Sunday, May 24, 2015

Session 39 Synopsis

Previously, on Phoenix Rising...
... We left our heroes looking at the trap doors and wondering which way they will head next. They decided that they needed some more rest after that taxing fight and settled down to recuperate ...

This rest was just as much for psychological reasons as physical ones. Jobi had seen plenty of battles in her life but never experienced the awful sensations that she had when her hand was severed. Even though the party was able to quickly reattach her hand and make her physically whole once again, she feared that the emotional scars might be too much for her and began questioning her decision to adventure with her newest set of friends. (see comment below)

All was quiet while they rested and soon they were back up and ready to continue finding a way out of this crazy place. After a brief discussion, our heroes opted not to investigate the two trap doors any further until they finished exploring above ground. So they back-tracked through the building until they exited the tapestry room and then made their way down the pathway to the other doorway on the building a bit further south.

Before they left the building though, Zerak really wanted to know what was behind that door in the trapped gaming room. So when they reached it, he cautiously entered the room and then decided to blast the door with a lightning bolt, hoping that would destroy it without him having to risk getting enthralled by a gaming table again. The lightning bolt was powerful and did the job he was looking for. The door shattered into many pieces of charred wood. But when the dust cleared, the only thing behind the door was the stone wall. He had decimated a false door - obviously designed to get people to fully enter the room and fall victim to the traps within. So they continued out of the building.

In the clearing before the southern building they saw two unicorns. Being the normally skittish creatures that they are, they also noticed the party immediately as they rounded the corner of the building. But while normally they would have taken off, these two charged the party and attacked - having a menacing red gleam in their eyes.

The party responded in kind and moved into the battle. Shortly after it started, the unicorns were joined by three displacer beasts! this was very odd since these creatures are normally enemies and have never been known to work together. But this time they were and Asphodel found herself stunned from a particularly successful attack against her. And then they continued to gang up on her as she was basically helpless. This prompted Jobi to throw some fireballs that way since she knew Asphodel was, among other things, immune to fire damage. A few fireballs and a couple lightning bolts from Zerak, had greatly softened up the beasts and and allowed for Blackwell, Zola, and Kel to finish the beatdown. During the battle Kel was attacked by a displacer beast coming in from behind the party was knocked prone. Still she was able to fight from this vantage and eventually regain her footing and when the rest of the creatures were slain, zola stepped up and gave Kel a hand with the last remaining one.

Now they focused their attention to the other building's entrance. The door was closed - Blackwell found no traps and was able to force open the door. the hallway and room beyond was just like the other building with the strange runes carved into the walls and rocky debris littered the floor. Asphodel cautiously moved into the building and the rest of the party saw her disappear - again. So after some mumbling and grumbling, they all decided to follow her into the building determined that if one of them disappears, the rest will follow in hopes of staying together until the can get home. One by one they entered and the other saw them disappear. Then finally with all of them in the building, the door slammed shut:

The world spins, dropping away beneath your feet. For an instant you fall, and the memory of stability, of reality, is only a fading dream. Then the vertigo stops, without even giving you time to stumble. You find yourself standing on solid ground "somewhere else." Although you stand inside a structure, its solid marble walls are rough and worn by weather and age. Then you hear the echoes of screams reverberating off those walls; of the originating sounds, you can make out nothing at all. Suddenly, a pall of despair and the agony, of loss floods through you. Before your eyes pass the faces of every friend and loved one you've ever lost. and a part of you wants to add your screams to the echoes to give voice to your own torment. The sounds and visions soon fade, but they leave behind a lingering gloom in your soul.

The dimensions of this chamber are difficult to determine because hundreds, perhaps thousands. of humanoid bones jut from its marble walls. Skulls and femurs,fingers and hands, and spines and ribs are intertwined and set into the walls, forming a rough surface of repulsive complexity. A marble sculpture, slightly larger than a broad-shouldered human, stands near one corner of this chamber. It depicts a figure clad in robes with a crown upon its brow, but the face has long since been chiseled away. Many of the wall bones appear to be pointing in its direction. Elf-sized footprints, which have been carved into the marble floor end next to the eastern wall behind the statue and seem to originate coming into the room from the hallway.

