Wrath of the Righteous

Lost in the Rift
Our Heroes Below Kenabres

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It is the 16th of Arodus 4713, an auspicious occasion for the city of Kenabres. The holy day of Armasse is typically a day of festival, of instruction, and to heighten our low spirits as much as one can when living in the constant struggle against the demons of the Worldwound. Today however it is a terrible blow as right at the start of the opening ceremonies, the Kite behind us explodes in a bright light and almost immediately we are set upon by the Storm Lord himself. It is chaos, it is destruction. A massive demon crawls its way through a portal, creating a large rift in the center of the plaza taking many with it including the crusaders. The Storm Lord, locked in battle with the Silver Dragon Terendelev, come crashing down into the plaza. At the last possible moment Terendelev uses her magic to cast feather fall on us. We witness her beheading just as the rift closes over us, plunging the group into darkness.

As we hit bottom and take time to assess our situation, four crusaders find themselves with three other survivors. The rest are beyond our help. The first of the three, Aravashnial, was blinded by the Storm Lord’s lash, but is otherwise a wizard of some repute. The second is a rogue woman, Anevia, distracted by thoughts of her Paladin wife Irabeth up above in the thick of the danger. The third is a nobleman, Horgus Gwerm, known for his crass and difficult to work with attitude. The seven begin their slow progress through the caverns and passages, desperately searching for a way back to the surface. We continue for some time, encountering some dangerous denizens. The most notable feature was a small stone temple to Torag, complete with the head priest turned Huecuva. Past this, we finally notice a slight incline in our passage, raising our hopes that we are nearing a potential exit. We make a run-in with a crazy dwarf who couldn’t be talked down before resting.

During our rest, Beatrix talks up Anevia, hoping to ease her fears for her partner. Anevia tells her of how they met and fell in love, but still seems to be reticent to talk about something regarding Irabeth or their relationship. Horgus Gwerm, once he is rested, begins to complain endlessly of our extended stay in this filthy area. Aravashnial is depressed every time he remembers he cannot see, and that he will need a powerful regenerative magic to make himself whole again.

Making their way onward, there is a steep incline up into another cavern, where they find a pair of mongrelmen trying desperately to free one of their friends from under a collapsed watchtower. Finding them neither Chaotic nor Evil, we assist them in their efforts and they agree to take us to their chieftain. If they can assist us in making our way back to the surface, more the better. With the rift activity, their normal tunnels are damaged so they take us through an area with a plant creature, but when we encounter it, it has been killed by two crusaders, who also died in the attempt. The crusaders look to be of Iomedae, but carried the wrong weapons. A thorough search reveals an unholy symbol of Baphomet. This reveals them to be Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth! A very disturbing turn of events.

We meet with the chieftain of the mongrelman tribe, and he is quite pleasant despite his outward appearance. We bring him the unfortunate news that his son likely died, but he is still grateful. He also tells us that they are descendents of the First Crusade, warped by the abyssal magicks of the opening of the Worldwound. Upon hearing that demons are attacking the city, they ask us to help defeat an evil group of mongrelmen who have been cavorting with the Templars of Baphomet. Once they are taken care of, they’ll also have had the time to gather their warriors for a trek to the surface.

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The Light at the End of the Tunnel
Return to the City Above

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We are in the village and resting up before we leave to help the chief rid the tunnel of the bad tribe. We rested our 8 hours and then we are off. The bad tribe is between us and the surface. Chief Saul knows that this tunnel was the shortest way to the surface. I am still fuming over the comments from the fat noble Horgus. It is a good thing I was able to spend some time praying to Iomedae. His lordship haggles to buy a rapier from the villagers. The wizard Aravashnial decides to stay in the village since he is blind. He does give us a wand of extra health before we leave.

We start up the tunnel. It quickly narrows to about five feet wide. I comment how we should spread one of our flasks of oil on his lordship to help him squeeze his fat body through the tunnel.

