Krys Runs: The Emerald Spire

11th -> 12th of Sarenith (Session 25) The Circle of Vissk-Thar

Wisely deciding to be prepared for the next floor, the party decided to use the mysterious green tokens teleport back to splinterden and rest in the modest bedding and good defenses. Fortunately, nothing accosted them and they were able to teleport back down to level 7 in the morning to tackle level 8.

Curiously, the party was greeted by a golden serpent idol on a pedestal. Avarita was the first to enter the room and immediately found herself subjected to a suggestion spell. Wisely retreating from the room, the inform the party of the danger. Trying to figure out how to deactivate the trap, they unfortunately lost one of Dr. Remnus’ skeletons. Eventually though, they manage to get Chaaz to reach forward and smash the idol that was casting the spell.

Thus deactivated, the party was left to question the mysterious room. It was trapped, CLEARLY something was here, and yet there was a stairwell that seemed to lead to the next level. After much debate, Avarita finally bit the bullet and searched the murky water next to the pedestal to find the seam of a hidden door deep within the water. Though it wasn’t easy, she was able to disable the opening mechanism and reveal an underwater passage leading into warm water and a strange magical shimmer. Having an academic knowledge of arcana, Remnus swam down to find the shimmer being an arcane mark with the letters “TWSK”. Could this have been left by the wizard Tiawask to mark the passage? Hard to say. Regardless, while holding his breath he managed to overheard some serpentfolk above talking about how the trap was activated.

Dropping all pretense of just wanting to peacefully explore further downward, the party decided to burst open the wall with stone shape and they found themselves face to face with three serpentfolk. The fight was quick and brutal and the party only took a minor scratch and utterly destroyed the serpentfolk inside. Brimming with confidence, the party went forward and found a magically trapped door. Avarita was quick to try and disarm it, which she managed to do with only one activation. Unfortunately, the trapped door was hiding yet another high priest (at least we think). Unfortunately, he flung a fire ball at the party.

Should be a fun way to start the next session.

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11th of Sarenith (Session 24) The Shrine of the Awakener

Taking only enough time to loot the bodies and for Avarita and Remnus to get over the foul stench of the troglodytes, the party pushed onward into the level. The first thing they came upon was a forge with the outside Gamil inside, calmly making a falchion. Angry at the party for interrupting his work, he demanded they leave this “shrine of Kro’akoth” and walk away. The party informed him they were not going to do that and mutual stabbing ensued. Gamil was slain quickly and the party located another mysterious green token and an odd magic barrel for their trouble.

Moving deeper into the level, the party came upon an gaol with two degenerate serpentfolk. Cruel and almost animal-like in their ferorcity, the party barely got a hiss out of them before they came upon them with maces in hand. Invidia was the first to find out serpentfolk bites are poisonous when one of them got a lucky bite on her, but she shook it off with a little help from Quesh and the creatures were dispatched easily.

Inside the gaol, they found another serpentfolk named Draa huddling in a cell and muttering crazily about Kro’akoth, apparently having been tortured until he converted. Though it took some time to get past his insane ramblings, the party learned that he was part of a team that attacked this level of the spire, suggesting a religious rivalry between floor eight and seven. Apart from learning there was a high priest on the level, Draa offered little more than insane ramblings and he was left to his cell.

Further on, the party found a statue of Kro’akoth surrounded by the desecrated statues of another god.. While the purely cosmetic ring of flames on the statue was curious, the secret door in the room was even more curious. The party soon found themselves creeping into the sanctum of the high priest, catching him in the middle of reading a book. Though Sartoss was ready to start giving an evil monologue, Invidia was ready to hear maybe ten words of it before she invited him to meet HER lord and savior, an adamantine scimitar. With no spells prepared before hand and an unlucky failure of fortitude with a blind spell spelt certain doom for Sartoss and he and his pet snake were dispatched quickly, leaving behind a giant pile of loot.

