Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Ivory Scimitars: 12th of Mirtul, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning.

Prompted by Lady Bron of Iriaebor, The Ivory Scimitars Adventuring Company set forth to southern bound Eastings to investigate rumors of a Abyssal Plague spreading rapidly in the region. Upon arriving in Eastings, all was quiet ... too quiet for the crossroads of the Cormyrian Trading Route. The streets were deserted and the smouldering remains of a building along the main street was the only grim activity.

At the Church of Chauntea, voices were heard and investigated. Father Evendur and a Purple Dragon Knight, Sir Arvine, were arguing about how best to handle the growing plague that had inflicted their small town. Sir Arvine held the opinion that those afflicted with the disease should be put to death to best contain the sickness, even though she showed obvious symptoms of the plague. Father Evendur  stubbornly rejected this notion, claiming that not all of the sick transformed into daemons. Many of the ill were housed in a stable adjacent to the church, and the Scimitars suggested to examine the poor folk before either course of action was taken.

Upon entering the stables, the foul stench of sweat and sulphur pierced the air. The Scimitars were set upon by those sick who'd transformed into Abyssal creatures. The skirmish was swift and the daemons were dispatched. the sick were examined by Morn, who concluded that the disease was only contactable through a daemon's bite, and true to Father Evendur's notion, not all those stricken with the disease would transform, though it was impossible to determine which ones would.

After searching the stables thoroughly, the dwarf Jakairn Sabrak was found in hiding. After a intimidating interrogation was done of the dwarf, it was found the he was responsible for tainting the well of Easting with a poisonous potion that was given to him by his eldest brother, Zarnak - A high priest of a cult of That which Lurks, located about a days travel to the south. The dwarf was left in the custody of the church and the Ivroy Scimitars headed south in search of this cult and the origins of this demonic disease.

 At the River Chionthar, the Adventuring Company was ambushed by Clan Sabrak dwarves utilizing two Earth Elementals. Roldrick commanded the usage of a shield wall to best defend against the Elemental thralls and the day was won against the dwarven assailants. The dwarves all bore a symbol of Ghaunadaur, a stylized eye with a left handed spiral where the pupil should be.

Into the fields between the Green Fields and The Troll Mountains, commonly called The Badlands by most travellers, The Party encountered an odd hermit - a Galeb Dhur, who after some confusion upon which language to best use to communicate with, reviled that a companion of his, a ranger called Malgrym had been captured by Mad Dwarves to the south that worshipped even Madder Gods. He also warned the Scimitars that he'd seen Drow Elves in the region, their vile business their own.

The warning was well taken, but the group found themselves ambushed by the Drow some hours later at twilight. Giant Spiders leaped upon the group like so many flies in a web. The Drow attacked only after engulfing the Party in darkness spells and then fired hand crossbows into the blinded group. Manjores attempted to turn the Fallen Fey, as such was the nature of his Paladinship. This only served to anger the dark elves and open himself up as a specific target of their cruelty. The battle went harshly for the Scimitars, but ultimately the Drow were pushed to parley after the Water-bending Oki trapped the one of attackers in frozen ice.

The Drow Priestess, a young dark elf by the name of Chalindra, offered up the exact location of Clan Sabrak's forsaken temple. She knew much about the surrounding area, having been scouting it for potential raids against Cormyrian caravans. She described the twisting spires about the temple grounds, clawing into the dark like some fell beast trying to snare Selune from her nightly march across the sky. As it turned out, the Drow Priestess was only buying time for her companion to free himself of the ice and once he'd done so, the once again enshrouded the Party in darkness to make their escape.

Arriving at the twisted spires, the Ivory Scimitars were then set upon by an Elemental trap - the doors to the temple were guarded by Elementals of Air and Mud. Defeating these guardians, the Party descended into the temple.

The Dwarves were ready for the Ivory Scimitars and a three pronged assault on their numbers destroyed their shield wall and scattered the group - Roldrick called for skirmishing tactics. Zabrak, the High Priest of the Temple laughed at their confusion and delay from behind a downed portcullis and strolled safely away from the combat.

After some exploring, the Party made it to a large hall ... the very shrine of That which Lurks. Here, More clansmen and Norkers were fought, whittling our heroes health away axe bit by bite. tentacles reached for the Scimitars from two open pools in the chamber while Bolters fired quarrels into the Party with devilish accuracy. Bloodied and weary, the Ivory Scimitars prevailed.

