse and set up a ring fort in the wilderness, and sent more ambushers, who after being defeated, were back-tracked to the ring fort. A pitched battle was going badly for the party as Lareth’s new allies, wererats, were operating relatively unhampered under Deeper Darkness and Silence, using their Scent ability to find their foes. Tragedy was averted when Tyler enraged Lareth into dropping the darkness spell by hitting him in the face and spoiling his looks.

The group returned to Karville in triumph, and learned the truth of Kara and Neville’s disappearances, which turned out not to be sinister, and discreetly passed word along to her superiors. That mission accomplished, they decided to set forth to West Karville and investigate rumors of the resurgence of the ToEE.

There, they rapidly realized they were in a town of murderous cutthroats, and had failed badly to blend in. As an angry mob formed up, Otis spirited them to hiding, and Mother Schreng used a Miracle scroll to disguise them, seeing them as potentially useful. Damen was transformed into a minotaur (Rog), Ariana to a half-fire elemental (Nariel), Mara to a drow (Sharrara), and Tyler to a bugbear (Hroggath). To further complete the disguise, ‘Nariel’ was loaned out by Pelor to the Flame King, giving her a neutral aura.

Using their new forms to ‘blend in’, the group used a combination of intimidation and guile to gain an audience with Romag via Wat and Rensch. They wound up ‘taking orders from’ Romag and went looking for Alrem, but wound up killing Belsornig first, then Alrem. The Water Temple they utterly destroyed, Nariel channeling the power of Holy Fire to destroy Unholy Water.

Although they killed all of the Fire Temple’s humans, they dilly-dallied too long and someone beat them to the fire pit and its contents. They learned that that was Kelno, the prelate of Evil Air, who bartered the Frost Brand to Skorp in exchange for his services. Although he nearly killed Nariel with one blow of that mighty blade, Hroggath and Rog cut him down before he got a second swing, and Kelno fled the temple, never to return.

From there, they foraged north on the second level, and ran afoul of the Greater Temple’s bugbears, and the assassin Smigmal, who killed their pet hydra as it was preventing her from sneaking up on the group. Enraged, the party pursued her, and foiled her attempt to ambush them, and left her naked carcass in the grand hallway as a warning to others, her faced smashed in by Nariel’s mace.

That much accomplished, the group decided not to leave a living foe above them, and returned to the first level to kill Romag. There, they found him feeling the tender mercies of Hedrack, who, alerted of the destruction of Water and Fire, learned of Romag’s highly successful recruitment of the party and came in force to punish Romag and lay an ambush for his new allies when they came seeking payment. As luck would have it, he was right on time, and the party was taken captive and sacrificed to the Water Node by tossing them into the pool naked, after Senshock used a Wish scroll to undo Mother Schreng’s Miracle.

Arriving bound in the Water Temple, the party swam to one of the many fingers of rock surrounding them and used the coral on it to sever their bonds. They never spared Romag a second glance, and his silent watery grave went unmarked, except by the crabs and fish. Setting out to the east, the group came upon some merrows and overpowered them, gaining some crude spears and control of a small wooded isle with a fire to drive back the poisonous mist. Mara used her Crafting skills to make some useful items, and the group bartered some of the merrow’s loot to a passing sea hag for some potions after successful negotiations.

Comments

The group, now somewhat armed (merrow spears and stone knives, no less), set out from their little island and swam smack into a dragon turtle. Mara used a fluff from her tan Bag of Tricks (from the frost giant they’d killed earlier) to create a battle companion, which the turtle promptly ate. Finding the tidbit entirely unsatisfying, it asked what else they had, and Mara reluctantly gave up the sturgeon the merrow had smoked just before dying. Happy with that, the turtle offered to loan them some steel weapons and a ride if they would only kill ‘those pesky frost giants’ for it (frost giants, it turns out, just lurves them some Baby Dragon Turtle Soup).

A couple of pitched battles later, Tyler was nearly slain by steam breath, and the turtle allowed the group to keep the armor and two swords it had loaned them as compensation for a poorly-aimed breath weapon, and departed. In the giants’ hoard was a Wand of Identify, among other things. Most of the giants’ treasure was picked through and drooled over, and the group was considering using the hoard of coin to buy more potions from the hags (as well as the giants’ carcasses (potion ingredients)) when Mara scooped up the gems, including the Gem of Earth, and all were teleported to the Earth node, leaving a considerable fortune behind. In the earth node, the group cleared a side chamber of some thoqqua. Heading north, they ran into a bodak and defeated it with some difficulty, but no deaths thanks to averting gazes. Ariana’s and Mara’s lore saved them again, as most of their weapons were useless, not being cold iron, until Mara’s weaponsmithing allowed her to remember/recognize the meat cleavers found in the frost giants’ pouches were cold iron.

Our Story Thus Far
 

The group turned south, perhaps daunted by the thought of more bodaks. A strange glow emanating from a side chamber proved a mystery until Ariana made use of some divination and her own knowlegde of the planes, things arcane, and suchthelike. Her startled gasp alerted the others that it was more than a ‘pretty glowing rock’, and as she was about to explain, a black dragon slithered up, alerting them with its scraping approach. Brash and overconfident, the adult wyrm proved no match for the party, pinioned as it was and only able to bite or breathe. Mara wasted no time skinning it, and a pair of destrachans that came north smelling food. Their hides joined the dragon’s on racks over a smoky fire of dried bones in the destrachans’ lair, with the vile stench of improvised tanning fluid driving the group back to the pretty glowing rock. Dragon teeth, bones, and strips of hide, along with sinews for bowstrings, rapidly expanded the party’s arsenal, as they camped behind the dragon’s carcass for nearly a week while Ariana studied the elemental earth manifestation each day, gaining more and more insight into its nature.