After making sure he was dead, the party moved onward to find the emerald spire itself, jutting out of what could only be described as a shrine with a large jade serpent wrapped around the spire and an eerily glowing mosaic. A voice called out to them, questioning if they wanted to hear the wisdom of Kro’akoth, to which the party blithely informed the voice that their high priest was dead. Rather rattled by this fact, the voice showed itself to be a naga as it raised itself out of a pit surrounding the spire. Though intimidating, the party dispatched the lone naga quickly and cleared the pit of snakes out to loot the place. They quickly found out the eerie mosaic was actually functioning as a portal t the Abyss, powered by shards of the emerald spire, which would explain the presence of so made fiendish creatures on this level.

Lacking the resources to deal with the portal, the party pressed on to find what apparently is the first line of defense against level 8, two ogrekin and (as a lucky glitterdust pointed out) a quickling. Compared to the rest of the level, the paltry guard patrol was a joke and they were cut down without trouble.

With the floor cleared out, the party needs only descend a single, short stairwell to get to level 8…

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2cd of Sarenith -> 11th of Sarenith (Session 23) Fort Inevitable -> The Shrine of the Awakener

After a long night of drinking and sisterly bickering, the party awoke with headaches but they also awoke WITH A PLAN. Knowing they’ll need every advantage they could get, they decided they were going to stay in town for another week to craft some magic armor and hopefully convince Avarita that she shouldn’t come into a dangerous dungeon with them. Jharun, in the meantime, sent a missive to IIliara in Thornkeep.

Though the days were somewhat melancholy with the absence of Zerafio, the team still worked productively to prepare for their journey and the Alchemy Lab had its share of occurrences as they worked. On the 5th, Valencia accidentally poisoned one of the shop’s customers. Fortunately, Chaaz was able to recognize the customer as the rival owner of an alchemy stall in the marketplace. Admitting he was only there to spy and otherwise cause trouble, the owner bargained with Chaaz to drop the sordid affair. He wouldn’t bad-mouth his shop and the stall owner wouldn’t report the poisoning in exchange. And so it was. The 9th briefly saw the signifier Oritain Hast visiting the shop with a cold as well, which Valencia cured with a stroke of genius. Other than that though, Invidia was able to crawl out of the ironworks after the week was up with a fresh pair of mythril chain shirts. Though it was hot, tiring work, her armors were both masterpieces.

After briefly stopping by Abernard’s house to pick up a reward for mapping level 6, the party was met back at the inn by Iliara. Grateful for the safe return of Jharun, she offered them a substantial reward and wished them well on their journey into the spire. Resolved to tackle the dungeon again, they returned to the Echo Woods and made their way back to the spire!

As usual, the party descended into Splinterden first… but oddly enough, they found the corpses of the bandits to have vanished! No drag marks, no signs of bones or torn clothing, not even the smell of a beast. The bandits bodies were simply gone. A curious anomaly to be sure, but with no clue as to who or what could have done this, they pressed onward and teleported back to the clockwork maze.

After Remnus raised up the terrifying minotaur from the maze, the party descended 200 feet of stairs into the next level where they immediately found a peculiar set of candles racks with serpent heads and a strange inscription in undercommon which Quesh could read. It advised them to ‘Offer prayer to Kro’akoth the Awakener’…. Remnus recognized the name as an obscure nacent demon lord… one can only guess what they’d find in a sanctum for such a wicked and evil deity.

Turns out it was troglodytes, though granted they were touched by Kro’akoth’s dark power and turned into good-smiting fiendish wretches. Though they had set up an elaborate defense, the devil-touched troglodytes fell quickly to the party’s onslaught. Which was fortunate since Invidia ran into a 10-foot long bone snake in an adjacent room. While the flaming mass of bones managed to terrify Avarita, Invidia was able to keep her cool and gracefully bisected the malevolent construct. Quite the warm welcome to level 7! Now all that remains is to explore further into the depths of the level… and loot the bodies. Don’t forget to loot the bodies, guys!