We come around a corner and BA detects chaos while I detect evil. I rush the guys and squeeze though an opening in their barricade. They swing wildly at me and miss. I can dance all day. BA and I flank one guy and I hack him down. I did see one guy with a monitor lizard in the other room and we all hear distant yelling. A bad guy comes up to the door and hits me hard with a club. BA floats down behind one and flanks with me. He swings wildly at her and she hits him hard. The lizard attacks me and bites my leg and the damn thing holds on. We control the doorway and we are pounding on anything that comes through. Wow. His lordship actually sticks the lizard with his new rapier and blood gushes forth from the wound. I finish the off lizard. A mongrel man steps through the door and clubs his lordship. Two cultist females are moving to us from inside the other room. We dispatch the mongrel men and BA steps through into the next room. She cleaves the two cultists. I step forward and disarm one of them. After that we make short work of the remaining enemies. We gather up the loot.

We start searching the rooms. There is a room with an amoeba to get rid of their garbage. Another tunnel goes to a water source. There is a way up and we hear voices. It is a guard asking if everything is OK. I talk to him and he goes away. We will have to deal with him. We decide to try the rope ladder that goes down first. Jay goes down to check things out. I start to follow but Jay sees more enemies and scampers back up. So BA goes down and I follow. I see two mongrel men, two tieflings step from the back and there is another cultist with a glaive. Crap. Another big fight. I had hoped we were done with this village.

We dispatch the mongrel men with ease. The tieflings are no real problem. The cultist sets some spiritual weapon attacking BA. That dumb thing keeps damaging BA and with some other damage, BA almost dies. I manage to disarm the cultist and we finish her off. Everyone heals up and we loot the dead. There is a scroll with some plans for the evil ones. It mentions three locations. It even has the password to gain access to these places. It looks like we know where we need to go to help clean out the evil vermin. We continue into a big room.

In a side room, we find a locked box. BA is strangely drawn to it. I am excited to pick the lock but BA has a key she picked off the cultists’ body. There is a pouch of jewels, some scrolls and a longsword in a dark wood case. BA pulls the sword from its case and it is of superb quality. Bob seems to know something about the sword and Bob says it is some lost relic from the Church of Iomedae. When BA is holding it, the sword morphs into a large longsword and it glows bright. The sword does some sort of magic transformation to all our weapons and we all have one magic weapon now.

We climb the ladder and find the guard I was talking to. I ask him and his partner to surrender. They attack and we dispatch them. We continue up the tunnel and end up in a narrow passage. I choose the left passage and there is an argument based on tactics. While we yell at each other, three demons attack. I kill one. BA smashes one to a pulp with a massive blow. The remaining one casts some kind of a stink cloud on us and I start puking. I stumble back up the tunnel the way we had come in. BA says she chopped the third one in two also. The puking faded and we reorganized ourselves to move onward again. We end up in an old sewer tunnel. We assume we are close to the surface but we decide we should go back to the village to get our blind friend. We get back to the village. We all tell Chief Saul about our experiences. I explain that the other area would be a great place for an outpost.

We head back to the sewer. About 100 feet past the start of the sewer we find new sewer tunnels. Then we find ladders going up. We are back to the surface. It is night and there is smoke in the air.

There are still fires burning in the distance. We seem to have come up on the edge of the destruction. The blind elf wants us to take him to the librarium. We head there and find it in ruins. It looks like there was a fight here and that something attacked it specifically. We hear a scream and enter what is left of the building. We end up in a fight with a cavalier trying to attract a demonic patron. He got a wicked hit against BA but our team finished him off quick. There were librarians tied up in the middle of the floor. Jay receives a spell book as thanks for the rescue of them. It looks like a worm that walks was what attacked this place. The worm was likely a Blackfire Adept leader for this area.

No one here at the librarium can cure Aravashnial’s blindness and he decides to stay at the library to help them clean up. We head north. A woman is sobbing. We investigate and we find three people in armor about to execute the woman. We yell for them to stop. These fools believe killing the girl will save them from the demons. We convince the fools to let the virgin go. They leave and she tells us that demons took the body of our fallen silver dragon into the Worldwound. We also learn that a few of the crusader groups are still fighting such as the Eagle Watch and are holed up in the Defender’s Heart, a large inn north of us.

We get Horgus back to his manor. It looks OK but we find that his servants have looted everything they could and are gone. He pays us the agreed upon 2,000 gold for his rescue. He stays at his manor in his hidden vault.

