First Forays

The Temple of Lolth
A violent misunderstanding (of course)

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The adventurers continue to the temple of Lolth. Inside they see a hallway flanked by statues of spiders. The hallway branches off to the left and right before ending at a set of double doors with a guard on each side. The group had a hard time getting past a pressure plate trap, and once they did, Penx approached a door down the east wing that a drow was guarding, so he was perceived as a threat, and the drow attacked. The group had to slay every drow in the room to stay alive. They survived , and retreated to the ruins of the housing district for some much needed rest.

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Chronicles of an Evil Genius, abridged
adapted from the journey logs of Lord Skyler von Scoranck

So I’ve continued my glorious quest, along with Sharheer, the paladin of Bahamut I’ve duped allied with for our mutual benefit. Over the course of two days we encountered four mercenaries and I agreed to hire them, although one, “Lucius,” is arrogant and will not honor the agreed-upon terms. The indignity! If anyone is doing any cheating around here, I should be cheating, not getting cheated! But on the honor of the House of Von Scoranck, I should not need to cheat, so I paid his blackmail with rage in my heart. But I am getting ahead of myself…

Once the six of us had allied, we came upon a ruined town where a small force of demons had been searching for something. From the look of the place, and their behavior when we encountered them, they had not yet found what they were looking for. Yet after repelling the demons, we discovered a treasure cache with the mark of the lich-god Vecna, opened and empty of treasure. Clearly someone had gotten to it before the demons…

Curious and smelling treasure, we followed the search party’s tracks, discovered a camp, and prepared an ambush. Searching the camp we then found an entrance to a labyrinth beneath the Shadowfell — perhaps the legendary Shadowdark. There we defeated demons, undead and stranger creatures. One, before it was killed, ranted, “You’ll never find the grand treasure beneath this labyrinth!” Intriguing…

Of our party, Morgan and Hunger are accomplished warlocks, Jinne is an elven rogue type who fights, quite well with string, Sharheer remains a doughty paladin whose radiant techniques are invaluable against the undead, I am of course a tactical genius, and Lucius is a transcendent expert at getting himself killed. It is only because of my genius that it took him so long to accomplish this. Afterwards, Morgan raised him from the dead with the promise that he would owe him. Hahahahaha… I can hardly wait to see what comes of that!

A death knight type thing we fought stole from Hunger some kind of magical book, without which, he explained, he could not use his powers. Undaunted, after resting, we proceeded to battle a dragon, who was hiding a magical book. I was captured cleverly snuck in to discovered this, and, quixotically shielded by the dragon’s illusion-magic, I opened the book to find I admit nothing!

Subsequently, we found Hunger in a stupor, and emerged from the labyrinth, only to be scattered by the assault of a dragon. I Sharheer was badly wounded by the dragon’s undead minions, and for fear of my his life, the two of us fled together. Of the fate of the mercenaries, I do not know.

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Into Phaervorul
A dark elf city in dark times.

After seeing the drow and undead facing off, and killing them all; the adventurers continue in the direction that Audrie identifies as “home”. Hoping that this is finally the way to defeat the threat that had been prophesied, Audrie, Aginor, and Manishtu quietly make their way down a tunnel labeled with an elvish glyph.
As they walked Aginor absent-mindedly swatted at a rat with his sword when it polymorphed into a male drow and hailed the group. The drow identified himself as Penx, a free thinker who was hoping to escape from the harsh matriarchy of the drow. He was hoping he could leave with the adventurers, and since they perceived no real threat, Aginor reluctantly acquiesced.

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Penx led the way into the city of Phaevorul pausing to the led surface-dwellers marvel at the titanic cavern, and magically reinforced bridge spanning the 100-foot chasm that protects the city. As the group crossed the bridge they were ambushed by a guardian spider and a group of shunned – drow cursed to be half spider, a mockery of driders. The group slaughtered them quickly.

The adventurers took a few minutes to survey the city. The saw flames and smoke in every direction, with the only obviously untouched building being a large spider-shaped structure in the rear center of the city. The group decided to start there.
As the group passed through the ruins of the housing district in the center of the city, they came upon squads of undead drow being led by vrocks and ghouls, destroying anything they find, and killing all they come across. Also nearby was a breach into the Abyss, which reached out to any hurt characters and made them disappear temporarily.