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31st of Desnus-> 1st of Sarenith (Session 22) The Clockwork Maze -> Fort Inevitable

Still knee-deep in rampage, Invidia cleaved the fiendish leopard I mentioned in the last entry in a single blow, then proceeded to mow down everything in her path along with the rest of the party. The hideous Agash’s tricks availed it naught and it couldn’t even come close to placing a curse on anyone before it was felled.

With the fiends deader than Zerafio, the party proceeded into the next room where they met a strange looking Pech who called itself Gundrum and was busy chipping bits off the emerald spire. Though it took a LOT of trial and error, the party eventually figured out it spoke undercommon and chatted with it for a bit. It turned out, it was harvesting crystal shards for Klarkosh of all people, though he was only doing so because Klarkosh was a freind to the Great Master in the Deep, the creator of the emerald spire itself. The pech seemed to talk as though the being was ancient and the pech served it since ancient times. More ominously, it seems its servants are ‘serving again’… suggesting something dormant may have stopped being so. Figuring it’s better safe than sorry concerning minions of unknowable ancient evil, they party slew the pech and its pet cockatrice and proceeded to go back to Fort Inevitable after finally figuring out how to use the strange green tokens.

After breifly being interrogated by a hellknight, the party proceeded to return to the inn and finally drink/sleep after such a horrible day. They awoke the next morning to meet the Lady Commander who was there to personally offer condolences. The party, Zerafio included, had saved the town enough times to the point where the commander offered to handle funeral arrangements and have the High Mother herself officiate. Emotionally exhausted, the party was grateful to hand over preparations for the funeral to her and the evening concluded with a solemn ceremony in the North Gate Cemetary behind the Temple of Silence. A fair bit of the town showed up and all agreed the eulogies offered by the High Mother and the party alike were touching.

With their companion laid to rest, the party returned to the inn to get even more drunk than they had the previous night. Before they could empty a keg though, Dolivar mentioned a visitor for Invidia in the common room… Where apparently her little sister was waiting for her. After haughtily demanding to go with her to the spire and Invidia loudly announcing that she would do no such thing, the party was left curiously staring at the girl’s fighting. Will this brash young woman really end up delving into the spire with the party?

…Yes. Yes she will.

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31st of Desnus (Session 21) The Clockwork Maze

FUCK. ZERAFIO DIED. FUCK!

cough Sorry. So the party pulled open the secret door they found in Klarkosh’s trophy room and were met with a very large emerald automaton standing in front of the doorway with Klarkosh taunting them from the room itself. The party stepped cautiously into the room, well MOST of the party, and started talking with him, not wishing to open hostilities. Ever the resourceful sort, Zerafio swallowed a potion of invisibility and crept into the room to disable the whirling blade trap and get close to Klarkosh. When the party tired of Klarkosh’s boasting, Zerafio was quick to stab him in the gut, only to find his skin as hard as rock. Klarkosh was quick to throw a giant stinking cloud on the rest of the party. Unfortunately before they could recover, Klarkosh managed to get two terrifyingly powerful bolts of lightning into Zerafio and-…

Fuck.

He died.

Fuck.

Vengence was mete indeed though. Klarkosh was swiftly and brutally killed by Invidia and Chaaz the moment they got over their nausea. But the damage remained. Zerafio was outright killed by Klarkosh’s lightning spells. Seething with fury, Invidia started pulling levers and kicking down doors, determined to make every last creature and automaton on this level dead. And the party.. pretty much did just that. Two clockwork servants were shattered almost the moment they were seen, the brazen minotaur that had downed Jharun and Tiawask was felled quickly, and Klarkosh’s two emerald servants he had guarding his throne room were shattered as well, even though one got in a lucky hit.

With literally all of Klarkosh’s servants dead, the a party was free to loot the valuables in his room and they were able to make off with a large horde of treasure and two journals, one detailing the spire’s planar portals and one detailing the automatons and Klarkosh’s megalomaniacal designs for the Echo Woods area.