We head to Anevia’s house. We kill a few cultists on the way. Anivia points out her house. Irabeth was not there but a fire beetle that looks fiendish. We kill it and a half orc caster appears. He is really tough and it is a long hard fight to beat him down. Anevia finds a note from Irabeth with the password to meet up with her and we decide to rest here before venturing to the Defender’s Heart.

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The Occupation
Meeting up with the surviving defenders of Kenabres

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Day 4 of the Occupation:

The city remains in chaos after the surprise demon attack. We have returned Aravashnial to the Librarium, and Horgus Gwerm to his ruined estate, as well as escorted Anevia Tirabade to her home. Anevia’s wife is not present, but has left behind a note indicating that she has gathered with the city’s remaining guardians at Defender’s Heart, a large Inn on the NE side of town.

We also have a letter from a Templar of the Ivory Labyrinth (Baphomet’s followers) to the head Templar indicating that three safe houses exist here in Kenabres for these bastards – The Tower of Estrod, Nyserian Manor, and Topaz Solutions. We could do worse that hit these places hard, and perhaps turn the tables a bit on our invaders. Never do what the enemy expects – words of wisdom that will keep you alive in the thick of battle.

We arrive at the Defender’s Heart, were we are quickly introduced to Irabeth – leader of the Eagle Watch and Anevia’s wife. We discover that the attack on Kenabres was not unique, as Nerosyan and other towns in Mendev were invaded at the same time, although not to the extent we have seen here. She also confirms that the Kite is gone and the Wardstone destroyed. Things seem dire indeed.

Defender’s heart houses around two hundred defenders, the remains of the Eagle Watch. it also appears that Quednis Orlun, the head librarian of Blackwing, also survived and is taking refuge here. He was at the Cathedral when the attack began, and being nearly fatally wounded, he was brought here for healing.

We find out that after the initial onslaught, most of the greater demons abandoned the assault quite early. The Storm King drug the body of our silver dragon protector back into the Worldwound when he left. That cannot be good.

We tell Irabeth of the First Descendants we encountered under the city, and she agrees to send some knights to make further contact. We also hear some more about Irabeth herself. She was the one who discovered the treachery of Staunton Vhane, whom appeared to be a model crusader, but had been working for the demons for decades. He may have been the one who betrayed Drezen from withing 75 years ago, leading to its demon occupation. Irabeth was knighted for her discovery of his treachery. He is still at large – could be be S.V. from the letter?

We next volunteer to investigate the safe houses of the Ivory Labyrinth Templars. We plan to use Defender’s Heart as a staging point, and strike our at each place, seeking both intelligence as well as striking fear in our enemies. We spend a day gathering a few supplies, as well as assessing the defenses, before setting out for the first safe house – The Tower of Estrod.

Estrod has seen better days. It looks like something smashed the top few floors off during the attack, and so only the lower levels remain. Using the password, we are able to gain access to the main floor, where we find three Templars waiting. They inform us that Faxon and two additional Templars wait below, and they join the fray as soon as the battle begins.

Although Faxon is a dark spellcaster, he is unable to stand up to the might of our holy warriors, and Iomedae’s champions win the day again. We then proceed downstairs to investigate the rest of the lair, finding a dark altar to Baphoment, as well as a chest of treasure obviously gathered from fallen Crusaders or looted from homes nearby. There is also a great deal of paperwork, documenting the cultists movements around the city, as well as describing the years of planning that went into the attack on Kenabres. Finally, there is a letter to Faxon from a Minigho, a lilitu demon responsible for the Red Morning Massacre, revealing the fact that the Wardstone may not in fact be destroyed but turned to some foul use by the demons. We need more intel!

Returning to the Defender’s Heart, we take our information to Irabeth straight away. She thanks and rewards us for our efforts, and says she will look into this further. Meanwhile, we head to the next safe house, Topaz Solutions, hoping for additional clues to the future plans of the Storm King and his demon hordes.

The front door of Topaz Solutions is hanging off of its hinges, but we hear noise from inside and attempt to sneak up on the occupants. Unfortunately our armored friend BA is hard to miss, and the men inside notice our approach. They appear to be common looters, and when we ask to examine their ill-begotten gains for clues, they attack us and we are forced to subdue them. We confiscate their goods as punishment, and warn them against their evil ways before leaving them to their fate.