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Chaging Course

Aginor scooped up the Elemental Eye of Death and stowed it away, then helped Audrie fill her cloak’s pockets with treasure. while Jebediah gathered his share and Junior’s, while Manishtu and Junior stood guard. That done, Audrie opened the portal to the crossroads where we’d slain Orcus’ gatekeeper; we crossed over to the portal Jeb and Junior had used to join the party, and went back to the Tower of Pelor.

As we rested, Manishtu had a vision from Ioun that we needed to help prevent an invasion from the Underdark under Thunderspire. We portaled to the tower of Nimazaren the Green, lead wizard of Fallcrest, and showed him the Styx water; then we went to the temple of Pelor, where Jebediah preached a fiery sermon about the dangers of the drow and the need to defend against them. Junior gave the Styx water to the high priest there; Aginor tried soaking his Void Prison in holy water, with Junior making helpful comments like “Reckon you ought to put some bleach in it?” The Void Prison showed no effect,

We marched from Fallcrest to Thunderspire, where we found rumors flying. The governing council of wizards had apparently all departed in haste amid word of an impending invasion. We found a map in one of the wizards’ chambers, and followed it into the Underdark, as Junior and Jeb debated whether consecrating an Endless Flask would give you a permanent stream of holy water or not. and if you could just leave it on its side with water running out and eventually flood the Underdark, and how many bottles would you need, or whether you should go to the bottom of the Underdark and boil the water as a sort of holy steam cleaner. The discussion never reached a conclusion, as it was interrupted by an ambush.

An Eye of Flame beholder had set up on an islet in the middle of a small lava pond, with half a dozen of its minions laying in wait around the chamber entrance. Junior spotted the threat and immediately charged the beholder; Aginor followed him along the walkway, and the two of them quickly dispatched the abberation. Jeb’s radiant invocations and Manishtu’s spear finished off most of the rest.

We followed the tunnel, and came to a large cavern, over a hundred feet wide, with a drider one way, a ghoul the other way, and some drow scattered about. Junior enaged the drider, Aginor charged the ghoul’s group…and then Jebediah sauntered into the middle of the cave and cast Pure Glow, which killed a few of the enemy outright and seriously wounded the rest. Jebediah tried to persuade the surviving drow to convert to Pelor, the Death God, and be spared, but they were fatally inflexible and kept fighting. Jeb and Aginor polished off the ghoul group, while Audrie and Junior dealt with the drider and its drow. Manishtu hardly bothered to raise his spear.

Junior and Jeb raced off down a side tunnel, in hopes of finding drow for Jeb to convert. The rest of the party continued.