It was discovered that the Altar to Ghaunadaur was built on a pivot, but upon moving it, the Altar began oozing a blue slime which rapidly grew into a horror that attacked the non-believers. The cold beast injured several Scimitars into unconsciousness before it was dispatched, leaving a spiralling stairwell that descended into the darkness below the Great Shrine.

The party tread downward into the inky gulf of darkness, scarcely illuminated by Roldrick's Everlasting Torch. They found themselves in a room with four exit-ways, each one hallmarked by elemental symbols, though perverted and twisted. The wizard Morn deciphered the symbols as being meshed with that of That Which Lurks on a fundamental level ... that perhaps the madness of the dwarves might be more related to Elemental Evil rather than Ghaunadaur.

Morn suggested the explore the Path of Air. As they tread the winding tunnel before them, each member of the Ivory Scimitars began to feel more and more as if the were free-falling ... so much so that the feeling became a crude reality as winds swept them up into a vortex. The chamber was spherical in nature and around and around the spun in the chaos that was the whirlwind. Korrick managed to get a hand-hold on the wall of the chamber and fought against hurricane force winds to make it to the landing on the opposite side. Malark and Darkedge flung ropes into the winds, hoping that Korrick could catch the and pull them in. After some struggling, Korrick managed to pull most of the party to the ledge, and then the chamber began to crumble ... Stefon the Bard was swept up into the unknown.

The inverted pyramid shaped Temple of the Eye greeted the Ivory Scimitars with the roar of Daemonkind. Venomous teeth and filthy claws raked the Party as the sickening smell of old sweat and sulphur assailed their senses. Ultimately the Scimitars prevailed and soon explored an Onyx Obelisk at the lowest tier of the chamber. It was featureless smooth stone, cool to the touch. But upon that touch, powerful magics were released in the form of a violet glowing doorway.

Roldrick felt a twinge of homesickness for his lost Greyhawk, having fell through these Planar Gates before. Morn tied a rope around himself and entered the portal, but the rope severed after he passed through it. Malark bounded through the portal without so much a second thought; as did the tiefling, Akira. Roldrick also took a leap of faith, but Grissom did not feel so hasty. Nor did Darkedge or Korrick. The now divided Scimitars stood in the lavender glow of the portal until it's magic ran out and became Onyx Stone once more.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

To End a Cult - Part 2

The whereabouts of Malark and Korrick were not long hidden, as they marched down the hallway to the inner chambers with a dozen trident armed Lizardmen soldiers in tow. Somehow they'd been mind controlled to lead the vile reptiles in what would be a last ditch attempt to destroy the Ivory Scimitars. But the adventuring company was ready - Ramne, with his magic, lulled Malark to sleep while the rest of the group gave wide berth to the Goliath Barbarian, hoping he would come to his senses.

The battle was short and Lizardmen fell one by one at the beckon of spells and swords. The gamble on Korrick snapping out of the mind control paid off, but the party wondered if the sleeping Malark would also be free of the charm.

Their musings would be forgotten in an instant as something large and serpentine slithered into the Hall of Worship. It raised itself to a full nine feet tall as it coiled around the altar, its base of power.

"Fools ..." it hissed, its golden eyes on fire. "You may have slain my devoted, but I am eternal!"  The great Naga cast a devastating spell of firey death that exploded from the ceiling down ...

It was at this moment Roldrick thought he wished for more money for potions before they set out on this mission. But wait - No - The Wish!

Roldrick wished that the Naga was dead.

Without knowing, Roldrick had accidentally cyphered the only means of permanently slaying the Spirit Naga. The reptilian beast fell dead before his feet, and so ended the Cult of the Reptile God.

The Ivory Scimitars gathered up what treasure they could carry - including their original items that had been taken from them when they were prisoners of the Cult. The journey back to Kelton was leisurely, the group enjoying a slower pace through the grasslands, and eventually the farmlands, of the Borderlands. They returned to Aldenmier Manor, where they'd earned a long rest.

News spread quickly about town about the destruction of the Reptile Cult, and just as quickly throughout the region. The news had reached Lady Bron of Iriaebor, who was looking for just such a group of heroes to investigate a deep concern of hers ...