The ground floor of Topaz Solutions is empty of anything interesting, but Anrui is able to locate a hidden door into a cellar area. This basement is obviously a cultist’s den, with dark symbols painted throughout the area. Although the place is empty, a trap has been left for any intruders, including a billowing cloud of poison and a mandragora. A fierce fight follows, but even this clever trap is not enough to stop us, and once the vapors dissipate and the creature is destroyed, we finish searching the room. Another chest greats us, with yet more taunting and a group of poisoned holy symbols. Whomever is in charge here, they are in for a complete and total ass kicking when we find them.

As we pass by the Heart on our way towards the last safe house, we encounter a few of the Eagle Watch who have scouted the area. It turns out that Nyserian Manor was the victim of some friendly fire, and nothing remains of the estate. War can be hell, especially when your allies are demons…

We return to the Heart to find that our allies wish to speak with us. The attack on Kenabres appears to be only the opening gambit in a greater assault. Vorlesh is on the way to Kenabres, and she hopes to take what remains of the Wardstone and use it against us. She will attack the troops guarding the border using Nahyndrian Crystal’s power to turn the Wardstone into a powerful weapon. Fortunately, our agents have discovered that the fractured remains of the Wardstone have been located in the garrison in Old Kenabres. The remaining troops will attack that section of the city, giving us the distraction we need to infiltrate the garrison and destroy the Wardstone’s connection to the defense grid. If the Wardstone can be severed, it will no longer be usable as a weapon and our troops will be safe from Vorlesh’s evil plan.

We must succeed!

Heading into Old Kenabres, we see that the walls are heavily patrolled by tieflings and cultists. The Eagle Watch and our allies, the First Descendants, attack along the walls at various locations to draw off the patrols and support troops, allowing us to sneak into the center of the city. The Gray Garrison, more museum than anything else, appears to be guarded by naked, rotund versions of Kandro Nyserian and Lord Holrun. Vermleck demons using the bodies as poor disguises, the creatures reveal themselves and we are forced to defend ourselves from their grotesque assault.

Once inside, our presence is obvious, and a large group of tiefling fighters, Abrikandilus demons, along with another tiefling alchemist, rush in to defend the building. Once they are all down, we check the bodies for anything useful before searching the rest of the level.

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The Shit is Bananas
The City Has Gone to Hell

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Let me start by saying that this demon invasion is just fucked up! I mean, they are slaying our folks in the streets, burning, raping and pillaging like a fat man in a candy store. A few people remain, barricaded behind doors or hiding from these Outsider fucks, but the city has definitely gone to hell in a very figurative sense.

Anyhow, we are sifting through the remains of Grey Garrison, a museum where we hope there might be a sliver of the Wardstone remaining. These demonic douche canoes are attempting to corrupt said Stone, likely doing something very shitty to the remaining Wardstones and possibly destroying our armies as they strive to defend the border. Obviously we need to stop that from happening, and so Jay and I follow our paladins through the lowest floor of the building, watching as they bring Sarenrae’s wrath to all the infidels and their demonic ass-hat allies. They don’t really stand a chance, and after liberating a hidden cache of weapons, as well as Irabeth’s father’s sword, we head upstairs.

The second floor is much of the same, as these foul fucktards have desecrated everything holy that they could find. We do find a befouled scrying basin, and when we clean out the entrails from inside (like, totally gross) we see a vision of the rooms above, where the Sliver is being held. It is guarded by some more demons and their human allies, as well as a fiendish minotaur assisting and guarding our approach. Looks like more fun for the paladins, and we check the rest of the floor before ascending towards our goal.

Upstairs, we find the minotaur guarding the door, but not for long, as our paladin partners match his meat in astoundingly quick fashion. Anevia opens the door to a shitload of cultists guarding their prize – the Sliver of Wardstone! Once Irabeth unleashes a blinding assault on our enemies, they quickly succumb to a whole lot of holes in their bodies. That’s when I run up and strike the Wardstone with the Rod of Cancellation, and BOOM BITCHES the thing explodes! It destroys all of the remaining bad guys, but seems to infuse us with its energy, meanwhile knocking out the entire Wardstone network – oops! Many demons are vaporized, which is cool, but now we may have a serious problem with our defense grid.