Determined to charge forward, the party found a fairly obvious minor image made to look like the goddess Desna and two fiendish leopards. Not in the mood for trickery, Invidia charged forward to slay the first thing she could see…

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16th of Desnus -> 31st of Desnus (Session 20) Fort Inevitable -> The Clockwork Maze

With the hellknights told of the undead threat, the party was content to head to bed after dusting yet another undead and the morning proved their faith in the hellknights was well placed as there were no reported casualties from the undead after that. Things quieted down quite a bit after that. Days passed by with only a couple of little oddities happening… A rat getting into the alchemy lab and turning mutant, a novice alchemist discovering a cure for a minor malady going through the town, a visit from a far distant noble… Days blended quickly into weeks and by the time the party’s magic items were done the month of Desnus was almost over. Summer would soon fall on the land.

Not that THAT matters when you’re knee deep in ADVENTURE. The final day of Desnus marked a return to the Emerald Spire as the party roused early and hit the trails to tackle the spire yet again. With knowledge of the route down, they went into Splinterden to find a small band of Morlocks had taken up residence in the abandoned level. Though there were five of them and they were all ravenous and violent, they were dispatched with ease with barely a single clubbing to show for the trouble.\

The party went on to test out the spire transport tokens. When the party all held hands with Chaaz and he spoke “4” in Azlanti, only he and Dr. Remnus popped down into level four of the spire. Remnus happened to be holding a token at the time as well, leading the party to believe you must be holding a token in order for it to work. The experiments were interesting but they soon went down to the Drowned Level again, stone shaped themselves a truly wonderful shortcut and descended into level 6!

There, the party was faced with surprisingly little danger… just a set of levers and an oddly colored alcove. Zerafio didn’t see any traps so Invidia took the initiative and pushed the red lever up to reveal the alcove turning to form a passage way. Clearly, fiddling with levers will have a large effect on the level itself but with a passage forward, the party had all they really cared to search for. They came upon a room filled with curios and half-destroyed items at first. Zerafio’s careful search of the room was interrupted by the discovery of a trap which he disabled with only the tiniest of electricity burns.

With the room safe, the party set about looting the valuables from it and went further into the hallway to find what appeared to be a small jail cell with someone inside. Though he was beaten half to death and into unconsciousness, Remnus was easily able to wake the man up with his superior medical skills. The man turned out to be one of the missing wizard Jharun! Apparently Klarkosh had captured him months ago and was holding him here thinking he was a spy. The other wizard, Tiawask, managed to escape lower into the dungeon to hopefully convince the serpentfolk of the lower levels (who apparently hate klarkosh) to assist her in rescuing Jharun. Unfortunately, she was never heard from again. With the wizard found, it’s up to the party to explore the level and hopefully not fall to the same fate…

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9th of Desnus -> 16th of Desnus (Session 19) Fort Inevitable

But fuck the spire, amirite?

Fresh off the victory against the ghoul army, the party settled down to get to work/get over hangovers. The doctor, in a moment rather indicative of his name, cleared the ghoul rot from his system with only a few spells, thus saving him from a horrible fate of becoming a mindless undead and, by extension,letting him to continue to inflict that same fate on others..
In the mean time, during breakfast at the inn, the party overheard of a gathering of hellknights outside the citadel. It was generally considered a good idea to check it out, though Zerafio and Remnus decided they would rather get right to work than listen to the hellknights talk interminably about bureaucracy and internal politics. Actually, they’d probably both rather pull their teeth out than listen to the hellknights. Still, the rest of the party was made of sterner stuff than that and went to attend the meeting and face the very real risk of being bored to death.

As it turned out though, the meeting was short, at least for them. The Lady Commander had the bodies of the ghouls searched during the night and found the symbol of the crowned skull on a small metallic emblem on each one of them. Taking it to mean that the fort was under direct assault from a serious army, the Lady Commander decided it was time to prepare for a serious war and pressed the party on how dedicated they are to exploring the spire. Though they assured her they would explore down to the very bottom depths, she was frustrated with the slow progress and ordered one of Oritian Hast’s signifiers to assist the party in any way he could. Later on that day, Oritian himself visited Chaaz’s brand new alchemy lab to discuss the possibilities of another necromancer, apart from Klarkosh, residing in the spire. Though neither of them had much evidence to support the theory, they and the party were left pondering where the undead could be coming from and he left with a strange warning that the Lady Commander would never officially support their expedition into the spire.