As they began to explore this very gloomy area, they were suddenly accosted by a very powerful creature which appeared to have materialized out of thin air and attacked Blackwell with a flaming greatsword with an attack so fierce that he was stunned for a few rounds. After studying the creature for a few seconds, Zerak had figured out that it must be a movanic deva, though definitely not one that is normally a good and kind creature - this one was greatly tainted somehow and had nothing but hate and evil in its eyes. As the realization of what they were fighting dawned on him, he began to shout out to the others what type of defenses this thing had in hopes that the rest of the party would modify their tactics to the most useful possible, "Immune to fire and electricity, resistances to cold, acid, Spell Resistance, Damage resistance..."

So our band of heroes began attacking the creature with attacks that they thought might harm it. Most efforts resulted in the creatures resistances reducing the damage it took, but some of it did get through. Another "fly in the ointment" so to speak was the fact they found out the hard way that if they stood in the same spot for more than 10 seconds or so, the room itself dealt them negative energy damage right through the floor, like the entire place was trying to drain them of their life forces. So everyone started to shift around the room as they battled this creature. Blackwell was stunned from that first hit he received and felt the negative energy damage a few times. But our heroes were able to deal with the creature eventually. However just before the first one fell, another materialized behind Zerak who was just inside the room. Zerak was hit hard and backed up and cast a summoning spell to bring an azata to fight for him and take damage for him.

When the first one fell to Zola, they began concentrating on the second corrupted deva. But even as Apshodel moved in and started beating upon it, it disappeared for a couple rounds. everyone stayed weary and kept shifting about the room. Asphodel looked and found a small blood trail that led away from them into the corridor and into the room beyond. Asphodel and Zola began to follow the blood trail while the rest of the group milled around the bone room. Zerak had his azata change into a whirlwind form at this pont. Then suddenly the second corrupted deva appeared out of nowhere right in between Zerak, Jobi, and Kel and attacked Zerak and hit him hard. Blackwell and the rest attacked the creature as Asphodel and Zola made their way back to the room, but it was Kel this time that dispatched the creature with great showmanship (showwomanship?). She landed a blow with her bastard sword right into the creatures head and hit it so hard that she crushed its skull and splattered its brains all over the room. It didn't help for cleanliness sake that the azata was standing right next to it and it flung the grey matter all over. Jobi, Zerak, Blackwell, and Kel found themselves covered in bits of brain and gore, but the creatures were now dead and they just had to keep moving in order to avoid the negative energy damage.

They quickly explored the rest of the building and found two other statues with the destroyed faces and a set of double door at the far end of the building. Blackwell checked them for traps and then began to disable the lock - and again took negative energy damage since he forgot to keep moving. the doors opened up to the outside which looked like the "normal" Feywild that they were exploring, so the party exited the building and began to cautiously explore the rest of the grounds. They followed around the buildings and found that there were no more doors or archway entrances back into the main building they had come from. Asphodel tried to fly above the buildings and found that as soon as she was at the height of the roofs, she was forced down by some strange, powerful magic so it looked like they would have to go back through the building that transported them "somewhere else" in order to get back. once again when they entered the building, they saw their companions disappear one by one and found themselves yet again somewhere else:

A sudden dizziness washes over you, and you almost stumble. as though stepping down into an unexpected drop. The sensation passes as swiftly as it began, leaving you slightly shaken. You realize that you are not where you once were again. The stone and brick walls around you are pitted, and the black mortar that binds the stones sheds f1akes that look like dried blood. A faint chill emanates from those walls: a chill of melancholy and despair that strikes at your soul. You've clearly entered a catacomb of some sort. Numerous burial niches line the walls, and several marble slabs stand apart, all clearly intended to serve as someone's final resting place. But their rest was anything but final. Broken bits of stone indicate spots where holy symbols, name plaques, and similar adornments should be, but are now missing. More disturbing is the fact that although various burial shrouds and garments lie within the niches and upon the slabs, the bodies themselves are absent.

After thinking about what they saw in here for a while Kel came to a conclusion: it would take some effort, but she thought they could reconstruct, and reconsecrate, at least some of the violated graves by using the broken pieces amid the rubble in the cavern chamber and piecing them back together. Zola and jobi agreed and so the three of them along with Zerak started to try to fit the broken pieces together, while Asphodel and Blackwell remained vigilant just in case something interrupted them.