While we are struggling with this infusion of awesome (can you say sploosh – damn that feels good), Areelu Vorlesh appears and attempts to stomp on our dicks. The new power protects us from her magic, but the bitch summons a bunch more demons to finish us off. She survives our power’s counter stroke, as she was just a projected image, but we have to kill off her butt boys the old fashioned way. The new power makes that less trouble than one would think.

Now we have some serious damage control to worry about. Oh well. Mission accomplished? Time for booze and bitches, or boys, whatever you prefer.

After we emerge, the tide in the city has turned due to the Wardstone’s explosion. Queen Galifrey and her crusaders have returned to the city, and help clean out the remaining demons. She then recruits us to her cause, knighting us all and declaring the 5th Crusade as officially on. Sounds like there will be a lot of ass to kick in our near future.

Go team!

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Onward!
The Journey to Drezen

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After meeting our new allies, including a modest paladin army, we restock and begin our journey to the fallen city of Drezen. Our first day takes us through Valas’ Gift, which is a smouldering ruin. We find no survivors, but a few supplies. Prayers to Iomedae for the fallen, and to those who survived the strength to move on.

We continue north to Virileth Ford, the furthest northern crossing of the Sellen River. A small army of soldiers normally guard here, but it seems now replaced by a contingent of 200 tieflings. Our army of 100 paladins make our way to take the tieflings by surprise, and we thoroughly rout them with our smaller number. We rescue a few crusader survivors, and found a few more goods to supply our army. The survivors are able to tell us of a larger army through the canyons and we send them back to Kenabres to report to Queen Galfrey so she can send troops to reinforce the ford.

Our journey continues through the canyons toward a port that serves Drezen. One of our newer companions, Aron, seems out of sorts since the Ford, but does not wish to speak to me. I approach his lover, Sosiel, about it. It turns out Aron had found a substance placed in his pack mysteriously, but it is a substance he was once heavily addicted to and had taken a dose again. We all show him great sympathy and I secretly wonder where the drug came from. Who placed in his pack? Who is trying to hurt us from within our ranks?

We reach the port, and fight two armies: one of tieflings and one of Drech. The Drech fall pitifully to a Paladin army, and the tieflings hold out only a bit longer before succumbing to our might. After the cleanup and our preparations to move on, Irabeth approaches me about a paladin currently expressing hopelessness about our task ahead. His name is Arles, and it isn’t too hard to determine that his feelings of hopelessness are compounded by the fact that he has fallen out of favor with our goddess and been stripped of his paladin abilities. We talk for a time, and I convince him that we are on the Path that our Lady wishes us to be on, and that light and law will prevail in the coming days.

On my way back to my tent, the Army Commander who had escaped our reach appears to try to take his vengeance out on me. I pity the fool who tries to stab me in the back in the dark! The incubus, for all his demonic looks, should have scurried back home to his master instead of trying to face me in single combat. The battle is over quickly, and in the aftermath it seems Jay and the halfling Nurah had come from the same tent. Saribobbins seems very put out about this. May be another situation we need to diffuse soon. Relationships are so much harder with non-paladins about. Iomedae give me the strength of heart to endure them!

Our last stop before reaching Drezen proper is a small chapel/shrine tucked away just off the main road. Aron believes these were excellent spots to hide away caches of supplies, typically for healing, that could benefit us in our upcoming seige of Drezen keep. We decide to take a small contingent to investigate, including the fallen paladin Arles. Perhaps some mentoring will do him good. We begin our exploration and find ghouls and followers of demon lords. Unsurprising given it’s current neighbors, so we oblige with cleansing the area.

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Watch the Watch Towers
Bridge over troubled enemies

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We had handled the ghouls in the worship room. The one ghoul that got away ran into the next room. We decide to go look for him. There are two soldiers hanging in the kitchen. We decide to cut them down. We need to give them a proper burial. I throw open the door to the next room. Crap. It is a room with a big bad demon type and a bunch of ghouls. I thought we were chasing one ghoul. Silent Bob casts fly on me and I fly up to devil boy. I disarm his weapon and shield but he keeps hitting me. He knocks me out. When I wake up, all the bad guys are dead. I never did hit him but at least I disarmed him and he did not kill me. We find a strong box with some goodies. I hear that it was Babes who kicked big bad guys butt.