Things in the fort calmed down a fair bit after that and the party was left with a great deal of free time to gather reagents and work on crafting the magic items they would most certainly need to delve deeper into the spire and the signifier was more than willing to assist them in any way he could.
The party’s month-long anniversary of their arrival to the fort passed by uncelebrated.
Unfortunately, things stopped being peaceful on the night of the 19th of Desnus when a panicked hellknight arrived at the gate shouting a call to arms. The party woke to find a skeptical Lady Commander interrogating the hellknight about a small group of undead approaching the fort. Apparently no one else saw any sign of undead and they were questioning if what he saw was real. Not wanting to take chances, the party formed their own scouting expedition and went out into the woods. Armed with the hellknight’s information and Zerafio’s navigation skills they quickly managed to arrive at the most likely location where the undead would be traveling.

What they found though, was a hyena. Peculiar to be sure, but not undead…. At least until Quesh spotted it trying to sneak up behind them. The animal quickly dropped its disguise and ravenously attacked the party, trying to chew and rend flesh like the unholy monster it quite literally is. Though it stole more than its fair share of blood from Remnus and Chaaz, a few critical strikes and some spider bite assistance quickly felled the abomination and the party hurried back to the fort to tell the hellknights of this insidious shape-changing threat.

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2cd of Desnus -> 8th of Desnus (Session 18) Fort Inevitable

Returning from the Emerald Spire, the party was quick to note the mysterious emerald token regained its pale, green glow about an hour after they used it.

Fortunately for the party, the return trip through the echo woods proved to be peaceful and they were eager to get some much needed rest at the fort. After a good night’s rest, the party decided they were going to get to work on accruing magical items for use in a new item for them to use. The party spent a full six days purchasing magical implements and preparing the silks for the headband. Chaaz’s Alchemy lab also finished constructing as the party worked as well, leaving the first permanent mark the party has made on the fort. For better or worse, they have a real stake in the fort now.

As the 8th of Desnus drew to a close though, calls went out from the walls of the fort. An contingent of no less than 50 ghouls were approaching the fort, in formed army ranks no less. Deciding they’d help, the party arrived at the gate to find the Lady Commander arguing with her top commander about if they would lead a charge into the undead ranks to break them before they reach the walls. Seeing a fun time, the party volunteered to lead the charge instead of the reluctant maralictor. And so the party, 6 hellkninghts and the lady commander herself charged the undead ranks.

The battle was pitched and heated and the fighting saw no pause… even when Quesh literally punched a ghoul to death… re-death. The hellknights had expected to need to pull back after the charge delayed the ranks but the party proved to be more resilent than anyone expected. Amid the hail of arrows from the walls of the fort and the lady commander’s viscous swordplay, the entire undead army was felled before they could even reach the walls.

With only a few bites among them, the party returned to the fort greeted by cheers and adulation and were quickly served a round of drinks. Today was a glorious victory, but also ominous portends. Who is sending these undead to the fort? Just how big an army can they manage to form? The answers lie in the depths of the spire….

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2cd of Desnus (Session 17) The Drowned Level -> Splinterden

Beset upon by a shark-tailed emerald automaton, the party readied themselves in the research tank and assailed the strange construct as soon as it came through the door. As they fought the construct though, the other door opened up to reveal the undine Senethar and her eidolon flanking them! While Invidia clashed swords with the automaton’s spear, Chaaz and Zerafio rushed to intercept the eidolon and the summoner. The crab eidolon, though it got a few good hits in on Quesh, was felled quickly. Though Senethar summoned several dangerous creatures on the party, spell and sword dispatched all of them extremely quickly and the summoner found herself backed into a corner in the flooded hallway.