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Finding the Eye of Death

From the portal chamber, we proceeded boldishly (“boldly, but not too boldly”) up the stairs and down a rough-hewn tunnel which opened onto a broad underground river. On the far shore was a dock, with a single lantern. None of us touched the water, although Junior did, carefully, fill a bottle. Jebediah contemplated the possible effects of the Holy Water ritual if cast on Styx water. Junior called across to the far bank. A boat appeared out of the mist, and the Ferryman approached us.
“The toll is two coins. For the dead,” he added. “But you’re living. More living heroes, coming to cross the Styx. This is happening far too often. The dead are never a problem, but the living, well, that’s just work work work. All right, for you, one of you has to lose his soul. Or you have to succeed at a challenge.” Audrie remembered a tale wherein the hero played a lyre as his fee for crossing the River; so she played a hymn on her sitar while Junior and Jebediah sang, and the Ferryman accepted that. Manishtu and Aginor couldn’t sing and the Ferryman wasn’t interested in mime, so it looked like they were stuck. Audrie had the idea to carve a portal before taking the ferry, and then she carved another one on the far side, and linked the two so Manishtu and Aginor could cross.
The Ferryman was pleased that he would have fewer mortals to deal with, and told us the properties of the water of the Styx: it binds deities; an oath sworn on the water is binding until death; and being immersed in the water risks causing the immersee to lose his soul, but if not, it bestows invulnerability. We said “The Fey don’t have souls. The pixie is fey, and he’s hibernating in a bottle. Let’s pour some of the water over the pixie.” So we poured some water over the pixie, sloshed it around, and poured it back into Junior’s bottle. The pixie did not stir from his hibernation.
Another tunnel led away from the underworld river, and we followed that to a cross passage. Opposite us was a dormant portal, with a large scarab statue before it. Audrie tried to open it but could not. At the ends of the halls left and right were more dormant
portals, with side chambers before them. Both of the side chambers had a guardan spirit in a statue of an ancient king or queen. When questioned, the guardians gave us clues as to how to retrieve the jewels to complete the scarab and open the portal to the treasure chamber. So we went through each of the side portals: into the Changing of Time where we received one gem from the jackal-headed guardian of the Temple of the Moon; and into the Stillness of Time, where Junior and Manishtu declared their willingness to die for their faith, and received the gem from the spirit of the sandstorm. We returned to the halls, placed the gems in the eyes of the scarab, and opened the center portal to the treasure chamber.
Inside was a vault in the manner of the pharaohs, with golden artifacts, arcane scrolls, weapons and armor, and many precious things. To the left and right were sarcophagi, with a great coffin on a dias at the far end. As we advanced. an undead sorceror king appeared on the dias—the lich Setekh-Ra. He called skeleton archers and spearmen from the sarcophagi, and three greater tomb guards as well. But before the undead could attack, Junior charged and hewed at the lich with his radiant sword. The rest of the party also concentrated on the undead king, and quickly inflicted severe wounds on him. He disappeared, and the party had to deal with the servitors. Jebediah hung back and dispatched the lesser warriors; the rest fought in the thick of the battle, destroying many of the enemy but shedding much of their own blood as the price. When the last of the elite tomb guards fell, the lich king reappeared in the midst of us, dealing heavy blows all around. Audrie and Junior were both gravely injured; but when the lich turned from the paladin to finish off the bard, the wrath of Pelor fell upon him and the undead burned in the blaze of holy light.
We bound our wounds, and considered the Eye of Thanatos and the other treasures that lay around us.

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Party Found
Report 18396

I have successfully located the party searching for th eyes, at least some of them. The goddess did warn that the party would be incomplete, but I did not understand her words until now. Thanatos contains the usual and expected dangers, and this group seems capable of dealing with the environment.

Our most recent battle involved agents of Orcus who exclaimed of an alliance with Vecna. Though not unheard of, it was unexpected. I will report more as information is obtained. I have faith Ioun did not speak of this for a reason. Either it is of no consequence, or will be dealt with easily.

Manishtu out.

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Into the Palace of Orcus

The paladin and invoker stepped aside to discuss the legalities of killing a necromancer, but Aginor—in what seems to be a trend—cut the discussion short by stabbing. The necromancer turned out to be a vampire, tougher than expected, and he cast domination on Aginor. But Junior charged in and Jebediah followed, and the vampire fled before the Chosen of Pelor.
The party searched for the gatekeeper’s phylactery but found nothing of interest, except three non-magical jeweled rings. They rested for a few hours, while Aginor recovered from the vampire’s bite. Once everyone was refreshed, Jebediah prayed to Pelor, asking which of the ten portals to choose; the answer that Jeb relayed was “The last portal, and go forth boldly in the name of Pelor!” Junior commanded his blade to shine brightly and he strode through the portal, with the rest of the party behind.
On the other side was a long room, with half a dozen doors on the walls left and right, and a broad stair at the end. In the center was the statue of a demon; at the far end were two undead ogres. Junior and Aginor immediately charged the ogres; the side doors opened and zombies began shambling out; and the demon statue came to life and attacked the squishies. Jeb turned out not to be all that squishy, Manishtu casually slid the gargoyle back and forth, Audrie handed out healing and extra attacks, and Aginor demolished one ogre while Junior kept the other one locked down.
With all the monsters down, Jeb investigated the side doors, and discovered that each had a long passageway behind it, with what seemed an infinite supply of zombies slowly ambling toward the main room. Jeb left one door open and happily stood there, popping zombies, until the rest of the party was ready to go.
Aginor checked out the stairs, which led to a short hallway and double doors. About the time he got there, a large stone golem burst through, followed by a giant insectile creature. At the same time, a dozen zombies burst through the doors and surrounded each of the heroes. Things looked grim as the zombies attacked…but then Jebediah spoke a Radiant Word, and all the zombies burned in the light. With only the two main opponents left, the fight proceeded quickly. Manishtu’s spear dragged one enemy into position, Junior got its attention, and then Audrie supervised as Aginor and Jebediah smote it with steel and light. The bug ordered us to leave, claiming that otherwise we would spoil what Orcus and Vecna were working on; that was just before Manishtu yanked him into the room to receive his beating. Audrie finished the insect with a deft arrow shot.