Jay hears a noise in the courtyard. As we start to move that way, a voice challenges us. There are two Nabasu. They are bigger and nastier looking than the one we just fought. BA says that she killed their kid. The one brags that the half breed we killed was not his kid. I attack one and Babes attacks the other. Silent Bob blinds the one that I attacked. I make short work of him and the one that BA is fighting also disappears. It turns out hers was a summoned guy. Good thing I didn’t need her help with the REAL guy.

We go up the Ahari gorge. There are swarms of Vescavor flying above the canyon. We sneak into a cave and kill the queen. There is an Abyssal Rift just beyond her. We speculate that is how the queen got here. A Vrock comes through the rift and we dispatch him. We stone shape the tunnel so that hopefully nothing else will come through the portal and we can figure out how to seal the rift.

We continue to travel up the gorge to the ruins of Drezen.

To the south is a large camp with Tieflings and cultists with a large amounts of captured gear.
In the Paradise Hill area are Schir demons and a prison for captured crusaders.
There are ghouls in the west area with some dark magic in the area. There is also some kind of vault.
There are beasts attached to the pillars of the bridge to the citadel that look like they can bring down the bridge if we attack with our army. We must take the citadel but we need to clear out the surrounding armies and the beasts first.

There are watch towers with catapults and Minotaur type beasts.

Jay thinks we should attack Paradise Hill first. We will free the captives and hopefully they can fight with us. We try a ranged attack but it does no damage to them. They are dug in too well. It turns into quite a battle but we are finally victorious. We rescue a large number of human fighters from the area.

Now we need the weapons from the south side. We rest up overnight and attack the Tiefling army in the morning. We wipe out Tiefling army and attack the cultist army. It is a hard fight and our army takes quite a bit of damage. We have to do some healing and then attack again. The cultist army is finally wiped out. The rescued mercenary army outfits itself with the captured weapons.

We rest up and attack the ghouls. We leave the human army behind. The paladin army wipes the ghouls out easily. Aaron thinks that we need to secure the bridge and destroy the watch towers before our main army attacks the citadel.

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Taking the Citadel
Strike Force Zed Attacks the Keep

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The city of Drezen has been taken. Our armies have waged a successful campaign, and the demon forces are extinguished. All that remains are the forces that have barricaded themselves in the keep.

After learning of the traitor in our midst, we alter our siege plans to account for the intel provided by Nurah. The armies, led by Irabeth, will attack the towers and keep the bulk of the demonic forces busy, while our a small strike force infiltrates the Citadel. Staunton should not see it coming, and tactically it makes better sense than a long, drawn out siege.

We decide to attack at dawn from the air, with the sun behind us to help mask our approach. However, the abyssal beasts have keen eyes, and notice as we grow near. As we reach the vicinity of the easternmost tower, a flock of nasties approach us from further west, half-fiend minotaurs and a vrock, led by a mythic chimera. It takes all we’ve got, but we put them down with our combat prowess and proceed to whence they emerged – the western guard tower.

A few fiendish minotaurs block our way, but they are dispatched swiftly. We fight our way to the center of the keep, and discover Staunton, along with his brother and a host of fiendish servants, awaiting our arrival. Bob attempts a new tactic by making BA huge, but the demons counter with a dispel magic and we are forced into our standard tactics. Fortunately they are enough, and the servants of Deskari die as they have lived – facing the forces of good.

After the keep is secure, we search the place for treasure, as well as clues to the followers of Deskari’s plans. We do find some journals written by Staunton and his brother, which confirms that he was the traitor responsible for the fall of Drezen. Apparently they travel about corrupting holy weapons with a device known as the Corruption Forge. However, the Sword of Valor banner was not among the items they were allowed to corrupt.

The journals also discuss a powerful shadow demon named Eustoyriax, who arrived a few weeks ago in the body of a possessed crusader named Morance. He had come from the Ivory Sanctum, a central stronghold for the Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth, led by Xanthir Vang. Even Staunton was disgusted by Vang, so he must be something quite repulsive.