Kel had a quick success try to fix the one they had concentrated on first and was able to get the holy symbol and nameplate for one sarcophagus put together and mounted correctly again in short order. The others were having a bit more difficulty and when they tried to place the incorrect symbol(s) on the graves they had selected, a inky black shadowy figure rose up in front of each of them and attacked. The party was able to discern that they were being attacked by spectres and knew they had to dispatch them quickly so that no one would be completely drained of their life force and risk turning into a spectre themselves.

The party was rather successful in attacking these undead horrors with Blackwell's ghost-touched longsword, Zola's mace of disruption, healing spells from Zerak and Jobi, channeling positive energy from Kel, and the immense damage capabilities of Asphodel, even though her damage dealing capabilities towards incorporeal creatures was cut in half. At the end of the battle, Jobi was found to have been hit pretty hard but through the use of magics the party currently possessed, they were able to boost her life energies back to their normal levels.

After the battle, they were much more cautious and careful getting the symbols and name right before attempting to re-affix them to their respective graves. Zerak pulled out his mask of a thousand tomes in order to help decipher the jumble of broken debris. And although it took them a few hours to finish, they had no more incidents of being attacked by the undead.

Once the last one was in place, our heroes held their breath for a moment while they saw numerous incorporeal undead rise up out of the cracks between the walls and floor and slowly float over to the graves and then sink back down into them. One of them lingered on and floated over to be just in front of Zerak. It was "looking" at him for a few moments and no one dared move. But then the creature slowly raised its arm and pointed over to the north wall of the chamber and then held its hand with its fingers pointing up for a few seconds as if making a farewell gesture and turned and floated down into the last remaining "unoccupied" grave. The party could feel that the depressing and gloomy feeling that had been in the chamber lift and be replaced by a feeling of peaceful calm.

They headed over to the wall area where the spectre had indicated and after some searching, they found a secret compartment that revealed a small mahogany and gold chest that contained not only 400 platinum pieces but also a magical headband of unshakable resolve, which was given to Blackwell. Then our stalwart band made their way back to the original door they had entered this strange building from. As they passed the room that had once be the bone room, they saw that it had nothing more than normal rocky debris in it now. A glint of something shiny off in the corner caught the party's eyes, but only Zerak decided to go and investigate it - everyone else just wanted out of that building.

He had found a magic dagger of venom stuck into the wooden floor. he tried to pull it out to no avail, but on his second try he got it unstuck and saw that part of the floor was moving up and down with the dagger as he pulled on it. Soon he discovered that there way another trap door in this floor with the same 40 foot old wooden ladder leading down into some narrow tunnel. the party debated a bit and decided that rather than leave this building and possibly have to come back to it (and discover that it took them somewhere else yet again), they would investigate what was under the earth now.

Since the ladder was old and rickety, it did pose a bit of a challenge to climb down it without falling. It wasn't surprising that one of the party members did fall about midway down and land on their pride. What was surprising is that it was not Jobi - she had climbed down the ladder without incident, even making it look like she was a real climbing pro at that!

they found a narrow tunnel dug right out of the earth and left unfinished - mostly narrow five to seven feet but five to eight feet tall in most places so it was not too uncomfortable to traverse. The winding tunnel opened up into a large chamber that had quite a number of small beds (four to five foot long), a rectangular and round tables with chairs, a cooking fire area, and several cabinets and barrels and boxes about the chamber. There was a small glowing globe on the rectangular table in the middle of room that pulsed slowly with a bright white light. there were also six small tunnels leading out of the chamber - no more than about three feet high. Blackwell, still in his wolf form from traveling through the tunnel, investigated one of the small tunnels.

As he was peering into the dark tunnel, something shot a crossbow bolt at him that connected squarely with his snout and really hurt. At that time from the five other tunnels other small creatures, who looked very much like the ones they found above ground near the two trap doors, appeared and began shooting heavy crossbows at the party.

Alas, this is where we leave our heroes - on the brink of yet another battle. How capable is this new threat and will our party be hurt or possibly worse? And what's with that pulsating glowing sphere on the table anyway. Tune in next week when we continue the Phoenix Rising adventures. Until then, don't let a succubus suck out your souls. No really - don't. I like my friends they way they are ...

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