Thursday, May 21, 2015

Session 24 Synopsis

Previously, on Phoenix Rising...
They stopped to camp for the night in a relatively secluded spot that afforded them an undisturbed night of sleep. In the morning, Jobi was in a great mood, especially compared to the day before when she was in a rotten mood from her nightmare. The day passed quickly and by dusk they found themselves back in the clearing where they had first met Sir Berrian and his elven knights.

Sir Berrian was very pleased that the party had brought him good news from Lord Padraig about his claim for the forested area inside Gardmore Abbey, and he gladly handed over the card he had from the Deck of Many Things - the Throne card. Now the party had six cards, but still had many things to work on including finding the rest of the cards. Our heroes had to make a decision now as to which way they were going to pursue all the open issues they still had to complete. Sir Berrian did remind them that he was interested in whatever they found out at the wizard's tower about the intermingling of the far realm, shadowfell, and prime material planes. The party did finally decide on making their way back up to Dragon's Roost to further investigate the temple and what lies below it. They asked if Sir Berrian could spare a few elves to escort them to the top of Dragon's Roost through the forest path, just to help avoid any encounters with the wild denizens and he agreed. The party made it to the plateau without incident, bade farewell to the elven escort, and began exploring the area more in depth.

Our stalwart band first decided to scan from the outside of the nearest building for any magic that may be detected. From the outside, nothing was detected as being magical anywhere in the vicinity, but Zerak decided that he wanted to peek into the building to see what was inside. Blackwell helped out by examining the double doors for traps, etc. He got the doors open and Blackwell and Zerak peered into the darkened room ahead and saw:

The crumbling remnants of stone walls and a rubble-strewn floor are all that was left of what was once a building. A few ramshackle bunks remain, marking this place as a barracks.

Then he saw some strange movement in the rubble, but wasn't sure what it was until a hungry slime crawler charged out of darkness to attack!

The beast wasn't able to do much damage to Blackwell and didn't fare much better against the rest of the party either. Turned out that a second slime crawler joined the fray and kept Kel busy for a moment until something much more dangerous made its appearance. A bulette crashed through the floor, taking out fifteen feet of the floor and part of a stone pillar as well and right in back of Blackwell! The bulette had no trouble injuring Blackwell and was particularly successful at it - causing him to be stunned and unable to defend himself. Kel jumped into action, running to grab Blackwell and drag him out of the old barracks to try to keep him safe. Meanwhile Asphodel started going after the bulette, trusting in her exceptionally high armor class and abilities to take the beast head on. Within a few rounds of combat, including a fireball from Jobi and deep slumber hexes from Zerak, the party was able to dispatch the bulette and the two slime crawlers without any other casualties.

Zerak then went over to the bulette's corpse and started his animate dead spell, but just as the creature's bones were complying, he stopped in mid spell, dropped his arms and head and walked away just shaking his head and mumbling something about not wanting to add to the evil that is already polluting this place. Asphodel heard his comments and fired back that maybe he shouldn't even be here if he didn't want to add to the evil here. Jobi immediately snapped at her saying that was completely uncalled for and downright mean. She just shrugged and made no motions to retract her statement. Zerak then said that she was probably right and he really had no business being here and just turned away from her. For a few moments everyone just stared at Zerak before getting back to the business at hand.

A search of the building noted that there was no magical items / areas detectable. A well was found in the building on the far side, which was quite deep and still had water in it, although no apparatus existed anymore to draw the water up to the surface. Nothing special was noted about the tunnels that the bulette had created - they appeared to go in all directions without any sense of organization or order. There was a stairway in one corner that appeared to be choked off with rubble and debris.

Then our heroes went to investigate the next building on the plateau. Again, using detect magic, they did not find any traces of magic near the building but decided to take a look at it anyway. This building had the second story completely collapsed but the ceiling of the first floor was still intact so that the ground level of the building was still pretty much intact. The doors were not very sturdy on their hinges anymore, and opening oe quietly allowed the other door to slip off its top hinge and thud on the ground. Peering into the building it appeared to be a small chapel. There were many partially faded and damaged frescoes on the walls as well as a couple altars in the room. Carefully advancing into the room, the party spotted the giant spiders in their webs at the same tiime the spiders saw them.

This battle was rather short since spiders in webs make excellent targets for fireballs. And even though Asphodel was in direct melee combat with the giant spiders, the fireball from Jobi only roasted the spiders since Asphodel was now immune to fire. Just as the giant spiders were getting under control, three swarms of spiders made their appearance. These were no real threat to the party, for with a couple burning hands spells and one swarm of wasps vomited up by Zerak and they were defeated. In the webs they did find a bit of treasure inside a partially burned leather pouch was a necklace of pearls which the party estimated to be worth around 1,000 gold.

From here, our heroes went to the main gatehouse - the only other building on the plateau besides the temple proper. On a previous visit, some of the party thought they had seen statues here move, but never had time to fully investigate since the rest of the party started yelling for help from the temple. Now they were back and cautiously approached the gatehouse, expecting to run into at least a couple gargoyles. What they found was much, much more than that.

They saw two gargoyles, a giant lizard of some kind, and two rust monsters engaged in combat with a dwarf, a half-orc, a drow, and two humans. Those five fit the description of the other group they had heard the rumor about who were also trying to gather the cards from the Deck of Many Things. The half-orc, engaged with the giant lizard thing, saw our heroes and yelled out asking for some help. While some of the party were reluctant to just jump in and help, that single request was all that Kel and Jobi needed to jump right in and start battling the monsters. The rest of the party did follow suit. Everyone concentrated on the giant lizard first since that seemed to be the greatest threat here. Kel was determined to stay as far away from the rust monsters as she possibly could. The lizard succumbed to its wounds in just a few rounds and then the gargoyles were concentrated on next. Just as soon as the lizard went down, two more gargoyles swooped down into the fray, engaging Zola and Kel where they stood. Asphodel was able to move up to one of the other gargoyles while the half-orc went to the other gargoyle to help his companion. The two fighting the rust monsters began backing away from them trying to avoid their metal eating tentacles.

After a few more rounds of exchanging blows and spells with the monsters, the other group did something unusual. They all pulled back away from the rust monsters and stood side by side. Then one of them casted a spell that created a very dense fog over the area, obscuring all sight. Jobi then sent a fireball to a spot that would cause damage to the rust monsters and the remaining gargoyles. That along with maybe another blow or two from the other members and all the monsters were dead. Once the fog cleared fromthe area where the other group had stood, no one was there anymore. The group had either teleported or dimension doored out of there - either way it would be impossible to track them down. So a search of the area revealed that one of the old decaying orc corpses had a hand of glory still around its neck. It didn't have any ring on it, but the hand itself was intact.

So our heroes cleared out the storage room attached to the main gatehouse so they could rest for the night, recuperate from their wounds, and regain memorized spells to be ready for the next day where the group had plans to descend into the catacombs underneath the temple.

Stayed tuned for next week's exciting adventures that may have the answer to, "How many undead creatures killed does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?" Then again, maybe not...

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