Finally the journals discuss the experimental potions that Staunton imbibed to grant him additional powers. Other servants died from the potions, but he and a chimera both survived with greater increase in abilities. We are fortunate that the potions are not full effective.

There also appears to be a succubus prisoner named Aureshalae in the lower dungeons. Well, there was, until she escaped. Staunton hunted her relentlessly, fearing the wrath of Aponavicius for allowing her to get away, and hired an Anis Hag to hunt her down. Apparently the succubus is some sort of abyssal heretic.

The last thing of interest in the citadel is the armory. A large number of items are useful for outfitting our army, as well as a few items to outfit ourselves. We distribute this equipment appropriately, and prepare for our next mission.

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Dungeon Delving Douchebaggery
Time to Stick it to the Shadow

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After giving that dwarf and his brother a thorough rogering, the upper levels of the keep are ours! Unfortunately, there is an uber nasty shadow dude occupying the dungeons below. It could be inhabiting the body of a crusader. We head down there to kick ass and take names!

Just entering the lower levels gives us all the major wiggins. It is obvious that there are major evil assholes somewhere nearby, and their very presence weighs on our souls. Stupid, cock-biting, uber evil things!

On the first level, we find some nice cells make to hold magical creatures, as they stop magic from functioning. One of the cells appears to have been occupied by a follower of Desna, or at least an attempted convert. There is a prayer inscribed to Lady Luck, asking for freedom from an eternity of enslavement by the Abyss. Desna may have answered said prayer, as the cell room seems to be blessed by the Lady. Perhaps the succubus turncoat who escaped is truly wishing to end her wicked ways?

The second lower level is quite warm, possibly somehow drawing heat from the Abyss. A strange pulley contraption allows us to cross the main room, and as we hear evil chanting occurring in the next room, we ignore the other egresses and head straight for the main event. The doors are not trapped, and when opened, reveal a mass group of vampire spawn, brimorak demons, our missing vrock, a succubus, and a follower of Deskari in the midst of a ritual. They are uninterested in friendly banter, and rush our paladins straight away.

Even though my newest spell fails to bring about the mayhem I had hoped for, the lower level demon minions fall like wheat before the sickle. The cowardly whore of a caster throws a wall of force out to keep myself and Jay from killing them even faster, but we drop the master vampire who pops down from concealment on the ceiling and tunnel under the wall with magic to save our paladins from the boss bitches. That’s when the succubus tries to head for the hills, followed shortly by her cleric friend. Of course, we bust them up hard, before tracking the vampire to his hidden coffin and sticking a fork, well a stake, in him as well.

We descend even further through a trap-infested set of caverns before finding a supernaturally darkened area. After lighting the room with my own magic, we also light a few torches just to be safe before proceeding towards what appears to be our missing Sword of Valor banner. Of course, that’s when the shadow demon boss, his henchmen, and their shadow minions emerge and proceed to try and drain the life out of us. With the power of Desna to guide us and punish the shadows, Jay’s crossbows to send them to their maker, and the paladin’s swords to handle the demons, we put those nooges on notice and the banner is back in the hands of the heroes! Snoochie boochies!

Drezen returns to the side of the Crusade!

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Rebuilding Drezen
A Bastion of Light Against the Darkness

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We have accomplished what many had deemed impossible: we reclaimed the city-fortress of Drezen for the crusades. Truly Iomedae watches over us in our endeavors. May we continue to shine in her divine light.

Drezen has been under the influence of Demons for the last 75 years. It has left it’s stain on the walls and halls of the keep, but we will vigilantly work to cleanse it. We have already determined the way to cleanse the Corruption Forge, reconsecrating it into the Purity Forge for our efforts. Arles is redeemed, and his hope for the crusades is restored. My hope is that he can be a positive mentor to others who falter in their path. Nurah as well seems to be well, though still somewhat quiet. I know she lost her last group of crusaders here against the walls of Drezen, perhaps she is feeling the loss of them keenly.