Crafting (a lot of crazy-high rolls, nothing less than an 18 on the die IIRC) produced dragonhide for Ariana, destrachan leather for Tyler and Mara, a dragonbone bow for Mara, a dragontooth spear for Damon, 4 belts of dragonhide, and a dragonscale amulet.

And Ariana, with help from Mara, tapped into the vast power of the elemental manifestation that had been concentrating and storing the power of the Elemental Plane of Earth for nigh-sixty years, channeling it through her and into the gear crafted from creatures aligned to Earth (destrachans) and Paraelemental Ooze (Earth/Water) (the black dragon).

There was a blinding flash of light…

Our Story Thus Far
 

A shared vision…

As Ariana began doing, well, whatever the hell she was doing, to the glowing manifestation of energy she said was going to make your newly-crafted items…“shiny”, you all felt rumbles as small aftershocks touched off throughout the area. Pebbles, and sometimes larger rocks, rain down. The glow intensifies, and she and Mara gasp, and there is an explosion of light…

…and you are somewhat unsettled to realize you are not yourself. You seem to be looking out the eyes of some other creature. The vision is not normal, and all but Ariana recognize it as darkvision in a moment. The vantage point is that of someone- or something- you amend, as you see an arm that seems to be part of whatever creature you are seeing through the eyes of reach out and weave magical energy. The arm is a sickly greyish-green, and utterly inhuman, and the hand’s tendril-like fingers grasps what appears to be a golden skull set with four gems (Mara immediately recognises one as the carnelian that is the Earth Gem). All around you are various animate things that normally aren’t: violet fungi, ascomids, yellow mold, shambling mounds, all sorts of plant and fungal monstrosities.

This must be Zuggtmoy’s memory you are reliving! You recognize the place also; it is the smallish chamber where you are standing, but many years ago, you realize. The Demoness Queen of Fungi’s thoughts roll unbidden through your mind…

“Just as I had hoped!! While that fool Iuz builds a power base among the useless mortals, these nodes, my glorious contribution to the Temple, will gather and concentrate the awesome might of the Elemental Planes. Once it has collected long enough, I shall bring Yellowskull (which you immedietely realize is the golden skull she carries in this vision) to each one and use the power to make myself A GOD!!!”

Her burbling laughter erupts and shakes the chamber, and the memory/vision fades as the blindness Ariana’s invocation caused leaves you.

Our Story Thus Far
 

As the party fell upon their glittering new prizes, they had some surprises. All three weapons and Earthen Embrace turned out to be intelligent, and the weapons insisted on testing their would-be wielders, and made certain first that they had no ‘competition’ in their supplicants’ inventories. Mara’s old bow is now slung on Tyler’s back, along with the inferior arrows it fires, and she now carries his enchanted longsword, the cleaver insisting that he carry one of its unenchanted ‘brothers’ in his off-hand. All were made to understand that their new weapons would see what they could do on their own before imparting their power to their strikes. Arianna’s will proved greater than Earthen Embrace’s, and she whistled softly as it revealed its powers to her.

(to be completed)

A last effect of the release of the manifestation’s power was the disintegration of the remnants of the dragon, and with the way thus clear, the Fatal Foursome sauntered forth in search of battle.

Our Story Thus Far
 

Deciding to stick with the south, the group circled clockwise, and ran into the lair and mate of the black dragon that provided much of their new gear. Enraged, it attacked on sight, and was defeated with alarming speed. Amongst its horde was the gem allowing travel to the Fire node, and after a brief discussion, the group holed up for a few hours to allow Mara to craft more arrows. Many battles later, the group teleported to the fire node, and Arianna used her Staff of Divination obtained in the Water node to pinpoint the location of the fire manifestation.

The group arrived there after slaying yet another bodak (kill count three) to arrive in the nick of time to save the life and gain the service of one Martin Ichorthane, wizard at large. Interviewing him, they informed him of the power in the node. After a brief study, he theorized he could concoct a potion to stave off the deleterious side-effects of channeling the manifestation given components likely to be found in creatures within a given node. When they mentioned using the power to craft items to aid their quest, he allotted that he was a gem and jewel crafter and enchanter of wondrous items, and lamented his lack of tools and acid.

Tyler showed him his lock picks and the party mentioned a fresh black dragon carcass, and like that, the Earth gem was pulled out and the party returned to the lair of the second dead black to harvest it. Another three days in the destrachan’s lair gave Arianna time to heal the young mage, him time to craft eleven jewels, Mara time to tan another black dragonhide and craft many arrows, and Tyler and Damon time to sleep, scratch themselves, and belch contentedly on Mara’s steadily improving black dragon porterhouse sans jus. The group’s insane luck on Crafting rolls continued as well.

Our Story Thus Far
HedronIchorthane HedronIchorthane

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.