Looking at a dire situation, Senethar flung the door open and flushed Chaaz into the room behind her. Unfortunately for Chaaz, the room had a massive eel swimming around in it and it turned out to be even more aggressive than you’d expect a giant eel to be. It took a bite out of Chaaz while Zerafio followed into the room and (thanks to a misfortune cast) Senethar couldn’t swim against the current enough to keep herself out of the room. Fortunately, Chaaz and Zerafio were more than a match for the eel and the weakened undine and dispatched the two of them with only a few teeth marks and acid burns to show for it.

Fortunately, the level didn’t seem to have anything else that wanted to kill them after that. Though the water proved difficult to tread for the poor swimmers of the party (I.E. all of them), no one risked drowning while they explored the final room and ended up finding a mess of Senethar’s belongings. Apparently she was in contact with someone named Uzar-Kus from some group known as The Circle of Vissk-Thar… Apparently she had a way to by-pass Klarkosh and talk with them. Armed with this knowledge,, the party decided that maybe now was the time to try out these mysterious tokens.

Dr. Remnus was the first to brave the experiment and only a few failed attempts was all it took for him to figure out that, should you touch the spire with your hand and verbalize the floor number in Azlanti, you are ported to that floor. Of course, knowing the symbol on the spire is absolutely essential, it seems… and the token ceased to glow after using it. Time will tell if it will recharge itself.

Ready to return to town, the party returned up through the emerald spire only for Zerafio to get two arrows in the back as soon as he reached Splinterden. Apparently Lenik Hastenfar finally returned while they were below. Though they were briefly inconvenienced by the locked door, Quesh released a swarm of spiders to hilariously impressive effectiveness while Zerafio picked the lock to let the rest of the party get in and get murderin’. The bandits were dispatched almost effortlessly with Lenik (the only real threat) getting blinded by Dr. Remnus.

So with yet another armful of loot they hadn’t counted on, the party prepares to return to Fort Inevitable. They made excellent progress on the spire but they must rest up for now so they can continue to delve deeper and figure out the mysteries of the strange, emerald dungeon.

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2cd of Desnus (Session 16) The Drowned Level

With diplomacy haivng soured to a considerable degree, the party found themselves facing Dayana, the bunyip and the water mephit. Though Dayana glitterdusted most of the party, everyone held strong and resisted the blinding effects… only to be set upon by a giant noxious cloud. The fumes were so terrible, poor Quesh was cripplingly nausious for nearly the entire fight with Zerafio only faring mildly better. Fortunately, Dayana’s Eidolon was also left nauseated from the cloud so the fight seemed to be evened out somewhat.

The bunyip’s bite proved to be exremely lethal and made Chaaz bleed for quite a while before Invidia and he dispatched it. Remnus also proved he could cause some real havok on the battle feild by flooding the room with his own cloud of sickening vapors and soon Dayana and most of the party were forced into a small, clear corner of the room. Though blows were exchanged, the party eventually took Dayana down and she was quick to surrender. The party ended up at a crossroads of what to do with her and much uncomfortable talk was had. Ultimately it was decided the wounds given to Dayana with the death of her brother would be of the sort that would never heal. Much like before, the party decided leaivng her alive would result in vengance down the road and Remnus afforded her a swift, painless death.

With the grim business concluded, the party found a fair stash of loot in her backpack, not the least of which ended up being a journal. Undoubtedly a treasure trove of information… but one that would have to wait.

Exploring on, the party found a room to the south that wasn’t flooded… yet. But the current of the water flowing into the room made them reluctant to open the door to see what’s inside. Leaving that for the moment, they sent Zerafio to explore down the spillway and discover an alternate route in the reservior. Though he found a path that lead to a ladder and a door, Zerafio sadly also found a shark-tailed emerald automaton that quickly chased him down the spillway.

With danger looming, the party readies for battle yet again! Will the defeat the strange mechanical contraption? And what of Dayana’s sister? We’ll see next week.

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