Jay, who has been vigilantly acquiring intel on the surrounding regions these past weeks, mentions that his family used to live in an area called Sesker’s Gully, about 20 miles from Drezen. With the rebuilding efforts in hand, we decide to take ourselves into the corrupted plains of the Worldwound for a scouting excursion. The weather is…well, abnormal. From windstorms, thurnderstorms, heatwaves, sandstorms and supernatural precipitation there is a plethora of things that could terrify lesser folks. Progress is slower than we’d like, but it is better to be careful and safe.

Towards the end of the day, we reach Sesker’s Gully, a ghost town along the Ahari riverbed. Jay says he heard a rumor there’s a restless spirit near here, an uncle perhaps who sacrificed his life to ensure his wife and child could flee the area. As we approach the family crypt within the cemetery, we see the house of Jarvis defiled. As we watch however, a dark crusader spirit approaches from the crypt. Alrys is obviously in torment, his vestments of Iomedae darkened and black. He explains that a demon or some sort of evil dwells below in their crypt, corrupting the energies within. We discover a pair of nabasu demons and a trio of bodaks. The fight is swift and deadly, and we continue our quest to cleanse the Jarvis family crypt and lay Alrys to rest.

Upon our return to Drezen, we get reports of Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth to the west, and some raiders to the south. We decide to take care of the Templars first, and head into the Marchlands. We come across a temple, and I can feel a surge of sadness and anger at the defilement of one of Iomedae’s places of worship. A fire of righteousness burns in my chest to make this right. Iomedae, grant us strength to right this injustice! A rather large group of templars and a godcaller are here in conclave. They hear our approach, but a well-cast spell of enlarge person later and I am able to lay waste to these blasphemers. As soon as the godcaller falls, the entire temple begins to shake and vibrate as all the features of the temple begin reverting back to that of the Inheritor. The others tell me they did not see all of them, but I see a host of angels completing this holy work. As I stand in awe of them, one of the angels breaks off and kneels before me, thanking me for my work for my mother’s temple. Wait…my mother’s temple? The memories suddenly flood in from a battlefield far from here. A rift had opened and I had disappeared within. My comrades say I was gone but a moment, but I had had the feeling even then that years had passed for me. Now those lost memories were there, all 16 years of them by the Inheritor’s side! She was like another mother to me, I am a child of the Lady of Valor. I am brought to my knees with this revelation, and I think some dust may have gotten in my eyes. I pray quietly until I have gathered myself enough to continue our clearing of the other rooms and then our return back to Drezen.

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For Whom the Bell Tolls
Entering the Ivory Sanctum

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We are heading to the shrine to Desna and to rescue my friend. There is that artifact too. The silver bell in the tower. It takes us two days to get there. The site is in pretty bad shape. We can see one of the drakes circling around. We think the best attack would be entering on the back side. Jay and Bob make us all invisible.

We go around through the back and to the tower where my friend is being held. She gives us some password and we enter the tower. She is trapped in here. The tower has a forbiddance spell and that is what is keeping the evil ones at bay. We make quick introductions and she gives Bob a staff.

It is good to see her. She gives me a hug but cuts it short due to her being a succubus. We get set and charge outside. BA turns huge and does her crazy cleave and kills everything in range.

The hag vanishes. BA keeps killing things. The locust are doing their best to weaken BA. Jay make the hag reappear and all the bad guys are finished off. We rest some in the tower and get the bell ready for transport.
Back to Dresen we go. Pretty uneventful.

The bell is set up to protect Dresen.

We learn of a new mission and head off to the Ivory Sanctum. We end up finding this beautiful Elven woman named Gerabeth. I am shocked at her room. There is a torture table in the center of the room. Leather straps are covered in blood. There is a Templar torn apart and lying on her bed. Two half fiend minotaurs and three demons guard her. She asks us to join her and kill the Worm that Walks. We would have to wear this Dungeon Ring of hers. There isn’t even a thought about complying with her. The fight is on. I am really shook up at the idea of the pretty elf in the room of horrors. She changes to her real form and she is a demon!

Her minions are no challenge for our group. BA activates a team smite and goes to work on Gerabeth. BA drops her while we all wait for our turn to attack Gerabeth. It was a disappointing battle. We loot the room and find goodies including Templar notes.

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