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Portal Crossroads

With Volkare’s captors dead, the party discussed whether to let the general continue as a vampire, or to send him on to his afterlife. Aginor quickly got bored with the conversation and slew Volkare with two quick strokes. The pixie bid farewell to the ghost captain, and then decided to hibernate in one of Audrie’s pockets. The party opened the portal in the chamber and went through.
On the other side was a trail leading to a portal nexus, with nearly a dozen portals. Facing them was a tiny hamlet of squalid huts, lean-tos and shacks. At irregular intervals travelers, including demons, would pop out of one portal and disappear into another. As the party approached, the undead gatekeeper accosted them. (Donarr—who was upset with both Audrie and Aginor—took advantage of the distraction to slip through a portal on his own). The conversation with the gatekeeper deteriorated rapidly, ending when the gatekeeper summoned two plague zombies and an undead purple worm to deal with the intruders. The worm promptly swallowed Miggins whole. This left only Audrie and Aginor to beat off the undead attack.
The situation looked dire, but then two figures stepped through a portal: one in the robes of Pelor’s priests, the other a heavily armored knight with a shining sword and the sun-marked shield of Pelor. The paladin quickly saw the party and cried out in a ringing voice, “Hey! You Awdreh? Hey Jeb, Ah reckon that’s Awdreh and Aggy-nor!” He charged the gatekeeper, and the invoker followed, smiting the undead with divine radiance. Moments later and rather upstaged, a shardmind avenger stepped out of cover and attacked the zombie worm. The adventurers quickly dispatched the gatekeeper lich and his two minions, then focused on the worm. The beast swallowed the shardmind twice, although the avenger quickly escaped both times; it then swallowed Aginor, who simply hacked his way out.
The newcomers were the shardmind avenger Manishtu, who didn’t really say much about why he was there; Jebediah, a drow invoker of Pelor; and Junior, a half orc paladin. The latter two hailed from the area around the Tower of Pelor, and said that the abbot had charged them to find and aid “those nice people who were here the other day about the elemental stones.” With introductions done, the party began looking for the lich’s phylactery and any other items of interest. What they found was a necromancer, hiding in one of the shacks nearby. The man offered them a propositon: he would tell them the right portal to use, and give them potions to temporarily mask them as undead so Orcus wouldn’t detect them; in exchange, they would retrieve a necklace from Orcus’ treasure room for him.

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My orders are clear

Locate the group searching for the Eyes of Chaos.

Record, document, and observe.

Be vigilant; always be watchful for Vecna’s thralls.

—Manishtu

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Releasing Volkare

Capsule summary:
Fight 1: Vampires retreat behind magic barrier. Hallway with rooms to each side. Lots of minions generated by talismans in armor suits, plus a couple of animated knights and a shadow vampire. Pixie clears the minions, everyone else hammers the main monsters. Knocking over the armor racks turns off that minion generator.
Puzzle: figure out how to get through the barrier. Undead can go through (the vampires did) so there is discussion about killing Miggins, on the theory that he will immediately reanimate and can then go through, This comes to blows between Donarr (the “aye” vote) and Aginor (who is in favor of it but is preventing it out of loyalty to Audrie), The question arises “How much xp do I get for killing a player character?”
Meanwhile Miggins tries to blow himself up with a clockwork bomb, and keeps building more bombs when the first one proves not to be powerful enough.
Pixie retrieves the spirit of the captain from the great hall, and summons him into one of the minion-generator armor suits, using the associated talisman. The ghost-in-a-shell can go through, and uses the last of the gnome’s bombs to destroy the ritual book maintaining the barrier.
Fight 2: In a small room, with the master and two junior vampires plus the shadow vampire. The pixie manages to cast his AoEs without actually hurting any allies, and decides to have another discussion about “stay out of target areas.” Once the master is killed, the other vampires fall to dust; Donarr, although prone, gets in the last blow.
Volkare is released and tells us how to get to the next Eye stone; it’s in the palace of Orcus.

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